Starmer is a mensch and deserving of our trust

In 2019 our community was scared by the idea of Labour in power. Everything has changed


Sir Keir Starmer (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

July 10, 2024 09:50

Jeremy Corbyn is no longer a Labour MP. Boris Johnson is not an MP. George Galloway is not an MP. Liz Truss is not an MP. Keir Starmer is our prime minister.

I think it would be fair to say that on the morning of December 13, 2019, no one would have predicted any of these outcomes. I’m not even sure anyone would have taken the bet, never mind placed it.

After the last general election, every political commentator speculated on whether the Labour Party could ever hold office again. The spectre of the EHRC report was an ever-present reminder of the nightmare of Corbyn’s tenure as leader of HM Opposition and nearly everyone believed that Boris Johnson had built an electoral coalition that had permanently redrawn our political map.

Yet last week, the country decided that the Labour Party had changed, that we could be trusted to run the government and that change was needed.

After Partygate, the Truss economic disaster and three PMs in three years, how could we trust the Tories to stay in charge? That’s before we even consider the damage which has been done to the very fabric of our society after 14 years of Conservative government.

As a result, Keir Starmer’s Labour Party has a working majority of 181 seats and the Conservative Party has had its worst result since 1832.

Even I struggle to comprehend the full scale of what this means for our country, for my city of Stoke-on-Trent and for our community. It’s beyond my wildest expectations and I can’t stop grinning every time I think about it. The images of Rachel Reeves, Wes Streeting, John Healey, Shabana Mahmood, Angela Smith, Peter Kyle, Ian Murray and the rest of the new cabinet walking down Downing Street on Friday made me sob with much happier tears than those that followed the 2019 election.

Five years ago, our community would have been scared by the thought of a Labour landslide. The pages of the JC would have been filled with stories of families worried about the future and plans to make aliyah. Thank God that is not where we are today.

After tearing out the poisonous plant of antisemitism from my party by its roots, Keir (or the PM as I must get used to calling him) has managed to rebuild enough trust with you that Hendon, Finchley and Golders Green, Chipping Barnet, Bury North, Bury South and East Renfrewshire have all returned Labour MPs. And I genuinely don’t believe that anyone, regardless of their personal politics, considers a Labour government as an existential threat to our community – because it isn’t.

That in itself is truly a miracle. I will be forever grateful to Keir for fixing what I thought had been irrevocably broken.

He is a mensch. And he deserves this opportunity to lead our country in the years ahead. He has earned our trust and we in turn owe him a fair hearing as he turns from campaigning to governing. Elections are only the first step. Now we have the privilege of service, trying to fix what has been broken in our society after 14 years of Conservative governments.

This is my last column for the JC in the foreseeable future, as I hope to do my bit as part of a Labour government to deliver for our country. For too long, politics has been treated like a game, with ministers forgetting that each decision made in Whitehall has a direct impact on someone’s life, on a child’s future, on a community’s hopes.

We’ve had enough of that – politics is serious, governing is serious and it’s for serious people – so now we have to deliver for you and everyone who voted for us and those that did not.

Wish us well and hold us to account as we seek to deliver on the promises we’ve made to rebuild our country.

Baroness Anderson is a Labour peer

July 10, 2024 09:50

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