Jul 31st, 2014by Gerry Adams
The scenes of desolation and destruction in Gaza, of whole streets reduced to piles of broken rubble, and the images of torn bodies, especially of young children and babies, demand that the international community do all that we can to end this slaughter.
Just before noon on Tuesday morning I spoke to Saeb Erekat in Ramallah on the west Bank. The Palestinian Unity Government was holding an emergency meeting to discuss the deteriorating situation.
Saeb is an Executive Committee Member of the PLO and is the Chief Negotiator for the Palestinian government. He took a few minutes to brief me on the current situation in Gaza and the behind the scenes efforts to achieve a humanitarian ceasefire. Continue reading →
Jul 31st, 2014by Michael Meacher
A new official inquiry into the banks is announced just when Osborne announces that the banking crisis is finally over. In fact it’s still coming to the boil – how does he manage to keep on coming up with these gags? Just 6 years late, you might think. But that’s the least problem. The real issue is that it’s an inquiry into the wrong things.
- It’s not going to look into the way Libor trading was rigged.
- Nor into PPI mis-selling that has led to penalties for the banks of up to £20bn.
- Nor into grotesquely inflated bank bonuses.
- Nor into how the colossally costly taxpayer bailouts of the banks can be avoided in future.
- Nor into whether in future those found responsible for worldwide financial crashes should be given a hefty jail sentence.
No, this inquiry will be into current accounts held at banks and whether they and ATM cash machines should in future still be free or have to be paid for. In other words, this inquiry is not about holding the banks to account; it’s about making them more profitable. Continue reading →
Jul 31st, 2014by Ann Black
Milton Keynes, 18/20 July 2014
Like the last pre-election Forum in 2008 this was held on the hottest weekend of the year, but there the similarities ceased, and not just with the move from Warwick University to Milton Keynes. For the most part constructive dialogue and willingness to compromise outweighed arm- twisting, and all sections of the movement could co-operate instead of being played off against each other.
The Chair Angela Eagle opened by invoking the spirit of 1945 and Labour’s manifesto “Let us Face the Future”, committed to decent housing, jobs for all, and an end to want and poverty. Now, with a million people dependent on foodbanks, the most vulnerable hit hardest by the Tories and the NHS under threat, we had to translate our timeless values into today’s political situation. Money would be short after the general election, but social justice could be achieved by big reforms rather than big spending. Continue reading →
Jul 30th, 2014by Michael Meacher
The parliamentary Labour party (PLP) has changed dramatically over the long years of my political experience. It used to be the forum where policy differences were thrashed out, the front bench was held vigorously to account, and ideological debate provided the lifeblood for political activism. No more. It must be the most placid in modern times. Good of course in terms of maintaining unity, which is an important objective, but less good in terms of political inspiration and campaigning drive.
The PLP is not unique in this respect. The same process of dumbing down has smothered party conference which once was the heaving soul of the Labour Movement, but now has shrunken to become merely a showpiece for the Leader’s speech. Continue reading →
Jul 28th, 2014by James Elliott
Over the last year the student movement has seen something of a comeback from the low ebbs of 2012 and early 2013, with new waves of occupations, landmark campaigns such as Occupy Sussex, the inspirational militancy of the 3Cosas cleaners, and a renewed conflict between students and workers’ right to organise, and the management’s will to stifle dissent. What is encouraging about many of these new struggles is that they are organic, creating new campaigns centered on building student-worker solidarity, such as those of the SOAS cleaners and King’s College London’s union-run Living Wage Campaign.
Yet one issue could pass students by altogether, and represents arguably the greatest single threat to hopes of a free, democratic and public education system in the UK. That is of course the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), a colossal EU-US trade deal, that has been slowly gathering union and civil society opposition over the last few months. Continue reading →
Jul 28th, 2014by Bryan Gould
Steve Richards (David Cameron will lose the battle of ideas if he keeps firing 1979’s bullets) is right to say in The Guardian (and Ed Miliband obviously agrees with him) that next year’s election will not, and should not, be decided by personality politics. So what is it that will determine the voters’ preferences?
It would be nice to think, as Richards argues, that the election will be about ideas. But policy ideas, until and unless they are successfully proved in practice, make little impact on voters increasingly cynical about promises. Continue reading →