Why won’t Labour tell the truth? – Michael Meacher MP

He was right about tax and he's right about Labour as well: Michael Meacher wants to know why his own party is scared to present the facts of the Coalition's mismanagement of the UK; after reading his article, so will you.

He was right about tax and he’s right about Labour as well: Michael Meacher wants to know why his own party is scared to present the facts of the Coalition’s mismanagement of the UK; after reading his article, so will you.

Those of you who are convinced Vox Political is a rabidly Labour-supporting page may be surprised to see the following – and even more surprised to find that it has been written by a Labour member of Parliament, Michael Meacher.

If so, then you really haven’t been paying attention.

If the blog is mainly devoted to attacks on the policies of the current government (and it is – because government policies affect us all now, making them the prime concern), then those attacks are punctuated by frustration with the Labour Opposition.

Labour is the party that is best-equipped to defeat the Conservatives at the 2015 election. It has the policies and it still has shadow ministers with experience of government who can put those policies to work effectively.

It lacks any ability to communicate these facts – and the facts that the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have been hopelessly poor in government and have been lying to cover themselves – to the general public.

In what follows, taken from his blog article, Michael Meacher MP says more about why you should vote Labour in a few brief words than Ed Miliband has managed in the last five years. He writes:

Why does Labour, when the Tories lie and lie and lie, keep on turning the other cheek?

Hardly out of an excess of Christian charity, more because of cowardice in failing to confront the British people with the truth.

Osborne, a snake oil salesman if ever there was one, began his time in office in 2010 by repeating over and over again that all the problems in the economy were all the fault of the previous Labour Government.

So why didn’t Labour make the obvious riposte that it was actually the bankers, whom Osborne for some reason had somehow forgotten to mention?

Why, even more worrying, has Labour failed to make even a bleep to counter these Tory lies over the whole of the last 4 years?

The silence is surreal.

Everything that Osborne promised in 2010 has turned to dust. He promised then that the deficit would be cut by this year to £40bn; it’s now £100bn and even rising. Investment in the non-financial private sector has been a disaster area: it stood at £43bn in 2008, halved to £21bn in 2009, then fell by a further third to a shocking £14bn, less than one per cent of GDP, in 2013. As for the Tories having nothing to do with failed debt-sodden splurges of unsustainable growth, they are now actually glorying in just that, viz. Funding for Lending and the housing market going gangbusters. The balance of payments deficit is going through the roof, investment has still not recovered to pre-crash levels, and the government’s only hope of growth is by pushing consumer debt close to £3 trillion!

So why doesn’t Labour tell the truth?

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22 thoughts on “Why won’t Labour tell the truth? – Michael Meacher MP

  1. Peeve

    Sorry, Mike, but that’s not how I read it. What Michael Meacher says in a few brief words is why we should *not* vote Labour. His frustration with the party leadership is clear, since he is accusing them of cowardice; his analysis of what the Government is doing is fine – no arguments with any of that – but he doesn’t answer his own question as to why Labour is not ‘telling the truth’, nor does he provide any alternative policy position that might persuade people to vote Labour.

    As it currently stands, Miliband and Balls are promising more austerity, albeit a fairer, across-the-board austerity. They’re trying to simultaneously out-Tory the Tories, out-Green the Greens, and out-UKIP the UKIPpers, and until they work out what they actually stand for, voters will remain confused as to what their policies actually are.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      Why should voters be confused about Labour’s policies? We know what they are!
      For example: http://mikesivier.wordpress.com/2013/05/04/whoever-said-labour-has-no-policies-prepare-to-be-embarrassed/
      Or: http://kittysjones.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/45-more-good-reasons-to-vote-labour/
      Or: http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2014/11/16/ed-milibands-policy-pledges-at-a-glance-kittysjones/

      Labour isn’t trying to out-Tory the Tories, or do the same with the Greens or UKIP. The fact that you’ve suggested that shows instead that they are simply not communicating properly. That doesn’t mean that Labour doesn’t have the best policies.

      1. Iralie

        Labour has worn its neoliberal colours ever since the Blarite reforms.

