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Why Starmer will be dragged to the Left Labour will have no choice but to be radical

A quiet radical? Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

A quiet radical? Ian Forsyth/Getty Images


June 7, 2024   5 mins

During the 1979 election, the outgoing Labour Prime Minister, Jim Callaghan, noted a “sea change” propelling Margaret Thatcher to power. Callaghan declared despairingly to a senior adviser that there was nothing he could do about it. The ideological tides were unstoppable. His views on the role of the state, how to govern, were out of step with the times. He duly foundered.

Four decades on, and those mighty currents have turned, this time against a Conservative Prime Minister. He has been left powerless against them.

There’s a key difference between now and the Seventies, though. Back in 1975, when Thatcher became leader of her party, she wasn’t just moving with the tide; she was generating ideological currents of her own. Amid the economic and industrial chaos of the decade, she highlighted the failings of the corporate state under both Labour and Conservative governments — and came up with her own alternative vision from the radical Right. The state was not working so she would liberate the people from the state. This was the essence of her introductory message to the Conservatives’ 1979 election manifesto.

But in stark contrast with 1979, those whom the tides should favour — Starmer and his shadow chancellor, Rachel Reeves — dare not seek to define themselves ideologically against their opponents. Instead, they see the main dividing line in this election as being “stability versus chaos”: the most safely apolitical pitch it is possible to make. Who, after all, would vote for instability? And in the same breath, they reassure that “stability is change”, which is a promise of everything and nothing.

All things considered, it is an extremely limited pitch given our current political and economic climate. Current orthodoxies and assumptions shared across the political spectrum are almost the reverse of those that prevailed in the late Seventies. The financial crash, pandemic and soaring energy prices have transformed the state from villain into a far more benevolent actor — one to which voters and institutions increasingly turned. Amid such an ideological rebalancing, it is hard for Thatcher’s disciples such as Rishi Sunak to flourish. The current PM is not useless, but like Callaghan, his convictions are increasingly outdated.

Looking back, our recent Tory politicians have sensed the turning of the tide. On becoming Prime Minister, in 2016, Theresa May declared that it was “time to recognise the good the state can do”. Thatcher would have rather swam the Channel than make such a proclamation. May also spoke of the need to intervene in markets and sought a new industrial strategy. Her successor, Boris Johnson, claimed to be a “Rooseveltian”, a big spender like the US president. A confused Keynesian, Johnson initiated “Levelling up”, was an enthusiast for HS2 as an engine of economic growth, and increased National Insurance to pay for his vaguely defined plan for social care. During her fleeting tenure, the “small state” advocate, Liz Truss, hosed a fortune on subsidising fuel bills. Even Sunak, the self-declared Thatcherite, instinctively well to the Right of May and Johnson, was forced to raise taxes to prevent public services from collapsing altogether, and has since committed to spending more on defence, proposed a return to National Service and become an inadvertent advocate of a more active state. Currents have been nudging all our recent Prime Ministers to the Left.

Nigel Farage, in spite of himself, is swimming in the same direction. His obsessive focus on migration has forced him to become an inadvertent Bennite, who in the early Eighties argued in favour of import controls to boost the wages of British workers. Since announcing he was standing as an MP, Farage has acknowledged that his plans for curbing immigration would create labour shortages, adding defiantly that this was good news for British employees who would enjoy higher wages. The populist Right-winger, full of incoherent contradictions, leaps to the Left.

This is the background against which Starmer and Reeves will make their modest appeal. If the polls are right, they will win big, but only secure the narrowest of mandates. Their model is the New Labour victory in 1997, when, for all Tony Blair’s charisma and vision of “a young Britain
 a Britain reborn”, he only really dared pose a safely technocratic division: “competence versus incompetence”.

The underlying ideological dividing lines in 1997 also seem eerily familiar now. According to New Labour there was to be no longer a debate about high spending and low spending, but between “productive spending and unproductive spending”. We were told to forget about “high versus low taxation” — all that mattered was “fair versus unfair taxation”.

When Reeves became shadow chancellor, one of her first conversations was with Gordon Brown. The former Iron Chancellor told her that, above all else, she must ensure that every pledge is fully costed and that she must exert an iron discipline on the shadow cabinet not to utter a word that implies a spending rise. She has followed his advice to the letter, with a little Brownite sprinkle of tiny but popular tax rises and a commitment to seemingly formidable fiscal rules.

“Labour will move to the Left because they will have no choice but to do so.”

But there the New Labour similarities fade. Starmer’s background — the son of a toolmaker who could not always pay the bills — leads him to back a package of employment rights that Blair and Brown would not have touched, as they hailed the UK’s flexible labour markets. It’s the same with his nod to public ownership with the proposed national energy company and the railways — neither of which Labour in 1997 would have touched. Starmer’s unyielding commitment to international law also means he opposed the Rwanda scheme without qualification, which New Labour would have cautiously kicked into the long grass with a “review” into whether or not the experiment was working. On the whole, “Starmerism” such as it is, can be simply explained as a ferociously competitive will to win by following timidly those who have won before, stiffened with a few strongly held convictions born of his upbringing and life outside politics.

In 1991, the former chancellor, Nigel Lawson, observed “the party that wins the battle of ideas wins elections. The Conservatives are still winning the battle of ideas and will win the next election.” At the time of the speech Labour was well ahead in the polls. And less than a year later, the Conservatives won a fourth successive term.

In 1992, the assumptions and orthodoxies were almost the reverse of now. Since Thatcher’s privatisations were seen as triumphant, John Major doubled down and privatised the railways. He also kept a tight lid on spending, hailed tax cuts and warned against “tax bombshells”. When Labour leader Neil Kinnock tried to argue that the state could be an agent of “freedom”, he might as well have been speaking Latin.

This was the backdrop as Blair and Brown made their cautious moves towards victory in 1997. In interviews, the main test was whether they were as deadly serious as they claimed to be about sticking to Tory spending plans and in their faith in privatisations. The approach was captured in an exchange between Blair and the wary centre-left shadow cabinet member, Claire Short, before the 1997 election. The Labour leader said to her: “Don’t worry Claire
 we will be more radical in government.” To which Short replied “You mean even more Right-wing”.

