Have you made any New Year resolutions? On Tuesday, the Labour leader was in Birmingham setting out his. We’ve had a year of disappointments. It’s easy for that to lead to cynicism and eventually result in a lack of trust.
That’s the conclusion Keir Starmer has come to. He wants a new contract with voters, a set of principles by which they can judge him and core values around which we build.
He’s right, people need a renewed faith in politics. They must feel able to trust the basic things a government says.
How else are we to manage a continuing pandemic which has had such a disruptive impact on our lives?
The foundation of Keir’s approach will be three principles: security, prosperity and respect.
I’ve already heard some dismiss this as not catchy enough, but as he points out, politics isn’t entertainment. At best, it should offer a degree of predictability which allows us to plan and think ahead.
We can’t plan without basic security.
We need to feel safe in our homes and communities and able to rely on a system of law and criminal justice that will protect us, look after victims and punish wrongdoers.
As the year begins, we face rising prices, higher taxes and low growth. We won’t achieve prosperity with slogans or pepper pot funding that merely tries to satisfy short-term party-political needs.
Growth and prosperity require an industrial strategy designed to build the industries and jobs of the future.
And a society where there’s no respect for tradition, for rules and the rights of others is one on which we can’t depend.
We’ve lost too much of it and need to rediscover respect and mutuality if we’re to create a future for all that builds on the proud traditions of our past.
I think Keir is onto something, but it’s not enough for politicians to tell people what they’ll do. They need to listen, to respect the views of voters and be straight with them about what’s possible.
Security, Prosperity and Respect seem to me like a good focus for the political resolutions we need.