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By Frank McKenna

By Frank McKenna

Labour will be a better Government than many people think

Frank McKenna explains why he thinks a Starmer-led Labour government will be much better than many people currently think.

Barring a Lazarus-like recovery in the final fortnight of the campaign, it now seems inevitable that Rishi Sunak will lose the General Election which, let us remind ourselves, there was no need for him to call. The only outstanding question appears to be: how many seats will the Tories be left with?

From the prime minister’s rain drenched campaign launch, to his gaff when asking Welsh voters if they were looking forward to the Euros, through to his D-Day disaster, and his Sky Tv gaff, it has been a miserable month for Sunak.

Even when he did get some good news earlier this week, as inflation dropped to 2%, his joy was short-lived. Within the hour of that positive news being announced, it emerged that record numbers of boats full of migrants had crossed the Chanel – and by the time of the 10pm news, the headlines were being dominated by the revelation that more Tory candidates – and one of the PMs close protection officers – were being investigated by the Gambling Commission for having a flutter on the date of the election.  

The 2024 Conservative election campaign has made Labour’s 1983 effort, which saw the hapless Michael Foot suffer a torrid time and result, look positively professional.

So, without having to do much other than say – ‘Change’ and ‘we can’t be any worse than that shower’, Labour look set to win its first General Election poll since 2005.     

Poll leads of around 20% and predictions of super majorities and landslides would suggest to the outside observer of a Labour Party being carried on a wave of enthusiasm towards an historic win.

The reality is that Keir Starmer and his team are going to be in government – but expectations of how they perform in office is at best lukewarm.

I think we are in for a pleasant surprise. Starmer and his hugely impressive right hand woman Rachel Reeves, have under-promised, in order to over-deliver.

But isn’t UK plc skint? The country broken. Labour’s inheritance the equivalent of someone losing a pound and finding a penny? 

That depends on how creative and radical a new prime minister and chancellor intend to be. Here are a few things that I think a Labour government will do to improve our economic prospects.

  • More efficient trading relationships with our nearest and biggest trading partner the EU.
  • Greater devolution to mayors and local authorities, in order to drive reform and improvement to our public services, including the NHS, training, skills, education, and social care.
  • A drive, led by Reeves, to attract significant private sector and inward investment to begin the repair and regeneration of our creaking infrastructure.
  • Amending fiscal rules, that will enable the government to cut the amount of interest it currently pays on the huge amount of money it printed for quantitative easing over the past fifteen years, down from the relatively high 5.25 per cent.

I’m sure there will be other initiatives that will make the country feel better too – including a less aggressive, chaotic, and reactive management style of government.

A shift in culture would be very welcome too, from the small-minded, mean-minded Right-wing narrative we have experienced in recent times, to a more progressive approach, particularly on on social issues.

So, if you are not necessarily going to be popping the champagne corks in the early hours of July 5th, may I suggest that you at least have a bottle of the fizzy stuff on ice. Things can only get better!

Downtown in Business