Ilford recorder column August 2010

It is clear that far from acting as a moderating influence on David Cameron’s Conservatives  Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats are enthusiastic born again advocates of the small state agenda and  policies like the anti-poor  hike in Value Added Tax that they denounced in opposition.  Both parties are exaggerating  the need to take early savage brutal action to slash the  public sector deficit rather than a more moderate planned combination of economic growth, tax increases on the rich and spending cuts. The Con Dems  are introducing  fundamental and damaging changes to the scope and nature of our public services with profound consequences for the tens of thousands in Redbridge  and millions nationally dependent on the local and national state.     Education Secretary Michael Gove scrapped plans to rebuild hundreds of new schools. He forced  his Academies Bill  stripping powers away from locally elected education authorities through the House of Commons in just one week to prevent proper scrutiny. His tax payer funded  “free”schools  can be set up by cranks and religious extremists operating outside the national curriculum.  The government plans to scrap speed cameras, CCTV, Anti-Social Behaviour orders and DNA testing while planning to slash police numbers and let many criminals out of prison.  Health Secretary Andrew Lansley set out plans  to fundamentally undermine our National Health Service and hand £80 billion  over to the control of GPs with no proper local regional or national scrutiny. This upheaval will cost billions and lead to a postcode lottery  in provision.  Margaret Thatcher was called  “Milk Snatcher” for  taking away school milk from children over 7. Only  a public outcry has stopped plans to get rid of free milk for children under 5. Worse is to come in the Comprehensive Spending Review on October 20th. By then however Labour will have its new leader -  who I hope will be the  very experienced and impressive David Miliband - and its new Shadow cabinet team to robustly oppose  and set out a positive alternative to this right wing government..

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