Category Archives: Labour Party

The people want a windfall tax on big firms’ pandemic profits. Why is Keir Starmer getting in the way?

Keir Starmer: yet another own goal.

I bet certain commentators will be doing their best to muddy this issue so let’s make it clear:

There are moves to increase Corporation Tax, forcing companies to pay more when they could be investing that money in (for example) employment of people who desperately need a regular paycheque. This is a bad idea.

There are also moves to levy a windfall tax on firms and individuals who have profited from the Covid-19 pandemic – such as Amazon and all those Tory cronies who won huge Covid-related contracts. This is a good idea and is supported by 70 per cent of the population, according to a Survation poll.

Keir Starmer and his Zombie Labour party oppose any increase in taxation for businesses.

There will be voters who are shocked that anybody claiming to be a Labour Party representative should plead against taxing corporations, and while there are good reasons for leaving Corporation Tax low at the moment, although it is likely that firms will need further incentives to keep them on the straight and narrow, there is no reason at all to back away from a windfall tax.

This decision is spitting in the faces of the voters – at a time when Starmer desperately needs to get them on-side.

Labour is falling increasingly further behind, at a time when – we were told – the party should be at least 20 points ahead of anybody else, having dumped Jeremy Corbyn.

Is it time his supporters’ club admitted that this wasn’t true and Starmer is a non-starter?

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Lavery demands working-class Labour MPs – but what do we get?

Telling it like it is: Ian Lavery.

Here’s another split between Keir Starmer’s Labour leadership and senior party MPs.

Ian Lavery was party chairman under Jeremy Corbyn and is a member of the Socialist Group of Labour MPs. I’m sure that, once upon a time, every Labour MP was a socialist but now there’s only a rump of around 30.

He was replaced as chair by deputy leader Angela Rayner so you can tell which way the wind is blowing.

Lavery is putting forward a viewpoint that will be particularly unpopular with the Starmer faction that currently has control: he thinks the Party of the Workers should have working-class representatives.

We have seen from the treatment of Anna Rothery in Liverpool that Starmer doesn’t like any hint of socialism in his Labour Party and will take extraordinary steps to stamp on it (his behaviour towards her also suggests he doesn’t like anybody who isn’t white and male, but that’s another story).

Lavery says:

Labour representatives cannot focus group their way to a better society. We need people with the heart and instincts that can only come from the bitter sting of personal experience. Parliament is desperately short of people who have claimed benefits, gone through life with disabilities or struggled day in day out in bad employment. This past year we have seen key workers carry the country on their backs, yet the green benches are sadly lacking in them too. We desperately need people with this experience to rebuild our country.

Labour has a history of promoting positive discrimination and it has an even longer history of championing the cause of working people. It is time that we remember our roots and embrace protected places for working class candidates throughout of our movement. If we do not trust in the power of people from our heartlands, why should they ever again put their trust in us?

Excellent points – although I fear the ideal of protected places for working-class candidates may not weather the reality of Starmer’s leadership, as Anna Rothery was standing for election to be Liverpool’s executive mayor as part of a protected all-female list and Starmer scrapped that when he realised she was black, a socialist, and female.

And I fear that Lavery only gets to make these point because he has held a senior post in the Labour Party.

I recently heard about an MP in Bristol who has given up positions as a junior shadow minister and as Starmer’s PPS “to concentrate on constituency work”. Maybe that’s true. But generally they only take a reduction in pay grade if they have serious disagreements with the leader.

It occurs to me that this MP cannot say as much, though, due to a lack of seniority. At junior grade they can’t speak their mind because the leaders will eat them for breakfast.

That’s how it seems to me, anyway.

It is no way for the Labour Party to behave.

But that’s Keir Starmer and all his minions for you.

Source: Ian Lavery on the Need for Working Class Labour MPs | Beastrabban\’s Weblog

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Is Starmer right to oppose tax rises on businesses and wealth?

Labour leader Keir Starmer seems to have provoked another attack on his tattered left-wing credentials, after he opposed plans to levy taxes on corporations and wealthy individuals who have made a fortune from the Covid-19 pandemic, when Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak announces his spring Budget.

But is he right?

On corporation taxes, it seems he isn’t. Here’s Tax Research UK’s Richard Murphy, speaking last year but applying his words to this year too:

Okay, but how about wealth taxes?

The argument on taxing businesses is clear – it would discourage them from taking on (or retaining) staff at a time when we need people to keep their jobs, and it would take money out of the economy.

