Labour leadership hustings - on Mumsnet!

(147 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 11-Aug-10 11:11:51

The Labour leadership election is coming up, so we're putting on our very own Mumsnet hustings. We've invited all five candidates - Diane Abbott, Ed Balls, Andy Burnham, Ed Miliband and David Miliband - to submit to a proper MN grilling.

We want to send the same ten killer questions to all the candidates, so, whether you're a Labour voter or not, please post your killer question of choice here.

They can be as serious or semi-serious as you like, but up to usual MN-piercing-and-incisive standards please - as ex-leader Gordon Brown put it: "You [Mumsnetters] certainly ask more difficult questions than television's Question Time or any other question time that I'm part of."

(To avoid any accusations of favouritism by other politicians, we'll cover the biscuit question as a starter for ten wink).

We'll select the ten questions that seem to be the most recurring/insightful and give each of the candidates a week to respond to them.

We'll then publish all their responses so you can compare and contrast. We're hoping they will come on to Mumsnet on Monday 6th Sept from noon to 1pm to talk about their answers in more detail.

So far, David Miliband and Andy Burnham have said yes; Ed Miliband, Diane Abbott and Ed Balls have said yes in principle. We'll update the thread as soon as we know who else can make it.

BTW, the ballot results for the new Labour leader will be announced on 25th Sept.

Over to you...

GetOrfMoiLand Wed 11-Aug-10 11:21:45

OOH what a cracking idea.

First question - can you lot all stand down, and whilst you're there, Ed, can you ask your wife to stand instead.

I will go away and have a sensible think.

RobynLou Wed 11-Aug-10 11:26:17


sunfunandmum Wed 11-Aug-10 11:28:38

Why did Labour lose and what are you going to do to about it?

Hassled Wed 11-Aug-10 11:34:40

I'd like to ask about Graduate Tax - my understanding is that all candidates bar DM are pro, and I'm struggling to understand why.

Reasons against:
I'm dubious that the revenue will be ring fenced for higher education spending. How can this be ensured?
I'm concerned it will result in a brain drain.
I'm concerned that the £100,000 increased earning potential is based on statistics from the period where just having a degree was something of a novelty, and that since the world and his dog was encouraged to go to Uni, the earning potential differential has actually decreased. Someone with a degree in social work will not necessarily be earning more than someone who left school at 18, but yet we'll always need social workers. How, then, is an additional tax on the social worker fair?
And say, by some quirk of public sector spending, the social worker does end up earning higher than the national average, he/she will already be paying more tax through the standard income tax arrangements. To lob on an additional % hit for the rest of the working life seems very unjust.

My oldest son has just graduated. To my knowledge, he owes around £23,000 - not a good start to a working life. But we know what it is - he can manage and monitor the debt, and at some point it will have disappeared. I'd rather he owed say £30K under these circumstances than that he spent the rest of his working life paying an arbitrary additional tax.

So what are the reasons for?

How do you plan to re-energise the left to fight against the destruction of our welfare state by the Tories?

gingercat12 Wed 11-Aug-10 12:21:19

Will you support the 50:50 ratio of male and female members of the shadow cabinet (and hopefully later the cabinet)?

MaPrentice Wed 11-Aug-10 13:25:27

Do you think that "allowing" Diane Abbott to stand in the leadership election by DM putting his vote in for her, was in fact the worst kind of tokenism, and was just in fact an attempt to demonstrate that Labour is diverse and inclusive, when in fact the real race is been between 4 white male, 40-something candidates? Diane - how do you feel about being enabled to stand in this way?

abr1de Wed 11-Aug-10 13:29:30

I hope the same publicity advantage would be offered to the LibDems and Tories? I don't rea

abr1de Wed 11-Aug-10 13:30:02

--lly care who leads the Labour party but this does seem a bit partisan!

susiesheep2 Wed 11-Aug-10 13:44:19

I would like to know who would take the hardest line towards peace in the middle east. Why does the Labour party seem to have a softer approach towards the conflicts caused by Israel.

I would also like to know if / how they see the conflicts around Israel effecting the rest of the world in terms of terrorism.

Which of the potential candidates are in the Labour Friends of Israel camp - and which are open to lobbing? and whether they think there membership will have a positive or negative effect on the overall drive towards peace in the middle east and world peace - on the basis they may be seen as biased?

neenz Wed 11-Aug-10 13:47:13

Do you think there is too wide a gap between rich and poor and what effect does that have on our society? What would you do to reduce the gap?

natasha2010 Wed 11-Aug-10 15:28:58

hi i am moving into a new house with my 7month old daughter,her dad and i have bben getting on lately and are thinking of giving things another go but he works self employed doin junk removal bear it in mind he dosent always make money infact the busines is slow he aint earning nothing an when he does its 70 pound a week if that.
well im on sick pay which dosent differ my money (20POUND EXTRA) i gat housing benefit and child tax cred along with child benefit well he cant provide for us as he cant afford for his self so am i making a wrong decision by letting him move in with me or should i let him get his flat which he is bidding on at the moment will this effect me benefits?,it worries me because im doing a course which helps with my anxiety problems and am doin well i dont want to have to loose money as its not alot as it stands but i am willing to loose some benefit also its not wise to work straight away as im working on my issues. thanks for takin the time people.

