Saturday, May 19, 2007

Labours Timeless Mirage !

Reading yesterday's column from Stephen Ladyman MP, you realise that, it's not just the photograph of Stephen Ladyman, that varies from reality (but still I suppose we're all a little older), it also happens to be his opinions, that seem not quite in touch.

Now Ladyman's Thanet, differs from my Thanet, firstly Mr Ladyman found Blair's resignation announcement moving, I found it tedious and pitiful, particularly the part about Blair doing his best, frankly if after 10 years in government Tony Blair, has to lean on people's innate ability to empathise with failure, then that says more about the man than any other criticism.

Mr Ladyman's reference to the national minimum wage, could only come from someone in my opinion, who hasn't had to face the prospect of trying to live on £5.35 an-hour, which to make this personal, is something I have had to consider, unfortunately many people in Thanet have no choice.

The Labour Party had significant support of the people in 1997, it would have been quite easy, to start the minimum wage at that level (£4.50) and raise the minimum wage by say 35p every year to now, the workforce in this country could now be earning a living wage, without the need for all these Mickey Mouse tax credits, which people have to claim for, in order to live and which those of us who pay tax make substantial contributions, just to subsidise exploitative employers. For a Labour minister to promote his Government's progress on this matter as some sort of achievement is as insulting as it is ridiculous.

Since both Tories and New Labour have difficulty with the minimum wage, here is my simple argument why it should be set at a reasonable level of say £8 an hour, firstly by allowing people to earn a living, fewer need to be assisted with tax credits, the taxpayer no longer subsidises bad employers, who exploit their staff, businesses are encouraged to work more efficiently and boost productivity, civil-service numbers could be cut dramatically by ending the nonsense of taxing wages and then handing money back, through tax credits, rate rebates etc. The argument employers often cite, is that they can't afford higher wages, again it's simple, tough it's like saying you can't afford the raw materials.

As a realist, I understand that, New Labour had a mandate from the people, to be bold and do brave things, for the poorest in society, just as Margaret Thatcher had, the backing to save us from a socialist nightmare, which in her case meant curbing the political aspirations of trade unions, the differences is Margaret Thatcher, had the guts to do what she believed and was successful. Tony Blair it seems had neither the guts, the vision, or even the discipline to improve things for those who voted for him.

At the end of Ladyman's column, he finishes with his promise ''the UK and thanet will continue to get stronger in the years ahead'' , well with more than 10 years of spin. This is my prediction of the future, Gordon Brown will become prime minister, and will just about scrape in at the next election, however he will not benefit from the unconditional goodwill that Tony Blair had from the British people back in 1997, and anything he does to improve life for working people will be minimal.

Finally if anyone from Thanet South Labour, including your MP, thinks they can justify Labour's record on the minimum wage, or explain how £5.35 an hour, can provide a decent living standard then please comment. Winston Churchill was involved with introducing the first minimum wage legislation back in 1909, almost a hundred years ago, it's time for society to treat people fairly.
PS along with Labour I looked a damn site better 10 years ago!( not to much abuse please!)


  1. We could also mention the fact that New labour did not review the ban on councils building council houses and as a result the poorest in the land cannot get a decent house to live in as labour policies have led to house prices soaring beyond most people's means in Thanet!

  2. I live on the NMW and while its an improvement on what I might have earned without it, there are others who have to work a lot harder than me for the same wage. The NMW is going up in October.

  3. Now that Dr Ladyman is no longer Transport Minister, We hope he can now devote his time and his expeirence of Transportation to now sort out the appalling mess that KCC has bestowed on Broadstairs Town Centre. It's called Traffic Calming Measures??? Cars speed up and down the High St endangering all on foot,Victoria Parade speeding is still the same except residents now have have to endure the constant scrapping of cars riding over humps and the speeding, HGV'S driving along the pavement trying to pass one another without any regard to pedestrians. The road is not suitable for the HGV's and coaches...There has been no effective policing of the 20mph Zone and yet the Police agreed to the measures installed. Police are presumably reluntant to police the 20mph Zone as it is more time consuming to do so.A 20mph zone requies them to arrest a speeding driver rather than simply issuing a penalty ticket which applies on 30mph roads etc.