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A response to Cllr White’s reasons for rejoining Labour

by Iain Roberts on 9 March, 2011

Cllr David White rejoined Labour recently (having left them for the Lib Dems in 2002) and wrote a letter last week giving his reasons.  This is my response.

I was surprised to read Cllr David White’s letter last week.  His decision to return to the Labour Party after nine years away is one for him, but his claimed reasons for doing so seem to make little sense.

Cllr White thinks the Coalition is cutting too much, but surely he must know that Labour, had it won the General Election, had already decided to cut even more from schools, hospitals, defence, local government and the police than the Coalition is doing.  The Coalition is cutting £46 billion from these over four years, but Labour’s plan – set out when they were in Government – was to cut £48 billion!

Cllr White opposes scrapping the EMA and higher Tuition Fees – I have sympathy with his views on both.  But why, then, join the party which, in 2007, took the decision to scrap the EMA and in 2009, in agreement with the Conservatives, launched the Browne Report with the intention of having students pay more for their education?

Labour left the country with a huge debt – and left all of us paying £120 million a day in interest to overseas bankers.  In Government, Labour planned big spending cuts to deal with the problem.  Now in opposition, Labour seem to have no ideas beyond attacking everything the Coalition does and hoping we all forget that they were planning to do much the same.

Cllr Iain Roberts


5 Responses

  1. Alan Gent says:

    Actually Labour did not leave the country with a huge debt, it was the banking industry and at the time, any government would have chosen to bail them out because of their structure. However, the Coalition, mainly driven by Tory ideology, is refusing the very simple solution of introducing a bank levy, which would not harm the banks at all and would go a long way to clearing the debt.

  2. Iain Roberts says:

    I don’t claim Labour was wholly responsible for the debt, but there’s no doubt they left the country with the debt.

    Labour, of course, ran up a budget deficit every year from 2002 to 2008, building up the national debt before the banking crisis. That was in the good years when Gordon believed he had conquered boom and bust.

    Labour also favoured soft-touch regulation: you’ll remember they actively worked to encourage the bankers to come to London on the basis that there would be less regulation to hold them back from making money.

    I don’t quite understand your point about a banking levy: we have one and it’s raising over £2 billion a year from the banks. That was introduced by the Coalition. More money is being raised from the banks now than under Labour – though it could well be that even more can be raised still.

  3. Alan Gent says:

    Iain, by everyone’s agreement, the banking levy represents no more than small change to the bank. Thats why another level is being asked for in the budget. If Osborne does not agree to this then the charge of soft touch legislation can also be attached to the Tories. Let’s not forget also that most of the Tory party donations came from the City in the run up to the election. A clear case of buying favours from the government.

  4. David White says:

    Iain, Not being a regaular visitor to your web page I have just seen your article about my leaving the Liberal Democrats and joining the Labour Party.
    I oppose the cuts the coalition is making in public services and the break up and privatisation of education and of our National Health Service.
    You make apoint about cuts in public services and state that Labour would have cut more! Well how can this be when the fact is that Labour would have cut the deficit over 8 years instead the Liberal Democrats have chosen to do it over 4 years.
    Growth is key the deficit reduction and with 0/0.5%/0.5% being the growth figures since the coalition cam in I can only assume nobody challenges the fact that the recovery and growth are being put at risk.
    As for the last point about the spending by the Labour Government. I cannot remember a single Lib Dem Councillor calling for lower spending in fact quite the opposite. More on Police, Education, Scrap Tuition Fees remember that?

    Cuts of £20 Million in Stockport meaning that School Crossing Patrols will have to go, Park Gates are not locked and projects are cancelled. The 2012/13 budget is looming and there is a real prospect of large service reductions and people really noticing the loss.

    Now we hear that Hazel Grove Police Station and Reddish Police Station are under threat.

    Some will have to answer the the savage way in which the deficit is being reduced.

    We need to invest in major capital schemes and stimulate the economy. We need to be truthful about pensions and allow a real debate on the public pensions which shows how much they really cost. The saving in benefits in later life should be factored in.

    Some of the poorest in our society are being hit and Mark Hunter and Andrew Stunnel are in the vangard of the attack.

    Yes I oppose Tuition Fees and scrapping EMA, I oppose privatisation, PFI schemes and many other new Labour ideas but New Labour is gone in the same way the Liberal Democrats of Charles Kennedy are gone and histroy now we have Cleggphobia and the Tory Dems.

    David White

  5. Iain Roberts says:

    Hi Dave,

    I’m a little surprised by your suggestion that Labour wouldn’t have cut as much. On overall spending, Labour would have cut £7 for each £8 the Coalition plans to cut – that’s not disputed as far as I know.

    But when you look at the detail, Labour planned to cut more from departmental spending (essentially, everything except pensions and welfare) than the Coalition is.

    You know this, of course, because you know that the Labour Government was telling us all back in October 2009 the sorts of cuts we were facing in local government and it was very similar to the cuts we’re now facing.

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