Thursday, 11 November 2010

Let's get some things straight

Labour, opposing, in opposition an unpopular policy does not mean they would not have implemented it in power.

Pre-election Labour's policy on Higher Education and fees was to wait for the outcome of the Browne Review. The policies being discussed regarding fees are not ConDem policies, they are the recommendations of an independent inquiry.

Here is my position. In my local area the candidates were asked to sign a release saying that fees would not go up under their party. The only candidate to refuse was the Labour candidate. It made her unpopular. It made her honest. She is my local MP and I like her a lot for that.

Right next thing along, public spending cuts. You can say "no ifs, no buts, no public spending cuts" all you want but what is your viable alternative? Whoever was in power was going to make cuts. There was fat to be trimmed. The main way that public money is wasted is through poor purchasing and procurement practices, a fact that was brushed under the carpet by Labour and is being brushed under the carpet by the ConDems now they are in power. Why? Well it makes less splashy headlines and it takes more hard work.

I'll lay my political beliefs on the line here. I am definitely left wing and I am almost certainly a Labour supporter, but not necessarily a Labour fan. So if you say if Labour in power things would be better, I'd like to ask you to stop and think. I believe that cuts brought in under Darling would have been more progressive in nature than those brought in by Osborne. I believe that the focus on child poverty which I really truly believe in would have been retained. I also believe that deeply unpopular decisions would have had to be taken. I believe that lots of people would have been hurt. I believe that a recession always hurts no matter who is in power.

People are losing their jobs and that is genuinely awful. Every day people are having to face the fact that there are 5 job seekers for every job, or more in some places (where I am it is about 30). These are tough times. Families are suffering from this. Spending from individuals is going to drop. The economy is going to struggle more.

Sticking your head in the sand and pretending it is not happening is not a good move. But then neither is pretending that there would have been no recessions, no cuts, no Browne review under Labour.

Wake up! The world is changing. We need to work to ensure that it changes for the better. And if we want that we need to speak together about what the priorities are. And we need to think carefully before we do that. Any knee-jerk response will get us nothing. If we want change we need to speak and think clearly. What are our priorities?