12 June, 2010
Pat McFadden over on David Miliband’s leadership campaign site has set out his 10 points for the next Labour Leader. I thought I would do my own version so here’s mine.
- The public need to know what Labour would cut.
The ConDems are itching to make savage cuts that threaten to throw the economy into a double dip recession. The political cover for this will be to blame Labour for the cuts. We should not allow this to stand. We need to differentiate in the public mind what Labour would do from what the coalition is doing. Then we can blame the ConDems for the effects of the cuts.
- New Labour is dead, Long live New Labour
Tony, Gordon, pagers, it’s all gone. Even Granita shut ages ago. We need to move on. We still need to be the party that best manages to marry social justice and a dynamic economy but how that’s done has to fit Britain’s future not someone’s idea of 1994 let alone 1983. So move on and trust the membership.
- Entrepreneurship isn’t just for Tories
The coalition will hit Labour areas hard and they’ll say the economy there is too dominated by the state. This is wrong, poor areas don’t have to much government, they have too little private enterprise. We’re a party that believes in power and wealth being in the hands of the many not the few. So whether it’s co-ops or smart ways of getting ordinary people access to capital to finance start ups Labour needs to lead on this.
- The Super Rich are a bridge too far
While it’s vital you regain the mantel of economic competence don’t think you can do this with photo ops with billionaires. Labour needs the coalition of both the working and middle class in order to win. So let us campaign for a living wage, lets see us committed to improving wages and conditions for ordinary workers and more sceptical of CEO’s pocketing millions not based on innovation or improved productivity but slashed jobs and loading companies with debt.
- Inequality matters
It’s not only that the best evidence suggests that inequality is deeply corrosive to a society and makes dealing with a whole range of social problems much worse it’s that extreme inequality is morally repugnant. As leader of the Labour Party should you become prime minister and not reduce inequality you can put that one down as a BIG failure. Who was it that says “power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few“ after all?
- You need a southern strategy
Labour is the party with the greatest claim to be a party for the entire United Kingdom but that shouldn’t comfort us from the reality that Labour is closely identified with its Celtic, Northern and London heartlands. There are worryingly large areas of the country where the Labour party has ceased to be an effective political force. The atrophy of Labour in areas where we have very little chance of winning parliamentary seats wont immediately effect the results but you lose activists that could travel to margins, donations and contributes to an unhealthy polarisation of politics.
- Offer an alternative to the Coalition’s nihilism on the role of government
If you have a government that delivers a great transport system, magnificent universities, affordable childcare these all help the economy. The Coalition and it’s allies in the TPA are beholden to the false idea of private good, public bad. If you look at Germany, Japan, China, India, South Korea they have all prospered economically while retaining strong government intervention in the economy.
- Enable activism that bypasses traditional party structures
You should let a thousand flowers bloom. Some people love the branch, CLP, LGC structure and meetings with agendas and minutes. Brilliant because they’re important but some people want to do more and the party needs to help make this possible and some people can only give less. Whatever your level of commitment, whatever you can give, the party must be able to use that contribution in a constructive way that generates the maximum impact for Labour at the next General Election.
- There’s votes in housing
It’s too hard for people to get on the housing ladder, social housing supply is thoroughly inadequate for meeting demand and a private rented sector that prioritizes the landlord’s quick buck over the security and satisfaction of tenants. That’s the situation now. After 5 years of this coalition government implementing massive cuts in the interests of the rich the housing crisis may well be ready to boil over. Be ready for it.
- Encourage democracy and debate in the Party
If you think you’re leading the Labour Party because you’re fantastic and special stop listening to your mother! You’re not,you’re there to do a job: to make the country fairer. To do this you’ll need lots of people to help, candidates, members, supporters. Treat them well because there are plenty of other things they could be doing with their lives than campaigning to get you elected Prime Minister. Seriously we want respect and not just when you’re canvassing for votes in the leadership contest.
My favourite right-wing pressure group has been blogging again. Nurses for Reform the strangely named libertarian pressure group. OK I admit “Nurses for Reform” is probably a more catchy title than “Right-wing loonies who want to abolish the NHS and import the massively flawed US healthcare system” although I think my version is more accurate. Still we shouldn’t prejudge, let’s listen to what they have to got to say. This gem is on the silver lining for right-wingers of the new coalition:
For the Orange Bookers are often not only more socially liberal than the most libertarian of Tories but they are more free-market than many Thatcherites.
Well I don’t agree with Nick but for the sake of the leftie voters he conned in voting for a supposedly left-wing party he might have mentioned that the Lib Dems were to the right of the Tories BEFORE the election. But what I want to know is what do you have to do to be “more free-market than many Thatcherites”? Build a bunker in the woods and take potshots with your pump-action at anyone from “THE EVIL GOVERNMENT”?
Still there’s more:
While the NHS will suffer some cuts over the course of this parliament
Now that wasn’t what the then shadow secretary of state promised before the election. That was real terms growth every year. Now the NHS needs 3% per year to keep up with demand and new technology and drugs so if they end up cutting there will be very stark effects. Yes there should be cuts in administrators but even only just keeping up with inflation in the rest of the economy means tightening the NHS belt. If the Tories cut more than they say they will then it will mean real pain.
So what is the Nurses For Reform solution? A decent taxpayer funded system for all? I think judging by the following answer that would be a no:
NFR believes that more complimentary private funding schemes could well come on to the radar screen of both the Conservatives and the Lib-Dems over the next five to ten years.
So there you have it. All of the PR spin about the Tories loving the NHS before the election can’t hide the fact that on the right of British politics there are plenty of people who think the NHS should be downgraded to threadbare safety net as fast as they can shout “BUPA!”