Sir Keir Starmer has begun his own version of the Night of the Long Knives by sacking his leadership rival Rebecca Long Bailey over a rather tenuous link to anti semitism ( see below ,from the Spectator evening summary )
|Starmer makes his move|
Today Sir Keir Starmer sacked his former leadership rival Rebecca Long-Bailey from the shadow cabinet. The Labour leader asked Long-Bailey to step down as shadow education secretary after she shared an interview which contained an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. In the article in question, long-time Jeremy Corbyn supporter Maxine Peake – the Shameless actress – suggested the tactics used by American police on George Floyd were 'learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services'. Announcing the decision, a spokesman for Starmer said: 'Anti-Semitism takes many different forms and it is important that we all are vigilant against it.'
The decision to axe Long-Bailey is revealing for two reasons. First, it puts (and is intended to put) clear blue water between Corbyn and Starmer in terms of their handling of allegations of anti-Semitism. While Starmer has spoken many times of the need to take a strong stance, this is one of the clearest signs that he means what he says. In the days of Corbyn, there was a pattern of complaints, little action and then, if the reaction got very bad, a belated carefully worded apology might emerge.
Secondly, Long-Bailey was Starmer's main rival in the leadership contest and represented the Corbynite wing of the party. Starmer said repeatedly that he would offer Long-Bailey a role in his shadow cabinet – even though her campaign took on a rather aggressive tone towards him by the end. That he did so was taken as a sign he wanted to bring the Labour coalition together and keep an element of Corbynism in the party's general direction. Starmer will explain today's move not as a cull of a Corbynite but a result of a zero tolerance approach to anti-Semitism. However, with Corbynite publications already going on the attack over his decision, it risks reopening Labour's civil war. Today's decision sends a message that this is Starmer's Labour party now.
Who's next , we wonder ?