Dear Liz Kendall, about the differences between socialism and liberalism…

Liz KendallDear Liz,

Re: Leadership of the Labour Party

I noted the other day that leadership contests are that rare occasion when MPs and ordinary members are frank about the personalities and policies at the top of the party. Some also over egg the pudding and go for outright abuse. I’m thinking mainly, this time around, about the people who are mostly Andy Burnham identifiers and think attacking you as the Conservative Party candidate for Labour leadership is a smart way for their man to win. It isn’t, it’s unfair, and it’s clear from an brief with your material that a Tory you’re most definitely not.

That doesn’t mean I think you’re well suited to lead the Labour Party. Continue reading

What the SNP says versus what the SNP does

scotrail-trainLast week, when I spoke at the STUC Congress against the SNP putting both Scotrail and the Caledonian Sleeper in the hands of privateers, I said that actions speak far louder than words.

Let’s face it, the SNP hardly misses an opportunity to argue that the public sector should play a key role in delivering public services.
Yet its rhetoric simply fails to live up to the reality of what it is doing in government. Continue reading

Even the Tories’ naked bribery has now gone pear-shaped

Conference pear with Tory logoThere is a very noticeable difference between the way that the Tories and Labour have conducted this election.

The Tories have used the twin-prong approach: personal vilification which has proved counter-productive and now blatant giveaways (of other people’s money) to try to produce a false feel-good factor. However, no serious policy proposals for the country’s increasingly dire social and economic problems, especially the triple deficit problem of a budget deficit of nearly £100bn, a balance of payments deficit of over £100bn, and a productivity deficit that means living standards can’t rise. Continue reading

Privatisation debate: long-term market share v get-rich-quick barrow-boys

British Leyland and Del-BoyThe Tories have always boasted that privatisation of major industries has been good for the economy and good for Britain. A rain-check on the history of Thatcher’s mass programme of privatisation now suggests otherwise. Who thinks the privatisation of energy, or of water, or of telecoms (or of the Post Office) has been a roaring success either for the economy or for consumers, as opposed to an opportunity for exploitation and a rip-off for customers? Much less mentioned, but equally if not more significant, is what has happened to the privatised car industry. It still suffers from a massive trade deficit, with £48bn of vehicles and parts imported last year – that is nearly half of Britain’s net manufacturing trade deficit – with profits and control lost abroad probably for ever. A worse deal than that is difficult to imagine. Continue reading

Cameron lets energy privateers write the rules that are supposed to regulate them

Cameron and GasCameron prophetically described lobbying in 2010 as “the next big scandal waiting to happen”, but by 2015 he has himself made it happen. It was already revealed some months ago that senior representatives from the Big 6 energy companies had been seconded to the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to ‘advise’ ministers on energy policy – done quietly and secretly until it was leaked, not cash for access but just access for some of the richest and most powerful companies in the country. Continue reading