Rebuilding the Red Wall

Gary Neal
3 min readApr 28, 2020

UK Labour Party’s new leader

Keir Starmer, the new leader of the UK Labour Party, has promised to engage constructively with the Conservative Government, and not opposition for opposition’s sake. This latter part has been one of the problems with adversarial politics. You’re in opposition, so you oppose.

A stark example of this was when the ruling Tory party voted against a pay rise for nurses, firefighters and the police. This followed a proposed amendment by the Labour Party to the Queen’s speech, to “end the public sector pay cap and give the emergency and public services a fair pay rise.” I suspect the Tories were not intent on deliberately denying the public sector a pay rise, but more about giving the Labour Party a “bloody nose” and defeating their amendment.

Whilst it would be refreshing for an opposition party to engage constructively with the government, they also need to constructively hold them to account for their actions. Any government not acting in the country’s best interests needs to be called out and questioned

The current crisis of the coronavirus pandemic has seen Parliament suspended for a month, i.e. A month in which the government has not really been questioned on its actions during the crisis. The press has been given the opportunity, during daily press briefings, of asking questions, but the questioning is generally weak and where a question has merit, the minister questioned doesn’t answer it. Instead, giving a realistic impression of a chatbot reading a script.

Any government not acting in the country’s best interests needs to be called out and questioned

Parliamentary scrutiny is more rigorous and demands an answer (although even then it doesn’t always get one). Keir Starmer gives the impression of being too gentle and reasonable to ‘suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous Parliament’. Possibly too gentlemanly to robustly question, in particular, Boris Johnson at Prime Minister’s Questions. He was Director of Public Prosecution and as such would have had to weigh the evidence and proceed with caution. That same caution may make him wary of the evidence he presents to Parliament.

Gary Neal

Retired taxi driver, creative writer, experimental poet, computer enthusiast, web design and learning to program