We can’t afford to be divided over the NHS

March 28, 2012 8:21 am

Author:

Tags:

Share this Article

As a health professional who has worked as part of a multi-professional team in the NHS I have respect for my colleagues who have announced they’re to create their own party, and take their fight against Lib Dem and Tory MPs to the ballot box. The events I have witnessed as a pharmacist tell me the Coalition’s health care reforms are having a devastating effect on the NHS and on patient care. The healthcare professionals’ campaign is gathering momentum and offers a serious threat to some Coalition MPs if their parties’ opinion poll ratings continue to slide.

Standing NHS candidates in the next general election is a bold move. If done in the right way against the right targets they can create awareness of the Coalition’s destruction of the NHS right up to 2015.

For example, can it be right that the Foreign Secretary is to speak against local health reorganisation in his constituency just weeks after his government rammed through unwanted reorganisation affecting the entire country? This shameful hypocrisy needs highlighting by as many people as possible.

I recognise that the NHS candidates’ intention is to do maximum harm to the Coalition. Irrespective of Lord Ashcroft’s research on their electoral prospects, a slate of health professionals will be taken seriously and will do damage to the Conservatives election prospects.

However, even the health professionals involved recognise the risk of standing indiscriminately in different seats, and how that could prove counterproductive. They’re investigating the impact of standing as a slate in marginal constituencies and are considering the formation of pacts with other pro-NHS parties; so as not to create a Conservative majority by default, of the nature Lord Ashcroft hypothesised.

There remains plenty of time for the NHS candidates to decide how to cause most embarrassment to the government without inadvertently returning them to power. The rumoured 240 candidates can pick their seats, pick their fights, and help eliminate self-serving Lib Dem and Tory MPs through their campaign.

The welcome rise of Labour in the opinion polls over the past week has been accompanied by a rise in the ‘others’ category. The rise in the ‘others’ could be attributed to the NHS candidates. If so, long may these trends continue, the Labour party and healthcare professionals can work in partnership to save the NHS at the next election. However, the NHS candidates must be mindful not to damage the original NHS party as they gather momentum and build their following.

The Labour Party is the NHS party – with the healthcare affiliations and the national appeal to overturn the coalition at the first-time of asking. It created the NHS, it made record investment in the NHS, and it plans to repeal the bill that has incensed healthcare professionals like me. If Andy Burnham’s plan to scrub the Health and Social Care Act from the statute book is to succeed then it will need a Labour government to do so.

We shouldn’t dismiss or ignore the NHS slate’s campaign, but if voters value the NHS and want to see it rescued from the Coalition the reality is there is only one prescription – vote Labour.

Dr Tristan Learoyd is a registered Pharmacist, an elected member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, and a Labour & Co-operative Councillor in Redcar.

  • mactheanti

    Excellent piece and I hope our medic colleagues choose wisely. It will only be Labour who can repeal this act and that is the bottom line. However, I do believe an NHS party can inflict maximum damage in certain seats and actually help return Labour to power. By choosing Tory – Lib Dem marginal constituencies where Labour trail badly could help, it could give people from all parties a common goal to vote for, if it is to be done, I hope it is these areas. I trust Dr Clive Peedell, he certainly has the momentum, the intellect and the energy, if it is going to happen, please let it happen sensibly.

  • Suey2y

    Utterly sensible. 

    I think the NHS candidates stand a chance, but they must pick seats extremely carefully. 250 is not possible, 50 is probably too many – unless they know a few billionaires they will never have the resources anyway. Financial or physical. 

    It can be done though, and it can be done well. If they’re in the mood to listen to your sound advice. :)))

  • AlanGiles

    All the best Tristan. It can be done. Though I will upset one (at least) of LLs more excitable  posters, The Greens managed to take one of the two Brighton seats, so some times small parties can have an impact: I hope that is so in your case.

