The MintPress podcast, “The Watchdog,” hosted by British-Iraqi hip hop artist Lowkey, closely examines organizations about which it is in the public interest to know – including intelligence, lobby and special interest groups influencing policies that infringe on free speech and target dissent. “The Watchdog” goes against the grain by casting a light on stories largely ignored by the mainstream, corporate media.
Labour Party leader Keir Starmer is many bookmakers’ favorite to become the next prime minister of the United Kingdom. Yet behind the politician’s bland, squeaky-clean image lies an individual relentlessly obsessed with power and how to attain it.
From being an ally of socialist leader Jeremy Corbyn as recently as 2019, Starmer has pulled the Labour Party far to the right in an attempt to return them to their position as the red wing of the British oligarchy.
Today’s guest on “The Watchdog” with Lowkey is Matt Kennard. Kennard is a writer and investigative journalist with the British outlet Declassified UK. Previously, he worked as a reporter for The Financial Times and was a fellow and a director of the Center For Investigative Journalism in London. He has recently published a five-part series of articles on Starmer’s past and his connections to British and American state power. His latest book is “Silent Coup: How Corporations Overthrew Democracy.”
Before becoming an elected politician, Starmer was a barrister and served as head of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), a body that oversees roughly 800,000 prosecutions per year. “Starmer started at the Crown Prosecution Service in 2008. And his time at the CPS is marked by how reactionary and how establishment-friendly he is,” Kennard told Lowkey. Kennard’s recent journalistic work also showed that Starmer secretly served on the Trilateral Commission, a shadowy organization with deep connections to the U.S. national security state. Starmer did not tell his boss, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, as the latter would surely have vetoed the appointment, especially as Starmer worked closely with two former heads of the CIA at the Trilateral Commission. Meanwhile, CIA chief Mike Pompeo declared that the U.S. would do everything it could to stop Corbyn from coming to power.
This was a good measure of the man for Kennard. As he told Lowkey:
When you start looking at the evidence, [Starmer] has clearly had his eye on power and getting it, and he has got absolutely no scruples. I actually take a different view to some people who say he is right-wing or authoritarian. Of course, he is all these things. But what he is obsessed with power. He will do whatever; he has not got a principle he will hold to if it is not conducive to attaining or retaining power.”
Starmer served as Corbyn’s Shadow Brexit Secretary and was, therefore, perhaps the key player in Labour’s controversial decision not to accept the results of the first Brexit Referendum. Instead, Labour insisted on another final vote on the Brexit package, a position that, for Kennard, likely cost Corbyn his place in history.
Labour’s 2019 manifesto was essentially the same as the 2017 one they campaigned on and fared exceptionally well with. Yet, in 2019, Labour was wiped out, leading to Corbyn’s demise.
Starmer was elected, promising to be Corbyn-lite. Yet, once in power, he set about purging Corbynism from the party and removing any traces of progressive politics from Labour. For Kennard, this constituted nothing less than a betrayal:
It’s actually astounding what he has done to the Labour Party. It’s a coup! I don’t use that word in a hyperbolic sense; it is definitely a coup. If you get elected on a platform which is effectively a more presentable version of Corbynism, and then you rescind on everything, and, not only that, you say that the previous leader can’t stand as a Member of Parliament…it’s crazy!”
Targeting Assange While Living It Up
Kennard also told Lowkey about how, as the head of the CPS, Starmer relentlessly targeted Julian Assange, keeping the Australian publisher under threat for years. The British Assange case was riddled with irregularities. Emails show that the CPS begged their Swedish counterparts not to get “cold feet” with Assange, meaning dropping the sexual assault allegations against him. They also asked Swedish investigators not to interview Assange in London, fearing this action would clear the WikiLeaks co-founder.
Today, Assange remains incarcerated in London and faces a grim future.
All the while, Starmer was living it up on the public purse. Kennard’s research has found that Starmer billed the British taxpayer nearly £500,000 (around U.S.$630,000) in expenses, including £160,000 on a chauffeur-driven car during his first two years in the position. “This is a guy who likes living it up, basically,” Kennard said.
Despite this, his research has barely been picked up in more mainstream, liberal outlets, who seem to have anointed Starmer as the perfect candidate for Labour: someone who might appear superficially progressive but also an individual who the establishment has complete confidence in.
Watch the full interview exclusively at MintPress News.
Lowkey is a British-Iraqi hip-hop artist, academic and political campaigner. As a musician, he has collaborated with the Arctic Monkeys, Wretch 32, Immortal Technique and Akala. He is a patron of Stop The War Coalition, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Racial Justice Network and The Peace and Justice Project, founded by Jeremy Corbyn. He has spoken and performed on platforms from the Oxford Union to the Royal Albert Hall and Glastonbury. His latest album, Soundtrack To The Struggle 2, featured Noam Chomsky and Frankie Boyle and has been streamed millions of times.