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Sunday, 14 May 2017

Another conservative "policy" which does not bear scrutiny

Theresa May unveils plan to build new council houses

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The extent to which the conservatives are now desperately seeking to claw back the initiative in the election campaign, is revealed in today's announcement from the Theresa May camp. In a stunning about turn from conservative party policy, a policy which has been the backbone of conservative ideology for almost 40 years, Theresa May has unveiled a plan to build new council houses. In an equally astonishing departure from its usual position of opposition to social housing of any description, the Telegraph enthusiastically endorses the "new" policy, grudgingly acknowledging that, "In the last twenty years, the decline in local authority house building has left England with a dwindling social housing stock as demand for housing has risen". A conservative "policy" to build social housing in this country and endorsed by the Telegraph, must have Margaret Thatcher rotating rapidly in her grave, particularly as the "policy" is yet another steal directly from the Labour party manifesto.

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However, the devil is in the detail and closer examination of the "policy" reveals that the conservative version is not a plan to build more council houses at all, but a plan to introduce measures to, "encourage the building of new social housing to help thousands of families" and to "support the most ambitious councils" and housing associations to overturn the decline in social housing". All very fine words but which amount to nothing more than empty rhetoric. When Teresa May called this election, everyone knew that it had little to do with Brexit and "strong and stable government", but everything to do with media generated reports of a conservative lead in the polls of 20 or even 40% and the prospect for the government to completely wipe out any opposition in the Commons. A conservative exercise in cold, cynical political opportunism.   
As the days have passed, it has become increasingly obvious that the "opinion polls" have been just propaganda designed to undermine and discredit the Labour party leadership and generate gloom and despondency among Labour supporters. The effect however seems to have been the direct opposite, as more and more people are coming to support the Labour party as the campaign policies and proposals are put before the voters through speeches, television appearances and publication of our manifesto. The idea of a government for the many not the few is now a distinct probability. 
The conservatives are now on the back foot and realizing that their opinion poll lead was no more than a myth, are playing catch up as the Labour party presses ahead. The problem for the conservatives is that where they expected a landslide win they have taken the result for granted and consequently have not prepared any policies or proposals of their own to put before the electorate. They have systematically, stolen policies and proposals from current and past Labour party manifesto's, rearranged a few words, changed an emphasis here and there and then presented the corrupted text as their own work and idea. 
This latest announcement is no exception.

Image result for The Labour party is pledged to  build 1 million new homes

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The Labour party is pledged to  build 1 million new homes, including 100,000 social housing homes, divided between council houses and housing association homes, by the end of the next parliament. That is not a policy to "encourage" the building of new social housing, (which is just a conservative cop out to give the impression that they are addressing the problem), but a firm promise to those people and families in this country who have no prospect of either owning or renting a home of their own. It is a promise to build homes rather than just think about it and then make vague promises to do something at some time in the future as the conservatives have done on numerous occasions in the past. 
The Labour party has also promised, rent rises capped to inflation and legal minimum standards in properties for rent. Providing £6 billion extra annual funding for the NHS through increased income tax for top 5% earners, increased tax on private medical insurance and halving management consultants' fees.Mental health budgets ring-fenced.Pay cap scrapped.EU NHS workers' rights immediately with many more proposals for taxation, infrastructure, energy, education, Creation of a Ministry of Labour to deliver investment in enforcing workers' rights and to Repeal Trade Union Act, "Triple lock" guaranteed throughout next parliament or kept to at least 2.5 per cent.Winter fuel allowance and free bus passes kept as universal benefits.The Labour party is presenting a manifesto which will transform Britain. A manifesto which has already been widely accepted and welcomed by the electorate and by many sectors of British industry and commerce.together with charity organisations and healthcare bodies. The conservative party and the media are aware of this, which may explain why sections of Labour party programmes from this and previous years are being lifted from the manifesto's, diluted and scrambled then regurgitated as original conservative thinking.With no original thinking of their own, they rely on a shabby deception in the hope that no one will notice.The conservatives are lagging in the catch up stakes and they know it..
Our course is clear. We must continue to argue for our policies and our manifesto in the knowledge that people around the country are responding to our message. We must continue to campaign for a society for the many not the few.