Category Archives: Labour Party
Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, delivering a speech on Brexit in Wakefield, said:
It’s a pleasure to be here in Wakefield and thank you to OE Electrics for kindly hosting us.
We are now two and a half years on from the EU referendum and we are finally reaching the moment when the House of Commons will have its say on Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
In those two and a half years many of the most pressing problems facing people in their daily lives, here in Yorkshire and across the country, have been ignored or relegated to the back of the queue by a Conservative Party consumed by its own internal battles over Brexit.
Years of Tory failure have left our society more divided than ever: Poverty is growing, homelessness is up, personal debt is rising and crime is up too.
The truth is, the real divide in our country is not between those who voted to Remain in the EU and those who voted to Leave. It is between the many – who do the work, who create the wealth and pay their taxes, and the few – who set the rules, who reap the rewards and so often dodge taxes.
The Conservative Party’s main concern, as ever is to protect the interests of the few and is prepared to set everybody else against each other divide and rule style to stay in power. That’s why at every turn during the Brexit negotiations the Prime Minister has acted in ways that have exacerbated division.
In fact her only success in bringing people together has been to unite both people who voted leave and those who voted remain against her botched and damaging deal.
Now she is facing the inevitable consequence of that failure, defeat in the House of Commons. Let there be no doubt. Theresa May’s deal is a bad deal for our country and Labour will vote against it next week in Parliament.
And remember, the only reason Parliament is having what has become known as the meaningful vote is because Labour secured that concession from the government.
I would like to pay tribute to Keir Starmer and his team for all their hard work throughout this process.
If the government cannot pass its most important legislation then there must be a general election at the earliest opportunity. A government that cannot get its business through the House of Commons is no government at all. It has lost its mandate so must go to the country to seek another.
And the government defeat on Tuesday, after the amendment put down by Yvette Cooper was passed, is the first time a government has been defeated on a Finance Bill since 1978.
So I say to Theresa May: if you are so confident in your deal then call that election and let the people decide. If not, Labour will table a motion of no confidence in the government at the moment we judge it to have the best chance of success.
Clearly, Labour does not have enough MPs in parliament to win a confidence vote on its own. So members across the House should vote with us to break the deadlock. This paralysis cannot continue. Uncertainty is putting people’s jobs and livelihoods at risk.
And if a general election cannot be secured then we will keep all options on the table, including the option of campaigning for a public vote.
But an election must be the priority. It is not only the most practical option, it is also the most democratic option. It could give the winning party a renewed mandate to negotiate a better deal for Britain and secure support for it in Parliament and across the country.
Defeat for the government’s central policy on Tuesday would be historic. It would not only signal the failure of Theresa May’s premiership but the failure of the Conservative Party as a party of government.
This is after all a party that for decades claimed to be the natural party of government. A safe bet for the country. Now we see the reality. They don’t know what they’re doing. They have led us from chaos to crisis. And they have no answers or legislation to fix the many crises of their own making whether it’s the cost of living, housing, personal debt, escalating inequality, rising crime or collapsing public services.
But there are solutions to these crises and Theresa May’s botched Brexit deal is not “the only deal possible. ”It is a deal that reflects the kind of country that the Tories want to create. It should be no surprise that this Tory deal allows workers’ rights and environmental protections to fall behind minimum European basic standards. The government boasts that this will give the UK “flexibility”.
But flexibility for whom?
- Flexibility for employers to exploit workers.
- Flexibility for big corporations to pollute our environment.
- Flexibility for multinational giants to undercut our neighbours and drive down standards everywhere.
Meanwhile Theresa May’s refusal to countenance negotiating a new customs union is based on the Tory dream of a sweetheart trade deal with Donald Trump which could deliver chlorinated chicken to our dinner tables and open up our NHS to giant profit-seeking American healthcare corporations.
Labour has very different priorities because we represent the interests of the many, not the few.
We have given voice to policies that command majority public support but which the political class has long refused to endorse such as fair taxation and new forms of public ownership.
When Labour goes into government we will support new high tech industries that will provide high wage secure jobs. And we will bring real investment and prosperity to areas such as Yorkshire and the Midlands, to Scotland and Wales which for too long have been held back by successive governments.
And so the alternative plan that Labour has set out for a sensible Brexit deal that could win broad support is designed to enable us to fulfil those ambitions while respecting the democratic result of the referendum.
Any political leader who wants to bring the country together cannot wish away the votes of 17 million people who wanted to leave, any more than they can ignore the concerns of the 16 million who voted to remain.
I know people are genuinely scared by the prospect of no deal. I meet people who are frightened and going through real stress.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the EU nationals who have enriched our society and made such a fantastic contribution to our industries and services. With Labour your future here is secure.
