Friday, November 10, 2006

Polly Toynbee spouts off....time for a reality check

The usual unsourced and unsubstantiated bollocks from Polly Toynbee in today's Grauniad. This time she's going on about the need for Labour to reclaim the support of female voters. A surgical fisking is required, needless to say:

Polly argues...It is an extraordinary failure by Labour to have lost support from the voters who have gained most from the most female-friendly government yet. Just consider the great investment in maternity leave, nurseries and childcare: every three- and four-year-old now gets a nursery education. In 1997 there was a childcare place for only one in eight children, but now there is a place for one in three...
*In reality, Labour has adopted a policy of laissez-faire towards the vast majority of families, leaving them to find their own solution to the childcare lottery and has thus presided over a spectacular growth in day-nursery provision

She goes on: ...Sure Start has done more for new mothers than any other programme. It was low-paid women who gained most from the minimum wage, while tax credits help millions of families.
*In reality, a team of academics from Birkbeck college, London which is evaluating the scheme far from transforming the lives of the poor has argued that Sure Start appears overall to have made no difference at all. Although some individual schemes have been successful, in general it has failed to boost children's development, language or behaviour in the areas where it is operating.
See here

As for tax credits, millions of families are suffering financial distress because of the shambles in the wat the tax credits were introduced. An IFS report in 2006 showed that the tax credits system was discouraging some 2.2 million people on lower incomes from working more, because if their incomes rise the tax credits will be taken away and they face paying up to half of their extra income in tax.


And there's more:More has been spent on education and the NHS, with more new schools, hospitals and clinics, than in any other 10-year period.

*In reality, despite Labour's record spending increases since 1999, the OECD has shown that the nation's health is improving solely as the result of trend improvements which began before they came to power. Three quarters of the spending rises have been absorbed in cost increases, or as they are also known, increased paychecks for GPs in exchange for failing to work in the evenings and at weekends. Only a quarter have gone into new beds and staff. As this suggests, NHS productivity - the measure of value for money - is declining. A recent study compared the performance of different Western countries' health services in reducing mortality: the NHS came 18th out of 19. Educational standards, meanwhile, having risen during the 1990s, levelled off after 1999 and show little or no improvement for the cash that has poured in since that date.
Research has also shown that the income gap between rich and poor has widened significantly under Labour. Data from the Office of National Statistics showed that the incomes of the best and worst-off had risen by about a fifth between 1995 and 2003.


She's not through yet:Crime has fallen; there are more police and a new community support force on the streets.

Under Labour there are a million violent crimes a year, gun crime has doubled and police clear up rates are at their lowest rates for ... 25 years

Actually, all of this verbiage is a reptition of what she wrote on the 19th Sept, when she was in mourning over the Swedish Social Democrats election loss. She does tend to plagiarise herself quite a bit


I take the view that in certain respects, New Labour's approaches to the family are more reminiscent of the old Stalinist regimes of Eastern Europe in their demands of women as both carers and workers than of the transformation that had been anticipated before the 1997 election.

Polly, the fact is cuts in benefits to single parents, the drop in numbers of women MPs after the 2001 election and resignations from popular female ministers such as Estelle Morris, the demotion of Ruth Kelly, etc all signalled that Labour's "gender agenda", is certainly running out of steam.
Then there’s the Baghdad effect. Preemptive war....probably not very appealing to women voters.
Women had high expectations of New Labour; these expectations have not been met. Nor will they be.
Polly also makes a now familiar call for a woman deputy leader. She indicates her support for Harriet Harman. The latter, as you will remember, only lasted as Secretary of State at the Department of Social Security for just over a year (3 May 1997 to 27 Jul 1998). TB fired her. Megan Tresidder of the Sunday Telegraph has commented of Harman: She "has the fighting spirit of a Shirley Williams or Barbara Castle; yet when she talks about socialism, she does not convince you that she is their natural daughter."

Harman is rumoured to be one of Brown's chief supporters. She, like Gordon, will make an ideal opponent. She is gaffe-prone and alienating. And has been over-promoted. One hopes that the Labour Party might go along with Polly on the Harman suggestion. As for the rest....

9 comments:

Ellee said...

It's quite simple really, women value trust and integrity, they don't like liars.

Croydonian said...

Excellent work there. I was skimming that 'Labour is great' suck job last night and could feel my hackles (wherever they are) rising sharply.

istanbultory said...

Polly is great at making my hackles rise. And Ellee, I agree. women have detected the disparity between what the New Labour project claims to have achieved and the reality around them.I doubt very much if Brown has the political talents to reclaim the female vote. NuLabour's time is up. The tectonic plates are shifting...our way.

Croydonian said...

Nobody does it better... She serves a vital role in keeping my blood pressure up to snuff.

Praguetory said...

She is in fact really poor at what she does isn't she? Good fisking IT.

istanbultory said...

Indeed, I hardly expect a lucid, concise and well-structured argument from a NuLabourite. But, yes, the quality of her writing really is very poor.

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