  • Amber Star

    The Party for the NHS could be a great way to ensure that the NHS is the subject of much media attention in the run-up to the next election. Personally, I’d prefer them to put their campaigning effort squarely behind the Labour Party – but that would require the Labour Party to be deserving of their trust in us. Are we? 

    Do we have a plan to increase patient confidence & satisfaction whilst giving health professionals the maximum information, autonomy & discretion in doing their jobs? And can we repel the obvious Tory attack lines which will be: Labour will throw more & more money at the NHS whilst simultaneously ‘rationing’ medicines & care?

    • treborc

      The Tories before they leave power be it in 2015 or 2020 will ensure the private firms are protected by the contracts given out to these private firms, if the contracts are long enough big enough labour would be unable to do anything.

      But the biggest problem for Labour is the Trust, labour would give it’s word and then decide that well OK it’s in it seems to be working we will leave it.

      The next election will be about do you trust the Labour parties word.

      Of course in Wales we have our own problems with the NHS changing.

      • Lucy N

         So, be brave and rip up the contracts and see what happens in court.

         There was not mandate from the electorate for this “reform” and contracts will need to  be re-negotiated out of existence. Think something similar happened to Railtrack didn’t it: all these firms want is a pay-off – patient-care isn’t their main focus after all.

    • AlanGiles


      Personally, I’d prefer them to put their campaigning effort squarely behind the Labour Party – but that would require the Labour Party to be deserving of their trust in us. Are we? ”

      I was very disappointed that Ed Miliband chose football over the NHS meeting and rally on March 10th (especially pleading illness to do so). I am trying to remember the name of the doctor who took Wyre Valley for a couple of terms (Dr Richard ??). It would help to have a few genuine experts in the HoC, though, to make up for the lawyers, research/think-tankers and TV historians. I hope they do well.

      • http://nhsvault.blogspot.com Richard Blogger

        Dr Richard Taylor was the MP for Wyre Forest. Remember that before 1997 it was a Tory seat and the Tory electoral collapse in that year delivered a Labour MP. In 2001 when Dr Taylor stood, the Lib Dems did not put up a candidate (and they didn’t put up a candidate in 2005 either). The Tory electoral collapse continued in 2001. In 2010 there was a Lib Dem candidate and the Tory party was revitalised, so is it any wonder that a Tory seat became Tory in 2010? 

        Also bear in mind that Dr Taylor’s single issue party had local councillors before his election as MP. His single issue – A&E at Kidderminster – was a hot topic locally. However, the reconfiguration happened and so Dr Taylor clearly had no effect on his single issue. Can you name Dr Taylor’s policy on the economy, the bank bailouts, welfare, defence policy, EU subsidies for agriculture, education etc etc? No. And that is the problem.

        You are right that there is a need for experts in Parliament, and we have such a place: the House of Lords. Reform of the Lords should be to remove the hereditories and the policitical appointees: it should leave the experts there. The Lords is a revising chamber and that is *exactly* where experts are needed.

      • http://nhsvault.blogspot.com Richard Blogger

        Dr Richard Taylor was the MP for Wyre Forest. Remember that before 1997 it was a Tory seat and the Tory electoral collapse in that year delivered a Labour MP. In 2001 when Dr Taylor stood, the Lib Dems did not put up a candidate (and they didn’t put up a candidate in 2005 either). The Tory electoral collapse continued in 2001. In 2010 there was a Lib Dem candidate and the Tory party was revitalised, so is it any wonder that a Tory seat became Tory in 2010? 

        Also bear in mind that Dr Taylor’s single issue party had local councillors before his election as MP. His single issue – A&E at Kidderminster – was a hot topic locally. However, the reconfiguration happened and so Dr Taylor clearly had no effect on his single issue. Can you name Dr Taylor’s policy on the economy, the bank bailouts, welfare, defence policy, EU subsidies for agriculture, education etc etc? No. And that is the problem.

        You are right that there is a need for experts in Parliament, and we have such a place: the House of Lords. Reform of the Lords should be to remove the hereditories and the policitical appointees: it should leave the experts there. The Lords is a revising chamber and that is *exactly* where experts are needed.

  • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

    It should be a cause of concern if the NHS is to become a politicised ‘pressure group’ rather than the public service it is meant to be.  It doesn’t quite sit right with me that NHS workers are in essence forming their own party, despite how sympathetic I am to their concerns.

    I don’t actually think this bill (or Act as it now is) will be a General Election issue, and I haven’t personally see any data suggesting that significant member of the populace are being swayed politically by the NHS at the moment – a GE is still 3 years away and it’s far more likely to be fought on the economy when it does arrive.  The question is, from an electoral point of view,  whether or not the public feel the standard of the NHS has dropped significantly as a result of Government policies – only time will tell on that.  I think what they care most about is the ‘free at the point of use for everyone’ standard, which of course is retained in this bill.

    I think as a party we should be reaffirming our ‘party of the NHS’ position, and ensuring they have a reason to back us, not go it alone.  Afterall, if seats like your own in Redcar are fought by an NHS candidate, they could take away the votes we need to win it back, helping to keep the Lib Dem MP in office and thus it all becomes completely counterproductive.

    • AlanGiles


      I don’t actually think this bill (or Act as it now is) will be a General Election issue, and I haven’t personally see any data suggesting that significant member of the populace are being swayed politically by the NHS at the moment….
       I think what they care most about is the ‘free at the point of use for everyone’ standard, which of course is retained in this bill. ”

      Perhaps that is because you don’t want to, Jonathan?

      You are beginning to become the Coalitions chief apologist on LL.

      Given the events of March 10th (NHS rally versus football) can you wonder that some in their profession want to take a more hands-0n position, than wait and hope for the best as to who is Labour health secretary in 2015?

      • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

        I said I was sympathetic to their concerns – i.e I’m opposed to the new NHS regime, so it’s hardly being an apologist.  I also called for Labour to do more to convince NHS activists that we are on their side.  So again, hardly a pro-coalition stance.

        All I said was that I think it’s unlikely, 3 years out from an election, that this will be a central issue on which the election is fought.  The economy/jobs etc will be more central in my view.  I don’t think the NHS candidates will win a huge number of votes as 1-issue candidates rarely do.  But they might win enough to prevent Labour candidates from winning, which would be a crying shame and be entirely counterproductive to the Labour/pro NHS cause.  I think that’s quite a measured view, but rarely do we agree on these things!

        • AlanGiles

          Jon (is it OK if I leave the “athan” bit out each time?) You need to bear in mind  by 2015 the NHS could be in chaos, so it might well be a very important election issue. According to the way the wind blows, that means Labour’s position might be they will fully rescind the reforms, or if it is passing acceptable they might do nothing (I remember the lip service Blair paid to JSA in 1995 and rail privatisation in 1996 – then in power – as you were).

          I don’t blame medical personnel who have the grit and determination to form their own party (not an easy thing to do) – and indeed – the courage to do so – and I think they deserve support.

          Given some of the broken promises of BOTH major parties in the past, I don’t honestly have a lot of confidence  in qualified support.

          • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

            Of course, you can call me what you like!

            As I said in my original post – ” The question is, from an electoral point of view,  whether or not the
            public feel the standard of the NHS has dropped significantly as a
            result of Government policies”.  If it has, then it may well become an issue, you’re right.  But I suppose that’s a big question.

            I don’t deny people’s right to stand for election – I actually think it’s their duty to stand if they feel strongly and think they can make a difference, but it doesn’t stop me from feeling a bit uncomfortable about the politicisation of a public service.  The only question is whether their campaign will be counterproductive if it keeps Labour (which largely agrees with their concerns but has a greater chance of success in an election) from winning seats.  If it does, we remain stuck with a Conservative Government and stuck with these reforms.

            I fully take your point on your final sentence.