At the launch of Labour’s manifesto that year, Evan Davis observed that the message was: “Everything in this mansion is rotten. We plan to change the ashtrays.” This year, as Sue Gray’s leaked shit-list details, upon election the new administration will face the potential collapse of Thames Water, public-sector pay negotiations, overcrowding in prisons, universities going bust, NHS funding shortfalls and failing local councils. I’m not sure any incumbent administration has ever faced such an incipient crisis.

Voters are in despair about the cost of living, the state of the country and the destructive hopelessness of the ruling party over the past 14 years. But Starmer and his advisers, leading the polls so decisively, are so obsessed about “not being Jeremy Corbyn” that they opt for a minimal programme and a technocratic analysis of what has gone wrong. They have gone for the new ashtrays option.

But new ashtrays aren’t going to cut it. The mansion is going to need to be gutted and rebuilt. As Paul Johnson from the Institute for Fiscal Studies has insisted, taxes will have to rise — and Reeves is an assiduous follower of Johnson’s words.

A Starmer government, then, will move to the Left not because they have hidden plans to do so. They do not. They will move to the Left because they will have no choice but to do so. There is a sea change and there is nothing they can do about it. In the same way that May, Johnson, Truss and Sunak discovered, when the tide turns, and there’s a sea change, there is nothing much you can do about it.


Steve Richards presents a weekly podcast, Rock N Roll Politics. His latest book is Turning Points: Crisis and Change in Modern Britain, published by Macmillan.

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Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
11 days ago

An entire piece built on a crass misreading of the state of our State. It has collapsed and is on fire. There is nothing to build on. To airily presume it has the capacity under Starmer to overcome the bitter fruits of 30 years of a leftist progressive New Order is simply absurd. An uncontrolled unplanned 10 million mass population influx has crashed all our public services, broken our health system and created a new second layer of welfare dependency. Lockdown and the QE mismanagement has crashed public finances and drowned both the State and economy in debt. Educational standards has been permanently debased on the alter of Blairite social engineering. And to cap it all, the Starmerite Progressives are still wedded to the kamikaze Pol Pot esque EU Net Zero degrowth energy strategy that will suffocate enterprise and saddle us with permanently high energy costs. This failed Progressive State has botched Grand Strategy on energy, migration/population, assimiliation, education and property for 20 years. It has outlawed the very idea of meritocracy and is stuffed with an army of mediocre wfh equality hires. In what world does this bankrupt State and its failed permanent technocrats offer ANY hope of progress and an end to crisis? The blank manifestos and blank scared faces of the defeated Fake Tories and the clueless Fake True Tory of Labour tells it how it is in the real world.

Deb Grant
Deb Grant
11 days ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

It’s really about Brits ourselves – We’ve got the politicians we deserve.
It’s our unrealistic expectations, our unwillingness to accept reality: that, global happenings affect us beyond Government’s control, and that success comes from hard work, not a high level of dependence on other peoples tax payments.
We’ve taught younger generations to expect more for less through our craven news outlets and we’ve pandered to their naive wishes on the environment, equality, and ‘work life balance’.
We should be working out what Western kids need to do in direct competition with more driven and industrious emerging nations’ young, and what to do when those nations’ living standards rise and deny us cheap labour.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
11 days ago
Reply to  Deb Grant

Yes. Hedonism, laziness, rentier economics, a superfluity of useless and expensive education, reliance on skilled and unskilled immigrants for labour, imports for goods and services, social security for the poor and the US for defense. It’s a wonder we exist as a nation at all.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
11 days ago
Reply to  Deb Grant

I agree with much of what you say about the problems with Western kids. But the sickly culture of entitlement, greviance and victimhood is the direct result of the Progressive State. An obsession with human rights – the Me not We society – and the equality/anti discriminatory mania they have been drenched in via our laws and popular culture/media ,-is the cause of the problem and is hardwired into the modern progressive state. It was not there in the 1980s. And now we are set to hand the baton to a set of identitarian zealots who will further reinforce this credo. No society deserves this system.

David Morley
David Morley
10 days ago
Reply to  Deb Grant

success comes from hard work, not a high level of dependence on other peoples tax payments

True, all other things being equal. But they aren’t equal are they? Many people in Britain (60% I believe) are so unadventurous that they have failed to put more than 15 mins between themselves and mum. They basically live where they grew up. In places where house prices have risen especially high they have prospered. With the same mentality, and born somewhere else, they would not.

I’ve lived around the U.K., and currently live in a well off bubble which is famous for its lack of work ethic, in fact laziness and aversion to hard work, where complete dumplings have flashy cars, and where arranging a meeting for a Friday afternoon is considered a faux pas. It’s lovely to be honest – but hard to believe the prosperity is down to hard work.

Last edited 10 days ago by David Morley
Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
10 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

It’s entirely understandable that people should want to stay close to family. Family is the only wealth that many people have, and whom they can rely on if they experience hard times. And there’s also the care and welfare of disabled/elderly family members to take into account.
I’m intrigued as to which area of the UK is both wealthy and lacking in a work ethic. London or the south east, I’m assuming. I live in the north west which definitely doesn’t meet those criteria.

David Morley
David Morley
10 days ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

First para – that wasn’t my point though.

Second – no, it is definitely not the north west!

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
10 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

It’s down to artificially inflated house prices.

Andrew Fisher
Andrew Fisher
10 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

What’s wrong with living close to where you were brought up?. I presume then you in favour of mass immigration….

This is an absurd caricature of most British people. The people that work actually work fairly long hours all be it not very productively but that is not principally a matter of individual effort.

Last edited 10 days ago by Andrew Fisher
David Morley
David Morley
10 days ago
Reply to  Andrew Fisher

None of which is my point. Read the thread.

0 0
0 0
11 days ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

30 years of what?! More likely 40 years of small state nĂ©olibĂ©ralism which has destroyed everything in pursuit of shareholder value. . But finally most people have recognised that a good life for them depends on a framework which supports good lives for everyone. Things are going to change fundamentally now because of that shared understanding as well as the ruinous objective ones. There’s a new national common purpose emerging and Special interests will be relegated to the margins.

