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Ripples from Burnley

Half the Labour councillors in a northern English town resigned from their party over Starmer's stance on Gaza - together with scores of activists. This major subtraction of support occurred in the constituency which Labour strategists had previously identified as the party's 'most winnable' seat in the UK general election.

Mike Makin-Waite's article tracks how Afrasiab Anwar (pictured) moved in the space of a month from being a loyal and disciplined Labour councillor; to calling for Starmer's resignation; and then to resigning himself - whilst maintaining his position as council leader, now in alliance with the Green Party and Liberal Democrats.

What happens to Labour in Burnley - and other places like it 'south of the border' - will affect the likelihood of a Starmer majority in Westminster, and this of course has major implications for politics in Scotland.

Furthermore, what has happened in Burnley, Walsall, Oxford, Blackburn and elsewhere points to a wider cultural challenge in and for the Labour Party: the trend for a managerialist and controlling culture to narrow discussion and shallow debate, reducing the party’s ability to engage the energies and represent the views and interests of many people who nevertheless still see themselves as holding to ‘Labour values’.

Published 26 March 2024.



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