          • AlanGiles

            Jon we certainly can agree on your point ”
            - I actually think it’s their duty to stand if they feel strongly”. I think it shows great commitment (I  wouldn’t have had the energy when I was working frankly), but with all due respect, when you say ”
             a bit uncomfortable about the politicisation of a public service.”

            Let’s be honest about it:  Labour and Conservative have  both  been playing politics with both the NHS and education for years, so they shouldn’t be too jupset or disappointed when somebody on the inside throws down the gauntlet.

    • GuyM

      Indeed, proof is in the polling data.

      For months the NHS has filled the headlines and Labour never really built a lead in the polls, with the Tories amazingly being ahead at times.

      As soon as a buget hits that doesn’t get good media coverage and boom goes the Labour polling share.

      2015 will be won on the economy and money in people’s pockets. The NHS will not be a deciding factor for anyone other than those already fixated with it i.e. the left.

      The notion that Tory voters of Orange Book LibDems will vote for a protest group knowing it will help Labour get back in is stupidly illogical yet seems to have passed many by.

      • mactheanti

        Actually Labour were already 5 to 8 points ahead in the opinion polls before the budget.

    • http://nhsvault.blogspot.com Richard Blogger

      The government are tearing the NHS apart so why are you complaining about dedicated people trying to prevent that? It was the Conservatives who made the NHS a political isue. Remember Cameron telling his conference that his 2010 election campaign can be summed up in three letters N-H-S? Can you remember Cameron pledging a “bare knuckle fight” with Brown over the necessary hospital reconfigurations? Can you remember Cameron touring local hospitals in the 2010 election campaign promising that there would be no reconfigurations under a Conservative government (which was swiftly reversed when Cameron entered Number 10)? Can you remember Cameron promising “no more top down re-organisations” when he has overseen the largest re-organisation suffered by the NHS, and most likely the last one it will see because the NHS we know and love will be a healthcare market by 2015?

      It was Cameron who politicised the NHS, the man is disgraceful. If you think the NHS is being politicised now you clearly have not been paying attention.

      You are, however, right that an NHS Party candidate cannot persuade a Tory voter to switch their allegiance (pools show that a majority of core Tory voters support the Act), their main hope is to switch Lib Dem voters, who are more likely to vote Labour than to sit on their hands on polling day. This is what Ashcroft’s polling says.

      Another example is HS2. I live in an area where the line will pass. (Personally I am pretty meh about the project, I am not bothered that it will pass within 1/2 mile of my house and I don’t think the environmental issues are as large as the protestors say. However, I do not think that it will ever pay back the money it costs, and it will be a White Elephant. We need Keynesian infrastructure projects, but I would prefer them to be ones that will be useful and benefit larger numbers of people, for example local transport – light railway and trams). Anyway, there is a huge opposition in the area, and an anti-HS2 candidate stood at the 2010 election. He got less than 300 votes. Single issue candidates really don’t persuade the public since there are other issues at every election.

      • http://twitter.com/robertsjonathan Jonathan Roberts

        I’m not complaining about dedicated people trying to prevent harm to the NHS. To say so is a complete misrepresentation of what I am talking about.  Some people do try very hard to miss the point.

        I believe Labour has to represent NHS workers as best it can, and bring these people into the fold as opposed to encourage them to become our political rivals at the ballot box, taking votes away from us and making a Labour Government more difficult to achieve.  I wouldn’t want to see teachers forming a political party either.   The idea that public servants are now forming their own political party is a failure of all the mainstream  parties who have used the NHS as a political football for too long, including our own.  The NHS shouldn’t be a pressure group or a political body, it should be a public service.

  • GuyM

    “Labour is the party is the NHS party”

    Gets to the heart of the problem with the NHS in the UK, your party will not leave well alone with the emotional heart string pulling and look objectionably at the service.

    The Tory party could propose a policy that you would actually agree with and still you’d oppose it because it’s “your NHS”. Breathtaking arrogance.

    My wife is a pharmacist, having run a Trust Hospital phamarcy department before moving to the private sector. She doesn’t think as you do at all and she also worked at the RPS in a management position as well.

