Posts Tagged ‘John McDonnell MP’

Corbyn could surprise the Tories. I should know – I am one

01/02/2016, 08:00:00 AM

by Greig Baker

As a junior Parliamentary staffer working for the Tories in 2005, I drafted a Bill to raise the income tax threshold for low earners. I wanted my party to make a pitch to Labour’s traditional working class voters without compromising our principles on lower taxes. Cutting taxes for poor people seemed like a good way to do both – it was counter-intuitive and principled at the same time. Years later, a very similar measure was adopted by George Osborne and it went down pretty well.

Labour should use the same approach now. To be clear, I have no love for the Labour party and I don’t want to see it win in 2020. However, I do want there to be a realistic prospect of it winning. The Conservatives need to be kept honest and the government must be kept on its toes. To do that, Labour has to be an effective opposition and, to do that, it needs to come up with some surprising and eye-catching policies to appeal beyond the converted, without selling its soul – in other words, to be counter-intuitive and principled. Here’s what I suggest…

For starters, John McDonnell should stop thinking about what he wishes tax and spend was like, or even what it is like right now, and instead start thinking about what the Government’s approach to tax and spend will be by 2019-20. That’s when voters will be looking at his policies in detail and seeing how they match up to reality.

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The Uncuts: 2015 political awards (part I)

31/12/2015, 12:56:58 PM

Politician of the year: David Cameron

It’s easy to overlook David Cameron. The political news is dominated by Labour’s travails while the Conservatives seem more pre-occupied with their leadership succession.

But there David Cameron sits in Number 10 as prime minister, with a Conservative majority and a wide lead over Labour in the polls.

During the general election campaign, he was virtually written-off. Even Uncut, one of the few sites that consistently predicted a triumph for Cameron’s Tories over Ed Miliband’s Labour (here’s one, from almost exactly a year ago), did not see the Tory majority coming.

David Cameron defeated the last vestiges of New Labour when he beat Gordon Brown in 2010. He’s now beaten the soft left alternative in Ed Miliband and played a central role in driving the Labour party over the edge of electability with the hard left Jeremy Corbyn.

The Prime Minister dominates the centre ground and has put the Tories in their strongest position since the early 1980s. Several Labour MPs privately talk of the prospect of Tory rule until at least 2030 as a likely prospect.

And now, as David Cameron enters the New Year, he is ideally placed in his final major battle: to keep Britain in the EU. The polls are tilting his way with all of the evidence pointing towards a decisive break in his favour among undecideds when he claims to have secured a significant reform deal.

Despite the grim Tory expectations at the start of the year, the doubts of most of the media and his own avoidable missteps, such as pre-announcing his own resignation before the general election campaign, 2015 will go down as David Cameron’s annus mirabilis.

Media disaster: Edstone

Every general election has one of those moments that defines the losing  campaign.

In 1992, it was the row over the Jennifer’s ear party election broadcast for Labour. In 1997, it was the Tories’ doomed Demon Eyes poster.

In 2015 it was the Edstone.

It is hard to describe just how blood-chillingly awful the idea of carving Labour’s key pledges on an 8-foot granite tombstone was.

The metaphors were obvious, so blatantly obvious, in fact, that the idea should have been strangled the moment it fell out of the mouth of the person who proposed it. For good measure, they should have been strangled too.

Like everyone else coming to this a bit late one drowsy Sunday morning, I saw #EdStone trending on Twitter and assumed it was some metaphorical remark he had made about his word ‘being like a tablet of stone’ or some such.

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Kennite vs Corbynite split in the leader’s office reruns eternal hard left divisions

29/12/2015, 01:29:18 PM

by Atul Hatwal

Uncut hears that simmering differences in the leader’s team have become deep divisions as they grapple with the looming reshuffle.

At the heart of the split is a long-running tension between two factions of the hard left: Socialist Action and the Labour Representation Committee.

In the corner on the left is Socialist Action – a Trotskyist group most closely associated with Ken Livingstone with several of his advisers from his time as Mayor, either members or supporters. As Livingstone himself said,

“Almost all of my advisers had been involved in Socialist Action,”

“It was the only rational left-wing group you could engage with. They used to produce my socialist economic policies. It was not a secret group.”

Socialist Action’s modus operandi is to achieve a socialist nirvana by boiling the capitalist frog slowly. During their tenure at City Hall, the priority was not to promise wholesale revolutionary change but take incremental steps towards socialism where possible.

In practice this led to bizarre and seemingly random policies such as pursuing the American embassy over parking fines (fair enough) but going easy on the Russian embassy over the same issue (wtf) while happily doing deals with London property developers to underpin the expansion of the City.

Prominent Livingstone City Hall alumni, Simon Fletcher and Neale Coleman, now occupy central roles in Jeremy Corbyn’s office as chief of staff and head of policy and rebuttal while the former Mayor is co-chair of Labour’s defence review.

In the corner even further to the left is the Labour Representation Committee. (LRC) Founded in 2004 (lifting the name of Labour’s original founding committee from 1900) by John McDonnell, the LRC has a more doctrinaire and unbending view of the path to socialism.

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