        They are not a party I trust with running the country, and though they have good, commendable, MPs such as Michael Meacher those in the cabinet and in power in the party are not.
        The failure to engage and attack the Tory lies is because they’re the basis that is wanted for implementation of the next wave of neoliberal policies, regardless of whether Blue Tories or Red Tories win the day.

  2. bookmanwales

    The Labour Party does not lack “the ability to communicate” the Tory lies they just choose not to do so. They have no problem “communicating” via the media the fact that they intend to be as tough on welfare and other cuts as the Tories.

    It is simple cowardice… as opinion polls show support for the Tory cuts (Labour having not seriously questioned / published or otherwise “communicated” the lies sufficiently) then Labour are terified of spoiling their election chances by appearing to be soft.

    The Labour Party also had no problem “comunicating” it’s desire to break completely with the Trade Union movement, yet another thing they seem to be ashamed of rather than proud of.

    All in all the Labour Party as a Labour party has failed again and again to use it’s power to bring attention to the lies, deceit and corruption endemic in Parliament today ,in fact with several Labour MP’s also involved in the scams and corruption it seems to us ordinary people that perhaps the 2 parties are not so different after all.

    Let us not forget Labour had a great deal to do with the ongoing privatisation of public services via their PFI programme. That cost huge amounts of taxpayers money which ws pocketed by those very same bankers we were also forced to bail out.

    Academy schools , leasing hospitals, fire stations, police stations even prisons were sold in order that Labour could prove their “New Labour” label.
    Very few, if any, of the current crop of Labour MP’s seem to be any different from those of the Blair era and those who are are sidelined in unimportant non public roles lest they rock the “New Labour” boat.

    Though I dread the Tories winning the next electiom Labour are really going to have to pull some rabbits out of the proverbial hat to once again prove they are the party of the people.

  3. Tony Dean

    How can New Labour communicate at all, give the mainly right wing media just do not report what happens at select committees, or cover any of the anti-austerity protest.

    It is a sad reflection on the lack of freedom of the UK media that the only places I can find out about what is going on in Britain is via my self installed satellite system aimed where I can get foreign TV news and current affairs.

    The current government are more or less universally seen as incompetent fools by foreign TV news and current affairs, and the in depth reporting on the effect of zero hours contracts, benefit sanctions and food banks if shown by the British media would guarantee the Tories would lose massively at the general election.

    1. ,arjorie arnold

      you are so right. and i cant understand why labour is not pushing them on these blatant lies – especially the lies they keep on repeating. it seems to come naturally to them. the thing is we do have a largely tory press . but the thing that bothers me the most is we have to go to foreign media to find out the truth. especially radio and tv. its as if they have all been gagged. they show all the protests in other countries but never ever report the marches which have been going on over here. we are the public – we pay their salaries – therefore we should get the news as it is happening.

  4. Michelle Thomasson

    Michael Meacher has made some very honest statements on may issues.

    I asked him some straightforward questions in a televised Q and A session in the summer re bankers etc. and he gave very straightforward answers. Here is a recording of that session: http://tvapex.com/watch.aspx?i=1046&j=Democracy-Focus,%20MP%20online,%20a%20GlobalNet21%20Series&k=search

    As to policies, you should read what the Greens have to offer. This is also relevant: http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/11/how-green-party-responding-labours-fear-ukip-left

  5. aussieeh

    It could be that Labour are playing strategically, letting 2014 pass, get the New Year in with 5 month of constant pressure, not giving the Tory’s time for breath or time to lie. Let us seriously hope so. We all have an idea of what needs to be done, and if Milliband doesn’t maybe he shouldn’t be where he is. I personally hope he is a good chess player.

    1. clivegsd

      Or they could be hoping that they are seen to be so insipid that they aren’t worth electing so as to allow the Tories 5 more years of inflicting pain on those least able to fight back and then after Miliband takes the role of ‘sacrificial lamb’ and his brother is installed as leader they THEN attempt to go ‘all out’ for government.

      2 lots of collateral damage/acceptable casualties so as to reinstall a Nu Labour Blairite as leader.

