Often, whenever I’ve criticised the Conservatives online, some idiot has responded with ‘Well what about Labour though?’ Usually using far too many capital letters and a lack of understanding that it is possible to be disillusioned by all parties at once. To prove I’m not one to pick sides, and as Labour have finally launched their election manifesto today, with only 24 days to go, it seems only right that part 2 of my general election blogs is dedicated to the opposition. If you missed part 1, all about why you should vote for the Conservatives, head here:
There’s less links in this one, but it’s because I’ve gone mostly on their manifesto promises which is linked at the top. So it’s a long ‘un, but here we go. ….
WHY YOU SHOULD VOTE FOR…LABOUR
The Labour Party has always been known as a centre-left party, and has stuck to it’s guns on this, even as the centre has moved consistently right. As a consequence they are now more just to the left of right, with the centre being in a place that if you tried to do gym exercises to focus on it, you’d probably fall over a lot. The party’s colour red was to represent the blood of the workers, and not just because they’d got something caught in industrial machinery made by The Man. Formed in 1900 from the trade union movement and socialist policies, they have since been in government four times, under which they created the NHS, social housing, the legalisation of homosexuality and abortion and the abolishment of the death penalty. All of those changes were progressive and great. Fact.
Then in 1997, just to fuck it all up, Labour won a majority vote to be in government a fifth time, and Tony Blair was elected Prime Minister after spending several years as the Cheshire Cat in Wonderland. He rebranded the party as ‘New Labour’ which everyone then discovered intentionally had ‘and Improved’ left out of the title. Blair embodied British spirit by illegally bombing the crap out of Iraq in the name of oil, and continuing the Conservatives’ privatisation schemes with aplomb. His unnatural successor Gordon Brown presided over the global crash leading them to lose in the 2010 election. This was unfortunate mainly because we’ve never stopped hearing about it ever since from all of the other political parties. Since then everyone’s third favourite Miliband (after The Steve, and The Glenn) was elected as leader and has reverted the party back to just being ‘Labour’ in title, but with as much of it’s original spirit as a heavily watered down whisky.
Why should you vote for Labour? Well, there’s tons of reasons, aside from just because you hate the Conservatives and only ever see UK elections as a two very stale horse race in which both the horses should’ve been shot before they’d left the stables. Apart from that Labour have a ton of, er, merits, to woo a voter. It’s harder to judge a party who hasn’t been in government for the last five years, as they haven’t really done much of impact. However it is also notable that despite all the government’s awful decisions, Labour as opposition still haven’t managed to win back voters for a clear win in May. If you’d like someone that the electorate doesn’t want to bring in just because they aren’t David Cameron, or a who thinks ‘opposition’ means regularly being indistinguishable from those you’re meant to oppose, Labour are for you. Of course it’s an easy stereotype to say ‘all the parties are the same’ but in the last five years, Labour have also stated they will keep several of the government’s cuts, gone along with immigration rhetoric, sided with them on issues of Scottish independence, and one of their MPs has even stated they shouldn’t rule out a coalition with the Conservatives.
But for now, let’s focus on why they’d be great in government eh? Here’s a look at what their 2015 manifesto promises:
The manifesto slogan is ‘Britain can be better’, which is, to be fair, a very British way of thinking. It could be better, but then, let’s be honest, it wouldn’t be Britain and what would we have to grumble about? Is this Labour’s way of destroying hardcore British values? What would happen to Eastenders storylines? Would you like a better Britain? Vote Labour. Or go to Canada which also has double decker buses.
Are you a fan of hyperbole that sounds nice? Well you might want to get your cross ready for a box, because Labour’s first page of their manifesto promises a ‘Budget Responsibility Lock’ for all the polices. In legal terms this means…well, nothing. But there’s nothing like a nice phrase to kick things off to make people temporarily forget that all MPs say things that after they’re voted in, magically disappear. Even if they aimed to keep to fiscal plans that allow all the policies in the manifesto to be paid for, chances are they won’t win with a majority and in a coalition, several of these policies may change, or vanish completely. Even if they did go forward, they may not pass through Parliament or the Lords, meaning that whatever they do instigate as a government may need completely different budgets.
Like the sound of the Labour promise of ‘Building an economy that works for people’. This is something Labour know lots about having been in government when the economy collapsed in the first place. It is a boring, oft used retort against the party that they caused the economic crash all by themselves, instead of it being a huge global financial crisis caused by the greediness of the banking sector to repeatedly sell bad debt. That’s bad in the old pre-80’s way it was used, not that it’s super cool 80’s debt. Former Bank of England chief Mervyn King – a man who despite his name sadly hasn’t been buried under a car park – said that it wasn’t Labour that caused it. I mean, look at Miliband. Pretending he has the ability to cause anything on a global scale is implausible. However it should be noted that the Labour government at the time did pander to fiscal profligacy and a leniency towards the banks’ code of conduct. The Conservatives would’ve caused the same crash and la la la, here we are back to the whole ‘not really an opposition’ thing again.
