Corbyn’s Ten Point Program: What He Could Learn From New Labour

In the run up to the Labour leadership election Jeremy Corbyn has released his 10 point program of pledges (try saying that fast 5 times after a few tequilas); they read rather like a parody twitter account. It reads as follows;

  • An economy that works for all
  • Secure homes for all
  • Security at work
  • Secure our NHS and social care
  • A free national education service
  • Action to secure our environment
  • Democracy in our economy
  • Cut income and wealth inequality
  • Act to end predjudice and injustice
  • Peace and justice abroad

It reads as a list of vague and hollow rhetoric the likes of which politicians have pedalled for decades, more like the set of promises Homer Simpson spews in his attempt to run for Garbage Commissioner than a future PM. I’m not saying that these aren’t issues that Corbyn hasn’t been passionate about throughout his entire career, far from it, but he needs to focus and streamline his policies for consumption by the general public. Though you could argue that this is more about the labour party members, he should be viewing this as the election warm-up, as a chance to garner public support by using this platform to spread his message to the voters.

For comparison, look at the pledges from a 1997 New Labour pledge card;

 

  • Cut class size to 30 or under for 5,6 and 7 year olds. By using money from the assisted places scheme
  • Fast track punishment for persistent young offenders. By halving the time from arrest to sentencing
  • Cut NHS waiting lists by treating an extra 100,00 patients. As a first step by releasing £100 Million saved from NHS red tape
  • Get 250,00 under 25 year olds off benefit and into work. By using money from a windfall levy on private utilities
  • No rise in income tax rates. Cut VAT on heating to 5% and inflation and interest rates as low as possible

Corbyn’s 10 points are vague brushstrokes at massive issues, whereas Blair manages to outline both his flagship policies and economic justifications for each policy in a way that leaves you in little doubt of what New Labour stood for (at least what they thought they did in the early days, in that pre-Iraq Utopia we call the late 90s). Corbyn seems to have missed a trick and attempted to cover as much as possible, he needs to be proud of what he stands for, and the party need to be too. They need to give the public some credit and give them real meaty policies to get stuck into, no-one (except perhaps Homer Simpson) can get elected om vague impossible to fulfil promises. His manifesto needs to read more like one of a future leader with real ideas about moving the country forward, rather than overusing the word security like some sort of Russian foreign policy writer from the height of the Cold War.

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