Sir Keir Starmer’s “Ten Commandments” to Make the UK Turn Left
He already said it Divine Giulio Andreotti, in a political formula that is as Italian as it is universal: “Power wears out those who do not have it. Sir Keir Starmer, lawyer, prosecutor and MP, took the reins of the British Labor Party a year and a half ago. He replaced left-wing veteran Jeremy Corbyn, who sparked fervor among disenchanted young people, skyrocketed membership, stunned voters with his Brexit double-stack, and ended up reaping a historic loss in December 2019 against the most humiliating of opponents. : Boris Johnson.
This same rival has managed to survive a devastating pandemic that he has handled erratically from the start. And he used the ravages of the virus to cover up others caused by himself: those derived from Brexit. The punches Starmer made his debut in front of the Prime Minister, in Wednesday’s House of Commons scrutiny sessions, surprised Johnson and boosted morale within Labor ranks. Leader of the Opposition – neat, razor sharp haircut; A sober suit and tailor-made fit – he has cornered with the curious scalpel of a former prosecutor a head of government more concerned with slogans than technical or strategic details of his health policy.
The mirage was short-lived. The success of the vaccination campaign brought Johnson back to life. The defeat of Labor in the municipal elections last May, and above all, the loss of the seat of the north-eastern district of Hartlepool, still in the hands of the left, once again cast doubt on the figure of Starmer.
The Labor Party is holding its annual conference next week in the seaside town of Brighton. This will be the occasion for the new leader of the formation to specify if he wants to be as reformist as Tony Blair, as radical as Jeremy Corbyn or as classic in his approaches as Clement Attlee, the prime minister who set up the British welfare state. after the Second World War.
To warm up the engines, Starmer released an 11,500-word manifesto, called The way to go (The road to follow) which aims to synthesize its political vision. Almost as important as the content is where you choose to post it. On the website of the Fabian Society, a British socialist movement founded at the end of the 19th century in which the roots of the Labor Party are to be found. Inspired by their name by that of the Roman general Quinto Fabio Máximo – who defeated the troops of the Carthaginian Hannibal with patience and harassment – the Fabians sought, in the face of the proletarian revolution of Marxism, a slow and stable arrival of socialism by reforms . Starmer has yet to see whether in the current policy of acceleration, the party – and above all, the still powerful vestiges of Corbynism – will have the patience to let it deploy its strategy of opposition.
The manifesto, full of vague and good intentions, looks more like a catechism than a government program. And, at the end of its 35 pages, it all comes down to ten commandments:
- Always put working families first
- Fairly reward those who work hard and play by the rules
- That individuals and businesses contribute to society, in addition to receiving
- That vital opportunities do not depend on the circumstances of birth
- Family and community, all that unites, must be placed above individualism
- The economy must work for the good of the citizens and the community
- The State must be a partner of the private economy, not stifle it
- The government must use taxpayers’ money as if it were its own. Current levels of waste are intolerable
- The government must restore honesty, decency and transparency in public life
- We are deeply patriots, but we reject the division caused by nationalism
Starmer has a problem with his decalogue of good intentions. All Boris Johnson was able to sign without blushing. The Conservative Party has erased any reference to the austerity of the past decade from its speech. Downing Street got into debt like there was no tomorrow. He raised taxes with a surcharge on social contributions to inject additional funds into the National Health Service, and reform the Dependency and Care System for the Elderly. In other words, he reassured the society of small owners (of a good) that is today the British society.
Starmer plays on a delicate ground, in which he does not want to walk on the calluses of the business world, he avoids at all costs resuscitating the specter of Brexit – he limits himself to criticizing his “sloppy management” -, he praises the family , the neighborhood, the community, the patriotism. And he accuses Scottish nationalism, as guilty, according to him, as the Conservatives, of the country’s climate of division. In other words, he’s playing on Johnson’s field. With the difference that the electorate is, today, more willing to support and laugh at the thanks of the gamberro of Boris than to take a leap of faith with the virgin Starmer. Legend has it that Helen Fielding relied on him – he was at the time a notorious advocate for just causes – to create the character of Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones’s Diary. As the subject would say, the husband to whom every mother aspires for her daughter. Many Labor voters, for now, remain loyal to the villainous Boris Johnson, even if he doesn’t look like Hugh Grant.
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