Friday, 7 January 2011

For What it's Worth...

I see Ed M got a bit of a drubbing on Radio 2

"Unmarried, disloyal and cold" were the accusations from various callers, though quite what "unmarried" has to do with anything, I don't know.

More worrying was the comment on the article I read that suggested Ed isn't attacking the coalition too hard because he believes that, on the whole they're right. Terrifying thought.

If I were on an hour long phone in for Radio Two, I would find it hard not to descend into spluttering. Where would I start? Would I focus on the astonishingly naive assumption that cutting police officers at a time when crime is bound to rise (it always does when unemployment is rising) and at the same time closing courts, cutting prison places and slashing legal aid won't lead to chaos?

Would I spend the hour trying to convey just what a mash up the Tories are making of the NHS? Would I talk about the funding changes and "efficiency savings" that are cuts by another name? The cancer patients already waiting longer for diagnosis and those needing hip replacements told to now wait in terrible pain as they are no longer a "priority"

Perhaps I would list the endless cuts faced by those who are sick or disabled, focussing on the really churlish, callous and illogical cuts that won't save money, but will cause misery and hardship.

The problem I would have in an hour long interview would be not descending into a kind of ranting, shouting, jumbled up mess as I tried to stay coherent through my fury.

But, the title of this post is "For what it's Worth" and the aim was to share my opinion with Ed about what would set the airwaves alight. It needs cahunas the size of Wales and a raging fire in the belly, but it is honest and brave and most importantly, it sounds a bit Labour. If that isn't too much to ask.

2 Things. First challenge this nonsense on the economy. Over and over and over and over until you sound like a stuck record. We are getting close to a time when Osborne's policies will be those driving the economic data - until now there's been a convenient smattering or the Darling/Brown magic to cushion his glaring incompetence. And yes, I do mean "magic", if this word makes you snigger, then it shows just how unchallenged the Tories are over the economy.

Through the worst recession in living memory, Darling and Brown kept unemployment down, (less than they inherited from the Tories in 97) repossessions were minimised with support for homeowners, inflation stayed reasonable, interest rates were at rock bottom and businesses stayed afloat. Crucially, the deficit went down by 25 billion from measures to support growth and we were predicted to emerge faster and stronger from recession than anywhere else in Europe.

Since Georgie took the helm all of these indicators are at risk and there's no evidence whatsoever that his plan will work. On the contrary, if we look to the 1930's or the post war period, there's every chance it will not. The shadow cabinet should be fearless, mocking and above all confident, that their plan was the right plan and Georgie's is wrong. "Oooh, but Daily Fail readers might laugh." Yes, well, don't worry, we laugh at them every day. The biggest damage done to Labour since the coalition of blue and orange Tories was formed is the fantasy suggestion that we're in this mess because Labour spent all the money. It sounds more ridiculous by the day when the entire world is suffering the same economic woes.

The second attack should be over Labour's record. It won't be fat cat bankers or wealthy businessmen or out of touch politicians who suffer through a Tory 5 years, we know it won't. It will be the poor, the vulnerable, the unemployed and the dispossessed. The very people Labour can claim to have helped the most. However much Murdoch might like to put his own dubious spin on these matters, crime fell by over 40%, unemployment stayed low, youth unemployment was eradicated almost entirely up until the credit crunch, and many decaying and dangerous estates and wastelands were regenerated.
For those about to be clobbered, there is the minimum wage, tax credits, sure start centres, free nursery places for 3 and 4 year olds, employment protection laws, equality rights, civil partnerships, winter fuel payments, free bus passes and TV licenses. Waiting lists went down in our hospitals and on almost every indicator, education improved.

And guess what? The economy thrived. Growth was steady, inflation was low and unemployment fell. Labour proved definitively that they could look after the vulnerable at the same time as supporting growth. To allow that entire record to be buried under the dubious failures of Iraq and civil liberty is ludicrous.

Opposing this incompetent, out of touch, dishonest coalition should be a breeze. I'm not sure I've ever seen such ill thought through, arrogant nonsense.

If not, and the top job comes available again, my Mum and the lady that works in Tesco's and my postman seem to know exactly what to say. I'm sure they could advise for a small fee.


  1. Wow, another excellent blog by Sue. Pity your not sitting where Ed is. BTW, I had my meeting with Gordon Brown, he's now aware of the extent of damage that ESA is causing disabled people and he's got the information on the abolition of DLA. I concentrated on the DLA one simply because I reckoned that was perhaps the immediate fight, is not yet happened and so time to stop it in its tracks.

  2. Peter, that's brilliant news!! Very very well done.
    I think of these things like ripples in a pond.
    When people tell me fighting is pointless or we can't achieve anything on our own, I remember ll the other people throwing pebbles and know that one day, a ripple will reach the right person.

    'm so pleased Peter, can I tell my friend at Broken of Britain?

  3. Oh, and, if I should ever meet him again, I'd ask him over a pint what it's like to see Gideon at number 11.
    It must be absolute torture, but he's kept an amazingly dignified silence, I'm full of admiration for him.
    Perhaps when I come to Scotland in May to help Mary campaign......
    *hint size of sledgehammer*

  4. Very dignified as he was when Tony Blair's book came out. He's looking a lot more relaxed now. Mary didn't get selected though which is a big disappointment. I think she'll be helping us get Helen Eadie back into parliament. You can come to Scotland the following May to help me campaign as well if you like. I'm going to be Labours candidate for the Cowdenbeath Fife Council seat. I'm reasonably confident although never take anything for granted and there is a year to go. See if we can get a meeting with him.

  5. Oh Peter, that's a blow about Mary, not sure how I missed the news - I thought she already had been selected?

    Oh well, I'm coming to help is Scotland anyway, for the week before the elections, so it'd be brilliant if we can meet up - actual real live people, lol. I'll certainly help you campaign if I can.

    I'm staying with friends not TOO far from you and also have a friend running in Aberdeen and another in Edinburgh.

    I can't wait!! I love nothing more than a good election - especially one where Labour should do very well, lol.

  6. 'many decaying and dangerous estates and wastelands were regenerated'

    Have you any quantative data on thst Sue?

  7. Now THIS is more like what I'm talking about. A coherent summary of not only how the cuts will affect us, but the knock on effects and the combinations of cuts. Good old Ballsy.

  8. I think the problem with Ed is that he has become leader of the Labour far too early, what ever he does now will be forgotten about in 4 years time. Labour should have gone with a caretaker leader for a year or so while it worked on developing new policies and then had a leadership election.

    Every time Ed attacks the government Cameron asks what he would do. If Ed gives a straight answer he would basically commit himself to policies before the party had properly thought through their policy options.

  9. Good points Crispin.
    Particularly that about a caretaker leader. Might have been a sensible way to go.


    Good article Sue..

  11. I am fascinated by Clegg's situation; my guess would be that he is only happy when at home with his family and when in Cameron's company.

    The rest of the time he must feel completely wretched; he looks thoroughly miserable sitting in the Commons, and being out and about with the voters in Saddleworth must have been an awful experience.

    And this only after 8 months. I find it difficult to believe that he will last another 4 years and 4 months in his current job whilst the situation is very likely to get much worse.

    I feel that the word 'mistake' must really be haunting him.

  12. Malcolm - I had thought today. Almost certainly wrong, but good nonetheless. Perhaps he's actually trying to split the right vote and let the Tories hang themselves once and for all so that for the rest of the century, we have a left leaning government ;)