Peter B
Peter B
11 days ago
Reply to  0 0

You think we’ve had a small state at any point in the last 40 years ?
We’ve basically had ever rising taxes with more laws and regulations and its got more difficult and more expensive to do most things.
There is certainly not a new national common purpose emerging. And I can guarantee you that there’s a feeding frenzy on the way for a whole load of special interests. They’ll be different special interests than those of the past few year. But special interests nonetheless.
You’re going to be sadly disappointed by what’s in store. Unless, of course, you’re one of the new in group of special interests.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
10 days ago
Reply to  0 0

I think you’re guilty of more than a little wishful thinking here.

Labour have already stated quite emphatically that they’re not going to tamper with the basic mechanism whereby productive activity is taxed in order to reward the rent-seeking of the property-owning middle class. The ongoing upward transfer of wealth turbo-charged by Gordon Brown will continue uninterrupted by Starmer and Reeves. The debt will increase, the over-regulation and over-taxation of the small businesses that provide the employment will continue and the freeloaders will get fatter, just as they did under Blair.

Stop kidding yourself.

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
10 days ago
Reply to  0 0

I wish I shared your optimism. But I fear you are deluded and therefore doomed to be disappointed if you think there is a ‘new national common purpose emerging and Special interests will be relegated to the margins.’
I can’t see any evidence of it. Certainly not amongst the existing political parties.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
10 days ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

A typically robust evisceration of this feeble centrist dad nonsense WM. The only point I would make is that, because more than 60% of the working population is now employed in small business, the election of a government consisting entirely of state apparatchiks with zero knowledge or experience of any kind of entrepreneurial activity is a cast-iron guarantee of failure – even if the catastrophic mess you describe didn’t already exist.

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
10 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

100%. One MP who worked in marketing for a bank if we are lucky. The rest? Armies of diverse positive political researchers, local councillors, nurses and charity/NGO workers. Lockdown revealed the existence of an alarming nasty distaste for the private sector in this greedy public/,Third Sector swarm…wealth creation is after all a hostile discriminatory practice. We refuse to acknowledge this deep rift. But it is there. They are a class apart, superior in their ideological devotion to eco nuttery and twisted equality – their own wealth generated and protected by taxpayer tithe gold plated pensions and the exploitation of uncontrolled mass migration to warp/super boost the London property market bubble. SMEs beware. They are not just ignorant. They and the rapacious ruling progressive Blob they will join in power are seriously hostile to you.

David Morley
David Morley
10 days ago
Reply to  Walter Marvell

I know – neoliberalism would have been a smashing success if it wasn’t for all those eco nut nurses etc joining the ruling class. I bet it was them who deliberately brought about the financial crash too, and deliberately spread Covid 
..

Peter B
Peter B
11 days ago

It’s a long time since I’ve taken Steve Richards seriously.
There’s no reason to change now:
“The financial crash, pandemic and soaring energy prices have transformed the state from villain into a far more benevolent actor — one to which voters and institutions increasingly turned.”
Typical wishful thinking.
Financial crash : poor regulation was the root cause – government/regulators at fault
Pandemic : government created as many problems as it solved here
Soaring energy prices : A direct result of Ed Miliband’s Climate Change Act and everything that followed. Government caused the problem !
As for the delusions that Labour will prove competent or have “won the battle of ideas” … the current battle is for who has the fewest ideas and can make the least commitments.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

That quote caught my attention as well. On what planet has the state become perceived as benevolent.

Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
10 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Well, in the UK the state lavishes care, attention and unearned wealth on a majority of the population – most of us are net recipients of its largesse, particularly the old folks. This is paid for by mass immigration and debt. Essentially, our governments have been selling our country by the yard in order to buy boomer votes. That’s why they are perceived as benevolent.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
11 days ago

This year, as Sue Gray’s leaked shit-list details, upon election the new administration will face the potential collapse of Thames Water, public-sector pay negotiations, overcrowding in prisons, universities going bust, NHS funding shortfalls and failing local councils.
“Everything the state is doing it’s failing miserably at; the solution is to do more.”

AC Harper
AC Harper
11 days ago

But the go-to solution of throwing more of the electorates money at the problems is a non-starter. And no Party fighting grimly for the moderate centre is going to be brave enough to take the necessary corrective actions. So things will only get worse.

j watson
j watson
11 days ago
Reply to  AC Harper

To some degree I’m sure we agree ACH. They can’t be chucking money around we don’t have.
Nonetheless as just one reality they have to face v shortly – what would you do now to resolve the Thames Water debacle?

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
10 days ago
Reply to  j watson

It’s not only Thames Water that’s in trouble. All the water companies are plotting to see how much more of our hard earned money they’re going to be able to get away with stealing from us in order to reward their feckless managers and investors for services definitely not provided.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
10 days ago
Reply to  j watson

Renationalise it and don’t compensate anybody.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
10 days ago

The nationalised entities would face the same infrastructure problems and the whole shebang would cost the taxpayers even more.

Last edited 10 days ago by nadnadnerb
j watson
j watson
10 days ago

Yes they’d face the same infrastructure problems but we wouldn’t have ÂŁ72B paid in dividends to shareholders as had happened last two decades. Could have done alot with that couldn’t we?
But as it is your recommendation does require State intervention, which is kind of where this mini-discussion started.

j watson
j watson
11 days ago

What would you do Hipster? Just pick one and outline.
Critique and throw away comment is the easy bit.

Andrew R
Andrew R
11 days ago
Reply to  j watson

JW, You do it all the time.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 days ago
Reply to  Andrew R

You can start by cutting 20% of the bureaucracy and using that money to cut taxes.

j watson
j watson
11 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Which bureaucracy?
Additional border and goods checks related to Brexit perhaps?
Don’t doubt some bureaucracy trimming poss, but 20% of what?

j watson
j watson
11 days ago
Reply to  Andrew R

Quick one especially for you AR – immediately get rid off shed loads of additional bureaucracy generated by Brexit, also acquiring a reasonable ‘business bounce’ as a result, and use those additional tax receipts to start tackling some of these problems.
Smaller one, but worthwhile – chop the House of Lords by 75% and liberate all the associated costs/expenses. Peanuts really but good signal.

Your go?

