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.

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Who are the wealthy climate sceptics funding rightwing UK politics?

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Image of Nigel Farage
Image of Nigel Farage

A number of wealthy climate sceptics are giving funding to Nigel Farage’s Reform UK, rightwing Conservatives, and the climate science-denying thinktank the Global Warming Policy Foundation. But who are they and how are they linked?

The biggest donor to the Reform party this year is the shipping magnate Terence Mordaunt, the head of First Corporate Shipping. His personal company, Corporate Consultants Ltd, has given £200,000 to Reform over the past 12 months. He was previously chair of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) and is now a trustee.

Reform was formerly known as the Brexit party and is the third highest polling political party, aiming to win over rightwing voters who are disenchanted with the Tories. It states on its website: “Net zero means reducing man made CO2 emissions to stop climate change. It can’t. Climate change has happened for millions of years, before man made CO2 emissions, and will always change. We are better to adapt to warming, rather than pretend we can stop it. Up to 10 times more people die of cold than warmth.” The party advocates for scrapping net zero targets and increasing fracking and new nuclear power.

The GWPF is the thinktank set up by the former Conservative chancellor Nigel Lawson in 2009. Since then, it has released reports claiming rising carbon dioxide levels are good for humanity, and opposed climate action. Though Mordaunt has not made many public proclamations on climate science, he said when joining the GWPF in 2017: “I am delighted to continue my support for the GWPF which has brought much needed rigour into the climate debate.” His donations could shed some light on his views; his company also donated £100k to Vote Leave in 2016.

Mordaunt is also, according to DeSmog, a significant donor to the Conservative party, having donated £34,600between 2003 and 2009, according to electoral register data. His companies have also donated at least £135,000 to the party since 2008, including a £25,000 donation in 2017.

Articles continues identifying more rich climate denying donors at

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Greens slam “dodgy salesman” Farage

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Led by Donkeys poster quotes Nigel Farage "Brexit has failed"
Led by Donkeys poster quotes Nigel Farage “Brexit has failed”

Responding to the announcement from Reform UK that Nigel Farage has been handed their leadership and that he is now standing as an MP in Clacton, despite just days ago confirming he wasn’t standing for election, Green Party Democracy and Citizen Engagement Spokesperson, Nate Higgins said,

“Nigel Farage is not just a dodgy salesman. He is a crook and a conman.

“He will package his brand of hate filled politics in a way that is populist and that he thinks he can sell to an electorate who are understandably fed up with mainstream politics.

“Frankly though, we’re not buying it.

“The latest organisation he latched himself onto, “Reform UK”, is another smokescreen. Set up to take money off people without offering them membership like any other established political party.

“Greens can see through these smokescreens and his jovial façade and see the divisive hate that pulsates through his politics.

“His politics belong on the extreme fringes not at the heart of Clacton, let alone on prime time TV.”

He continued, “Through sheer arrogance, what Farage fails to comprehend is that the great British public can also see him for what he is.

“7 failed election attempts later you would think he would have got the message but evidently not.

“I’m hoping that the good people of Clacton make this very clear to him on July 4th and instead look for a party that is offering real hope and real change.

“The Green candidate Dr Natasha Osben was born and bred in Clacton and I know will put the people of Clacton first, not just use them as a stage on which to stand to boost her own ego.”

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