Life: Left of Centre

Why I’m Labour – Part 1

Posted on: March 18, 2012

I started this blog because I wanted to share my experiences and my thoughts on a range of issues: travel, the arts and sport, on occasions. But most of all I wanted to talk politics: my politics, left-of-centre politics, and (simply put) why I think the world would be a better place for everyone if more politicians, and aspiring politicians, eschewed selfish and sectarian motivations to pursue the ‘Good Society’. For all.

Here I give 3 of my reasons why I’m Labour: why I believe the UK Labour Party is the best vehicle in British society and politics to achieve the positive social change for the future that we all need today: the home of Britain’s social and economic progressives.

1) We need Economic Growth and Jobs, not just Debt Relief

Latest unemployment figures show that 8.4% of working age people are out of work. 2.67 million people are unemployed in Britain today – that’s a 17-year high. Not since the last recession of the early 1990s – which the Conservative Party won’t want you to be reminded of – has unemployment been this high, and it looks set to climb higher, ever upwards towards that iconic 3m figure.

Debt in the UK has reached £1,000 billion, and shows no sign of coming down in any significant way. While public spending has to fall, to counter this, basic economics tells us that we require real, long-term economic growth in order to generate the tax receipts and encourage retail spending, for the economy to recover.

It’s simple: the Tories are using this economic downturn to utilise their favoured ideology of cuts to public service and an easy ride for the richest in society. Why else would the 50p tax rate be under threat?

Labour would maintain taxes on the rich and on bankers, introduce a Living Wage and cut back red tape to small business and social enterprise to enable a new economy, based on localism and community. After all, we are and always have been a ‘nation of shopkeepers’.

Labour’s Plan for Jobs can be found here in full.

2) Young people need a Voice and a Future

With over 22% youth unemployment, and a government who neither understand nor have shown any real desire to avoid yet another ‘lost generation’, young people need our help. The future of our society lies in the hands of these same young people, yet so little is done to support them.

There are two things we’d do in office. 1) Champion young people and fight that negative perception that is so pervasive in the tabloid media. Young people can and do contribute to the culture, intellectual debate and economy of our country. We the Party of Votes at 16. 2) Introduce a ‘Real Jobs Guarantee’ for young people – guaranteeing young people work if they are without for 1 year. This £600m policy would be paid for by a renewed bankers’ bonus tax. That’s the right thing to do.

Labour’s campaign and membership organisation for young people (14-26), Young Labour, can be found here.

3) LGBT rights would be nowhere without Labour

Labour’s commitment to LGBT rights has been without equal in British political history. In 13 years of Labour government we saw the repeal of Section 28 (which saw widespread discrimination in schools against so-called ‘gay lifestyles’), the equalisation of the Age of Consent, the reversal of the ban on LGBT people serving in the military, brought in the right for gay couples to adopt children, introduced Civil Partnerships and brought in the single Equality Act – protecting minorities (including LGBT people) against discrimination in all walks of life.

This is a significantly shortened list. For those interested in the full one, you can find it here. As an out gay man I’m extremely proud of our record, and I have no doubt that if we had elected any other government in 1997 the pace of change would have been significantly slower. All of these changes to legislation simply would not have taken place.

We are on the verge of Gay Marriage not because of a government consultation launched in the last week (please fill it in today!) but because of the progress we’ve made in the last 13 years. We’ve had the courage to lead and the public have stood up for the rights of gay people, with a majority supporting the proposal. That makes me immensely proud.

You can find out more about LGBT Labour, Labour’s campaign for LGBT people, here.

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