20 policy proposals from Owen Smith – but how many are his own?

Owen Smith has unveiled no less than 20 policy proposals in a big speech today (July 27) – containing hardly any new ideas at all.

Jeremy Corbyn in May, unveiling the same policies Owen Smith announced for his leadership campaign today (July 27). The media ignored Mr Corbyn's announcement, it seems.

Jeremy Corbyn in May, unveiling the same policies Owen Smith announced for his leadership campaign today (July 27). The media ignored Mr Corbyn’s announcement, it seems.

Supporters said he had brought forward more new policies in one day than the Corbyn leadership had in the past 10 months – ignoring the fact that many are already Labour policies, some announced as recently as May.

Here’s the list of his announcements, from The Guardian.

1. A pledge to focus on equality of outcome, not equality of opportunity

2. Scrapping the DWP and replacing it with a Ministry for Labour and a Department for Social Security

3. Introducing modern wages councils for hotel, shop and care workers to strengthen terms and conditions

4. Banning zero hour contracts

5. Ending the public sector pay freeze

6. Extending the right to information and consultation to cover all workplaces with more than 50 employees

7. Ensuring workers’ representation on remuneration committees

8. Repealing the Trade Union Act

9. Increase spending on the NHS by 4% in real-terms in every year of the next parliament

10. Commit to bringing NHS funding up to the European average within the first term of a Labour Government.

11. Greater spending on schools and libraries.

12. Re-instate the 50p top rate of income tax.

13. Reverse the reductions in Corporation Tax due to take place over the next four years.

14. Reverse cuts to Inheritance Tax announced in the Summer Budget.

15. Reverse cuts to Capital Gains Tax announced in the Summer Budget.

16. Introduce a new wealth Tax on the top 1% earners.

17. A British New Deal unveiling £200bn of investment over five years.

18. A commitment to invest tens of billions in the North of England, and to bring forward High Speed 3.

19. A pledge to build 300,000 homes in every year of the next parliament – 1.5 million over five years.

20. Ending the scandal of fuel poverty by investing in efficient energy.

Jeremy Corbyn’s camp has already pointed out that Mr Smith is taking his policies from the Institute of Employment Rights’ Manifesto for Labour Law, which Mr Corbyn adopted as a basis for future Labour policy last month.

Perhaps Mr Smith missed the announcement. It was made on June 30, when he might have been preoccupied by planning or taking part in the plots to undermine Mr Corbyn that were taking place at the time.

The Jeremy for Labour campaign released the following statement before Mr Smith had said a single word of his speech:

We welcome Owen’s focus on equality of outcome, reindustrialisation and workers’ rights – and his support for policies announced in recent months by Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell.

We are delighted that he has echoed John McDonnell’s call for the reinstatement of a Ministry of Labour, made last month at the Institute of Employment Rights and Jeremy Corbyn’s call for a ban on exclusive workforce recruitment from abroad, made during the referendum campaign, among other policies.

Owen’s speech today shows the leadership that Jeremy Corbyn has demonstrated in placing economic justice and fairness back at the heart of Labour politics. Under Jeremy, Labour has put restoring dignity and pride in our communities, worst hit by decades of neglect, at the core of our politics.

Many communities in the North of England and elsewhere have for too long been left behind, with regeneration schemes that relied on expanding the public sector to make up for the shortfall of decent jobs in manufacturing – and thirty years headed in the wrong economic direction.

This will end under a Jeremy Corbyn Labour government, which will create hundreds of thousands of new jobs in low-carbon goods and services and return our economy to being a dynamic engine of global progress, prioritising northern towns and cities with economic devolution that puts people first.

There will undoubtedly be a great deal of discussion about this speech. Hopefully the anti-Corbyn camp won’t be allowed to dominate.

Far too much Mr Smith’s offer is cosmetic. Focusing on “equality of outcome, not equality of opportunity” – what’s that even supposed to mean? There’s no promise to achieve such equality and no detail on how to bring it about.

“Greater spending on schools and libraries” – terrific. Where’s the promise to end private-sector involvement in schools and re-open libraries that have been closed?

“Reinstate the 50p top rate of Income Tax” – cosmetic. And ripe for ragging by the Tories.

“Reverse cuts to Corporation Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax… introduce a new Wealth Tax” – all cosmetic. They’ll bring money into the Treasury, perhaps, but how would Mr Smith redistribute it? Would it even cover his NHS spending increases?

“Ending fuel poverty by investing in efficient energy” – but not re-nationalising the utility companies, meaning our money is still going to foreign owners as those industries have been privatised.

Smith makes a big deal of being able to deliver these policies – asking us to accept that Mr Corbyn can’t. How do we know either of those things? We don’t. In fact, it seems unlikely that this list is anything more than a catalogue of empty promises and he’ll go back to right-wing neoliberalism if he gets the chance.

It’s not enough. It’s painting a new face on New Labour. It’s reacting to Jeremy Corbyn.

And perhaps this is the biggest point to be made:

Why have Fake Corbyn when we can simply keep the real Corbyn?


