In his “New Start for Britain” speech this week, Keir Starmer promised “a moral crusade… to address the inequalities and injustices that this crisis has so brutally exposed.” He said he does not “want to go back… certainly not to an economy rooted in insecurity and inequality.” (For more analysis of the speech, see here.)
That’s well and good, but in addition to other problems, in terms of concrete proposals and policies the speech was thin indeed.
Instead of a council house-building program, Starmer vaguely talked about “affordable homes”. Instead of public ownership and provision of social care, he talked about making care homes “places of dignity”. And so on and so on, on issue after issue.
Under Corbyn many radical policies passed at Labour conference were simply ignored. Under Starmer this problem is much worse.
What should the left and labour movement push for Labour to fight for, if we are really serious about not going back, and crusading against inequality and injustice?
The following motion and demands submitted by Southampton Momentum to national Momentum’s policy process to decide what to promote at Labour Party conference contains some very important ideas that provide a good basis for discussion and campaigning. These demands are radical, but in reality the very least we need.
Please consider submitting something like this to your CLP, for conference and more generally.
Motion for Labour Party conference, from Southampton Momentum
Inequalities have worsened the impact of the pandemic; the pandemic has worsened inequalities.
The Marmot report “Build Back Fairer” says: “mismanagement during the pandemic, and the unequal way the pandemic has struck, is of a piece with what happened… in the decade from 2010… enduring social and economic inequalities… mean that public health was threatened before and during the pandemic and will be after.”
We commit to campaigning for and implementing:
Benefits increased to a liveable level. £260pw Universal Credit (TUC demand).
Extension and strengthening of furlough and self-employment schemes.
Increase in the minimum wage to £12ph, scrapping exemptions and differentials. Action to increase wages; substantial increases for public-sector workers.
The right to isolate on full pay; improved sick pay for all, 100% of wages for at least a period.
Repeal of all anti-union laws.
Banning of zero-hours contracts.
Reversal of all cuts since 2010, increased funding.
Comprehensive reversal of privatisation and outsourcing; full public ownership of health and social care.
Abolition of ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’.
Building of at least 100,000 council homes a year.
Creation of millions of secure, well-paid, public jobs in services and green industry.
The Resolution Foundation and Wealth Tax Commission estimate that concentration of wealth in the hands of the super-rich is even worse than previously thought – by £800bn! We need to take back wealth, including through a wealth tax, increased corporation tax, capital gains tax and taxing very high incomes; and taking banking and finance into democratic public ownership.