Wednesday, 20 November 2013

role of the state; Labour`s chance

The Observer`s editorial rightly states not only that there needs to be a "fundamental reshaping of the relationship between the state and market", but that Labour has "worryingly little to say" on the subject.(The state we need: not smaller but smarter,17/11/13) The latter is especially disappointing because Cameron`s admission at the Lord Mayor`s banquet that he has no intention of "resuming spending once the structural deficit" has been removed should be the opportunity Labour leaders have been waiting for, to be exploited by Miliband and co.,as they begin the 2015 election campaign. Their need to focus on this is obvious because it not only illustrates exactly the difference between the Tory and  Labour ideologies, but also the duplicity of a conservative-dominated coalition government, whose "economy with the truth", as exemplified here by the speech`s contrast with what Cameron said in 2010 that the cuts were out of necessity rather than "some ideological zeal", is approaching legendary status.
 Labour needs to exploit the fact that the Tory aim of "a leaner, more efficient state" will take the country further back to the days of laissez-faire, when the weakest in society were exploited, rather than protected by a welfare state; regulating the power of the banks, energy companies and the like is essential in today`s society. The rights gained by the working people in the twentieth century to equality of opportunity in education, free healthcare, collective bargaining and employment, social housing and all the benefits provided in a fair civilisation, will not exist in Cameronland  with little or no public spending, and Miliband,Balls and the rest need to say it again and again. Failure to do so would be a dereliction of their duty.

    Improved ratings in opinion polls since the promise of an energy price freeze should send a message to the Labour leaders that bold policies,like challenging tax avoiders, bankers` bonuses and privateers, are more in tune with the current mood of a public, increasingly disenchanted by expense-claiming politicians and greed-obsessed, irresponsible capitalists. Most people clearly would prefer an extension of the role of the state, with increased regulation, and to hear about fair taxation or the retention of  the East Coast line in public ownership than about free schools, performance related pay, and other policies too Tory-like for their own good. Disillusionment with politics is often a result of parties and policies resembling each other too closely, and Cameron`s announcement provides an ideal opening for Labour. The power of the state, as you say, does need to be "channelled for the good of citizens", and not for the benefit of City financial institutions, which is clearly the Tories` preferred option!

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