12 June, 2010
Pat McFadden over on David Miliband’s leadership campaign site has set out his 10 points for the next Labour Leader. I thought I would do my own version so here’s mine.
- The public need to know what Labour would cut.
The ConDems are itching to make savage cuts that threaten to throw the economy into a double dip recession. The political cover for this will be to blame Labour for the cuts. We should not allow this to stand. We need to differentiate in the public mind what Labour would do from what the coalition is doing. Then we can blame the ConDems for the effects of the cuts.
- New Labour is dead, Long live New Labour
Tony, Gordon, pagers, it’s all gone. Even Granita shut ages ago. We need to move on. We still need to be the party that best manages to marry social justice and a dynamic economy but how that’s done has to fit Britain’s future not someone’s idea of 1994 let alone 1983. So move on and trust the membership.
- Entrepreneurship isn’t just for Tories
The coalition will hit Labour areas hard and they’ll say the economy there is too dominated by the state. This is wrong, poor areas don’t have to much government, they have too little private enterprise. We’re a party that believes in power and wealth being in the hands of the many not the few. So whether it’s co-ops or smart ways of getting ordinary people access to capital to finance start ups Labour needs to lead on this.
- The Super Rich are a bridge too far
While it’s vital you regain the mantel of economic competence don’t think you can do this with photo ops with billionaires. Labour needs the coalition of both the working and middle class in order to win. So let us campaign for a living wage, lets see us committed to improving wages and conditions for ordinary workers and more sceptical of CEO’s pocketing millions not based on innovation or improved productivity but slashed jobs and loading companies with debt.
- Inequality matters
It’s not only that the best evidence suggests that inequality is deeply corrosive to a society and makes dealing with a whole range of social problems much worse it’s that extreme inequality is morally repugnant. As leader of the Labour Party should you become prime minister and not reduce inequality you can put that one down as a BIG failure. Who was it that says “power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few“ after all?
- You need a southern strategy
Labour is the party with the greatest claim to be a party for the entire United Kingdom but that shouldn’t comfort us from the reality that Labour is closely identified with its Celtic, Northern and London heartlands. There are worryingly large areas of the country where the Labour party has ceased to be an effective political force. The atrophy of Labour in areas where we have very little chance of winning parliamentary seats wont immediately effect the results but you lose activists that could travel to margins, donations and contributes to an unhealthy polarisation of politics.
- Offer an alternative to the Coalition’s nihilism on the role of government
If you have a government that delivers a great transport system, magnificent universities, affordable childcare these all help the economy. The Coalition and it’s allies in the TPA are beholden to the false idea of private good, public bad. If you look at Germany, Japan, China, India, South Korea they have all prospered economically while retaining strong government intervention in the economy.
- Enable activism that bypasses traditional party structures
You should let a thousand flowers bloom. Some people love the branch, CLP, LGC structure and meetings with agendas and minutes. Brilliant because they’re important but some people want to do more and the party needs to help make this possible and some people can only give less. Whatever your level of commitment, whatever you can give, the party must be able to use that contribution in a constructive way that generates the maximum impact for Labour at the next General Election.
- There’s votes in housing
It’s too hard for people to get on the housing ladder, social housing supply is thoroughly inadequate for meeting demand and a private rented sector that prioritizes the landlord’s quick buck over the security and satisfaction of tenants. That’s the situation now. After 5 years of this coalition government implementing massive cuts in the interests of the rich the housing crisis may well be ready to boil over. Be ready for it.
- Encourage democracy and debate in the Party
If you think you’re leading the Labour Party because you’re fantastic and special stop listening to your mother! You’re not,you’re there to do a job: to make the country fairer. To do this you’ll need lots of people to help, candidates, members, supporters. Treat them well because there are plenty of other things they could be doing with their lives than campaigning to get you elected Prime Minister. Seriously we want respect and not just when you’re canvassing for votes in the leadership contest.
My favourite right-wing pressure group has been blogging again. Nurses for Reform the strangely named libertarian pressure group. OK I admit “Nurses for Reform” is probably a more catchy title than “Right-wing loonies who want to abolish the NHS and import the massively flawed US healthcare system” although I think my version is more accurate. Still we shouldn’t prejudge, let’s listen to what they have to got to say. This gem is on the silver lining for right-wingers of the new coalition:
For the Orange Bookers are often not only more socially liberal than the most libertarian of Tories but they are more free-market than many Thatcherites.
