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Starmer’s ‘toe-curlingly awful’ pro-union blood donor analogy sparks backlash

30 Sep 2021 3 minutes Read
Keir Starmer speaking at the Labour Party conference

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.”

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.”

‘Utterly dire’ 

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’.”

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Doctor Trousers
Doctor Trousers
23 days ago

if there’s going to be any problems getting blood from an independent wales or scotland into england, it won’t be because we voted for independence.
it’ll be because england has continued to vote for an isolationist, economic extremist government, that sells its health service off to private companies, and pulls out of the sort of international arrangements that make it easy to do things like move donated blood across borders.

George
George
23 days ago

“You’re happy for your blood to be donated to an English person so why aren’t you happy with under-investment in your railways, Westminster increasingly seeking to bypass devolution while simultaneously cutting number of Welsh MP’s, etc. etc.”

R W
R W
23 days ago

We get these ridiculous analogies from people like Starmer because they cannot think of any credible reasons to keep the union together.

Quornby
Quornby
23 days ago

I can’t imagine even the most partisan Labour supporter dieing in a ditch for this boring bag of wind…. His choice of Brown to head a constitutional commission shows up his lack of common sense as far as the Celtic nations are concerned as well.

GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
23 days ago

I’m a Welsh nationalist and give blood. I don’t care who it goes to as long as it helps someone. That’s the whole f’ing point of doing it. Starmer is an absolute pr1ck for saying that especially as Welsh and Scottish nationalists are more left wing than he ever was or will be. It’s pathetic that he comes out with the same ignorant crap that his tory overlords do.

Hannergylch
Hannergylch
23 days ago

Labour’s recent vote share in Wales is the most intriguing phenomenon in UK politics. The formerly industrial parts of Wales have stayed with Labour while economically similar places in the rest of Britain have either lurched to the right or turned to the SNP. Logically, the leaders of all UK political parties should want to get their heads around what’s going on. If Keir Starmer really believes that Welsh secessionism is a blood-&-soil thing, he needs to look more closely at the electoral numbers. A serious blood-&-soil nationalist movement — if it existed in Wales —would seek to take over… Read more »

Last edited 23 days ago by Hannergylch
CapM
CapM
23 days ago

Your votes do not satiate me says Keir (I vaant your blaad) Starmer

Ned Parish
Ned Parish
23 days ago

For Keir Starmer to include Gordon Brown’s statement in his speech,  “When a Welsh or a Scottish woman gives blood… she doesn’t demand an assurance it must not go to an English patient.” is deeply hurtful. To say that any man, woman or child that urgently needed life saving blood who was not of Welsh or Scottish residency, would have it denied to them by those of us who support more devolved powers or independence is a vile accusation. Because it is such an offensive lie it will hurt the Labour party and Keir Starmer the most, as it should.

Ann Owen
Ann Owen
22 days ago
Reply to  Ned Parish

Dirty games have started, then! And the creator of this despicable attempt at deceit – Gordon Brown – is Keir Starmer’s choice to head his commission on the “union”. Unbiased it will not be!

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
22 days ago

Keir Starmer is a closet Tory and a threat to Wales. His priority is power at all cost and Wales will always last on any to-do list. And his blood analogy of Wales was awful and showed his ignorance of devolution.

The English Labour party has no place in Wales. And if Mark Drakeford & Welsh Labour have any sense should become an independent Welsh party like Plaid Cymru not a puppet on a string pulled by their London master.

Last edited 22 days ago by Y Cymro
Dave
Dave
22 days ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

while I agree about Welsh Labour and Labour separating, to suggest that welsh labour are being controlled by London lacks credibility.

CapM
CapM
22 days ago
Reply to  Dave

“Welsh” Labour might not be controlled by London in the way a puppet master controls a puppet but I think it would hard to argue that “Welsh” Labour does not comply with and defer.to it’s bosses in London.
What has “Welsh” Labour done to indicate that it has taken control off London?

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