Tag Archives: neoliberal

Three reasons Keir Starmer is a Conservative, not Labour politician

Starmer is showing his true colours.

He has provided three examples of his personal political beliefs, within a single day, that show he is a Conservative and is therefore leading the Labour Party under false pretences.

Firstly, there is his decision to return Labour to the Conservative, neoliberal economic policies of the New Labour era, that lost the party two general elections in 2010 and 2015.

Secondly,

Yes, it’s true.

Finally, his social politics is positively fascist:

The only reason I can see now for people to vote for him or the party he is defiling with his presence is, they think the only choice is between him and the Conservatives. These are the people whose argument is, “What, you think the Tories are better?”

It seems we all have to take a broader perspective.

If Labour is now the same as the Tories, we’ll have to find someone else to support.

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Labour backs away from credible opposition by copying Tories on economics

Annaliese Dodds: do you really think you could trust this woman with the economy?

Keir Starmer’s Labour has announced that its new economic policy is to copy the Conservatives. Why not? Starmer’s copying the Tories in everything else!

Starmer, now well on his way to infamy as the worst leader in the more-than-100-year history of the Labour Party, may have turned the announcement over to his shadow chancellor, Anneliese Dodds, but it has his naive pawprints all over it.

Because it’s yet another example of an inexperienced politician, who doesn’t stand for anything apart from grabbing power for himself, blowing in the wind.

The Financial Times gave the game away.

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds will signal on Wednesday that the Labour party is backing away from the hard-left economic policies of former leader Jeremy Corbyn

Sorry, what? “Hard-left” policies?

Corbyn was never hard-left and the author of the FT piece – Chris Giles, whose criticism of the Tories over the number of people dying due to Covid-19 has been exemplary – should know better. Perhaps he is being led by his ideological nose.

If Corbyn had been hard-left, he would have been demanding the nationalisation of everything and the end of individual property ownership. Hard-left policies require everything to be owned by the state and he never advocated that.

Corbyn’s policies were most similar to those of the Scandinavian countries – and anybody with an eye on international affairs will know that, economically, those nations are much more stable than the UK; their people far more prosperous. The UK would have been better-off under Corbyn’s economic policies.

But Starmer wants to turn his back on them because he is a Conservative at heart.

The trouble is, we already have a Conservative Party in the UK. Returning to the policies that lost Labour two elections (in 2010 and 2015 respectively) will not help a Labour leader who has failed to win a single victory against Boris Johnson’s inept and imbecilic Conservatives.

But that is exactly what Dodd’s is announcing.

In the annual Mais Lecture, she will cloak Labour’s strategy to become the UK’s next government in the latest thinking from international organisations such as the IMF, which recommends waiting until unemployment falls and the recovery is complete before thinking about the sustainability of public finances.

So, it’s back to austerity for Labour. That will be a long wait.

The best way to increase employment is to invest in it – not to leave everything to the market. That is hard-right neoliberalism and Labour should not have anything to do with it. Sadly, Labour members elected a Conservative as their party leader and he is imposing hard-right Conservative policies on them whether they want them or not.

The fact that he lied, lied, and lied again to get himself elected only partially excuses them (as it was clear that he was lying).

Strangely, in her speech, Dodds will distance herself from the economic programme Labour put forward in the run-up to the 2019 general election, that offered spending increases of £83 billion – a modest amount in comparison with the hundreds of billions splurged by Boris Johnson in the last year.

Instead, she will align Labour’s economic policy with that of the Tories, while referring to “responsible” policies no fewer than 23 times. There is nothing “responsible” about Conservative economic policy, or about aligning with them.

There’s an easy test for this. Conservative neoliberalism has been the dominant economic policy in the UK since 1979, when Margaret Thatcher was first elected into office.

At that time, a family of four could afford to pay the mortgage on their house together with all household bills including groceries and vehicle running costs, from the wages of just one parent – and still had enough left over for a holiday away from home during the summer.

Is that possible now?

No, it isn’t. Most of us are much worse-off after 41 years of this nonsense – apart from people in positions of extreme power, including MPs like Starmer and Dodds.

So perhaps there is an intention to help in this policy change. Starmer and Dodds are planning to help themselves.

Their predictable lapse into neoliberalism has been greeted with a chorus of derision from everybody who understands what it means:

Who would? The voting public certainly won’t.

