Posts Tagged ‘Emily Thornberry’

In-work benefits and the minimum wage: a story of callous Tory disregard for poverty, and the arrant hypocrisy of Jeremy Corbyn

12/10/2017, 03:57:45 PM

by George Kendall

During the coalition of 2010-2015, when the government was facing a record peacetime deficit, many Conservative cuts to welfare were blocked by the Liberal Democrats. In the 2015 election, the Tories took many Liberal Democrat seats, which gave them a majority. They then passed legislation to implement most of these cuts.

Jeremy Corbyn was elected Labour leader on the back of trenchant opposition to welfare cuts, however, when his team wrote their 2017 manifesto, they chose to continue those that had not yet been implemented. According to the Resolution Foundation, they only allocated £2bn/yr to reduce these welfare cuts, which would leave £7bn/yr in place. There was confusion among Corbyn spokespeople, but, by the end of the campaign, Corbyn’s policy of continuing most of the planned draconian cuts to welfare was confirmed as still in place.

I’ve previously written about this here and here, and the responses I have received from Corbyn supporters have been varied, and contradictory.

  • Some acknowledged that Corbyn’s manifesto didn’t allocate the money to stop these future cuts, but said Corbyn would never implement them. Of course, they never explained which of Corbyn’s campaign promises he would break, in order to fund the gaping hole in his budget
  • Others claimed it was fake news. They dismissed analysis of the Corbyn manifesto by the Resolution Foundation as reported in the Guardianby the IFSin the Independentand the New Statesman, even statements by Barry GardinerJeremy Corbyn and Emily Thornberry. Their denial of reality is an echo of the supporters of Donald Trump
  • But the most common response was that these cuts would be offset by other Corbyn policies, especially a rise in the minimum wage

(more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Emily Thornberry’s gaffe-laden Sky interview was down to incompetence, not sexism

11/09/2016, 05:56:47 PM

by Kevin Meagher

It’s not particularly hard, being Shadow Foreign Secretary.

Clearly you don’t actually run anything and all you have to do is echo what the government of the day is saying in relation to international events, affecting a suitably grave intonation.

Perhaps you urge a bit of restraint here, a bit more dialogue there, but, in the main, you take a bi-partisan approach.

When he was the Lib Dems’ foreign affairs spokesman, Menzies Campbell turned this into an art form, quoting back to broadcasters the received opinions he has read in broadsheet newspapers’ editorials that morning.

And that’s a big part of the job; skimming through the foreign pages, keeping tabs on the Foreign Office’s website and, if you’re really diligent, reading the Economist and Foreign Affairs.

By osmosis, you will pick up who’s who and what’s what.

Judging by her horrendous, comet-ploughing-into-Planet-Earth interview with Dermot Murnaghan on Sky News yesterday, Emily Thornberry certainly doesn’t know her ‘who’s who’.

When asked the name of the French foreign minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, Ms Thornberry went off, in the vernacular, “on one”.

(more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Seven rubbish defences for Labour’s defence policy review

20/01/2016, 09:49:38 PM

by Rob Marchant

While the party membership has been convulsed by the burgeoning civil war over the Corbyn leadership phenomenon, policy has – understandably – taken something of a back seat.

However, in recent weeks it has been in the news over one area. Surely, you say, it must be how to rework Labour’s economic policy to make it more electable? After all, aside from the public’s lack of personal engagement with Ed Miliband, that’s the factor generally accepted (including in Labour’s own post-mortem, the Beckett report) to have essentially lost it the last election?

Oh, how naïve. It’s defence, of course. Not because it was an election-loser for Labour, you understand, or even figured highly in doorstep conversations, but because it is a personal hobby horse of Our Beloved Leader and his entourage (prominent kitchen Cabinet members Andrew Murray and Seumas Milne, for example, being long-time Stop the War Coalition stalwarts).

The original brief for the defence review thus considered everything the Stoppers hold dear, from dumping Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent to leaving NATO. That said, last week the leadership rowed back from the latter and sidelined Ken Livingstone from the defence review, realising that leaving NATO was really a step too far for most.

This “most”, interestingly, includes major unions like Unite and the GMB, who realise that many defence jobs are dependent on Britain’s relatively high world profile on defence, not to mention those at Barrow-in-Furness who work for Vickers on Trident. Here membership realpolitik easily trumps a natural inclination for these unions’ leaderships away from nuclear weapons. We now have the absurd compromise of keeping Trident submarines without the warheads.

The review is however still chaired by Emily Thornberry, a keen unilateralist, so Trident is clearly still in play. If anyone doubts that the Stoppers will have an influence on policy, it is virtually laid out in a quote from her last week:

“We will encourage the widest possible participation of Labour party members and affiliates, as well as defence specialists, NGOs and the armed forces.”

