Mar 10th, 2014by Jon Lansman
A YouGov poll for the Times revealed today what we always suspected. No party’s voters want a SpAd as their MP. Not Labour voters, Tories, Lib Dems, nor Ukippers. Especially not Ukippers. Not just SpAds actually but anyone who’s “never had a ‘real’ job outside the worlds of national politics/think tanks/journalism/local government before becoming an MP“. Which would exclude Cameron, Clegg, Ed Miliband and an embarrassing proportion of the Shadow Cabinet.
A majority of Labour voters and Ukippers don’t want old Etonians or wealthy tax dodgers either – though Tories and Lib Dems are relatively relaxed about these things. And very few people are particularly bothered about sexual or financial peccadillos, youthful indiscretions or other ‘skeletons’ for which the Daily Mail is so keen on scouring politicians’ closets. Continue reading →
Mar 10th, 2014by Dan McCurry
The Tories have gotten so excited about the idea of decriminalising the BBC license fee, that it’s difficult to avoid the suspicion that they see this as an opportunity to do down the national broadcaster. Labour needs to have a response, or else the debate will be guided by those who wish to see television controlled by press barons and oligarchs.
Apparently 10% of cases before the magistrates’ courts are for evasion of the license fee. On the face of it this sounds extraordinary, but before we accept this figure on face value, we should first recognise that it came from the Magistrates Association, a body with a history empire building. Continue reading →
Mar 10th, 2014by Michael Meacher
Thunderous Western denunciations of Putin’s actions over Ukraine ring hollow in the light of a decade of utterly unprovoked aggression against Iraq, let alone other bloody interventions in Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan (repeated lethal drone strikes killing far more innocent civilians than Taliban), and Afghanistan (13 years of war), none of which was authorised by the UN. The hypocrisy of railing against Putin for an ‘incredible act of aggression’, which has killed nobody, is truly breathtaking when the invasion of Iraq alone led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians. |But there’s more to this crisis than blatant double standards.
Ever since the Berlin wall came down in 1989, the US has treated Russia, not as a new partner in the club of nations committed (however falteringly) to democracy, but as the loser in the Cold War to be humiliated and marginalised at every opportunity. Continue reading →
Mar 10th, 2014by Phil Burton-Cartledge
Is Tony Blair Labour’s greatest ever leader? John McTernan certainly thinks so. He lays out Blair’s stall and talks up the nice things he achieved in office. It begs the question, what is wrong with those people who grumble about him? Rising employment, stable public finances, the minimum wage – Gordon Brown couldn’t have inherited a better set of policy achievements. It must be that Blair refused to nationalise the top 100 monopolies, and didn’t squeeze the rich until the pips squeaked. Or perhaps it’s because he won three consecutive elections by sticking dead centre and ignoring the advice/demands of the left. Only the embittered argue with success. But is that it, really? Continue reading →
Mar 8th, 2014by Newsdesk
On International Women’s Day in the year of the 30th anniversary of the miners’ strike, we should remember the huge contribution of women to the miners’ struggle. One of those women is Florence Anderson, who said in 1984 that the children and grandchildren of the striking miners will have pride, “not only in what their dads did, but what their mams did as well.” Here’s the end of a sensational speech to the Durham Miners’ Gala in the year of the strike.
Mar 8th, 2014by Michael Meacher
‘Sanctioning’ is a particularly harsh and brutal way of treating unemployed people. They have all their benefit removed even for the most trivial infringements, e.g. being 5 minutes late for a job interview or for a work programme session. Their benefit (£71 a week JSA) is removed for 4 weeks for the first infringement, for 3 months for the second, and (almost unbelievably) for 3 years for the third.
This quickly reduces the victims of this abhorrent policy to destitution and leaves them with no alternative but to beg for board and lodging from family or friends. There is no appeal against these decisions which could well be regarded as a breach of the common law by deliberately reducing a person to penury by administrative edict against which there is no redress. Continue reading →
Mar 8th, 2014by Newsdesk
In recent weeks there has been a wave of violence from minority, extremist elements of the Venezuelan opposition following the launch of a campaign by the extreme right for La Salida (‘The Ousting’) of the elected government. In response to this, a large march of women recently took place calling for an end to the violence, and supporting the Government’s calls for peace and dialogue.
In response to these developments, for International Women’s Day, leading women supporters of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign have sent a message of solidarity to Venezuela, stating “On International Women’s Day we deplore the recent wave of violence from minority and extremist sections of Venezuela’s right-wing opposition, that has left a number of people dead, many injured and has seen physical assaults on government institutions, unleashed as a consequence of the proclaimed objective of “the ousting” of the elected government.” Continue reading →
Mar 8th, 2014by Billy Hayes
In the run-up to the European elections it is vital that the labour and progressive movement takes a stand against racism. The Tories are adapting to UKIP’s efforts to make immigration the central question in the election. Large sections of the media are only too happy to fuel and facilitate this agenda.
Yet the whole move is transparently racist – despite all the lofty denials from David Cameron and Nigel Farage. Nothing illustrates this more clearly than Farage’s speech to UKIP’s Spring Conference.
He spoke under the banner “Love Britain. Vote UKIP” a paraphrase of the old National Front slogan “Love Britain. Vote NF“. Continue reading →
Mar 8th, 2014by Jeremy Corbyn
In Parliament this week, there were a number of tin-pot generals using the opportunity of the Ukrainian crisis to insist that Britain should rapidly and exponentially increase military expenditure.
But as with all international crises, it’s important to recognise the history lurking behind the drama.
Ukraine’s national borders have ebbed and flowed with the tides of history, from being the original heartland of Russian civilisation, expanding under Moscow’s rule during the tsarist era and becoming part of the Soviet Union after 1917. Continue reading →