Source: Labour signals end of Corbyn era in setting out economic vision | Financial Times

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Why are people planning to support austerity-loving, neoliberal Lib Dems at the EU elections?

Liberal Democrat values: Vince Cable sold Royal Mail at a bargain price so the buyers could make a fortune on the property value of its sorting offices – and the public lost out as the quality of service plummeted.

There seems to be a wave of collective insanity sweeping the UK as people prepare to support the right-wing, neoliberal Liberal Democrat Party at the EU elections – because it claims to be “The Party of ‘Remain'”.

Party leader Vince Cable even parroted the Tory mantra of “Strong and stable government” to Andrew Marr:

And let’s not forget that Mr Cable was happy to support Brexit, not too long ago:

https://twitter.com/MattTurner4L/status/1129466754105827329

Bear in mind that the EU elections should not be about Brexit at all.

No candidate gaining a seat in the European Parliament after Thursday’s election will be able to either hasten or foil Brexit. That is a matter for the UK Parliament.

But they will make a difference to the political make-up of the EU, where some member states have encountered serious problems with the resurgence of fascism.

The EU needs a socialist majority to fight that – not right-wing, neoliberal austerity-enablers like the Liberal Democrats.

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MPs from both sides of the Commons in talks about new party. Jumping before they’re pushed?

Chuka Umunna and Anna Soubry: Party on?

Don’t let the headline get your hopes up. Chuka Umunna was supposed to be quitting Labour last Thursday and didn’t have the guts.

Michael Rosen mocked him brilliantly on Twitter:

Still, Mr Umunna may well be thinking about announcing that it’s possible he could consider something along those lines again at some point in the future.

Also involved in discussions about forming a new party, we’re told, is Chris Leslie – who has been castigated in a letter by representatives of his Nottingham East Constituency Labour Party.

“We believe that the views expressed in your most recent email to constituents are likely to damage the reputation and electoral prospects of our party and give the impression that you are doubtful that a Labour government would be the best outcome for Britain,” they wrote. “This email crossed a line and we believe it is unacceptable for a sitting Labour MP to attack the party in this manner.”

The letter also stated: “You are happy to attack the party leadership, other Labour MPs and party members; giving the impression that our party is divided as we approach the local council elections in May and a possible general election.

“The support you give constituents and party members in Nottingham East is well below that of other local Labour MPs… Members and residents are much more likely to have seen you attacking the party and its leadership than representing the views of local residents.”

Draw your own conclusions. While the MPs already mentioned, together with Gavin Shuker who lost a vote of “no confidence” in his own CLP last year, and Angela Smith might say they are frustrated with pro-Brexit policies and issues over anti-Semitism, their real reasons for wanting to take their allegiances elsewhere seem clear.

So the right-wing newspapers are full of rumours that these people will help set up a new “centrist” (read: neoliberal) party alongside Conservatives (possibly Anna Soubry) and Liberal Democrats who may be desperate for public interest after their five-year dalliance with the Tories.

Intense discussions are taking place at Westminster that could lead to the emergence of a new centrist party consisting of six or more disaffected anti-Brexit Labour MPs along with the involvement of some Conservatives and the backing of the Liberal Democrats.

Apparently some of the ringleaders have lobbied backbench colleagues they thought were sympathetic, with an invitation to join in. It seems Clive Lewis was among them – and here’s his response:

The message – to the Labour MPs implicated, at least, is clear: If you want to go, push off.

Sadly it seems this is the very attitude that is keeping them where they aren’t wanted.

Theresa May touts phony, crony capitalism. She wouldn’t know a free market if she was put up for sale on it

Reforming the unacceptable face of capitalism: Theresa May and Philip Green by Dave Brown. She said she would reform capitalism after the BHS scandal [Image: @Cartoon4sale on Twitter].


Theresa May’s attempt to lecture us all on the joys of capitalism is another howler in a series of blunders that should only end in her ejection from politics and the (self-)destruction of the political party she has been running into the ground for the last 14 months.

This Writer hastens to add that this is not because she advocates free-market capitalism as the “greatest agent of collective human progress ever created”. I don’t agree with that sentiment but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with capitalism in itself; pack that system full of good worker-owned co-operatives and I’ll be delighted.

