In today’s “letters page” as featured in the Leicester Mercury, local Labour Party MEP Glenis Willmott boasts of Labour’s commitment to equality, proudly advertising the fact that Labour’s voting record on supporting same-sex marriage exceeds that of both the Tories and UKIP. This is great news, but as we all now know, Labour’s overall record on supporting the working-class is less than exemplary.
So it is particularly funny that Mrs Willmott’s letter is sandwiched between two letters that are highly critical of Labour’s track-record. The first is a letter that I submitted to the Mercury last week, which calls for some public scrutiny into the background of recently elected Labour councillor, Teresa Aldred, who in the recent past was an active member of the BNP and supported racist protests against members of her local Muslim community on Thurnby Lodge.
The second letter argued that Labour Party “Re-branding is not enough,” especially under the leadership of local Leicester West MP Liz Kendall. Here the author suggests that the “two most damaging policies pursued in the last 25 years are privatisation and private finance initiatives”; both of which Ms Kendall is supportive of — which is unsurprising given her preposterous preening on the right-wing of the Labour Party. For some background on Labour’s historic attacks on the NHS, Allyson Pollock reminds us in her excellent book NHS plc: The Privatisation of Our Health Care (2004) that:
“When Labour came to power in 1997 no Private Finance Initiative (PFI) hospital-buildng contracts had been signed, and in public Labour appeared ambivalent about the policy. Harriet Harman, Labour’s first minister of social security was on record as describing it as a ‘Trojan horse for privatisation’. But one of Labour’s first acts was to push through the legislation required, and within months the first wave of PFI hospital deals had been signed. Alan Milburn, as Secretary of State for Health from 1999 to 2003, liked to call it the largest hospital-building programme in the history of the NHS. The reality is that it was also the largest hospital closure programme. The PFI was paid for by major cuts in clinical budgets and the largest service closure programme in the NHS’s history.” (p.27)