Letter of defiance to a branch chair

Front (on right) and back of leaflet

JVL Introduction

David Plank is a long-standing member of the Labour Party and a member of his Cambridge CLP’s Executive Committee.

He is a former local authority director of social services and chief executive.

He voted for Keir Starmer in last year’s leadership election.

But has had enough.

He has refused to deliver a leaflet for the Party which features Keir Starmer prominently and, in this email to his branch chair and leaflet organiser, he explains politically and emotionally why he has done so.

We know that his sentiments are widely shared and publish his letter to show others that they are not alone in the dismay and anger they feel about the havoc currently being wreaked in the Party.

David Plank writes to his branch chair and leaflet organiser:

Dear XXX

Thank you for your message. The leaflets were collected from your garage. You say, “The leaflet features Keir which I know may not appeal to all of our delivery team but at the end of the day it’s getting the votes which matters.” I have decided not to deliver it because of its content and explain why below.  As my reasons relate to the Party, this is copied to the other Branch officers and the CLP Chair.

“I love my country” it starts and goes down its nationalistic, jingoistic, red wall dog whistle, pledge breaking hill from there on, deigning to mention the climate emergency in 3 words under “Rebuild Business” and as an unrelated adjunct to “A country that leads the world”; and concludes cringingly in a section, “Get To Know Keir”, which marks his self-asserted status as “a big football fan” not by mentioning the club he supports, the mark of a real fan, but showing him playing football in a suit and tie. The imperatives to love one’s neighbour and “That which you do to the least of my brethren you do to me” clang loudly by their complete absence. It is a betrayal of Labour values, putting electoral tactics before principle, as well as providing further evidence of his betrayal of the ten pledges he made to Party members, which I took at face value when I voted for him.

This would be bad enough, but it is on top of a deeply oppressive phenomenon in our Party instigated by Keir Starmer and the Acting General Secretary – a ruthless, cruel and incompetent regime with no regard for human rights, and lacking integrity; with causeless, unlawful suspensions of many longstanding members of deserved repute, many of them Jewish, for exercising the right my socialist coppersmith grandfather fought for as a shop steward and Party member to secure – the freedom and responsibility to speak one’s mind. Alongside James Clement Duggan – and Jeremy Corbyn – Keir Starmer and David Evans pale into moral obscurity. Instead, they stand up for the collective moral turpitude of the Parliamentary Labour Party and the staff apparatus, which by their attempted coup and constant undermining lost us the elections in 2017 and 2019. According to Mr Evans’ communications they equate dissent with antisemitism.

I was willing to tolerate the collective failure to support Jeremy Corbyn in our literature or even to mention him and, as you know, delivered additional rounds as well as my own. But this has gone far too far, and I will not be taken for granted by leaders who care less than nothing for Party members and betray our values. I will continue to deliver City and County Council Party literature as long as it continues to uphold Party values.

I am sorry for the length of this email but wished to explain my decision.

Best wishes


The leaflet – 8-sides when folded and backed (click on the images to sharpen them):

Front (on right) and back of leaflet

pp. 2-3

pp. 4-5



Comments (50)

  • Kiwr Starmer doesn’t represent the labour party I have strived for since I first voted labour in the late fifties.
    He has brought socialism into disrepute.

  • robert bradford says:

    The ‘man’ in a blue suit is a Total Tony Phony !!

  • Mike Cahill says:

    Well done – this branch Secretary will not be delivering this letter personally nor organising it’s delivery. Solidarity

  • Machiela says:

    This is an accurate depiction of what the Labour Party now represents under this leadership. A full betrayal of the Labour Party principles, a full dissection of our Humanitarian foundation. Total suppression of our freedom of speech, resulting in a carcass of what I considered should be the people’s party. He has shamed the Labour Badge and took it to such low levels. I cry a lot about the loss of the Party and will never forgive the Treachery committed against Labour by its Leader ( I cannot even bring myself to call him by name), and his entourage of the zombie shadow cabinet , and the snakes in the grass at the back door! It is now a Sham and corrupt self-serving Party. Everyone of them should keep their eyes to the ground as it is where they belong in the gutter.

  • maggi adams says:

    Summed up perfectly David Plank. I left the Party after the last election as I couldn’t face another 4 years of battling against the likes of Tom Watson, Ian McNicholl and all the other pathetic plotters who lost us not one but 2 elections. Of course they had help from IDOX who counted the postal ballots but I believe we’d have had a landslide without the inside sabotage. In fact I think the Labour Party as it is now is a spent force, a hollow shell of what it was intended to be and will never get anywhere near power again despite however abysmal the tories are.

  • Robert Grimes says:

    I was expelled from the LP for alleged anti -semitism , this was in fact for agreeing with criticism of the Israeli government. I not only won’t be leafleting for them at forthcoming elections, I will be campaigning against them. Please join JCs Peace and Justice project and see where it takes us.

  • Paul Hubert says:

    Interesting to note that the bio makes his past prominence as a human rights lawyer completely disappear!

