The ugly face of New Labour rears up again: Chris Leslie and Nita Clarke



It seems the neoliberal Blairites of New Labour are coming out of the woodwork in an effort to ensure that nobody in their right mind supports the modern Labour Party next year.

According to the Huffington Post, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury Chris Leslie reckons that a future Labour government will not undo the Coalition’s hugely unpopular cuts but will continue to impose the austerity that has kept our economy in crisis for the last four years.

In that case, why bother voting for Labour? We’ve already got one lot of Conservatives in power; there’s no need for any more.

Just to recap what we all know already, austerity is no way out of a recession. Economies grow when an increased money supply travels through the system, making profits for businesses and creating the fiscal multiplier effect. This means more tax comes to the government and it is able to pay down its debts. Austerity cuts off that money supply, making it much more difficult for money to circulated, profit to be made and tax to be taken. Evidence shows that the only people who profit from it are those who were rich already.

Indeed, the current economic miracle (if you believe George Osborne) was engineered by government investment – rather than austerity – in a housing price bubble. It’s almost a return to Keynesian economics, but done in a cack-handed, amateurish way that will cause more problems in the long run.

Austerity is, therefore, a Conservative policy and one that should be abandoned if Labour ever comes to power. The fact that this Leslie person is promoting it shows his true-Blue colours. Perhaps someone should start a petition to have him ejected from the party.

Retaining austerity was described by the HuffPost as part of “Labour’s ‘radical’ policy plans”, but this is ridiculous. How can retaining a policy that is already causing uncounted harm be, in any way, radical? It’s just more of the same neoliberal Conservatism.

“George Osborne has had his five years to eradicate the deficit. I am determined that we finish that task on which he has failed,” said Leslie in the article. How does he propose to achieve that aim, if his methods are the same? The man just isn’t making sense.

Meanwhile, a former Blair aide named Nita Clarke has defended another pillar of neoliberalism – privatisation – by making the absurd claim that Labour should not criticise private firms when they fail to deliver public services.

Speaking at a conference by the right-wing thinktank Progress, she said: “We have to be really careful that we’re not always seen as attacking the private sector and celebrating their failures. How do you think that makes the staff who work there feel?”

How does Nita Clarke think British citizens feel about being let down on a regular basis by these profit-guzzling clowns, ever since Margaret Thatcher’s Conservatives first started letting them into places where they did not belong?

How does Nita Clarke think British citizens felt when neoliberal New Labour refused to push back the tide of privatisation?

How does Nita Clarke think British citizens should feel about the fact that privatisation is now threatening the welfare state, the National Health Service and even state pensions?

Only today, Vox Political reblogged an article warning that HM Revenue and Customs may be undergoing preparations for privatisation.

Like austerity, privatisation is a fundamental pillar of the current neoliberal agenda. It has no place in the Labour Party, if the Labour Party is serious about opposing the Conservatives at the next election.

There should be no place in Labour for Chris Leslie, Nita Clarke, or anybody who supports their views, either.

It’s a view that might be unpopular with the Blue suits that make up the current Labour leadership.

But it’s the only way Labour will ever come up with a really ‘radical’ – and workable – plan.

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  1. Mike Sivier June 1, 2014 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    Seriously, if anyone can provide details on the best way to set up a petition to get these people out of Labour, please get in touch.

    • Be quick. That is a political petition and these are banned from September with the gagging law. Is it not far better for the Labour not part of Progress, to defect and merge with TUSC and become a fully fledged party, existing all year round, instead of just at elections, and bring the trade union affiliation with them and all that funding?

    • jess June 2, 2014 at 12:48 am - Reply

      “Meanwhile, a former Blair aide named Nita Clarke has defended another pillar of neoliberalism – privatisation – by making the absurd claim that Labour should not criticise private firms when they fail to deliver public services.”

      There is a bit more to Clarke that just being ‘a Blair aide’ She is also a lackey of the current Prime Minister

      “Nita Clarke is the Director of the Involvement and Participation Association (IPA), Britain’s leading organisation delivering workplace support for good employment and industrial relations. She was vice-chair of the MacLeod Review on employee engagement and continues to work with David MacLeod on the new national Employee Engagement task force, launched by Prime Minister David Cameron in March 2011.
      ……Nita was awarded the OBE for services to employee engagement and business in the Queen’s birthday honours list 2013.”

