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Starmer should beware a Left-wing insurgency A socialist-populist party could still outflank Labour

The insurgency is coming (Wiktor Szymanowicz/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

The insurgency is coming (Wiktor Szymanowicz/Future Publishing via Getty Images)


July 13, 2023   5 mins

Have Labour’s strategists achieved the impossible? Not only is the party 20 points ahead and in with a shot of winning four by-elections, but, perhaps even more impressively, its leader finally appears to be shrugging off his custardy sheen of squareness. According to a recent Politico profile, Keir Starmer has a “dark secret”: he once tried to raise some cash by “illegally” selling ice creams on a lads’ holiday in France. And yet, as Labour starts to behave like a party on the brink of power — optimistically hoping to finalise its policy platform later this month — all might not be as it seems.

Though Starmer appears to be doing well, his lead is soft, with less than a quarter of voters rating him as “good”. This is partly because his success is born of Tory failure rather than any great love for Labour and its policies: there is not much difference between his popularity ratings and Rishi Sunak’s, and only around 40% of voters think the Labour Party has the nation’s best interests at heart.

This may not matter if Starmer only has to fight the Conservatives, but as he shores up the centre, he is at risk of leaving the party’s Left flank vulnerable to the sort of populist insurgency the Tories have been dealing with for a decade. Labour is headed to power, like the Tories 10 or so years ago, with a centrist vision that leaves their more demanding supporters wanting more.

And so, a populist insurgency today is far more likely to take place on the Left than the Right. This isn’t too surprising: in the current political climate, a party made up of largely disgruntled Tories would struggle to establish a new brand, would still be tainted by an association with the current administration’s failings, and would struggle to pick votes from the Left, where about half the electorate now sits. Equally, it would not enjoy the policy influence that Ukip had in its heyday, when along with the Brexit Party it could knock off five or so points from the Tories’ polling.

Through the 2010s, this meant the difference between being in Downing Street or in opposition. As a result, the Tories were forced to keep them sweet by offering concessions, most obviously the EU referendum. But this kind of strategy would not work today. Given their dire performance in the polls, the Tories are likely to be defeated in the next election regardless of whether they lose votes to the Right. So, even if they do make concessions to an insurgent party, they will be in no position to enact them. Moreover, the Tories will be wary of any Right-wing coalition that might scare off moderate voters in the Lib Dem marginal seats in the south and east of England. In other words, now is evidently not the time for another Right-wing insurgency.

The situation on the Left, however, is very different. To form a government, Labour needs to win big and win across the country: an almost unprecedented electoral task. A Leftist party — perhaps drawn from a few disgruntled MPs, outrider commentators and a celebrity or two — picking up between 5-10% of the vote could cause a huge amount of damage without even winning any seats, especially if it gave the Tories the upper hand in some of the tightest marginals. In this instance, Starmer would be forced onto a civil war footing.

Moreover, there is a clear ideological gap for the Leftist insurgency to occupy. Starmer’s weakness is that on crime, on culture, on social issues and even on economics he is cautious about leaning into populist ideas. Not wanting to scare potential supporters, he talks little of nationalisation, seems sometimes beholden to identity politics and is squeamish about things such as reducing immigration to protect workers. But when it comes to economics, a large proportion of voters sit to the Left of Labour, especially Starmer’s version of it.

If one dares to look beyond Rachel Reeves’s sensible economic credentials, there is real scope for more radical economic policies to capture the public imagination, from ramping up tax rates to imposing rent controls. There is currently mass support for the nationalisation of energy — something that Labour has been careful to step back from — as well as for nationalising trains and water supply. A clear majority of British voters don’t think the rich pay enough tax, and so a cost-of-living response that embraces some form of Universal Basic Income or increases taxes on the very richest would also go down well. Starmer, who knows he must appeal to the middle ground, won’t dare to go down this path — but a firebrand might.

All of which might start to sound a little like Corbynism rehashed, but the difference is that any successful Left-wing populist movement would have to be rooted in a patriotic vision that reflects the views of the British people. It could not be on the side of Stop the War or identity politics but would fly the flag and sing the national anthem. The new party would also embrace the Leftish vision of leaving the EU that appealed to many Brexiteers in left-behind regions: strengthening worker protections, for example, would be a popular policy with even Tory voters opposed to things such as zero-hours contracts and fire and rehire. It could also take a tough, Left-wing stance on crime and immigration, wresting these from the Right by portraying them as issues which protect the poorest.

