An interview with Ed Murphy Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Peterborough broadcast on 12th April 2010 at 08:10 in the Paul Stainton Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Peterborough.
PS: Now as Steve just said Gordon Brown launches Labour’s manifesto this morning. The BBC has learned that Labour will promise not to increase income tax rates if it wins the election. Gordon Brown will make the pledge when he unveils Labour’s manifesto later today, but he won’t pledge not to raise VAT. Conservative Leader David Cameron says Labour haven’t any new ideas. (TAPE)
DC: What you’re going to see from the Conservative manifesto is a clear recognition that real change isn’t just Government producing manifestos, but recognising we’re all in this together. But I think there’s a contrast in this campaign frankly, no new ideas from Labour, very negative campaign, all about attack and trying to scare people, and very positive agenda-setting ideas from the Conservatives. (LIVE)
PS: Well Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg says Labour won’t be taken seriously unless they say how they’d save money as well as spend it. (TAPE)
NC: Clearly money is tight. So clearly all political parties, if they’re going to be credible, and trusted by the British people, in the run-up to the election, have got to make promises which are always fully costed. (LIVE)
PS: Well the Conservatives launch their manifesto tomorrow. The LibDems on Wednesday. Peterborough’s Labour Parliamentary Candidate is Ed Murphy. Good morning Ed.
EM: Good morning.
PS: So the pledges are coming out again. Is Labour going to keep them this time?
EM: What we’ve got being published today is the manifesto. The pledge documents are a lot shorter than that.
PS: Thank the Lord.
EM: In ninety seven when Labour returned to power they set out a manifesto that was very cautious about spending, and that’s what we’re doing again. We’re saying we’re going to cut the deficit by fifty per cent within four years, but the key thing is that we need to make sure in the world-wide depression that people in England don’t lose their jobs. Quite fortunately really, compared to other countries, we are coming out of recession, and we haven’t got the lengthy unemployment queues that we had during the recession under the Tories, particularly in Peterborough.
PS: No you’ve got people .. you’ve got people on benefits instead haven’t you?
EM: No we’ve got some people working part-time. We’ve got unions that have come to agreements with the workers. We’ve kept people in employment in this depression.
PS: Well, what you’ve done is you’ve taken them off the unemployment list by giving them benefits, haven’t you. You’ve created a dependent society, haven’t you?
EM: The number of unemployed people is far less now than it was under the Tories’ recession. There are more people ..
PS: Well they’re all on sick, aren’t they?
EM: No. There are more people in employment. Most people actually in Peterborough still have a job during this depression. Many of them have got a tracker mortgage and are actually privately telling us they’re better off than they were a year ago.
PS: How many people are on the sick now though, compared to back when you were ..
EM: You are talking probably about disability benefit. People on disability benefit have been targeted and again there’s other details being released in the manifesto today, something I’m a bit cautious about, but Labour are saying they’re going to back Welfare to Work. If you refuse to work, you may well lose your benefits.
PS: Good. That’s a good ..
EM: I think that will be quite popular in Peterborough. I heard the Independent candidate earlier on talking about how many people in Peterborough are getting a reputation for being workshy. I think it’s a minority. But that’s not something we should be proud and positive about in Peterborough.
PS: I think there are plenty of people in this city who would say there’s a whole underbelly of society that is reliant on benefits and doesn’t want to work, and may have been created in the last twelve years perhaps.
EM: What Labour has done is we’ve tried to be inclusive and involve people in society. People benefit much more by being in work, by meeting other people, by having conversations with other people than they would meet simply if they were sitting at home on unemployment benefit. And we do want to break people out of that cycle. That’s why we have tax credt benefits, that’s why we support families with children, whether they’re single parents, or whether they’re married. That’s why we’ve got the SureStart centres, twelve now in Peterborough. The Tories want to shut four of them. We want to encourage people into gainful employment …
PS: You are going to ..
EM: .. not cheap work, four or five pound an hour, being undercut, we want people in good quality work, work that brings added value.
EM: And this manifesto ..
PS: But most of the jobs you’ve created have gone to foreign workers, haven’t they?
EM: This manifesto will be a manifesto for skilled jobs.
PS: Is it ninety per cent of jobs that you’ve created ..
EM: Forty five per cent of the jobs ..
PS: .. gone to foreign workers?
EM: .. that have been created have been deemed, if you spin the statistics, to have gone to foreign workers. Because ..
PS: I think it’s more than that, eh?
EM: It depends how you spin the figures. If you look at the analysis of the employment figures, a lot of jobs in Peterborough have gone to foreign workers, but they’re the sort of jobs in the low-paid industries ..
PS: And you’re going to make ..
EM: .. some of them are being paid below the minimum wage.
PS: And you’re going to make all these migrant workers undertake an English language test now, aren’t you, if they want to work in the public sector? It’s a bit late for that, isn’t it? they’ve been here for years now. You can’t .. you can’t do that, can you?
EM: In practice there are standards and qualities that are required for anybody working in skilled professions in the public sector anyway, and they need to be able to pass basic English tests. As far as migration goes, it is an important issue. It’s an issue I’ve been talking to people about. There’s very little difference between us and the Conservatives on this one. When the other EU states bring down their borders in the near future, it will be equal throughout Europe. The Labour government did decide not to give the right of entry and work to Bulgaria and Romanians, buit we did have an influx into the UK, because our economy was doing quite well.
PS: Currently only doctors outside Europe, police officers and teachers have to take the test, but that will be extended to all migrant workers.
EM: And it’s not just a case of having legislation for it, it’s making sure it’s done. There was a recent case in Cambridgeshire where a doctor clearly hadn’t been taking the test that he should have been, by a particular quango that should have been looking into that.
PS: Yes. And also one of the pledges in the manifesto today will be the right to offer parents in schools in England a ballot to change the ethos or leadership of a school. Sounds like privatisation to me.
EM: No it sounds like giving parents more of a say in their school.
PS: What do parents know about running a school?
EM: I’m a school governor, and it is really really important, if you can get the parents involved with the school, and you have good leadership, in the schools in Peterborough that have that they are good schools.
EM: It’s very important for example that a parent, a mother or a father, can understand the child’s homework, and help them with it. That’s really really important as well. And clearly, if parents are unhappy with the particular way a school is going, then perhaps they should have a say in who the Head is.
PS: So residents can be running schools, they’re also going to be running the police force if you get your way, in some places as well. That’s going to be interesting, isn’t it.
EM: No. Residents won’t be running the schools. I would certainly want to see some parent-governors involved in the selection of a head teacher.
PS: They might be running the police force though.
EM: And I would certainly like to see some residents involved in deciding how their police force is run. In Cambridgeshire we’ve got a particular issue. And we need to have a debate in Cambridgeshire about whether we require a small administratively expensive police force. We need to look at that issue, now the Chief Constable’s gone, and see whether we should be merging with one of the more effective and efficient police services in the area.
PS: Are you happy with the manifesto? Can you support everything in it Ed?
EM: I’m very happy with the manifesto. I would have liked to see some things this afternoon perhaps on Trident. I’m not sure whether that’s ..
PS: Ditch it.
EM: .. well I personally don’t think we should be spending billions on that system. But I’m really glad that we’re not going to put the recovery at threat, and that it’s going to be steady as it goes under Labour. We just can’t trust Cameron with our jobs and our homes.
PS: That’s Ed Murphy’s point of view. He’s Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Peterborough.