It was Harold Wilson who once quipped that ‘a week is a long time in politics’. Goodness knows what he’d have made of the last 6 days.
On Friday our new Chancellor announced more than £400billion of borrowing and tax cuts worth an extra £55,000 for millionaires. Almost immediately there was panic in the markets, questions about fairness and doubts about Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng as the pound plunged in value. There’s a genuine possibility it could be worth less than a dollar by the start of the Tory conference in Birmingham.
I’m in Liverpool this week where Labour is setting out an alternative approach.
We got off to a good start with Keir Starmer showing, in his tribute to our late Queen, the kind of leadership we need from a Prime Minister. We’ve also made clear that our spending will be on priorities like health not the pockets of millionaires.
I always like to balance the drama of conference with meetings related to issues affecting my constituency. My first call was to catch up with the disability charity Sense, who own the fantastic Touchbase Pears centre on Bristol Road. I’ve also been talking to JLR about supply chain issues, energy costs and the pound, as well as their exciting plans to recycle materials using a circular production model. As mortgage rates rise, I’ve been meeting Shelter to consider plans for new builds, affordable rent, and measures to tackle homelessness.
These are the things that a Labour government will address through new, energy-efficient homes, vastly improved health and care services and thousands of jobs produced by our green industrial revolution.
There’s a quiet determination at this conference. There’s no triumphalism, just a desire to serve. Labour is at its best when it returns to this position.
There are no ludicrous offers, no ridiculous claims, just the simple statement that things do not need to be this bad and with Labour there can be a fresh start and a fairer, greener Britain. Keir Starmer has shown he’s ready to be our next Prime Minister and that under Labour things can only get better.