Starmer embraces Corbyn’s policies in attempt to win the Left’s votes
The Labour Party has increased its membership by 100,000 since the general election in December. This surge occurred principally to affect the leadership race, after such an appalling show at the ballot box.
Many analysts have suggested that it was Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership that was the key element in Labour’s downfall, although the four candidates in the leadership race are still advocating his policies, not least frontrunner Keir Starmer.
Starmer, Long-Bailey, Nandy and Thornberry (although if the latter does not pick up more constituency votes by this Friday she will be out) are trying to form a campaign that retains socialist roots, but is also progressive economically.
It appears currently that the race will ultimately be between Long-Bailey and Starmer with Long-Bailey attracting the left-wing vote and her rival appealing to the centrists in the party.
However, yesterday Sir Keir made a blatant move to appease left-wingers with some clear policy announcements.
Abolishing tuition fees for university students was a Corbyn banner and Starmer is clear that he too would be an advocate for this policy.
He has also committed the party to ending the contentious Universal Credit, under his leadership, and re-nationalising Royal Mail, energy, water and the railways.
This agenda is clearly left of centre, but the cynical would suggest that Starmer is blatantly courting the youth vote in his machinations.
Starmer points out, "Under the Tories, tuition fees have tripled and young people are leaving with university with nearly £60,000 worth of debt.”
However, it is an embarrassing fact that any Labour leadership contender will have to negotiate, that it was in fact Labour PM Tony Blair who first introduced university fees, although they were capped at the time at a paltry £1,000.
The Cameron/Liberal Democrat coalition were, however responsible for increasing this figure to £9,000, which at least gets Labour off the hook of spiralling tuition fees.
As the Labour membership swells with the leadership election on the horizon, Starmer is having to decide which wing of the party will see him into power.
Currently it appears that while many see him as a safe, centrist pair of hands, that could see the party finally re-elected, his policy announcements suggest that he is aware of the need to pacify Corbyn’s followers.
The Labour leader will not be announced until the first week in April, so there is still time for many twists and turns in the road.
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