Before I start this article, I you haven’t really read my posts much, you may not leave a comment calling me a tribal flag waving Labour floozy. Because I have earned a big old badge that says “When Labour is wrong I will scream about it even louder you.”
So now we’ve got that out of the way, let’s also take it as read that Iraq, PFI, and civil liberties did not go awfully well, OK?
But I’ve read some comments so ridiculous lately, I have to wonder if these people are still living on the same planet as me.
Example 1 : “All that money Labour spent on the NHS went on lightbulbs, pot plants and new carpets”
Huh? Do you REALLY think that, or did the Telegraph tell you to?
The money paid for nurses and doctors and midwives and MRI scanners and getting waiting lists to an all time low and a 2 week cancer guarantee and improved it’s approval rating from the 40%s to the 80%s and made it the most efficient health service in the world. And equitable!! – did you know that? We have the most equitable health service in the world totally unrelated to ability to pay.
All of those things improved my life.
Example 2 : “Labour didn’t save for a rainy day. They overspent before the crash, running the highest deficit of all time. Our debt got out of control.
Simply put, none of this is true. What’s more I have absolutely no idea how Osborne et al get away with it. None. Take a little wander around this site
. Ask what the IMF think, compare Labour’s debt/deficit record with the previous Thatcher government (it was better on every count). The Tories backed Labour’s plans right up until 2008. Since the coalition came to power, growth has plummeted, unemployment has gone up, welfare bills have risen, debt has gone up, inflation has raged, our credit rating is in jeopardy. I am utterly mystified. Every single indicator has worsened.
Now, it was far from a perfect world, but during the first 10 years of the Labour government, crime fell by 40% NHS waiting times came down from 18 months to 18 weeks, unemployment was kept low, inflation was kept low, growth was good, a million pensioners were lifted out of poverty with measures such as pension credit, winter fuel payments and free TV licenses. We had more police on the streets, more nurses and doctors on our wards and 200,000 teaching assistants in out classrooms. Labour introduced free childcare for 3 and 4 year olds for the first time. We got Sure Start centres and a minimum wage. We got a strengthened Disability Discrimination Act (DDA), Human Rights legislation (HRA) and Equality laws. We got a peace agreement in Northern Ireland and devolution for Wales and Scotland. Then there was a credit crunch. Led by subprime lending in the US
Since the coalition came to power, Crime has risen, NHS waiting times have risen, A&E waits are longer, there are fewer nurses and fewer midwives. Unemployment has risen, inflation has soared and growth has plummeted. Women are facing 3/4 of all the cuts, disabled people are facing a drop in income that may leave them unable to buy food, people on 43k will lose their child benefit. Frontline police numbers have fallen by some 5,000, legal aid is under threat and training for teaching assistants has been stopped. Sure Start centres are closing, the minimum wage has been frozen for young people, we might as well throw the DDA in the bin and the Conservatives want to scrap the Human Rights Act and homelessness is rising alarmingly – even here in affluent Sussex. There’s still a credit crunch.
Now, all of that can be proven. You can argue separate points that you don’t like so much, but just as an overview, I’m mystified.
How do the Tories do this? What’s more how on earth have they persuaded Liberal Democrats to back them? That this is the right path? I mean you don’t have to like Labour even a little bit to have a peek at the US economy following 18 months of Lab/Brown style stimulus and compare it with ours. (Theirs is heading for 3% annualised growth, ours is heading for negative numbers and another recession)
Is it our media? Is it some kind of airborne thought control? A drug they are dripping into the water causing amnesia and the ability to think the exact opposite of the truth? Is it apathy? Is it boredom? I just can’t fathom it.
I don’t like the current Labour position on welfare, I’m almost constantly head-desking whenever they issue a press statement, I do realise they set a lot of these “reforms” up and I worry about the possibility of an election any time soon – they clearly couldn’t run drinkies-in-the-proverbial right now, but on the whole – on the whole - get a grip lefties.
Start defending our record. Accept the bits we got wrong and move on, but for goodness sake, anyone claiming “They’re all the same/Triangulation/They’re worse than the Tories/I’ll never vote Labour again” might want to ask themselves just how long they’d like to keep this cabinet of millionaires.
And just how much we’re going to allow them to get wrong before we unite and fight.