The problem is that Tories preach free-market capitalism while actually practising something very different – neoliberalism: a sort of protectionist socialism-for-the-very-rich.

Neoliberalism demands that the benefits of scientific and cultural progress should only be enjoyed by those who can afford to pay for them using their own money.

That is why, internationally, eight people own as much wealth as half the population of the world. It is why, here in the UK, the richest 1,000 families have nearly tripled their wealth since the financial crisis (“all in it together”? I should bleedin’ cocoa) while half the country has to make do with just 8.7 per cent of the wealth.

It is why, under the neoliberal governments of Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron and now May, national industries and utilities have been privatised – to take their profits away from the UK’s government and into private hands (and never mind the fact that some of those “private” hands happen to belong to foreign governments). The intention was to deprive the state of valuable funds, preventing it from investing in projects that would benefit the populace at large.

It is why social housing has been sold off and cruel penalties – like the Bedroom Tax – have been imposed on those living in the housing stock that remains. The aim is to drive the poorest into the gutter, opening up the properties for resale and redevelopment as “gentrified” – read “expensive” – estates.

It is why wages have been pushed down – to increase profits for rich company owners and shareholders who squirrel them away in offshore bank accounts where they do not have to pay tax to the UK government – and trade unions’ ability to oppose this cruelty has been rendered illegal by draconian legislation.

It is why regulations that protect citizens’ rights have been removed, to make it easier for privateers to provide substandard products or skip safety procedures altogether, thereby maximising their profits.

It is why people with long-term illness and/or disabilities, considered to be “useless eaters” in exactly the same way as in Nazi Germany, are persecuted to their deaths by a perverted “benefit” system that in fact strives to remove any help available.

Ultimately, it is the reason the UK has been pushed deeply into debt (sources of funding for the government having been either sold off, scrapped or squirrelled into tax havens) – to turn the country into a so-called “zombie economy” in which the vast majority of the people labour for a pittance, their tax money used not to provide public services but to partially pay off the interest on the national debt. Only partially, mind – the intention is for the debt never to be repaid.

That is what Theresa May calls the “greatest agent of collective human progress ever created”. That is the central aim of all Tory economic policy – not an improvement in living standards, not protected jobs, but the exact opposite.

Of course she has been ridiculed:

In fact, the greatest agent of human progress every created was socialism, as enacted by Clement Attlee in his 1945-51 government and maintained in the post-war consensus years from 1945-79. Those were years of unprecedented prosperity that happened in spite of Conservatism and neoliberalism.

Tories and neoliberals hated those years. You can prove Mrs May a liar simply by pointing out that her neoliberalism was not responsible for the most sustained increase in living standards of everyone in the UK – living standards here were at their highest in 1977, under a Labour government in the post-war consensus years.

By then, the neoliberals were well on their way to power. The oil shock, engineered by the very rich, had prepared the way by creating social unrest due to inflation-stoked price rises – for which the Labour government was blamed. Margaret Thatcher had told the Parliamentary Conservative party that they now believed in Hayek-style neoliberalism and was plotting the destruction of the UK’s industrial base, in order to deprive working people of the security they had built up over the previous 30 years. Tory think tanks were filling the pages of newspapers and the time on TV political shows with pro-neoliberal dogma in order to sway public opinion.

Thatcher, and the other prime ministers since her, were all elected on a promise that living standards would improve. Instead, they have worsened.

Theresa May’s lying speech is an opportunity for us all to put an end to this insanity. Let’s denounce her version of capitalism for what it is – socialism for the very rich – and put both it and her on the scrap heap of historic failures.

Theresa May defended the free markets after Jeremy Corbyn’s criticism of capitalism by saying … that it is the “greatest agent of collective human progress ever created.”

Speaking on Thursday, May told the Bank of England’s 20th anniversary of independence conference that capitalism “is unquestionably the best, and indeed the only sustainable, means of increasing the living standards of everyone in a country. And we should never forget that raising the living standards, and protecting the jobs of ordinary working people is the central aim of all economic policy.”

The prime minister said it was free-market economics that “led societies out of darkness and stagnation and into the light of the modern age.”

Source: Theresa May defends free market capitalism after Jeremy Corbyn’s criticism


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Oh bloody hell, here’s Tony Blair

What rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Westminster for a comeback? (With apologies to Yeats.)

