By William Hallowell | Editor
The Hartlepool by-election shows the working-class won't be patronised into voting Red - is Starmer proving to be more unpopular than Corbyn?
Again. Again, the Labour Party has suffered a hugely embarrassing defeat to the Tories, this time in the Hartlepool constituency, which has been Red since its creation. Corbynite has-been and former Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbot has described this catastrophe as a "crushing defeat"... she isn't wrong.
Starmer's Labour doesn't represent the working-class. It never has, and probably never will so long as it focuses so heavily on "middle-class graduates in the London suburbs and the metropolitan areas" - as one Sky News reporter put it.
The working-class are fed up of being patronised by the Labour Party; they are fed up of being talked down to; fed up of being neglected and not being represented by their vote. When such a large proportion of northern working-class communities voted in favour of Brexit it is hard to see how one could argue that the Labour Party represents their views or their interests when it's current leader is a staunch Remoaner and the Labour candidate for the Hartlepool by-election, Dr Paul Williams, is also a staunch Remoaner.
However, it seems reasonable to argue that working-class people in Hartlepool were not voting in favour of the Tories, but rather voting against the Labour Party - which would be a much similar scenario to December 2019 where the parties' Brexit policies were the focal point of the election. The previous leader, Jeremy Corbyn, couldn't provide either a clear Brexit strategy or even the will to deliver on the 2016 referendum result, which is ultimately why their votes were divvied up between the Conservatives and Nigel Farage's Brexit Party in other Red Wall constituencies. This was vital for securing a large Tory majority to enable a pro-Brexit government to withdraw Britain from the EU.
Some are contemplating whether or not Starmer will resign. Of course he won't. He, like every other mainstream politician is a power-starved populist; the crucial difference between Keir Starmer and Boris Johnson however, is that Johnson is a successful populist and Starmer is a wannabe.
The Leader of the Opposition's relentless attempt at a smear campaign hasn't worked - just as it didn't for Corbyn in 2017, or 2019. Oddly to Starmer it seems the average voter is not particularly troubled by the refurbishment of the Downing Street flat.
Many devout Labour voters and left-wing commentators have criticised Starmer for not providing a strong enough opposition to the Conservative Government, which is arguably true. He chooses to snipe at Johnson personally during PMQs with concerns over wallpaper, as opposed to serious scrutiny - again, much like his predecessor. The truth is that the public is fed up of the Labour rhetoric about the protecting the NHS and giving pay rises to its staff - that was Sir Keir Starmer's biggest criticism of the Government's 2021 Budget.
But why should traditionally working-class and Labour-voting communities support Starmer when he simply doesn't represent their interests? The reaction from some on social media proves it, when younger people are arguing that university students voting for the Tories is supposedly 'against their interests'. Younger voters do tend to be more socially liberal, and so vote for left-wing parties, but since when did the Labour Party represent university students? Champagne socialism has destroyed Labour - again this was evident when the deputy leader Angela Rayner was caught up what is nothing short of an expenses scandal, having spent thousands on wireless, customised Apple AirPods and first-class train tickets, because of course, a top-flight middle-class politician shouldn't have to mingle among the peasants.
Starmer can continue to bash the Tories over wallpaper and 'Chumism', but the majority won't vote for a man who runs his campaigns off the back of smearing the incumbent government with petty, pointless criticism and making vague promises like a 'strong economy and good, secure jobs' - as his predecessor learned the hard way.
Image credit: Socialist Appeal