Alouiseg Wed 11-Aug-10 16:20:21

Why does a Labour Government always leave the country in a worse financial mess than the Conservatives?

sophable Wed 11-Aug-10 16:26:08

what substantive difference is there going to be in a labour party lead by you and the conservative party? Will a labour party under your leadership rescind it's utterly parlous civil liberties track record (yes I'm talking to you David, hang your head in shame) and start to rebuild itself as a truly socialist (don't be shy now, are you going to reclaim that ground?) left of centre party with the protection of the civil liberties of it's most vulnerable citizens at it's heart?

coolfonz are you going to ask a question?

manfrom Wed 11-Aug-10 16:29:22

I would like to ask Diane Abbot if she thinks it's appropriate for Labour mps to send their children to private schools. wink

Oh, and a question for Ed B - if you didn't look like winning, would you accept the Shadow Chancellor's job to give one of the millibands a clear run?

manfrom Wed 11-Aug-10 16:33:08

p.s. vested interest - I've got a tenner on Ed Balls to win at 12/1! Come on Ed!

abr1de - to my knowledge there isn't a leadership contest going on within the other parties, so the issue of them being invited on to Mumsnet is a non-starter!

... and what makes you think that they wouldn't be invited?

WreckOfTheHesperus Wed 11-Aug-10 17:46:27

What are the pertinent qualities and experiences that you would you bring to the role of leader of the labour party, and what is your particular USP?

WreckOfTheHesperus Wed 11-Aug-10 17:49:56

As leader, what would you need to do to make the labour party electable again by the time of the next election?

Gigantaur Wed 11-Aug-10 19:33:18

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

Gigantaur Wed 11-Aug-10 19:34:42

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

moondog Wed 11-Aug-10 19:46:53

Yes, I'd like to know why Diane Abbot didn't feel a comprehensive was good enough for her son althoguh obviously it's good enough for everyone else's kids.

mintyfresh Wed 11-Aug-10 19:52:27

The Coalition Government is totally destroying the Careers Service through cuts at a time when young people and adults need advice more than ever before.

My question is - What would the Labour Candidate do to ensure that all young people have access to quality Careers Advice and Guidance?

thesecondcoming Wed 11-Aug-10 20:35:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mumtoone Wed 11-Aug-10 20:45:20

How would you address the issue of long term welfare dependency?

thefirstmrsDeVere Wed 11-Aug-10 20:58:43

As a life long labour voter and supporter I promise I will vote for someone else if Diane Abbot is elected.

How dare you suggest that non immigrant mothers are less devoted to their children's welfare. You want me to describe what 'going to the wall' for your children is really like?

Rollmops Wed 11-Aug-10 21:00:23

Ed Balls, aren't you ashamed for bringing the standard of the state education in this country down to such an appalling level?

SpringHeeledJack Wed 11-Aug-10 21:49:46

marking my place

(I've got to give this a bit of serious thought/time...rather than picking on the basis of: "ooh I like the look of 'im" or "he's got untrustworthy eyebrows" or "who's done her make up?")


sophable Wed 11-Aug-10 22:15:33

thesecondcoming that is a great question with zero chance of being answered

Shiitake Wed 11-Aug-10 22:17:18

Will the Labour Party ever manage shake of the utter disgrace of Iraq?

sophable Wed 11-Aug-10 22:18:10

or will any of you apologise for iraq?

HerBeatitude Wed 11-Aug-10 22:18:35

What are you going to do about the pornification of our culture? About the 94% non-conviction rate for rape? About the over-sexualisation of children, the grooming them for accepting that women's lives are worth less than those of men and that if they're not sexually attractive, they are worthless? What are you going to do about the fact that we are living through the most enormous backlash against feminism and that your party was at the vanguard of adopting anti-racist, anti-homophobic legislation and attitudes, but looked indulgently on sexist ones? (You denigrated mothering for example, and privileged work in the cash economy over child-rearing. You allowed lap-dancing clubs to be treated as if they were just ordinary pubs.) Why should women who want to be considered as valuable as men on their own terms, not on those of men, vote for you lot?

HerBeatitude Wed 11-Aug-10 22:19:35

oh and btw, I don't care what kind of biscuits you like.

claig Wed 11-Aug-10 22:22:31

What do you think being in opposition for the next 30 years will be like?

How many of you are going to follow Diane Abbott's example and "go to the wall" for their children by sending them to private schools, whilst simulaneously presiding over the dumbing down of education for the rest of the country's children?

Prinnie Wed 11-Aug-10 23:04:23

Will we EVER be able to trust a Labour government not to overspend our money and get us in to catastrophic debt that we then have to rely on the Conservatives to get us out of?

Where is your line? I mean, at what bit of Tory behaviour do you think we need to actually start the revolution?

I am actually terrified for the next few years. We have young children, we are the working poor and we live in a small former mining town which is so Labour that they took mere minutes to count the votes in the election (our MP was second to be declared, the next door MP was first). We are now under a government that does not like us, and wastes no time in making that clear.

This time next year, the mental health ward and the surestart centre, both of which saved my life in my old town, will be gone. What is next?

purits Thu 12-Aug-10 09:21:15

"I am actually terrified for the next few years ... We are now under a government that does not like us, and wastes no time in making that clear."

