Your at-a-glance guide to John McDonnell’s barnstorming conference speech

The least that can be said about it is that it will give the Tories plenty to deride at their own conference. The reason the above is the least that can be said is, Tories ALWAYS try to ridicule Labour policies. Then they proudly announce a load of nonsense rubbish, get their friends in the right-wing media to push it as the only realistic option, dupe enough of the nation into supporting them at a general election and we end up – well, we end up in the mess we’re…

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Why SHOULD the government suck money OUT of the economy?

Economists are probably lining up right now to demonstrate that George Osborne is a fool. The Chancellor is trying to persuade us that aiming for an immediate budget surplus is good policy. Experts disagree. Very quick off the mark is Professor Simon Wren-Lewis in his Mainly Macro blog. He has already pointed out that fiscal tightening is a terrible idea when interest rates are at their zero lower bound (ZLB), as they are at the moment – if economic growth falters, then monetary policy cannot come to the rescue because…

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A simple plan to get Labour back on track

If the Labour Party is to regain the confidence it has lost, it needs to re-state its identity with a core message of purpose – one that not only encapsulates what Labour is about, but also what it opposes. That is what was missing from Labour’s general election campaign, and is as much a reason for Ed Miliband’s defeat as the Conservative campaign, which was not based on objective facts but on political spin. In a nutshell, it is time to remind the voters and the public that Labour is…

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Where did Labour go wrong? Let us count the ways…

Watching a drama on DVD yesterday evening (yes, there is more to life than Vox Political), Yr Obdt Srvt was impressed by the very old idea of the partners in a married couple supporting each other – that behind every great man is a great woman, and vice versa. It occurred to This Writer that perhaps the biggest problem with the Labour Party’s campaign – not just for the May election but over the last five years – has been the leadership’s insistent refusal to support the requirements of its…

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Vox Political vindicated on the economy

Twice, in a matter of days, Vox Political‘s findings on political issues have been supported by the evidence of a scholar. Today, the Mainly Macro blog written by Professor Simon Wren-Lewis, who teaches Economics at Oxford University, supports This Writer’s argument that the so-called economic recovery, that began in 2013, had little or nothing positive to do with the Coalition Government or George Osborne’s policies. “The idea that austerity during the first two years of the coalition government was vindicated by the 2013 recovery is so ludicrous that it is almost…

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Now British Gas has cut its standard tariff – by much less than it should

Gosh. British Gas is to cut household gas prices by five per cent – but this is a whopping 22 per cent less than the fall in wholesale gas prices. The company says its 6.8 million customers will benefit by £37 over a year (that’s if the price cut remains for that long). It’s more than E.On customers (as reported here yesterday)… … but the benefit of the wholesale price cut means British Gas will still make a whopping profit of more than £1 BILLION. (Total profit is likely to be…

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Labour wins price battle as E.On cuts tariffs; the war continues

Here’s something many people may have missed: German energy company E.On has cut its standard gas tariff in response to “mounting political pressure”, according to the Telegraph. Don’t get too excited – the 3.5 per cent reduction is less than one-eighth of the 27 per cent drop in wholesale gas prices over the last 12 months, but it does mean that around two million customers will save £24 on their gas bills if the reduction stays in place for a year. That’s equivalent to two weeks’ worth of usage. E.On…

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Tories are trying to face both ways on pricing

Michael Meacher’s latest blog article is really amusing if you think about it in relation to the recent Commons vote on energy prices. He writes: “It’s really rich that Osborne has tweeted: ‘Vital this (drop in the oil price) is passed on to families at petrol pumps, through utility bills and air fares’. “He’s spent the last 5 years lambasting Labour in support of the Tory free market mantra that the State should get out of the way and leave it all to the markets. “Now rather pathetically he’s pleading…

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Who are the Tories trying to fool about TTIP?

Wasn’t it nice to see business minister Matthew Hancock so adamant that the NHS is protected from the provisions of the hugely controversial Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership plan? “There is no threat to the NHS from TTIP,” he promised. “Public services, and publicly funded health services, are not included in any of the EU trade commitments.” Oh, really? And what happens when a future Labour government restores the NHS to full state control and the private companies that have been creaming cash off it scream blue murder? Can Hancock promise they…

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Who voted to put fatcat energy bosses before their constituents? Here’s the list

The Coalition Government has vetoed a proposal by the Labour Party to put people before profit and give the energy regulator for Great Britain a statutory duty to ensure that energy suppliers pass on price cuts to consumers when wholesale costs fall – if those suppliers fail to act. The proposal was put to the House of Commons by Shadow Energy Secretary Caroline Flint, and was dismissed with 305 votes against and 228 for – a difference of 77. Of course, that wasn’t the point of the exercise. The point was…

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