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Labour manifesto contains little to excite

When Brown first became Prime Minister there was a great expectation that he would announce bold new policies. He had schemed so long to get the keys to 10 Downing Street, the assumption was he had a big plan. The policies never came.  The 2010 Labour manifesto is also pretty threadbare, and somewhat left-leaning, if The Guardian's preview of it is accurate. New proposals include the possibility of "a cap on interest charged by credit card companies" and other finalised commitments:

  • "Provisions for the management of inefficient police forces to be taken over by efficient forces. "Where service is not good enough, it will be taken over by the best.";
  • "Simultaneous referendums on a new voting system for the Commons and a 100% elected second chamber.";
  • "A national youth service alongside votes at 16.";
  • "Rights for football supporters to take over football clubs.";
  • "A living wage of £7.60 in Whitehall, funded by a cap on the salaries of the most highly paid public sector employees."

The living wage policy is a victory for Labour's Left, reports The Telegraph;

"The “living wage” policy is said to be at the centre of the party’s manifesto, and would directly benefit at least 200,000 low-paid civil servants and suppliers. As well as staff working directly for government departments in roles such as administration and payroll, around 100,000 private sector workers would receive indirect pay rises."

In The Independent a group of commentators give the Labour party advice on how to beat Cameron. The counsel of Neal Lawson, of the left-wing Compass group, may not be adopted now but it gives a taste of Labour's future:

"People want policies that will make a difference to their lives. Gordon Brown will go into the election with Labour trailing the Tories by around 10 per cent. Election campaigns rarely change such leads, unless the party trailing does something to completely change the terms of debate for the campaign. These are tough times caused by irresponsibility at the top of big corporations. Labour should promise to make the banks safe by separating investment banks from services banks. They should introduce a "Tobin tax" on bank transactions, set up a high-pay commission to tackle excessive pay, cap interest rates on unsecured loans, increase the minimum wage, and close the gender pay gap. They should promise to holding a binding referendum on electoral reform, scrap Trident and use the money saved to provide specialised health cover and affordable housing for service personnel, tax junk mail, ban advertising aimed at children, replace student top-up fees with a graduate tax, and renationalise the railways. There is nothing for Labour to be scared of. It will be timidity not bravery that will stop Labour beating the Tories."

The advice of other commentators can be read here.

Tim Montgomerie