What's your point butterpie? I have just lived for 13 years under a Government that does not like people like me, so they diverted funds to their supporters' constituencies instead.hmm At least you had money lavished on your town: now it's 'our turn' we find that there is no money left.

If we are going with the "most recurring" question, can I repeat:
"Why does a Labour Government always leave the country in a worse financial mess than the Conservatives?" and
"Will we EVER be able to trust a Labour government not to overspend our money and get us in to catastrophic debt that we then have to rely on the Conservatives to get us out of?"

WreckOfTheHesperus Thu 12-Aug-10 09:43:03

If the Conservatives transfer power around commissioning health services into the hands of the GPs as planned, would you campaign on changing things back to the current system if elected in 5 years time?

WreckOfTheHesperus Thu 12-Aug-10 09:46:46

In an ideal world, and finances permitting, would you plan on reinstating the public sector jobs and spending that are being lost under the Coalition government?

Or would you be secretly glad that someone else has had to do the dirty work, and aim to maintain the new levels of public spending that you'd inherited?

cleanandclothed Thu 12-Aug-10 10:31:51

I would like to ask Ed Balls why there seems to be a widepsread opinion that he is a bully?

CatPower Thu 12-Aug-10 11:02:15

How different will New-New Labour (Labour v3.0??) be compared to the Blair/Brown era, and how will those differences be shown?

Will any future Labour leader at least address the epic failure that is the invasion of Iraq?

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 12-Aug-10 11:06:51


Thanks for all your qs so far.

We can see that some of you are posting questions directed at one or other of the leadership candidates in particular, so, just to clarify:

Taking inspiration from this thread, we will be drawing up ONE list of 10 questions. We'll then ask ALL the candidates to answer those 10 questions (so we can all compare and contrast, like).

So please only post here a question for all five candidates. (There'll hopefully be a chance to ask 'em specific questions individually during Sept 6th's webchat.)

WhatWillSantaBring Thu 12-Aug-10 11:37:42

Do what extent to you support political funding reform? Specifically, would you ever support restrictions on union funding of your party, and, if not, how do you ensure that you remain objective when dealing with the Unions (e.g. if called into mediate on a strike) if they have funded your party (or, for that matter, your leadership campaign)?

MillieMummy Thu 12-Aug-10 12:17:14

I would like to ask a question about the public sector and what the candidates plan to do to protect the public sector from cuts which will have a negative impact on vulnerable people during the (hopefully short) coalition government.
I agree that there are overpaid local authority chief executives and directors; but they are a tiny, tiny percentage of an authorities work force.
It saddens me that the public sector has been demonised, when the vast majority of local authority staff are low paid and are doing work with the most vulnerable people in society; caring for elderly people, supporting families with children who have learning disabilities and helping homeless families.
The public sector did not cause the current financial crisis - why should it, and the vulnerable people it supports, be made to pay for it?

chegggersplayspop Thu 12-Aug-10 13:11:41

Please can you describe your personal guiding principles (ie what you use to help shape policies you believe in) and how these differentiate you from the other candidates and make you the best person for the job.

Lavitabellissima Thu 12-Aug-10 13:35:40

What do you think of the 48hour working time directive? will we change in line with Europe?

In my contract I sign to opt out of this and regularly work a minimum 50+ hour week. I really wish it was less sad

Rollmops Thu 12-Aug-10 13:37:57

Right then, are you, as representative of 13 years of Labour government, not ashamed for ruining the state education system?

Must sting quite a bit that the official policy of 'keep 'em dumb and thrust bread (welfare state) and circuses (above mentioned lap-dancing clubs etc) upon 'em and they shall deliver their votes...' didn't work this time? hmm

alana39 Thu 12-Aug-10 14:44:40

How are you going to square making the party electable again with keeping your supporters on side. New Labour lost me, and lots of my family and friends, but we never really found anywhere else to go so had to stick around grumbling about it all. I want to feel happy (on the whole) with the party I support, rather than just feeling you are the least bad option.

manfrom Thu 12-Aug-10 15:40:43

"So please only post here a question for all five candidates."

Oh alright then! Do ANY of the candidates think it's appropriate for a labour mp to send their offspring to a fee-paying school?

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 12-Aug-10 17:15:05

Update - we're pleased that Diane Abbott has confirmed she can take part on Mon 6 May. Just Ed B 'n' Ed M left to confirm.

WillbeanChariot Thu 12-Aug-10 17:57:24

Where is the environment on your priority list? What do you think is the best strategy to resist climate change?

without Thu 12-Aug-10 18:52:15

What would the party do for young people leaving Uni (who don't have parents rich enough to pay off debts), to ensure they have a proper future, with a job, and a home of their own?

tryingtobemarypoppins2 Thu 12-Aug-10 20:06:09

How will the Labour party ensure people see all the good that was achieved (including massive steps forward in education Rollmops), sure start, children's playground projects etc etc etc, under the previous govenment? How could you communicate this better to people adn ensure a Conservative govenment stays out?

nottirednow Thu 12-Aug-10 21:18:56

Message withdrawn

nottirednow Thu 12-Aug-10 21:20:04

Message withdrawn

LadyBlaBlah Thu 12-Aug-10 23:19:32

I am very left wing, but none of this lot inspire me. I'm just not interested in their answers; I saw the thread yesterday and have been thinking about questions.......but I don't want to know anything from them......

