Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Nine years done, two plus many to go.....

It's nine years today since we woke up after a long night of watching election results come in. It hadn't been until about 3am that I finally began to accept that we weren't heading for a 1992-style disappointment and that Labour would, indeed, form the next government. I believe that the BBC's video of the night is the best selling ever for such an event and it includes the famous Enfield Southgate declaration at which Michael Portillo's political fate started to be sealed.

We were right to be optimistic that morning. Lead by Tony Blair, Labour has done wonders in its nine years. But people forget, incremental change and gradual improvements are easy to overlook. Numbers such as 600,000 children no longer living in poverty mean little when the pavements turn out not to be paved with gold after all and life goes on seemingly much as before.

I've sometimes been called a 'new Labour apologist'; it's meant to be an insult. But do we really need to apologise, for example, to:

those children no longer poverty;
the patients who wait only a couple of months instead of 18 for treatment;
people no longer plagued by yobs who've been brought under control thru ASBOs and the like;
the young families with places at SureStart centres;
the pupils in schools that now have books, computers and teaching assistants instead of leaking roofs;
the million or so pensioners who are nearly fifty pounds a week better off thanks to pension credit;
the people getting the minimum wage which the Tories said would bankrupt the nation;
or those employed in the record number of new jobs in the UK?

Just think where we might be now if the Tories had won. Mr Portillo might be PM! In two years time Mr Blair will step down to be replaced, probably, by Gordon Brown. So the next really interesting election should be in 2020 to determine who will follow him.......


At 07:56, Blogger skipper said...

Well said Hughesey!
I've been despairing a bit- having just read the Economist's piece comparing now to Black Wednesday for the Tories. But it's so easy for voters to take gains for granted and bitch about those things still unachieved. Though the charge of incompetence is not so easy to answer I fear.

At 08:17, Blogger Hughes Views said...

Thanks Skipper!

Being relatively incompetent myself it's hard for me to comment. Perhaps we expect too much perfection from our fellow humans nowadays. Even the almighty Mrs Thatcher and her fine team of mighty ministers made the odd mistake.....

At 21:52, Anonymous malcolm said...

I could understand you having these views in 1997 but now?This must surely be the most mendacious government of the modern era and Blair with the exception of his decision to go to war in Iraq (more lies) has displayed political cowardice throughout his time in office.

At 22:46, Blogger Bob Piper said...

Best of luck, Hughesy.


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