      Or I might just be being cynical

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        With the greatest of respect, I very much hope you’re totally wrong.
        Political parties exist to seek a mandate to represent the people – at all times, not when they feel like it. It’s a responsibility; you want public office, you have to go for it no matter what dire situation that office might have reached. If not, then the individuals in that party who don’t fancy it should step aside for others, who do want the job.
        Does that make sense?

  6. casalealex

    I totally agree with you Mike. I too. at times, have been frustrated as to why Labour have appeared not to rebut the never ending onslaught by the Tories about blaming all the country’s ills on the previous Labour government. How to do this is rather more difficult, what with a biased press and media etc. It seems that one of the areas where Labour could get their message across should be PMQs.

    However, this is an absolute farce! The questions are all predetermined and so are the answers. Many are planted Tory “self congratulatory” statements, which gives Cameron the opportunity to waste time on making the same replies to previous ‘questions’.

    Always Cameron gets to have the last word/words. Much of the half hour is taken up with caterwauling and nasty personal snide remarks. This makes a mockery of Parliament, which ends up like a bunch of bullies in a playground!

    The best we get from debates in Parliament, are the few and far between ones brought by the Opposition, where they often get their case across; but they do not get the publicity they deserve.

    And when we get serious Opposition debates, like the Bedroom Tax debate a few days ago, I was disgusted to see Iain Duncan Smith, give a blatant hysterically pathological exhibition, and utterly abhorrent display of his real mindset regarding the people he is dumbing down in his quest for total control.


    “In all the countries there are people in numbers large and small who are moved by the vision of a new social order in which democracy, egalitarianism and co-operation – the essential values of socialism – would be the prevailing values of social organization. It is in the growth of their numbers and in the success of their struggles that lies the best hope for mankind.” Ralph Miliband – Socialism for a Sceptical Age

  7. Florence

    Thanks for bringing this to your blog, Mike. I read MM’s blog daily, as often it is the only voice of sanity in the wilderness (apart from VP of course).

    I have seen on many (mainly BBC) news programmes, where there is debate when the Labour side try & counter the “Labour-wot-done-it” propaganda get shut down – usually by the presenter. But that doesn’t excuse the rest of the Labour party’s lack of a robust rebuttal for the last 5 years. It is one of the most perplexing aspects of what has/hasn’t happened. It is now beyond the point of hoping it to be a strategy – keeping powder dry, giving the Tories the rope, etc etc .

    We know that the only hope of a change of government MUST BE with Labour, and that despite the Lynton Crosby strategy of persuading the voters there is no difference between the parties, (so don’t change, being the underlying message) the distinctive Labour polices do exist, and have been featured here on many occasions. But perhaps the message does bear repeating, Mike, at every opportunity?

  8. Keith Jackson

    I agree mostly Mike, I too have been totally frustrated at how Labour seemingly let Conservative rhetoric go unquestioned, particularly on bbcqt where the Conservatives keep blaming Labours mess without being rebutted by the Labour representative. Though I have seen Ed Milliband do it at pmq’s.

  9. jaypot2012

    Perhaps the truth is that they don’t want to win the election. Perhaps there is too much to repair and they know that they can’t do it.
    I don’t think the tories want it either – they’ve sold us all down the river and won’t have as much pleasure in the next parliament.
    We need a huge change in politics and maybe a rainbow parliament is the answer for now.

    1. Pete B

      But what would a Rainbow Parliament entail.


      No thanks,they equate more with Tories?


      No thanks,they are Tories.


      I could tolerate them.


      I always thought them more right winged than left.

      I hope for a Labour Government,not perfect,but then again.Most of the above are not either.Only a Labour Government can get rid of the Tories,IMHO.So lets vote for that,not another awful coalition.

      1. Mike Sivier Post author

        Amen to that.
        What makes you say the SNP are RIGHT-wing? Most Scots seem to think they’re further to the left than Labour.