Andrew R
Andrew R
10 days ago
Reply to  j watson

I have no position on Brexit but if a Starmer elected government wants to pursue such an angle, I don’t have an issue with it. I can agree on the HoL, a major reform with a reduction in numbers. Admission based on professional expertise in the public and private sectors, and selected by joint party committee. The government can also stop funding parasitic NGOs, peanuts but it sends a goods signal.

I agree entirely with Peter’s comment below, if a business model is based purely on importing people then they deserve to fail, are you happy for failing business to be propped up with taxpayer cash?

Despite what you say immigrants do come with an economic and environment cost (especially in a period of so called austerity), around 7.5 million people in a 25 – 30 year period. Our taxes remain high, reduced GDP per capita, poor productivity and little innovation during this period. The law of diminshing returns.

Last edited 10 days ago by Andrew R
j watson
j watson
10 days ago
Reply to  Andrew R

Where we mainly disagree relates to the generalisations on immigrants I think. Some yes of limited economic value and may cost us more than we benefit. But it’s highly variable and I lean much more I sense to recognising that.
If a farmer can’t farm his/her land without migrants and thus it would fail as a business then perhaps that’s fine, although we need to be aware of the potential consequence for where we then source the products created, and for our land management. Nonetheless I take your point.
As regards, for example, Social care – it’s not so easy. This is a public need. If a Social care provider goes bust, or simply can’t staff their Homes or Homecare contracts where do we place those still needing care? Now if it’s families must help then that needs a national discussion and some recognition care can be a full-time job that would remove someone from the workforce for other things creating a potentially different problem. This is not straightforward is it.
We have too much net legal migration. The solutions IMO are industry by industry and not in big generalisations.

Fred Bloggs
Fred Bloggs
9 days ago
Reply to  j watson

Other countries seem to manage quite well with seasonal workers. Why does working in the fields for 3-6 months, and getting paid, for it, entitle someone to stay forever, along with their dependents?
The problem is the total incompetence of our administration and government.

Last edited 9 days ago by Fred Bloggs
Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
10 days ago
Reply to  j watson

Instant abolition of any job, department or institution whose title contains the word ‘equality’? Must be a few billion in that, surely.

j watson
j watson
10 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I’m not a million miles off agreeing with you on this, but it ain’t a few Billion, unfortunately.

Peter B
Peter B
11 days ago
Reply to  j watson

Let the bad universities go bust for a starter. There are far too many, wasting money and resources and starving private industry of labour. We’d need far less immigration if we sorted this out. And we wouldn’t be piling up a mountain of student debt that will never be repaid.

Andrew R
Andrew R
11 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

This has been pointed out to JW many times but chooses to ignore all of it.

AC Harper
AC Harper
11 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

Indeed. Many of the troubled organisations may be short of money but they still have assets and income. Where feasible legislate to enable private interests to buy and run these organisations. And if there are no buyers then the particular organisation was doomed from the start.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
11 days ago
Reply to  AC Harper

The privatised utilities are run by a bunch of spivs and shysters; the privatised railways prop up the balance sheets of foreign governments and are prohibitively expensive. The government printed money and gave it to the banks. The very wealthiest people saw their fortunes increase substantially without lifting a finger as a result of this. Where are all these titans of the free market?!

j watson
j watson
11 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

The obvious mickey mouse one’s we’d agree. Any others you feel?
We probably do need to switch more to apprenticeships so the question may be is there a net saving after we’ve done probably what’s needed? Would you have youngsters take out a loan to fund an apprenticeship or assume no it’s covered via apprenticeship levy including any day release at College etc? Plus we have to recognise one of our biggest income earners is overseas students and the money they bring into the country, so we’d lose some of that. Point being the economics are not quite as straight-forward as a knee jerk sentiment.

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
10 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

I agree in principle – but some towns are now economically dependent on the newer universities for jobs and businesses. Which means a severe and sudden economic downturn via reduced amount of business rates and less trade due to higher numbers of unemployed. Also overseas students are a main source of income for these universities, and they spend money in the local economy. Their student visas also mean they’re not allowed access to welfare benefits and free healthcare. There would need to be some strategy in place to help these towns recover and generate income from elsewhere.

Last edited 10 days ago by Eleanor Barlow
Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
10 days ago
Reply to  j watson

Stop paying the healthcare and social care costs of multi-millionaire boomers would be a good start. And spare me the ‘cash poor’ bollix. You can get equity release.

j watson
j watson
10 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

Essentially end the free NHS for many – good luck with that as a Right wing electoral weapon. Things have to be practical or one isn’t really engaging with the challenge.
As regards paying for social care – we generally agree. But suspect you don’t know much on the detail. Asset wealth can be pulled to cover costs until only cÂŁ24k left. The problem is more what happens then for those who had more in the first place and all those who need care but didn’t have asset wealth. Care Home costs cÂŁ1600 p.w as rule of thumb. Thus we’d need to strengthen the cross subsidy, so those with asset wealth pay a much higher price to subsidise those without. To small degree this happens already. You’d turbo-charge it. That’s fine if we get the support for it. Alternatively we hike Inheritance tax and use that, avoiding the problem with variable charge rates for social care depending on means testing. Short term has to be latter IMO. In long term we need to all make an additional NI contribution and for those of us already retired perhaps some of our pension wealth has to pay a small additional contribution. We’re living longer.
Complicated isn’t it. But what we need to get our heads round

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
10 days ago
Reply to  j watson

I agree with most that you say, and I’m a boomer but not a wealthy one. I would favour a real social insurance scheme i.e. you pay into a fund which is ring-fenced to be invested on behalf of the beneficiaries to pay for medical care. The problem is what to do with those who couldn’t even afford to pay a very modest contribution towards medical costs. The other problem would be who could we trust to run it properly, in the best interests of the contributors.
Hiking inheritance tax would be better than means testing for social care. Means testing requires a huge bureaucracy to administer it and guard against fraud.
The ultimate problem is whether there are any political parties who are a] brave enough to put forward proposals, b] whether we trust them enough to do a proper job and c], whether the electorate has now grown up sufficiently to recognise that we can’t have it all.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
11 days ago

I don’t see why restricting the importation of foreign labour should be characterised as “left-wing”.

