Archive for the 'Comment' Category



26
Apr
12

Stealing a March on the Green Agenda – Guest Post, Alex Hylan

A friend recently told me how, now that the local elections are fast approaching, the Green Party have suddenly reawaken from their slumber and started leafleting him again. Presumably the Greens, like the flower, only blossom when the bees come out to play.

I’ve always found the Green Party quite curious because, like the Labour party, they identify with the centre-left and it’s messages of sustainability, investment and fairness, but yet seem occupied with attacking Labour in the many leaflets that, wastefully, tumble through letterboxes up and down Britain every election time.

But despite this I’ve always had a lot of sympathy with the party. I think they’ve got a really good message and I do worry that the politics of the 21st Century are becoming the politics of maintenance; an accusation that is frequently levelled at the three main parties. Whatever you think of the Green Party, you can’t say that they lack a compelling vision for the future.

The fact is that sooner or later our existing sources of energy are going to run out, and when this starts looming on the horizon it’s going to become increasingly economically viable to pursue green sources of energy. But these changes don’t just happen; their needs to be strong political leadership to make the brave decision to invest in these new technologies.

This is where the Labour party comes in, a party with a track record of striving towards a sustainable economy for the future, not just for now. With today’s figures showing our economy tumbling back in to recession it is clear that we are crying out for investment; to get people back in to work, to readdress the way we harness our energy and to build for the future. This could be the first step in building a new, high-tech green economy that will help to secure our future. It’s just a dream, but maybe one day soon we can stop burying our heads in the sands of Saudi Arabia and work to secure our own energy security. Sure it would cost money, but don’t tell me there’s no money when you’re able to give a tax cut to millionaires.

There has always been an ethical argument for the green agenda, but increasingly there’s an economic argument too. Why can’t Labour be the party that brings that change to the mainstream?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alex is a 19 year old Labour party activist and member of Sheffield Labour Students; studying Politics & Sociology at the University of Sheffield.

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21
Apr
12

No round up this week, but a ‘toon

Ok, due to essay crises/campaigning/recess we’ve had no round up of the last few weeks, and that continues now but we do have another of @dochackenbush’s ‘photohacks’ so all is well!!

20120421-115649.jpg

10
Apr
12

“What’s your policy?”: Max Bell-The nationalisation of the Utilities

I can hear the ghost of Michael Foot’s donkey jacket screaming in delight in the background….

In all seriousness – with half of Britons anticipated to be in fuel poverty by 2022, it is absolutely scandalous to envision an expansion of the current situation whereby pensioners, young mothers and the just plain working poor are forced to select between eating & heating.

Only with the re-nationalisation of all those who pump the simple elements into our homes – heat, water, light, power, electricity, gas – can we truly decide once and for all that people are more important than profit.

British Gas & the other “Big 6”, (*expletive deleted*), pushing another billion or so here and there on to their profit accounts make me sheet-white with anger considering the pain they force literally millions and millions of Britons into.

The idea that this magically restricts growth is an illusion: and the model of nationalisations provided by the post-WWII Clement Attlee Labour governments is the perfect model, irrespective of economic libertarianism bleating. Nationalisation occurred along side, and was a key player in, the longest period of growth that Britain has ever seen. The Victorians can eat their heart out.

Post the traumatic event of the Second World War, society came together and universally decided that “Never Again” would the ravages of the market be directed at the weakest, as the political class turned its nose in disgust. See parallels on how we must react to the financial crisis perhaps then?

This clichéd choice agenda being pushed by the bastardised hostages that is neo-liberal fortune, is completely and utterly flawed. This is not the phone market, or indeed: the airlines – no wide scale infrastructure investment ever occurs without the government deciding once and for all that the electorate are too important to throw under a capitalist bus.

There is no low-cost, low-carbon agenda from any big energy supplier. Re-nationalisation would be the perfect catalyst for that.

Thus, only when the Government takes control of the industries – which web together poisonously as a plague on all our houses and our governing class’ consciousness. We can set the price structure depending on who & where you are. Enforce energy efficiency standards nation-wide, and improve infrastructure: all without the need for a profit.

And as we place money back into the pockets of our nation – just think of the growth.

We owe re-nationalisation to our children, and their children – and history will judge us all the poorer if we chicken out now.

Max Bell is a Proud working class socialist and Northern political nerd. Currently reading Law at University of Sheffield whilst being an active member of Sheffield Labour Students. He is also, probably, Scunthorpe United’s most obsessive fan.

If you could choose one policy to implement now if you could, what would it be? get in touch and we will post your ideas!