  10. Guy Ropes

    Mike, your naivety is stunning. Do you honestly think that all political parties ‘exist to seek a mandate’? Most of them, certainly the established ones, exist ‘to feather their own nests’. It’s why most of the people are so disillusioned by them and become disconnected. Besides, there are actions taken by the last Labour government at cabinet level that you know nothing about (No. Don’t ask). So bad they might even be being blackmailed about them. Think I’m wrong? Some of your contributors – sincere Labour supporters – are utterly mystified by their inaction. Just because you don’t like my suggestion doesn’t make it wrong.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      They can’t ‘feather their own nests’ if they’re not in a position to do so. They’ve got to get into office first, and that requires the mandate from the people.
      Your claim that ‘most of them, certainly the established ones’ are only in politics to do this is debatable – I’d certainly like to know how many of the thousands of politicians up and down the country you have personally researched, and of those you’ve found wanting, how many of these decisions could then be questioned as your own personal value judgement.
      That being said, the current Coalition government of Conservatives and Liberal Democrats is certainly the most self-serving, pocket-lining gang of corrupts I have ever had to endure.
      Of course, this behaviour isn’t only linked to the established parties. Look at the fun and games we’ve all been having at UKIP’s expense. Farage doesn’t want to be associated with Neil ‘cash for questions’ Hamilton? Fine, he can install Kerry Smith as candidate instead but – oh no! – the new guy turns out to be a homophobic racist and the choice of someone other than Hamilton means one of UKIP’s heaviest backers has (allegedly) withdrawn his chequebook! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-30476383 Who will Farage find next? Kevin Barrelscrape, as envisaged in the new Private Eye (#1382, p27)?
      As for your comments about the last Labour government, my experience suggests that such vagueness means there’s nothing at all behind it. If time proves me wrong, then we’ll all learn something then.

  11. fathomie

    The problems are twofold. On the one hand, the Right wing media, in unprecedented fashion have gained control of the debate for the Conservatives. Milliband has attacked the Tories on numerous occasions, there is documented proof of this, yet it’s very much ‘crying in the wilderness’ when there is no platform willing to put those attacks out there. The second problem has already been identified. Do Labour want to win the election? They didn’t in 83′ or 87′, as even without the Tory Press having a field day with Foot and Kinnock on a personal level, meanwhile the Labour Manifesto of 83′ was labelled ‘the longest suicide note in history’. Kinnock moved the Party out of the clutches of the Far Left, but not nearly enough to win in Thatcherite Britain. All Political Parties make that choice. The Tories did in 2001, with a limp Manifesto that concentrated heavily on Immigrant bashing, but very little else, and with an unelectable shadow cabinet it was a no brainer, as the Polls demonstrated. The reason for this decision is not simply, ‘there’s a mess we don’t want’ it’s more complex than that. Because of ‘first past the post’ Parties in the UK, if they lost an Election know it’s a long road back to power. To recover lost ground they often need at least one term out to rebuild at grass roots level. At the same time it’s much harder for Labour to recover as they can’t. as the Tories can, simply rely on Flag waving, immigrant bashing, or telling whoppers about their economic policies. The Public believes the fictions the Tories spout, and they have an inbuilt distrust of anything even vaguely ‘Left Wing’. And lets face it, Labour are now only ‘vaguely left wing’. That said, my only hope for the election, and, lets; be honest, for this country, is that people aren’t sucked in by the Tories usual mickey mouse figures on the Economy and in May elect a Labour/Green Coalition. Sadly, I have a nasty feeling it’s going to be Tory/UKIP one. In which case I’m thinking about emigration….

  12. Les

    I am often amused by the words, ” why doesn`t labour fight back, why do they not stand up against the Tories, why don`t they defend the workers, the sick the weak the unemployed ” well I know there are men inside the party that want to take on the Tories the only problem is, the leadership, Ed Milliband & Balls take their instructions from the same source as the Tories, ie the Bilderberg group, until the Labour party stops its MPs from attending their meetings, and stop taking instructions, I`m afraid the labour party will die a long slow pain full death.

    1. Mike Sivier Post author

      I’ve heard this one before, but I’m not big on conspiracy theories. Labour members have been going to Bilderberg meetings for decades, since long before Labour policies turned neoliberal, and I wonder whether you’d be making this suggestion in the 1960s or 70s.

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