And I know many people were appalled at the bigotry and racism that some politicians stoked during the referendum campaign and are still trying to exploit out of the small number of desperate refugees risking their lives to cross the English Channel.
Let’s never forget that whatever circumstances people are living in whether in tents camps or trying to survive on dangerous dinghies, everyone is a human being and we must reach out the hand of humanity in all circumstances.
And that is exactly what Labour’s Home team does, led so well by Diane Abbott.
People want to live in a country that’s tolerant, that’s diverse, that’s open. We won’t let that openness, that generosity be crushed. Let’s not lower our horizons, let’s raise them up.
I also know that in many places like Wakefield, people feel they’ve been ignored. They lost industries and no one seemed to care. They’ve been robbed of their future by a lack of investment.
These are proud, generous communities that pull together and support each other. Communities that have real pride in their towns, in their cities, in their regions, but they know they could be so much more. I understand that many of them wanted to send the politicians a message in the referendum and I hear them. Labour is the party of the working class and we’ll stand up for you.
That’s why our alternative plan prioritises jobs growth and rights.
That is why we have called for a new customs union with a British say in future trade deals; a strong single market relationship; and a guarantee to keep pace with EU rights and standards.
Combined with the election of a radical Labour government our alternative plan will allow us to make the fundamental changes that are so badly needed in our country, while respecting those who voted both leave and remain.
Why is a customs union necessary?
It’s because a new customs union and a radical Labour government with an active industrial strategy will allow a renaissance in our manufacturing sector, which will create good, secure jobs and help restore pride and prosperity to parts of our country that have been ignored for too long.
Why do we need a strong relationship with the single market?
It’s because frictionless trade and a radical Labour government with a plan to invest in every region and nation of our country, will give us the chance to kick-start real growth in our economy, allowing the wealth created by this country’s workforce to be shared more fairly.
Finally, why are we absolutely insistent on at least keeping pace with EU rights at work environmental standards and consumer protections?
It’s because with those guarantees and a radical Labour government that stands up for people against powerful vested interests, we can give workers and consumers more control over their lives.
The alternative deal Labour has proposed is practical and achievable, and clearly has the potential to command majority support in parliament.
But it is not an end in itself. The task of the Labour party and the Labour movement is the long-overdue transformation of our country.
We will bring people together by addressing the deep-seated and common problems across our country and fulfilling the aspirations that led people to vote both leave or remain.
I would put it like this: if you’re living in Tottenham you may well have voted to Remain.
You’ve got high bills rising debts. You’re in insecure work. You struggle to make your wages stretch and you may be on universal credit, and forced to access food banks.
You’re up against it.
If you’re living in Mansfield, you are more likely to have voted to Leave.
You’ve got high bills, rising debts, you’re in insecure work, you struggle to make your wages stretch and you may be on universal credit and forced to access food banks.
You’re up against it.
But you’re not against each other.
People across the country, whether they voted Leave or Remain know that the system isn’t working for them.
Some see the EU as a defence against insecurity and hostility. Others see the EU as part of an establishment that plunged them into insecurity and hostility in the first place.
But it’s the failed system rigged against the many to protect the interests of the few that is the real cause of inequality and insecurity whether it’s in Tottenham or Mansfield.
And, the real solution is to transform Britain to work in the interests of the vast majority by challenging the entrenched power of a privileged elite.
That is how we can help to overcome our country’s divisions.
Because for both sides the EU referendum was about much more than our relationship with our biggest trading partner and its rules. It was about what has happened to our people over decades and how to build a better future.
The Conservatives are never going to tackle the burning injustices in our country or act to overcome the deep and growing inequalities. They are incapable of leading us out of a crisis they created.
Britain deserves a government that can govern. The need for a government with a clear purpose and direction for the country could not be more urgent. A general election is the right answer and the best way to break the deadlock.
Labour is ready to bring Leave and Remain voters together to rebuild Britain for the many not the few.
Your chilling, but hardly surprising, front-page revelation that one in four Europeans vote populist was long on excellent analysis, but lacked any solutions. Reversing this trend and its fallout, including Brexit, will require tackling the reasons for its rise:
- widespread concerns about inadequately controlled migration
- and the economic insecurity now rife among both the employed and unemployed.
Tackling the latter will require spelling out a “project hope” agenda which reverses austerity and instead invests in the rebuilding of Europe’s social infrastructure, while also funding a massive green infrastructure programme for transforming the energy, energy-saving and transport systems continent-wide.
Europeans should take inspiration from the US, where progressive new congresswomen and men are now pushing the Democrats into adopting just such a “Green New Deal”.
They realise that a “jobs in every part of the country” programme is central to defeating Trump.