30
Mar
12

Round up of the Week 30/3/2012 with 2 Photohacks*!

It has been a week which has swung from the sublimely ridiculous to the abhorrently ridiculous.

We began the week with some fall out from the frustrating but unsurprising “Cash for Cameron” tory donation scandal.. This means we can have our first amazing “photohack*” from the venerable @DocHackenbush!

…after that, there isn’t much more we really need to say on that subject.

 

The fallout from the Budget got a really silly this week when this became the week twitter went #pastytax mad! It turns out there is a change in the budget that means heated snack items are now subject to a tax, which means both leading Tories were asked when they last ate a pasty.. the answer seems to be “errr do caviar aperitifs count?”

This meant Labour wasted no time in running to a pasty and tweeting pictures of them eating the cornish delicacies.. oh dear oh dear. With this and the Tory donors story, Cameron is panicking…

 

More bad news for the government involved Francis Maude pissing off firemen (fire officers?), worrying the public and entertaining the rest of us by suggesting we each keep a Jerry Can of petrol in our garage in case of a tanker-driver’s strike…

 

All in all pretty bad for the Government this week with labour being able to capitalise..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then, however, this man became an MP again rather than an incredibly well qualified labour candidate..

 

 

 

A very strange week in politics, we’ll blog about the last piece of news more next week…

Have a more settled weekend, and thanks to @DocHackenbush for his Photohacks*!

 

 

HB

;

*photohack is our new name for the Doc’s creations as cartoons don’t do them justice!

23
Mar
12

A brief round up of the week and a CARTOON!

We’ve decided this is not a week those on our side of the political spectrum will want to dwell on. With the Destruction of the NHS in the form of the Health and Social care Bill, and a budget FOR millionaires and BY millionaires, lets just all try not to get to upset and instead get angry and get the Tory-led government out of office at the earliest opportunity. The hard work starts now…

We need cheering up so here is great Cartoon (hopefully the first of many) from the awesomely talented @DocHackenbush!

06
Mar
12

Super Tuesday, Why this time it’s actually going to be super! – a guest post from yael shafritz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today is Super Tuesday, and this year that is an extremely exciting day for anyone following the US Republican presidential primary. This year Super Tuesday is actually going to be super as for the first time in any recent elections it may well decide exactly which Republican is going to face Obama in the autumn.

To really understand why this Super Tuesday is so special we first must understand exactly what Super Tuesday is. In the US for parties to nominate a presidential candidate, the candidates must go through a series of primaries and caucuses throughout the 50 states. Some of these are purely for members of the party to vote in, whereas others are open and any registered voter can cast a ballot for their chosen candidate. Famously the first contest is always the ‘Iowa Caucus’, quickly followed by the ‘New Hampshire Primary’ which both take place almost a year before the general election. After that there is an informal order for which the states hold their caucuses and primaries. Super Tuesday is called so as there are the most states holding primary elections on the same day. These states range in size, geographical location and importance. The order of the primaries for later states and Super Tuesday are often seen as less important in the presidenti

al primary system as by then a frontrunner has often been established and the majority of other candidates have already dropped out. And what is the aim of these primaries and caucuses? It is to gain to delegates so that when the convention for their party is held, one candidate will have enough delegates from various states to be voted in as his or her party’s nominee.

This Super Tuesday is really exciting because the guy everyone expected to be the Republican party’s frontrunner by this point is, not! So far Mitt Romney has 180 delegates, Rick Santorum has 90 delegates, Newt Gingrich has 29 delegates and Ron Paul has 23 delegates. Although it may seem like Mitt Romney has a large lead over the other candidates, when the goal is 1,144 delegates needed to be nominated, it’s easy to understand why Mr Romney is still a way off. This is why Super Tuesday is so important. With 10 states holding their primaries today there are a lot of delegates up for grabs and in the case of Mitt Romney, he needs all the delegates he can get so as to establish his position as frontrunner before going into the remainder of the primaries. For Rick Santorum this day is also key as a win for him will either blow the whole contest wide open, disproving the notion that Romney was ever the established frontrunner, or in a best case scenario (and I mean that for him and the rest of the world) puts him in the lead and establishes him as the frontrunner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So which states are important, well Ohio is seen as the key state today as it has a lot of delegates and is also a big swing state in the general election. Whoever carries Ohio today will be given a delegate advantage but also show themselves as a viable candidate to beat Obama in the general. Georgia is also a key state with the largest amounts of delegates, however Gingrich is likely to win here as it’s his home state, but Romney and Santorum will surely be in a fight for a close second. Ultimately the states in the south and Midwest will decide this Super Tuesday as any Republican presidential candidate needs to be able to sweep these states in the general election. Santorum’s chances to do will in some states is severely limited due to the fact that he wasn’t able to get on the ballot in several key constituencies and states, something that Romney’s campaign has blamed on incompetence. This means that in a state like Virginia where Santorum had a real chance for a key win he will not even be on the ballot.

