Saturday 17 March 2012

Calling ALL lefties : Pooh or get off the Pot!

Before I start this article, I you haven't really read my blog 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. (Their's 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. 


  1. Absolutely right Sue. Well said.

  2. What is the current problem with the press that these facts are not being shouted out?
    Thanks for taking the time to write such great pieces.

  3. We need to consolidate its class warfare now

  4. It's all in there, Sue - "Accept the bits we got wrong and move on". Clearly Bevanism and clearly the way forward.

    The NHS is the battleground where this would be "easiest" won (there is no easy, of course) and as such, all roads lead back to Nye Bevan.

    We just need to find that Left again.

  5. They taught us all double-think.

  6. Very well put and yes it's time for them to stand up and stand their ground. The Tories have screwed us and as you have said how, how has this happened, I'd like to know myself? They are corrupt and getting away with that also, just makes no sense. However, between you, Kaliya, Sonia, Nicky and many other's we can hopefully, before to much more damage start turning things around by speaking out and making people aware. There needs to be legislative changes made so that this corruption, lies and half truths are brought to a full stop. We should as a country be able to boot this kind of governmental behaviour out of office. Spartacus

  7. This isn't the Left against the Right, it's the rich against the poor. All three main political parties are led by the rich, (Cameron, Clegg, Milliband) and all the mainstream media is owned by the rich too (Murdoch, Barclay Brothers etc.). That's why there's no opposition. They are antisocial and amoral, probably sociopathic, and they all want the same thing. That's us poor peasants even more under their collective thumbs.

    1. Did you not read Sue's article, or is it that you have trouble understanding the narrative.

      NO they are bloody NOT all the same, open your eyes man.

  8. Vote Labour get Tory.

  9. Way to ignore every argument I made Bill ;)

    Like it or not, there will be two choices at the next election : Labour or Tory. Every illustration above shows why one is very much better than the other.

    There won't be a revolution, there won't be a new political party springing from nowhere to win a majority. There won't be an end to capitalism.

    There will be an election. We can deal with things Labour got wrong or aren't getting right along the way, but letting the Tories back in EVER AGAIN simply mustn't be an option.

  10. Firstly, the media is a big problem. My only guess on that score is that workers in that industry are financially insulated from much that is happening, and/or are to scared of losing their jobs to do other than toe the line.

    Secondly, while there is much to defend from the Labour years, I don't see the Labour party itself doing so. I want well rid of the Coalition, even to the extent of foreseeing some horrible political 'devil's pact' in the future, but I'm not at all certain that a Labour government would roll back what has been done.

    1. Aye, I still would rather vote green than Labour. Even if people consider it a "wasted vote" I think voting for whole I feel really represents me is infinitely better than just voting for someone else solely under the merits that they AREN'T conservatives. Otherwise, voting itself becomes utterly pointless IMO.

    2. In a top-down heirarchal organisation, the line from the top dictates almost all behaviour other than in rare circumstances. When (I believe it was?) Kaliya Franklin gave Milliband something of a verbal slap at the party conference the journos were apparently all over that like a rash, but something happened between that venue and the printing press for nary a word was written.

      Those who don't tow the line will be booted.

      As Dan Hind should have written recently, the printed press is essential as 'social media' operate by the same rules as word-of-mouth and can reach only half the population at most, and the most affluent and able half at that.

      If the unions could start a paper before, what's stopping them now? It's quite clear the politicians care more about the press than their own funders so maybe more of an impact could be had shifting the money to the best area of influence.

  11. I am afraid Labour lost me when Miliband carried on the same narrative over social issues as before.

    There is no denying that New Labour laid the foundations for the wanton destruction of the welfare state and there are far too many like Frank Field and far too few like Sheila Gilmore or Anne Begg.

    I would love to unite but I no longer believe that Labour has the moral integrity to claim leadership on these issues and for that I am very sad.

    1. So what do you do stay and moan from the outside? let the Tories back in and carry on like this and we end up with nothing?
      There is no denying either that Labour did an hell of a lot of things right as Sue has depicted, or do you just want to forget about that to moan about the past?

    2. I'm still waiting for Ed Miliband's unconditional support for those seeking to defend their pensions, wages, jobs, living standards and our NHS. But I'll not hold my breath.

