How to fix the Labour Party

How to fix the Labour Party

I am considering getting involved in a so-called debate about Lavery, Tricket and Smith’s recent revision of their No Holding Back report, which has been seized with alacrity by the usual suspects, possibly unfairly; it seems more nuanced than its authors and fans suggest but I may not be reading it sufficiently well. I am reminded of the Data Praxis report, Tory Landslide, Progressives Split, which shows how it might have been worse and blames our FPTP electoral system. I precis them by saying,

“Labour lost because, Leavers in Labour seats, switched to the Tories, but more Labour Remainers from 2017 switched; Corbyn (& the manifesto) were now unpopular and thus too many Tory Remainers stayed with the Tories.

Dave Levy

We should also note that Lavery, Tricket and Smith do not mention Scotland; it’s not their expertise but there’s no answer without the Scots.

While looking at what to say, and for help in understanding the problem, I was concerned to be truthful at the state of the red wall parties’ health, but it seems hard to get the local contact rates, which will all be poor nor to get the member/voter ratio. I looked at Labour Together’s report, again to see if they said anything useful about local Party organisation/structure and campaigning. This is difficult to be honest about because of the back office chicanery in Labour HQ on 2017 & 2019 and the myths and maybe truths about how Momentum’s volunteer organisation saved us in 2017 get in the way. They i.e. Labour Together don’t say anything useful or concrete about CLP organisation. We should also note that the Democracy Review did nothing to improve local campaigning effectiveness either. Perhaps we should be listening to Crispin Flintoff on his campaign to fund CLPs properly.

About the Labour Together report, I found this, at Immigration News, which pulls no punches. I say, using their words,

[the] New Labour Together Report investigates Labour’s 2019 Election Defeat with crushing honesty – but glosses over senior saboteurs behind the Labour Leaks dossier. A 150-page report published this week by research group Labour Together serves up some stone-cold truths and analysis in what may have led to Labour’s downfall in the 2019 General Election. “

Olivia Bridge – Immigration news JUne 2020

I have written about “What happened?”, and created a reading list tagged “ge2019” on my diigo feed, and to remind me and others of what wise people said, I also reproduce the Electoral Calculus chart on where votes came and went.

I have made a sankey chart from this, it would seem that this chart is for England & Wales only, but for other source notes, you’ll need to check out the original article.

The Labour Together report is strong on the need to get the strategy right; I think we may need to end the factionalism first and recognise the members must have the first and last word but we also need to resolve the fault lines in our coalition, because much of the pro-Brexit positions came from Labour politicians on the right of the party whose heritage is the “Control Immigration” mug and future road is that of Blue Labour, “work, family, community”. Adopting this sort of rubbish and its racist sub-text will jeopardise Labour’s city heartlands, apart from just being wrong. …

Reeves on the EU

Rachel Reeves, Labour’s shadow spokesperson for the Cabinet Office, made a speech/webcast about Labour’s current Brexit policy, reviewed in Labour List, with the headline, ‘“We won’t be back in the EU”: Rachel Reeves sets out Labour’s Brexit policy’. It just raises the question, where did she get the mandate? It seems she believes that we have returned to the days when Labour’s policy emerged from the back pockets of the front bench spokespeople. This is not why I joined the Labour Party and to go from remain, to only leave if the terms are acceptable, to saying that the UK would not be back in the European Union under a Labour government, without even stating why the Tories deal and strategy is harmful, is shameful and gives evidence to those on the left who say that the people’s vote was merely a trojan horse to undermine the Corbyn project.

Her statement ignores, of course, freedom of movement, Erasmus, flight regulations, and the European Medical Agency and it all assumes that we get a trade deal. We can see the Tories, are not going to sign a reasonable deal and Labour should be putting our stake in the ground, otherwise any deal will seem a victory and even if shite, people will ask where we were.

This policy position will also test the theory that a pro-brexit promise will win more votes than it gains. It’ll go down like a ton of shit in a fan factory in Scotland and London. It must be remembered that Reeves has form for stretching Labour’s consensus, her time as shadow spokesperson on welfare include some disgraceful speeches and I have previously reported on her channelling of Enoch Powell. Giving her a second chance was a mistake. …

Where’s Labour on the future deal with the EU.

Where’s Labour on the future deal with the EU.

While most attention is on the Govt’s response to the pandemic, and while expecting a reimposition of the lockdown, the second part of the the triple whammy is the looming end of the Brexit Transition agreement. What are Labour doing? Certainly not making so much noise. Here’s the FT on Kier Starmer’s response, which it headlines as “Getting Brexit Done!” on the basis of his speech to the TUC. Labour’s front bench spokesperson on Brexit is Rachel Reeves, who now it seems doesn’t really want to speak about it. While Starmer seems keen to ensure a visibly effective performance in Parliament, which seems to be paying off in the polls, as Labour draws even at 40%, it requires the acquiescence of the press to break through and both Reeves and Starmer were outshone by Ed Miliband in opposing the 2nd reading of the Internal Market Bill. Too much of Labour’s parliamentary attack position is based on competence, the failure of the Tories to meet their own goals without even addressing the issues of cronyism and accountability or more importantly of a vision of how things could be better.

But then the Remain campaign has disappeared, (or the Guardian’s view if you prefer), giving some on Labour’s Left, the evidence they always wanted that the Remain campaign was an anti-corbyn trojan horse. Not for me! But Parliament has voted to allow the Govt. to negotiate the trade deals without asking Parliament to agree, and the Govt. refused to ask for a transition extension despite the CV19 pandemic. These are both opportunities missed.

