Be very wary of the Conservatives and Libdems in bed together
And we found out that instead of changing course, getting jobs and growth, they decided to plough on with austerity and make you pay the price.
I believe in the principle that those who can work should.
It’s why we have said that all young people should be offered a guaranteed job after a year and should not have the option of refusing to work.
We should be tough on the minority who can work and try to avoid responsibility.
But there comes a moment when a government is exposed for whothey are.
That happened to David Cameron and George Osborne this week.
They showed they are not fit to govern because they played political games with people’s livelihoods.
They said they were cutting benefits for the next three years and the mood music was that it was a way to punish the “shirkers and scroungers”. But the truth turned out to be so different.
Six out of 10 people hit by these cuts are people who get up every morning and go to work. The lowest paid families getting tax credits. The new mum who will lose £180 in maternity pay.
And it will also hit the people doing the right thing, trying to find work, like the trained professional I met in my constituency, unemployed for about a year, desperate to find it.
I don’t know whether our Chancellor and Prime Minister ever meet people like this. If they do, they show no sign of it in the way they divide Britain.
But they show all the signs of understanding the needs of a different group: the richest in society.
Next April, each person earning over £1million a year will be getting on average a tax cut of £107,000 each, not just for one year, but every year.
That is who these Tories are: out of touch with the vast majority, on the side of the wrong people.
One Nation Labour is about a different approach: let government show its responsibility by helping people back into work.
Let people show theirs by taking the work on offer.
That is the way to keep down the welfare bills, with an economy that is working again.
And let’s be One Nation, not a country divided further and further by a government that literally does not understand the lives of the people they seek to govern.
George Osborne can spout all the figures he likes about the wealthy being made to pay their fair share, but no-one can take his words seriously.
According to him, the highest-earning fifth of the population will pay a larger proportion of its income as a result of measures introduced over the past two years than any other fifth of the population.
Osborne is such a slippery character, which dictates caution in accepting his data without further analysis.
He plays fast and loose with the figures, as in deciding to include £3.5 billion from the auction of the 4G mobile spectrum in this year’s figures when the sale is scheduled to take place next year.
The Chancellor ought to explain whether his assertion of a greater responsibility placed on the rich includes the effect of VAT and higher National Insurance contributions.
VAT, which the conservative coalition has increased substantially, is a regressive tax, affecting poorer people more sharply, while graduated National Insurance payments are subject to a cut-off point to prevent the rich from paying what they should.
However, it should be remembered that the richest section of the population does not rely solely on income for its wealth.
One example is the multimillionaire Chancellor who flipped his second home from his London townhouse to his Cheshire farmhouse, increased his mortgage, receiving over £100,000 in parliamentary expenses, and then sold off the London property at a profit of three-quarters of a million pounds.
No wonder he swats aside questions about whether the reduction in the top rate of income tax affects him personally.
In common with the rest of the top 10 per cent of Britain’s wealthy, who collectively own half of all this country’s assets, his property appreciates irrespective of his current salary or income tax liability.
Contrast the impunity to tax tinkering for this opulent minority with the effect of Osborne’s latest assault on the incomes of low-paid workers.
Despite government rhetoric about favouring strivers over skivers and ministerial insistence that their priority is to encourage people to go from benefits to jobs, it is hammering working people whose low incomes make them reliant on in-work benefits.