This is the last article you can read this month
You can read more article this month
You can read more articles this month
Sorry your limit is up for this month
FIRE BRIGADES UNION (FBU) members voted against disaffiliation from the Labour Party today, but they condemned Sir Keir Starmer for spearheading the “worst witch-hunt against leftists” in the party’s history.
On the final day of the union’s annual conference, many delegates expressed grave concerns about Labour’s lurch to the right, but a motion calling on the FBU to sever its formal ties with the party failed to attract majority support.
The union had disaffiliated in 2004 over New Labour prime minister Tony Blair’s participation in the Iraq war, which general secretary Matt Wrack branded a “betrayal,” but it returned to the fold in 2015, when Sir Keir’s predecessor Jeremy Corbyn was elected party leader.
The Firemen’s Trade Union, the forerunner to the modern FBU, first affiliated to Labour in the 1920s, soon after its foundation in 1918.
Today, several members at the conference in Brighton’s Grand Hotel blasted Sir Keir for writing an opinion piece for the Sun newspaper.
Referring to the Hillsborough disaster, Merseyside delegate Ian Hibbert said: “For years, the people of Liverpool have suffered through the lies and hatred fuelled by [Rupert] Murdoch and his utter right-wing rag of a paper.”
The former shadow Brexit secretary’s decision to write for the Sun suggests that he wants to “pull back the Union Jack bed covers and jump into bed with Murdoch,” he charged.
Mr Hibbert, who supported disaffiliation, attacked Sir Keir for removing the Labour whip from Mr Corbyn and bringing back the “stench of New Labour by returning the party to one of abstainers, fence-sitters and Tory enablers.”
Speaking against the motion, FBU black members committee chairman Amit Malde argued: “Starmer is temporary, but the future is socialist.
“We’ve been here for 104 years. Don’t forget, the Labour Party is the political arm of the trade union movement, not the other way round. They don’t control us.
“We shouldn’t let other people make us feel uncomfortable in our own movement.”
Mr Wrack hit out at the current Labour leadership for expelling scores of leftwingers since 2020, but he said that he backed continued affiliation because members would have “less of a political voice outside the party.”
He added: “We need to fight to make Labour worthy of the votes of working-class people.
“[It] remains a terrain on which we organise. It’s a battleground and we don’t back away from the fight.”
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £10 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.