Life: Left of Centre

Why I’m Labour – Part 2

Posted on: April 1, 2012

Part 2 of ‘Why I’m Labour’ takes my final 3 reasons and develops on them.

Using the context of the recent Budget and the increasingly apparent disconnect between the Conservative / Lib Dem government and real people around this country, the message is clear:

We’re definitely not all in this together…

1) Public Services – the NHS and Schools

Public Services are rightly at the heart of people’s everyday lives in Britain today. Each and every person that makes a home and a living in the UK today contributes to society through taxation, rightly based on the amount they earn. They therefore have a stake in society, and so society has a responsibility to provide for them when they are ill, teach their children and provide affordable transport for them to get from A to B; from home to work, and beyond. This is the way it’s been since the middle of the last century, but things are changing…

This government increasingly sees the need to change things – to adapt to tackle a growing deficit that they blame on the previous government, despite the global nature of the recession of 2008. Now change is no bad thing. Modernisation and technological change is good for the quality of our services, good for the delivery of our services and good for those receiving them.

I’ve pulled out the NHS and Schools because they’re really at the heart of our everyday lives, and sustain us. Recently they’ve been at the heart of this government’s savage and ideological cuts, which will impact on the quality of care and teaching for our children. Not to mention their affordability – given cuts to child benefit. Labour would rightly look to modernise, whilst maintaining levels of funding for such key services. A National Care Service for our ageing population and schools rooted in their local communities.

2) International Development

Labour does the right thing – at home and internationally. We should practice what we preach and the last Labour government understood that and prioritised that. We tripled Britain’s aid budget and re-emphasised our commitment to the Millennium Development Goals. Most importantly we invested: committing to the UN agreed target of 0.7% of Gross National Income to be spent on development assistance. The Conservatives have been forced to follow suit – clear evidence that in the past 13 years we’ve changed the debate on Development in this country.

Some of our achievements:

  • Helped lift 3 million people out of poverty each year.
  • 40 million more children into school.
  • Polio is on the verge of being eradicated and 3 million people are now able to access life-preserving drugs for HIV and AIDS.
  • Improved water or sanitation services for over 1.5 million people.

We couldn’t have done this without a clear partnership and understanding with charities, social enterprises and cross-sector civil society organisations. That relationship has been a game-changer, and I’m proud we were able to tackle global poverty and development in the face of globalisation and global challenges. Rightly helping where we’re able to help.

You can support Labour’s Campaign for International Development (LCID) here.

3) The Family

The family is so important to our everyday lives. Our loved ones are the most important thing to us. Government and society should do everything possible to preserve this, whilst taking a back seat. But they should also recognise change and adapt to provide a supportive framework for new a less typical incarnations of this very human construct. Civil partnerships, child tax credits, Sure Start and reform to the adoption regulations are all changes that Labour made to family life in Britain. The flexibility to live your life and start a family as you want to, without having to follow a traditional approach, is something that’s been worth fighting for – and now defending.

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