A blog by Luke Akehurst about politics, elections, and the Labour Party - With subtitles for the Hard of Left. Just for the record: all the views expressed here are entirely personal and do not necessarily represent the positions of any organisations I am a member of.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Attacking the Tories

I thought it was odd that an unnamed Cabinet Minister chose to criticise Gordon Brown's presentation to Cabinet about attack lines against the Tories to Anne McElvoy of the Evening Standard yesterday. Odd because I had the perhaps old-fashioned idea that the proceedings of Cabinet meetings were confidential to the participants, not leaked to Tory newspapers, but also odd because the account of the same meeting in the Independent presents a rather more balanced picture.

The Indie's account tallies more with what people present at Tuesday's NEC have told me about the PM giving the same presentation there. He was very impressive - so impressive in fact that it contributed to the unanimous vote, following a debate of just four minutes, to agree that procedurally there was no requirement on the General Secretary to issue nomination papers to Labour MPs.

At the NEC, Gordon said:

"The Tories know that their brand was deeply unpopular. Indeed their own chairman called them the "nasty party". So they set out to convince people that they had changed by saying that they now believed in "progressive ends". What we see, though, is that when they move on from PR to policies they show themselves not to be progressives but Conservatives. Take their flagship tax policy, which gives a £1billion tax cut to the 3000 richest estates in the country. Take their education policy: cuts in Sure Start, new school building plans, EMAs and a lack of commitment to staying on until 18. Take health where they would remove our commitment to GP weekend and evening opening hours and scrap targets for being seen for cancer in 2 weeks, getting your operation within 18 weeks and being seen in A & E in less than 4 hours.

What we see is that their brand may be new, their PR expensive and their rhetoric modelled on Labour's but when you look at their actual policy plans they are very similar to the old Conservatives of the past. They may be spending a lot of money on advertising but behind the PR lies a nightmare scenario of cutting public services to give 3000 of the richest people in the country tax cuts.

We face a tough, long road and there are no easy answers. People won't move instantly from feeling anger about the economy to embracing us with open arms but we can show that we are thinking ahead and endeavouring to protect them in a fair way and ensure that we come through these difficult times. Over the coming long eighteen month haul we will move from this being a referendum on us to people making a real choice between us and the Conservatives - real progressive values and the right answers for the future versus old Conservative attitudes masked by PR and branding".

Interestingly, the faux left/soft left Compass organisation is is more willing to give the Tories the benefit of the doubt, saying their policies actually aren't a threat to the country, and the leadership position is tougher and more "left-wing" than Neal Lawson's!


Anonymous Hrothgar said...

"Take their flagship tax policy, which gives a £1billion tax cut to the 3000 richest estates in the country."

You've already "taken" it, Gordon - shortly after the Tories announced it last year!

As for "progress" - if that word means forcing ordinary citizens to carry ID cards, holding the DNA of innocent people, banning everything you don't like the look of, locking people up without charge, putting spy cameras on every street, losing our personal data, and doubling the tax take over the last ten years to pay for it all - well, then we don't want "progress".

52% of the electorate believe there's a better way.

6:10 pm, September 18, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Not to mention creating a banking Monopoly overnight with no public consultation to protect the richest people in the world.

What Brown has done is utterly disgusting and will result in the most uncompetitive banking system in the world. One bank now owns over 1/3 of all the UK mortgage deals.

Why is it that we allow British manufacturing to die but bail out pen pushing bankers who have made billions from betting on the stock markets.

Brown you are a moron.

7:09 pm, September 18, 2008

Anonymous Dan said...

Rich, in what sense is it a bailout? HBOS shareholders are taking a bath. And what would your alternative be?

8:41 pm, September 18, 2008

Blogger Miller 2.0 said...

Luke, where have compass actually said this?

8:44 pm, September 18, 2008

Anonymous Oxbridge Prat said...

Given that he's such an impressive speaker with such excellent and popular policies, perhaps he would like to call a general election?

Though not.

8:48 pm, September 18, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Dan the alternative is to let the bank burn. Why on earth are we allowing two banks, breaking every competition law there is, to merge because one is about to go bust. What you are creating is a monster and in the long term will only result is poor deals for the consumer.

What if Sir Victors Lloyds gets into trouble.....the whole things just gets more serious and we are digging ourselves a deeper whole. The FSA has rules for a reason and the last time Brown relaxed them the result was our banks over investing in the sub-prime market....and here we are the credit crunch.

