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April 19, 2008

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Nick Meakin

Ten years ago I had high hopes, I thought it was a brand new dawn.

I was a student during the 80's and went on a number of protests against the Thatcher govenment and it's policies. I come from a mining community and gods knows I know despised that Conservative government. I prayed for a Labour victory and over the years I thought i'd mellowed but I now find myself with as much anger towards this government as anything I felt back then.

The Labour party isn't the all embracing party any longer, every budget has been for "the family" and "pensioners". You only have to look at the Labour party homepage and look under policies to see "Families and Pensioners". Whilst ending child poverty is a just and noble cause the single and the childless are amongst the low earners too.

You say this is a foul up, I'm not so sure. Brown and Darling are supposedly intelligent men and are should be advised by men of equal calibre. I believe the losers from the abolition of the 10p band were seen as expendable in order to bribe those precious middle class votes needed in order to get them re-elected. Unfortunately thing haven't gone quite according to plan and the mess we're in now is the result.

I earn just enough to not be effected by this, I won't be any better off as someone earning £10000 more than me would be but I won't be any worse off either. My fiancee is in the same position. My mums a pensioner and whilst she's not lost out she's digusted with the whole thing and won't be voting Labour again. I'm in safe tory seat so my vote won't count for much she lives in a Labour marginal, where they have just elected their first ever Conservative ran council.

Now you can go on and on about all Labour's done for the family and pensioners but right now history is counting for very little. All we see is a Prime Minister in denial, 350 Labour MP's who either didn't care(some it appears still don't) or took a year to wake up to the consequences, either way it doesn't look good. The treasury look like they're trying to draw up solutions on the back of a fag packet and from the sound of Jane Kennedy trying to stay afloat in the reading of the finance bill last night on BBC parliament its highly unlikely all the losers will be fully compensated.

The question shouldn't be why am I voting tory but why the hell should I vote labour!

Tony

I agree that the Tories would not move to re-distribute income and that Labour has done more than given credit for - and I know you are part of the 40 mentioned today on the radio. Please just don't back down on this !

paulflynn

Are you serious Nick Meakin? Tory? To help anyone but the well-off? It'sd inheritance tax that is their firt priority. The cut the level of pensions for 17 of their 18 years in power. They voted against the Minimum Wage saying it would cost jobs. That helped everyone on dirt wages.
Labour has a great 10 year record to be proud of. This is a foul-up. It will be corrected. The 40 of us who are making a stand against it want a strong bankable promise by Monday.

But Tories? Look at recent history.

Nick Meakin

Every Labour budget from this government as long ago as I can remember has been "A budget for the family" and whilst the single and childless have never lost out until now, what we have actually gained has been minimal.

Yes couples with children need more help but after years of being neglected, and now having the final insult of us having to pay more tax hurled at us by a labour government. Enough is enough.

Only 70 Labour MP's voice concern out of 350. Brown, Darling, Milliband, Hutton, Cooper and the rest refuse to accept or concede that something is fundamentally wrong. Hang your heads in shame. Radio 5 tonight were commenting that a member came out of the PLP meeting and told waiting journalists "Sorted", not from where I stand. I haven't felt such repulsion towards a government since the Thatcher years of the 80's.

I will never vote Labour again. I will be voting Conservative for the first time in my life at the next election. I won't be voting for the Conservative party or David Cameron but I will be voting for change.

Paul Flynn

It's not possible to answer without more details of your circumstance or where you live. Fuel and food prices went donw during most of the past ten yera but have increased steeply recently, council tax in Newport has consistenly been the lowest in Wales and , at one time, the lowest in country.

I raised the unfairness of the 10p issue with Alistair darling in the Commons and hour ago. I hope to raised it with Gordon Brown in a private meeting at 6.00 o'clock.
Thanks for getting back.

Alex Smith

Paul, thanks for your reply, but I don't think you got the point of my post. *Some* of the poor have been helped by Labour: single mothers, pensioners, the absolutely lowest paid, poor families. Others have been ignored or are worse off: students, and low-income singles/couples specifically.

The only significant change in my status that I can see that would be different from the set up in 1997 is higher taxes (fuel/council) and a big student loan debt.

Some of the poor have been helped, but at the expense of the others, not the rich.

paulflynn

Thanks you Tony. The relative rate is skewed because the rich are very skilled at getter richer. In spite of greater efforts at wealth distribution than any other Governemnt for a century, the rich have still got richer.

The Government record on pensions, minmum wage and tax credits is a greta one. does any belive the Tories would do better ? They did not in the past 18 years.