However a new Labour government would tackle the economy by further cuts. Sorry what’s that? No, again, it’s Labour we’re talking about this time round. Do keep up. Love minimum wage not being a living wage? Well Labour promise to raise minimum wage to £8 by 2019, by which point inflation will mean it’s just as useless as the minimum wage now. If you’re in a zero hours job but you work there for more than 12 weeks, then you’re entitled to a contract. If you’re a boss who needed a new incentive to fire staff before they’d done 3 months work, Labour are for you! A lower 10p rate of tax will mean that there’s no need to really improve wages, as instead less can just be contributed back into society in the first place.
For students, Labour will cut tuition fees from £9000 to £6000 which means they’ll only leave university with a debt of £18k that they’ll have to pay off if they earn a decent wage. ‘For too long we have failed to provide a system which makes the best use of the talents of young people’ says the manifesto. Just after it states that there will be a paid starter jobs for every young person that they may not want but have to have or lose benefits. Hm. Energy bills will be frozen, like the people who can’t afford to pay them anyway, until 2017. After 2017, it’ll probably be the same as it was before. Rail fares will also be frozen for a year, allowing people to spend more money on printing ink to complain about Virgin Trains again, wishing it was all just renationalised.
Next on the manifesto: ‘Providing world class health and education services’. Sounds great huh? This will include putting more money into the NHS, recruiting more nurses and doctors, and repealing privatisation plans. By ‘repealing’ they actually mean placing a cap on the profit private companies can make from the NHS, rather than stopping them buy into it at all. So your health will only be worth so much to them, allowing private healthcare to still be a tad more important than your common injuries and sickness. Fan of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership Treaty (TTIP) that will make the reversal of privatisation illegal? Well Labour promise to protect the NHS from it, probably because there’s no point now companies can’t earn as much from it anyway. As for other public services? Well who doesn’t want to sell those off just for japes eh? Owning stuff is so 20th century.
Labour will appoint Directors Of School Standards because why would you want to invest money in allowing teachers and headteachers who know how to do their job, to do it? All young people will study maths and English up to the age of 18, because – remember from before? – ‘For too long we have failed to provide a system which makes the best use of the talents of young people’. Even if English and Maths aren’t their talents. Sick of supporting students that have interest in creative subjects? Vote Labour.
‘Helping our families and communities to thrive’. This will be done by finally abolishing the Bedroom Tax, which would be great, but at the same time won’t mention whether they will be keeping all the discredited Work Capability Assessments and sanctions. They’ll also be helping ‘communities to thrive’ by not allowing migrants benefits till they’ve lived here for two years. In the interim, if you’ve been fleeing an oppressive regime, you’ll feel right at home being forced to live on British streets being given a complete lack of empathy. Don’t want to vote UKIP but like a party that panders to them where it can, to the extent of selling similarly slogan covered merch? Vote Labour.
Want Scotland to be given it’s devolved powers as promised after the Independence Referendum? Even though that may well be in the hands of Jim Murphy who doesn’t seem to have a clue about any of his party’s policies? Vote Labour.
‘Labour will return Britain to a leadership role in Europe, but reform the EU so that it works for Britain.’ Can’t imagine the EU will just willingly work for Britain like a weird reimagining of the Commonwealth, can you? Seriously though, Labour’s manifesto wants Europe to work for us in terms of immigrations and trade, and not in term of whether or not it allows for increasing globalisation by corporations. But hey, immigration mug again anyone? Tony Blair says an EU referendum would be a ‘distraction’ from UK politics. And don’t forget, he’s the man Save The Children awarded a ‘global legacy’ prize to, because of the all the work his illegal war gave them. A Labour government would avoid use of military force unless ‘all diplomatic efforts have been exhausted.’ But they will also ‘work to secure defence jobs across the UK’ so we can continue to sell weapons to countries who can use military force instead of us.
So if you’re convinced in a party who still employs Margaret Hodge, who’s MPs also have more than enough jobs each, retracted their best policy ever as it was a ‘twitter hack’, has a leader who when he sees a white van ‘feels respect’ instead of some prick that’ll cut you up at the lights, and if you think it’s ‘Time for change’ or at least ‘a bit of change but some very similar things to the previous government’, then you know who to vote for.
If you haven’t yet registered to vote, please head to https://t.co/2RLHDye1Vz and do it now. Even if, for some odd reason, you don’t want to vote for Labour.
Next blog: One of those other parties. Probably them Lib Dems.
Note: Again if there’s anything I’ve left out – which is probably loads – please let me know and I’ll edit it in.
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