    3. Actually Andy Burnham and Labour have pledged to repeal the NHS reforms if they form the next government. They actually pledged this in November 2011 but the BBC and hardly any of the Tory press reported it. This is a video clip of Andy Burnham repeating this pledge at last weeks "Save Our NHS rally"

      Labour Pledge To Repeal NHS Health & Social Care Reforms Bill

    4. Perhaps they're nostalgic for the good old days of PFI. Labour started NHS privatisation. If they're serious about defending our NHS they'd be making the case for the same NHS policies in England that exist in Scotland and Wales - no prescription fees, no private sector involvement, no internal market, etc.

      As I said above, I'll not hold my breath. What do Labour stand for? Election. That, and only that.

  12. I couldn't have put it better Sue.
    I am flabbergasted as to what the Condem's are getting away with. Everything that Labour did for us is systematically being dismantled. I fear greatly for the lives of people who are not able to cope with these huge changes, those who are being short changed at every turn, those whose care packages are being thrown aside, those whose jobs are lost, perhaps for ever.
    Unfortunately, I hear very little from the Labour Party, the people I have supported the whole of my life. Why don't they grasp the nettle, shout from the rooftops and expose every dirty little trick Cameron and Osbourne have in store for us.
    I can never fathom why the Libdems are supporting the Tories, except for the power they are given, surely this rides roughshod over all their own policies.
    If ever there was a time to make our voices heard, it is now, if ever there was a time to rise up, it is NOW.
    If we don't we may never be able to unravel the mess of this government. We need you Ed Miliband, wake up please!

  13. It's like when you have a retinal after-image off-center. You try to look at it, instinctively, and it moves, giving the impression of the blob of colour moving across your vision - but if you didn't try and look at it, it would stop moving.

    The same is true of the fabled 'centre' in politics at the moment. Political theory seems to say you have to chase the centre, as your base will generally vote for you. But with the Tories tacking right, and Labour chasing the centre, the centre moves, as it is generally considered to be the point in between the (in simple terms) two main political views.

    If all that's being articulated is the centre and the right, suddenly the centre is between those two points, so the centre-chasing party drifts further right - which incidentally also gives the party on the right permission to push harder right, and harder. It creates the impression of public opinion in general drifting further and further right, and that impression may even be superficially accurate, because most people don't approach these questions critically (people have enough on their plate), so their views will naturally reflect what is being articulated in whatever media they consume.

    The mainstream media are complicit in this, though I don't know if many of the people working there realise it's happening. I can only imagine that Labour top bods don't realise it's happening, and keep letting polls drive policy rather than articulation of policy move polls. I suspect the Conservative senior people do realise it's happening, because they're making use of it beautifully.

    But if the mainstream media refuse to articulate a left-wing position because they believe that people will desert them for it, I don't see how we get out of it unless we have a big-bucks backer who can pay for the advertising it would take, publish new materials, drive the point across.

  14. Also, I hope the NHS gets to spend all the money that it needs to on light bulbs. Surgery in the dark, anyone?

  15. pressure must be kept up or the Tories risk being re-elected. I wasn't happy about the New Labour experiment and left the Party over the Iraq war but I'd long become disaffected because a new kind of activist had joined the consituency party. As for the NHS OK it was free and saved lived but it was also a flawed system that caused many real harm including myself over the years. What is really needed is higher taxation and people need to see the advantage of this. Real improvement in public services would make people want to use them, all the population. With the NHS and the education system as poor as they are those who can pay will pay. And I don't blame them.

  16. Good for you, well said. I'm for Labour through and through, just wish they could force an election.

  17. Thank you for putting what we are all trying to tell them so eloquently, I will share this everywhere I can. :) New Labour weren't perfect but they did a lot for us, and were definitely not worse than the Tories!
    I do have to say though, I don't trust any of them and never will, we've argued this on twitter and will obviously never agree, but that's the beauty of freedom of speech we can disagree if we want and as long as we show respect for each others opinions there's nothing wrong with that.
    I however do agree Labour are the best of a bad bunch and are more worthy of our support than any of the others. I also head desk when I read what the Tories are trying to say about how bad Labour were, when the country is so clearly worse off under them.

