These are the ten pledges launched today by Jeremy Corbyn as part of his campaign to retain control of the Labour Party. I thought they’re worth a few comments.
1. A decent job for all, in a decent economy
This seems remarkably lacking in ambition. I’d prefer good jobs, in a strong economy. But I suppose we can thank Jeremy for at least being honest here if he thinks he can’t achieve that.
2. A secure home for everyone
I’m not sure that “secure” is the right word here, either. Prisons are (hopefully) secure. Most people would, I think, prefer to focus on homes being affordable and readily available. I hope the choice of wording isn’t a Freudian slip.
3. Dignity and rights at work
Absolutely, we all want dignity and rights at work. Well, rights, anyway. I’m not so sure we all want dignity. I’d like the right to take a Nerf gun with me and pepper my colleagues with it when I think they’re getting a bit too far up themselves. It may not be dignified, but what the heck. It would make a great right.
4. A properly-funded NHS and social care
I’m pretty sure we’re all in favour of doing things properly, as well.
5. Education for all from cradle to grave
Now this really appeals to me. I left school more than three decades ago, but if education is available all the way to my deathbed, then well – where do I sign up for state-run classes in advanced jQuery and thrash metal guitar?
6. Clean, green energy we can afford
Again, nobody is going to complain about being offered this. But it’s nice to see Jeremy accepting that low carbon energy needs to be affordable.
7. Services run by and for the public
That’s called “free enterprise”. Entrepreneurs like you and me setting up businesses to provide goods and services which meet demand from other people like us. It’s an excellent ambition, and I wholeheartedly applaud Jeremy for endorsing it.
8. Everyone paying their fair share
“You use it, you pay for it”. Seems fair to me. Although, if I’m honest, I actually think we need a bit of unfairness in our tax system. Sometimes people’s circumstances are different, and sometimes they need more than others. As I say to my children sometimes when they complain that it’s unfair to let the younger get more leeway because she’s the younger, or the older get more privileges because she’s older, “it isn’t fair, but it is right”.
9. A society free from prejudice
Much easier said than done, of course. But I do agree that we need more independent thought, and less tribalism, in the UK. We could make a start in our political parties.
10. A just foreign policy that promotes peace
As it happens, this is something that the world as a whole does seem to have been pretty successful in since 1945. But it’s good to see that Jeremy wants to continue with the success of these policies.