As democtratic socialists, what we want to see is British state ownership of energy, utility and rail companies, as opposed to Tory policy of foreign state ownership of them. We want fairness for all workers, a progressive tax system to pay for Britain`s health services, education and security. So why on earth would we vote Labour?
Ever since his election, Miliband has been terrified of being labelled "red Ed" by the right wing media and government, with the result that we have witnessed three years of dithering, with the occasional highlight - conference speeches, anti-Murdoch stances and a pledge to freeze gas and electricity prices. In the meantime, Cameron and his cronies have been busy, destroying the welfare state and privatising everything that moves! The British people deserve more from the party created to uphold the rights of the ordinary people.
The final straw for many of us, I`m sure, came last week with the announcement from the privately-educated Tristram Hunt that Labour policy was to support Performance Related Pay for the teaching profession, only days after he had backed free schools. To have the Labour spokesperson for education firstly agreeing with many of the tenets of Goveism, and then showing absolutely no understanding whatsoever of how the state education system works, says a great deal about the state of the Labour party. Whatever happened to equality of opportunity? Teachers understand how it is impossible to attribute a pupil`s success to one person, so why can`t they? Presumably, the absence of most Labour MPs and candidates from all the recent teachers` rallies means that certain workers` votes are being taken for granted, and it certainly does not stop there.
Where are the policies aimed at fairness? A pledge to restore the 50% income tax band for those earning £150K+ does not go far enough, as even the International Monetary Fund acknowledges that the rich contribute far too little. A sliding scale, starting at 45% for the wealthy earning over £75K, and rising to 60%, a rate even Thatcher tolerated, does not seem unreasonable.
News that the Co-operative Bank has been hi-jacked by US hedge funds means there is now an even greater need for a state-owned bank; the banking culture, with its Performance Related Bonuses,still has greed as its driving principle, yet Labour still rejects a Tobin-style tax on financial transactions. Has it not moved on at all from the City-grovelling days of New Labour? Even if it has, it`s being too secretive about it!
So many fair policies cost nothing, but still Labour shies away. If honours can be stripped away from child abusers, why not from tax avoiders? If companies pay little or no tax, or refuse a living wage to their workforce, why award them government contracts? An ethical foreign policy and an end to Trident seem such obvious promises but never see the light of Labour`s day.Why not extend the principle of price freezes to homes and rents, rather than just borrow policies from the Lib Dems? Just because the election is likely to see a fully deserved collapse in Lib Dem fortunes doesn`t mean Labour has to fill the centre ground vaccuum with policies carefully designed not to offened the marginal seats` middle classes.
Even as news broke of the Grangemouth disaster, Miliband did not raise the issue in Prime Minister`s Questions, thus showing yet more disregard for people who should be Labour voters, but who will probably now find themselves inclined to become more nationalist.
Of course, many left-leaning Labour MPs deserve support, but they are too few in number to influence policies, which at the moment are not dissimilar enough from those of the coalition.Is it worth voting Labour just to get more of the same?