What does Labour stand for today? A good question as much of the energy of the Party seems inward facing in a purge of anyone left of Angela Rayner – and that’s a lot of members!
The first electoral test of Starmer’s ‘new leadership' is approaching in May – although how the local elections are going to take place in the shambolic Covid world created by the Tories is anybody’s guess.
So what policies are going to be offered to an electorate which, if opinion polls are to be believed, are desperate for an alternative to the chumocracy and corruption evident in national politics?
If Sheffield is anything to go by, then the electorate’s desperation may not be eased.
With just four months to go until polling day, once again the ruling Labour Group seems more interested in taking on left wingers than putting forward a manifesto for May. The last LCF meeting spent more time arguing about minutes of a meeting in November, when motions were passed in support of reinstating the whip to Jeremy Corbyn, than it did on policies for Sheffield City Council to take forward.
You would think that Labour Group energies might be better spent in discussing a positive set of policies for voters to back in May.
But this is the Sheffield Labour Group, where how you manage neoliberal policies is more important than opposing them.
The working class have been lied to by the Tories and are now going to be asked to stump up even more money through council tax for the incompetents to carry on regardless.
Remember this is the ruling Labour Group that screwed up library closures, victimised protestors over trees and has now engineered a referendum in May on governance as a gift to the Lib Dems and Greens.
So where is the radical programme of policies to address the Covid and Brexit disasters which will further cripple Sheffield as a city? Where is the manifesto that promises to protect workers’ jobs, provide housing for the homeless and food for those on the breadline?
They are hidden behind the endless publicity from councillors about a budget consultation which, like every annual survey before it, will be shredded as soon as responses are received.
Julie Dore has gone but her successor, Bob Johnson, is cut from the same cloth – a bunker mentality that eschews the idea of democracy and engagement with party members in favour of a small cabal of councillors who portray the whole world as their enemies.
In such a blinkered world, there is no room for a socialist vision that actually protects the neediest. For that local manifesto, we will have a very long wait.