Tony Blair praised Theresa May as a ‘very solid, sensible person’. [Image: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images].

Tony Blair praised Theresa May as a ‘very solid, sensible person’. So much for his left-wing credentials!  [Image: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images].

It’s Tony Blair. How godawfully depressing.

Here’s a man whose ‘Third Way’ ruined the Labour Party, driving voters away in their millions, turning socialism into a dirty word (by association – there were precious few socialists in a Blair cabinet), and eventually turfing the party out of office for more than six years – so far.

He talks about the Progressive Left but he’s as much a product of the Reactionary Right as, for example, David Cameron, who worked very hard to follow the Blairite model of neoliberal economic policies leavened with social reform.

The philosophy seemed to be, “Give ’em gay marriage and they’ll sell themselves into slavery”, and it seems to have been correct.

Margaret Thatcher, whose project during the 1980s was entirely geared towards the destruction of the UK’s industrial base and erosion of its trade unions, in order to destroy the economic leverage enjoyed by working people in the 1970s, considered Mr Blair’s New Labour to be her greatest achievement.

And now he’s back, claiming that the country needs him because Jeremy Corbyn – the most popular Labour leader, possibly in 50 years – is… not a “nutter”, as Mr Blair insists he has been misquoted as saying, but at least “mistaken”.

He says Labour has been “captured by the far left for the first time in the party’s history”. What utter drivel.

Jeremy Corbyn is a centre-left politician. If he were of the far left, he would be demanding the nationalisation of all industry and the UK’s reduction to single-party state status. He isn’t.

Clem Attlee was more left-wing than Mr Corbyn and his government gave us the National Health Service that everybody claims they love. Wilson and Callaghan were closer to Communism.

But Mr Blair needs to position himself and he wants the “centre left” label that belongs to Mr Corbyn.

Otherwise he would have to admit that he is a right wing politician – and that would play very poorly with his target audience.

But he gives himself away with his admission that he thinks Theresa May is “a very solid, sensible person” – she isn’t. She is a weak leader, from a line of weak Tory leaders, who cannot stand up for a single policy if a business leader opposes it.

Still, her politics is clearly the kind Mr Blair prefers and, after all, Margaret Thatcher liked him and David Cameron copied him. So why doesn’t he clear off and join the Conservative Party instead of haunting Labour?

To sum up, Tony Blair is not a representative of the Progressive Left or Centre-Left. That space is occupied by Jeremy Corbyn. Blair belongs to the reactionary, regressive Right and is trying to hoodwink us all into believing otherwise.

About the only thing he has said that anyone in Labour could support is that the party “has a historic duty to try to represent people in this country who need our representation desperately”.

But look at the choice of topic with which he has decided to re-enter politics: He has opted to take a view of Brexit that is deliberately antagonistic to the established Labour Party position.

Mr Corbyn has said that the referendum result will bind the Labour Party and its duty now is to work for the best possible parting from the European Union; Mr Blair wants people to think there is still a chance the split could be halted.

But look at what he says and you’ll see it’s all bluster. He doesn’t offer any guidance on how the people are to register their change of heart.

He says: “It can be stopped if the British people decide that, having seen what it means, the pain-gain, cost-benefit analysis doesn’t stack up… Either you get maximum access to the single market, in which case you’ll end up accepting a significant number of the rules on immigration, on payment into the budget, on the European court’s jurisdiction. People may then say, ‘Well, hang on, why are we leaving then?’

“Or alternatively, you’ll be out of the single market and the economic pain may be very great because, beyond doubt, if you do that you’ll have years, maybe a decade, of economic restructuring,” so even ‘Leave’ voters “would eventually “look at this in a practical way, not an ideological way”.

And what would they do next?

There is no mechanism for the people to register any desire to change their collective mind if the politicians in Westminster choose not to allow it – and Westminster has said there will be no further referendum.

Why should there be?

We know most of the people were cheated, one way or another, by snake-oil salesmen like Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove who promised untold riches and are delivering debt.

But plenty of us were saying this at the time and those who voted in ignorance should know that it is no excuse.

Ultimately, Mr Blair has nothing to say that hasn’t been said already – by Conservatives and by Liberal Democrats.

