The ruling Labour Party's NEC (as a whole) may be in the dark about the state of its own finances, its National Policy Forum may have been banned from discussing tax policy last July, so it's a relief to read courtesy of headline skimmers, fellow bloggers traced back to an exclusive in the Daily Mirror that Labour leader Gordon Brown is thinking about taking those paid less than £10k a year out of tax.
A healthy open debate in the Labour Party would have come to a similar conclusion a long time ago as a policy goal, as it did about the minimum national wage. The Conservatives shroud waving over that issue - unafffordable, loss of jobs, end-of-world - was shown to be ....just that....shroud waving. Now is the time to get a national debate going over what is a living income after tax - £10/annum tax-free seems an excellent headline catching starting point.
Recent banking developments are a vivid reminder of why it's ok for a political party in government to be able to maintain a degree of independence from the toil of ministers when it comes to shaping policy ideas. The party on the ground (as we rank-and-file members like to think of ourselves) are not there to be trodden into..the ground..but to help shape groundswells of opinion around Labour policies inspired by Labour values. When everyone in the country is either earning, receiving or being encouraged to aspire to a living income, then we will have a Labour Party worth voting back into government. I can't think of anything more likely to mobilise people back into membership of the Labour Party and them wanting to be active.....appeals to vote Labour to stop the Tories or the BNP are not enough. We need a positive message too - a living income fits the bill.