As I said I am against the 10p change.

paulflynn

Thanks Alex Smith. Have you details of your past tax and your tax this month? You clearly have missed out because of your status. The reason of course that parents and others get benefits is becaues they ahd financial burdens that childless people do not have.

You have had a university education and a wage that is about average for a first job. As you point out house prices are getting down to a level nearer their values. The Government has concentrated on the poorest who have the biggest commitments. It's difficult to argue against that.

Is Housing a problem? Without knowing your full history it's not possible to give details. Had you been in a position where you were impoverished in your young life, a range of benefits are available.

Thanks for letting me have your details.I have made it clear that I am opposed to the abolition of the 10p tax.

Tony

Labours 'values' (from the website) are :

• social justice
• strong community and strong values
• reward for hard work
• decency
• rights matched by responsibilities

Which one does the 10p tax rate removal show in action ?

Yes a lot has been done but the simple fact remains that income distribution in the UK is now more skewed than it was in 1997 and no matter how its presented this is a funny way of doing any of the stated aims of the party.

What grates as well is only now is it acknowledged that there will have to be 'compensatory measures' - might have been a bit better to bring in those at the same time !

If this goes through then forget local issues on May 1st ..

Alex Smith

"So what has Labour done for low paid? …apart from the Minimum Wage, the Winter Fuel Allowance, the Pensions Credit, the child Tax Credit, inflation increases in Basic Pensions, record increases in Child Benefit, Carers’ allowances, Working Tax Credits, Sure Start etc. etc."

It's all very well talking about the tax credits, fuel allowance etc., but what about those of us who aren't pensioners or don't have kids? Not one of the above measures has helped me at all.

I went through university shortly after you abolished grants and introduced fees (but before you reintroduced some grants), so I'm still £8k in debt from student loans. After university I was on JSA for a few months, which was hell. "Vulnerable people" -- single mothers and so on get special treatment on benefits, but single males get very little help. I eventually got a job, no thanks to the Job Centre. My salary is c. £16k, just enough to start paying off my student loan, above any help from the increase in minimum wage, but low enough that I'm going to be hit by the abolishment of the 10% rate. A huge proportion of my pay goes on rent and council tax.

I can't honestly see how I'm any better off under Labour. As far as I can see I'm no better off at all. It seems that I've been taxed, rather than the rich, in order for you to be able to help families with kids, pensioners, etc.

I can't see any way I could afford to buy a house even if there's a price crash. My pay is going to continue going towards people who happened to have the capital to buy a house a decade ago. I certainly can't afford kids to take advantage of those exciting tax credits.

paulflynn

Thanks Valleylad. exactly right. Its called Stealth Socialism. Good things were done but the Blair Governmnet were almost ashamed of redistributing wealth to the worst off - in case the Daily Mail found out and hammered us for it.
I said this a few years ago. Now we have messed this 10p change up - the many good reforms are forgotten.

valleylad

This govt has done remarkably well at helping the low paid, but always in the most complex and hidden way, and has almost been scared to admit it, let alone brag about - unwilling to pin their colours to the mast. To some extent this is the consequence, and it needs fixing fast. The other point that needs thinking about is, since all the positives are well hidden, how easy would it be for a future tory govt to reverse them?

Let's hope they see sense rather than lose a vote.

Paul Flynn

Thanks Mike. I did not see David Milliband's comment but I watched Alastair Darling. He should have spent more time on the doorsteps in the past few weeks. It was fair enough of Alastair to underline our record (as I did) but the problem is more urgent and requires a firm undertaking for change not a vague promise.

No-one will be shutting up next week. This is the technique of blaming the messenger.

Mike

What rather stuck in the gullet was David Miliband who comes from a rich family, telling people to basically shut up.
People like him are so divorced from the reality of what us mere mortals in the real world have to contend with on a daily basis.
Much of the Labour hierarchy is from a middle class background and they have no idea how real people live.

paulflynn

thank you, Jonny Norfolk. There is a sense of betrayal that runs deep.The Tories and the tabloids have been cranking it up. Like the one 85p pensions rise it will be remembered but above inflation rises will not be.

But this Labour Government has a better record on helping the low paid than any Government since the the 1945-50. Argue that.

The Government knows it's going to be punished for this. It is a political calamity. When the history of the Blair/Brown era is written, a fairer distribution of wealth will be one of its achievements.

Johnny Norfolk

You have just no idea how this is going to affect so many of us, it is betrayel by the labour party. You would do will to try and stop it rather than make silly pointless remarks about the opposition.

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