If anybody wants a real alternative, it is offered by Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour.

Source: Tony Blair: Brexit could be stopped if Britons change their minds | Politics | The Guardian

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The jig is up as more and more members of public and media twig what anti-Corbyn Labour MPs are doing

Under attack: But Jeremy Corbyn has said and done nothing that any rational UK citizen could possibly find objectionable.

Under attack: But Jeremy Corbyn has said and done nothing that any rational UK citizen could possibly find objectionable.


There’s a paragraph in this article that states the right-wing Labour assault on Jeremy Corbyn is not about having a rational debate but about preventing it.

That is a comment that corresponds exactly with This Writer’s experience, having engaged, on Saturday evening, in a discussion with a supporter of Kevan Jones who absolutely refused to pay any attention to rational arguments about that gentleman’s behaviour at all.

It seems likely that similar scenarios are being played out around the country and I may blog the conversation as an example of the lack of reason that seems to typify these people’s assertions.

Right wing Labour MPs have launched a full-scale coup against Jeremy Corbyn, and against the members of the party they represent, writes Oliver Tickell. Their plan is simple – backed by mainstream media, to discredit him so utterly that even his supporters turn against him – and elect a new ‘heir to Blair’ leader.

Moreover most of those Labour MPs who are sniping at Corbyn from the green benches of the House of Commons know which side their bread is buttered. It was Tony Blair who put them there, after all, by imposing short lists of ‘approved’ right wing candidates on local parties.

And now they are at risk in a newly energised left wing Labour Party that has just elected a genuinely progressive, pacifist, environmentalist left wing leader. All the hundreds of new members that have flooded into the party inspired by Corbyn’s combination of compassion, understanding and commitment to social, ecological and economic justice are hardly going to reselect them when the time comes.

So here’s the plan: seize on any perceived weakness and attack, attack, attack. Hit hard, hit often, in public and in private. Backed up by the entire spectrum of Britain’s ‘mainstream’ media who are only to happy to join those Labour MPs in puttting the boot in.

And the objective is clear: kill Corbyn. Wipe him out. Discredit him so utterly that not only will MPs and media unite against him, but even his supporters in the wider Labour Party will lose faith and either leave the party in disgust, or refuse to re-elect him after the leadership challenge they are building up to.

The first thing is for us all to understand what is going on. The rush to attack and denounce Corbyn is not based on anything he said. After all, what’s to disagree with?

It is not a sign that a debate is taking place in the Labour Party. The ferocity and intensity of the attacks is, on the contrary, intended precisely to prevent rational debate and forestall any reasonable discussion of the issues.

The purpose is simple. It is to brand Corbyn a softie, a cissy, an ex-hippy peacenik, unfit to rule, weak on defence, a risk to national security, a left-wing corduroy-jacketed beardie scarcely fit to serve as a humanities lecturer in third rate ex-Polytechnic University.

It is above all to present him as, and render him, unelectable – a man who can only lead Labour to abject failure in any future general election. And so convince the great mass of the Labour Party to turn against their failed left-wing champion and elect in his place an ‘heir to Blair’. Someone more like … David Cameron?

So first, understand. Second, don’t fall for it. Third, resist.

Read the full article: Shooting to kill Corbyn – the coup is on – The Ecologist

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Labour will discount leader election votes AFTER they’ve been cast – won’t that encourage vote-RIGGING?

The right-wing Labour leadership has put itself in a proper dilemma, thanks to the candidacy – and popularity – of Jeremy Corbyn.

Look at the denial of comedian Mark Steel’s application to become a Labour supporter – and vote for Corbyn – because he does not “support Labour values” – this is a man who wrote newspaper articles in favour of Labour, doorstepped members of the public to encourage them to vote Labour, and actually voted Labour himself.

It seems that, because he admitted he’d vote for the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas if he was in her Brighton Pavilion constituency, he’s out. That’s a comment in favour of a person, not a party.

Is his endorsement of Ms Lucas then really the reason he got the boot? Or is it because he supports Mr Corbyn now?

That is the question that will be worrying many dedicated Labour supporters who have signed up in good faith, in order to do the same.

Now, the Labour leadership has said it will remove “infiltrators'” votes, even after they have been cast. The Daily Mirror reports:

The party will carry on vetting people right up until the September 10 voting deadline to stop ‘stooges’ and ‘entryists’ taking over the race.

