Friday, 16 August 2013

Whither Ed Miliband? Or is it wither Ed Miliband?

Poor Ed Milliband has been getting a lot of bad press recently as many of his supposed colleagues queue up to point out his deficiencies. One question that comes up time and time again is "where is Ed taking the Labour Party?" I wish I could answer that but I don't really know. It's not that long to the next General Election and Ed needs to be talking with a clear identity for the party and about a clear set of policies. One would hope that Ed and his boys are beavering away at devising a manifesto right at this very moment. Here are a few of my suggestions for things that a manifesto I'd vote for could contain. They all look like common sense to me.

*  Repeal all the coalition's NHS legislation and start all over again.
*  Impose effective regulation of privatised utilities, capping their profits and prices.
*  Take the railways back into public ownership as the franchises end.
*  Abandon PFI and find ways of terminating the existing contracts.
*  Don't privatise Royal Mail.
*  Stop privatising. It is only "efficient" at maximising profit for private vested interests.
*  Cap rents in the private sector and begin a substantial social housing programme. 'Affordable housing' is still anything but that to many people.
*  Make the living wage mandatory, thereby transferring costs from the public purse to the firms who are currently subsidised by the taxpayer because they only pay the minimum wage.
*  Stop persecuting the unemployed and disabled, and get rid of Atos.
*  Start collecting taxes from the rich and shift taxation from basic income and everyday consumption towards property.
*  Abandon Trident and new aircraft carriers.
*  Stop fracking. Invest in home insulation and green technologies, which will reduce demand for gas and electricity and create jobs.
 *  Ban lobbying and remove private interests from direct influence on government.
*  Clean up the funding of political parties.
*  Restrict the hours that MPs can work on non-parliamentary activities.

*  Further reform the House of Lords.
*  Bring in proportional representation.

*  Refuse to hold a referendum on the EU on principle.
*  Implement Leveson and stop pandering to the Press Barons.
*  Speed up the reporting of the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq War.

I think this is enough to be going on with. These are quite modest proposals and should win votes but it would be good to see a political party proposing policies because they are the right thing to do. Is Ed the man to do this? I live in hopes but I'm not going to hold my breath. If he doesn't succeed, then Steve Bell's cartoon from last year might turn out to be prophetic.


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