Starmer’s War Party Ascends to Power as Anti-War Candidates Secure Key Seats

July 4th, a day of freedom for Americans, has become a day of infamy for Britons opposed to Israel’s genocidal war in occupied Palestine. Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party and stalwart supporter of the Israel and its war crimes, has successfully led his party to a comfortable majority in the British House of Commons. His success is unsurprising as major polls correctly predicted how unpopular the Conservative Party has become after fourteen years of rule. Major factors contributing to this unpopularity were the Conservatives’ mismanagement of the economy and public services. Clearly, voters wanted an alternative to the disastrous policies of the Conservative Party; yet, Starmer’s Labour Party does not provide a true alternative.

Starmer truly revealed the ugly nature of the Labour Party under his leadership when he expelled anti-war crusader and former leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, for not bending the knee when it came to baseless accusations of systemic antisemitism in the Labour Party. Starmer, clearly very afraid of the anti-war left, has also expelled Graham Jones who sensibly stated, “No British person should be fighting for any other country at all… It is against the law and you should be locked up.” Dissenting opinions in regards to the Israeli regime are obviously not inherently anti-semitic. Such an opinion is as idiotic as saying that someone is “sinophobic” for disliking the Chinese government. Nevertheless, political elites like Keir Starmer have continuously used baseless charges of antisemitism to silence free speech and unfairly sanction Labour Party members.

Unsurprisingly, Corbyn defeated Labour as an independent candidate Islington North, a constituency which he has represented since 1983, proving that years of fighting for common people is a surefire way to become very popular regardless of political affiliation. While someone may be able to win majorities in Parliament through collusion with the rich and powerful, a man like Keir Starmer will never win the hearts and minds of the people like Jeremy Corbyn.

Left wing independents were not the only ones to strike major blows to the pro-war establishment, however. Multiple minor parties opposed to involvement in the wars in Gaza or Ukraine (sometimes both) were able to secure seats in parliament. Reform UK, the right wing populist party led by the newly elected MP Nigel Farage, claimed four seats. The Liberal Democratic party claimed seventy-one seats, a new record for the party, and ousted many cabinet members. The ecologically-focused Green Party also managed to secure four seats. Additionally, many nationalist and abstentionist parties which are generally opposed to the war in Gaza gained or maintained seats with Plaid Cymru, a Welsh nationalist party, attaining four seats and Sinn Féin, an Irish Republican party active in both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, maintaining seven seats.

Nevertheless, the British anti-war movement did take some losses. Most notably, George Galloway, leader of the Workers Party of Britain (WPB) and former MP for Rochdale, lost his seat to Labour. No other WPB candidate managed to win a seat in parliament. Nevertheless, Galloway’s observation that “Starmer and Sunak are two cheeks of the same backside” is still a valid observation which accurately describes the state of British politics.

Despite the setbacks faced by the anti-war movement, the recent election results reveal a growing resistance to pro-war policies within the British political landscape. Keir Starmer’s Labour Party may have secured a majority, but the victories of independent candidates like Jeremy Corbyn and the gains made by minor parties opposed to foreign conflicts highlight a shifting tide in the political system. July 4th will truly be remembered as a bittersweet day for the anti-war movement.

J.D. Hester is an American writer born and raised in Arizona. He has previously written for antiwar.com. You can find him on X @JDH3ster. You can send him an email at josephdhester@gmail.com.