LABOUR under Keir Starmer have become the political version of Britney Spears’s song Oops! I did it again. The singer takes the role of someone toying with another's affections, making them believe that there is far more to the relationship than there really is. Keir Starmer does exactly the same, although the thought of him gyrating like Spears is a deeply disturbing image that no amount of mind bleach is going to purge.

Starmer toyed with the British public, making them believe that he stands for social democracy, the rights of ordinary workers, and for that large part of the population which knows that Brexit is an irredeemable act of political and economic self-harm.

Yet the closer to the next General Election that he gets, the moreS tarmer reveals himself to be a right-wing, Brexit-backing, English nationalist corporatist, very much in the mould of the Conservative party – before it went insane.

The National: Labour leader Keir Starmer appearing in Rutherglen on Tuesday

Starmer has left a litany of U-turns in his wake, all of which have taken his party even further to the political right. He has refused to scrap the abhorrent two-child cap on benefits, which has been described as a mechanism for manufacturing child poverty. He has ditched his promise to renationalise major utility and public transport companies, and watered down previous commitments to the transition to a zero-carbon economy to the point where Labour is now offering what is essentially a homeopathic remedy to climate change.

Starmer has refused to reverse the draconian and authoritarian laws introduced by the Tories which criminalise peaceful protest, and has essentially abandoned any pretence that he'd do anything to tackle the undemocratic monstrosity which is the House of Lords.

Now, Labour has signalled that it intends to row back on its previous commitment to introduce new measures to protect workers in the so-called gig economy. The move comes as Labour attempts to forestall Conservative attacks which claim that Starmer's party is "anti-business". It speaks volumes about the priorities of the Labour Party that it believes it is better to be thought of as anti-worker than anti-business.

READ MORE: Anas Sarwar branded a 'f****** disgrace' in row over gender reforms U-turn

Although Labour insists that it still intends to ban zero-hour contracts, last month the party's policy forum changed the wording of Labour's pledges on workers' rights to suggest there may be more flexibility in its approach. As Gordon Brown imperiously told us when complaints were raised about the dismal failure of his infamous Vow to deliver on its commitments, we should have read the small print.

Labour had previously been planning to create a single "worker" status for all but those who are genuinely self-employed, which would ensure the same rights for everyone regardless of sector, wage or type of contract.

Now however Labour is saying that it will "consult" on this policy after entering government in order to create a "simpler framework" which would differentiate between workers and the genuinely self-employed while still allowing people to "benefit from flexible working where they choose to do so”. This is, of course, predicated on the fantasy that those desperate to make a living have the same bargaining power as unscrupulous employers.

The National: There's more to the gig economy than deliveries and taxies

Labour has also made changes to its previous plan for "day one" workers' rights, such as sick pay, parental leave and unfair dismissal, to say that a future Labour government would not prevent "probationary periods with fair and transparent rules and processes".

Despite majority opposition in the Scottish Parliament, zero-hour contracts have proliferated in Scotland thanks to employment law being a matter reserved to Westminster. Labour has rebuffed calls for employment law to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament, insisting that it was not needed as Labour intended to introduce a "new deal" for workers should it form the next British Government.

We can now see that like all previous Labour promises, its much vaunted "new deal" for workers will turn out to be a promise to "consult" – which after many months of being kicked into the long grass will come back with some minor tweaks which will then be watered down in Commons committees to the point of being meaninglessness, and nothing much will change.

Oops! Labour did it again.

What of the Tories?

Douglas Ross has been sharply criticised by the the BMA's junior doctors' association for making "totally false" statements about NHS staff in England, claiming that junior doctors in England wanted to make their pay a "political issue" in order to attack the Conservative government.

On Thursday, Ross claimed junior doctors in England had the chance to accept the same deal as Scottish doctors but had rejected it.

The National: Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has not yet campaigned in the Rutherglen and Hamilton

Junior doctor members of the BMA rejected Ross's comments, calling them "totally false" and pointing out that "at no stage" has the UK Government offered junior doctors in England the deal accepted by members in Scotland.

They suggested that if Ross wants to intervene in this dispute then he ought to convince his party leader to sit down with the BMA and negotiate rather than continue to refuse to talk.

This is far from the first time that Douglas Ross has made a false claim, his claims about the supposed benefits of Brexit for the Scottish economy spring to mind.

Oops! Ross did it again.

And the media?

We can of course look forward to BBC Scotland giving extensive coverage to these stories as they would if it was the Scottish Government which was watering down one of its key pledges – or a Scottish Government minister who had waded into the NHS strikes in England by making a false claim in an attempt to score a cheap political point.

And surprise surprise, neither rated a mention on BBC Scotland's lunchtime news, or if they did it was of the blink and you'd miss it treatment that BBC Scotland gave to Wednesday's news that NHS Scotland doctors had accepted the Scottish Government's pay offer, making Scotland the only nation in the UK which has successfully avoided strike action by NHS staff.

Oops! BBC Scotland did it again.

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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