Only SNP Offer Real Change
Labour’s announcement that they are U-turning on Keir Starmer’s pledge to introduce rent controls in England if they won the next UK general election is simply further evidence that Labour offers no real change from the current Tory government.
In contrast, the SNP Scottish Government has already introduced rent controls in Scotland in order to protect tenants.
Humza Yousaf is absolutely right to ask the question – after so many U-turns will the Labour Party actually have any policies left by the next election?
This latest U-turn by Keir Starmer, only nine months after endorsing the policy, is just the latest in a long-line of walkbacks and policy blunders. These have seen Labour come to back Brexit and break their pledges on tuition fees, free school meals, public sector pay, freedom of movement, nationalisation, progressive taxation, electoral reform, reform of the House of Lords, devolution and Scotland’s right to choose our own future, as well as on rent controls.
Despite pledging to bring public services including rail, mail, water and energy into “common ownership” when running for the Labour leadership, it was clear by September 2021 that this was not going to happen in the case of the latter after Starmer ruled ruled out nationalising the ‘big six’ energy companies.
By July 2022, any commitment to bringing those other services into public ownership had been fully ditched by his Shadow Chancellor – with Starmer now at best lukewarm on the prospect of a role for the state in the rail network.
NHS Outsourcing to Continue
Another key pledge of Keir Starmer’s party leadership bid was to end the outsourcing of NHS services to the private sector.
By last summer, however, the line was that a Labour government would “likely have to continue with” some level of private provision.
Solidarity with Workers a Thing of the Past
Despite promising that Labour would “work shoulder to shoulder with trade unions to stand up for working people” under his leadership, Starmer banned his shadow ministers from being seen supporting strikers on picket lines last summer.
It was no joke, with former shadow rail minister Sam Tarry sacked for doing so, claiming this was for making up party policy in an interview.
A Full 180 on Brexit & Free Movement
Keir Starmer has gone from being a proponent of a second referendum on Brexit pre-2019 election, to vowing to “defend free movement as we leave the EU”, to a complete embrace of the Tories’ Brexit – making the return of free movement for EU citizens a “red line“.
Universal Credit Here to Stay
The problem-riddled Tory UK Government benefit was something Starmer initially promised to abolish.
This has now been diluted to “reform” of the system, though the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jon Ashworth has said his party “actually agree[s] with the concept behind Universal Credit”.
Tuition Fees Too
Another of the biggest U-turns to date, Starmer started out reiterating Jeremy Corbyn’s pledge to abolish tuition fees for students in England.
This was binned back in May, with the Labour leader saying he is “likely to move on from that commitment”.
Saving the Planet Can Wait
A 2021 pledge to invest £28 billion a year in green technologies was later watered down. Labour’s Shadow Chancellor has since said that a Labour government would only be looking to move towards that level of investment – and only by the second half of a parliamentary term.
The associated borrowing figures were revised down significantly.
Customary Labour Walkback on Abolishing the Lords
113 years after Labour first promised to abolish the unelected House of Lords, Keir Starmer continued the party’s tradition of recommitting to this before returning to business as usual.
Though Starmer has reaffirmed the pledge as recently as November, his spokesperson then indicated that the Labour leader may actually look to appoint new peers. Shadow Leader of the House Thangam Debbonaire has since confirmed that any plans to abolish the Lords will likely be dropped again because constitutional change “takes time and it drains energy”.
Top Earners Needn’t Fear Fairer Taxes
You would think the importance of this pledge would have been evident in its placement at the top of the list: “Increase income tax for the top 5% of earners”.
Instead, it’s another full 180 – with Keir Starmer now saying his principle is to “lower taxes”, and that he isn’t “looking to the lever of taxation”.
Universal Childcare ‘Not Labour’s Policy’
That’s what a labour spokesperson told the Guardian. And yes, that is despite the fact the Shadow Education Secretary previous told the Sunday Times that a Labour government would guarantee childcare from the end of parental leave until the end of primary school, NHS-style.
Caving to Big Multinationals
Pledged in 2021, a digital services tax plan would have seen Labour increase the 2% levy charged on the revenues of tech firms operating in the U.K. — the likes of Amazon and Facebook — to 10%.
But it only took some business figures raising concerns to see an outright ditching of this commitment too, with a Labour spokesperson confirming the party had “no plans to raise [the] digital services tax”.
The Rape Clause
In an astounding press conference, the Labour leader admitted that scrapping the Tories’ cruel and callous two-child benefit cap was not Labour Party policy.
In the past, Scottish Labour figures have branded the flagship Tory policy as “despicable” and “absolutely shameful”, which makes this not just another screeching u-turn for UK Labour, but a complete policy reversal for Labour’s Scottish branch office.
Labour’s latest u-turn proves that the SNP are the only party in Scotland seeking to deliver real and lasting change. Keir Starmer can talk all he wants about delivering change for these isles, but it only happens if you’re serious about seeing it through.
Labour must fully commit to abolishing the two-child cap and Westminster’s draconian rape clause – these polices remains just as vile now as they was when they were first introduced more than six years ago.
More than a million children are affected by the two-child cap, why are Labour choosing to side with the Tories rather than working families?
Under flip-flopping Starmer, the sad reality is that it’s increasingly hard to distinguish the Labour Party from the Tories.
While the Labour leader has thrown every progressive policy on the scrap heap, it’s the SNP Scottish Government showing how it’s done across these areas – enacting rent controls, providing free school meals, tuition and personal care, delivering the Scottish Child Payment, ensuring higher public sector pay, making progressive taxation a reality and securing key services in public hands.
It’s clear that the SNP is the only party offering real support with the cost of living, real opposition to Tory cuts and real change – with independence. In contrast, the Tory-lite Labour Party only offers Brexit, austerity cuts and the same damaging policies that got the UK into this mess.
At the next election, voting SNP is the only way to secure independence – so Scotland can escape Brexit, tackle the cost of living and get rid of unelected Tory governments for good.