THE mess the economy in directly due to the obsession both the Conservatives and New Labour have with the idea that unregulated markets know best. The bankers have 'trousered' billions speculating with our money, only to be bailed when their madness produced this collapse.

We need a fundamental change, which should start with the Government using its ownership over the banks to direct them to lend responsibly and to the benefit of everyone.

We should also place super-taxes on bankers' bonuses.

Given the poverty and the housing conditions so many suffer from in Tower Hamlets, it's not surprising there is crime. We need a strategy that will see the police actually doing their job, responding quickly to calls from distressed residents and a programme that will take young people off the streets and into constructive activity.

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I am glad the health service managers in Tower Hamlets have seen sense and held off full-scale privatisation. But the enormous cost, due to the crazy Private Finance Initiative, of the new Royal London Hospital is going to cause huge problems with the health service budget here, which is already facing big cuts.

There are scandalous problems of poverty-related illness in Tower Hamlets and we will need to put up a tremendous fight to ensure we get the health funding we need.

Education is the future for our young people and our country. That is why it is so wrong for Labour's Lord Mandelson to be cutting back on university places. I am against student fees.

Public spending on education is a national investment, not a waste.

Teachers, parents and pupils have done a tremendous job improving performance in Tower Hamlets. Bbut what is the point if our children cannot then go on to further and higher education? I remain convinced the major parties' fixation on league tables means our children are over-tested and under-educated.


George Galloway