Tag Archives: policies

Culture legislation review prompts question: was Dorries allowed to do whatever she wanted?

Michelle Donelan: this is the only image of her that This Writer could find, in which she didn’t have an enormous, daft grin all over her face.

New Culture Secretary Michelle Donelan is reviewing plans by her forerunner Nadine Dorries to privatise Channel 4 and scrap the BBC licence fee, and also the proposed Online Harms Bill.

Doesn’t this suggest that those plans were not widely supported by the Tory Party and that Dorries was put at the top of that department by Boris Johnson to do nothing more than distract attention away from him?

Also being revisited are provisions around “legal but harmful” speech in the Online Harms legislation.

The review of Channel 4 comes amid criticisms that privatising the channel would harm the future of many TV production companies at a time when new prime minister Liz Truss wants to create growth. The two policies would therefore appear to contradict each other.

With the BBC, Ms Donelan has admitted being sceptical about the viability of the licence fee. But she has said that coverage of the Queen’s funeral was excellent – and the kind of thing that streaming services could not provide.

Source: Ministers to review Channel 4 privatisation and scrapping of BBC licence fee

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Will Liz Truss’s new policies appeal to target voters? Probably not!

The bank holiday weekend may be over, but this article is being produced in the period before everybody goes back to work – so I’m still putting up material that has interested me – and I hope it interests you. Make of it what you will:

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Truss in a rush to get policies out before Parliament closes for conference season

Liz Truss: will her performance this week set the benchmarks for everything we can expect from her in the future?

After a week trailing King Charles around the UK like a lost puppy, Liz Truss is going to have to show whether she has prime ministerial chops (whatever that means) – and fast.

Parliament will be open for four days this week – before going back into recess for the conference season.

But in that time, it seems, Truss will want to rush out a support package to help businesses cope with rising energy prices, a statement on possibly cutting waiting times for National Health Service treatment and her much promised tax cuts to try to spur growth.

She will also meet US President Joe Biden at the UN General Assembly on Wednesday after meeting other leaders who had travelled to take part in the queen’s funeral.

This is the meeting that was allegedly delayed because of an investigation into whether Truss’s chief of staff, Mark Fullbrook, was involved in bribery and corruption in a recent Puerto Rican election.

And her fiscal statement, or mini budget, is expected to be delivered by Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng on Friday, when he is expected to scrap an increase in national insurance contributions and freeze the UK’s already historically-low corporation tax.

Kwarteng will also give an estimated cost for the energy package, but it will be up to Jacob Rees-Mogg’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to offer the detail. He may also officially announce the end to caps on bankers’ bonuses, that was trailed last week.

The fiscal statement will follow Thursday’s decision by the Bank of England on whether to raise interest rates to fight inflation – seemingly moving in an opposing direction to Kwarteng, whose tax cuts could stoke prices.

And then there will be another long break for the party conferences. Will Truss use it to prepare for what threatens to be a gruelling Parliamentary season to come? We’ll be able to draw our conclusions from her performance over the next few days.

Source: Truss faces whirlwind week as politics resumes after queen’s funeral

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Liz Truss: extreme neoliberal, anti-Labour, anti-environmentalist – and populist

New Tory prime minister Liz Truss is nothing more than a piece of theatre, according to Guardian columnist George Monbiot in this Democracy Now! interview.

He says her every utterance is carefully rehearsed in order to say only what she thinks is popular – and the same goes for her policies; she adopts whatever policy she thinks will find favour with the audience she’s with.

The audience she has been with over the summer has been the Conservative Party membership – a grossly unrepresentative and tiny group of UK people.

In pandering to these people, she has supported extreme neoliberal policies – tax cuts for the rich, more austerity, more privatisation if possible, and all when the exact opposite is needed.

Watch:

Her second week in power is about to begin.

Feel free to check Mr Monbiot’s predictions against what Truss does.

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Will the policies of Liz Truss sink the Tories for good? [VIDEO]

Liz Truss: her policies are likely to fail and the electorate are likely to hate her in less than a year. What then?

Here’s some good commentary, courtesy of A Different Bias, of which This Writer had not heard previously.

Skip to 1:11 in (past the stuff about liking and subscribing to the channel), and we’re into a discussion of the most popular policies of the Johnson half-ministry: all of them involving massive state intervention; most of them being lies.

But the Tories are about cutting state intervention, which isn’t popular.

