29 September 2022
Labour or Conservative?
by Don Urquhart
The media tell us there is clear water between the parties. At last there is a real choice according to them.
Well it is Hobson’s choice. Kwarteng gave us a fiscal event for his short selling hedge fund cronies and the well off generally. What did he think of sterling dropping to near parity with the dollar? Well it’s not for the Chancellor to comment on the markets. If sterling had gone through the roof he would have been citing it as a vindication of his policies. It appears that the new administration’s grasp on truth and reality is as tenuous as its predecessor’s for which the Chancellor was such a ready and fluent apologist. Come back Rishi all is forgiven! Well perhaps not.
Is Sir Keir Starmer as clever as they say? It was difficult to find a broadcast of the Labour Party Conference. And what were the supportive media big hitters focusing on? Pippa Crearer and Jessica Elgot bigged up the singing of the National Anthem as a success because nobody heckled. I don’t know how they knew because they had professional singers amplified to drown out whatever mumblings were coming from the floor. Angela Rayner did some tub thumping but when they cut to the clapping faithful they generally looked as if their families were being held hostage.
The worst aspect of the Kwarteng package was the rapturous reception it received. The craven BBC, Mail, Times you expect to follow the party line but communications with Tory friends had me hearing things like “at last a true Tory budget”. They really seemed to think that funnelling money to energy companies and millionaires at the expense of people in dire poverty was the acme of political expertise.
Sophy Ridge had an interview with Mike Lynch, the General Secretary of the RMT. He was critical of the government’s plans to limit the ability of the Unions to strike. Mr Lynch said that if they could not strike they would seek other means of obtaining justice and when nudged by Sophy he said “on the streets”. And he did it in his very calm manner, as ever convincing me that he speaks truth.
Sophy also had on a Wealth Manager who advises the Tories, Frances O’Grady of the TUC and the ubiquitous Richard Walker, Iceland CEO generally wheeled out as the compassionate face of capitalism but on this occasion keen to get across the message that the unions striking was a big problem as were the planning regulations stopping him from opening a new store every fortnight. Among his concerns was an increase in shoplifting, which supports Mick Lynch’s observation that people will turn to illegal actions to survive.
I am told that the priority is Get the Tories Out (GTTO) so we should be backing Starmer, but every time he tweets I ask him “Have you apologised to Corbyn?” This is a prerequisite for me even to consider voting for him. Seeing the General Secretary David Evans make an attempt to deliver a rousing speech to those poor people whose loved ones were being held in dank basements reached an apogee when he mumbled that the party would be taking action to implement the recommendations of the Forde report. I have to tell you that the report’s recommendations are motherhood and apple pie. The nest of vipers in Labour’s South Side Headquarters is clearly revealed by the substance of the report. All the GTTO fulminations on Earth will not render Starmer and his coterie acceptable to decent socialists.
Then along comes the Al Jazeera documentary The Labour Files which puts flesh on what we already knew about the Labour bureaucracy’s sabotaging of the 2017 and 2019 elections using anti-Semitism as its blunt instrument. They have managed to flush the Labour Party down the toilet.
12 years of Conservative rule have pulverised our public services as surely as Putin has hollowed out Ukraine’s cities. Last week our 91 year old friend Barbara had dizzy spells. She called 111 who assured her that a GP would call her in the next hour or so. A day later no call so she was down to the chemists for some medicine she thought might work. Last night a friend with a history of thrombosis had worrying leg pains. 111 assured him that he would receive a doctor’s call by the end of the day. No call so at 6 this morning he called 111 again and they promised a GP would phone when the surgery opened. Other friends use private health insurance to queue jump and my wife tells me our friend should go to one of these private GP’s. And that we should start going private. I guess she has a secret trust fund. As for Starmer and his Shadow Health Minister Sweeting they are both recipients of financial support from American private health firms.
Andy Burnham gets upset about a lot of things but he surely has a point when reporting that it costs £360 to get from Manchester to London by train on a service which has recently reduced from 3 trains per hour to 1.
There are many other examples of the destruction of our public services. Kwarteng and co. might want to depict this as an Act of God whereas it is simply a result of 12 years of Tory government.
GTTO has its appeal.