Monday, 28 September 2015

Osbornism isn't working

With Labour in the throes of developing new policies and the media assuring us that Labour can't win with Jeremy as leader we're all forgetting that oppositions don't win elections,governments lose and they lose because of economic failures.Bad for the country. Good for opposition because of the desire for change it produces.

So we can take hope from the fact that Osborne's economics cant work. He's a neo liberal who believes in cutting back the state and cutting public spending to give more to the rich. But that can only work if the non state economy flourishes and grows.If it doesn't he'll have to impose still more cuts in a permanent wind down.

Which is why he'll fail not only because the real economy isn't picking up in the way he needs but also because the state and the non state economy need to grow together the one improving and sustaining the other.

Despite the boasts about the "long term economic plan" the present recovery is largely due to the Bank of England keeping interest rates right down and printing 375 billion of QE. Its very fragile being based on ever rising asset prices , debt, low pay and lots more struggling  self-employed.Finance and the banks haven't been adequately reformed so another debt crunch is possible. Manufacturing has continued to shrink a decline which is now becoming a rout with the steel closures and exports falling because of the overvalued pound so the trade deficit has widened and the public sector debt has risen.Unemployment,still far too high is rising again the deficit won't be closed  and the makers won't march.

Redcar steel is the symbol of all that,an early warning that  Osbornomics aint going to work, the promises of good times and tax cuts cant be fulfilled and he's going to have to pinch a lot of Corbynomics  (which he's quite capable of doing) if he's going to avoid  the kind of economic failure which will bring Labour to power 


Sadly I can't get to the Euro Safeguards meeting at the Labour Party conference today-the first I've missed in yonks. So let me say what I wold have said there about the EU.It might provide an antidote to this morning's debate which was monstrously rigged in favour of EU membership and not allowed to even consider the possibility that we'll  be better off out. and better able to build the kind of strong economy and fair society we want.

The insistence of the refuseniks, and Hilary Benn (whose dad always spoke from our platform) on committing the party to stay in the EU at any cost and whatever happens is not only an EU approach (the elite know better than the people) and a feeble negotiating position ( undercutting Cameron's case) .It's damaging to Britain and  downright daft.

We know that Cameron's proposals are a con and won't lead anywhere because we pulled the same confidence trick ourselves in 1975. He won't get any concessions worth speaking about because they won't give them and can't without treaty changes) so we are not only committing ourselves to accepting the EU as it is without seizing the opportunity to say how we think the institution should be changed but committing ourselves also to a two tier Europe with us in the outer tier while the Euro inner tier  does what it wants and creates rule which we must live by. That's a blank cheque for impotence.

It's also a statement that the EU  is, if not perfect, at least good for Britain and something we in the Labour Party don't want to change. That means accepting the Common Fisheries Policy which has been disastrous for our fishing industry and Britain's fish stocks. It means loving the Common Agricultural Policy which makes fat landowners richer and increases the food bill of the average family by around twenty quid a week because we're forced to buy their dearer food. It means accepting a growing annual drain on the funds of a nation in growing balance of payments problems of eleven billion for the budget and more for the CAP  which we can ill afford .It means accepting the Trans Atlantic Trade and Investment partnership (TTIP) which the EU is negotiating for us and which gives multinationals the power to reverse government decisions. It means accepting EU rules on state aid  which will preclude help to stop the closure of Redcar Steel works

We'll have a lot of rhetoric about "taking the lead in Europe" which we can't because its dominated by a Franco-German plutocracy  and we're on the periphery.We'll have hopes of being at "the heart of Europe" which is impossible unless we accept the Euro and all the damage that would bring.We'll have talk about changing it which we can't either  just as Cameron cant. We'll have lots of claims about losing jobs which can hardly be threatened when they're doing so well out of us taking ever bigger shares of our market and extracting a growing trade deficit from us. . We'll have lots of talk about the benefits we get from membership when it is in fact an albatross round our necks tying us to the world's low growth and high unemployment blackspot.

The advocates of commitment are arguing for a Europe which doesn't exist and never will .They offer us only Eurocrap calculated to commit us to backing Cameron's  cunning strategy which he sees as working to keep us in an organisation which will stop the efforts of the next Labour government to rebuild British manufacturing,which costs heavily, which damages and which does nothing for us that we can't do better for ourselves. . 

