How Britain could assist in the fight against ISIL without air strikes

by Andy Newman

ISILThe performance of Jeremy Corbyn on the Andrew Marr show was extraordinarily impressive, puncturing in a number of places the complacent rationalisations that David Cameron has presented for British involvement in the Syrian civil war. Let us remind ourselves that this is an issue that the Conservative Party is also divided over, with MPs such as Julian Lewis and John Baron likely to oppose the government.

There is a strong case that British military involvement would be wrong and counterproductive in the fight against so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), and would not only increase the terrorist risk to the British people, but also endanger British interests internationally. Continue reading →

Historical allusions: a helpful guide for Blairites and appeal for cooperation

by David Osland

StalinGordon Bennett, those Blairites (a historical term for people roughly corresponding with the 4.5%ers – Ed) can’t half be a bunch of drama queens sometimes. The merest slight to the amour propre of the tattered remnants of New Labourism often meets with hyperbolic allusion to some of the most dramatic events of recent centuries by way of rebuke.

The problem with using history in this fashion is that those doing so run the risk of making themselves look foolish. And we can’t have that, can we?

Maybe the problem is that Oxbridge PPE degrees do not include a history component. So let me extend a comradely hand of friendship to the Labour right, and walk them through some of the stuff they presumably slept through in their A-level classrooms. Continue reading →

Autumn books for the Corbyn effect

by Mark Perryman

Mark Perryman frPromised You A Miracle hbom Philosophy Football provides a rundown of new books for the #jezewecan majority

It would have taken a forecaster of the most extraordinary power to predict in the early days after the General Election when the Labour Right were rampant explaining Labour’s defeat on being too Left Wing that by September Jeremy Corbyn would be Labour leader.

By this time next year there will no doubt be an avalanche of books, some sympathetic, some not, seeking to explain The Corbyn Insurgency. But that doesn’t mean there’s not already an awful lot of decent reads to help shape thinking about this late flowering of Labour as Britain’s new radical left party. Continue reading →

Ann Black’s report from Labour’s November executive

by Ann Black

Inside Labour ann black from NECNational Executive Committee, 17 November 2015

Ann Black reports on Labour’s national executive committee meeting which took place this month.

The first meeting after conference is always a long session, planning for the challenges ahead. Overall objectives were to develop Labour as a campaigning movement, achieve real change, build trust in communities, and win elections at all levels. Each department would contribute, with strategic leadership on policy, effective opposition to the government, and world-class integrated strategic communications among the more important elements. The NEC’s terms of reference were circulated, and as Chair of the disputes panel I have now joined the NEC officers. Other aspects would be discussed further in January. Some members argued that the NEC had lost power since the days when the working classes ran the party, while others thought that we retained authority but just needed to exercise it. Continue reading →

Time for the Labour Left to debate reselection of MPs

by David Osland

red rosette with question markFor the past three months, the very word ‘reselection’ has been unmentionable in Labour left circles, for fear that even talking about it would represent an unwarranted provocation of the Labour right. But as the events of the last 48 hours clearly underline, it’s time to break the taboo.

At the very least, Corbyn supporters now have to – how can I put this gently? – engage in measured debate on how we approach the next round of trigger ballots for sitting MPs. Continue reading →

Labour’s shadow cabinet must not split the party over going to war

by Jon Lansman

Corbyn & Benn divided by warThe shadow cabinet yesterday discussed David Cameron’s plan to go to war in Syria. A majority of its members favour backing airstrikes in spite of the four conditions laid down by Labour’s conference only two months ago not being met. It is unclear whether there is a majority of members favour imposing a whip in support of their view on other Labour MPs against the party’s policy, but some certainly favour that. The decision will be made on Monday.

There is a real danger that such an approach would push Labour towards a split at a time when it is united against austerity and has the Tories on the run – with yesterday’s Daily Telegraph announcing the “end of austerity“. The only way to keep the party united on this issue is to trust the members and the party conference. Continue reading →

Osborne gambles on a windfall – something you can’t do on a zero hour contract

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

'Gideon' OsborneIn war, there’s only a short amount of time your weaponry has an edge over the enemy. Labour has spent the last couple of months shelling the Tory trenches with the party working tax credit shells. This week, the new ‘police funding’ gun has been pressed into service.

Both pasted the Tory position to the point it became strategically vulnerable and, in the Autumn statement, the chancellor pulled his forces back to a better fortified position.

The u-turn on tax credits and the u-turn on police cuts now means the Tories are out of range and its up to the boffins to come up with something new. Unfortunately, the dropping of John McDonnell’s Mao bomb missed its target by some distance and threw our follow up assault into disarray. Continue reading →

Alternative Autumn statements: continued Tory failure versus Corbynomics

by Michael Burke

Osborne delivering the autumn statementHaving spectacularly failed in his stated goal of eliminating the deficit in the last parliament, George Osborne is repeating his experiment in this one. Both the June 2010 and 2015 Budgets proposed ‘fiscal tightening’ of £37 billion. In the first of these Budgets the main method was cuts in public spending. In the second it is the sole method.

In the latest Autumn Statement this now falls to £36 billion and takes place more slowly after the U-turn on implementing cuts to working tax credits. These are now effectively scheduled to take place more slowly under the guise of ‘reform’ to the Universal Credit system. Continue reading →

Understanding Corbynmania

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

corbynmaniaIt’s not the key factor explaining why Labour aren’t doing spectacularly well at the moment, but the never ending tit-for-tat in the press, on the telly, on the internet isn’t helping much. It is a truism that divided parties don’t win elections, after all.

Then there were these polling figures of Labour Party members. Some 65% of them think Jeremy is doing well as party leader, while only 38% of those polled believe he’ll ever make Number 10, and, controversially, 56% say taking a principled line is the correct way to do politics, even if it means losing elections. You can imagine that caused a few feathers to be spat down Portcullis House. Continue reading →

The SNP motion on Trident was a sectarian stunt, not a blow for disarmament

by Jon Lansman

Bairns not Bombs CND TridentThe motion which was put down in the name of SNP Westminster MPs yesterday “that this House believes that Trident should not be renewed” had nothing whatever to do with advancing the cause of disarmament or preventing the renewal of Trident. That is an objective the SNP does not share.

If they did, they would seek to cooperate with Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. Instead they sought to divide it and so to weaken the combined opposition to Trident renewal in the hope of political advantage north of the border. A narrow sectarian objective. Continue reading →

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