Archive for September, 2021

Labour is losing women. It could cost the party the next election. It doesn’t have to be this way

22/09/2021, 09:45:33 PM

by Nicole Lampert

This piece is part of a new book “Labour’s reset: the path back to power” which Uncut will be launching at Labour conference next week. The book looks at the barriers for voters in picking Labour, what the party can do in opposition to tackle these issues and the type of policy platform that would attract switchers to Labour at the election.

Labour is losing women. It is losing its female activists, its putative politicians, its core voters. And the trans debate could even see it lose the country at large. Again.

There’s a female MP, Rosie Duffield, who is too frightened to appear at Labour conference because so many trans rights activists – whipped up into a fury by people within the party – have threatened violence against her.

A long-awaited statement yesterday by Keir Starmer was the usual fence sitting – asserting the Party supports the Equality Act which legislates for single sex spaces but adding that trans people should mainly be allowed in them – while also reasserting plans for self-identification. They leadership must have hoped that this would dampen down the row but, in fact, it served to only add fuel to the fire. Did they learn nothing from the Brexit fudge which managed to infuriate both sides and lost them votes from Brexiters and Remainers?

Women’s rights are being removed all over the world; in the last few weeks we’ve seen it from America to Afghanistan. And that is why women will not take this lying down, even from a party that they have always supported.

Sara, whose parents and grandparents were Labour councillors, and has campaigned on doorsteps for the party since she was a child, calls it: ‘The toxic nail in the coffin of my support for Labour. I cannot support Labour because of this.’

Joan, who with her partner made up the only gay couple in her CLP, says: ‘When I asked for help from our Labour candidate in keeping hospital wards single sex, I was told that I was, ‘irrationally prejudiced against trans people.’ I’d rather spoil my ballot than vote for Labour.’

Nicola, a Labour veteran, is almost in tears when she tells me: ‘The Tories are not competent. They are pushing more people into poverty. But I can’t vote for a party that prioritises the interests – political, economic, social – of males over the reality of women’s experiences.’

While Sally, a trans woman, says the debate feels equally poisonous for the trans community. ‘Self ID is a long-term negative for trans people because the barrier to a protected characteristic is too low and Labour needs to recognise that,’ she says. ‘Look at things like Wi Spa in America [when a self-identifying trans woman with a history of sex offences exposed their penis in a room full of naked women and girls]. People are beginning to think we’re all perverts and someone needs to talk about this sensibly.’

I haven’t given any of them their real names because this is the most toxic row that Labour is involved in today. Women don’t feel just ignored but demonised. They are being pushed out of the party and, in the wider world, losing their jobs. A writer friend lost work solely because she followed a gender critical feminist on Twitter. Aside from a brave few, Labour MPs are terrified about speaking up, because they know trans rights activists will then demand they are sacked and the leadership will do nothing to stop the bullying. Even the trans people who speak up against the activism orthodoxy are labelled transphobes.

(more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Revealed: New poll shows 1 in 4 non-Labour voters considering backing Starmer but they want a decisive break from the Corbyn era – 60% say expel Corbyn if he doesn’t apologise over anti-Semitism

19/09/2021, 09:24:00 PM

by Atul Hatwal

New research conducted for Labour Uncut by pollster Yonder (the new name for Populus) reveals that just over 1 in 4 non-Labour voters (26%) would consider voting Labour at the next election. But Jeremy Corbyn is still a huge negative with 66% of this group worried about the continued influence of Corbynites in Labour and 60% saying his expulsion from Labour, if he doesn’t apologise over anti-Semitism, would make them more likely to vote Labour.

The polling, conducted by Yonder between the 13th and 14th September with 2,010 respondents, revealed that 1 in 7 Conservative voters (14%), over half of Lib Dems (53%) and 1 in 4 SNP (26%) are considering voting Labour. Based on Labour’s current standing in the polls, attracting even half of those thinking about backing Keir Starmer and Labour would send the party into government with a vote share in the mid-forties.

However, Labour’s potential voters want a clear break from the Corbyn era.  A series of statements articulating potential reasons for not voting Labour, drawn from previous research, were put to this group and despite a clear appetite for policies such as higher spending on public services and a higher minimum wage, Jeremy Corbyn and his legacy remain toxic.

