By Daniel Finn.
By sacking Rebecca Long-Bailey on a trumped-up pretext, Keir Starmer has set the seal on a drastic shift to the right for the British Labour Party. That shift comes just as the key arguments by Jeremy Corbyn’s opponents to justify a break with his left leadership have been falling apart in the face of overwhelming evidence.
It seemed a safe bet as the year began that British politics was about to enter into a period of calm. Instead, the COVID-19 pandemic has plunged Britain into a crisis without any precedent in the last century, combining the mortality rates of a conflict with the economic devastation of a global slump.
It’s far too early to say what the long-term political fallout of the pandemic will be. No developed capitalist state has gone through an economic crisis on this scale in tandem with mass fatalities and disruption to everyday life. To say we’re about to enter uncharted waters doesn’t do justice to the situation.
However, one thing is already clear. Under Keir Starmer’s leadership, the Labour Party is taking an approach that differs sharply in both style and content from that followed by Jeremy Corbyn after 2015. At a time when the gravity of the crisis demands a break with the status quo — for better or for worse — Labour is retreating from the ambitious reformist agenda developed under Corbyn.
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