The Starmer Project by Oliver Eagleton, reviewed by Ashley Chapman

Sir Keir Starmer as the substance, as well as conclusion of this book details, is a dedicated advocate of the UK’s ‘deep state’ – and as such an authoritarian.

In The Starmer Project: A Journey to the Right published last month by Verso, Sir Keir Starmer comes across as a priggish individual who is bruisingly indifferent to justice.

The cases that demonstrate this are too numerous to mention chronologically, so let’s begin with Brazilian student Jean Charles de Menezes in 2008 when Sir Keir Starmer was already DPP after having been an advisor to the Northern Irish Police Board. After profiling by the Metropolitan Police went wrong, de Menezes was tragically shot seven times in London’s Stockwell Station boarding a train. After the charge of lawful killing was dropped by a jury at the inquest, following evidence from eyewitness accounts, it was nonetheless robustly upheld by Sir Keir Starmer.

Sleeping with key organisers in the group became part of the covert tactics deployed by the police. In one instance, an officer was reporting on his own wife with whom he had two children.

Next up in the following year, 2009, the pitiful case of newspaper vendor Ian Thomlinson who was mistakenly blugeoned and pushed to the floor by PC Simon Hardwood as he passed a G20 protest on his rounds, resulting in death from internal bleeding. After a year of ‘stoney’ silence, Starmer cited inconsistent medical reports and no charges of murder were brought. These cases and others, show that while Starmer was in a position to redress the balance in favour of the victims of police brutality, he did the opposite and instead chose to uphold their unlawful activity.

In 2010, for instance Jimmy Mubenga, who was held to stop him leaving his deportation flight, was brutally axfixiated. Starmer’s CPS did not press charges, but a subsequent inquest found that they had acted unlawfully.

Far from being a progressive human rights lawyer, Starmer is if anything an authoritarian. So that instead of reforming the heavy-handed tactics of the police while in the position of DPP, he upheld their violent actions. And, in the case of BAME community victims (following a series of deaths in custody) a proposal to create a Deaths in Custody Community Engagement Panel, was intead quietly dropped by Starmer’s office.

Again, when the notorious Blair Peach case from 1979 was finally reviewed, Starmer claimed there was insufficient evidence to charge the Met’s mounted Special Patrol Group. They had also struck their victim dead.

But perhaps the worst case in his career as DPP at the CPS is that of the ‘Spycops’ scandal. Originally an undercover unit set up in 1968 to infiltrate radicalised anti-Vietnam groups, it was re-instituted under Tony Blair to ‘penetrate’ leftwing environmental and anti-racist groups. Sleeping with key organisers in the group became part of the covert tactics deployed by the police. In one instance, an officer was reporting on his own wife with whom he had two children.

Sir Keir would later go on to deny this… [but] police were instructed ‘in all cases’ to hold youngsters in custody both in police cells and later in court holding cells.”

My parenthesis and insertion

Eventually, in 2010 all this came to light during an Old Bailey trial in which forty-nine defendents were acquited. Following the fallout, Sir Starmer commissioned a report by Sir Christopher Rose whose remit he severely limited. Rose could not question CPS practices with regard to briefing the undercover unit. This after it was clear that malfeasance on the part of the CPS had clearly taken place as they had used the undercover unit to pre-empt an occupation of Ratcliffe-on-Soar power station, effectively setting the protesters up. Key evidence, recorded by undercover officer Mark Kennedy, who slept with several of his female targets over a seven year period, was supressed by the CPS. Nonetheless, the police were compelled to release the taped evidence by court order, despite Sir Keir Starmer’s attempts to thwart the defendents.

But it goes even beyond this as Starmer, as the book suggests, avoided using his office to increase prosecutions in rape trials, seeing a 14% decline in the outcome of successful trials. Instead, returning to police interventions, he stopped cases from being heard early enough to affect successful prosecutions while ensuring the weakening of protocols that helped ‘specialist’ barristers to effectively process the testimony of rape victims. Conversely, he moved to ensure that women were harshly punished ‘in the public interest’ where they were found to have made false accusations. This, despite courts dropping more than two-thirds of legitimate rape cases found too difficult to prosecute, and several cases in which woman had, after being accused of acting in bad faith, been found to have been raped.

