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Why Labour must change its policy making process Print E-mail
Friday, 16 July 2010 08:01
by David Hide

Many of us believe that the 13 years of a Labour Government corresponded with the diminution and subsequent demolition of democracy within the Labour Party. The introduction of Partnership in Power ended meaningful debate at our Annual Conference as party policy making was shunted off stage left into the National Policy Forum (NPF). While the thinking person knew this, the Party wished to maintain a veneer of democracy at our Conference and so provided the world with the meaningless spectacle of hand- picked members reading nauseatingly partisan speeches prepared by party workers. However PIP 1 did still allow us to discuss contemporary issues, with each CLP or affiliate having the opportunity of submitting a single motion, but only if they had not already submitted a rule change earlier in the year. How crazy is this?  Aren’t most people involved in politics interested in both changing rules and debating current affairs, not it would seem if you are a member of the Labour Party?
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Diane for Leader Print E-mail
Wednesday, 09 June 2010 17:09

By Peter Willsman - Labour Party NEC member

Diane Abbott’s leadership campaign has excited comrades about the possibilities that have been opened up. The party’s left wing will for the first time since the 1980s be able to participate in the contest and put its views before the party membership. Additionally, the left is putting forward a candidate who has wide appeal. In the two public polls published since Diane put her name forward for consideration she has either been the voters’ first or second choice for leader. She will bring a breath of fresh air compared to the list of white males who are also on the ballot paper.

The left needs to pull together and put its efforts into building support for Diane’s campaign, as this will help get across the popular agenda that Labour needs to adopt so it can rebuild support amongst the electorate. Diane will ensure there is a proper debate on the direction Labour should take, which party members have been saying is desperately needed.

The two Eds, in particular, will now have to clearly set out where they stand in relation to the abomination that was New Labour. As Jon Cruddas has said, he has known the Eds for nearly 20 years but still does not know where they stand on most major political issues. After Diane launched her campaign, pointing out how wrong it was to invade Iraq and the damage it did to Labour’s support, both Eds publicly distanced themselves from Blair’s decision to invade and indicated they understood the need for rebuilding the trust that Labour lost as a result.

Diane’s critique of neo-liberalism, her support for investment for growth and opposition to reductions in public spending, for progressive taxation, social justice, anti neo-con military adventurism and for peace can now all be aired in the course of the forthcoming election campaign.

Like Diane, I have been appalled at the way other leadership candidates and their supporters are targeting immigrants. Suggestions that migrants are the cause of low wages or to blame for fact that the Labour government did insufficient to address the housing shortage are just plain wrong. There is no evidence that migration has had any impact on wages and terms of conditions. But it is clear the last government fiercely resisted proposals to regulate the labour market thus allowing wages to be driven down, irrespective of the nationality of the workers. In fact there is strong evidence that the migration of the past decade contributed to strengthening economic growth and improving public services.

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No new era, but the sound of an elite sharpening its axe Print E-mail
Friday, 14 May 2010 14:30
The Cameron and Clegg show won't seem so cute once the cuts bite, but if Labour backs another Blair, it will fail to benefit

We are at the threshold of a "new era", David Cameron declared yesterday, in the rose-kissed dawn of a "historic and seismic shift" in British politics. It certainly looks like coalition politics could be here to stay, given the historic decline in support for the main parties. But any idea that the new Tory-Liberal Democrat government represents a challenge to Britain's power structure, or even a break with some of the most shopworn politics of the past decade, was swept away as the ministerial carve-up was revealed.

With Liam Fox as defence secretary, William Hague at the Foreign Office, George Osborne as chancellor and Michael Gove in charge of schools, you have a quartet of throwback enthusiasts for US neoconservatism unmatched in today's western world. For all the talk of the brilliance of the Tory modernisers' coup, the prospect of the new home secretary Theresa May – who voted against abortion and gay adoption rights – heading up the government's equalities agenda, or Iain Duncan Smith dragooning the sick and the jobless into privatised cheap labour schemes is a sobering measure of the new reality.

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