  18. Thanks Nancy, you're just the kind of reader I wrote the post for.

    We can create utopia next week, but for now, could we just climb out of Hell please?

  19. OK, here's how I'd like to see it. I'd like to see the Lib-Dems implode (which they will) and a Labour win (maybe) with a strong Green opposition and the Tories nowhere in sight (fat chance), but there are conditions on these and this seems to be your core problem with me and other like me. I'm not about to get in line with a group that expects my unwavering support no matter what they do and this is the core of my problem with what you and other base supporters are doing.

    You can criticise as much as you like, but so long as you keep supporting Labour, their only incentive to listen to you is their conscience. As someone who has spent a large proportion of his life bending over backwards for people who gave back nothing but abuse, I'm not supporting any politician who's not going to do what they're told by the voters.

    As it stands, I've been largely ignored should I question such unqualified support by people who seem to spend hours pointlessly arguing with @GuidoFawkes and now I see myself and, I'm assuming, others we should not be questioning at all. Well, I might make this my final word, or not, but this is definitely going to be my point of view on things.

    I'm well aware of your position, I have several friends with an assortment of crippling and degenerative illnesses including colitis and I know how worried you are that support is about to be withdrawn entirely but at this point our views on these things branch off.

    I'm not convinced that with their current line-up Labour could win a raffle.

    I'm not 100% convinced that they'd properly restore the NHS if they did win.

    I'm extremely concerned about provisions that Labour do not seem to be interested in restoring, provisions which also save lives.

    Until Labour start properly opposing the welfare cuts and until Ed Milliband shuts the hell up about the squeezed middle and start's talking about those most in need, I have no confidence that Labour are at all going to care about the most vulnerable in this society, and by most vulnerable I'm including you. I see influential people like Laurie Penny and Owen Jones scream and shout about the NHS but say almost nothing about the WRB and I can't see them as anything other than the next generation of self-interested politicians with only a narrow set of concerns.

    I'm seeing a lot of good people getting a good kicking under a regime which was giving them a good kicking even before Ol' Botox-face got voted in and the core problem I'm seeing from here is that the front-bench has only got more hard-line on these things since 2010.

    This is part I least understand. You're very capable of telling your critics (and potential allies) to get in line but despite all your criticism it's the one thing you're not telling Milliband to do. I don't believe Labour will properly start looking after the interests of the working classes and the vulnerable again without a fairly severe amount of arm-twisting. What you see as the lesser of two evils, I see as a non-answer that will still leave far too many vulnerable people behind.

    1. Nothing is going to change until Murdoch's empire is smashed and the BBC rescued from Chris Patten. I cringe at Miliband's pathetic weaseling around in front of the tabloid press, saying "please love me"; they're never going to love you, Ed, so forget it. It's the same mistake as Obama has made; he was always going to be vilified by the right, so he might as well have swooped in, enacted massive changes and given people a couple of years to find out that the world wasn't going to end. They've got no balls, these people.

    2. Chris Patten, the BBC Trust, Mark Thompson and probably quite a few of the BBC's top staff. When the Director General has full editorial control and patronises the Reform Club I don't think it's rational to say the BBC is towing the neo-lib line out of fear.

  20. You're right to highlight the good things the last Labour Government did. Unfortunately, for "lefties", Labour is always disappointing in government. I learned that as long ago as the first Wilson government. But then Heath got in and immediately everything was worse. Similarly with Thatcher and now Cameron. Somehow, people forget how awful Tories can be in power. Even so, it took a long time after the Thatcher/Major period for the Tories to become electable, and maybe that perception can be tapped into again.

    Even with the Credit Crunch, and a lot of lying about their intentions, the Tories only got into government with the help of the Lib Dems. But since then there has been a remorseless propaganda campaign to make us believe everything under Labour was rubbish and would be a lot worse if Labour got back in again.

    Of course, if they did it wouldn't be perfect and there are weaknesses with the Labour team. Their policies on Welfare are particularly disappointing. But a lot of the negative perception about them is generated by the Tory media. It is very hard to know what people would feel if they could get a more objective coverage of politics.

