Posts Tagged ‘Lesley Smith’

Child benefit and middle class single mums: the sums, by Lesley Smith

07/10/2010, 12:39:34 PM

Much guff has been talked about the effect of the loss of child benefit on the so called aspirant middle class. Yes, a family with one earner taxed at 40% and one at 0% will be hit. And, yes, it’s a grand less towards the school fees. But the tax system already looks after happy couples. (Two people, two tax allowances).  And Cameron and Osborne knew that there was little appetite to defend them.

So who does lose out? And does it matter? Well there’s not much sympathy for working single mums who’ve managed to go up the income scale.  Sure, they’re not the worst off. One blogger points out that the median income for working single parent families is £21,035 a year (compared with a median of £32,158 a year for a two parent family with one worker.) (I’m assuming this is gross.)

But single parents earning £45k aren’t an urban myth. And nor are they leading the life of Riley.

Unless she has stumbled on a lottery ticket, a single mum on £45k is out at work and shelling out on childcare, paid out of already (higher) taxed income. (Funny that an accountant is tax deductable but a nanny is not.) So her net income is far, far lower than that of the couple who generate the same income but only pay 20% of it to the tax man. (And she’s up half the night cooking and cleaning as she hasn’t time in the day or money to pay). (more…)

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Give us leadership, not dictatorship, says Michael Dugher

20/09/2010, 11:36:10 AM

For backbenchers, especially for the non-aspirant or the new intake, the election of the shadow cabinet is an entertaining process.  Perhaps this is why so many of us voted for it. Wannabe shadow cabinet members clog up the email inboxes of hitherto ignored Parliamentary colleagues with their CVs.  Backbenchers eagerly await the ‘personal notes’ from candidates to arrive in the post – handwritten to demonstrate the new closeness of the relationship.

Election friends are easily won. But when the next leader of the party says that he or she is “one of a team, not a team of one”, this time they will have to mean it. Labour needs not just a new leader, but new leadership. A different style and approach is required, including to policy-making and to working with colleagues.

All leaders, and especially aspirant leaders in the middle of a leadership election, talk about the need to do things differently, to be more inclusive, to work better with colleagues, and to more closely engage with the Parliamentary and wider party. The difference this time is that the new leader will have little choice but to do things differently. (more…)

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The week Uncut

19/09/2010, 04:20:02 PM

With just a few days of voting to go, the leadership election is drawing to a close. On Saturday the coronation will take place in Manchester and opposition can begin. Well almost. On Sunday the new leader will wake, with a hang over, to the noise of 50 colleagues playing musical chairs with only 19 seats.

The shadow cabinet bun fight is well underway, hats have been thrown into rings. A flurry of letter writing, mass emailing, bulk texting, arm twisting, double crossing and general bad behaviour has already taken place. The three stand out letters so far have come from a talonted Maria, a brooding Tom and a thoughtful Eric.

It was the week that Ed M felt confident, David warned of heroic failures, Andy blamed his tools, Ed B wished the campaign was a little longer and Diane rocked the boat.

In case you missed them, here are Uncut’s best read pieces of the last seven days:

John Woodcock on why the new leader should bring back Peter Mandelson

Shadow cabinet elections are stupid enough without voting stupidly too, says Lesley Smith

Making childish noises at the unions is not the way to lead Labour, says Dan Hodges

As the cold war begins, so do the defections

We must make sure the country is with us on the union fightback, says Ruth Smeeth

We need a more sophisticated response to the big society, says Peter Watt

Blair was always the cynical grit in Labour’s oyster – which we still need, says Kevin Meagher

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Shadow cabinet elections are stupid enough without voting stupidly too, says Lesley Smith

17/09/2010, 11:37:01 AM

Has anyone thought to ask why we are having shadow cabinet elections? Is it to achieve the best possible team to lead our parliamentary party? Is it because elections unite the mass base around their demonstrably popular and talented leaders? Is it a sure fire way of finding a brilliant team that will row in harmony behind whomever a different process elects leader? Is it guaranteed, or even likely, to select people who will work well as a team and share the objectives of that leader?

Well. Nope. ?Or is it, as some say (idiotically) “to act as a counter balance to the leader”? So we go through three months of agony (when we could have been building a strategic and effective opposition to the Tories) to elect someone whose authority we wish the PLP, many of whom have only been there for three minutes, to be able to undermine? If you wanted to sabotage a new leader’s chance of running a half way decent strategy, this is how to do it. (more…)

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Labour must have a woman on the ticket, says Lesley Smith

07/06/2010, 08:11:29 AM

Ten days ago Labour Uncut called, patronisingly, for “a credible woman” on the Labour leadership ballot.

I’ve rarely found myself making common cause with Diane Abbott, and nor is she my preferred candidate, but she has at least seen an open door and walked towards it. There should be a woman on the ticket – but not to save Labour’s embarrassment. It’s an indictment that none apparently wants it (even perhaps Diane) and that we’ve propelled so few women into recent positions of responsibility and recognition that any feel eligible or likely to be taken seriously.

Labour’s 81 women are 31% of the parliamentary party, the highest proportion ever, and include the first three Muslim women MPs.  But in terms of women’s voices being heard we’re behind the curve. The 22% of seats held by women in the Commons make Britain the fiftieth most female parliament, level with Uzbekistan, just ahead of China and Malawi but below Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is obvious that broadening participation, in terms of gender, ethnicity, background or experience, changes politics. So a ballot that includes only interchangeable, middle class white men is something of a failure for a party that has banged on about inclusion for three decades. (more…)

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