I’m beginning to feel thoroughly sick of the election campaigns for the main political parties here in the UK. Today has been no exception so I decided to make my story today about why I’m so disenfranchised by the Labour Party.
It grieves me to feel like this because I was always a staunch Labour voter before Bliar got his hands on the party. The day that the wonderful John Smith died was indeed a terrible day for the party, not to mention the country. So here comes the rant – I did say ‘no hiding, no flinching and no compromise’ right from the start.
Many say that Bliar turned the party into an electable one and who is to say they weren’t right – in 1997, the party won a huge majority and were able to sweep aside the other parties with no problems. But, some might argue though that the climate was so ripe for change that Labour almost needed only to turn up to get themselves elected. Strangely (or otherwise), that was the first time in my adult life that I voted against the Labour party.
There was and still is just something so frightening about Bliar and I think his track record demonstrates my fears were right. He models himself in an almost presidential role yet without mandate from the people. I just cannot place my trust in that man.
No tax increases he said – there have been many, many of those since his term in office started. Much of it pushed in the direction of local authorities who have been asked countless times to take on more of the administration of Government without central funding so they have to raise local taxes instead. I cannot remember a year when my local tax didn’t rise significantly above the rate of inflation, and of course national taxes rise in line with inflation because they are based on percentages, percentage of income, percentage of purchase price etc so the overall tax burden has increased.
There are still way, way too many social problems here in the UK – 37p for a child’s main meal of the day? That’s a disgrace. The government inexplicably decided (well, I suspect it was considered a vote-winner) to give every new-born baby a £250 (I think that’s the amount) gift to be invested for its future. It is my tax that pays for such pointless nonsense and when I hear about this sort of thing it makes my blood boil. Why do this when the money would have been better invested in making sure those kids whose only daily nutrition comes from their school dinner get properly nourished. Many of the 600,000 kids born each year are born to affluent families for whom £250 is a drop in the ocean compared to the sums of money spent by doting grandparents each Christmas. I deeply resent my hard-earned going into such schemes when the really needy kids out there don’t have proper roofs over their heads or decent food.
DM has looked at this and suggested that the previous paragraph of this ‘rant’ be toned down because ‘everyone loves babies’ (except us) and they are vote winners and friend makers but I really don’t care. It’s not that I don’t want to see disadvantaged kids getting a better deal, it’s that I can’t see how this (in my view) incredibly cynical vote winning policy is going to benefit the kids that really need it. People choose to have kids. They know the cost. They should bear the responsibility for that cost, except in the situation of deep poverty. Why should I subsidise it for the many who are nowhere near the poverty line? Why did the government introduce this measure? It can only have been to try to buy the votes of new parents.
There are many hundreds of thousands of people homeless in this affluent country of ours. That too is a disgrace. I haven’t seen much, if any, evidence of this supposedly socialist government sorting that out. I heard yesterday that the government’s solution was to build more flats in the South East so they would be affordable for people. That’s a laugh. I drove past five such developments near here yesterday and the prices in the cheapest block started at £178,000 for a one roomed flat. How is that going to help when the average wage is somewhere around the £25k p.a. mark. Let’s be generous and assume that wages in the South East are a bit higher so let’s assume £30k. Who on such a wage could afford to buy such a property, supposedly aimed at the first-time buyer?
Not to mention the strain on the local infrastructure that all this new build will cause – it already takes me 1.5-2 hours to get to work each morning and 1-1.5 hours to get home. What will it be like when the 500-1000 new homes along the A30 in Camberley/Bagshot/Sunningdale are occupied.
As for Rover? Well, it’s very surprising how so little of the fall out from its demise has stuck to the government who once ‘owned’ the company.
To be honest though, none of the parties could care less about these things so Labour are not in isolation here. But THEY are supposed to be the party with a social conscience.
In a way, I’m much more worried about the sleaze. Labour’s disgraceful display of closing ranks when the Andrew Gilligan/Dr Kelly affair happened was disgusting. The whole ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ fiasco was so badly handled and we have ended up in a terrible situation in Iraq, not to mention alienating a huge proportion of the Muslim community. Our PMs proximity to the right wing American leadership is all at once a paradox and a deep concern.
The ‘it’s a good day to bury bad news’ affair of Sept 11th was a clear indication of how the Government’s spin doctoring is out of control. Jo Moore (the woman who got fired or did she resign, I can't recall) over that I suspect would have been applauded had she not put it in writing and been caught.
Blunkett’s ‘I didn’t do anything wrong’ was another laugh a minute – maybe, just maybe, that was true legally but morally? Especially coming from a leading member of the party that rode to the crest of their wave eschewing Tory sleaze only a few short years before.
It took them nearly eight years from promising to ban hunting in their 1997 election manifesto to get the foxhunting bill through and I feel sure it was only eventually done because they were shamed into it by a run of private members bills. In my view, it has been one of only a tiny number of ‘good things’ to come out of this government.
After trying to push Gordon Brown into the cold (just maybe a better man than Bliar) one of the best moments for me in recent days was hearing the pundits views on the post-election Labour Party when Brown calls in the favours he has done by pulling Bliar out of the brown stuff in the last week or so.
Looking at Bliar doing his bit in his Sedgefield constituency the other day I thought he looked ill. He was sweating profusely and looking decidedly under par. Given that he has recently undergone minor heart surgery it didn’t look good to me.
To be honest, it matters not a jot what I think about Labour’s recent record or their manifesto promises. I can’t see them losing because the other parties are in disarray. All we can hope for is no landslide and that one of the other parties will find a leader who can oppose the government post the election.
Vote Labour? Not likely, not this time and not until they start to remember their responsibilities.
Last year I was ranting too - then it was about stalkers! Two years ago, the wonderful Colin made his first appearance in my diary.