I interrupted Keir Starmer’s manifesto launch – here’s why

I interrupted Keir Starmer’s manifesto launch – here’s why
One of Starmer’s constituents, Alice tried every way to talk to her then MP about the crisis facing her generation, but he did not listen she writes exclusively for Huck.

Just a couple of hours ago I was dragged out of a packed conference hall in Manchester, after confronting Labour leader Keir Starmer at his party’s manifesto launch. As he delivered his speech, I held up a banner reading ‘YOUTH DESERVE BETTER’ before it was quickly ripped out of my hands. As I was led away, I made my voice heard – saying ‘you say you’re offering change, but it’s just the same old Tory policies.’

I’m in my twenties, and I live in Keir Starmer’s constituency. In recent years I’ve tried plenty of ways to talk to him about the experience of my generation – of growing up in the shadow of the financial crisis, under austerity, and with scientists constantly sounding alarm bells about the climate crisis that threatens to make our futures unlivable. I’ve written letters, tried to speak to him at his surgeries, asked to meet with him. But he hasn’t listened – and now he’s weeks away from becoming Prime Minister, standing on a manifesto that offers us nothing that will improve our lives now or secure our future.

This election is the most important in my lifetime. From summer wildfires to winter flooding, we’re in a planetary code red. Science tells us we’re in the final years to take meaningful action against the climate crisis. At the same time, Tory wreckers have pushed our country to the brink over the last decade and a half – stripping money away from communities, leaving our public services crumbling. Water and energy bosses are making huge profits while children get sick from drinking tap water or swimming in the sea, parents are choosing between turning the heating on and putting food on the table, and older people are dying in winter because they can’t afford their heating bills.

What we desperately need now is bold action to rebalance our economy so it works for ordinary people, to rebuild our public services, and to tackle runaway climate change so that we all have a future to look forward to. With Labour almost certain to form the next government, we’re all watching them to see if what they’re offering matches the scale of the challenge.

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But what Keir Starmer unveiled today just doesn’t touch the sides. Labour have some decent ideas – their publicly-owned GB Energy plan could pave the way for a transition to net zero that benefits all of us; and their original plans to invest £28 billion in green infrastructure would have been genuinely transformative.

But they U-turned on this key policy, gutting it of the investment commitment it would need to really make a difference. Instead, Starmer and Reeves have tied themselves in knots with fiscal rules that prevent them from injecting the money our economy needs to grow – and that would allow us to take meaningful climate action.

What we’re left with is change in name only – in reality, what we will see from the next Labour government is simply more of the same. Decline, delay, a stagnating economy and widening inequality while wildfires rage and floods sweep people’s lives away.

That’s why I confronted Starmer today – to let him know that my generation won’t sit by and watch his party throw away our future. Labour wants us to believe there is no alternative to their politics as usual, but there is. Movements like ours are not going to let up - our transformative policies to invest in tackling the climate crisis, to tax the rich to fund public services, backing public ownership, and opposing war crimes in Gaza and around the world, are popular.

Disrupting Labour’s big moment is just one part of our plan to make an impact at this election by seizing the narrative, building popular support, and forcing our generation and climate change back onto the agenda. By showing what we’re capable of when we organise together - whether that’s changing the narrative or electing new Champions - we’ll show them they can’t continue to ignore us.

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