Sunday, 27 September 2015

The Hounding of Jeremy

New leaders of all parties have in the past been given a honeymoon, sometimes brief to settle in before the usual press and media battering begins and, in the case of Labour leaders builds up to a crescendo. With Jeremy the crescendo began before he'd even won the leadership election and has got even worse now he's in office. It takes two forms. One is to rake up everything he and his closest colleagues did or said in a radical past and assume that he'll do and say the same as leader.This is the approach of the press witness the Telegraph's accusations that he fomented London riots, armed the IRA and smuggled bombs to Hamas all accusations then taken up by brainless interviewers on the electronic media

. .The second  approach is to bombard the new leadership with all sorts of hypothetical problems and demand instant answers about what he'll do, a technique which was brought to overkill by Andrew Marr on Sunday morning. 

Give the lad a chance.

Any leader who has no errors in the past is a saint already and any leader who says my party will do this that or the other or anything else the pundits want is a dictator not a leader. while questions like "will you curtsey for the queen?""will you sing Beethoven's ninth (entire score of course)" at European summits "will you wear a tie for the Pope" are  so daft that the asker is beyond contempt 

Policy formulation is a difficult art. It needs time and thought. You cant give the rank and file members all they want because that would put us out if line with the public. You cant give the PLP all they want because we'd end up with a policy s cautious and anodyne its not worth voting for. So you take the problems. Decide what the problems are, what needs to be done, what's saleable and propagate a policy. TV interviewers aren't that important that all that has to be done on the spot whenever they askLeaders are there to think and to lead not to jump through hoops to please Marr, Dimbleby or Any other passing whipper snapper

Made O'Money OsborneLast of the Big Spenders

I've come to the conclusion that George is Schizophrenic. On the one hand cuts austerity and grinding the faces of the poor the disabled and local government and long denunciations of Gordon Brown for spending too much..On the other he spends like a drunken sailor on prestige projects which are as unnecessary as they're disastrous. .Billions are to be wasted on a nuclear power station at Hinkley which has already doubled its estimated cost and is certain to go up again to astronomical levels.

There are only three such plants being built in the world and the other two in Finland and Normandy are in trouble well over budget and far behind schedule.Yet  the government has agreed to pay them twice the charges for electricity guaranteed against inflation and proposes to guarantee two billion quid to get the Chinese to come into this deal and to build their own nuclear stations afterwards. Its a scandalous folly.

Then there's the enormous waste of HS2 which is now to lose all the gain in time from travelling faster to Brum because it cant be brought into Euston without enormous expense so to get to Brum passengers will have to get a train to another station five miles away then change trains to HS2  It too will end up enormously over a budget that's inflated already.

More to come. Renewing Trident, a weapon we'll never use  and can't afford will drain money from the defence budget and further shrink the army navy and airforce, the only armed services we've ever used.  Great defence to have billions of quid under water or up on the Clyde while we make a mess of Basra and Helmand because our effort is too small  our armoured vehicles kill people and we don't have enough helicopters to fight without the Americans.  

Thursday, 24 September 2015

What is Labour for?

No one is any longer sure what Labour is for. The party sees itself as a moral crusade but uncertain about  what it's crusading for.The peasants' revolt and the seizure of power by party members (and others) has created further arguments about who's doing the crusading and who exactly we're crusading against. Since Beveridge's big beasts were largely banished  and the simple objective of improving the common lot was largely achieved, Labour turned into a bumper bundle of, sometimes incompatible, causes We fought for feminism, poverty, ethnic advance, environmentalism, democracy, open government, pro and anti nuclear, industrial democracy,the working class,the aspiring and the regular brushing of teeth.  We not only spilled our diminishing supply of seed over too wide a ground but took our dog out of the  major fight of modern times.That's financialisation versus socialisation.

This war was born of the neo -liberal dismantling of the post war settlement replacing the state by "free enterprise", regulation and management by the market and community by cash and carry.Thatcher began it, Osborne continues the ideological work.Yet Labour , in its intervening government ,made no attempt to reverse it. Instead we compounded it, encouraging the corrupt capitalism of PFI follies, pushing the mutuals into corporatisation so they could go spectacularly bust, de-regulating, reducing redistributive taxation,and an economic management twice as green as Green.grass,in Brown's "new paradigm" which abolished boom and bust by the biggest bust since 1930.

