Just a quick one. You know how the media can usually tell you some kinds of news before it’s happened? Like – “Cadbury’s are expected to accept Kraft’s offer” means “Cadbury’s is dead, long live the Kraft subsidiary”?
Well, this morning I was listening to Today (I’m not usually up in time, so this is basically me showing off that I got a working alarm clock), and when I left the house at half eight the news was “Unemployment is expected to have risen again”. It wasn’t until lunchtime that I found out that, in fact, unemployment fell by 7000 in the three months to November. It’s almost as though the measures the government introduced to soften the blows of the recession – investment in the Jobcentreplus, incentives for employers hiring new staff and guaranteed employment or training for the young medium-term unemployed – were effective. Or, as you might say, Labour Is Working.
Contrast this with the Tories’ recession. It’s surprisingly easy to forget, but in 1992:
– unemployment in the North West was 45% higher than it is now
– over 13000 people were unemployed in Salford
– over 36000 people were unemployed in Manchester – twice the current level.
These figures should be repeated and repeated and repeated every single time the Conservatives dare to criticise Labour’s handling of the economy. We were hit by the challenge of a global recession and we responded with measures to get people back into work as quickly as possible; and to save their homes; and to get them the best help and advice. When the Tories faced the same challenge they let thousands upon thousands of people sink; and if the response to the credit crunch had been left up to them they would have done the same again. It’s something that we, and the Tories, and most importantly the voters, must never be allowed to forget.