If we get a deal, it’s going to be pretty shit.  …

Schadenfreude

Schadenfreude

I should have more sympathy, but Unite’s United Left,, have just conducted an e-ballot, to determine who should be the UL’s candidate for General Secretary when Len McClusky stands down, which will have to be in the next two years. McClusky and his close supporters prefer Howard Beckett, currently Director of Legal and Politics, and he is being opposed by Steve Turner, the Union’s most senior industrial organiser, and currently Assistant General Secretary. E-Ballots are hard to run, particularly over the internet. Beckett lost be three votes and is claiming that the ballot should be re-run; I, of course, am laughing my arse off, as so many of Beckett’s supporters and he himself, felt that over Brexit, the I and the rest of the British people should be denied a ‘final say’ by having a re-run of the referendum, 🤣 …

Post Brexit Citizenship

Post Brexit Citizenship

I attended the LME/New Europeans webinar on citizenship and Brexit yesterday, here is what I heard and learned.

There are political and economic demands, if we look at the political demands, they include

  • Citizenship rights for all residents, including the right to vote
  • The need for a fast and cheap route for citizenship, many residents have been here for decades
  • The UK currently permits dual citizenship, this should be retained and we need to argue that those European states that prohibit it should allow foreigners to have dual citizenship, this will benefit those in the UK and UK citizens in the EU
  • The current legal regime in the UK means that the hostile environmemnt will be extended to many EU citizens who are long term residents, it shows the injustice of the hostile environment; it must be repealed and both the health surcharge and NRPF must be abolished.
  • Access to Erasmus must be maintained.

Three insights were offered about the UK’s european diaspora, 80% of it are of working age, the stripping of their votes after 15 years absence is hurtful and demeaning. The likely loss of intra-European/Schengen freedom of movement is also a significant loss of rights.

How does Labour and its progressive allies work to defend the rights of its European diaspora.

British citizenship and naturalisation rules need to be exemplary and include voting rights for all residents and then we can argue for reciprocal citizenship rights. The post transition agreements need to ensure that British Citizens in the EU keep their rights to free movement. ( The proposed retaining of the British Isles Common Travel Area might be an effective precedent and enabler for this change.) Once the UK is behaving decently, then it might be possible to argue for fast track citizenship processes for British citizens resident in the EU. (Most European countries will need to consider their language qualification rules, as will the UK if it wants reciprocity.

One of the problems with the reforms immediately above is that it would seem to be Tory Party policy to retain our unfair and racist immigration rules, and thus changing them to make reciprocity worth offering will be politically very difficult.

Another reform in the EU which would make life easier for the UK diaspora would be movement towards a common social security policy. The irony being that this might be more likely now we’re out than if we’d stayed, although, still not easy. …

Why Labour lost, again

Why Labour lost, again

On Friday, Ed Miliband released his report into Labours GE 2019, you can find it here, Paul Mason and Phil BC comment on it here (Paul), here (Phil) & here (Phil again)., and the tanks, cranks and so-called Lexiters see this as a reason for attacking Starmer and Labour’s majority Remainers.

This, “The Man or The Manifesto? Labour Together Report Shows Uphill Battle for the Party’s Survival” on immigration news is also worth reading. …

Starmer’s Cabinet and more Brexit failures

Gabriel Pogrund is re-circulating the rumour that Starmer will appoint Rachel Reeves as Shadow Chancellor. My first instinct is that this would be a poor start for a man who claims to want to unify the party, since her record is as a central thinker for those opposing Labour’s turn to the left.

Anyway I have googled her, and she is another ex-Bank of England employee with an impressive education in economics, unless we take the view that it’s academic economist’s lack of heterodoxy that is one of the key causes of the 2008 crash. Obviously this would come lower down the list of causes than the greed of the ultra-rich and the structural contradictions in late twentieth century capitalism. For more see below or oveleaf … …

It’s cold outside

It’s cold outside

Carlotta Perez argues that Kondratiev Long Waves have an internal shape. One of the trends is the rollout of the driving technology from the core to the periphery and this takes place in the maturity phase as profitability of the once new technology declines. Another important event is the next eruption and where that takes place. Between the Steel & Oil phases, the world’s core moved from England, the economic and political epicentre of the British Empire to the USA and we should remember that this role was contended for by both Germany and the Soviet Union. It’s moved once, it can move again but it’s most unlikely to come back to England. I wonder what being part of the periphery will be like. I suppose it depends upon where the core is. Will it remain in the USA or move, to China or even the EU. The key will be the dynamism of the innovation economy; it looks like, due to Brexit, the UK’s Universities will decline and that much of aerospace and biosciences will leave the UK. Otherwise the UK & US industries may be defended by the ubiquity of English, but the EU has had 40 years of using it as their language of commerce and to a great extent the language of government.

I can’t see it clearly, but the corruption and financialisation of the anglosphere economies are stymieing innovation and inhibiting “creative destruction”; there is opportunity for other national economies to do better. It would also seem that Perez’s predicted regulatory correction is nostalgic this time, looking back to times when things seemed better, or defending old out dated business models. We  cannot recreate the industries of the steel revolution.

It’s unlikely to be pleasant, especially if the UK moves from being a 2nd tier economy to peripheral one. …