Well I don’t agree with Nick but for the sake of the leftie voters he conned in voting for a supposedly left-wing party he might have mentioned that the Lib Dems were to the right of the Tories BEFORE the election. But what I want to know is what do you have to do to be “more free-market than many Thatcherites”? Build a bunker in the woods and take potshots with your pump-action at anyone from “THE EVIL GOVERNMENT”?
Still there’s more:
While the NHS will suffer some cuts over the course of this parliament
Now that wasn’t what the then shadow secretary of state promised before the election. That was real terms growth every year. Now the NHS needs 3% per year to keep up with demand and new technology and drugs so if they end up cutting there will be very stark effects. Yes there should be cuts in administrators but even only just keeping up with inflation in the rest of the economy means tightening the NHS belt. If the Tories cut more than they say they will then it will mean real pain.
So what is the Nurses For Reform solution? A decent taxpayer funded system for all? I think judging by the following answer that would be a no:
NFR believes that more complimentary private funding schemes could well come on to the radar screen of both the Conservatives and the Lib-Dems over the next five to ten years.
So there you have it. All of the PR spin about the Tories loving the NHS before the election can’t hide the fact that on the right of British politics there are plenty of people who think the NHS should be downgraded to threadbare safety net as fast as they can shout “BUPA!”
30 May, 2010
I think we can all agree on a degree of personal sympathy for David Laws. Having your career trashed and your sex life splashed across the media isn’t anyone’s idea of an ideal bank holiday weekend. Where I disagree with ConDem commentators is that they seem to think this is some sad loss for British politics as a whole. It is not. Mr Laws knew the rules, Mr Laws broke the rules, Mr Laws is paying the price for his avarice and self-deception. British politics is better for his resignation and the worst thing about it is he didn’t take the rest of his Tory and Yellow-Tory mates with him.
However I feel it is wrong to castigate Mr Laws for his expenses They are essentially a side show to his influence on British politics which has been thoroughly malign. Mr Laws was an editor of The Orange Book, a work popular on the liberal right, that to more sensible people looked like a guide on how to Thatcherise the Lib Dems. So much so the Tories wanted Mr Laws to defect to them. He was instrumental in turning the Lib Dems from a progressive party at least some of the time into willing donkeys for the Tory horsemen of the apocalypse.
Then there is the hagiographic reports of this time as Chief Secretary. A whole 17 days. During which time he to the glee of the Tory right banished pot plants from the Treasury and implemented cuts, over £6bn of cuts. Cuts that are presently the wrong policy as Richard Murphy demonstrates and which they stood against when they were seeking election. Cuts that are the precursor of the coming cuts tsunami that instead of helping the economy recover from the recession could plunge us back into it with all the resultant social costs. When even The Times is worried about jobless young men what on earth was Mr Laws doing cutting the Future Jobs Fund? What’s the ConDem strategy for growth? Keeping the young unemployed! And you wonder why people question the value of a double first from Cambridge.
There was much talk before the election on Labour’s campaign being a class war amongst the more excitable elements of the Tory press. I thought this meant they were against the idea but they seem to have co-opted it pretty darn quickly. This is a government that is intent on class war, a war waged by Mr Laws and whichever faceless wonder replaces him. It’s a plutocratic oligarchy who mythologise the super rich to the expense of ordinary working people. What other government would rake in the donations from The City, the same City that trashed the rest of the economy, and then appoint a millionaire ex banker to impose cuts on the rest of us? That is not to mention it was us who had already done The City the favour of saving their sorry self from the creative destruction of capitalism they seem so fond of ?
So I’m glad Mr Laws has gone but not for his expenses or least of all his sexuality but the fact that his government is set against working people. That when hard decisions have to be made working people are the first not the last to suffer from decisions made by those whose life bears no relation to their own.
7 November, 2009
Griffin exposed by a 13 year old school boy on a school history trip to war memorial in Belgium.
If you want to send more 13 year olds to visit war memorials click here.
If you want to send Nick Griffin to peddle his hate on the sacrifices of dead soldiers you’re a twat.
If you’re offended by that you need to read this article on offence and then fuck off.
4 November, 2009
I’m sure you could think of a few but I don’t mean that kind of name but rather his plans for a future Conservative government. In particular we learnt recently that the Conservatives want to rename the Department of Health as the Department of Public Health.
