Sir Keir Starmer said he plans to turn Labour into ‘Britain’s bricks and mortar’ as he set out his future vision for the party in a 14,000 word statement ahead of the party’s conference.
Despite an internal civil war over the left-wing party’s political leaning, Sir Keir laid out a clear roadmap towards the centre and away from radical Corbynite policies in his 35-page essay, ‘The Road Ahead’.
The Labour leader insisted the party cannot ‘wait around for the public to decide we are right’ and must instead grasp the opportunities the current political atmosphere provides.
The long-winded essay, published by The Fabian Society, has been seen as a bid to reset his leadership and craft an ambition for what Labour would look like in Government ahead of his first in-person appearance at a party conference as leader.
Cutting ties with the broad nationalisation policies that belittled ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s previous election bids, Sir Keir explained he wants his party to ‘once again be Britain’s bricks and mortar’.
Sir Keir wrote: ‘People are no longer prepared to sit back while politicians shrug their shoulders.
‘The future will belong to those who do not just mitigate against change but grasp the opportunities it provides.
‘I want Labour to once again be Britain’s bricks and mortar – a symbol of solidity, reliability, shelter and the prospect of building something new and better.
‘To do that, our party must have a relentless focus on the challenges and opportunities of the future and how they can be shaped to the interest of working people.’
A Labour source told the Guardian they believed the public ‘were now willing to give Starmer a hearing’, but warned his vision ‘must be credible’.
They said: ‘People believe Keir could be prime minister. It’s the first time people have believed that about a Labour leader in a decade.
‘Now it’s about showing them why he should be prime minister.
In the 14,000 word essay, seen as an opportunity to dispel criticism that he has no political ideology, Sir Keir sets out 10 principles which he claims would form the basis of a new contract between Labour and the British people.
At its heart is what he has dubbed a ‘contribution society’, where everyone has a part to play.
And Sir Keir appears to show a greater commitment to helping to energise the private sector, with his prospective government promising to ‘be a partner to private enterprise, not stifle it.’
But despite the posturing, there are few if any references to any tangible policies the electorate could pin their hopes to in any future election.
He wrote: ‘People want to emerge from lockdown into something better.
‘Our country is now at a crossroads: down one path is the same inequality of opportunity and insecurity.
‘It is impossible to live in this moment and not feel the winds of changes blowing, just as they did in 1945 and 1997.
‘The Labour path is about building a better future for working people.
‘Labour will build a society that prizes the contributions people make, providing security and opportunity across Britain.’
But his comments come at a time where Labour is again gripped in an internal civil war over potential changes to leadership rules.
Sir Keir faced criticism from party’s left-wing hardliners over plans to scrap the current ‘one member, one vote’ system and replace it with a previous version of the electoral college system.
The proposals would see a return to trade unions, MPs and party members being split into respective categories, with each being responsible for one third of the result.
However Oliver Dowden, Conservative Party co-chairman, said: ‘If this is Starmer’s “big vision” then he should have gone to Specsavers.
‘Labour are talking to themselves about themselves. They’re all essays and no action.’Internet Explorer Channel Network