At the end of July, the Labour Party held it’s final National Policy forum, I didn’t attend but from the reports I read, I found aspects of this extremely disappointing, although I wrote about it on this blog, in an article called the Gestation of a Manifesto. I am extremely disappointed
Tag Archives: 2014
This blog has been a personal polemic over most of the last three years, maybe longer. Previously and at times, it’s been more of a diary. The London blogger, Diamondgezeer in this blog about blogrolls and the blogging community reminds me that sometimes I deserve or need to be a bit more introspective and more of a diarist. I need to record on the blog, how I feel about the latest development on the Middle East. Over the last three weeks the Middle East has exploded, over the last two years on could say the same, and you could ask why I haven’t commented on the events in Syria or the Ukraine,
Labour’s 2014 National Policy Forum took place the weekend of the 20th July. Its role is to agree a programme document which will be put to Conference in September. From this will be drawn the manifesto, and the pledge cards. This’ll be the last NPF before the election. There has been a lot of comment in the press, and this article looks at some of that from what should be our friends, and looks a bit less from some of those present, but I look at what I found. The Guardian promises the revised programme will be published in time for Labour’s Conference but recent history suggests not in time for a mandate to be established.
It’s getting to be an old story now, but the other week, the Sunday Times, having obtained quotes by subterfuge and without permission, ran a story that John Cruddas, Labour’s policy review chief had criticised the likely way in which the Leader’s Office would deal with what he saw as Labour’s rich and detailed policy reviews; he may have been most interested in the reviews he’s running himself, and less so in the long term policy commissions and the National Policy Forum processes, the latter of course being the process the membership are most invested in. The criticism’s are also reported in the New Statesman.
I thought I’d share some more thoughts on the European Pariament Election results. The article looks at some sort order silliness on the London ballot paper and then looks at the success or otherwise of the European People’s Party and the gains and losses in the European Parliament by euro-party. In London, the Liberal Democrats came 5th, failing to win a seat, but next after them was a party called 4Freedoms. This was the first on the ballot paper. It was in fact the slate of the European People’s Party, a role once held by the Tories but Cameron had the Tories walk out of the EPP, thus denying them the opportunity to win votes in the UK and denying them another 20 seats on top of their No. 1 spot; they won 214 seats. This may become important as the European Parliament votes and elects its leadership. The reason for putting themselves on the ballot paper is twofold, one, some expatriate Europeans may prefer to vote for a Christian Democrat slate rather than the Tories and it gave their lead candidate, Jean Claude Juncker the opportunity to collect votes, if not seats.
Due to the delay in the count at Tower Hamlets, I didn’t get the London results for the European Parliament until the following morning. Labour have four out of eight seats in London. In 2012, after the London Mayoral’s I had hoped that Labour would get four seats, but had come to assume this was beyond us. Obviously not, Labour’s 36% gave it four seats, the Tories two and one each for UKIP and the Greens. The LibDems losing their one seat. Labour won the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th seats.
So while we now have some solid data about how people will vote in the European elections i.e. how they voted in their locals, amassing this data into regions is a lot of work. Even the London Councils site is only reporting seats which is not helpful for predicting a proportional counting system. A number of sources have commented that London has rejected UKIP and that my last predictions were based on them getting 21% of the London vote. Both the elections and newspapers poll reporting suggests that the UKIP vote will be lower than that. The papers are also underplaying the size of the Labour council victory. I think London is going to be better than I predicted.
I made a storify of the last few days, “Election Day in Deptford”. Lewisham Council is now all Labour with one Green councillor, the Mayor is also Labour. To quote spiderman, “With great power, comes great responsibility”. It’s a trend across London; augers well for Sunday.
While out in New Cross on the #labourdoorstep, I had four interesting encounters.
Earlier this week, Pascale Lamb, one of Labour’s MEP candidates tweeted, “It’s not immigration that causes pressure on services…..it’s austerity”, and in under 100 characters sums up what should be at the heart of Labour’s campaigns this spring and isn’t. The right wing led Commission of the European Union is the world’s ideological engine of austerity and in this country austerity economics has been adopted by the Tory led coalition as a macro-economic policy enabling the assault on standards of living and the welfare state. There are alternatives. Labour should be offering hope of a better (economic) life, not to mention a decent tolerant society. It should also be making something of the fact that it has a candidate for President of the Commission. It’s austerity which is killing jobs, and it’s the result of policy.
It may be that my first take on the budget significantly under estimates the impact of the changes around the use of pension savings. I was looking to make the point that you’d need to be rich, or to have been rich for this to make a difference but it’s possible they will have a wider effect than I expected. The stock market reaction and political comment certainly suggests that this is the case.