Tag: New Labour

Old New Labour: some thoughts on myths, strengths and weaknesses.

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Most people like to criticise New Labour. In political debates with the right, and people loosely assembled on the “left” and pseudo-left, with a variety of affiliations, ranging from the Green Party, the SNP, the Socialist party, TUSC, Left Unity to UKIP and the Judean People’s Popular Front, you can bet your bottom, top and middle dollar that Tony Blair will be wheeled out and painted in curses as the High Priest of “neoliberalism” sooner rather than later, I set my watch and warrant on it. But it’s become difficult to separate party politicking and opportunism from the genuine and useful commentaries.

Labour Party supporters and members also criticise Blair, of course. Quite properly so. However, it’s about time we learned that in order to learn constructively and move on, we must also balance those criticisms with some acknowledgement of New Labour’s achievements. We have tended to focus on the negatives. That puts us in a defensive position – apologising endlessly for the same things over and over again, and it’s difficult to advance from such a position. Even the term “Blairite” has become a deprecatory one. Yet Blair gave us the Good Friday Agreement, Every Child Matters, the Equality Act, the Human Rights Act, the Gender Recognition Act, the Fox Hunting Ban, among many others.

This said, much of that depreciation is probably justified, but not fully. I’ve watched centrists and those of us further left polarise more and more, and that can only weaken us and lead to diversionary infighting in the long run. Our focus ought to be on making progress, not on “Progress.” I have nonetheless been concerned that the core of centrists have contributed to negative media campaigns directed at the left of the party. But this said, some of the more aggressive amongst the so-called “hard left” haven’t done the party any favours either, on the whole. For the record, the “hard left” are also in a minority. Most of our membership are anti-neoliberals and occupy a loose left of centre position, which is not the same as “hard left”.

No party is or ought to be above criticism, but it’s not wholly constructive or appropriate for Labour to be placed in a position of endlessly defending itself from critics for the same misdemeanor from years ago, over and over, because New Labour also had some rarely mentioned, outstanding and comprehensive flagship policies and achievements very worth celebrating, such as the Climate Change Act, free prescriptions for people being treated for cancer or the effects of cancer and many more. Despite the shift towards neoliberal values on an economic level, (and even much of that was a media manufactured consensus) after the heavily and relentlessly neoliberalising Thatcher years, most of Labour’s social policies have never relinquished our core values of equality, inclusivity and valuing diversity, human rights, cooperation, support of public services and all that our post-war settlement entailed.

It’s worth keeping this in mind now that we have moved on and approach the General Election, just a few months away. If we don’t, we will simply see the Tories returned to office, with more devastation being inflicted on the country to follow. We do need to think more strategically here and spend a vote on something better than that.

And no, I’m not a “Blairite”, just someone who likes to analyse in a conscientious, honest, thorough and balanced way. I’m not a “black and white”, reductionist thinker. People are rarely one just thing, they don’t have only one quality or characteristic, political parties possess a similar kind of complexity. I’m much further left than Blair, with some anarchist principles chucked in the mix. I believe in participatory democracy, and I’m also an advocate of prefigurative movements. If we want a society that is more tolerant and equal, for example, we must practice what we preach and treat others with tolerance and regard them as having equal worth. We must be the change we want to see.

Blair’s policy virtues – which are manifold – seem to have dropped out of our collective memory. Ask a psychologist, and they’ll explain this as a cognitive bias whereby certain positive associations, or in this case negative ones, disproportionately colour an overall opinion about someone.

The Iraq war presents the cognitive short-cut when we talk about Tony Blair. Indeed, the aftermath of Iraq has been so appalling that it has even distorted our understanding of Blair’s role in the war itself. Regardless of how it started and worked out, the 2003 invasion evolved from a debated and democratic parliamentary decision. I didn’t like that decision. Many of us didn’t. Many in the Labour party broke ranks and voted against the war, all of the liberal democrats also did. The Tories all voted for the war.

Most major intelligence agencies also believed that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction – many of Saddam’s generals believed he did. This probably wasn’t a lie fabricated by Blair’s inner circle. That doesn’t mean he didn’t get it wrong, however. He very clearly did.

