Starmer

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discovolante
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Re: Starmer

Post by discovolante » Sun Jul 16, 2023 6:03 pm

TopBadger wrote:
Sun Jul 16, 2023 5:31 pm
discovolante wrote:
Sun Jul 16, 2023 5:05 pm
Uuuuuuuuh wot

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/20 ... ir-starmer
I'm ok with this policy... having kids is a choice after all, if you can't afford to have three, then don't.
As EAC said, it's the kids who are affected. And you might not need the money when you first have them. And also, why target literally the poorest people in the country.
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Re: Starmer

Post by TopBadger » Sun Jul 16, 2023 6:20 pm

A line for state support of families has to be drawn somewhere... Kier is fine with where it is and I agree with him.

An overpopulated world does not need 3+ child families let alone providing subsidies to those that have them and can't afford them.

Yes, its the kids that are affected. It will also be the kids that are affected when Labour pull the VAT exemption for private schools and families that could afford private can no longer afford to do so... that one will be ok though, right?
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Re: Starmer

Post by bjn » Sun Jul 16, 2023 6:41 pm

Impoverishing children and giving them a sh.t start in life is not the way to solve any of those problems.

Adding VAT to private school fees is a false equivalence, it wont impact those children anywhere near as significantly as it will removing child benefit from the poorest.

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Re: Starmer

Post by bjn » Sun Jul 16, 2023 6:57 pm

I mean why not go the whole hog and refuse to educate more than two children per family, nor have them treated on the NHS. Infact, bring in a two child per family law like China and start sterilising couples once they’ve spawned twice.

Given that the UK has an average of 1.7 children per family, who, apart from Tories interested in performative cruelty, should give a f.ck about it. The financial impact will be bugger all compared to social impact.

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Re: Starmer

Post by jimbob » Sun Jul 16, 2023 7:52 pm

Yup. It's the labour policy announcement I'm most unhappy with for the reasons given above.

I do worry if Starmer is going to be too cautious about redressing the Tory vandalism, now.
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Re: Starmer

Post by Fishnut » Sun Jul 16, 2023 8:20 pm

Looking purely at the actual impacts of the two-child limit, it's a f.cking terrible idea. The government's own research into the limit has found that relative poverty among larger families is rising. In 2012/13 around a third of families with three or more children were in relative poverty. In 2021/22 that had increased to half of families.

According to the latest census data, the proportion of families with 3 or more children has remained pretty consistent over the last 26 years. In fact, the proportion of families with one and two children has also remained consistent over the last 26 years (around 44% of families have 1 child, 40% have 2 children and 16% have three or more).*

Poverty rates have also remained fairly consistent in the last 26 years. What has changed is who is affected. Data from the Joseph Rowntree Trust shows that pensioners have seen poverty levels decrease significantly this century. Children have consistently had the highest poverty rates. Around 4.2 million children are living in poverty in the UK. That's one in three. That's f.cking disgraceful.

The Child Poverty Action Group put out a briefing [PDF] in April looking at the impact of the two child cap. They estimate that the policy affects around 1.5 million children, including 1.1 million who live in poverty. 58% of families affected by the policy are already working. It's worth noting that we have some of the highest childcare costs in the world which complicates the question of whether working is actually financially beneficial.

The CPAG briefing concludes that,
Abolishing the two-child limit is the most cost-effective way of reducing child poverty – it would lift 250,000 children out of poverty, and a further 850,000 children would be in less deep poverty at a cost of just £1.3 billion. [my emphasis]
If that sounds like a lot of money, I'll just note that the government has approved a 2 mile tunnel to be built for £1.7 billion. I know which I think is a better use of money.

If you live in poverty you're more likely to have poor educational outcomes and poor health. Even looking at this from a purely economic point of view this is a bad thing. You are going to contribute less and cost more. The most sensible thing to do to is to stop children living in poverty. The two child cap does the opposite of that.

The Guardian has an explainer summarising the impacts of the cap. They note that in 2020 Starmer was against it and said it should be capped. But I've lost count on how many things Starmer has changed his mind on in recent weeks.

* I checked to make sure that there hadn't been some major decline in birth rates since the introduction of the policy and I can't see any. Total fertility rate has been fluctuating between 1.5 and 2 since the early 1980s. (It's fascinating to see the impact of the abortion act on the rate.) It reached a low of 1.63 in 2001 and then increased to a highof 1.94 in 2012 before declining to a new low of 1.58 in 2020. There has a small uptick following the pandemic. Fertility rates in younger people (under 20) have fallen the most while older women have seen an increase. I'm not sure what any of this means, but it looks like government policies have very little impact on birth rate (once abortion and contraceptive access is provided).

