John Cruddas MP, darling of the Labour left has come up with a 10-point plan, supposedly for the country:
1 – establishment of a High Pay Commission;
2 – greater tax justice, including closing tax havens and more equal distribution of income and wealth;
3 – index link benefit levels, pensions and the minimum wage to average incomes;
4 – replacing tuition fees with a graduate solidarity tax;
5 – a Fair Employment Clause in all public contracts;
6 – windfall and transaction taxes and resetting capital gains tax;
7 – a new covenant with the military, including more investment in mental healthcare, equipment, housing and support for veterans funded by scrapping plans to renew Trident and re-deploying the money saved within the Minister Of Defence budget;
8 – a Green Neal Deal*, to include scrapping the third runway at Heathrow;
9 – remutualisation of the finance sector;
10 – a credit card bill of rights for consumers.
This will address the most pressing issues faced by people today and guarantee a Labour election victory, er..., or maybe not. Labour's strategic problem is that its core vote, the traditional white working class, is peeling away. This is has been their bedrock since the party started, but lately that vote has increasingly split off to minor parties, never mind some drift to the Conservatives. Without this particular section of the population largely voting Labour then the party is in electoral difficulty, and if that vote split becomes permanent then those difficulties are permanent. So, what would a policy list designed to appeal to the ordinary working man look like? The number one issue would certainly not be anything to do with a High Pay Commission, it would be about immigration. Number two would probably relate to employment and number three to housing and so it would go. They would all be real, substantive issues that relate directly to the things that touch people's daily lives, but where the Labour government has drifted hopelessly away. It would look nothing like the list produced by Cruddas.
Hang on though, John Cruddas is a bright chap so he knows all of this. Why has he come up with this nonsense? Well, the answer is quite simple. My nonsense is not the same as that of the sort of people who frequent meetings of Constituency Labour Parties. Cruddas isn't talking to me, or the voters. He is talking to Labour members, for whom the idea of High Pay Commission pushes all of their buttons. This is his opening shot in the Labour civil war after a general election loss. You see, like everyone else, Cruddas doesn't think Labour stand a chance with Brown.