My dig at New Labour for its legacy in increasing the number of lap dancing clubs, reduction in public toilets, libraries and, of course, post offices, has provoked a spirited response from the rather wonderful Nancy Platts who left a comment under that post providing a fuller picture of Labour’s record. Do I agree with Nancy. Of course I do and I feel that I was rather unfair in my characterisation of Labour’s record. So, to rebalance the debate, I am repeating Nancy’s comment in full:
“I think I ought to balance BPB’s post with some of Labour’s achievements. What about over 3,000 Sure Start children’s centres and the fact we’re on target to deliver one in every community by 2010? Free childcare, the rise in child benefit, extended maternity leave, paternity leave, flexible working, emergency time off for carers. What about the million pensioners lifted out of poverty, Winter Fuel Payments, free bus travel, free TV licenses, free eye tests for older people?
“What about 149 new hospitals, £96bn investment in NHS, over 80,000 more nurses, 38,000 more doctors, 4,500 more dentists (and remember all the dental schools the Tories closed?), shorter waits for treatment, GPs open longer hours, walk-in healthcare centres, free prescriptions for cancer patients, our cancer pledge to see a specialist within a week of diagnosis, free health checks for everyone in England aged 40-74.
“What about the fact education spending has doubled since 1997, 36,000 more teachers, 172,000 classroom assistants, better exam results, more young people going to university than ever before, the job, apprenticeship or training guarantee so young people aren’t left on the dole as they were in the recession under the Tories? What about crime dropping by a third thanks to over 16,000 more police, neighbourhood policing and our Community Support Officers?
“What about over £20bn investment in rail, the Crossrail project, high speed rail – more passengers are using our trains than at any other time since the Second World War – over a billion last year.
“I think it is right to challenge and ask for more, to campaign for a fairer and more equal society but ask yourself this – would all this have happened under the Tories? It’s a Labour MP that will campaign for more and a Labour government that will deliver more.”
Well said Nancy. Your response characterises your many strengths, not least your passion! Of course none of the above would have been achieved under a Tory government. An ideal result in the general election would be a small Labour majority that would force the Executive to listen to its back benchers.
One of the areas that Nancy did not defend Labour’s record during the financial crisis which was, largely excellent. The voters will weigh this up and when compared to the excitable youth that is George Osborne, they will realise that the economy is safer in Labour’s hands.