10 Broken Pledges

Keir Starmer

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The following letter will be sent to Kier Starmer. In signing we will add you to the total number of members calling for action but your details will be kept anonymous.

Dear Keir Starmer,

We, the undersigned, write to regretfully inform you that we no-longer have confidence your leadership of the Labour Party, which, we believe, you have, in a few short months, brought into disrepute. We do not now feel confident that Labour can win an election under your leadership. Moreover, we, as party members, elected you on the basis of your 10 pledges, which led us to believe that you would continue to lead party according to the same principles and policies as your predecessor. It is clear now that you have broken your side of this implied contract with us, as well as your promises to us. We hope that this letter encourages you to consider your position. We have chosen to remain anonymous to protect our identities and party memberships.

With regret,
[total number of] Labour members

10 Broken Pledges

Economic Justice
You promised “no stepping back from our core principles”, but:
Your campaign was funded by Trevor Chinn, who, according to citywire.co.uk has “defended low income tax rates and the loopholes used by the wealthy to avoid paying tax” (https://citywire.co.uk/wealth-manager/news/call-not-to-hammer-the-super-rich-with-taxes/a315788/print?section=wealth-manager). Your commitment to this issue is therefore in question, as is your personal judgement.

Social Justice
You promised that you would “Stand up for universal services”, but:
Your shadow Secretary of State for Work & Pensions, Jonathan Reynolds, has stepped back from the core principle of universal benefit provision, endorsing the idea of a contributions-based system instead (https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/b/labours-shadow-work-and-pensions-secretary-criticised-over-divisive-language-over) . This likely means that the poorest and most vulnerable will get less under Labour.

Climate Justice
You promised you would “Put the Green New Deal at the heart of everything we do”, but:
Your policy consultation has relegated the Green New Deal from Industrial to environmental policy. The NPF document on Economy, Business & Trade does not mention it once (https://7e0ca194-74a9-42c0-8229-83ffd300f508.filesusr.com/ugd/12775b_2f8dc1b8cfce4b3d9216d0efab2e3e7c.pdf).
You have suggested that you may drop Labour’s key 2030 net zero climate target (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/keir-starmer-net-zero-target-2030-labour-climate-change-a9586971.html), which is key to the purpose of the Green New Deal.

Promote Peace and Human Rights

You promised you would “make us a force for international peace and justice,” but:

Your decision to prioritise trade with India above the human rights of the people living in Kashmir – which you have described as a “bilateral”, not universal human rights, issue – is at odds with international law (https://labourlist.org/2020/04/keir-starmer-repositions-labour-on-kashmiri-conflict/).
You have so far failed to call for the end to Israel’s occupation of Palestine’s West Bank, which is a retreat from Labour’s 2019 manifesto pledge.

Common Ownership

You promised you would “support common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water; end outsourcing in our NHS, local government and justice system,” but:

Your National Policy Forum (NPF) consultation, which aims to “reshape” Labour policy, also suggests that a Starmer government may not repeal the structures of privatisation introduced by the Tories to the NHS in 2012 (https://7e0ca194-74a9-42c0-8229-83ffd300f508.filesusr.com/ugd/12775b_e4aa33bc1a1c4e78869fdf0887e775c3.pdf). This means we cannot have faith in your campaign pledge to renationalise other industries.

Defend Migrants’ Rights

You promised “an immigration system based on compassion and dignity”, but:

When calling for the scrapping of the NHS surcharge for migrant workers in the health and social care sectors, you did not call for the abolition of the charge for people in all types of employment. This has created a two-tiered policy in which some human beings are valued more than others. There are many migrant workers in essential key jobs that still cannot access healthcare. They deserve better than this. (https://labourlist.org/2020/05/labour-pushes-to-exempt-nhs-and-care-workers-from-the-immigration-health-surcharge/).

Strengthen Workers’ Rights and Trade Unions
You promised to “work shoulder to shoulder with trade unions to stand up for working people”, but:
You sacked Rebecca Long-Bailey from her post as Shadow Secretary of State for Education, allegedly after she listened to teaching unions and challenged your position on the early reopening of schools during the coronavirus pandemic (https://skwawkbox.org/2020/06/25/excl-long-bailey-sacked-after-massive-row-over-schools-return-as-news-emerges-that-starmers-support-for-return-has-seen-infection-rate-double/).

The unions were guided by the science, your position increased the risk that teachers, children and their families would become infected. We believe you have behaved irresponsibly on this matter (https://skwawkbox.org/2020/06/30/video-hancock-admits-tory-schools-return-fuelled-leicester-lockdown-crisis-starmers-team-still-pushing-for-more-kids-in-classroom/).