Here, Jeremy Corbyn could play a central role by capitalising on the present parliamentary chaos and asserting that Labour supports a people’s vote, but with the “remain and reform” agenda for Europe, similar to that he “campaigned” for in the run up to the referendum.
Putting rebuilding local economies at the heart of such reform would gain support from leave-voting areas and could be a rallying call for those fighting rightwing populism across Europe. It could also have the domestic payoff of forming the core of Labour’s next and hopefully successful election manifesto, whenever required.
Message received on Mon, 12 November: David Bailey presented Economics for the Many (link to slides) at an interesting event at the WM Labour Party regional office. Over a hundred people came and there was a great discussion.
Professor of Industrial Strategy
Aston Business School
The Aston Triangle, Birmingham, B4 7ET, UK.
tel: +44 (0)7981 925713 or +44 (0)121 204 5262
David’s Blog: http://www.birminghampost.co.uk/authors/david-bailey/
Sam Coates, Deputy Political Editor of the Times, is one of many journalists insisting/hoping that there is a rift between Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor.
Hours after The Sunday Times’ claim, Harry Yorke reported that Mr McDonnell said that the pair had “for 40 years…been as one and always will be,” adding: “get used to solidarity in action”.
Coates had the grace to report that – in an interview with the BBC’s Newsnight – John McDonnell said that he and Jeremy Corbyn worked well together.
Yorke (Telegraph) added that the shadow chancellor praised the Labour leader’s knowledge and said:
“Jeremy has a steel about him that people out there will see increasingly. We complement one another all the time. In some ways we have different virtues . . . . And we work with each other in that way.”
Replying to an assertions that Corbyn is a ‘dreamer’, Mr McDonnell said: “This idea that Jeremy is a dreamer is absolutely rubbish. Look at the work he has done on detailed policy. He had led on housing for years, well in advance of anyone else. He is a specialist in international affairs, always has been.”
The BBC adds that Mr McDonnell insists he and Jeremy Corbyn have never had a political difference despite reports that the Labour leader had sympathised with the centrist Labour MPs on the Tory tax cuts.
Mr McDonnell insists that Mr Corbyn is serious about serving as prime minister even though he agreed to stand as the Socialist Campaign Group candidate in the 2015 Labour leadership contest with the words: “Oh go on then I’ll do it.”
The shadow chancellor said: “That is the sort of leader I want. I don’t want someone who comes into Parliament with that back of an envelope: MP at such an age, minister at such an age, prime minister at such an age. I want someone who isn’t motivated by career but by principle.”
An article by Jade Frances Azim, a Labour activist and writer opens:
“There has been a sense of crisis in the ideological confidence of Tories roaming the grandiose floor of the Hyatt Regency for Conservative Party conference. More than once, you could hear delegates muttering among themselves the word “capitalism”, and the phrase “battle of ideas . . .”.
Reports from left and right wing publications stress the poor attendance at many sessions, though fringe meetings with Priti Patel and Boris Johnson were over-subscribed.
“The crisis in the confidence of capitalism must surely be brought about by the images of youthful dynamism at Labour conference – and by the ideas that enthused its young audiences. There is surely a fear that that enthusiasm is spreading beyond Liverpool, too”.
“The spectre of Mr Corbyn haunts the halls here”
Jade thinks that Labour’s recent video around the theme of rescuing deprived towns must be inspiring a fear that Corbyn’s Labour is finally building an election-winning coalition – a fear compounded by apprehension as, “the very purpose of the Conservative Party, to defend capitalism as it is, has fallen out of favour with the outside world”. She continues:
More Tories are urging their party to listen, to understand the threat of Corbynism, which increases as moderate Conservative MPs are drowned out by the voices of Jacob Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson, drawing up plans for a Brexit that merely builds a tax haven Britain.
Read Jade’s article here: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/the-spectre-of-corbyn-haunts-conservative-conference-rnn7w3vvv
In happier times . . .
With relish, The Times reports that Kezia Dugdale, the former leader of Scottish Labour and Corbyn-sceptic has said that Labour can no longer be trusted after the party felt unable to meet further costs after paying £94,000 on legal fees agreed by Iain McNicol, Labour’s former general secretary.
Stuart Campbell, who runs the pro-independence blog Wings Over Scotland, is suing Ms Dugdale for £25, after she called one of his tweets “homophobic” in a newspaper column and Jenny Formby, the present general secretary, cited concerns that costs could escalate.
As a Labour Party spokesman said: “Kezia Dugdale has received significant support from the Labour Party. The party has a responsibility to all our members and that must mean spending our members’ fees responsibly and appropriately”.
Ms Dugdale – at the time – was writing a freelance column for the Daily Record (paid either per 1000 words or by the day) with no involvement or sign off by the Labour Party on her column or her agreement to write it.