    However, "fairness" seems to be the mantra for Ed Millaband at the moment, so maybe we can help them realise what fairness really means in terms of Health and Welfare, and get some commitments to rectify as much of the damage as they can when they do get back into power. And, realistically, there's no other party likely to be able to work for these policies in the short to medium term. Let's get them working for us!

    Mike (sorry to sign on as anon, I don't know how to post as anything else!)

  21. Paul Duffy, spot on. Labour as they are =Tory Lite. Milliband is no kind of opposition. We need a Labour leader who will analyse and pick apart Tory policy bit by bit because we can all see the country going to he'll in a hand basket. It's going to be very difficult with dissent being crushed and media blackouts. I fear we'll need martyrs.

    1. Not quite what I was saying.

      At this moment in time Labour are alienating an increasing number of their core (amongst which I can't be counted) to the degree that there was a talk at the last conference about why members are defecting to the Green Party and how much of a threat this posed. Of course, plenty will leave and just leave politics altogether.

      Chase the whims of the floating voter to the end of the earth and you might find that's all you have.

      While I'm well aware of how media representation plays a role, there are plenty of ways in which Labour need to stop letting the media lead them by the nose. Not satisfied with having lost all of Scotland, it seems Labour are determined to alienate the whole of the north in their bid to sway 3 more votes out of some obscure Daily Mail reading constituency in the cotswolds.

      But even if Dr Clarke and friends get their way and manage to rearchitect things, I'm yet to be convinced there's going to be any serious support for anyone who isn't working, that the disabled and chronically ill will get proper support precisely because these people have yet to show any real level of concern for anyone who has been affected by the WRB.

  22. Sorry Sue but this lefty backs the Green Party. People telling me that Labour stink a little less than the Conservatives is not enough. Every word that comes out of Miliband's mouth makes me convinced that Labour have no intention at all of reversing the changes made by the coalition and he's alleged to be on the left of the party. A vote for the Green Party is a vote for real change. It's going to take a while for the party to grow in strength but the Greens are the only progressive force left in British politics so rather than cling to dated dreams of a Labour party that cares for the disenfranchised, a party that has not existed for a very long time, I urge all lefties to join and help shift the British political debate towards a striving for a more equitable society. A vote for Labour in the hope they'll change is the real wasted vote in my opinion. What are you going to do when they win and just pick up the scrounger narrative from the Conservatives and keep running with it?

    1. W0rd. I just wish more people would get on board with it and not buy into British fatalism of "Oh it will never work, so let's just go down the same path we've gone down before AGAIN and hope that this time it will be better."

      Labour introduced the idea that as an immigrant I was already a criminal. It wanted to stick an ID and badge on me before they started in on disabled and no one batted an eyelash. First they came for the IMMIGRANTS - who they invited her, mind you - THEN came for the disabled. Closing schools for ASD kids without bothering to put any training into mainstream schools FIRST also went under the radar. And I suppose people have forgotten Brown's benefits tax he was trying to introduce?

      I'll vote Green before I ever vote "strategically" - at least then I'll get a policy I can actually believe in. The only depressing issue I have about it is I'm not a UK citizen or I'd try running for the party myself to give them a bigger presence in my area.

  23. I'm finding everything a muddle and wonder what democracy is and did it ever exist? I feel all we have is pure manipulation of any truth what so ever and twitter and the like give a true picture. If people understood they would be marching on the streets as contributory NI seems pointless now.
    Martyrs indeed we need, but it's gonna be different with disabled people trying to do it, another 12 months and hopefully we will get a strong opposition because blogs etc is getting stronger and stronger.

    1. Democracy never did exist all it means is that you have a chance to vote every 5 years and that is all

  24. Put aside all the blather for an hour and read Stuart Hall's opening chapter of The Neoliberal Crisis:

    Then try telling me you're still mystified.

  25. I think Labour's problem is that it doesn't have nearly enough tribal flag-waving Labour floozies, and ignores those it does have.

    So keep doing what you're doing, because someone has to remind Miliband Minor that Labour is supposed to stand for the people, not for the Daily Mail's latest editorial rant(Labour chasing the demographic of a paper that's historically so far to the right it used to support the Fascist Party, it just beggars belief).