    If what you on the left are warning of comes to pass in 3 years time then fair enough, but if the reforms don’t lead to “privatisation” and in fact lead to an improved service with better use of resources, you and the rest of the left wing naysayers will look very foolish.

    The glorious thing about techonology in 2012 is that it will enable health informatics to report in depth on resource usage and clinical outcomes. That’s where the reforms will or won’t count, not in terms of emotive rants from people who believe they have some moral right to spend £110 billion a year and always be “right” because the NHS is “theirs”,

    • AlanGiles

      No work today, Guy?. I am surprised your wife isn’t the CEO of Smith, Kline, Glaxo instead of slumming in a private hospital! :-)

      • GuyM

        Nope not much work today Alan, not least as I’ve accepted a new role and am negotiating terms, so in a period of hand over in my mind with my current employers (hopefully I can let them know before Easter). I’m sure you are very happy for me.

        As to my wife, she is currently a manager in a global pharma (one of thousands), having been a manager at the RPS and before that Pharmacy Manager at a London hospital. An NHS hospital as well, not a private one by the way.

        You will be very surprised at the role I look likely to take up (hoping that all goes well). I’m looking forward to seeing how you manage to try your silly sarcasm on it :)

        • AlanGiles

          Happy, Guy?.  Ecstatic!  I can hardly contain myself – jumping up and down with joy. I did read somewhere that Tesco were taking on more shelf fillers, so don’t hurt your back humping all those multi-packs of lavatory paper round the store :-)

          • GuyM

            I’ll do my best not to hurt my back, but if I do I know I have the NHS, safe in the coalitions hands, to treat me or I can use our private health care insurance (taking personal responsibility and all that)

            Lavatory paper is very important, think of life without it. Plus it’s not very heavy, so I can think of worse things to be doing with my time if that was where I was going :)

            Anyway back to succession planning so I’m covered for when I resign, have fun.

          • derek

            So what’s the heavier? 300p of bricks or 300p of toilet rolls?  excessive thoughts required?

            In the interim period! paid for slacking off? you haven’t bag a job with the NHS have you?     

    • http://nhsvault.blogspot.com Richard Blogger

      Nice rant. Actually, I think there is some unintentional truth in what you say. I am involved as a governor of an FT and I am a patient representative at my local CCG involved in one of the authorisation workstreams. (All unpaid, all voluntary, no vested interests other than as a patient wanting to ensure that the quality of the care for my long term condition does not deteriorate as it has done in the past during Tory governments.)

      The Act will not lead to the privatisation of hospitals – that was never Tory policy. The Tory policy was always to wash its hands off of the NHS. Lansley does not want the responsibility for the NHS (hence why the White Paper had “liberation” in the title) and neither does he want the financial liability (NHS hospitals can no longer go to the government for bailouts). Why do you think the government are so keen about “social enterprises”? Its because that means that expensive facilities are no longer their responsibility, they are off the government’s balance sheet. The Treasury threw quite a few spanners into the works of Lansley’s original plan, but it is still the case that he does not want to be involved in the delivery of healthcare, he merely wants to be in charge of public health. (The Tory “Draft Manifesto” even says that he wanted to change the name to the “Department of Public Health”.)