Could the British Left learn from their European counterparts? Across the Continent, insurgent Leftists have recently achieved success by capitalising on the failure of both Right and Left and focusing instead on populist demands. Support for the centre-Left party Syriza surged in Greece after the financial crisis thanks to their anti-neoliberal, anti-globalist rhetoric; in Spain, while Podemos emerged as an anti-establishment option with Left-wing economics. Though these parties have now started to wane — Syriza trailed nearly 23 points behind the conservative New Democracy party in the country’s elections — this is no reason to discount their initial success (if anything, it’s a lesson in what happens once they start to stray from their initial pledges). A British Left-populist party could follow their example, first by developing a popular alternative to the old-Left establishment, and then by broadening their appeal towards “big-tent” populism.

Of course, electoral success would be harder to replicate here because of our first-past-the-post system — but it’s far from impossible. At the very least, a new party could introduce itself to voters in next year’s general elections, and seek to capitalise on their results in 2025’s locals. There are lots on the Left who seem alienated from Starmer’s centrism, especially those who espoused a sort of soft Corbynism. None yet seem committed to forming a new party, but it might serve them better in the short term than trying to wrestle the levers of Labour from him.

Forming a Left-wing populist party would not be easy. It would face the same hurdles as any other new party — finding the funds, the supporters and the platform to get off the ground. Equally, it would have to find a way to delicately navigate policy traps that the Left has long struggled with, particularly surrounding the issues of immigration and social liberalism. But that doesn’t make it impossible.

Farage and the various parties he led achieved their goal on Brexit because they parasitically latched onto the power of the Tories. Now that host is exhausted, but there is space for a Leftist visionary to take advantage of the rising Labour party. After all, the Conservatives won in 2019 by targeting Leftish voters who had grown tired of Labour, galvanising them both around Brexit and a more interventionist economy. This fell flat in government, but showed how populism could reach new electoral coalitions — especially in disenchanted regions. Arguably, the SNP and Plaid Cymru have already succeeded in advancing some form of Left-wing populism, albeit framed around civic nationalism.

In a time of great political flux, where the main parties have been untethered from popular opinion, the opportunity for radical Left-wing thought has always existed. So far, it is unclear who will seize it, but that doesn’t mean the conditions aren’t ripe for an insurgency. Politics can often act as a pendulum, and while Labour delights in the decline of Britain’s Right, they would do well to keep an eye on the rebirth of the Left.


John Oxley is a corporate strategist and political commentator. His Substack is Joxley Writes.

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ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

Labour have been in Opposition for 13 years, after 4 terms in office (involving most of the present senior members and older backbenchers) and they don’t have a policy platform?

Sorry, not buying that for a moment. We know exactly what to expect from Labour; continuing mass immigration, continuing expansion of the criminalisation of free speech, continuing move towards confiscatory taxation with particular emphasis on housing stock.

Abolition of civil rights for the white, notionally Christian, British population on a scale never before seen. Increasingly blatant discrimination against that population, including forcing immigrants into their very homes if they think it feasible.

Kier Starmer has previous, particularly as DPP presiding over the huge and filthy things allowed to happen in Rotherham and elsewhere.

Trans extremism will continue to run amok, or be abruptly replaced with some OTHER freshly minted insanity; it doesn’t actually matter, the purpose and outcome are the same – the corruption and subversion of the law.

Only 40% of those polled, thought Labour had the best interests of the country at heart? It defies belief that ANYONE could think they do.

Last edited 1 year ago by ben arnulfssen
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

Perfectly put sir!
However does it really matter?
It is said that the overwhelming majority of the great British public fully supported the draconian restrictions imposed by the Government during the recent COVID fiasco.

If that is so, ‘they’ deserve everything and anything that they are ‘about to receive’. Amen.

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
David Harris
David Harris
1 year ago

Except that you and I will receive it too.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  David Harris

C’est la vie.

IPTV UK
IPTV UK
2 months ago

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IPTV UK
IPTV UK
2 months ago

IPTV UK Homes has been the best IPTV Subscription Provider for the last three years. We’re giving access to watch more than 21.000 TV channels from all over the world including VOD (120.000 movies & series) in multiple languages. Gladly, you will be able to watch all the sports & live PPV events on our IPTV service.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  David Harris

C’est la vie.

David Harris
David Harris
1 year ago

Except that you and I will receive it too.

