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Back on the campaign trail, Keir Starmer warns of break-up of Britain

Tuesday 28th January 2020
Keir Starmer

There has been a hiatus in the campaign trail for the Labour leadership, due to family circumstances, but yesterday, the bookies’ favourite was back out putting his  case.

Currently, the media has been concentrated on Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy, both northerners, who appear to be gaining ground. The former in particular, with the backing of Len McCluskey seems to be rising to the top, although her close alignment to Corbyn is working against her.

Starmer, by contrast, is seen to showcase a more centrist Labour perspective , and after Labours crushing defeat in the general election, this is regarded as a winning formula by many in the party.

While not a northerner like Long-Bailey and Nandy, Starmer is keenly aware of the North/South divide and the need for it to be re-balanced.

In fact yesterday, he went much further than that and warned of the break-up of the UK, if there went a radical redistribution of power.

Yesterday, Starmer explained, “There’s a very deep feeling, and this did come out in the referendum, that the power, the wealth, the resource, the opportunities are all in London and they’re not in the regions: We’ve got to address that,” continuing, “We need to end the monopoly of power in Westminster and spread it across every town, city, region and nation of the United Kingdom.”

Brexit was of course the issue that brought this into focus, not only because Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland were in favour of remaining, but that there was a clear divide between those ardent Brexiteers in the North and remainders in the South.

This phenomena, he believes arose because those in the North, particularly those who voted to leave the EU were doing so because they felt their economic situation was being ignored by Westminster and that could be rectified outside Europe.

In reality, economists would suggest this is not the case, but the perception that immigration issues and job security would be enhanced in the northern regions of the country certainly played a part in the referendum, nd the election, result.

Starmer believes that it is only with greater devaluation of power to the regions and greater autonomy over spending, that these issues can be addressed.

This concept of a more Federal UK, is indeed radical, and should certainly lead to a redistribution of wealth and opportunity, but it doesn’t feel uncomfortably radical like some of Corbyn’s policies.

Starmer will be touring the UK in the run up to the April 4 vote and with this particular vision, he could well consolidate his expected win.

He certainly seems to be the only MP who is evaluating the reason for Brexit in the first place, rather than concentrating on its effects, which does give him a refreshing new feel in the current climate.

Scottish and UK Labour must work together to build a more federal country
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