Elections: Labour discusses how to help Britain while other parties fight among themselves

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Say what you like about Ed Miliband, at least he hasn’t descended into the morass of smears, accusations and counter-accusations that typify the Tory and Liberal Democrat election campaigns.

Labour’s approach seems to be focused on the national situation, rather than local areas – perhaps Mr Miliband is leaving local campaigning to local representatives, who know exactly what they’re talking about. Good policy.

By concentrating on the overarching issues – especially ahead of next week’s launch of the Coalition’s future legislative programme – he’s telling the country what Labour stands for, right now: Action on jobs, tax, housing and training, and cutting household bills.

I don’t know about you but I’m in favour of all of that.

Labour would provide a jobs guarantee for the long-term unemployed. People out of work would be obliged to take up those jobs (which might seem draconian, but remember, these people have been out of work for a long time and their pay would be more than the benefits they receive) and the £1 billion costs would be funded by reversing the government’s decision to stop tax relief on pension contributions for people earning over £150,000 being limited to 20 per cent.

Labour would re-introduce the 10p tax band and cut VAT temporarily, freeing up the money supply to pump much-needed life into the national economy. Mr Miliband said the Coalition’s attempt at trickle-down economics was failing badly, and he was right – trickle-down is a proven falsehood.

And Labour would cut energy bills and crack down on rogue landlords, putting more cash in the wallets of the people who actually spend their money.

Of course, the Conservatives reacted predictably by complaining that the plans mean more spending, borrowing and debt – completely overlooking the fact that their own policies have increased borrowing by £245 billion since 2010.

The World At One’s Martha Kearney tried to tackle Mr Miliband about this, but ended up making herself look a little foolish. While Miliband patiently tried to explain that investment now would bring growth in the medium term, cutting future borrowing, she seem to expect him to wave a magic wand – a Mili-wand, if you like – and fix the borrowing issue immediately.

Of course that isn’t possible – but it’s a far better alternative to the failed austerity programme. The statistics in the image (above) indicate clearly how disastrous austerity can be for a country, and of course Gideon Osborne’s main evidence to support this course was disproved a couple of weeks ago (I’m still waiting for you to bring forward other documentary evidence in favour of austerity, by the way, George).

Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats have climbed onto the Tory ‘negative campaigning’ bandwagon and decided that their best hope of winning votes is to attack the other parties. It’s a common Lib Dem ploy.

So the Conservatives have abandoned compassion, and Labour is now a party of protest, according to Nick Clegg (who was clearly taking notes when Mr Miliband met former Labour leader Tony Blair).

What a shame he didn’t pay attention to what Mr Miliband was saying. It’s ridiculous to suggest Labour is “offering anger rather than hope” when Labour has been telling everyone exactly how it would return hope to Britain’s blighted economy.

Mr Clegg claimed that both Labour and the Conservatives were retreating to political extremes, and urged voters to vote for his party instead – conveniently forgetting that the Liberal Democrats in Parliament are currently an enthusiastic part of the most extreme right-wing government the UK has had in generations.

What’s even more amazing is that he followed up this character assassination of his political rivals by saying that, in the event of another hung Parliament in 2015, he would gladly go into coalition with either of the other parties.

He said the Lib Dems would “do our duty to the country”.

Considering your track record to date, Nick, it seems unlikely that ‘duty’ has ever been your motivation.

54 thoughts on “Elections: Labour discusses how to help Britain while other parties fight among themselves

  1. guy fawkes

    For you to state that local labour representatives know what they are talking about makes me wonder as to your political affiliation. I am not a voter at all now because I think they are all steeped in corruption and public bodies locally are accountable to no-one it seems with their self regulatory systems.
    Why do we swap one set of partisan elites for what will become another pack of partisan elites – vote for independants I say.

    1. Mike Sivier

      I am a member of the Labour Party; I’ve never tried to hide that.

      But the point I was making wasn’t about any particular party. Doesn’t it make more sense – in local elections – to leave the campaigning on local issues to people who know what they are – whether they’re Labour, Tories, Liberal Democrats or Raving Loonies?

  2. murray

    Totally agree with Fawxy,there are not three parties,they are all as one,just call themselves by different names,none of them give a flyin F-ck about the working man or the unemployed,as long as they are able to take advantage of the numerous perks they get,why should they care about anyone else???

