London-based writer. Often climbing.

  • 47 Posts
Joined 1 year ago
Cake day: June 29th, 2023

  • There is really only one electoral strategy for them and it’s the mirror image of the best strategy for Labour: chase the people they lost to their left. The risk of losing voters to Reform is real, but it will be mitigated by winning over the voters they most need: Labour and Lib Dem voters.

    For the Tories in particular, this is the best strategy not only electorally, but morally. They should not be normalising the toxicity of Reform by chasing the mix of fantasists, conspiracists and racists that make up Farage’s fan club. Even as a Labour voter who would never consider voting Conservative, I see the fact that some Conservatives have already started speaking out against the two-child benefit cap, the housing crisis and the dropping of net zero targets, as an encouraging sign.

  • the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) is “no longer simply a public service department” but an “economic growth department”, because health and the economy are “inextricably linked” and improving the health of the nation can help to “drive the economic growth of the country”.

    “That is a major shift in mindset,” he said. “It’s a rethinking of the role of the department.

    “It also means ending the begging bowl culture, where the only interaction the Treasury has with DHSC is that we need more money for X, Y and Z.

    “The starting point has got to be, ‘We will help you achieve your mission for growth and improve the prosperity and lives of everyone in this country by making sure that we are with you lockstep in driving growth’.”

    This is quite interesting, if I’m understanding it right. Historically, the focus has been ‘What can we do that’s cheap in the short-term?’, but switching it to ‘What can we do that will be promote growth in the long term?’ is a genuine shift that might make the NHS (and the state as a whole) cheaper and more effective. It’s at least worth a try, I think.

    It also fits neatly with the overall aims of the government in terms of using the state to promote economic growth. Angela Rayner was making similar arguments about justice and mental health just before the election: that investing in those things now will save money in the long term. You can make the same argument about housing and green energy. This seems to be part of the same driving concept.

  • As a massive partisan of the Labour party, I’m inclined to pick the three Labour PMs prior to Starmer (who, as you say, hasn’t done anything yet), who won majorities: Attlee, Harold Wilson, Tony Blair.

    However! That would be silly, even for me.


    1. Attlee - you’re right, he was the greatest, especially if we include his pre-PM career as deputy to your second-greatest!
    2. David Lloyd George - finished off the First World War, enacted the People’s Budget, extended suffrage to women, first major programme of council housing, more education - loads of good stuff.
    3. Earl Grey - for the Great Reform Act, which was a necessary precondition to Britain becoming a modern democracy

    I’ll also offer a friendly critique of your other selections:

    • Churchill: judged on his War Ministry alone, I’d agree. But he was also PM later, and was a bit rubbish.
    • Gordon Brown: was the perfect person to lead us through the GFC, but otherwise was fairly inconsequential at the time prior to that when he could’ve made more of a difference. Also, he sold the gold (I’M JOKING, OBVIOUSLY).

  • As I said elsewhere, these endless consultations are a known blocking tactic. Nimby campaigners demand endless consultations but they are clearly acting in bad faith: they only accept the results when they agree with the nimby demands to build nothing. We have seen this over and over again. It is a big part of the reason we have a housing crisis and a stagnant economy. It’s scandalous that the Greens are now using their parliamentary platform to continue to act how they have in local government: blocking necessary green development.

  • He is the co-leader of the Greens, so it’s fair to say that he speaks for the party.

    He is opposed to a policy which has already been thoroughly consulted on. The consultation found that the only alternatives would be to bury the lines, which would be more environmentally destructive, or do nothing, which would be more environmentally destructive. So, yes, he is opposed to green infrastructure, which is sadly quite consistent with the actual record (as opposed to the rhetoric) of the Green party.

    EDIT: I should have added, the demand for endless ‘consultations’ is a well-worn delaying and blocking tactic. But it’s especially hypocritical of the Greens who constantly use the (accurate!) rhetoric that we’re in a ‘climate emergency’ to win votes.