At the moment, all eyes and ears are on whether Truss will support a policy of freezing energy bills, in line with a plan put forward by Ovo Energy last week, and also the Labour Party. It seems likely that Truss’s plan will cost us all in the long term (effectively we take out loans from the energy companies and pay them back on top of our bills later) while also costing four times as much as Labour’s, so Keir Starmer will be able to say that she stole his policy and did it badly.

If that happens, she’ll be extremely unpopular and so will the Tories.

Her MPs won’t be happy, for reasons laid out in the video. What will they do?

Boris Johnson has already hinted that he might come back, with his reference to Cincinnatus, a Roman general who quit to become a farmer, then returned to his former role again.

Will the Tories really accept him back into their bosom after the nightmare of the last three years?

And will he even be able to come back, if the Privileges Committee inquiry into Partygate finds he should be thrown out of Parliament?

Here’s the clip:

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Tory Britain: we can’t afford to eat every day and we’re setting fire to our homes, trying to keep warm

Secret smile: Boris Johnson probably thinks it is very funny that his policies have made more than two million people unable to afford to eat every day, and that some people have set fire to their homes while trying to heat them by burning timber indoors.

You may wish to bookmark this article so you can send it to anyone who tries to tell you voting Conservative is a good idea.

Because more than 12 years of Conservative government has laid the once-great United Kingdom lower than it has been in decades – possibly more than a century.

More than two million people – one in every seven adults – can no longer afford to eat food every day:

More than 2 million adults in the UK have gone without food for a whole day over the past month because they cannot afford to eat

The latest survey of the nation’s food intake shows a 57% jump in the proportion of households cutting back on food or skipping meals over the first three months of this year, with one in seven adults (7.3 million) estimated to be food-insecure, up from 4.7 million in January.

And fire brigades are now overworked dealing with blazes in houses where people started burning timber in open fires because they could not afford the cost of central heating any more:

A man in south-west London set fire to his property by burning timber in his living room to keep warm.

The man was trying to avoid putting on the central heating in his home, fire investigators said.

Fuel poverty campaigners said the incident – one of at least 100 involving open fires, log burners and heaters in the capital in the last few months – laid bare “the harsh and dangerous reality of the cost-of-living crisis”.

Some might say that they don’t care; these incidents involve other people. It’s very easy to throw shade on others by saying they are unable to keep their finances in order.

But the Tory cost-of-living crisis affects us all.

Food costs more because of Brexit-related supply issues; housing costs more because the banks have increased interest rates, meaning mortgages and rents are going up; heating costs more because of the shortage of gas created last winter and accelerated by the Russia-Ukraine war; we are paying more tax to the Tory government than any UK population in more than 40 years.

Only people who are extremely rich can afford to blame others for being unable to stay warm or feed themselves in these circumstances. If you’re on a normal wage, you’ll feel the pinch soon enough.

And it’s all due to Conservative economic incompetence – sold to you with a lie that they knew what they were doing.

Or was it a lie? How much worse would you find it if this enforced starvation and these house fires were intended to happen by Boris Johnson and his party?

Source: More than 2m adults in UK cannot afford to eat every day, survey finds | Food poverty | The Guardian

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If a party won’t do what you want, why would you vote for it?

He couldn’t care less about you: Starmer welcomed heckles at his Labour conference speech because he wanted to humiliate left-wingers by claiming they don’t matter to him. He thinks they have no choice but to vote for his RIGHT-wing policies. But that would be an act of self-harm. We need to teach him that he is badly mistaken.

Labour has just suffered a heavy by-election defeat.

In the Newark and Sherwood by-election, Labour dropped from first to third:

Here’s a charitable commentary on that:

There is a simple explanation for this precipitous fall: people don’t like Keir Starmer and – more importantly – they don’t like his policies.

We know from opinion polls that a majority of the UK public want our public utilities and railways re-nationalised and private businesses removed from the National Health Service, along with a swathe of other socialist policies.

More than 70 per cent of the population support these changes – but both the Tory government and Starmer’s Labour “opposition” are telling you that you can’t have them.

They demand that, in elections, you support the policies that they want to force on you, whether you want them or not.

Why should you?

The answer is easy: the party leaders assume that you are naturally tribal. If you were brought up among Labour supporters, you’ll vote Labour no matter what daft right-wing policies Starmer foists on you. Similarly, if you were brought up among Conservatives, the assumption is that you’ll vote Tory.

