Here’s Kevin Maguire, writing in the Daily Mirror:
Labour’s next leader will become trapped in a maze of Tory lies unless he or she challenges a string of poisonous myths.
I badgered Ed Miliband for years in this column to prove spending by the last Labour Government didn’t trigger the 2008 global financial collapse.
The national debt was a smaller proportion of GDP before the banking crisis than Labour had inherited from the Conservatives in 1997.
Failing to regulate the spivs and speculators was the catastrophic error, not reviving the NHS or putting money into workers’ pay packets.
Economists knew it, the Bank of England governor knew it and so too did David Cameron and George Osborne – but the Tory duo cynically pinned the blame for the crisis on Labour’s spending plans.
The problem is, of course, that many of the politicians who now claim to represent Labour values are quite happy to let this Tory lie go unchallenged.
Those of us who know the facts have been telling everybody we can for the last five years and more, but we simply don’t have the mass media clout needed to get the message across.
People like the right-wing Labour leadership candidates (everyone apart from Jeremy Corbyn) and Harriet Harman can’t be bothered to correct a ‘big lie’ that has been repeated so often that people now believe it automatically.
They’ve got their Parliamentary seats and pensions; they’re doing quite all right out of all this, thank you very much.
Maguire makes some more useful points, which are well worth repeating, if you have ignorant friends:
The whole welfare debate is skewed when we wrongly think £24 in every £100 of the social security budget is fiddled. In reality, it’s just 70p.
The Department of Work and Pensions pumps out these tales to justify deep cuts. The £1.2 billion a year benefit fraud is pennies next to a great tax robbery soaring to as high as £120 billion.
Yet the Treasury and HMRC prefer cosy private deals with wealthy dodgers while what crooked US socialite Leona Helmsley referred to as the “little people” are thrown to the hounds.
And how about this:
It isn’t just the economic debate that’s distorted by myths. Immigrants pay in more than they take off the system.
Only reactionaries and racists benefit when it’s thought 24% of the population are recent migrants when it’s 13%.
Standing up for decent values requires politicians to tell hard truths and never pander to prejudices.
That’s not going to happen in a Labour Party led by Burnham, Cooper, Creagh or Kendall, then.
Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike
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