Brown is utterly useless and he should be sacked and made accountable for his actions. Utterly disgusting....the man is an idiot.

9:03 pm, September 18, 2008

Anonymous Dirty Euro said...

What annoys me is the rebels are partly repsonsible for the tories rising up even further in the last month. Plus the rebels will continue to do this so they can wreck any chance of the conference cuasing a recovery. Then aftet the conference they will say Oooo look no recovery dear oh dear why could that be. Well maybe the rebels could shut up for a month.

Rich if the two banks collapsed it would destroy the economy. People would lost their savings, companies, investments. The millionaites would be OK.

9:13 pm, September 18, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Dirty Euro, your understanding of economics is truly shocking. What do you think the ratio of savings to investments is within the HBOS group? Do you think if HBOS had a healthy inward investment through savings they would be in this mess....? The fact is the std variable rate is about 5% yet the inter bank rate is about 9% so HBOS is losing around 4% on all of it's mortgages and the reason for this is because the bank simply doesn't have deposits to cover its loans.

People with savings in HBOS have already lost about 70% of their money. Those with savings under £35,000 would be safe and those with millions would lose....so you are wrong on all accounts.

As for the economy well look at it....it's wrecked already. We can't take advantage of the weakening pound because we have little manufacturing to export. All the money made from 10 boom years has been spent and Labour are now having to borrow to give tax cuts because of previous budget made by Brown.

How on earth can you defend a man that has driven the economy into this awful mess.

9:31 pm, September 18, 2008

Anonymous Dirty Euro: said...

Rich You do not understand. Many small Businesses have money in the bank. If those business lost all their money people would lose their jobs and therefore millions of ordinary people would suffer. You're the one who does not understand.
Plus many ordinary people have saved over 35,000 you would just say let the banks collpase and destroy their life savings, that they may need for old age or illnesses. Why would you want that to happen?
Plus your claim that it is OK as those with 35,000 would be safe. Well who would have to give them that 35,000 grand if the bank went under. The government. So they would have raise taxes for your vindictive game.
It is not the UK that wrecked the global economy is one your hero President Bush.

10:38 pm, September 18, 2008

Blogger Merseymike said...

Rich: don't be so naive. There is no way that the bank can be allowed to crash.

There clearly needs to be much tighter regulation and that is certainly something both parties have not accepted, such is their admiration for high finance.

Similarly, have you never heard of globalisation? The chances of any developed country maintaining mass manufacturing within a globalised market are small, unless you are suggesting some sort of siege economy ( a typical fascist solution....)

10:45 pm, September 18, 2008

Blogger Merseymike said...

PS I should add that the Government are partially to blame, but the three free market parties who are the three main national UK parties would have largely done the same thing.

We certainly need a return to a proper social democratic party but I don;t see one available at present.

10:59 pm, September 18, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Dirty Euro, so the tax payer should foot the bill for banks who issue loans greater than their investments. Private profits and public losses....all very convenient and all very big brother.

What we need is a return to provincial business and sack off this global market. Killing us it really is.

What ever way you look at it...gordon is toast and Labour are too is they keep him.

11:42 pm, September 18, 2008

Anonymous Anonymous said...

What! but the whole point is now one private bank is buying another bank. Wake up rich. Do you know what this deal is about? The government is not buying the HBOS!

12:02 am, September 19, 2008

Blogger Merseymike said...

Rich: how exactly do you propose 'sacking the global market'?

It really isn't quite as simple as saying 'stop the world, I want to get off....'

5:00 pm, September 19, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

The only way the UK can embrace the global market is to remove the following:

1. All workers rights

2. No paid holidays

3. No sickness pay

4. No Health & Safety

5. No min wage.

I certainly don't want the above

Etc Etc....the global market can not work for a country with such a skills shortage. Embrace the global market at your peril as the only result will be throwing the UK back 100 years.

The global market is at odds with everything that the Labour party believes in. Yes we need access to it but we can not be expect to compete without rules.

12:00 pm, September 20, 2008

Anonymous Rich said...

Yes I do know that this deal is about....it's about relaxing competition laws to allow the creation of the worlds biggest bank.

If you think that is a good thing then you are deluded. The Guardian reported that Brown relaxed these laws on condition that the newly merged bank offers 95% FTB loans and mortgages. How ethical is it to encourage more people who can't afford to onto a sliding housing market. Brown should know you can't reverse a sliding housing market by getting people to borrow what they can't afford.

12:05 pm, September 20, 2008


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