  26. Replies
    1. I should like to model myself on Barbara Castle.

    2. Start keeping a diary ;)

  27. As a tribal flag waving Labour floozy, I WILL call you a tribal flag waving Labour floozy, and never be afraid of wearing that badge high and proud! :-D

    I agree with everything you say and more. I don't get it either. And I don't like what Labour are saying either, but between the two, I'll still go for them any time, simply because well, I mean, come ON! WHO in their right mind would vote for the Tories? Again? :-(

    Let's hope that a) voters wake up by the next election, b) Labour remember their roots before then.

  28. I was a Labour Activist for 20 years. We used to be proud to be a ' broad church' reflecting all shades of belief in social justice, some of us were committed Christians, some were pink, some red. A lot of our campaigning was done on local issues and included hospitals and schools. With the advent of New Labour policy became narrowed and centralised. There was no room for me, a devout Catholic who passionately believed in social justice. I had to accept every edict from the Labour Party in Government. I talk to people on Twitter who say that if I say I'm left wing I must support 'pro-choice'. And thus the left lose support because of this ideological rigidity and centrism. Left wing policy is now made centrally by an elite. It's not about individual concerns any more.

  29. Has the public forgotten the days when The elderly were left dying on hospital trolleys in a&e corridors due to lack of funding by a Tory government. It wasn't all that long ago. Im no fan of labour but this shower of shits don't believe in public services full stop. People need to wake up and make a stand, pronto an all.

    1. ...or perhaps that was in 1978/9 when, under Labour, the dead were left unburied by striking union members and the rubbish was piling up in the streets and Derek Hatton had his henchmen being chauffeured around handing out redundancy notices. And where is that bastion of the left today? Why, he is a multi millionaire property tycoon.

  30. People should stop being so divisive, look at the big picture, and do what it takes to keep Tory Scum out of power.

    Living under the Labour government seems like a fairytale now, compared to this nightmare we are living in.

  31. Labour has more than enough flag-waving tribalists; the problem is that they don't care whether a Labour government is a real Labour government or a bunch of Tories in red ribbons. A few weeks ago there was a letter in the Guardian which said that those who leave the party, or don't vote for it, (the context being because it offered only old Tory policy) are indisciplined people that the party doesn't need. New Labour in office regard themselves as guests in the Tories' house, not as an elected Labour government. They are vicious to the weak (minorities, immigrants, disabled people), and cowardly in the face of press intimidation and American power.

    I was brought up Labour, but left in the mid-1990s when I saw the direction they were going. I remember their machinations in the NUS at that time, which they were trying to muzzle as they were an embarrassment to the leadership, and they had placemen in various local and regional unions (many of whom had ambitions to be Labour MPs or MSPs/AMs and had to toe the party line) that were trying to dumb down NUS policy so as to stop it demanding better support for students. In the event, they voted for a policy that was full of waffle in 1996, and Labour promptly announced that they would introduce tuition fees.

  32. Glen Shakespeare18 March 2012 at 11:40

    I read lots of intentions of supporting fringe parties like the Green Party. Every vote for one of these fringe parties is a vote for the Tories. Tories sneak into power not because of their vote but because of Labour voter's apathy. We need to be more like the Tory voters and ensure we get off our arses and make our votes count, that way the Tories will never be in power again. They lost any right they ever had to govern again in 97.

  33. snore... snore... snore... tribalist labour supporters whining because their party is engaging in attacks on the disabled and trying to convince people to join the party purely on the basis of their past track record. No mention of ATOS either I notice? They did start that whole ball rolling after all.

    We're not interested in what Labour did in the past. We're interested in what they're going to do for our children. Which seems to be FUCK ALL.

  34. Well, there you go. With a cuts plan as extensive as and only slightly slower than the tory's, Ed Balls stating that he can't promise any reversal of what's being done now and prominent labour activists offering zero support for the most disadvantaged I was hoping someone around here would have some sort of explanation, game plan, examples of why it's not completely pointless looking to Labour to stop this avalanche.

    Instead there's complete disengagement, ignoring of anything not wanted and the same tired old tropes coming in and calling people 'divisive' (shades of the SWP there, thankyou Trotsky) and going on about 'fringe' votes being useless votes for the tories, which used to be said about the SNP (and, ironically, about the SDP).

