Posts Tagged ‘Caroline Flint’


10/10/2017, 10:10:00 PM

by Robert Williams

Almost the entire political class in the UK is a pathetic, cowardly disgrace. I don’t mean the committed Brexiteers, those anti Europeans who hate the idea of co-operation with our closest neighbours, and who fantasise about turning the UK into the 51st state of America, or some sort of low tax, low regulation, low quality, cheaper, nastier and colder version of Singapore.

Neither do I mean the strange group of Labour MPs, including the Dear Leader and his shadow chancellor, Dennis Skinner and Kelvin Hopkins, who believe in a left wing version of Brexit (“Lexit”) because they think the EU is a capitalist club, and they want to deliver “socialism” in one country.

These groups represent nothing but a tiny minority of their parties, and are even less representative of the country. They know this, which is why they scream and shout about the “will of the people”, deliberately ignoring the fact that the “people” amounted to 37% of the electorate voting to leave.

If you believe that leaving the EU will be a disaster, diminishing Britain permanently and wrecking our economy, those you should have real contempt for are the moderates. Some of these pro Europe centrist MPs, the vast majority in the Labour Party, and still making up the majority of conservative MPs, are now meekly and pathetically accepting that we will, in some form or another, indeed leave the EU.

It cannot be stressed enough that the Brexit referendum was utterly flawed and based on nothing but lies and fantasy. Young people between 16 and 17, most affected by the decision, were excluded from the vote. British expats were excluded from the vote. It was a non-binding referendum, won by a flimsy majority, following a campaign based on outright lies, misrepresentation, distortion, funded by extremely dodgy sources and with likely malign influence of American billionaires and Russian cyber bots.

Last year’s referendum was the most shameless example in British history of our democratic deficit.

And this was just the process. As events have developed the never ending stream of bad news about our economy, our credibility, our ability to take control of anything at all should be enough to make a sane and rational MP, to think again.

And yet we have the truly incredible sight of the weakest, most divided and intellectually enfeebled government in modern history, utterly clueless in what sort of Brexit they desire, who show not the slightest understanding of how the EU works, how trade agreements work, who can’t plan, prepare or negotiate, and are fast turning Britain into a banana republic, an international laughing stock.

And this is supported by the Labour Opposition, with the courageous exception of 52 Labour MPs who voted against the Brexit Bill. The rest really should know better.


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Labour must steer clear of the type of two tier immigration system proposed by Stephen Kinnock and Emma Reynolds

16/01/2017, 06:33:51 PM

by Adam Peggs

Anti-immigration politics has been an ever growing threat for the British left for more than a decade. Over the last few years its threat to the left, and to the Labour Party specifically, has rapidly grown with virtually no-one in Labour denying that it presents an electoral problem to the party. Firstly as an inclusive party with egalitarian ideals it is Labour’s duty to fight xenophobia. But secondly the party represents constituencies like Bristol West and Streatham which voted to remain by huge margins as well as seats like Burnley and Hartlepool which overwhelmingly voted the other way.

In order to win (or even to retain its 232 seats) Labour will have to appeal to both ends of the Brexit spectrum, acknowledging that skepticism and disapproval over freedom of movement and “mass” migration were pivotal reasons for Brexit.

Labour’s left is understandably concerned with defending free movement and the rights of migrants. The more difficult question will no doubt be how Labour can regain the confidence of voters who backed Brexit whilst avoiding (and actively fighting against) xenophobia.

Recently Stephen Kinnock and Emma Reynolds came up with a proposal which they described as a ‘fair and managed two-tier migration system’, in which higher-skilled migrants would be given priority and less skilled migrants would be classified in the lower tier. It was echoed today in the Brexit Together proposals supported by Caroline Flint. These will have close to zero appeal to Labour’s liberally-inclined voters, to the young or to the children and families of migrants.

What Labour desperately needs is an immigration policy which respects both the EU referendum result and the rights and interests of migrants in Britain.

Labour should be staunchly opposing quotas for immigration, two tier systems which favour richer migrants, attempts by the Tories to erode migrant rights or attempts by UKIP and the Tories to pull up the drawbridge.

However we will need to offer concrete policies on immigration which will make leave voters feel as though Labour is listening to them.


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The April shadow cabinet league

12/04/2012, 08:30:36 AM

by Atul Hatwal

It’s become a tedious holiday tradition: MPs tweeting about their various constituency appointments and local campaign meetings, furiously reassuring voters and party members that they are busy at work, despite the long parliamentary recess.

