Posts Tagged ‘built to last’

The blank sheet of paper that must go on and on

27/07/2011, 12:00:54 PM

by Jonathan Todd

It is acknowledged that people do not join the Labour party simply to deliver leaflets or attend uninspiring meetings. This tends to go along with support for giving members more say on policy. But parties are vehicles of change, not forums for mass therapy. Party debate is a means to the end of building the world that Labour exists to create.

As our policy review continues, it’s worth reflecting on the “built to last” exercise undertaken by David Cameron after becoming the Tory leader. His government’s programme now appears anything but. His health policy is fudged, his police promises are broken, his public service reforms are rehashed and events have rapidly exposed his defence policy.

The biggest global economic crisis since the 1930s has left almost four in ten voters able to say: “I can’t imagine I’ll ever have the money I want to meet my needs.” Notwithstanding the conflation of wants and needs in this statement, this indicts Cameron’s ability to generate any feel good factor.

Running through many of the government’s failings is a refusal or inability to acknowledge the reality of Britain’s place in the world. They will not place the economic crisis of recent years in its proper global context for fear of distorting their framing of these events as entirely Labour’s fault (and the enduring strength of this frame is one of the government’s trump cards). They will not adapt their defence review to events that the foreign secretary has compared with the fall of the Berlin wall. They will not engage in a meaningful debate about the future of our continent because they are bored by Brussels, contemptuous of Athens and scared of Bill Cash. They will not concede that the UK’s position within global labour markets makes nonsense of their commitment to reduce annual immigration to the UK from “hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands”. This will, as all realities do, catch up with them. (more…)

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