Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Unconvincing Labour

Try as I might I do not see that many of us have a great deal in common with unskilled manual labourers.  Unskilled manual labour takes up a great deal of my time but it is not the source of my income, nor the focus of my intellectual interest or concern - though if a job's worth doing - I can scrub  a stone staircase or  beat a carpet, polish a floor or vacuum the sofa, as well as the next man.

So the news that Mr Brown is rising in the esteem of unskilled manual labourers (cf the latest Populus poll) helps explain why his recent behaviour and pronouncements - they could hardly be graced with the word policies - have made him even more unattractive to Angels.

Even with teeth gritted and head averted from having to look at their Leader, imagining what Labour could offer to persuade me to vote for them is mine to do, for they are not being helpful. 

Reducing indirect taxation to lower the growth in inequality that has besmirched the Labour years?  They've just raised VAT and petrol duty.  And National Insurances rises are barely progressive.

Taking the lowest earners out of income tax altogether?  That's progressive, but Labour actually pulled lower and lower wage-levels into higher and higher tax bands.

Cutting Defence expenditure?  Labour went to war, is still at war.

Reducing unemployment?  The greatest of destroyers of social well being has increased every year to a disgraceful 3 million who are actually claiming unemployment benefits and another nearly 5 million economically inactive of working age on other kinds of payment.

A European-standard educational system?  Labour has just lopped the tertiary sector budget, the only educational sector that is of international standards, and the schools are not doing well for the least advantaged with 40% too unskilled to profit even from post-11 education. 

Concentrate the NHS on the things that happen to everyone, or go wrong for everyone - childbirth (men are just as involved), and eyes, teeth, creaking joints, and on preventative programmes, while facilitating us  all in insuring separately for the fancy stuff? Or go on pouring money into near-irrelevant treatments and research programmes.

Major housing programme?  Not just new ones but the refurbishment of older ones on the lines of the Birmingham refurbishments of entire terraces and city areas.  That would interfere with reinflating the housing bubble.

Labour say they're thinking about mutual and cooperative movements.  What a pity they did away with those founded long before Labour ever existed.

There are two difficulties in convincing Angels to vote Labour: the absolute denial Labour is in over what it has done in the last 13 years; and the absolute unattractiveness of these same policies they are offering now.   It's called persistence in sin, and it is unforgivable.

1 comment:

Caronte said...

"Labour say they're thinking about mutual and cooperative movements. What a pity they did away with those founded long before Labour ever existed."

Tony Blair's de-mutualisation of co-ops and mutual societies, i.e. the privatisation to privileged insiders of assets that belonged to the whole of the co-operative movement, is one of the most scurrilous, indecent form of self-appropriation of social capital since Russian self-appropriation by party apparatchiks.

Shame on New Labour for ever and ever.