Five more ideas for Labour in an Alternative Queen’s speech


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5:25 pm - May 7th 2013

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by Mike Giles

Tomorrow the Tory-led government’s fourth Queens Speech is being formally announced, and it appears they are adopting a more right-wing approach.

Out are policies on helping the world’s poorest (commitment to spend 0.7% of government income on overseas aid), on reducing the number of deaths from drinking (minimum alcohol pricing), on cutting the number of new young smokers (cigarette packet branding) and on ensuring safety in the workplace (new exemptions for employers from health and safety rules).

Instead, expect policies to ‘toughen up’ on social security and immigration, in addition to appeals to traditional Tory voters such as the elderly with increases to social care and pensions spending.

Labour must not stand on the sidelines while this Coalition circus continues. A major part of this involves developing new ideas which will feed into Jon Cruddas’ policy review and form part of the next manifesto.

An alternative Queens Speech focussed on the economy has already been trailed by Ed Miliband, and much of this is positive – such as introducing a Mansion Tax on homes over £2 million; giving communities the power to reject certain shops from their high streets; and greater help to households with their energy bills.

Our new pamphlet ‘One Nation, One World’, which has been launched today offers some ideas. Here are five of the recommendations:

1) The Council Tax regime is becoming increasingly discredited and often hits the poorest hardest (particularly following the 10% funding cut from the Coalition government). Henry Law of the Land Value Taxation Campaign argues that introducing a Land Value Tax can reduce costs for average families and improve the economy.

2) Prisoner re-offending is far too high and the system itself plays a part in this. While the Justice Secretary focuses on gimmicks such as restricting television in prison, Dave Nicholson of Ex-Cell argues that we need a system of ‘prisoner-led cooperatives’ which encourage work behind bars. Such an approach has already proved successful in rehabilitating offenders in Italy.

3) The criminal justice system is costly and ineffective and a different approach is required to tackle low-level crime. Roma Hooper of Make Justice Work says that an approach where the default punishment is work in the community, rather than jail, can significantly cut costs, improve local communities and effectively punish those committing crime.

4) Social mobility is worsening as the gap between richest and poorest continues to widen. Labour activist Daniel Blythe says that a social security system which improves the life chances of disadvantaged children by paying one of their parents the minimum wage to stay at home to care for them can achieve greater social mobility.

5) The costs of using trains and buses are incredibly high and prices continue to rise above inflation every year. Martin Mayer of Unite believes that a genuine move to renationalisation of public transport can reduce the government subsidy of private transport companies and cut costs for consumers.

The pamphlet contains 14 policy proposals, including from Pamela Nash MP. The recommendations include ideas to reduce the harm caused by illegal drugs, to genuinely help the world’s poorest, and to give British people a decisive say in how the country is run.

Please see www.revolutionise.it for more details.

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Reader comments


Hi guys,

Just wondering how the great progressive realignment is coming on?

The only nominally lefty party failed to get over 30% of the vote at a time of terminally declining living standards (and very unpopular government), didn’t they?

Was just wondering if it upsets/annoys/angers you that so many of the British public seem to hold your ideas with contempt (outside of some Guardianistas Land?

BR

Out are policies on helping the world’s poorest (commitment to spend 0.7% of government income on overseas aid), on reducing the number of deaths from drinking (minimum alcohol pricing), on cutting the number of new young smokers (cigarette packet branding) and on ensuring safety in the workplace (new exemptions for employers from health and safety rules).

Interesting that three of the four policies above involve proposals which reduce coercion by government whilst two of the three below involve greater coercion.

introducing a Mansion Tax on homes over £2 million; giving communities the power to reject certain shops from their high streets; and greater help to households with their energy bills.

Just saying…..

Good to see a Land Value Tax being taken seriously. I’d like to see a few big ideas too. How about identifying areas of entrenched poverty and targeting resources across agencies to tackle the problems it causes? I’d like to see a big social housing programme too. More help for young people to develop careers and get housing?

Generally the tone seems rather meek when a confident statement of policies reflecting Labour values is needed. Nothing on the NHS? We need assurances that Tory attacks will be reversed. If they can poison the privatisation well then all the better. Police reform? It’s needed, ACPO need to be properly overseen and controlled. Commitment to policies that develop mutualism and co-operatives? Tax reform to modernise and simplify the tax system and remove loopholes? Public funding of political parties to remove the influence of wealth upon government?

We are so desperate for better government in so many areas its saddening that these 5 are the best Labour can come up with. It’s not confidence boosting and suggests a lack of commitment to anything other than a sort of pinky-blue business-as-usual.

Not too fussed about the reduction in overseas aid or binning the minimum pricing on alcohol, or whatever about smoking, to be honest.

Exemptions on health and safety though, do we really need more people dying from asbestos? Is that what’s holding the economy back now, that workers can’t have their workplace collapse on top of them without their employers being footed up the arse?
I know China’s snubbed Cameron, but our country simply can’t compete with them at all, regardless of how low you reduce labour costs. Time to accept that they’ve got the manufacturing industry sown up and that we’re better off trying to move to a post-industrial economy.

5. Charlieman

@3. Cherub: “…ACPO need to be properly overseen and controlled.”

ACPO is a private club which has been treated by government as a police agency. The appropriate way to reform ACPO is to stop giving it government money.

But well spotted, Cherub, because ACPO is a curse on liberal society.


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