Andrew Feinstein: what’s wrong with the Labour manifesto

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Andrew Feinstein is challenging Keir Starmer by standing as the independent candidate for Holborn & St Pancras.

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer at the Mornflake Stadium, home to Crewe Alexandra while on the General Election campaign trail, June 13, 2024

From muzzling Palestinian rights to embracing austerity and outsourcing the NHS, Labour’s ‘tough choices’ always seem to hurt normal people while sparing wealthy donors — that’s why I am running to unseat Keir Starmer on July 4

…[T]he Labour Party launched its election manifesto — a dispiriting Thatcherite promise to continue endless austerity, soaring inequality and forever wars.

I announced my bid to become the independent MP for Holborn and St Pancras three weeks ago. Then, I was convinced that Keir Starmer’s Labour Party would offer little to improve the lives of this constituency’s amazing and diverse communities, or meaningfully restrain Israel’s genocide of Gaza. Having read this manifesto, I am more convinced than ever.

Starmer’s election campaign has traded on a series of stock phrases, all of which are profoundly misleading. Starmer promises to bring about “change,” but repeats tired economic shibboleths of the George Osborne variety.

He also claims to have remade the party “in the service of the working people.” In fact, the party is financially reliant on donations from big business and billionaires and its MPs rake in donations from the private-sector companies who circle the NHS.

The party’s long-feted New Deal for Working People is so disappointing that the party’s largest affiliated union, Unite, has refused to endorse the Labour Party manifesto.

But the most galling of all of the current Starmerisms is his invocation of “tough choices.” Starmer deploys the line to explain why the country cannot afford to pull half a million children out of poverty by ending the two-child benefit cap: a decision now confirmed by the manifesto.

Liz Truss’s mini-Budget, Starmer sadly explains, has made it impossible for the sixth-richest country in human history to lift children out of poverty at a cost little under £2 billion a year, a relatively measly sum in a country with a GDP of £2,274 trillion.

As the Labour Party manifesto makes clear, there have been plenty of hard choices made by the party — but all of them to the detriment of the poor and to the benefit of the mega-rich and big business.

Starmer makes the “tough choice” not to substantially increase funding the NHS, to end child poverty or reverse the swingeing cuts of the last decade; but only because he fails to make the “tough choice” to tax billionaires marginally more, even though the 10 richest people in the country are now richer than they have ever been.

I’m especially angry that the Labour Party, like the Tories, has promised to increase defence spending to 2.5 per cent of GDP: a real-term £7bn a year increase by 2029. This is almost double the entire £4.7bn a year the party intends to spend on its Green Prosperity Plan to tackle the imminent existential threat of climate change.

What sort of security does this really buy? The party’s offer on Palestine is, frankly, an outrage; the manifesto speaking out of both sides of its mouth. So while it recognises that “Palestinian statehood is the inalienable right of the Palestinian people,” it then makes Palestinian statehood contingent on a meaningless word salad.

“We are committed to recognising a Palestinian state as a contribution to a renewed peace process which results in a two-state solution with a safe and secure Israel alongside a viable and sovereign state.”

So much for an inalienable right, which requires Israel to feel “safe” before Palestinians get statehood — just as Israeli leaders claim that Israel will only feel safe when Gaza is cleansed of its citizens because there are “no uninvolved.”

This offer significantly dilutes the party’s previous commitment to recognising Palestinian statehood on the first day of government — something first brought in by Ed Miliband, appearing in the 2017 and 2019 manifestos. If there was any hope that Labour would be any better than the Tories on Gaza once in power, this should dispel it once and for all.

Both the Lib Dems and the Green Party, by comparison, have committed to immediately recognising Palestine. The Labour Party now joins the ignominious company of the Tories and Reform in refusing to do so.

Continue ReadingAndrew Feinstein: what’s wrong with the Labour manifesto

Green Party manifesto pledges to nationalise water, railways and energy companies

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The Green Party has unveiled its election manifesto, sold as a plan to “mend broken Britain”.

Addressing the Greens’ launch event in Brighton and Hove, co-leader Carla Denyer said the manifesto contained measures to “offer real hope and real change”.

“Our manifesto is based on investing to mend broken Britain and offer real hope and real change”, she said, adding: “We can’t go on with an economy where  most people are working harder and yet getting poorer while inequality keeps growing.”