But wealth is kept in (very large) bank accounts and is not attached to employment.

So why not tax the people who have made (or increased) fortunes from the suffering of the rest of us?

At the very least, it might blunt the (fake) Tory argument that we all need to pay back the cost of the Covid crisis (that they’ve already paid anyway, by creating money).

This Writer would therefore tend to support it – but I’m ready to be corrected if you have a better argument.

Starmer’s alternative to taxing the rich is – as perhaps we should have expected – a neoliberal nightmare: he wants ordinary people to give any money we’ve managed to save during the Covid crisis to a new national investment bank. Why should we? If we back businesses, who would get the profit? And what if those businesses failed?

No Holding Back, a campaign group of socialist MPs, has said that Starmer seems to have his priorities wrong and Labour “needs a partnership with society, paid for by taxation,” not a “partnership with business, paid for by society”.

So it’s looking bad for Starmer.

But the outlook for the nation is looking worse. With no direction from either main political party, it seems the UK is drifting into economic shipwreck.

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The Anna Rothery scandal suggests Labour is a sexist and racist institution under Starmer

Anna Rothery: her socialism is probably the reason she has been dropped as a Liverpool mayoral candidate. But the decision is also sexist and racist – and that is how Keir Starmer’s Labour party should now be described.

How is this an improvement?

Let’s go through the information we have, and please correct any errors.

There will be an election to fill the role of executive Mayor of Liverpool after Joe Anderson retired under a cloud.

The Labour Party held a selection process using an all-female shortlist which produced three candidates, including current Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Anna Rothery.

However, examination of Ms Rothery by party leaders revealed that she is:

  • female
  • black, and
  • socialist.

It seems that these are considered undesirable elements in Labour candidates under Keir Starmer’s leadership.

This may come as a surprise to many, especially as he should have expected a selection process that demanded that all candidates are female to produce candidates who aren’t men.

The selection process has reopened. It seems clear that the aim is to parachute in a candidate who is as neoliberal-blue as Starmer himself – in denial of Liverpool Labour members’ right to a free and democratic selection.

But the fact is that he will have eliminated a black woman to do it.

Therefore it is possible to claim that Starmer’s Labour is prejudiced against women and against people of colour: he and his party are sexist and racist.

I am reminded that his forerunner as Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, suffered years of attacks, both in the media and by backstabbing right-wingers within the Parliamentary Labour Party, based on fabricated accusation of anti-Semitism.

So I ask:

How is genuine racism and sexism better than fake anti-Semitism?

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Schoolkids know the score: reopening all schools in England will infect the nation with Covid-19

“Perfectly safe”: this photo was taken on a school staircase after Boris Johnson ruled that it was “perfectly safe” for children to go back there in September – no social distancing, no PPE… not safe at all. Now he is planning to do it all again, with infection rates nearly seven times higher than when this image was made.

Boris Johnson loves announcing big plans without giving us the facts and figures behind them, and he has done it again with school reopening.

How humiliating for him that it has been up to school pupil Jamal Elaheebocus to explain that when schools were recklessly reopened in June last year, one in 1,100 people were infected with Covid-19. When they were recklessly reopened in September, this had fallen to one in 2,000.

In mid-February, the infection rate was one in 115 people. It is hoped this will have fallen to one in 300 but that is nearly seven times more than in September last year – and look how that turned out!

Jamal reminds us of a few more uncomfortable truths:

the prevalence of the virus in communities remains high. As Johnson himself admitted on January 4, schools are vectors of transmission.

To any of us working or studying in schools, the reasons why schools are hotspots for infection are obvious.

Fitting thirty students and a teacher in a classroom makes social distancing impossible, overcrowded buildings means that several year groups who are separate bubbles then mix together.

Students are then packed on buses and trains to get home, spreading infection not only among themselves but among the wider public as well.

The latest data from Imperial’s React programme showed that 5 to 12 year olds had the second highest infection rate of any age group. Given this, there is no doubt that schools will increase the infection rate again. The difference this time is that infection rates will be much higher.

While the vaccine may help limit the rise in infection to an extent, infection rates will undoubtedly increase. This is a reckless gamble just to get children into schools for three weeks before Easter holidays.

Yes.

So why is Johnson doing it?

This was inevitable, thanks to the pressure from the mainstream media and Keir Starmer.

How low Labour has sunk! Its leader is now counted among those responsible for inflicting an inevitable increase in Covid-19 infections on the UK – yet again. People will die because Starmer did this.