The result is a land fit for the world's rich to live in. Wealth is enthroned, the poor punished , big corporations are  allowed to evade their tax obligations, the world's funny money is invited to live in tax-haven on Thames and ninety three billion a year is doled out in corporate welfare. At the centre of all this sit the big four accountancy houses fined punished with partners sent to prison in the US but lauded here.Their power has  increased is increasing and ought to be diminished They make rich livings, by  selling tax avoidance schemes, coming to corrupt deals with Executives to increase their pay through creative accounting and encourage British capitalism  to leach on the state,so that it is now  one of the world's least efficient but has the highest paid executives. More of them  are paid over a million a year than in  the rest of Europe put together.All this enriches big four partners whose yachts houses and private education are protected from redress by a limited liability status Labour gave them and all of them immune from regulation because they not only run the regulators but permeate the public service and pay the political parties.

This isn't exactly the new heaven and the new earth Labour once promised the people. It's a world where wages are screwed down to increase profits, the subsidies we gave to improve living standards are cut to give tax cuts to the wealthy,the share of GDP going to wages and salaries falls while that going to wealth dividends and profits increases, so that as Pinketty has shown,wealth compounds and poverty presses.Yet it's also an insecure world because it is built on debt and Finance lives by risks , compounding them by leverage. It's also corrupt because capitalism cheats.Companies and banks pose as citadels of probity but behind the scenes VW cheats on emissions, defence companies bribe to sell their wares, Banks fiddle the interest rates on LIBOR, over charge on PPI pensioners are skimmed on charges and are now being diddled on their lump sum freedom, dodgy bankruptcies (some of them forced by banks to take over companies)cheat creditors,dealers grow rich by skimming points off foreign exchange deals,utilities bully and overcharge,executives enhance their pay by having it determined by the similarly greedy and accountancy houses  massage profits and turn a blind eye to dodgy practices All these  wheels are then greased by payments to political parties, sale of peerages and"access" and pantouflage which though its not on the French scale still encourages Public Servants to build rewarding niches.This even permeates the Labour front bench witness the obscene rush to dosh  as  Labour's ship sank in 2010 which took Blair, Kelly, Milburn, Purnell,Hewitt and Cabourne on to higher things and better salaries than socialism Poor old Straw  just looked greedy and gauche by joining the game too late.

Financialisation has triumphed The case for socialisation isn't even being put.Labour should be protecting the people ,the nation's reputation and the integrity of public service from the consequences  of that triumph .We're not even thinking about it. Instead we're happy to be the train bearers at its coronation with no  higher ambition than being nice to business.

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Labour is trying to be Labour

What on earth will the press do as Corbyn's leadership settles in? The first teething troubles pass and people realise that  the party has returned to the politics of principle rather than P.R. The people show they appreciate honest seriousness more than half truths and abuse. The Tory press can't go on filling pages with Corby trivia forever and the Tories must eventually empty the barrels of abuse they've stored up. 

Which means the refuseniks have put themselves out on a limb and sitting there sulking and unrepentant damages them was well as the party. They can't attempt a coup because they have no figure big enough to lead them. No use making  Corby's life difficult  that damages the party. They just have to reconcile themselves and recognise why the peasants revolted.

This revolution occurred because Labour had ceased to be labour enough to keep the support of the have nots and the left. For twenty years Blair and Brown were bringing in apparatchicks and chaps  who'd worked for the party and who were clean bright, well educated and out of touch with the people and the real world. For twenty years they'd discriminated against the left and whittled it down as if it was a nuisance  which hindered the  appeal  to the aspirational, the middle class, the soft Conservatives rather than their own people Winning is more important than principle or serious policy. For twenty years they'd whittled down the role of the trade unions , deprived the conference and the party of all influence on policy and taken control of it themselves through the easily led policy forum which ratified what the leadership wanted.

