Starmer appeals to Labour’s left in campaign to become leader

Keir Starmer has formally launched his campaign to become Labour’s next leader with a clear pitch to the members who supported Jeremy Corbyn in the 2015 and 2016 leadership contests.

Starmer’s launch video highlights his radical credentials and places the MP and former Director of Public Prosecutions at the centre of many iconic moments in recent left-wing Labour history – from the miners’ strike, to opposing the Murdoch-owned press, to fighting against the poll tax.

There is no criticism of Labour under Corbyn in Starmer’s launch advert; however plenty of moments are included which are designed to appeal to staunch Corbynites, such as reference to Labour’s 2019 manifesto policies like the Green New Deal and the use of footage of Stop the War marches.

Starmer’s slogan – “Another future is possible” – uses the sort of language long associated with left movements in the UK (John McDonnell wrote a book called “Another World is Possible”) and the phrase would not be out of place on a banner at an anti-war or environmental demonstration.

It’s a smart strategy to appeal to those on the left of the party.

Starmer is very unlikely to win without the support of members who voted for Corbyn in the previous two contests, particularly if Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee decide to prevent recent party joiners and registered supporters from voting.

Some might say that he risks alienating the public with his radical pitch to the Labour membership and jeopardises the party’s next general election chances, but politics is the art of the possible.

Starmer’s only option is to take the existing membership with him and look to build “another future” with them on board.

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