John Baxendale
John Baxendale
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

Pure fantasy.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  John Baxendale

You’re being too nice..

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  John Baxendale

You’re being too nice..

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

Guess who’s voting fir Nigel Farage!

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

” We know exactly what to expect from Labour; continuing mass immigration, continuing expansion of the criminalisation of free speech, continuing move towards confiscatory taxation …”
The trouble is that is also what we have come to expect from the fake Tories.
Labour will win, but the cupboard is bare, meaning they’ll have to impose some swinging taxes to pay for their spendthrift policies.
The country will be a bit more worse off in 5 years than if we let the current clowns carry on.
Maybe that will be enough time for the tories to remember how to govern well, or maybe it will take 10 (by which time we will be begging the IMF for another bailout).

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

Agree. ALL they have left in the Progressive Ideas locker is the hardcore identitarianism you describe. Only braindead voters can still believe in the Bailout Socialism Johnson imported – all can see the Bond & Credit Markets sharpening knives ready to make us Greece V2. That leaves a total void on non Tory fresh thinking. Net Zero tock. Mass migration Welfare & NHS binging. All the same. So souped up wokery really is ALL they have. There are several reasons why the terrifying possibility of escalation has not led to wailing and knashing from a public hostile to these alien new credos. A.The credo is already deeply embedded in State Equality Law and so their planned escalation is not such a profound bolt from blue novelty worthy of scrutiny ..B. Starmers right wing Mandy Minders will not let him advertise these policies (just like his shadowy pro EU plans) – so he has been told not bend knee or deny vaginas so loudly. But the virus is still live in the otherwise zombie Labour Party.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

Perfectly put sir!
However does it really matter?
It is said that the overwhelming majority of the great British public fully supported the draconian restrictions imposed by the Government during the recent COVID fiasco.

If that is so, ‘they’ deserve everything and anything that they are ‘about to receive’. Amen.

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
John Baxendale
John Baxendale
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

Pure fantasy.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

Guess who’s voting fir Nigel Farage!

Philip Stott
Philip Stott
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

” We know exactly what to expect from Labour; continuing mass immigration, continuing expansion of the criminalisation of free speech, continuing move towards confiscatory taxation …”
The trouble is that is also what we have come to expect from the fake Tories.
Labour will win, but the cupboard is bare, meaning they’ll have to impose some swinging taxes to pay for their spendthrift policies.
The country will be a bit more worse off in 5 years than if we let the current clowns carry on.
Maybe that will be enough time for the tories to remember how to govern well, or maybe it will take 10 (by which time we will be begging the IMF for another bailout).

Walter Marvell
Walter Marvell
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

Agree. ALL they have left in the Progressive Ideas locker is the hardcore identitarianism you describe. Only braindead voters can still believe in the Bailout Socialism Johnson imported – all can see the Bond & Credit Markets sharpening knives ready to make us Greece V2. That leaves a total void on non Tory fresh thinking. Net Zero tock. Mass migration Welfare & NHS binging. All the same. So souped up wokery really is ALL they have. There are several reasons why the terrifying possibility of escalation has not led to wailing and knashing from a public hostile to these alien new credos. A.The credo is already deeply embedded in State Equality Law and so their planned escalation is not such a profound bolt from blue novelty worthy of scrutiny ..B. Starmers right wing Mandy Minders will not let him advertise these policies (just like his shadowy pro EU plans) – so he has been told not bend knee or deny vaginas so loudly. But the virus is still live in the otherwise zombie Labour Party.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

Labour have been in Opposition for 13 years, after 4 terms in office (involving most of the present senior members and older backbenchers) and they don’t have a policy platform?

Sorry, not buying that for a moment. We know exactly what to expect from Labour; continuing mass immigration, continuing expansion of the criminalisation of free speech, continuing move towards confiscatory taxation with particular emphasis on housing stock.

Abolition of civil rights for the white, notionally Christian, British population on a scale never before seen. Increasingly blatant discrimination against that population, including forcing immigrants into their very homes if they think it feasible.

Kier Starmer has previous, particularly as DPP presiding over the huge and filthy things allowed to happen in Rotherham and elsewhere.

Trans extremism will continue to run amok, or be abruptly replaced with some OTHER freshly minted insanity; it doesn’t actually matter, the purpose and outcome are the same – the corruption and subversion of the law.