In the August riots of 2011, following the indiscriminate shooting of Mark Duggan in Tottenham, Starmer’s full-on attack on the rioters, many who were youthful miscreants caught up in the heat of the moment, reached draconian heights. The CPS swang into action, putting David Cameron’s assertion that no ‘crime will go unpunished’ swiftly into effect. 24-hour courts were created overnight. Sir Keir also drafed a form for police to send directly with defendents to trial, advancing the notion that as there was no time to process cases, harsher penalties for a lower level of civil disobedience should be meted out by the CPS.

In short order, upscaled swift and brutal sentencing followed from what were reported at the time as ‘Kangaroo’ courts, often to 13-,14- and 15-year-old defendents, indiscriminately dragged to court at 2am or 3am in fast-track trials. Damningly, children were seperated from their parents and denied water and food. And in contravention of the law, which Sir Keir Starmer knew only too well, CPS prosecutors were told to withold bail applications. Sir Keir would later go on to deny this, but a leaked Met memo shows otherwise, police were instructed ‘in all cases’ to hold youngsters in custody both in police cells and later in court holding cells.

Voting for Sir Keir Starmer after reading sixty pages detailing his rise to power by crushing individuals – with numbing rapacious indifference – would be an endorsement for the creation of a future surveillance state with harsh laws imposed to limit political and economic dissent.”

Sir Keir in unprecedented fashion had cases moved from magistrate to crown courts. In this way, heavier penalties could be applied. Added to this, it was decided by Sir Keir that charging defendents with ‘theft’ was not sufficient so instead they were charged with ‘buglary’, which carried a more severe penalty, generating longer incarcerations. The results, were inevitable miscarriages of justice as reported by appalled prosecuters in Sir Keir’s own CPS and by Ken Macdonald QC, who said, they had lost all ‘proportionality’.

But if Sir Keir Starmer’s views on legal justice are skewered in favour of the police and ultimately the establisment with which he so clearly identifies, it is surely surprising that a future Labour leader should also have so little sympathy for social justice? Starmer, true to his blunt inclinations, harshly pursued benefit misclaimers suggested they should be prosecuted under the Fraud Act as this carried a ten year jail sentence.

At a time when benefit fraud amounted to £1. 2 billion, or ‘0.7 per cent of the total claim’, Eagleton states convincingly, HMRC reported tax evasion at £7.8 billion. This, he argues, demonstrates that Starmer had his priorities pegged in one camp, but failed to stake the other; thus, playing straight to George Osborne’s austerity rhetoric, and leading to the dire economic measures that would follow.

Voting for this politician after reading sixty pages detailing his rise to power by crushing individuals – with numbing rapacious indifference, time and time again – suggests it would be tantamount to endorsing the creation of a future surveillance state with harsh laws imposed to limit political and economic dissent.

Never has the UK been closer to democratic and social political collapse. And Brexit offers such a callous operator the legal and sovereign tools to use the state to oppressively manufacture a regime made in his narrow rightwing Labour image.

“Nonetheless, the police were compelled to release the taped evidence by court order, despite Sir Keir Starmer’s attempts to thwart the defendents.”

Following the lazy, corrupt, disjointed premiership of Bojo and co., Sir Keir Starmer will use his knowledge of the judiciary, especially its internal state apparatus to resolutely further his authoritarian vision.

With hindsight, Corbyn’s biggest mistake was to allow this ambitious establishment facilitator the room to distract with his shadow Brexit brief, and to not see in 2018 that John McDonnell, as Len McCluskey recently said in an interview with Aaron Bastani on Novara Media, and which has been confirmed by Eagleton, was compromised in his conviction that Remainers would split the Labour party. The Labour party conference endorsement of a second referendum, The People’s Voice on Brexit was a ploy. Remain in Labour was an opportunistic divisionary rightwing tactic to regain control of the party, which worked!

What they and anyone on the left should instead have feared is the deep state creation that is Sir Keir Starmer, moulded by his various advisory and leadership roles within it, and what the implications are for the UK should the prevailing historical circumstances allow him to come to power – for as the book suggests, a deeply disingenuous man, he is supremely unfit to be Labour Leader, let alone Prime Minister.

