Keir Starmer has 6 big pledges

POLITICO Europe

LONDON — Keir Starmer’s trying a bit of the old Tony Blair magic.
Blair famously unveiled a “pledge card” of key promises in the lead up to his landslide victory in 1997.
Starmer aped Blair Thursday by unveiling a credit-card sized handout — complete with a moody black and white shot of the current leader — featuring six core policies.
Deliver economic stability Starmer — and his influential Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves — have promised that Labour will be the party of “economic stability” if it wins the election.
Starmer’s promise to lessen waiting times for treatment mirrors Rishi Sunak’s own pledge to cut waiting lists, which he made in early 2023.
Underlining the challenge for Starmer, waiting lists have actually risen since Sunak made that promise, though the overall list has started to come down a little in 2024.
Set up Great British energy Another promise to set up an institution — rather than to ensure it actually does what it’s meant to.
Crack down on antisocial behavior Setting up a publicly owned energy company ain’t very Blair — but this pledge certainly is.

POSITIVE

Keir Starmer is experimenting with some of the classic Tony Blair techniques in London. However, are the Labour leader’s latest round of voter promises, a la Blair, up to par?

Prior to his overwhelming victory in 1997, Blair is well-known for having released a “pledge card” containing important pledges. Blair was positioned as the face of Labour’s centrist makeover and as a possible prime minister in an effort to solidify the doorstep offer to the electorate before the election.

Starmer imitated Blair on Thursday by releasing a credit card-sized pamphlet with six essential policies, along with a somber black-and-white photo of the current leader. Starmer stated in a speech on Thursday that the “first steps” announced today are only the beginning of his party’s goal to transform Britain and that there is “no quick fix to the mess that the Tories have made of this country.”. “.

The Momentum campaign group, on the left, believes it’s a small fry. The six promises “fall desperately short of the bold policies needed to fix the Tories’ broken Britain,” a spokesperson said, accusing Labour of lacking ambition. “.

POLITICO conducted an analysis of the six pledges to see how they compare and identify potential danger areas.

1. Establish stability in the economy.

If Labour wins, Starmer and his powerful Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves have pledged that the party will be the one advocating for “economic stability.”. A series of policies that they say will prevent the economic meltdown that greeted Liz Truss’ 2022 mini-budget during her brief tenure as the prime minister of the Tory party are crucial to this framing.

In the last year of a five-year plan, the party will implement a “fiscal lock,” which is basically the same as Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s present approach of making sure the amount of government debt is decreasing relative to GDP.

Adhering to the Conservatives’ “fiscal rules” puts Labour in jeopardy as well, since they guarantee that debt will not decrease and all current spending is predicated on speculative projections.

As part of plans to recover funds for public services through stringent efficiency measures, Labour has also announced the creation of a new Office for Value for Money, pledged to cut government consultancy spending in half, and promised to crack down on Whitehall hiring sprees.

The language of Starmer’s new economic pledge on the card is far less ambitious, even though he stated on Thursday that he still hopes to fulfill his earlier promise of achieving the “highest sustained” economic growth in the G7.

Voters don’t want to be hit over the head with numbers, a Labour spokesperson told POLITICO Playbook; instead, they want to know how you’ll handle it and pay for it. “.

The rating for difficulty is 2 out of 5 for achieving economic stability and 5 out of 5 for ensuring the steady growth that Labour so desperately wants.

2. Reduce wait times at the NHS.

Without a pledge to strengthen Britain’s beleaguered but wildly popular National Health Service, no political platform would be complete. That naturally manifests itself in 2024 in the form of efforts to reduce the massive treatment waiting list, which presently stands at more than 7.5 million cases.

Reducing treatment waiting times is a commitment made by Starmer, which is similar to Rishi Sunak’s early 2023 vow to reduce waiting lists. Despite the fact that the total waiting list has begun to decline slightly in 2024, waiting lists have actually increased since Sunak made that pledge, underscoring the difficulty facing Starmer.