      And I always thought that the TUC were
      “Britain’s leading organisation delivering workplace support for good employment and industrial relations”

  2. […] The ugly face of New Labour rears up again: Chris Leslie and Nita Clarke. […]

  3. kittysjones June 1, 2014 at 4:19 pm - Reply

    What Miliband actually has said is – “Our starting point for 2015-16 will be that we cannot reverse any cut in day-to-day, current spending unless it is fully funded from cuts elsewhere or extra revenue – not from more borrowing,” Miliband

    And because the lie the tories perpetuated was that labour trashed the economy, – which stuck – you can see why.
    If you look past the various headlines , the Labour leader has simply given himself room for manoeuvre .Here’s why:

    1) Miliband is only matching spending levels

    The Labour leader may be matching current “day-to-day” spending levels, but that still allows him plenty of room for capital spending. He may as well have openly pledged to do so, with robust rhetoric on housing and house building. His speech on limiting the benefit bill specifically mentioned how house building can reduce welfare spending in the long run, by stopping the system of siphoning off public funds for private landlords. He also has political cover from the IMF, which suggested that the UK could use another £10 billion investment. The rumours are that Labour will pledge to build a million new homes in its manifesto.

    2) It’s only for a year

    Miliband’s pledge only counts for the first year of his potential government, from 2015 to 2016. After that, he can do what he likes.

    3) You can be fiscally conservative while still being progressive

    Miliband’s pledge draws a red line in day-to-day spending beyond which he will not cross, but it does not specify what he does ahead of that line. Under the coalition, savings were expected to be found under a ratio of 80:20 – 80% spending cuts to 20% tax rises. There is nothing to stop Miliband significantly raising taxes on the wealthy while easing or even undoing spending cuts elsewhere. There are many signs that that is precisely what he will do. The Labour leader has already announced a bankers’ bonus, return of the 50p top rate of tax and a mansion tax. The direction of travel is clear.

    4) He can still undo spending cuts

    Just because each pledge must be financially matched without resort to borrowing doesn’t mean it can’t be undertaken. As Miliband specified, cuts can be undone if the funding is found from elsewhere. His problem so far is that he is massively over-promised on the back of fairly moderate policies. The proposed bankers’ bonus has been matched to several promises – certainly more than it would pay for. The mansion tax has already been matched to bringing back the 10p rate of income tax. But Ed Balls’ admittance that the proposed VAT cut may not figure in the Labour manifesto at least allows for saved funds to be directed elsewhere. If anything, Miliband’s announcement should prompt campaigners to redouble their efforts on their chosen issue. The more noise there is around a cut, the more prominently it will figure in Labour’s priorities.

    5) Miliband hasn’t yet ruled out radical options

    Just because you’re not borrowing doesn’t mean you can’t spend. Britain has magicked £375 billion out of the air and handed it to banks as part of the quantitative easing programme. But if you can print money for banks, you can print it to try other methods of kick-starting the economy, such as taking low earners out of income tax. It would be a daring move, but an electorally popular one.

    • Mike Sivier June 1, 2014 at 4:25 pm - Reply

      This is why the kind of talk Leslie was coming out with is so destructive – he was undermining the points you make here, putting a neoliberal spin on what Labour will be doing and making the party seem like the ‘Tory-lite’ party it is often made out to be.

      • kittysjones June 1, 2014 at 4:32 pm - Reply

        I agree it’s destructive, and undermines support,which ultimately accomplishes discontent, apathy, UKIP voting and another 5 years of a right wing Government. The absolute death of this Country. The media don’t help one jot

      • Bill Kruse June 1, 2014 at 7:46 pm - Reply

        If Leslie’s a fifth columnist there specifically as a plant to damage Labour’s prospects, which I could see being the case, then he’s earning his pay, no doubt about that. And Kitty Sue, it’s part of one of the Lisbon/Maastricht treaties we’re signed up to that we can’t create money direct into the economy. Instead, once it’s created we have to give it to the banks and once they’ve got it, they own it as per normal and it’s up to them what they do with it. This was a sneaky trick as it cemented the banks control over the money supply. I don’t suppose more than a handful of people involved had any idea of the ramifications of what they were signing..

        • Mike Sivier June 1, 2014 at 8:15 pm - Reply

          Can you point us to the part of the relevant treaty that states this?
          Someone recently claimed that NHS privatisation was an EU requirement so I’m suspicious whenever anyone makes this kind of comment.

          • Bill Kruse June 1, 2014 at 9:47 pm

            No I can’t. I’ve not heard that about the NHS though, that sounds bogus to me. I believe Richard Murphy’s familiar with which treaty it was, I seem to recall we talked about it a bit on one of his blogs eons ago.

          • Mike Sivier June 1, 2014 at 9:47 pm

            Okay, I’ll see if I can find out anything via other channels.

  4. Bryn miller June 1, 2014 at 4:28 pm - Reply

    This may seem a stupid question.What does the Labour Party actually stand for ? I’ve never realy been sure. Anyone got an answer?who knows I might become a convert.

