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Linda A | all galleries >> Galleries >> it's my life - 2005 diary > 19th April 2005 - Vote Labour?
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19-APR-2005

19th April 2005 - Vote Labour?

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.

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Lee Rudd23-Apr-2005 13:44
Sooooo powerful. Bravo Linda, you capture many of our feelings so well.
Si Kirk21-Apr-2005 21:41
great photo, i am not even going to start on the politics.
Guest 21-Apr-2005 09:22
PS - I think this may well be the best photo you ever took, even forgetting that you were burning the Labour Party's emblem!!!
Guest 21-Apr-2005 09:20
Shockingly Sis, I do agree with some of your comments here, but not others! This stupid idea of giving babies a 'trust' of £250 is ludicrous. They would as you rightly point out have more success by stopping feeding schoolchildren complete crap and so they can concentrate and learn more. Schools that have listened to Jamie Oliver (world hero no. 1!) are already reporting successes here. That way they would be able to get better jobs when they are older and not need a 'gift' sitting waiting for them.
This bonkers Government has overruled local campaigning to prevent 340 houses being build on green belt land in Hemel Hempstead - this is the beginning of the end of our town - we will end up a suburb of London soon... no-one will see any fields between London and Herfordshire.
Gordon Brown? He may be a good politician - almost certainly better than Bliar - but he lacks charisma, and I believe that they decided to keep things as they are until after the election because Brown would lose too many votes.
BTW - A kid is a baby goat - I gave birth to two little human guys... we call them 'children'!!!
Cheryl Hawkins20-Apr-2005 21:43
A powerful and inspired photo, Linda.
Stu20-Apr-2005 00:11
Tell it like it is, Linda. I was once a member of the Labour Party, and now I despise them. I don't know who to vote for, and the campaigning so far hasn't really helped me decide, because absolutely nothing that has been mentioned so far has any relevance for Scotland - hospitals, education, council tax, care for the elderly - these are all matters that are devolved in Scotland - so the UK parliament has no say on these things north of the border. I was leaning towards the LibDems, because I find myself agreeing with just about everything they say - from local income tax to opposition to the Iraq war. However, they are in coalition with Labour in Holyrood - keeping McConnell and his cronies in power despite their incompetence. So what are my options: the SNP or the SSP - both of which want independence....
Gail Davison19-Apr-2005 22:10
I too am sick of the poor choice we have (and I'm on your side re the extra money for babies!!). I feel very strongly that I have to go to the voting booth as people have died to give me the vote but I have no idea where I'll put my x (or whether I'll just spoil the paper in protest) when I get there.
Ray :)19-Apr-2005 21:42
I'm voting for this lot http://www.pbase.com/simon2005/image/41983497
Ian Clowes19-Apr-2005 21:37
Inspired shot :)
Guest 19-Apr-2005 21:29
Have you considered the Liberal Democrats? They are an alternative to the other two beastly parties. They seem to have some interesting things to say.
Guest 19-Apr-2005 21:19
Hi Linda, enjoyed your picture and your rant. I also can't believe the lies, lies and more blatant lies we are being force-fed.

What a bloody waste of time this election is. I'm almost in despair at how little attention is being paid to the environment. Jesus, put my taxes up through the roof if you want, but it would be nice if we could even match the recycling of the Germans - that's not very to much to ask of all this precious parliamentary time which we've wasted on foxhunting.

I/we may be lucky and escape the worst of it, but I look at my boys and know that they will reap a lot of the seeds our apathy and greed are sowing now.
Guest 19-Apr-2005 20:36
Great pic, and fantastic rant Linda - have to say I agree with you completely! have you seen this website ? that seems to be full of similarly disillusioned people (and a few nutters)
Lara S19-Apr-2005 20:34
hey I will read your "diary" later. I'm at work, but wanted to comment on the picture. Wow Linda. I really really like it. great shot. ~L
Colin 19-Apr-2005 20:29
Can't help this is a bit one-sided. Even El Presidente isn't claiming perfection, but a damn sight better than the Conservatives, who are , lets face it the only likely alternative whatever the Lib Dems might claim.....There are lots of easy criticisms to make, but on the plus side the NHS now has over 33% extra being spent on it per person than in 1997, and it shows in many areas. In patches maybe, but in my area we are getting a brand new hospital with MORE beds than current. My friends little girl fractured her wrist in February and within one and a half hours in the local A&E was seen by a doctor, X-rayed, reset, plastered and on her way home. You don't read about those cases in the Daily Mail! Public transport round here has improved dramatically, with loads of extra (new) buses so on my route their is now a 10 minute service from 4.40 am right through to 1.15am...... Minimum wage to stop cowboy contractors undercutting reputable employers by cutting wage costs, and employment law improvements to ensure empoloyees have more protection from employers to try to treat the employees like dirt. I could go on (an on) but these things alone for me are enough reason so although I might not be voting Blair, I will be voting Labour!

Blair never said taxes wouldn't go up by the way as I recall (I could be corrected...?), in 1997. The Labour party said rates of income tax would not increase during the lifetime of the term office, and they didn't. National Insurance did (and this money was ring-fenced to the NHS)which may have been crafty, but wasn't a breach of what was promised....


Colin. xx

PS I'd better not arrive and talk politics before May 5th :o)
Ian Chappell19-Apr-2005 20:11
So I take it you're not voting Labour then.
Guest 19-Apr-2005 19:15
It makes me laugh when the government bang on about inflation and how under control it is. It doesn't include the price of houses or rent which have gone up so much it's stupid, and nor does it include council tax. Two of the biggest bills every household faces.

I have to disagree on the fox hunting though. Like you say, there are hundreds and thousands of kids who need help and we fritter millions away on protecting an animal that whilst cute (and I love taking their photos) is hardly in any danger of extinction, and well down the list in terms of animals that need our help let alone human causes. Yet another 'vote winning' measure that will undoubtedly backfire this election. I don't like hunting but there are quite a few more important issues to deal with before I can be bothered with that.
Tor19-Apr-2005 19:00
That was some ranting! But what can the alternative be for you? Poor flower anyway.