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

The Left frames the debate at Welsh Labour conference

Welsh Labour’s annual conference, held in Llandudno last weekend, saw the party united in condemnation of the Tories’ devastating policies but upbeat about Labour’s chances of victory of 2015. During a refreshingly open Q&A session, Ed Miliband paid fulsome tribute to Carwyn Jones’ Cardiff administration, from which he said the British party could learn. Continue reading

LibDems censor Brokeback Britain

LibDem controlled Wrexham Council have banned the display of a picture depicting David Cameron and Nick Clegg as cowboys in an art exhibition at a council-run art gallery, claiming it is “too political to display in the run up to the Welsh Assembly elections“. The artist, Brain Jones, who has established a reputation for his politically suggestive New Pop Art, has condemned their action as censorship. His work apparently has a place at both the V&A and the House of Commons, but cannot, it seems, be shown to the people of Wrexham.  Continue reading

There’s a time and a place for pluralism

At a time when pluralism versus tribalism is so much talked about, is it not surprising that one of Labour’s great taboos remains discussing electoral arrangements with other parties — pre-election deals? And yet we now have, for some elections, electoral systems which at least some of the time mean that a Labour vote is absolutely wasted, not because we’re doing badly but because we’re doing so well. Continue reading

Wales: ‘No’ campaigners play tricks

The referendum to give the Welsh Assembly more powers (bringing it more in line with the Scottish Parliament) will take place on 3rd March. However, No campaigners have played a sneaky trick by declining to register their campaign with the electoral commission. Their decision denies both sides the opportunity to use £70,000 of public money to publicise the vote, and put their case to the voters. In addition to the money, lead campaigns would have been entitled to free mail-shots and TV and radio broadcasts; but that will not now happen. Continue reading