Not since the Democratic primary season in 1972 has there been such a contested primary so this Super Tuesday could provide several outcomes. By tomorrow we will know a lot more as to the political landscape for the rest of the year in the states. Either Romney will sew up the nomination. However, this seems unlikely. More likely is the notion that the process will once again be kept open and 2 of the 4 remaining candidates will be left fighting for delegates. Hopefully, for our entertainment, this battle continues all the way to the convention where we will be able to witness a gridlocked convention and a party rip itself apart trying to find one viable candidate.

Yael Shafritz is a dual UK and US citizen studying at Sheffield University and is a Labour and Democrat activist.

05
Mar
12

The sun ain’t gonna shine anymore… Only with some anger?

By this stage it is clear to any vaguely interested observer who possesses common sense that there is something endemically wrong at News International. With the demise of its flagship paper the News of the World last year, we hoped that a purging process would follow with all those who had taken part or condoned immoral and illegal practices being exorcised.

Sadly this has not been the case and with numerous police investigations and a public enquiry still in progress into many of its reporters, the first “the Sun on Sunday” was printed recently.

I do not need to make a long argument about the morally rotten core at the centre if the Murdoch Empire so for the sake of your sanity and for my blood pressure I shall not.

What can be done to try and defeat this vessel for hatred and horse-manure-journalism?

Here is a list of ten of the companies that sponsor the Weekday Sun where most of the arrests have been so far. Some pressure on these would no doubt hasten its (and it’s Sunday Cousin’s) end. the list of advertisers is from a Guardian article, here.

1. BSkyB £17m – A very pro-Murdoch company so not much hope here…

2. Tesco £16.7m – Recent uproar about workfare has shown Tesco are not too afraid of a U-turn so maybe a chance here

Twitter: @uktesco

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tesco

Email: https://www.tescohelp.com/tesco/forms/cs_form.html

Post:

Tesco Customer Service Centre,
Baird Avenue
Dundee
DD1 9NF

3. Asda £13.9m – Had a re-evaluation of their investment that closed down the News of the World so another maybe.

Twitter: @asda

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Asda

Email: http://your.asda.com/contact-us#email

Post:

Customer Service, ASDA House,
Southbank, Great Wilson Street, Leeds LS11 5AD

4. William Morrison Supermarkets £9.7m

Twitter: @MorrisonsOffers

Facebook:http://www.facebook.com/MorrisonsSupermarket

Email:https://www.morrisons.co.uk/Help-and-information/Contact-Us/

Post:

Wm Morrison Supermarkets PLC, Hilmore House, Gain Lane, BD3 7DL Bradford, United Kingdom

5. O2 £6.7m

Twitter: @o2

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/o2uk

Email: https://www.o2.co.uk/apps/help/help and click the bottom option and hit next.

Post:

Telefonica UK Limited Correspondence Department
PO Box 202
Houghton Regis
LU6 9AG

6. Argos £5.9m

Twitter: @argos_online

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/argos

Email: http://www.argos.co.uk/static/StaticDisplay/includeName/ContactUs.htm

Post: Argos Direct, Acton Gate, Stafford, ST18 9AR

7. DFS £5m

Twitter: @DFS_furniture

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Dfs/108616625829398 – no contact to the company seems possible from Facebook

Email: contactus@dfs.co.uk

Post:

1 Rockingham Way
Redhouse Interchange
Adwick-le-Street
Doncaster
DN6 7NA

8. Sainsbury’s £5m- One of the first to pull out of the government’s workfare scheme, bowing to public pressure

Twitter: @sainsburys

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sainsburys

Email:http://www.sainsburys.co.uk/sol/contact_us/contact_us.jsp#

Post:

Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd
33 Holborn
London
EC1N 2HT

9. Everything Everywhere £4.6m

Contact Orange or T-mobile

10. Vodafone £4m

Twitter: @vodafoneuk

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/vodafoneUK

Email: https://help.vodafone.co.uk/system/selfservice.controller?CMD=ESCALATION_REQUEST&PARTITION_ID=1&LANGUAGE=en&COUNTRY=us&CONFIGURATION=1001

Post: Vodafone House, The Connection, Newbury, Berkshire RG14 2FN

These ten companies are keeping then sun in the sky. Contact them to make its destruction inevitable.

HB




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