Politics has to be about policies. When people cast their vote at the forthcoming General Election they deserve to know exactly what changes they will see in their daily lives, regardless of which party they choose. It is only carefully considered policies that can make these changes, not slick PR or spin.
The Prime Minister’s speech at conference reminded us it was only a Labour government that had the foresight and determination to introduce the policies that have transformed our country in the last twelve years. The minimum wage, paid maternity leave, the Climate Change Bill, Civil Partnerships, reduced waiting lists and record school results could only have been delivered under a Labour government.
It was a Labour government that realised that markets alone were not enough and that the state needed to intervene to lead us through the recession towards recovery.
I believe voters understand this. But they also need to know that Labour will be on their side in the future, that we still understand their needs and concerns and that we have fresh ideas that can make a positive, tangible impact on their every day lives.
I think these measures were the highlights of the PM’s conference speech:
- Tough new regulations on the banking system: tackling bonuses which encourage reckless gambling and ensuring that in Britain markets will have morals.
- Post Offices up and down the land will be given a new role to help encourage community banking. I look forward to seeing the details on this.
- A guarantee by law that Britain will give 0.7% of our GDP in foreign aid each year. What could possibly be a better demonstration of Labour values?
- A referendum on changing our voting system at the start of the next Parliament if we win the General Election. A debate on the more proportional Alternative Vote system has got to be welcome.
- New Family Intervention Projects – these will intervene early where families have the most complex needs and in doing so could save millions as we help prevent people ever committing crime or becoming dependent on benefits.
There were many other policy announcements, but I think these were particularly eye catching in the Hall in Brighton. I hope they’ll be popular out in the country too.