I watched the UK’s Labour leader Keir Starmer’s first speech of 2023— a speech that set out his Party’s 2023 agenda. I wanted to see if there was anything he said that spoke to my values, or that could inspire.
As soon as he used the words “agile” and “central government” in the same sentence, I knew the speech was going to be a dud. I kept listening, nonetheless, in an effort to be fair.
I went on to hear the phrase “sticking-plaster politics” at least seven times.
Lord knows I repeat myself regularly (a habit I’m working to change), but his repetition wasn’t an accident or even based on a nervous tic. It was a deliberate, planned repetition as if to mesmerise listeners. I barely came away with much else except the image of a plaster (band-aid for US readers).
But there was one other image that came to mind when he reinforced Labour’s agenda for:
- More government
- Stronger communities (when asked about this, he referred to local councils, ie local government)
- Robust private sector.
The image was of Napoleon on the book cover of Animal Farm.
The message I came away with was more central government, stronger local government, and in a distant third, a robust private sector—whatever robust means.
Sounds like more of the same, and it is for not me.