The Labour Party needs to come to terms with its defeat in May. The Labour Party needs to understand the successes and failures of its previous governments. The Labour needs to talk about its spending record and whether it spent too much.
This seems to be discourse in the current Leadership battle. I understand and accept that we need to come to terms with our failures – but there is a risk that we obsess about having debates that may have been pertinent in 2010, 2008 or 2003…..whilst everything burns around us now
A case in point is about “austerity”. Again, I understand the political tactic that we need to address the past so that we can be heard about the future- its just that I have heard precious little about the future in that equation.
Meanwhile the Tories cut to previously unimaginable extent. Before the election, many in the party issued dire warnings about how it was the most important election in a generation because “we knew what would happen” if the Tories were to get in. Well they did win, and some Labour members have forgotten those warnings and are signing up to a Tory economic policy
Labour should never act simply as a Management Committee for public services – it is that the effect that these cuts will have on the society that we want to build – and indeed for the economic well being of this and future generations.
Take the area that I work in with a large proportion of legal aid. During the “good years”, legal aid has had a real term cut of 40% – the effect can be dramatically seen in a case worked by a colleague in another firm. As reported here, (http://www.bindmans.com/news-and-events/news-article/criminal-legal-aid-reforms-penalise-success) the solicitors were paid £4.66 per hour and the barrister got £1.50 per hour – because they did the job that they were meant to do because “justice for all” is more than a slogan. It is an essential pre-requiste for living in a humane and decent society. (Remember this is the fee BEFORE the next round of savage cuts).
The politicians who get arrested like Nigel Evans and Chris Huhne pay thousands of pounds to their defence lawyers – yet supported the cuts that will allow ordinary folk the access to proper legal advice. Nigel Evans said that he was shocked that would not get his money back despite being acquitted. A rule change (along with legal cuts) that he previously supported. (http://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/nigel-evans-rues-backing-for-legal-aid-cuts/5040864.fullarticle)
One justice system for the rich ; One justice system for the rest . But why stop there. One Education system for the rich ; One for the rest. One Health service for the rich ; One for the rest…. and it goes on
So yes – I will march – march against a Tory austerity that destroys the very fabric of the place that I live in. Happy if Andy, Liz, Yvette or Jeremy want to hold the other end of the banner.