This blog is a political blog from a left-of-centre perspective. This is not specifically a party political blog, but does have a Lib Dem orientation. Constructive enagement with radical liberals, social democrats / democratic socialists and greens is particularly welcomed.

Friday, May 11, 2007

To Be Fair to Blair

I am no fan of Blair, but was a little too harsh in my posting yesterday, so I would recognise the following I see as achievements :

Minimum wage
NI - peace and devolution
Scottish and Welsh devolution
Civil partnership legislation
No boom and bust - a relatively stable economy (albeit one coming under pressure now - Gordon leaving the Treasury at a convenient moment).
Sure Start
Tax Credits for those less well off (albeit fiendishly and unnecessarily complex)
Increased resources for Education + NHS (although not always delivering 'value for money').
Trade Union recognition rights
Compare northern cities like Newcastle, Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester now with how they were during the Thatcher years !

Don't get me wrong there's a whole slew of negatives too, but to always rubbish the 'other side' can leave one looking churlish and silly.

As others have said, come the big occasions and you have to admire the combination of skill, performance and chutzpah of Blair's oratory. Yesterday was one such day.

Finally given a choice between 'authoritarian' Labour and the faux 'liberal Conservative' Cameron crew then I'd go for the former.

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Blogger Tristan said...

Minimum wage - it does not raise wages, merely prices those who are least productive out of the labour market leading to them being unable to (legally) work - this is why there's a lower rate for young people - their productivity is lower due to less experience. Its also why its favoured by unions - it favours their own more highly skilled workers.

Tax Credits - encourage people not to work by penalising them if they do. A waste of money and typically bureaucratic, designed to increase state dependency. Better to not tax in the first place.

Trade Union recognition rights - Trade Unions should be given no more rights than any other group, otherwise they will use it to benefit their members at the expense of everyone else.

The northern cities - ever wondered if the problems of the Thatcher years were infact caused by years of mismanagement under the butskillite consensus? Thatcher kick started the economy which has allowed the growth in these areas of the country rather than yet more stagnation caused by protection of established interests.

Labour are not 'authoritarian' they are plain old authoritarian. They wish to control. That said, Cameron's Tories are just as bad in all likelyhood (although we can't be sure yet, but Tories generally are). To choose one over the other is to choose between two devils.

11:59 pm BST


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