ETA I've just seen
by the Institute of Fiscal Studies. They found that the £20/week uplift during the pandemic had a 40% larger impact reducing poverty than UC work allowances and taper rate changes which replaced it.
Last edited by Fishnut on Sun Jul 16, 2023 8:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Starmer

Post by Fishnut » Sun Jul 16, 2023 8:22 pm

jimbob wrote:
Sun Jul 16, 2023 7:52 pm
Yup. It's the labour policy announcement I'm most unhappy with for the reasons given above.

I do worry if Starmer is going to be too cautious about redressing the Tory vandalism, now.
Starmer seems to be completely against redressing the Tory vandalism. I haven't heard him say a single thing he's going to differently. Every time something potentially good gets announced by Labour they backtrack a few days later. I'm honestly struggling to understand their strategy. 'We'll do everything the Tories will do but we'll be slightly apologetic about it' doesn't seem like a vote winner.
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Re: Starmer

Post by Gfamily » Sun Jul 16, 2023 9:36 pm

bjn wrote:
Sun Jul 16, 2023 6:57 pm
I mean why not go the whole hog and refuse to educate more than two children per family, nor have them treated on the NHS. Infact, bring in a two child per family law like China and start sterilising couples once they’ve spawned twice.
And should a couple with children get married, they'll have to decide which kid gets put up for adoption.

Just for the avoidance of misrepresentation - the benefit known as Child Benefit is paid for all children in a family*. The benefits being discussed here are the amounts of Universal Credit and Child Tax Credits that apply to larger families.

* though high income** earning parents will get an additional High Income Child Benefit Charge on their tax bill.

** not hugely high (in the top 25% of earners)

† One feature of receiving Child Benefit is that the claiming adult's National Insurance Contributions are made up, with no requirement for employment - thus ensuring that non working parents are not disadvantaged when it comes to pension age.
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Re: Starmer

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Mon Jul 17, 2023 9:08 am

For me I'd be more comfortable with the argument that it's unaffordable, if it came with a proviso of, "we'd love to get rid of it, we think it's horrible, but we can't commit to it as we don't know if it's affordable. But as soon as it is affordable, we'll scrap it."

If Starmer came right out and said that, fine. Instead we get hush-hush b.llsh.t from Labour insiders. FFS.
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Re: Starmer

Post by discovolante » Mon Jul 17, 2023 10:35 am

That'd be slightly more palatable apart from the fact that the Tories have absolutely slashed spending on pretty much everything and that's been shown to be an absolute disaster. This policy seems to me to be one of the low hanging fruit that Labour could reverse pretty much immediately that would both make a tangible difference to a lot of people and show that they aren't c.nts.
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Re: Starmer

Post by dyqik » Mon Jul 17, 2023 10:56 am

And affordability is a matter of political will as much as anything.

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Re: Starmer

Post by IvanV » Mon Jul 17, 2023 11:43 am

discovolante wrote:
Mon Jul 17, 2023 10:35 am
That'd be slightly more palatable apart from the fact that the Tories have absolutely slashed spending on pretty much everything and that's been shown to be an absolute disaster. This policy seems to me to be one of the low hanging fruit that Labour could reverse pretty much immediately that would both make a tangible difference to a lot of people and show that they aren't c.nts.
Starmer seems to have the same attitude as Blair/Brown as the 1997 election advanced, and not dare to offer to spend more than the Tories, as they would be accused of needing to increase taxes. Apparently that goes down badly with the electorate - or more accurate results in a right-wing press feeding frenzy - even though most of them would benefit from the spending more than they'd lose from the taxes.

But ultimately the reason that the red wall went and voted Tory, and before that Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party, was precisely the refusal of the centrist bit of the labour party to "make a tangible difference to a lot of people and show that they aren't c.nts". Because they were too scared to do that. And sadly the Corbynistas, who temporarily got hold of the Labour Party, had no idea how to do that, they just fought culture wars.

So I think we can only hope that after they have been in power a while they can say, you know actually, the only way we can reverse the trend to inequality in this country and improve public services is to increase taxes on the better off, like they do in sensible countries on the continent.

But "mak[ing] a tangible difference to a lot of people and show[ing] that they aren't c.nts" isn't very easy, especially given the financial and policy conditions that have been inherited from the c.nts, and the ability of the now predominant right wing elements in the press to make a huge fuss about anything even as far left as Mrs Thatcher.

