‘Keir Starmer’s memory is scarred by the 1992 election when Labour was pummelled by a Tory advertising campaign which accused them of a double whammy of higher prices and more taxes’
Keir Starmer must bitterly regret ever mentioning the figure of £28billion.
This was the amount Labour had pledged to invest in insulating homes, green jobs and clean energy. The policies are laudable but putting a price tag on them was a hostage to fortune.
Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves insisted the investment would only happen if economic conditions allowed but that did not stop Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt claiming Labour’s spending plans would push up inflation and taxes.
Mr Starmer’s memory is scarred by the 1992 general election when Labour was pummelled by a Tory advertising campaign which accused them of a double whammy of higher prices and more taxes. The Labour leader did not want to go into this year’s election with a similar albatross around his neck which is why he’s scaled back the policy.
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He is fully aware the move will disappoint the unions and party members while further reinforcing his reputation for inconsistency. But, ultimately, he has concluded that is a price worth paying for the prize of economic competence.
This may prove the right decision and, if Labour wins the next election at a canter, the U-turn will be an awkward footnote in the story of Starmer’s rise to power. But there is no disguising the discomfort it has caused.
Many would have preferred Labour to take the fight to the Tories rather crumble when the featherweight PM decided to take the gloves off.
The task for Starmer is to explain what Labour has to offer voters when the Tories have maxed out the credit card and left the incoming government to pay off the debts.