  3. Thomas

    I don’t like any of them. Tories-ugh, Lib Dems are traitors to their voters,Labour-being forced to do a job is like forced marridge. Labour are slightly less bad then the other two.

  4. guy fawkes

    Labour under Tony Blair, started welfare reform with job seekers allowance replacing unemployment benefits, they were the first to sanction peoples benefits and new deal was a disaster. They also introduced tuition fees – they are as bad if not worse than the other parties.

    1. Mike Sivier

      If you’ve read my other articles, then of course you’ll be aware that I also consider Labour’s welfare policy to be a disaster. I have said, many times, that Labour must rethink its attitude to benefits, starting by dealing with the reasons people end up claiming unemployment benefit, or come off work due to sickness or disability.

      I’d say the same about tuition fees.

      They are, however, nowhere near as bad as the other parties and, considering our experience over the last three years, I think you’d have to be making a joke to compare them.

  5. guy fawkes

    MIke

    I don’ t want to get into an argument over who is worse except to say if the past 3 years under the tories policies are bad, labour are not in the business of reversing any of them as far as I am aware. Tax credits are shoring up failed business and businessmen.

    1. murray

      Labour stopped being labour under Tory Blair,calling themselves New Labour,was just a ruse,because they abandoned all policies that were designed to help working class folks.Labour what a joke!!!

    2. Mike Sivier

      Labour would repeal the Health and Social Care Act altogether, reversing the privatisation of the NHS. Also the VAT rise (if for a limited time). There are others, I’m sure, but those are just off the top of my head.

      I think you’re judging by what Labour front-benchers have said in the past, which is that they can’t say what they would definitely stop until closer to the 2015 election, because they don’t know what situation the country will have fallen into, by that time. The response needs to match the challenge.

      1. murray

        What are Labour going to do about the financial regulator in this country,because the current regulator is allowing widespread financial fraud to take place.There is yet another banking scandal taking place right now,re :rate fixing, by the very same banks that were resposable for Libor rate fixing.They have colluded in robbing the Global economy of $800 Trillion,yes TRILLION, which is 10 times more than GLOBAL G.D.P.

      2. Mike Sivier

        Poor financial regulation is partially responsible for the banking crisis and the mess it caused in the first place, and that is a Gordon Brown issue. Isn’t it a shame that the current government said it would come in and sort out all of this, and then didn’t lift a finger?

        The short answer is, I don’t know what Labour is going to do, but it’s a very good question. Is there any account of this new rate-fixing situation that we can all see? I’d like to do an article.

    3. Dave Evans (@Soylentish)

      As Mike said current Labour front benchers (including Milliband) have now repeatedly pledged to reverse and repeal NHS reforms (‘renationalising the NHS if necessary’).

      Labour have also more recently pledged to repeal the ‘bedroom tax’.

      The fundamental reality is that Labour will repeal some of these vile Tory policies, and will (perhaps disappointingly) merely tone down others.

      The Tories and Lib Dems are bent not just on more of the same, but cutting further and deeper.

  6. guy fawkes

    We could run the country with the help of civil servants based on the premiss that “the reponse needs to match the challenge” and “they don’t know what situation the country will be in.
    One of the reasons new labour are backing the health service in particular, is not because they have any affinity with old labour policies, but because most of their voters work for the NHS.

    1. Mike Sivier

      Of course, the Tories don’t believe civil servants are necessary – look at what Michael Gove is doing to the Department for Education.

      I think you’re going a little too far by suggesting most Labor voters work for the NHS! Many, perhaps.

  7. guy fawkes

    Actually I agree that we do not need so many civil servants either, nor the quango’s that are replacing them. Ministers don’t have a clue what is going on in their own departments, but civil servant drones will carry their policies out regardless. Let’s see all of the public services and civil service go on strike in solidarity with what is going on in their departments and what has happened to the poorest in our country, instead of paying lip service to empathetic feelings.

    1. Mike Sivier

      Far be it from me to play Sir Humprey Appleby to your Rt Hon Jim Hacker MP!

      I agree with you about quangos, though – because they remove responsibility from elected representatives without taking any for themselves.

      1. murray

        The VAT reduction will raise an estimated £12 billion, what difference will that make, when this government are borrowing £250 billion,over and above,the borrowing ammount they inherited?

      2. Mike Sivier

        Follow through what people will do with the money. £12 billion, once it has gone through the system on a fiscal multiplier of 1.6 would put £19 billion into the economy. That’s money that will keep people in work, and might help the economy grow. Growth means MORE people in work, leading to higher tax revenue and – ultimately – lower borrowing.