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Re: Starmer

Post by discovolante » Mon Jul 17, 2023 6:49 pm

IvanV wrote:
Mon Jul 17, 2023 11:43 am
discovolante wrote:
Mon Jul 17, 2023 10:35 am
That'd be slightly more palatable apart from the fact that the Tories have absolutely slashed spending on pretty much everything and that's been shown to be an absolute disaster. This policy seems to me to be one of the low hanging fruit that Labour could reverse pretty much immediately that would both make a tangible difference to a lot of people and show that they aren't c.nts.
Starmer seems to have the same attitude as Blair/Brown as the 1997 election advanced, and not dare to offer to spend more than the Tories, as they would be accused of needing to increase taxes. Apparently that goes down badly with the electorate - or more accurate results in a right-wing press feeding frenzy - even though most of them would benefit from the spending more than they'd lose from the taxes.

But ultimately the reason that the red wall went and voted Tory, and before that Corbyn was elected leader of the Labour Party, was precisely the refusal of the centrist bit of the labour party to "make a tangible difference to a lot of people and show that they aren't c.nts". Because they were too scared to do that. And sadly the Corbynistas, who temporarily got hold of the Labour Party, had no idea how to do that, they just fought culture wars.

So I think we can only hope that after they have been in power a while they can say, you know actually, the only way we can reverse the trend to inequality in this country and improve public services is to increase taxes on the better off, like they do in sensible countries on the continent.

But "mak[ing] a tangible difference to a lot of people and show[ing] that they aren't c.nts" isn't very easy, especially given the financial and policy conditions that have been inherited from the c.nts, and the ability of the now predominant right wing elements in the press to make a huge fuss about anything even as far left as Mrs Thatcher.
What you seem to be saying and if so I agree (or maybe you're agreeing with me?), is that Labour are sh.t scared of having to argue their own case (ironic for a former barrister eh heh heh). I know the press here is vicious and damaging but if that's something that can't be changed then they need to be prepared to deal with it rather than constantly run scared. I'm also not totally convinced they need to harp on about raising taxes when asked 'how will you afford it' when the current government is dying on its arse, at this point there are plenty of policies where there's a decent case to make that they'd pay for themselves.
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Re: Starmer

Post by discovolante » Mon Jul 17, 2023 10:10 pm

To defy the laws of tradition is a crusade only of the brave.

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Re: Starmer

Post by IvanV » Tue Jul 18, 2023 8:15 am

discovolante wrote:
Mon Jul 17, 2023 6:49 pm
What you seem to be saying and if so I agree (or maybe you're agreeing with me?), is that Labour are sh.t scared of having to argue their own case (ironic for a former barrister eh heh heh). I know the press here is vicious and damaging but if that's something that can't be changed then they need to be prepared to deal with it rather than constantly run scared. I'm also not totally convinced they need to harp on about raising taxes when asked 'how will you afford it' when the current government is dying on its arse, at this point there are plenty of policies where there's a decent case to make that they'd pay for themselves.
Yes, I was agreeing with you, and bemoaning that they are scared to tell the truth. The Graun article you then quote makes precisely the same point at length.
They argued that if Labour wanted to appear fiscally credible at the next election, it could not make any spending commitments without saying how they would be funded.
...
..(S)enior Labour figures are anxious about the Conservatives “totting up” any promises they make before the election as unfunded spending commitments, as they did to brutal effect before the 1992 general election.
...
Sources close to Starmer said his view on the policy – which he said in 2020 he wanted to scrap to help “tackle the vast social injustice in our country” – had not changed, but that he was not willing to make pledges without saying how they would be funded.

One said: “You can’t on one hand say that you want fiscal responsibility and on the other say there’s all these things you want to do but not how you’ll pay for them.”
I wish Labour could be proud of saying:

-Yes we will have a review of tax and spending,
-Our ambition is to provide the funding required to have decent public services and benefits that reduce poverty and inequality,
- And if that means the better off will have to contribute more, that's just bringing us into line with other civilised nations, that's how it has to be if the fabric of this nation is not to be torn apart as this present government is happy to promote.
One Labour frontbencher said that even if the policy was popular with focus groups, it was “toxic, morally wrong and doesn’t work”.
So I suppose Starmer's thought is that you have to win an election and wait a while before you can undo what is "toxic, morally wrong and doesn't work."

At least it gives them time to review the whole tax system, which is now very inconsistent, creaky and leaky, having been much damaged by a series of chancellors (Lamont onwards - Brown was himself a massive vandal) who did what was politically expedient in the short term regardless of the damage. Hopefully they can aim to put something sensible in place that acts as a good framework for the long term - which is not something you can achieve 3 months after coming to office. Fortunately Blair/Brown commissioned a major review of the tax system - The Mirrlees Review - which was allowed to run to completion when Cameron came to office, even though he took no notice of it, as the Tories who were not interested in a fair and consistent reform of the tax system. But does Labour have the vision and wisdom to do that?

