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(en) DA #26 - Solidarity Federation magazine - B-LIAR

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 17 Apr 2003 12:48:24 +0200 (CEST)

A - I N F O S N E W S S E R V I C E

We've paid the taxes - so where are his pledges?
Cutting numbers on NHS waiting lists by some 100,000
patients was one of the more important pledges given by
Labour. This target was achieved in time for the 1997
general election. Now, however; the list is above one
million and rising, and is only 50,000 lower than when Blair
first took office. If we can believe the figures, the
government spent an extra 9 billion on health over the
last two years. However, fewer patients were admitted to
hospitals in England in 2001 than was the case in 1999.
Another of this government's targets was the pledge to
halve child poverty in a decade, and to abolish it all
together in twenty years. Some headway has been made on
this, but they still are nowhere near fulfilling their
grandiose claims.

The question of transport is also a hot potato: the
government looks increasingly like a bunch of
incompetents with the admission that the key elements of
their ten-year transport plan are discredited. This adds one
more failure to the growing pile of missed goals, own goals
and strategies that have backfired.
On the railways, delays are increasing, and rail fares
surge ahead, while the government bail out the failing
private companies. Their rail strategy is falling apart
in front of our eyes because soaring costs has swallowed
up the money allocated.
The government is unable to meet the target it has set
itself in reducing road congestion, with the transport
secretary admitting as much. Since he can no longer
the Tories, he has tried to switch the blame to Stephen
Byers and John Prescott. They are set to abandon policies
rather than persist with targets that cannot be realised,
and they will have to deal with the political flak from this as
a result.
Regarding public services, this government has no
better idea of how to make progress other than to push on
with their obsession with Thatcherite free-market
solutions. Although their plans are full of holes, and largely
discredited, this doesn't appear to be deterring them from
forging ahead with them. However, it will not be
long perhaps before the public's patience finally snaps.
The war with Iraq will be very costly. The sum involved
would pay for the abolition of hospital waiting lists, the
restoration of grants and decent wages for the
fire-fighters ten times over!
At the last election, the Tories mooted a slogan: "You've
paid the taxes - so where are the nurses?" Realising its
dangerous implications for themselves, if they had
persisted with this line, they dropped it like a hot brick.
The government got off very lightly indeed: if the Tories
had persisted with the slogan, they would have had an
easy target to keep hitting at today.
The reality is that our present political system cannot
resolve the problem of poverty, forge an effective
transport system, or build and maintain an effective health
service or a decent public service sector, because the
state and capitalism are in the way (aka the problem, not
the solution). Still, it doesn't hurt to remind the
politicians of their failed promises - why not get together
with some comrades today, and get a block booking with
your local Labour MP at their surgery to ask some awkward
questions? Particularly the one about the nurses...

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