Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I Want It All And I Want It When The Convergence Criteria Are Met...

The slogan of this Labour conference is obvious; "Working With People's Aspirations" (Hilary Armstrong just invoked it once again). As a slogan it's fair enough, sounds nice, very democratic. But as ever in the New Labour experiment, it depends upon a semantic leap of faith that is thoroughly unjustified.

What they actually mean, of course, is "Working With What We Think People's Aspirations Should Be". All the evidence suggests that the New Labour answer to that question is, "The poor want to work at all, the rich want to get richer". And fair play to them, the rich have got richer and the poor are working more.

But equally, the poor are getting poorer. People do want to work, but they want to live first, and this government has failed abominably at making jobs liveable. No matter how many flashy ad campaigns you have for all the tax credit systems, it doesn't solve the fundamental issue that tax credits are simply a bad way of doing things, even if they're run well (and what chance is there of that?)

Whatever happens with the leadership, there appears little chance that Labour will actually get to grips with their failure until they are booted out. It is essential that we as Liberal Democrats get out there and win the battle on poverty; unlike Labour, and the Conservatives for that matter, we have the policies that can make a real difference in the fight against poverty.

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