Brexit may well unfold into a nightmare of Owellian proportions, and all because Labour party factionalism betrayed its own processes. When Labour said it had turned toxic, following the New Labour years – it was absolutely correct.

The Real Face of Labour

It was the saboteurs in the Labour Party who delivered Corbyn’s Labour back to its blue faction. Now they will finish the job with Sir (soon-to-be Lord) Kier Starmer. One thing they must surely be examining is how to redress the balance of power that resides in the membership. An Ed Miliband experiment that went disastrously wrong, and had the media, the internal and external establishment, seriously threatened.

So the blue face of Labour swings into action invigorated by the end of the Corbyn era . Not hard for them to get into the swing of things as they have always controlled Labour HQ, even when not in office, as the recent LGLU report into antisemitism has shown. Well, you might ask, how could they have derailed the elected leadership while not actually in office? Simple, their apparatchiks were in senior posts controlling the electoral campaigns and managing Labour’s HQ, a fortunate happenstance for these opportunists, a gift from Labour’s fair-minded employment practices, which they lost no time in exploiting to the full, starving the elected membership and its democratically elected leadership of information resources and electoral data, but it went further, much further, they used every sly reversal trick in the book to make the sitting left wing of Labour’s broad church look as ineffectual as possible. Their best was sticking to Corbyn’s administration, of which they were an insidious part, false charges of antisemitism, and then leaking carefully selected bits of their own complaints procedures to the press weakening Labour’s effectiveness as an opposition and in elections.

Given that most of the bigotry originated from their own culture, as evinced from hundreds of emails and WhatsApp messages, this was no mean feat. They used mysogeny, slander, bullying and other forms of maliciousness, interspersed with cruelty and a total lack of empathy bordering on the psychopathic: in one now renown instance, sending the BBC’s Michael Crick to hound Diane Abbott because she had been found crying in a toilet and this would add to her miseries (who else, eh? but the blue-hearted in Labour).

Despicable as these tactics were, especially in a party which is supposed to be above such nastiness , these questionable antics and malicious slanders worked, but not before in 2017 Labour had come to within a hair’s whisker of electoral triumph, wiping the glib smiles off many in Labour, not least blue Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, as the exit poll showed that Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour had reversed Theresa May’s majority, entrenching his father’s electoral defeat.

But times have indeed changed, and blue Labour is almost back in control, so that even Len McClusky, Unite’s General Secretary, and former staunch ally of JC, writing in a recent article comes somewhat short of where he should in condemning Labour’s pathetic response to its own internal backlog of complaints and malfeasance. No-one, not even Len McClusky can be too careful as Labour shifts towards Sir Keir Starmer who has made unity the mainstay of his leadership.

With Sir Keir Starmer as leader, the blues in Labour have achieved after all their intrigues a not-quite-day-of-being-back-in-the-driver’s seat. The trouble is the Labour membership, who first need to be safely locked away in the labour juggernaut boot, fortuitously helped by the lockdown as CPLs can’t effectively organise or propose motions.

What will blue Labour do? First, they have to sit on the report that under no circumstances can be allowed to be proliferated. Step in the GMB union who have already come to their rescue, trying to have it quashed on the grounds that it names some of their members, bringing both them and the union into disrepute. Then they will try to single out the key voices in red labour. Slowly bringing them on-side with reasonable, sugar-coated offers, while sidelining any that don’t bite their bait hard, isolating them as fringe lunatics, fanatics or ‘trots’ (whatever that ubiquitous tabloid single syllable word actually means).

To do this, they will use their considerable reach and financial muscle, which go well beyond membership fees. The Labour party run in this way – corporate-sponsored Labour – moves inexorably towards its real blue intent, not as a mass party, but as a cynical institution of cross-networked and vested interests in a wider political and established institutional order.

Labour’s blue insiders play a nice little game, but we have discovered who they really are from the report into their internal workings, their undemocratic intentions – no matter the electoral cost! – and the schoolboy machinations to which they are prepared to stoop. And find ourselves right back in the full-blown toxicity and head-scratching days, post Gordon Brown’s humiliation, and election defeat to David Cameron and the Lib-Dems, when the shackled Ed Miliband rose to ignominy and further electoral failure. Those instantly disposable days of a media-muted Labour: in thrall to soundbite culture, one-liners and media gimmicks, served in small square blocks of diced pink protein, the barely palatable, carefully vetted and approed, cellophane shrink-wrapped morsels, shipped by Labour’s intense marketing machine to the masses for consumption and excretion.

