Keir Starmer faces backlash in Scotland for quoting Margaret Thatcher

Labour leader praises former Tory PM for her views on the rule of law

Labour leader Keir Starmer has sparked outrage in Scotland by quoting and praising former Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in a speech on crime. Starmer said that Thatcher was “right” about the importance of the rule of law, and cited her as an authority on the subject.

Starmer made the remarks at Port Vale FC in Burslem, where he unveiled Labour’s “mission to halve serious violent crime and raise confidence in the police and criminal justice system”. He said: “Nothing is more important, more fundamental, to a democracy like ours. The rule of law is the foundation for everything. Margaret Thatcher called it the ‘first duty of government’ – and she was right.”

The Labour leader’s comments were met with disbelief and anger by many people in Scotland, where Thatcher is widely reviled for her policies that devastated the country’s industrial and social fabric. Thatcher’s legacy includes the poll tax, the closure of coal mines, the privatisation of public services, and the erosion of workers’ rights and welfare.

SNP slams Starmer for taking his lead from Thatcher

The Scottish National Party (SNP) was quick to condemn Starmer for his admiration of Thatcher, and accused him of leading a “pound-shop Tory tribute act”. Mhairi Black, the SNP’s depute leader at Westminster, said: “People in Scotland will be appalled that Keir Starmer is taking his lead from Margaret Thatcher, who left lasting scars on our communities.”

Keir Starmer faces backlash in Scotland for quoting Margaret Thatcher

Black added: “Under Starmer, the pro-Brexit Labour Party has lurched to the right, and is now little more than a pound-shop Tory tribute act – copying Tory policies and quoting Tory prime ministers. Whether it’s denying Scotland’s democracy, ruling out any return to the EU, backing Tory cuts to public sector pay and benefits, attacking migration, or signalling greater privatisation of the NHS – the Labour Party has become a pale imitation of the Tories.”

Black said that Starmer’s remarks showed that there was “no change on offer at Westminster”, and that independence was “the only way to deliver real change and build the strong, fair and prosperous future Scotland deserves”.

Glasgow residents react to Starmer’s speech

The National, a pro-independence newspaper in Scotland, interviewed several people in Glasgow about Starmer’s speech and his praise of Thatcher. The reactions were overwhelmingly negative, with some expressing disbelief, disgust, and disappointment.

One of the interviewees, John McLaughlin, a retired engineer, said: “I can’t believe he said that. Thatcher was the worst thing that ever happened to this country. She destroyed our industries, our communities, our culture. She had no regard for the people of Scotland, or anywhere else outside of London. She was a tyrant, and Starmer is a fool for praising her.”

Another interviewee, Mary O’Donnell, a shop assistant, said: “I’m disgusted by Starmer’s speech. He’s supposed to be the leader of the opposition, but he sounds like a Tory. He’s out of touch with the reality of what Thatcher did to us. She imposed the poll tax on us, she took away our free milk, she sold off our council houses. She made us poorer, sicker, and more divided. She was a disgrace, and so is Starmer.”

A third interviewee, Ali Khan, a taxi driver, said: “I’m disappointed by Starmer’s speech. I used to vote Labour, but I don’t trust them anymore. They’ve abandoned their principles, their values, their roots. They’ve become too cosy with the Tories, too distant from the people. They’ve forgotten what they stand for, and who they represent. Thatcher was the enemy of the working class, and Starmer is no friend of ours.”

By Ishan Crawford

Prior to the position, Ishan was senior vice president, strategy & development for Cumbernauld-media Company since April 2013. He joined the Company in 2004 and has served in several corporate developments, business development and strategic planning roles for three chief executives. During that time, he helped transform the Company from a traditional U.S. media conglomerate into a global digital subscription service, unified by the journalism and brand of Cumbernauld-media.

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