Coffee House

There’s supposed to be a ‘cost of living crisis’, Ed. Will free gym use solve it?

17 April 2014

17 April 2014

There was much excitement on Tuesday night when Labour’s Pat McFadden, a former business and employment minister, appeared on Newsnight and said:

‘I want to see a Labour Party that takes wealth creation every bit as seriously as its fair distribution. I’m all for justice and fairness in the work place. But you have got to create wealth too.’

Tory spinners set to work. ‘Miliband needs to show that wealth creation matters,’ they said. ‘Even his supporters are critical.’

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Tory spinners would say that, wouldn’t they? McFadden was merely one disgruntled voice (and with some form). But the chorus of concern has built over the last 24 hours; encouraged, no doubt, by the improving inflation, employment and wage numbers. Tim Shipman has details in the Mail:

“One source said the news that wages are now outstripping inflation has ‘kicked out the stool’ from under Labour… Another ex-minister said: ‘We’re using the cost of living argument as a substitute for economic competence. If you’re going to reduce the cost of living, you need an economic means of doing so.’”

Twelve months out from a general election and Labour has no plan. That is a literal statement. I asked a party official if he could tell me about Labour’s campaign for the local elections; he replied: ‘Wish I knew.’

Nature cannot abide a vacuum, so it’s little surprise to see that eccentric policies are emerging on the ground. I am a voter in Southwark, where the local Labour Party is promising to ‘make swimming and gym use free for all residents in Southwark’ and ‘open a credit union account with a £10 opening deposit for every 11 year old, and help them get good money advice.’

There is supposed to be a ‘cost of living crisis’ (and, in fact, there is), why is money to be wasted in such a fashion?

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Show comments
  • Tony_E

    As the election draws closer, the Tories are going to have to hone their message down to very simple and hard to ignore points.

    The big one should be the economy. And they shouldn’t bother too much with a positive message, they should just relentlessly attack every labour policy on it. The last Labour government gives rich pickings, the current labour party stuffed with guilty men. Negative campaigns are more effective.

    I still don’t think the tories will be able to win a GE, maybe they will never win again, so prevalent now is the apparent desire for redistribution and socialism and the re-emergence of class division . But they can certainly make it hard for Labour.

  • Colonel Mustard

    Let’s hope someone in Southwark sues the a***e of them for discrimination. If their ridiculous “equality and fairness” agenda is to be believed every man, woman and child in Southwark should get £10.

    But of course like devolution Labour only open up division and disparity at taxpayers cost.

  • GalePRobinson

    They would say that, wouldn’t they? McFadden was merely one disgruntled voice (and with some form). But the chorus of concern has built over the last 24 hours; encouraged, no doubt, by the improving inflation, employment and wage numbers.

  • GUBU

    All this is hardly surprising when the Labour Party is led by a man who has campaigned in tandem with a giant plastic icecube – which had more stage presence than he did.

    At the same time I do not share your evident contempt for the rather mundane offers being made by some of our politicians. I for one would feel much happier if Mr Milliband focused his party’s efforts on a single tangible objective – say to improve the turnaround time on shoe repairs – rather than developing economic policies.

    Look where all that policymaking got us last time…

    • HookesLaw

      ‘improve the turnaround time on shoe repairs’ – cobblers I say.

      • dado_trunking

        Timpsons hold a monopoly position in that market. Who’s to blame?
        Don’t answer that, I don’t care – what matters is that yet another market activity has led to falling standards (plastic footware), questionable quality and NO competition. It all ends there eventually. What those you want a real market must do is facilitate it.

        • GUBU

          Timpsons, whilst very visible, do not have a monopoly on shoe repairs in the UK.

          They do, however, have a complaints procedure which you might want to use if you are dissatisfied with them, although I’m sure whoever answers the phone usually deals with compaints about poor stitching of soles rather than accusations of distorting free markets.

          • dado_trunking

            You see, there we have it – ‘stitched soles’ is something not found north of Milton Keynes. They have died a slow and certain death, exactly for the reasons I state. Not so in Switzerland, Portugal, Italy, Spain, Austria, France, Germany and so on where a wide range of skilled cobblers and leatherware workers still operate in a far more diverse and competitive high street setup.

  • HookesLaw

    Come election time and Labour are promising free money. Its no surprise.

    • telemachus

      And of course you are still promising blood sweat and tears

      • HookesLaw

        No a programme of tax cuts to reward austerity. Not spending for its own sake.
        But following Labours disastrous legacy there is not much left to offer but blood sweat and tears to get out of the mess. We need more of that rhetoric from the govt.

      • Colonel Mustard

        And of course you are still lying. But that should not surprise us. You have endorsed Labour gaining power by any means several times.

        Labour – the party of lies, lying and liars.

      • Realpolitik

        All you do is encourage us to get out there and vote Tory/UKIP, thanks for all of your help!

  • anyfool

    These are an instalment on payments/bribe to their new core vote, the vote they imported from the Third World, to replace the working class voters who opted for Thatcher.
    There will be many more of these idiocies proposed and enacted if Labour ever get their hands on the tiller again.

    • telemachus

      Listen son
      We are a rich country
      At present the spoils are shared between Osborne and his rich friends
      Some of the benefits must be shared around

      • McRobbie

        Not as rich as we were before labour and the balloon brown got their hands on our taxes.

        • telemachus

          I would agree if you substitute when for before

          • HookesLaw

            If Brown could find room for 20 billion savings in the NHS in 2010, why did he have to spend the money in the first place?

            • Realpolitik

              The same reason he’s a hit and run driver; he doesn’t give a S**T

      • Colonel Mustard

        More lies.

        • telemachus

          To answer your own statistical lies on the Blair/Brown magnificent picture thread:


          So for those without the patience to browse statistics I will summarise the Colonel’s point that as an overall percent most LAST year were still within the 18 week target
          As you would expect they do not go into the median wait which is getting closer to that now or the projections for breaching the target next year
          I urge you all to go down to your GP and ask how long a wait it will be for a routine anything

          • CharlietheChump

            You go and ask him to check your head

          • wycombewanderer

            Half of all foreign trained doctors would fail to get employment if held to the same standards as UK trained doctors.

            2/3 of those struck off are foreign trained!

            • telemachus

              So correctly we exclude them
              This is appropriate
              But no reason to exclude those dynamic educated east Europeans now driving our economy forward

              • Realpolitik

                Why are you so against training our own people to do these jobs?????

      • Colonel Mustard
        • telemachus

          Staines is as usual off beam
          It is the fact that food banks are increasingly necessary to prevent starvation under this coalition that is so so wrong

          • Colonel Mustard

            Never as “off beam” as you or the “we pay any bribes” party.

      • HJ777


        This ONS document makes it clear that wealth is very extensively redistributed (i.e. shared around):

        • Alexsandr

          ignore him. He just spouts the politics of envy.

        • telemachus

          It is a pity that what appears to be the reality does not translate into how people feel
          Of course how people feel is the basis of how they vote so perhaps it is not such a pity

          • HJ777

            So you want people to decide who to vote for based on misconceptions instead of reality?

            Who do you think is feeding those misconceptions and do you not think that they are behaving dishonestly?

      • Realpolitik

        How are we a rich country??????? Labour voters say the darnedest things.

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