Archive for March, 2014

Why I’m a lukewarm Labour Supporter

I was at the Labour Party Conference at the weekend and sat in on the address by Johann Lamont, the leader. There was some policy speak but most of the address was rhetoric with the obligatory appearance of family onto the stage. All very good.

But I found it hard to be enthusiastic and I spent the whole train journey home wondering how I’d lost my “mojo”.

I came to the conclusion that after so many years of trying to convince others to vote a certain way and then being let down and seeing the promises made breached; I have no right to badger other people and I’ve lost trust and confidence in whether the political thoughts I have will ever be put into place in the UK.

The reasons for this is that I was involved in the Trade Union Movement through the 80’s (in my 20’s). I spent the 90’s hoping for a Labour Victory, campaigning against the Poll Tax and standing for Labour in impossible seats!! I learnt a first lesson during the 1992 General Election campaign when I recall some documents coming out from Labour Leadership suggesting it might be “difficult” to remove the Council Tax. to the credit of the Party grassroots there was a groundswell of letters saying “just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean we can’t do it”. But it was an insight for me into how politicians are more interested in power and compromise.

Anyway the 1992 Election was lost, Poor John Smith came and went and we had Tony Blair. I went to see Blair speak and recall he said he had 3 aims:- Devolution for Scotland, Minimum Wage, Reform of house of Lords. (nearly done them). And said more socialist plans (like taking railways back into public ownership etc would come later).
So we took him at his word (not wanting a Yo Yo government were the Tories got back in and reversed any policies)

But the Manifesto from 1997 was not implemented properly. Started allowing fees to be charged on tuition (when the manifesto spoke about maintenance) and the pledges on Railways being run for customers and regulated just did not happen.

So fast forward to 2001, another General Election win then we have 11 September 2001. In between we had Devolution for Scotland and local government elections. I’m now in my 40’s and campaigning for Blair government saying they will deliver on promises.

Then we get Iraq war, and I find many of my Labour colleague won’t campaign and indeed, leave the party. I took this guy all around Deeside but he left:-

http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/spl/aberdeen/labour-defector-joins-the-limelight-1.138084

2003 and the Iraq war …and I’m still Labour and still going about talking the good talk. I am one of only 20 people who stand in the Aberdeenshire local government elections (for almost 70 constituencies). No votes there!!

In 2004 Labour government brings in tuition fees:-

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2004/jan/27/tuitionfees.students

This is all quite depressing..but actually the worst for me is nearer to my work.

I’ve replied to 3 consultations in my life about consumer credit. The consultation on the 2006 Consumer Credit Act proposed a cap on interest rates.

On 8 August 2007 (I was now 47) A Labour government said they had no plans to cap interest rates:- (item 8 in these FAQ’s)

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.dti.gov.uk/consumers/consumer-finance/credit-act-2006/FAQs/page24450.html

We now know in 2014 that if Labour had stuck to the convictions of it’s members then we would not have the scandal of the Pay Day lenders that blight our High Streets today.

So I’m a lukewarm supporter. I like to meet like minds and love the enthusiasm but I don’t have the confidence to convince. I look at the debate on Independence just now and thing….” The trouble with this world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt”.

I wish I could be as confident and brass necked as some of the people I watched yesterday but I don’t have it in me.

Maybe I’m just getting old!!

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