With Johnson’s fall, focus turns to the succession. Already there’s a race to the bottom with a “Dutch auction” on taxes but with little explanation as to how that can be funded. Added to that’s there’s the more normal auction with ramped up spending on defence, never mind war in the Ukraine.
It just doesn’t add up other than through massive public sector cuts and austerity imposed upon the poorest, if not the majority, other than the wealthy. But when you see the combined wealth and the millionaire and indeed billionaire status of the challengers, it’s hardly surprising. Most already go private for schools, education and whatever else. What do they care about those who depend upon them, let alone those who work hard in them for scant reward?
But what of the opposition. What of those who would succeed which’s something that’s growing increasingly more possible, as Tory turmoil continues. Sadly, it doesn’t seem to be an opposition that the UK now has, but an ersatz version of the Tory Party. The prospectus of Sir Keir Starmer, even without the shackles of Sir Ed Davey, is looking increasingly simply Tory Lite.
Visiting a very successful manufacturing business in East Lothian last week I heard the now all too familiar tale of woe. Brexit has caused chaos in both imports and exports, as well as compounding all that with the skills and labour shortage. An opposition recognising the harm being done to our economy would be calling for membership of the single market, easing trade and allowing for movement of labour.
But no, the Starmer line’s simply a replication of the Tory mantra that’s brought all this down upon us. The alternative isn’t a change in policy, simply a change in personnel. Maybe they do have more integrity, though frankly It’s hard to see how a tailor’s dummy couldn’t meet that requirement. But on policy it’s a steady as you go with HMS Brexit and the catastrophe it’s wrecked.
In Scotland the Labour alternatives are equally woeful. It’s once again a replication of the unionist line with any differentiation being marginal. More devolution promised Anas Sarwar. Oh, hold me back. How many times have we to hear that? It was trumped by Gordon Brown in 2014 with the most powerful devolved legislature in the world. Yet, we’re still waiting, and new pledges are vacuous.
Topping all that was the pledge to abolish the House of Lords. Goodness me, that was a manifesto commitment upon which both Keir Hardie and the Red Clydesiders were elected on. But Labour governments have come and gone and all we’ve had is the likes of Lord George Foulkes or even Baron Kirkwood.
I was reading David Kirkwood’s biography recently. To be fair nothing can detract from his efforts in the strikes during World War 1 when Red Clydeside came to the fore. For that he deserves enormous credit. But as an MP he was never a patch on Maxton, never mind Wheatley or Johnston. But succumbing to the red benches as a Baron was a sell-out.
Anas Sarwar doesn’t even have that hinterland. Born into wealth and privilege, he’s continued that by sending his children to elite private schools. This isn’t even Labour lite, just Tory lite.