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Labour and the 2015 progressive majority

Though we have about 1000 days until the next election, Plaid Cymru have offered the Labour party a deal by way of a strategy should we find ourselves with a hung parliament in 2015.

Jonathan Edwards, MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr and a key advisor to Plaid Cymru’s leader Leanne Wood, said: “We would be interested in offering a supply and confidence (not voting down budgets or supporting no confidence motions) arrangement for a non-Tory government.”

This is a sign to Labour that it will offer more than just numbers for a majority, but proactive support. However Labour must submit to policies which Edwards has said will contribute to a “great reformist programme” distinct from “Tory-lite” politics “that belong to the past.”

Edwards’ ideal policies would need the following:

  • A tax system based on the reforms of France’s President François Hollande – 75% tax on incomes above £1m;
  • Splitting retail and investment banking activity and the introduction of community banking models;
  • Unilateral introduction of the proposed levy on financial transactions known as the Robin Hood tax;
  • A fund and other incentives to allow the economies of the different parts of the UK to converge;
  • Devolution of powers to the Welsh Government in areas including energy, broadcasting, policing, and the creation of a separate legal jurisdiction;
  • Scrapping of the Barnett formula used to allocate Treasury cash to the Welsh Government and the introduction of a fairer funding mechanism;
  • Measures to recognise English political identity;
  • Nationalisation of the railways.

Though Labour will go out to win the next election, it is something of a relief that such contingency plans are already being made. It certainly shows how anxious people are to get rid of the coalition government.

But is Edwards’ programme of bones something that the Labour party could put meat to? Do we think Ed Miliband has come that far yet? Or do we think rhetoric like this could give Ed and Labour the confidence to reach far and wide for a progressive programme set to outflank the regressive politics of the current administration? What do you think?

8 Comments

  1. Hannah says:

    This is got to be a wind up hasn’t it?! That is their demands and they have what, something like 3 MPs?

    Nationalisation of the railways for their 3 votes? Yeah that’s realistic. What a joke of a party.

  2. Jayarava says:

    These look like good policies to me. Policies I’d vote for in England. I would add directing funding to technologies that reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and probably more protections from banks – such as forcing them to all be much smaller so they could fail without wrecking the economy.

  3. Bill Cocks says:

    So you are going to continue bullying disabled people then. Thanks for letting me know.

  4. Bill Cocks says:

    Have you done your maths?

    1. Jon Lansman says:

      Bill: I’m afraid I simply don’t understand your question, nor your reference to bullying disabled people. This website has clearly expressed it opposition to austerity and attempts to make the poorest in the community – those in receipt of benefits – pay for the damage done by the bankers. You need to explain yourself more fully and how your complaint relates to this article.

  5. Robin Thorpe says:

    This sort of discussion would certainly be a good starting point for a future strategy of co-operation between left of centre parties. I for one would welcome this, particularly if the social democrats in the LibDems could add their support. I think that a rainbow coalition would be a good thing generally for british politics and might help to rehabilitate the Labour Party into a positive reforming force. Without this co-operation Labour may struggle to regain government but I think that they should be open about it so that people know what they are getting. A coalition of convenience (forged after the event) will never produce any meaningful change.

  6. A tax system based on the reforms of France’s President François Hollande – 75% tax on incomes above £1m; Yes, although there are better ways of going about this.

    Splitting retail and investment banking activity and the introduction of community banking models; Yes.

    Unilateral introduction of the proposed levy on financial transactions known as the Robin Hood tax; Yes.

    A fund and other incentives to allow the economies of the different parts of the UK to converge; Yes, although what follows would be directly inimical to that.

    Devolution of powers to the Welsh Government in areas including energy, broadcasting, policing, and the creation of a separate legal jurisdiction; No.

    Scrapping of the Barnett formula used to allocate Treasury cash to the Welsh Government and the introduction of a fairer funding mechanism; Depends: Each of the present or, where they have been abolished in the rush to unitary local government, the previous city, borough and district council areas in each of the nine regions must be twinned with a demographically comparable one (though not defined in terms of comparable affluence) in Scotland, in Wales, in Northern Ireland, and in each of the other English regions. Across each of the key indicators – health, education, housing, transport, and so on – both expenditure and outcomes in each English area, responsibility for such matters being devolved elsewhere, would have to equal or exceed those in each of its twins. Or else the relevant Ministers’ salaries would be docked by the percentage in question. By definition that would always include the Prime Minister.

    Measures to recognise English political identity; Depends: In any policy area devolved to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, no legislation must apply in any of the English regions unless supported at Third Reading by the majority of MPs from that region. Since such legislative chaos would rightly be unconscionable, any Bill would in practice require such a consensus before being permitted to proceed at a much earlier stage of its parliamentary progress.

    Nationalisation of the railways. Yes.

    Plaid Cymru is the keeper of the rural Radicalism that was largely allowed to die of neglect in England and Scotland after the First World War, and especially after the Second, as well as being the organ of the Welsh peace tradition. Both of its MPs voted to save the Labour Government in 1979, in very stark contrast to the behaviour of the SNP.

    Therefore, would Plaid Cymru be prepared to accept fairer funding and the recognition of English identity in the above terms, and the role of Labour, the unions and the co-operatives as the guardians of the Union in Wales such as to preclude any compromise on further devolution, still less on the creation of a separate legal jurisdiction?

    Or would that be too high a price to pay for what would therefore be its manifestly lower priorities of fair taxation, splitting retail and investment banking, introducing community banking models, levying the Robin Hood tax, enabling regional economic convergence (as Unionist an aspiration as one could possibly imagine), renationalising the railways (as Unionist a measure as one could possibly imagine), and, mysteriously missing from this list, cancelling Trident and abandoning the neoconservative war agenda?

    It is David Cameron who has repeatedly professed himself indifferent as to the constitutional future of Wales, and it is very likely that the position of Secretary of State is about to be given to one of the several separatist sympathisers among his MPs, whose sympathies are not remotely shared by most people in Wales.

  7. Daniel Lawrence says:

    “It is David Cameron who has repeatedly professed himself indifferent as to the constitutional future of Wales, and it is very likely that the position of Secretary of State is about to be given to one of the several separatist sympathisers among his MPs, whose sympathies are not remotely shared by most people in Wales.”

    Which of the Welsh Conservative MPs would you say are the separatist sympathisers? It would be very interesting to know!

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