The Greens’ policies include introducing a new wealth tax of 1 per cent annually on assets above £10 million and 2 per cent on those above £2 billion, banning domestic flights for journeys which would take less than three hours by train, and moving to a four-day working week.

The party would also bring water companies, railways, and big five retail energy companies into public ownership; end immigration detention for all migrants unless they pose a danger to public safety; invest £50 billion in health and social care “to defend and restore the NHS”; scrap university tuition fees and increase the schools budget; and stop all new fossil fuel projects and cancel those recently licensed, like Rosebank in Scotland.

Continue ReadingGreen Party manifesto pledges to nationalise water, railways and energy companies


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A selection of reports from LeftFootForward today.

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Everything you need know about where the political parties stand on the NHS

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NHS emblem
NHS emblem

Dr Sally Ruane looks in depth at what’s being offered for the NHS at the general election

Although the NHS remains a key issue for voters, a clear picture of what parties will offer to resolve the current crisis have not yet been published.

Both Labour and Conservatives promise a recruitment drive through expanded training places (Conservatives plan roughly a third increase to10,000 medical and 40,000 nurse training places by 2028) and the use of alternative routes into the professions, including apprenticeships. More radical are changes in the workforce mix to include new roles with typically, less trained, lower paid staff (such as Medical Associate Professionals) to supplement – or even replace – more highly trained professionals.

The Conservatives promise an extra 12,500 doctors and nurses by 2028. Labour promise 8,500 new mental health staff, double the number of district nurses and training 5,000 more health visitors. The Lib Dems are promising to recruit 8,000 more GPs, although recruiting extra GPs is much easier than securing an increase of full-time equivalent GPs especially given retention problems. Reform UK believe a zero basic rate income tax for frontline health and social care staff will improve retention and attract others back into the service.

What isn’t clear is whether the resources needed to implement much needed expansion will be in place. The government is spending £5bn less on health in England than promised in 2019 and now offering only very small increases in day-to-day funding. £730m per year has been promised to fund additional mental health services, paid for out of cuts to other services, in order to keep more people in work.

Faced with the fact the NHS cannot be restored without significant additional funding, Starmer insists that the NHS “is always better funded under Labour”. However, Labour has not so far added substance by telling people what the improved level of funding will be. Having supported cuts in National Insurance Contributions, Labour are trying to find revenues for health through taxing the non-domiciled and tackling tax avoidance. Welcome though these may be, they will not raise the funds needed to restore the NHS. With the Conservatives and Labour not differing enormously on their tax policies and fiscal rules, voters will be sceptical that the necessary expansion in NHS capacity will be delivered.

The Green Party is the first to make a bold spending pledge. Through requiring “the very richest” to pay more tax, it promises over £50bn of extra spending a year by 2030 on health and social care with a further £20bn for capital investment. Labour has yet to commit itself on the Conservative’s hospital building plan to build “40 new hospitals by 2030” which has not gone ahead and lacks sufficient funding.

The lying EU bus promoting money for the NHS when all the anti-EU shites are anti-NHS Neo-Liberal shites.
That’s a funny-looking bus, it’s Boris’s lying anti-EU bus promoting money for the NHS when all the anti-EU shites are anti-NHS Neo-Liberal shites.
Continue ReadingEverything you need know about where the political parties stand on the NHS

Greens to stand in 574 seats in England and Wales 

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Image of the Green Party's Carla Denyer on BBC Question Time.
Image of the Green Party’s Carla Denyer on BBC Question Time.

Carla Denyer, co-leader of the Green Party, said: 

“The Green Party is proud to announce that in this election we will have candidates standing in 574 seats in England and Wales. 

“All over the country voters will have the opportunity to vote Green and vote for real hope and real change instead of the half measures and broken pledges on offer from The Conservative and Labour. 

“We will be putting our manifesto to voters next week with practical solutions to the cost-of-living crisis, building new affordable homes, protecting our NHS from creeping privatisation and cleaning up our toxic rivers and seas. 

“If elected, Green MPs will push the next government for bold action to achieve the real changes that are needed to confront the big challenges our country faces. 

“This is a historic moment and the first time we’ve had this many candidates. It reflects the incredible journey we’ve been on over the past five local elections in which we’ve increased our number of councillors nearly five-fold.” 

Continue ReadingGreens to stand in 574 seats in England and Wales