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Re: Starmer

Post by TopBadger » Tue Jul 18, 2023 10:41 am

We're still 18 months away from a general election... maybe we should reserve judgment until we actually have a manifesto?
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Re: Starmer

Post by monkey » Tue Jul 18, 2023 12:43 pm

TopBadger wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2023 10:41 am
We're still 18 months away from a general election... maybe we should reserve judgment until we actually have a manifesto?
That's fair, I suppose. Starmer's policies might change again by then.

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Re: Starmer

Post by Stephanie » Tue Jul 18, 2023 1:07 pm

TopBadger wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2023 10:41 am
We're still 18 months away from a general election... maybe we should reserve judgment until we actually have a manifesto?
After reading your posts on this thread, I'm quite happy judging now, ta
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Re: Starmer

Post by IvanV » Tue Jul 18, 2023 1:40 pm

monkey wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2023 12:43 pm
TopBadger wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2023 10:41 am
We're still 18 months away from a general election... maybe we should reserve judgment until we actually have a manifesto?
That's fair, I suppose. Starmer's policies might change again by then.
What is happening at the moment is the bun-fight debate over what the manifesto will be. I think people have to stick their oar in at this point, if they wish to make clear what is desirable to be in the manifesto. Just how craven is the Labour Party to promise to spend more money, recognising that such money has to be raised. We need a bit of shouting now to get the understanding set.

I remember Tony Blair, fairly early on in his premiership, denying that there was rationing in the NHS. He continued the pretence that the NHS supplied the full demand on it. That made it very difficult to manage the rationing in the most effective way, and even to think about what we ration and to what extent, and how we best use the limited money available. Subscribing to politically convenient positions can tie your hands in very awkward ways.

Blair/Brown were lucky that the economy did very nicely from 1997-2007: we were just coming out of the post-Lawson crash, and the tax money came rolling in without any need to put rates up. So they could eventually expand spending and manage things to some extent in favour of the poor, without breaking their promises or putting up taxes (aside from a few damaging stealth taxes that Brown indulged, just as his Tory predecessors had, to satisfy promises rather than being a sensible way of increasing tax). But such no-growth-in-deficit-no-increase-in-taxes promises are much more dangerous in a time when things are already falling apart for want of spending, and the prospect of a nice period of economic growth after you are elected is much less likely.

But, in that context, it is quite worrying to learn that the restoration of child benefits plays badly in voter focus groups. As the Graun points out, it is a relatively cheap way of getting a worthwhile reduction in poverty. Have we become such a hard-hearted society? If Starmer is right that you can't win an election while telling the truth about tax and public spending, that's a problem. Maybe we get the government we deserve. I'm reminded of the month of 5 presidents in Argentina (Dec 2001-Jan 2002). Menem's term came to an end, and in the next 23 days three presidents in turn got hounded out because the electorate refused to believe there was just no money to satisfy the electorate's demands to maintain spending. The next one, Duhalde, lasted a few months by promising to call an election within 6 months, which he did.

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Re: Starmer

Post by lpm » Tue Jul 18, 2023 2:43 pm

The election winning message at the General Election is going to be "the Tories have f.cked the economy".

It wins because people are experiencing the pain in their bank accounts.

Other issues like the corruption and the NHS and the incompetence help, but they aren't the core of what delivers the win. The English electorate is conservative and cautious. In 50 years we have only changed government three times, and only at points of economic failure and when the governing party is thoroughly broken.

- 1979: winter of discontent, double-digit inflation, Labour exhausted and split
- 1997: Black Wednesday, sleaze, New Labour, Conservatives exhausted and split
- 2010: global financial crisis, Labour exhausted

2024 will be the same: cost of living crisis, sleaze, Conservatives exhausted and split.

My assumption is that Starmer & Co don't dare dilute the central message at this stage. They only want to say "the Tories f.cked the economy", they can't mess around by saying "the Tories f.cked the economy but nevertheless we can afford all these lovely things".

