John McDonnell

Isolation pay for all!

Just days after the government announced the planned easing of lockdown, over 180 people attended the Safe and Equal campaign’s first public Zoom meeting on 12 May. The meeting brought together workers from health, social care, local government, the civil service, supermarkets and retail, construction, power and education sectors, including many outsourced workers. The meeting heard from Ruth Cashman, library worker and Lambeth Unison joint branch secretary, Tracey McGuire, teaching assistant and NEU [National Education Union] Executive member, Kas Witana, NHS worker, and MPs John McDonnell...

Labour leadership: what about the anti-strike laws?

Speaking in Sheffield on 7 February, Labour leader candidate Rebecca Long-Bailey pledged to back all striking workers “no questions asked”, promising to be a leader “as comfortable on the picket line as at the dispatch box”. She argued that building up trade unionism should be central to increasing Labour support, including in areas lost to the Tories, and said a Labour government should aim to increase union membership by a million in its first year. We are not supporting Long-Bailey, because of her close ties to the established Labour "backroom" cabals of the Unite union hierarchy and long...

West Midlands feels the Byrne

Right-winger Liam Byrne has been selected as the Labour candidate to unseat Tory West Midlands metro-mayor Andy Street in May. Out of 6,948 votes, Byrne received 3,105 first preferences. There were two left candidates, former Dudley council leader Pete Lowe on 2,034 votes and former Respect activist Salma Yaqoob on 1,809. Yaqoob’s transfers did not go to Lowe, or not much more than they went to no second preference or to Byrne. After transfers Byrne beat Lowe 56.5-43.5%. Byrne has, for obvious reasons, made vague leftish noises, but he was a loyal minister in the Blair-Brown regime, nominated...

LRC shame

Over recent times, and recent weeks especially, the Labour Representation Committee (LRC), once a relatively lively and open group of the Labour left, has descended into little more than a Jackie Walker fan club, a cult dedicated to the denial of antisemitism. Over the weekend 4-5 January, it has crossed the line. Its Facebook account, having previously posted conspiratorial crap and posts about violent, right-wing Jew-hate being the only “real” antisemitism, shared content by Laura Stuart, a far-right activist who has circulated racist material including from David Duke of the Ku Klux Klan...

Neurodivergent Labour

On 30 November Neurodivergent Labour held its founding Annual General Meeting, after about three years of preliminary work of developing the organisation and writing the manifesto. The conference was well attended considering that we were in the middle of an election, with about 45 people present. The political make up seemed generally left wing, and the motions passed on work and education were left wing. John McDonnell had been billed to attend, but sent a message pledging to “take the [neurodivergency] manifesto into government”. The organisation could probably do with a few more young...

Facts and figures of the election

The Tories have condemned Labour’s plans as “eye-watering”, “wild”, “reckless”, “unaffordable” and set to “bankrupt the country”, with much of the press singing in tune. Just after Labour’s 2017 election manifesto came out, Solidarity estimated that its proposals would “take some tens of billions of pounds — John McDonnell estimates £50-odd billion — out of the £1,000 billion a year which currently goes to the rich and the very well-off, or to enterprises under their control”. The 2019 manifesto isn’t out until Thursday 21 November, but the indications are it will be a similar document to 2017...

Smear campaign against McDonnell

The Skwawkbox, a blog that frequently voices the opinions of the Labour leader’s most senior office staff, has started an attack on John McDonnell. The start seems to have been a now-deleted post which included the entire letter of resignation from the Leader’s Office of Andrew Fisher, a former worker in McDonnell’s MP’s office. The charge against McDonnell is that he is now attempting a coup, alongside the Labour right or so-called “centrists”, against Corbyn. Fisher, in resigning, seemed obliquely to suggest hostility to the “four Ms” — Seumas Milne, Karie Murphy, Andrew Murray and Len...

Scottish Labour right is wrong to attack McDonnell

In 2014, the Scottish Labour right wing virtually destroyed Labour in Scotland by allying with the Tories in “Better Together”. Now, in 2019, they’re back for a repeat performance. The 2014 class collaboration with the Tories resulted in: the loss of 40 out of 41 Westminster seats in 2015; the loss of 13 Holyrood seats in 2016, leaving Labour a poor third behind the Tories; and the loss of a raft of council seats and control of Glasgow City Council in 2017. The fact that it now turns out that a majority of Tory Party members are happy to see the break-up of Britain in order to achieve Brexit...

Industrial news in brief

Harland and Wolff A hundred and thirty workers at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast face the loss of their jobs, after the employer went into administration. Workers have occupied the shipyard, demanding it be taken into public ownership. Labour’s Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell visited workers there on Monday 5 August. The Unite union has argued the yard’s productive capacity could be used to manufacture renewable energy infrastructure. EMT out again on 17 August Guards on East Midlands Trains, soon to be East Midlands Railway, struck for a third successive Saturday on 3 August. The...

Labour shifts on Brexit. Now clinch a victory!

“No matter what deal is on the table, and which party has negotiated it, our position must be to remain in the EU and oppose any form of Brexit”, declared shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry at a “Love Socialism Hate Brexit” meeting in Parliament on Monday 15 July. Diane Abbott, Dawn Butler, Jon Ashworth and Keir Starmer also spoke. John McDonnell and Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard sent messages of support. “Love Socialism Hate Brexit” (now renamed “Love Socialism Rebuild Britain Transform Europe”) was at first, when launched in February, a small group of nine left Labour MPs...

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