    Yes, thankyou, 'anonymous'. I remember what the tories did to the NHS in the '80s but if Labour won't commit to reversing the cuts or the privatisation then what are they going to do, volunteer at weekends? Is Milliband doing anything more than playing good cop to Cameron's bad cop?

    People often end up homeless because they're running away with nothing to run to and that's all I can see from a lot of the comments here but with Labour largely offering a more apologetic way of doing the same thing (because, apparently, there's no money left) and still tied to this ideology of propping up the banks at all costs (except for QE5 of course) I'm not personally interested in anything that doesn't involve a statement of what Labour are actually planning to do to improve things.

    So how about y'all put a can on this crap talk about being 'divisive', 'fringe votes' and all that other obfuscatory garbage political tub-thumpers always use when trying to silence people. Either start giving people proper answers or shut up.

  35. Paul Duffy - I'm not sure I know you - if I do from another media my apologies. You have been rather aggressive in your posts, so perhaps other readers didn't feel like engaging?

    I don't know if you've read my blog before? I have plenty of criticism for Labour and have written about it many times.

    The simple point of THIS post is to say we WILL have only 2 choices at the election - two with a hope of winning. Lab and Con. The examples above ought to give you plenty of reasons why one option is very much better than the other.

    You can't however - even if you clearly would like to - make me an apologist for everything Labour have every done, nor can you abuse my readers, the vast majority of whom are not Labour supporters anyway.

    1. Sorry, it's not my intention to come across as aggressive towards you. You have seen me as @MotionRotation before (the name part of my comments should be linked) and it occurs to me that I may be inadvertantly directing my frustration at you purely because I cannot understand. Yes, I have seen your criticism before. This is why I'm so emphatic that criticism without the threat of withdrawal of support is only as affective as the politicians allow it to be.

      I'm not making you an apologist for anything, I just don't understand.

      I was actually hoping that this longer format would make for a more coherent statement. I am largely angry with a top-to-bottom lack of will to openly support those who are suffering the worst of the cuts (including from bottom-up reformists) but I'm venting on here because I'm trying to make sense of it.

      I'm well aware of Labour's history and of the Tories', my dad had to fight for his own job when NHS regions were merged all those years ago and I'm of Irish Catholic stock so it has not gone unnoticed that NI is still, despite recent developments, more peaceful now.

      This doesn't do anything to persuade me that this choice at the next election is anything more than a lack of options. Looking at Labour now, I see statements that demonstrate a lack of will to reverse the changes being made now and nothing to suggest that anything will be done to improve things.

      You seem confident to support Labour based purely on their past record, expecting that they will do the right thing once in power, but I need to see a demonstration of intent.

      Until 2008 I had the same view of them, that they'd done some terrible things but also a lot of good. Then a friend of mine was struck down with ME and I discovered the 'psychologising' of illnesses even against mounting physical evidence. Another old friend was finally diagnosed with ankylosing spondilitis after years of back pain before being kicked off ESA before the approval had gone through for the immunosupressant regime. She hadn't the confidence to appeal against a decision which had written down her fusing spine as 'back pain'.

      During all of this, I've spent the last two and a half years looking after a partner who had a nervous breakdown, working in jobs which no longer exist for one reason or another but in the middle of which I was on ESA for over six months starting with a Labour government and ending with a Tory one. Yes, this means I had an ATOS assessment, an assessment so ill suited to someone with a history of depression and anxiety that although I was improving I still had a panic attack there and then.

      If we hadn't had family support, we'd have been out on the street.

      All of this is before the Tories have even got started. For me, this is the most recent example of what Labour have done in power. I don't know if you've been subject to any of this yet, but that everyone will be moved onto the new regime was Labour's original plan.

      You ask me to look at what Labour has done, that's what I think of. Maybe that should go some way to explaining why I don't understand your ongoing support of them, everything that is happening to you now would still be happening if Labour had won. Everything that I describe above happened because of Labour.

      So I absolutely need to see a change because as bad as the Tories are, I'm not convinced I can survive another Labour government either. In this context, it should not be surprising when I take offence at people using terms such as 'divisive' and bleating on about fringe votes when there are serious concerns that need to be addressed.

