Aug 24th, 2015by Ben Sellers
One day, someone like the Glasgow Media Group, will do an analysis of this leadership election and how the attitude of the right-wing press has changed towards Jeremy Corbyn. It will be fascinating.
Stage 1: Laughter
It seems like an age ago when it was all jolly larks and #Tories4Corbyn. Smugly and patronisingly, they laughed into their sleeves, safe in the knowledge that Corbyn even being on the ballot would show that the loony left (guffaw) was very much alive and kicking and the Labour Party at large hadn’t changed. By not having changed, of course, they mean not accepting all the tenets of the disgustingly unequal and brutal society that their chums in the city had created. That self-satisfied superiority complex, which seemingly couldn’t be shifted, had been aided and abetted by the Labour Party in Parliament, filled with New Labourites who did just that – who had “changed” and had accepted the rules of the club. Continue reading →
Aug 24th, 2015by James McAsh and Rida Vaquas
On 12 September we will find out whether Jeremy Corbyn is the next leader of the Labour Party. There is, of course, an increased reluctance to accept opinion polls at face value, so any optimism is still cautious. But whatever the result it is already clear that the Labour Party has changed. There has been a mass influx of 400,000 new members and supporters, of which 60% are thought to be ‘youth’. An unprecedented momentum has come behind the previously ailing Labour left, bringing with it great potential. But at the same time the situation is precarious: we urgently need to come together to ensure that these hundreds of thousands of new members and supporters do not vanish as quickly as they appeared.
If Corbyn loses on 12 September, platitudes will be given about how valuable his contributions have been, but behind the scenes the party machine will have already sprang into action. The Parliamentary Labour Party has already learned its lesson and now knows the danger of allowing members any power. Proposals to make future elections ‘fairer’ and ‘more transparent’ will come forward while left-wingers are publicly expelled and made examples. The right-wing will try to compensate for the Party’s ‘summer of madness’ by posturing more rightwards still. In response, the sectarians in organisations like the Socialist Workers Party will say ‘I told you so’ and claim their point proven: there is no future in the Labour Party.
Corbyn supporters will be demoralised. A few will leave and many more will simply lose enthusiasm. Continue reading →
Aug 23rd, 2015by Ann Pettifor
The euro not only replicated key elements of the gold standard – but went much further: European currencies were simply abolished. States lost control over both their currency and their central bank. Parallels with the operation of the gold standard explain why, like the gold standard, the euro will fail.
The euro system denies monetary policy autonomy to states, and like the gold standard, insists on full capital mobility, over-values the shared currency, creates a sense of euphoria and excess when introduced into a new state; then applies deflationary pressures on indebted states, and like the gold standard encourages nationalisms, protectionism and political resistance: the very opposite of the liberalizing motives of its architects.
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Aug 23rd, 2015by Grahame Morris
How often do the public switch-off from politicians who they see as all the same. It is a criticism frequently heard when out campaigning, when the mainstream parties are perceived as offering pale imitations of each other. The public have voted with their feet, political party membership has plummeted and election turnouts have steadily declined.
This Labour Leadership Election has offered something different. The new politics proposed by Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson has re-energised and galvanised the Labour Party attracting over 400,000 new members and supporters. Continue reading →
Aug 23rd, 2015by Bryan Gould
Former UK Labour minister and leadership candidate Bryan Gould has a long-distance view of the Labour leadership contest from the other side of the world, living in New Zealand
For New Zealand students of current affairs, the contest for the leadership of the UK Labour Party involves four names that will mean little – and, in that, they will not be too different from observers of the contest in the UK itself. Yet the emergence of one of the four candidates – Jeremy Corbyn – as the unexpected front-runner is worth a second look, not least for the lessons it might offer to left-of-centre parties around the globe.
Corbyn is a parliamentary veteran who has spent 32 relatively low-profile years on the backbenches – eleven of them, as it happens, while I was also in parliament. His reputation is that of an old-fashioned leftie – and he may have skeletons in his cupboard, especially involving his links with suspect overseas organisations. Continue reading →
Aug 22nd, 2015by Michael Meacher
Following Osborne’s triumphant releasing of pensioners to unlock their annuity contracts to spend how they will, there were many siren voices raised that that risked exposing many vulnerable elderly people to crooks and scammers selling dud investment projects as the road to riches. The results have turned out even worse than feared. City of London police are now having to wage a huge campaign against the use of some of the Square Mile’s most prestigious addresses as a cover for scams purporting to sell overseas land for investment as well as wine, diamonds, etc. Police say such scams cost mostly elderly and vulnerable people at least £1.7bn last year, with fraudsters typically returning to their victims a second timein the guise of ‘asset recovery specialists’ who pursue lost money for a fee. Continue reading →
Aug 21st, 2015by David Osland
Any other political party would be positively delighted to wake up one morning and find itself with 120,000 new registered supporters. It would make them feel that little bit welcome, ensure that they knew when and where the local branch meets, perhaps even encourage existing members to pay them a visit just to say ‘hi’. But oh no, not Labour. As the currently trending hashtag #LabourPurge underlines, it would rather send them an email telling them to get knotted.
I’m all for tough vetting procedures to weed out our political opponents, of course. But entryism by members of other political parties seems limited to just a few thousand cases. Continue reading →
Aug 20th, 2015by Grahame Morris
The House of Lords is beyond redemption. While recent scandals have brought this issue to the forefront of politics, the reality is that the Lords has been an outdated and defunct institution for over a century. At the last election Labour proposed to replace the Lords with an elected Senate representing the regions and nations of the UK. However, calls to reform and indeed abolish the House of Lords have been proposed by the Labour Party since our foundation.
The Lords is a chamber of privilege and patronage. There remains the old guard of hereditary peers granted their position by accident of birth as well as the theocracy consisting of 26 bishops of the Church of England known as the Lords Spiritual. Alongside privilege sits patronage, with failed and retired politicians sitting beside party donors granted their position based upon their ability to sign a cheque.
Continue reading →
Aug 20th, 2015by Michael Meacher
Sadly, but predictably, the Labour Leadership struggle has been so much mired in bluster and hysteria that its true potential significance has been largely obscured. A contest of this kind should start, not with who it is claimed has the style and presentation to be the most plausible leader, but with what it is argued is currently wrong with the country, what policies are necessary to put those things right, what mechanisms are proposed to achieve that, and how should they be funded and delivered.
Arguably the most pressing problems for Britain at the present time can be summarised as follows. What were the causes of the financial crash and the consequent prolonged downturn, and what lessons need to be learnt to prevent a recurrence? Does the manifest lack of adequate reform of the financial sector make it likely there could be another catastrophic slump again soon? Is austerity the right policy to cut the deficit? Continue reading →