Hello. This is Sir Keir Starmer’s first real lecture as a Labor leader and, like many of his predecessors over the years, he finds that while he may wish to focus on shaping a political offer to the nation, he instead spends much of the week indulging in non-fraternal bickering with the left.
Sometimes these battles can be exploited by a leader to persuade voters that he is tough, decisive, that he is not beholden to unrepresentative activists, etc. unrelated to the great problem facing the nation at the time.
It’s not yet clear which of those takes will be the most plausible verdict on the 2021 Labor conference, but last night left-wing opposition escalated a notch or two when Andy McDonald left the shadow cabinet. , and today there will be a vote on a £ 15 per hour minimum wage (the cause that prompted McDonald’s to quit). Starmer does not approve of this policy, but neither does he ask delegates to reject it (which would be a lost cause).
McDonald’s resignation coincided with Jeremy Corbyn, the former leader, publishing an article with a particularly hurtful criticism of his successor. He says Starmer and his team “want to support … wealth and power.” Writing in the i, he says:
Elsewhere, our movement has started to develop ideas for how we are all benefiting from the unprecedented support that big business received during the pandemic.
We could, for example, take a public stake in large companies that received public support during the pandemic and use it to create a People’s Asset Manager who pays an annual People’s Pay Out to every citizen.
These ideas are the reason Labor members and unions are under attack – because they want to challenge the wealth and power of the few.
It also explains the dismal decision to shut down the community organizing unit, when we must be a vibrant social activist movement at all times.
So far this week, Labor leaders have shown that they want to support and not challenge this wealth and power.
There is another way forward, based on social justice, and in policies that the majority of people actually want, not what the establishment and its media spokespersons insist they should want.
Nick thomas-symonds, the shadow Home Secretary who gave interviews this morning, strongly rejected Corbyn’s request. He says policies like the plan to end private schools’ charitable status show Corbyn wrong. I will publish excerpts from his interview shortly.
Here is the program for the day.
10:10 am: Kate Green, the shadow education secretary, opens a debate on education. Wes Streeting, the fictitious Secretary of State for Child Poverty, ends it at 11 a.m.
11:15 am: Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, opens a debate on health and social services.
2.15 p.m .: Nick Thomas-Symonds, the shadow Home Secretary, opens a debate on justice and home affairs. This will be followed by a resumption of the economy debate, which covers a motion saying the minimum wage should be £ 15 per hour. David Lammy, the shadow justice secretary, will close the proceedings with a speech at 5:10 pm.
I expect to focus exclusively on work today. For the latest news on the fuel shortage crisis, follow my colleague Graeme weardenthe corporate blog live from.
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