Friday, May 24, 2024
Friday May 24, 2024
Friday May 24, 2024

Keir Starmer sparks outrage by extending olive branch to thatcher legacy



Labour leader faces backlash for praising Margaret Thatcher in bid to win over tory voters

Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour Party, has ignited controversy and angered sections of his own party after expressing admiration for former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. In an attempt to appeal to disaffected Conservative voters, Starmer praised Thatcher for bringing “meaningful change” and “setting loose our natural entrepreneurialism.”

Starmer’s comments, published in The Sunday Telegraph, acknowledged Thatcher’s role in shaping modern British politics. He argued that every significant change in politics begins with the realization that politicians must serve the people rather than dictate to them. Starmer credited Thatcher with seeking to awaken Britain from a state of inertia by unleashing its “natural entrepreneurialism.”

While attempting to bridge the gap with disenchanted Conservatives amid Rishi Sunak’s party’s struggle in the polls, Starmer faced swift backlash from within his party. Critics argue that praising Thatcher, whose policies in the 1980s led to job losses and impacted communities, is out of touch with Labour’s traditional values.

Labour figures, including Chris Kitchen of the National Union of Mineworkers, criticized Starmer’s remarks. Kitchen, a former coal miner, pointed out that Thatcher’s policies did not benefit communities like his own. Fire Brigades Union General Secretary Matt Wrack accused Thatcher’s government of inflicting mass unemployment and poverty, and Jo Grady, UCU General Secretary, found Starmer’s comments “embarrassing” given Thatcher’s history of privatization and trade union crackdowns.

MPs, such as Beth Winter and Ian Lavery, vehemently opposed Starmer’s praise for Thatcher. Winter highlighted the devastation caused by Thatcher’s policies, while Lavery emphasized that his constituents did not share Starmer’s view.

Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf criticized Starmer’s praise of Thatcher as “vandalism,” not “entrepreneurialism,” particularly affecting mining and industrial communities. Shadow Business Secretary Jonathan Reynolds distanced himself from being a Thatcher fan but acknowledged her significant impact on the country.

As Starmer faces internal dissent, this move is seen as a calculated attempt to broaden Labour’s appeal, but it risks alienating the party’s core supporters who remember the harsh impact of Thatcher’s policies on working-class communities.


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