Resigning from Labour

Honestly I’m not sure what took me so long or why this particular event triggered me to actually sit down and send this email.

I have been disillusioned with the Labour party for a couple of years now and have been meaning to resign my membership since early 2022. There was a Google docs tab permanently open on my browser continuing my resignation letter but every time I came close to sending it, it needed to be modified to add yet more citations for terrible things that had just happened.

I joined the party in 2016 having been drawn in by the vision and energy it demonstrated back then. Far from being perfect by any stretch, I felt pride in being a part of a coalition of diverse people willing to strive to make it, and the country, better.

I got heavily involved in campaigning locally, I spent time creating materials using my design background. I spent miserable rain-soaked nights on the streets door-knocking, not because I believed we had the solution to all the countries problems, but because I believed there was a desire to at least try and that I owed at least my own time and energy.

Since then, and the press onslaught that followed it and led to the two notable election defeats in 2017 and 2019, I was disappointed to see that same energy dissipate, groups of society that might not have otherwise engaged, fade away from it. I was naturally disappointed, doubly so with the election of Keir Starmer and the apparent shift back to the centre-right, but remained a member out of that same sense of duty.

Since then, Labour have backtracked on every single one of their watered down policies citing the same myths about austerity-based politics as the Conservatives and subtly hinting that avoiding bombardment from the British press as a factor. More worryingly however, they have increasingly shifted their rhetoric to the right, engaging in Torry-created culture wars and draping themselves in the aesthetics of “patriotism” including the litany of dog-whistles that term brings.

On many topics they attempt to outflank the conservatives to the right, for example calling for outright draconian measures to be taken against climate protesters and refugees. They gleefully engage in the notion of ‘the lesser of two evils’, a false dichotomy anyone familiar with the politics of the USA will be more than familiar with.

Most of all though, there is not just a lack of any vision of what change might look like, the greatest damage is done by their apparent belief that change cannot happen at all. There is no vision of what a prosperous and healthy version of the UK in, say, 30 years should be from either party. There’s no conception of how to build a sustainable economy, for example investing in devolved powers, providing secure and high-quality housing, investing in public transport, and a social safety net to allow people to take risks. The widest open-goal you could hope for is staring the party in the face and the best they can offer is apparently tax cuts for the rich and ASBOS’s 2.0.

As the political situation in the UK devolved in a race to the bottom between competing messages that nothing can or will change for the better, said through the grimace of faux-reluctance and a side-eye to the british press, it is perhaps understandably tempting to believe that Labour and Keir Starmer are simply playing the long game, just saying what needs to be said to avoid scrutiny until the day they can burst forth and implement the actually effective policies they secretly believe in.

However as more time progresses, the disconnect between the desperate need for change to the status quo (and the appetite for such from the populace) and Labour continually outflanking the Conservatives to the right becomes harder to ignore. It becomes harder every day to trick yourself into believing that this is all some game of 4D chess.

If you are familiar with the current thrust of UK politics (my condolences) then you will have noticed that a raging moral panic over LGBTQ+ people (specifically trans people, more specifically trans women) is at the epicentre of the UK’s only current major export; right wing misinformation and culture war.

Beyond increasing anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment and triggering a wave of blatant anti-trans policies from companies and organisations, it seems that at last the Conservative party is ramping up to make trans people a key campaign wedge in the next election. Rather than counter this obvious hysteria with a calm yet firm commitment to human rights, Labour have decided to try and utilise transphobia to their own gain, ostensibly believing that this will help them win swing voters.

Amongst the most disturbing items of news to come to light last year was Keir Starmer has been fraternising with known anti-trans hate groups such as The Women’s Declaration, his comments that transgender children should be ‘outed’ to their parents by schools, and his support of the government using unprecedented legislation to overrule the scottish government as they voted through a minor administrative reform that would allow trans people to obtain a Gender Recognition Certificate more easily.

The UK is currently on a very dangerous path politically. There is a reluctance to go near using the ‘F’ word, Fascism, despite the fact that today’s every-day rhetoric would make a BNP member in the 2000’s blush.

In playing to this rhetoric, and to the press that upholds it and punishes deviation, Starmer and Labour are not slyly navigating mixed demands of diverse groups, or as some like to claim, avoiding being ideologically pure. They are playing into the hands of the far right, and the Conservative party who appear to be willing to go to any lengths to avoid the conclusion that the UK is heading towards being a failed state.

