Posts Tagged ‘Stella Creasy’

How Labour’s potential leadership candidates measure up against member priorities

02/03/2017, 02:36:23 PM

by Atul Hatwal

This is Jeremy Corbyn. Like Wile E Coyote he has run off the cliff. Yes, he’s still leader, but after Copeland, it’s just a matter of time until political gravity exerts its force, most likely in 2018.

Croydon Central is in many ways a bellwether CLP for Corbyn. In 2015, it voted to endorse him 80% to 20%, reflecting the final vote among registered supporters. Last year, it backed him against Owen Smith by 60% to 40%, in line with the eventual overall result. Speaking to party members and local officials over the weekend, estimates of the balance between pro and anti-Corbyn support were 50-50, tipping steadily against the Labour leader with each passing month. Similar movement is being reported in pro-Corbyn CLPs across the country.

By 2018, whether Jeremy Corbyn steps down voluntarily or is challenged, his time as leader will end.

When that happens, four criteria will determine the identity of Corbyn’s successor: parliamentary nominations, Brexit, baggage (absence thereof) and whether they are a woman or a minority.

  1. Nominations

The first goal for candidates is to secure the backing of 15% of their UK and European parliamentary colleagues. This translates as 37 nominations in the PLP and 1 from European Parliamentary Party.

Regardless of how a candidate polls among the general public, their popularity with journalists or the polish of their performance on TV, they need the support of their colleagues to get on the ballot.

The Corbynites are desperate to secure an amendment, which would reduce the nomination threshold from 15% to 5%. The McDonnell amendment – so called after the barely concealed ambition of the shadow Chancellor – would need to be passed by conference and at this stage, it looks unlikely.

The threshold will remain as will the need for a credible level of PLP support. This time round, no nominations will be lent to candidates unable to make the ballot unaided.

  1. Brexit

More than any other issue, Brexit has undone Corbyn. It has united Blairites, the soft left and even sections of the hard left. Corbyn’s Praetorian Guard, Momentum, surveyed its 11,000 members during the referendum campaign with 66% backing Remain and 20% Brexit.


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What is Labour’s big idea? Put your pension into the next generation

17/08/2015, 01:50:55 PM

by Stella Creasy 

Labour has been a mass membership party in previous decades. But only when we have been a mass movement have we won elections and transformed Britain. Whether 1945, 1966 or 1997; at our best our members are messengers not just for changing the government but for changing lives.

In an era when so many find themselves alienated from the political process, to have so many want to join our cause is what some would call a high quality problem to have. The real problem is if we have nothing to offer in return for their time, energy and expertise. Whether people are from the left or the right of the party, all want being involved to mean more than a meeting or leaflet round.

The answer for us is not to make it harder for people to be part of Labour, or to waste the time of those who join, but to channel their energy towards common causes.

We should not let this wait for government but start now, and I want us to start with one of the biggest inequalities we face: inter-generational injustice.

Whilst the Tories try to divide Britain, let us be the movement that helps deliver inter-generational opportunity. With an army now 600,000 strong we can be a powerful voice for policies that will transform our country. In doing so we can show how Labour would make different radical and credible choices about the future direction of Britain.

Most agree that Britain is facing a housing crisis and a demographic challenge with an ageing population. With resources tight, the answer isn’t to compromise but to collaborate.


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Labour needs to talk about the NHS

04/04/2014, 03:28:17 PM

by Renie Anjeh

Lord Warner, the former Labour health minister, hit the headlines earlier this week by calling for a £10-per-month charge for the NHS as part of his report for the think tank Reform.  The reaction from his fellow “comrades” was unsurprising. Some expressed their vehement disdain for the peer by launching a petition calling for his resignation from the party.  Others edited his Wikipedia page so that it included insults and untruths.

