By William Hallowell | Editor
Image credit: UK Parliament
If the Leader of the Opposition wants to stand a chance at the next election, he needs to climb down from the fence, drop the cringeworthy populism and kill the Corbyn rhetoric.
Invest in our NHS. Protect our NHS. Save the NHS from 'Tory privatisation'. These were the relentless slogans and catchphrases drummed into the public forcefully by the Labour Party during the 2019 General Election. The former Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, practically ran his campaign off the back of this idea that the Tories will ruin our nationalised health service and that it was "not for sale", even to the point that he revealed 'redacted' documents that supposedly exposed Conservative Party plans to sell off parts of the NHS to American pharmaceutical companies. In actual fact, what the documents actually contained were negotiations over drug prices being sold to the NHS from the US.
Despite having lost that election heavily amid allegations of endemic anti-Semitism and lack of will to carry out the 2016 Brexit vote - the policies on which were drawn up by Remainer, Sir Starmer, himself, for Labour - it seems Corbyn's successor is determined to continue his predecessor's legacy. Despite removing Corbyn from the party, and then once reinstated, refused to return the party whip, Starmer is determined to continue to predominantly campaign for 'saving' the NHS - but this is a Labour Party strategy that clearly doesn't work, and the public are the evidence.
Starmer is a centrist populist. He - as other prominent members of the Labour Party do not - represent the working-class. They are so far out of touch with their traditional voters, and the wider public, that it is hard to see why they haven't rebranded under a new name. It is hard to actually list a number of policies or reforms that Starmer stands for besides trying to portray himself as the self-appointed saviour on the NHS, as did Corbyn in December 2019, and in particular the nurses.
Following the Chancellor's announcement of the Budget, Labour's first criticism was that there was no pay rise for NHS nurses, who have worked tirelessly and selflessly throughout the pandemic. Starmer saw the outcry from the public and he took his opportunity to jump on that bandwagon, then the Government announced what the Royal College of Nursing union described as an 'insulting' 1% pay rise. That was the next bandwagon to jump on - the RCN threatened a strike, unless the Government gave nurses a 12.5% pay increase. Neither of which have happened, but since, the Labour Party's social media pages have been flooded with NHS rhetoric about how our nurses deserve more, which they do.
But is this really enough from a Leader of the Opposition? Perhaps clinging onto the 1% pay rise scandal would be expected from the illiberal, undemocratic Liberal Democrat Party, who are frankly irrelevant - but from the second largest party, the Opposition Party, it's embarrassing and pathetic. This isn't a party political attack on Labour - this an attack on a weak leader who sits and waits for public perception of effectively every single issue before announcing his opinion. If Boris was Leader of the Opposition fighting a Labour government, it would be just as feeble.
It is hard to understand why Sir Keir - and other leading Labour figures - are so obsessed with the NHS rhetoric. It doesn't work. The public are bored of it. Bearing in mind 'saving' the NHS was arguably the biggest policy of Corbyn's Labour in 2019, yet suffering an 80-seat majority to the Tories, says a lot about public perception and the priorities of ordinary Brits, and not the middle-class, Guardian-reading, liberal Londoners that Labour now represent.
Who actually is Sir Keir Starmer, and what does he actually stand for?