As I said in Part One of this series, we would have been better off campaigning on a summary version of our manifesto - but we should be really proud of our achievement in assembling this comprehensive guide to what decent and fair government should mean at the end of the second decade of the 21st century. When we are asked 'What has socialism to offer the voter these days?', our manifesto provides a realistic answer that also excites the imagination.
The first 28 pages had been focused on A GREEN INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION - see this link by pressing here. The next 24 pages explain how Labour will REBUILD OUR PUBLIC SERVICES.
|Our public services need to be reclaimed - due credit to Kishimoto and Petitjean (eds)
This second section of the Manifesto begins with a classic statement of socialist belief and vision:
Universal public services, collectively provided through general taxation and free at the point of use for all, are how we guarantee the right to a good life.
How will this reconstruction be funded? Those earning more than £80,000 a year will pay a little
more in taxation. Tory cuts to corporation tax will be reversed. The biggest ever crackdown on tax avoidance and evasion will be launched. Our creation of a National Transformation Fund is Labour's programme of capital expenditure that has two parts: £250 billion over ten years for our Green Transformation Fund, and £150 billion over five years for our Social Transformation Fund. We will borrow in order to achieve this investment. Such investment spending raises the productive capacity of the economy as well as providing a boost to demand.
National budgets are not the same as our household budgets; all politicians know this - but Tories pretend ignorance when it suits them. How did Attlee's post-war Labour government and the Tory government that followed in 1951 reconstruct war-torn Britain? They borrowed money. How did Roosevelt's Democratic government in the 1930s begin to restore prosperity through the New Deal in the USA? They borrowed money.
The Manifesto then identifies seven specific public services. One can imagine each as a separate government department with its own minister. Here they are:
NHS AND SOCIAL CARE
NATIONAL EDUCATION SERVICE
POLICE AND SECURITY
COMMUNITIES AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
FIRE AND RESCUE
DIGITAL, CULTURE, MEDIA AND SPORT
|Public services are not remote abstractions - we depend upon them.
Time for a little reflection. I spent nearly four decades teaching in the classrooms of a number of schools in England and I fear that many children will have left school at 16 or 18 knowing very little about what politicians are responsible for and what politics is about. Far too controversial a matter for inclusion in the so-called National Curriculum! We have an electorate many of whom have been kept in the dark. Politics and politicians become 'boring' when no one can explain what is going on. Parents shrug their shoulders; teachers avoid the subject.
How cool when suddenly out of the blue, the opportunity arises to take back control over all these political matters that are so confusing and end up making life miserable. Cue the Referendum (2016). We will now leave Europe and all will be well. Only those same politicians that we can't make sense of - 'they're all the same, anyway!' - then stop us for nearly three years from having what we were promised: the right to decide our future. Until Boris stopped the rot. 'Thank God for Boris. I'm glad I voted for him.'
What price socialist vision in that scenario?
|To repeat - we depend upon our public services. But are they ours?
Here, in brief, is what Labour was and will still be offering in each of these seven areas:
|A brilliant early diagnosis from 2014 - it just continued to get worse.
|Prison riots are a symptom of a deep malaise