Category Archives: Labour Party

Fine words are not enough: we hope for more from a Labour government

In September, Satnam Sanghera wrote an article about “freelancers” – meaning “freeloaders” we think – though Simply Business thinks the term refers to SMEs.

He had seen the estimate by the Federation of Small Businesses in Time to Act: The economic impact of poor payment practice that large companies neglecting to settle their bills cause about 50,000 businesses to fail every year.

Research from Lloyds Banking Group, which analysed the companies that reported their payment practices, found that 65% took more than 30 days to settle invoices and 21% took more than 50 days.

And the Small Business Commissioner (SBC), set up in December 2017 to help the UK’s 5.7 million small businesses tackle late payment, adds:

  • a third of payments to small businesses are late;
  • 20% of small businesses have experienced cashflow problems due to late payments;
  • and that if small businesses were paid on time it could boost the economy by an estimated £2.5 billion annually.

James Hurley, Enterprise Editor, had earlier explained that rules have been designed to force large companies to reveal how long they take to pay their suppliers: companies who meet two of three qualifying criteria: £36 million annual turnover, an £18 million total balance sheet or at least 250 staff.

But there is a loophole: where services are contracted and paid for by group subsidiaries that fall below these thresholds, there is no duty to report.

Debbie Abrahams, the Labour MP, said that suppliers would “continue to be unfairly squeezed” unless the loophole was addressed and other MPs, together with representatives of small companies, are calling for the “duty to report” legislation to be rewritten.

One example is that of G4S, the outsourcing group, was criticised by Paul Uppal, the small business commissioner, for “persistent late payment” of a supplier. G4S, a member of the FTSE 250 share index, paid this supplier through a subsidiary that does not meet the threshold.

The legislation has not yet been rewritten, though a report published by the government’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee last December acknowledged the truth of these allegations and urged government to introduce a tougher regime to tackle larger companies who treat small businesses ‘disgracefully’ by enforcing long payment terms, paying their suppliers late or using the ‘loophole’ to evade scrutiny.

The subject of late payment should appear in Labour’s election manifesto

 

 

 

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Support for a Corbyn-led emergency government

Opposition parties have been looking for a way to ensure that Mr Johnson is unable to fulfil his stated intention to take the UK out of the EU on October 31 with or without a deal.

There are concerns the prime minister could seek to circumvent the Benn Act – the anti-no deal legislation that requires him to seek an Article 50 extension, if he cannot get a Brexit deal at the European Council next month.

In August, The National reported that Nicola Sturgeon, leader of the Scottish National party, said she would be prepared to help to install Jeremy Corbyn as the leader of an emergency government to avert the “catastrophe” of a no-deal Brexit.

Today, Laura Hughes reported that this undertaking was repeated by Ms Sturgeon, whilst speaking to the BBC:

“My point is the opposition needs to act to get Boris Johnson — the most disreputable prime minister in my lifetime — out of office, stop a no deal and then, as quickly as possible, move to a general election.”

Plaid Cymru also said it would be open to supporting Mr Corbyn, or anyone who would commit to delivering a second referendum and, remarkably, last month Conservative MP Kenneth Clarke (‘Tory rebel’) signalled qualified agreement.

The European reported that Green MP Caroline Lucas reiterated her support earlier this week. She said: “He’s leader of the opposition and I think he had every right to expect to be interim prime minister . . . I think we need to come together”.

 

 

 

 

 

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Labour officially backs Green New Deal

Colin Hines, co-ordinator of the Green New Deal group, draws attention to Kate Proctor’s account of today’s vote at the Labour Party’s autumn conference in Brighton, backing a motion by the campaign group Labour for a Green New Deal to set a target to achieve net zero and guarantee green jobs, working with scientists and trade unions to work towards net zero carbon emissions by 2030.

