“There’s no real difference between Labour and the Tories…”

March 2, 2015 at 8:39 pm (class, comedy, film, history, labour party, posted by JD, reformism, Socialist Party)

David Osland writes:

There’s no real difference between Labour and the Tories. Apart from 25 hours free child care, £8 minimum wage, abolishing the bedroom tax and the NHS Act, a freeze on energy bills, a million new homes, a job guarantee for NEETs, £3000 reduction in tuition fees, the introduction of a national care service, reduced GP appointment and cancer test waiting times, thousands of extra nurses and doctors, mansion tax, a ban on MPs taking second jobs, an end to the Free School programme, bankers’ bonus tax and 50p top rate for the rich. But other than that, there’s no real difference between Labour and the Tories.

JD adds: Socialist Party members and (the few) others involved in the rather pathetic ‘T.U.S.C”, should take note.

And as someone in the pub after last Saturday’s Unite The Union United Left meeting (at which the SP/T.U.S.C received a well-deserved hammering), noted, listening to the SP on the subject of the Labour Party, you can’t help thinking of this:


  1. Steven Johnston said,

    Of course! Even if they actually follow through with this, which I doubt, what are you left with; capitalism. Strange that a socialist website should be championing a party of capitalism. £8 an hour, why not £16 an hour eh comrades and then we can work 20 hrs a week. Oh hang on, would that drive jobs away?
    None of this is ‘free’ the money has to be found from somewhere and taking it from the rich, attractive as that is, will just mean they have less money to spend in the economy. Labour had higher taxes the rich in the 1974 – 1979 government and what happened? Inflation was 16% and unemployment rose to over a million and a half. All of what you outline above has been tried before and failed before. House building scheme, check, Wilson did that in the 60’s. Unemployment in 1964 was 400 000, after his 6 year house building scheme, unemployment stood at…wait for it! 600 000. So what went wrong? 50p tax on the rich, check, the result? When Labour left office in 2010 unemployment was higher than when they took office, in fact, every Labour administration leaves office that way. If you want unemployment to fall, please, do no vote Labour!

  2. Steven Johnston said,

    Got the figures!

    1964 rate of unemployment was 1.7%
    1970 it was 2.7%

    1974 it was 2.7%
    1979 it was 5.7%

    1997 2.05 million were unemployed
    2010 the figure was 2.48 million.

    Phew! This Labour lot are not great at getting people into work.

  3. Boleyn Ali said,

    Thanks to Labour my gay son avoided potential criminalisation and now awaits his partners return to the UK on a “fiancé visa”.

    And before anyone tries to credit the Tories with gay marriage this WOULD NOT have happened without Labour setting the agenda. Remember this?

  4. Steven Johnston said,

    Fair point but Clement Atlee never decriminalised homosexuality, so Labour has been ok with homophobia too.
    Congrats on your sons marriage.

    • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

      Steven you must hate Labour. To say what Atlee did not do is silly. What Atlee did do was momentous in British history. Probably the majority of Brits do not have a clue who Atlee was more so when they hobble into an A and E.

      • Steven Johnston said,

        Bah…he nicked the idea of the NHS from German conservatives.


        As for the welfare state…that was the liberals!

      • Steven Johnston said,

        From the BEEB website:

        “A news report in the 21 January 2006 edition of The Guardian newspaper[5] gave the average lifespan of a person living in the Calton area as 53.9 years against a city average of 69 years and the Scottish average of 78”

        Has the NHS (which isn’t socialism) failed in Calton? Failed in Glasgow?

    • Jim Denham said,

      Is that comment from Steven Johnson (re Atlee and homosexuality) an attempt at satire? At first I thought so, but on reflection I’m not so sure.

      • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

        Old Labour did have its homophobes however Blair and Donald Dewar did declare their opposition to homophobia and in my opinion helped towards putting an end to this predudice. I suspect most gay people will probably forget this and vote Tory. Such is history.

      • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

        The Calton is a unique place where people compare the best steak pies at funerals attended.

  5. David Osland said,

    Steven Johnston; you are precisely right, this programme will be watered down and even were it to be implemented, we would still be living under capitalism rather than socialism.

    By contrast, the policies that another Tory or Tory-led government would enact if returned this May would be far, far more extreme than anything the Conservatives dare specify in their manifesto.

    But our choice at the ballot box in a couple of months is not between socialism and capitalism, it is between Labour and the Conservatives. And I know which I would prefer.

    Lesser Evilism, you say? Yes, sure, absolutely. But I’ve yet to hear a cohesive philosophical defence of Greater Evilism.

    • Andrew Coates said,


      You only have to see the rightward drift of Tory policy: from chipping away at public services to wholesale privatisation (abolition of the rule of law by selling off the Probation service and more and more parts of the justice system for example).

      Then there’s the sanctions regime in the DWP, not to mention the destruction of whole swathes of core local government services.

      Without going further you can also see the strategy of abolishing human rights law, and the anti-EU strategy, as part of an extreme free market right project – one whose impact is already visible not just in books but in the streets.

      We on the left have said this in this past, but, it now obvious, this is coming to be a reality.

      Personally I’d vote for Cthulhu rather than the Tories/UKIP/Liberals.

  6. damon said,

    The list sounds like small things to me.
    £8 an hour won’t be coming in for some time yet, and I bet that my hourly pay rate which is barely above that, will rise because of it.
    You could nit pick at all of them really.

    A job a job guarantee for NEETs? I’ll believe that when I see it.
    Part of the problem with NEETs is that they often don’t want to do the kind of work that immigrant unskilled labour does. That’s why some housing estates in London have up to 50% youth unemployment.
    The million extra houses sounds good, but with our net immigration rates, that figure isn’t enough anyway.
    We probably need five million at the moment.
    Which poor countries are we going to steal all the nurses and doctors from?

  7. Steven Johnston said,

    I thought the problem with the NEETs is that employers cannot even employ then at min. wage jobs. This is because they lack even basic literacy and numeracy skills at these jobs. Employers don’t have the time or resources to spend on teaching the NEETs to this standard, hence they employ immigrant labour.
    As for the house building programme…well labour did that between 1964 – 1970 and unemployment rose by 50%.
    As for the Tories being more extreme, that assumed that what a government wants to do it can. Cutting welfare? Well, it’s great if you can cut the numbers on welfare, but if they rise, then you ain’t cutting welfare your spending more.
    £8 an hour is still poor, can anyone point to me, on a map of the UK, where you can have a good life on £8 an hour?

    • Glesga Keeping Scotland Free From Loonies said,

      The Calton.

      • Steven Johnston said,

        Surely you jest! Are you saying it’s their fault re: the low life expectancy? Well in one sense it is, but in another life in Calton must be very depressing and stressful and I can understand why people would turn to drink, cigarattes and comfort food.
        But at 20 years lower life expectancy than the rest of the UK, the NHS sure has failed there.
        I believe that life expectancy for the capitalist class is around 88…that is nearly 30 years more than those in Calton, yet what can the Labour party do here?

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