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"2.  There is such a thing as society, it’s just not the same thing as the state.

The right test for our policies is how they help the most disadvantaged in society, not the rich. We will stand up for the victims of state failure and ensure that social justice and equal opportunity are achieved by empowering people and communities – instead of thinking that only the state can guarantee fairness."

I love this statement.  It’s fundamentally conservative.  One of the biggest differences between the Labour and Conservative worldview is that we think the most important caring work is undertaken by the 3D and free institutions of civil society – particularly the family but also local charities, faith communities and networks of friendship.  Labour puts all its eggs in the feed-and-forget welfare state basket.

My only suggestion of an amendment would be some reference to David Cameron’s nation of the second chance.  A commitment to help people get back on their feet is another contrast with the "decommissioned Scotland" that David Cameron described in his ‘second chance’ speech:

"In recent decades, health, education and other public services have also been more generously funded north of the border than in the rest of Britain.  Therefore, if Labour’s anti-poverty strategy is working anywhere, it should be working in Scotland.  Earlier this month, however, The Scotsman published research which lays bare Labour’s failure.  The hundred most deprived postcode areas were dubbed ‘Third Scotland’ because of their Third World level of life outcomes.  If this sounds exaggerated, look at life expectancy.  In Third Scotland, average male life expectancy is only 64 years – lower than in Bosnia, the Gaza Strip, Iran or even North Korea.  Shockingly, this trend is actually getting worse.  Worklessness is also endemic in Third Scotland.  In Calton, in the east-end of Glasgow, 57% of adults do not work at all, even though only 8% are classed as unemployed.  Here, two out of every five adults claim incapacity benefit.  In Hamiltonhill, 61 per cent of children live in workless households.  And this is true for 58 per cent in Drumchapel.  Throughout Britain, 2.7 million are claiming incapacity benefit which offers guaranteed payouts for life.  Together with the associated benefits, this can pay more than an uncertain life of work on the minimum wage.  For others, the skull-splitting complexity of the tax credit system and the proliferation of means testing has debased the very principle of work… Labour is creating a new class of decommissioned people.  Individuals who should have been guided on to paths out of poverty have instead been shunted into life’s sidings."

17 comments for: Built To Last… Society

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