KEIR Starmer has unveiled the Labour Party's manifesto for the General Election campaign.

As was widely predicted it signs a future government up to Conservative spending plans and a refusal to raise taxes, meaning that Tory austerity will continue under a Starmer government.

Sources within the party have admitted to the press that Labour will be forced into "really difficult" decisions around public services when it comes to the first Budget of the new government.

According to a study by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, a Labour government which refuses to raise taxes or increase borrowing will be faced with a hole in its finances to the tune of £18 billion, which it will only be able to make up by squeezing spending even further on already hard pressed public services.

Tory austerity will only continue under Labour.

The Labour leader has insisted that he wants to grow the economy as a way out of the spending squeeze but since Starmer refuses to countenance taking the UK back into the European Single Market and Customs Union - never mind rejoining the EU - he's going to try to grow the economy while ruling out one of the major levers which would allow him to do that.

READ MORE: Leading economic experts tear apart Labour spending plans

It's like saying you're going to run a marathon but without seeking treatment for your broken leg.

At the launch of the Labour manifesto in Manchester on Thursday, Starmer denied that there would be any return to austerity under a Labour government, a line that was gleefully quoted by Anas Sarwar during First Minister's Questions when First Minister John Swinney put it to Anas Sarwar that a Labour government would mean a continuation of Tory austerity.

Quoting a promise from a habitual liar like Keir Starmer is not the killer line that Anas Sarwar seems to think it is.

That's like quoting Boris Johnson on the importance of abiding by Covid lockdown regulations.

Sarwar went on to accuse the First Minister of scaremongering, which is pretty rich coming from the representative of a party which scaremongered its way through the independence referendum campaign of 2014.

Keir Starmer's political career is littered with broken promises.

Keir Starmer and former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn

He lied his way into the leadership of the Labour Party, breaking just about every one of the campaign promises he made in order to secure the post.

He will have no compunction now about breaking any of the promises that he is making in order to get him the power that he so covets.

Nevertheless, Starmer appears set to win this election by a substantial margin, that is not because there is any great love or enthusiasm for Starmer's Tory-lite brand of Labourism, but rather because there is such widespread despair and revulsion for the Conservative alternative.

For most of the UK the choice in this election is like having to choose between explosive diarrhoea or bubonic plague. Neither is a prospect to be relished but the decision is a no-brainer.

It is a signal of the extent to which the Westminster system has failed that we are presented this dismal choice and are told it's democracy.

Just how badly will the Tories fare in this election?

Even the Tories themselves know that this election is already lost, squeezed between Starmer on the one side taking on many of their policies and their position on Brexit and on the other by Nigel Farage making a naked appeal to the prejudices of English nationalism, the Tories have no route left to victory, the only remaining question is the magnitude of their impending defeat.

Will it be a heavy defeat, a rout, or electoral annihilation?

There are many reasons why the Tories deserve to be obliterated at the ballot box on July 4 and punished so severely that they would take decades to recover.

For example, there's their shameless hypocrisy during the pandemic, partying while they imposed lockdown and social isolation on the rest of us.

There's their blatant corruption and the lies they told about Brexit, only deciding after the result of the EU referendum was in the bag that Brexit meant leaving the single market and customs union and putting an end to freedom of movement.

READ MORE: Protester interrupts Keir Starmer speech at Labour manifesto launch

There's the abhorrent two child cap on benefits, which like the Tory Brexit, Starmer won't undo.

There's Liz Truss and her hard-right economic vandalism.

That's not even an exhaustive list, there is so much more that warrants consigning the Conservatives to electoral oblivion.

But there is one statistic which all by itself demonstrates the misery and harm that this despicable party has caused and which alone makes the Tories deserve to be obliterated at the ballot box.

In 2010 when the Tories came into power, an estimated 40,000 people in the UK used foodbanks.

By the end of 2023, after 13 years of Conservative misrule, that number had soared to 2.99 million.

(Image: PA)

That is a shameful indictment of Conservative policies.

Sunak himself knows that the game is up.

During the leaders' interviews between him and Starmer on Sky News last night he seemed defeated and flat, just going through the motions.

Mentally he is already on a private jet en-route to his luxury beachfront apartment in Malibu.

Meanwhile The Guardian reports that the Tory campaign on the ground is descending into disarray with a chronic lack of staff and volunteers and a rising sense of panic even in seats which were once considered so safe that the party had never had to campaign to keep them.

The original Tory strategy was the so called 80:20 approach, mounting a spirited defence in their 80 most marginal seats while trying to win the 20 most marginal seats held by other parties.

But this strategy has disappeared as Tory MPs struggle for political survival.

One party official told The Guardian: "The 80:20 plan no longer exists, if it ever did.

“We are diverting resources to safer and safer seats.

“People in seats which have been Conservative forever are basically s***ting themselves.

“There is no strategy – it’s pretty much disarray."

This piece is an extract from today’s REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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