Keir Starmer’s speech – the best thing since stale bread
There was another short-lived glimmer of hope in Starmer’s speech as well. That if he wasn’t going to bring our basic services back into public ownership, he would at least better regulate the companies that provide them.
Companies that cut corners, squeeze staff, restrict our ability to speak to a human, and load more work on hapless consumers, are not lacking in moral fiber – they are only following their legal obligation to maximize returns. shareholders. So when Starmer announced that he would change the legal obligations of corporate executives, for a happy moment I thought he was about to commit to imposing stricter legal obligations on them to protect no only profits, but also people and the planet. Such a change is a long-standing demand of activists and trade unionists. But Starmer’s plan was nothing of the sort. Instead, it was about making “long-term business success the top priority”.
In such a context, Starmer’s calls to work as “partners” will make no difference.
“Pride comes from work,” Starmer said, amid the heckling. But who you work with, who owns your job and services, not a breath.
Starmer’s speech was just the latest disappointment at this week’s Labor conference in Brighton.
Ghost Housing Secretary Lucy Powell promised giving first-time buyers a “first push” on new developments, and expressed some aspirations for more social housing, but said nothing on regulation of private rents. This means that the higher taxes imposed on private landlords will simply be passed on to tenants in England (although Scottish tenants appear to be better protected, under the plans of the new SNP-Greens coalition which Starmer today dismissed as “bad government”).
Ghost Secretary for Transport Jim McMahon said he wanted “public transport to be run for the public good” and Reeves promised “the biggest wave of internalisation in a generation” – but there were no details in either case. If their own boss can get away with claiming that when he said he supported the nationalization of public services, he didn’t really mean it, then hopes for radical change rather fade. Corbyn’s biggest problem wasn’t that voters didn’t like his message – it was that they just didn’t believe he would get it across. How can we believe Starmer – feel a sense of confidence and security in his promises – when this week he told us he happy to throw away his promises for political purposes?
Indeed, Starmer and his ghost ministerial colleagues generally speak of internalization only in the context of conservative donors and COVID contracts, leaving the distinct impression that companies that not donating to the Conservative Party doesn’t have to worry about its prospects for more outsourced contracts. After all, companies founded by men generously given at work during the Blair years.