A collective voice

A collective voice

Things to be considered about Labour Party Policy making. Many people join because they have good ideas, and certainly have unique experiences and it’s not enough to just take their money and ask them to knock on doors. In “Ideas, alliances and promises”, I examined the long term failure of the Labour Party to develop long term effective and democratic policy making processes and the electoral consequences of this.

It’s possible that the most important reforms contemporary to the democracy review was the dropping of the need for motions to Conference to be “contemporary”, increasing the number of motions to be discussed from eight to twenty, which had the effect of ensuring that important topics with lower levels of support got to conference floor and the introduction of “reference back” on the NPF report. Let’s see how long these last. …

Culture for all

Culture for all

Tracy Brabin, in her statement, “Culture for All” says,

When times are dark, culture and creativity provide a light. That’s why I’m proposing a vision of Culture for All to be at the heart of Labour’s forward journey.

She has great ideas on Football, the BBC, diverting the festival of Britain funding, access to the creative industries,and comments on nepotism, class bias and the impact of other informal networks, together with the impact of the growing gig economy relationships in the creative industries.

For instance on football, which she identifies as important community resources and hubs, she says, “We need to tackle the mostly undemocratic ownership and control of football clubs, and the way that sport is organised, so that fans and communities are properly engaged.”

While she recognises the stake holding interests of fans in sport, she doesn’t spend the words on talking about them in terms of acting, music nor film? Although she does say ” … Campaign to put more digital cultural content online. Just as the National Theatre has done in response to Covid-19, so too must we support our regional arts institutions in reaching new audiences.”, although this is also weak on the contribution of value by fans.

There is a good section on health and well being

On digital she says, amongst other demands, the UK needs, “a new properly resourced internet regulator to tackle online harms, abuse and misinformation” is needed and Labour should “Make the case for a Digital Bill of Rights so UK citizens have greater control over their own data”. She does not repeat the free broadband promise on which I comment positively here, and less positively here.

This is a thoughtful review of what we could do, it might be a shame she lost the shadow spokesperson position, but she remains Shadow Spokesperson (Minister) on Cultural Industries.

ooOOOoo

This does not repeat big media’s bollocks on the “Value Gap”, which is an unmeasured & unmeasurable concept aimed at appropriating the value created by fans and commentators and implementing a trickle-down approach for artists and performers. It appeared in one of the NPF reports.

Featured Image: cropped from Tracy’s twitter feed …

Ideas, alliances and promises

Ideas, alliances and promises

I was pointed at, “If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars” by Rory McQueen who compares the state of the UK’s Left today with that in 1983, arguably the last time Labour was in this situation; he conducts a balance sheet on the balance of class forces, and then explores the issues of alliances and programme. He takes “The future of the Left”, an anthology written after the 1983 election as his historic benchmark.

I think this is incredibly well written and beyond my ability to summarise. i.e. you should read it. He provokes some thoughts in me, which is why you should read the rest of this. I talk, briefly, about the power of the Left in the country, it’s much weaker today, the need for and paradox of political alliances, and the failure of Labour’s policy & manifesto development programmes. I conclude by repeating the question, what’s the point for socialists in restricting alliances to exclusively to Labour’s right and how can Labour build a policy development process that delivers a realistic, popular and transformational programme for government. For more, see below/overleaf …  …

What Labour said in 2001

I have been researching an as yet unpublished blog article on New Labour’s governments and looked for and found Labour’s 2001 Manifesto, which was published and given a mandate between Blair’s first and second terms. I used diigo to capture my notes, but a single entry cannot be linked to (or I don’t know how to do it). So this, below/overleaf is what I captured. …   …

Still arguing about the manifesto

How should Labour’s Manifesto be decided? This is what the rules say!

The NPF propose policy to Conference via their Report. Policy can also be created by passing motions at Conference and there are now 20 motion topics debated at each conference. This is a significant advance, so watch to see if any new leadership seeks to reduce this number. There is a party programme, did you know, and if Conference decides on a ⅔ majority recorded by a card vote then the policy item is included in the Programme.

The election manifesto for all national elections must come from the programme. This is another set of rules not read so often it would seem, because what happens is that an appointee of the Leader writes a draft and the Clause V meeting does what the fuckit wants! (The rules are all detailed in Chapter 1, Clause V.)

To this insight we should also add the contempt with which the NPF is held. I may regret this last statement as I think I might explore a run for one of the positions in London. …

It’s not a double whammy!

And it’s back to tax! WTF.  😵  Labour’s income tax proposals will not affect anyone earning under £80K, contrary to the bollocks on Question Time earlier this week. This increase represents the top 5% income earners in the country. Labour propose to tax those on over £80,000 at 45% rather than 40% and increase the rate for those earning over £150K to 50%. (These are marginal rates i.e. they are only paid on that income earned over the threshold. See http://calculate.forlabour.com.

Currently one pay’s zero on the first ~£12,000, 20% in the next ~£35,000, 40% on £46K to 150K and 45% on whatever’s left if you lucky enough to earn that much.

While issues remain about the zero rate claw back, as it impacts benefits package design i.e. encourages tax avoidance by transferring benefits from money to NPBs and particularly in London, this is not unfair; it might be better if another layer was introduced at £¼ million p.a. so that the newly burdened feel that those better off then them are carrying their share of the burden. (We should also work out how to forgive the student debt, since one of things this tax payment will generate is free (higher) education for tax payers and their children.) …  …

More from Meadway

More from Meadway

I went to one of the local labour political education workshops at which James Meadway was speaking. Odd, since I had been reading of his views, in particular with respect to his contention with MMT; I wrote them up on this blog. but it was good to hear him in person.

I have written about MMT and its contention with the Labour front bench a couple of times and summarised my understanding of the MMT position on International Trade. A couple of years ago I wrote on their views on Monetary vs. Fiscal policy, this latter article also summarises and links to articles critical of MMT.

Meadway emphasised two things, “Not all Currencies are equal”, the dollar is still the international trade denominator. The second point is that making debt default the policy tool to deal with private sector foreign exchange debt is not wise as the biggest FX debt holders are probably HSBC and Barclays. While the UK public sector FX debt is tiny, this private sector debt is not and it’s questionable if we could bail the banks out a second time which since the ring fencing of retail and investment banks is mired in the swamp would jeopardise the people’s savings.

He also emphasised the importance of ownership, investment and universal services as socialist agenda items and thus the creation of an irreversible shift in power; not so sure my memories of Thatcher selling off the Mutuals is evidence that this will work but it will be a powerful manifesto. …