Debate on Labour’s record since it came to power

We asked whether the government has made a mess of its
social care policies. These are the responses we

This government, just like it’s Tory
predecessor, has decided it needs to meddle in every aspect of
social life as we know it, and generally to its detriment. The
policies they devise have more to do with appeasing the right wing
press and attracting disaffected middle English Tory voters than
actually looking for sensible answers to society’s problems. Even
those policies that strategically make sense are so ill thought out
at operational level that I can only think that the civil servants
charged with doing this have no idea at all of how any public
services actually operate, because
they are inoperable.

For what ever reason this government is obessed with
managerialism, mistaking it for being businesslike, and anyway
social care organisations are not businesses. If they were
businesses they would go under, as a large percentage of businesses
do on a regular basis. I have to say that with some of its
policies, especially those to do with asylum seekers, this
governement has made me ashamed to be British, which even the
Tories didn’t manage to do.

Fran Rawlings, social worker Cardiff

The social policy of  “new” Labour is an
extension of and intensification of the Thatcher agenda, combined
with the top down autocracy of Jeremy Bentham’s “panopticon” ( see
Jordan & Jordan, “Social work and the third way: tough love as
social policy”, Sage, 2000.)

Its whole outlook is elitist, and counter progressive, except in
some areas around personal self-determination such as gay rights
etc. The attitude of New Labour to the poorest and most vulnerable,
is to demonise them as social misfits and failures, and to lock
away more and more of the troublesome underclass, whether in
prison, or psychiatric hospitals (perhaps before any crime has been

The chance to escape the brutal alienation of the sink estates,
state sponsored education to university level, has been cynically
withdrawn, and social mobility opportunities crushed. The so called
“New deal”, whereby the young are impressed into low paid work,
benefits employers more than anyone, whilst the trades unions are
treated with contempt, and a new form of serfdom introduced.

The government repeatedly plays to the media orchestrated war on
the poor at home too, whether they be asylum seekers, or those who
have been left to fall by the wayside after 26 weeks’ benefits
entitlements, or the mentally ill harassed by the medical
examinations boards into signing off. Meanwhile, the much vaunted
spending on the NHS, much of it predicated on future generations
taxes, is rendered null and void by the recession brought on by
fear of the very war it supports.

So then, not just a “mess”, but the most sickening and apalling
wasted opportunity since the 1832 Whig government betrayed its own
supporters. Any minor changes for the good, and there are a few,
are little compensation for this scandalous betrayal of all those
who hoped for a change in 1997, and especially all those social
care workers who kept services afloat during the worst onslaughts
of Thatcher. Labour – hang your heads in

Martin Wall, Malvern.

More from Community Care

Comments are closed.