Gordon Brown wrote this morning for the Guardian. He might as well not have bothered:
I am proud of Labour’s record in reducing poverty, improving public services and limiting inequality – in the last 13 years we have done more than any government to tackle poverty, and raised 500,000 children and 900,000 pensioners out of poverty.
Erm withdrawing the 10p tax band? Allowing the extraordinarily rich to get even more rich, at a much faster rate than anyone has been taken out of poverty? He seems to have forgotten his own raid on pensions early in his reign as Chancellor too. Quite appalling.
As we address climate change, we will see a wave of low-carbon industrialisation in the UK as well as the rise of new professional service-sector jobs.
As you address climate change? Third runway at Heathrow? The Vestas fiasco on the Isle-of-Wight? How is that addressing climate change? Where is the low-carbon industrialisation?
We will rapidly make Britain a leading world power in digital industries, introducing the fastest possible broadband system in every part of the country to benefit every business and household.
And in the same bill Peter Mandelson is trying to enshrine the right of government to block any website it chooses, at any time, in secret and without needing a reason. Is that really taking a lead? It’s despotism.
It is increasingly clear that the Conservatives want to remove the security and protection of guaranteed, strong, universal services on which all can rely and in which each has a stake.
I don’t think he wants to see the City Academies’ track records scrutinised too closely. I don’t think he wants to talk about Foundation Hospitals either. And he clearly doesn’t want to talk about universities, whose budgets he’s about to slash, and whose standards have been dumbed down by his and Blair’s insane belief that setting a target of 50% of all school leavers to attend university would lead to increased social mobility. Why bother having universal services if they’re simply crap? Let’s not talk about PFIs either – we’d rather keep that invisible too.
Brown has got to be joking if he expects to win in May on his record (and notice how civil liberties aren’t even obliquely mentioned). And it would have to be on his record, given the complete absence of new ideas in this piece. Fairness? Tell that to asylum seekers and their children. Tell it to people barred from work when the ISA thinks they’re undesirable to work with ‘vulnerable people’ (which is pretty much anyone if you think about it). Tell it to the working class people who can’t get (or keep) jobs because the neoliberal economic system and EU deregulation is allowing foreign workers to get paid even less than them and take their jobs. No, the Tories won’t be better – David Cameron would be much worse, for all sorts of reasons (some of which I’ll mention in a blog post later today), but this man’s record is a disgrace. Do we really want more of the same?
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