Starmer’s Marr interview on Sunday saw the Labour Leader claim that the public’s perception of Boris saw a perception of dishonesty “priced in”, saying the PM was “untrustworthy”. Moments earlier, however, Sir Keir revealed he was rowing back on a major pledge to nationalise energy firms:
This got Guido wondering – how many of his other pledges has Starmer said he’ll stick to since becoming leader? Let’s look through them…
1. Economic Justice
In strictly Labour terms this means putting up taxes. Sir Keir and his top team have struggled to articulate their policies here. Last year the now-shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves repeatedly refused to back Starmer’s promise to increase taxes on those earning over £80,000.
In his latest 14,000 magnum opus, Starmer came across as so low-tax the Taxpayers’ Alliance invited him to join them as a member.
Starmer promised to reverse the Tories’ cuts in corporation tax, however when Rishi raised corporation tax in his last budget Labour voted against the measure.
2. Social Justice
While Starmer has stood his ground on abolishing universal credit, last year his shadow work and pensions minister angered the left over his “divisive” language in describing his vision for a “two-tier” benefits system.
Conference has also been rocked by the resignation of shadow employment minister Andy McDonald over Starmer’s refusal to back the social justice cause of a £15 per hour minimum wage. Shadow DWP secretary Jonathan Reynolds has this morning claimed “you can’t simply pick a figure out the air”
Starmer also promised to “defend our NHS”, though his 14,000 word essay hinted at a renewed public-private partnership for healthcare.
3. Climate Justice
This conference Labour members passed a motion to back a Socialist Green New Deal, which includes a swathe of left-wing policies from public ownership of energy (not happening, see above), debt relief for low-income countries and rights for climate refugees. The policy package, according to the pressure group leadership, would come to £85 billion – however Starmer “won’t even commit to that”.
4. Promote Peace & Human Rights
Admittedly Sir Keir hasn’t yet started any illegal wars though John Healey was appointed his shadow defence secretary who was a junior minister under Blair and consistently voted in favour of Iraq.
In May Labour Palestinian members accused the party of “ignoring them” over a growing feeling the party is and was “drifting away from its anti-racist and anti-colonial principles”. In June 2020 Starmer refused to be drawn on sanctions against Israel, though opposed annexation. Labour’s conference just voted in favour of an appalling motion on Israel/Palestine which Lisa Nandy has already said will be ignored. Quite rightly.
5. Common Ownership
As mentioned above, Sir Keir’s now come out against public ownership of energy, though it wasn’t the first indication of a major policy backtracking. In September last year Lisa Nandy told Politics Live that public ownership was just “one way” and “another way” is “giving people more control”.
At the CBI Sir Keir refused to commit to Corbyn’s policy of renationalising BT.
6. Defend migrants’ rights
Just yesterday shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves confirmed that Labour will not bring back freedom of movement.
Starmer also angered members of the left, including Diane Abbott, last year over the party’s stance on migrant channel crossings after attacking the government’s incompetence at stopping them rather than defending their right to claim asylum in Britain.
7. Strengthen Workers’ rights and trade unions
Starmer’s relationship with the unions is hardly going well, not least regarding Unite, whose newly-elected Trotskyist leader has already turned against Starmer after he proposed scrapping one member one vote. She may even end up campaigning outside his house after Labour’s finances required the potential sacking of 90 Southside employees…
It wasn’t the first time Unite fell out with Starmer, given they voted to cut their funding to Labour by around £1 million in October.
8. Radical devolution of power, wealth and opportunity
Far from embracing devolution, Sir Keir wrote an op-ed in September 2020 under the heading “we can’t have four nations pulling in different directions”. Many left-wingers will also be dismayed that the Labour Party conference voted against adopting proportional representation in their next manifesto.
While Sir Keir may have adopted the left-wing mantra du jour that it’s wrong to say only women are born with cervixes, he’s continuing to wind up the LGBT+ community by refusing to respond to Rosie Duffield’s supposed transphobia. He infamously described Black Lives Matter as “a moment”, saying the group’s demand to defund the police was “nonsense”, angering the hardest of the hard left.
10. Effective opposition to the Tories
It was telling Starmer left this one until last. Guido will let co-conspirators draw their own conclusion on this pledge…