LABOUR’S decision to announce yesterday morning its plans to part-nationalise British Telecom and give free broadband to all by 2030 was bizarre on many levels.

Firstly, the Conservatives were on the ropes over the worst set of NHS performance figures since 2004. It is an indictment of nine years of Conservative-led government that we are missing waiting times in so many critical fields, and Boris Johnson’s promise of throwing money at the NHS to make up for his party’s years of under-achievement won’t really wash.

But Labour chose to take the headlines away from the Conservative discomfort by putting forward its broadband scheme.

People do march on the streets demanding a better NHS – we’ve seen it in Bishop Auckland recently – but there haven’t been many public meetings demanding greater gigabytes.

Broadband is important. Many areas, not just rural ones, need faster service. Britain is lagging behind other countries in its broadband provision, but is nationalisation the way to solve this problem, particularly when most people are prepared to pay for their broadband provision?

And should the state give us £20bn of free broadband when we still pay for prescriptions, for instance?

Yes, there are arguments for the state ensuring poorer people can be connected, but full scale free broadband for even millionaires?

Labour yesterday should have kept its powder dry and allowed the Tories to stew in their own manifest failings over the NHS.