Only a few days ago, Labour’s message was that the best thing for children was to go to their schools – and damn the scientists who said they had become localised Covid-19 petri-dishes!
Then Boris Johnson announced that the rate of infection and death had worsened to such a point that schools had to close after all, and Keir Starmer changed his tune in a flash.
On January 4 – the day Boris Johnson announced the so-called “Lockdown 3”, Starmer’s shadow education secretary Kate Green was saying, “We don’t think schools should close.” See for yourself:
The government has lost control of the virus. That’s why @UKLabour is calling for further restrictions to stop the spread while we roll out the vaccines and keep children learning. pic.twitter.com/GzgxzKqWr5
— Kate Green 💙 (@KateGreenSU) January 4, 2021
Then Johnson made his announcement and Keir Starmer said this:
We must introduce a national lockdown now. Tragically, that must mean school closures.
We need a simple contract between the British people: the country goes into lockdown, the Government delivers the vaccine.
Stay at home, protect the NHS, vaccinate Britain.
— Keir Starmer (@Keir_Starmer) January 4, 2021
He u-turned in a matter of hours.
It makes a mockery of Starmer Labour’s claim that it wants the best for children.
All he has done is follow national developments and try to anticipate the mood of the population. Then he has tried to say what he thinks people want to hear.
It is no way for a politician to behave.
How can we trust someone who will say anything if they think it will win them a few votes?
Once upon a time – not very long ago – Labour had definite principles. It offered policies that were intended to make the United Kingdom a better place for all of its people.
But that was while Jeremy Corbyn led the party.
Before him, Labour had endured 20 years of triangulating schemers who said what they thought the public wanted to hear and then did what they wanted, following policies that made them a shadow of the Conservatives.
Under Starmer, the party has relapsed to that position.
Don’t get me wrong. If the scientific position on schools had changed, then it would have been right for Labour to reflect that.
But it didn’t.
The science has shown that schools are one of the principal means by which Covid-19 can get into the homes of families across the United Kingdom – since before the first lockdown in March 2020. That has not changed at any time since.
Boris Johnson changed his mind about whether schools should open – and Starmer changed right along with him, because he thought that was what the public wanted.
But we don’t.
The UK’s public want politicians who do what is right – not what they think is popular.
Their idea of what is popular is what has killed at least 80,000 of us so far.