Left MPs react with disgust as Labour’s new leadership further destroys party’s hard-won credibility and gifts political narrative back to Establishment to the detriment of millions of struggling people
Labour’s lurch back to Blairism – and the trashing of Starmer’s leadership-campaign promise to retain Labour’s left-wing policies – has continued today with the publication of an article on the firmly-centrist PoliticsHome (PH) site by Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jonathan Reynolds.
Five years of clear leadership destroyed the Tories’ austerity narrative – and Starmer has been handed a golden opportunity on a plate to push the anti-austerity argument further after Boris Johnson was forced by the coronavirus crisis to implement much of what Jeremy Corbyn proposed.
Instead – and as millions face hardship because of lost jobs and income in the crisis caused by Johnson’s mishandling of the coronavirus crisis – and unquestionably with Starmer’s authorisation, Reynolds is pushing a right-wing ‘get out what you pay in’ narrative that would mean the people struggling the worst would be the most damaged:
Claiming that he wants to make Labour ‘credible’, Reynolds told PH:
I feel if you have made greater contributions to the system, there is an argument that you should receive more out of that system. It doesn’t mean that you will ever be leaving people without support or leaving them destitute. But I simply feel that that lack of a connection between what you put in and what you get out has become a major problem of social security and the political support for it.
This dire approach is strongly reminiscent of the political bankruptcy of Labour trying to out-Tory the Tories when Cameron was PM, such as the notorious immigration-controls mug or Rachel Reeves’ promises to be tougher on benefits claimants than the Conservatives.
Reynolds’s ‘connection’ would inevitably mean that those who have been in the hardest circumstances for longest are adversely affected – and left-wing Labour MPs were rightly quick to point out how close such an approach would be to the idea of ‘the deserving poor’ that the Victorians used to absolve themselves of leaving huge numbers of ‘undeserving’ in the most appalling poverty:
Starmer’s campaign promises to left-wing members have lasted about as long as it took to tear them up. Change is urgently needed before the entire political narrative is handed back to the Establishment to the hurt of millions of people already struggling desperately.
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