It’s good news that at last Labour is launching a 10-point list of policy commitments which should silence those who continue to say on the doorstep that they don’t know what the party really stands for. These are all powerful points, and if repeated enough by party spokespersons and party activists on the ground, they should succeed in making the Labour case a strong, positive and evocative one. But there is one key element which is missing, and the omission of this could seriously harm Labour’s prospects in pulling back absconders to UKIP in England and the SNP in Scotland where the 2015 election looks likely to be settled. That key missing element is the commitment, if Labour wins, to shift away from the failed policy of endless spending cuts which have lost all sense of purpose to the already proven policies of economic expansion, growth, jobs, and higher incomes.
So why isn’t Labour making this commitment. It is being said because polling shows that the electorate doesn’t believe Labour can be trusted with the nation’s finances and that the party is profligate. Actually the opposite is true, so why do people still believe this myth? It’s because the Tories keep saying this incessantly and Labour never denies it. So why in heaven’s name doesn’t Labour tell the truth and throw it back in the Tories’ faces by repeating their lie back to them over and over and over again? The truth that dare not speak its name, for Labour apparently, is that in the Labour decade before the financial crash (1997-2008) the biggest budget deficit was 3.3% of GDP whereas the Thatcher-Major governments (yes, you read it right, the Thatcher government) racked up BIGGER deficits than that in 10 out of their 18 years (1979-97). If you don’t believe it, check the official Office of National Statistics for yourself. So who were the over-spenders? It’ s a no-brainer. It was the Tories.
So where the scorecard now stand? It’s lie upon Tory lie, every one of which should be vigorously refuted.
Tory lie 1: Labour caused all this mess; it didn’t, it was the bankers.
Tory lie 2: Labour over-spending is at the root of all our troubles; it most certainly isn’t – Labour throughout was the prudent party and the Tories were the over-spenders, as the above figures irrefutably show.
Tory lie 3: Tory austerity has reduced the deficit by half or more and is well on the way to finishing the job. This is shot through with a barrel-load of untruths. Darling cut the deficit by £40bn in the first 2 years to £118bn in 2011-12 through growth, jobs and rising incomes, Osborn by austerity has cut it by half as much in the next 3 years. The Tories are nowhere near finishing the job, and the next 5 years if they get their way will be far harsher than the first 5 we’ve endured.
Tory lie 4: we’ll eliminate the deficit by 2015: Osborne announced in 2010 that the deficit would be cut to £40bn by 2014-15; in fact it’s now around £100bn.
Tory lie 5: Austerity is the only way to cut the deficit, and it’s working. It isn’t the only way, as Darling proved so successfully. And it isn’t working because after 5 awful years of austerity, the deficit is now actually rising because the government’s tax take (their income) has collapsed and under current policies won’t recover. So what is the justification of continuing with spending cuts to reduce the deficit when the spending cuts are now shown themselves to be the main cause of the deficit increasing?
Tory lie 6: We’re all in it together. This must surely be a joke when Tory austerity Britain now boasts obscene inequality levels unprecedented since the Edwardian era a century ago.
If Labour put this first in its new list of commitments, that really would improve Labour’s prospects drastically at the coming election. If you agree about this, please give your comments to Ed Miliband and the NEC whose chair is Jim Griffiths.