Sir Keir Thatcher?
What kind of government would a Labour Administration under Keir Starmer look like? What kind of policies would it pursue? Would a Starmer led government significantly change the lives of the poorest and the most vulnerable? The answers to these questions may be found in Keir Starmer’s recent expression of praise for Margaret Thatcher and the “meaningful change” that she brought to UK society.
The real Thatcher legacy
Thatcher’s legacy has indeed seen the transformation of the economic and social landscape of the United Kingdom, but at the expense of the working class and vulnerable communities. Her implementation of neoliberal economic policies was characterised by deregulation, privatisation, and austerity measures. These resulted in a widening wealth gap and exacerbated social and economic inequality. These policies favoured the interests of the wealthy elite while diminishing workers’ rights, job security, and access to essential services.
Thatcher’s policies had devastating effects on public services The privatisation of key sectors of the UK infrastructure such as water, electricity and gas have resulted in rocketing bills and fuel poverty. The NHS and social care, plus the education sector didn’t escape the Thatcher treatment, with hollowed out services leading to immense waiting lists and a dwindling and demoralised workforce.
Unfortunately, despite Starmer’s feeble attempt to row back on what he ‘actually’ meant by his praise for Thatcher, all the things listed above are policies that Starmer and his shadow Chancellor Reeves have made clear they intend to keep. The Labour Party’s unflinching commitment to the principles of neo liberal capitalism are not something we are left to guess about – they make it abundantly clear in everything they say and do. This latest bit of pathetic fawning to the establishment is just another example and displays Starmers desperate attempt to court the ruling class, leaving no room for doubt about where he stands.
Would you like a dose of Tory with that?
In the context of contemporary challenges such as the catastrophe in Gaza, clearly driven by the agenda of protecting Israel as the outpost for Western capitalism and the growing threat of climate change and the need for a fair transition to a sustainable economy, endorsing Thatcher’s legacy seems particularly out of touch. Her government’s disregard for human rights from South Africa to Chile and prioritisation of short-term economic gains over long-term sustainability are at odds with the urgent need for bold, progressive policies to address the global climate crisis.
You might be familiar with the view some people express about dogs sometimes looking like their owners.
We might well ask “who’s holding Starmer’s leash”?
Starmer’s endorsement of Thatcher’s approach raises serious concerns about his commitment to human rights, preserving and revitalising public services such as healthcare and education, and to transitioning the UK to a green economy, all of which are crucial components of a socially just society.