Labour Party

"Labour councils should be fighting the government for more money"

Croydon council, in South London, has issued a Section 114 notice, effectively declaring itself bankrupt. The council says it will now provide a bare legal minimum of services. A local union activist spoke to Josh Lovell and Sacha Ismail about the possibilities of a fightback in the borough. Like other local authorities, Croydon is the victim of ten years of cuts. It has lost 76% of its central government funding. The Labour administration has also invested in some dubious ventures, a number of which have not worked out – but the fundamental frame is these dramatic cuts to its funding. Covid...

Suspend "thousands and thousands"?

“If I have to suspend thousands and thousands of members, we will do that", declared Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner on 29 November, following a new message from Labour Party general secretary David Evans that local Labour Party officials can be suspended for allowing debate on restoring the Labour whip to Jeremy Corbyn. Local Labour Party discussions on suspensions or expulsions from the party were already barred by a March 2019 instruction from the previous, "Corbynite", general secretary Jennie Formby. Officials of at least one local Labour Party (Islington South) had been told in mid...

Video: Fighting council cuts

Video and audio introductions from a meeting on the history and lessons of fighting council cuts, with Josh Lovell, Labour Party councilor. Sweeping cuts are now taking place and are expected in local authorities across the UK, but neither Labour nor the left are prepared for this. If Labour does not take up the fight it will have much less chance of winning back working-class voters, and importantly, saving the jobs and services we all rely on. Josh Lovell, a Labour Party councillor (in opposition) discusses the history of past battles in local government going back to the 1970s, and how we can apply lessons learned from those struggles today. From a meeting of the same name, on 4 October.

Brexit is a step backwards

The Brexit transition period ends in less than six weeks, on 31 December. The EU has told its member states’ ambassadors that a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK is close — but warned a No Deal Brexit is still possible “accidentally”, because of the timescale... A No Deal exit, producing wrenching economic and social dislocation, would or will be terrible. But the Guardian hit the nail on the head when, on the same day as the EU briefing, it quoted economists saying that “the best deal the UK can secure would have counted as ‘one of the hardest of Brexits’ three or four years ago”. During the...

After Corbyn reinstatement: now, a political offensive against antisemitism

Above: The "Mear One" mural: Jeremy Corbyn supported it when the local council led by Lutfur Rahman removed it, but then apologised A panel of the Labour Party National Executive has (17 November 2020) reinstated Jeremy Corbyn after: • he responded to the Equality and Human Rights Commission's legally-enforceable report (29 October 2020) finding the Labour Party culpable for antisemitism by saying that "the problem was dramatically overstated for political reasons" and conceding only that he could not claim "no antisemitism" in the Labour Party because of course there would be some "as there...

Morning Star still dismisses antisemitism complaints as right-wing invention

Back in 2018, a writer in Solidarity described Corbyn’s response to allegations of antisemitism in Labour under his leadership: “Corbyn agrees there is a problem. He responds under pressure, moves in the direction his critics are pointing to, but it is as if he cannot understand what the fuss is about ... everything is low-energy, insufficient, ineffectual, can be seen or portrayed as evasive, as lacking conviction ...” That description sprang to mind when reading Corbyn’s response to the EHRC report: instead of an apology for what happened (and didn’t happen) on his watch, there was the claim...

Labour retreats on Ofsted and primary tests

Reports that the Labour Party leadership is moving towards reforming Ofsted and SATs testing in primary schools, rather than scrapping them, as promised in the 2019 election manifesto, should give activists and educationalists cause for alarm. Kate Green, the shadow education secretary, in an interview with Schools Week, has said she wants to lower the stakes in primary testing, but does not commit to scrapping the statutory tests. The statutory tests have nothing to do with improving children’s education. They are about measuring schools and school workers to make a competitive, semi-market...

Reorganise the Labour left

The political and economic aftershocks of the coronavirus pandemic are likely to be severe. Johnson’s government is already signalling that it will follow the 2008 script: yes, when disaster strikes you have to carry out a little “socialism” — state intervention, doling out money to bosses as much as you can and workers as much as you have to. But so that no-one gets the wrong idea, after this half-”socialism” the bill must be presented and paid through austerity. When Johnson’s Tories (if they are still with Johnson by then) come to implement their own austerity they will learn from David...

Not a class act

Last week three former shadow ministers, Laura Smith, John Trickett, and former party chair Ian Lavery, launched a report for their No Holding Back (NHB) initiative. It purports to be the result of a “listening exercise” amongst Labour members and trade unionists, with the aim of reconnecting Labour with its lost “red wall” voters, but contains few practical proposals beyond unspecified “strengthening trade union and workers’ rights”, taxing firms like Amazon more, creating a “cronyism watchdog” and adopting “progressive patriotism.” On the issue of redundancies NHB says precisely nothing. On...

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