Well, it'll be one or the other one, I suppose. Like most of us, I was beginning to think that there wasn't much to choose between them, but this is dangerous thinking for a Labour-to-the-marrow-working-class-and proud-of-it kind of girl. The more I read about the Tories plans for us, the more I realise just how screwed we're going to be if they are successful.
For example, today in the Daily
I have very grave reservations that the Tories have any real understanding of what a cooperative actually is. I strongly suspect that we will not end up with anything that resembles my
understanding of the concept.
In that Utopian world we all strive to achieve, the workers will manage the business with expertise, compassion and frugality, all for one, and one for all, to each according to his need and all that. They will cut waste, improve services and re-invest the profits which their good management will generate into improving services in the future - and we'll all love them for it.
Firstly, it all seems very rushed – for example, who will be awarding the contracts? How are overworked and inexperienced and under-qualified public sector staff going to find the time to set up these co-operatives and teach themselves to run them? Are jobs lost if a contract isn’t awarded?
Many co-ops find that the task of self-management is initially beyond them and engage professional management companies who will happily drink half your funding leaving you even less with which to operate. And that 'non-profit making’ label could be manipulated in a hundred ways.
To even start managing this, the National Pay agreements will have to be scrapped, which will end a relatively peaceable decade of industrial relations at a stroke. And the unions will struggle to represent and protect such a fragmented workforce.
The net result of this so called 'decentralisation of power' is in fact the opposite. The role of the local authorities being removed means that all the decision-making power goes back to the Government. This does not fill me with confidence - even MacDdonalds are seeing the benefits of localisation right now.
You can't get a quart out of a pint pot, however well you market it. It’s an underhand ploy to set providers in competition with each other and force them
to take ownership of how cuts to services are delivered on the ground.
There seems to be a hidden agenda here – to set up these so-called co-operatives to fail, descend into chaos and end up in such a mess that the only solution will be to bring in the private sector.
What does everyone think – can anyone see this working?