  • Terence McGinity says:

    David Plank; in my name too.

  • Helen says:

    I totally agree with David and dont know how I will be able to canvas for the current leadership when it clamps down on free speech and is turning its back on the policies we voted for.

  • Angie Hudson says:

    The strap line “Under New Leadership” says if all. It’s all about Keir and he wants us under him , not along side, next to, shoulder to shoulder……

  • Fred Sherwood says:

    I am at a loss for words. He spends his time trying to please other groups instead of the Labour Party. I at first cancelled my annual donation to Labour, now I feel my membership is next.

  • Alan Maddison says:

    If Starmer and Evans were just half as good at winning hearts and minds as they are offending and disappointing people, they just might have succeeded.

    But their divisive, manipulative dishonesty seems too deeply engrained.

    What a tragedy for those needing a Labour Government.

  • John C says:

    I can’t remember a picture of the leader on any leaflets delivered in the last 3 years. This one has one on almost every page!

  • Rin Roche says:

    Bloody good email… About the same content that I’m just about to send the membership secretary to explain why I can’t rejoin Labour whilst Starmer “leading”

  • Mary Davies says:

    A brave email Thank goodness we have people who courageously stand up to be counted.

  • My small protest has been to unsubscribe to official Labour Party posts and told them why. It registers dissent without dissociation and I stay in the Party so that I may voice that dissent. Jeremy`s Peace and Justice provides welcome relief and is not promoted as political so who can object to “Peace and Justice.” Maybe only Senator McCarthy would describe it as a “communist front”

  • Andrew Bosi says:

    It reminds me of the mistake the Liberals made with Jo Swinson

  • Sabine Ebert-Forbes says:

    Brilliant letter. Paul probably it has become clear to people that is record in defending human rights is pro ably non existent. He has sold out on labour values and principles. He says in the spoof flyer/leaflet that he enjoys being the party leader, but I think this position would fill people with awe because of the high level of responsibility, integrity and accountability towards members that this role demands.

  • Martin Read says:

    Under Blair I tried to look beyond the man and towards some of the better meaning socialists, who were then still permitted to speak out. In very quick time Starmer has disenfranchised anyone who may once have harboured any hopes for the decency of socialism. Such is Labour’s vacuum of opposition that the party is currently without purpose.

  • Elizabeth Ramsden says:

    This is all about Starmer pausing. He offers no opposition. What a waste of members money.

  • valerie Knight says:

    Well said!! Bet you are kicking yourself now!!
    End of the labour party as we thought we knew it!!!

  • Joan says:

    Hope I get the leaflet. I’d be delighted to tell Starmer what matters to me. Resigned after 50yrs a member and activist because of Starmer.

  • Anne says:

    He loves our country? I thought I’d read that at his leadership victory celebration, he’d promised to put Israel first.. But perhaps it was just an ugly rumour.

  • Jim says:

    I cant believe the condescension to a base level in that leaflet, which assumes the electorate are there to be manipulated and unable to make rational decisions. No policies, no direction – just a self – centred focus on the man who has deliberately set out to destroy the party.

    David, you will probably get a letter saying youve been suspended for not worshipping Starmer. Join the long list: its a sign that Sturmer sees socialism and proper Labour values as a threat.


    Dont give up.

  • Tony Lyons says:

    David, stand strong, stand proud and know we are still the many.
    Btw, I am a time served coppersmith too. Not that many of us. ✊❤️✊

  • Patrick Bonner says:

    K’armer(not Karma) was always the culmination of the right wing attempted recovery of the Labour Party. We are the Party, however, and in our tens of thousands we can control the party from below. He mustn’t be leader at the next election. If the MPs can force Jeremy to have a second leadership ballot then the CLP’s can force K’armer (not Karma) to do the same.

  • John White says:

    A thoroughgoing exposure of the treacherous duplicity deployed by Keir Starmer’s “support meism” masquerading as Labour Party policy. Proof positive that my decision to depart from the party after 30+ years – due totally to the Starmer-organised witch-hunt that deposed the finest Socialist leader the party has ever had since Keir Hardy – was 100% justified.

  • Andrew Dinkenor says:

    I worked in Keir Starmer’s barrister’s chambers for 6 years. He could only talk about law and football. He knows nothing about politics or political strategy.

  • George Peel says:

    Thank you, David.

    Your email echoes the thoughts of many Party Members, mine included.

    My personal view is – Keir Starmer is – not – a politician. I’d love to know who is, actually, pulling his strings.

  • Ian Kemp says:

    Agree with David Plank . I was A social worker for 20 yrs than packed it in during the Blair yrs as I could see how so called Labour party /Gov was devaluing social work I retrained as a Psychologist working in Forensic and mental health areas for 15 years.
    I did not vote for Starmer but took it at face value that he would keep to his 10 pledges. He has disappointed me and many others. He is going down the Blair route which led me to resign from Labour party. Re-joined under Corbyn because he reflected my values.
    Now Starmer suspending Corbyn getting rid of so called left wing MPs [ never really understood what that was meant to mean . Good humane socialist values however defined were what they and Corbyn represented. I resigned from LP and am thinking about the greens.
    David Planks letter accurately sums up my feelings.
    I cannot support another right wing Blairite.

