Tuesday, 2 September 2014

One Nation Labour - Ambitious for Croydon?

Labour’s Manifesto for Croydon is called “Ambitious for Croydon”. They don’t call themselves “Labour”. They call themselves, “One Nation Labour”.

It is a document of double-speak. The overall message is that if you vote “Labour" they will try to make things a little better. However, “we will have to take tough decisions”. (No prizes for guessing who will be at the sharp end of that).

Whilst admitting there are, "stark contrasts in wealth and poverty” in Croydon, the document puts forward proposals of the meekest, milk-and-water variety. There are few proposals not ring-fenced with caveats and circumspection. The manifesto is as cautious as cat in a dog pen.

It reads as though the calamities affecting Croydon are to be tackled not by the Council itself, but by other people and organisations, businesses and voluntary groups. There is very little in the document suggesting that the council ITSELF can or should do very much!

The word “socialism”, needless to say, is not mentioned.

Unbelievably, one of its major proposals is for setting up a “Croydon Fairness Commission”.  It will "recommend steps on how to improve the quality of life across the borough...”.

This is an open admission that Croydon’s New Labour council does not know what to do! Instead, it will ask a committee of the great and the good, clever people you understand, who will come up with something. What an admission of total bankruptcy!

Here is a sample of some of New Labour's “ambitious" proposals.

On wages. Implement £10 an hour minimum wage? No. Implement the London Living Wage? No. Instead, they “will campaign to make Croydon a living wage borough”! Why are they still campaigning? They are in power!

On jobs. An ambitious direct works programme by the Council? No. An immediate halt to all cuts in council services and jobs? No. Instead, they "will work towards increasing employment…”.  Work towards!

On youth unemployment. They will "create an ambitious and vibrant ‘place to be’”.  They will "build upon our good working relationships with local businesses…”.

On housing. An ambitious building programme of affordable houses and flats? No. A rent freeze? No. Abolish the bedroom tax? No.  Set up a council Housing Costs and Standards Agency to set and control ALL rents and ENFORCE housing condition standards? No.

But they will set up another commission of clever folk who will "report back within six months on the scale of the homelessness crisis we will inherit and to provide possible solutions”.  There are various ideas for more “partnerships” and some “cracking down” on bad landlords. But the nearest they get to a proposal we could go along with is a "not-for-profit lettings agency”. But they will only “look to” establishing this (and it is point seven, of eight).

Even on libraries they are pathetically cautious. Will they halt library closures? No. Will they set up new libraries? No. Instead, they will “seek to” reverse the Tories’ policies.

Whatever else their manifesto is, it very definitely is NOT “Ambitious for Croydon”. It may be ambitious for councillors, who want to join the “New Labour” gravy train; but for Croydon people the “manifesto” is a waste of good paper.

They are no longer Labour. WE are Labour!

If you think this is an unfair review, you can see the manifesto for yourself at Croydon Labour's website. www.croydonlabour.org.uk

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