This week in Westminster it's more U-turns for Labour as they ditch their green investment promise, and the Prime Minister is accused of making 'depraved bets' on his controversial Rwanda Bill...yikes!
Flying High: James Daly
Congratulations to Bury’s favorite son, James Daly MP, who has this week been promoted to Deputy Chair of the Conservative Party.
This is largely an honorary role, being unpaid and having ill-defined parameters beyond ‘campaigning’. But this job may also be honorary due to Daly’s majority being a wafer-thin 105 which means that the new Deputy Chair may only have a few months in which to enjoy his new role.
Still, if any Tory MP needs the campaigning zest of an energetic new Deputy Chair, then it is surely Daly himself who may need to avoid spreading his energies too thin across the country when surely, he needs to be campaigning back in Bury.
Middle Ranking: Keir Starmer
The inevitable has finally come to pass and Labour has ditched its commitment to spending £28 billion on green investment each year by the end of the next parliament. It is now watered down to a more manageable £5 billion a year.
The politics of doing so are obvious: Labour has a strategic weakness on fiscal credibility so they want to avoid giving the Tories useful campaigning ammunition during an election year, and the constant stories of shadow cabinet splits on this issue are unhelpful.
But there are substantial risks in ditching this commitment as well: not only was this policy popular and understood, it was also Labour’s chance to own the future and paint a picture for the British public about what the UK will look like under a Labour government. In truth, the strategic mistake came years ago when Labour chose to frame the green prosperity plan around the borrowing figure instead of around the outcomes: energy security, high quality jobs, a growing industry, warmer homes.
Labour remains in a commanding position in the polls and will still enter government this year regardless of Tory attempts to make much of Starmer’s ‘flip-floppery’ on his industrial strategy. But will Labour now have a stay-at-home problem with key voters in target seats? Will the public vote for change in enough numbers if they don’t know what that change will now be? And how will Labour react to future Tory attacks now that they still have the ambition (clean power by 2030) but not the solution (enough borrowing)?
Sinking Quickly: Rishi Sunak
The marketing team billed it as PM v PM as Sunak sat down for a chat with famously publicity-shy wall-flower Piers Morgan. the interview took an odd turn when Morgan bet Sunak £1,000 that there would be no flights to Rwanda any time soon. Regardless of the question of taste of betting on someone getting deported, the incident once again brought attention to Sunak’s personal wealth and his ability to take on such a large bet.
Before the cries of “politics of envy” come, this moment shines a light on a strategic campaigning weakness of Sunak’s and his inability to deal with it politically. ‘Relatability and ‘understanding my concerns’ are – rightly or wrongly – ultimately factors in how people vote and whilst Sunak makes four-figure bets during a cost-of-living crisis or shows that he doesn’t know how to pay at self-checkouts or pretends to fill up his own car, then Labour are going to make political hay whilst the sun shines.