They want you to vote against your interests, by lying to you that you don’t have any other choice.

Of course you have another choice: You don’t have to vote for either of them.

In fact, voting for Labour under Starmer would be a vote against the very policies that (according to the polls) you want!

I read an article in the Morning Star that explains the situation:

If Starmer does well at the next election, it will now explicitly be on the basis of his gratuitous and open repudiation of socialist values and principles.

Look at the Green New Deal, housing, Palestine or workers’ rights: no sooner had members passed policy at this conference than a shadow front bench minister was brought forward to renounce the policy and insist that it was not going to make the next manifesto.

The contempt for members, their values and the commitment to socialism under former leader Jeremy Corbyn was made clear in repeated public statements from the front bench, as well as at length in Starmer’s speech.

It further explains:

Is repudiating our entire tradition, our entire worldview and weakening our cause for decades, the price we are willing to pay for a slim (practically non-existent) chance of ending that, in favour of Starmer’s brand of washed-out liberal elitism?

The extinction of socialism from mainstream British politics would have far greater long-term effects on the lives and living conditions of working-class people than another Tory term. It would be a defeat for decency in politics, a defeat for morality, truth and reason.

And it says:

Success for Labour in the present conditions would be detrimental to the development of a truly progressive political agenda, and the advancement of our cause.

Whether you remain a member of Labour or not, unless you have particular mitigating local circumstances (such as a properly socialist local candidate running for Labour) then Labour is currently asking you to vote for the destruction of everything you believe in.

The people making this demand are well aware of how humiliating this is — and how depressing. They are also aware that a socialist movement cannot ever thrive if it is not proud of itself, dynamic and confident. This is yet another intended humiliation to put our ideas and principles back in the box.

Don’t do what you are being asked to do. Don’t vote to trash your principles or our hopes for a better world.

The people of Newark and Sherwood didn’t vote to trash their principles – and most of them are unlikely to have read the Morning Star piece.

This Writer feels sure that Thursday’s result is not unique; Labour is losing ground across the UK because Starmer’s policies are rubbish.

There is a dilemma for party members, who are not allowed to campaign against the party or show support for any other political organisation.

But that doesn’t mean you have to campaign for Starmer’s Labour. And it doesn’t mean you have to vote for policies that would harm you, either.

Starmer and his right-wing headbangers are trying to gaslight you into thinking there is no alternative to them.

They are wrong.

But it’s up to all of us to explain that to them.

Source: Should socialists vote Labour under Starmer? | Morning Star

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Starmer’s dilemma: where does Labour go after Chesham and Amersham?

The problem, not the solution: Keir Starmer – and all his supporters – are a betrayal of the Labour Party and of Labour voters. We all know it. Labour is unelectable until they have all left the party – and they won’t go. They are the worst of all Boris Johnson’s Tory enablers.

No points to anybody who responds to the headline with “Batley and Spen”.

It would be fair to say that Keir Starmer did not expect to win the Chesham and Amersham by-election.

But the scale of his loss there – and I think it should be understood that it was a failure that Starmer owns – should make it clear to him that he has taken Labour in the wrong direction.

His party’s 622 votes – just 1.6 per cent of turnout and one-sixteenth of the number Jeremy Corbyn managed to raise in 2017 – is fewer than the number of people in that constituency’s Labour Party.

Either party members abstained or they voted for someone else, which is an offence for which they could be expelled.

(Or there could be far fewer members remaining in that constituency than Starmer is willing to admit, after the – alleged – mass exodus of members following his election as leader. If so, even if remaining members did vote for somebody else, he’ll be in a quandary over whether to carry out disciplinary procedures.)

Encouragingly, it seems almost nobody aged less than 70 voted for the Conservatives:

I’m not sure Richard Murphy is right about that, as the number of pensioners in the UK will remain very high, some way into the future (even after the ravages of Covid-19), and the Tories have a knack of duping the gullible into supporting them (or perhaps that should be bribing the gullible). Still, it suggests that the Tories’ time is running out.

That said, the simple fact is that people aged under 70 simply didn’t go for Labour, despite Starmer’s attempts to woo them by changing Labour’s direction sharply to the political right. They voted Liberal Democrat.

I draw two conclusions from that:

Firstly, Starmer’s claim that Boris Johnson’s party has enjoyed a “vaccine bounce” – resurgent popularity because of the perceived success of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout – is bunkum. Or at least, any such bounce has now petered out.