The only counterattack the Conservatives will have is "in 2024 it's getting better thanks to us". I don't expect it to be true because inflation will last longer than forecast and the mortgage rate pain has such a long lag. But it might be a bit true. There will be some good statistics to boast about. I don't think we can risk them being able to say "in 2024 it's getting better and Labour agrees with us that we are now able to hand out lovely stuff."
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Re: Starmer

Post by Fishnut » Tue Jul 18, 2023 2:47 pm

Isn't it possible to say 'the tories f.cked the economy by spending your taxes on their mates. We want to spend your taxes on you?'
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Re: Starmer

Post by monkey » Tue Jul 18, 2023 3:19 pm

IvanV wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2023 1:40 pm
monkey wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2023 12:43 pm
TopBadger wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2023 10:41 am
We're still 18 months away from a general election... maybe we should reserve judgment until we actually have a manifesto?
That's fair, I suppose. Starmer's policies might change again by then.
What is happening at the moment is the bun-fight debate over what the manifesto will be.
There's going to be a bun fight, It's Labour. Most of the membership money goes on buying buns to fight with. My comment was just about how for the past 3 years Starmer's been arcing from Sensible Diet Corbyn to what seems like Cameron 2.0. The next election looks to be shaping up as a competition between Incompetent Tories in blue and Competent Tories in red.

I think I can see why Starmer is positioning himself here - if you into the polls, Labour still aren't ahead because they are winning over Conservative voters, but because the Conservative vote has collapsed. Labour have a big lead, but it's not as secure as it seems. I think he's trying to win these voters over. But to me, this just looks like getting into power for power's sake.

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Re: Starmer

Post by Millennie Al » Tue Jul 18, 2023 10:22 pm

IvanV wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2023 1:40 pm
If Starmer is right that you can't win an election while telling the truth about tax and public spending, that's a problem.
It seems to me that the truth is that taxes keep going up (see UK tax burden to hit highest level since the 60s), government spending keeps going up (see UK Government spending – real and as % of GDP), yet people keep complaining that things are getting worse. Of course, the recent figures are hugely distorted by the pandemic, but there seems to be no reason why the general trend is changing. And as far as I can see from the graphs at the places I mentioned, if you didn't already know when the government changed between Labour and Conservative, you wouldn't be able to tell from the figures. It seems to be a complete myth that the Conservatives are better at managing the nation's finances.


On the topic of party policies, the general principle is that a party generally loses an election rather than their opponents winning it. By which I mean that the incumbent can do something that loses support, but the opposition can do little other than exploit such a mistake. Equally, the opposition can make a mistake (such as electing Corbyn leader) which makes them lose even in the face of a weak incumbent. So the optimal strategy for an opposition is to say as little as possible except to highlight the incumbent's mistakes. Campaigning on other differences is risky as the electorate will not universally support any policy, so highlighting any unnecessary difference risks alienating some voters. This is why meaningless slogans are so popular - different people can interpret them in different ways and vote for the same party while believing they are getting different things.

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Re: Starmer

Post by Martin_B » Wed Jul 19, 2023 12:05 am

Fishnut wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2023 2:47 pm
Isn't it possible to say 'the tories f.cked the economy by spending your taxes on their mates. We want to spend your taxes on you?'
Not wishing to impugne the reputation of the average British voter, but that's probably too nuanced a message.
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Re: Starmer

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Wed Jul 19, 2023 7:33 am

lpm wrote:
Tue Jul 18, 2023 2:43 pm
The election winning message at the General Election is going to be "the Tories have f.cked the economy".

It wins because people are experiencing the pain in their bank accounts.

Other issues like the corruption and the NHS and the incompetence help, but they aren't the core of what delivers the win. The English electorate is conservative and cautious. In 50 years we have only changed government three times, and only at points of economic failure and when the governing party is thoroughly broken.

- 1979: winter of discontent, double-digit inflation, Labour exhausted and split
- 1997: Black Wednesday, sleaze, New Labour, Conservatives exhausted and split
- 2010: global financial crisis, Labour exhausted

2024 will be the same: cost of living crisis, sleaze, Conservatives exhausted and split.

My assumption is that Starmer & Co don't dare dilute the central message at this stage. They only want to say "the Tories f.cked the economy", they can't mess around by saying "the Tories f.cked the economy but nevertheless we can afford all these lovely things".

The only counterattack the Conservatives will have is "in 2024 it's getting better thanks to us". I don't expect it to be true because inflation will last longer than forecast and the mortgage rate pain has such a long lag. But it might be a bit true. There will be some good statistics to boast about. I don't think we can risk them being able to say "in 2024 it's getting better and Labour agrees with us that we are now able to hand out lovely stuff."
I agree with you about the message, but with this issue I actually think Starmer's f.cked the delivery. The message he's sent out is "we're going to keep the two-child cap", without meaningful further qualification, and he's let unnamed stooges send vaguely warm vibes whilst his MPs go apoplectic because he's f.cked the delivery, which ruins the message even more.

Instead, saying "I'd love to scrap the two-child cap, I think it's an appalling piece of legislation which worsens child poverty, but unfortunately the Tories have f.cked the economy so badly, I can't commit to repealing it until we're confident we can afford it." sends the right message to all parties.
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