But it’s also worth considering the fact that Thatcher and other western leaders sold Saddam Hussein the materials to build weapons of mass destruction, including the components for chemical weapons, which were used in a genocide campaign against the Kurdish people. Without that, the first Gulf War under John Major would never had been deemed “necessary.” That war was equally unforgivable. I don’t think the second war would have happened either. The Scott Report brought to light the illegal arms sales from the early 80s, and it undoubtedly contributed to the confusion about Iraq’s capabilities and arsenal. There’s a much bigger picture which also needs some scrutiny. Blair was by no means the only one who should be held accountable for what has happened in Iraq.

Of course, a lot of the intelligence was wrong, we learned in hindsight. However the evidence from the UN and other sources showed that Saddam planned to develop nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction as soon as sanctions yielded. Chemical weapons, which are weapons of mass destruction, had already been deployed against the Kurds. The attacks killed at least 5,000 people and injured 7,000 to 10,000 more, most of them civilians. Thousands more died of complications, diseases, and birth defects in the years after the attack. Dead livestock, contaminated land and subsequent grinding poverty is still a problem in the villages that were attacked, too.

The incident, which has been now officially defined as an act of genocide against the Kurdish people, was and still remains the largest chemical weapons attack directed against a civilian-populated area in history. The Halabja attack has been recognised by the UK, amongst other countries, as a separate event from the Anfal Genocide  – also known as “Chemical Ali” due to the use of chemical weapons, too – that was also conducted against the Kurdish people by the Iraqi regime under Saddam Hussein.

Furthermore, the New York Times and other sources reported recently that from 2004 to 2011, UK and American-trained Iraqi troops repeatedly encountered, and were wounded by, chemical weapons remaining from years earlier during Saddam Hussein’s rule. American troops reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs, according to interviews with dozens of participants, Iraqi and American officials, and heavily redacted intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

140 Labour MPs voted against the Iraq war. I protested against it, as did many of us. But nonetheless I would have an accurate and reasonable account of it, rather than some of the almost hysterical accusations of “war criminal”, “illegal war” “there were no weapons of mass destruction” and so forth, that I very often see. It’s far more complex and horrifying than that.

Like him or loathe him personally, by all means, disagree with and protest the invasion of Iraq, sure, but you ought not let that interfere with being honest and objective about policies and events. It’s great myth that Blair didn’t achieve anything in whilst office; the truth is he fundamentally transformed the country after the Thatcher and Major years. And the Tories really DID leave a “mess”.

It’s not just the Good Friday Agreement, workers rights, tax credits and the minimum wage either, that credit him: he left a vast legacy. Civil partnerships. Bank of England independence. The Welsh Assembly. The Scottish Parliament. Every Child Matters. A mayor of London. A plunging crime rate. Abroad, his brand of interventionism in Sierra Leone and Kosovo successful. He is a hero to Kosovan Albanians, many of whom have named their children “Tonibler” in his honour (well, according to Charlie Burton of GQ fame). Personally I object to wars on principle. But that includes John Major’s Gulf War, which many seem to have forgotten about, and Thatcher’s Falklands war. I also object to illegal arms deals with known despots. I mean, what could possibly go right there? If we want to avoid wars, we need to ensure those most likely to start them aren’t handed weapons of mass destruction from “free marketing” western leaders.

I remember that we didn’t need austerity measures under Blair or Brown, despite the depth of the global depression. That in itself tells us that Tory austerity is entirely ideological. Blair and Brown protected citizens to a considerable degree against the worst ravages of deep global recession. This is something many seem to have forgotten, too. Brown instead proposed an economic stimulus, which is the use of monetary or fiscal policy changes to kick-start a struggling economy. Governments can use tactics such as lowering interest rates, increasing government spending and quantitative easing, to name a few, to accomplish this. Our public services were not cut, Labour continued to invest in them.

I think the myth that Labour “borrowed excessively” has been well and truly exposed, since it’s become common knowledge that the Coalition has borrowed more in just 4 years than the last government, indeed, the Tory-led government borrowing has exceeded that of  every single Labour government combined since 1920.

