Thursday, April 26, 2012

Never forget you have a choice.

Remember this from 2010? It proved sadly prescient. 

In the last 13 weeks of the Labour government, we added £15 billion to the economy, driving it to recovery. Since then, the recovery has flatlined. 

In the last 637 days of the Tory government, they have struggled to add £5 billion. 

In the seven quarters since Osborne took the helm of the economy, aided by the useful idiot Danny Alexander, the economy has gone backwards in four. The fantasy of an export-led recovery, as seen in Canada in the 1990s has been exposed as the pipe-dream it always was.

However, the problem isn't the technical recession - I can assure you that out there in the real world, it has felt like a recession for a long time. Perhaps even recession isn't the right word - we're just bouncing along the bottom. I'd expect a pickup over the summer, but not by much and ongoing sluggish growth and contraction.

As I noted here, the recovery - such as it is - has taken longer than in any recession on record, including that in the 1930s. A far better qualified economist than me, the Nobel laureate Paul Krugman, makes exactly this point - that this was a choice not enforced upon us by the bond markets or the European Central Bank and adds a warning:
The defense I hear from Cameron apologists is that the austerity mostly hasn’t even hit yet. But that’s really not much of a defense. Remember, the austerity was supposed to work by inspiring confidence; where’s the confidence? Basically, the expansionary aspect should already have kicked in; it’s all contraction from here. 
The private sector has not stepped up to the plate to replace the contracted state - and there are lots more cuts to come. 

The fact is, this is a depression manufactured in Downing Street by an utterly incompetent government. They try to shift the blame onto the Eurozone, ignoring the fact that up to 2010, the Eurozone and UK recoveries were tracking nicely together. After the May election, they diverged as the UK recovery stalled. 

The figures hide the fact that it is ordinary people and families that are suffering in this depression. I'm certainly not celebrating this awful news. 

However, we need to remember that in 2010, people had a choice about which road we would follow. 

You have a choice again on May 3. 

Time to change direction.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Where Labour leads...

Just a reminder that it isn't only on the campaign to save the police station in Yardley where Labour leads the way. You may recall that when the station was threatened, the Liberal Democrats ran a survey, but Labour took action and brought the key police authority finance chair down to the site to discuss it with him directly.

The same applies to the funding for Acocks Green station announced last year to improve access to the platforms for those relying on wheels. It was back in 2007 in an earlier campaign that I raised this with Roger Horton, then the vice chair of CENTRO and after that, Acocks Green was added to the list for work to be done under the scheme launched by Labour.

We may not see the fruits until 2014, but sometimes these things do take time.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Women and families hit hardest by Lib Dem/Tory cuts

Women are the heart of our family and society, but they have been hit hardest by savage cuts imposed by this Tory/Lib Dem government. And the Lib Dem MP for Yardley has supported the cuts all the way, calling them ‘necessary.’

Labour supported women and families – we doubled child care places, we doubled maternity pay, we toughened laws on domestic violence and removed discrimination from the pensions system. Labour showed that there is a different way – a better way.

With 96,000 more women out of work than in May 2010 - over 3000 of them in Birmingham, the figure is the highest in decades. Two thirds of public sector workers are women. They are the hardest hit by the 400,000 jobs cut from public services - jobs that often fitted in with families, school runs and term-time. 32,000 women have given up work as they can't afford childcare. The changes to tax credits have made over 1000 families poorer in Yardley alone - affecting over 2000 children, while the Liberal Democrats give £14,000 tax cuts to millionaires.

Labour thinks this is wrong. 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Estelle Morris back in Yardley

We had a really good day with a series of doorstep sessions across Yardley on Saturday and were delighted to have Estelle Morris join us. She's still held in very high esteem in the constituency, despite having stood down as the MP in 2005 - she is much missed by many and is always a popular figure on the doorsteps.

We're even picking up new members and helpers as a result of our campaigning in Acocks Green.

2300 West Midlands Police jobs face the axe

Under Labour, crime fell every year.

The Liberal Democrats promised 3000 new police officers. 

Instead, they are cutting 16,000 nationwide. 

West Midlands Police are being forced to make deep cuts by this government. A thousand jobs have already gone and more are at risk. These cuts cost us experienced officers with decades of vital crime-fighting knowledge.

Speaking for ordinary officers, the Police Federation said, 
We have no doubt that cuts to police budgets will lead to more crime.
In 2011, over a thousand years of police experience was forcibly retired. 

At the time, DC Tony Fisher said,
"I use the analogy, West Midlands Police are being a bit like the Villa, going down and very quickly... You can even see now the front-line policing is affected, burglary detection rates, robbery detection rates are down, robberies and burglaries are going up and to be honest it's been quite soul destroying to see these changes."
Does it seem fair that officers in the West Midlands are being forced out of work - and then asked to come back as volunteer Special Constables?

The Liberal Democrats and the Tories on the West Midlands Police Authority supported the moves towards privatising parts of the service - moves opposed by the Labour Group.