Even within the Labour Party, people sometimes ask why I keep banging on about the need to keep banging on about the government’s record.
The last 24 hours have shown the reason.
Imagine that when he was avoiding answers to serious policy questions in Manchester yesterday, David Cameron had suddenly piped up that he was gettting rid of the NHS. You do not need to think too long or hard before having a clear sense of what the outcry would be.
Why? Because the NHS is now woven into the fabric of our national life, has helped millions of people, and is so popular despite things sometimes going wrong that the Tories do not dare go against its basic principles even though many on the right would like to.
It is also in such a strong position because ever since its inception Labour people have never stopped expressing their pride in such a wonderful creation.
I am not going to pretend that Sure Start or the New Deal are in the same league. They are nonetheless important developments brought in by this Labour government, which have had a beneficial impact on many people’s lives, in the main the kind of people that David Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson do not really know because they tend to mix with their own type.
Yet these people, wealthy, elitist, and bizarrely possessed of the notion that they could run the country, can talk happily about cutting such schemes and – in part because our top media people tend not to mix with the Sure Start and New Deal people either – this comes and goes with barely a whimper.
The fault for this cannot all be laid at the door of the media however, or even of the Tories who not surprisingly would like to be back in government after so many years out of power. The fault also lies with Labour politicians and supporters for failing to do enough to set out the record in such a way that when VacuDave and Co come along to dismantle it, there is a huge and genuine outcry.
And that is why defending the record matters. Of course elections are about the future. But the past is always important as an indicator of what the future may hold. The Tories opposed the New Deal because as they showed in the global financial crisis they do not believe governments can make a difference when it comes to creating jobs (which is why all his welfare reform wafffle is so implausible). These are the people who said the minimum wage would cost two million jobs. Another part of the record that has to be defended against them.
Sure Start to them is some kind of Statist interventionist interference in the running of family life. They just do not get it, which is why it means nothing to them to say whey they would get rid of it.
And when Boris comes out with his ideas for £5 billion worth of cuts, he does so mindful only of their impact within the Tory Party as he lines himself up to take on Cameron at some point. He could not give a toss about their impact on people’s lives and livelihoods.
Labour has a good record. Defending it between now and an election is a vital part of getting in the right shape to fight that election. It is important for what it says about us. Their desire to dismantle so much of it underlines what it says about them.
……”wealthy, elitist, and bizarrely possessed of the notion that they could run the country…” I though for the moment you were describing yourself, or perhaps harriet harman or even the richest MP, Shaun Woodward …sorry Alastair, wealth and elitism are not just confined to the Tory party!
We haven’t been getting our message out for over 2 years now.
I just can’t see it happening now.
The Daily Mirror just is not up to the fight and cannot be relied upon by a Labour government to get stories they need out there.
I fear for the UK when I hear the likes of Michael Gove on the Today programme equating SKY+ as an example of decentralised goverment.
I’m sure my anger levels about the Tories and more importantly how we have thrown away opportunities will only increase as we get closer to an election.
We may end up (not given up hope yet) voting out a government that has pulled this country out of recession and continued to invest in its future and replace it with what looks like it will be the worst.
Had exact same thought yesterday as they blithely talked about cuttting this that and the other. Surely Labour can do a better job of galvanising the support needed to maintain these programmes and projects. I felt last week that some of the fight was coming back but apart from Miliband on Europe last night I see no energy in our respomse to the tories at the moment
Boris is fast becoming an embarassment to Cameron. He obviously has a big ego and he lets his mouth run ahead of himself. I am looking forward to the dramatisation of their toffee nosed upper class student days. Get the Bullingdon club photo up on posters. These people are revolting. They are from a different planet to people who use sure start or new deal
Wealthy and elitist eh? Your old boss went to Fettes, the Scottish Eton, and Harriet Harman went to the same school as George Osbourne. Mandelson, Purnell and Ruth Kelly all studied PPE at Oxford. Indeed, we are run by and Oxbridge mafia in both the media and politics. Their tragic burden is to help the oppressed, but blind, majority.
A.C – you are talking complete nonsense about New Deal, and whats more, I suspect that you know it.
I worked in the DWP for many years, and administered New Deal at a fairly senior level after 1997. I saw it in action, in inner city Jobcentres. It was riddled with flaws, waste and gimmickry. I am happy to list a few, if Campbell-followers are interested. Claimants were basically bribed to sign off and sign on again, advisers in Jobcentres were given pay induced targets to support this, in order for Gordon Brown [then Chancellor] and Darling and Harman [then DWP ministers] to pronounce that New Deal was a “great success”.
