Labour and the Jews: from ethnic cleansing to truth and reconciliation

by Jon Lansman

97i/16/huty/6851/17Who is responsible for the Middle East conflict? And how do we help resolve it? We can do no worse than to begin by looking at Labour’s own history.

On this day in 1944, Labour’s annual conference was taking place in London. A week before D-Day and two weeks before V1s started hitting London, the Allies were making progress through Italy and were bombing targets in France in preparation for the invasion. And amidst all that, Labour delegates were focussed on “The International Post-War Settlement“, on how to build a post-war world.

They knew about the Holocaust though they had not yet really understood its magnitude. And in building a new world, they were prepared to contemplate some drastic measures. I recently purchased a copy of the NEC statement which was agreed at the conference. It included, in a section headed “Palestine”, the words I found profoundly shocking when I first read them: Continue reading →

Tony – Labour’s future is not in your past

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

Tony Blair Jeremy Corbyn Which one is DangerousTony, Tony, Tony, Tony. When I was a Trot I had it drilled into me that you don’t necessarily speak for yourself. You always have to think about how your conduct and the positions you’re arguing might reflect on your comrades. This sense of political self-responsibility, I think, is something of a virtue and my many, many blogs (I hope) abide by this rule. When finger tips touch the keyboard, there is a sense of trying to say something that others might find helpful. Political argument, after all, is about arguing with purpose. With that in mind, what were you trying to achieve with your recent comments? Continue reading →

Why Andy Burnham should oppose the snoopers charter come what May does

by Jon Lansman

big sister Theresa MayToday, the Guardian reports that “Labour has edged closer to supporting the ‘snooper’s charter’“, referring to the Investigatory Powers Bill carried forward from the last session of Parliament. Andy Burnham, Labour’s shadow Home Secretary, said “Her commitment to an independent review of the case for bulk powers is a major concession but the right thing to do and something which will build trust in this process.” He went to say she was  “reassuring members on this side of the house about this bill.” Continue reading →

Report of Scottish Labour’s May executive

by Jon Lansman

Inside Labour ScotlandThe May meeting of the Scottish Executive Committee (SEC) inevitably focused on the election post-mortem.

General Secretary, Brian Roy set out his analysis of the voting and the party’s own polling. The numbers can be found in the SPICe report, for those in need of further depressing reading.

The party’s mid-campaign polling was better than the final result and this appears to be the basis for the suggestion that the anti-Semitism row had an impact on the result. While it was certainly unhelpful and may have had an impact in one or two areas, most SEC members were sceptical that it had much of a wider impact. Continue reading →

The scandal of privatised aid

by Mike Phipps

Privatisation of UK AidIf you thought energy privatisation was bad for UK consumers, take a look at Nigeria. The result has been up to 45% higher prices, regular blackouts, workers made redundant and the companies involved being bailed out by the central bank. The process is part of a £100 million project being run by consultants Adam Smith International (ASI). Around half this money was put up by the UK government in the form of “aid”.

A recent report from Global Justice Now, The Privatisation of UK Aid, reveals that in 2014 alone the Department for International Development (DfID) spent £90 million through ASI. This is more than the entire amount spent on human rights and women’s equality organisations, and the latest slice of the £450 million of aid-funded contracts awarded to ASI since 2011. It’s a lucrative business – ASI directors are on six-figure salaries and made £14 million in after-tax profits in 2014. Continue reading →

Peter Willsman reports from Labour’s May executive

by Peter Willsman

NEC Report Pete WNational Executive Committee 17 May 2016

The major subject for debate at the NEC were the reports from Baroness Jan Royall. These were handed round at the meeting and collected up at the end. In addition, Shami Chakrabarti attended the NEC to discuss the framework for her inquiry. There was a very friendly and positive attitude at the NEC reflecting the relative success in the recent elections and the general consensus that the bulk of the Party is pulling together. Continue reading →

The queen’s speech exposes Tory weakness

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

queens headBritish politics has taken a turn for the worse of late, but let’s not forget its settled, normal status is weird. Last week’s Queen’s speech – the outline of “her” government’s legislative programme for the coming year – is a case in point. In the thinnest of gruel, which we will come to sift through for juicy morsels shortly, we had the bizarre spectacle of a 15th century relic promising spaceports, autonomous cars, and more drones. I’m not sure this is what old Trotters had in mind when he wrote about combined and uneven development. Weird.

The mainstream have had all afternoon to pore over the speech and the jolly Commons back-and-forth about it. Everyone knows it’s a slim document so Dave can concentrate on the EU referendum, so push a few eye-catching, future-facing, and largely uncontroversial policies to the front and spend the rest of them time thinking of ways of scaring people to vote remain. Continue reading →

Venezuela: cheerleading the Pinochet option

by David Osler

Capriles and MaduroWhen the most constructive thing you can find to say about a country facing the real possibility of a military coup is to brand Seumas Milne the moral equivalent of Gary Glitter, you need to consider whether you ought to be commenting on international politics in the first place.

Yet such was the basic premise of Nick Cohen’s column in The Observer this Sunday, which opens with the contention that supporters of the Venezuelan government are “no different” to sex tourists. Continue reading →

Poll shows Corbyn can’t be deposed. Do his critics want Labour to win or not?

by Jon Lansman

A YouGov poll whose findings are published today by the Times shows that the membership of the Labour Party are more supportive of Jeremy Corbyn now than they were in November 2015 and there is no realistic chance of him being removed now or in the foreseeable future. It is time for all his critics to decide, do they want to see him elected Prime Minister or not?

Seventy-two percent of Labour members think Corbyn is doing well as party leader (compared with 66% last November) including 43% of those who voted for Yvette Cooper or Andy Burnham last summer. A majority of members think we’re on course to win in 2020 , and more so with Jeremy as leader than someone else (53:39 compared with 42:41). Continue reading →

On politicians, patriotism and dog whistles

by David Pavett

TristramHunt with St Georges flagTristram Hunt MP thinks that to gain a majority in England Labour needs to “more obviously show its affection” for the country. In an Observer article of 15 May he argues that the Labour Party has lost contact with its working class constituency. Its former working class voters have gone to UKIP, he says, because Labour has not sufficiently demonstrated its love for England and Englishness.

However, nowhere in his 1300-word case that Labour should embrace “Englishness” are we given any idea what he understands by the term. Continue reading →

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