This article is one of a series about why Lower 6th students are voting for a particular party in this Thursdays Mock elections. Please find the “Parties” section of the website for other articles in the series.
A lot of people are disillusioned with Politics because there is a perception that the two parties are exactly the same. Perhaps this was true before 2010, but since Ed Miliband has been elected leader he has taken Labour significantly to the left away from the failures of New Labour. Likewise, Cameron has taken it to the right under the influence of UKIP, and consequently there are now clear differences between the two parties.
For example, how our parties will balance the budget and deal with our skyrocketing debt is different, and significant for the future of the country. The Tories have done so by making cuts which hit the poorest in society, and they fail on their own terms by hardly making a dent in the welfare budget. The bedroom tax is the best example of this. When accounting for the emergencies and bureaucracy enforcing it costs, the sanction barely saves any money at all. The cuts to frontline services have reduced economic growth, and the lax labour market regulations have resulted in several low-paid jobs, chiefly 0 hour contracts with more in-work benefits needing to be claimed, and less money going to the Treasury in Income Tax. This coalition, formed to remove the deficit entirely, has barely cut it below £100 billion.
Labour are going to go about it a different way. Labour would raise the tax rate to 50p on the wealthiest, so that the rich are paying for the crisis they caused, not the poor. Additionally they will remove non-domicile status, so if you live in this country, you pay tax in this country. The Labour Party will ban most 0 hour contracts and will raise the minimum wage to £8 an hour, and this will result in a decrease in the welfare budget as more people get decent paying jobs. This will also increase the tax bill to the Treasury and check the rampant inequality growing under the present government. Strict Labour market regulations and high taxes on the rich paid back large amounts of British debt between 1945 and 1979 at paying off debts, why would it not work now? It’s better than Cameron’s austerity which clearly is not working.
A lot of personal attacks have been made on Miliband, and yes, he isn’t the most photogenic leader in the world. But is that really what we judge politics on? He’s more than capable of leadership; he’s shown that by standing up to David Cameron and Barack Obama over foreign policy, Rupert Murdoch over illegal phone tapping and wealthy hedge fund managers who fund the Tories so they can dodge taxes.
Unlike smaller left wing parties such as the Greens, Labours policies are actually practical, achievable and good for the economy. Ideological politics nearly destroyed this country in the 1980’s, when Thatcher pursued Monetarism against all the evidence it did not work, and I doubt a left-wing ideologue such as George Galloway or Natalie Bennett would fare much better. Ed Miliband is a problem solver, not an ideologue, and that’s why I hope he becomes Prime Minister.