      There will be privatisations, but the public will not see them. In January Lansley created NHS Property Services Ltd which will oversee £3bn of NHS (former PCT) properties. Note the Ltd. Lansley could have created a statutory, arms-length body, but he didn’t (such an organisation would subject to FoI). Lansley created a limited liability company with the DH as the single shareholder, but that could easily change, first by taking on a “commercial partner”, then by selling out the government’s remaining shareholding. It’s happened many times before (the last government used this mechanism many times). The terms of reference of this organisation are that it should “release resources” and that its income should only come from its assets (ie rents with no taxation subsidy). This will affect the healthcare provision in deprived areas because PCTs have used below market rents to attract and sustain GP practices in such areas. When the new PropCo raises rents to market rates we will see areas of the country losing GP coverage. Foundation Trusts are NOT affected by this PropCo because they own their assets (for now), so this will NOT be the privatisation of acute hospitals. But facilities like community hospitals and clinics will be affected. 
      The other main area of privatisation is in commissioning. A DH leaked document at the end of last year said that CCGs will not have the expertise nor the resources to carry out commissioning (planning, purchasing and monitoring healthcare). It says that CCGs are expected to buy commissioning from so called Commissioning Support Services. These are private companies like KPMG, UnitedHealth, Tribal, McKinseys. The DH also says remaining PCT staff will be organised into CSS companies, that they should be commercial organisations and be “freestanding”, ie privatised, by 2016. This means that ALL NHS commissioning will be carried out by private companies in 2016: there will be no NHS solution. The planning and control of NHS healthcare services will be carried out by private sector companies. It is irrelevant who owns the actual hospitals when the people deciding whether those hospitals can deliver a service are private companies. Very top-down.

      The public will not see this in 2015. However, by putting the private sector in control of the NHS like this it is clear that Lansley does not want the NHS to remain a public service.

  • http://twitter.com/gonzozzz dave stone

    “The Labour Party is the NHS party”

    Er… shouldn’t that be “The Labour Party is the marketisation of the NHS party”?

    Read Prof. Allyson Pollock’s study NHS plc: The Privatisation of Our Health Care  (2004). It’s a compelling analysis of New Labour’s drive, using the all too familiar Blairite rhetoric of “modernisation”, “choice” and “local ownership”, to marketise the NHS.

    New Labour should come clean and be honest with the electorate: do they favour privatisation or not. And if they do then they should provide details of the form of privatisation they propose. Nothing could be worse than having New Labour opportunistically support anti-privatisation campaigns as a vote-winning ploy, then, once elected, revert to the previous privatisation agenda.

  • Lucy N

    Happy for the doctors to have a go particularly in no-go Labour areas – this isn’t the same thing as politicising the NHS  when surely the bill has political intent written all over it (even if the architects of it are too media-savvy or scared to acknowledge this).

    I agree that the public (and doctors) have been groomed by successive governments not to care that money can and will be siphoned off to benefit shareholders under the simplistic mantra “free at the point of need”  – this was never a satisfactory description of the totality of NHS provision.

    But we must not be timid as the next election approaches about informing local voters of the actual amounts lost to public healthcare and that this has and will have practical consequences for their own well being.  Just think how easily the Taxpayers’ Alliance get away week after week  complaining about paying anything for the public sector – this needs to be countered way before any general election campaign is planned. I simply don’t understand why prospective MPs don’t inform their potential electorate of what’s going on in their area ahead of elections (and use general slogans and national stuff), because – guess what – local people can be completely unaware of local issues that haven’t affected them yet.

    People will vote to protect themselves money-wise and health-wise – but they need the information to be motivated.

  • ColdCoffee

    “The Labour Party is the NHS party “ 
     
    I disagree.  The Labour Party could have done a lot more to publicize the privatization, bad effects of the NHS reforms, but it did very little, other than a few politicians in Westminster, when the General Public were the ones who needed to be informed. 
     
    The Labour Party has got plenty of vested interests itself.  Blair continued and expanded PFI which is an ongoing disaster. 

  • mogwilover

    I am afraid at the moment, most people are worried about keeping their jobs, paying ever increasing bills for gas, electric, petrol, food, etc etc. Any effect on themselves or their families from the Health and Social Care bill are not obvious at present, so they are not swayed by arguments for or against the bill. Some people even think they will be getting into private hospitals, without paying for it – and are relishing the thought.

    Problems due to the bill need to become concrete, rather than abstract concepts as they are at present. Unless people use the NHS – and many people do not as they go through life fit and well – then they will be unaware of changes. 

    As someone who has had to use the NHS for most of my life, due to living with a chronic condition, it concerns me that my treatment may be governed by cost rather than effectiveness.However it will take time for me to see if that happens, also it  may be that my care improves – who knows?

