Labour

Jeremy Corbyn Proud to Be a Socialist

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Published on Sep 26, 2015

Exclusive interview for teleSUR with Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn http://multimedia.telesurtv.net/v/jer…

Austerity Is a Choice, Labour Must Offer Another: Jeremy Corbyn #Labour MP for Islington North

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Posted: 07/09/2015 15:33 BST Updated: 07/09/2015 15:59 BST

Austerity is a political choice not an economic necessity. When the Chancellor rose to his feet at the emergency Budget in July, and when he does so for his Spending Review in October, what is being put forward is an ideologically-driven rolling back of the state.

The analysis published today by the TUC reveals how the Budget gives money to the rich, but takes away from the poor.

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This is the Conservative project, dressed up in the post-crisis language of budget deficits and national debt for extra impetus. Inequality doubled under the Thatcher government, and her heirs seem to be doing all they can to ensure that legacy is extended.

The Budget showed austerity is about political choices, not economic necessities. There is money available: the inheritance tax cuts announced in the Budget will lose the exchequer over £2.5billion in revenue between now and 2020. What responsible government committed to closing the deficit would give a tax break that only applies to the richest 4% of households?

The Conservatives are giving away to the very rich in inheritance tax cuts twice as much as reducing the benefit cap will raise by further impoverishing the poorest, and socially cleansing many towns and cities.

Another choice was to cut UK corporation tax to 18%, which at 20% is already the lowest in the G7, lower too than the 25% in China, and half the 40% rate in the United States.

The Treasury estimates that this political choice will see our revenue intake from big business fall by £2.5billion in 2020. That’s nearly twice the amount saved by cutting the tax credits available families with more than two children.

In such circumstances, Labour must be clear: we oppose the Budget, and we oppose austerity. As a group of 40 economists wrote to the Observer a few weeks ago, “opposition to austerity is actually mainstream economics, even backed by the conservative IMF”.

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Has the Labour party outlived its usefulness?

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The 1977 Grunwick strike was crushed by police with the full support of the Labour government.

The 1977 Grunwick strike was crushed by police with the full support of the Labour government. Photograph: Press Association Images

Has the Labour party outlived its usefulness?

Labour’s time could be up. History says that it could be reborn in a different guise and with a different purpose

Does it matter if the Labour party survives its current crisis? History suggests not. Labour, and the British left, has been massively defeated. However, in broad historical terms, one might argue that this defeat didn’t happen on 7 May 2015 but in the late 1960s and 1970s. Labour’s era may now be over and perhaps it is time for something new.

Its heyday was in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Clement Attlee’s Labour party was the party of the welfare state and full employment, with trade unions fully incorporated into national bargaining because they represented a massive section of the workforce. The party had concrete policies that spoke to people’s needs and desires – from which the current operation could learn .

In the late 1960s, this consensus broke apart. Foreign competition and the assertive, but reasonable demands of young workers for more say over the way their industries were managed led certain big businesses to organise into the Confederation of British Industries (CBI) and demand the reduction of workers’ rights.

Barbara Castle’s white paper, In Place of Strife, began talking of strikers and trade unionists as separate from, rather than representative of, “the public”. Edward Heath’s Conservative administrations and the succeeding Labour government took this policy further. In 1976, Labour accepted that an economic downturn should be remedied by accepting International Monetary Fund aid, conditional on massive public spending cuts.

The following year, a huge strike for trade union recognition by Asian women at the Grunwick film processing plant was crushed by police with the full support of the Labour government and the Conservative opposition. The rest, as they say, is history, including the national Labour leadership’s failure to support the 1984-85miners’ strike.

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If #Labour is committed to mental health, why doesn’t it scrap benefit sanctions? Labour’s unwillingness to completely break with the coalition’s benefit sanctions will hurt those with mental health issues the most.

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If Labour is committed to mental health, why doesn’t it scrap benefit sanctions?

Labour’s unwillingness to completely break with the coalition’s benefit sanctions will hurt those with mental health issues the most.

Social security should support those in need, not sanction them. Photo: Getty

“Getting serious” about mental health is all the rage in this election, with Nick Clegg talking about the taboo of suicide and Ed Miliband’s claim that mental health is the “biggest unaddressed health challenge of our age”. So why not pledge to abolish benefit sanctions which punish many of those already afflicted by both mental health issues and poverty? Unfortunately for those being sanctioned, the apparent Labour/coalition divide on benefit sanctions, with Labour pledging to abolish sanctions targets, is only surface deep, and beneath it there is a cross-party assumption that sanctions are necessary.

Unite the union has claimed over 2m people had their benefits stopped in the last two years, meaning 2014 saw the highest number of sanctions since jobseeker’s allowance was introduced. This especially affect those with conditions difficult to asses such as mental illnesses, and 120 disabled peoplehave been given a three-year sanction since October 2012.

