Will Hutton, the author of “The State we’re in” (1996), has written in the Observer, and article entitled “Ignore the detractors – Keir Starmer is a radical who can transform the country“.

I find this drastically over-optimistic; the demand expansion of £28bn over 5 years is not a lot and is less than we used to get from the EU’s Horizon. The Labour opposition, are flirting with QMT and have a dreadful view on policing, protest and a whole bunch of civil liberty issues, and that’s before we start on immigration. Even when they come close to innovative decency, such as on pre-crime, someone pulls them back. In terms of building a progressive government, it’s like Dave Allen’s journeys to Dublin, you don’t want to start from here! I look at the promises on constitutional reform, growth & energy, nationalisation and economic planning, demand management, workers’ rights and crime. …

Hutton says,

There are far-reaching ambitions. The overhaul of the British constitution to make the House of Lords a second elected chamber representing our nations, cities and regions,

In my mind, this misses the essential goal of destroying the elective dictatorship of a Commons majority, armed now by habits of emergency legislative schedules and a surfeit of secondary legislation; Starmer’s equivocation on PR leaves us to ask if he’ll follow through. Blair didn’t or couldn’t.

Again we have,

Aiming to have the fastest sustained growth in the G7 and to be a clean energy superpower are not throwaway commitments.

But these goals are non specific and no means are of achieving them are suggested, just as their ambition to create thousands of jobs in the NHS has no means of achieving them nor a schedule.

In talking about the failure to propose nationalisations, he says,

Neither can or should they be executed by the state alone, but, rather, in partnership with business, finance and workforces

and reflects on his 15 year old ideas on the stakeholder economy, which were good. I add that the socialist left need to answer whether we believe them to be sufficient as both of Labour’s wings are weak on workers control and a democratic economy. I think he didn’t go far enough but Morrisonian corporations aren’t what we need.

… it is part of the annual £28bn capital spending commitment on backing the green transition – not trivial.

Well? £28bn over a parliamentary term is less than Labour offered under Corbyn, less than the Tories spent on a failed track and trace and less than the UK earned from the EU’s Horizon programme!

… ensuring all workers from day one are entitled to sick pay, paid holidays and parental leave

But at the moment the Labour have no targets for the appallingly low rates of statutory sick pay, nor meaningful ones for the National Minimum Wage since Starmer chose this issue as a target in proving his courage and strength in facing down the left. However, the comments about workplace rights and a decent place to work is well taken and welcome.

there is the mission to halve serious violent crime,

Good, but, I should also make the point about Starmer’s Labour’s record on policing powers, spycops and Prevent, non-violent extremism and the Tory Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act which shaged legal aid, and the Nationality and Borders Act, neither of which he’s promised to repeal. His government is not going to be liberal on policing, just more efficient.

The flirtation with QMT suggests that they will be poor on public sector pay.

Nothing he has done suggests that he has the appetite to engineer a fundamental transfer of wealth & power. It disappoints me that, although Hutton is one of the last, yet another Blairite puts down his arms on Brexit. It’s more evidence that those who say the peoples’ vote was a plot to damage Corbyn’s faction were correct, although these critics underestimate the damage they did to the cause themselves.

Starmer’s radicalism?
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One thought on “Starmer’s radicalism?

  • 25th June 2023 at 8:57 am

    For some reason this took three months to publish. A couple of my fears have come to pass already.
    Reeves has said that they’ll reach a run rate of £5.5 bn p.a., and she’s pushing the sanctity of her fiscal rules and supports the independence of the Bank of England who is lead by an idiot, so say we all, inc. the FT (£) & David Blanchflower at the New Statesman.

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