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Labour: No London Manifesto For Us!

By london_will Last edited 141 months ago
Labour: No London Manifesto For Us!
Have you seen this man?

In a move that screams "we're the government, ha ha", Labour has announced that it will not be releasing a London manifesto, claiming its national manifesto contained enough references to the capital.

Anyway, let's see what the ruling party sees fit to draw London's attention to. Once again, crime is centre stage. It's certainly an important issue, but is it really such a top priority to Londoners? Our main parties seem to think so.

Instead, it has published a record of exactly what the party has achieved in London over the past eight years (PDF here). So while the other parties, depite their flaws, have at least published programmes for the single most important city in the country, Labour is content with nostalgia. "Forward no back", eh? Oddly, though, the document finds time to criticise the Conservatives' and Lib Dems' plans while not putting an alternative.

And one can see why Labour might be loath to produce a separate London manifesto - there's precious little here that is specific to our city. Yeah, the minimum wage is great. It isn't a London policy, though. And Labour is keen to grab the occasional Conservative theme, too: school discipline is highlighted, and there's a sad but necessary stab at saying "We're toughest on asylum!", shamelessly linked to the "need" for ID cards.

Hilariously, the document also says "The Tory manifesto makes no mention of London". Um, no. That's because the Tories produced a London manifesto, while Labour seems to be happy with a few photocopied sheets that could apply to any part of the the country.

As with the national Labour campaign, though, there's a focus on London's relatively healthy economy. Which is similar to campaigning on the weather, as there is surprisingly little the government can do to influence the economy either way.

Then there's the Labour perennials - the minimum wage, TV licences for pensioners, tax credits for working families, the wonderful Sure Start scheme, improved NHS and primary education. Nothing to be sniffed at, but little to do with London. The words "NHS dentist" appear nowhere. Nor do the words "tuition fees", or the words "foundation hospitals".

But the most curious omission is Labour's greatest achievement in London - a specifically London achievement, at that. The GLA - giving London a single government, a single voice, and a single mayor.

How odd that that shouldn't get a mention. Is it perhaps because that mayor is one Ken Livingstone?

The impact of the parties on London's economy can be seen in this interesting little BBC piece. Long story short: you'll pay more whoever gets in. But it contains this wonderful fact: there is a Treasury adviser called Will de Peyer. Priceless.

Last Updated 03 May 2005

Dan

"We must go forward, not backward, upward, not forward, and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom." New Labour or Kodos the alien from the Simpsons?

Katcha

I knew the phrase sounded familiar... I guess their branding people watch the Simpsons too.

Robert John Kaper

British national government must be careful they're not doing to London what local government has done to San Francisco, making it fab to visit but horrible to live or work.