Independent North of Tyne Mayor, Jamie Driscoll, will address the Cambridge Union this evening to support the motion that Labour has betrayed the working class.
Jamie Driscoll says:
“Labour became not a party of labour, but a party of capital. Ever more enamoured of American politics, it joined the US in an illegal war destabilising the Middle East. Now, Sir Keir Starmer, a former human rights lawyer, refuses to call a war crime a war crime.
“He has adopted the Conservative two-child benefit cap. Will keep our utilities owned by overseas wealth extractors. Wants to introduce more private provision in the NHS. He’s broken every one of the Ten Pledges he was elected on.
“Our councils are on the verge of bankruptcy. Neither Labour nor the Conservatives intend to fund them. They’re both hypnotised by the austerity trap.
“I predict that Labour will win the next general election comfortably. The Tories have fallen apart. Boris Johnson appalled everyone with his dishonesty. Liz Truss destroyed their pretence at economic credibility. And Rishi Sunak presides over a not so civil war. But what then?
“Continuity Thatcherism will fail. There is nothing left to sell. No more capacity to pile on debt. No bubble to ride. Working people will rebel. Labour councils will rebel.
“And he’ll [Starmer] be ousted. And this is where the Labour Party is wholly different from the Conservative Party. Most Labour members and MPs balk at the two-child benefit cap. At banning MPs from picket lines. At taking donations from American Private Health companies and then proposing more NHS privatisation. There are still lots of capable and honourable people in the Party. With any luck we’ll see someone like Andy Burnham in charge.
“Until then, I say fight in other ways. Through community groups. Through renters’ groups fighting illegal evictions. Climate Action Groups defending our parks and beaches. Trade unions fighting poverty pay. Mick Lynch and Sharon Graham are the real leaders of the opposition today. Or you can vote for independents like me to hold power in our towns and cities and regions. Because with integrity, and imagination, a better world is possible.
“In just four years as Mayor I’ve created a pipeline of over 5,000 well-paid private-sector jobs, backed by our Good Work Pledge. We’re building 2,000 homes on brownfield land. Including social and council homes, with solar panels and air source heat pumps. I’ve boosted our green industries, our offshore wind sector is thriving. We’re running child poverty prevention programmes in 100 schools.
“I’ve negotiated a £6.1 billion devolution deal to create a fully integrated public transport system under public control. With fast, green transport free for under-18s. Labour could choose to do that for all of Britain. And it is a choice.
“We’re sick of excuses about fiscal rectitude and iron clad rules. Everything I’ve done in Newcastle and the North of Tyne is without incurring any debt or charging anyone a penny in council tax. Is that not fiscal rectitude?
“I’ve increased adult education enrolments from 22,000 to 35,000 on the same budget. Is that not fiscal rectitude? My new Total Transport Network will lever in over £2 billion of ethical finance from pension companies. Is that not fiscal rectitude?
“Every £1 I invest returns over £3 to Treasury in payroll taxes alone. So if anybody ever tells you putting working class people first is bad for the economy, you send them to me.”