United Kingdom: Labor Starmer raises the flag of budgetary rigor against the “irresponsibility” of the Conservatives | International

The main merit of the leader of British Labor, Keir Starmer, is that of many other left-wing leaders around the world: having convinced citizens that he is at the head of a government party, in which they can trust. “Like in 1997 [el año de la victoria de Tony Blair]the time has come for Labour,” Starmer assured the thousands of delegates attending the party’s congress in Liverpool this week.

The latest YouGov survey, published this Tuesday by the daily The Times, gives the UK’s main left-wing party an electoral lead of 17 percentage points over the Conservative Party. 45% of Britons would vote today for Labor in a general election, compared to 28% who would vote for the right-wing party. It had been two decades since there had been such a clear predominance of progressivism in the polls.

Labor celebrate their annual meeting in the best of possible situations. The markets have questioned the credibility and fiscal responsibility of the new government of Liz Truss, and have caused the collapse of the value of the pound sterling as soon as the announcement of the largest tax cut in the last was announced last Friday. half century. As was the case with Blair’s New Labour, the British are beginning to look for signs of responsibility and seriousness on the left flank. “We take center stage. We are the political arm of the British people”, Starmer assured, with two phrases stolen from Blair himself. If during the years of Boris Johnson the Labor leader, at the risk of being boring and soulless, offered an image of rigor and temperance in the face of the lack of integrity of Downing Street, the economic storm unleashed now by the new Government, with economic plans loaded ideological and lacking in common sense, has served Starmer to present himself to citizens as the guarantee of budgetary rigor.

“The government has lost control of the British economy. In exchange for? They have made the pound crash. In exchange for? Higher interest rates, higher inflation, and more expensive loans. To benefit whom? Not to you, the working class, but to lower taxes on the richest 1% of society. Don’t forget it. There is only one way to stop all this: with a Labor government”, Starmer proclaimed before an audience that, unlike previous occasions, did not hesitate to applaud the words of a rather cold oratory leader.

Starmer is not the most daring. But, like Blair in his day —although without his charisma or freshness—, he has known how to patiently unravel the most uncomfortable legacies of his predecessor, the veteran leftist Jeremy Corbyn, and redirect the party towards the path of institutionality. . His reaction to the death of Isabel II was impeccable; the control of him by the wayward deputies in those days of national, iron mourning; and as a finishing touch, the idea of ​​getting the delegates to their feet, at the beginning of the congress, to sing the god save the king (God save the king), was a success in terms of image strategy.

He has not wanted to dismantle all the tax cuts proposed by the Truss Government. He knows the mentality of the British. He has chosen to attack the measures that generate the most grievance. Like the elimination of the maximum limit of 45% of personal income tax for the highest incomes, which Starmer has promised to reverse to allocate that money to more doctors and nurses for the National Health Service. Or as the promise to impose a new tax on the windfall profits of energy companies. Moderate announcements from a moderate leader, who nevertheless knows how to play the emotional keys of a party whose soul is still more on the left than in the center, even if it is from the latter that electoral battles are won.

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“The Chinese Communist Party has stakes in our nuclear industry, and five million consumers in the UK pay their bills to an energy company owned by France. So, in the first year of the Labor Government, we will set up Great British Energy, a company that takes advantage of all the opportunities of the clean energy that is generated in the United Kingdom”, announced Starmer in the middle of the biggest wave of applause of his entire speech. “And yes, it will be a publicly owned company, because that is good for creating jobs, wealth, and for achieving energy independence from tyrants like Vladimir Putin.”

tax responsibility

If Starmer directed his message of fiscal rigor and seriousness to his members and voters — “I am determined to reduce the debt. Each one of my measures will be accompanied by detailed and justified expenses”, he promised. The new Economy Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, made an effort to convince bankers and investors of the same. Kwarteng met this Tuesday with some of the main firms in the City of London, the financial heart of the city, to defend his tax cuts and his promises of deregulation —”growth plan”, he has baptized it—, but he tried to also reassure with a commitment to budgetary stability in the medium term. “We have a medium-term fiscal plan that we will present on November 23, accompanied by a detailed analysis from the Office of Budget Responsibility. It will be a plan endowed with credibility, to ensure that the level of debt with respect to GDP continues to be reduced”, Kwarteng has promised them.

The truth is that the only thing that has calmed the markets in part and has managed to stop —for the moment— the fall of the pound sterling has been the intervention of this Monday by the Bank of England, which has assured that “it will not hesitate to raise more interest rates” if the situation worsens. Today the price of money in the UK is at 2.25%, and analysts suggest it will hit 6% next year. So far this week, various banking entities have withdrawn up to three hundred fixed-term mortgage offers from the market, to rethink the conditions they had. At the moment, few public voices of discontent against Truss are heard in the Conservative parliamentary group, but there is an uneasiness undertone growing. If the new government fails to turn around, in weeks, the economic perception of disaster that has been created in the country, the Prime Minister’s term in Downing Street may be one of the shortest in political history. from United Kingdom.

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