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 …

What the polls are saying!

What the polls are saying!

Some clever person or several has made a page categorising and displaying the results of the various MRPs that have been undertaken. They have posted their results here. I made a chart allowing a comparison of the various forecasts, it makes astonishing reading. The original post allows each British seat to be examined.

Everyone thinks there will be a large Labour Majority, only Electoral Calculus thinks Corbyn will win in Islington North and they i.e. electoral calculus have some other interesting outlier results, inc. that the Libdems beating the Tories. The Reform predictions vary from 19 seats to none and the Greens from four to none.

Labour’s majority is forecast to vary between 382 seats to 214 seats.

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The colour of my passport

The colour of my passport

I’m losing hope on my next passport being burgundy.

The only way the UK will rejoin the European Union he’s when it’s ready to be a good citizen.

It is clear that Labour’s leadership despite the opinion polls, have a view that better terms short of membership can be obtained. Firstly, i don’t think it’s desirable, and secondly, I’m not sure it’s available. All the intelligence suggests that the EU has no interest in replicating the Swiss arrangement and that the single market is indivisible.  

Pretending that the Tory deal has failed due to its design and that all it needs is “grown ups in the room”, a view reinforced by numerous academics attempting to prove how clever they are by designing a new relationship, Is unlikely to succeed.

At the moment EU accession requires a unanimous vote on the EU council; this would mean the UK reacquires its political rights and full access to the subsidy programmes. This is unlikely to happen while we have a big bill poster signposts that we proposed to continue to behave as we did before we left.

It looks as if the people are ready to rejoin, but without leadership and a vigorous explanation that the opt-outs have gone and we need to be good citizens within the union I think it unlikely we will persuade the EU that we are suitable candidates.

The EU would almost certainly require a referendum to show that the government mandates is supported. It’s been said many times, that the EU don’t wish to play okie cokie with us.

It is sad that the elections to the European Parliament will have damaged both programmes for reform of the European Union. The Federalist proposition will have been weakened by the losses to the Greens and ALDE (Liberals) in the EP, and the growth of the ECR, who are campaigning to return competencies to the member states, and the alternative, “Sailing the High Seas”, which I characterise as Prix Fixé as opposed to a-la-carte, will have its support weakened by the French and German results where the sponsoring Governments both lost support.

I am of the view that StHS with it flexibility would be a better target to rejoin than the current EU or the Federalist alternative but rejoining the EU is needed to fix our economy and our democracy. People’s sovereignty requires access to human rights courts, and the UK needs an internal subsidiarity agreement, which I hope implementing the Brown Commission proposals will give us although the Labour manifesto promises  the devolution without the funding and structural reform to embed such devolution. …

The GMB & LME

The GMB & LME

At the GMB Congress, my Region, London, organised a fringe meeting on the “The rise of the far right and worker’s rights“. This was jointly organised with the Labour Movement for Europe who had planned to put their President, Stella Creasy, up to speak. I had originally planned to use the meeting and Congress as a last attempt to get better policy on trade and relations with the EU but the announcement of the election obviously changed this, and meant that Stella could not make it. My speech to the fringe, spoke of workers rights, sovereignty and its constraints and looked at the European Parliament results which has occurred on the previous weekend. You will find below my speech notes, although I did not use them all as I was unable to time the speech in practice and had too cut the speech short. …

A pension triple lock +

A pension triple lock +

And today, Sunak announces a new policy, a pension triple lock plus. This is effectively guaranteeing that a triple lock pension will become and remain tax free. It is however closing the stable door after the horse has been chased away.

Sunak as chancellor froze the tax free allowance in 2021 which is what is leading to the risk that state pension income will be taxed. and they also skipped the wages linked increase in 2021 and they were talking about missing the inflation linking in the year of the energy price increases.  Hunt also suggested the abolition of NI payments, which would mean that link between contribution and entitlement would be lost. Another indicator of the value of Government promises on pensions is the now deemed illegal reduction in entitlements for their employees i.e. for Civil Servants whose pensions they have been raiding for years.

More performative rubbish …

National Service, the Tories are not fit custodians of the military

National Service, the Tories are not fit custodians of the military

It’s day four of the 2024 general election. In previous elections, I have written various think pieces about Labour’s offer, its manifesto and made some criticisms of Tory attack lines. I don’t know what I’ll be doing this time, as I have a number of blog articles stuck in production hell, which may have to wait until after the election.

I just wanted to comment on Rishi Sunak’s promise to reintroduce national service. This would seem not to be designed as part of an effective defence strategy as some have argued for (or on Medium). There are others, such as Nadia Whittome and David Osland who have eloquently pointed out the national service is not what young people need, what is needed his decent jobs, free education, an affordable home and a decent standard of living.

One dimension I would like to add, to raise is that the Tories are not fit custodians of the British military, particularly the British Army. Cameron’s cuts slashed NCO wages and the Army is struggling to recruit to fill the current underwhelming cadre plans; the Army is the smallest it’s been since the Napoleonic Wars. It’s not capable of meeting realistic future demands in the defence sphere, asking them to train/supervise unwilling teenagers is just more of the Tories fantasy solutions design.

Antisocial behaviour and youth criminality are complex issues; Tory sloganeering is no help and they have proven they are not suitable custodians of the armed forces. …