  5. bookmanwales June 1, 2014 at 4:38 pm - Reply

    Unfortunately there is no reason for Labour to ever change. Being stuffed full of middle class high earners with their fingers in all the same pies as the Tories means they will not change.
    The only real solution is for a mass resignation of those who really do wnat to see a different approach and the establishment of a new party.
    All the BS about trying to change the party from within is just so much hot air as it cannot, and never will, happen due to the desire of current Labour members for “power at any cost”
    The other option of course is to do as the Libdems did and for Labour to lie through their teeth, deny any changes and then do them anyway once in power. Got the coalition in so no reason it can’t work for Labour.

    • kittysjones June 1, 2014 at 6:03 pm - Reply

      If you think that labour are as bad as the tories, you really do deserve another 5 years of this shit

      • Mike Sivier June 1, 2014 at 6:10 pm - Reply

        Don’t tempt Fate!

      • Ian Duncan June 2, 2014 at 6:05 pm - Reply

        I am so tired of people banging Labour’s drum now. It should have dawned on everyone by now – after abstaining from the workfare vote, failing to turn up in enough numbers to stop the bedroom tax, promising further austerity, promising to be as tough on ‘welfare as the Tory dreck and shying away from anything even remotely leftish – that Labour are a bunch of neoliberal, middle-class, careerist berks.

        Given that they show every sign of continuing persecuting benefit claimants, privatising everything in sight and continuing the housing bubble noneconomy, what is the point of them any more?

        If you vote Labour as they stand now, absolutely nothing will change. Oh, except the bedroom tax. Yippee.Radical.

        When you keep voting for the same old same old, that is all you deserve and that is all you get. Labour will not change for the good if you keep supporting them at the ballot box

        Vote Green. I don’t care if the Conservatives get back in (I speak as someone with multiple serious illnesses who has been persecuted by these Tories. too), by the time of the 2020 election the public will be so fed up (if riots haven’t occurred) that they’ll vote for anyone else but the Tories.

        Vote Green if you’re evenly vaguely of the left. Otherwise, don’t complain when you vote Labour and nothing changes. (I’ll be over the moon if Labour are just keeping their electoral powder dry to keep the media quiet but I just can’t see it.)

        • Mike Sivier June 2, 2014 at 7:02 pm - Reply

          I notice that you have mentioned only one of the many plans Labour intends to carry out if it wins the next election. What about repealing the Health and Social Care Act so English people can have a proper National Health Service again? What about the planned home-building programme (which is likely to bring about a drop in unemployment)? What about the Living Wage (cutting in-work benefit payments by making employers actually pay people a proper wage for a change)? The last two proposals mean LESS persecution for benefit claimants, of course. What about the planned taxes on the super-rich, to ensure they pay their fair share, rather than shipping all their cash out to the offshore bank? It seems likely that some of the public utilities may be renationalised, rather than further privatisation taking place. There are many more.

          • Bill Kruse June 2, 2014 at 10:45 pm

            What if they’re lying, just like the Tories were when they were in opposition?

          • Mike Sivier June 2, 2014 at 11:46 pm

            What if they’re not? What if I’m right? What if they’re planning go through with all the good ideas they’ve been putting forward? What if all the Doubting Thomases and other naysayers put enough of the public off voting for them that they never get a chance to put those good ideas into practice and we end up under the yoke of another five years of the bottom-feeding mutations we’ve got at the moment?

            What are you going to say then? “I told you so”?

          • Bill Kruse June 3, 2014 at 9:13 am

            If that happens then – cross-fingers – we get the uprising that’s needed. After that, who knows? A world of tumult and opportunity opens up. What we might make of it remains to be seen.

        • kittysjones June 2, 2014 at 7:12 pm - Reply

          That’s the problem: people DONT ‘bang labour’s drum.’

          I’m sick of seeing misinformed crap paraded as ‘criticism’. For example, did you speak to Byrne about the workfare issue? I did –

          Greens are not going to garner sufficient public support in 2015 to get shot of the Tories..

          You don’t care if the Tories get back in? I’m also ill and disabled, but your comment disgusted me because thousands have died because of tory policy, and you think it’s okay to endorse another 5 years of that? You selfish arse. I hope you don’t call yourself a ‘socialist’ because THAT isn’t socialism, it’s nothing more than self-interest

          And finally –

          • Mike Sivier June 2, 2014 at 7:26 pm

            Before people start shouting at each other, may I remind everybody in the friendliest way possible that we debate the issues here – if you want to take issue with each other, please do it elsewhere.

          • kittysjones June 2, 2014 at 7:51 pm

            I’ll apologise – it’s your site

      • jess June 2, 2014 at 10:39 pm - Reply


        Thanks for the extended reasonings behind Byrne’s decisions

        I can understand why he took the course he did (even if I still disagree with it)

        But what you have recounted is a big difference to what was bouncing about the media at the time, and I thought I was following matters pretty closely

        And he is right about getting the sanctions target issue onto the agenda

        I commend him for that, and you, for publicising too.