  • John Jordan says:

    Thank you for the well expressed opinions. I agree with them wholeheartedly.

  • jo says:

    Good for you. I hope others follow suit. Maybe when the leadership find they cannot get their “message” out without the help of members and supporters they will start to show some respect. Meanwhile, I agree with the above comment about Starmer trying to make himself presidential like Swinson did. That didn’t go too well did it!?

  • Peter Johnson says:

    Is ‘Sir’ Keir Starmer – a clear embalmer ? : “to preserve a corpse from decay by means of antiseptic agents” -probably not. David Plank & friends are like good enzymes :”complex organic substances… (which as a) solution produce fermentation & change”. Sir Keir is more toxic.

  • Mary Higgins says:

    Excellent letter expressing my sentiments entirely. A real betrayal of party members and turning away from Labour Party principles

  • George Hardy says:

    He expresses the views that I hold and I am sure they are shared by thousands.
    I did not vote for Starmer but felt happy with his election as I to took his “pledges” at face value and his stated desire to unite the Party.
    I will not be distributing leaflets until he changes his direction or is replaced.

  • Ruth Appleton says:

    Well done to this Cambridge clp ec member! Enough is enough. Despots need to be called out & he shows principle.

  • Steve King says:

    I really don’t know how you get a ‘nationalistic, jingoistic, red wall dog whistle’ from the simple phrase ‘l love my country’. Aren’t we all involved in the Labour Party because we love this country and want it to be a better place

  • Mike Dixon says:

    Have all CLPs received this ‘literature’ or is it a select targeted few? Never heard of them in this CLP.

  • My sentiments entirely.

  • Michael Joseph says:

    Never have I read as much crap as I’ve read here.

  • Emma Tait says:

    Well said David Plank.

  • Michael joseph if you have never read so much crap then you had better say why it is so much crap.? A statement such as that is totally meaning less unless there is a rational explanation for it. You give none so your statement is meaning less. Why dont you go over all the points and tell us why they are “crap”

  • Doug says:

    Zero chance of being elected purely on Brexit terms, he is not trusted by other sides
    5hen there’s the membership going 9n strike or resigning
    People forget Blairism a choice between two Tory parties lost 5 million votes upto 2010

  • Brian Burden says:

    “Patriotism is the last refuge of the Starmer” Samuel Johnson (amended)

  • Linda P says:

    Great email David. I cancelled my membership tha day Starmer became leader. I did worry at the beginning if I had acted too hastily but everything he has done so far has made me realise there is no longer a place for me, as a socialist in the Labour Party. So sad after being a Labour voter for over 50 years.

  • Caroline Moor says:

    Brilliantly written David Plank. Starmer and Evans could learn from your honesty.

  • I would still like to hear why Micheal Joseph regards these critical comments on Starmer as “so much crap.” If he wishes to defend Starmer he needs to be more articulate and to explain his reasons. Or, better still, actually read and THINK about why we, on JVL, disagree with Starmer`s behavior.

  • Rob Gardiner says:

    Can I join with the vast majority in applauding David, with me still being a Labour Party member of a Cambridgeshire CLP ( like David ). We are responding to the provocations in our individual fashion. I am hanging on for the moment, with me originally staying on to vote in NEC elections for the Grassroots Alliance. I have resigned from my role as an officer for local CLP, ceased giving any donations to Party, and instead given money to funds created to defend Jeremy and members who are taking Party to court over their suspension. J do not disagree with others’ analysis of issues and criticisms. The large question is how to act and how to respond. ?? I also would not deliver that leaflet, which is only good for that rubbish bin, I will not be any longer an activist for this Party, I possibly would not even vote for it. But I will stay for the moment , in effort to support other comrades during the Purge.

  • Jacob Ecclestone says:

    Thank you JVL for publishing this – and thank you David Plank for writing such a clear, straightforward and human explanation of why you are not willing to distribute such rubbish. I am heartened both by your letter and the many appreciative comments which have already been posted. And, paradoxically, I am beginning to be heartened by Keir Starmer’s political ineptitude. In less than a year he has achieved a remarkably consistent record of making one injudicious decision after another. I suppose that if you see your main job as defending the morally indefensible (the apartheid state of Israel) then you won’t have much time for the interests of the working people of Britain. I end with a question: has the Labour Party ever voted a leader out of office? If not, perhaps the matter should be given some thought.

  • Ken Webb says:

    “Labour will always put your job, hard earned money and security first”
    Says it all for me. People with jobs and money are his target audience. Unfortunately it is those with neither that should be supported. Ignoring them is alienating them.
    This comment is straightforward Tory speak, to be expected from them to collect votes. The Tory has taken everything from the lowest tier of our society and are now stepping up to the next tier. Starmer needs their votes to keep them in the fold, not to help others that need it.

Comments are now closed.