Sir Keir Starmer QC went to Grim Oop North Land with Lisa “Down Your Way” Nandy to play a discarded Faragiste card on the state of UK manufacturing. Now they’ve got Angela Rayner at it …

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It is a classic journalist’s and politician’s mistake to measure the importance of manufacturing to the economy of the United Kingdom by the number of direct jobs within it.

The latest politician to make that error is Sir Keir Starmer QC, who recently went Oop North to the very part of England in which a significant number of manufacturing jobs and companies just happen to be located, to pledge a revival in manufacturing under a Labour Government he led.

A revival in the context of Hard Brexit.

The casual observer might be inclined to think UK manufacturing in 2022 was a basket case.

Au contraire, Sir Keir …

Faragiste card?

Well for a while, Nigel Farage too used to run UK manufacturing down, in fact, in 2014 Farage made much of ukip’s plans to make our country a great trading nation again.

An early sighting of Global Britain?

To be fair to Farage, he did, a month or so after announcing his party’s trade ambitions, do something few in the media or politics ever do and revised his view of UK manufacturing and its place in the world.

Sir Keir Starmer QC’s chief policy adviser, Claire Ainsley, whom he appointed on becoming Labour leader, is a Brexit advocate.

Ainsley has no background in trade, commerce, industry, economics or, it would seem, basic research.

Ainsley’s last taste of political campaigning was at university when as a member of the Socialist Worker’s Party, she campaigned against the Labour Government elected in 1997.

Ainsley compared the conflict in Kosovo to the Vietnam War and tried unsuccessfully to convince her student union to formally condemn the US-led intervention in Kosovo. “People see that what Nato is doing is wrong,” she told Nouse, the university’s student paper, at the time.

I trust that she is now in line with Labour’s position on NATO in 2022.

One would hope Lisa Nandy and Rachel Reeves, the Shadow Chancellor, with their Parliamentary seats in the North West and Yorkshire, respectively, would be better informed about the state of UK manufacturing at least in the places they represent.

Seemingly not, given Nandy was Starmer’s minder during his procession through the North and Reeves recently told the Financial Times that Labour was now pro business, planned to reverse a decade of lost growth with capital (not revenue) spending and wanted partnerships with businesses, but that the UK would not rejoin the Single Market in her lifetime.

A renaissance in UK manufacturing when manufacturing in the UK is being hard hit by the Hard Brexit Labour has now adopted as policy seems highly unlikely.

Would our economy be safe in the hands of folk who seem woefully ignorant about its fundamentals?

Starmer’s pledge, combined with Hard Brexit might well appeal to folk like those pensioners in that café in Leigh, but it is not a credible one for the young; the working aged, especially those in work in manufacturing and business people.

Did Farage change his position, because he thought he might come across as unpatriotic in a place like Leigh, perhaps be seen as running Britain down or because he knew he was making one claim too many about the benefits of Brexit or a combination of both?

Whatever the reason for Farage’s change of position in 2014, Sir Keir Starmer QC’s pledge in 2022 to revive a relatively healthy industry sector, slowly being ground down by Hard Brexit, is hardly grounds for folk in business in England to vote Labour at a General Election.

And just to confuse matters further, there are currently 1.298 million unfilled vacancies in the UK as of March 2022.

And, despite that, the leader of the Labour Party and his advisers want not to fill those jobs, but to create more vacancies …

Late Breaking News

“Research carried out by the Labour Party has found that more than 230,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost across the UK since 2015 as Angela Rayner prepares to set out the party’s vision to “make Britain work for working people”.”

More than 230,000 manufacturing jobs lost since 2015, Labour research finds

I wonder what happened between 2016 and 2021 …

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