        • kittysjones June 2, 2014 at 11:09 pm - Reply

          I had actually tore a strip off him in my email to him about all of this. Was horrified to see the element of blackmail IDS chucked in.

          I didn’t like Byrne, but on reflection I think the media also did a hatchet job on him – even the Guardian actually lied about the sanctions issue. The truth matters very much, I think. And we are not getting it at the moment

      • jess June 3, 2014 at 1:11 am - Reply

        Again, Kitty

        You highlight the scandalous nature of the ‘blackmail’ threat from George Smith

        Why that little ‘gem’ wasn’t better publicised at the time by those who have a wider audience is beyond me. For I do mind that Byrne was quoted on that at the time

        And you are right about the Guardian lying over sanctions.

        Whilst some of their reporters will write about the issue, ‘commenters’ are moderated when linking to some of the ‘whistle-blower’ blogposts. Yet ukippers are allowed to repeat the most obvious falsehoods, stuff for which they can have no evidence.

        I know the Labour Party sometimes get it wrong on policy (ok, to be fairer, there is stuff I disagree with)

        But I am also certain that if they do not get a majority at the next general election, our countries will be on the road to hell, in a privatised handcart.

        • Bill Kruse June 3, 2014 at 8:53 am - Reply

          So what was this IDS blackmail thing?

        • kittysjones June 4, 2014 at 9:25 pm - Reply

          I won’t survive another 5 years of this, nor will many other vulnerable,sick and disabled people

          • Bill Kruse June 4, 2014 at 10:11 pm

            Don’t say that Sue, have a rest, involve yourself in diferent things for a while. Sick of reading obscure economics books, I’m reading wrestler Bret The Hitman Hart’s bio for a complete change of pace. I know the world still needs saving etc but I need a break. So do you, go do something different. Go walk in the sun next time there is any, have time off. The revolution can do without you (and me) for a bit :-) xx

          • kittysjones June 5, 2014 at 1:41 am

            No, Bill, regardless of taking a break ,I really won’t survive another term of the Tories. I’m being truthful, not melodramatic. Sorry I’ve upset you though xx

  6. Chris K. June 1, 2014 at 4:43 pm - Reply

    When did Labour during Blair’s reign ever have a kind and benevolent face? Ed Balls and George Osborne both attended Bilderberg this weekend and it seems it’s going to be difficult to find any difference between their policies so leaving UKIP to make new headway next May. I’d say shoot them all, let God sort them out, and get a new lot of corporate c***suckers from all the parties to start this nonsense all over again. But then what do I know?

    • Mike Sivier June 1, 2014 at 5:12 pm - Reply

      New Labour did a lot of good in its 13 years, but ultimately will be remembered for its wrongs (the same as the Thatcher/Major years before them). You’ll notice I did not attribute any other face to New Labour in the text of the article.