Yes, some of the arguments in favour of re-opening schools have influence – but only because prolonged closures have placed pupils at the mercy of the Tories’ neoliberal system – one that Starmer wholeheartedly supports.

The combined incompetence of the government and the cruelty of the neoliberal system has meant many kids have missed out on free school meals, families are struggling to cope in overcrowded homes and kids have not been able to access online learning because of lack of access to a laptop or good broadband.

Lockdown has been made so difficult for school pupils because of the government’s decision to continue to punish the poorest in society. It is a disgrace that the Tories and the right-wing media are attempting to manipulate the stress and hardship and use it to back up their reckless campaign to open up society and let the virus run rampage.

It is a disgrace.

And the Tories’ adherence to the neoliberal system that demands minimal investment for maximum return (to the very, very rich) means that the reopening will be done on the cheap.

Jamal proposes a series of measures to make schools safe – or at least safer. None of them have been supported – or even mentioned – by Boris Johnson because they cost money.

Teachers should be prioritised for the vaccine since they will be mixing with such a large number of people. This should have been done months ago and as more and more of the clinically vulnerable and elderly are vaccinated, there is no reason not to now prioritise teachers.

There should also be plans to repurpose public buildings as classrooms or put money into new buildings on school sites to facilitate social distancing in classrooms and allow for proper separation of year group bubbles.

Supply teachers and newly-qualified teachers who are not employed can be utilised to allow for smaller class sizes and more social distancing.

The vaccine is not the cure-all that Johnson and his cronies have claimed. It wont protect you as fully as you think, and it won’t protect as many people as you think.

And, of course, it has only been applied to a minority of the population – on a first-dose basis.

How sad that Johnson is so keen to prolong the UK’s Covid-19 agony, just to please his backbenchers, the baying hounds of the mass media… and Keir Starmer.

Source: A school student speaks: 8 March ‘big bang’ reopening just isn’t safe – Counterfire

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Windfall tax on pandemic profits should wipe out Covid-19 related debt says McDonnell

John McDonnell: he would have revolutionised the UK’s economy. Instead, the Tories have saddled one-tenth of the population with debt so great that they cannot pay their regular bills.

A former Shadow Chancellor has proposed a radical set of plans to clear the debt created by the Tory government’s cack-handed handling of the Covid-19 crisis.

John McDonnell pointed out that the richest firms in the UK have profited hand-over-fist during the crisis, and should pay a windfall tax to help pay for the measures to end it – which would ultimately help them, of course.

His proposals were not an attack on businesses, though – they were a criticism of a speech by current Labour leader Keir Starmer, whose best idea was to get members of the public to give all the money they have managed to save during the crisis to a new investment bank – meaning the nation’s poorest would foot the bill (again). What a socialist Starmer is!

In fact, according to Citizens Advice, more than six million people have fallen behind on their bills because of Covid-related hardship, and the number in severe, problem debt has doubled to 1.2 million.

They don’t have any spare cash for castle-in-the-air investment banks!

McDonnell said a comprehensive package of debt cancellation was needed to get the UK back on its feet, including high-cost debt, old debt, unmanageable rent and student debt – all to be supported by a windfall tax on businesses that have raked in billions of pounds over the last year.

He called for the creation of a ‘Debt Charter’ to tackle the causes and consequences of debt in UK society.

Improved benefits and a £10-an-hour living wage, along with restored universal basic services, should be deployed to prevent people from getting into debt in the first place, he said.

He called for a cap on interest rate charges and a ceiling on overdraft fees and interest payments to “rebalance power between lenders and the indebted”.

And he said bailiff visits should be suspended at least until the whole of the UK has been vaccinated against Covid-19.

This is the kind of thinking we need at this time.

We could have had it, too – if only millions of people had not been hoodwinked by anti-Labour propaganda at the 2019 general election, including a Tory campaign that was found to be more than 80 per cent lies.

So if you find yourself struggling with debt for years to come, while the Tories, their client media and their business-oriented doners tell you you’ve never had it so good, just remember that you could have had it better.

And remind everybody you know not to be fooled again.

Source: Impose windfall tax on pandemic profits to wipe debt slate clean, says McDonnell | The Independent

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Starmer’s attitude to schools reminds us his only purpose is to block opposition to the Tories

Suck up: Johnson can keep smiling because he’s got little blue boy Keir Starmer backing him from the Labour Parliamentary benches.

Many may consider that Keir Starmer is a traitor to the people of the UK after his latest display of support for the government he is supposed to oppose.

