Popular Features. New Releases. Description Did the Labour government improve people's lives? Are we healthier, wealthier or wiser; happier or safer than in , when Labour came to power? If we are, how much do we have to thank Blair and Brown and their cabinets for? In The Verdict, Polly Toynbee and David Walker strip away spin, personality and political rhetoric to judge how our lives have changed.
They consider Labour's lasting legacy and what its successors can learn from Labour's performance. Travelling the country, Toynbee and Walker compare Labour's promises with people's own accounts of what they experienced in recent years. They drop in on a Sure Start centre and visit schools, hospitals and colleges - and estates plagued by disorder - to ask: what different did Labour make? In England, full or partial elections are being held in 33 mets, district councils more than half of which are all-seat contests , 30 unitary authorities and 17 unitaries, plus several mayoral contests.
Second, the two new political parties — Change UK and Brexit Party — did not register in time to be included. That is unfortunate for them given that, just three weeks later, both parties will feature very prominently in the European elections. Most pressing of these is gauging the future viability of the Conservative Party. It may be years old, but even many hitherto sensible heads wonder whether it can survive.
That is the thesis of our new short book, an interim guide to this government, Dogma and Disarray — Cameron at Half Time. I have only ever really been interested in what governments do, in the practical outcomes of their policies and their actions. The Westminster charivari and the psychology of politicians interests me much less.
So it is from their actions, we know who this government are. Cameron openly says he has no intention of restoring the cuts once growth returns. They rarely let out this shadowy figure, who has a dangerous tendency to say what he thinks.
What we are seeing was in his pre-election script, written down in his think-tank pamphlets over many year. In a remarkable u-turn, they have now been joined by the International Monetary Fund. She privatized nationalized industries in state ownership; they intend to privatize the state itself under the cover of sanitizing the public finances.
For all her bravado, Thatcher was cautious. She never risked a frontal assault on the NHS. She carped but laid off the BBC. The Cameron government was on the verge of demolishing the BBC, at least they were on the verge of doing so when the hacking scandal broke and stopped them allowing Murdoch to take over BskyB or to set up a UK version of Fox News, thanks to the Tory plan to junk our laws on political neutrality in broadcasting. It lays out the ground rules for outsourcing, applicable to all services.
The default position for all services is private provision, and not even the military or police are exempt. New rules say public services must be put up for bidding to at least three rival providers. Woe betide any civil servant obstructing it. To start with the NHS carries huge political risk. After all those promises of no top down reorganisation and professions of love for the NHS and its doctors and nurses, it was a most extraordinary change of direction. Here were Cameron, Lansley and now Jeremy Hunt, engaging in massive and Stalinist restructuring from the centre. Those doctors and nurses so highly praised before the election now need to feel the sharp spur of market competition — redundancy, redeployment and the profit motive: 90, NHS staff have had to move job in this great turmoil, while nurses have been lost.
But despite the efforts of Labour peers, its essence stayed unchanged, and that is Any Qualified Provider outsourcing. What that means is that commissioners must seek business firms to do hips, long-stay mental health beds, scans and so on.
Yet as clinical commissioning groups are constituted, GPs find themselves excluded, with very few in charge. In future the NHS will be a state insurance provider, not a state deliverer.
We can all imagine what Aneurin Bevan would have had to say about this. His rhetoric has lurched rightwards, too — witness the Tory party conference. Events confirm the argument in our book.
This prime minister is a man with a plan, and always was. With George Osborne and such hatchet men as Francis Maude and Owen Patterson at his side, he feels he has been given an historic opportunity. A different logic applies in schools in England as the Michael Gove dismantles the settlement and moves to restore selection at 11 and divide 16 plus exams into a version of the 11 plus. The firm admissions code introduced by Ed Balls has been abandoned. Forget all the talk of localism and parent power.
This is what the future Conservative party looks like.
They recommend a sharp dose of Victorian labour legislation, just stopping short of putting children up chimneys. These are not mavericks. These are mainstream views around the Cameron cabinet.
Story time just got better with Prime Book Box, a subscription that delivers editorially hand-picked children's books every 1, 2, or 3 months — at 40% off List Price. Did the Labour government improve people's lives? Are we healthier, wealthier or wiser; happier or safer than in , when Labour came to power? If we are.
Ministers believe, though they have not dared say it in the open, that inequality is functional and success depends on social division and low pay. They seem to believe that what is already the most flexible EU labour market should become more flexible still as the costs of employment are driven down.
At the Tory conference Osborne came up with a plan — you get shares if you sign away all your employment rights, which would soon become a condition of getting a job for new employees. That quote I began with, where Cameron praised The Spirit Level, was pre-election smoke and subterfuge.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies says child poverty levels will rise as a consequence of the heavy benefit cuts, that they call almost unprecedented historically or internationally. The Cameron government plays ever more stridently on that raw national nerve ending, blaming the poor for their poverty, scape-goating benefit recipients as scroungers, as they instruct Atos and other contractors to hit a target by passing as fit people who are patently unable to work.
Last year over a fifteen hundred people died within weeks of being passed as fit to work. That policy of outsourcing benefit eligibility testing was started under Labour, but the Tories tightened the screw to elimante many more they label as lazy. You may note that I have forgotten to mention that this is a coalition government. Nick Clegg and his colleagues do claim their presence in the government has tempered and moderated the Tory traits.