Archive for November, 2014

It’s time for Miliband to take a stand and hug an immigrant

04/11/2014, 09:48:43 AM

by Samuel Dale

Ed Miliband likes to remind us that he takes on vested interests.

Barely a speech goes by without mentioning how he took on Murdoch, the Daily Mail and the energy companies.

Hero Miliband standing up to the strong. Except it’s not true.

This isn’t strong leadership, it’s populism masquerading as strength.

Look at the crass and ridiculous attack on ex-Labour minister Lord Freud for his comments on helping disabled people find work below the minimum wage.

Or the pathetic Harriet Harman stunt, sanctioned by Miliband, to wear a ‘This is what a feminist looks like’ T-shirt at PMQs.

No wonder Britain doesn’t see Miliband as prime ministerial because these are not the actions of a man who is an aspiring national leader.

The latest polling puts his leadership ratings as lower than even Nick Clegg, Mr Tuition Fees.

Has there been any area where Miliband has actually led his party or the public?

The energy price freeze was clever politics but it was heavily polled and known to be popular.

It was a classic of the Miliband genre: followship not leadership.

His clear electoral strategy of left wing populism and a so-called 35 per cent strategy is despicable.

It’s laughable to call himself One Nation Labour. And such cynicism is deservedly backfiring with votes being haemorrhaged to the Greens, Ukip and the SNP.

But there is one issue crying out for real national leadership and alternative positive politics: immigration.

The rise of Ukip and capitulation of the Tories has led to toxic nasty rhetoric on immigration and the EU.

It is turning off global businesses and threatening the UK’s international reputation for openness.


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A strong Scotland needs a strong Jim Murphy

03/11/2014, 12:38:57 PM

by David Talbot

Good riddance Johann Lamont. That, truthfully, has to be the main reaction to the announcement last week from the former Scottish Labour leader. Unheard of before the referendum and anonymous during it, the fact that Lamont only ever raised an eyebrow when she resigned says everything about a spectacularly underwhelming, and failed, political leader. It was never clear that Lamont actually deserved the leadership, but when it came to relinquishing, it was done in the bitterest of fashions. She is clearly a decent woman, tired of political abuse and ostracization, but that she ever led Scottish Labour is slightly less surprising than she ultimately did a pretty poor job of it.

Her closing remarks were deliberately incendiary and unacceptable.  To descend into the language of the SNP, of us versus them, of Scotland and London, was the admission of her own weakness as well as final parting shot across the party’s bows. It ensures that whoever takes up the poisoned chalice of Scottish Labour leader will truly start from rock bottom.

Once leading the party north of the border ensured time in executive power. Not so now. Since a narrow defeat in 2007, Scottish Labour has been reeling since annihilation in 2011. Bitter infighting, verging on mafioso intensity, insipid leadership, tepid policies, bewilderment and stupefaction at the rise of the SNP has ensured that the party is now verging on irrelevance. Shock polls indicate electoral wipeout next May at the Westminster elections.

Even without the apocalyptic polls depicted in recent days, anything other than retaining, or stemming to but a very few losses, the seats Labour held in Scotland in 2010 will halt Ed Miliband’s raise to Downing Street long before the votes are counted in any English marginal.

For the national Labour leader it will matter who leads Scottish Labour a very great deal. It is a scenario, as Andrew Rawnsley dryly noted, of delicious irony. Jim Murphy owes Ed Miliband absolutely nothing. He inferred as such when he did not bother to mention the Labour leader once in his campaign launch at the weekend. But it is to Murphy that Scottish Labour, and indeed Scotland, must now turn.


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We need a fair pay revolution to re-balance the economy

01/11/2014, 10:55:58 AM

by Amanda Ramsay

The UK needs a wages-led recovery. According to poverty campaigners and researchers at the Joseph Rowntree Foundation the cost of living has gone up by 28% in the last six years, while wages have only gone up by 9%.

This cost of living crisis means bills are rising, often debts too, as many households fight a daily battle to make ends meet, with less and less cloth to cut from each month.

Following the global financial crash, food costs have soared in the UK   with price rises, since the recession started in 2007, ranging from 24%-55%, according to government figures.

Of course, it’s not tough for everybody right now. Statistics from the Trades Union Congress (TUC) show top chief executives earned 45 times the average wage back in 1998, now it is a massive 185 times as much. Such companies’ appear to be able to afford to pay the Living Wage.

It is a false economy for the current government to sit back and stomach low pay, as small disposable income levels suck demand out of our economy, with less money to spend in retail. As Kevin Slocombe of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) told me: ‘The TUC as well as countless economists believe a wages-led recovery is the only logical financial show in town.

“What we need is a new government, with an agenda for change. In May 2015, we have the ballot. We need a Labour government committed to national renewal and regeneration, with well-costed and convincing plans to re-balance the economy.”

Meanwhile, anti-politics messages resonate in a vacuum from the likes of UKIP, with trust in politicians and politics at an all-time low. A MORI survey in 2011 showed startling figures, of only 14% of the public believing politicians to tell the truth. 80% – that’s four in every five people – actively said politicians do not tell the truth.


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