Starmer has stated – publicly, for all to hear – that he supports Boris Johnson’s decision to reopen all English schools and damn the science.

That means he has set himself against the education-based organisations that have called for a phased reopening of schools – and only if it is supported by scientific evidence.

He thinks he knows better than the experts.

He said he did not support mooted industrial action over safety concerns, after nine teaching unions warned it would be “reckless” to open schools at all once on 8 March.

Sir Keir expressed concerns that children were falling behind, having previously urged the government to open schools as quickly as possible.

Asked whether teachers could be drafted in during the summer to help children catch up, he said: “That may be possible.

“Again, schools staff have been working around the clock. Remember, this time last year they were preparing to work through the Easter break and they’ll probably end up doing that again.

“So they do need a break. There needs to be a long-term plan to catch-up because the attainment gap has got bigger over this pandemic – it was bad enough before it.

“We need a long-term plan for catch-up, but we do need to give credit to teachers and school staff. We need to think of how we do catch-up and close the attainment gap.”

Will Starmer be paying school staff for the extra hours they’ll be asked to work? Will he be compensating them for the holiday time they will lose?

Just because schools haven’t been open, that doesn’t mean staff have not been working, remember!

And his determination to ignore warnings by scientists puts him on the same level as Michael Gove, who famously extolled the virtues of ignorance in the run-up to Brexit (and now we can all see how that is turning out).

Starmer is not a Labour politician in any meaningful way.

He is an infiltrator in the Labour Party, along with all those who support him (including paid staff; some of us knew that from the backstabbing that happened during the so-called “anti-Semitism” witch-hunt when Jeremy Corbyn was leader).

His purpose seems clear: to prevent Her Majesty’s Opposition from being run by anybody who might ever oppose the Tories.

And he is succeeding.

Who could possibly support a Labour Party that does nothing but suck up to the worst prime minister, and the worst government, the UK has ever had.

Source: Keir Starmer opposes strike action by teachers and says they may have to work during holidays | The Independent

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Starmer’s policy blitz will land like a damp squib if he can’t show strong differences from the Tories

Starmer: now he wants us to believe he has policies beyond waving a flag and wearing a suit. But the preliminary evidence suggests that he’s blowing smoke at us.

What a mess Keir Starmer is! Even when he gets the message, he refuses to act on it properly.

We’re told he is about to launch on a “policy blitz”, announcing what a future Labour government will do, after being roundly ridiculed over a briefing advising him to wear smart suits and rely on patriotism (“the last refuge of a scoundrel”).

Potentially, it is a good idea. Under his leadership, Labour has abandoned policy after policy until, today, it no longer stands for anything. People are sick of seeing Starmer either supporting the government or abstaining on major votes.

So he’ll be announcing Labour’s future direction of travel – the philosophy that fuels his politics and the practical ways he intends to bring it into effect in government. Right?

Wrong.

If the measures outlined in The Guardian‘s article are any yardstick, he’ll do nothing more than say what he’d do different from the Tories, now. Look:

An immediate focus will be financial support for business – particularly the hospitality sector – which Starmer will highlight has taken on unfeasibly high debts during the Covid-19 crisis.

Labour won’t have any power to help businesses until December 2024 at the earliest – by which time they may not need any support. Those that are under threat now will either have died or recovered!

It would be much better to provide an analysis of how Tory political dogma has failed the UK’s businesses – taking in not only the Covid crisis but also Brexit – and to put forward a positive plan to support existing industry and emerging commercial opportunities.

How will a Labour government support working people to get a better share of the profits from successful business enterprises? How will they stop the cash being bled out to tax havens by stockholders? How will they ensure working people can regain the rights they have lost since the 1970s?

It seems Starmer has nothing to say about these issues.

So the “source” who said the vaccine programme is relieving the immediate public health crisis, and

“That means we can start to focus on the bigger picture stuff and talk about systemic change,”

is not telling the truth.

But it is the “bigger picture stuff” that will win hearts and minds across the country – or alienate them.

All Starmer has offered so far is more of the same – support for Tory policies and for Tory incompetence. If he couldn’t tell that the Tories were wrong to reopen schools, then he doesn’t deserve the confidence of the public.

The Tories have failed – not just under Boris Johnson’s government of corruption but under Theresa May and David Cameron before him. They failed because their ideas were wrong.

If Starmer can’t prove that he has better ideas – or even different ones – then he won’t even get the chance to show us how wrong he is.

