Rutherglen and Hamilton West voter David McClemont seriously considered voting for the Labour Party until Starmer and Sarwar hijacked the party’s climb back from the depths that Blair and Brown’s New Labour had dragged it…
As a lifelong supporter of Scottish independence, in 2019 I did something that I had never done before. I voted Labour. I have always supported independence. I am a socialist and believed that the British state was beyond reform and a fair, equitable society could not be achieved within its confines. The election of Jeremy Corbyn forced me to reevaluate those beliefs as there was a genuine prospect of a socialist becoming Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. In 2019 the prospect of another independence referendum seemed far away and the election of a truly progressive UK government offered the hope of improving the lives of working class people. The subsequent moves by the British establishment to crush and destroy Jeremy Corbyn as a person and Corbynism as a movement has only reinforced my belief that the Scotland needs to leave the United Kingdom.
Where Corbyn gave hope to anyone who wanted to build a fairer society the election of his successor Keir Starmer has brought nothing but despair. When Keir Starmer stood for the Labour Leadership he campaigned on the basis of ten pledges which echoed the policy priorities of the the Corbyn leadership; higher taxes for the rich, ending cruelty in the benefit system, scrapping tuition fees and nationalisation of public services. But upon his election as leader he began to renege on all these pledges. He proceeded to mimic Tory policies instead of the traditional Labour policies of the Corbyn leadership. Starmer even went as far to claim his party was the “Real Conservatives”. This is not a Labour Leader who deserves your vote.
While he was taking the Labour Party to the Right in terms of policy he also began an unprecedented campaign to expel or sideline anyone within the party that was thought to be to left wing or who sought push a socialist agenda. First he sacked Rebecca Long-Bailey, who had stood against Starmer for the Labour Leadership, from the shadow cabinet. Since then the Labour Leadership has expelled thousands of left wing activists, including award winning film director Ken Loach, suspended Jeremy Corbyn from the Parliamentary Labour Party and intervened in selection contests across the country to stop popular local activists from becoming Labour candidates. This includes in Rutherglen & Hamilton West where the selection process was described by Rutherglen Labour Councillor Martin Lennon as being a “farce and “profoundly undemocratic” after three leading candidates; popular Blantyre Councilor Mo Razzaq, trade unionist Leah Stalker and councillor John Carson were blocked from standing to become the Labour candidate.
This paved the way for Michael Shanks to become the Labour Candidate who was not blocked from being the Labour candidate despite having dramatically quit the Labour Party in 2019 and publicly admits that he didnt vote for them in the last General election. Since becoming Labour Candidate Michael Shanks has sought to distance himself from Keir Starmer by saying he opposes the Bedroom Tax, the 2 Child Benefit Cap despite the Labour Leader committing to keeping these Tory policies in place. This is not a Labour Party that deserves your vote.
It does beg the question why would a Labour leadership with a record of taking action against members who disent from policy impose a candidate that apparently doesn’t support many of their policies? Are they just happy for him to say whatever is popular in order to get elected in the knowledge he will tow the party line when it matters or or is this just naivity from someone who will get a rude awakening when he tries to make a principled stance against his Westminster bosses. Either way this is not a Labour candidate that deserves your vote.