Only 40% of those polled, thought Labour had the best interests of the country at heart? It defies belief that ANYONE could think they do.

Last edited 1 year ago by ben arnulfssen
Ben Jones
Ben Jones
1 year ago

I was wondering about the possibility of a modern left-wing party, of any flavour, dumping identity politics and being genuinely tough on crime. Then a pig flew by my window and I found myself distracted.

John Baxendale
John Baxendale
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

‘Tough on crime’ meaning what, exactly?

David Giles
David Giles
1 year ago
Reply to  John Baxendale

It’s Keir Starmer. So it’s being tough on real criminals, i.e. tough on those not anti-racist enough and tough on gender-critical feminists. Kathleen Stock’s articles on this site will her sent down right enough.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  John Baxendale

Hopefully capital punishment for both fraud and murder.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

..
I’d a feeling you’d be in on this one; you just couldn’t resist could you.. but you missed flogging.. are you going soft on crime Charlie?

Gorka Sillero
Gorka Sillero
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Public flogging for anyone carrying a knife with intent to use it sounds sensible to me

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Gorka Sillero

I carry a knife and intend to use it (on DIY tasks). It is part of my Leatherman. Am I to be flogged for that? BTW how do you tell “intent” ..by skin colour? religion? ethnicity?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Gorka Sillero

I carry a knife and intend to use it (on DIY tasks). It is part of my Leatherman. Am I to be flogged for that? BTW how do you tell “intent” ..by skin colour? religion? ethnicity?

Gorka Sillero
Gorka Sillero
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Public flogging for anyone carrying a knife with intent to use it sounds sensible to me

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

..
I’d a feeling you’d be in on this one; you just couldn’t resist could you.. but you missed flogging.. are you going soft on crime Charlie?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  John Baxendale

One imagines it will involve flogging and hanging, and perhaps deportation to Rwanda?

David Giles
David Giles
1 year ago
Reply to  John Baxendale

It’s Keir Starmer. So it’s being tough on real criminals, i.e. tough on those not anti-racist enough and tough on gender-critical feminists. Kathleen Stock’s articles on this site will her sent down right enough.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  John Baxendale

Hopefully capital punishment for both fraud and murder.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  John Baxendale

One imagines it will involve flogging and hanging, and perhaps deportation to Rwanda?

John Baxendale
John Baxendale
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

‘Tough on crime’ meaning what, exactly?

Ben Jones
Ben Jones
1 year ago

I was wondering about the possibility of a modern left-wing party, of any flavour, dumping identity politics and being genuinely tough on crime. Then a pig flew by my window and I found myself distracted.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

The thing to understand is that NO current political party are either Left or Right, as the terms are generally understood.

All are unbendingly committed to open borders, uncontrolled mass immigration. All pander shamelessly to Islam. None give a fisherman’s fart for the wishes or interests of the British electorate, workforce or nation.

All are committed to the continuing abolition of freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and civil rights for the British population. All are committed to confiscation of personal assets in one form or another.

David Harris
David Harris
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

And bankrupting the country through Net Zero, ‘Climate Emergency’ hysteria.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

Why do I think you mean white, straoght, christian British when you say “British”… please tell me I’m mistaken.

Last edited 1 year ago by Liam O'Mahony
Andy Blake
Andy Blake
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

You’re not mistaken. It’s called the majority.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Blake

I should also have substituted “English” for “British” perhaps? In NI the majority ruled in the way you propose, ie rode roughshod over the minority.. it didn’t do that majority any good, longterm.. now look at them! Isolated, vilified, despised among men! ..after many bloody years of virtual civil war!
Is that the future you want for English WASPs? The world changes; my advice is change with it.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Andy Blake

I should also have substituted “English” for “British” perhaps? In NI the majority ruled in the way you propose, ie rode roughshod over the minority.. it didn’t do that majority any good, longterm.. now look at them! Isolated, vilified, despised among men! ..after many bloody years of virtual civil war!
Is that the future you want for English WASPs? The world changes; my advice is change with it.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Why would you think yourself mistaken? They are, after all a clear majority of the electorate.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

How about if the WASPs decided those of Nordic ancestry were “unacceptable”?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

How about if the WASPs decided those of Nordic ancestry were “unacceptable”?

Andy Blake
Andy Blake
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

You’re not mistaken. It’s called the majority.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Why would you think yourself mistaken? They are, after all a clear majority of the electorate.

