I agree that 'defund the police' is not a great slogan in the UK context, but actually I'm not sure that the intention behind it is nonsense/shite (note: this is separate from whether or not it's politically palatable).El Pollo Diablo wrote: ↑Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:07 pmHe didn't say that diverting funding to social programs was nonsense. He said defunding the police was nonsense. The former may be the aim but the latter is an utterly godawful way to express it. It also makes no sense. We do not need to take funding away from the police to fund those social programs. Any major party leader suggesting we reduce the police budget is going to be on ice.Bird on a Fire wrote: ↑Sat Jul 04, 2020 3:27 pmYes, definitely. I don't think calling BLM a 'moment' and diverting funding to social programs 'nonsense' was a very good way of doing that. People from communities targetted by police racism are already suspicious of Starmer due to his previous role as a prosecutor.
It's a slogan that comes from the US, where police budgets are so extravagant and social programs so woeful that it carries a lot of weight. There is nowhere near the same disparity here. The slogan doesn't work here. At all.
If people want to talk about more funding for good things then do that, but don't label it with a cartload of shite in the process.
If we want to fund social programs more, we either have to cut existing programs or raise taxes.
Currently, the UK police budget is around £18 billion (source - a better one might be available), plus a further £3 billion for prisons. The £21b total is very similar to the budget for adult social care, which is £22 billion.
In other words, as a society we currently spend about as much money on caring for people as on policing them. Social care may not be the best metric, of course. Unemployment benefits cost £2bn. Adult education £1.3bn. Pick your favourite program that could help address racial inequality, and compare its budget to the program that exacerbates it.
Part of the argument made by BLM is not only that social programs are desirable, but that policing of minority communities is excessive. Black people in the UK are more disproportionately incarcerated than in the USA, leaving aside the stop-and-searches and intrusive surveillance and other forms of harassment.
Releasing non-violent criminals and stopping spending police hours harassing black and brown people would save money that could be reallocated, either within the police or to other programs that keep society safe.
In other words, the "defund the police" slogan reflects taking money from something bad, and putting it into something good. That's hardly 'nonsense', even if he has other options that he'd prefer or that play better with voters/newspapers.
Starmer could simply have used the opportunity to explain his plan to fund social programs without cutting the police - for example, by cutting something else, or raising taxes. He could show that he understands the criticisms of UK policing and its racial biases, and explain his plan to address those systemic issues without cutting the budget. Instead he insulted people who already don't trust him, which seems an unlikely way to 'build a broad coalition'.
It shows a lack of respect for the issues and people affected by them, and suggests that he's not actually interested in helping them.