For twenty years they've suppressed dissent and accepted the Thatcher settlement  and what they've called the "rigour"of the free market and avoided the need to provide an alternative .They've suppressed dissent and any alternative leaders and winkled the left out of committee places and jobs .For twenty years they've failed to do enough for the less well off, the North, manufacturing or full employment and preferred the company and the economics of wealth business and those who have. Then when the easy years came to an inevitable end several of them got out in time and deserted the party which had made them for well paid jobs from anyone who could pay them more than the Parliamentary salary while those that were left blithely assumed that it was their destiny to reign and be worshipped forever 

Now when the peasants they've neglected and ignored have revolted against the great dilution they have no better idea than to sulk  and hope that the revolution fails. It may. But we have to hope it doesn't and try to make it work because if it fails so does Labour. There's no going back to the vacuities of Blairism and those who fail the party now,still more those who want it to fail, won't be forgiven.

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Trivial Persuits

De minimus non curat lex might apply to the law but not to the media or the Torygandists who're both dredging round for anything to throw at Corbyn, no matter how trivial.. He didn't sing the national anthem,unlike Michael Faloony who's smart enough to remember the words. He won't wear a poppy unlike the MPs who start wearing poppies in July. He'll probably wear a high Vis jacket at the Cenotaph. He doesn't change his underpants every day.

Who cares? You might think that if this load of unimportant trivia is all they have to throw at him he's nothing to worry about. Don't. It's only the first instalment of the deluge of excrement to come from those who refuse to allow Labour's leader the usual settling in period because they're determined to hound him out as quickly as possible.

No doubt they'll be supported by Andrew Neil who's just presented the most hectoring biased negative Daily Politics I've ever seen bullying Lisa Nandy

Such is the level the politics of a once great nation have been reduced to.And so great the fear of our gradgrind neo-liberal government that their viciousness will be exposed by a man of principle.  

Tuesday, 15 September 2015


What's hit Labour is a peasant's revolt. It's not a takeover by the loony left, or the last trot of the Trots. Both are now too weak for that. It's a revolt of the party members fed up with a Finance Friendly leadership, the endless dilution of their own demands  and the diet of austerity- lite imposed by a leadership more anxious to appear respectable  than to serve the purposes of the people.

Given, by the simple accident that the left was able at the last minute to scrape through a candidate which its never done before, the peasants seized the opportunity to yell "Blair a la lanterne" and chuck out the generation of compromisers who offered a Labour future of endless deference to business, the Tory media and greedy bankers and corporations but peanuts to the people and no hope to the harried and the victims of an unnecessary austerity well calculated to shift the balance of power and wealth to those who already have too much of both. 

This revolt of a party peasantry which the career politicians who lead the party had relied on to be dumbly quiescent changes everything. No use now the careerists sulking in their tents, the Blairites trying to wreck the new leadership or the quibblers carping about wearing a poppy or leaving NATO, Labour has to make the new settlement work or face a future of disgruntled and declining membership and sullen grassroots. Let traitors flinch and cowards sneer, they can't go back and will only damage the party if they try. They've no God given right to lead the party in a direction it doesn't want to go, and must accommodate to its wishes.

There'll be stumbles, mistakes and pains of adjustment. There'll be an enormous press barrage of dirt and sneers. Michael Faloony the Tory boot boy will warn of a defenceless ruined future worse than the one the present government is building. Ignore the lot,concentrate on basics rather than encouraging Sinn Fein or Hamas or trying to be a world power and the world's PC. So focus on the basic needs of the people : housing, health, education, a better life for their kids and an end to this painful pointless austerity  and Labour can win by offering the politics of principle and the economics of hope.

Of course we'll need a little help from the government because oppositions don't win, governments lose, but the Conservatives are helpful here because a recovery based on ever rising house prices and debt which pins its hopes on giving more to the wealthy to boost the same trickle down horses do for roads and turning Britain into a deregulated tax haven on Thames to attract the world's funny money. Funny money can't work and won't work. Labour must do its job of opposing all this bitterly rather than attempting to compromise with it and offer a kinder version. Now is the time for all good women and men to come to the aid of the party rather than acting like egocentric sulky bastards.

Sunday, 13 September 2015


The announcement by ten or a dozen Labour mini-beasts that they will not serve in offices that haven't been offered to them looks like a concerted move to wreck Corbyn's leadership before it's even started. They'll claim that they're making a stand on principle but it looks like a piece of rampant ego mania.

