Keir Starmer has given himself another pledge to break

Keir Starmer has given himself another pledge to break

Labour has joined the pre-election countdown with an event where Keir Starmer has given himself another pledge to break.

Starmer has built up a pathetic track record of making commitments – to his party and the public – only to break them whenever it became convenient for him. Commentators like This Writer see him as the least trustworthy politician of our time – and that’s saying a lot when the government is led by Rishi Sunak and his cronies.

Today (Thursday, May 16), Starmer headed a big event where he made six pledges – none of which were new, but one of which had only been announced last week.

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He reiterated promises to grow the UK economy and make the country a clean energy superpower, and also said in England Labour would improve the NHS, reform the justice system and raise education standards. These were the five “missions” he announced in February 2023.

To these, he has added his recent promise to tackle people-smuggling gangs, in contrast to the Conservative government’s Rwanda deportation scheme that won’t actually try to stop the smugglers.

None of these pledges are very good – and he’ll probably break them anyway.

On the migrants/small boats/people smuggling pledge, while it is good that Starmer wants to actually investigate and prosecute the criminals who are exploiting refugees and asylum-seekers, his plan does not propose new, safe routes into the UK for asylum-seekers who can then be processed fairly. Without these, people will keep trying to get her by other – illegal – means.

He says he’ll cut NHS waiting lists by providing 40,000 more appointments each week – funded by tackling tax avoidance and non-dom loopholes. But this just means more work for already-overburdened doctors who may decide to join colleagues who have already left the service instead. He may worsen the situation instead of improving it.

He says he’ll recruit 6,500 teachers with money gained by ending tax breaks for private schools. But teachers are leaving the education system because starting salaries have plummeted by 21 per cent since 2010 – and he has said nothing about restoring their pay to what it should be.

Teachers also want stronger measures to protect them from violence, assault or harassment, a national framework of statutory, contractual conditions of service including a maximum 35-hour working time limit and equal rights for supply and substitute teachers.

He says he’ll set up a publicly-owned green energy company – but this was part of his £28 billion Green Prosperity Plan, on which he U-turned in February. Starmer is on the record as having said he hates “tree-huggers” and blames the London Ultra-Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) for Labour’s failure to win the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election last year. Oh, and he has also promised not to reverse the North Sea oil and gas drilling licences that Rishi Sunak handed out last year, many of them to companies that then handed work to his wife’s family business.

Following on from this, Starmer says he’ll grow the economy by sticking to fiscal rules that his shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves made up on the back of an old envelope (probably) – but his Green Prosperity Plan was a crucial part of his growth plan and he axed it because it didn’t conform to those rules. Economists have said that straitjacketing themselves into arbitrary “fiscal rules” is economically daft.

Starmer has said Tory-style austerity is to continue if he forms a government. He won’t raise public spending if the government has to borrow hugely more than it takes in tax, because he doesn’t want to increase debt and/or inflation (at least, This Writer expects those to be the reasons).

His mission (he likes missions) over the first period of a Labour-led Parliament, then, should be to establish ways of boosting spending on what the public needs, either by diverting it from places it should not be going (ending corruption), by closing tax loopholes to ensure that tax avoidance and evasion by the super-rich is ended and they fund the services that help to make them so rich, or by supporting policies that increase the wealth of the whole nation, starting with the poorest of us.

But there’s a problem: he’s Keir Starmer. He lies constantly, and there is no guarantee he won’t U-turn in order to pander to the rich Big Money business bosses. Look at his recent attempt to water down Labour’s policy on workers’ rights.

That just leaves his plan for neighbourhood policing. This was announced after a report showed that the Metropolitan Police under former Commissioner Cressida Dick was institutionally sexist, racist and homophobic; he vowed to “overhaul policing and raise standards, with strengthened training and mandatory vetting, and the restoration of neighbourhood policing with the trust of communities”.

If that seems good, then you need to remember that Starmer was a huge fan of Dick before that report came out. It was hugely hypocritical of him to have claimed policing standards fell through the floor on her watch, after having been so supportive previously.

Given his preferred role as a follower on policing, rather than a leader, it seems unlikely that he will deliver any meaningful change.

In any case, none of these pledges indicates any willingness to improve your life. None of it cuts the cost of living by reducing the cost of groceries, housing or utility bills. None of it fattens workers’ pay packets. None of it reduces the vast inequality between the hugely rich and the rest of us.

The one per cent of people with the highest income in the UK have more money than 70 per cent of the rest of the population put together. That is hugely harmful to the functioning of the country and Starmer won’t do anything about it.

He’s hopeless. You must consider alternative, Independent options when casting your vote.

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One Comment

  1. Julia May 17, 2024 at 7:40 am - Reply

    Last week we had Elphicke. This week who was sharing Starmer’s platform – an ex Bullingdon Club mate of Cameron’s. CEO of the no longer British Boots Chemists, sorry soon to be no longer chemists given all the stuff I have read about them not been able to fulfil prescriptions.

    Starmer really is the gift that keeps giving – but not to anyone with the slightest desire to see a socialist, or even mildly social democratic Labour Party.

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