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
11 days ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

That’s what I immediately thought.

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
11 days ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Historically, it is. The left was about better protections for workers whilst ‘Get on your bike’ was the call of the right. It’s probably the biggest example of how left and right have become irrelevant terms – people generally on the left have become in favour of economic migration, whilst people generally on the right have developed opposition to it, in both cases probably for non-economic reasons.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
10 days ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

Unions were historically always against importation of cheap labour, which is how they viewed immigration. That only changed this century.

charlie martell
charlie martell
11 days ago

Socialists have run this country since the late nineties, when, once settled in nicely, Labour started the politicisation of the Civil Service and the Treasury.
They knew they would get booted out sooner or later, but with that done, it wouldn’t matter. And it hasn’t. The March Through The Institutions is complete and no vote for anyone is likely to change it, though the appalling and slippery Starmer will super charge the drift to the left on all matters.
This “Tory” government is way to the left of Blair, even to the left of some of what Milliband proposed. This will not end well at all.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
11 days ago

All of the economic difficulties this country is currently facing are due to NetZero, the huge spending sprees and economic inactivity during the lockdowns. As Labour seems to be extremely keen on cutting CO2 with Miliband in charge, planing to interfere even more with the economy: “Things can only become worse”

This week Europe is going to the polls for a new EU Parliament, predictions are that there will be a huge move to the Right, and I suspect, that will also mean, that energy will come under intense scrutiny. The current enthusiasm for the switch to expensive and unreliable Renewables will probably slow down or stopped til reliable sources for energy might be found in the future.
But the U.K. with its wave to the left and new Labour Government in charge will become the country of economic decline, exporting much of its remaining manufacturing, therefore destroying jobs and making the country poorer.

Last edited 11 days ago by Stephanie Surface
Hugh Bryant
Hugh Bryant
10 days ago

Unfortunately the EP is a Potemkin parliament that has little or no influence on the mountains of regulation churned out by the Commission, so although there will be a lot of heated rhetoric nothing much will change.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
10 days ago
Reply to  Hugh Bryant

I know, but von der Leyen and the commissioners have to tread lightly, because also many European countries will soon have right wing governments and the mood is changing

John Wilkes
John Wilkes
10 days ago

The reason for Sunak’s tax rises (fiscal drag) are the covid lockdown and furlough but this is never mentioned. It hasn’t destroyed public finances by itself but has hastened that destruction.
Our national grid needs total renewal being sufficient for only about half of energy needs if we all move to electric cars (and drive the same amount). Even worse, we need it to be four times bigger if we replace gas heating with electric. This is in addition to new generating capacity to replace oil fired power stations. The cost will be staggering, if it is done.
The countries finances are not just broken, they have zero chance of recovery. These are just the sort of conditions (throughout Europe not just the UK) which historically have led to war, largely to distract the population.
Labour, the party of the state and the public sector, will take control for the foreseeable future and will increase the size and cost of the state. With a falling birth rate and increasing longevity there is no possibility of this being sustainable.
Is anyone planning for the future? No, they virtue signal, attack each other and waste time on pathetic non issues like gender or parties or anything which can distract from future problems.
I despair.
The west is doomed, beyond saving, and will not exist in a recognisable form within 50 years.

Phil Mac
Phil Mac
10 days ago

It is profoundly NOT left wing to be happy to see labour shortages produce higher wages. It’s the action of a free-market advocate.
I am an employer of many hundreds of people and one reason I voted Leave was to see exactly this happen, to see fewer people commanding higher pay and for businesses that invested in productivity (there’s the clue!) to see competitive advantage over the others.

Dougie Undersub
Dougie Undersub
11 days ago

Steve Richards gets somethings right but a lot wrong. Perhaps he didn’t write the headline but Starmer doesn’t need to be dragged to the Left, he is of the Left … very Left. His purging of Lefty MPs and candidates is just the Labour version of the People’s Front of Judea vs the Judean People’s Front.

Andrew R
Andrew R
11 days ago

Blair’s New Labour was competently incompetent, perhaps that the best we can expect from a Starmer government over a purely incompetent one we’ve had for 14 years.

Paul MacDonnell
Paul MacDonnell
10 days ago

Britain is facing a fiscal nuclear bomb. This is less a serious political analysis than a life-style piece.

Benjamin Greco
Benjamin Greco
10 days ago

Neo-liberalism has succeeded – for the big banks and corporations. It is quaint that people want to either blame Thatcher or Blair when there is little difference between them just as there was little difference between Reagan and Clinton. Both sides embraced globalization which has empowered multinationals that can no longer be reined in by a single state, they’ll just go where there are no unions and no regulations. So now, instead of the politicians controlling the corporations the corporations control the politicians who gaslight the people. There is no left and right when it comes to economic policy.
Wokeness is the ultimate form of gaslighting, a great misdirection keeping everyone enraged over trivial culture war issues, so no one notices that the politicians are doing nothing to actually help ordinary people.  

Simon Blanchard
Simon Blanchard
10 days ago
Reply to  Benjamin Greco

Totally agree. This more than any other reason is why we are where we are. Our political class works in pursuit of these interests (even if some of them are too dim to realise it).

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
11 days ago

There’s a bigger reason: the Labour Party is still the party of Corbyn even though Corbyn is no longer in it.

Alex Lekas
Alex Lekas
10 days ago

We have lost our way when it comes to self-government. It’s not about parties or ideological differences anymore, it’s about demanding that the state do things for which the state was never designed. It’s one thing for the public sector to be how we finance public safety, the courts, road and bridge building, schools, and other large-scale things that would be virtually impossible to manage privately. But govt today goes well beyond that, often with the approval of voters.
First, govt officials think we work for them instead of the other way around. Second, too many people believe that every issue demands a govt program. No, it doesn’t. The only thing certain about a govt response to anything is that it will be permanent and it will continue to grow, taking away resources that could and should go toward more important things. It is not govt’s place to manage the climate, to dictate the type of car you drive or your home’s heating system, nor is it govt’s role to grow itself.
They will move to the Left because they will have no choice but to do so.
How much further left can society stand? Your uniparty seems no difference from ours in the US. Here, the two sides differ on guns and abortion, but not much else. There, immigration is supported just like it is here. Increased spending is supported by other sides, with perhaps differences on how to spend the money, but more will be spent. That’s not how this is supposed to work.

