Since the brutal attack on the unarmed civilians, pensioners, babies and ravers in Southern Israel the UK’s likely next Government has suffered a small flood of elected officials resigning over its stance on the conflict. The traditional political home of Britain’s Jewery has seen more than 50 councillors resign, including city hall leaders. Not only that, a third of his national legislators have publicly attacked the Labour leader’s stance on the issue, including 15 of his front bench team. One legislator has been suspended for echoing the Hamas slogan of “from the River to the Sea”.
All of this because Sir Keir Stamer, their leader and likely next Prime Minister of the UK has supported Israel's right to defend itself and refuses to call for a ceasefire. His party is roaring ahead in the polls, and he and his team. Up until now all he had to do was to do nothing stupid, and he would win.
But in the light of the Hamas pogrom and Israel’s response, doing nothing stupid and keeping the warring tribes of Labour from ripping each other apart in public has become increasingly impossible. But this means he is continuously appeasing factions and changing his mind. Policies come, policies go.
But he has been forced by internal party squalls to finesse his position on the Israel/Hamas conflict and it speaks worrying about his fitness to lead and his party’s fitness to become the government of the UK. After supporting Israel wholeheartedly after that terrorist pogrom in southern Israel he has started to backtrack. He has, but of course he cannot backtrack enough to placate the deep roots of Israel hate and anti-semitism that courses through his blood like rancid sepsis.
In many ways Starmer has done a good job in trying to leave the anti-semitism that has plagued the Labour Party for years. Stamping it out was Things got so bad under his predecessor, Jeremy Corbyn that the party was criticised for by the Equality and Human Rights Commission for "serious failings in the Labour Party leadership in addressing antisemitism and an inadequate process for handling antisemitism complaints”.
However the conflict in the Middle East has brought these internal divisions in the Labour Party into stark relief. It is clear that for all Starmer’s hard work -not forgetting that he knowingly supported Corbyn in two elections, is coming to nothing. The deep roots of leftist anti-semitism have not been grubbed out.
This chaos in Labour has led to those roots not merely being exposed but creating a real political trip hazard.
Labour has now lost control of the university city of Oxford and up and down the country it’s controlling majorities of other cities is now in the balance.
The real problem for him is that if he continues to do what he clearly believes to be the right thing, that is support Israel in its hour of need, then the electoral coalition that he needs to win the next election is compromised.
The Jewish population of the UK is approximately 240,000, the Muslim population of the UK over 4 million. Labour won 10,3million votes in 2019, of which about 1 million were, according to post electoral surveys, from Muslim voters.
That’s about 10% of their total. Of course these votes are concentrated on a small number of seats. The Jewish vote is thought to have a serious impact (10% or more) in about 4 of the 680 seats. Whereas in 2017 83 seats had 10% or more Islamic voters.
Power-of-the-Muslim-vote-and-Muslim-voting-patterns.pdf (mend.org.uk) Since 2017 the Islamic population of the UK has increased significantly, with that increase acceleration.
According to the Muslim Council of Britain
“The (2021) data tells us that the Muslim population in England and Wales on Census Day was 3.87 million. The Muslim population has increased by 1.16 million since 2011, when the figure stood at 2.71 million. The increase coincides with the growth in the total population from 56.08 million in 2011, to 59.60 million. The Muslim numbers account for 33% of the population rise. In 2011, Muslims formed 4.8% or just under 1 in 20 of the population in 2011. Now it stands at 6.5 %, or just under 1 in 15.”
Currently Labour hold almost all of those 83 seats, but need an extra 145 seats to win the election. The simple bald and cynical electoral mathematics suggest that if they were to lose that million Muslim votes, or even a significant fraction to harder left or Muslim parties then their ambitions for Government will be highly compromised.
It’s a rock and a very hard place for Starmer and his strategists.
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