Wednesday, 21 March 2012


In 1997, after a string of election defeats, Tony Blair led the Labour Party to a landslide victory. He did so by unashamedly stealing a raft of Tory policies and putting a New Labour spin on them.

In 2010, after three election defeats, David Cameron led the Tories to victory. He did so by unashamedly stealing a raft of Labour Party policies and putting a Tory spin on them.

Almost ALL of the current Tory policies originated from Labour. No wonder Labour are angry and confused. To have Cameron do to them what Blair did to the Tories must be galling in the extreme.

What this tells us is that once you cut through the personalities and the rhetoric, the Labour Party and the Conservatives are two sides of the same establishment coin.

In the middle of these two Goliaths stand the Liberal Democrats, fighting both of them simultaneously and trying to bring fairness and compassion to policies that both the main parties have, in their own way, developed and promoted.

It was Labour who promised, in their 2010 manifesto, to reform the NHS. Cameron was happy to steal what was initially their idea. Introducing an element of privatisation to the NHS was another Labour policy willingly stolen by the Tories.

Tuition fees for university students was a Labour policy, introduced by Tony Blair (after promising he wouldn’t) and it was Labour who commissioned the Browne report to decide how much to increase them by. Cameron was only too happy to steal that idea too. Outnumbered by the two big parties the Lib Dems had no real alternative than to accept Browne’s report, but only after they had wrung major concessions to make it as fair as possible, and agreement to spend a considerable amount of money on the poorest and most under-privileged children in our country.

Cutting the number of people receiving Disability Living Allowance was a Labour idea. They had already passed the necessary law in 2009 so Cameron could steal that idea without having to pass the legislation.

Getting rid of the EMA was a Labour idea that Cameron was also happy to steal. Labour’s Education Minister had bragged that he would get rid of it by raising the school leaving age to 18, thereby forcing children to attend school without the need to pay them. At least those pesky Lib Dems forced the Government to set up an £180 million bursary scheme to support those low-income students who need it in order to continue further education.

Academy Schools were a Labour idea, and they opened hundreds of them across the country. Cameron stole that policy too and is happy to continue what they started.

It was Labour policy to keep tax for the rich as low as possible. The Labour Government was in power for 4,757 days. The top rate of tax was raised to 50p for just 35 of those days. One might think that they can hardly complain that Cameron stole that policy too, but they do!

Raising VAT was a Labour idea that the Tory’s also stole. You may recall that Labour cut VAT to 15% on 1st December 2008 to stimulate growth. It didn’t work so they raised it to 17.5% on 1st January 2010. Indeed, the press reported that Labour Chancellor Alistair Darling was proposing to raise it to 20% before Labour lost the election. Yet another Labour proposal that Cameron latched onto.

It was Labour policy to suck up to the Murdoch media empire and exploit his undoubted influence. Cameron stole that from them too, just as Blair had done. Only the Lib Dems were brave enough to ‘declare war’ on Murdoch, and are still paying the price.

Both Labour and the Tories stood side by side in the decision to attack and invade Iraq. They campaigned side by side against reform of the voting system; they intend to campaign side by side against Scottish Independence and will always work together when any proposal threatens the cosy establishment they both benefit from. To both parties the Lib Dems are a nuisance they would each like to be rid of.

Labour supporters planning to vote for the party in May’s election should ask themselves if they are voting against Tory policies, or Labour policies that have been stolen by the Tories?

Matt Gallagher is the prospective Liberal Democrat Candidate for Chorlton Ward for the local elections on 3 May 2012. Matt's blog is available at: You can follow Matt on Twitter @mathewgallagher

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