The Daily Record has now agreed to reinstate legal support for her.
One blog covering this story adds: “The party is understood to be writing imminently to MSPs to set the record straight as well as communicating the information to members of the Scottish Executive Committee.
“It is, of course, unlikely that the mainstream media will pick up Labour’s side of the story, so it’s essential that members and supporters push it out on their social media to correct the imbalanced ‘MSM’ narrative”.
Jeremy Corbyn’s speech had three crucial and interlinked components:
- the need to transform the economy,
- to prioritise improving conditions in the “left-behind” areas,
- and a call for a “green jobs revolution in every nation and region”.
But your editorial (27 September) made the common mistake of emphasising wind and tidal schemes to help disadvantaged areas. Important as these green energy sources are, the real potential for jobs in every constituency lies in making the UK’s existing 28m dwellings and 2m commercial and public-sector buildings energy-efficient, with renewable technology such as solar PV fitted where feasible. There are, for example, 8m homes with solid walls which are without any effective insulation, and nearly 40m smart meters still need to be installed.
The majority of this work has to be done locally and has the advantage of being hard to automate or relocate abroad; it also requires a wide range of activities and skills that are likely to be needed for decades.
It will therefore inevitably help improve job opportunities for the “left-behind” communities, with resultant knock-on economic benefits for the communities where these workers live and work.
Owen Jones (Labour needed a reset button – and it got one, 27 September) asserted that Jeremy Corbyn’s crucial identification of climate change as the greatest crisis facing humanity made it a bread-and-butter issue.
Equally the role of a green revolution in jobs in improving the lives of those in leave-voting areas could well make it a bread and Brexit issue as well.
Sky News: Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour conference speech proves that, four years on, he’s king of all he surveys
Lewis Goodall, Sky’s political correspondent opens:
It’s almost hard to believe (and the man himself probably can’t) that this is Jeremy Corbyn’s fourth conference speech as Labour leader.
The veteran backbencher is now part of the front of house furniture. And, in that time, he’s become much more accomplished. Three years ago, as his party stared back at him dazed and shocked that this particular leader should be looking out at them, Mr Corbyn was plodding, he even read the wrong bits of the autocue.
Today, he holds the room and as he examines a Labour Party entirely his, exudes complete confidence.
What of the substance? Two things stood out.
- Firstly, the headlines are all about corporate greed and a new Labour Party standing between people and profit.
- But, more notable, was the focus on more bread and butter domestic policies designed to win over new bits of the electorate.
Big announcements on childcare, a pitch to pensioners and a pledge to invest in post-industrial areas with high unemployment.
(One jibe:) The Labour leadership know, in order to win the next election, the party must reach out beyond its graduate, urban comfort zone.
The terrain of that election (which might only be months away) will be in less formally educated, older, whiter seats – Brexitland, where the party has struggled. And it is Brexit on which Mr Corbyn also majored, by making an unexpected offer to the prime minister.
He said Labour would be willing to support her Brexit deal provided it satisfied Labour’s six tests, if Theresa May accepted protection of workers’ rights, and if she signed up to a customs union with the EU.
Mr Corbyn knows those tests can never be met (they include preserving the exact same economic benefits of EU membership as we have now) and knows that Mrs May cannot sign up to a customs union as her party won’t let her.
His offer is a piece of politics – paving the way for Labour to inevitably vote against a prime ministerial deal.
Mr Corbyn wants political cover, so he can claim Labour was not simply destructive, imperilling the national interest for partisan gain, and that he tried to work with Mrs May, only for Tory intransigence to prevent a sensible compromise.
Whatever the substance of the speech, Mr Corbyn is now undoubtedly king of all he surveys. Of his four party conferences, this was by far the most “normal”.
No sounding off from recalcitrant moderate backbenchers; most never even came.
Polished media management, control over every organ of the party secure, and his enemies in retreat on every single side.
Speech on video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2DYTKkUmi0
Statement: “The NEC has today adopted all of the IHRA examples of antisemitism, in addition to the IHRA definition which Labour adopted in 2016, alongside a statement which ensures this will not in any way undermine freedom of expression on Israel or the rights of Palestinians.
Jeremy Corbyn said the adoption of the full IHRA text and examples was part of the process of “rebuilding trust and as an act of solidarity with Jewish communities”.
The NEC welcomed Jeremy Corbyn’s statement to the meeting about action against antisemitism, solidarity with the Jewish community and protection of Palestinian rights, as an important contribution to the consultation on Labour’s code of conduct.
A binding vote was not taken and organisations have been ‘reinvited’ to engage in consultation on the code of conduct. The issue will be re-visited by the newly elected NEC after Labour’s party conference in Liverpool.