    As someone who worked as a Nurse all my life in acute hospitals, I can tell you there was a lot of waste.  Senior consultants often got anything they wanted equipment wise, while for those further down the chain it was mend and make do. I saw management at one hospital spend a fortune on special plates with clips attached (to hold glasses of wine), just for their Xmas do (management and consultants only of course, no plebs). Another lot of management robbed the money given to the wards in thanks for care, to have a special engraved glass front door to their offices.  That money would have been spent on gifts for patients at Xmas and equipment for the wards – but managers came first – of course! When healthy eating for patients came in,  members of a trust board were treated to healthy food including  exotic fruit salads to try, what were they doing on a Trust board if they did not what healthy eating was?  I could go on and on about the waste in NHS hospitals that needs addressing. Oh and if an MP or local councillors visited, there was always special food, wine, extra staff to escort the “VIP” – total waste of money. Bet you David Cameron and Co do not eat in the general canteen on hospital visits, or eat the budget meal specially provided for those at the bottom of the pile.

    So I think that if these people stand against coalition MPs, they would have to explain how they would stop all this “priority” spending on board members and consultants – and make sure money went to patient care. Labour need to start doing this, as during their years in power management groups increased in number, with long meetings and free meals provided!

  • Pingback: The NHS Party « Locus

Latest

  • Featured Talk of a breakaway “Workers’ Party” is dangerous and wrong

    Talk of a breakaway “Workers’ Party” is dangerous and wrong

    On Friday, for the second time in recent weeks, Unite General Secretary Len McCluskey said something really important and dangerous that ought to have caused a reaction across the entire labour movement and Labour Party. But virtually no one reacted. According to the Guardian Len “repeated his warning that his members may force a split from Labour and urge support for a new workers’ party if Miliband fails to set out a radical vision to inspire people before the next […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Jim Murphy has set out an ambitious (and Labour) vision for development

    Jim Murphy has set out an ambitious (and Labour) vision for development

    Since its earliest days Labour has been an internationalist party and proud of it, too. From Keir Hardy and Harold Wilson to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, those who shaped Labour’s vision in the 20th and early 21st Century regarded the fight against poverty overseas as a natural extension of the fight against poverty at home. If Labour wins in 2015, we look forward to our proud tradition continuing. But with the clear focus of the current leadership on the […]

    Read more →
  • Comment Party democracy is important, so let’s fight for it

    Party democracy is important, so let’s fight for it

    Contrary to popular belief (and by popular belief, I mean the belief that prevails amongst the Shadow Cabinet and its apparatchiks) the Labour Party does not exist as a fan club for the Parliamentary faction. The Labour Party is an instrument through which ordinary people can shape their own lives and change the future of this country in a direction that is beneficial to our people. The recent decision by the Labour leadership to vote with the Coalition and implement […]

    Read more →
  • Comment What can Labour offer young people?

    What can Labour offer young people?

    Tony Blair proclaimed in 1997 that his three main priorities in government were ‘education, education, education.’ This has not translated to an increase in votes from young people.  Voter turnout between 1997 and 2005 amongst those aged 18-24 fell from an estimated 54.1% of this age range in 1997, down to 38.2% in 2005.  By contrast, voter turnout amongst those who are aged over 65 has never fallen below 70% since 1964.  As voters aged over 65 are more likely […]

    Read more →
  • News Iraq Inquiry report now expected in 2015

    Iraq Inquiry report now expected in 2015

    Sir John Chilcot’s report into the Iraq War is now not expected to be published until spring 2015, leaving worries for Labour as to how it will affect the election campaign. The Independent reports that “discussions between the inquiry and the Cabinet Office remain deadlocked, and a year-long stand-off is now unlikely to be resolved before the current parliamentary session ends. Even if a deal were reached over the summer recess, legal protocols and procedures would push the Iraq report’s […]

    Read more →