Now you may think that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet but let me explain why this is not the case. Firstly the Conservatives want to improve efficiency within the health budget and reduce administration costs to concentrate funds on frontline services. Brilliant, I think motherhood and apple pie are great as well. So why on earth do they want to change the departments name? What a complete waste of time and money. Not only will administrative focus shift from increasing productivity to “do you reckon we can fill public into that sign with a biro” meetings, memoranda and other assorted time wasting exercises. It will also cost million upon millions that could be spent on patient care. In other words the entire escapade will bring home the result pointless waste of time 1 improvement in patient care 0.
That however is a charitable interpretation. Perhaps we should consider that Cameron actually wants to create a department of public health and he sees the provision of personal healthcare as a private rather than government responsibility. Changing the name at the start of a Conservative administration could be a softening up excercise for what they want to do further down the line. The Tory Euro MP who said that “the NHS was a sixty year mistake” may have missed out the first bit “The election of a Conservative government for”.
8 October, 2009
The Tory leader’s speech before speechwriters got their mits on it.
I want to get straight to the point.
I want to get straight to the champagne
We all know how bad things are: massive debt, social breakdown, political disenchantment. But what I want to talk about today is how good things could be.
Yippee heaven knows we’re all miserable now. Hey I can quote Morrisey just to prove i’m such a COOL CAT. Oh right focus.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no illusions. If we win this election, it is going to be tough. There will have to be cutbacks in public spending, and that will be painful. We will need to confront Britain’s culture of irresponsibility and that will be hard to take for many people. And we will have to tear down Labour’s big government bureaucracy, ripping up its time-wasting, money-draining, responsibility-sapping nonsense.
And breath 1…2…3…4…
None of this will be easy. We will be tested. I will be tested. I’m ready for that
N er ner ner ner 20 years too late. Boyakasha.
– and so I believe, are the British people.
Here I come ready or not… and i’m not.
So yes, there is a steep climb ahead. But I tell you this. The view from the summit will be worth it.
Only £5.99 per quarter to the Ramblers and I will march you up to the top of the hill and march you down again.
So I won’t promise things I cannot deliver. But I can look you in the eye
or possibly your chest. I’m only human.
and tell you that in a Conservative Britain: If you put in the effort to bring in a wage, you will be better off.
Emigrating to Hong Kong only 15% tax don’t you know.
If you save money your whole life, you’ll be rewarded.
With a chemical cosh in your carehome – matron will fill out your ballot for me. I mean you.
If you start your own business, we’ll be right behind you.
Asking for a consultancy.
If you want to raise a family, we’ll support you.
Hell if she’s pretty we’ll…
If you’re frightened, we’ll protect you.
Nightlights for everyone peeps. Nightlights!
If you risk your safety to stop a crime, we’ll stand by you.
and watch as you’re hacked to your death. We’ve got to train DD somehow.
If you risk your life to fight for your country, we will honour you.
by closing the military hospitals like the last time we were in.
Ask me what a Conservative government stands for and the answer is this, we will reward those who take responsibility, and care for those who can’t.
Take responsibility, take anything else that aint nailed down. Bonanza.
So if we cut big government back. If we move society forward.
If we can cut government I can afford pre election tax cuts! Boyakasha
And if we rebuild responsibility, then we can put Britain back on her feet.I know that today there aren’t many reasons to be cheerful.
Stay on your sofas for the moment but fear not Teletubbies on next then we can dance.
But there are reasons to believe. Yes it will be a steep climb. But the view from the summit will be worth it. Let me tell you what I can see.
Binoculars Boris now!
I see a country where more children grow up with security and love because family life comes first.
I just want to opt out of the social chapter because the French smell not because workers should be flogged though they should be.
I see a country where you choose the most important things in life — the school your child goes to and the healthcare you get.
Eton and Private if you’ve got any sense … sorry I mean cash.
I see a country where communities govern themselves — organising local services, independent of Whitehall, a great handing back of power to people.
Because i’m stuffed if I know what to do with it.
I see a country with entrepreneurs everywhere, bringing their ideas to life — and life to our great towns and cities.
Yes it’s true I want to privatise Milton Keynes. Roundabout anyone?
I see a country where it’s not just about the quantity of money, but the quality of life — where we lead the world in saving our planet.
I got a discount on the foam Superman outfit. Spandex ummmmmmmmmmmmm boyakasha!
I see a country where you’re not so afraid to walk home alone, where you’re safe in the knowledge that right and wrong is restored to law and order.
