Will Corbyn destroy the Labor Party
Keir Starmer is the new leader of the Labor Party. The presentation of the primary election result and the winner was a bit bumpy because no big jubilee event was possible due to the ban on assemblies in Corona times. The news that Starmer, MP for Holborn and St. Pancras, former Attorney General and Brexit shadow minister, prevailed against his two competitors after a four-month election campaign, had to be announced on the Internet, whereupon the Labor Party's website collapsed .
Starmer won 56.2 percent of the vote, although the count was complicated; there were first and second preferences; members as well as supporters and members of friendly organizations who were specifically registered for the primary election could vote.
Of the almost 800,000 eligible voters, in the end only just under 500,000 took part in the primary election. Starmer got more than 50 percent in all three categories, which is considered a strong mandate for the successor of the man who had his last day of work as Labor leader on Friday: Jeremy Corbyn.
The new guy thanked them with a video statement. His victory came at a time unprecedented in the history of the country. The coronavirus brought life as we know it to a standstill, people were afraid and fought against existential needs. His message said little about how he - together with his newly elected deputy Angela Rayner - wants to turn the party inside out or win the next election. Rather, it was about the cohesion that was needed now and the need to work together with the government at such a time to fight the crisis. In the end, the 57-year-old became a little pathetic: he wanted to restore people's faith in the party as the force of good and change and lead Labor into a new era with "confidence and hope".
The prime minister immediately took the new opposition leader at his word: Boris Johnson called Starmer and invited him to take part in government briefings and expert panels on the corona crisis with immediate effect. The Labor man accepted.
His goal: "to reconcile supporters of left identity politics with the working class"
Starmer, who grew up in simple circumstances and had to take care of his chronically ill mother as a teenager, is considered an honorable, straightforward politician, but who lacks charisma and fire. His life path, however, contradicts this description, and whoever saw him during the election campaign could see a man who believes in himself and burns with energy.
Starmer comes from the extra-parliamentary opposition. He studied law and, as a young lawyer, founded a law firm with friends that stood up primarily for people who could not afford expensive legal representation. He took on mandates from opponents of the death penalty and environmental activists, campaigned against Margaret Thatcher's neoliberal policies and represented victims of racism. His goal, Starmer once said, is "to reconcile the supporters of leftist identity politics with the working class". He worked for five years in Northern Ireland as an advisor to a new police agency that was supposed to oversee the new peace under the Good Friday Agreement, and in 2008 he became Director of Public Prosecutions, a kind of attorney general.
The new Labor leader has a mammoth task ahead of him. He must reform and unite the party that had been wiped out in internal struggles under his predecessor Corbyn, and profile himself as head of the opposition at a time when citizens are primarily staring at what the government is doing to save them. But Keir Starmer has also achieved a lot in his life. And he has won the trust of the majority of his wounded party, which fell to the ground after a dramatic election defeat last December. He could do it.
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