We might now be able to denigrate experts all we like, but it is difficult not to show deference to the brilliance of Albert Einstein in discovering out of the theory of relativity that there exists little black holes which could suck in billions of stars into oblivion. I was reading yesterday random sections of the Oxford Book of Phrases and Quotations, and I came across an interesting phrase from the Bible which stated that one should watch out for any book which has an excessively long prologue. This is how I feel about the Starmer plan for government, such that it is. The plan for government seems to be ever changing, unlike the poll lead. The explanation for this is that Labour is receiving drip-by-drip details about how bad the finances are, but is this really true? Andy Burnham in my view has correctly asked for a ‘direction of travel’. When people moan that Labour have not ‘sealed the deal’, this is so true. Starmer is asking for voters to vote for Labour with the absence of knowledge about the programme of the government is about. There’s no good plan about social care, there’s no settled opinion in ‘sorting Brexit’ out, and so on. But it is in fact considerably worse than that. Starmer has reneged on all ten pledges he made to become leader of the Labour Party, and the fiscal landscape has not merited U-turns on all of them. If anything, the state of the economy, and more specifically, the state of the mismanagement of the country in total merit more radical and drastic action from a ‘progressive left’. This includes fixing the market failure in the utilities, or executive pay/worker pay. And it also includes boring stuff, but quite important for the average voter, like getting a GP appointment in a timely manner such that patients are not forced to go private, or being able to drive a car without sinking in a pothole.
An ever more common refrain is that ‘nothing in this country works’. Whilst there has been a superficfial change of gear in ownership and management of the Labour Party, the unease and difficulty about certain tensions still have not been resolved. Many members on the left do not see their concerns being addressed; and even worse somewhat, being flagrantly dismissed. There are certain figureheads of the anti-Corbyn movement who have gone quiet on what ideologically is afoot from Labour. I remember vividly one of these figureheads proudly saying that ‘decisive leadership was back’. And yep, you’ve guessed it, ‘grown up leadership is back’. It may be decisive, but not universally popular. The 2 child policy is not popular. The Bibi barge is not popular. But Starmer wants at least for Labour to be a ‘safe pair of hands’ – until what? Presumably, Starmer wants Labour to be a safe pair of hands to keep Murdoch or his successor to be happy, and to keep the seat warm until there is a new Conservative government with a direction. Whatever one’s views on Brexit, clearly there is no convincing plan for the UK to improve from its flatlined state of productivity, with an allergy to talking about membership of the EU single market which nobody actually specifically voted for in the 2016 referendum.
With so many employment shortfalls in critical sectors such as the NHS or social care, the UK needs critically a migration policy people can trust. It also needs to sort out the backlog of asylum applications to be processed, in much the same way it also needs to sort out the torrential backlogs in welfare benefits. It is difficult to argue coherently that the Tories have not destroyed the country, because every which way you look everything is failing apart – e.g. ambulance waits, expecting the Police to record let alone solv e a crime. Rishi Sunak might be able to pretend that everything is ok by taking his family to see Barbie, but his pledges have fallen apart. These are the same pledges which paradoxically onlookers said were ‘too easy’ and would be fulfilled even if Sunak didn’t lift a finger – but these pledges include the hospital waiting lists, the inflation level, the national debt. Having run of things to privatise, the Tories appear to have run out of things to destroy, apart from one thing. They have managed to soil the reputation of the ‘red wall voter’ by even getting the Deputy Leader to say ‘f* back to France’ then. These voters are not White, racist and rude. They are apparently ‘speaking for all of us’ when they say that migrants should stay in France as that is a safe country – except there is no legal imperative at all for asylum seekers to seek refuge in the first country they meet. Take for example Afghanistan – there was barely an exit plan, and all refugees from there caused by the British disastrous foreign policy can stay in France? Refugees with genuine links to England, such as family, are meant to go to France? Time to call out this sick filth really. We do need well informed leadership, not bigoted pub landlord speak, or even worse bigoted opinions with a posh accent. Even the good ship Bibi looks as if it is a sitting duck for an infectious disease such as legionella or tuberculosis, even if has allegedly self-certificated itself a fire safety certificate.
It’s simply quite boring and uninspiring, and at worst unacceptable, for Sir Keir Starmer to hope that people will vote Labour as they are not the Tories. Socialists are likely to find a home in the Green Party nationally, or with a Jeremy Corbyn Labour Mayor bid locally. The Greens are looking more and more appealing for those voters who have been actually shunned by Starmer’s Labour, and who offer appealing policies in their own right. If it is a bit touch and go for Labour to win after thirteen years of a disastrous Labour government, including E. coli in English beaches, you need to ask whether this is actually the worst Labour opposition ever. It is clearly not credible to pin all the problems on the 2019 election on Corbyn, which it promoted a disastrous second referendum policy (and whose bright idea was that?) and as noted by experts Corbyn was personally monstered in the media. For example, there’s been much outrage about the Greenpeace protesters on Sunak’s roof, but it was somehow acceptable to doorstep Corbyn daily? Back on planet Earth, Brexit has delivered no material advantage, but if anything to do with a slew of problems to do with supply chains and inflation. Many people that the culture is far more hostile to non-English people, howeverso defined, such that people are now being actively gaslit about whether racism ‘actually exists’. The cesspit that was the talking shop in X is now English society, and Keir Starmer seems to be a follower not a leader. This approach means that we just have to ‘believe in’ Keir Starmer in much the same way that we were forced to ‘believe in’ Boris Johnson, Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak. And look how well that turned out? All for the sake of avoiding those dangerous ‘reds under the bed’ (or as they are now ‘wokes under the bed’).