Keir Starmer will not end the culture war

Labour will accelerate the woke agenda – and demonise anyone who stands in the way.

Fraser Myers

Fraser Myers
Deputy editor

Topics Identity Politics Politics

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Sir Keir Starmer has promised to end the culture war if he becomes the UK’s next prime minister.

Speaking to the Huffington Post yesterday, the Labour leader lamented that the public is ‘exhausted by culture wars’. ‘The Tories have got nowhere else to go but this divisive culture-war area, and I do think that if we do win the election, I do want it to be a reset moment for politics’, he said.

You can certainly understand why Labour might be keen to play down the culture war during the General Election. After all, Labour’s positions on all manner of cultural issues – from the trans debate to racial identity politics – have tended to place it on the wrong side of public opinion, common decency and objective reality in recent years.

Indeed, even when the allegedly sensible Starmer has tried to sit on the fence, he has ended up impaling himself on it. Who could forget his outlandish claim last year that 99.9 per cent of women don’t have a penis? This was supposed to be a compromise between sex realists (who correctly say that no women have penises) and trans extremists (who say that people with penises can be women if they identify as such). But it still implied that potentially one in 1,000 women could well have a penis. Go figure!

Starmer’s promise to end the culture war should not be seen as some kind of peace offering to the unwoke. It is not as if Labour has seen the light on these issues and will now leave us all alone.

On the contrary, Labour has made it abundantly clear that it plans to accelerate the woke agenda in office. In recent weeks, it has trailed plans to ban so-called trans conversion therapy, which will criminalise parents and therapists who refuse to ‘affirm’ the chosen gender of their child. Its plan to ‘simplify’ the gender-recognition process will introduce gender self-identification by the back door. Its criminally misnamed Race Equality Act will put divisive, racialised ‘DEI’ practices into the heart of government decision-making.

All of this is red meat (or should that be vegan nut roast?) to the woke. But in the eyes of Starmer and Co, these policies only become part of the culture war when someone offers some mild pushback. Thus, when a Tory minister questions the wisdom of pumping gay and autistic children full of sterilising drugs, or the Daily Mail laments racially segregated lessons in primary schools, they are demonised by Labour and the left as rabid, foaming-at-the-mouth culture warriors.

In truth, when Starmer says he will end the culture war, what he really means is that he will have zero tolerance for this kind of pushback. The woke will be free to run amok in our public institutions, but any dissent will be silenced, ignored or condemned. To this end, Labour has even mooted making it a crime to ‘misgender’ – that is, accurately describe the sex of – trans people, which would make it harder still to defend women’s rights from the gender ideologues.

The end of the culture war? No chance. If Starmer enters Downing Street on 5 July, the culture war will just be getting started.

Fraser Myers is deputy editor at spiked and host of the spiked podcast. Follow him on X: @FraserMyers.

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Topics Identity Politics Politics


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