    • kittysjones June 1, 2014 at 6:01 pm - Reply

      New Labour achieved:
      1. Longest period of sustained low inflation since the 60s.
      2. Low mortgage rates.
      3. Introduced the National Minimum Wage and raised it to £5.52 per hour.
      4. Over 14,000 more police in England and Wales.
      5. Cut overall crime by 32 per cent.
      6. Record levels of literacy and numeracy in schools.
      7. Young people achieving some of the best ever results at 14, 16, and 18.
      8. Funding for every pupil in England has doubled.
      9. Employment is at its highest level ever.
      10. 3,700 rebuilt and significantly refurbished schools; including new and improved classrooms, laboratories and kitchens.
      11. 85,000 more nurses.
      12. 32,000 more doctors.
      13. Brought back matrons to hospital wards.
      14. Devolved power to the Scottish Parliament.
      15. Devolved power to the Welsh Assembly.
      16. Dads now get paternity leave of 2 weeks for the first time.
      17. NHS Direct offering free convenient patient advice.
      18. Gift aid was worth £828 million to charities last year.
      19. Restored city-wide government to London.
      20. Record number of students in higher education.
      21. Child benefit up 26 per cent since 1997.
      22. Delivered 2,200 Sure Start Children’s Centres.
      23. Introduced the Equality and Human Rights Commission.
      24. £200 winter fuel payment to pensioners & up to £300 for over-80s.
      25. On course to exceed our Kyoto target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
      26. Restored devolved government to Northern Ireland.
      27. Over 36,000 more teachers in England and 274,000 more support staff and teaching assistants.
      28. All full time workers now have a right to 24 days paid holiday.
      29. A million pensioners lifted out of poverty.
      30. The Child Poverty Act – 600,000 children lifted out of relative poverty.
      31. Introduced child tax credit giving more money to parents.
      32. Scrapped Section 28 and introduced Civil Partnerships.
      33. Brought over 1 million social homes up to standard.
      34. Inpatient waiting lists down by over half a million since 1997: the shortest waiting times since NHS records began.
      35. Banned fox hunting.
      36. Cleanest rivers, beaches, drinking water and air since before the industrial revolution.
      37. Free TV licences for over-75s.
      38. Banned fur farming and the testing of cosmetics on animals.
      39. Free breast cancer screening for all women aged between 50-70.
      40. Free off peak local bus travel for over-60s and disabled people.
      41. New Deal – helped over 1.8 million people into work.
      42. Over 3 million child trust funds started.
      43. Free eye test for over 60s.
      44. More than doubled the number of apprenticeships.
      45. Free entry to national museums and galleries.
      46. Overseas aid budget more than doubled.
      47. Heart disease deaths down by 150,000 and cancer deaths down by 50,000.
      48. Cut long-term youth unemployment by 75 per cent.
      49. Free nursery places for every three and four-year-olds.
      50. Free fruit for most four to six-year-olds at school.
      51. Gender Recognition Act 2004/5
      52. Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland.
      53. Walk-in Health Centres and GP out of hours Service.
      54. Digital hearing aids, through the NHS.
      55. Children’s Act 2004, 2008 – Every Child Matters.
      56. Introduced Smoke–Free legislation, 2007 – child health improving continually since.
      57. Retail Distribution Review – ending commission for financial advisers
      58. Introduced legislation to make company ‘blacklisting’ unlawful.
      59. The Equality Act.
      60. Established the Disability Rights Commission in 1999.
      61. The Human Rights Act.
      62 Signed the European Social Chapter.
      63. Launched £1.5 billion Housing Pledge of new affordable housing.
      64. The Autism Act 2009.
      65. New Deal for Communities Regeneration Programme.
      66. All prescriptions free for people being treated for cancer or the effects of cancer.
      67. Introduced vaccination to be offered to teenage girls to protect against cervical cancer.
      68. Rough sleeping dropped by two thirds and homelessness at its lowest level since the early 1980s
      69. Cancelled up to 100 per cent of debt for the world’s poorest countries.
      70. Increased Britain’s offshore wind capacity than any country in the world, to provide enough electricity to power 2 million homes .
      71. Led the campaign to win the 2012 Olympics for London.
      72. Introduced the first ever British Armed Forces and Veterans Day to honour past and present achievements of our armed forces.
      73. Created a new right of pedestrian access, so that every family has equal opportunity to access the national coastline.
      74. Led the campaign to agree a new international convention banning all cluster munitions.
      75. Launched the Swimming Challenge Fund to support free swimming for over 60s and under 16s.
      76. Sustainable Communities Act – created community safety partnerships.
      77. Set up a dedicated Department for International Development.
      78. Cancelled approximately 100 per cent of debt for the world’s poorest countries.
      79. Helped lift 3 million people out of poverty each year, globally.
      80. Helped to get 40 million more children into school, globally.
      81. Polio is on the verge of being eradicated, globally.
      82. 3 million people are now able to access life-preserving drugs for HIV and AIDS.
      83. Improved water/sanitation services for over 1.5 million people.
      84. Launched a Governance and Transparency Fund to improve governance and increase accountability in poor countries.
      85. The Neighbourhood Renewal programme – introduced funding for neighbourhood improvements.
      86. The Extending Schools Program – included Breakfast & Homework clubs to improved levels of educational achievement and the longer term life chances of disadvantaged children.
      87. Launched the Connexions Service – provided valuable careers advice and support to young people seeking employment.
      88. Working Family Tax credits to support low paid parents in work and to pay for childcare.
      89. The Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA)
      90. Established The Future Jobs Fund to provide all young people access to a job, training or education.
      91. Introduced Warm Front – helped 2.3 million vulnerable households, those in fuel poverty with energy efficiency improvements.
      92. Guaranteed paid holidays – introduced a law to ensure that everyone who works is entitled to a minimum paid holiday of 5.6 weeks,
      93. The right to request flexible working.
      94. Improved work hours – introduced a law so employers cannot force employees to work more than 48 hours a week.
      95. Protection against unfair dismissal – introduced protections for workers and increased the maximum compensation from £12,000 to around £63,000.
      96. Introduced Rights for Part-time workers – the right to equal pay rates, pension rights, pro-rata holidays and sick pay.
      97. Introduced the Right to breaks at work
      98. Introduced the Right to representation – every worker can be a member of a trade union and be represented in grievance and disciplinary hearings.
      99. Rights for parents and carers – introduced the right to time off to deal with unexpected problems for their dependants, such as illness.
      100. Introduced literacy and numeracy hours in schools and extended diversity to the curriculum.
      101. Reduced class sizes to 30 for 5-7 year old children.
      102. Introduced a public interest test, allowing governments to block international business takeovers on three specific grounds: media plurality, national security or financial stability.

