Labour has decided that this week’s bright idea to try to boost its popularity is to make living standards the battleground of the next election, which could well prove fatal for the party that destroyed 1 million jobs, increased the gap between the poorest and the richest, and extended dependency on state benefits to middle England.
The Opposition has commissioned research from the House of Commons library
which it says shows that working people will lose an average of £6,660 over the course of the parliament, but what they will fail to mention is that the largest part of that income loss is borne by the richest earners in the country. That average loss in income is the very reason why the poverty gap is closing in the UK.
Meanwhile, what they will fail to mention is that under Labour’s proposals as they stand today a family with two working parents and two children at school and a joint income of £ 30,000 (slightly higher than the Manchester norm) will lose £ 1,500 through the reversal of the increase in the Income Tax threshold and £ 200 though increases in Council Tax.
If Labour had been in Government for the past five years then petrol would have increased by 42% above what it is now thanks to their fuel escalator policy, and NHS services relied on by the poorest in our society would have been cut by 20% (as opposed to the increases in spending under this Government).
They also fail to mention that they would have cut education by 20% as opposed to this government increasing education spending and funding the Pupil Premium to help the children from the poorest backgrounds.
Labour point out that prices have risen faster than wages in 36 out of the 37 months since David Cameron has been in Downing Street, but as Lib Dem Government Whip Mark Hunter MP has pointed out: “The reason the cost of living is high is because Labour crashed the economy.
“For them to criticise the coalition for cleaning up their mess is utterly hypocritical.”
Of course, it is no coincidence that Labour’s new offensive, which the party aims to sustain over ‘coming days’, is being launched at a time when even supportive party figures are warning that Ed Miliband and his colleagues are struggling to land blows.
Owen Jones, who has developed a reputation as something of a left-wing firebrand as a commentator for the Independent, has warned that Labour’s messages are currently not as hard-hitting and easy to understand as the Tories.
The “must do better” critique of people like Owen Jones, a left-wing firebrand who writes for the Independent for a little extra-parliamentary cash, has ruffled feathers within the party.
Such rumblings would be quickly forgotten if Labour stormed back from recess with all guns blazing, but if they keep choosing to fight on territory they can not win then whey will continue to fail to make a significant impact, a spikey conference period could be in store for Ed Miliband and his close colleagues.