    2. Paul the labour party are conservatives and have been since Tony Blair

      The trouble is that the public by and large dont understand politics worldwide they get told something and have great trouble in interpreting what was meant and instead of asking the right sort of person for clarification they dont and then go on to vote for what they dont understand and then complain for the next 5 years that they have been lied to

      The art of politics is to tell you something simple in which will get your attention hence your vote what the public then need to do is to ask a specific question

      He is an example the prime minster at the last election stated very clearly that the sick and disabled would be looked after ?

      He was not at all challenged by the public as to the extent of the illness or disability to which he was offering protection hence he worded it as he did

      Now as long as he offers some degree of full protection to some illnesses and disabilities he can then rightfully say i said that i would look after the sick and disabled and i have and then go on to detail those he had in mind

      He did not say at the last election i will protect all of the sick and disabled he use the word look big difference if your not gifted in a degree of English and even if you have a degree in English you still have to deicide if the word he used look after was correct

      If i were the prime minister and used the words look after then because of my bank of england background the public would have had nothing to fear but I'm not the prime minister and the words look after are not specific and enviably meaningless the words look after can only be used by a person with integrity only in that context and politicians at home and across the world dont have integrity so therefore David Cameron's speech was null and void when he said he would look after the sick and disabled he deliberately used the wrong words in order to mislead the public and succeeded

    3. "we WILL have only 2 choices at the election - two with a hope of winning. Lab and Con"

      Not so much a choice, but a dilemma between 2 parties in tow to corporate interests. Everything that the coalition government is doing was started by the last Labour government. Whether it's PFI, cuts, NHS marketisation, tuition fees, academies, selling of national assets or whatever, Labour got there first. All three parties have been in government over the last two years and they have far more in common than they would care to admit.

      We would be fighting similar battles if Labour had won in May 2010. Labour are all about high arms expenditure to prop up a limited welfare state and trying to keep the masses happy with access to cheap and easy debt. Is that what you really want to urge people to vote for?

      The REAL politics and opposition, meanwhile is happening elsewhere. And it's getting angrier.

  36. Iraq made me never want to vote Labour again. Would have been prepared to believe in the party post Blair and Brown, but they are not expressing the anger and desperation of the public. They have perfect opportunuty to attack Tories but seem impotent. Can't help but think other labour Mps are keeping quiet hoping Miliband will be forced out. I am keen to demonstrate my strength of feeling but don't know where to turn. The people will be forced to fight, they will get hungry,n but I do not support carrying objects for "self defence" (SWP) or vandalism.

  37. Glen Shakespeare18 March 2012 at 18:48

    I am seriously considering seeing my MP this week to express concerns about the direction EM is taking, it seems to me that his desperate attempt to win over Middle England is destroying his core vote in the process and that is sheer misguided lunacy. TBH he has to do very little, this present scum are doing it all for him. Giving people no alternative choice is sef defeating and lunacy.

  38. Sue, I agree with you on Labour's economic policies absolutely. We needed Gordon Brown's chancellorship to continue. I have no idea what the current Labour economic policies would be, except they'd have to be better than the current lot by definition, because I'm fairly certain the current lot are identifying the worst possible route and then choosing it.

    However, Labour did need to be reined in on some social policies. The identity cards scheme was just a nightmare beginning to happen (I note that the current lot can see that, because they are trying to restart it, as part of their 'do the worst possible thing' policy).

    When I walk down a London street, what I see is road paint everywhere, and signs littering the place, and bollards all over the pavement, and all of it looks as though it's designed to keep people safe. Actually, the signs are too much for any driver to read all of them ('20 is plenty'? We have a simple, internationally recognised symbol for that, don't we?) The bollards just force pedestrians more than single file to walk outside them, combatting any safety that would be conferred in the situation of a car mounting the pavement. And all of it must have cost the council a fortune to put down, and keep costing them a fortune to maintain. This to me is the symptom of a social system that's going too far. Not in terms of disability rules; those are all sensible, fair and wise. Not in terms of benefits; those are necessary. But in terms of regulations that you have to give people instructions on how to keep themselves safe. I doubt that the actual law is anywhere near forcing everyone to constantly tell other people how to keep safe, but just being in the climate really feels as though it's true, which means that something, somewhere, is feeding it, and that needs to stop.