Michael Lipkin
Michael Lipkin
11 days ago

There is no such thing as šleft” and šright” so the author started off on the wrong foot with the title

Richard Calhoun
Richard Calhoun
10 days ago
Reply to  Michael Lipkin

Correct, there is socialist profligacy and there is commonsense economics in fabour of working people

Richard Calhoun
Richard Calhoun
10 days ago

I think the author’s assumption that a radical sea change has been needed is spot on.
The sea change needed has been available but no one except Truss attempted it, and they did for her didn’t they?
GE2024 will resolve nothing, we will have a change of Govt in name only, the same socialist policies will continue, the Big State will grow ever larger.
Stagnation and inflation will prevail and another financial crisis will force another election.
it will be 2030 and 2 elections before we have a govt who will be willing to bring about the sea change that is so desperately needed.

Last edited 10 days ago by Richard Calhoun
Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
10 days ago

The only sea change that I could see Truss attempting, was to put even more money in the hands of the rich who are the only ones to benefit substantially from tax cuts. For the low paid, they only generate a measly few extra ÂŁs in their pay packet. It would have done nothing to stimulate the economy as all the money generated from tax cuts would have vanished into private bank accounts and tax havens instead of being put to the benefit of the whole country.
Truss was the archetypal dumb blonde and she got her just deserts.

John Riordan
John Riordan
9 days ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

That is a fundamental misunderstanding of what Truss/Kwaterng’s measures would have achieved.

The intention was not only to make existing wealthy people invest more, it was to increase the number of wealthy people capable of investing in the first place. They correctly recognised that most growth and job creation comes from the SME sector, and it is the SME sector they were trying to incentivise.

When I say “wealthy”, I’m talking about people who either have a small business or enough capital to start one. It is that sector of the economy that has been hammered over the past decade by destructive tax and regulatory policy and ruined incentives, and that’s what still needs saving now.

Last edited 9 days ago by John Riordan
Dylan Blackhurst
Dylan Blackhurst
11 days ago

I’m not a Starmer fan. But I do admire his and his cabinets bravery. They are walking into an absolute shitshow created by this current Tory govt.

I just hope his party doesn’t tear itself apart when in office.

I also live in hope that some of his cabinet are less stupid than I believe them to be. Yes, David Lammy I am talking about you.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
11 days ago

There’s nothing remotely “brave” about putting yourself up for election unless you have a truly radical agenda to address the real challenges of the 21st century. Instead, they offer more managerialism, which is what’s been bringing our institutions into disrepute, e.g. the NHS: and no doubt Paula Vennells considered herself “brave” by seeking to lead the Post Office into disrepute.

Can’t disagree about Lammy.

Last edited 11 days ago by Lancashire Lad
David Lindsay
David Lindsay
10 days ago

Son of a toolmaker, blah blah blah. Most people would assume the factory and the land to have been in Keir Starmer’s family for 100 years by the time of his birth in 1962, and his Sir to be one of those Victorian or Edwardian industrial baronetcies. After the First World War, those Liberal dynasties went two ways, often within the same family, and the Starmers, it would be supposed, became Fabians. A private school, but not one of those. An Oxbridge degree, if only eventually, although Leeds also has quite a posh side, both as a city and as a university. The Bar, which is always popular with that sort. A constituency named after two Tube stations. It all makes such perfect sense that there is no reason to look too hard.

John Riordan
John Riordan
10 days ago

“But new ashtrays aren’t going to cut it. The mansion is going to need to be gutted and rebuilt. As Paul Johnson from the Institute for Fiscal Studies has insisted, taxes will have to rise — and Reeves is an assiduous follower of Johnson’s words.”

Taxes – that is, tax revenues – aren’t going to rise. The UK is already over the top of the Laffer curve, there’s no more scope to get more money out of the system. Taxrates may rise of course, and I suspect they will indeed rise, but they will simply simply damage the economy and tax revenues will remain static or fall.

Last edited 10 days ago by John Riordan
Susan Grabston
Susan Grabston
11 days ago

Since we are well over our Laffer skis already, I guess we either settle.into stagflation or we become the Elton Johns of our generation.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
11 days ago

A very one-dimensional analysis.

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
10 days ago

I’m now beginning to seriously consider whether there is a political party to whom it is worth giving my vote. Up till now I’ve always either voted Labour or abstained [when Michael Foot was leader].
I believe in state intervention where markets have not only failed to deliver, but are causing harm. I’m thinking of water in particular as a] there is not a water market as we have no choice to whom we pay our water rates and b] the existing water companies are putting all of us at risk by allowing sewage to get into our rivers and seas, due to having channelled profits into bonuses and dividends rather than repair/development of the service. Yet no party seems to have water renationalisation as a priority or even as a policy aspiration at all.
Housing is another issue where markets have failed to deliver for the increasing numbers of citizens who cannot afford to buy their own home, may never be able to afford to, and are priced out of many rental properties.
I also believe that employment rights have moved too far in favour of employers, resulting in the state having to top up the incomes of those on zero hours contracts and low pay.
Now as if this wasn’t enough, it’s reported that Labour is going to include a commitment to recognise the bogus state of Palestine as part of the ‘peace process’ – whatever that means, and bearing in mind that the UK will likely not be consulted at all over any peace agreement.
I will never vote for the Tories as they have been in power for the majority of the years since 1979, and are only concerned about filling their own pockets and those of their donors. Labour may be the same but at least under Blair they did bring in some policies that benefited ordinary average and low income citizens.
The elephant in the room as regards the economy has never been tackled by any politician as far as I remember – and that is the UK balance of payments. We are importing way more than we export. Growing the economy in order to pay for the public services people want, surely can’t be possible unless somebody comes up with some credible strategies for resolving the balance of payments gap.