So, maybe my question is "Is apathy a worry for all of them? How do they respond to the criticism that there is a lack of character amongst the candidates and they are simply career politicians, always in control and totally lacking in any passion? What have they done in their past which gives them the necessary experience to run the Labour party / the country? Basically (in the style of Nicky from BB - yes I used to watch) Who are they?

LadyBlaBlah Thu 12-Aug-10 23:20:02

Agree about biscuits BTW

The joke has passed

chegggersplayspop Fri 13-Aug-10 07:06:07

Good question ladyblablah. This was essentially what I was trying to get at, but in a less articulate way. I want to know what kind of person they are, rather than what they think about x and x policies.

WreckOfTheHesperus Fri 13-Aug-10 09:52:52

What are the top 5 new policies that you would implement today if you were the Prime Minister?

WreckOfTheHesperus Fri 13-Aug-10 10:27:57

Are you happy with the standard of school and university education in this country after a long period of labout government? If not, what would you still want to change?

WreckOfTheHesperus Fri 13-Aug-10 10:31:09

Do you think that 50% is the highest personal income tax rate that should be applied?

Or would you support higher, and possibly broader, taxation bands for high-earners, to support the welfare state?

drosophila Fri 13-Aug-10 11:57:14

I would like to ask D Abbot is she really thinks she can win given she upset sooooo many people when she sent her son to private school.

I would also like to know why all of those in the running have been to Oxford or Cambridge. What is it about these univerities that breeds politicians and what would they suggest to encourage more ordinary people into politics to give a bit of variety.

TheCrackFox Fri 13-Aug-10 12:18:32

Germany's economy has grown by an unexpected 2.2% for the last quarter. What did they do differently over the last 10 yrs to enable them to weather the global recession more successfully than GB?

boiledegg1 Fri 13-Aug-10 12:19:14

"Why does a Labour Government always leave the country in a worse financial mess than the Conservatives?" and
"Will we EVER be able to trust a Labour government not to overspend our money and get us in to catastrophic debt that we then have to rely on the Conservatives to get us out of?"

That's my questions...

DinahRod Fri 13-Aug-10 12:50:04

What is your policy on immigration? Do you connect Labour's failure to address this political hot-potato to the rise of the BNP's vote, especially in the council elections?

edam Fri 13-Aug-10 16:18:49

What do you think the Labour party actually stands for these days?

And do you regret pursuing so many Tory policies when you were in power - PFI, slavish attitude to the City, contracting out public services etc. etc. etc?

Bettydad Fri 13-Aug-10 20:33:56

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

Sweeedes Fri 13-Aug-10 20:50:32

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

Noraginz Fri 13-Aug-10 20:57:32

How would you build fairness into 'Free school meals' (and other child related benefits)?. A single parent with one child earning below 16K qualifies. A 2 parent family with 4 kids earning just (only just!), over 16K, does not qualify! confused

DinahRod Fri 13-Aug-10 21:15:53

Edam, you make a very good point.

My father, a Tory supporter and someone who deals with PFI as part of his job, used to say the Conservatives would never have got away with some of the r-wing decisions of Blair's govt made and my FIL,an ardent Labour supporter, used to tie himself in knots trying to justify it to his socialist self.

LadyBlaBlah Fri 13-Aug-10 22:45:53

I propose Edam for leader smile

<I am serious>

HerBeatitude Fri 13-Aug-10 23:08:05

"A single parent with one child earning below 16K qualifies."

I have to correct this, it is not true.

You do not qualify for free school meals if you receive working tax credits, however little you earn AFAIK. I didn't qualify when I was earning £11K, or even when I was earning £9K and the answer that came back was that I received WTC, therefore I didn't qualify.

MaggieMuggins Sat 14-Aug-10 00:09:41

I would like to second these questions:

1. "The Coalition Government is totally destroying the Careers Service through cuts at a time when young people and adults need advice more than ever before.

My question is - What would the Labour Candidate do to ensure that all young people have access to quality Careers Advice and Guidance?"

2. "if you weren't standing yourself which one of the other people standing would you vote for and why..."

and add:

3. How do you plan to inspire the many in this country who would describe themselves as socialists but who have been disillusioned with Labour under Blair/Brown to vote Labour once more?

Beaaware Sat 14-Aug-10 17:56:40

I would like to ask this question on the safety of donated blood in the UK:

Will they introduce a blood screening test or filter for the human form of mad cows disease (vcjd) as currently there are is no protection for the general public against vCJD in blood supplies in the UK? This is an avoidable disease if all blood was screened? I would like a simple yes or no to this question please.

catinthehat2 Sat 14-Aug-10 19:37:13

Message deleted by Mumsnet.

catinthehat2 Sat 14-Aug-10 19:38:22

Do you think that is too controversial?

<insincere simper>

herbietea Sat 14-Aug-10 19:59:08

Message withdrawn

catinthehat2 Sat 14-Aug-10 20:03:28


TheCrackFox Sat 14-Aug-10 20:07:19

On the subject of Iraq:

"are any of you insomniacs?"

thingamajig Sat 14-Aug-10 22:08:03

Do any of the candidates want to confess to lying to the public during the Labour Government years?