They should think again. Refusing to play the game not only looks and is sulky but it is a rejection of the party's decision on the grounds that they,the important ones,know better. It weakens the party they say they love and makes it difficult for it to win because electors don't like split squabbling parties. It frustrates Corbyn's  plans  for  a comprehensive power sharing and forces him to rely solely on a left the poopers dislike.

It assumes that what they've read in the papers about Corbyn's policies is true and that a leader's view is no different to those of a backbencher when all experience indicates that leaders compromise to lead.It says there is no alternative to last time's offer of austerity lite because respectability and the esteem of business are more important than the hopes of party member and the collective effort to think of new approaches to those rejected already.. It tells us their aim is to contest the verdict of the party and force a new leadership contest in which Labour will be offered only the uninspiring choice of orthodoxies which  we had in this last.

Most of all the downward slide of these slippery pole climbers tells us that they're a gang of self selecting sulky,bossy egomaniacs who feel threatened because they  aren't getting the respect and the power a gang of over educated pygmies deserves. Labour must do as they want .Or they'll take their bat home.

The inescapable truth of British politics is that the Tories have the right to lie and get away with it Labour isn't allowed  So remember that the Conservatives were only exercising that right at the last election when they promised electrification of railways in the North or a new system of payment for care homes  to let oldies keep their houses.Both were dropped after the election

They've long promised to get immigration down to 100,000 a year.No ifs no buts..Except that immigration is four times that level and rising each year.They promised a new council house built for every one sold. but delivered only one house for four sold and have now stopped even doing that.The latest promise is devolved powers to Northern Powerhouses when the reality will be a devolution blame for the coming cuts.

Gorge Osborne has made the maximum use of this liar's charter..He promised the March of the Makers.Manufacturing is still shrinking. He promised to eliminate the deficit by 2015. That had to be re-promised to 2019.He promised prosperity
and tax cuts for all to reward them for their efforts by 20l5. Also postponed.Now its being re-promised.So you know what to expect.


The great achievement of this government has been to turn reality on its head by telling us that what we thought good is in fact bad. Take the need to support and help the unemployed, the disabled the poor.Christians might think this a good idea but in Tory -talk its a crime because its forcing the recipients into a dependency culture so the government has to cut their benefits to help them out of this

People might have thought that it was a good idea to have a strong police force to combat crime. Wrong again. Cutting the force and firing people makes them more efficient and if it means that the police cant respond to calls and crime goes up that will teach the public to be more vigilant. 

Cut legal aid and it will surely encourage more people to learn the law and appear in court themselves. Clearly no bad thing. Cut taxes and we're told tax receipts go up. That doesn't necessarily mean that the same ;people pay more tax but it does help gto let the rich feel they have a purpose in life. 

Impose a bedroom tax on spare rooms and that helps free up accommodation as people move out to smaller properties that they can afford and if these aren't available they may well buy tents and help the camping industry..Fail to build houses so prices explode and you make life difficult for the poor the young and the homeless but boy do you make home owners happy

So it goes on. Remember you're now in Toryland  so you've got to talk Osborne a language where  what you thought true is wrong


David Cameron got Yorkshire wrong. Yorkshire folk don't hate each other though they're not too keen on smart Alec southerners. They're just puzzled bout why this government thinks they're so stupid that they'll fall for a con they call devolution.

We know that the proposals for city regions are really an attempt to devolve blame not power  so that the regions can be blamed for the cuts the government is going to impose. But more Yorkshire towns have still applied because everyone is anxious to escape from the total control exercised by this government .Even if the new powers are pathetic they're better than total control from this incompetent,  gradgrind government in London..Summat's better ner nowt

Fifty eight areas have applied for the new status. That will be winnowed down massively but the result will still be a mess with a patchwork quilt,some areas having the new status others excluded and varying degrees of power depending whether they're likely to be Tory or Labour

Its time Labour thought through its alternative instead of different Labour councils scrabbling for crumbs of power from the Whitehall table. Real devolution (which we should aim at demands the  firmer base of a bigger area with more powers. We can get this either by reverting to the Prescott plan of devolved powers to elected governments in the planning regions, meaning Yorkshire, with a population as great as Scotland's would be one 
Or alternatively we could have even bigger more powerful regions such as the North, the  East and then the West Midlands and so on creating five big regions exercising real power  That's what other countries have done and what we should do too if want to have more control over our own destinies and the synergy of a Yorkshire surge
Either system would make more sense than the government's messy patchwork quilt .Why don't we proclaim it before the quilt is sewn up

Sent from my iPad

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Corbyn Rules get used to it!