Thanks to the Labour government’s excellent management of the consequences of the global crash caused by the banks and financial institutions,  we were out of recession by 2009. So the Tory austerity measures, which targeted the poorest people, were completely unjustifiable. Osborne used the “bankrupcy lie” to legitimise an entirely ideological Tory-led program of “shrinking the state“, cutting social support for those who need it and slashing public services. However, whilst the poorest paid dearly, this government handed out £107, 000 each per year to millionaires in the form of a “tax break”.

Cameron has been rebuked twice for lying about “paying down the debt” already. The national debt is still rising. It currently stands at more than twice its level than when the Coalition took office.  Osborne is responsible for more debt than every Labour chancellor in history combined. Even the staunchly Tory Spectator commented that it’s “… a depressing point: the Tory leadership is prepared to use dishonesty as a weapon in this election campaign.”

Miliband denounced New Labour in 2010 and has done so since. He presents a break from the established neoliberal paradigm, which is why the establishment hate him so much. Miliband will extend the best of our long-standing tradition, whilst learning from the worst of our mistakes. His tax proposals, for example, are progressive and fair. His proposal to implement the Leveson recommendations is also a plus. He demonstrated learning from the past when he took a principled stance on Syria in 2013 and led a rebellion that even included some Conservatives, too. Cameron was furious at the time with Miliband, because he was thwarted, and cleverly.

Anyone still believing the biggest myth of all: “allthesame”, needs to actually look at a comparison of policies here, and read this: The ultimate aim of the “allthesame” lie is division and disempowerment of the Left.he

The Labour Party have moved on, progressing since 2010. We need to do likewise. They aren’t perfect and certainly not the solution to everything that’s wrong. But a Labour government would be a start for us to build a strong, united labour movement. We would have a bigger platform from which to push for our common aims of social justice, equality, civil rights and so on. If the Tories remain in power, we will continue to become fragmented, isolated, increasingly silenced and disempowered. My view is that sometimes we have to vote for what’s better for us all, rather than what’s our own prefered best. Taking small steps in a much bigger journey, closing the gap between the ideal and the real is better than seeing the regressive Tory authoritarians returned to office on May 7.

Until ALL of us on the Left learn a little about strategy, learn to look at a bigger picture, learn to organise and unite, the country’s nightmare fate is endless authoritarian neoliberal Tory governments.

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Many thanks to Robert Livingstone for his excellent memes

Manufacturing consensus: the end of history and the partisan man

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The Tories are not “paying down the debt” as claimed. They are “raising more money for the rich”

Austerity is not being imposed by the Coalition to achieve an economic result. Austerity IS the economic result. In the wake of the global banking crisis, the Tories, aided and abetted by the Liberal Democrats, have opportunistically delivered ideologically driven cuts and mass privatisation.

We also know that the government’s own Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) laid bare an important truth – that any semblance of economic recovery is despite the Coalition and not because of them. Yet the Tories have continued to claim that austerity is “working”. The Chairman of the OBR, Robert Chote said:

“Looking over the forecast as a whole – net trade makes very little contribution and government spending cuts will act as a drag.

The OBR state that any slight economic recovery is in no way because of Osborne and Tory policy, but simply due to the wider global recovery from the global crash. 

The government has drastically cut its spending on everything – including the NHS, and welfare in spite of their ludicrous claims to the contrary, this means that the government has consistently damaged the prospect of any economic recovery. This also demonstrates clearly that Coalition policy is driven by their own ideology rather than a genuine problem-solving approach to the economy. Yes, I know I’ve said all of this before – and so have others – but it’s so important to keep on exposing this Tory lie.

However, I believe that Conservatives really do have a conviction that the “big state” has stymied our society: that the “socialist relic” – our NHS and our Social Security system, which supports the casualties of Tory free markets, have somehow created those casualties. But we know that the competitive, market choice-driven Tory policies create a few haves and many have-nots.

Coalition rhetoric is designed to have us believe there would be no poor if the welfare state didn’t “create” them. If the Coalition must insist on peddling the myth of meritocracy, then surely they must also concede that whilst such a system has some beneficiaries, it also creates situations of insolvency and poverty for others.

