Starmer said it was not unpatriotic to point out the country’s flaws
Keir Starmer set out his vision for the country, kicking off the new year with a major speech in Birmingham today, with offer of a new “contract with the British people” based on the three principles of “security”, “prosperity” and “respect”.
The Labour leader placed patriotism at the heart of his pledges and was keen to stress that Labour was a ‘national party’ and not a ‘nationalist party’.
Starmer said it was not unpatriotic to point out the country’s flaws, adding: “I don’t think you cease to be a patriot because you notice your country has flaws. On the contrary, the reason we in this party want to correct those flaws is precisely because we are patriotic. I came into politics to make things happen, not just to talk about them.”
He also said he wanted to follow in the footsteps of former Labour prime minister’s Clement Attlee, Harold Wilson and Tony Blair to “create a new Britain in the 21st century”.
Starmer said: “What a record we have! These three chapters of change – Attlee, Wilson and Blair – made Britain a better country. We must be the people who write the fourth chapter.”
The Labour leader emphasised that his offer to the British people would be based on ‘three simple principles: Security. Prosperity. Respect.’
He said: “I want to create a contract defined by security, prosperity and respect. To create a contract for a government worthy of the fine nation in which we live. The Labour party is a deeply patriotic party. Keir Hardie once said that British socialism must “wear a local garb”.
Sir Keir sought to build on Labour’s poll lead in recent weeks, but stressed that the party still had a lot of work to do win back voters’ trust and said it can’t expect to simply ‘inherit power’.
He also focused on the cost of living crisis faced by millions across the country, adding: “The cost of living is increasing. Energy bills are going up; wages are stagnant. Tax rises are coming in April. Too many people do not feel safe in their streets. And good luck to anyone trying to get a quick GP appointment.”
Starmer also attacked Boris Johnson for treating politics “as a branch of the entertainment industry” and said that he saw it instead as “the serious business of getting things done”.
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward
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