DEEP beneath Labour’s London headquarters, there must surely be a room of Forgotten Things; a place for party relics to gather dust in the company of the infamous Ed Stone and boxes of unsold anti-immigrant mugs. There, in this dimly lit space, I believe you would find a thin, salmon-pink folder, stamped with the title: “Things You Must Never Do As Leader Of The Labour Party”.

Inside, a single sheet of typewritten paper, listing the definitive Do Nots of leadership – and sitting pretty above a reminder to always spell party founder Keir Hardie’s name with an “ie” and never a “y”, I believe you would see, in all capital letters: DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE, SAY YOU “GOTTA HAND IT” TO MARGARET THATCHER.

Presumably somebody must have dug it out and finally passed it on to Keir Starmer, given how desperately he is now walking back his comments doing exactly that. Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Starmer praised the contentious Tory leader for having delivered “meaningful change” to Britain, which I can’t deny that she did … in much the same way that a North Atlantic iceberg brought meaningful change to the Titanic. Starmer, however, meant it as a compliment.

Thatcher devastated communities across Scotland, and well beyond.

She privatised state-owned institutions, oversaw spiralling unemployment and defanged the trade unions. She is, in every meaningful sense, the antithesis to the founding principles of the Labour movement.

READ MORE: Scottish Labour silent as Keir Starmer praises Margaret Thatcher

For all the ways that Starmer has stamped his way across Labour’s rich history of democratic socialism and working-class advocacy, however, showing deference to the milk snatcher herself should obviously have been a line that should not have been crossed.

But as the political spawn of Thatcher and her protege Tony Blair (right), Starmer has shown no such care for the history nor communities in his hands. Rather, all things that differentiated Labour from the Tories of yore have been eroded under his leadership.

The Labour Party’s foundational principles have been neatly filed away with the other Forgotten Things, alongside the party’s commitment to public ownership. Under Tony Blair, this seemed in service to centrism. Starmer, however, has pushed the party well and truly over the line into the centre-right, taking a party founded on the principles of economic equality to one that congratulates Thatcher for “setting loose our natural entrepreneurialism”.

The legacy of what Thatcher “set loose” is still being felt today in ways big and small – not only in post-industrial communities, but in many of the modern failings of Britain. For example, Thatcher is the reason that the UK is so far behind the modern world in telecommunications.

The National:

Through the 1970s to 90s, British Telecom began manufacturing the fibre-optic replacements to the copper wiring that was strangling digital communications at the time. BT oversaw a replacement scheme that led to the UK, at one point, allegedly having more fibre per capita than any other nation, and fibre to the home was becoming cheaper than the copper wiring it sought to replace.

Thatcher killed it dead in 1990, declaring the system to not be competitive enough. The factories producing the components closed, the industry was suffocated and in turn Britain struggled to get 2 Mbps download speeds while Japan was already at 100 Mbps.

This may seem like an odd example, but if you had just gone through the frustrating process of trying to get your copper line upgraded to fibre as I have (50 years later than it should have been done), you would be looking for somewhere to vent too.

The point is that Thatcher’s supposed “modernisation” of the British economy wreaked significant long-term damage on the four nations stuck with her legacy, and for a Labour leader in particular to praise it seems coarse indeed.

READ MORE: Keir Starmer downplays Margaret Thatcher praise in BBC interview

And that isn’t to say that political parties should never change. The world changes, and in turn, we change with new information. The changes themselves, however, are where the criticisms lie. Both major political parties at Westminster being able to find inspiration in the deeds of Margaret Thatcher is a declaration: that the interests of the working class are irrelevant to Whitehall.

Come the next election, Labour will not offer the left the hand of comradeship, but an ultimatum: vote Labour, or let the Conservatives back in. Not really an endorsement of Labour’s policies. More of a threat than anything else. A disdain for the public that is absolute.

When Keir Starmer staunchly set himself to opposing a ceasefire in Gaza, the party machinery seemed content in puzzling over how much support from the Muslim community they could afford to lose without impacting a future election. They seemed far less concerned with whether the decision to tacitly endorse the ethnic cleansing of Palestine was right or wrong. But on counting votes, they never missed a beat.

It’s a numbers game – and Keir knows too well that his party can tack further to the right without losing too much support while English voters have little option to turn elsewhere. And Scotland, as always, will be dragged through the horse and pony show without even the chance to change the outcome.