Starmer will bring change and might find himself changing too

Starmer will bring change and might find himself changing too

Starmer will bring change and might find himself changing too
Keir Starmer, right, speaks with Olaf Scholz ahead of the NATO summit, Washington, July 10, 2024. (AP Photo)
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“Country first, party second.” That was the statement made by Keir Starmer after his Labour Party’s victory in the UK general election was confirmed last Friday. Truth be told, the statement bears great importance, and it will be recorded to hold Starmer accountable for its implementation in the future.
After seeing the party’s deputies in opposition for 14 years, Labour returned to power and, the following afternoon, Starmer repeated the same statement during his first press conference as prime minister. “‘Country first, party second’ is not a slogan. It is the guiding principle of everything we have done and must keep on doing,” he said.
The first time Starmer made this statement, I was intrigued by the fact that he addressed it to the general electorate and then singled out “those who did not elect us” — of whom, by the way, I am one — to reassure them that his government’s agenda gave priority to all Britons. On the morning of Starmer’s first official working day on Monday, Rachel Reeves, the new chancellor of the exchequer and the first woman to occupy this important position in Britain, announced one of the aspects of putting that approach into practice through the launch of an ambitious house-building project.
During Britain’s 2024 election saga, several aspects went from private to public, even before the battles started once Rishi Sunak had surprised everyone on May 23 by calling for it. One of those aspects is related to Sunak himself, as he was the first non-white person to become the leader of the Conservative Party and thus prime minister. This had been quite surprising and was welcomed by most segments of society, except for those who reject the concept that the party is no longer just for the wealthy or for those with “blue blood.” They are not limited to retired politicians, but include young men and women who are eager to rekindle racism whenever it seems to be fading away. Sunak was one of those who was resented by this particular segment. It is likely to turn out later that his surprise announcement of an early election emerged from realizing that its results would not be in his party’s favor. It was kind of an unstated revenge directed at the racist current rooted in the Conservatives’ bases and ranks.

The electorate’s stance had been clear since Boris Johnson’s blunders and the chaos during his time in office.

Bakir Oweida

As for Labour, it took advantage of the battle that surprised its opponents, the Conservatives, who thought the election would not be held until the autumn. Starmer launched his party’s electoral program under the slogan of the need for “change.” There was no need to incite the general electorate to vote for change as their stance had been clear since Boris Johnson’s blunders and the chaos during his time in office.
Indeed, the Starmer government will bring about many significant changes. While this is to be expected, it will not stop Starmer from realizing that, at some point, he himself, as a politician, has to change as well. Politics does not rely on a fixed principle, as this would be a sort of freezing of time.

  • Bakir Oweida is a Palestinian journalist who pursued a professional career in journalism in Libya in 1968, where he worked at Al-Haqiqa newspaper in Benghazi, then Al-Balagh and Al-Jihad in Tripoli. He has written for several Arab publications in Britain since 1978. He worked at Al-Arab newspaper, Al-Thadamun magazine and the international Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat. He has also worked as a consultant at the online newspaper Elaph.
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