Inequality is a fundamental element of the same meritocracy script that neoliberals so often pull from the top pockets of their bespoke suits. It’s the big contradiction in the smug, vehement meritocrat’s competitive individualism narrative. This is why the welfare state came into being, after all – because when we allow such fundamentally competitive economic dogmas to manifest, there are always winners and losers. It’s hardly “fair”, therefore, to leave the casualties of competition facing destitution and starvation, with a hefty, cruel and patronising barrage of calculated psychopolicical scapegoating, politically-directed cultural blamestorming, and a coercive, pathologising and punitive behaviourist approach to the casualities of inbuilt, systemic, inevitable and pre-designated sentences of economic exclusion and poverty.

And that’s before we consider the fact that whenever there is a Conservative-led government, there is no such thing as a “free market”: in reality, all markets are rigged to serve elites.

Political theorist Francis Fukuyama, announced in 1992 that the great ideological battles between “east and west” were over, and that western liberal democracy had triumphed. He was dubbed the “court philosopher of global capitalism” by John Gray. In his book The End of History and the Last Man, Fukuyama wrote:

“At the end of history, it is not necessary that all societies become successful liberal societies, merely that they end their ideological pretensions of representing different and higher forms of human society…..What we are witnessing, is not just the end of the cold war, or a passing of a particular period of postwar history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalisation of western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.”

I always saw Fukuyama as an ardent champion of ultra-neoliberalism, and he disguised his neo-conservatism behind apparently benign virtue words and phrases (as part of a propaganda technique called Glittering Generalities), such as “Man’s universal right to freedom.” 

He meant the same sort of self-interested “freedom” as Ayn Rand – “a free mind and a free market are corollaries.” He meant the same kind of implicit Social Darwinist notions long held by Conservatives like Herbert Spencer – where the market rather than evolution decides who is “free,” who survives, and as we know, that’s rigged. Tory ideology does not ever have a utilitarian outcome.

Fukuyama’s ideas have been absorbed culturally, and serve to naturalise the dominance of the Right, and stifle the rationale for critical debate.

Like Marx, Fukuyama drew to some extent on the ideas of Hegel – who defined history as a linear procession of “epochs” – technological progress and the progressive, cumulative resolution of conflict allowed humans to advance from tribal to feudal to industrial society. Fukuyama was determined to send us on an epic detour – Marx informed us the journey ended with communism, but Fukuyama has diverted us to another destination.

I agree with Fukuyama on one point: since the French Revolution, democracy has repeatedly proven to be the fundamentally better system (ethically, politically, economically) than any of the alternatives. However we haven’t witnessed the “triumph of liberal democracy” at all: in the UK, we are seeing the imposition of rampant, unchecked neoliberalism coupled with an unyielding, authoritarian-styled social conservatism, with the safety net of democracy removed.

Fukuyama’s declaration manufactures an impression of global consensus politics but I believe this is far from the truth. I don’t believe this can possibly be the endpoint of humanity’s sociocultural evolution. It doesn’t reflect any global and historical learning or progress.

Jacques Derrida (Specters of Marx (1993) ) said that Fukuyama – and the quick celebrity of his book – is but one symptom of the wider anxiety to ensure the “death of Marx”. He goes on to say:

“For it must be cried out, at a time when some have the audacity to neo-evangelize in the name of the ideal of a liberal democracy that has finally realized itself as the ideal of human history: never have violence, inequality, exclusion, famine, and thus economic oppression affected as many human beings in the history of the earth and of humanity. Instead of singing the advent of the ideal of liberal democracy and of the capitalist market in the euphoria of the end of history, instead of celebrating the ‘end of ideologies’ and the end of the great emancipatory discourses, let us never neglect this obvious macroscopic fact, made up of innumerable singular sites of suffering: no degree of progress allows one to ignore that never before, in absolute figures, have so many men, women and children been subjugated, starved or exterminated on the earth.”

Fukuyama’s work is a celebration of neoliberal hegemony and a neo-conservative endorsement of it. It’s an important work to discuss simply because it has been so widely and tacitly accepted, and because of that, some of the implicit, taken-for-granted assumptions and ramifications need to be made explicit.

I don’t think conviction politics is dead, as claimed by Cameron – he has said that he doesn’t “do isms”, that politics is doing “what works”, “working together in the National interest” and “getting the job done”. But we know he isn’t working to promote a national interest, only an elite one. Cameron may have superficially smoothed recognisable “isms” from Tory ideology, but Nick Clegg has most certainly taken the politics out of politics, and added to the the impression that old polarities no longer pertain –  that all the main parties have shifted to the right.