Like most party members, I am strong supporter of the NHS and I cherish the principle of free healthcare at the point of use.  However, supporting the NHS is not an excuse for refusing to face up to reality.  The uncomfortable truth, especially for Labour supporters, is that the health service’s finances are not on a sustainable footing.

It is inevitable that due to a rising ageing population and increasing numbers of people suffering from chronic conditions, against the backdrop of tight spending constraint, the funding gap will increase to £54bn by 2020.

As Alan Milburn said in 2012, “the era of big spending is over, fiscal conservatism is order of the day”.  Whoever is in government next year, will undoubtedly have to confront this problem.  Unfortunately, Lord Warner’s report just shows that the Labour party – the party of the NHS – is not sufficiently psychologically prepared for this challenge.  It is important to remember that the monthly NHS charge is one idea amongst many that Warner proposed in his report but the Labour party seemed to reject the report in its entirety.

Rather than braying for his blood, the party should have commended him for thinking seriously about this issue and should have adopted his issues on integrating budgets, investing in community services and efficiency.


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Labour must stand up for victims of sexual and domestic violence

29/01/2013, 10:30:08 AM

by Sarah Rabbitts

Many of us are still shocked by the brutal abduction, gang rape and murder of a female student on a bus in Delhi.

And closer to home, we’re also coming to terms with NSPCC’s confirmation that Jimmy Savile, was “without doubt one of the most prolific sex offenders we have ever come across”. The “Giving victims a voice” report states that Savile repeatedly abused girls, women and boys over six decades. The abuses happened in 13 hospitals, 14 schools and on BBC premises – institutions that should have been a safe place for both children and adults. Most worryingly, none of the victims or witnesses successfully exposed Savile’s widespread criminality before his death in 2011.

Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper responded to the report by asking for a proper overarching review led by child protection experts into why everyone failed to stop Savile and what should be done now”. However, it is not only people in positions of influence who are a problem.

Last week, the ministry of defence, home office and office for national statistics released a joint review into rape and sexual assaults. This damning review states that only one in ten victims will report a sexual assault in this country, despite 90% of victims knowing the perpetrator. It also has to be a wake-up call for the home secretary that only 15,670 rapes are reported each year which only equates to a quarter of victims. In simple terms, this means that on average 47,010 rapes aren’t reported.

What these reports demonstrate is that first, a staggering number of women and men are still victims of sexual assault and that second, the British judicial system continues to generate very few convictions.

On the 14th February, or V-Day, a campaign called one billion rising will actively demand an end to violence against women across the world. They ask women to walk out, dance, rise up and demand an end to this violence by activating women and men across every country to organise local events. (more…)

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We need to woo women voters to win

17/12/2012, 07:00:49 AM

by Sarah Rabbitts

A few weeks ago, the Labour Women’s Network held it’s political day, looking at how the Labour party can be a more electable party and the importance of women’s votes. As we come to the end of the year, the lessons from that day are worth reflecting on if we are to build on our current poll advantage.

Deborah Mattison, the founder and director of Britain Thinks, explained that Labour needed to target women because they are more likely to be concerned or affected by cuts to local public services and, crucially, are also more likely to switch party.

British elections are very different to the US Presidential elections in terms of scale and funding, but there are lessons in how to engage with women that we can learn from the Democrats. Merici Vinton, a former new media campaigner for the Democrats, advised Labour campaigners to respond to every email and social media post in order to engage with a high number of potential voters. It’s difficult to monitor and reply to everything because we have fewer resources in the UK, but this strategy makes sense.

The next general election will be fought using new media for the first time; we’ll have to embrace it and its ability to generate a two way conversation with voters. Josie Cluer, who’s on the board of North London Cares, acknowledged that the growth of twitter since the 2010 election has been immense: it’s grown from 3.5 million users, to 12 million users. However, Josie rightly argues that Labour’s twitter reach is limited if voters don’t chose to voluntarily follow our twitter campaigns. We need to be more creative with our use of new media. Labour needs to look at all the new media channels in the UK and how we can most effectively talk to different women’s groups through sites like, for example, Mumsnet.