The world really doesn’t need another tweet telling us yet again about a “good reaction on the #Labour doorstep” and for Labour’s shadow cabinet, many (though not all) should just take their break with good grace – they have earned it.

The first three months of this year have seen an unprecedented work rate: over 400 press releases, nearly 1000 written questions and almost 50 speeches from the despatch box.

Compared to last year, at this stage in the parliament, the shadow cabinet’s total score indicates a 54% hike in effort. In every category, the shadow cabinet has done more and worked harder.

While doubts will persist on the effectiveness of the party’s overall strategy, and Bradford West might be a prologue to greater disappointments in the May elections, it is hard to criticise the work ethic of many at Labour’s top table.

Since the last league in early February there has been a minor shuffling of the pack with three shadow cabinet members posting notable performances: Caroline Flint, Chuka Umunna and Andy Burnham.


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November Shadow Cabinet League

02/12/2011, 09:06:45 AM

by Atul Hatwal

Have they put something in the tea at shadow cabinet meetings?

Because they seem to be a team transformed – in work ethic at least.

Despite doubts about Labour’s strategic positioning on the big issues, Ed Miliband’s new shadow secretaries of state have set about their task with a vigour not seen for months.

The days when Jim Murphy and Douglas Alexander gazed down on their colleagues from a distant summit appear to be past. Instead there is a genuine competition across the top ten with any and all capable of mounting a challenge for top spot.


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A pub is more than a place to drink

14/04/2011, 07:45:46 AM

by Peter Watt

I love the pub; going for a pint has been a Watt family thing as long as I can remember. I look back and smile when think about going for my first pint with my Dad at The Tatnam pub in Poole. It was a special rite of passage. One that I repeated with my own son only last year. The Tatnam was our local family pub where we went at Christmas and special occasions. It was where, over the years, my Dad went and met a few “bar mates”.  In fact, it was where over the years we all gathered whenever we got together as a family.  And it was where we continued to take my Dad over the months when he was dying. His last pint there was a few days before he died. Going with him was a ritual that we all valued, a comfort at a terrible time. After he died, we again all went there, and there was a picture of him behind the bar for months.

The Tatnam closed last year and is now a supermarket.

Of course, pubs are closing all over the country.  This year, although the rate of closures has slowed, they are still closing at a rate of 25 per week. At the end of 2010 there were 1300 fewer pubs than at the beginning of the year, with a loss of 13,000 jobs. We all know why this is happening, cheap supermarket booze, the smoking ban and lifestyle changes. Tax on alcohol has been steadily rising with the alcohol duty escalator raising duty by 2% above inflation. The recent budget added about 4p to the price of a pint of beer – 5p in my local. There are, of course, some sound public policy reasons for the smoking ban and alcohol duty rises. But there is also no doubting the heavy price being paid by our pubs. (more…)

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Caroline Flint writes to Eric Pickles over FoI refusal

29/10/2010, 12:21:08 PM


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Shadow cabinet: vote for Caroline

18/09/2010, 03:51:23 PM

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Wednesday News Review

04/08/2010, 07:38:14 AM

Bounce for Balls?

Ed Balls has won praise for his opposition to Tory plans

Coverage of him in the media has been too dismissive. Recently, when he failed to secure the endorsement of the massive Unite trade union (which he had long been cultivating), there was talk of his “humiliation”, and his impending withdrawal from the race. Some in the press make him out to be a figure of fun (an honourable exception was this Spectator editorial). In fact, many within Labour think Mr Balls has had his reputation more enhanced by the contest than either David or Ed Miliband, one of whom will nevertheless win the election in September. He has landed blows on Michael Gove, the Tory education secretary. His resilience in the face of difficult odds has impressed many. He now has a good chance of being appointed shadow chancellor by whichever Miliband wins the leadership. That was not so certain when the race began in May. – The Economist

Yet if you look at what the five have said and done in the past month or so then a different picture emerges – for the one who is demonstrating again and again that he’s the best equipped politician is the same Mr Balls. Just read his thinking and analysis of Labour’s challenge in his recent interview with the Times and you see observations and insights that are not coming from the other four. Take his assertion that Labour has allowed itself to be distracted by the Lib Dems when the main target for the party’s fire-power should be the Tories. Take also his observation that Labour did not lose the election because of its lack of appeal to middle income groups – rather it was the failure of the party to engage traditional supporters at the bottom end where they lost out. – Political Betting


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