New Deal has done NOTHING to help youth unemployment. Those that were capable/willing in the 18-24 age group…guess what…found jobs anyway.
The rest- one might call them Labours ‘innit’ payroll vote…are now going through New Deal Gateway for the 8th or 9th time.
It was good to meet you and Callum at Turf Moor on Saturday. I’ve wanted to meet you for ages if only to forgive that Harvey Court incident. I apologise for having been so dismissive of Burnley on that occasion too! Thanks again for everything you’ve done for the Party over the years (I was a Labour Councillor in Bury 1996-2000). My 14 year old Ben is more interested in his electric guitar than politics (he’s on Youtube). Does Callum play drums? regards Stuart Kaufman
Excellent post from Nick. I too worked on the DWP’s Ambition:IT project, the ‘second phase’ of New Deal. Here’s what Brown said in 2001:
‘(It…involves our leading computer and IT companies: Cisco Systems, IBM, Cap Gemini, Ernst and Young, Dixons, ICL, EDS, Oracle, BT and Microsoft, and we are grateful to all of them for joining this new and exciting partnership for jobs.’
Hardly any of them took any staff (though they all wanted to cosy up to Govt), the project was expected to deliver 5000 jobs but it only managed a tenth of that. And it was scrapped after 3 years because it was too expensive. When Alistair goes on about Labour’s record, too many of us have witnessed the reality. Waste,hype and too little fundamental change.
@AC “These are the people who said the minimum wage would cost two million jobs. Another part of the record that has to be defended against them…….Even within the Labour Party, people sometimes ask why I keep banging on about the need to keep banging on about the government’s record.”
Indeed. Your record for disseminating Disingenuous/False Information is unsurpassed in the Modern World.
Alastair, yourself and Romper Room Control didn’t pick on Dave’s promise yet again to visit employment law when he was interviewed by Marr. This means he wants to take the UK out of the Social Chapter, at the least he will do away with the Warwick Agreement where employers cannot count bank holidays as part of 4 wks guaranteed leave.
If we told voters that some of them would be 8 days per year holiday worse off I’m sure they’d be worried about Dave being the PM.
Also Dave states that Labour are the party of unemployment. Geogeous George has already stated he wants to cut Typhoon, A400M and the two carriers.
As the tories are in the North West of England and Dave wants to win seats here he could explain where the skilled workers who work on Typhoon at Samlesbury and Warton are going to go? Where the skilled workers who work on A400M at Chester will go? Where the skilled ship workers at Barrow who work on the carriers will go?
Wherer will the skilled workers who work for the myriad of SME’s go when these companies who depend on the likes of BAE and Rolls lose orders due to tory cuts? Or will Dr Fox state that we will all benefit due to the savings made by buying off the shelf US defence equipment as he did last year at Birmingham?
‘Vacudave’ won’t catch on so please drop it and forget it-it cheapens your blog.
To those who criticize government programs… have you ever heard of a perfect government program? Probably not. The policy cycles are long and complex, and success depends in equal measure on policy-makers as well as on those who implement policy. Mistakes can happen, but that is not to say that a program is a total failure. So it would be better to not play the ‘government waste’ card to the detriment of the benefits of the program.
Another pertinent question is what would the Tories do? As their communication suggests so far, not much.
Finally, I would like to copy a comment posted by Marcus Dillistone on AC’s FB page which I thought was very articulate:
“At a time when the rest of the western world (and beyond) is looking towards a future based on social inclusion and fairness, will the UK move out of sync. by electing David Cameron?”
Think twice before you vote people!
Campbell, are you back spinning your cynicism with the government? I see Darling has announced – today – some pay freezes in the public sector. Hhmm – forget to do it last week, did he?
What utter, desperate cynicism to try and regain the news cycle in the midst of the Tory conference.
The public are sick of you and Labour’s twisted spin – but the result is all that matters, right?
“Labour has a good record”. Er… Unjust wars? Failing the armed forces? Encouraging the City before the crunch? Failing to give us a vote on Europe? Boom and bust? Spin? National debt? Expenses? Vaulting ambition? Record unemployment? Grade inflation? Knife crime? Stop and search? Kettling? No protests around Westminster? Stream of consciousness I know but, really, a “Labour has a good record”?