David Lloyd George said on introducing the pension, a society should be judged on how it treats its elderly. Today it is revealed that over half of pensioners in the UK are living in fuel poverty - an astonishing figure after ten years of New Labour Government.
New Labour has always been big on rhetoric. In 2001 they set a target to end fuel poverty by 2010. These figures show clearly that they have made little headway at all and have no chance of reaching their target.
New Labour just don’t get it. Politics needs to be based on sound principles. The only way to address issues such as this is to believe in the fundamental principle of the common good – that each should contribute according to their ability and receive what they need. Labour have long turned their back on such a path, preferring to immerse themselves in the London centre right consensus which adores the primacy of the individual. The much heralded ‘Third Way’ is a sham.
Radio 4s Money Box programme claims that over 2 million pensioners in the UK are having to make the choice every day between heating or eating.
We should not be surprised – under New Labour the rich have got richer than the poor poorer. The sons of Thatcher Blair and Brown have done their mother proud.
What seems increasingly apparent is the need for a return to the battle of ideas, – otherwise politics will become increasingly irrelevant and the most in need in our communities will continue to be failed.
Iinteresting fact – Labour MPs such as Kier Hardie, George Barnes, Fred Jowett, Joseph Clynes and George Lansbury although welcoming the aim of Lloyd George’s pensions legislation argued that pensions should be universal and disliked the means test aspect of the original proposals. Just goes to show how far the Labour party has travelled over the years!