    I notice that this lot isn't making any progress with that, either. Really, I despair. My representative (for whom I have previously voted) is Lib Dem Ed Davey. No longer, I suspect. Certainly he will not retain my vote. I doubt Labour has a shot at this electorate. I suspect I'll vote Green. We'll see what sort of campaign is mounted here at the time. I wish some form of proportional representation had been available, but let's not go down that particular route.


  39. I've just been reading about ATOS serving cease and desist letters to any site that dares to criticise them.
    stuff like this doesnt help.

    "Our campaign has the backing of Prime Minister David Cameron and together we are determined to tackle those who fraudulently drain Britain’s resources.

    The Labour government’s legacy of a shambolic welfare system means around £5.2billion a year is squandered, including £1.5billion lost to fraud. Of that total, £1.6billion goes in admin errors, while £2.1billion is wrongly paid out due to inadvertent errors by claimants.

    Mr Cameron this week said private firms should be used to track down fake claimants. In Day Two of our campaign to nail the cheats, we highlight some of those who have been rumbled. "

    But the country’s top benefits fraud investigator reveals that hi-tech surveillance equipment, SAS training and state-of-the-art computer software is needed to prosecute them.

    The man in charge of reducing benefits fraud is Dave White, head of investigations at the Department for Work and Pensions.

    On the hunt ... Dave White
    On the hunt ... Dave White

    Dave, 58, who has been in the job for four years, told The Sun: “The equipment we use is top class. Staff go to training sessions where they are taught by former SAS officers.

    “Today we are using new techniques such as data matching for detection. For example, if somebody is in receipt of benefit yet has a large capital amount in, say, an ISA, those things shouldn’t happen and we can spot them. We have increasingly sophisticated software and more access to data.”

    In the future, officials want to try to stop fraud before it happens. Dave added: “The department wants to move to using this as a form of prevention, looking at where fraud might creep in. We are trying to be one step ahead.”

  40. oh and you get this stuff in forums about 'red' ed getting 'tough' on benefit scrounging

    "Ed Milliband couldn't get tough if his life depended on it.

    What's his idea of getting tough on benefit scroungers? Tickling them?

    They need to be permanently denied benefits, and - if they are living in public housing - evicted on the spot and permanently disqualified from eligibility to be housed. If they own their own home it should be forfeited and auctioned off, with the proceeds being divided amongst working people in the same postcode area."

  41. theres stuff about detecting malingerers:

  42. and i'm really sure you want to read Jim Davidson blog (aargh)

  43. a word of 'wisdom' from uncle jim davidson :

    Where are all the British people? Black, white and brown, it doesn’t matter – where are they? All I seem to meet are people who have English as their second language. What on earth was going through the Labour Party’s mind when they invited all these people? There are still some 600,000 immigrants a year coming through our country, mostly from Africa and Asia. This is madness. And to put the cherry on the cake, we have just sent £220 million to the terrorist capital of the world, Somalia…what the fuck for? Surely there’s no one there!

    Can’t someone do anything, or are we all afraid of being called racist and xenophobic? Well, seeing as I’m called that anyway, it doesn’t matter. Why bring in an immigrant work force and have British people pay to sit on their arses, when they could be picking the cabbages and doing the cleaning jobs and stacking the shelves?

    1. odd that tesco didnt mind taking on people on not paying them..oh and people still on benefits..

  44. Sue, I have to point something out to you. At a General Election, you can only vote for the people who stand in your constituency.

    At the last General Election I had a choice: Tories or Green. Tories won, of course (I live in Blue Monkeyshire), and my arse will heal over before I vote for Tories so I voted Green.

    I am, however, a long time Labour supporter (ex-member, left over Iraq). I think the only way I'd vote Labour if an election were called tomorrow and if I had the chance, would be if someone mounted an internal coup and replaced the likes of Liam Byrne and Stephen Twigg with proper working class Labour members. As it stands - and looking at the present crop of PPCs, it's not going to change - Labour are definitely Tory lite. Will it be easier to change Labour from within than to start an entirely new party of the Left? I'm increasingly beginning to suspect the latter.