Starmer’s ‘toe-curlingly awful’ pro-union blood donor analogy sparks backlash
Keir Starmer has sparked a furious backlash by making a “toe-curlingly awful” blood donor analogy when arguing in favour of the union.
During a speech in Brighton, Labour’s Westminster leader said a Welsh woman giving blood “doesn’t demand an assurance that it must not go to an English patient”.
The comments have been described by supporters of independence as “terrible”, as well as “offensive” and “utterly dire”.
It was also suggested that Starmer does not understand devolution because the Welsh Blood Service, which is part of the European Blood Alliance, has been in existence since 1997. This means blood from Wales already travels across international borders.
In his speech to the Labour Party conference in Brighton, Keir Starmer said: “Gordon Brown said recently, ‘when a Welsh or Scottish woman gives blood, she doesn’t demand an assurance that it must not go to an English patient’.
“I am delighted that Gordon will lead our commission to settle the future of the union.
“And I know Gordon believes that if you look past the Tories’ pathetic attempts to divide us in a culture war you can glimpse a tolerant, progressive nation of which we can be proud.”
The labour argument for the union. pic.twitter.com/DORIP9wYr9
— Marcus Carslaw (@marcuscarslaw1) September 29, 2021
Welsh social media expert Owen Williams said: “This is the maddest argument *for* the UK union I’ve heard in a long time. Is Keir Starmer well?”
Tegid Roberts said: “Welsh Blood Service has existed since 1997 under devolution. He doesn’t have a clue about devolution.”
Richard Martin said: “It’s just a terrible analogy that Mr Starmer inexplicably used in this context. Welsh blood donations travel across all European borders where there are international agreements in place. It has nothing to do with saving or threatening the British union. Just nonsense.”
Professor Mark Barry said: “Is that real!? @UKLabour why would constitutional change require us to make compassionate cooperation between nations more difficult? One’s blood has nothing to do with values & principles based self-determination. Unlike #brexit which in part was based on ethno-nationalism.”
SNP strategist Ross Colquhoun said: “This says so much about how little Labour understand why people back independence in Scotland. Utterly dire.”
SNP MP John Nicholson said: “Toe-curlingly awful. Blood? Really? What on earth is he thinking?”
Professor Tanja Bueltmann Chair in International History at Strathclyde University said: “It was offensive when Gordon Brown argued this in a misjudged article. For Starmer to quote this in his speech today is even worse.
“I do not know who advises him on Scotland, but to constantly make implications that effectively insult Scots who support independence is a bad look.”
Plaid Cymru councillor Aaron Wynne said: “As a Welsh nationalist who regularly donates blood, I call bulls**t.
“Wales also became the first nation in the UK to introduce an ‘opt-out’ model for organ donation. For *anyone* on the waiting list.”
Jon Barnes said: “The more I think about this the madder it is. Welsh Blood Service is a thing, assume that’s for devolved Welsh NHS sites. Which, assuming Keir understands devolution, means he’s knowingly linking blood and nationality outside the context of ‘How blood donation works’.”