Responsible Opposition

Is this a redefinition of ‘responsible opposition’? Starmer’s new year message, Here are my notes …

Here’s the speech,

The speech ends at 32.35 and is followed by journalists questions, which are mostly shit and looking for a bad headline but he does use the opportunity to expand on schools and nurseries.

And the words are on the LP press site.

It’s Ok, as far it goes. …

The press spin is that he focuses on families and parents. Why? Single people, old and young are also suffering furthermore, there is no mention of sick pay or redundancy pay and he merely opposes cuts in universal credit. But why exclude some people from support during a pandemic.

There’s no mention in the speech of the education fuck ups, of closing them late and the exams, presumably partly because his fingerprints are on these decisions although he calls for, possibly, closing the nurseries.

While he looks at the positive of rebuilding the economy and it may be premature but some signals from our borders suggests that Brexit will increase foreign good’s prices, may cause shortages and job losses but he’s closed that door.

He’s still focusing on competence not on corruption, but I like this quote

The government says it’s trying to balance the health crisis with the economic crisis. Yet we ended  2020 with one of the worst death tolls in Europe and the deepest recession of any major economy.  That’s not bad luck.  That wasn’t inevitable. It’s the consequence of the PM’s repeated delay and incompetence.

On the question of competence, I think we need to mention the “eat out to help out” campaign and it’s author, Rishi Sunak and the impact it had on spreading the virus. No stats from me today, but I assure you it did not reduce it.

I object to the cardboard cut-out patriotism, British science is global and Oxford research team is multi-ethnic/multi-national and again I ask if it will be possible to put such a team together in the future once the full impact of Brexit on immigration, professional recognition and student access becomes obvious. Platitudes about the best in the world always remind me of Steve Bell’s cartoon about the “best used kebabs in the world”.

After 9 months of responsible opposition, is this enough, should this be welcomed or not. In my book, it’s late, it does not rectify the errors on schools and the silence on economic support, the silence on the inadequacy of sick pay and statutory redundancy payments. It’s not enough for me.

I wanted to behave differently to the right in the Labour Party, to give him a chance to stand by his 10 pledges, to respect those Party Comrades that voted for him, but I lost confidence before Xmas and this speech and the policy direction is all orthogonal to his and the PLP’s position on immigration and Human Rights which is also shite.

Part two of this will probably come later today when Anneliese Dodds gives the Mais Lecture, this is previewed in the Financial Times (paywall). They say that she will,

 …  call for a ‘responsible fiscal framework’ based on ‘pragmatism, not dogmatism’  … [and] … signal … that the Labour party is backing away from the hard-left economic policies of former leader Jeremy Corbyn, seeking instead to fight the Conservatives on economic competence and protecting the UK’s recovery from the damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It’s all very disappointing although not unexpected. I wonder who the visionary that plans this stuff is?

 

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