Doesn’t time fly

Ten years ago yesterday we got the first Labour Government in 18 years.

I’d been working on Bridget’s campaign – and for my own election to the council in a bye-election – as well as being a member of staff for a junior member of the Labour front bench team in Parliament and can remember the excitement and anticipation.

I stuffed leaflets, knocked on doors, telephoned people like the result was on a knife-edge, when of course it wasn’t.

The night of our (and my) victory was spent in Catford watching the results roll in as Lewisham remained resolute in counting the vote as slowly as was humanly possible.  I think we made the election night party at 4 am.  And at 6 o’clock I stumbled home happy as a lark up to the flat I was living in on Blackheath, amazed that people had put their trust in me to represent them; at least for a year.

A decade later and what have we got.

Well, while I’ve had my political career, these figures tell an interesting story about the broader impact Labour has had on our community.

  • The average life expectancy for men has gone up by 2.6 years to 75.1 years old.
  • The average life expectancy for women has gone up by 1.5 years to 79.6 years old.
  • Cancer mortality is down, between 1996-98 160.1 per 100,000 were dying from cancer, that’s down to 140.5 in 2003-05.
  • The circulatory disease mortality rate per 100,000 population is down as well from 156 to 114.1.
  • Burglary is down from 26.9 per 1,000 households at the turn of the century to 20.6 in 2005/06.
  • But robbery is up, from 5.2 per 1,000 people to 9.3, again from the turn of the century.
  • Car crime has fallen from 20.1 per 1,000 people to 16.9 since 1999-2000.
  • Teenage conceptions are roughly where they were at the start of the decade.
  • The percentage of working age people in employment seems to have been a bit erratic, but is up from 68.4% when we came into office to 71.4% now.

I don’t think that anyone I know in the Labour Party is claiming this represents the Elysian Fields, but then we’re a party that should be looking for the light on the hill.

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About Andrew Brown

I live in Lewisham, South East London, and spent 9 years as a Labour councillor in the borough between 1997 and 2006.
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