Outside the marginals

A commentary on the politics that followed the UK 2010, 2015 & 2017 elections (and THAT referendum)

Archive for the tag “Labour”

Any leadership to prevent this Brexit?

There was a Labour Party public meeting held this week-end in this Tory safe seat. Whilst in some ways it is heartening to see any political activity in the constituency that is well outside the marginals, it is also a bit worrying to see potential dissipation of effort. Arguably Labour should be putting its efforts into more marginal seats in the region, either defending seats vulnerable to loss or seeking to recapture winnable seats from the Tories.

Local officials seemed very chipper despite accepting that the Council Election results were a “disaster”. It was not quite so unrealistic as saying “one more heave”, but the view seemed to be that a few more heaves would capture the seat.

But by the time that has happened, the country may look very different. Read more…

Labour won’t find its soul by navel gazing

… last year’s election defeat could be reduced to two key factors – Labour’s failure to pay enough attention to “economic competence”, and the fact that “the public did not perceive Ed Miliband as a credible prime minister”.
The Guardian, 1 January 2016 : When are Labour party ‘moderates’ going to do more than just moan?

But behind that there is a rejection of Labour’s attempts to hold power by trying to ape the Tories – they can never be “better Tories than the Tories”. If unrestrained global capitalism is the name of the game you might as well vote Tory.

But if unrestrained global capitalism is not the name of the game … Read more…

Stifling Political Diversity

The acting leader of the Labour Party is a great believer in diversity – even if she does not stray much beyond the dimension of gender.

It has struck me however that the Labour Leadership Election is a major exercise in reducing the diversity of political opinion that is to be offered to the British electorate. It seems that we can be offered Socialism or “Modern Labour” but not both. Which is a shame.

Read more…

The party of work, not welfare?

Liz Kendall’s core message apparently includes the statement that Labour should be seen as the party of “work not welfare”. (BBC News Website 4 August 2015 : Liz Kendall: I’m an ‘all or nothing’ person)

Kind of says it all, doesn’t it? Labour – the traditional party of the working class, the major cheer-leader (if not originator) of the welfare state – should see themselves facing a choice between “work” or “welfare”.

It’s a false choice. Read more…

Understanding the coalitions that are our parties

There is a fairly wide-spread view that the country has “had enough of coalitions” and does not want to see another bout of post-election coalition negotiation.

Yet most parties are themselves coalitions where the negotiation is done out of sight – usually by party elites and pay-masters. Not exactly transparent and rather lacking in accountability.

Most parties see it as a disaster if the veil is lifted and we “the voters” are allowed to see what is going on inside. Read more…

Labouring over NHS targets

I am always a bit nervous about politicians announcing new targets – particularly in the NHS. Whilst I instinctively welcome the idea of quicker diagnosis (positive or negative) – having experienced one sub two-week wait and one over two-week wait, I need to feel confident that this is an achievable target and not an aspiration. Read more…

Promising a Referendum

Labour has received a

warning from Unite general secretary Len McCluskey that the party risked being “boxed in” at the 2015 general election unless it dropped its opposition to matching David Cameron’s promise to allow voters a say.
The Guardian 3 July 2014 : Labour would be ‘silly’ to offer EU referendum, says Ed Balls

What-ever happens the right wing press is going to attempt to “box in” Labour. So, the question is: Read more…

So What? – Post-Election Ponderings

So some councillors and MEPs have lost their seats, some have gained or regained their seats. As a result some councils have changed control but there has been little change in the European Parliament. In due course the wheel will turn full circle and some of those seats will move back.

We expected the Liberal Democrats to get a hammering. And they have – councillors and MEPs (including some very good ones) are apparently responsible for all the evils of the Westminster coalition.

We expected UKIP to do dramatically well (much as the SDP did in the early days). And they have, at least in terms of votes; but under First Past the Post, few seats. Sunday was different as across Europe sundry sceptic and reactionary parties won seats.

We expected Labour to come back at the expense of the Conservatives. And in general they have – a bit. Across Europe the Conservatives (both European “Merkel” Conservatives and “Cameron” Conservatives) lost to Socialists and to “Others” – mainly sceptics.

In the UK, the BNP lost its MEPs, but elsewhere in Europe, the BNPs fellow travellers made gains.

Beyond that it is very hard to draw firm conclusions. We can postulate a few soft ones though! Read more…

What to do tomorrow (Euro election day)?

I am fed up with this so-called Euro campaign and feel very unqualified to vote other than on purely tribal grounds. Trouble is I am not a tribal voter. Read more…

Post “yes”: a 2014-2018 hypothesis

In yesterday’s Guardian (16 April 2014: Scottish referendum: the UK is on shifting sands – we can’t assume survival) Martin Kettle argued that post a “yes” vote, there could be very difficult times for both Scotland and the rest of us with tough and divisive negotiations dragging on well beyond the Scots Nats’ planned “independence day”.

I could not agree more with this article: Read more…

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