Fiddling with flower pots – why real democracy means public ownership

Voters would be more likely to vote for a party that promotes public ownership by a ratio of 4:1

Train ncrjSome years ago, I was involved with a rail user group in Bristol, called Friends of Suburban Bristol Railways. We were part of a community which desperately needed a more frequent train service. The local trains went every hour and a half – if you missed it, it was a very long wait for the next one.

We ran a campaign, handed out postcards to passengers and in the end, made the council pay for an extra train for the local line – passenger numbers increased by 100 per cent.

So I know quite a lot about what it feels like to be on the receiving end of politicians who think of us as the ‘community’. The council tried to bamboozle us with technicalities, saying that what we wanted wasn’t possible. They wanted us to focus on getting nice flower pots to make the stations look nice, not ask for a more frequent service. Read More »

Posted in Public Services for All | Tagged , , , | 11 Responses

Another Tory housing gimmick

Cameron’s housing announcement is his latest attempt to wear Mrs Thatcher’s clothes

David Cameron ncrjTory conferences have often kicked off with a prime ministerial housing announcement. This year is no exception. David Cameron has indicated that around 100,000 new ‘starter’ homes will be provided to first-time-buyers aged under 40 years with a discount of 20 per cent on the market price.

Achieving this target is contingent on the Tories being in government come next May of course, so it’s jam tomorrow as so often with such pre-conference announcements. Read More »

Posted in Good Society | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Responses

Miliband should be ambitious and go for a Robin Hood tax

As everyone from the Institute for Fiscal Studies to the International Monetary Fund agrees, the financial sector is under-taxed

Canary wharf ncrjTax hedge funds and give it to the NHS? You can see where Ed Miliband is coming from. According to a 2014 Ipsos MORI poll it is the NHS – more than the royal family, more than the armed forces and more than Team GB even – that most makes people proud to be British.

Yet the Nuffield Trust has put the funding gap at £30 billion by the end of the decade.

Ed Miliband in his Labour conference speech last Tuesday announced he’d ask a sub-sector of our economy to contribute a modest sum – £600m a year – toward this shortfall. Read More »

Posted in Good Society | Tagged , , , | 2 Responses

This week’s most read: UKIP on the up, Miliband’s six point plan and devolution

The most read stories this week:

Ed Miliband ncrj1. UKIP up and Labour continue to slide in WalesEd Jacobs

2. The Yes campaign may have won the #indyref - Josiah Mortimer

3. An open letter from Caroline Lucas MP to the three party leadersCaroline Lucas

4. Ed Miliband’s six point plan for Britain – and what it meansJames Bloodworth

5. Conference 2014: Labour is losing credibility on devolutionEd Jacobs

Posted in Left Foot Forward | Tagged | Leave a comment

Syria air strikes: Bashar al-Assad is not the ‘lesser evil’, but a major part of the problem

A Western alliance with Assad would be based on two colossal misunderstandings of the situation in Syria

Bashar al Assad ncrjJust over a year ago David Cameron was considering air strikes on Syria after the dictatorship of President Bashar al Assad dropped chemical weapons on civilians in a suburb of Damascus.

Today, in a quicker about-face than an MP dragged in front of the courts for fiddling his expenses, there are calls from senior politicians for the West to adopt Assad as an ally in the fight against the fanatics of the so-called Islamic State (IS). Read More »

Posted in Multilateral Foreign Policy | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Responses

Commons vote on ISIS: let’s clarify things

Only 43 people voted against the motion, but many throwaway statements have been made criticising intervention

ISIS flagjThe House of Commons consensus over the UK joining the air strikes from the international military coalition against the terrorist organisation Islamic State is welcome.

We are now at war legally, proportionately and necessarily to achieve the aims of degrading and destroying this vile medieval organisation, Islamic State (IS).

Only 43 people voted against the motion, but many throwaway statements have been made criticising intervention. Let’s clarify things. Read More »

Posted in Multilateral Foreign Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 18 Responses

The average person is being priced out of bettering themselves and gaining an education

Do we want to live in a society that can’t afford to offer its citizens culture, free and readily available?

Museum ncrjI work for a major city museum in one of the North’s biggest cities. It’s funded by the local authority and is the flagship site, located in the city centre.

It attracts two to three thousand visitors per day on a Saturday and Sunday and up to nine thousand in an evening for certain special events. It runs free children activities every weekend and throughout the summer holidays, all aimed at educating children in a fun and interactive way. Read More »

Posted in Good Society | Tagged , , , | 9 Responses

Labour’s green policies are warming up, but its economics lag behind

If action on climate change is urgent, why is it hard for politicians to spend a bit of money on it?

Caroline Flint ncrjThis year’s Labour conference gave people who care about the environment some new grounds for hope. But the party’s top brass still haven’t fully grasped the economic mindset needed for the UK to succeed in a low carbon world.

Most positively – after years of the likes of us banging on about the awfulness of existing government policy – the shadow energy secretary, Caroline Flint, announced a “war on cold homes”. Read More »

Posted in Environment | Tagged , , , , , , , | 18 Responses

Left Foot Forward readers back airstrikes on IS

A majority of Left Foot Forward readers back some form of military action against the so-called Islamic State (IS), according to our latest poll.

Thirty one per cent of readers supported a UK role in airstrikes on IS, with 24 per cent supporting airstrikes but also open to the possibility of ‘boots on the ground’.

IS pollj Read More »

Posted in Multilateral Foreign Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Responses

Killing people rarely kills their ideas

Our best hope of reducing the numbers radicalised would be to champion a foreign policy based on clear principles

plane ncrjEvery vote I cast in Parliament weighs heavily on my mind, especially as, unlike most other MPs, I have no whip telling me what to do – I consider the evidence, reflect on the principles I was elected to stand up for, listen to my constituents in Brighton Pavilion.

Never more so than on a day like today, when MPs are deciding whether to carry out air strikes in Iraq against the so called Islamic State (ISIL).

Whatever we decide people will die. Be it directly at the hands of ISIL, whose barbarity seems to know no limits. Or when they are hit by bombs dropped by the US, France or the UK. Read More »

Posted in Multilateral Foreign Policy | Tagged , , , , , , , | 45 Responses
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