New Labour poster challenges Cameron’s "Big Society"

New poster declares: “If you’re there for him, he won’t be there for you.”

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Here's the new Labour poster, launched at this morning's press conference. It's certainly an improvement on that disastrous Gene Hunt mock-up, and it picks up on a recurring criticism of the Conservatives, namely: who has time for Cameron's Big Society?

It was a point best made by Channel 4's Gary Gibbon at yesterday's manifesto launch. He asked: "What's the evidence that people want to be prised away from their telly or garden to do all this stuff?"

It's one thing to believe that a Conservative government would stimulate a dramatic rise in civic engagement, quite another to believe that this could act as a plausible substitute for the state.

David Cameron's hope that the Big Society will replace Big Government is reminiscent of the old Marxist belief that the state will "wither away" as a result of victorious socialism. We all know how that turned out.

Moreover, given that Cameron claimed, absurdly, that "big government" was responsible for the financial crisis and opposed the fiscal stimulus, it's reasonable to doubt his belief in the power of government.

With the polls still showing a lack of popular enthusiasm for Cameron, the Tories clearly need a big idea to woo the electorate. But I'm really not sure the "Big Society" is it.

Join us for the first TV leaders' debate this Thursday.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Donald Trump vs Barack Obama: How the inauguration speeches compared

We compared the two presidents on trade, foreign affairs and climate change – so you (really, really) don't have to.

After watching Donald Trump's inaugural address, what better way to get rid of the last few dregs of hope than by comparing what he said with Barack Obama's address from 2009? 

Both thanked the previous President, with Trump calling the Obamas "magnificent", and pledged to reform Washington, but the comparison ended there. 

Here is what each of them said: 

On American jobs

Obama:

The state of our economy calls for action, bold and swift.  And we will act, not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth.  We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together.  We'll restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost.  We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories.  And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age.

Trump:

For many decades we've enriched foreign industry at the expense of American industry, subsidized the armies of other countries while allowing for the very sad depletion of our military.

One by one, the factories shuttered and left our shores with not even a thought about the millions and millions of American workers that were left behind.

Obama had a plan for growth. Trump just blames the rest of the world...

On global warming

Obama:

With old friends and former foes, we'll work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet.

Trump:

On the Middle East:

Obama:

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West, know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. 

Trump:

We will re-enforce old alliances and form new ones and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth.

On “greatness”

Obama:

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned.

Trump:

America will start winning again, winning like never before.

 

On trade

Obama:

This is the journey we continue today.  We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth.  Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began.  Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week, or last month, or last year.  Our capacity remains undiminished.  

Trump:

We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our product, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs.

Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength. I will fight for you with every breath in my body, and I will never ever let you down.

Stephanie Boland is digital assistant at the New Statesman. She tweets at @stephanieboland