The Silence of the Starmerites

Simon Maginn
3 min readOct 4, 2022


A tumultuous, roller-coaster of a week in what feels like Series 37 of the Longest Running Political Scandal Ever Attempted, with the release of Al Jazeera’s ‘Labour Files’ documentaries, four searing, extraordinary films about systematic abuses within the UK Labour Party, of such eloquence, such power, such masterly precision, that the reaction to them has been — has been -

Well, let’s take this as an example.

What we must call Labour grandees — Yvette Cooper, Hilary Benn, David Lammy, Lisa Nandy, Andy Burnham — were asked by an Al Jazeera journalist at Labour Conference if they’d seen the films.

They had not. Nope. Nu-uh. Not me guv.

These are films, it should be noted, that painstakingly document so many different kinds of misconduct — from inventing antisemitism accusations to stalking Black party members’ children — that not to have seen them, or at least not to know what they say, and apparently not even to be curious about what they say, appears, to say the least, insouciant.

Oh you mean those documentaries that present one of the most chilling exposés of a party machine gone bad ever put on film? About my party? No, haven’t seen it. Been busy. So busy. Busy busy busy.

‘Magic’ Mike Gapes, the scary man down the street who yells at cats, apparently had seen it, though, or was in any case prepared to risk admitting it existed in order to hate-tweet the equivalent of a belligerent drunk spitting beer froth into your face — ‘cranks, tankies and Trots’ is about as elevated as it got. It could just as easily — and perhaps more effectively — have been delivered as a headbutt.

It fell to Labour MP Chris Bryant to deliver the coup de grace: not only had Mr Bryant not seen the documentaries, but he vowed never to see them. He would be too busy until the end of time, and there would never be a time when he was not too busy. The busyness of Chris Bryant is so all- consuming it’s a marvel he finds time to draw breath, let alone watch documentaries about how corrupt and rotten and sinister the party he’s so busy in is.

But otherwise — no ripple disturbs the serenity of the pond. No unruly sound breaks the tranquil silence. Keir Starmer’s Labour Party continues on its magisterial path, to victory!

Hard to predict what might happen next. Perhaps the ‘Labour Files’ documentaries will disappear down the same memory-hole as Al Jazeera’s previous exposé of Labour Party corruption, The Lobby. (No-one has ever seen that either.)

Or perhaps it will kickstart a wider awareness that the Labour Party in its present form is a sharp-suited Stasi which persecutes its own members, gets found out doing it, and then shrugs off the evidence with a ‘too busy’ smile.

Stay tuned…