Frank Bruno is going to be my bodyguard, my bodyguard, my body guard
I see a country where the poorest children go to the best schools not the worst, where birth is never a barrier.
Becuase it’s never been for me or ma blood her Maj. Iz cool, tres cool =:-)
No, we will not make it if we pull in different directions, follow our own interests, take care of only ourselves.
£100 Boris I can quote from the Joy of Sex as well. Boyakasha!
But if we pull together, come together, work together — we will get through this together.
And when we look back we will say not that the government made it happen … not that the minister made it happen … but the businesswoman made it happen … the police officer made it happen … the father made it happen …the teacher made it happen.
Basically you won’t notice i’m here. I’ll just turn out the light.
You made it happen.
Hello … is there anybody here?
8 October, 2009
We had our encounter on Bedford Avenue this afternoon, just south of Division. I was the petite brunette in a white sundress, riding a red road bike in the rain; you were the Hasidic gentleman (and I use the term loosely) in a blue SUV who came up on my back wheel, honking, and attempted to run me out of the bike lane before swerving directly in front of me and pulling up to the curb ahead.
You refused to roll down your window and talk to me after this incident, leaving me to shout, “That’s against the law” at the rain-streaked glass and then continue home. And while it *is* against the law — both the laws that govern New York City drivers, and also those that govern general human decency — what I really wanted to say to you was simultaneously less accusatory and more important. This is it.
I know that the bike lanes aren’t great. You may not believe it, but cyclists don’t like riding next to you anymore than you like sharing the road with us. Given the choice between inhaling your exhaust and pedaling blithely down a forested greenway, I’d always take the latter.
I also know that presence of cyclists on busy streets can make driving in the city even more nerve-wracking than usual, and that some of us antagonize the shit out of drivers by disobeying traffic laws, failing to signal, and generally acting like we own the road (I am not one of these, but that is beside the point). And I completely understand if, at this point, you start hyperventilating at the mere sight of a bike with which you have to share the road. I empathize; I have a car, too. It sucks. I know.
Nevertheless, we can’t all live in Amsterdam, and the frustrations of sharing the road with me do not change the facts: You are in a car, and I am not. You are protected from collisions by airbags, fenders, and a steel cage; I’m not. You are piloting a one-ton pile of steel; I am piloting something that weighs as much as a dog. (Not even a big dog — we’re talking Welsh Corgi, here.)
And if your frustrations at sharing the road get the better of you, and you want to get in a fight with me, sir, there is no doubt whatsoever that you will win.
You’ll win… and, in all likelihood, I’ll be dead.
This is what I wanted to say to you: You may not like cyclists, and that’s fine. But you have a responsibility to the human race, and I don’t cease to exist the second I step off my bike. I am someone’s wife. I am someone’s sister. I am someone’s daughter.
And if you have any of those things — a spouse, a sibling, a child — do me this favor.
Imagine yourself on your way to meet your wife for lunch; imagine yourself waiting for your daughter to come home from school.
Now, imagine getting a phone call, hearing the voice on the other end telling you that that person — the person you love — is dead, because some asshole in an Audi thought her life was less important than waiting another five seconds to park his car.
This has been a public service announcement from the U.S. Department of Please Don’t Kill Other Human Beings.
7 October, 2009
Poor Chairman Pickles it would be enough to give him heart trouble. First he outlines his conference master plan; the Conservative Party of Thatcher, Heath, Lord Home, Eden and Macmillan and Churchill is going to do humble. Yes that’s right humble.
So the edict has gone out No champagne for Tory conference
But someone should have told the party leader
The Daily Mirror has the money shot
This made my think that what is put out for public consumption by Team Tory is not what goes on behind closed doors. Cast your mind back to Cameron’s holiday when he was pictured with the bucket and spade in good old blighty before as Rupa notes he went on his “real holiday” abroad aboard a lavish £21k a week yacht.
Or the PR triumph of Samantha Cameron’s £36 shoes. Lets face it the percentage of women in the UK who’ve spent more than£36 pounds on a pair of shoes at some point in their lives must be approaching 100% and Mrs Cameron I would put good money on the fact that she has a pair worth £37 or more tucked away somewhere. The genius is getting the fact that she has a pair of cheap shoes as the big fact in the media. Still even the Mail could work out they are being spun PR bullshit and decided to exact their revenge.