        One of the main problems I have with the current government is the insistence that money invested in the economy is dead money – that it won’t lead to any growth at all. These are all people who should know that you have to invest money into a business before you can take any out of it, so their attitude makes absolutely no sense at all.

  8. guy fawkes

    Now we are back to my initial complaint, i.e. there is no accountability other than self regulatory, pat each other on the back complaints services within any of the public services at the moment and the judiciary are loathe to take the govt to court, so no real justice throughout the country.

    1. murray

      Any regulator needs to have teeth, whereby they can hold guilty parties to account,there are no such bodies in this country,and this government are not going to change this situation any time soon,as it is their own cronies that mostly sit on, any and all regulatory committe or body.

      1. Mike Sivier

        No, the civil service is employed by the government to enact its decisions – to provide the expertise necessary to ensure that government policy is followed in this country. Responsibility for those decisions rests with the Parliamentarians who made them; if a civil servant acts irresponsibly or neglects duty in any way, there are structures in place to handle that – the same as in any commercial operation.

        Unless you have a complaint with the way a particular civil servant does something, then any problem you have with the civil service most likely rests with the politician responsible for that government department.

    1. murray

      Debate I think would be as far as it went,ppl have become apathetic,dont feel whatever they do will make any difference, but general strike is exactly what is required.Wake ppl up to real reality,not just as seen on tv!!!

      1. Mike Sivier

        The debate is still very much alive, although I don’t know what the current situation may be (not in a union; have to wait for information to come out, the same as everyone else).

      1. Mike Sivier

        I’ve never seen the Keiser Report.

        A friend who moved away many years ago came round to visit so I have been chatting with him. Need to get back there now.

      1. murray

        check out their website,it may open your eyes,as to how we are all being conned on a daily basis,and nothing is being done about it by any western government.

  9. guy fawkes

    Murray

    I’ll second that, I remember a time when we had “sing a long with Max” never thought I would end up “shouting along with Max”!

    1. murray

      Yes I remember my Granny talking about Max Bygraves,when I was a wee boy.Hopefully Ive grown older and wiser since then.

    2. Stephen Bee

      Max Keiser is awesome, Mike..am totally surprised you haven’t been following him…he slates the government left, right and centre…no punches pulled…and backs his complaints with verifiable evidence….But then hey, thats not a complaint…you do sterling work..you can only have so many fingers..in so many pies. If you go to rt.com and scroll down to the bottom..there is a link there to The Keiser Reports…Max sometimes goes OTT/Crazy..which is very offputting…you have to see a few reports to realise his advice is ‘sound’…seriously…! lol

  10. guy fawkes

    Yes, I remember he sang about a tiny house, now your lucky if you can get a tiny house!

  11. guy fawkes

    I think Mike lives in cloud cuckoo land if he thinks there is any accountability by anyone connected with government either locally or nationally.

      1. Mike Sivier

        Everybody here is entitled to their opinions, of course… as long as they are expressed in a reasonable way.

        All I’m saying is, if you think something’s wrong in the civil service, you should blame the politicians first.

  12. murray

    Of course politicians are to blame , but they are surrounded by advisors and other grossly over paid lackies,it gives rise to wonder !!

    1. Mike Sivier

      Oh! You mean consultants!

      Vermin – the lot of ’em. My local council – Powys – spent £6.1 million on them last year, for advice that I could have written down on the back of my notepad.

  13. guy fawkes

    If politicians are to blame for policies, then local councils are more to blame for carrying them out and quite vociferously from my experience of them.

    1. Mike Sivier

      It depends on the council, I expect. Westminster Council wouldn’t have any problem pushing through draconian measures, I fear.

      Again, councils are elected politicians. If you’re suggesting council officers are to blame, I think the current head of finance at Powys County Council would contest that point most vigorously!

  14. guy fawkes

    Where I live if you put a monkey up for election with labour colours they would vote for them – deluded isn’t the word. What they fail to realise is that there is so much cronyism and nepotism within public services the ordinary voter stands no chance against these propogandists who all stick together if you happen to complain about them and that goes for our MP.

  15. Stephen Bee

    Just wanna say…despite my earlier comments Mike..I hold your blog in high regard..and same goes for your analysis of current problems..as long as people don’t troll and can agree to disagree..or at least argue constructively..keep up the good work dude..x

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