Insiders say that means they will tell independent vote-counters to strip out individual ballots if they suspect foul play – for example if a Tory stooge mocks Labour by posting their paper on Twitter.

This plan is wide-open to abuse. What’s to stop right-wingers, neoliberals, Blairites (or whatever else you want to call them) from looking at votes, thinking, “These people voted for Corbyn – they’re disqualified”, and finding a reason for the decision later?

Conversely, there is nothing to stop Corbyn-supporting voters from making that accusation right now. The decision brings the election into disrepute.

The decision has been attacked by the Electoral Reform Society campaign group – which partly owns the company running the election – as it said Labour should delay sending out ballot papers for a few days.

This would have been a better choice – and it counts against Labour’s leaders that they did not support it.

The current system of weeding out members of other parties is working perfectly well. This Writer took part in the process, here in Mid Wales, and managed to identify Conservatives and Greens who were trying to skew the process.

I also recognised the names of many genuine Labour supporters who will certainly vote for Jeremy Corbyn. Their applications have been accepted and their votes will be counted.

By the time the count takes place, though, will the entire process have been discredited beyond redemption?

I am seriously considering writing a letter to Labour’s general secretary, Iain McNichol, about this issue. Perhaps other Labour members, of long-standing in the party, may wish to do the same.

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Scaremonger Leslie still represents the ugly side of neoliberal New Labour

Chris Leslie: Neoliberal, Blairite, behind the times – another closet Tory.

Today The Guardian wants to tell us the mainstream Labour Party thinks Jeremy Corbyn’s “starry-eyed, hard left” policies would keep the Conservatives in power for another 10 years at least. What a shame the paper is relying on the words of closet Tory Chris Leslie to make that point!

Leslie is the politician who, as shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, told the Huffington Post last year that a future Labour government would not undo the Coalition’s hugely unpopular cuts but would continue to impose the austerity that has kept our economy in crisis for the last five years.

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

Particularly galling is Leslie’s claim to represent the concerns of the “progressive left of centre” – a part of the political landscape he cannot ever claim to have inhabited. He’s a regressive member of the Uptight Right.

In the HuffPost interview, Leslie told us: “George Osborne has had his five years to eradicate the deficit. I am determined that we finish that task on which he has failed”. In response, This Blog asked how he proposes to achieve that aim, if his methods are the same?

140601uglynewlabour

Chris Leslie’s idea of socialism: Seems a lot like Toryism, doesn’t it?

The man just wasn’t making sense then – and he isn’t making sense now.

Jeremy Corbyn isn’t a hard-left politician; Leslie’s problem is that his politics is too far to the right of the political spectrum for him to belong in the same party – he isn’t a Labour politician at all. Austerity is not the answer to the UK’s woes – five years of insane Tory ideological policies have demonstrated that.

The people are crying out for a change – the overwhelming victory of the SNP, with it’s anti-austerity posture, at the general election demonstrates that – and claims that England is not the same as Scotland in this regard are groundless because many English people have been saying they would have voted SNP if they could.

Mr Leslie is wrong – in what he says, in what he has been doing, and in his choice of political party. Like Chuka Umunna, Liz Kendall and certain other high-profile neoliberals, he should cross the floor and join the party he really represents.

His announcement that he would not work for Mr Corbyn is the best news we are likely to get all day – and he should keep his scaremongering to himself.

The “starry-eyed, hard left” economic strategy of Jeremy Corbyn would hand the Tories at least another decade in power and end up hurting poor people by leading to higher inflation and interest rates as well as cuts in public spending, the shadow chancellor has said.

As Corbyn outlines plans to end “the years of political and economic austerity” to help create a high-skilled workforce in Britain, Chris Leslie has become one of the most senior Labour figures to say he would decline to serve under the veteran leftwinger.

In a sign of the deep unease at senior levels of the Labour party that Corbyn could be on the verge of a historic breakthrough by the left to win the party’s leadership, Leslie told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday: “This is a fork in the road for the Labour party. On 12 September we will know what the fate is of the progressive left of centre. There are millions of people whose living standards and working conditions depend on making sure we get this decision right, otherwise we face a decade or more of Conservative government.”