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What Greek politics teaches the Labour party: there is an alternative

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What Greek politics teaches the Labour party: there is an alternative

Insisting on Tina, ‘there is no alternative’, brought down the once mighty Pasok. It could do the same in the UK

Bill Bragg illustration for Comment
‘To look at the Scottish referendum, the Greens and even Ukip is to see how Labour and the Conservatives have long stopped being the centre of political excitement.’ Illustration by Bill Bragg

As I write this, some of the best-paid brains in Europe are puzzling over what happens when the inevitable suddenly becomes impossible.

For the past half-decade, Greece was run by machine politicians who took orders from their northern European creditors and stamped on their own voters – slashing their pensions, selling their national assets and wrecking their economy. The weekend’s elections put an end to that cosy, monstrous system. And so in banks across the continent, analysts handier with statistical probabilities than political unknowns tweak their models. Ministers and pundits look on the tumult in Athens and wonder how to shape it into a glib one-liner.

Amid such febrility, it’s natural to want to pass the first verdict on Syriza – and completely dishonest to do so this early. The coalition of leftists numbers Maoists and Trotskyists, alongside others who sound more like Roy Hattersley. Rather than soundbites and polling, their expertise is typically in Japanese monetary policy or Lacanian philosophy. Tony Blair’s eager young shavers – glued to their BlackBerrys for the next line from HQ – they are not.

But instead of speculating about Syriza’s future, we should draw one vital lesson from its very recent past – one that Ed Miliband and his inner circle ought to learn too. Because there’s no way that Alexis Tsipras would have been sworn in as prime minister had it not been for the disastrous and ultimately suicidal behaviour of Labour’s sister party in Greece, Pasok. The death of the country’s main centre-left organisation has been swift and spectacular.

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Alan Milburn’s personal interest in resisting a public #NHS

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Alan Milburn’s personal interest in resisting a public NHS

By Wednesday, 28 January 2015 10:12 AM 4
Alan Milburn: Personally interested in private healthcare
Alan Milburn: Personally interested in private healthcare

What do Alan Milburn and John Hutton have in common?

Well the first thing they have in common is that both are former ministers in Tony Blair’s government.

The second thing they have in common is that both were appointed to work on reviews and commissions under the current Conservative-led government.

The third thing they have in common is that yesterday they both attacked Labour’s new anti NHS privatisation policy as a “fatal” error which could cost Labour the election.

Their comments followed a speech by Labour’s shadow health secretary Andy Burnham in which he pledged that the party would “call time on the Tory market experiment in the NHS.”

This new pledge was immediately attacked by Milburn as a “fatal mistake”.

“It would be a fatal mistake for Labour to go into this election looking as though it is the party that would better resource the NHS but not necessarily put its foot to the floor when it comes to reforming it,” he told the World at One.

These comments were promptly backed by Hutton. Asked about Burnham’s pledge to “cement” public provision of the NHS over the market, he replied that “I really don’t think that is where we should focus all our efforts” adding that there needed to be fundamental reform of the NHS instead.

However there is one final and crucial area which the two men have in common.

Both men have direct interests in the private healthcare industry.

Two years ago PriceWaterhouseCoopers announced that Milburn would chair their new Health Industry Oversight Board.

Commenting on his appointment, Milburn claimed that there were “strong opportunities for growth” in the private healthcare sector, which he would help PWC to exploit.

Among his other interests, Milburn also sits on the strategic advisory board for private healthcare company WellDoc, has been a vice-chairman of the Lloyds Pharmacy advisory board and chairs the healthcare industry company I Want Great Care.

Hutton is also far from an independent commentator on the issue. According to hisregister of interests, Lord Hutton is currently a director of private healthcare firm Circle Holdings. Like Milburn, he is also an adviser to PWC.

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Austerity has failed, and it isn’t only Labour’s core voters who want change

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Austerity has failed, and it isn’t only Labour’s core voters who want change

After Scotland, the need for Ed Miliband to make the case for radical reform couldn’t be clearer

  The Guardian, Wednesday 24 September 2014 20.35 BST

Seamus ed
‘In the real-world Labour conference, Ed Miliband lurched nowhere. He was a picture of studied caution.’ Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

If you’re in a fix, create a diversion. That will be the watchword of David Cameron’s Tories next week. George Osborne may have presided over the weakest recovery on record. He may have spectacularly missed his fiscal targets. The deficit may be growing again. Real wages may have fallen for the longest period since the 1870s. But Ed Miliband will certainly be the man in the frame at their Birmingham jamboree.

The Labour leader even forgot to mention the deficit in his conference speech, the Conservatives will hoot – tax cuts at the ready – so Labour can’t be trusted with the nation’s finances. And fresh from bringing Britain to the brink of breakup, Cameron will play the English nationalist card as his winning ace. Miliband isn’t quite one of us, the dog whistle will have it.

The media has been playing warm-up act all week. Labour has “lurched to the left”, the Tory press complained, yet again. Miliband is pursuing a “core vote” strategy. He must return to the “centre ground”. The Telegraph even reckoned that £2m houses – which Miliband plans to tax to pay for more doctors, nurses and home care workers – can be “relatively modest”.

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