What’s in the NPF draft policy statements?

by David Pavett

According to the Labour Party Rulebook:

“Party conference shall decide from time to time what specific proposals of legislative, financial or administrative reform shall be included in the Party programme. This shall be based on the rolling programme of work of the National Policy Forum.” (Emphasis added)

The results of that “rolling programme of work” emerge at this time of the year giving members a few weeks to read and discuss them and to get their party branches and CLP to respond. It’s a tight timetable and there is room to doubt the value of the consultation that this purports to be. Continue reading →

The Collapse of the Labour Right

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

In calling out Jon Lansman and Momentum publicly for the temerity of, you know, organising, Tom Watson has made a fool of himself. Worse than that, in attacking a mooted alliance between Momentum and Unite he has gone so far as to suggest there is something improper about unions seeking to maximise their influence in the Labour Party. It’s only a hop, skip and a jump away from questioning the legitimacy of trade unions acting politically at all, and that’s a very dangerous game. Understandably, Len McCluskey has replied in his inimitable style and the war of words continue via social media, while spilling out continually into Unite’s own bad-tempered general secretary election, and potentially damaging Labour’s own council and mayoral campaigns. Continue reading →

Why are real wages falling?

by Tom O Leary

Real wages are falling once more. In addition, nominal wages have fallen in the last 2 months which is highly unusual. Both of these developments are Brexit effects and the situation is likely to get worse as Brexit unfolds.

The trends in both real (inflation-adjusted) and nominal wages are shown in Chart 1 below. Real wages peaked in April 2008. A very large gap then opened up between real and nominal wages following the crisis, as nominal wage growth slowed and inflation subtracted from real wage growth.  But as the chart shows, it is rare for nominal wages to fall, and this has contributed to a marked recent drop in real wages. Continue reading →

The world of skulduggery, smears and secret plots

by Len McCluskey

For the last three months I have been touring the country meeting working men and women as I campaign to be re-elected as Unite’s General Secretary.

I have been listening to their hopes and fears in the factories, bus garages, building sites and hospitals. They are worried about their jobs above all, about Theresa May’s “hard Brexit”, about the public services they can see crumbling around them after seven years of Tory austerity.

They are – every last one, no matter whether they support me or not – decent people, committed to doing their best for their families, their workplace and their communities in a troubled world. They are the sort of people who make me proud to be a trade unionist, and proud to be able to help them in their daily struggles. Continue reading →

Will Brexit kill the Boundary Review?

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

I’m breaking that rule, again. You know, the one forbidding ventures into the realm of political predictions. Perhaps the recent foray into long range forecasting has empowered me to speak about matters in the nearer term. So here it is: the redrawing of constituency boundaries isn’t going to happen. Okay, let me rephrase that, it’s looking increasingly unlikely that the government are going to follow through. Bold claim, but what’s the basis for it?

Look at the chaos embroiling Theresa May’s government. Brexit was and is a tricky proposition, and by stupidly aiming for the worst kind on offer her government is unnecessarily multiplying problems for itself. Determined to be the super-toughest on immigration, May is determined that there is no way UKIP can outflank them on the right ever again. Yes – and just when you thought Tory leaders had stopped tilting to this dysfunctional bunch of has-beens, May carries on the tradition established by her predecessor. Continue reading →

Who’s who in the race to be Gorton’s next MP?

by James Elliott

Last night the race to replace Gerald Kaufman as Gorton’s MP entered its final stages, as the NEC shortlisting panel met to confirm the five names that will go forward to the membership of Gorton CLP. Sam Wheeler, the preferred candidate of Momentum and Unite, was excluded as the shortlisting panel (three out of five of whom were anti-Corbyn members of the NEC) decided that the seat would be an ‘all-BAME’ shortlist, the first time the party has imposed such a list.

Who are the candidates then?

Cllr Yasmine Dar

A single mother and councillor in Gorton, Yasmine Dar has been a social worker, a multi-faith Chaplain in Strangeways prison, and established a local charity to work with disadvantaged youngsters in the community. Continue reading →

Together We’re Sombre

by Aiden Anthony O Rourke

When I started writing this, I wanted it to be a simple piece on Scottish Labour after our conference this month, but when one thinks about politics it’s hard to shut up about it (maybe that’s just me). The fact is, all of the issues I want to discuss are related, because we can’t take one situation in one country at one certain time, isolate it from the international situation, and claim that ‘this is how it is’. Labour’s difficulty in Scotland is reflective of the labour movement across the world.

As a young student in a part time job, it can be difficult to attend political events (ask anyone in this position and they’ll tell you the same). On Sunday I managed to travel up to Perth as a new member, and first time conference goer, and whilst I have left with a positive frame of mind, I can’t help but question some of the messages we as a party were putting out. Upon entering conference, one can’t escape the ever watchful presence of the buzzwords – ‘Together we’re stronger’. It’s on twenty different televisions, it’s beamed in huge script in the main hall, it’s the repeated mantra of many a speaker, and if that wasn’t Orwellian enough, it patiently awaits you on a television screen as you visit the toilets – no, I am not joking. Continue reading →

Dutch Lessons for the Centre Left

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

PvdA leader Lodewijk Asscher

A much-hyped populist-right party with a “charismatic” figurehead and a sideline in racism, where have we heard that story before? Well, across nearly every Western liberal democracy it seems. But in the Netherlands today, the exit polls strongly suggest Geert Wilders’ misnamed Freedom Party (PVV) has juddered to a deserved halt. The hype surrounding his person served to boost turn out of anti-Wilders sentiment. Their seat tally is up from 12 to 19, but hardly the lead they were hoping for. Likewise the liberal-leftish Democrats 66 (D66) and the Christian Democrats also move up to 19 while the governing People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) make for the biggest party with a likely haul of 31 seats. The Green Left also make an advance from minor party status to the big leagues with a possible 16 seats. The checking of Wilders and his rancid politics is welcome (remember, it happened here first), but the other big story is the complete collapse of the PvdA or, for you and me, the Dutch Labour Party. Continue reading →

Cohen versus Corbyn: The fucking praise of fucking folly

by David Osland

Observer columnist Nick Cohen

It has been a while since I last read How to Win Friends and Influence People, but I do not recollect Dale Carnegie advising Sunday newspaper columnists to win over readers by branding them “fucking fools” who need to change their “fucking minds”. But such is now the level of debate in the Observer, which yesterday carried an extraordinary piece of Corbyn-bashing from the pen of Nick Cohen, concluding in just such a fevered peroration.

Let’s just say the polemic has all the hallmarks of being a product of what we must now learn to call “the late night typewriter”. At least the sight of the guy who likes to style himself the Orwell de nos jours descending into two minutes’ hate of Goldstein is not without a certain entertainment value. Continue reading →

The Audacity of Osborne

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

I hear tell of George Osborne applying for the Evening Standard vacancy only after other people came to him for advice on their applications. What a charmer. Still, his landing the editorship of London’s biggest free sheet is as shocking as it is audacious. How is it someone barely able to string a sentence together, let alone lacking journalistic experience of any kind, can simply drop into and run one of the country’s biggest titles, and carry on doing another five jobs, including the nominally full-time role of representing the good people of Tatton?

Connections, of course. Standard proprietor, Evgeny Lebedev said “I am proud to have an editor of such substance, who reinforces The Standard’s standing and influence in London and whose political viewpoint – socially liberal and economically pragmatic – closely matches that of many of our readers”. Lebedev is the son of an oligarch who got stinking rich thanks to the plundering of Russian industry after the fall of the USSR, and has basically spent his entire life swanning around the jet set and organising parties for celebrities and other chums in London. Continue reading →

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