For the record, the members of this group, who have been working together for at least ten years, are Larry Elliott, Economics Editor of the Guardian, Colin Hines, Co-Director of Finance for the Future, former head of Greenpeace International’s Economics Unit, Jeremy Leggett, founder of Solarcentury and SolarAid, Caroline Lucas, Green Party MP, Richard Murphy, Professor of Practice, City University, Director Tax Research LLP, Ann Pettifor, Director, Policy Research in Macroeconomics (PRIME), Charles Secrett, Advisor on Sustainable Development, former Director of Friends of the Earth, Andrew Simms, Co-Director, New Weather Institute; Coordinator, The Rapid Transition Alliance, Assistant Director, Scientists for Global Responsibility and Geoff Tily Senior Economist, TUC.

In 2015, Jeremy Corbyn wrote his Protecting Our Planet manifesto

In it, he said he would stand for Britain providing international leadership on climate change and the socialisation of our energy supply leading an end to the era of fossil fuels. Measures to be taken would include:

  • building a modern, green, resource-efficient economy – creating 1 million new green climate jobs,
  • ensuring everyone has access to a low-carbon, affordably heated home and
  • tackling the air pollution crisis in our big cities and committing to full independent public inquiry into levels of air pollution.

The Green New Deal proposals to retrofit zero-carbon measures on social and council housing and public buildings relate to the first two measures listed and there are many more, which would usher in a green industrial revolution creating tens of thousands of good, green jobs across the country. Lauren Townsend, a trade unionist and spokesperson for Labour for a Green New Deal, said: “It is time for our movement to come together to build a Green New Deal from the ground up in every town, village and city.”

In May, Jeremy Corbyn addressed a rally after Parliament had agreed to take action on climate change following Labour’s call.  After delegates passed the motion today, Labour officially backed the Green New Deal proposition which should be added to its next manifesto. Anti-climate change activists have said it is the most radical set of left-wing policies to be passed by party members in a generation.

 

 

 

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Millennials, unaffected by MSM indoctrination, vote Corbyn most popular leader – now!

Silence prevails about the continuing support for Jeremy Corbyn as a political leader given by millennials or Generation Y (born after 1997) in the 2019 YouGov Ratings data (snapshot, right). 

Instead mainstream media (MSM) are giving the widest possible coverage to dissident MPs at the party conference and the very low ratings for Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership in recent YouGov polls –

MSM’s anti-Corbyn bias has been well documented by a few gifted journalists, such as Peter Oborne and the Media Lens Davids.

Their charges and the 50,000 earlier complaints of anti-Corbyn bias in BBC programmes are validated by a 2017 Lancaster University study which concluded that ‘some BBC coverage does demonstrate bias and partiality against Corbyn in subtle modes where tone alters the meaning of the script and visuals’ and the BBC Trust’s findings against their political editor Laura Kuenssberg whose reporting broke their accuracy and impartiality rule.

The millennials do not – in general – read print newspapers or MSM online versions, but take their information from a variety of online ’social media’. They are ’media savvy’ and understand quite well the reasons for the campaign against the man who ‘appeals to a generation of young people who feel they have never known an honest, decent politician’ as Rhiannon Cosslett describes him; she adds, ‘Corbyn’s galvanising potential is something I’ve been writing about since 2015 when he stood for the leadership’.

Last year the BBC published this graph about the probability of young people voting Labour

Will they see a Labour leader who has ‘played a blinder’ and ‘risen to the occasion at a time of national crisis . . . a leader (who) has come into his own . . . statesmanlike and strategic . . . His parliamentary performances have grown more confident as Johnson has faltered; he has asked direct and basic questions which he knows the prime minister cannot answer; and he is, for now at least, thinking more strategically and collegially than at any other moment in his leadership . . .’ (Prospect magazine earlier this month).

The result of the next general election will not be decided by careerist MPs but by these young people (apart from a couple found by George Osborne’s minions) and that percentage of their elders who have stood equally firm against the huge indoctrination exercise mounted by the media on behalf of the corporate-political nexus.

