Thursday, November 09, 2006

Labour Against Poverty

To the best of my knowledge, there is no group which is specifically campaigning within the Labour Party to end poverty in Britain, along the lines of Labour Against the War or the Labour Campaign for Lesbian and Gay Rights. One of the main reasons that I joined the Labour Party, and I'm sure this is true for many other people, was because I don't think it is right that 1 in 5 people in Britain live in poverty and I wanted to work with others to do something about that.

What I want to know is whether anyone else would be interested in joining up to a Labour Against Poverty campaign. It would be a campaign open to all Labour members and supporters, and its aim would be very simple, to get the Labour Party to make reducing and ending poverty in Britain a top priority.

This might involve local Labour parties organising and campaigning in deprived communities, putting forward policies through GCs and the affiliated unions to annual conference, and trying to change public perceptions of poverty and get a Labour government re-elected which will end poverty in Britain.

Gordon Brown says that he wants campaigners to put pressure on the government to take more action on poverty, so let's take him up on that. If you're interested in joining a Labour Against Poverty campaign, please leave a comment here, or write about it on your own blog and spread the word.


At 2:01 am , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great idea.

Let's give people the hand up they need.

At 9:25 am , Anonymous Steve said...

Absolutely, this is a great idea.

Perhaps I misremember, but when I joined back in the days of Kinnock the campaign against poverty was at the heart of what Labour was about.

However, it's pointless complaining about what it used to be. A campaign like this is needed to give the party a nudge back in the right direction when it comes to tackling real poverty.

Some of the things the govt has done to help the poorest are amazing (I see it in my patch), but there are still many people who have been missed and deserve a stronger voice.

At 11:09 am , Anonymous The Labour Humanist said...

It's an interesting question this one. But isn't the whole raison d'etre of Labour to campaign against poverty!!??

If we need an internal pressure group to raise the profile of poverty issues, what's the point of our existence?

Shouldn't we expect as a matter of course that clps will be pressuring the govt to keep pushing through policies and campaigns against poverty.

I'm not dismissing this proposal, but do think if it really is required then we must conclude that at some point under tony blair we lost our collective political soul??

At 11:28 am , Blogger Hughes Views said...

You can sign me up Don but see also my comment at B4L.

"at some point under tony blair we lost our collective political soul" - you can't be serious LH! This government has done more to help the really poor than any previous...

At 11:30 am , Anonymous The Labour Humanist said...

hughes you are misquoting me like a top class hack!

quote the whole para..I said "if it (this pressure group) is really required then...."

As you can see from the rest of my comments I am skeptical cos isn't this what we are about anyway?

At 3:04 pm , Blogger Mike said...

We do need such a campaign. That's a sad thing to say, given that fighting poverty is one of the most basic purposes of the Labour Party. But today we are in danger of "losing our collective soul" as LH says. I'm right behind you.

At 3:52 pm , Anonymous timf said...

Yes, this should be what we're about anyway but it isn't.

We all know middle-class elements of the party (both left and right) are often more dominant and a campaign like this could be about bringing the concerns of lowest-income groups to wider attention within the party, not the concerns others have about them or expect them to have. Left-right divides would be irrelevant.

hughes, the phrase "this government has done more to help the really poor" worries me. I'm not interested in comparing its record on poverty to previous Labour governments, but the sentiment of "helping" seems quite Victorian to me.

On a positive note, the response to the Farepak scandal has made me proud to be a Labour party member - not something I've said often recently. Let's hope the government finds some way to prosecute the bastards & tops up the fund to 100% of money lost after squeezing as much out of business as possible.

At 5:55 pm , Anonymous Daniel said...

can I recommend reading this article and the Labour Land Campaign?

At 5:49 pm , Blogger Matt said...

I shall do both. I officially declare my support (I enjoy being official) and I shall write a post about it soon.

At 10:16 pm , Blogger Omar Salem said...

This is a good idea.

Labour Party members do care very much about poverty but many of the policy measures (as they in large part have to do with the tax and benefit system) are pretty complicated.

It would be good to have an internal party group that can fill the gap, and also provide a Labour view on some of the proposals put forward by the various lobby groups interested in the issue.

There is also a role for looking at how Labour promotes the good work already done in to fight poverty and explain policies like tax credits (which are under attack by both the Tories and Lib Dems).

At 11:36 pm , Blogger Mel said...

I live in nottingham the council estate i live in goes by the name of the bronxs need i say any more its always been run down and always will those people that have got the say in in this country dont understand they dont have to live near it or see it,i cant blame them i wouldnt neather.

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