Please ask Ed Balls to answer first.

Buncho Sat 14-Aug-10 23:22:37

If you could reverse just one coalition government policy what would it be?

hackster Sun 15-Aug-10 00:00:27

Graduate Tax - As mentioned in an earlier post all but DM are for this policy. One of the main issues facing the UK is the buy now pay later culture (forcing the UK Govt to bail out the banks largely down to this behaviour).
How does a tax on the future earnings of graduates pay for HE now? and encourage people to invest now in their future? The problem with the system is funding. My preference would be variable funding for degrees, a degree for necessity rather than it being a nice course. A graduate tax will also not address the challenges faced by bright students from poorer background.

Childcare - The CON-alition have declared that middle income earners do not need tax credit support. How do each of you plan to lead the opposition on this point? Esp as many key workers are on threshold for the first cut to £40k and they are having pay frozen/cut, pension contributions increases and fighting to keep their jobs.

Economy - Mistakes were made with the selling of the gold (when there was no need), but why did the labour party not include the positive/necessary side of taking large % in the banks? a) these are now businesses making money, b) Northern Rock being ahead of its planned re-payment schedule etc c) the dividend rules of the banks with Govt stakes d) no banking system = UK meltdown. Shame that the election wasn't after the April-June outcomes.

Social Justice - To me the back bone of the labour party has been social justice, and through my work I have had the pleasure of seeing an NDC area re-balance to the rest of the City of Leicester. Yet the Social justice agenda of the Labour party seems to have lost its way. How do you plan to re-invigorate the debate whilst the Tories (backed by the SUN) are rolling out every person in the UK who lives comfortably on benefits?

Crime - Kenneth Clarke has indicated that prisons don't work and re-habilitation is the key. What is your view on this issue esp at a time where community service provision is also likely to be cut.

aviatrix Sun 15-Aug-10 16:23:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

wolfhound Sun 15-Aug-10 21:06:33

A generation of Labour government did great things for personal equality in this country and disastrous things for the economy. What would you do to raise money for this country rather than spend it?

CatherineHMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 16-Aug-10 10:33:41

We've just heard that Ed Balls is joining us for the hustings on the 6th September - so it's just Ed Miliband we're waiting for....

And can we take this opportunity to remind everyone of the webchat guidelines; 'You're free to voice your opinion, but do be civil/polite - please afford our guests the same cordiality you would if they stopped by your own house.'

lucky1979 Mon 16-Aug-10 10:48:21

So, if all of the coalition cuts so far have been wrong according Labour, what would you have cut next year to make up Aliaster Darlings predicted 20% cuts?

Why didn't that get cut while you were in office?

Do you think a certain race of mother (e.g. west indian) is more committed to their children than any other race of mother?

catinthehat2 Mon 16-Aug-10 11:39:12

Ah yes.

Just reminded me of Gordon Brown stopping by Gillian Duffy's house earler this year.

A treasured time.

daisy5678 Mon 16-Aug-10 12:40:37

How do you plan to improve the lives of disabled children and their families, at school, home and in the community? This includes reform to the current postcode lottery SEN Statementing/ funding system.

manfrom Mon 16-Aug-10 14:14:26

'You're free to voice your opinion, but do be civil/polite - please afford our guests the same cordiality you would if they stopped by your own house.'

I wonder, would any of the candidates invite Damien McBride back to their houses? smile

TessOfTheDinnerbells Mon 16-Aug-10 15:07:18

Okay, have given this LOTS of thought so here's my tuppence worth.

Leadership Qualities
I would like to echo an earlier question asking what life experience or moment in your past caused the epiphany that put you on the path to being an MP? OR .... What experience or ethos guides you and makes you the prime leadership candidate?

Disabled Children
Also, as a parent of a disabled child, (and there are so many of us on MN), what do you feel were the key improvements made to our families while Labour were in power and which would you like to further develop in the future? (intentionally trying not to lead anyone here :-D ) And what do you think of the medical testing for all DLA claimants?

Your Future
Finally, as this seems to be in the spirit of a job interview..... Where do you see yourself in five years time? ;-D

cansu Mon 16-Aug-10 17:04:13

How are you going to improve the education of children with special needs? Currently, parents have to fight/pressure their local authority to ensure that their children get the education they need. You only have to read the special needs discussions on this site to see this. I am also concerned that children with a vast range of diabilities are taught in so called special schools. It is my experience that these schools are ill equipped to deal with the array of complex needs thay currently deal with.

walksfarwoman Tue 17-Aug-10 04:46:59

Susiesheep , I have been trying to get an answer to those questions from the Labour Party leadership for the past 2 years.....I actually wrote G>Brown 52 letters on this subject and never ever received a direct response to my concerns regarding the Occupation of Palestine....I don't think the Millibands will answer yourquestion. Diane will!!!!!! The other 2 are even greater whimps that the Milly boyz!!!!!!

susiesheep2 Tue 17-Aug-10 15:20:36

I really don't understand why its allowed, but all political parties seem to be involved, their is a Conservative Friends of Israel too, although with less high profile MPS than the Labour Friends of Israel -

I really want to understand WHY this is even the case in the first place - no other "county" of whatever - has this kind of political lobby group. Does it all just come down to money? Have they MPS sold themselves, or is there a good reason for it?

