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Monday, July 04, 2011

Lost in politics

Labour Leader, Ed Miliband owes his election to the Trade Unions and yet felt obliged to condemn their recent day of action on pensions. A number of Labour politicans have denounced in trenchant terms Coalition Government policies on welfare reform, the economy, schools and the NHS and yet when it comes to the detail of these reforms, Labour frontbench spokespeople offer support for the general direction of travel.

Even on the deficit it has emerged that plans by the last Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer were comparable with action by George Osborne and in terms of Wales, revenue cuts would have been worse, whilst cuts in capital expenditure would have been faster and deeper. Treasury figures published at the time of Alistair Darling’s 2009 Budget indicated an intention to cut the Welsh capital grant by 45% over three years, while the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are cutting the same grant by 41% over four years.

If I am confused as to what Labour stands for anymore then it is hardly surprising that voters are also questioning why they should support them. The Spectator blog appears to have the same issues.

They write that Shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper gave an interview over the weekend in which she attacked Iain Duncan Smith's recent speech on immigration and worklessness from the right:

This wasn't an attack on the idea that British workers are losing out in the great, globalised labour market. This wasn't even an attack on the specific of IDS's welfare reforms. It was an attack on the coalition's immigration policy, which, Cooper suggested, isn't matching up to the hardline rhetoric. More should be done, she said, to curb illegal entrants. There should be more controls. This was, it soon became clear, quite something from a Labour politician: a broadside against IDS from the right. And the broadsides continued, from the same direction, when the questions moved onto asylum seekers, imprisonment, and the like.

Clearly, Cooper has been talking to her constituents, but you won't find that many Labour activists who would agree with this approach. It is little wonder that Ed Miliband is struggling to find a narrative.

Update: another example of Labour saying one thing and doing another is over housing benefit. As I said in a previous post the government need to revisit the proposed £500 a week cap on these payments. That is not to say that they should get rid of the cap altogether but make it more flexible to take account of high rent areas.

Here in Wales both the First Minister and his Housing Minister have criticised the policy and said that it will lead to more homelessness. I have yet to be convinced that there are significant numbers of people in Wales receiving more than £500 a week in Housing benefit but before we get carried away with the rhetoric Carwyn Jones and Huw Lewis need to revisit their own UK manifesto, which said:

Housing Benefit will be reformed to ensure that we do not subsidise people to live in the private sector on rents that other ordinary working families could not afford.

Isn't that the onjective of UK Coalition policy?
I understand that the UK government is not seeking to cut total public spending by 41% or anything close to it.

Therefore if the grant to Wales is cut by 41% isn't this dis-proportionate with public spending cuts in Wales being far worse than in England?
Re-read it. It is the capital expenditure that is being cut by 41% and yes it is high and disproportionate though less than Darling would have cut it. The reason why Wales suffered disproportionate cuts is that non-devolved expenditure such as defence was protected.
it's clear that none of the political parties are anything other than enslaved by business now - just what as a society we need (not!). still, it's our fault as an electorate for not electing representatives who put families and people first.
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