This surely has to be the first time in British political history that an NGO has been consulted on matters of national security, hardly a field for NGOs to start with. And, hmm, I wonder which “NGO” she must be talking about? The Stoppers, of course. A political pressure group is not, of course, anything like an NGO, but hey.

(more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Corbyn’s reshuffle shows how he wants to imprint his ideology on the party

06/01/2016, 09:00:08 PM

by Frazer Loveman

It’s quite hard to write anything original about the Night, then day, then night again, of Corbyn’s Knives, given that most topics were covered during the interminable, day and a half long re-organisation of the Labour top team.

In the longest re-shuffle since the emancipation of women (thanks to the New Statesman’s Stephen Bush for that gem) Corbyn made the grand total of two sackings, both of ministers with limited name recognition among the general population, while appointing one who is most notable for a Twitter gaffe.

It does make you wonder quite what the point of this reshuffle was. It was previewed two weeks ago as a ‘revenge’ reshuffle, with Corbyn planning to purge those who had disagreed with him over Syria.

This, actually, made a fair deal of sense. Corbyn, to his credit, had attempted to create as broad a tent as possible in the shadow cabinet in order to appease party moderates, but the idea of allowing dissent within his top team unravelled the moment Hilary Benn took the dispatch box during the Syrian airstrikes debate.

It stood to reason then, that Corbyn would want to bring his own people into the shadow cabinet, to bolster his position as leader. Again, fair enough, at least then the Labour Party could finally resemble a united front, whether the moderate sections of the party liked it or not. Corbyn is leader with, as we’re constantly reminded, a large mandate and he’s quite at liberty to mould the party in his image.

But, in the cold light of day, the new shadow cabinet doesn’t seem overly different to the old version.

(more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Sorry Emily, you had to go

28/11/2014, 12:05:00 PM

by Kevin Meagher

Emily Thornberry is a week late with her spin.

In an interview with the Islington Tribune, her “truck-driving, builder brother,” Ben, refutes accusations that his sister is a snob after infamously tweeting a photograph of a house displaying England flags with a white van in the drive, blaming her demise on “cut-throat and dirty politics”.

Really, when in a hole, stop digging.

Now she has brought her brother into the equation, Ms Thornberry has given license to any national newspaper to crawl around and see if, indeed, Ben Thornberry, is a tradesman (implied but not actually stated in the piece). “Builder” can cover anything from semi-skilled scaffolder, through to millionaire property developer. Expect to find out more in the Mail on Sunday or The Sun.

But none if this alters the fact most people aren’t ex-barristers living in three million pound houses married to high court judges with honorary titles. Moreover, unlike Lady Nugee, most people’s dads don’t go on to become the assistant secretary-general of the United Nations.  She should have known better than to sneer at the voters for her lofty perch.

So, Ed Miliband was entirely right to be furious with her for that stupid tweet. It allowed the government to wriggle off the hook on the day it lost a safe seat in a by-election. It should have been open season on David Cameron. Instead, Labour spent three days defending its credentials as the party of hard-working people.

Emily Thornberry made an unforced error and in this age of political professionalism it was right she got the sack for making it.

The lesson for other Labour MPs is that they should try knocking on doors rather than photographing them.

And if you’re going to display your proletarian credentials, better make sure they’re fireproof.

Kevin Meagher is associate editor of Uncut

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

White collar fraud costs us £ billions. Now Labour has a policy to tackle it

25/06/2013, 10:28:04 AM

by Dan McCurry

“When a man steals your wallet, he gets a stretch. When he steals your pension, he gets away with it,” said Emily Thornberry as she launched her policy for Tackling Serious Fraud and White Collar Crime.

In this country, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) is considered a bumbling fool, whose work has been cut back so much that last year it only brought a mere 20 trials, on a total budget of only £30m.

To put that in some context, fraud costs the British economy £73billion a year. It was with this thought that the shadow Attorney General travelled to America to see why US prosecutors have such a formidable reputation.

Thornberry arrived in New York and moved on to Washington. In these two cities she found fraud prosecution teams buzzing with the brightest talent. Young lawyers aggressively compete for opportunities in fraud, not because it pays well, but because this is where the big reputations are made.

What a contrast with this country. For years, decades, the SFO has been castigated as a disorganised waste of time and money. Trials collapse, fraudsters walk free, judges criticise, journalists attack, and politicians pour resources into a bottomless pit. Thornberry realised that over all these years of criticism, the focus has been wrong. The problem is not the institution. The problem is the law.

As a simple interpretation of the existing British law, a company can be prosecuted, but a person has to represent that company in the dock. So the directors distance themselves from the crime, and hire lawyers to obstruct the feeble powers of the police investigator. This confuses the situation and allows the company and its directors to wriggle off.

(more…)

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon

Shadow cabinet: vote for Emily

18/09/2010, 03:40:42 PM

Facebook Twitter Digg Delicious StumbleUpon