Both Labour and the Tories made use of the holiday season to sneak out bad news while those of us who are fortunate enough to have a roof over our heads and food on the table are stuffing ourselves and drinking too much. Just before Christmas a senior Labour source told The Guardian newspaper that they expect there will be a “pivot” in the new year on the party’s green pledges and that Starmer’s promise that his government will eventually invest £28 billion a year is unlikely to survive. There have already been reports, which the Labour party has denied that Starmer is poised to add U-turning on environmental policies to the long list of U-turns he’s already executed, all of which have shifted Labour further to the right.
Labour has already significantly watered down its original plan, which was to spend £28 billion a year on the transition to a carbon neutral economy. In June 2023, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves announced a U-turn on the pledges to spend £28bn a year until 2030 on projects to fulfil Labour’s green promises. In an attempt to prove “fiscal responsibility”, she instead suggested that Labour would “ramp up” investment over time, eventually reaching £28bn annually after 2027.
Now it appears that the plan is to be diluted even more. The source told The Guardian: “Whatever ultimately happens will be a further watering-down of the position. This will be the Tories’ number-one area of attack, so [Labour] need to deal with it.” Some senior figures in the party reportedly want to drop the plan completely. Labour has already said that it will not revoke the oil and gas licences which the Tories are dishing out to the energy giants.
Meanwhile following widespread outrage, the Tories have partially reversed their decision to raise the income threshold for family visas to £39,700 a year. Instead the visa income threshold will now rise to £29,000 in spring with further rises delayed until after the likely date for the general election. No doubt this will be another example of Tory cruelty which Keir Starmer won’t undo.
Not to be outdone in the “Look how shit we are stakes,” the Scottish anti-independence media continues to scrape through the bottom of the barrel in order to find stories to attack the Scottish government. This Christmas’s performative SNP bad outrage came from the Sunday Mail, which chose to lead with a headline story on “woman with a job goes on a holiday she paid for with her own money over the Christmas break.” This story was brought to you by the newspaper whose last big splash was “man buys car, man sells car” as it attempted to stoke up outrage over the fact that Nicola Sturgeon’s husband has a nice car and doesn’t stand at bus stops in the rain hitting himself over the head with a big stick painted red white and blue. It’s Pulitzer prize winning stuff from a newspaper whose circulation has been plummeting by 16% a year.
An alternative headline for this story could have been “Scottish high tax payer can still afford a nice holiday” despite claims by Scottish journalists that they will have to flee to England because they’ve been impoverished.
The Sunday Mail chose to attack Scottish Finance Secretary Shona Robison for having the gall and temerity to go on holiday after delivering the recent tough budget to Holyrood. The Sunday Mail, like the rest of the British nationalist press in Scotland, inhabits some parallel universe in which Scotland is already independent and where the budgetary decisions of the Scottish Government have nothing to do with squeezes on the Scottish block grant imposed by the Westminster government and where all spending cuts are “SNP cuts” but at the same time demanding that the Scottish Government spend more in order to mitigate Conservative policies.
“Optics are everything” sniffed the editor whose newspaper had manufactured the optics with loaded language like “shameless champagne-sipping Robison” had “jetted off” on a “luxury holiday” as though airlines have a special blimp with seats made from brillo pads that they use for independence supporting politicians who want to go abroad on holiday to a damp cave where they can drink pond water in a suitably self abnegating and puritan style.
In a sign that the newspaper feared that what we are supposed to call a story had damaged it more than it had damaged Shona Robison, on 7.45pm on Hogmanay the editor was forced to tweet out an unconvincing justification which was received with almost as much derision on social media as the original ‘exclusive’.
Meanwhile there were plenty of stories that the Sunday Mail could have splashed on its front page, but these were stories which highlight the corruption and dysfunction of this so called United Kingdom which the Sunday Mail is so desperate to keep Scotland a part of.
While the Sunday Mail was frothing about Shona Robison’s holiday, the Tories sneaked out the announcement that three of Liz Truss’s cronies have been awarded peerages. Truss spent spent 49 days as unelected prime minister, during which which she sent the pound plummeting, knocked 40% off pensions and forced mortgages through the roof. Her index linked pension has just been increased to £125,000 a year. She later blamed her devastation of the British economy on those well known socialists in the Bank of England and the international money markets.
On the day Liz Truss’s honours list is published it’s worth remembering that Keir Starmer was so panicked by her catastrophic tax-cut policy that he insisted that tax cuts were his priority as well. Branch manager Anas Sarwar joined in the right wing chorus. Meanwhile Jon Cruddas, an influential Labour MP, said that Starmer appears to lack a clear sense of purpose due to his detachment from his party’s traditions, Cruddas wrote: “Apart from his actual name, little ties Starmer to the ethical and spiritual concerns of Labour’s early founders, figures such as Keir Hardie and George Lansbury”.
Keir Starmer’s Labour party is Labour in name only. To all intents and purposes what Starmer is serving up is a rehashed version of the One Nation Tories. But you won’t find the anti-independence media in Scotland doing front page splashes on that.
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