Secondly, that people prefer to put their trust in political organisations that have some consistency about them, rather than wandering around all over the political spectrum searching for votes – or very obviously trying to fool people into voting for them – like Labour under Starmer (and Miliband, Brown and Blair before him).

Some commentators are now suggesting that Labour should at least discuss the idea of a “progressive alliance” with other opposition parties like the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, to field just one candidate against the Tories in Tory strongholds, thereby making it easier to force them out. But there are problems with that…

Yes indeed; the Liberal Democrats won because they are the most similar to the Conservatives in Chesham and Amersham, not because they are a radical alternative.

So a “progressive alliance” isn’t going to happen. And dreams of getting the Tories out by using proportional representation will continue to be dreams for the foreseeable future because the Tories are in power and they aren’t going to bring it in because they know it would harm them.

What’s left? Tactical voting?

But that will just result in another hung Parliament that the Tories will probably dominate – with Liberal Democrats joining them for the sake of power if they get enough seats. We’ve already had that from 2010 to 2015.

And all of this theorising neglects one simple fact:

In order to beat the Tories, whichever party you support will need to deserve to win.

And Labour, under Keir Starmer, doesn’t.

How can left-wing voters support a party that deserts them in the way Starmer has? How can they support a party whose Parliamentary representatives no longer come from the working class but represent exactly the kind of middle-class privilege that Labour was originally created to oppose?

How can right-wing voters support a party they know only courts them in order to gain power for its own purposes? They know the Tories are untrustworthy – but only in their promises to people earning less than £100,000 a year; as long as Tory priorities are aligned with their own, they’ll carry on with Johnson’s bandits, even if it means imposing fascist-style dictatorship on the rest of us.

Starmer has been criticised because he hasn’t brought forward a single policy to replace the 10 pledges he scrapped as soon as they had won him the Labour leadership under false pretences. There is a reason for this failure: Starmer is trying to find a magic promise that will fool a majority of voters, just long enough to get himself into Downing Street.

His problem is that we all know that this is what he’s doing. He is probably the most classic example of Tony Benn’s “weathercock” ever to come forward – a career politician who doesn’t have any principles of his own but goes any way the wind blows, chasing votes according to what his focus groups tell him is popular.

And Starmer’s focus groups are disastrously out-of-touch. This means Starmer is continuously trying to tell us what we want, and getting it wrong.

So he drapes himself in the Union Flag because he has seen the Tories do it and he thinks it appeals to our patriotism – but under Boris Johnson’s fascism, we have no reason to feel patriotic at all.

So he blames Jeremy Corbyn for his failures and tries to remind us that Corbyn was accused of letting anti-Semitism into the Labour Party – when we all know that the accusations were (mostly) false (there are always a few racists in any large organisation but the leader cannot be blamed for them). Labour has just been in court defending itself against a group of former members who have brought a hugely damaging case against the party.

In all this squirming, he presents himself as entirely untrustworthy.

So we don’t trust him, and that means we don’t trust Labour:

It won’t change until Starmer is gone. I don’t mean that he should step down as leader of the Labour Party; I mean he should leave the party altogether, along with all the other cuckoos who got in under Kinnock, Blair, Brown and Miliband. You know who they are. Including party staff members who support them rather than traditional (pre-Kinnock) Labour values.

One more note: I could happily tap out a list of policies that Labour should adopt in order to win public support – it isn’t hard to do.

But there is no point while Starmer and his cronies are in charge. They would see such policies as a marketing strategy to win votes – and if it worked, they would then ditch those policies in favour of the right-wing agenda they’ve had all along.

They have to go.

The problem is, they won’t. They know they are unacceptable; unelectable. But they absolutely won’t allow anybody to lead Labour who could possibly break the deadlock.

And in the meantime, Boris Johnson gets worse and worse. Enabled by Starmer.

Labour has hit a new low in the polls and Keir Starmer can’t blame anybody but himself

Keir Starmer: both the cause and the symptom of Labour’s electoral problems.

More than a year after Jeremy Corbyn handed over the Labour leadership to Keir Starmer, the party has fallen to a new low in the opinion polls, 18 points behind the Conservatives.

The situation is almost the exact opposite of what so-called ‘centrists’ said would happen with “Anybody But Corbyn” as leader; they promised a 20-point lead.

So, what went wrong?