However, the authoritarian Right’s domination of the ideological landscape, the Liberal Democrat’s complete lack of any partisan engagement and their readiness to compromise with their once political opponents has certainly contributed to popular disaffection with mainstream politics, and a sense of betrayal.

It’s ironic that many of those on the left who mistake divisiveness for a lack of political choice have forgotten the degree of consensus politics between 1945 and 1979, when Labour achieved so much, and manifested what many deem “real” socialist ideals. The Conservatives at that time largely agreed the need for certain basic government policies and changes in government responsibility in the decades after World War II, from which we emerged economically exhausted.

The welfare state, the national health service (NHS), and widespread nationalisation of industry happened at a time of high national debt, because the recommendations of the Beveridge Report were adopted by the Liberal Party, to some extent by the Conservative Party, and then most expansively, by the Labour Party.

It was Thatcher’s government that challenged the then accepted orthodoxy of Keynesian economics – that a fall in national income and rising unemployment should be countered by increased government expenditure to stimulate the economy. There was increasing divergence of economic opinion between the Labour and the Tories, ending the consensus of the previous decades. Thatcher’s policies rested on a strongly free-market monetarist platform aiming to curb inflation by controlling the UK’s money supply, cut government spending, and privatise industry, consensus became an unpopular word.

The Thatcher era also saw a massive under-investment in infrastructure. Inequality increased. The winners included much of the corporate sector and the City, and the losers were much of the public sector and manufacturing. Conservatism: same as it ever was.

Those on the “Narxist” left who claim that there is a consensus – and that the Blair government continued with the tenets of Thatcherism need to take a close look at Blair’s policies, and the important achievements that were underpinned with clear ethical socialist principles: strong themes of equality, human rights, anti-discrimination legislation, and strong programmess of support for the poorest, sick and disabled and most vulnerable citizens. Not bad going for a party that Narxists lazily dubbed “Tory-lite”.

Narxism is founded on simplistic, sloganised references to Marxist orthodoxy, and the claim to “real socialism.” Many Narxists claim that all other political parties are “the same.”

The Narxist “all the samers” tend to think at an unsophisticated populist level, drawing heavily on a frustratingly narrow lexicon of blinding glittering generalities, soundbites and slogans. But we need to analyse and pay heed to what matters and what defines a political party: policies and their impact. Despite New Labour’s shortcomings, if we are truly to learn anything of value and evolve into an effective opposition, presenting alternatives to the Conservative neoliberal doxa, we must also examine the positives: a balanced and even-handed analysis. We won’t progress by fostering further divisions along the longstanding “real socialist”, “left” and “moderate” faultlines.

It’s very clear that it is the Coalition who are continuing Thatcher’s legacy. We know this from the Central Policy Review Staff (CPRS) report, which was encouraged and commissioned by Thatcher and Howe in 1982, which shows a radical, politically toxic plan to dismantle the welfare state, to introduce education vouchers, ending the state funding of higher education, to freeze welfare benefits and to introduce an insurance-based health service, ending free health care provision of the NHS. One of the architects of the report was Lord Wasserman, he is now one of Cameron’s advisors.

New Labour had 13 years to fulfil Thatcher’s legacy – and did not. However, in four short years, the Coalition have gone a considerable way in making manifest Thatcher’s ideological directives. To do this has required the quiet editing and removal of Labour’s policies – such as key elements of Labour’s Equality Act .

The imposed austerity is facilitated by the fact that we have moved away from the equality and rights based society that we were under the last Labour government to become a society based on authoritarianism  and the market-based distribution of power. The only recognisable continuity is between Thatcher’s plans and Cameron’s policies. The intervening Labour government gave us some respite from the cold and brutal minarchism of the Tories.

There was never a greater need for partisan politics. The media, which is most certainly being managed by the authoritarian Tory-led government creates an illusory political “centre ground” – and a manufactured consensus – that does not exist.