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This government is abandoning Britain to the legal loan sharks

13/11/2012, 10:50:01 AM

by Stella Creasy

Today’s evidence from R3, the insolvency practitioners, that the rapid and rabid growth of Britain’s payday loan industry is leading people to go hungry in order to repay these debts, is saddening but not surprising to me. For two years now along with many others I’ve been trying to warn the government that they needed to protect British consumers from these legal loan sharks- and for two years they have found excuses not to do so. Now as debt engulfs the household budgets of so many, we see the consequences of their choice to do nothing.

As the government tries to claim Britain is now on the up, we ignore how people are coping with the financial hardship of the recession at our peril. ONS data shows families are being squeezed much more this time than in previous eras, as they experience both falling household incomes and rising inflation. Predictions are wages will stay flat for years to come, offering little respite to which to look forward.

Dismissing the consequences of this as some in the government have done by telling people they should ”live within their means” misses the point. Too many in Britain, both in and out of work, cannot make their incomes meet the basic costs of everyday living. Research by Which? published last week found a third of payday loan users had taken out credit they knew they couldn’t afford to repay in order to pay for essentials such as food and fuel.  In the week when British Gas bills will rise again, consumers are looking at the gaps in their budgets and rightly asking when will this all end. With massive cuts in benefits around the corner only adding to the misery they face, it is a question Westminster must answer.


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Your chance to help stop legal loan sharking

01/03/2012, 12:00:57 PM

by Stella Creasy

Legal loan sharks are the Japanese knotweed in Britain’s consumer credit market. These invasive companies flourish by exploiting the demand for credit from families who find their incomes squeezed by the rising cost of living, wage freezes and unemployment and so are forced to borrow to make ends meet.

The government’s refusal to act against this industry means Britain is fertile ground for their loans at interest rates which can run to 16,000%. Yes you read that decimal point correctly.

In the payday loan world, offering money without credit checkswithout advertising the costs and without any responsibility for the consequences is common place. When it comes to these companies, the impact of the extortionate rates they charge on the people they lend to comes second place to the profits they can make.

The chief executive of Wonga paid himself £1.6m last year, whilst Provident Financial posted a pre-tax profit of £162m in the year Britain went back into recession. As quickly as regulators try to address poor practices, another firm springs up ready to benefit from Britain’s dubious honour of being one of the few countries in the world where there is no limit on what you can charge for credit.

For nearly two years I’ve been calling for Britain to introduce total cost caps on the charges these firms can levy, putting a ceiling on the amount any loan could mount up to and giving consumers respite from the spiral of debt these firms can create. Twice now the government has voted against such measures, but as the evidence grows of the damage this is causing to millions of Britons they need us to not flinch from seeking every chance we can to make progress in championing the case for better regulation of these companies.

Such a moment of opportunity is upon us again.


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Loan sharks: the government’s gonna need a bigger boat

21/11/2011, 01:43:31 PM

by Stella Creasy

For 18 months now, many of us have been trying to sound the alarm about the legal loan sharks who infest Britain’s consumer credit market. These companies now lurk in every high street and across every web banner. Their increasing presence indicates not only the desperation of families who find too much month at the end of their money, but a systemic failure to tackle our financial culture. Britain has always had a credit habit much bigger than our European neighbours. But those who blame our current consumer credit crisis on a public living beyond its means fail to understand the pressures now driving millions into debt – or the importance to our economy of doing something about it.

For more and more Britons, debt is a fact of life, as food, energy and transport costs soar. Aviva has revealed 52% of UK families owe £10,500 on average, on loans, credit cards, overdrafts and other unsecured debts, a figure equal to half the average annual UK household income. The consumer credit counselling service identify 6.2 million households as financially vulnerable. Half of these are already either three months behind with a debt repayment or subject to some form of debt action such as insolvency.

