Wednesday 27th September
I, like so many others, was delighted at the General Election when Labour revealed their Manifesto. Now, I do realise that Manifestos are really just shopping lists, many of the items on the list will not be bought, mostly because you may not have enough money – but they do show what you would like to do. And it excited the population, many younger voters deciding that Labour were the party for them. Yes, it would cost a lot of money. But, I thought, how long can we go on like this; with Austerity paring away at our NHS, schools crumbling and real poverty rearing its ugly head – food banks and payday loans becoming the norm for millions. I had lived through previous Labour Governments – and not only the Blair-Brown years, which somehow managed the trick of increasing Public Spending while cutting taxes. Unnecessarily in my mind as I had lived through 33% income tax in the Seventies, and you know what, it wasn’t so bad. Life went on.
And so I knew that despite Labour’s promises taxes would probably have to go up. But at least it was a different approach, a fresh way of looking at the World. No longer what can we afford to do, but what can we not afford to do.
We have been so conditioned by the Thatcher and Major years, and the Cameron Osborne Austerity, that it was hard to believe that we might ever see a real change of policy.
And it continues. John McDonnell spoke on Monday of re-nationalising Electricity, Rail and Water, and State Intervention in new industries and some older ones too. And yes, this was dragging us back to the Seventies. But actually that was a time of rapid Social Growth and for many ordinary people they saw real increases in their standards of living. It was in fact mostly the result of the quadrupling of Oil Prices which knocked everything off-course. Just as in 2008 it was greedy bankers who crashed the economy, not Labour policies. And maybe, if and when, Labour are re-elected another Financial crisis may come along it must still be worth a try. We simply cannot carry on with no hope for so many – a bleak future of high rents and low pay and zero-hours contracts and a dying NHS and privatised schools.
Let us just wait and compare in a week’s time just what the Tories come up with. They are already fighting openly in the Cabinet, like dogs over a spilled bin fighting for the few scraps left. Surely Optimism must win in the long run.