Its was the forth Saturday of the month, so I joined the regular monthly stall in Lydney run by Lydney and Tidenham Branch Labour Party.
Three issues stood of for me from the many conversations.
Concern about access to a doctor out of hours, the impact of universal credit and the difficulty of getting funding for services for a daughter with disabilities.
Think back to before the world economy blew up and the recession followed. The Tories settled on austerity as the only pathway – governments in other countries did not but that is another argument and won we lost.
What is clear is you do not take £40b out if departmental service budgets and £39b, with more to come, out of welfare spend and there be no impact. It is that impact we hear of when out in the streets talking to people.
The Tories are trying to tempt by talking of their domestic agenda and investments. I am taking it all with a pinch of salt. If it was in their plans already, it does not represent anything new in their thinking.
Labour however is thinking hard about a world battered by austerity. The UN found that poverty has become systematic under the Tories. The UN attributed this to the brutal unpicking of the ‘glue that has held British society together since the Second World War’. The safety net (such as out of hours services, benefits and support for people with disabilities) has been removed and replaced with ‘a harsh and uncaring ethos.’
Labour believes that the domestic agenda is about what we aspire to do together not just about a bit extra for services, welcome and needed as that is. We do not want to defend what is left of deteriorating public services. We are making the case for ambitious change.
Labour believes that together, we should commit to funding through taxation from our collective effort the minimum guarantees that are designed for people to be safe, healthy, well educated and to have opportunity – universal basic services.
We think that services should be designed for people not to generate profit for private companies and their shareholders. Some things are too important to be left to the market.
Why is this so important now? Because austerity has shredded our public services. Because the population is ageing. Because 1.5m people in Britain are at risk of losing their jobs through automation.
We need to reimagine what is possible if the rich are not to continue to get richer and the poor poorer.

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