Why Labour should adopt ‘citizen’s income’

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

basic-incomeI’m all for nicking good policies, and one Labour and the labour movement should half-inch is the citizen’s income from the Green Party. Of course, the Greens don’t own it, it has been knocking about for a good many years. But they are the only ones pushing it as a key plank of their commitments. Here is the short section from their policy website, and is likely to have similar wording for the 2015 manifesto: Continue reading →

Nothing stands between Labour and election victory except its own timidity

by Michael Meacher

Timid Ed lookalikeA sad tale of ambivalence and timidity across a range of policies

This coming Monday the remaining stages of the Infrastructure Bill will be taken in Parliament, including votes on the launch of fracking in this country. Cameron and Osborne have declared they are both ‘gung-ho’ to develop this technology to the fullest degree as fast as possible, though the resistance at Balcombe in East Sussex and Lancashire where the county council has refused drilling consent to Cuadrilla suggests that grass roots opposition may be a lot stronger than the Tories have reckoned for, including in hitherto true-blue areas. Continue reading →

Greek election: latest polls show Syriza in lead but short of working majority

by Jon Lansman

GREEK ELECTIONSThe latest polls completed on Friday show Syriza with a convincing lead over New Democracy of 5.5% before don’t knows are excluded. However, that lead would leave Syriza without a working majority although it is possible that, with this lead given the margin of error, it could just achieve 151 seats.

 Pollster SYR ND RIV GD KKE PAS IG
GPO 33.4 26.7 5.0 5.1 4.9 5.0 3.5
MRB 31.2 26.0 6.5 5.5 4.5 4.0 3.2
Kapa 31.8 28.9 4.9 5.5 4.5 4.7 2.6
Alco 32.9 26.3 5.4 5.4 3.7 4.5 3.6
Marc 32.2 26.0 6.3 6.1 4.4 4.0 3.4
Average 32.3 26.8 5.6 5.5 4.4 4.4 3.3
Seats 149 81 17 17 13 13 10

Continue reading →

The economics of hypocrisy and why the sheikdoms have to go

by Phil Burton-Cartledge

AbdullahPaying close attention to politics you become immune to the dollops of lick spittle and cretinous behaviour that comes with it. Yesterday, however, didn’t only take the biscuit but dribbled great dollops of gob over it. Remember when the Dear Leader died and great numbers of presidents and prime ministers queued up to praise his rancid regime? Nope, me neither. Then why the hell is the government and the British establishment they represent flying flags at half-mast and gibbering pious praise for the late and very much unlamented Abdullah ibn Abdilaziz Al Saud, the self-styled King of Saudi Arabia? Continue reading →

Is Hinkley C the turning point against nuclear power in Britain?

by Michael Meacher

Nuclear_power_plant_worldDespite the government’s constant assertion that funding is impossibly tight and that any departure for a rigid status quo by the Labour party is unaffordable, there seems to be no limit to government subsidies gushing into the doomed nuclear project at Hinkley in Somerset.

Last year the government offered the French energy company EDF the contract to build a third nuclear power station paid for by increases in electricity bills over 35 years and Treasury-backed loans. Now confidence in the project is evaporating as it is increasingly realised that the same construction problems, delays and spiralling costs which have devastated EDF’s building similar nuclear plants at Olkiluoto in Finland and Flammanville in France will hit Hinkley C in the UK. Centrica, which was supposed to be a joint partner with EDF, pulled out. Continue reading →

Statement by a former Labour Leader on the death of a brutal dictator… breathtaking

by Jon Lansman

Blair and AbdullahThis statement was issued by the Tony Blair office today:

I am very sad indeed to hear of the passing of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.

I knew him well and admired him greatly. Despite the turmoil of events in the region around him, he remained a stable and sound ally, was a patient and skilful moderniser of his country leading it step by step into the future. He was a staunch advocate of inter faith relations. He founded KAUST, the science and technology university where women and men are educated equally. And today there are more women in higher education than men. He allowed thousands to be educated abroad people who have experience of the world and will play a big part in the future of the country. He appointed women Ministers. He invested in renewable energy. And of course he launched the Arab Peace Initiative in 2002 which has stood the test of time as a potential basis for a solution to the Israeli Palestine issue.

He was loved by his people and will be deeply missed.

Quite how Mr Blair who claimed to reaches the conclusion that the brutal dictator of Saudi Arabia was “loved by his people” is unclear. For someone who still claims to have moved away from ideology to making evidence-based judgements, he seems stuck in the ideology not on this occasion of neoliberalism but of feudalism. Continue reading →

Tory jobs claims take a hammering

by Michael Meacher

The jobcentreThe Tories’ biggest economic claims (there are only two of them) are that they generated a recovery (after 18 months it’s already fading) and that they created a million private sector jobs. The latter claim is now under fire from all sides.

First, it has just been reported by the thinktank Centre for Cities that 11 of every 12 jobs created have been in southern England and only 1 in the rest of the country. This gap between the best and worst pedrforming towns and cities has now widened so far that it has created a 2-tier economy of dynamism and decline. Continue reading →

Tory own goal on debt and the deficit pledges

by Michael Burke

thatcher on debtThe Tory Party has decided to make public finances a key battleground for the election. Key supporters of austerity such as the FT’s economics editor Chris Giles have echoed that, arguing that the “defining battle of the 2015 general election [is] over borrowing and public spending“.

It is only possible to stake out political ground on the issue of public finances because of the distortions surrounding them. The level of government debt is rising. This is because the government is adding to its annual levels of debt stock with new public sector deficits. Continue reading →

Chilcot: Establishment writes its own rules to evade embarrassment

by Michael Meacher

david cameron and tony blairThe Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war (March-April 2003, nearly 12 years ago) was set up in 2009 and took public evidence from its last witness in 2011. The announcement yesterday that the report after 6 years on inquiry is being strung out until after the election this May is truly scandalous. Cameron has tried to wash his hands of it by saying that he is not responsible and the inquiry is independent doesn’t wash. He closed down the Gibson inquiry into alleged UK involvement in US rendition when it became clear that its revelations could be highly embarrassing to the UK authorities, so there is no question that he could set a time limit for the Chilcot inquiry if he really wanted to.

What makes it all the more scandalous is not that more time is needed to complete the report (it has been completed), but rather that those criticised in the report have been given the option of indefinitely delaying its publication as a result of being given prior access to what it says about them and then being allowed endlessly to prevaricate by haggling over every detail they don’t like. On a matter that affects the whole nation and has left an abiding imprint of deep shame, this is outrageous. Continue reading →

Greece needs debts cancelled and growth

by Newsdesk

Greek Crisis, based on photo by Dave HoggGreece goes to the polls this Sunday (25 January) and the anti-austerity party SYRIZA has been consistently ahead in the opinion polls for a number of months. A SYRIZA win would be a boost for all those opposed to austerity in Europe and beyond. The Greek economy has seen a devastating collapse, brought on by austerity policies as well as the efforts to pay off the debts incurred by bailing the banks and other speculators who lent to Greece. In the Guardian a number of economists have supported the letter below, which outlines some key economic demands on dropping the debt.

As economists, we note that the historical evidence demonstrates the futility and dangers of imposing unsustainable debt and repayment conditions on debtor countries; the negative impact of austerity policies on weakening economies; and the particularly severe effects that flow on to the poorest households.

We therefore urge the troika (EU, European Centra Bank and IMF) to negotiate in good faith with the Greek government so that there is a cancellation of a large part of the debt and new terms of payment which support the rebuilding of a sustainable economy. This settlement should mark the beginning of a new EU-wide policy framework favouring pro-growth rather than deflationary policies. Continue reading →

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