The Boris Johnson Show has dominated the mainstream media for what seems like weeks on end. And with the Tories continuing to implode, many observers now seem to think that the Labour Party is all but guaranteed to win the next General Election.
But Labour leader Keir Starmer has a secret weapon that might just help prime minister Rishi Sunak snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Step forward Ed Miliband, shadow climate-change secretary. He’s the only Labour politician who has been able to break through the Boris media circus and generate headlines for Labour. The only problem is, most of them have been negative.
Take Keir Starmer’s announcement at the beginning of June that a future Labour government would ban all new North Sea oil and gas projects. That is straight out of Ed Miliband’s playbook.
Many have suggested that this anti-fossil-fuel policy is linked to Labour receiving a £1.5million donation from Dale Vince, owner of green electricity company Ecotricity and backer of the Just Stop Oil protesters. But there’s little doubt that Miliband has been the one pushing the policy.
A ban on new oil and gas projects is a foolish move. As others have rightly noted, stopping drilling for North Sea oil and gas will make us more reliant on energy produced overseas. And this will increase costs. As Sunak succinctly pointed out to Starmer at Prime Minister’s Questions last week: ‘His predecessor [Gordon Brown] once said he wanted British jobs for British workers – [Starmer’s] policy is British jobs for Russian workers!’
Unsurprisingly, trade unions, local Labour councillors and trade bodies have also slammed the ban. The Aberdeen Labour Group leader, councillor Tauqeer Malik, said: ‘If we were to stop development in the North Sea we would inevitably have to rely more heavily on imports from countries where the stringent measures we have in place to reduce the impact to the environment are, frankly, non-existent. We have jobs and families to protect. We cannot just throw the baby out with the bath water.’