And now Spain turns to the Left


The mould has been broken in Spain. Yesterday, in Spain’s general election, yesterday, the two Parties that have dominated Spain’s post fascist democracy both lost seats and votes. The new parliament has no natural majority. The PSOE, in particular, has some interesting challenges in front of it and the next few weeks and months may act as a signpost for the politics of Europe.  … » Read more …

On an informed citizenry


I was invited to attend Tom Watson’s speech building on much of his campaigning work and presented in the New Statesman as reclaiming civil liberty for the Left, although sub titled by him as “David Cameron is governing from the shadows”. In this article I review the speech; I try to report on it and to comment by adding some personal views and insights, in some cases new ideas provoked by Tom’s speech. It was quite a long speech and it takes a diverse route to get to its polemical heart which is that Democracy is the choice by an informed citizenry of a government, subject to the rule of law and that the Freedom of Information Act is one of the pillars of this contract and should not be diminished or repealed.  … » Read more …

Bombing Syria


So Parliament is to debate if it should authorise the government to use the RAF to bomb ISIS in Syria. What we must keep in our mind is that we i.e. the British state must only act under the rule of law. While the UN resolution (SC 2249) last week makes military action more likely to be legal, the legality still depends upon the actions to be taken. Many argue that the UN security council resolution changes nothing, because it does not authorise the use of military force under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.

Any actions need to remain an effective act of self-defence.   … » Read more …

Solidarity with the people of Paris

champs elysee

Solidarity with the people of Paris & France.  … » Read more …

What do with the registered supporters?


Ann Black reports on the September, pre-conference National Executive Committee at Left Futures. These are clearly hard things to write since getting a balance between hope for the future and a description of what’s happening can be hard. I felt the need to comment. on the running of the election where the point needs to be made that barely legal is not good enough. The coming exclusion of registered supporters is a mistake, and the party has changed; most MPs mandate to speak for the Labour Party has expired as has the utility of the National Policy Forum.   … » Read more …

A long and eventful weekend


What a week-end. Jeremy Corbyn is elected Leader of the Labour Party and just as the first thing he did after nomination was to go on a demo, he immediately went to speak to the “Refugees Welcome” demo in Parliament Square. The German suspension of its European borders is a sad reaction to those who won’t pull their weight, which includes the British Government acting in our name. Even after the Government’s belated reaction to the popular will of the masses, we are still below the UN recommended quotas and as with nearly everything done by the Cameron Government, they’re tone deaf, in that they announce a five year commitment and plan to fund the refugee programs with the International Aid budget.

These news events have buried Cameron’s acquiescence in using military action to kill two British citizens who were allegedly ISIS fighters. This will come back to bite him, possibly as badly as new Labour’s decision to go to war in Iraq. I have done a storify sharing my views on the (il)legality of the act. Make no mistake, it’s a massive escalation in the militarisation of the state. In Britain, we suffered and fought a terrorism/counter terrorism campaign for over 30 years while maintaining civil primacy and ensuring that the rule of law was paramount and that the police and courts were our primary defence.  … » Read more …

Beyond People’s QE


A day or two ago, Alex Little, published a blog post called ‘Lessons for Corbyn in “Lerner’s Law”’. Lerner’s law suggests that using your opponents language limits your ability to make the argument. Little quotes Bill Mitchell, the inventor of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) as to how Labour’s leadership in articulating the Darling Plan and its successors talk about balancing the budget and fixing the deficit concede the argument to the Tories. Little’s article also points at Lerner’s economic theories, described as “functional finance” and points at the wikipedia article on it. He argues that by describing the proposed pump priming as PQE, and accepting that when growth takes off, the government may transition to bond financing, by even accepting that we need to live within our means, the theory and benefits from the a more overt radical financing will be lost.  … » Read more …

Labour’s next leader, economics, defence and the mandate


In the dying days of Labour’s Leadership selection, the key issues remain those of economics & strategy, but also unfortunately now one of mandate.

The debate on economics has come to be between Cooper and Corbyn. Demanding credibility is not an economic policy and so we can ignore Kendall & Burnham. I summarise the other’s two positions below and conclude that Corbyn’s economic manifesto is not just a shopping list of desirable reforms, they are a single set of reinforcing measures to fix and rebuild the economy so it works in the interests of the majority of people.

This was meant to be a short blog, emphasising the economy and virtuously circular, self reinforcing nature of Corbyn’s programme, but I also take the opportunity to look at the defence and foreign policy debate and conclude with some comments on the election process itself and Labour’s future.

I am glad I voted for Jeremy Corbyn, but I am not a Corbynista, I am Real Labour.  … » Read more …

Dianne & Sadiq for Mayor


Finally, Vote for Diane Abbott for Mayor and give Sadiq Kahn your second preference. This is an odd one, there’s little to choose between the candidates on policy, although Gareth Thomas is for Heathrow Runway 3 and all the others oppose it. Jobs vs. Air Quality. I like Sadiq Kahn’s commitment to planting trees and buying up London’s Hospital’s debt, although there may be issues of ultra vires and I like Abbot’s bravery in pursuing rent controls, which should be Labour policy. With few exceptions, I expect each of the candidates to nick the best policies from each other, so it’s important to hear from them using their own words. Certainly at the South London hustings, Christian Wolmar was congratulated by several of the candidates for his transport policy initiatives and there’s little doubt that many of his ideas will make it into the manifesto.

The issue here is heart and commitment and I am supporting Dianne. She has a record of getting the big questions right.  … » Read more …

Tom Watson for Deputy


I shall be voting for Tom Watson for Deputy and ask you to do so too. He is a long term campaigner on the side of the good. He has shown he stands up for what he thinks is right and has Government experience having served in the last labour Governments in Defence and the Cabinet Office. In 2010, he took the citizens position and opposed the Digital Economy Act, and during the last Parliament he opposed the Governments repeated attempts to introduce and legalise mass surveillance, most recently 15 months ago when he led the opposition to DRIP, an opposition he took to court and won, with the unique result that the courts have put a judicial sunset clause on the Act. He has also taken the government to court to have their information sharing with the USA declared illegal because of the military use the American make of it. He led the majority on the Culture Media and Sports select committee on phone hacking and media plurality   … » Read more …

Vote Jeremy Corbyn


The political choice in selecting Labour’s next leader involves choosing a platform and strategy. The platform choice is pretty clear, growth vs. austerity-lite. The strategy choices equally so, triangulation vs. a clear choice. So that’s simple then; it has to be Jeremy Corbyn.  … » Read more …

Labour’s new extended family


Labour’s electoral roll for its 2015 elections has now closed. We took a decision last year to extend the franchise for the election of Leader, Deputy Leader and its candidate for Mayor of London to supporters and over 120,000 people have signed up as well as over 100,000 new full members. I hope that this is a first step for them in helping Labour rebuild and create an effective opposition, although not only do we need them to stay with us, we need to respectfully listen to them.

As one minor elected voluntary official I welcome you to Labour’s movement.  … » Read more …

Labour’s Human Rights champion


Left Foot Forward publishes an article “Who is the ‘human rights candidate’ for Labour’s leadership?”. This is based on a post on the Labour Campaign for Human Rights, who publish the candidates answers in their own words  on their own blog.  One of the LCHR’s questions was on Surveillance, and none of them have consulted me ;), but Cooper and Burnham both support the need for judicial authorisation and probable cause. Kendall and Corbyn both support strengthening the legal framework in favour of civil liberties. Kendall states she opposes the privacy breaches inherent in mass surveillance. Corbyn that he thinks mass surveillance is ineffective (and thus not justified?).  … » Read more …