A failure by every measure…
This government is a failure by every measure that it even sets itself. It came to power basically on the premise that it was going to erase the national debt and undo the profligate ‘waste’ of Labour’s tenure. However, today we have the news that the UK’s debt has passed £1 trillion for the first time since records began. The reason why is not hard to fathom, the economy isn’t growing and the government has to continue to borrow to compensate.
Meanwhile, rather than save any money, its reforms are proving to be a costly shambles. It’s reforms of the NHS, for example, costing money as well as hitting patient care. So, what difference is this making to the opinion polls? Well, it has seen the Conservative roar into a 5-point lead. Staggeringly Cameron & Osborne’s reputation for economic competently has increased by 2%. All of which is a testimony to our continued failure to provide anything approaching effective opposition.
We are not even really an opposition at all because we operate almost entirely within the frameworks defined by the government. So, we accept the underpinnings of a strategy that we, ourselves, say have failed. No wonder people see this as a tad contradictory and are either going elsewhere or de-camping to the government, which at least offers them the real deal. People are confused and disoriented by recent events and rather than offer them a clear lead, we offer them a muddled wall of static.
Britain is sadly thus doubly cursed with a shambolic government and an opposition whose performance isn’t much better. If you are going to vote for an opposition Party then generally you need to have a reason to do so. Ken Livingstone is bucking the trend of Labour’s dismal national performance in London precisely because he has found that issue. His Fare Deal proposal is the key reason he is gaining support and has turned a massive poll deficit around. It is a simple proposal which resonates with every Londoner and that is why it has turned his fortunes around.
I don’t agree with everything Gus Baker rights on LabourList but this observation is very prescient:
By talking in nebulous terms we are tying ourselves in knots. Our inability to come up with a clear line on the benefit cap is a classic example. We are too frightened to forcefully oppose a dreadfully thought through policy; and too timid to suggest an alternative, like properly regulating buy-to-let landlords to bring the cost of private sector housing down.
Or indeed we could talk about the construction of more cheap and affordable socially owned housing. Or the Living Wage. Something that is inspiring and gives people a reason to support us. It is almost at the point where anything will do because although this government is a huge failure it is currently being eclipsed by our own omni-shambolic failure as an opposition.