Your Labour Party sought to curtail its own staff furlough scheme, ending it at the earliest opportunity, only to be forced to retreat by organised resistance by the trade unions that were originally instrumental in forming the policy (https://skwawkbox.org/2020/06/24/exclusive-labour-putting-furloughed-staff-out-of-work-as-soon-as-furlough-scheme-will-cost-them-anything/).

Radical Devolution of Power, Wealth and Opportunity
You promised to “push power, wealth and opportunity away from Whitehall,” but:
Contrary to widespread acceptance of existing centuries-embedded institutional racism in the UK, you described the reaction to the killing of George Floyd as just response to a single “moment”, causing great offense to many BAME members. Your “clarifying” remark – that you meant “defining moment” – is just as bad, giving the impression that do not mean what you say, are careless, insensitive and unthinking in your words, or both.

You have shown no commitment to greater democracy so far. In terms of Labour’s internal democracy, you have cancelled meaningful CLP meetings, preventing members from fully engaging in the democratic processes of selections and being able to hold their leadership to account (https://twitter.com/LabourRachel/status/1278006255097970691?s=20).

Your National Policy Forum process has been a rushed mess, with many members unable to vote on their preferred policies, wholly undermining its claimed purpose of democratic engagement. If you won’t promote democracy in your own party, we do not believe you’ll do it in the country as a whole (https://labourlist.org/2020/05/labours-national-policy-forum-must-be-reformed-or-replaced/)

Equality
You said “we are the party of the Equal Pay Act, Sure Start, BAME representation”, but
You were too slow to condemn the murder of George Floyd and too slow to act on the allegations of racism contained in the leaked report into Labour’s handling of antisemitism (https://skwawkbox.org/2020/05/30/better-late-than-never-starmer-finally-comments-on-george-floyds-death-five-days-after-his-murder/).

This leaked report also alleged that staff members, who you have previously defended, ignored complaints of antisemitism on purpose, in order to discredit your predecessor.
Worse still, your press operation is already pre-judging the outcome of your own enquiry into the report by defending the staff members against whom allegations of racism have been made (https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/opendemocracyuk/were-labours-antisemitism-failures-really-corbyns-fault/).

You have recently claimed: “to some extent I’ve inherited this problem – I’ve just come in as leader of the Labour Party and the staff that are in place [across the party] have been working here for some time.” Keir, this isn’t true. The percentage of BAME staff employed by Labour has declined under your leadership and your team is overwhelmingly made up of white men (https://labourlist.org/2020/05/what-does-the-new-leaders-office-say-about-keir-starmer/?amp). If levels BAME representation in within Labour staff were previously too low, your leadership had so far worsened the situation.

Your Shadow Cabinet appointments have led to a reduction of BAME individuals on the front bench. Your record on equality could therefore be generously described as poor (https://labourlist.org/2020/04/how-balanced-is-labour-leader-keir-starmers-new-shadow-cabinet/).

Effective Opposition to the Tories
You promised “forensic, effective opposition to the Tories in Parliament,” but:
At the best of times, your “opposition” to the Tories has been weak. Frequently, it can be accurately described as non-existent. You have been open about your “support” for the government during Boris Johnson’s catastrophic handling of the Coronavirus crisis, even pushing early for an “exit strategy” and a premature reopening of schools (https://www.ft.com/content/b80bbe13-d7c7-429d-a5b7-18b7dc32750c).

Of the government’s lifting of nationwide restrictions over coronavirus, you have sais you “support” the position but that “unlike the PM” you are “not blind to the risks”. This does not seem to make sense. If you accept the risks, we would expect you to oppose the government’s plans if they do not contain comprehensive plans for test, track and trace. Without this measure, there will surely be more needless deaths (https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/boris-johnson-lockdown-keir-starmer-uk-coronavirus-leicester-pmqs-a9595481.html).

Confidence in the government has collapsed as a result of their mishandling of the Covid-19 situation, but Labour is still, at the time of writing, polling behind the Conservatives. This, combined with your complicity in risking the health of workers across the UK, is a shocking failure of competence on your part, for which you should resign (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jun/09/keir-starmer-labour-government-opposition-leader).  

Petition by
Sean Foster
London, United Kingdom

To: Keir Starmer
From: [Your Name]

Dear Keir Starmer,

We, the undersigned, write to regretfully inform you that we no-longer have confidence your leadership of the Labour Party, which, we believe, you have, in a few short months, brought into disrepute. We do not now feel confident that Labour can win an election under your leadership. Moreover, we, as party members, elected you on the basis of your 10 pledges, which led us to believe that you would continue to lead party according to the same principles and policies as your predecessor. It is clear now that you have broken your side of this implied contract with us, as well as your promises to us. We hope that this letter encourages you to consider your position. We have chosen to remain anonymous to protect our identities and party memberships.

With regret,
[total number of] Labour members