Still the PR genius award for this Tory conference shouldn’t go to the Camerons but instead to George Osborne the shadow chancellor for his speech which is setting the terms of debate about the economy.Unfortunately his is completely wrong. Not a little bit wrong but WRONG to such a degree he is playing fast and loose with the British economy. Why?
Put simply he risks a double dip recession. This is where we return to some growth but Tory public spending cuts destroy demand and confidence in the economy which then goes into recession for a second time. But I can hear the tory readers of this blog scream “What about public debt!” Indeed it is important but immediate public spending cuts from day one of a tory government aren’t the best way to solve the problem. This is because the deficit isn’t just caused by to much expenditure by government but also has to do with the fall in tax recipts not just from the city but also the wider economy.
Consequently we can expose Osborne’s PR but unfortunately not economic savvy. While he dominates the headlines about the debt he misses entirely the need for a strategy for growth in the UK economy. He also makes his solution sound much better than it will turn out to be. He outlined about £7bn of cuts but the structural deficit is £90-140bn depending on how you define it and then has to gall to say his is the honest one.
Clearly at some stage there will have to be cuts in public expenditure but we should use public spending to support demand in the economy for another say 18 months – 2 years help the economy grow and use increased tax recipts to soften the blow to public services and perhaps and I know this is modern political herasay: increase some taxes and or increase measures to target tax evasion/avoidence by the superrich.
Isn’t that a better solution than a pay freeze for graduate teachers (becuase the less we pay them the better the’re just educating the next generation or not as the case may be) to pay for a tax cut for dead millionaires?
Just a thought like.
6 October, 2009
From Brivati-Dale list of the 100 most powerful people on the right:
Brilliant analysis guys. Spot on.
6 October, 2009
Evan Davies: Right now we just want to be clear on some of the details because as you will know women’s state pension age is not going to be 65 in 2016, it’s going to be 63 in 2016, it gradually rises thereafter. So you’re not I assume planning to take women straight from 63 to 66 in 7 years time?
David Cameron: No that’s not what we’re proposing, what we’re proposing is this independent person to head a review to look at not just is 2016 the right year, that would be the earliest we could rise it, but also how you sync together the women’s state pension age and the man’s state pension age into the future so that’s the reason. This is a big announcement, it’s an announcement for the future, it’s important to get it right, I’d like to build all party support for it if that’s possible and I think this is exactly the sort of issue that this independent review should look at.
ED: I’m sorry, I had understood last night this was a proposal but actually it’s a review that you’re planning?
DC: We’re saying that we believe, the Conservative party believes that we should instead of this happening at 2026 it should happen at the earliest at 2016 but sometime in that decade, earliest 2016, but that’s what we’d, like to see. We’ll be asking an independent review to look at the issues around that and to make proposals but it’s, yes, we believe it needs to happen.
ED: Well, but you briefed, that it was going to save £13 billion a year, I mean how can you put a figure on it if you don’t know what the proposal is yet?
DC: Well what we know is that every, every 18 months of a different age raises £20 billion so one year raises £13 billion so it is £13 billion from the year in which you do it, it’s an important saving…
ED: But that would include women at 66 would it or, would that be from 64?
DC: That figure I believe actually applies to just raising the state pension age for men from 65 to 66 but as I say…
ED: So it would be more if you included woman rising from 63 to 64?
DC: One of the reasons for looking at this issue through a review is there are complexities but I think the big step to take is the step we’re taking today which is to say the previous agreement we all had that 2026 was the right year, it is not ambitious enough, we need to go further.
Via Tom Watson
If the General Election reproduces the opinion polls and that is a big if we are going to be landed with a Tory government but the last few days have shown what an almighty cow pat strewn quagmire it may turn out to be.
- Raising the pension age but how does that effect womens retirement age? Chaps …. chaps, chaps come back
- Shrinking the state pension entitlement wont make much of a difference to those with a healthy private pension pot and a long life expectancy but poor manual workers reliant on the state pension who’ve flogged their guts out before they drop dead in their late sixties/early seventies have a lot to be cheesed off about.
- Saving money by getting people off incapacity benefit and into jobs may well be a worthy aim. Indeed the government has been trying it for years. At its best it helps people have more fulfilling lives and helps the taxpayer but most people on incapacity are on it because they are unable to work and you can only take the process so far before you’re just chucking ill people from incapacity onto the cheaper jobseekers allowance. But the Daily Mail readers will love it so expect electoral expediency to take precedent over “compassionate conservatism”