Source: Corbyn’s economic strategy would keep Tories in power, top Labour figure says | Politics | The Guardian

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Frankie Boyle disparages Labour’s right-wing leader candidates – with uncomfortable facts

Frankie Boyle

There is a problem with criticising people for failing to say what they mean in a straightforward way. It arises when you do exactly the same thing.

Frankie Boyle’s critique of the Labour leader candidates in The Guardian is very amusing but falls prey to exactly this problem. He makes several good points, but they’re a long way down the page. Why? So people will lose interest and stop reading before they get to them? Let’s pull them out and give them a proper airing.

Political parties are meant to have guiding principles. Frankie mentions this way down in the fifth paragraph, after revealing: “We’re told that they are responding to the concerns of voters. Labour keeps saying: ‘We’re concerned about immigration because that’s what people say on the doorstep’,” which is guaranteed to stimulate yawns as we’ve all heard it many times before.

Labour did have guiding principles once. They were intended to improve prosperity for everybody in the UK by raising the people who did the work out of the poverty that the leisure class (the people who profit from unearned wealth) force them to endure. So Labour used to stand for cheap accommodation, cheap – but nutritious – food, affordable utilities (gas, electricity, water), nationalised healthcare, a living wage, good government – all the things that helped Jeremy Corbyn score so highly in Newsnight‘s televised hustings a few nights ago.

Ah, but Corbyn, despite being lauded as “one of the few decent politicians remaining in the Labour Party”, is talked down as a candidate who caused “the left of the party to get quite excited that it is still allowed to lose”. He’s saying all the right things, Frankie. People are connecting with him. Don’t write him off so blithely.

Can it really be easier to convert Tories than to reconnect with your own core support? Of course not, but Frankie hits on one of the largest elephants in Labour’s room. It’s just a shame he does it in his concluding paragraph. He reckons Burnham, Cooper and Kendall get their information on what voters want from what businesspeople say (they’re desperate to be pro-business without knowing what it means), polls (which Frankie rightly says can be misleading) and the media (which are, again, rightly labelled deliberately misleading). As a result, they end up campaigning on all the wrong issues and turn potential supporters away, rather than attracting them.

Why does being ‘pro-business’ have to mean being ‘anti-worker’? The three leading – actually they’re not leading anything at all in the eyes of the public; let’s call them ‘preferred’ – candidates seem determined to disappear up their own rear ends, trying to explain how they will support the kind of people who couldn’t care less about anything other than building their own wealth, even though this creates misery for the workers on whose efforts it is built. Frankie hits it on the head when he writes: “I’m reduced to imagining that ‘pro-business’ is simply a rhetorical code for ‘right-wing’, and that we are watching leadership contenders wonder aloud whether they are being right-wing enough.”

We end up with a leadership campaign aimed at a public who hate benefits, immigrants and shirkers. Benefits and shirkers are in fact the same issue, but Frankie is right to highlight it. Labour introduced the most punitive benefit-cancelling system in British history – Employment and Support Allowance – in 2008 and the party line is still to say that there’s nothing wrong with it in principle, even though its implementation has led to many thousands of deaths that the DWP has already admitted – and who knows how many that it is covering up (see Vox Political‘s many articles on the subject). The simple fact is that Labour is afraid of newspapers saying the party is soft on ‘shirker’ benefit claimants, and is instead forcing itself to persecute people who desperately need help, just to stay alive. That is a Tory Party attitude.

There is a very simple case to be made against austerity, but Labour doesn’t have the guts to make it. Jeremy Corbyn did.

Still, they must know that they are not going to win the next election. This is the most damning claim of all. A decade ago, the Conservative Party was finished, washed up; a joke. All Labour had to do was keep a steady hand on the tiller and the Nasty Party would have been banished to history.

But Labour couldn’t do that. It had been infiltrated by neoliberal might-as-well-be-Tories who pushed harmful policies including ESA and the failure to regulate the banks that eventually sucked the UK into the global financial crisis and allowed the Tories to create a myth that Labour had messed up the economy. If Labour is unlikely to win elections now, it is that party’s own fault for giving the Tories a chance – by being too much like the Tories themselves.

Now we have three ‘preferred’ leader candidates who want Labour to be different from the Conservative Party only in nuance.

Let’s vote for the one who wants Labour to be the Labour Party again.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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