Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Taking on the Tories

While the media have been obsessing about whether David Miliband will be PM or Alan Milburn his Chancellor, it has been left to two junior ministers this week to show their colleagues how the government should take on the Tories, whatever happens after September.

Until now, the Tories have been getting away with murder in their claims about Labour's record. Jim Knight's combative and accurate exposition of the government's record on improving education for the poor in the face of Michael Gove's selective statistics on Monday's Today programme and Ivan Lewis's brilliant defence of the NHS this morning against Andrew Lansley's characteristically cretinous smears both offer an object lesson in what has been so patently missing from government ministers over the last year.

Of course, the Government needs to set out a sense of direction. It needs clear policies. And it needs to address economic and housing worries. But it also needs to defend its record. This it has largely failed to do recently. Ministers too often refuse to debate their Tory counterparts, giving them a free run. Which is why the contributions of these two ministers this week were so refreshing. Exposing Tory misrepresentations about Labour's public services record over the last decade with facts and candour is an essential part of any fightback. Let's have more of it.

1 comment:

oldandrew said...

Well I listened to the education one. That's just depressing. Nobody is saying what needs to be said: The education system is not fit for purpose because of poor discipline and an anti-academic culture. They were falling over each other to declare that they want to keep kids in school until 18 at a time where schools are failing to educate kids effectively up to the age of 16.

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