Starmer’s safety-first approach in his manifesto risks piling up trouble for a Labor government. – News Block

The Opposition cannot be blamed for being caught off guard by the collapse of the Tory polls and the imminent prospect of power. There may be few people who thought, in the aftermath of the 2019 election, that Labor would likely return to office within a single parliament.

That he has taken them by surprise is evident in the chaos surrounding his political agenda. We had Sir Keir Starmer telling us he would have five national missions (but not what they were), and his announcement that Labor would have to do “Clause IV on steroids” (but not what that meant), Ed Miliband’s scrapping. spending program and now a U-turn on the welfare cap for two children.

The latter not only triggered a major dispute in the Shadow Cabinet, but also caused a left-wing mayor to quit the party. Is this an omen of things to come?

Starmer is clearly working hard to break the power of his party’s left. When Paul Goodman and Andrew Gimson interviewed Michael Crick in March, he provided fascinating insight into the extent to which the National Executive Committee (NEC) controls the selection process and is weeding out left-wing candidates. In fact, he went so far as to state that Angela Rayner, the deputy leader, would not be selected today.

If Labor wins a large majority next year, as the current polls indicate, then that could be all very well; Starmer will have a handpicked cohort of loyalists to insulate him from trouble.

But it would be unwise to dismiss the prospect of a narrower victory altogether. The electoral mountain Labor needs to climb to win an outright majority is enormous (although in current polls they would), and recent experience teaches us that a lot can happen in a single political year.

And while you can control the selections, there isn’t much you can do about left-wing MPs (like…Rayner) already sitting in the House of Commons.

This is where a cautious approach to building his manifesto could come back to bite Starmer. If Labor wins next time, they will inherit an extremely difficult situation, especially deciding what to do with the £30bn spending cuts that Jeremy Hunt pushed back to 2025/6 in the budget.

Even after collecting whatever windfall taxes they can and removing VAT from private school fees, there won’t be much money to play with, and many of the drivers of the cost-of-living crisis will still be biting. That is likely to set the mood among Labor MPs sooner rather than later.

If Starmer hasn’t gotten their hands wet in the blood of a bold manifesto program, they’re likely to start making their own demands, similar to the way various conservative backbench groups have filled the void in the big program. by Rishi Sunak. -Political image agenda. Given the cash crunch, this could take the form of redoubling efforts on various cultural issues, however reluctant leaders may be to add fuel to the culture wars and give that gift to conservatives.

Even if he wins a large majority, Starmer may find it harder to keep his new troops in check without feeling like they’re pushing a project. It is one thing to persuade motivated troops to advance under fire; it’s quite another to get them to line up and stand still under him.

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