Keir Cancels Scheduled Public Speaking Engagement

Keir Starmer was due to speak tomorrow afternoon at a high profile public event hosted by the Institute for Government, on Labour’s approach to meeting the challenges the country faces, on the eve of the Queen’s Speech. A chance to set the agenda for an important week.

The public event was scheduled to have included questions from the press and public. This morning, when door-stepped outside his North London home by journalists, a grim faced Starmer refused to say anything and was bundled into a waiting Range Rover. Keir clearly realises that “the police have already investigated this matter and found nothing” will no longer work as a line.

The Institute for Government is funded by the billionaire David Sainsbury, a former Labour minister under Tony Blair, who has backed centrist Labour politicians financially in the past. A statement on the website says only that the event is cancelled, with no explanation given.

mdi-timer 8 May 2022 @ 19:20 8 May 2022 @ 19:20 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Sturgeon’s £8.5 Billion Austerity Drive in Event of Scottish Independence

Forget £350 million a week for the NHS; an independent Scotland would be forced to find a huge £8.5 billion down the back of the sofa due to their 8% deficit. A report by the Institute for Government warns it would also “almost certainly be more expensive for Scotland to borrow than for the UK” as a result of higher interest rates. David Cameron might have some advice on swingeing cuts…

The report brings further bad news on the question of an independent Scotland’s currency. Earlier this week, deputy first minister John Swinney said the country would eventually move towards a “distinctive currency”. This, the report warns, would provide the greatest freedom, though at the cost of leaping into the unknown:

“a new, free-floating currency would be the most unknown quantity of the options that would be available to Scotland after independence. It would probably take time for the new currency to gain credibility with, and enough liquidity in, foreign exchangemarkets and for the new government to build a reputation for sound macroeconomic policy and a commitment to the independent management of monetary policy. Without those, the currency’s value would be more vulnerable to speculation. Resulting currency volatility could impart shocks to the real economy.”

In a week where Scotland had to beg the UK MoD for help in the wake of their national ambulance crisis, it might not be the best time for Sturgeon to make the arguments of going it alone…

mdi-timer 17 September 2021 @ 13:30 17 Sep 2021 @ 13:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
LISTEN: Former Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell Calls HS2 a “White Elephant” That Should Never Have Been Approved

Following yesterday’s publication of Michael Gove’s merit-based Civil Service reforms, former Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell has responded by claiming the report still won’t stop the approval of “white elephant” projects like HS2, and laid into the government for focusing on “the delivery of targets that miss the point” of achieving optimal outcomes.

Speaking on the Institute for Government Live podcast, O’Donnell said:

How do we stop someone approving HS2 when on the basis of cost estimates that everyone knows is wildly optimistic…this document is quite heavy on the responsible owner part, which I think is a good thing, but you can be the responsible owner but can be dealing with a project that should never have gotten started. And my god, we end up with some big white elephants…

Guido’s inclined to agree

O’Donnell’s also on the money when it comes to government targets. Too often Ministers prioritise input rather than outcomes – like upping the number of police officers rather than trying to reduce crime stats – which, as the Institute for Government’s own report shows, “can create a culture of compliance that discourages innovation and prevents adequate services from excelling“. Gove’s reforms are a start, though there’s still clearly a way to go…

mdi-timer 16 June 2021 @ 15:11 16 Jun 2021 @ 15:11 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Tories Have Kept Half Their 2019 Manifesto Promises

A new report from the billionaire-funded Institute for Government calculates that the Tories have completed or are on track to complete 137 manifesto pledges out of a total 237, with varying degrees of progress made on a further 75 commitments. This despite the effects of coronavirus…

The paper shows that on flagship promises like delivering Brexit, boosting funding for public services, and improving infrastructure, the government has made significant progress since the 2019 election. Brexit is over, an NHS funding rise of 3.1% by 2023/3 has been enshrined in law, and over £100 billion has been allocated for transport over the course of the parliament. The Towns Fund and Levelling Up Fund have also begun rolling out. As promised, Big Government is back…

The pandemic has caused a change of course in a few key places: initial spending plans went out the window, and there are now huge backlogs in the courts and on NHS waiting lists. Foreign aid commitments have been walked back, and a social care deal has been kicked down the road. With the next election rumoured for the end of 2023, there’s still a way to go…

mdi-timer 18 May 2021 @ 13:45 18 May 2021 @ 13:45 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Starmer Dumping 2017 “Foundational Manifesto”

Some time ago Guido predicted the death of Peter Mandelson’s Policy Network after Lord Sainsbury withdrew funding for centrist Labour organisations. Over the weekend it came to pass as the Blairite think-tank was merged with Progress, another wholly owned / financed Sainsbury project.* To bless their union they held a virtual conference jointly. Unsurprisingly the usual TrotsApp collective were spitting feathers after tuning in…

The primary source of anger came as Sir Keir told the small 55-strong Zoom audience:

“I’m not interested in focusing on manifestos of the past. I’m interested in focusing on the manifestos of the future, based on the values of our Labour Party”

Starmer won the 2020 leadership by, in the words of Owen Jones, “promising to preserve radical policies”, something he’s now “dumping”. John McDonnell also took to Twitter, reminding viewers that the same Keir Starmer who “today dumped Labour’s last manifestos” was enthusiastic for the 2017 manifesto being the foundational document of his leadership election:

Seems like almost all of Starmer’s 55-strong audience were hardline Corbynistas waiting for him to pander to a centrist audience…

*The Institute for Government is now the grocery billionaire’s well-funded lobbying operation in Westminster.

mdi-timer 17 May 2021 @ 10:49 17 May 2021 @ 10:49 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Institute For Government ‘Hope’ Rebel Bill Passes

A freudian slip from the Institute For Government’s Maddy Thimont Jack on BBC Breakfast this morning pointed to the less than impartial views of the organisation. It usually gets away with being presented as an “impartial” body…

“So what we’re hoping is, what we’re expecting in fact is that MPs will pass the motion today.”

It’s worth remembering that they are entirely funded by the fanatical billionaire Remainer Lord Sainsbury. Guido can’t track a single employee who voted to Leave. Director Bronwen Maddox is the former editor of Blairite mag Prospect. When listening to the IFG it’s worth remembering where they’re coming from…

mdi-timer 3 September 2019 @ 11:29 3 Sep 2019 @ 11:29 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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