 

 

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“Labour is now the only party putting the unity of the nation ahead of narrow calculation and easy headlines”

Comments by Len McCluskey, general secretary of the Unite union, flesh out the thoughts expressed by Richard House in his recent letter to the Western Daily Press. Some edited extracts follow and his New Statesman article may be read in full here

He opens: “Let the people decide. What could be clearer — or more honourable — than that? In these divided times, where the Tories and the Liberal Democrats, two parties aspiring for government, have opted for the polarising messaging of the demagogue, Jeremy Corbyn is saying that Labour will not dictate to the voters but instead work for them and with them”.

Summarising Jeremy Corbyn’s offer, he makes five points, Corbyn is saying,

  • elect me into No 10 and the party I lead will honour the vote of 2016,
  • it will do its utmost to secure the best possible Brexit deal,
  • Corbyn will then put this deal back to the people,
  • act for the whole country, honouring the views of the 48% cent and
  • place the Labour deal vs Remain on the ballot.

Corbyn is a good negotiator and well liked by many European leaders, receiving a ‘rapturous reception and a standing ovation in Brussels (Oct 2017) after meetings with Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator (below) and the prime ministers of Portugal, Italy and Sweden.

No surprise then that – as Len McCluskey reports – signals have been sent from the highest levels of the EU that the contours of Labour’s deal, which would maintain access to the single market and retain a customs union would be acceptable to the 27 member states.

He points out that no trade unionist would go into negotiations with an employer stating where they will take a stand on any deal before discussions have even begun, so no heed should be paid to calls for Corbyn and the Labour Party to take a position before any deal has been reached adding:.

“The correct position remains that Labour must act for the whole country”

Len McCluskey makes a plea across the party to constituency delegates, trade union delegates, MPs and affiliated society members, trade unionists, socialists and, above all, democrats:

“Do not let us be divided or defined as anything other, either by our enemies or by Brexit. Support Corbyn, support this Brexit position. When a general election comes, we will go to the people with a platform of hope and reform, ensuring that nobody, no community is left behind. We have a programme that will transform this country for the better, healing the dreadful wounds of austerity.

“Amid the heated voices and uncompromising stances, Labour is now the only political party offering an approach on Brexit that speaks in calm tones to the whole country. It is the only party putting the unity of the nation ahead of narrow calculation and easy headlines — because it is the only party that understands that unless we heal this country, our country, our people will suffer”.

 

 

 

 

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Only one political party is attempting to find a mature way through the Brexit morass and heal a deeply divided nation

So writes Richard House (below, left), in the Western Daily Press,17 September 2019, p. 18–19. He is a (reluctant) left-leaver who wants “out of the EU” and is not blind to the “hopelessly flawed nature of the 2016 referendum”.

He sees no conceivable argument for leaving being “democratically” supported – with nearly two-thirds of the voters not voting to leave, and “the disreputable Brexit campaign defined by the propagandist manipulation of spin-meister Dominic Cummings, the Cambridge Analytica outrage, a near-hysterical anti-EU right-wing press, etc”. He continues: 

“Ideological Remainers are clearly oblivious to the powder-keg of anger ready to go off across the nation, if by some mischance the Lib Dems were to win the election and revoke Article 50:

“The future of this once-tolerant country is extremely bleak, with many millions of people feeling the referendum result was being ignored by a pro-EU elite determined to drive through the “United States of Europe” political project. I often do political campaigning on the street, and the level of outrage that exists on this issue is truly frightening. The political class will ride rough-shod over it at their, and our nation’s, peril”.

Jim Pickard (below right), once clearly and strongly opposed to Jeremy Corbyn, gives a measured account in the Financial Times, reporting Corbyn’s words:

“I pledge to carry out whatever the people decide, as a Labour prime minister”. That pledge made Labour “the only UK-wide party ready to put our trust in the people of Britain” and “bring people together”.

