22 June 2022

Worst Labour Leader Ever

If you don't live in they UK, you may not have heard about the strike at National Rail, the biggest labor action in the UK in decades.

One would expect that Labour would support the  National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers.

Instead, Sir Kier Starmer, the head of the Labour Party, (for a while, at least) forbade senior members of Parliament (Front Benchers) from showing up at the picket lines in support, because ……… Labour should never be seen as supporting labo(u)r unions?

In a rather pleasant surprise, a number of the aforementioned front benchers ignored this direction:

Keir Starmer is on a collision course with the left wing of his party over strike action, after at least three junior frontbenchers defied his instructions and joined RMT union picket lines on Tuesday morning.

Kate Osborne and Paula Barker, both parliamentary private secretaries to shadow ministers, tweeted that they had shown solidarity with striking workers on Tuesday morning.

The third frontbencher defying Starmer’s ban was Navendu Mishra, a Labour whip. He tweeted: “As a proud trade unionist, I stand with all workers on our railway network who are taking industrial action to fight for their jobs and keep passengers safe.”


Jarrow MP Osborne tweeted that she would, “always stand on the side of the workers”. She was pictured alongside RMT strikers in Bromley, south-east London.


Anas Sarwar, the leader of Scottish Labour, took a markedly different approach from Starmer, tweeting a picture of himself meeting striking RMT workers in Glasgow. “Solidarity with those on the picket lines. This is a crisis entirely of the government’s making,” he wrote.

I get that political expedience has a role in the actions that a party leader must take, and that starmer is concerned about labor unrest being tied to the Labour Party, but his actions are not only immoral, they are stupid.  (Worse than a crime, a mistake)

It only serves to demoralize his supporters, and the Tories will tag him for the strike anyway.

It now appears, that in an effort to save face,  Starmer is trying to strong-arm the rebellious front benchers into apologies, because, or course, this is all about him:

Labour frontbenchers who defied Keir Starmer to appear on picket lines have been encouraged to issue public apologies or risk disciplinary action, despite some shadow cabinet members urging the Labour leader to drop the issue.

Several frontbenchers were pictured alongside striking RMT workers on Tuesday, despite explicit instructions from Starmer to stay away.

The Guardian understands some of the rebel MPs involved have been asked to issue a statement explaining their attendance.

One senior party source jokingly suggested a junior frontbencher had been asked to claim they had been “ambushed by a picket line” – a reference to an excuse used to explain Boris Johnson’s attendance at his own birthday party.

Another source, an MP, said the whips were “threatening people at the moment, trying to get them to issue apologies”. It is unclear what the consequences would be if they refused to apologise.

Meanwhile, Starmer is under pressure from some members of his shadow cabinet to drop the threat of disciplinary action.
To say that Starmer's actions are completely reprehensible is an understatement.


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