What do I really think of Nancy Platt’s defence of Labour’s record?

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.

11 Responses

  1. But here is Brighton you can have the good bits of Labour without all the terrible policies!

    A Green MP would be voting with the government to create a fairer society but against the government on things like war, ID cards and NHS privatisation.

    Nancy Platts says she doesn’t support many Labour policies but would she really be able to go against the whip? And why is she in Labour if she disagrees with so many of their policies?

  2. Labour did nothing to significantly improve financial services regulation – so one could argue the case that they actually contributed to the financial crisis.

    The country’s financial burdens have also been made all the greater by wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    More locally the new licensing act has resulted in huge amounts of problems for residents plus created additional resource demands on the NHS.

    Yes there have been positive policies implemented under Labour, the minimum wage and freedom of information act would be two I’d mention. But since 1997 I think the negative outweigh the positive. Labour can’t be trusted, neither can the Tories. I believe the Green Party’s policies would create a better, more balanced and sustainable future.

  3. Allie – you seemed to have raised the issue of the traditional Party whips a couple of times. Ultimately all MPs have to make the decision themselves and many Labour MPs did break the whip on issues like the war. I believe that Nancy Platts would have no problem doing what is best for the people of Pavilion on that level – for a start, she lives here and it would be a worrying situation if any party could not look inward and challenge itself.

    Which begs the question of how does Caroline Lucas plan to reach a decision for the Green Party and who would she be accountable to? Would she be given total freedom by the Green Party and its members to do and vote as she pleases in Westminster or not? Whether she likes to be admit it or not, they seem to be in a half way house. Wanting to be seen as credible enough to be given a seat in Westminster but free flowing and member led enough to not be tarred with the same brush as the ‘traditional’ parties.

    Being so member led could have some serious problems for a Green MP – would they plan to defer any difficult decisions/votes to party members or are the Green Party eventually going to be held accountable for their sometimes impractical policies?

  4. SouthcoastGirl — The Green group on Brighton & Hove City Council have operated without a whip for over a decade, we’ve had councillors here since 1996. This doesn’t stop elected Greens being accountable to the electorate and to the members that selected them and support their election campaigns.

    In my personal view, whips represent the worst of the old British political system – they’re about bullying, threats and withholding plum jobs to get votes for what party leaders want.

  5. Except, Allie, with a single Green representing us, we won’t be voting for a change in the direction of policy. The Greens will not be forming a government, they will not be implementing policies.

    As with all independents, Lucas will be isolated, hovering on the periphery of debate, ignored and (at best) her voice a drop in the ocean in contrast to either a Conservative or Labour politicians. I don’t see how that will benefit us.

  6. Alex,

    I doubt Caroline will be ignored. In fact, it is more likely that she’ll be heard!

    How often has David Lepper, Celia Barlow or Des Turner appeared on Question Time? How often do they appear in the national press? How often are they even heard in their own party?

    Yes, Caroline Lucas is a party leader, but that is exactly the reason why she will be heard. A Green MP will be unique and will be treated as such.

    Your electoral elitism blinds you to the idea of pluralism in Westminster.

  7. Question Time is not Westminster, but I’m sure the reason for them not appearing on the show is because representing the needs of their constituencies is more important to them than flagrant self-promotion.

    Caroline’s MEP role seems to allow her a lot of time to pursue these extracurricular activities.

    I’m afraid her insatiable dependency on the media will not be enough to drive through the Revolutionary changes that you want to see.

  8. ‘Insatiable dependency’, don’t all political parties and candidates have a dependency on the ‘media’? Is that part and parcel of political communication?

    I think the reason for them not appearing is because, for want of a better turn of phrase, they’re not entities. Yes, they are active in their constituencies, there is little doubt about that. Yes, they have good voting records in comparison to other Labour MPs but, I think we should all just admit this now, I want Caroline Lucas to win because she’s a Green. Of course I think she’s an excellent candidate and an excellent politician, but I want her to win because she’s the Green candidate. I’m sure you want Nancy to win because you’re a Labour Party member/supporter.

    At the end of the day, even if the candidates were different, we would still be in our own tribal camps and just using different names. A loop like this thread will just keep going round and round in circles unless we own up to that.

  9. I’m not sentimental enough to feel the need to belong to a tribe. I just don’t see the point in voting for something that cannot influence the direction of policy – to do so would be irrational.

    If the Greens were likely to form a government I would no doubt think otherwise. But that isn’t the case. I want my vote to count.


  10. Well, if I’m honest, Alex, I don’t think the Greens were counting on your vote any way.

  11. If we only voted for parties likley to form the next government, we would still be ruled by the Wiggs and Tories.

    No Labour party let alone Libdems, greens or anyone else.

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