Archive for October, 2010

25
Oct
10

Hughes…..An Unlikely Saviour?

Is this the face that launched a thousand rebel lib dems?

I have to admit right from the outset that I have never really liked Simon Hughes. My reasons for this are many, not least of them being the incredibly dirty and Homophobic campaign that got him elected in the early 80’s (this has proved ironic as hughes himself was outed as a bisexual in the Sun Some years later) and also that he is a Milwall supporter…

However, I was pleasantly suprised this weekend to see that Hughes seems to be making trouble for Nick Clegg and the Condems, appearing on more news programmes than I could count, arguing that the welfare cuts “will not be approved” by liberal democrat MPs.

Whilst wearing a not-very-natty mac over his suit and standing in what looked like a car park, Hughes suggest that the government needed to change several key features in order that the cuts could be supported by many lib dems saying “many colleagues” would also vote against it in the house…

This follows after many lib dems (including ex-leader Menzies Campbell) showed open opposition to the condem plans to raise the EVIL tuition fees, meaning that Clegg had to go on Sunday AM yesterday to say he was in favour of a cap….MORE NEWS ON THIS SOON (come to the protest on the 10th of november in london).

Hughes does have form as a rebel, taking on the leaders of his party on the issue of an Independent nuclear deterrent, and winning in 1986. However, we this first chink in the armour may not be a complete end for the honeymoon period of the condem coalition. There were not many news reports showing the opposition to the CSR and with the recent complete conversion of Vince Cable to the ‘we don’t care about poor people party’ the vote of no confidence may be a long way off…..

HB

20
Oct
10

Let’s get more like the French

French Demonstrations

Revolution still flows through the air in France today.  This week, upon legislation being debated to raise the retiring age, there have been mass strikes and demonstrations in resistance to not only this plan but the whole package of austerity messages about to be introduced in France.  In solidarity the students and workers have been fighting in joint movement.  Demonstrations.  Strikes.  Blockades.  Actions like this by the people send Government’s a clear message: The people are willing to fight and resist.  Now what about Blighty? Oh yes, that’s right…the X-Factor is in the live stages and Rooney’s been sleeping around.  Perhaps today of all days, on the announcement of George Osborne’s spending review, the British should be a little more French.

The idea of striking is something that has long been criticised and talked ill-upon to the people of this country. Through the private media and the politician’s, both have played a significant role in creating the lack of resistance in Britain today.  Is it any surprise the private media present a negative image about striking to us? Resisting and fighting back against the system would be a hinder in their quest for profit and greed. Not only this but private media companies tend to prop-up and support Governments that lean towards their aspirations.  With this in mind it is no wonder why, in the 1980’s, the Murdock empire slated Michael Foot and the Labour party whilst rallying round Thatcher and her clique.  Right-wing, profit hungry Governments and private companies in general go hand in hand.  A movement of the people disrupts the system which they clearly do not want.

Along with the media we have politicians telling us all the reasons why industrial action is wrong and unjustified.  Yet again the public mind is being swayed.  Clearly Thatcher has had a big part in the political prevention of resistance in this country with the anti-trade union laws introduced by her Government.  Squeezing the voice of the trade union movement, these laws make it neon-impossible for strike action to be called with the endless number of restrictions and specifications a union must meet before going out on strike.  Recently it was shown with the RMT union when their ballot was deemed illegal in the courts the affect these laws have had on the ability of the worker to stand up and voice his opinion.  Shamefully, these laws were never altered in the previous government…but then again this is also no surprise.  This was a New Labour government sharing the economic policies of Thatcher and the Conservatives and so they too were not really keen on the system being disrupted too much.

Britain is now beginning to walk down the path of austerity cuts and mass unemployment.  There has been no time better than now to tell the British people the morality and justification for standing up and fighting back.  Taking inspiration from the French people we need to find our voice and stand up against the Coalition Government in it’s desire to attack the most vulnerable and poorest in our society.  A collective movement of the people can completely over turn the system in which they live.  Now is the time to resist, to fight and to stand together in a common cause.

JW

19
Oct
10

The forgotten millions

Whilst this blog may devote much time now and in the future to trumpeting the many achievements of the ‘recently deceased’ labour government, there is one way in which for all its promise, hope and expectation, this otherwise ‘progressive’ govt. failed to do enough.

In the years 2008-2009 there were 13.5 million people which the Joseph Rowntree Foundation considered to be living in poverty (for more details, see website). This roughly equates to 1 out of every 5 people living in the UK. Labour’s record with poverty has often been defended, but how can any government be ‘progressive’ whilst allowing such poverty to exist in the country it serves.

With all government spending under review, many of us fear cuts which will affect us personally, from University budgets and job centres to local community projects and the courts, but it is clear that already, in every corner of the UK, there are people who have been forgotten.

Many of these people have jobs, work hard, have paid their taxes and obeyed our laws, however they are being failed.

Whilst this rise in poverty has only risen recently after years in decline, there are still 3.8 million children in this country who live in poverty; the UK has a higher proportion of its population living in relative poverty than most other EU countries, with only 6 of the 27 EU countries having a higher rate than the UK. If we wish to lead Europe on any issue, I plead with our politicians to make it this one.