For many, it is that very willingness to borrow for the future that has made them so vulnerable. New analysis of financial services authority figures estimate that the total number of mortgages in arrears, in possession or subject to forbearance is 1.2 million. This equates to nearly 11% of total outstanding loans in some form of financial distress. (more…)

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In times of austerity, people stick rather than twist

25/09/2011, 10:25:40 AM

by Stella Creasy

In times of economic fear, the political pendulum swings firmly to the purse. A public concerned about losing their job or rising prices wants a government that understands what matters is how their bills are paid. It is a politics not of public services but personal futures. Any party seeming profligate is given short shrift.

The consequences of this government’s debt fixation are now obvious: growth draining from our economy; unemployment pouring in. If this carries on, by 2015 inequality will have worsened and public services could be in tatters. Against such a backdrop, it is tempting to imagine the pendulum swinging back, returning Labour to office to pick up the pieces. Yet in such circumstances, people stick rather than twist. They may know Conservatives are more interested in the bottom line than the front line, but have little faith in any alternative. In this age of austerity, Labour has to rebuild confidence in our economic approach, so that we can redefine the case for progressive politics.

We should acknowledge our past as we plan for our future. Many have chewed over Labour’s fiscal policy – but this is only half the story. As a member of the public accounts committee, it is a privilege and a provocation to analyse how the previous government changed lives. There will be more pupils learning maths and sciences. We built a series of children’s centres of which earlier generations of progressives could only dream. The youth justice board reformed Britain’s capacity to tackle youth offending.

We must also be willing to learn from the difficulties we faced – whether within healthcare, defence contracting or transport infrastructure management. Our opposition is quick to argue that these reflect poor policy. But, as they are discovering, ideas are not the same as implementation. Already our committee has highlighted that their proposals for healthcare, PFI and the future jobs fund do not stand the test of value for money.


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Hope, help and community

12/08/2011, 01:30:03 PM

by Stella Creasy

Fear is a powerful motivation for action. As I stood on Sunday night with other terrified and angry residents and watched looters turn up and trash Walthamstow I wanted it just to stop. This was our home. Our shops. Our people frightened. Nothing justifies this and ever will.

Since then I have worked with police, outreach workers, residents and the council to try to restore order and calm to our streets– to sweep up the glass, separate internet fact from fiction, account for the welfare of people and try to assess the damage. To channel this fear into something positive. To draw strength from a commitment to the capacity of collective endeavour to restore and replenish rather than demolish and destroy. Because to do otherwise is to give up hope.

Those who label these events indicative of a sickness in the areas where they happened get short shrift in Walthamstow. Only a strong community could put together a pop up canteen for all those helping to keep our community safe. Springing up overnight, with hundreds of volunteers we are providing cakes, tea, hot food and friends for our police and outreach workers. That tells you what we are capable of – not the broken glass outside our local bank.

Following the weekend, young people have played cat and mouse with the authorities in Walthamstow. They are setting fires, taunting officers, frightening residents and damaging local businesses. My community, like many others in the UK, is now dealing the fact that the looters have unravelled the boundaries of socially acceptable behaviour.

Changing this isn’t about shutting down twitter, or handwringing about liberal elites. It is about restoring those boundaries and showing those testing them there are consequences to their behaviour.  That’s why speedy justice and strong sentences are important as a means to illustrate to those rioting and looting- and those who help them- that it isn’t worth it.

It is also about our increased police presence. Our Borough Commander Steve Wisbey and his team have had less sleep than anyone, working round the clock. Only when the calm has held for several days will the emotion of this time dissipate- and so too the rumours driving the tweets, bbms and texts which are fuelling disorder and fear.

Yet it is too easy to see this as solely about criminal acts and mindless thugs. On Sunday night there were agitators who instigated events, exploiting tension and technology to organise criminal activity in a way not seen before. But a strategy that only deals with these people is one which only sees half the story. (more…)

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