Euro-elections 2009 Part V: Labour

labourlogoFor some reason this logo has made my Firefox crash four times! However, here goes with the literature from the Labour Party.

The front cover of the glossy leaflet shows a hardworking, casually dressed, four person heterosexual family. The photo surmounts a blurb about ‘Labour’s massive cash injection onto the NHS’ and tells the family that no Londoner now has to wait more than 18 weeks for an operation (i.e. 4.5 months), which sounds much shorter than the stated Tory figure of 12 years ago of 6 months. Interesting but nothing about Europe here. Let’s just bash the Tories.

The second page starts well(ish) with a photo of the Labour Euro-candidates, but a visit to Specsavers is needed to read the names. Europe is stated as being necessary to help London get through this ‘downturn’ – nicer word than Recession and obviously an ‘Act of God’ since there’s no indication that Labour might have had a hand in causing it. This fleeting reference to Europe is followed by a resume of public spending proposals which will employ 400,000 people over the next 8 years and keep lots more of them at school. A smiling photo of G Brown follows, with his sound bite about growing (by which he means ‘spending’) our way out of recession – which contrasts nicely with what he affected to believe 12 years ago.

Half the next page is given over to photos of the backs of two female police officers and the fronts of two men in hard hats looking at a drawing. Labour is stated as making the EU work for ‘all Londoners’ – protecting consumers, from expensive, shoddy goods, poor environmental standards and cross border crime. Since when did we need the EU to do that? We’ve had consumer protection since the Middle Ages, locally organised (market charters, Courts of Piepowder etc.) and we’ve had extradition and Interpol and the Customs and Excise long before the EU. They repeat the Lib Dem smear that Tory opposition to European arrest warrants etc. is effectively support for weapons trafficking. A diatribe headed ‘Fair Rules for All’  goes slightly biblical ‘Unlike the Tories we won’t walk by on the other side and do nothing.’ I find sanctimonious twaddle of this kind not so much offensive as contemptible.

Equally contemptible is the allegation that David Cameron wants ‘tax cuts for millionaires’. This is knee jerk Brown. Labour ought to know, but I now think that Brown probably doesn’t, that public spending can’t run on in the way he has let it since 2000 and let it again in the recent Budget or the country will be bankrupt very soon. The British Government will have to address this as a matter of urgency soon – preferably before next Thursday.

The leaflet rounds off by attacking the Lib Dems on crime as being ‘soft’ on it. It takes one to know another!

Believe it or not I am disappointed. I’m one of those old-fashioned types who believes that there’s much more to life than party politics and who likes to be able to respect my political opponents for their sincerity, even if I think they’re just plain wrong at times. Labour can do much better than this – but not with its present leadership. A good long stretch in opposition ought to do the trick!


About pauljohnston

Elected as Conservative councillor in Surbiton Hill, Kingston upon Thames in 1998. Re-elected 2002 and 2006. Former parliamentary candidate in Lancashire and Birmingham. Ceased to be a Councillor (temporarily?) in 2010. Active among Residents' Associations in Surbiton Hill and among residents in social housing generally. Former teacher of History at St. Brendan's College Bristol and Head of History and Politics at the London Oratory School. Worked with Sutton Trust running summer schools for sixth formers at Oxford University from 1997-2000 aiming to improve uptake of places from pupils from state schools which sent very few applicants to Oxbridge.
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