It must be agreed that Labour did not do enough in their time in office to amend this terrible state of affairs, but it must also be said that some fault lies with both the opposition parties, as well as with all of us in the general public for choosing to worry and lobby about other issues.

We must not, however, be allowed to dwell on past mistakes. Instead it is our as citizens to ensure that, during all the talk of public expenditure cuts and above all the political point scoring there is one thing which we all must remember, no matter who we are. There are millions of people in financial situations much worse than anything most have experienced and these people are all to often forgotten or simply turned into statistics for use on partisan battle grounds…

If governments in future do not grasp this situation and fail to help the poorest in our society, I for one will vote against them, irrespective of who they are…

HB

13
Oct
10

Tory Tit of the week #2

You may say that he is no tory, what with the pledge to vote against a rise in tuition fees  (oooh) and a stance against privatising Royal Mail (aaah). But in fact, in the last few days he has proved himself a tory and not only a tory but a tory TIT at that…

 

 

VINCE CABLE

10
Oct
10

A Pleasant Surprise- Alan Johnson

I can't believe the Daily Mail had the best image I could find.

It feels appropriate writing my first post for what will surely become the most unconventional left wing blog of all time, on such an anomalous and remarkable happening.

Of all Ed’s options for Shadow Chancellor, Mr Johnson seemed the least likely candidate. Clearly the tories thought the same way, with the Transport Minister Phil Hammond describing the man as more or less an enigma- an ‘unknown quantity’ in economic terms. Which, most probably, is why ‘Steady Eddie’ gave him the job- as the recently coined nickname* would indicate, the new headman is in danger of becoming too predictable; doubters claim his tenure as leader will certainly be defined by adhering excessively to trade union wishes, and not adequately transforming the party into a new electable force. As we see here though, our man is already disproving the claims of the skeptics, and shaking up the spectrum, much to the chagrin of the government.

While we know about as much as Hammond regarding Alan’s fiscal ideology (aside from the fact he originally considered himself aligned with The Communist Party of Great Britain when he first joined Labour in 1971, of course), there’s a myriad of reasons that support Ed Miliband’s decision. Primarily, there is the personal element; whichever way you look at it, Johnson is a likeable chap. The amiable fellow has strong morals concerning the NHS and teacher’s pay, in addition to an obvious sense of humour. This forms a huge contrast to his opposite number- George Osborne, who was already the Conservative’s nasty man before he became the current administration’s axeman. As Osborne evolves into a figure even more despised by the general public as the unduly rapid cuts bite, the smiling, wise face of the welfare-minded Alan Johnson, untainted as he is by lack of alignment to either of the two camps that ravaged the party before, will grow all the more appealing.

There’s more to the character-side of the appointment than the mere ‘nice guy’ factor. AJ’s life story is representative of the very essence and spirit of the Labour Party- leaving school at 15, he went on to rise to the top tier of the party hierarchy from being a postman at the age of 18. Johnson is a senior and experienced activist, but is definitely not a ‘career politician’- real life experience is an increasingly rare trait in leading politicians valued and respected by working people, possibly above all others. Let us not forget that Johnson was also favoured for party leadership by many MPs and party members who were feeling disillusioned, as well as unenthusiastic with the final candidate list, so increased party unity is sure to be a benefit of this appointment.

Naturally there are negative aspects to the nomination. With absolutely no disrespect intended, Alan Johnson is an older politician- and while experience comes with age, it adds another layer of mystery regarding what exactly Mr Miliband meant by a ‘new generation’ of a labour administration. Combine this with the fact that Johnson was of course a prominent member of the previous government, and Ed’s message becomes more unclear. The new Shadow Chancellor will find it difficult to escape the negative connotations that surround Brown’s premiership in the eyes of the electorate; unpopular ideas that he advocated during his time in office, such as ID cards (albeit taking a more relaxed stance towards them) and increased student fees may come back to haunt him.

Nevertheless, Johnson does contribute to the concept of a ‘new face’ for Labour. That he is a supporter of some level of electoral reform, together with the unprecedented nature of his selection and distance from the generally favoured TU candidate for the job (Ed Balls) goes some way towards weakening the detrimental notion of a ‘Labour aristocracy’, that is closed minded and predictable.

This is the first step towards making the Labour Party unique and distinct again, and it was desperately needed- with ICM research today showing 53% in favour and 37% in opposition to the Coalition’s current policy direction, it has become evident that there is no Miliband ‘honeymoon period’ occurring. Standout decisions that contrast from the old are a necessity to bring the party back to the fore.

As an aside, surely it’s plain to all that the fact no one saw this coming supports comrade Ed’s statement that he is being his ‘own man’? Anyways, keep plogging on.

MH

*It was The Telegraph’s idea. I used it to advance a point, in no way do I endorse use of it. It does sound somewhat more elegant than ‘Red Ed’ though.

08
Oct
10

Labour Lovely of the week. #1

This week Our labour lovely of the week is (rather belatedly) for a fantastic conference speech with some beautiful metaphors…

it’s HILARY BENN…



08
Oct
10

Tory TIT of the week! #1

Many contenders for this… and I’m desperate to have lots as there its our first week…

For a conference speech which proved he is the king of contradiction….

DAVID CAMEWRONG