To take on this cabal of schemers, the Labour membership must learn to use its teeth. To chomp through the brittle bones of blue Labour and spit them out. The next NEC election offers just such an opportunity.

Watch “The Fourth Industrial Revolution Full Version Subtitled” on YouTube

Very glossy video by World Economic Forum about the fourth industrial revolution which, it states, will bring about unprecedented change. To give but one example, in a key interest of mine, it will allow us at long last the opportunity to explore our minds, using AI and brain scanning techiques to pierce our own Selves: the old dichotomy, for instance of the scratch board of the unconscious as Lacanians would have it; the layering of systems of cognition, one over the other, conscious over unconscious, so that its cloudy semiotic dissonances can be mapped. However, critical to this slickly produced and edited programme is that the fourth industrial revolution requires a new narrative to be created; one that moves away from neo liberalism and Marxism towards something that evolves beyond 19th and 20th century concerns to the present.

For anyone that’s interested, beyond the current debate in the UK between the left and right. Corbynism, I believe, was never about Marxism, but about a new economic and industrial momentum 0that would see in a revolution based on a new green deal. The dream was that Labour would help bring this about, but this will happen anyway, inevitably. And as much by external events, such as the current COVID-19 crisis as by nature (the unconscious, Gaia theory, Thanatos, Eros, God or even COVID-19 – it doesn’t matter!).

The current crisis is a spur in that direction because it will help to bring about a new narrative. Governments, such as the current one, are archaic; the obfuscations and posturing around power and status seem utterly at odds with the scale of the challenges that face us, the dual-party system unable to mobilise efficiently before a crisis. Polarity, or democracy, as we know it, only creates ambiguity through polarisation. With each passing year of the 21st century all this becomes increasingly cumbersome as the pressure to adapt to this fourth industrial revolution becomes the central issue. The old models of socio-economic distribution simply cannot keep pace. We cannot go back, but going forward means changing the way we function to meet the challenges that come with enhanced technologies that make the old ways of doing things redundant.

The time is upon us right here, right now, there is, to repeat, no going back. The Fourth Industrial Revolution has started, the systems that cannot facilitate huge fundamental change will disappear (in some cases overnight). Growth seperated from social welfare, or people, as this vid. argues, is in the past as are dodgy government interventions that ultimately don’t work amongst people, especially when they are aimed only at those with tribal allegiances. We need, indeed demand, a new narrative, based on real needs, a sustainable and meaningful way forward that accepts responsibility for everyone, not only those promoted by the old neoliberal clichés: competitiveness, free markets, trickle-down economics, low wages for most, the scaling back of essential services, the conjuring stick of quantative easing, the accusatory finger disingenuously pointed at the so-called ‘profligacy’ of the poor, tough love, in other words, and so on. In some ways, socialism could counterbalance this, but can it? The great hulk of the labour movement, weighed by its own internal challenges, has been holed and is fast sinking, under the new leadership of Sir Keir Starmer, to the fathomless depth.

The last UK election showed that socialism, even updated with new ideas, was too vulnerable to the old distortions and media obfuscations. It could not provide the inspiration even though it advanced these ideas, the public did not believe it would do so as it had failed to do so before. But worse, it failed to inspire, chained as it is to the dualism of left and right. Anyway, these ideologies, socialism and neoliberalism, belong to bygone industrial revolutions, not the current  super-enhanced technological revolution now coming to the fore. The way ahead needs a new narrative, that fuses the past, present and, most importantly, the future. One that can rise above the tensions of two poles, Tory and Labour, and sweep all before it, that appeals to everyone – but even if it doesn’t – fortunately, it won’t really matter because change stands by for no-one, the horse has truly bolted; the old corrupt regimes will collapse from the pressure of these technologies, quantum computers, biotechnologies, super-fast internet, virtual realities, the list is endless, The fourth industrial revolution doesn’t require it be acknowledged by the status quo, it simply leaps over it into a world defined by humanity itself, the users, not pressed into ubiquitous global homogeneity by corporations or states hang up on ideology.

