Starmer’s “Brick by Brick” Only to Be Overwhelmed by BRICS+

Namely Innovation, Inflation, Immigration, Identity Politics and a badly mauled international system since the mismanagement of the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the concomitant rise of China.

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Published by AstroAwani, TheStar, SinarDaily & MYsinchew, image by AstroAwani.

One of the first speeches by Keir Starmer, the 58th Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK), was the importance of closing ranks with all parties. 

For the lack of a better word, whether they are voters who voted for the Labor Party to return them to power with a massive majority, with an increase of 214 parliamentary seats, or those who opted not to vote for it, it was important to remain united.

Prime Minister Keir Starmer, who has a wooden, almost “robotic” style of speaking, is clearly not one in the mould of former British Premier Tony Blair, who swept the Labor Party to power in May 1997. Indeed, Prime Minister Starmer, on his campaign trail, admitted just as much: that he was non-charismatic.

That being said, Prime Minister Starmer, prior to entering the 10th Downing Street, affirmed that now that the snap General Election is over, with the Conservatives led by ex British PM Rishi Sunak totally bruised and wounded, spoke of Labor Party’s commitment to rebuild Britain, consequently, to reset it on a new direction, “brick by brick.” 

The 64 Million Pound Question is can he? The answer could well be: No. Now why?

First and foremost, Euro sclerosis, a syndrome marked by low growth and high public and private debt, has been pervasive all across Europe since the late 1960s.

Notwithstanding the fact that Britain is not a part of the European Union (EU) proper, especially after BREXIT, the UK itself has been reeling as an economic powerhouse.

At any given year, when the Great British Pound does not crash, with its economy able to eke by with a minuscule growth of 1 or 2 percent, the Chancellor of the UK, that functions as the equivalent of the Ministry of Finance, would be laughing all the way to the bank.

The de-industrialization of the UK economy is deep. The switch to a service economy is just as notorious, given the reputation of London as one of the largest money laundering capitals of the world. The movie “London has Fallen” could not have been a better moniker to describe the contemporary UK, many of which are ramparts of its old glory.

Whether this be Ireland, Northern Island, Wales, for that matter, Scotland, what Blair once labelled “Cool Britania,” was anything but.

Prime Minister Keir Stammer will have the largest number of female Ministers in his Cabinet, but the administration of Starmer may have missed the voters’ frustration and angst against the previous Conservative Government in the first place.

What ails Britain, not unlike many other countries in and across the Asia Pacific and the EU writ large, comes to an ostensible struggle of 5 Is.

Namely Innovation, Inflation, Immigration, Identity Politics and a badly mauled international system since the mismanagement of the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the concomitant rise of China.

While Professor Peter Nolan at Jesus College in the University of Cambridge warned of Russia and China having diverging economic trajectory as early as 1992 —- a warning as prescient as Lord John Maynard Keynes —- that the mismanagement of Germany after the First World War in 1919, as marked by the punitive payment and war reparations that Germany was forced to cough up to the victors, leading to the eventual rise of Fascist Germany under the rule of Adolph Hitler in 1933, all the administrations since the days of Lord John Major’s tenure as the Prime Minister who had succeeded Lady Margaret Thatcher did not pay close attention to working with, rather than against President Vladimir Putin between 2000 to the present day. 

As things stand, Prime Minister Keir Starmer has yet to articulate a China strategy although the UK is part of the Quads in Asia together with Australia, India, Japan and the United States (US). With such obfuscated thinking on the major issues of the day, the UK parliament is clearly malfunctioning.

The same is true of Britain’s mangled relationship with Malaysia too. Instead of training more Malaysians to study in the leading universities in the UK, with the specification that they must return to their home countries to enhance the bilateral tie of the UK and  Malaysia, each British Prime Minister has missed the importance of the most basic form of statecraft. 

Not to poach the talents from their ex colonies. Let these British-educated leaders grow Malaysia and the member states of the Commonwealth.

Due to the lack of any innovation in the strategic thinking of the island-peninsular, the UK has not been able to grow faster than the inflation rage.

This has led to stagnant income and overworked British blue-collar and knowledge workers.

As for inflation, despite the fact that Britain has a strong and stable pound, no British Prime Minister, for that matter, Chancellor, has been able to stem the widening gap between the haves and have-nots.

Prime Minister Keir Starmer has now inherited all these problems. The third is immigration. As a member of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the birth rates and productivity of the UK have been trending downward too.

When the Global Innovation Index was released a month ago, Britain did not score any major hits. Rather, it was Switzerland and Sweden that have taken the lead.

For what it is worth, the UK can’t seem to understand that not unless all parts of the UK have the main White Anglo Saxons Protestants, indeed, Anglicans, to consider the foreign immigrants as a plus to strengthen the intellectual fiber of Britain, jointly, the UK cannot use Brexit, or, Exit from the European Union to see its resurgence.

Even if Brexit is necessary, it was incumbent on the government and opposition to knock their heads together into solving the public housing crisis of the UK.  Ever deepening crisis exists in the National Health system of the UK due to their doctors and nurses all being overworked.

Whether it was David Cameron, Theressa May, for that matter Liz Truss, in turn Rishi Sunak, none of the Conservative frontbenchers knew what was needed to keep the prices of housing low.

So how did the British Prime Minister thrash the conservatives so compellingly? The answer lies in micro-targeting and a first past the pillar system.

Although the Labor Party only received 34 per cent of the total votes, due to the first past the post electoral system, even candidates with 15 votes majority would still be declared the winner, as was, in fact, the case observed by London.

In another seat, the Labor party candidates scraped through to claim his seat with 98 additional votes.

As things stand, the UK has produced one of the world’s most distorted representations at the rank of number 5 after St Lucia, Barbados, British Virgin Islands and Bhutan.

British Prime Minister Keir Starmer also did not receive the first congratulatory call from  Donald Trump, who seemed all poised and ready to be the President of the United States all over again on November 8, 2024.

Rather, that distinction went to Nigel Farage of the Reform Party, a right-wing platform that managed to get 8 of its Members of Parliament into the Whitehall, including Nigel Farage himself. Indeed, by peddling in white British nationalism, the oxymoronically named Reform Party improved their votes by 80 percent; the best performance in terms of total vote tally as compared to the last General Election in 2019.

This was a trend serious enough to warrant former leader of the British Conservative Party, William Hague, to warn that of all things “the Conservative Party should reflect on”  —- in order to draw the right lessons to see the return of the British Conservative Party one fine day —- what remains of the leadership of Conservative Party —-“ must not learn from the Reform Party.” 

Despite everything that has been said, 4 independent MPs who rallied on the basis of being pro Palestine did surprise everyone by getting into the Whitehall or the British Parliament. Otherwise, Prime Minister Keir Starmer who himself was feverishly pro Israel, even to the degree of approving starvation as a method of Israeli defense policy against Gaza, has nothing too redeeming about this seemingly gigantic victory.

With BRICS + in ascendence it is difficult to see how British Prime Minister Keir Starmer, who is not known for his creative thinking, can pull more proverbial habits from the hat to save the Empire from being further imploding.

This election merely delayed the Scottish National Party (SNP) from having another referendum to have referendum by 2029. But it did not completely remove the likelihood of Scotland, in turn, Wales, going all alone.

As for Starmer’s foreign policy, in all likelihood it will stay the same. Whether it is Palestine and/or Ukraine with no solutions at hand but continue with the current unjust and partial policies choreographed and chaperoned by the US.

Dr Rais Hussin is the Founder of EMIR Research, a think tank focused on strategic policy recommendations based on rigorous research.

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