Lee Anderson mocks Starmer over child benefit row
With a huge lead in the polls, the winner is likely to be Keir Starmer, but election night will be as good as it gets for him. After that, it will be all downhill. Once the Labour Party’s post-election hangover clears its members will do what they do best, which is to tear chunks out of each other.
The process has already started. The left is already up in arms against Starmer, complaining about all the money he isn’t going to spend if he replaces Rishi Sunak as Prime Minister.
Last week, Starmer admitted that he wasn’t going to scrap the two-child benefit cap, a policy imposed by the Conservatives and reviled by the left.
The cap prevents parents from claiming Universal Credit for any third or subsequent child. Activists say scrapping it would lift around 270,000 households with children out of poverty at a cost of £1.4bn in the first year.
At least one frontbencher is threatening to resign in protest. Jeremy Corbyn popped up to say that Labour MPs are “seething with anger” over the move.
They’ve even given Starmer a charming new nickname: Sir Kid Starver, echoing the “Maggie Thatcher milk snatcher” jibe from the 1970s.
This is only the start, and Starmer knows it. The moment he gets elected – assuming that happens – the left will be lining up to pressure him into spending on schools, the disabled, clean energy, the NHS and just about everything else.
Every public sector union under the sun will be demanding more pay, backed with strike action.
His left-wing critics will hate Starmer more than any Tory PM if he doesn’t oblige. Just as they ended up hating Tony Blair.
When Starmer says the country can’t afford to spend more, they’ll say tax the rich. If he does, they’ll say he isn’t taxing them hard enough. By then, the rich will be gone.
People forget but when Blair was prime minister, every new tax hike or spending pledge by his Chancellor Gordon Brown was followed by a wail of complaint from the left, who demanded more, more, more.
Brown survived for so long because there was plenty of money in the Treasury’s coffers, at least at the start of his tenure.
Not so much at the end.
Starmer’s Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves won’t have that luxury if she gets the key to No. 11 Downing Street. Thirteen years of inept and profligate Conservative rule has seen to that.
In the unlikely event that Sunak retains power, he will get it from all sides as well. No change there, then.
Today, global ratings agency Fitch set out just how bad things are for the UK.
The nation already owes more than it earns, with debts of £2.567trillion. That’s 101 percent of last year’s entire economic output.
Fitch forecasts our debt pile will rise to 104.8 percent of GDP by 2024 and carry on climbing rather than falling.
Worse, as interest rates rise each pound borrowed is getting more expensive to service.
We will spend a staggering £110billion on interest repayments alone this year. That’s only slightly less than we spend on the state pension (and the government keeps telling us that’s unaffordable).
Fitch warned that it may be forced to cut the UK’s credit rating in the next couple of years, making borrowing even more expensive.
There’s no easy way out of this mess, unless the economy suddenly starts growing for some reason. If it does, it won’t be thanks to our politicians. In fact, I’m beginning to wonder what’s the point of them.
If the Tory party can’t afford to cut taxes and Labour can’t afford to spend more, then there’s precious little to choose between them.
No doubt when the election kicks off, the two big parties will start slinging mud at each other in the usual way.
They’d be better off showering each other with praise, and encouraging voters to stick their cross next to the other party. That way they might avoid getting the blame when the nation goes bust.
There’s only one problem with my suggestion. While the next election is a good one to lose, so is the next one, and the next, because our debts aren’t getting any smaller.
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