The self regarding egomaniacs rushing to announce that they won't serve under Corbyn  are wrong. They damage themselves and the party and accomplish nothing except to demonstrate their contempt for the party they say they love. It's not the first attempt to turn sulking into a political strategy -Ted Heath managed it for years-but to elevate their hurt egos above the interests of the party is contemptible.

The membership has spoken. It wants to go back to basic principles  not to see them constantly diluted. It wants a party which serves the basic interests of the people in health education housing .It wants hope not diluted Toryism  and it wants to be heard not talked down to ,or led where it doesn't want to go and  bamboozled. Ask why the Tories can now present themselves as the party of workers and the answer must be because we didn't do enough for them when we had the chance and look now as though we favour the interests of business wealth and money rather than those the people who work by hand and brain

It's our job now to work with our new leader to achieve all that . He wants party unity and a broad bottomed administration and if he doesn't get it but gets division argument resentment and sulky silliness instead he fails and so does Labour . They proclaim the need for Labour to win power to do anything and they're right.But disunity and division are the best ways not to get it..To wreck the new leader is to wreck the party which wont forgive the pirouetting pillocks  who're now sulking

There's no going back,either to the seventies or to Blairism. Our job now is to take those strong generous principles and sell them to an electorate which is loosing heart and ceasing to believe in or trust politicians because of the continuous betrayals. .Turn principles into policies and we stand ready for power as this vicious government fail as it will.Spend time sabotaging the chosen leader and we won't be.. There's no alternative. no alternative leader. No alternative principles. No alternative approach to power and the sulkers need all three to justify their tantrum.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Byebye Blairism

The rejection of Tessa Jowell (to whom my sympathy) as Labour's mayoral candidate, the Corbyn surge and the crash of Kendall all go to tell us one thing.The Labour Party is thoroughly pissed off with the modernisers.

The rank and file are fed up with being run like an alternative Conservative party with a smile. Fed up with policies being diluted.  Fed up with being told it must be nice, soft and appeal to people who're not going to vote for us anyway. They are fed up of being lectured by smart Alec know alls, of being told they must never fart in public and must be intensely relaxed about greedy bastards making millions by gouging the people. That invading small countries is not only a good thing but right and legal, that the public service is disreputable, that the state is mean, and party and the trade unions brutish bullies.

Most of all they want their party to offer hope and if that involves polishing up the policies of the past, like full employment, growth, fairer shares and rising wages then so be it.

That's the main failure of this election campaign. The three establishment candidates were far too busy denouncing Jeremy to tell us what policies  would take us to victory in 2020. They seemed more determined to tell us that Jeremy was a major threat to the party and to civilisation itself than to denounce this appalling government which is out to destroy not only the post war settlement but the fabric of the state itself.Even worse they denounced even the new policies Jeremy advocated like People's QE and declared the intention of wrecking the party unity they claimed to be upholding by refusing to serve in a Jeremy team if he's elected as leader. 

The sooner they get it into their heads that Blairism, "Modernisation" and public service "reform" (which really involves firing public servants) the the nearer we'll be to giving the people what they really want from the Labour Party: jobs, growth, fairness and a better future. Whoever wins must develop the policies for ending austerity and doing that not prate on about balancing the budget, helping Syria by bombing and promising huge sums for a nuclear sub system we'll never need and won't be allowed to use if we did. 

Saturday, 5 September 2015


It's difficult to see why a government which has bunged 375 billion of Quantitative Easing into the banks and while the Euro Bank and Japan are both doing it on a bigger scale, Yvette Cooper denounces it as the end of the world. 

Why can't it be used to pay for big contracts in infrastructure or housing which create an asset at a time of very low inflation verging on deflation?  Is it better to chuck money away in the hugely inflated costs of the private finance initiative which is now crippling so many hospitals but benefitting the providers so lavishly? Is Labour about subsidising failed financiers who leach on the state or providing jobs for the people ?

Pray tell