Last edited 10 days ago by Eleanor Barlow
Phil Mac
Phil Mac
10 days ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

You make good points about water but housing is entirely the problem of regulation and big Corporate interests. On pay I completely agree, except the solution is to use the free market; stop immigration and watch pay & benefits rise as employers have to compete for their attention. Remember when there were no haulage drivers after COVID? Pay more than doubled.
As for balance of payments, I couldn’t agree more but there the State is nothing but a problem. I have to claim some knowledge here, my firm is exporting loads more of manufactured goods into Europe, and growing really fast. It can be done it just needs those elusive qualities of good ideas and high investment and asking for no kickbacks from the State – all I ever wanted was for capital spend not to be punished versus normal cost, which finally was resolved three years ago. We’re unusual though, if I were in government I’d accelerate 1st year allowances to 130% or more.

Last edited 10 days ago by Phil Mac
Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
10 days ago
Reply to  Phil Mac

I’d certainly like to see immigration severely restricted if not ended altogether, but the problem is what do we do with vacancies in key sectors such as health and social care where there is a shortage? It takes time to educate and train people to fill those posts, even supposing that there were enough British people able and willing to fill them- and that salaries/wages were raised to a level which is appropriate. . The state could have a beneficial impact here by creating realistic opportunities for adult career changers to train but still be able to pay their bills.
As for housing, the only solution I can see is the mass construction of social housing so as to provide competition to force down rents in the private sector. This would return social housing to what it was during my childhood and youth – catering for a mixed population of respectable working and middle class, and no longer being reserved for the no-hopers with no resources to call upon.
As for exports, I’ll take your word for it re the need to increase allowances as I know nothing about the export trade other than our need to have more of it.

Phil Mac
Phil Mac
9 days ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

I’m not being trite here when I say that necessity is the mother of invention. Let’s say there was no migrant Labour supply for Health, here’s the kind of thing I’d do;
create more positions of lower skill requirement who can do a lot of chore tasks.
remove the demands for degrees in most nursing positions & go back to heavily apprentice-style positions where motivated school leavers could get into nurse training.
cut back on what the NHS offers, focusing first on the very basic stuff – accidents, bacterial illnesses, that sort of thing.
rig the tax situation to incentivize doctors & nurses to work a longer career.
charge for a range of treatments to try to put some counterbalance to the demand – not to harm but to skim off as much casual demand as possible.
That’d all just be immediate stuff, then you’ve got to solve the root causes of shortages though some of the lowering of entry criteria / promotion of early age apprenticeships would be part of that.
And finally, when the outrage kicks in I’d just say that I’m sorry folks but we can’t have our cake &eat it; as a population if we want this resource then between us we have to doubt, we can’t keep sponging off the rest of the World & taking medical expertise away from others.

Last edited 9 days ago by Phil Mac
Dr E C
Dr E C
10 days ago
Reply to  Eleanor Barlow

I’m in the same boat as you for all the reasons you outline. The SDP have pledged to renationalise water, build a lot of houses & pause immigration for a generation. They won’t get anywhere near power alas


Billy Bob
Billy Bob
10 days ago
Reply to  Dr E C

Beat me to it with the SDP. Unfortunately as you say they won’t get a look in

Eleanor Barlow
Eleanor Barlow
10 days ago
Reply to  Dr E C

I am also attracted to the SDP which I feel offers the most credible policies of all of them, and without being too hung up on ideology at the expense of practicality. But I agree their chances of power under FPTP are non-existent.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
8 days ago

Starmer is a Trotskyite 
 he always has been. He always will be.

Geoffrey Kolbe
Geoffrey Kolbe
7 days ago

Steve Richards’ wonkish excavation of political statements from 30 years ago is admirable, but with the greatest respect, Steve has misread the political climate in the UK.
The “sea-change” happened in 2019 when Boris Johnson won the General Election with an 80 seat majority on the back of extracting the UK from the EU.
That the electorate are turning against the Conservatives now is because Boris Johnson did not deliver on that promise of the UK finally able to do what needed doing to fix its own problems without being shackled by the EU acquis.
The reason Farage focuses on immigration is because it was totemic in the argument for Brexit and it is totemic now as a symbol of the Conservative governments inability and incompetence from defence, across the NHS, housing, energy, transport, and immigration – still!
The people of the UK want a competent government and they are frustrated they are not getting it. Frustration is not a sea-change, however Steve Richards wants to polish it.

David Morley
David Morley
10 days ago

In 1991, the former chancellor, Nigel Lawson, observed “the party that wins the battle of ideas wins elections. 

Not just Gove who read Gramscii then!

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
9 days ago

All Labour is interested in is Eurofederalism. The next 5 years will see a trade deal providing single market membership by the backdoor, while the next decade will be dominated by the road to a British referendum on the single European currency.

Martin M
Martin M
8 days ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

Surely the British people would not be so stupid as to vote to join the Euro?

TERRY JESSOP
TERRY JESSOP
7 days ago

Walter Marvell, that’s a marvellous, and accurate, description of the recipe for failure: kamikaze Pol Pot esque EU Net Zero degrowth energy strategy”. It reminds me of the Irish Google Maps directive, if you want to get to somewhere it’s best not to start from here.

Emre S
Emre S
5 days ago

Funny this is completely the opposite of how I see the coming future. The Left is both dominant and exhausted today – it just doesn’t look like the left of the 70s because today’s dichotomy isn’t government vs. private sector (or labour vs capitalists). It’s progressives vs traditionalists/nativists – and the progressives are at the end of their ideas.

j watson
j watson
11 days ago

Good to see Unherd having a column from this Journalist. Always welcome hearing what he says with his length of experience.
He’s probably right in his general theme. Starmer/Reeves, and Labour always more generally, worried how the markets will respond. The Mad Liz experience cannot be repeated. They have a v thin line to walk. It’s heck of a hospital pass they are getting from 14 disastrous years.