Source: Keir Starmer to launch fightback with Labour policy blitz | Labour | The Guardian

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Forde inquiry into leaked Labour anti-Semitism report delayed – but does it matter?

Jeremy Corbyn: the Forde Inquiry could have exonerated him from any implications of support for anti-Semitism but it seems to have been gagged from doing so.

Martin Forde QC’s report on the leaked report into the way anti-Semitism was handled by Labour Party officers has been delayed. But does it really matter after its focus was watered down to almost nothing?

Mr Forde told Labour’s National Executive Committee he was delaying his report to avoid prejudicing an inquiry by the Information Commissioner’s Office into whether the leak breached data protection laws.

But is this really likely, considering that the Forde Inquiry is apparently now focused only on examining “the structure, culture and practices of the Labour Party”.

It had originally been charged with some much more interesting and worthwhile purposes.

But in an all-but-ignored announcement last summer, Mr Forde announced that he would not, after all, “investigate and report on the truth or otherwise of the main allegations in the report”.

This was the inquiry’s most important purpose. The report had produced a mountain of evidence which, if true, cleared Corbyn of claims that he had been complacent on anti-Semitism.

Instead, it implicated party officials who had been among his fiercest critics with claims that they actively worked to prevent the party as led by Corbyn from winning a general election.

If the claims were found to be true, then claims that Corbyn and his supporters were soft on – or even supported – anti-Semitism would have been exposed as primarily a witch-hunt.

But now, nobody is checking the basic accuracy of the report at all.

Also ditched was the requirement to investigate why the report was written and how it was leaked.

So it seems there is little point in being concerned about when the Forde Report will be released. It simply won’t provide any information worth waiting for.

Source: Labour: Report into anti-Semitism dossier leak delayed – BBC News

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Concern over Starmer prompts Labour special conference call. Media attack ‘ruthless Corbynites’

It’s ludicrous. But people believe it – and that makes it dangerous too.

Yes, left-wingers in the Labour Party are calling for an emergency party conference – possibly to take place in June alongside the Women’s Conference.

But their reasons are perfectly rational: Keir Starmer’s lurch to the right – appealing to voters by waving the flag, wearing a suit and sporting a pretty haircut – isn’t working.

Poll results make this perfectly clear.

And this Huffington Post report spells it out:

The motion… reads: “Discussion in local Labour Party meetings has been suppressed; motions banned; scores of activists suspended; and anger and disillusionment is exploding across our lay membership across the party.

“Members are leaving in droves and many more are expressing frustration and dissatisfaction at the attack on democracy and free speech. Many members are saying it doesn’t feel like the Labour Party anymore.”

There is also frustration after several ex-officials suspended over the contents of a damning leaked report have been let back into Labour. 

Starmer faces criticism from the left over plans, reported in the Sunday Times, to woo businesses ahead of May’s local elections.

The Guardian also last week revealed a strategy document which said Labour was considering refocusing on patriotism, the Union flag and veterans’ causes to win back “Red Wall” seats captured by the Conservatives in 2019.

Reporter Rachel Wearmouth couldn’t resist claiming that Labour had seen a “massive improvement” at the polls – but this is not borne out by any evidence.

And she also claimed that Labour feared a “vaccine bounce” in the polls for the Tories, in the belief that the UK’s rollout of injections is one of the best in the world.

The problem is, the Tories are leaving the job half-done for most people, with only one of the two jabs they must have actually being administered and the second being delayed until up to 12 weeks after the first.

Pfizer, creator of one of the vaccines, has stated categorically that the second injection should happen no later than six weeks after the first. Otherwise there is no point having either.

It all adds up to another attack on the Labour Left – that could be accurately described as victim-blaming.

Left-wingers have been ruthlessly targeted by Starmer and his cronies – the most prominent being his immediate forerunner as party leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

And of course no mention is made in the media to the years of backstabbing from centrists when Corbyn was in charge.

Will the call for a recall conference succeed? I doubt it.

The Parliamentary Labour Party is stuffed with “centrists” (read: right-wingers). It was a policy of the Blair/Brown years and Corbyn was unable to reverse it, despite a long-running debate over whether constituency parties should have the power to choose their own candidates rather than having people parachuted in by head office.

With so many “centrists” at the top of the party, it seems extremely unlikely that a poll of the entire membership that may lead to the removal of a “centrist” leader will be allowed.

See if I’m wrong.

Source: Exclusive: Demand For Special Labour Conference As Pressure Mounts On Starmer From Left | HuffPost UK

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