THE MAIL ON SUNDAY COMMENT: Look past Starmer and Corbyn lurks
Hidden in vague and cloudy policy documents, the real plans of Sir Keir Starmer’s Labour Party will remain largely concealed from public view until after the General Election.
The actual campaign will feature the usual extravagant promises about how Labour will save the NHS, build millions of houses and transform schools – promises which you do not even have to be especially old to mistrust.
Most people over 30 should recall what actually happens to these sectors when Labour runs the country. Voters would be wise to pause and consider what they can make out in the swirling verbal smog which surrounds Sir Keir, his aides and his advisers.
For example, what will a Starmer government actually mean for the vexed transgender issue? A ‘simplified’ procedure for altering gender will surely not be a more difficult one – and if ‘less intrusive’, this presumably means a smaller role for the medical profession.
Then-Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer (left) stands with the then Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at the EU Commission headquarters on March 21, 2019 in Brussels, Belgium
And the fate of motorists? Labour is clearly fearful of being too specific, after the drubbing it received at the Uxbridge by-election thanks to London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s Ultra Low-Emission Zone. But there are hints, under the superficially attractive banner of ‘clean air’, that Labour are prepared to embark on more measures which would end up being paid for by hard-pressed taxpayers who need their vehicles to work.
Labour’s instincts remain what they have always been: more bossy interference with private life and more taxes to pay for it. Just because they have got rid of Corbyn does not mean Labour have abandoned other more subtle forms of militant Leftism.
Voters would be wise to watch and listen carefully indeed as Labour parade themselves in Liverpool this week.
Easing the leash on tech giants would be a grave mistake
The Government is in danger of making a grave mistake over the regulation of the giant California tech companies. These immensely powerful corporations have become over-mighty subjects in many countries – ours included – because of their vast reach and deep pockets.
Rishi Sunak’s government has been making sensible plans to limit their power, and there may be an investigation into their apparent use of algorithms to skew internet search results.
Nobody objects to these companies’ success. Yet there are concerns about their effect on other businesses in the same field, who believe their ability to compete fairly is being constrained.
The Digital Markets Bill, as planned, addresses this problem. But this wise scheme appears to be in danger.
Rishi Sunak arrives to attend the third meeting of European Political Community in Granada, Spain on Thursday
Changes are being considered to the Bill, now going through Parliament, which would weaken the industry’s new regulatory body, the Digital Markets Unit (DMU). The existing plans allow for a quick and relatively cheap appeal system, which would not favour those with the most money, the biggest armies of lawyers and the greatest power. But the changes would give the tech monsters an advantage, allowing for far wider and more expensive appeals.
UK news providers have voiced fears that the amendment could leave the DMU powerless to act in favour of fairness, as it would be bogged down by endless, expensive legal pettifogging.
The Prime Minister is a man in touch with the modern world and familiar with Californian thinking, which is a good thing. But he should recognise that the interests of this country, and of freedom in general, would be better met by sticking to the original appeals plan.
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