The new poll, conducted by YouGov and released on Saturday, had Labour on just 28 per cent – down four points on Jeremy Corbyn’s disastrous 2019 general election result, and down 12 points on his 2017 result.

The opposition leader was publicly accused by one of his MPs [Ian Lavery] of lacking substance and being “invisible” as Labour continued to reel from a series of disappointing elections.

The new front bench team has so far failed to break the narrative that the party does not have distinctive policies or have fixed principles.

If this is the start of a leadership bid by Lavery, This Writer reckons it will be welcomed by the party membership and by voters.

Of course, the poll is be Tory-run YouGov and is therefore suspect. We’ll have to see what Survation has to say before we can be sure.

As far as comments are concerned, strangely I can’t find it at the moment but someone put a satirical remark on Twitter to the effect that, if leftists had only refrained from calling him “Keith”, Labour might be only 16 points behind.

… oh, and among working class voters, that’s a whopping thirty-six points behind:

It doesn’t matter whether we call him Keir or Keith; his name is Mud.

Get rid of him, Labour. We all deserve better. And it won’t come from the centre or the right.

Source: Labour falls to new poll low 18 points behind the Tories | The Independent

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‘It’s confidential’: Ashworth’s failure to say what Labour stands for means we only know what it doesn’t

“It’s confidential,” said Ashworth. If he can’t tell us what Labour stands for, then we can’t vote for him, his leader Keir Starmer or any of their cronies. Fair enough?

What a farce the Labour Party has become under Keir Starmer’s leadership!

Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain – only to be embarrassed when he could not tell the presenters any of Labour’s current political policies:

So it seems that while we don’t know what StarmerLabour stands for, we do know what it doesn’t – because we know what he has ditched.

He has ditched all 10 of the pledges that got him elected Labour leader. This means that he was elected under false pretences and should stand for re-election but just you see if he does!

So Starmer Labour doesn’t stand for economic justice, meaning it won’t increase income tax for the top five per cent of earners, reverse the Tories’ cuts in corporation tax and clamp down on tax avoidance, particularly of large corporations.

It doesn’t stand for social justice, meaning it won’t abolish Universal Credit and end the Tories’ cruel sanctions regime; set a national goal for wellbeing to make health as important as GDP; invest in services that help shift to a preventative approach; stand up for universal services and defend our NHS. Nor will it support the abolition of tuition fees and invest in lifelong learning.

It doesn’t stand for climate justice, meaning it won’t put the Green New Deal at the heart of everything it does. It will not bring in a Clean Air Act to tackle pollution locally or demand international action on climate rights.

It won’t promote peace and human rights, meaning it won’t oppose illegal wars. Nor will it introduce a Prevention of Military Intervention Act and put human rights at the heart of foreign policy, review all UK arms sales or make the UK a force for international peace and justice.

It doesn’t stand for common ownership, meaning it won’t put public services back in public hands instead of making profits for shareholders. It won’t support common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water and it won’t end outsourcing in our NHS, local government and justice system.

It won’t support migrants’ rights, meaning it won’t give full voting rights to EU nationals, defend free movement with the EU, offer an immigration system based on compassion and dignity, end indefinite detention and call for the closure of centres such as Yarl’s Wood.

It doesn’t stand for workers’ rights and trade unions, meaning it won’t work shoulder to shoulder with trade unions to stand up for working people, tackle insecure work and low pay. It won’t repeal the Trade Union Act. It won’t oppose Tory attacks on the right to take industrial action and the weakening of workplace rights.

It doesn’t stand for a radical devolution of power, wealth, rights and opportunity, meaning it won’t push power, wealth and opportunity away from Whitehall. It won’t create a federal system to devolve powers – including through regional investment banks and control over regional industrial strategy. It won’t abolish the House of Lords and replace it with an elected chamber of regions and nations.

StarmerLabour doesn’t stand for equality, meaning it won’t pull down obstacles that limit opportunities and talent. It is no longer the party of the Equal Pay Act, Sure Start, BAME representation and the abolition of Section 28.

And StarmerLabour absolutely does not stand for effective opposition to the Tories. It won’t offer forensic, effective opposition to the Tories in Parliament, linked up to its mass membership and it will not run a professional election operation. It will further split the party, suppress pluralism and diminish our culture. It won’t eradicate the scourge of antisemitism. And it will erode collective links with the unions.

So, knowing this, here’s my question:

Starmer has betrayed everything Labour used to stand for. Why should we care what he’s offering instead?

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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