      • jaypot2012 June 1, 2014 at 6:38 pm - Reply

        And sadly they are remembered for immigrants plus the huge debt we are told by the media and the lying coalition that they left.
        I know that the deficit was coming down and then when the present “government” got in they increased it ten-fold.
        All I have ever wanted from the Labour party these last 4 years has been a fight over everything that Cameron and Co have thrown at us – and a huge fight would be really needed over this next year.
        Come on Labour, pull your finger out!

        • kittysjones June 1, 2014 at 6:47 pm - Reply

          They do fight, but no media coverage. It’s so bad that I’ve taken to reading Hansard, which makes my eyes bleed! But unfortunately necessary, not only for debates and vote outcomes – and people have lied about those before now, hence my checking – but to see what the tories are shovelling into the pipeline too.

  7. Smiling Carcass June 1, 2014 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on SMILING CARCASS'S TWO-PENNETH.

  8. beastrabban June 1, 2014 at 5:20 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on Beastrabban’s Weblog and commented:
    There’s a long critique of Chris Leslie’s comments about Milliband continuing the Coalition’s austerity programme by Kittysjones in the comments section to this post. She points out that it isn’t quite the continuation of Tory policies by Labour that the Huffpost article makes this seem. Her comments are well worth reading. However, New Labour – the Blairite section of the Labour party – has a history of taking Tory policies and simply copying them, while trying to make out that they can implement them better. There is footage on some of the Anarchist website of Milliband being booed at a Mayday March for praising the anti-Austerity marcher, while stating that he will not undo the government’s spending cuts. Other members of Labour’s front bench have also stated that they will be even harsher on benefit claimants than the Tories. With this in mind, it’s not unreasonable to be sceptical about what Labour actually intends to do for ordinary people, even if Milliband has not said what Chris Leslie has claimed he said.

    The background to Leslie’s comments is yet another factional struggle for power within the Labour party. Two weeks ago the ‘I’ newspaper reported that the Blairite faction, Progress, was dropping the ‘New’ tag from its ‘New Labour’ label, in order to present itself as the established mainstream ideological current in the Labour party. The newspaper quoted them as saying that, after three decades, it was time they were seen as the true core of the Labour party. The fact is, Progress is desperately trying to maintain its position within Labour against opposition. The ‘I’ also reported that there have been moves to throw it out, because of the way it acts like a party within a party, in very much the same way its counterpart on the extreme Left, the Militant Tendency did in the 1980s. They were thrown out too because of their factionalism. Progress has about 2,000 or so members, according to the ‘I’ article. Regardless of the numbers, they represent a nasty, neoliberal strain in the Labour party, where it doesn’t belong, and are holding real change in the party and the country back.

  9. Odtaa June 1, 2014 at 5:33 pm - Reply

    Cue: Jaws there’s something nasty in the water music.

    Blair is about to leap into British and European politics

    No wonder the Blairites are rising to the surface again. Whether we end up with a weakened Labour win 2015 or the Tories win – they’ll be happy. The Corporate state will be protected.

    • jess June 2, 2014 at 1:59 am - Reply

      “No wonder the Blairites are rising to the surface again. Whether we end up with a weakened Labour win 2015 or the Tories win – they’ll be happy”

      ‘The Blairites’ who liked to call themselves ‘New Labour’ have been an infection in the Party for a long time, way before Blair appeared on the scene.

      Blair’s agenda was essentially that of the Gaitskellites, or ‘Revisionists’who really came to prominence after the party’s unexpected defeat in the 1959 general election. Gaitskell panicked, and held a series of crisis meetings over the following weekend. The main topic of the conversations he convened was just how the party could become ‘electable’ again (sound familiar?)

      The party leadership opted to adopt the propositions of modernisers, led by Crosland. In a study of the Party’s political strategy Geoffrey Foote summarised it as;
      “a message which struck at the heart of labourism. The fundamental belief that the working class must organise itself separately from the employing class was pushed aside as irrelevant …. [revisionists]… believed that the capitalist system which had led to the unions to form their own political party was dead”

      [They did not believe this at all, but that was the argument used]

      The [existing] system..had to be administered, not changed, and its administration required a rejection of the old talk of class in favour of a role of partnership in industry and the services” [Foote, The Labour Party’s Political Thought , 1985. pp 230-1.. Tony Benn describes these events quite well in his diaries]

      Of course, the divisions lay much deeper than the 1959 election crisis. They were intrinsic in the way the party had been formed and developed from its foundations But perhaps that is a comment for another time

  10. Odtaa June 1, 2014 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    Should Milliband say balls to Balls?

  11. wrjones2012 June 1, 2014 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    Being a little naive I didn’t know Nita Clarke made her remarks at the “Progress” Conference!She obviously isn’t a follower of accountability and democracy then!