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19 thoughts on “20 policy proposals from Owen Smith – but how many are his own?

  1. peej1952

    A speech by an empty man running on empty with nothing but Blairite New Labourist Speak to put in his empty head, no doubt all his disciples with their empty heads The SmithNasties will be cooing how wonderful he was, all you have to do is look at his right wing new labour fizog to know instantly he is full of piss and wind, no doubt he is great friends with Blair Brown and the Blairite New Labour Propaganda Minister the Sinister Tom Harris Blairs very own Josef Goebbels, I shall end by saying Mr Smith is about exciting and inspiring as watching heart of midlothian FC AT THE GORGIE FARM He like Them is an Embarrassment.

  2. Florence

    Too true. As I watched, slack jawed at the fawning news item about OS and “his” policies, I was then flabbergasted at the reporter looking all serious and regurgitating the lot in their best “serious” voice (not the one used for sneering at Corbyn). Nowhere was there any reference to the fact that these are mainly policies or variants of those already announced by JC and JMcD. They might have sounded “new” to the BBC viewer this was aimed at because the originators have been subject to a virtual news blackout. The further suggestion that these policies “would appeal to Corbyn supporters” finally broke the tension, and I rolled around laughing. Of course they do, you silly little man, they’re HIS policies, already! I cannot see one percent of the current JC supporters in the party being fooled for one minute or being swayed to change their vote. Like just about everything Smith has done, along with his Progress mates, all PR and no substance.

    1. Kenneth Billis

      I hate to say it because basically I’m a supporter of the BBC but their coverage of Smith is just a continuation of the promotion of anyone but Corbyn. If another candidate suddenly pops up he or she will be swamped by the BBC and others all desperate to send out the message that he or she will be preferable to Corbyn.

  3. Dez

    Pratt! If that’s his best shot cribbing off what has gone before he just as well go join the Cons now.

  4. Tony Dean

    2. Scrapping the DWP and replacing it with a Ministry for Labour and a Department for Social Security.

    No sign of scrapping the work capability assessment.

  5. jeffrey davies

    sounds like camerooon speach promises promises only to be broken when put in ouch

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Because he is a liar; he uses disgraceful, disrespectful language to put down his political opponents; he was part of a conspiracy to undermine Labour Party democracy and usurp the leadership; it was only when that conspiracy failed that he announced his candidacy in the leadership election and fellow challenger Angela Eagle mysteriously decided to abandon her own bid.

      I hope I don’t have to provide examples to prove the above as they should all be common knowledge.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        I don’t think so, although I could be mistaken.
        The ideas have been around for a while, so I think either candidate could choose to adopt them as policies.
        A more apposite question might be why Mr Smith is standing against Mr Corbyn when he supports so many of Mr Corbyn’s policies.

      2. joanna

        Hi Mike do you know why my comments keep getting wiped? When i try to make the same comment, it says that I am duplicating it, yet there is no trace of my comment.

      3. Mike Sivier Post author

        I’ve got three comments from you awaiting moderation. You’ve probably just had a glitch.

  6. Jessie

    While OS has all of the appeal of dessicated flotsam on a drizzly day at the seaside, with a campaign just as inspiring; Labour already have an elected leader who has declared these type of policies, with far more substance and sincerity.

    A leader who enthused with these type of democratic socialist ideals a big resurgence in membership and political involvement, and then a coup against that succeeding. How could a member of that coup in reality be a supporter of those same sort of policies?!

    We know JC has stuck by his ethics through thick and thin, and we have witnessed OS changing his professed beliefs (always copied from others) with the tide of opinion, or what he imagines it to be.

    As commented, why want a fake (who would throw aside any such policies as soon as gaining office), when you’ve already got the genuine one?

    It is appalling that these untruthful non entities have at this critical time done everything they can to prevent a viable oppoosition to the Tories, and then everything they can to stop their CLPs declaring no confidence in their behaviour.

  7. Andrew Clark

    Corbin. Cannot win a general election with only three core 30 percent.. others can

  8. joanna

    The main Question is, how can we Trust smith not to simply throw out some of the policies if he becomes leader? His dirty tricks campaign does nothing to engender any trust or good feeling amongst the electorate! He is a robot and a yes man to all the wrong people, who don’t care whether or not the country is brought to it’s knees, just as long as they have all the money.

    Corbyn on the other hand has Integrity! But maybe people don’t want that either, more fool them!!!

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I think Mr Smith would throw out ALL the policies he has announced, judging by his recent behaviour.

  9. Morganfire

    If you start a speech with (paraphrasing here)
    ‘Yes, the party needs a new view…but not an impossible happy dream fairytale view”

    (Something like that)

    And then follow up with “I don’t know who I’m referring to.” (Quote)

    And then continues with stolen policies from the political opponent

    You gotta assume everyone knows you’re a lying piece of s**t.

    We want someone who tells the truth. Not someone who mimics policies with no intention of following through.

    1. Florence

      And I think we all know that there are only a couple of politicians we can trust, who will tell the truth.

Comments are closed.