Allies of Jeremy Corbyn said his intention was to stay out of the fray if there was a second Brexit public vote and focus on running the country – a stance adopted by Harold Wilson, in the original 1975 EU referendum and David Cameron in 2016.

Though remaining neutral in a future EU referendum held by a government he leads, Jeremy Corbyn would allow senior colleagues to back either side of the campaign, in which there would be a choice between Remain and a new Labour-negotiated deal involving a customs union and close single market relationship.

Richard House advises Corbyn’s team to find a succinct and convincing narrative for conveying this view that appeals beyond people’s primitive polarising instincts – because if they succeed, the election is there for the taking.

 

 

 

 

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Labour should allow the Johnsonian chaos to unfold, then have an election date of their own choosing

Dr Richard House reasons with those sceptics and wavering loyalists who are finding Labour’s Brexit strategy confusing or inconsistent. Edited extracts:

Successful politics is about being flexible and responding deftly to rapidly changing conjunctures – without sacrificing core principles.

The refusal to agree to Boris Johnson’s desire for an election avoids walking into an electoral trap and risking years of yet more ruling-class assault, it’s surely a no-brainer!”

Ideological Remainers and ideological Leavers are reminded that a rigid adherence to polarised positions, reconfiguring everything to fit those positions, risks five more years of a Johnsonian nightmare, just to cling on to a purist Lexit narrative that dictates leaving the EU immediately.

Johnson and Cummings are manoeuvring to engineer an immediate election fought on their chosen Brexit ground, rather than on nine years of policy-making calamity. Far better, as Emily Thornberry expediently advises, to “let them stay in power for a few more weeks – then people can see how bad they are”.

Far from being “a formula for inaction and indecision”, this is realpolitick and an attempt to maximise the chances of Labour winning next time.

Let’s allow the Johnsonian chaos to unfold a bit, then have an election date of our own choosing, not at an opportunistic date of theirs which might well bury our yearned-for Corbyn project for good.

 

 

 

 

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Guardian, 31st August: Jeremy Corbyn calls for the people to determine the country’s future

Richard House draws attention to an article by Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the Labour party, which had been shared 1600 times at 15.48 today.

Some points:

Jeremy Corbyn asserts that Boris Johnson’s government wants to use no deal – which would destroy jobs and cause shortages of food and medical supplies from day one and hand our public services and protections over to US corporations – to create an offshore tax haven for the super-rich and sign a sweetheart deal with Donald Trump.

Meeting at the G7 in Biarritz

He reminds us that in 2017, Boris Johnson, when foreign secretary, proclaimed that there was no plan for no deal because they were going to get a deal, continuing: “But clearly they haven’t got a deal. And now, running scared of being held to account for his reckless plans for a Trump-deal Brexit, Johnson has decided to shut down parliament to stop them doing so”.

Adding that, ‘in the maelstrom of the coming days and weeks’, all should remember that sovereignty doesn’t rest in Downing Street, or even in parliament, Jeremy Corbyn states that the democratic way forward, when a government finds itself without a majority, is to let the people determine the country’s future and call a general election which will give them the chance to have the final say in a public vote, with credible options for both sides, including the option to Remain.

He ends by expressing his determination to ensure that Labour will bring people together by giving hope and confidence that a different future is possible and that real change can be delivered for every region of this country.

 

Read the whole article here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/aug/31/final-sovereignty-on-brexit-must-rest-with-the-people–jeremy-corbyn

 

 

 

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Jeremy Corbyn spineless? Feedback welcomed!

A Moseley resident draws attention to an article by Peter Oborne (left), recalling that Jeremy Corbyn’s policies struck a chord with some voters as he cut the Tories’ Commons majority in the 2017 General Election. These included the intention to impose tougher wealth taxes, to renationalise great swathes of the country’s public utilities, to cancel our Trident nuclear defence system and to introduce rent controls.

He added: “Above all, they saw a man who stuck to his principles, unlike David Cameron and Tony Blair who they regarded as snake-oil salesmen . . . I believe that voters were right to admire Jeremy Corbyn back then”.