A net +39% agreed with the statement “I didn’t want Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister and worry that people like him are still too influential in Labour”

Next week, at Labour conference Jeremy Corbyn will once again be in the spotlight and much of the debate about Labour will be defined through the prism of the former leader.

He’s currently suspended from the parliamentary party for saying that the extent of anti-Semitism in the party was “dramatically over-stated” following the publication of the EHRC report into Labour and anti-Semitism, but he had already been readmitted to the party at the point the report was published and so, as a party member not a Labour MP, will be speaking at various Labour conference fringe events. He’ll have a political and media retinue trailing along after him, distracting from the main conference, in the manner that Boris Johnson used to at Conservative conference in the early to mid-2010s.

(more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

This was a self-serving reshuffle designed only to level up Boris Johnson’s standing in the Tory party

16/09/2021, 10:32:38 PM

by David Talbot

For someone who supposedly dislikes upsetting people, the Prime Minister has a unique way of showing it. During his twenty six months in power, Johnson has sacked twenty seven Cabinet Ministers – an attrition rate worse than Donald Trump’s tumultuous administration.

The long-mooted reshuffle was previewed as “uniting and levelling up the whole country”. The reshuffle confirmed, though, if nothing else, that the only levelling up the Prime Minister is preoccupied with is with himself. Johnson has never sought to assemble the strongest possible Cabinet to the benefit of the country. He is perpetually afraid of being outshone, which has directly led to the lack of clarity on the central purpose of his government. Despite most of the media gushing that the Prime Minister was ‘ruthless’ he has still surrounded himself with Brexit and personal loyalists.

The Prime Minister fell back on his oldest tried and tested trick; to please the party faithful. Nadine Dorries may well have been an effective and diligent Health Minister during the pandemic, but her views on cultural issues are well-known and demonstrably offensive to many. Indeed, if her promotion was based on the success of her book sales, as the Defence Secretary has suggested, then – to use a Johnsonian turn of phrase – one can object purely on literary grounds alone.

This is a government which, having taken credit for the successful vaccination rollout that the NHS devised and then implemented, is bereft of ideas and purpose. If, as reports suggest, the Prime Minister truly is intent on fighting the next general election on Brexit – and supposedly how the dastardly EU would scupper ‘freeports’, for instance – then this repeat will be much like the digital ABBA concerts for once popular concepts which should have long since been retired. Leave won the argument, many years ago, it needs to own it, and start delivering on its promise to voters which either backed it in 2016 or wanted rid of the ongoing trauma of it in 2019.

(more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Jack Lesgrin’s week: Government U-turns on Triple Lock and National Insurance, but still the young lose out

12/09/2021, 11:13:00 PM

by Jack Lesgrin

Double U-turn on Triple Lock and NI, but not on preferencing old over young 

Last week saw two U-turns by the government. First, they temporarily suspended the Triple Lock for pensioners because of an unusual and statistically anomalous rapid rise in earnings caused by the pandemic.

The second U-turn saw Johnson finally putting meat on the bones of his famous pledge, delivered in his first ever speech as PM in Downing Street in July 2019, to “fix the crisis in social care…with a clear plan we have prepared”. Tuesday’s mini-budget announced a National Insurance-funded Health and Social Care Levy. Note the sentence that preceded this: “My job is to protect you or your parents or grandparents from the fear of having to sell your home to pay for the costs of care.”

The government made the levy apply to some share income and on state pensioners’ income if they continued to work, in an attempt to mitigate criticism that using the National Insurance mechanism makes younger people, by definition of working age, subsidise benefits enjoyed by the elderly.

Yet this was only a fig-leaf, covering the sensitive nether regions of our system of taxation: namely that we have for too long preferred to tax income from work over other forms of income derived from other forms of wealth. Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, the excellent Rachel Reeves, eloquently put it thus: “Which types of income will be paying no additional tax after today? They include those who get their income from financial assets, stocks and shares, sales of property, pension income, annuity income, interest income, property rental income and inheritance income… Some 95% of the revenue the government plan to raise from this tax bombshell comes from employment. What a contrast.”

(more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon