Until now, the most common complaint about Keir “Interesting” Starmer is that nobody knew what he stands for. It certainly wasn’t the platform he ran on for election to the Labour leadership, much of which was inherited from Jeremy Corbyn, and which was junked pretty much the day after he achieved power. All that would change, we were promised, with his speech yesterday in Manchester, where he would outline Labour’s five “missions” going into the next election. Sounds pretty exciting, if anything Starmer says can be called exciting. So, what were the five missions?
MAKE BRITAIN THE FASTEST-GROWING ECONOMY IN THE G7: It’s clear that this is really what makes what passes for Starmer’s heart beat faster. The stock market, economic growth, balancing the books: things which sound good on paper, but have little effect on the bank balances of ordinary people.
IMPROVING THE NHS: It’s said that the test of an empty slogan is whether you can imagine anyone saying the opposite. He may as well have said that he is against bad things and in favour of good things.
RAISING EDUCATION STANDARDS: See above.
SAFER STREETS: This one seems savvy in theory. Working-class voters are often the ones hardest hit by crime. But when right-wing politicians such as Starmer talk about getting tough on crime, they usually mean so-called “broken windows policing”, cracking down on low-level crime whilst white-collar criminals get away with a slap on the wrist.
AN END TO FOSSIL FUELS BY 2030: Finally, a concrete goal, and one that the Wessex Regionalists can fully get behind. Of course, net zero is already government policy, this just shortens the timescale a little.
This speech does little to dispel the notion that a Labour government under Starmer will simply turn the clock back to the ConDem Nation of 2010. With Labour looking likely to achieve a blowout at the next election, with the Tories obliterated, it is more and more important that smaller parties like us exist, to provide an actual opposition.