Keir Starmer and his deputy leader Angela Rayner staged yet another re-launch of his failing leadership on Monday.
But their weak promises came after a renewed assault on Labour’s own members and activists.
Starmer claimed Labour’s “new deal for working people” campaign is meant to “fundamentally change our economy to make it work for working people.”
In an article published just before the launch, he talked about problems working class people face.
“Family incomes have stagnated, millions of people are stuck in insecure work, and in-work poverty is at a record high—with one in six working families in poverty,” he said.
“The pandemic has brutally exposed these injustices, but they have been growing for years.”
Yet Starmer and Rayner offered almost nothing to tackle any of that, except the possibility of future announcements “in the coming months”.
Instead, Starmer wrote vaguely of “five principles of good work.”
“We want to see better, fairer workplaces where workers have full rights from day one on the job,” he said. He also repeated that Labour wants a “jobs promise” for young people—but still hasn’t said what that means.
The few concrete promises he made were policies Labour had already announced.
This included a £10 an hour minimum wage—first promised under the previous leader Jeremy Corbyn in 2018.
He also said Labour would outlaw “fire and rehire”—where bosses sack workers to re-employ them on worse terms.
These promises came alongside concrete proposals to help bosses.
Starmer said Labour would “use government contracts to support British businesses, so that we buy, make and sell more in Britain.”
And he spoke vaguely of “a fair and level playing field on tax between multinational giants and local businesses.”
The announcements on Monday come as the Labour Party lags behind the Tories in opinion polls. This is the second “relaunch” of Starmer’s Labour this year.
Rayner said coronavirus presented “a fork in the road, and as we recover from the pandemic, we need to take this opportunity to deliver a new deal for working people.
“Under the Conservatives we have a broken economic model defined by insecure work, low wages and in-work poverty,” she said.
Starmer used the same phrases in a speech in February that he presented as a break from Tory politics.
In reality, his speech was full of promises of handouts to big businesses, such as tax cuts and bailouts.
Starmer is desperate to show bosses they can trust Labour to protect their profits. That’s why his occasional talk of workers’ rights is always matched by promises to the bosses.
And it’s why he’s failed repeatedly to challenge the Tories as they put profit above people’s lives.
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