So how will Labour do when the votes are counted?

RosetteManaging expectations have become a political football in the interminable (and boring) tussle in the Labour Party. With forecasting subject to factional agendas, can we cut through the crap and think about what would constitute an advance and a reverse for the party and its leader? I’m going to have a try.

The key election for Labour – sorry everywhere else – is London. In the capital, Sadiq Khan and the Labour campaign have faced a barrage every bit as unpleasant as the one targeting Ed Miliband last year. The Tories and their helpful media friends have branded Sadiq an ally of terrorists because, wink, wink, he’s a Muslim. And this is a deliberate strategy pushed right from the very top to secure the mayoralty for the terminally useless Zac Goldsmith. Continue reading

The Beckett report, polls and the Left

Margaret BeckettOn two related issues, the Beckett Report and Labour’s overall level of support, there has not been a sufficiently robust response from the left.

On Beckett there would appear to be general agreement that the failure to even attempt to dispel the myth that Labour was responsible for the 2008 crash because of over expenditure rather than bank ‘sub prime’ lending was a key factor. It should have been the key issue, as Michael Meacher consistently and rightly argued in Left Futures and elsewhere, and without substantial acceptance that Labour was not to blame it is doubtful whether the election could have been won, irrespective of more favourable approaches in other areas. Continue reading

What will the local elections mean for Labour and Jeremy Corbyn?

Corbyn on redIs it too early to write about this? Seeing as everyone is talking about how this year’s contest is a test for Jeremy, I’d like to briefly visit three push-me-pull-you factors that could have an impact.

Local elections, local politics
In the equivalent elections in 2012, we were just coming off the back of Osborne’s celebrated omnishambles budget. Try as the Tories might, even they couldn’t talk down the huge gains Labour made that year. However, that was something of an abnormality. Local council contests usually turn out the hardest of hardcore voters, and in the main they vote on the basis of local issues. The other parties will try their damnedest to make this set of elections a referendum on Jeremy Corbyn, but it’s quite possible the Oldham effect could kick in. Voters zoned out the anti-Jeremy bile and gave Labour a thumping result. The lesson drawn by many a Local Campaign Forum might be, with Corbers plumbing the polls, that hiding him under a bushel and going all out on pot holes and unfair council cuts might capture a higher than projected vote share. It could work. Continue reading

Rahman wins right for judicial review on “undue spiritual influence”

lutfur-rahmanBack in August 2014, the Times ran a screaming headline saying Muslims told to ‘vote for mayor or be damned’. The quote marks in the headline might have led a reader to assume that the Times were referring to someone who had actually said this, but sadly journalistic standards at the Thunderer are not what they were.

Earlier this week, Lutfur Rahman, the former mayor of Tower Hamlets twice elected by the voters, but judicially removed last year, failed on appeal to get his exclusion from public office overturned. But significantly, Rahman did gain permission for a judicial review of the ruling that there had been undue “spiritual influence” due to a recommendation by a number of Muslim clerics to vote for him. Regretably, this update to the story did not make it into the Times. Continue reading

Really rotten boroughs – the case of Robin Wales

Newham's one party stateby Robin’s ‘Hood

Many of us have had concerns about the executive mayoral model, especially in unitary councils run as one party states with no effective opposition. Recent events in Newham, East London, illustrate what can go wrong. Three councillors (5% of the total) have currently been placed in administrative suspension by the national Labour Party, including one who is known as being a strong supporter of Jeremy Corbyn and who recently helped launch Momentum in Newham. Perhaps not a great career move if your local party leader was a well-known supporter of Liz Kendall!

It might turn out that the allegations against these Councillors are justified. However, it makes you wonder exactly what these three backbench Asian councillors have done when you consider that recent findings against leading Newham Labour political figures, who were not at any stage suspended by the party during investigations, resulted in no action being taken against them whatsoever by the group or the Labour Party – despite serious misconduct being established. Continue reading