The Labour leadership candidates should turn to Barbara Castle

BarbaraCastle1As the Labour leadership election picks up pace, and some of the dividing lines between the candidates are beginning to emerge, I feel that it is becoming increasingly necessary for the some of the so-called frontrunners to revisit the career of Barbara Castle.

One of the most esteemed figures from Labour’s history, Castle proved that power is not incompatible with principle and providing a real opposition to Tory policy. Her politics in government and opposition always drew the red line of championing the cause of ordinary people. What would she have made of some of the triangulations over fundamentals, like welfare and immigration, on display today? I imagine she would have had stern words for those entertaining the idea of supporting a welfare cap or playing dog-whistle politics about “factories where no one speaks English”. Continue reading

Let’s celebrate the positive role of migration in building modern Britain

multicultural union jackAs the general election campaign comes to a climax it remains open season on migrants. London needs to voice its resistance. 

London is a world class city. Its cultural and economic power comes from its openness to the people of the world. International investment and international relations drive its contribution to the economy. The contribution of migrant communities to London is to be celebrated. From the historic presence of Romans to Huguenots, to the 20th century waves of Jewish, Irish, Caribbean, Asian and more recently Eastern European communities, every community comes to this city and London proudly embraces and showcases their skills, talent, culture and cuisine. Continue reading

The moral vacuity of Katie Hopkins

Katie HopkinsFour years ago, I wrote about the functions of bigotry in the mass media, and the ever charming Melanie Phillips was my case study. Then, somewhat counter-intuitively, The Daily Mail made use of Mel to get the lefties in and boost their clicks per second average. Every idiocy that tripped off her keyboard was then, in the infant days of social media, pounced upon and shared by the angry, which in turn help push those page views through the roof. This now is 2015, things are more settled now. Our audiences are sophisticated and savvy. The media bigots have had their day, or have they? Continue reading

A Tory minister’s revenge operation?

In the UK illegally?Mark Harper, the Immigration minister notorious for the racist “In the UK illegally? Go home or face arrest” vans who left the Government in February, is back in office. After just six months on the back benches, he returns to the Coalition as Minister of State at the DWP.

He resigned from the government earlier this year after it emerged that a cleaner he had employed since 2007 did not have permission to work in the UK. The minister, responsible for a draconian anti-immigration measure which would increase sanctions on employers who did not check the immigration papers of their employees, re-checked the immigration status of Isabella Acevedo, who had an unblemished work record, and then shopped her to immigration enforcement officials. Continue reading

The resistable rise of UKIP

Revolt on the RightRegular readers may recall that I raised the alarm when anti-Islam activist, Anne Marie Waters, was seeking the selection to be Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Brighton Pavilion. Sadly this led to Nick Cohen writing a rather ill judged article for the Spectator, where he stood up for Anne Marie:

[Andy Newman] has campaigned against Anne Marie Waters of One Law for All , which opposes the imposition of Sharia law in the UK. In other words, he has put himself on the wrong side of the struggle between religion and women’s rights.

I often disagree with Nick Cohen, but generally I think he is a writer with integrity, and I would certainly recommend the article he recently wrote about UKIP for the Guardian, where he observed that the rise of UKIP is a threat for the left, as well as the right. The recent news that Anne-Marie Waters has been selected as prospective UKIP parliamentary candidate for Basildon and Billericay, suggests that he made an error of judgement in defending her. Continue reading