Surely if we are looking for world peace, we need to start in the middle east - and from what I understand you don't enter in to serious negotiations when you have already blatantly chosen a "favorite"?

Very odd if you ask me at best, and at worst corruption of the deadliest kind.

Jux Tue 17-Aug-10 16:46:36

Are you going to legalise drugs? Why? Why not?

crazymum53 Wed 18-Aug-10 09:02:18

After 13 years of a Labour government why is the gap between rich and poor still increasing.

The Labour government has poured lots of money into schools but why is there still such a big gap between the best and worst secondary schools. In my area Bristol there are still some schools where only 22% of pupils achieve 5 or more GCSEs including English and Maths whereas other schools achieve 85% pass rate. This is not acceptable.

The Labour government has increased spending in the NHS but has this gone in better frontline patient care or management and bureauracy ?

Given that Oxbridge graduates have a significant advantage in terms of overall earnings compared to graduates of other universities should they be charged higher fees / pay higher rate graduate tax ?

mackerel Wed 18-Aug-10 09:49:06

I was a labour voter but feel very let down by labour's record in governement. What vision do the candidates have for the future of the labour party in future and how will that differ from the last 13 yrs. What went wrong is interesting to think about but maybe the question needs to be how they plan to address the current problems facing the country.

purits Wed 18-Aug-10 10:08:12

"What went wrong is interesting to brush under the carpet think about but maybe the question needs to be how they plan to address the current problems facing the country."

Haha. As dear Tony used to say about any awkward question, "looking forwards ..."

ftm42 Wed 18-Aug-10 12:04:39

I'd love to ask someone why there isn't any financial support for stay-at-home Mums/Dads? My husband is the sole earner so whatever he earns gets taxed to the hilt. We calculated recently that if we were both earning 50% of his current income we'd be several £Ks better off! Why can't I claim childcare costs equivalent to those given to parents who send their children to nursery/after school clubs?

GabbyLoggon Wed 18-Aug-10 15:01:31

My question

Why on earth take such a long time electing a leader? It plays into the ConDems hands.

GabbyLoggon Wed 18-Aug-10 15:02:40

My question

Why on earth take such a long time electing a leader? It plays into the ConDems hands.

Astronaut79 Wed 18-Aug-10 15:12:32

which one of you is going to promise to get rid of union-hating academies and ban bloody AQA from changing the syllabus/texts every 3-5 years because 'teachers get bored of teaching the same thing'?

Which one of you is going to tell OFSTED that their view of a good teacher is not necessarily the same view shared by those who actually do the job?

Which one of you is going to have the guts to say: 'ok, let's not do any more cocking about with schools, but let's leave them alone for 5 years and see how they get on'. Can't be any worse can it?

Pixey Wed 18-Aug-10 15:23:45

The coalition are hiving off the NHS to social enterprises - if Prime Minster will you reverse the sell off. So that my children have a National Health Service - free at the point of delivery?

snoozathon Wed 18-Aug-10 16:37:26

1) Do you intend to continue expanding PFI projects, which saddle our children with debt for years to come? I work in a school and there is a horrible, horrible dynamic between the teaching staff and the site staff because we're not on the same team - everything the site management team do is about spending as little as possible and things are constantly falling apart, cleaning is awful and the canteen is disgusting. There's nothing the school staff or management can do as it's run by [insert name of well-known contractor] not the borough. They can profit by flogging use of our school in evenings or weekends, meaning I have to vacate my department by 4pm unless I've 'pre-booked' an activity with said contractor. my room is then frequently left in a tip as they clean as infrequently as they can get away with, ooh unless Oftsed are in. It's effing ridiculous.


2) And I can't believe no-one's mentioned SureStart centres. Rumour has it the coalition govt want to limit access to only low-income families, whereas the benefits of the centres are immense to all parents regardless of income, and help strengthen communities and parenting confidence. Reassure us please that you will expand, not cut, SureStart and other services which help parents, especially first-time parents.

I popped in to my local SureStart centre recently as I'm currently ttc and I find childcare issues really confusing, and they gave me brilliant advice on the options available. I'm internet-savvy but nothing replaces local, professional knowledge. I also spent time chatting to local mums, which was amazing - I felt immediately less isolated.

Oh but I'm probably 'middle-class' according to my income, so I don't matter. [sulk]

snoozathon Wed 18-Aug-10 16:41:06

Oh and what Astronaut said, leave teachers alone please, we have to spend every summer bloody learning a new curriculum instead of building on resources we already have to improve them, it feels like re-inventing the wheel every bloody time, espeically for BTEC where you have to write a course handbook which takes bloody ages, i did this last year and have to write a new one this year as the whole bloody course has changed.

Slambang Wed 18-Aug-10 22:14:01


Why should any of us ever trust anything you say again?

Also a question on Iraq but not the same as the others - will any of you be brave enough to say that we did the right thing, that dictators should be brought down where possible and that being leader of the Labour party is about standing up for oppressed people around the world?

And a second question too - can you restructure the party so the meetings aren't so tedious. I'd get involved except everyone at local meetings seem utterly mad and quite smelly!

fsmail Fri 20-Aug-10 09:43:54

My question is that the Public Sector is becoming unsustainable. What are you going to do about the unfair contracted out system for public sector pensions and the inequality between private sector pensions and public sector pensions. Unions appear to have all their strength in limited sections of the working population and therefore this in enhancing the inequality. What would you do about these issues? Also why did Labour always seem to give in the Grey vote at the expense of the future generations?

BarmyArmy Fri 20-Aug-10 14:49:37

Firstly, I'd ask the other candidates to stand aside in order let Ed Balls sail through unopposed.

And then I'd ask him how he feels about leading a party that will never win again for as long as he is in charge...


QueenCrystal Fri 20-Aug-10 14:52:58

How would you increase opportunities for young people esp re work and education? Young generation seems to be getting rough deal.... (agree with fsmail on last point re grey vote).

What qualities do you think a good opposition leader needs to have and how will you be a good opp leader?

MannyMoeAndJack Fri 20-Aug-10 18:11:52

How would you deal with, or attempt to reverse, voter insouciance?

How would you reduce the number of NEETs?

MannyMoeAndJack Fri 20-Aug-10 20:02:03

Given that the UK is an ageing population, what is your solution to the finance of social care for the elderly?

wizzler Fri 20-Aug-10 21:23:08

Whatwould you do to address the problem that we need more midwives, we have lots of trained midwives, yet we have a health service which cannot afford to employ them?

Donkeyswife Sat 21-Aug-10 00:33:47

What are you going to do about illegal economic immigrants and the strain that puts on public services? (don't bash me here Mumsnetters, I'm mixed race and married to a son of an immigrant)

What are you going to do about Neets?

What are you going to do about the amazing disaffected former Labour voters to get them back on board to win the next election?

Are you going to safeguard Child Tax Credits and Child Benefit?

What plans do you have for encouraging people to use sustainable energy in their homes? (the £15k for solar panels is way out of most people's budgets).

Thanks and best of luck!

PricklyThistle Sat 21-Aug-10 01:47:15

Scotland and Wales have gained devolution under a labour government. Both are seeking more powers.

What are the candidates views on further powers for the devolved governments?

MannyMoeAndJack Sat 21-Aug-10 08:36:33

What would you do to address the gulf in academic attainment between state schools and independent schools?

Coolfonz Sat 21-Aug-10 11:36:47

According to the Lancet there are 1.5mn dead in Iraq due to the direct and indirect consequences of the war.

How many Iranian civilians would it be legitimate to kill to achieve your political ambitions?

Cammelia Sun 22-Aug-10 15:33:26

What are you going to do about helping the over-50's gain employment given that the state pension age is predicted to rise to 72 for people in my age group?

GabbyLoggon Sun 22-Aug-10 15:39:41

my question

why such a drawn out contest?

StuckInTheMiddleWithYou Sun 22-Aug-10 17:45:18

Are you going to campaign to protect our public libraries both from direct cuts AND privitisation?

If not, why not?

Many Mumsnetters are exteremely concerned about "The Future Libraries Programme" which contains amoung other things, proposals such as selling off libraries, running them on a volunteer basis or paying supermarkets to run them.

Libraries are vital, they are the last truly free educational resource available to all.

Are you going to save them?

Henny1995 Sun 22-Aug-10 23:52:19

Why did you leave the coalition with the legacy of every man, woman and child owing £22,000 to the treasury and now have the gall to blame the new government for making cuts that you yourself were planning? How do you sleep at night - any of you???

GabbyLoggon Mon 23-Aug-10 14:43:31

why is it taking so long?

DinahRod Mon 23-Aug-10 18:40:03

Have heard through a reliable MN source that David Cameron smells very nice and expensive.

What do you smell of?

zebedeee Tue 24-Aug-10 09:20:51

I'd like to repeat StuckInTheMiddleWithYou's remark and question.

'Libraries are vital, they are the last truly free educational resource available to all.

Are you going to save them?'

When Culture Secretary Andy, I believe you were refusing to use your powers of the 1964 Public Libraries and Museums act to protect the closure of 11 local libraries on the Wirral and 4 in Swindon. How do you defend this?

slug Tue 24-Aug-10 10:23:41

Have any of you ever had a real job. By that I mean one that does not involve politics on one level or another (no consultancy work for think tanks etc), pays less than the median wage and is subject to the whims of the market (i.e. facing the real possibility of redundancy)? If so, for how long? If not, how can the public trust you to have any real, visceral understanding of how life is actually lived for the vast majority of the population outside the westminster bubble?

anothabubbla Tue 24-Aug-10 12:27:44

Leadership candidates SHOULD be the best of the best so hich of the other candidates would you NOT put in your Cabinet and why?

sarah293 Tue 24-Aug-10 12:33:25

Message withdrawn

Litchick Tue 24-Aug-10 13:13:15

It's my view that Labour lost its appeal not to the left, who will surely never vote other than Labour, but to the centre.

So do you accept that your administration under Brown became ever more left leaning and state centric?
Do you accept that this was unpopular with many Labour voters who defected or abstained?
What would you do to bring the party back to the centre and appeal to middle income, middle class voters?

Highlander Tue 24-Aug-10 17:12:55

excellent Q, slug.