I do not propose to know the solution or know who you should personally go and vote for, but I can no longer willingly engage in the politics of self-destructive faux-regretful cynicism.

Read my resignation letter here, I will gradually ad some external reading links to a citation at the bottom of the page for the instances mentioned above:

To whom it may concern,

Take this as notice that I am terminating my Labour membership and cancelling my direct debit with immediate effect.

I have been a Labour member since 2016 and since that time have campaigned with you, spent rain drenched days on doorsteps doing outreach, not because I agreed with all of Labour’s policies but because I believed its principles and values were honest and honourable.

When the party elected Keir Starmer I was admittedly disappointed but still confident that the broader party was in alignment with basic principles of human rights, workers rights, equality and democracy.

Labour are actively engaged in campaigning in favour of rolling back human rights and pandering to the right wing. Your instance in appealing to a mythical voter, one who aligns with Conservative principles but wishes for a “more sensible”, “more competent” or even “nicer” application of those ideas is not only the execution of a fantasy, but has lead the party to promise authoritarian measures that go beyond the cruellest of Tory party actions.

Your stated policies regarding climate, transport, social services, and the economy at large are inadequate at best, actively harmful at worst. Until recently I was able to rationalise continuing to support the party by believing that this was simply what needed to be said to avoid the ire of the press and did not reflect what Labour would actually do in power.

Your calls for draconian measures against climate protesters and protesters in general are abhorrent and incoherent given the urgency of the climate emergency. Your consistent disregard for GTR people fails some of the most persecuted people in the UK. 

In particular, your continual pandering to transphobes, your platforming and promotion of transphobic ideas and conspiracy theories, and your refusal to take action on well known transphobic members such as Rosie Duffield is exemplary of a deep rooted problem within the party.

Transphobia is currently being wielded as a wedge-issue by the right wing in order to push back on LGBTQ+ rights, women’s rights, and bodily autonomy in general in order to push their movement forward. Your party not only fails to acknowledge this but actively courts it while chasing the mythical “middle UK voter”.

The event which first gave me serious concern was your involvement with the group “Labour Women’s Declaration”.

This group, who’s gala Keir Starmer gave a speech at, are a hate group dedicated to advancing a transphobic agenda in the image of protecting women’s rights. Most notably, they are known for their creation of the “Women’s Declaration”, an agenda that demands policy that would all but eliminate trangender people from public existence, decimating LGBTQ+ rights and enshrine a strict conservative biological-essentialist definition of sex characteristics in law.

This is nothing short of fraternising with a proto-fascist group and demonstrates that Labour poses an active risk to bodily autonomy, LGBTQ+ rights, and women’s rights.

The Scottish Gender Recognition reform bill is the most scrutinised piece of legislation in the Scottish Parliament’s history. 2/3rds of MSP voted in favour across all political parties (including Scottish Labour) and two public consultations demonstrated clear public support. The bill is a relatively minor administrative change to allow trans people to marry and die with dignity.

The Conservatives attempt to block this democratic mandate with section 35 legislation is not only a vile attack on trans people but on the concept of devolution itself.

Not only did the Parliamentary Labour party not so much as oppose this move but Keir Starmer publicly supported the decision and has stated that he would not reverse it if elected. A shift from the already unsettling stance of promising not to roll back harmful policy decisions, this constitutes an absolutely abhorrent abdication of duty, in service of a far-right culture war, and is wholly indefensible.

As a result of these factors, while previously undecided on the question of Scottish independence I will now vote in favour. It is clear that Scotland’s supposed democracy is hollow and that sufficient devolution necessary for Scotland to thrive is not, and will not be possible under the current settlement or made possible by any future government.

The final straw for me was seeing yesterday’s appalling Times piece by Keir Starmer. Riddled with transphobic dog-whistles and lies, this article and interview completely throws trans people and the LGBTQ+ community under the bus in favour for culture-war points. Its various assertions fly directly in the face of the equalities act and pitches womens’ rights and trans rights as being in conflict, a highly dangerous myth to perpetuate.

I cannot continue to support a party which so gleefully aligns itself with the far right, that seemingly stands for nothing and refuses to perform the most basic task of challenging the dominant political party.

In future elections I will actively campaign against Labour.

Please remove my name from the register of members and cancel my payment schedule. 

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Robyn F H Veitch

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