ITV leader debate was nothing but lies and scaremongering

ITV leader debate was nothing but lies and scaremongering

If his performance – along with that of Rishi Sunak – was any yardstick, we now know why Keir Starmer has chickened out of a debate with seven UK political party leaders: the ITV leader debate was nothing but lies and scaremongering.

Here’s what I made of it – as it unfolded:

A member of the public had asked how the Tories – and Labour – expected to ease the burden of the huge cost of living that has been inflicted on the UK over the last 14 years, and that was Sunak’s best answer.

Meanwhile, Keir Starmer limited his offer to “working people”:

Rishi Sunak fell back on an old Tory tall tale:

There was a tetchy spat about tax: Sunak claimed Labour would “put people’s taxes up by £2,000”, while Starmer said Sunak has “put taxes up 26 times” and called him “the British expert in tax rises”.

And I said:

Scaremongering. Full details are here.

Both leaders insisted on telling us the occupations of their parents – in attempts to hoodwink us.

The implication was that Mr Starmer Sr was an employee; a working person just like most of the rest of us. In fact, he ran his own business, the Oxted Tool Co, which is a much different proposition. He wasn’t working-class; he was middle-class and Starmer had a head-start in life that most of the people he was addressing have not. He is not “one of us”.

Sunak reminded us all yet again that his father was a GP and his mother was a pharmacist, as though that was enough to reassure us that he will not harm the NHS. It should not.

GPs are all part of private businesses that are contracted to the NHS; it is entirely possible for them to be pro-privatisation. And pharmacists are all – also – parts of private businesses. They are no guarantee of any good faith towards the National Health Service at all.

Appropriately, the next question was about the health service – from another member of the public who said it was “broken”.

Sunak said he would use private health, which should tell NHS supporters all they need to know. Starmer was still trying to kid us that he supports the NHS when we all know he’s a privatiser too.

Did we learn anything about the NHS? Whether it will be safe in either party’s hands? Whether waiting lists will come down? Whether it really will remain free at the point of use? No.

Next up was education.

Starmer repeated a claim that a government run by him would recruit 6,500 teachers. There are problems with that, as This site has already pointed out.

The BBC also stated, in its coverage: “Keir Starmer says Labour’s plans to charge VAT on school fees will allow them to recruit more than 6,000 teachers in England. Independent economists at the Institute for Fiscal Studies say it would raise £1.6bn. It’s not clear how the extra money would be used to overcome a shortage of teachers in some secondary subjects.”

Asked how the parties would fund their plans, Sunak leapt in to claim that pensioners would not be subject to tax under the Tories, while they would under Labour. I pointed out the falsehood here:

Next, based on claims by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, the leaders were asked whether public services will have to be cut after the election – and both said no.

But Starmer then told the most egregious lie of the night so far:

That was the end of the first part of the debate – and of This Writer’s involvement with it:

I have a feeling I was not alone.

According to Skwawkbox, a snap YouGov poll revealed that the most common feeling provoked by the debate was “frustration”.

Only four per cent of respondents found anything about either Starmer or Sunak to be “authentic”.

What a pathetic start to a general election. The major parties are offering us two choices: dismal, or rotten. Vote Independent where you can. Otherwise, vote Green or Workers Party.


  1. Alan Bennett June 5, 2024 at 7:18 am - Reply

    I still can’t understand why Starmer the Tory got to be leader of the Labour Party. It doesn’t matter now whether the Tories or Labour win the general election, we are stuffed either way :-/

  2. Tony June 5, 2024 at 11:38 am - Reply

    “But Starmer then told the most egregious lie of the night so far”.

    I think you mean Sunak. But is entirely understandable that anybody would mix them up.

    • Mike Sivier June 5, 2024 at 1:25 pm - Reply

      Starmer’s the one who said Labour wouldn’t go back to austerity, isn’t he?

      That was the big lie because the UK hasn’t been out of austerity since 2010.

      • Mike Sivier June 5, 2024 at 1:30 pm - Reply

        Apologies – I see what happened.

        I mixed the relevant tweet with the previous one by accident. Thanks for drawing my attention to it, otherwise I would not have realised.

        That’s what I get for writing articles in the early hours!

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