Should all donations to a leadership constest be deposited into a communal pot, thus all candidates campaign on an equal footing?

drosophila Tue 24-Aug-10 22:03:33

What do you regret most about the labour years?

What would you have done differently if you had your time again?

Which politician do you most admire and why?

How do you feel deep down when you hear stats that say there are fewer people in Oxbridge from the state system than there were 40 years ago. Does it send a bullet through your heart?

Quantitativeteasing Wed 25-Aug-10 00:02:49

Which is more morally defensible:

- to lead a party which claims to represent the interests of the working class (aka “hard-working families”) but which actually sells it down the river every day and in every way – not least by instructing its children to live for success via shows like The X Factor;


- to lead a party which defends capitalism, openly represents the interests of the middle and upper classes, and is extremely relaxed about people from privileged backgrounds getting very much richer?

huddspur Wed 25-Aug-10 01:05:12

Why did you think it was a good idea to rack up a record deficit that is going to take years of pain and hardship to pay off and why did you start a disasatorous war in Iraq that has a military and civilian death toll of around 500,000 and left Iran as the superpower of the region.

bullethead Wed 25-Aug-10 20:31:44

Sorry to pee on your chips, but I echo abr1de's view that this all seems a bit partisan. They lost the election; they're not even in power, so it's not very high on my political agenda at the moment. Besides which, Labour have done so much damage to education that they lost my support at the election. Not to mention increasing centralisation, control over our every move, ID cards,pointless and ever growing numbers of quangos and overpaid consultants in the public sector. Plus the 'green' tax that's constantly being levied on ordinary people. Let'em get on with it -hard-working people will always be the perfect whipping boys for any elected party anyway.

Jux Wed 25-Aug-10 22:05:27

Agree bullethead. I don't care who leads them - they're all chancers and liars - but I'd like to know what they think is going to go down well with The Great British Public (even though they'll never have to actually do any of it anyway).

bullethead Wed 25-Aug-10 23:08:21

Did I miss something folks? Is it somehow shameful to openly represent the interests of the middle classes? Now I understand why Labour hasn't represented me for 13 years despite the fact I voted for them!!

champagnesupernova Wed 25-Aug-10 23:20:25

What's the biggest mistake you've ever made in politics?

Quantitativeteasing Wed 25-Aug-10 23:34:29

"Is it somehow shameful to openly represent the interests of the middle classes?"

See now, that is the question.

crazyhayz Thu 26-Aug-10 01:23:39

I have two questions PLEASE ask them:

1) It has recently been reported that George Osbournes Budget has hit the poorest people the hardest, for lone parents like me who are struggling every day to make ends meet, what could you do to make these effects less damaging for us?

2) - I want to start University when I finish college as a mature student, but I am worried that I am not going to get a place at University due to the recent cuts, is there anything you can do to give people like me a bit of peace of mind?

Labour all the way, david miliband for leadership.

hildathebuilder Thu 26-Aug-10 11:58:56

why is everyone so afraid of talking abour raising taxes which is clearly part of the way to tackle the deficit.

(and I say this from a fortunate position as someone who will be much worse off with tax rises than benefit cuts)

nowit Thu 26-Aug-10 12:55:42

Would you serve in the cabinet/shadow cabinet of each of the other candidates?

If not, which ones would you not work for?

duffy Thu 26-Aug-10 13:15:45

If you could be one historical figure, who would you be?

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 26-Aug-10 13:20:09

Thank you to everybody who has posted a question.

We're now going to send over a selection of your best questions to all the candidates and we'll post their answers before they come on Mumsnet on Monday 6 Sept.

If you still have any burning questions, please hold on to them until the 6th and join in then.

Thanks again

lealealea Thu 26-Aug-10 16:08:12

Currently, a woman requesting an abortion within 24 weeks must first obtain the permission of two doctors. This is completely out of synchronisation with current clinical practice in the NHS, which operates a system of patients giving ‘informed consent’. The only other procedure that two doctors’ permission is required for is if a patient is committed for insanity. Also, abortion can still only be performed by a doctor, however, the Royal College of Nursing agree that suitably trained nurses should be able to do this too. Do you think that laws governing abortion should be modernised in line with modern healthcare and medical practices?

Noraginz Fri 27-Aug-10 10:03:28

HerBeatitude's point about Working Tax Credit (I'm sorry I didn't realise this point), just goes to prove my original question 'How would you build fairness into the Free School Meals and other benefits qualifying??'

geniemummy Fri 27-Aug-10 11:07:47

We are facing the most catastrophic cuts in public spending i have ever seen. How on earth did Labour leave us with this legacy? What would you now do to put things right?

sfxmum Sun 29-Aug-10 16:22:03

- personally I feel that dependency on benefits is detrimental to self esteem but I believe in a fair welfare state which is there to support all in an hour of need
- how do you propose making benefits flexible enough to make working worthwhile?
- how do you propose funding the rest?

- how to you propose monitoring quality in public services which does not involve creating a class of pen pushers who have no concept of the day to day realities and propose absurd solutions and whose sole purpose is to hit artificial preposterous targets (PI)
PI's with no base in reality and by its very own lack of flexibility can create more problems than they solve

<got that off my chest>

also how do you see The Left and how best, in your view, should it define itself?

many thanks

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