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Voters in Manchester still unsure of Labour Party policies

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Originally published on Digital Journal on 01/10/2012
A radio discussion in Manchester today showed that people are still unsure of what alternative policies the Labour Party has to offer.

The BBC Radio 5 Live show was presented on day two of the Labour Party conference by Victoria Derbyshire with an audience of 5 Live listeners, party members and prominent Labour politicians.


Union representatives also appeared on the show, including General Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union Mark Serwotka and Steve Turner of Unite.


The economy was the most important issue for Labour voters who believe that the party has lost a lot of credibility since the 2008 financial crisis.


When an audience member asked what responsibility the party took for the economy, Sadiq Khan, Shadow Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, admitted that the previous government did not do enough to regulate the banks.


Michael Meacher, MP for Oldham West and Royton, said: “It was the recklessness and arrogance of the banks – they’re the ones who have to say sorry. I’m sad and angry that virtually no one at the top of the banks has paid the price of what they have done.”


Meacher also advocated Keynesian economics, as “there’s no other way of doing it.”


As well as a general lack of trust with the economy, most voters believed that party leader Ed Miliband has little credibility.


One audience member claimed that “Ed is a shambles.”


Meacher, however, defended Miliband claiming that people put ‘too much pressure’ on party leaders, which turns politics into an ‘X Factor contest.’


John Denham, MP for Southampton Itchen, praised Ed Miliband for his stance against Murdoch during the phone-hacking scandal.


Quoting Miliband’s lead in the polls, he said: “People say they don’t know Ed well enough to make their minds. The more they see of Ed the more they like.”


Billy Hayes, General Secretary of the Communication Workers Union showed confidence in Miliband. He said: “I believe Ed is listening to us.”


Despite the somewhat united from prominent party members, others remained skeptical and unsure of just what the alternative Labour policies were with regards to health and education.


Although shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said that Labour would repeal the health act, which was corroborated by MP Owen Smith, John Pienaar, 5 live’s Chief Political Correspondent, said: “We’re told in a very headline way that the [health] act will be repealed but the machinery will stay exactly where it is.”


He also went on to say that the party hasn’t talked about crime ‘in about two years.’ Some audience members agreed and expressed concern over an apparent lack of education policy.


The discussion can be heard on the 5 Live website.



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