Labour’s transformed the lives of many people in the last decade, and nowhere has the impact of a Labour Government been more acutely felt than in international development. For many of us, eradicating poverty is the reason we joined the Labour Party, and there is much to be proud of.
Since 1997, Labour has helped lift 3 million permanently out of poverty each year. We’ve helped get some 40 million children into school. Polio is on the verge of being eradicated and 3 million are now able to access life-preserving drugs for HIV and AIDS. 1.5 million people have improved water and sanitation services.
Tackling global poverty has been high on the agenda of our Party, and we want to keep it that way. That’s why we, a group of Labour activists, have recently set up Labour Campaign for International Development.
We want to keep international development high on Labour’s agenda, and to push our Government to build on its success and be bolder and go further still, in a similar way to our fraternal friends at SERA do on the environment.
We also want to use it as a vehicle to bring people who care about global poverty and other single issues in to the Labour Party. Be they young people engaging in politics for the first time, or former members who’ve turned away from party politics, we want to engage them.
First and foremost, we need them to vote Labour. In the lead up to the election, we’ll be scrutinising the Conservatives to show just how much damage they would do to everything we’ve fought for over the last decade. Even if their promise to match our pledge to spend 0.7% on aid could be believed, it is what they would spend our aid money on that is most damaging – the same failed private sector solutions that failed in the 1980s. No one must be complacent of the Tory threat, or think that a vote for the Greens or Lib Dems will bring any more than a Tory Government.
But we can and will be more positive than that. We’ve got a proud record on development and we intend to shout about it to anti-poverty campaigners. By encouraging them into the Party, we can gain from their skills and energy and, we hope, help invigorate the Party in the process.
LCID is a growing organisation, and we’d love to have your involvement. We’ve set up this blog with regular news and comment, and you can become a fan of our Facebook page to get regular updates.
To formally launch LCID, the Rt Hon Douglas Alexander, Secretary of State for International Development, will be speaking at an event in the House of Commons on 02 February at 7pm. Please RSVP here.
We look forward to working with everyone in the Party over the coming weeks and months to keep Labour in Government transforming people’s lives and lifting millions out of poverty.
by David Taylor, Chair, Labour Campaign for International Development