Keir Starmer’s top policy adviser, Claire Ainsley, whom he appointed Labour’s Head of Policy in April 2020 was a “hard-left student activist”.
Ainsley now “the opposition’s well-regarded director of policy” served as President of the Student Union at the University of York, where she campaigned against Tony Blair’s Labour government as a member of the Socialist Workers’ Party, The Times reports.
In 1998, Ainsley told students that she had joined the SWP – “a self-styled revolutionary party divisive even by the standards of the far-left”, according to the newspaper – “because I don’t believe that our views are represented by those in power”.
Whilst Ainsley, the radical leftie in touch with the working class, in her dreams, was striking a pose against the Labour Party, the party in government was enacting a significant set of policies designed to practically improve the condition of the working class.
Ainsley more recently has been lecturing folk in the Labour Party that they have lost touch with the working class.
Not long after Jeremy Corbyn became leader, some members of the SWP went campaigning for Labour out on a London council estate where they got into a flaming row with some voters over the wrongs of the right to buy.
The SWP has never been in touch with the working class or their aspirations.
One trusts Ainsley has recovered from her spell thinking otherwise.
The SWP are notorious for being bandwagon jumpers and infiltrators of other organisations. My own trades union, PCS, was so riddled with them that on one infamous occasion, a rep and SWP member, unsure how to proceed in a meeting with management left the discussion to go and make a phone call to fellow SWP members for instructions.
These people are parasites.
Quite often the SWP have better placards and other materials than the campaigns they are seeking to appropriate. I well recall being on a GCHQ Day of Action when we were joined by some young folks from the SWP, outside of a Jobcentre on Corporation Street in Birmingham city centre. We did not want our sober demonstration being undermined by a bunch of kids and we certainly did not want them talking to the media on our behalf.
We tactfully asked them to move on. They were baffled by our request. Surely we needed their support? Eventually, we had to introduce them to the proposition of having the placards they were holding reversed and inserted somewhere tight …
Ainsley, whilst President of the Student Union at the University of York, also helped to organise marches opposing Nato’s intervention in Slobodan Milosevic’s campaign of ethnic cleansing of the Albanian population in Kosovo. At one protest, attendees were said to have chanted, “Blair and Clinton, hear us say, how many kids have you killed today?”
Another denier of events taking place in the Balkans was none other than Claire Fox. Fox was in 1998 a member of the Revolutionary Communist Party. Fox had joined the RCP as a student at the University of Warwick. For the next twenty years, she was one of the RCP’s core activists and organisers. She became co-publisher of its magazine Living Marxism, which closed in 2000 after the courts found it had falsely accused Independent Television News (ITN) of faking evidence of the Bosnian genocide.
In 2018, Fox refused to apologise for suggesting that evidence of the genocide was faked.
In 2020, Ainsley and the Labour Party declined to comment on the content of this article, Red Claire: Keir Starmer’s top policy chief was “hard-left student activist”.
Ainsley compared the conflict in Kosovo to the Vietnam War and tried unsuccessfully to convince her student union to formally condemn the US-led intervention in Kosovo. “People see that what Nato is doing is wrong,” she told Nouse, the university’s student paper, at the time.
She would go on to write music reviews for the Morning Star.
When Fox was ennobled just before Christmas 2020, she had been given a peerage by Boris Johnson for backing the Leave Campaign to the hilt, one of her two sponsors as she took her seat in the House of Lords was, none other than, Lord Maurice Glasman, the de facto leader of Blue Labour.
Blue Labour is for those who do not have the balls, the courage of their convictions to back the latest of Nigel Farage’s vanity political projects, like the Brexit Party of which Fox was (still is?) a member. Paul Embery is a big fan of “faith, flag and family” as is Ainsley.
Labour frontbencher, Helen Goodman MP expressed fears about Blue Labour back in June 2011. Goodman was particularly worried that Blue Labour would be hijacked by those whose real agenda was to destroy the welfare state on which so many people depend.
Blue Labour, like UKIP and its various successors is very exclusive. Those at the forefront are invariably male, white, middle and working class(ish).
Fox was in the first position in the list for the Brexit Party in the North West England constituency at the 2019 European Parliament election and was duly elected a Member of the European Parliament.
