Plaid Cymru leader snubs ‘neo-liberal’ SNP to speak at Radical Independence Scotland rally


The leader of Plaid Cymru has snubbed the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) by deciding to speak at a rally organised by a group that is openly critical of SNP policies.

Leanne WoodjLeanne Wood’s visit to Scotland yesterday evening will have raised the eyebrows of many Scottish nationalists in Plaid Cymru’s sister party, after she decided to speak at a rally organised by Radical Independence Scotland (RIC), who have publicly called for Scottish nationalists to oppose the SNP at future elections. Read More »

Posted in Good Society | Tagged , , , , , | 14 Responses

We need to harness rather than attack capitalism


A renewed enthusiasm for social investment would be a natural corollary to the Labour narrative on ‘inclusive capitalism’

Canary wharf ncrjThe political discourse is dominated at the moment by the fiscal challenges of the years ahead and the need for Britain to pay its way in the world. This creates a problem for the left, more accustomed as it is to tax and spend to alleviate social problems.

The recent financial crisis and the subsequent pressures on government revenues highlighted the requirement for new approaches to social challenges. In an era of scarcer government funds and Labour’s tough approach to the public finances, investments within social enterprise and community organisation can help plug the gap between both public and private sector provision in order to address social challenges. Read More »

Posted in Sustainable Economy | Tagged , , , | 17 Responses

Blair playing down his wealth is a reminder that we need to tackle inequality


Blair is back, in case you missed yesterday’s speech marking his 20th anniversary since being elected Labour leader.

blairjMuch of the focus was on his not-so-subtle critiques of Ed Miliband, but one thing also stood out – his claim that he has under a fifth of the £100m some claim he has. “It’s not about making money,” Blair said.

Whether his own estimation of his wealth is true or not – and his and Cherie’s property portfolio is valued at around £30m alone – it raises big questions about the gap between political leaders and the people, and what the ‘elite’ see as a normal amount of money. Read More »

Posted in Sustainable Economy | Tagged , , , , | 12 Responses

Yes Scotland’s NHS scares and lies strategy


The Yes campaign has borrowed one of New Labour’s best tricks, and not in a good way

Yes Scotland ncrjThey say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and the latest turn of the independence referendum shows it to be true, as the Yes campaign has borrowed one of New Labour’s best tricks.

Those of us with long memories will recall various by-election campaigns in Tony Blair’s spell as leader of the opposition when Peter Mandelson would run a last-week leaflet bearing the headline ‘One Week To Save Our NHS/Hospitals’ etc.

This would appeal to the natural concerns of the local public who would then turn out to defeat the hapless Tory candidate who would be left shaking their head in bewilderment. Read More »

Posted in Clean Politics | Tagged , , , , , | 163 Responses

Anyone interested in education can learn from the Haberdashers Aske’s debacle


The Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation scandal exposes Labour’s lack of policy on academies and free schools

Gove no copyrightjLast week I blogged about fraud at the Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation, an academy chain favoured by Michael Gove. Yesterday the Daily Mail named a suspect and revealed the theft amounted to £4.1 million, making it the largest school fraud ever, in the UK or elsewhere.

The crime raises some questions about the integrity of Michael Gove. But for me it also exposes Labour’s lack of policy on academies and free schools.

The crime itself was committed over several years, but not discovered until October 2012. In summer 2013 the Haberdashers’ Aske’s Federation won a civil case to recover its assets. Read More »

Posted in Public Services for All | Tagged , , , , | 2 Responses

5 things you should know about the new leader of the BNP


Josiah Mortimer takes an irreverent look at the newly-anointed leader of the British National Party, Adam Walker

Nick Griffin-1jAs of last night, Nick Griffin is no longer the chairman of the BNP. Instead, a party apparatchik who until recently worked for two BNP MEPs has taken over. There was no election of course, but Adam Walker – former president of the party’s nationalist ‘trade union’ Solidarity – is the new main man.

Here are a few things you should probably know about him. Read More »

Posted in A Britain We All Call Home | Tagged , , , | 11 Responses

Tony Blair was right about some things, however uncomfortable that makes you feel


In trashing the legacy of Tony Blair you are essentially sticking two fingers up at the electorate

I think it’s rather optimistic to write, as Conor Pope did on Labour List yesterday, that Tony Blair’s latest speech was “his biggest endorsement yet of Ed Miliband’s leadership of the Labour Party”.

Tony Blair ncrjThe speech certainly wasn’t hostile; I simply think ‘endorse’ is the wrong word. Blair is of the Labour party and will back the party whoever is leader. The real question is whether he thinks they’re doing the right thing, which is where yesterday’s speech was more mixed. Read More »

Posted in Good Society | Tagged , , , | 40 Responses

Public sector pay – did the government massage the statistics to make its case?


Using a statistical sleight of hand, the government is trying to disguise the full horror of what’s happening to public sector pay

Unison signjThe July 10 public sector strikes provoked a bitter war of words, with the government condemning the strikes as “unnecessary”. One assertion was that public sector pay growth had held up rather better than the private sector.

However the government is being disingenuous in relying on a figure that precedes their election to power. In fact, when we turn our attention to the coalition’s record it is the private sector that has seen faster earnings growth. Read More »

Posted in Sustainable Economy | Tagged , , , , | 9 Responses

Labour councillors upbeat but Ed Miliband seen as a hindrance


New polling reveals that Labour councillors are optimistic about 2015 but Ed Miliband viewed as a hindrance

Ed Miliband ncr 1jPolling released by the Labour History Research Unit at Anglia Ruskin University today reveals that the Labour base is upbeat about the party’s prospects next May, but somewhat wary of the mandate the party will seek at the election.

Surveying over 400 Labour councillors across the party’s 106 target seats and the 50 Labour held seats most vulnerable to a Conservative swing, our polls show over three-quarters of respondents in such marginals believe Labour will emerge as the largest party in 2015. Read More »

Posted in Good Society | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Responses

Today’s Mail energy piece – hot gas from vested interests


The Mail seems intent on becoming a mouthpiece for the Big Six

Gas hob ncrj“Red Ed blunder blocking cuts to your power bills.”

Or so reads the headline of a piece in today’s Daily Mail, which quotes from “anonymous energy industry sources”.

It looks remarkably like the mega-companies are pushing for a Tory victory via their friends in the right-wing press, with one high-up source apparently telling the paper: “if [the polls] point to a Labour win, then reductions in bills are unlikely”.

Subtle. Read More »

Posted in Environment | Tagged , , , , | 4 Responses
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