It is essential that Labour minimises the much used tax bombshell charge of the Tories. It blew Neil Kinnock away in 1992 and has been the most effective Conservative weapon in keeping their opponents out of power for sixty seven of the last hundred years.
That is why Sir Keir Starmer is risking the wrath of the environmental movement, the despair of business which wants consistency, and fuelling the charge that he is a serial flip flopper on policy, by dropping the promise to spend £28bn a year on green policies.
My two charges against Labour are, why was a price tag put on the plan in the first place and why have we had months of agonising retrenchment from the policy which makes Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow look like a walk in the park?
The Shadow Chancellor, Rachael Reeves, is the real one calling the shots here. There are reports of huge tensions between her and Shadow Climate Change Secretary, Ed Miliband. This may partly explain why this change didn’t take place much sooner. We first got the £28bn promise way back in 2021 since when we have had the Ukraine war and Liz Truss. Straight after that Reeves could have said the economy has been upended, we can no longer put a figure on our green plan, but we are still committed to its main aims.
Let’s turn to those aims which are to insulate homes and set up a publicly owned company, Great British Energy, and a National Wealth Fund to invest in green jobs. If those aims are stuck to then all may be well because huge figures like £28bn are pretty meaningless anyway.
POPCON AND REFORM PARTY
The lines between Liz Truss’ Popular Conservative movement and the Reform Party are becoming blurred.
She launched the latest fringe group this week pledged to cutting tax and immigration. She also wants a smaller state. These are interesting proposition when people are queuing round the block for NHS dentists and generals are warning that a war against the Russians is on the cards.
Nigel Farage was officially in attendance as a journalist, but everyone knows the founder of Reform UK, is once again acting as a magnetic force on the right of the Tory Party.
Just as UKIP spooked David Cameron into the EU Referendum, Reform is attracting and frightening the Tory right in equal measure.
If Reform manage to outpoll the Lib Dems in the General Election and, perhaps, get a couple of MPs elected, it will almost certainly mean a right winger replaces the outgoing Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak. In the longer term it could lead to a fusion of the two parties.
All this is possible because the left and centre of the Conservative Party are supine as this swing to the right takes place. It is rumoured that Tory peer Lord Frost was questioned about whether Reform was involved in a poll showing a huge Labour landslide. Frost used it to try and create a major rebellion against the Rwanda bill. A meeting without coffee perhaps, but no removal of the whip from him or anyone else plotting Sunak’s downfall.
Honourably, One Nation Tories don’t want to rock the boat. That is what they accuse right wing rebels of after all. The danger is the Conservatives may follow the Republican path in America but find that most British voters have no appetite for that sort of politics.