What is Labour's position on "free schools" or, where does it differ from the coalition on anything?
As a Labour Party member I find myself somewhat concerned by (Shadow Secretary of State for Education) Stephen Twigg's apparent support for free schools. Has the party policy officially changed since Andy Burnham declared them to be a reckless gamble?
I rejoined the Labour Party when I thought the Blairite days were over but now, with a new leader (who I voted for) condemning justifiable plans to take industrial action by Trade Unionists, many of whom voluntarily contribute to support Labour as part of their union fees, an increased number of Blairites in the Shadow Cabinet, and now this move to supporting free schools I'm wondering which party I'm in!
I am also concerned at the way the party leadership tends to support the Tory / Blairite attack on benefit claimants as scroungers. When I succumbed to Myalgic Encephalomyelitis in 2003 it was incredible the hurdles I was made to jump through in order to claim any benefit at all, the medicals process causing a relapse in my condition and hence, the effort was far too great to consider applying for DLA which my therapist at the Chronic Fatigue Unit insisted I should be entitled to. My entitlement to the State Pension when I turned 65 came as a great relief but. I suppose the official line is that pensioners are scroungers too.
The party has certainly moved a long way from that which I faithfully served throughout the 60's and 70's. Sorry for the rant from what started out as a simple desire to know just where the party stands in relation to "free schools" but, instead, I found myself wondering why I should continue to support it. I, for one, care more about the downtrodden poor, especially those on low pay and/or benefits, than an ill-defined squeezed middle, which obviously doesn't include public sector workers who are scorned for wanting to take protest action against cuts, changes to pensions etc.