Dears Sir,
It would appear that John D. Clare, under the guise of the Labour Group Press Officer, thinks the following matters are more important than democracy. This, after Tony Blair’s recent visit and speech during which the failed ex. PM and MP decided the electorate should not be entitled to a referendum on whether to stay in, or leave, the undemocratic European Union. Clearly, Tony Blair and John D. Clare are not democrats. (and Mr Clare does not wish to debate the point).
However. our continued membership of the E.U. has ramifications on the ‘more important’ matters which are on John D. Clares’ debating agenda.
Withdrawal of Housing Benefit on unoccupied Social Housing Rooms (Politically incorrectly referred to as the abolition of Bedroom Tax). Many parents in both the public and private housing sectors downsize when their families leave home as it is the socially responsibly and financially sensible thing to do.
The fact of the matter is we have both a housing and a bedroom shortage (despite the Coalition having built more social houses in 5 years than the Labour Government built in 13years).
The housing shortage has, to a great part, been contributed to by the fact that we cannot limit immigration from the E.U. That is, we need to house anybody who decides to flee the undemocratic and bankrupt E.U. The so called Bedroom Tax allows the proper utilisation of spare bedrooms and enables society to house families in the existing social housing stock that was under-utilised under Labour, to the benefit of all.
The NHS (privatisation)
When Labour founded the NHS it included the provision of false teeth and spectacles.  However, it proved unaffordable under the Labour Government of 1951 (history is repeating itself) and so they privatised the provision of false teeth and spectacles.  Currently, the NHS is estimated to be 6% ‘privatised; two thirds of this was introduced by New Labour PFI hospitals.  History proves that the that the NHS is at most risk from privatisation and cuts under Labour.
Stopping Tax Avoidance
The Coalition has gathered more tax from ‘tax avoiders’ in five years than New Labour managed in thirteen years.  However, I think that both could have done better, especially New Labour!  I’m sure the majority of your readers will agree.
Making Gas and Electricity more affordable.
The Labour government signed up to the E.U. green taxes, hence the high price of subsidised renewable energy (and the despoiling of our countryside with inefficient wind farms).  Further, Labour encouraged the shrinking of the supplier base to 6 major suppliers that Labour failed to make competitive on price.  Like our banks they are now “too big to allow to fail”.
Devolution for the North East
New Labour held a referendum and this idea was soundly and democratically rejected.  Perhaps the rejection was because the electorate realised that any devolved North East would be dominated by the Labour Party who would apply their failed past policies.
Ending Zero Hours Contracts and Raising the minimum Wage.
As a student I worked on zero hour contracts and they were beneficial both to the employer (holiday cover) and to me.  However, at that time there was a Conservative Government in power and no minimum wage.  That is, there was nearly full employment and I could pick and choose which employer I worked for, based on the wages on offer. The Labour Party departed office leaving the finances in a mess and the highest level of unemployment seen in years.  The chances of getting a job at any wage were slim.  Unfortunately, we cannot get back to the conditions I enjoyed as a student as every job we create can be filled by E.U. immigrants and there is nothing we can legally do to stop this.
Planned Cuts to Welfare and Public Services.
When in opposition the Labour party accepted the need for future austerity cuts.  Is John D. Clare supporting the level of cuts proposed by both the Coalition and Labour or is he actually departing from the ‘party line’ and has some policy he is unilaterally wishing to espouse?  I would be pleased to hear his independent thoughts and to debate his own policy with him.
Alastair P.G. Welsh