Careful scrutiny and comparison of policies indicates this clearly. Yet much propaganda in the media and Tory rhetoric rests on techniques of neutralisation – a deliberately employed psychological method used to direct people to turn off “inner protests”, blur distinctions: it’s a mechanism often used to silence the inclination we have to follow established moral obligations, social norms, as well as recognise our own values and principles. And it’s also used to disguise intentions. Therefore, it’s important to examine political deeds rather than words: policy, and not narratives.

My own partisanship is to fundamental values, moral obligations  and principles, and is certainly none-negotiable. Those include equality, human rights, recognising diversity, justice and fairness, mutual aid, support and cooperation, collective responsibility, amongst others, and the bedrock of all of these values and principles is, of course, democracy.

Democracy exists partly to ensure that the powerful are accountable to the vulnerable. The far-right Coalition have blocked that crucial exchange, and they despise the welfare state, which provides the vulnerable protection from the powerful. They despise human rights.

Conservatives claim that such protection causes vulnerability, yet history has consistently taught us otherwise. The Coalition’s policies are expressions of contempt for the lessons of over a century of social history and administration.

The clocks stopped when the Tories took Office, now we are losing a decade a day.

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Thank you to Robert Livingstone for the pictures. More here

What the Labour Party achieved, lest we forget

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1. Longest period of sustained low inflation since the 60s.
2. Low mortgage rates.
3. Introduced the National Minimum Wage and raised it to £5.52 per hour.
4. Over 14,000 more police in England and Wales.
5. Cut overall crime by 32 per cent.
6. Record levels of literacy and numeracy in schools.
7. Young people achieving some of the best ever results at 14, 16, and 18.
8. Funding for every pupil in England has doubled.
9. Employment is at its highest level ever.
10. 3,700 rebuilt and significantly refurbished schools; including new and improved classrooms, laboratories and kitchens. 
11. 85,000 more nurses.
12. 32,000 more doctors.
13. Brought back matrons to hospital wards.
14. Devolved power to the Scottish Parliament.
15. Devolved power to the Welsh Assembly.
16. Dads now get paternity leave of 2 weeks for the first time.
17. NHS Direct offering free convenient patient advice.
18. Gift aid was worth £828 million to charities last year.
19. Restored city-wide government to London.
20. Record number of students in higher education.
21. Child benefit up 26 per cent since 1997.
22. Delivered 2,200 Sure Start Children’s Centres.
23. Introduced the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
24. £200 winter fuel payment to pensioners & up to £300 for over-80s.
25. On course to exceed our Kyoto target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
26. Restored devolved government to Northern Ireland.
27. Over 36,000 more teachers in England and 274,000 more support staff and teaching assistants.
28. All full time workers now have a right to 24 days paid holiday.
29. A million pensioners lifted out of poverty.
30. The Child Poverty Act – 600,000 children lifted out of relative poverty.
31. Introduced child tax credit giving more money to parents.
32. Scrapped Section 28 and introduced Civil Partnerships.
33. Brought over 1 million social homes up to standard.
34. Inpatient waiting lists down by over half a million since 1997: the shortest waiting times since NHS records began.
35. Banned fox hunting.
36. Cleanest rivers, beaches, drinking water and air since before the industrial revolution.
37. Free TV licences for over-75s.
38. Banned fur farming and the testing of cosmetics on animals.
39. Free breast cancer screening for all women aged between 50-70.
40. Free off peak local bus travel for over-60s and disabled people.
41. New Deal – helped over 1.8 million people into work.
42. Over 3 million child trust funds started.
43. Free eye test for over 60s.
44. More than doubled the number of apprenticeships.
45. Free entry to national museums and galleries.
46. Overseas aid budget more than doubled.
47. Heart disease deaths down by 150,000 and cancer deaths down by 50,000.
48. Cut long-term youth unemployment by 75 per cent.
49. Free nursery places for every three and four-year-olds.
50. Free fruit for most four to six-year-olds at school. 
51. Gender Recognition Act 2004/5
52. Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.
53. Walk-in Health Centres and GP out of hours Service.
54. Digital hearing aids, through the NHS.
55. Children’s Act 2004, 2008 – Every Child Matters.
56. Introduced Smoke–Free legislation, 2007 – child health improving continually since.
57. Retail Distribution Review – ending commission for financial advisers
