Socialist Studies Socialist Studies

Pass the Sick Bag

It comes as no surprise for socialists to read a GUARDIAN article "Leak reveals Labour plan to focus on flag and patriotism to win back voters" (A chakrabortty and j Elgot, 3 February 2021), that the Labour Party, under Keir Starmer, commissioned a report on how to get back the voters they lost at the last election.

According to a leaked internal strategy presentation to win the next election Labour must make "use of the [union] flag, veterans [and] dressing smartly" as part of a radical rebranding to help it win back the trust of disillusioned voters. 'Disillusioned voters' will only vote for political parties steeped in nationalism, who celebrate the British Empire as a force for good, and think Britain is the best country in the world.

The article said:

"The presentation, which has been seen and heard by the GUARDIAN, is aimed at what the party calls "foundation seats", a new term for the "red wall" constituencies that handed Boris Johnson a landslide in 2019, and other seats it fears could also turn blue. It will be seen as a marker of how concerned Labour is about its electoral position".

Presenting the strategy last month - including research on the party's brand by agency REPUBLIC dating from September - the party's head of research said voters were confused about "what we stand for, and what our purpose is, but also who we represent."

Socialists are under no illusion what the Labour Party stands for and who it represents. The Labour Party stands for capitalism, the profit system, the private ownership of the means of production and distribution, the market, and class exploitation. It also stands for supporting capitalisms wars. Socialist it is not.

Among the top recommendations in the report is: "The use of the flag, veterans, dressing smartly at the war memorial etc give voters a sense of authentic values alignment. "Values alignment"? You couldn't make it up. Pass the sick bag!

Not all members of the Labour Party are happy about this PR drivel. Clive Lewis, one of Labour's MPs, said: "The Tory party has absorbed Ukip and now Labour appears to be absorbing the language and symbols of the Tory party."

Mr Lewis should not be surprised. The Labour Party has no principle. It is not a socialist party. It does not exist to persuade workers to become socialists. And when in power attacks trade unions and the interest of the working class. So why not bag the entire Tory policy menu and then try get elected? Why not wear Union Jacks badges on their lapels like the Democrats do with the stars and stripes in the US to show how patriotic they are? When Starmer gave a recent televised address to the country regarding the Covid pandemic he sat in front of a Union Jack. Why not a rendition of Rule Britannia to begin and end Labour's Conference with the audience shown waving union Jacks. The truth of the matter is that the Tories just play the nationalist card better than Labour and the non-socialist electorate know it.

Socialists have no interest in British capitalism and the capitalists who exploit our class. Workers should have nothing to do with the opportunism of the Labour Party. And workers should remember where nationalism leads to - the war grave cemeteries dotted all over the world.

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