|Lovely hedge behind her|
According to Margaret Curran "Here in Scotland only Scottish Labour has a clear answer".
So what is this clear answer… because I’m mystified?
You see only a few short weeks ago Mrs Curran, you were telling all of the world, and most particularly all the Labour constituencies that voted YES, that you were ditching Blairism and returning to socialism, just like in the good old days when you and your mate, Johann, joined the party. (How is Johann by the way? Seen much of her lately?).
And now it looks like you are about to elect as branch leader, Jim Murphy, a Blairite who’s never had a job outside politics, unless of course you count a 9-year educational career (sans diplôme universitaire), and who was one of Blair’s most staunch lieutenants, supporting all his right wing nonsense that so closely aped Thatcherism… and indeed took it further than even the rusty lady would have dared (Atos anyone?).
Furthermore it looks as if, for a year and a half, while the said Jim is in London, he will be represented in this country, by his doppelganger.
Kezia Dugdale is 33 a good deal younger than Jim (47) and she’s actually got a got a degree in something
(law), but, like Jim, she’s never had a actual job in the real
|Kezia, the thinking man's Jim Murphy|
After qualifying, she worked for the local student’s union and the National Union of Students, before obtaining employment with George (the noble) Foulkes. And when George went to spend more time in “the other place”, (where the booze is cheaper) she got his old seat. The most notable thing on her Wikipedia page, is that she complained about BBC Alba, the Scottish tv station dedicated to Gaelic speakers. She appears to be one of these Scots who believes that everyone should buckle down and speak English. I wonder if she would use the proposed authority over road signs (should our masters in the Commons and our Lords in …erm, the Lords, approve the devolution of that stunning power to mere Scots) to remove the Gaelic from them.
I’m intrigued then, to discover what this potential new powerhouse, English based branch leadership team will come up with. In fact, looking at Maggie’s speech the policies are all to do with the UK so at least Jim will feel at home with them in the London apartment.
According to Mrs Curran, these are Labour's key policies:
*Freeze energy prices and save every Scottish household £120.
A creditable aim, although I'm not sure where the £120 comes from. Some people have so little to spend on energy that they would be getting their fuel free if that were applied across the board.
The privatised and mainly foreign-owned energy companies are at liberty to increase prices as and when they wish, pretty much regardless of energy prices, which, at the moment, are falling steeply. In France, where the government has a controlling share in the power companies, the president can simply dictate how much rises in power prices will be. Not so here. A sovereign government, of course, can bring in whatever laws it wishes to, so no one is denying that it can be done. However, with what consequences, you have to ask. The English part of the grid is already heavily dependent on imported electricity and is in dire need of investment. I doubt that freezing the prices is the best way for the government to encourage that investment from the energy companies.
*Ensure the recovery is fair by introducing a 50p tax on people earning £150,000 or more and lift people out of tax with a new 10p starting rate.
Well that is perfectly creditable, but in honesty the 50p won’t make that much difference. Someone worked out that, in Scotland, as little as £8 million would be raised by this. A great deal more in England, I have no doubt, but hardly substantial.
The 10p tax band is not "new". It did exist until Gordon Brown doubled it. It was certainly helpful for some and I would applaud its reintroduction, but of course the really poor don’t benefit from it, because they earn so little that they already pay no tax. The aim must be to get wages up.
* Fix the economy by drawing a line under low-paid and insecure work by ending exploitative zero-hours contracts and raising the minimum wage to £8 an hour over the course of the Parliament.
Well, that all sounds very fine and noble, except that aspiring to raise the minimum wage by 25p every year is hardly the great socialist dream, when, let’s be honest, the living wage, even now, is around £10 per hour, and even at that, it’s not much of a living…just enough to keep you from the food bank. Lord only knows what it will be in 2020.
If Labour’s policy is to draw a line under low paid work, it’s hardly a stunning start.
And it’s all very well to say that they will end zero hour contracts, but I would be interested to see how they are going to do this. Even some Labour councils use zero hour contracts… and for some people (students, mothers with young children for example) zero hours are sometimes quite useful. They must be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
"That's a fair and funded plan from Labour” says the good Margaret.
“It is also lacking in real aspiration”, says Munguin, and of course, he’s right.
A socialist party would be a sight more radical. What are the policies over the post office? Can we expect to see the railways renationalised and made a service for both public and industry? How about power companies? What about the lamentable levels of social security and the appalling treatment of the sick and disabled? What about pensioners living on handouts on one of the worst pensions in the developed world?
What about the obscenities of nuclear weapons, which Mr Blair in his autobiography admitted were only kept as a status symbol? Is it defensible that while children are going to school hungry and pensioners shiver with their outdoor clothes on in front of a one bar fire, the country will spend well over one hundred billion pounds buying a status symbol?
No. Instead Mrs Curran contents herself by wishing to ensure that workers will, in five years time, be earning £8 an hour.
But I accept that they will never be able to do what they should do until they change the underlying fundamentals of the British economy, based on what is accepted British policy across the UK parties. And that will never happen while the city of London rules the roost.
As Derek Bateman so clearly points out on his blog, this is the situation in Britain. If they want votes then what is Labour going to do about it?
“The underlying truth is that Britain is bankrupt, living on sovereign debt and personal credit cards, buying imported goods instead of equipment for industry, creating low paid jobs which need benefits to eke them out, still borrowing massively because tax receipts are too low while opposing the immigration that can boost economic activity and dividing the country by stripping away the benefits that are the glue of British society.”
Incidentally, I have no earthly idea where Margaret got the impression that Nicola Sturgeon was advising people to vote Labour to keep the Tories out. It's like no message I've ever heard form the First Minister. I can only assume Mags has been sitting to close to Gideon in the members' dining room. As the song goes "Things go better with Coke".
How's that again Mags?
How's that again Mags?