Starmer’s tough immigration talk shows he is fooling the public

Inviting voters to “read my lips” has been associated with political lies since the first President Bush promised “no new taxes,” only to agree to them when Congress imposed them. So Sir Keir Starmer’s introduction to his pledge to cut immigration – by saying “read my lips” – was appropriate enough. The claim is complete nonsense.

Neither Starmer nor his party has the will to do what it takes to control immigration. It was Starmer himself who wrote that there is a “racist undercurrent that permeates the entire immigration law”. Barbara Roche, a former Labor MP, summed up the mentality when she described how she became immigration minister. “I was shocked” by the very idea of ​​doing this work, she said, explaining that her political beliefs were based on “campaigning against racism.”

This helps explain why, when it comes to every single visa route and every humanitarian crisis anywhere in the world, the Labor response is always to oppose restrictions and demand more immigration.

Their response to the Channel crossing is to complain about the time it takes to process asylum applications, not about the numbers to come. Their concerns are about the danger of the travel, not the destruction of border security. The reason it is so difficult to remove illegal immigrants and foreign criminals – our human rights laws, based on the European Convention on Human Rights – is an almost religious article of faith for them.

Just four years ago, Starmer wrote a signed letter to the Labor Campaign for Free Movement. Considering his claim to be tough on immigration, the content is extraordinary. He states that he is “proud to have served as Jeremy.” [Corbyn’s] Shadow Immigration Secretary,” Starmer boasted of suing the government to increase benefits for asylum seekers.

He complained that the immigration system aims to “deter, not support” migrants who come to Britain illegally, and outlined several policy measures. He would close immigration detention centers, allow asylum seekers to work, liberalize family reunification rules and give some foreigners the right to vote.

This was not the only letter he signed. Around the same time, Starmer, along with a long list of his MPs and shadow ministers, including the so-called moderate Wes Streeting, backed a letter demanding the suspension of a flight deporting foreign criminals to Jamaica – and the suspension of “all future charter flights” . Among the other demands was that all those about to be deported should be given free cell phones and better access to lawyers until the last minute before deportation.

Starmer’s wish was granted for around 50 deportees. In a new human rights ruling, the Court of Appeal ruled that a problem with the O2 signal at detention centers near Heathrow meant they did not have unrestricted access to lawyers and so should not be deported. Among those allowed to remain in Britain, several were subsequently convicted of serious crimes including assault, stalking and the sale of heroin and cocaine.

So the idea that Starmer means what he says about immigration is ridiculous. But it is hardly the only example of a Labor leader playing loose with the truth. Take the story of Diane Abbott, who tried to unseat Starmer as Labor candidate in Hackney North and Stoke Newington, but relented when Angela Rayner and others resisted.

Abbott was suspended by Labor in April last year after making light of anti-Semitism. Just two Fridays ago, Starmer declined to comment on her future due to “the investigation… which has not yet been definitively resolved.” That same day, Labor officials said the investigation was still ongoing, and shadow ministers had been saying the same thing for months. Yet the BBC confirmed last week that the process had been completed in December last year.

The casual dishonesty comes up again and again. Starmer claimed it was “not true” that he had stopped Abbott from standing, but Abbott confirmed: “I have been prohibited from standing.” Labor claimed the National Executive Committee process was independent even of the party leader, but Starmer had previously taken credit for introducing a motion banning Jeremy Corbyn from standing as a Labor MP.

The dishonesty continues into the campaign. After promising to abolish the House of Lords while running for leader, only to change policy to limiting the number of peers and strengthening the quango that oversees appointments, Starmer is said to be peerages to MPs have been hanging to encourage them to resign.

The energy policy he once said would cost £28 billion a year he now claims he can deliver at less than a fifth of the cost. The savings he promises the policy will bring to consumers appear to be based on amounts made from outdated figures.

Taking advantage of Rishi Sunak’s commitment to one day abolish national insurance contributions for workers altogether, Starmer presents this as an immediate but unfunded policy goal, and therefore claims that this will be paid for by cutting the state pension or increase the retirement age.

In fact, it is Labor who have consistently questioned the triple lock on pensions, and Labor who have refused to support the Tory policy of increasing the personal tax allowance for pensioners in line with the state pension – raising the suspicion that Labor plan is to tax pensions. As John Rentoul, the Blairite commentator, says, this is “low politics… cynical and wrong.”

Cynicism is indeed it leitmotif of Starmer’s leadership. He appears to have observed politicians from Tony Blair and Boris Johnson and came to the conclusion that honesty comes at a high price, while shamelessness prevails. After all, he is the man who called Jeremy Corbyn a ‘friend’, only to deny his friendship when it suited him.

He promised Labor members he would increase income tax, support the continued free movement of people with Europe, nationalize the railways and utilities, abolish tuition fees and Universal Credit and end public sector outsourcing – only to nullify that policy of becoming a leader. .

This was indeed the entirety of his policy talk to Labor members, but now he falsely claims that “most [of the policies] are still there.” He thought his members fools, and now he thinks the country fools. We can’t say we weren’t warned.

Nick Timothy represents the Conservatives in West Suffolk

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