Posts Tagged ‘Andrew Murray’

Two rays of hope for Labour in the electoral post-apocalypse

18/05/2017, 03:29:26 PM

by Rob Marchant

Even for these unusual times, we might note that this is a highly unusual election.

First, it is a snap election, the first in over four decades. Labour is even more woefully unprepared than it would have been in 2020.

Second, it has local elections in the middle of the short campaign, for which there is no recent precedent (in 2001, when the general election was in June, the locals were too). It gives a highly unusual pre-poll to the general election.

Third, it has had the critical-for-Europe-and-the-world, French election in the middle of the short campaign as well. We’ll come on to that.

A recap of the glaringly obvious: It is difficult to see those local election results as anything but disastrous. Vote-share down to an appalling 27%. Governing party up rather than down in mid-term. In Scotland, SNP seats swinging away from them going to the Tories, not Labour.

The general election prognosis, then: the Tory lead likely to be between 12% and whatever that lead is currently polling (currently around 18%), as I have argued here. Around 16% gap would be a conservative estimate, which would give a Tory majority of 100. But taking YouGov’s regional polls – which one would expect to be more accurate – and extrapolating using the Electoral Calculus predictor, you can see the possibility of it being well over 200 seats.

If all this were not enough, Corbyn this week selected Stalin apologist, Andrew Murray, from the Stop the War Coalition, to lead Labour’s campaign. Imagine the reaction if the Tories appointed joined up a Nazi apologist from the BNP and then appointed them campaign chief. As one Labour insider commented to HuffPo’s Paul Waugh, Murray is to Corbyn as Steve Bannon is to Trump. An unapologetic extremist.


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The unions are gunning for Ed Balls

14/09/2012, 05:00:37 PM

by Atul Hatwal

Something very important for Labour happened earlier this week.  At the TUC conference on Monday, Ed Balls was challenged during a Q&A session about his support for a public sector pay freeze.

He gave a robust response,

“When you are losing hundreds of thousands of jobs, you cannot say the first priority is more pay for public sector workers. That is the reality because of the government’s failure on the economy. We have always said let us put jobs first.”

The resulting boos gave reporters their headlines and the situation was mildly uncomfortable for the shadow chancellor.

In one sense, there’s not much new here. Balls was merely re-iterating a position from earlier this year and Labour politicians are often jeered by angry union delegates.

But this exchange has brought an underlying divide within Labour much nearer to an explicit schism.

Although issues such as redundancies, cuts in facilities and the lack of investment in public services are important for the unions, public sector pay is what really animates members and their union leadership.

Public sector workers make up 61% of the trade union movement. As damaging as redundancies are, the majority of public sector workers are not going to be sacked.  But what will hit all of them is the pay freeze.

The unions’ ability to defend their members’ pay levels is at the heart of their raison d’être. One union insider speaking to Uncut was blunt about their priorities,

“Forget the grandstanding on capitalism and economics. That’s an ego trip for the leaders and trots. What our members want from us is protect their jobs, and most of important all, their pay.”

In the past, commitments to restricted spending on public sector pay by future Labour governments could be sold to union leaders as central to winning back office and ejecting the Tories, who were, after all, the real enemy.

But times change.

Three factors have transformed the Labour’s relationship with the unions in a way that mean, following Ed Balls’ answer at the TUC Q&A, an almighty bust up between the shadow chancellor and the unions is now inevitable.

First there are the unions’ commitments to their members on public sector pay, second, the new politics of the union movement and third, the impending major union merger.

In terms of their rhetoric to members and the media, union leaders have been uncompromising on public sector pay.


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