Saturday, November 11, 2006

36. Inner Cities

We’ve seen a revival of our great cities, with Leeds, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Belfast, Newcastle, Cardiff and the rest enjoying booming local economies, and lively culture and nightlife. Under the Tories, our cities were synonymous with unemployment and decline.

It should be pointed out that inner city regeneration has been an issue since the mid 70s, many years before the Governments of the 70s and 80s. It also becomes apparant to anyone who studies these issues seriously that regeneration occured largely due to Conservative policies of free enterprise, co-operation with the private sector and the creation of a stakeholder society years before Tony started using the phrase. These are all policies that Labour opposed throughout the 80s and 90s, and have now chosen to follow. Under the Conservatives over a million families became homeowners. Conservative Governments were responsible for the Urban Development Corporations, City Challenge and the Single Regeneration Budget. These policies worked.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

35. House of Lords Reform

We’ve scrapped the majority of hereditary peers in the House of Lords, and we will continue to modernise the second chamber.

Replacing a system that worked with one that awards peerages to the right people has certainly been a step in the right direction:

34. Labour's congestion charge

Labour's London Mayor introduced the congestion charge to reduce traffic in the capital. It works.

The merits and effectiveness of the congestion charge in London are debatable. However, it wasn't a Labour mayor who introduced it but an Independent. The Labour candidate was Frank Dobson. He was opposed to the congestion charge, and came in fourth.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

33. Peace in Northern Ireland, war in Iraq

The Good Friday Agreement has meant longer periods of peace and fewer deaths in Northern Ireland than for decades.

Such a statement disregards the groundwork laid by the Anglo-Irish agreement of 1985, the Downing Street Declaration of '93, the Frameworks Document of '95, and the support given by the opposition parties to the Good Friday agreement itself. It also ignores the work carried out by numerous British and Irish politicians as well as the people of Northern Ireland who tirelessly campaigned for peace. Nevertheless, 3,600 people died as a result of the troubles there, and thanks to the agreement, more deaths will have been prevented. Let’s now look to this Government’s record at preventing deaths in other areas of the world. Human Rights Watch put the number of deaths attributed to Saddam Hussein at 290,000. A study for Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health puts the number of deaths attributable to actions taken by coalition forces or the break down of law and order as a direct result of coalition action at an average of 601,027, leaving a deficit of 307,400 dead civillians.

Friday, October 06, 2006

27. Fewer cancer deaths

(Gremlins ate original post)
Cancer death rates down by 14 per cent, saving 43,000 lives under Labour.

Cancer deaths have fallen continuously since the early 1980s and through the 90s. Labour can hardly take the credit for the medical advances which have made this achievement possible.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

32. Free museums

Free entry to museums has led to five million extra visits.

Unfortunately, if we are to measure this increase by the reason why free entry was introduced, the policy has been a failure. It was hoped that we would increase visitor numbers amongst those who have traditionally been reluctant to visit museums and galleries. According to a mori poll for the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council, whereas those in social classes D and E make up 28% of the population, they still only make up 14% of museum visitors. When free entry was introduced, there was merely a 2% rise in the proportion from those social classes visiting museums and galleries. The greater part of the increase in numbers comes from those who attended museums regardless, and were prepared to pay to do so. The MLA report even says:

Although the current Government drive is to encourage people from non-traditional museum-visiting groups through the doors, the 'low hanging fruit', in marketing terms, remain firmly embedded in the ABC1, university educated, well-paid groups.

Add to this the fact that the Natural History Museum have considered reintroducing charging and the British Museum have complained of a shortfall, and this turns out not to be the unqualified success it was made out to be.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

31. Compensation for Miners

Over 417,000 miners or their families have had compensation for industrial diseases.

This headline from the Times says it all really: Family of dead miner offered £7 as lawyers earn £41m.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

30. Scroll on. No tokenism to see here

Under Labour we’ve seen the first Black Cabinet Ministers, and the largest number of BME Labour MPs. The Tories have two.

I'm sure they will appreciate the tokenism of me mentioning them here, and not find this to be offensive in the least. While we're at it though, we missed out on a number of other firsts. First female PM (Conservative), first Jewish PM (Conservative), First MP from a visible ethnic minority (Liberal), first woman to sit in the Commons (Conservative), first female speaker of the Commons elected by a Conservative House.

29. Gay people love us

We introduced Civil Partnerships, and hundreds of couples have tied the knot. We also scrapped Section 28.

And yet minister for equality Ruth Kelly still refuses to deny that she believes homosexuality to be a sin.