In such a world in which mobile technology and the virtual classroom, or any other system in which technology assists, the boundaries to knowledge are put aside, so with it the old power structures. At first, as now, slowly (the last dull 50 years!), but eventually completely, instantaneously, the next, more revolutionary, 50. The first quarter of the twenty-first century was a coming to terms, the next quarter will see those terms exploded into every sphere of life. As humans we see time through a narrow window and become reliant on the old ways of doing things, such as our over reliance on petro-chemicals, but the fourth industrial revolution is already heading off from fossil fuels. It is a revolution that will challenge all who stand before it, leaping over the heads of those who were entitled to benefit most from the old orders of progress.

Appended here as this article is not finished: Late for now as the membership have just voted in Sir Keir Starmer. It’s sad, but I think in some ways Corbyn peaked too early, or at least early enough, so  New Labour could upend him. It’s water under the bridge now. That said, I don’t believe it’s going to be that simple. Capitalism is waking to the shift that is irrevocably taking place towards human capital, energised by the Fourth Industrial Revolution which is what we the membership are after, grass roots decision making and responsibilty at the individual level. That   age is upon us, unlikely as Sir Keir Starmer is, and undeserving, he now has the reigns. If from Corbyn he has not learned to manage from the bottom up, but tries to rule in alliance with a cabal with their heads in the clouds, he will soon enough be brought down to earth by events. There’s no stomach in the age of innovation and communication for anything else. Even the current PM will fall into line, I believe. Trump won’t but that’s because the US needs to be brought down a notch as does Russia and China. They’re all too authoritarian and the age of mass communication supersedes all of that. Next the oligarchs and billionnaires. They too will come crashing in the next five years. Transparency and the end of neolibaralism will see to that.

Dysmorphia as a reaction to the nothingness of reality.

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I like the idea of a competing tension between the nothingness of Being and material fullness as corporeal dysmorphia.

At the heart of Being there is nothing but the emotional drive to acquire a cultural identity. That identity gives name to that inner emptiness from which it is born, and provides it with a carapace that thickens over time, shrouding a vast hollow scape in a shell.

And thus consciousness arises, conscious of itself in thoughts, those Wittgensteinian language processes: the growing sense of self, the I am voice (or voices) endlessly providing the emptiness echo chamber of our collective inner world with noise (occasionally music), seemingly tangible, but really for the most part, a collection of reducted scripts, and cultural conditioning, like a colourful striped beachball bouncing against the backdrop of an otherwise forgettable 4D lanscape.

But it is the very silence, the unanswered prayer, the yawning void within, that gives meaning to this demanding emptiness. Abetted by a carousel of emotions, wooed and smoothed by mind, endless shifts are animated around this dull unresponsive void-like quality, the death zone, the disquieting nothingness, as dark as a black hole, and in so being, is the numb quality of nothingness brought to life. The tense dynamic, the dullness personified through animated lust, at last spawns a tangible, hopeful, dysmorphia.

At last, the dysmorphic creation that results from the time spent in the pursuit of escape from one’s nothingness, one’s embraced neurosis, into an even greater nothing, while on the way, convincing, tricking, cajoling, soliciting, others to join in more and more non-activity in social interaction because nothing begets as effectively nothing as nothing itself.

Capitalism, for instance where the pursuit of value for its own sake, has become an end in itself. Nothing is more pleasing to the merchant than selling air in pop corn or in mint chocolate for a value it cannot by its very nothingness possess. That is the absolute end, to create something of material value from nothing: the supreme achievement of the inner dysmorphic neurosis.

And if this makes no sense, then it has indeed failed to turn nothing into something, but then, as it begun as such, nothing, so it can hardly have lost that which it did not have, and so, in nothingness there’s a transformative potential which is its only inherent value, its skill at attracting to itself more of its own nothingness. The grand ability to create an anxious buzz that is intense enough to draw to it so much more than the actual silence emanating from it.

And finally anything is better, isn’t it, than one’s own inner silence? That bottomless well from which all loneliness springs and all society eventually must return.