  12. socialaction2014 June 1, 2014 at 7:28 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on Social Action.

  13. sdbast June 1, 2014 at 8:09 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on sdbast.

  14. johncresswellplant June 1, 2014 at 8:54 pm - Reply

    Reblogged this on johncresswellplant.

  15. MrChekaMan June 1, 2014 at 10:42 pm - Reply

    This will drive voters away so they either don’t vote, vote UKIP or waste their vote on a micro party of the Left that never gets anywhere.

  16. Chris Mckenzie June 2, 2014 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    Chris Leslie and the Blairites ARE the Labour Party… stop deluding ourselves… remember, they took over the high command in the 80’s and have irreversibly knocked any semblance of socialism out of it. If Labour do not get elected on the back of this policy, he will still have a job, nice life etc.

    • Mike Sivier June 2, 2014 at 6:53 pm - Reply

      This is one reason I suggested petitioning to have him removed. You’ll notice Liam Byrne is no longer at Work and Pensions after he made a series of unforgivably right-wing … let’s call them mistakes. Why not have Leslie ousted as well? There’s nothing to be done about his Parliamentary seat – that’s a constituency matter – but if he isn’t representing the views of Labour supporters, it’s a good idea to let Labour know.

  17. Ian Duncan June 2, 2014 at 8:29 pm - Reply

    I can’t seem to reply to earlier posts but here goes… The points raised are nothing when you set them against the other things they said. They are going to carry on austerity, Ed Balls has said precisely that.

    They have also said they are going to be tough on ‘welfare’ (you can blame the last Labour government for widening the use of the word ‘welfare’, by the way, with all it’s stigmatising connotations).

    The TTIP could be a done deal by the time of the election so repealing the HSCA might be impossible. The fact that Labour want a TTIP inthe first place should set alarm bells ringing, it sure as shit isn’t for the worker’s benefit…

    Not sure what Labour’s tax plans for the rich are but past experience leads me to be sceptical. It probably won’t amount to much and there’ll probably be plenty of loopholes. Now Labour have broke with the unions, who will fund the party? Who has the money?

    I also never ‘endorsed’ more years of Conservative government. What I said was I don’t care if they get in again (there is a difference). I say that because I do believe there will be very little difference, day to day, if Labour get in for the reasons I mentioned (austerity, tough on benefits etc) so it will make little difference to me and others in my not-very-nice predicament,

    I firmly believe the only way to get a Labour party worth voting for is to not vote for this version that isn’t worth voting for. Voting for them as they are is validating their neoliberal policies. If a dog dumps on the carpet, you would not pat it on the head and say ‘good boy’, would you?

    Have you noticed that despite the public being in favour of renationalising the utilities etc by quite a margin, Labour refuse to commit to it? Ask yourself why that is.
    I think it’s because they don’t believe in nationalised industries. Too ;’old’ Labour. The neoliberals run the show now, the only way to get them out and regain the party is to vote with your feet.

    Call me self-interested if you want but you should know my interests are exactly ythe same as yours. The difference is, I’m playing the long game. Something has to give eventually.

    One last thing. I’m not given to cOnSPirAcY THeoRieS but this situation we find ourselves in couldn’t have been planned better if the right tried. Look at it; the entryist New Labourites from Mandelson and Blair etc downwards have eviscerated and emasculated the Labour party to the extent that there is no real opposition to the current form of rampant capitalism. If we keep voting for pro-corporate parties – of which Labour *is* one. See their attitude to the TTIP and the unions as evidence – then the corporate crud have won.

    • Mike Sivier June 2, 2014 at 8:52 pm - Reply

      Ian, you are inaccurate in your claims about austerity (see kittysjones’ article, reblogged on this site today), ‘tough on welfare’, TTIP (Labour opposes any part of this that would allow privatisation to be locked into the NHS, along with any part that would remove or reduce workers’ rights), Who said Labour wants the TTIP anyway? It’s a proposed agreement between the USA and the EU. Labour’s plans on taxes for the rich are well-documented – if you have doubts, don’t voice them until you’ve read the facts, otherwise all you’re doing is attempting to feed other people’s fears in order to put them off Labour. You have misread Labour’s attitude to the unions; the increased distance between the two is to head off Conservative corruption claims. There will still be plenty of union involvement with the party.

      If you honestly believe there will be little day-to-day difference between life in Britain under a Conservative government and life under one run by Labour, you need to see a psychiatrist. I’ve already mentioned your mistakes about Labour policies – this claim suggests they are more like delusions.

