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Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Keir Starmer's wishful thinking

Fresh from expressing his admiration for Margaret Thatcher, the Labour leader has now abandoned his party's traditional commitment to properly funded public services, with a categorical refusal to rule out reversing planned cuts to government departments if he won power.

The Guardian reports that Keir Starmer told journalists that a Labour government must shed the assumption that public spending is “the only lever that can ever be pulled” to improve people’s lives, presumably overlooking the fact that the Tories have been trying that one for thirteen years.

He believes that significant barriers to growth can be tackled without extra spending, such as changes to the planning system and more efficient public services. So, exactly like the Tories, then:

Answering questions following a speech on Labour’s plans for the economy, Starmer said his party had a record of investing in public services, but twice declined to confirm he would reverse significant cuts set out in Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement.

Asked how his economic strategy differed materially from that of the Conservative chancellor, Starmer gave no policy specifics, saying instead that the Conservatives had “a plausibility problem” over the economy, and that a government led by him would have defined missions.

In essence then voters are being asked to cast their ballot for a blank canvass led by a man who admires the most notorious Tory leader in recent history and who is offering only more of the same. Why should they bother?
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