58. Introduced legislation to make company ‘blacklisting’ unlawful.
59. The Equality Act.
60. Established the Disability Rights Commission in 1999.
61. The Human Rights Act.
62. Signed the European Social Chapter.
63. Launched £1.5 billion Housing Pledge of new affordable housing.
64. The Autism Act 2009.
65. New Deal for Communities Regeneration Programme.
66. All prescriptions free for people being treated for cancer or the effects of cancer.
67. Introduced vaccination to be offered to teenage girls to protect against cervical cancer.
68. Rough sleeping dropped by two thirds and homelessness at its lowest level since the early 1980s
69. 2009 Marine and Coastal Access Act.
70. Increased Britain’s offshore wind capacity than any country in the world, to provide enough electricity to power 2 million homes.
71. Led the campaign to win the 2012 Olympics for London.
72. Introduced the first ever British Armed Forces and Veterans Day to honour past and present achievements of our armed forces.
73. Created a new right of pedestrian access, so that every family has equal opportunity to access the national coastline.
74. Led the campaign to agree a new international convention banning all cluster munitions.
75. Launched the Swimming Challenge Fund to support free swimming for over 60s and under 16s.
76. Sustainable Communities Actcreated community safety partnerships.
77. Set up a dedicated Department for International Development.
78. Cancelled approximately 100 per cent of debt for the world’s poorest countries.
79. Helped lift 3 million people out of poverty each year, globally.
80. Helped to get 40 million more children into school, globally.
81. Worked to ensure polio is on the verge of being eradicated, globally.
82. Ensured 3 million people are now able to access life-preserving drugs for HIV and AIDS.
83. Improved water/sanitation services for over 1.5 million people.
84. Launched a Governance and Transparency Fund to improve governance and increase accountability in poor countries.
85. The Neighbourhood Renewal programme – introduced funding for neighbourhood improvements.
86. The Extending Schools Program – included Breakfast and Homework clubs to improved levels of educational achievement and the longer term life chances of disadvantaged children.
87. Launched the Connexions  Service – provided valuable careers advice and support to young people seeking employment.
88. Introduced Working Family Tax credits to support low paid parents in work and to pay for childcare.
89. Introduced the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
90. Established The Future Jobs Fund to provide all young people access to a job, training or education.
91. Introduced Warm Front –  helped 2.3 million vulnerable households, those in fuel poverty, with energy efficiency improvements.
92. Guaranteed paid holidays – introduced a law to ensure that everyone who works is entitled to a minimum paid holiday of 5.6 weeks,
93. Introduced the right to request flexible working.
94. Introduced improved work hours – introduced a law so employers cannot force employees to work more than 48 hours a week.
95. Protection against unfair dismissal – introduced protections for workers and increased the maximum compensation from £12,000 to around £63,000.
96. Introduced Rights for Part-time workers – the right to equal pay rates, pension rights, pro-rata holidays and sick pay.
97. Introduced the Right to breaks at work
98. Introduced the Right to representation  – every worker can be a member of a trade union and be represented in grievance and disciplinary hearings.
99. Rights for parents and carers – introduced the right to time off to deal with unexpected problems for their dependants, such as illness.
100. Introduced literacy and numeracy hours in schools and extended diversity to the curriculum.
101. Reduced class sizes to 30 for 5-7 year old children.
102. Introduced a public interest test, allowing governments to block international business takeovers on three specific grounds: media plurality, national security or financial stability.
103. Introduced the (anti-)Bribery Act 2010
104. Established the Standards Board for England under Labour’s Local Government Act 2000 for promoting and ensuring high ethical standards and code of conduct in local government.

105. Introduced the first ever Climate Change Act 2008.

544807_370332463014480_1710535589_nThanks to Rory Doona for this excellent graphic.


 This list was condensed from: Political Parties – NOT all as bad as each other

Some more sources here.

1- 50 were originally listed in the Telegraph. However, I recognised that some of Labour’s best achievements were not included, so I gathered the rest together over couple of years for this compilation. 

Where Labour policies are cited, I have researched and verified them to ensure that the list accurate. You can find them listed on 

See also: Labour’s animal welfare policies

Many thanks to Robert Livingstone for his valuable additions and for his brilliant pictures.