Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Labour needs to be bolder

'At our best when at our boldest' - the words of one T Blair to Labour's annual conference in 2002. Labour is - despite the cynics who argue otherwise - a centre-left party, not a centre-right one. It's centre-left credentials since 1997 have been impressive: the introduction of the minimum wage, the abolition of the assisted places scheme and the hereditary principle in the Lords, huge investment in public services, debt cancellation for the poorest countries, civil partnerships etc, etc. The problem is that many of its most radical and socially progressive initiatives were carried out during its first term. Since 2001 Labour has been, on the whole, competent but not radical, managerial but not inspirational.

So what might a 'bolder' agenda look like? How about the following as a start:

1. Create a 'People's Bank' in every High St and village and call it ... The Post Office.
2. Abolish hospital car parking charges in England.
3. Lower the voting age to 16
4. Give all cancer patients access to the drugs they need (regardless of where they live)
5. Create 0-14 schools and 14-19 colleges and end the needless transition at age 11

What else?


John Angliss said...

Genuinely and publicly u-turn on ID Cards, which would save every person in Britain at least £250.

Renationalise rail, which has been a disaster.

A huge, well publicised crack down on corporate tax-dodgers instead of the current gutting of the Customs and Revenue Department.

wonkotsane said...

1. Good idea but that will involve leaving the EU though, you realise that?

2. Good idea, an English government might do that like the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments have done for their own people.

3. What's the point? People are so disillusioned with the LibLabCon coalition they don't bother to vote.

4. Good idea, stopping health apartheid against the English is probably one of the first things an English government would do. The "National" Institute for Clinical Excellence ("National" being England only) should be abolished as well and replaced with an English government body accountable to English voters like it is in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

5. Who will pay for this? It's another devolved area and should be decided on by an English government, not MPs elected in another country.

Mike Ion said...

wonkostane - good to hear from you again though slightly shocked that you agree with me on anything. Are you more confident of English devolution should the Tories get in?

wonkotsane said...

Not half as shocked as me, that's all a bit "off message" for a Labourite.

Not confident at all with the Tories. They make all the right noises in the run-up to elections and then change their tune when it comes time to put their money where their mouth is. They profess to be eurosceptic when they want votes but then work towards ever-closer union and even help to fund the "yes" vote for the EU not-a-Constitution. They claim to be pro-English but they are happy to support institutional racism against the English because they are desperate not to lose their MP in Scotland and David Camoron takes every opportunity to go to Scotland and slag the English off.

An English Parliament will happen eventually because it's what a sizeable majority of English people want. The status quo isn't acceptable, regionalisation has opposition even within Labour's ranks and the main driver for regionalisation - the EU - must surely be close to becoming a footnote in English history books with the growing and overwhelming opposition to continued membership. Even the Lib Dems are calling for a referendum on membership and they're as eurofederalist as they come!

If you want to talk about health apartheid in the context of devolution some more I'm more than happy to discuss it further with you.