      Nationalised utilities – Labour can’t make any promises on that until the party is in a position to scrutinise the national finances. It seems likely the Tories are going to leave them in a poor state, so it is more likely that the private companies will be subjected to tighter controls at first, with a view to further action later (in my opinion).

      I marvel at your willingness to wait a long time for what you want. Under the Conservatives, you may be dead or enslaved before you get it.

      Your last paragraph makes little sense in the light of your inaccuracies over TTIP and the unions. You have ignored developments in the Labour Party over the last four years in favour of a narrative that has been partly created by the real right-wing parties, and partly made up in your own mind.

      The problem is, the correlation with Tory stories means some weak-minded readers might actually believe you. That’s not welcome.

      Come back when you’ve done a bit of research.

  18. wrjones2012 June 2, 2014 at 9:14 pm - Reply

    As ever with these things I’ve got a long memory!We may well be arguing here for maybe old or new Labour?I’m afraid when next year comes we will really have to make up our minds and the choice is not too difficult for me!

    I well remember making much the same sort of wish listism myself early in 1997.A close friend and Labour Councillor said to me;Russell we’ve got to bury the Tories once and for all.He was a far better Socialist than I will ever be and sadly he is no longer with us.

    I’m sorry but he would be turning in his grave at the frankly self indulgences we have heard from many on here.Lets turn all our fire on the real enemy,the Tories and all they stand for.If we do that we can say goodbye to all the suffering we have seen these past four years.

  19. hugosmum70 June 3, 2014 at 12:30 pm - Reply

    on top of all that’s been said above…has anyone seen this article this morning on MSN news???

    That scares me. the only really good reason to stay in the EU (not saying there aren’t others but this one to me clinches the go or stay question) is that at least we have the European court of human rights there for our use if we need it. this man is saying now, that Labour will bring out laws giving the UK justice system/judges the right to IGNORE anything the ECHR says. IF as some are saying, we are wrong and Labour do not intend keeping to the promises already made, am i right to be worried about this intention by Sadiq Khan,shadow justice secretary.????
    I dont know where this originated from,.i saw it on facebook so may/may not be true though i do know SOME have been promised by Milliband.

    I am reliably informed that there are 43 policies that Labour have pledged should they win in 2015…..just wondered what your thoughts are them happening. Apparently they’ve all been costed ?
    Thing is. we cannot ever be sure ,AND NEVER COULD BE..past or present, what any party will do once in power. how were we to know that the condems would be so evil? we HAVE to trust someone, and miliband’s background tells me he has known poverty, he has known (second hand via his family) of victimisation, horror, etc from the hands of a dictator.he lost family in the Holocaust through that…. surely, that should make him more compassionate not less. to me we have no choice.

    • Mike Sivier June 3, 2014 at 1:06 pm - Reply

      I think we’re going to see a lot of anti-Labour material over the next 11 months – all of it spun in order to cast suspicion on that party.
      The fact is that ALL UK parties want to ensure that European court rulings have less weight than those of courts in the UK – that won’t mean less justice, though! British courts have proved their independence time and again over the last few years alone, by the sheer weight of decisions AGAINST Coalition government policies.

      Also, do NOT mix the European Court of Human Rights with the EU; they are separate entities. The Court is under the Council of Europe, which was partly devised by Winston Churchill after WWII.

      So, no, I don’t think you’re right to be worried.

      As for Labour’s 40-odd policies (I edited them out because they would have made your comment rather long) – I think these were sincerely-made. I don’t approve of them all, if I recall correctly, but taken as a whole, they are far more palatable than any of the filth on offer from the Conservatives.

      • Bill Kruse June 3, 2014 at 2:07 pm - Reply

        “The fact is that ALL UK parties want to ensure that European court rulings have less weight than those of courts in the UK” What about those parties which support TTIP? I gather there are supporters in all three main parties. The TTIP would set up corporate-run courts with authority over governments. This is hardly a secret.

        • Mike Sivier June 3, 2014 at 2:19 pm - Reply

          You’re talking about the Investor-State Dispute Settlement system that Labour opposes. There are no two ways about this – Labour don’t want it; if Labour had its way, we wouldn’t even be discussing it.

          • Bill Kruse June 3, 2014 at 2:32 pm

            Did you ever join that STOPTTIP mailing list I sent you? I’ve a feeling that’s been discussed on there but I haven’t kept too many of the posts so I can’t reference info from an individual one. I’ll watch out for something and come back if I get something specific.

          • Mike Sivier June 3, 2014 at 2:46 pm

            Sorry – I’m afraid that one must have passed me by. It’s quite busy here, most of the time, and sometimes things do get left that perhaps should not.

  20. Bloody AYE, Mike! Agree with you 100%

    Time to demand a real alternative.

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