WELL that Labour promise didn't last long, did it?

Just a week ago Anas Sarwar was telling one and all that his boss's plan for a new publicly owned Great British Energy would generate and sell renewable energy, like the publicly owned energy companies that are found in other European countries, and Labour's plan would create tens of thousands of jobs in Scotland.

But it quickly transpired that GB Energy will not in fact be an energy company at all.

Speaking to BBC Good Morning Scotland, Starmer admitted the new publicly-owned company would be an "investment vehicle" to pump public money into the private sector.

Another right-wing Starmer U-turn? I'm as shocked as you are.

READ MORE: Labour MP hopeful told Scots to vote Conservative in General Election

GB Energy will not produce energy, it will not sell energy, it will not own any energy infrastructure. Those are pretty much the conditions required to be called an energy company in any meaningful definition of the term.

Labour's GB energy won't generate any power because it won't own anything. Instead, it’s a Private Finance Initiative vehicle to generate private sector investment. We all saw what Labour's PFI schemes did in the NHS – we're still paying the private sector profiteers even now.

But the right wing of the Labour party, which under Starmer is now firmly in charge, is still hell bent on peddling the same old snake oil. This is what Starmer is pleased to call "change".

In 2018, an article in the Independent explained how we got saddled with £300 billion of debt to private companies in return for New Labour’s PFI programme – which provided only £57bn worth of services. The justification for PFI was that Labour had inherited dire public finances from the Tories. Does that sound familiar?

The National:

A new PFI scheme is not at all what Anas Sarwar was claiming just a few days ago. But it seems that, as usual, the branch manager was talking way above his pay grade.

Back in June last year Starmer was comparing his proposed GB Energy to publicly owned energy companies in Scandinavia: Denmark's Ørsted and Vattenfall in Sweden. Both of those produce and sell energy, unlike the proposals for a new PFI vehicle which Starmer announced today.

Labour would fund GB Energy through a windfall tax on oil and gas firms, which they said would raise £8.3bn over the next five years. They will then hand that money right back to the private sector. It will not be used to reduce household energy bills.

Speaking on the BBC this morning, Deputy First Minister Kate Forbes pointed out that independent experts estimate that 100,000 jobs (predominantly in Scotland) will be lost due to Labour’s energy plans.

READ MORE: Anger as Labour's 'parachuting candidates' saga continues in Wales

First Minister John Swinney has expressed his confusion over Keir Starmer’s Great British Energy plans and backed his deputy's warning that Labour's proposals will lead to a “significant” loss of jobs in the north east of Scotland.

On BBC Scotland's lunchtime news bulletin we were merely told that the SNP and Labour had "clashed" over Labour's plans for a new publicly-owned energy company.

There was no mention of the fact that the clash was centred on the fact that Labour's "new publicly-owned energy company" is not in fact an energy company in any meaningful sense of the term.

As Green co-leader Lorna Slater said: “After today’s U-turn from Keir Starmer it’s hard to tell who has more disregard for – the people of Scotland or his colleagues in Scottish Labour.

“Earlier this week, Anas Sarwar was promising us that GB Energy would be a publicly owned company that would generate and sell renewable energy – like the publicly owned energy companies that are common throughout Europe – and would create 70,000 jobs in Scotland.

“But Keir Starmer has now torpedoed these plans, once again confirming Scottish Labour’s irrelevance to Labour decision-making in London."

This policy is Starmer's big pitch to Scotland, but it has rapidly unravelled and stands revealed as yet U-turn.

"Vote Labour for a new PFI wheeze" might not be a catchy election slogan, but it's far more accurate than anything Starmer or Sarwar were spouting this morning.

And a Tory candidate shows his credentials

It's not going well for Luke Graham, the Tory candidate for the Perth and Kinross-shire constituency. At a campaign event in Perth, Graham attracted the ire of some in the audience by attempting to deploy the old canard that the SNP "hate the English".

The National: Graham was first rejected by voters in Ochil and South Perthshire, and then dumped from the PM’s Union Unit

Graham said: "What I can’t stand is that when you get to the kind of SNP position which is ‘we’re an internationalist party, we want to be reaching out to everyone’, SNP MPs sit in Parliament all the time [saying] ‘we love everyone else’ – apart from the other people on the islands of Great Britain."

Members of the audience took issue with Graham's comment, with one man saying he found it “insulting” that Graham had described SNP voters as “anti-English”.

Graham denied he'd said any such thing. While it is indeed true that he had not used the exact term "anti-English", it was blatantly obvious what he had been insinuating.

However, Graham continued to insult the intelligence of those present by denying that's what he had meant.

No wonder he's a Tory candidate.

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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