Monday, July 28, 2008

Meanwhile, outside Westminster…

Like all decent people, I can’t help but obsess over opinion polls and the options facing the Labour Party. But over the weekend, something else had the nerve to happen. Labour’s National Policy Forum talked about, well, some policies. I know, it’s disgusting, isn’t it? But I suppose that’s the sort of thing we have to put up with when the National Personality Forum is in recess.

Anyway, my thoughts on the leadership situation haven’t really changed in two months: the dangers in sticking with Brown are apparent every time he comes on TV, but the costs and benefits of changing are pretty much unknowable. So I thought I might highlight a few things to come out of the NPF (as reported here and here):

  • Lower the voting age to 16
  • A wholly elected second chamber
  • Make the full adult minimum wage available to 21-years-olds (currently you have to be 22)
  • Improved redundancy pay
  • Extend the right to seek flexible working
  • Extend unpaid parental leave rights to parents of children up to 16 (the current age limit is five)
  • More preventative health check-ups
  • Help with study and training for 18- to 25-year-olds with fewer than two A levels
  • More power for hospitals to terminate cleaning contracts with external providers.

Sketchy, obviously, and far from a full programme for government. But there they are. Good? Bad?

Oh, who really cares when we could be out in the sun, or more importantly debating which of Jack Straw and Geoff Hoon should speak first when they go to tell Brown that he should step down in favour of a Miliband-Johnson dream ticket…

(I am actually now going out to sit in the sun. While I’m there I’ll mull over what colour tie Ed Balls should wear when he rules himself out of the running.)

No comments: