Diluting worker pledges leaves Labour open to fire from all sides


Share post:

Receive free Labour Party UK updates

This article is an on-site version of our Inside Politics newsletter. Sign up here to get the newsletter sent straight to your inbox every weekday

Good morning. Labour is under fire from both left and right over workers’ rights. It underlines the risks of the party’s strategy — and, I think, how changing media habits make their task harder than it was in the 1990s. Some thoughts on both below.

Inside Politics is edited by Georgina Quach. Follow Stephen on X @stephenkb and please send gossip, thoughts and feedback to [email protected]

Channel vision

Has Labour abandoned its pledges on workers’ rights in order to woo business? Or is Labour downplaying the very real radicalism of its proposals on labour market reform in order to pull the wool over corporate eyes? That’s the row that has broken out in the wake of the scoop in today’s FT about the wording agreed on workers’ rights at the party’s national policy forum in Nottingham.

Several well-placed trade union sources insist that they remain very happy with the policy, while the Conservatives are keen to point out that these proposals are very radical indeed. But Unite and Momentum, a leftwing campaign group within Labour, have both criticised the package, which diluted a pledge to boost the protection of gig economy workers and confirmed that a Labour government would continue to allow companies to dismiss staff during a trial period.

This is essentially the core of Labour’s strategic dilemma: how to balance minimising the Conservative party’s options to attack them and offer a distinctive alternative, avoiding losing votes to their left flank, whether to the Greens or to the SNP.

It’s been a long, long time since the Labour party last won a general election. So long, in fact, that during the last time Labour won an election, the only way to watch BBC television was to watch it as it aired or use a video recorder: Labour’s last election victory was in 2005, two years before the launch of BBC iPlayer.

In 1997, Tony Blair was able to face both ways on social issues, giving some remarkably socially conservative interviews to some specialist publications. An under-remarked consequence of the fragmentation of our media consumption is that there is diminishing room for parties to face in different directions and to speak to different audiences. As recently as 2008, Barack Obama was able to pretend, essentially, that he had a more conservative position on same-sex marriage than he did in order not to get too far ahead of median American opinion. There is no hope or prospect that Joe Biden would be able to pull a similar trick today, and Keir Starmer won’t be able to “do a Blair” on policy issues either.

That leaves Labour vulnerable to a pincer attack from the SNP on the left and the Conservatives on the right — and that might yet do serious damage to Keir Starmer’s hopes of a parliamentary majority.

Now try this

I saw You Hurt My Feelings on Amazon Prime yesterday. It’s a perfectly fine comedy about a writer who falls out with her husband when she overhears him criticising her novel — our review is here, and our interview with the director Nicole Holofcener is here.

However you spend it, have a wonderful weekend.

Top stories today

One Must-Read — Remarkable journalism you won’t want to miss. Sign up here

Britain after Brexit — Keep up to date with the latest developments as the UK economy adjusts to life outside the EU. Sign up here

Source link

Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden is a news writer for LinkDaddy News. She writes health, sport, tech, and more. Some of her favorite topics include the latest trends in fitness and wellness, the best ways to use technology to improve your life, and the latest developments in medical research.

Recent posts

Related articles

Tory MPs pile the pressure on Sunak over taxes ahead of party conference

Receive free Conservative Party UK updatesWe’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest...

Dianne Feinstein, US senator, 1933-2023

On November 27, 1978, Dianne Feinstein told reporters that she was giving up on her hopes of...

Japan’s toddler superstar: the baby bringing hope to a ghost village

In the playground on the western edge of Ichinono, a mother watches fussily over a group of...

Inheritance tax debates overlook the psychology of the thing

Receive free Inheritance updatesWe’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest Inheritance news...

China hopes Golden Week holiday will deliver much-needed economic boost

Receive free Chinese economy updatesWe’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest Chinese...

UK health secretary accuses striking medics of withholding cancer treatment

Receive free UK politics updatesWe’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest UK...

Achilles, the tortoise and lessons for HS2

Receive free Life & Arts updatesWe’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest...

The lives politics doesn’t touch

Receive free Life & Arts updatesWe’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest...