2022 – If you’re concerned about misleading Johnson, don’t let Keir Starmer get away | Owen Jones

DrDoes lying matter in politics, right? Boris Johnson isn’t the first politician or con artist to inhabit the number 10, but his bullying lacks subtlety. His announcement last December that “all guidelines and rules were followed at all times” – despite the fact that No. 10 has received more fines than any other building in Britain – exemplifies the prime minister’s personality. His increasingly desperate apologists may protest that Johnson thought he was saying what he thought was right, but like the characters in David Cronenberg Existing, who spend so much time playing a virtual reality game that they no longer understand what’s real, Johnson lived in a world of lies for so long that he may have difficulty discerning the truth.

There is consensus among his opponents that Johnson’s repeated deception is blighting our faltering democracy. While widespread disdain for politicians may seem culturally ingrained, a recent study found that 63% believe politicians follow themselves, compared to 48% in 2014 and 35% in 1944. This, of course, begs the Keir Starmer question. It is an inappropriate act for the Labor leader’s supporters on social media to question his sincerity – given how much his opponent has violated the truth. This alone confirms Johnson’s effectiveness in poisoning democratic norms: by being serially dishonest, he increases tolerance for deception, which is seen as less dangerous.

And that brings us to Starmer’s leadership campaign – the means by which he gained the trust of enough Labor members to put him in the position of potential prime minister. It was reported last week that Starmer is likely to abandon the party’s pledge to raise income tax on those earning more than £80,000 a year: the top 5% of income. However, during the leadership campaign, Starmer issued a document known as the 10 Pledges. The first of these pledges — still on Starmer’s website — under the heading “Economic Justice” — reads “Increase income taxes for the top 5% of earners,” and sends them home with ultimate prosperity: “Not a step back from our core principles.” Starmer keeps this promise so much that one of her main associates called me personally to stress her iron nature.

Combined with Starmer’s campaign promise that the 2017 Action Statement was the “founding document” of the party and his warning that “Don’t ruin the past four years‘Whoever claims that it is not a lie, if he has already dropped the covenant, is deceiving himself.

False promises persist. While Starmer has since claimed Pledge Number Five, which calls for “common ownership of rail, post, electricity and water” doesn’t mean non-nationalization when it comes to energy, that doesn’t explain why he’s doing it Extended his hand During the campaign to support the “nationalization of water and electricity” on the Hustings television broadcast on BBC Two Newsnight. Some may think that his sixth promise – “Defend freedom of movement when we left the European Union”. It should not have been done, but it was done, and was shamelessly abandoned. But then again, Starmer invoked Labor membership as Mr Remain before ordering his MPs to vote for Johnson’s tough Brexit deal. Referring to “unifying our party” and “promoting pluralism,” Starmer personally assured me in late 2020 that I was “not out to squash the left,” before attempting to change the party’s governing rules ten months later, in a clearly intended move to prevent the left from running again. other. The star simultaneously declared at the pageant that “the attacks on Jeremy Corbyn were horrific, they deformed him” before removing the whip – while his aides told the Murdoch press that they intended to fire left-wing MPs – noting a duplicity that goes beyond parody.

Starmer’s allies reject all of this. Things have changed since the leadership was elected! Sure, but what has changed to demand a curtailment – rather than an expansion – of the Labor Party’s vision? Labor is leading in the opinion polls and likely to win the Wakefield by-election in June. But none of this is the party’s own fault: it is the result of Tory self-sacrifice and price hikes. There is no doubt that its only major policy – an unexpected tax on energy companies – is pressuring conservatives to introduce one, but the government has offered a more ambitious version, leaving the opposition with an empty government. They don’t know what they are replacing because, despite years in political exile under Corbyn, the Labor Right has never developed a coherent vision of modern Britain. When shadow advisor Rachel Reeves states that Labor is “winning the battle of ideas,” what do you mean? What is the new paradigm that the Labor Party wants to build? With Labor now called for the Conservatives’ cost-of-living package to be examined by the spending watchdog to see if it is driving up deficits and inflation, the party appears to want to revive George Osborne’s spirit.

Labor focus groups are littered with voters who constantly complain that Labor continues to complain without offering their own clear solutions. Motivated by analysis by Starmer’s chief strategist, former pollster Deborah Mattinson, the leadership believes that Labor’s chances of winning an election depend on economic credibility – not wisdom – but that is determined by their being “pro-business”. At meetings and dinners with business leaders, Starmer emphasizes “creating wealth.” His team believes that Ed Miliband’s Labor – not to mention Corbyn – has been hurt by this failure, although after polls failed after 2015, 42% of voters found Labor to be “too lenient with big business and banks”, with 22 % opposed it. It is outrageous that the media is luring Labor with relentless questions about mutated genitals and using one of the country’s most vulnerable minorities as political fodder to divide the opposition, but why is it so effective? Because with a lack of vision, a taste of culture war can easily fill the void instead.

Johnson’s pathetic deception, combined with a rising cost of living crisis, may pave the way for the usual Labor victory. When the Conservative Party recovers — perhaps when inflation subsides and party voters get bored and see little inspiration from Labor — some Starmer allies in fair weather will turn instead to Blair’s shadow health minister, Wes Streeting, a longtime close aide to the party’s head of communications Workers Matthew Doyle. Such leadership would interest the private sector – including the public sector – and outsmart conservatives with regard to impotence from the right. But whatever happens next, honestly ask yourself: If you care about betraying Johnson’s honesty but don’t like the Starmers, do you really care about dishonesty, or do you just resent being on the receiving end of it? And when you answer – unlike the two British leaders – try to be honest.