Ainsley thinks Labour under Starmer needs to move rightwards in the direction of Gammon voters in Red Wall constituencies, who tend to be middle and upper class white men with persecution complexes, who think their world went off the rails in about 1962.
The Beatles have much for which to answer, they believe.
One feels these men would enjoy a Groundhog Day wherein it is always a dismal wet Sunday in February 1952 and the wireless is broken. A time between the Festival of Britain and Bill Hailey and the Comets.
The good old days when men were men and women knew their place; homos stayed firmly in the closet; you could call a disabled person, a cripple or a retard without the PC police interfering; blacks were happy with what they were given, important, but nonetheless menial jobs and the chance to live in the best country etc; lone parents could be named and shamed; domestic violence was not a matter for the police …
Ainsley wants Starmer to fight the next General Election in the context of 2016.
To effectively perpetuate the political tyranny of the declining minority of the electorate who voted Leave in 2016 well into the 2030s.
So much for moving on from Brexit.
After her spell working for the Morning Star, Ainsley went to work for the Transport and General Workers’ Union now known as Unite. Odds on she crossed paths there with one Len McCluskey, the close friend and future puppet master of one Jeremy Corbyn when Corbyn was Labour leader.
Incidentally, that would be the Len McCluskey, who is today the aged General Secretary of Unite.
McCluskey is a well known bon viveur; distributor of the largesse of his trades union to his friends and related causes; exponent of droit de seigneur in the workplace and a prominent Lexit supporter. One wonders if McCluskey was separated from Boris Johnson at birth or, if not, may he, perhaps, be a by blow of a member of the Johnson family?
McCluskey may not be a fully paid up member of Blue Labour, but he certainly fits the profile of one.
After her time at the TGWU and then working in in government policy and communications (whatever that means), Ainsley seems to have gone straight on to work for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation where she eventually became Executive Director.
Ainsley led JRF’s work on the social and political attitudes of people on low incomes, and chaired the task group of JRF’s strategy to solve UK poverty.
Also, whilst at JRF Ainsley helped fund a project by right wing think tank Onward into “repairing our social fabric”, and sat on the steering board alongside James O’Shaughnessy, Danny Kruger and Vidya Alakeson.
More recently, Ainsley has written a book entitled, The New Working Class: How to Win Hearts, Minds and Votes, published in 2018.
Ainsley regards right wing academic, Matthew Goodwin as a credible contributor to debate around socio-economic regeneration. Incidentally, if you approach such activity primarily with vote grubbing in mind, Johnson and Starmer, you are probably doing it wrong.
In 2018, Ainsley was still openly criticising Labour.
In an article published in The Times shortly after the release of her book, Ainsley wrote that the Labour Party had “steadily seen its working-class vote fall”.
Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour did not comprehend that “what it means to be working class today has significantly changed”, she added.
I would be fascinated to know why someone like Ainsley, with her undergraduate degree in Politics from the University of York and her MSc in Global Politics from Birkbeck at the University of London, feels so confident she has her finger on the collective pulse of a working class that includes BAME as well as white folk amongst its ranks and is 51% female.
Corbyn was notorious for bringing into the heart of the Labour Party, folk who had criticised and campaigned against the Labour Party only a short period before.
A bad habit of Corbyn’s that one imagined that Starmer would have wanted to avoid.
Corbyn’s entryists at the highest levels of the party, displayed little empathy with the ethos of the Labour Party and had a scant understanding of its history.
They were a major cause of Labour’s electoral meltdown in the 2019 General Election.
Historians of the future will wonder how the members of tiny factions on the Hard Left, where it shades into the Hard Right, became centre stage and poisoned our politics.
They are now at the heart of Labour and Dominic Cummings took some of them into Number Ten.
Cummings may have gone, but they are still there.
And Keir Starmer’s most senior adviser, hand-picked by him, is a white, middle class genocide denier and ex member of the SWP, who thinks that engaging with working class voters through abstracts like “faith, flag and family” is a better way of getting their votes than addressing their day to day issues, like how to put food on the table and not have to choose between that and paying the rent.
“faith, flag and family” will not compensate someone for being made redundant; for losing a contract; for seeing their business fail; for having their home repossessed; for experiencing their world fall apart … through Brexit.
The Hard Brexit that Labour in Government would have rejected, but in Opposition chose to support.
Starmer has made his bed …