Jun 17th, 2013by Newsdesk
Campaigning group Next Generation Labour (NGL) has established itself as a leading voice within the Labour party against George Osborne’s austerity package, to which the party leadership has made dangerous concessions.
Many on the Labour left have professed their support for the People’s Assembly Against Austerity, a gathering of trade unions, diverse campaign groups and activists. They hope that it can fill the void in the austerity debate that results from all three main parties being committed to the economically-disastrous policy in some form.
Now NGL and others are affirming that if an anti-austerity movement can challenge the Labour leadership, it must come explicitly from within the party grassroots. They are calling for a “Labour Assembly Against Austerity”, in support of the People’s Assembly movement, to be held in September.
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Jun 16th, 2013by Conrad Landin and Frances Docx
Dan Hodges is not the most reliable of soothsayers. On the eve of the announcement of Ed Miliband’s victory, the journalist and self-described “Blairite cuckoo” infamously proclaimed that “David Miliband has won.”
But Hodges, who now pops up whenever Newsnight or Sky News require a useful idiot to attack the leadership qualities of Miliband the younger, may have it right this time round. Writing on the Telegraph website, he argues that Progress, the most established pressure group of Blairite Labour, has become “a cowed, timid political irrelevance.”
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Jun 15th, 2013by Andy Newman
I was recently horrified to discover that the anti-Islam extremist, Anne Marie Waters, is considered one of the front-runners to be Labour’s candidate for Brighton Pavilion, for the next general election. Indeed, because alongside her bigoted anti-religious views she is also a pro-NHS campaigner, there is a danger that the left and some unions may support her for the Labour candidacy.
I first came across Anne Marie Waters when she put herself forwards for the South Swindon selection, and very unusually for a Labour politician Waters gave as her personal reference a Central Committee member of the Worker Communist Party of Iran, Maryam Namazie. It was also very difficult to get a straight answer from Ms Waters what she actually does for a living, and how it is funded. Continue reading →
Jun 14th, 2013by Miguel Costa Matos
The spectre of austerity haunts Europe. It poses no doubt an existential, as well as an economic, political and social threat. The take-up across the continent of impoverishment as an economic policy became a recipe for failure, as much of the trade these countries did between each other broke down. The seams of society are on the verge of breaking, as the economic situation puts many in poverty, thus straining the bonds of solidarity, and feeds long-forsaken tensions, many of which nationalistic. Incumbent governments everywhere around Europe are being voted out, and their replacements are briefed against their aspirations for alternative.
There is an image of unavoidability that is projected in a deliberate attempt to suppress calls for change. But this suppression is increasingly explicit and unacceptable to a silent majority of Europeans whose aspirations to a decent standard of living are being frustrated. As it becomes clear that the European Union, with Angela Merkel as its leading figure, are directly antagonistic to those aspirations, and actively and explicitly defeating them, diffidence and even suspicion against the European project becomes an increasingly popular sentiment. Continue reading →
Jun 14th, 2013by Michael Meacher
The facts, no longer seriously in dispute, are stark. The US went to war over Iraq because of oil and to assure themselves of a platform for control of the Middle East region, as set out in the Project for the New American Century document published for the Bush election team in September 2000. As we now know from Bush’s first Treasury Secretary O’Neill, that was was planned from the first days of the Bush Administration. Then 9/11 simply provided the pretext for launching it.
The UK went to war over Iraq because President Bush wanted British support. At the Crawford summit in April 2002 Blair in effect committed to providing that, publicly pledging to stand shoulder to shoulder with President Bush. From that point on, the assessment of intelligence data conflated analysis into advocacy in order to find a rationale for the war that had alreadcy been decided on for other reasons. Continue reading →
Jun 13th, 2013by Jon Lansman
This morning, the Times (“Hewitt ‘cashes in’ on Bupa job” – £) revealed that Patricia Hewitt, former Labour health secretary and sometime Bennite, has taken a job with Bupa — £52,000 a year to attend ten board meetings. She did much to enlarge the role of the private sector within the NHS and her experience will no doubt help Bupa, who the Times reports “has been struggling to stem a decline in its membership” to make up for that by taking over more NHS activities.
It is easy to provoke outrage from the behaviour of someone whose political career:
- started by writing identical letters to both Neil Kinnock and Roy Hattersley during their leadership contest, expressing “the devout hope and profound conviction” that each would lead the party and offering her services as his press secretary, and
- finished by being suspended from the parliamentary Labour party after being exposed by Channel 4 in a “cash for influence” sting operation.
However, that is not the most important issue. How do we prevent the selection of candidates who are so clearly lacking a moral compass? How do we select candidates of sound political conviction and morals? Continue reading →
Jun 13th, 2013by Michael Meacher
It is almost incredible, but true, that the Government can build a MOX (mixed oxide) plant at Sellafield costing £1.5bn which lamentably and comprehensively fails to meet its manufacturing targets and therefore has to be closed down, yet then is determined against all the odds to build another one at a cost of £2-3bn.
These were criticisms which I and many other critics on the outside levelled against the MOX scheme, but which both ministers and the nuclear industry ignored and belittled. However an FOI request last month has now uncovered that the BIS Department and its ministers privately agreed with our assessment of the high cost, low efficiency and poor effectiveness of the plant. This internal official assessment confirmed that the projected annual throughput was 120te, but SMP (the Sellafield Mox plant) actually manufactured just 13.8te of MOX fuelthroughout its whole 11-year operating life.
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Jun 12th, 2013by Andy Newman
GMB General Secretary Paul Kenny is to lead a march and demonstration of GMB members employed by Brighton & Hove City Council who will be striking over proposed cuts to their take home pay. Saturday 15 June 2013, 11:30 AM Assemble at Cityclean Depot, Upper Hollingdean Road, Brighton, BN1 7GA
Meanwhile, GMB has welcomed a commitment from the leader of Brighton Council, Jason Kitcat, that no agency or contractors will be used during any period of industrial action. The committment was made in an e-mail from Kitcat who after a period of evading the issue finally confirmed: Continue reading →