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Labour Party’s first six steps for new Govt. Fall below the real demands


By Ben Chacko

LONDON: Labour's “six first steps,” the priority actions it will take when in government, are testimony to the shrivelled state of the party's ambitions as well as of it's long post-Corbyn march to the right. Voters looking for determined action to improve their circumstances and address the ills scaring society will look in vain.


On the , Keir Starmer's “first step” could well be mistaken for immobility. He pledges to be tough on spending and aiming for low taxes, without spelling out how or where the hoped-for “growth” is going to come from. Of his discarded green investment plan, Labour's last remaining proactive growth policy, there is not barely a whisper.


The last surviving element of that plan, the establishment of a publicly owned GB Energy to deliver clean power and cut bills, is welcome. But it is a very poor substitute for his original pledge, in his now discarded Labour leadership promises, to take the energy and water utilities into public ownership.


As it is, these fat cats will continue to rip off consumers and pollute our rivers under Labour much as now. Hiring more teachers and cutting NHS waiting times are both ambitions which will be widely shared. And it is of course true that the damage wrought by 14 years of Tory austerity on these and other vital public services cannot be undone in an instant.


But these limited first steps will exhaust the potential of Labour's highly modest revenue-raising proposals, leaving further and more decisive improvements entirely dependent on the economic growth for which it has no plausible plan. The two remaining “first steps” — cracking down on anti-social behaviour and establishing a portentous border security command are pure dog-whistle . These are not dividing lines with the right but a straightforward echoing of its politics.


Even Tony Blair famously acknowledged that crimes had causes which required tough action. Undesirable behaviour in communities cannot be separated from poverty, insecure work and eviscerated public services.


Nor is trying to outbid Sunak's Tories in cracking down on cross-Channel illegal migration — only a small fraction of total immigration — anything more than pandering to prejudice. It is not as if the policy proposed — “smashing the criminal boat gangs” — is original or a course of action that has not occurred to anyone before.


Then there are the “steps” that Labour does not commit to taking. There is nothing to address climate change in the list, for example, a startling omission. Nor is there any mention of the New Deal for Working People, the vital package of workers' rights which Starmer reaffirmed in talks with trade union leaders only this week.


Given that legislation to give effect to the package was supposed to be introduced within Labour's first 100 days in office that it is not now a “first step” must be serious cause for concern. The package overall appears to be informed by Starmer's assumption that the voters are simply looking for managerial competence in government and that being an alternative to the Tories is a sufficient pitch.


Briefing journalists on the “six steps” campaign a Labour spokesman revealed that the party's two core commitments were, above all, to prove they were to be trusted with public finances and strong on security.


These are euphemisms for loyalty to capital and imperialism, to austerity and war. Those overriding priorities condition the modesty of Labour's approach to everything else. Polling suggests he will get the chance to take his six steps and more, but it will not be long before it becomes clear that they are on a road to continuing misery for working people. (IPA Service)


The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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