The past 2 years have shown us that to be an opposition leader or shadow minister is actually a really easy job. As all you have to do is stand there say you shouldn’t do that, oh we wouldn’t do that and lots of other really easy things to say. This Labour opposition well have done jolly good at saying they wouldn’t do that or your cutting too far and too fast and lots of other media friendly sound bites. Yet we haven’t heard what alternative they would do instead. They have become more a party of opposition not an opposition party.
So this got me thinking it’s easy to say what you wouldn’t do and as a result have the public say oh we like the sound of that, and get a boost in the opinion polls as a result of it. But what is hard to do is to actually put down some policies for the public to look over and see just what they would do. As at the moment all we know about Labour is they wouldn’t cut as much and they would borrow some more for a stimulus package of some sorts.
Now that on its own is not really a lot, how much more would they borrow? £1bn, £10bn, £100bn or £1,000bn? And how much less would they cut by, a million pounds less of cuts is cutting by less. So the public are left hearing we would spend more and cut less. Which when times are hard is quite appealing more money in your pocket and more public sector people there to help. Which in a sense is conning the voters that you would be better, when in reality you may only borrow a little bit more and cut by a little bit less.
Which is really not on as you could very well be giving false hope to the electorate that things may be financially better under the party that well let’s face it caused the mess in the first place. Then it hit me that for financial policies not would the government publish its plans and have them put in to action like they have done.
But that the opposition party would have to publish some strict economic policies that list values detailing both proposed increases in spending and budget cuts. That would then be given to the Office for Budget Responsibility who would look over them and model them to see just how they would play out. Then this data would be released to the public so that the electorate could see just how or if there would be any difference in the two sets of policies.
So that they could then make an informed and educated decision on the plans of the government and the opposition so when it came to an election people could vote more informed. I also think you could probably extend it to other areas such as reform of services.
Then when it gets to the time for a general election the OBR could do maybe a TV program that would illustrate the different positions that the two parties would have got the country to. Which could list things like national debt, the state of the emergency services and the NHS and all the other things may be presented by Andrew Neil or someone. What I think is great about this idea is that you couldn’t have an opposition party saying something really stupid like they would give every one £1,000 because that would be factored in to the calculation so overly populous policies couldn’t be trouped out just to win votes then returned to the closet under the stairs.
In my opinion it would be beneficial for everyone, opposition leaders would really have to think about what they were saying, the government may pick up on an idea that they missed and implement it and above all the voters would get to see the big what if question. So its win win all round.
Of late all you have really heard from the Labour party and the left in general is complaints about reforms to the NHS, which are long overdue. They have done as much scaremongering as they possibly can about how the NHS will change in to some American System and if you can’t afford to pay then you will basically die in the streets.
However if we cast our minds back to 2010, the Labour party themselves were saying that reform was needed and that bringing in private companies to the NHS would benefit the system and make it better for everyone. Yet now in opposition they apparently just want to oppose everything that is being done, regardless if it’s needed or will benefit society.
Anyhow back to the point, the NHS I think everyone approves of and likes; and its always the corner stone of any general election campaign. As you can win over some swing voters by saying you’ll pump in x many millions of pounds to cancer treatment or maternity care.
However come 2015, the Labour party have put themselves in a very tight corner. For them to be able to legitimately use the NHS as a campaigning tool, there is only one situation that they will be able to legitimately use; and that is that the NHS is in a worse situation than it is now be that patient care has got worse or its costing a lot more money to operate the NHS than now with increased bureaucracy. If the changes do very little and its much about the same as it is now, then they have no grounds if the NHS is more efficient and treats patients quicker, patients are happier or it saves money then they have shot themselves in the foot.
The point of an opposition party is to oppose things that are bad for the country, where as the NHS reform is much needed. However Labour seem to think that they can win votes by just opposing everything the government does which will win them the hard-line socialist vote who are inherently opposed to any Conservative policy, which they already have. Their other policies are either about as coherent as a very drunk person or as easy to find as a needle in a haystack.
As a person interested in politics I find the Labour position bemusing at best and confusing at worst. As a member of society I am shocked especially at their stance on the NHS, as it’s almost as if they are willing the NHS to get worse in that people are suffering more, waiting longer and in some cases dyeing when they didn’t need to; that stance to me I find particularly abhorrent. As a conservative I encompasses all of those points, however although there is a sense of inevitability of the result of the next general election I think we need to tread carefully as a Conservative majority is ours to lose at this point and we need to keep highlighting the inherent flaws that permeate through the current opposition that we face.