Peter B
Peter B
11 days ago
Reply to  j watson

Experience/length of tenure is not the same as wisdom.
His thesis that the country is crying out for more government and a bigger state simply isn’t true. It’s just what he wants. He’s long since ceased to be a journalist in the traditional sense. He became a full time political campaigner 20 years ago. He’s simply another politician pushing his own agenda who prefers to do so without the incovenience of fighting elections.
Another article this morning about Starmer ends with the question: “will he win by acclaim or default ?”. We all know the answer to that. People will be voting out of quiet desperation and not hope this time.

j watson
j watson
11 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

He did of course convey an opinion. Feels something in it to me, but maybe not to you. And that’s fine. Made us think, swop thoughts etc and you can’t expect to reside in an echo chamber PB can you?
Yes I agree that Starmer may win for negative reasons. What one can say is he detoxified Labour to make it even a possibility. Despite the shambles Tories made I don’t think Corbyn would win.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
11 days ago
Reply to  j watson

Fair point

Peter B
Peter B
11 days ago
Reply to  j watson

You’re my last line of defence from descent into the echo chamber JW. I think most of us are in danger there.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
11 days ago
Reply to  j watson

I wonder if another ‘note’ will be left on a desk in the Treasury?

Mike Downing
Mike Downing
11 days ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

Well spotted.

Socialism is OK until you run out of someone else’s money to spend.

j watson
j watson
11 days ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Like Michelle Mone then? Tory peer?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
10 days ago
Reply to  Mike Downing

Thatcherism is fine until you run out of other peoples assets to sell off

j watson
j watson
11 days ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

I doubt it. In many regards it’s now much worse though and things in a much greater state of decay than 14yrs ago. Plus wonderous decisions like Brexit added to the problem.
If all folks got after 14 years is to say ‘well we didn’t inherit much better’ it’s pretty poor. Were they in for 4 yrs something in it, but after 14 more than sufficient time.

Lancashire Lad
Lancashire Lad
11 days ago
Reply to  j watson

The Tories are very much to blame for failing to reverse the trends set in motion by the Blair years, not least opening the immigration floodgates. A plague on both their houses. However, the so-called years of ‘austerity’ with which the Tories at least tried to put a superficial brake on public spending was rounded on by Labour and those such as yourself who then moan about the Tories not doing enough to restore the public finances!
You couldn’t make it up, as the saying goes… except, you do.

j watson
j watson
10 days ago
Reply to  Lancashire Lad

And as it was by the IMF, that bastion of Marxist economics, who said the austerity was too severe and depressed growth rates and thus tax take lengthening the period needed to recover. Of course some on the Right think the austerity wasn’t severe enough, but the point is it’s far from just me or a few on the Centre-Left who contend it had a self defeating implication. The IMF criticising UK austerity…yes prior to that you probably couldn’t have made it up.

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
11 days ago
Reply to  j watson

It is a hospital pass, but so was the one in 2010 – 10+% deficit and 60% debt to GDP ratio (currently about 4% and 100% respectively – I’m not sure which is worse).

You could also argue that the current hospital pass is in no small part due to the hospital pass they received. Whereas in 1997 there was a surplus and debt of about 30%.

j watson
j watson
10 days ago
Reply to  Dennis Roberts

Albeit the public realm was in a dire state in 97, and in fact waiting times in NHS as long as now. But take some of your point too.
The worst inheritance was probably Atlee’s in 45, but didn’t hear them complaining too much.
14 years is more than enough.

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
9 days ago
Reply to  j watson

I’m not saying the Tories have been any good, they’ve been rubbish, in recent years at least (Cameron/Osborne were trying to deal with a massive mess and did OK all things considered).

Labour are going to win and it benefits us all if they improve things. But it’s going to be tough and I don’t really see what they can do. The public sector improved under Blair, but even though the economy was in a good place to start with the improvements still paid for by debt, most notably through housing – which is still dragging us all down now.

The old line about Labour just being ‘tax and spend’ was changed by Blair/Brown into ‘borrow and spend’, which is worse really as the problems take longer to become apparent. But that option isn’t open to Labour in 2024. The best that can be hoped for is that we have a little boom coming which will give them a tailwind for a while, but ultimately it’s a long hard slog ahead and few people are prepared for that.

Atlee achieved an awful lot but still got voted out, perhaps because things were tough and people had had enough, even though they knew the fundamental issues weren’t his fault. That’s how it goes – the incumbent gets the blame even if they’re not (entirely) at fault. It’s happened to the Tories and it’ll likely happen to Labour regardless of how good they actually are.

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
9 days ago
Reply to  j watson

I’m not saying the Tories have been any good, they’ve been rubbish, in recent years at least (Cameron/Osborne were trying to deal with a massive mess and did OK all things considered).

Labour are going to win and it benefits us all if they improve things. But it’s going to be tough and I don’t really see what they can do. The public sector improved under Blair, but even though the economy was in a good place to start with the improvements still paid for by debt, most notably through housing – which is still dragging us all down now.

The old line about Labour just being ‘tax and spend’ was changed by Blair/Brown into ‘borrow and spend’, which is worse really as the problems take longer to become apparent. But that option isn’t open to Labour in 2024. The best that can be hoped for is that we have a little boom coming which will give them a tailwind for a while, but ultimately it’s a long hard slog ahead and few people are prepared for that.

Atlee achieved an awful lot but still got voted out, perhaps because things were tough and people had had enough, even though they knew the fundamental issues weren’t his fault. That’s how it goes – the incumbent gets the blame even if they’re not (entirely) at fault. It’s happened to the Tories and it’ll likely happen to Labour regardless of how good they actually are.

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
11 days ago
Reply to  j watson

Another problem Labour will have is that a large part of their core support believe all the current issues are due to Tories incompetence and self-serving nature. And hopefully Labour will be more competent and less corrupt.

However, there’s a lot more to our situation than that, and disappointment is likely to be substantial. No chance of living off a booming property market and immigration this time

Last edited 11 days ago by Dennis Roberts
j watson
j watson
10 days ago
Reply to  Dennis Roberts

Yes the risk of disappointment is high which is why Labour appear v moderate in promises, sensibly.
I think the public increasingly ‘get’ no quick solutions given the mess we’ve got ourselves into, but they do want someone/somebody to bear the consequences for what’s happened and it’s obvious who that has to be.

Dennis Roberts
Dennis Roberts
9 days ago
Reply to  j watson

I think Labour are saying very little because they know that, these days, the world is all too ready to criticise and very reluctant to give credit. So just saying nothing seems the best way forward. Hopefully they actually have more substance and once they are in that will become apparent (ideally with a big majority so the hard left cannot grab hold of the rudder).