I went to the Labour Campaign for Human Rights meeting in the Commons yesterday, the keynote speaker was Kier Starmer, the Labour Brexit spokesman. He opened his speech stating he had voetd “Remain” based on jobs and rights and woke up on 27th June asking what world we live in. He argued that now we needed to accept democracy and that UK’s politics is about the new relationship with the EU. He argues we need to re-root our rights in UK law! (What like the Human Rights Act?) Labour is proposing a new Law to transcribe the EU’s rights and protections into UK law, but under the Tories this will be weak since the Tories are not planning to bring the “Fundamental Charter of Rights” across into UK law.
Tag Archives: immigration
Those of you who regularly read this blog will see I stood for Secretary of Lewisham Deptford Labour Party as part of left/momentum slate, and those of you who follow Momentum Exposed will know we lost. This was quite disappointing and we have had some difficulty in working out how to develop Labour’s campaigning beyond the electoralism & careerism practiced by the Labour First influenced majority. I think, and many of my allies agree that one of the differences is that on the Left we want to empower and engage our members and our voters; it’s been hard to do that and get the Deptford Labour Party via its General Committee (GC) to express its views when we are in contention with the new MP, and the Council majority. There would also seem to be a desire to exclude the ideas and enthusiasm of many of the new joiners. It was when looking back at what we as members had achieved, that I came to the conclusion that we haven’t done so badly and you can make a difference by joining the Labour Party. Over the last four years, we i.e. ordinary members of the Labour Party have made a difference, most recently on the New Bermondsey Development aka the Millwall CPO but also we have moved forward the national trade union campaign against blacklisting, the Council’s initiatives on welcoming refugees, on Education and have even won a commitment to return the Anchor to the High Street.
While at times the Labour Party’s procedures seem strange, and exceptionally ill-tempered, belonging to the Labour Party makes a difference. These decisions have involved us debating with and winning other members to our point of view and ensuring that our Councillors take this forward.
I was privileged to attend Labour’s Annual Conference in Liverpool as a voting delegate. The Conference was the book-end of a summer in which the Labour Party re-opened the debates about programme and strategy which many had thought finished last year. This article reports my experience and views; it is quite long, about 2750 words and is broken up into sections, Unity and the membership, some comments on the politics of Conference, a short section on the future, also covering the Tuesday atmosphere and Wednesday’s Leader’s speech. This is followed by a commentary on the Rules debate and the surrounding shenanigans; the main part of this article/report is concluded with comments on the state of the debate on Immigration and Brexit.
The referendum became a vote on immigration and opened doors to Britain’s darker places; however the forces of light have not reacted well. I am still hopeful that facts and reason will prevail, but recent history does not auger well.
That was a shock, a soul deadening shock. In the words of the meme, I felt a grief for the loss of the future I thought I and my children had. How did this happen? How could we have voted to follow the corrupt and the vain, Johnson and Farage. The answer may have been most rapidly and accurately identified by John Harris of the Guardian in an article, entitled “If you’ve got money, you vote in … if you haven’t got money, you vote out” in which he identifies those whom we’ve known about for years, who can be described in a number of ways. In my micro blog post, “Pebbles”, I describe them as ‘globalisation’s losers’, the working class whose towns, communities and institutions have been smashed during the neo-liberal ascendency, communities that Labour stopped listening to and representing in 1997 leading to a loss of 5 million votes between 1997 and 2010. Making this even more problematic for Labour is that nearly ⅔ of Labour’s voters, voted remain, and just as globalisation’s losers cannot be ignored, nor can Labour’s majority of remainers. What is to be done?
Tomorrow is the referendum voting day. As the ‘Leave’ campaign doubled down on immigration, last week, having lost the arguments on the economy, citizenship, sovereignty, and peace, I planned to write a final piece on immigration, arguing that it can’t and shouldn’t be stopped, and that the Left (and decent) arguments are that we should build houses, reform the housing market, build schools, empower teachers, make higher education free, re-establish skills training, establish and enforce a minimum wage and reset the balance of power in the work place so that Unions i.e. workers can regulate employment conditions again. We need people to come here to work, and we should be proud that we have built a society that refugees want to come to, so that they can be safe.
In London, Labour won 50% of the seats in the European elections, won control of four more councils and increased our majorities in the others. This rather fucks up the right’s desired narrative that UKIP won the elections. The argument that London rejected UKIP because we are younger and better educated is deeply unhelpful and yet still reinforces UKIP’s story that they are the only party fighting an oppressive metropolitan elite. Funny that. It is ignored that Labour also did well in Manchester, Liverpool and North East.
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.
In Ed Miliband’s recent speech, which Labour’s web site entitles, “To deal with people’s concerns on immigration, we must change how our economy works”….you give massive hostage to our opponents. The headlines horrified me, so as so often during the Blair and Brown years, I return to the original text. It’s a nuanced speech on subject where nuance gets lost.
What you say is reasonable, most of your analysis of the failings of the Labour market are sound, and reading the speech, where you propose, genuinely effective border controls, enforcing the current laws on wages, introducing recruitment agency regulation, and a more responsible capitalism, I can’t complain.