David Cameron says the Tories are aiming for full employment. Photo: Getty
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David Cameron reiterates Tory call for full employment: empty words or PR coup?

Countering the "cost-of-living crisis".

David Cameron is to reiterate the Tory commitment to full employment outlined by George Osborne last year. In a speech today, he is to emphasise his party's call for achieving this aim, presenting his election manifesto promises on jobs and enterprise.

Full employment happens in an economy in which there are enough jobs available for all workers. According to the BBC, the Prime Minister is expected to say on the subject:

Full employment may be an economic term, but this is what it means in human terms: it means more of our fellow men and women with the security of a regular wage; it means you, your family and your children having a job and getting on in life.

Are these hollow words or a compelling promise from a Prime Minister desperate to convince an electorate largely yet to feel the so-called recovery that the Tories offer a bright future?

The Labour party has jumped on Cameron's commitment as "empty words", considering this government's record on employment as seen throughout this parliament. The shadow work and pensions secretary, Rachel Reeves, commented:

David Cameron's talk of full employment will seem like empty words to working people after five years of talents wasted and opportunities denied.

The Tories' low wage economy has left millions of people stuck on low pay, or unable to get enough work to pay the bills. The average wage has fallen more than £1,600 per year, 3.5 million people want to work more hours, and the number of people paid less than a living wage has risen to nearly five million, driving up the benefits bill and leading to more Tory Welfare Waste.

Meanwhile young people aren't getting the support they need to make the most of their talents and help our country earn its way out of the cost-of-living crisis.

Indeed, although employment levels have been increasing, the number of low-paid and low quality jobs, and unemployment among young people, remain a stubborn scar on the face of the coalition's jobs record. Cameron's pledge to aim for full employment makes his party vulnerable to fair criticism from Labour, which has long been banging the drum for its own plans for higher quality jobs and working conditions.

Labour has promised a Compulsory Jobs Guarantee to help the long-term unemployed off benefits into work, a crackdown on zero-hours contracts, raising the minimum wage to £8 an hour and helping more workers be paid the living wage. The PM's speech simply gives the opposition a good opportunity to champion its promises on living and working standards.

Labour is the party that has been consistently stronger on living conditions, summed up by its incessant "cost-of-living crisis" narrative, which makes Cameron's speech today on full employment a little risky for the Tories. His promise begs the question of how he would ensure that, once he's given such a big boost to the country's employment, workers are working and living satisfactorily.

Anoosh Chakelian is deputy web editor at the New Statesman.

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Labour to strip "abusive" registered supporters of their vote in the leadership contest

The party is asking members to report intimidating behaviour - but is vague about what this entails. 

Labour already considered blocking social media users who describe others as "scab" and "scum" from applying to vote. Now it is asking members to report abuse directly - and the punishment is equally harsh. 

Registered and affiliated supporters will lose their vote if found to be engaging in abusive behaviour, while full members could be suspended. 

Labour general secretary Iain McNicol said: “The Labour Party should be the home of lively debate, of new ideas and of campaigns to change society.

“However, for a fair debate to take place, people must be able to air their views in an atmosphere of respect. They shouldn’t be shouted down, they shouldn’t be intimidated and they shouldn’t be abused, either in meetings or online.

“Put plainly, there is simply too much of it taking place and it needs to stop."

Anyone who comes across abusive behaviour is being encouraged to email validation@labour.org.uk.

Since the bulk of Labour MPs decided to oppose Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, supporters of both camps have traded insults on social media and at constituency Labour party gatherings, leading the party to suspend most meetings until after the election. 

In a more ominous sign of intimidation, a brick was thrown through the window of Corbyn challenger Angela Eagle's constituency office. 

McNicol said condemning such "appalling" behaviour was meaningless unless backed up by action: “I want to be clear, if you are a member and you engage in abusive behaviour towards other members it will be investigated and you could be suspended while that investigation is carried out. 

“If you are a registered supporter or affiliated supporter and you engage in abusive behaviour you will not get a vote in this leadership election."

What does abusive behaviour actually mean?

The question many irate social media users will be asking is, what do you mean by abusive? 

A leaked report from Labour's National Executive Committee condemned the word "traitor" as well as "scum" and "scab". A Labour spokeswoman directed The Staggers to the Labour website's leadership election page, but this merely stated that "any racist, abusive or foul language or behaviour at meetings, on social media or in any other context" will be dealt with. 

But with emotions running high, and trust already so low between rival supporters, such vague language is going to provide little confidence in the election process.