Oborne expressed later disappointment: “He’s sat on the fence for so long that the iron has entered his soul, as early 20th-century PM David Lloyd George once said of an opponent. . . Rather than being too Left-wing, I’m convinced Corbyn is not radical enough. Very occasionally we get a reminder of his old passionate commitment to Left-wing politics”:

  • He has been outspoken in his opposition to U.S. warmongering in the Persian Gulf against Iran
  • He is the only frontline British politician to condemn India’s illegal clampdown in Kashmir

Has Corbyn been “spineless and far too willing to change his mind?”

Oborne notes that in 2013 Corbyn (right) was one of a dozen Labour MPs who voted in the Commons against spending seed money on HS2 high-speed rail project. But then he changed his mind and voted for its construction. The following year, Labour’s election manifesto supported the new link.

Less cogent is his criticism of Corbyn because in the 1975 referendum, he voted for Britain to leave the EU’s predecessor, the Common Market and in the 2016 referendum, he changed his mind and campaigned for the UK to stay. The writer believes that this is a perfectly reasonable attitude, shared by many, because:

  • the EU has seen peace between its member states, despite their history,
  • poorer regions have received funding,
  • many of the EU’s environmental policies have been beneficial
  • and the economies of member states have become so closely interwoven that a break would cause serious and prolonged disruption to the British economy.

Oborne continues: “But U-turn Jeremy then supported a Commons amendment in January demanding that we stay in the EU for longer and then called for a permanent customs union and close alignment to the single market . . . and now his Labour party wants a second referendum”

Towards the end he writes: “Next month will mark (Corbyn’s) fourth year in the job and it looks more and more as if he has flunked that chance. His influence is waning by the day. On October 31, with Brexit, this country faces one of the most important peacetime decisions for generations. It will be the last proper chance for Corbyn to show leadership”.

 

 

 

 

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Jeremy Corbyn’s pledge to “drive big money out of democracy”

 

In Bolton on Sunday (18.8.19) Mr Corbyn announced a new policy to ban donations or loans to parties from non-doms and those not registered for tax in Britain. He said:

“People are right to feel that politics doesn’t work for them. It doesn’t. Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party are captured by big donors, who are corrupting democracy. If you have the money you can get access to ministers. Look at the fracking industry. But if you wish to protest against the frackers because it will damage the environment, you can’t get a hearing”.

Lamiat Sabin (right) reports that Cabinet Office shadow minister Jon Trickett is working on a comprehensive plan to stop big money “buying up our democracy” before outlining further plans in the autumn and that Mr Corbyn revealed details of donations to PM Boris Johnson – nearly a million pounds – from hedge funds and bankers.

In all: £953,056.47 came from hedge funds and bankers in donations and income over the last 15 years, (Labour’s analysis of Electoral Commission data and register of members’ interests entries) and contributions of up £730,000 to him or Conservative Associations in his Henley and Uxbridge seats. Some detail:

  • speeches to banks in Europe and the US: £233,056;
  • £100,000 received in June from Ipex Capital chairman Jonathan Moynihan, who also chaired the Vote Leave finance committee;
  • £10,000 in June from hedge fund manager Robin Crispin Odey, who is short-selling the sterling in expectation of a slide in the value of the pound in the event of Mr Johnson’s no-deal Brexit — according to Labour;
  • Johnson flown to New York and paid £94,507.85 for a two-hour speech at the multibillion-dollar hedge fund company Golden Tree Asset Management and
  • £88,000 from hedge fund boss Johan Christofferson from direct donations or contributions to Uxbridge Conservative Association.

He said: “We have to stop the influx of big money into politics. Politics should work for the millions, not the millionaires. Labour is the party of the many, not the few and we do things very differently. We are funded by workers through their trade unions and small donations, averaging just £22 in the last general election. That’s why we will be able to drive big money out of our democracy.”

 

 

 

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