Britain: General election called – opposition Labour’s ‘pledges’ woefully short of promising real change

Keir Starmer speaking at hustings in 2020, when he claimed to support Jeremy Corbyn's manifesto. Photo: Rwendland/CC

Keir Starmer’s announcement of six commitments for an incoming Labour government fall woefully short of promising real change after over 14 years of Tory misrule in Britain. Adding insult to injury, Labour leaders claim it will take two full parliamentary terms to reach this underachievement.

The vagueness of the targets will make success hard to measure and is a deliberate attempt to dampen down enthusiasm for change. What does “delivering economic stability” mean? And how would it be achieved? By continuing Tory spending plans, i.e. cuts? Local authorities would stay starved of the necessary finance for social care and other essential services. The investment needed to start tackling climate change would e put off at the behest of the markets.

Labour has made it clear that it will attempt to reduce NHS waiting lists by relying on the extension of private healthcare provision, a wholly unpopular stance. The recruitment of 6,500 extra teachers will fail to tackle the problems of a massively ‘academised’ school system, increasingly geared to profiteering not educating. Unless Labour is prepared to increase public sector pay, it is unlikely to get enough teaching applicants or NHS staff to reduce waiting times anyway.

As infrastructure crumbles and public services suffer, people want real positive change. These pledges barely commit to delivering existing provision in slightly different ways, never mind the root-and-branch overhaul which is needed.

The sorts of things popular with voters are: a £15-an-hour minimum wage; fully funding the NHS and kicking out the profiteers; a mass council house building programme; and nationalising mail, transport, steel, water and energy. However, to deliver these pledges would mean taking on big business rather than cosying up to them.

Starmer’s Labour has no intention of challenging the capitalist system that allows the super-rich to accumulate private wealth at our expense. Created and supported by the trade unions, community groups and other campaigning organisations, we need our own party. A new mass workers’ party fighting for socialist change.

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May 2024