TO USE a couple of cliches, let’s stop beating around the bush and ignoring the elephant in the room – Labour under Starmer is a racist endeavour. Yet no mention of it in the media which is still priming us for Starmer as PM.
For some the first inkling of how entrenched the racism was within Labour came with the broadcasting of Al Jazeera’s ‘The Labour Files’ which showed a hierarchy of racism within the Party which discriminated against its Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) members. Interviews, internal documents and social media messages shared by senior staff in the Party showed a racist culture with abuse aimed at their own colleagues, councillors and leaders.
Then Labour leaders on Birmingham City Council were accused of ‘not taking racism and discrimination seriously’, and criticised for a shocking lack of representation of Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) politicians in senior roles. Claims were made about racism within the party and the anonymised survey referred to also said constituents in areas with high BAME populations felt ‘forgotten about’ and ‘purposely neglected’.
In response to the survey the leader of the Labour group in Birmingham, Ian Ward, said an independent review had been ordered to explore the relationship and culture between the leadership and backbenchers. This led to councillor Saima Suleman, the branch’s BAME officer, resigning saying her views had been disregarded and dismissing the review as “a feeble attempt to whitewash the most serious allegations.”
Then there was of course the matter of BAME members not being invited to an actual BAME conference. And on Tuesday NEC member Jess Barnard spoke out about a virtual meeting where key issues surrounding the Forde report were decided.
Most of us have read the report and will have taken note of Forde’s recommendation to establish an independent directorate to oversee the Party’s disciplinary and regulatory affairs. Yet Jess Barnard tells us that this week the NEC voted not to establish such a body.
She went on to say that the Labour leadership’s plans to ditch the democratic structures for BAME and disabled members were passed, despite being voted against from those on the left. “This goes against Labour’s rulebook and arguments made repeatedly within the party over the past four years.” Kim Johnson said the same, saying Labour was “ripping up the party rulebook”.
This validates the claims of a hierarchy of racism within Labour with accusations of antisemitism being given the most credence while racism against BAME members is conveniently ignored.
For five years when Jeremy Corbyn was leader we were subjected to cries of “he’s a racist” made about one of the most prominent anti-racist MPs and now, where there is ample evidence of Starmer and co’s racism, there is silence. Is this about the keenness of the media to see Starmer in government or about their lack of concern for other forms of racism? Either way it is clear that support for Labour offers no way forward for those who desire an inclusive, egalitarian government.