Excruciating New Statesman article tries to polish Rayner’s credentials but she’s almost as keen to distance herself from Corbyn years as Starmer – and all too willing to praise new leader nonsensically
A fawning article in the centrist New Statesman has tried to build up Angela Rayner’s prospects of becoming the next Labour leader, praising her ‘elegant’ stance as she smokes a cigarette, describing what she eats with her baked potato (and bizarrely her pride in a ‘robot extractor fan’ and in the large tiles on her floor) and quoting Rayner saying she’s so good at PMQs because she practises on sixth formers and that the Tories fear her because ‘I say it how I see it’.
The article shows Rayner as all too eager to praise – nonsensically – the party leader who has often been said to want rid of her, lauding a supposed ‘sense of moral obligation’ that has done nothing to prevent Starmer shredding all his campaign promises, waging war on the human rights and democracy of Labour members, sneering at the plight of low-paid bin workers being abused by a right-wing Labour council in Coventry or responding like a Pavlovian hound to support the Tories in their murderous handling of the pandemic and stand aside while they destroy our rights and justice system.
And it also quotes her supposed abhorrence of poverty, which it says stems from her own experience of it:
There’s a poverty trap in this country. [The Tories are] constantly suggesting that people are in poverty because it’s somehow their fault. The majority of the time, it’s not. I know that I did not ask to be born into poverty. I needed the levers of state to support me.
Rayner blames the issue on the Tories being out of touch and says it’s worsening because of the soaring cost of living and talks about the importance of recognising people’s ‘aspirations’, that word beloved of Tories and the Labour right.
But the article also reveals that Rayner told her sixth-form victims that she would not abolish tuition fees – a betrayal not only of the party’s 2017 and 2019 manifestos, which as a front-bencher she would have had input to and signed off on, but of the millions of people in this country whose struggle against poverty and to realise their aspirations is made far harder because of the burden of student debt.
A burden that she would see continue, by her own admission – just with a bit lower interest rate and a higher repayment threshold – instead of a return to the far fairer and saner days in which grants were available to ensure that the potential of this country could be developed without massive individual debts that then effectively double if one student sets up home with another.
Such an approach will appeal to those Tories and Labour right-wingers who imposed the burden on others, pulling up the ladder after they themselves had enjoyed the opportunity for a properly funded education and a debt-free start to working life.
But it does nothing for the millions who need a genuine Labour government instead of the sham now on offer – and no amount of talk about Labour being the party of aspiration will change or disguise that.
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