In order to reduce waiting lists, Labour intends to offer 40,000 extra hospital appointments every week, including weekend and evening appointments. The party claims that it will pay for this by combating tax evasion, a strategy frequently employed by governments looking for a seemingly easy way to finance a commitment without raising taxes.

A 3/5 for difficulty. While waiting times could be reduced by Labour, the NHS’s issues are more complex.

Three. Form a fresh Command for Border Security.

Labour’s leadership is currently making a deliberate effort to appear tough but reasonable on immigration, having suffered greatly for a long time.

This explains the new, somber-sounding “Border Security Command” on the pledge card. To reduce the backlog of asylum cases, it is used in conjunction with a “fast-track returns and enforcement unit.”. Using funds saved from abandoning the government’s Rwanda deportation plan, new specialized enforcement officers, investigators, and intelligence agents would also be hired. They would be led by a former head of police, military, or intelligence.

Of course, establishing a new government unit is the simple part. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has discovered to his detriment that it will be far more difficult to get it to accomplish its goals. Without the dramatic deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda, which the government hopes to start in July, the Tories claim Labour’s plan lacks any deterrent effect.

A 1/5 for difficulty. a pledge to organize something, not to execute it.

4. Establish Great British vigor.

An additional assurance to establish an establishment, instead of guaranteeing it fulfills its intended purpose.

Despite Labour abandoning a symbolic goal of investing £28 billion annually in green projects, all the programs that the funding was supposed to (somehow) support are still in place.

First and foremost, Starmer wants to establish “Great British Energy,” a publicly traded energy company supported by an £8.3 billion public investment over the course of the upcoming legislative session. It would fund clean energy initiatives as well as other necessary infrastructure to meet Labour’s ambitious target of having a nearly carbon-free electricity system by 2030.

According to Ed Miliband’s shadow energy and climate team, the business will be founded within the first 100 days of a Labour government and have its headquarters in Scotland, the U.K. K. ‘s offshore wind powerhouse. Critics claim that it is a British ripoff of state-backed clean energy companies in Europe, such as Denmark’s Ørsted or Sweden’s Vattenfall, and has the patriotic appeal of the “GB” branding. However, those companies took years to establish themselves as major players in the global energy market.

According to Starmer’s interviews, increased domestic production of renewable energy will result in U. G. less vulnerability of household energy bills to shocks to the world gas price, such as the one that followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. It’s possible that he has mentioned a few times that the plans of GB Energy will remove Putin from our lives. That is the great hope for Labour.

One out of five for difficulty. Once more, the simple part is arranging the new attire.

5. Take strong action against antisocial behavior.

Although establishing a publicly traded energy company isn’t exactly Blair, this promise is.

A key component of the previous Labour government’s slogan, Starmer is promising a crackdown on antisocial behavior through increased neighborhood policing, harsher penalties for offenders, and a network of youth centers. Party leaders believe this will have a real impact on voters’ lives.

Regarding the substance of the policy, Labour has previously committed to increasing the number of police officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) by 13,000 in an effort to curb antisocial behavior. Accompanying this was a pledge “to guarantee that the community is engaged in determining the priorities for local law enforcement.”. “.

Starmer has attempted to emulate Blair by pledging to be a tough criminal, and his group feels that because of his previous position as director of public prosecutions, he is entitled to take control of this territory from the Conservatives. However, this specific pledge lacks specificity and a target, so Labour can claim victory based on whatever metrics it chooses when evaluating the promise in five years.

1/5 for difficulty, based on Labour’s ambiguous terminology.

6. Hire 6,500 new educators.

Education is another one of Tony B’s favorite things.

The Labour leader nevertheless included a very specific commitment to hire 6,500 new teachers in “key subjects to set children up for life, work, and the future” even though the issue didn’t quite make it to the top of his pledge card. The party stated that it will pay for this by removing tax breaks for private education, which the Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates would bring in slightly more than £1.07 billion annually.

scroll to top