I dropped into Ivana Bartoletti’s campaign launch rally. She is a candidate in London Labour’s selection process to be a candidate for the European Parliament. I was pointed to her by a Deptford comrade, Joe Dromey, visited her web site and like her story. There were three speeches, thankfully short, and she wrapped up. The other speeches were by Seema Malhotra MP and Jeanette Arnold OBE AM, and her supporters page includes statements of support from Dianne Abbot MP and Mike Gapes MP; oddly, …

Vile Class Warriors

In the Independent, Owen James eviscerates Osborne’s benefit trap for Labour exposing it as a piece of class war and “vile”. He points out that the economy is still in a worse state than in 2008, the level of debt is over double the level in the 2008, the deficit for this financial year is £100bn higher than planned and that the Government’s own tame forecaster, the Office of Budgetary Responsibility is now predicting a decade of lost growth; they have massively reduced their growth forecast but are still seen as too optimistic by many independent commentators. The economics and juvenile politics is also exposed in a David Blanchflower article, “The Bullingdon Chancellor: why George Osborne is a very uncivil, as well as useless, Chancellor”

The cut in benefits is rightly described as vile. The Tories want to tell a “Strivers vs. Skivers” story, despite the fact that many benefit claimants work, have recently done so, or want to work, James states,

That a gang of multimillionaire class warriors is intentionally attempting to turn poor people against each other for political advantage is as shameful as the often grubby world of politics gets.”

Much of what’s left of the benefit system is now subsidising landlords and exploitative businesses, and other proposals in the “Autumn Statement” protect business profits. Let’s not forget that in the 2012 Budget, they reduced the highest rate of tax from 50% to 45%, a benefit to those “earning” over £150,000.

James argues that the Parliamentary Labour Party needs to take them on and examines the proponents and opposition to this. I agree … what they propose is wrong and they made a mistake in framing the public vs. private wages argument, they have done so again.

This is a brilliantly written, well researched article; wish I had written it. …

Police Commissioner Gordon wanted

I voted by post early today for Jacqui Rayment as Hampshire’s new PCC. See what she says on her campaign site and on twitter @jacqui4hantspcc; here is what the last parliamentary results for the region i.e.counties and constabularies other than Hampshire posted. Also check out her opponents; all candidates are listed on the Hants PCC site.

Like many I am not a fan of personal mandates, corruption is too easy, and unlike the executive mayors I can see no elected financial control body. Some have argued for abstention, as has former Met Commissioner Sir Iain Blair, but in some places the choice is acute. I have spoiled my ballot paper before, albeit deliberately, and this time I have decided I need to use my vote, but only the first preference. Luke Akehurst replies to John Harris at Labour List; people have the right to abstain, but should do so on the ballot paper.

The Portsmouth News reported on a hustings here. None of the candidates have stated they’ll rely on costumed vigilante’s summoned by a searchlight pointed at the clouds.

I am the night, Bat Signal; http://is.gd/eQccOW

In the General Election2012, in Hampshire, 14 Tory MPs were returned, 2 Labour and 1 Lib Dem, although Winchester, now Tory, has been Lib Dem in the recent past. it would seem that Michael Mates, the ex-Tory MP should win. Do we really want him as Police & Crime Commissioner? …

What does Obama’s victory mean for us?

Obama wins re-election as President of the USA against the combined might of Wall Street and Occupy’s 1%. Congratulations!

Several UK commentators have expressed the view that it’s good news for Cameron because an incumbent won re-election despite the fact that the economy was in an appalling state. See [James Forsyth in the Spectator]. Most surprisingly Peter Oborne in the Daily Telegraph, who offers Cameron six other lessons. What they miss, as expressed on Conservative Home of all places, albeit in the comments is that the Tories have deliberately wrecked Labour’s recovering economy; Obama managed to get a stimulus package through and as his VP and running mate, Joe Biden said, “GM is still alive”. The Tories and Democrats are also travelling in different directions on Healthcare provision. The most important difference though is when Obama says “We’re all in this together”, he’s believed, when Cameron or Osborne say it, they’re not…partly because as in Romney’s case, they have some very unpleasant and greedy friends. …

#lab12 conference diary

#lab12 Despite being a member of the Labour Party for 38 years, I have never been to conference before; I have just returned from Manchester, where I attended for 2½ days. It was rather fun, jolly useful and thanks to some of the people I met, inspiring.

I got there late-ish on Sunday and met up with my comrades from Lewisham Deptford CLP, including @vickyfoxcroft, @joe_dromey, @joeperryuk, @mjrharris and @Len_Duvall in a bar near the conference centre. I had been disappointed that the conference and fringe running order had not been sent to me until after I bought my train ticket. This meant I missed part one of the shenanigans and the debate on “Refounding Labour” which I had wanted to attend. After the Lewisham meetup, I moved on to the New Statesman party. I think as a subscriber, I should have had an invite, I didn’t, but anyway, I got in OK. I met up with one of their staff, and expressed my views that I didn’t want to pay to read Dan Hodges and could they stop publishing his stuff. I was advised to write to the Editor, Jason Cowley, with that view, but I can’t find his email or twitter handle! Poor show! …

Citizens not Suspects

I attended the Open Rights Group’s London meetup on Monday night; Rachel Robinson, Liberty’s Policy Officer was speaking at the Angel, a pub near Old St, probably the inspiration for the London monopoly board space. She spoke about planned legistation in the UK known variously as the Communications Capabilities Development Programme or the Communications Data Bill. Interesting how the British Government develop such annodyne names for their oppressive measures, the Digital Economy Act vs the US “Stop Online Piracy Act” or the “Commerce before Leisure on the Internet Act”, I made the last one up, or I think I did. …

Labour’s Lost Mayor

Labour’s Lost Mayor

This article was started just after the election in May 2012, and only finished over the Xmas break of 2013, nearly 20 months later. Some of the tenses may thus be a bit odd. I have backdated this in the blog to the time I started it. However RSS feed consumers and Facebook will publish this as at today. The article talks about the candidates, Labour’s manifesto, the role of London Mayor, how Labour sought to hold Boris to account for his record and character and briefly questions whether London is a coherent political entity. I have tried to ensure the article is contemporaneous to the time of the election. (I didn’t quite manage it.)

As I’ve said, I have been busy over the last year campaigning for Ken Livingstone as Mayor of London and for a Labour group on the London Assembly. Now we have the perfect vision from hindsight others have been writing about the London election, Labour’s victory in the Assembly and failure to win the Mayor election. I thought I’d join in. Many blame the candidate, but I feel the issues are deeper than that and that lessons need to be learned. …

Sour Grapes

It seems that #yes2av is #downthetoilet, but I was watching Twitter tonight and two tweets passed me by the first says,

“congratulations cameron, congratulations murdoch, your lies have denied the country a democracy. #yes2av #vote2011 #libdems #tories #labour”

and the second, which I can no longer find says something like

“Nick Clegg , you #fail HAHAHA etc….”

You get the idea. There is a very short term view here. I hope some of my Labour friends understand what they’ve done. It’s a huge mistake. First past the post is not democratic, it’s also not helpful to our cause. …