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Opinion

When it comes to public spending, Labour and the Tories are two sides of the same coin

Wes Streeting has pledged to focus on economic growth, rather than give people "false hope" about the UK's spiralling cost of living crisis. Well, at least he's upfront about it, says this independent parliamentary candidate

Labour shadow secretary of state for health and social care Wes Streeting

Image: Chris McAndrew, CC BY 3.0, commons.wikimedia.org

Having been guaranteed victory since 16 September 1992, when hardly anyone had ever heard of Tony Blair, Labour went into the 1997 election promising to stick to the Conservatives’ tax rates and departmental spending limits. That was not an electoral necessity. It was what Blair and his court, who could have done anything they pleased, actively wanted to do. Keir Starmer and Rachel Reeves have promised the same thing. Again, not because they have to, but because they want to. What will be the point of a general election at which both main parties have the same plans for tax and spending?

Once elected, Blair and Gordon Brown surrendered democratic political control of monetary policy with no electoral mandate to do so, and Blair, Alan Milburn and Paul Corrigan brought the privatisation of England’s National Health Service from the outer fringes of the think tank circuit to the heart of government. Today’s interest rates, not even passed on to savers, are the result of the first measure. Meanwhile, Labour’s pledge card had promised to abolish the NHS internal market, and the final week of its campaign had been a countdown of days to save the NHS. Those were barefaced lies, and the opposite of the truth. Here we are again, except that Wes Streeting is perfectly open about his bought and paid for intentions. 

Yours faithfully,

David Lindsay, Independent parliamentary candidate, 2019 and 2024; candidate for General Secretary of Unite the Union, 2026

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