Labour Party promises to deal very well with issues - GulfToday

Labour Party promises to deal very well with issues


Rishi Sunak

It is not quite an iron rule, but political parties that have been in power for a prolonged period eventually run out of ideas, talent and energy — and can collapse into a spiral of corruption. The latest election betting scandal is embarrassing and damaging to the Conservative campaign because, although novel, it is entirely consistent behaviour from a government that brought us Partygate, among many other severe lapses in the standards we expect in public life. It is this sense of betrayal that is driving the national mood for change.

At the outset of the general election campaign, Labour chose this single word to be its slogan. It could not be more succinct, nor better capture the mood of the nation as we face the future. The least a country can expect from those in power is a degree of integrity. And when he became prime minister in October 2022, Rishi Sunak promised exactly that, declaring that the government he was to lead would demonstrate “integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level”. He added: “Trust is earned. And I will earn yours.”Sadly, there have been too many failures on the part of the prime minister and his colleagues to say that he did indeed earn sufficient trust to justify another term in office. It is only fair to add that Mr Sunak inherited an unenviable legacy. His party’s reputation for economic competence was destroyed in famously spectacular fashion during the brief premiership of Liz Truss. The mini-Budget she and chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng inflicted on the nation still haunts this campaign. As with Ms Truss, the reputation of Boris Johnson leaves an indelible stain on the government. The Partygate affair was a long, dismal tale, and ended with a serving prime minister becoming the first ever to be punished for breaking the law. He was also censured and suspended by the House of Commons for lying to parliament. Mr Johnson may claim that the bright promises he made in 2019 became undeliverable because of the Covid pandemic — but nothing can excuse his cynical, politically dishonest behaviour. Poor, so-called “left behind” communities that lent him their votes, and hoped against hope that he would rescue them and “level up” their towns, found themselves cruelly deceived.

The supposed realignment of politics that occurred in the Tory triumph of 2019 has turned out to be a fantasy. The “red wall” that Mr Johnson persuaded to trust him will return to Labour en masse on 4 July. Indeed, the whole nation seems determined to “get the Tories out”, with the backlash extending to areas of the comfortable South where Labour has rarely made inroads. The Liberal Democrats, still haunted by the coalition, have been partly reinvigorated as a vital progressive voice, while Nigel Farage plays the demagogue and takes his own bite out of the beleaguered Tory rump. The Tories are losing votes left, right and centre — and to abstention. No wonder they don’t know where to turn. Even in devolved Scotland, the mood is such that Labour is winning back seats it lost a decade ago. The SNP has let itself down with its own brand of sleaze, but the mood there is also for a more extensive and effective change than just sending another cohort of SNP MPs to Westminster to protest against, rather than influence, the actions of a UK government. Tactical voting will also restore the Liberal Democrats’ fortunes, and give voice to millions who believe in a very different kind of country to that of Mr Farage.So it seems entirely understandable, even obvious, that the British people look set to shift their allegiances on a historic scale, with all of the trends acting against Mr Sunak and his party. Labour, inevitably, will be the principal beneficiary — and will soon win its first general election since 2005. That the party should do so now is not simply a product of revulsion at 14 years of Conservative rule. It is also a testament to the remarkable act of statesmanship performed by Sir Keir Starmer in creating an alternative party of government.

This was by no means preordained, especially as he surveyed the wreckage left behind by the Corbyn experiment. Jeremy Corbyn did manage to steal Theresa May’s majority in 2017, but was up against what was, until now, the worst election campaign in history. He didn’t win, and Labour’s 2019 defeat was seismic. Things, to borrow a phrase, had to change — and Labour was fortunate to find a leader who knew what to do and got on with that job. Labour promises change and offers hope. In Rachel Reeves, Sir Keir will have a chancellor seen as sound on the economy, who promises to keep a steady hand on the wheel of the nation’s finances, after the wild lane-changing of the brief — but immensely damaging — tenure of Ms Truss and Mr Kwarteng. We hope their mantra will be to be compensatory and not too confiscatory. Sir Keir has been wise to steal the Tories’ old clothes and present Labour as the party of economic growth and wealth creation. But he has been wise, too, to manage expectations down.

The Independent

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