What next for Labour

What next for Labour

Well let’s see. We have a New Labour government although I don’t feel quite the same way as I did on the 2nd May 97, when I surprised myself by weeping tears of joy. Is Starmer’s manifesto worse than Blair’s?; I am not sure. What I do know is that I’m disappointed with the manifesto on the issues of macroeconomics/austerity, immigration, asylum & racism and Labour’s position on international trade and the European Union. What can Labour members do about it? I look at the problems with the weak manifesto and ask for your support for me and the Momentum/CLGA slate for the committess up for election over the summer.

The manifesto statement on the treasury’s golden rules is less restrictive than the rhetoric leading up to the general election, but Labour’s plan for economic growth has big holes. In order to grow the economy there needs to be increase in demand. Demand consists of investment, consumption, and export earnings. The proposed investment plans are small, labour is silent on public sector pay and benefits, and the simplest way to increase export earnings would be to rejoin the European Union single market and customs union. On immigration, it’s a simple truth, that the UK has an ageing population and in order to grow the economy we need people to come here to work. Also we should be proud that people are seeking asylum in this country, and must establish safe routes for asylum seekers and treat all migrants with dignity.

The New deal for workers is excellent to the extent it goes but needs to be implemented and the minimum wage and sick pay revisions must also be enough to combat the cost of living crisis (and thus increase demand). The limited ambition on combatting climate change is also a worry.

I am unclear what the Labour Party will do with respect to its national elections, where it is currently running elections for its National Executive Committee, National Policy Forum (NPF) and National Constitutional Committee (NCC).

I am running for election with support from Momentum and the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance for the NPF in London and for the NCC. Getting your Labour CLP to nominate me and my running mates would be helpful.

I believe the national policy forum needs to represent the membership to the leadership and not the other way around, which is what it did in the last cycle. We need a national policy forum that recognises the timidity of the recent manifesto and proposes policy which will make the majority of people’s lives better.

  • We need an economic plan that works, and meets our obligations and needs in fighting and ameliorating climate change
  • We need a higher minimum wage, we need unions that can negotiate fair pay and dignity at work.
  • We need an immigration & asylum policy that welcomes workers and refugees, we need a government that will abolish the hostile environment, the Rwanda plan and is based on embracing our international commitments on welcoming refugees and our need to welcome workers.
  • Labour should recognise that rejoining the European Union is inevitable and in our interests, and that immediate needs include the reduction of trade barriers by rejoining the single market and customs union.  

I’d be grateful if Labour Party members in London, would support my nomination to the NPF.

The full left slates for the vacant positions are available at

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Labour landslide

Labour landslide

While as argued elsewhere, the story of the night is that the election result is a tremendous victory for Labour, but on examination the voting coalition is small and potentially fractious. Those who fear a timid one-term Labour government to be replaced by an ethno-nationalist majority, either led by Reform or consisting of a populist rump of the Tory party in coalition with Reform may be justified.

Labour won less votes than in 2019 despite it increasing the number of votes in Scotland and the Labour vote share was much lower than the polls were predicting. It is the lowest voter share delivering a landslide ever and the turnout was also at under 60% low.

The four pro-Palestinian victories together with the near misses particularly in Birmingham but also in Ilford North, together with Ian Duncan Smith’s survival must be a warning. The growth of the Green vote and their victories another. “Labour will need to listen these voters,” Shabana Mahmood MP who managed to keep her seat concludes. Asad Rehman of War on Want, agrees: “The idea that Labour can safely ignore its progressive voters and tack to the right to win votes is no longer tenable.”

Lewis Goodall in his awesome thread, argues that, “In many places Conservative vote collapsed and Reform was the beneficiary. Labour didn’t necessarily gain that much but came through the middle.” The danger is that voters want the thuggish ethno-nationalism of Reform and of the racist right in the Tory party; as I have argued, being out of the EU does not inoculate the country from a far-right resurgence. Reform are now the third party by votes won.

My dad once said that governments lose elections, oppositions do not win them, and that would seem to be what happened here.

Labour’s strategy planners will be very happy. We’ll have to wait to see what was raised and spent and where, (although we may never know about this). Obviously, the size of the majority speaks for itself, but the decisions to not fight Reform, particularly in Clacton may well come to bite them in the arse. Note that on their terms, they were right, but they didn’t need to be so vicious to the candidate, but that’s how they do. Clacton is not the only seat in which support was withdrawn and we can be sure that factional politics will be part of it, although probably not in Clacton. Not fighting Reform is extraordinary poor politics but they have very little.

This leads us to Goodall again “Labour’s victory is broad but potentially fragile. It is going to require profound political skill to keep this coalition together when the adhesive of being the antidote to the Tories is taken away. Starmer is going to have to look in multiple directions with different opponents in second seats in different places. It’s a deeply fragmented political picture and political geography.” This skill does not exist with the Party bureaucracy, nor the appetitie. Nor probably in what was LOTO.

A lot will depend on whether they can generate the economic growth to make life easier for people and that unlike in the USA, the Labour government can take the credit for it.

But despite my worries, a Labour government is very welcome, the growth on Reform votes is not.  …

And in France

And in France

The French election results do not look pretty. There is a second round but the Le Pen’s National Rally have gain 33% of the voters share.

Macron’s strategy, “apres Moi la deluge” is entering its endgame.  Macron’s project was always based on presenting himself as the only bulwark against France’s far-right yet holding the threat of “La France Insoumise” as somehow equally unacceptable. It has always been both an anti-left and a personal vanity project.

Michael Chessum in this article, powerfully argues that right wing populism, fundamentally based upon racism and the dehumanisation of others has been allowed to breed by the neoliberal policies of austerity, the natural consequence of which is the cost of living crisis. The centre’s desire to triangulate is a fatal and dangerous approach. The far-right’s racism must be opposed, and it seems that the British and European left is not up to the task; in the UK for instance Labour’s decision to pull its campaign in Clacton vs Farage and the comments on immigration and returning illegal entrants to Bangladesh underline “changed” Labour’s continued pandering to the racist right.

The Spectator argues that a Le Pen government in alliance with the populist right in Europe, particularly Italy, may well be part of an end game for the EU and Von der Leyen is not the leader to stop this. The Spectator article also suggest that a change of government in France will also make life difficult on defence and trade for what we assume is an incoming Labour government.

Image Credit: NA Paris from flickr CC 2009 elliotbrown BY, w750 cropped …