David Harris
David Harris
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

And bankrupting the country through Net Zero, ‘Climate Emergency’ hysteria.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

Why do I think you mean white, straoght, christian British when you say “British”… please tell me I’m mistaken.

Last edited 1 year ago by Liam O'Mahony
ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

The thing to understand is that NO current political party are either Left or Right, as the terms are generally understood.

All are unbendingly committed to open borders, uncontrolled mass immigration. All pander shamelessly to Islam. None give a fisherman’s fart for the wishes or interests of the British electorate, workforce or nation.

All are committed to the continuing abolition of freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and civil rights for the British population. All are committed to confiscation of personal assets in one form or another.

Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
1 year ago

The great perversity of Labour’s lead in the polls is that the Tories and the country are in the mess they are in because the Tories have spent 13 years being continuity New Labour, drifting in recent years in to Corbynism.
When Labour attacks the Tories on inflation, government borrowing and the increasingly unsustainable national debt, NHS waiting lists, lost education and strikes, the retort that should be given is obvious, The most proximate causes of these things was the idiotic decision to shutdown the British economy and splurge hundreds of billions to sustain businesses and individuals. The Tories were utter fools to do this, but Labour demanded more and longer lockdows and restrictions and more splurging on handouts. Never have I heard the Tories make the obvious point that the current mess is the result of the response to Covid that the public demanded, and that if they had listened to Labour’s demands to prolong the measures, things would be much worse.
Unwilling to put the public straight on their complicity in the catastrophic economic consequenses of Covid by their overwhelming demands for lockdowns and handouts, the Tories are not only hurting themselves electorally and helping Labour escape culpability, they are failing to teach the public that government handouts may be very nice in the short term, but eventually there is a very heavy price to pay, socially and economically.
Tax the rich and rent controls.
Socialists never learn. The Socialist government cycle: the government gives out enormous handouts and taxes the very wealthy to pay for it. The very wealthy leave the country; the government taxes the less wealthy and borrows more to fund the handouts; the less wealthy leave; eventually the tax base is so diminished and borrowing so expensive that we get economic collapse
Rent controls have been tried in numerous European countries and have always failed and been repealed. Berlin and Scotland are the latest disastrous examples The result is always the same; rent controls lead to sharp reduction in available rented accommodation, a fall in the quality of accommodation and increases the cost of accommodation. Anyone advocating for them at this point is either ignorant of history or stupid.

Last edited 1 year ago by Marcus Leach
Martin Smith
Martin Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Yes, but they are too afraid to admit the enormity of their error so must Hancock-like (he is the microcosm of modern Tory depravity) double down.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Before you get TOO wrapped up in the “lockdown demanded by the public” narrative, take at least two steps back. Two things needed to be in place before the government could even START to talk about lockdowns. Firstly, the intensive propaganda campaign designed to create fear, confusion and hysteria. Secondly, the existence of a Bill over 350 pages in length, which HAPPENED to be ready to be rushed through a panicked, near-empty Commons.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

I know up is down and right is wrong and male is female and accurate is fake etc. these days but you go too far when you describe the Tories as Continuity New Labour!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

New Labour was simply Thatcherism with a bit more healthcare spending let’s be honest

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I think there were a few features of Thatcherism that really couldn’t be described as New Labourism! ..and vice versa! I’m well up for hyperbole but let’s not get carried away shall we?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I think there were a few features of Thatcherism that really couldn’t be described as New Labourism! ..and vice versa! I’m well up for hyperbole but let’s not get carried away shall we?

Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Which significant New Labour policies did the Tories repeal or reverse?
They maintained NL’s regional devolution, the GLA and the Office of London Mayor. They kept NL’s mass immigration and ultra loose monetary policy, The kept Labour’s Climate Change Act and amended to make its economy destroying provisions even worse. Human rights and asylum legislation have remained largely untouched and the Tories have kept increasing government expenditure on the same trajectory as NL established. Finally the Tories have done nothing to scale back NL’s Quangocracy: a permanent administrative state, riddled from top to bottom with people committed to Leftist ideology

Last edited 1 year ago by Marcus Leach
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

New Labour was simply Thatcherism with a bit more healthcare spending let’s be honest

Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
1 year ago
Reply to  Liam O'Mahony

Which significant New Labour policies did the Tories repeal or reverse?
They maintained NL’s regional devolution, the GLA and the Office of London Mayor. They kept NL’s mass immigration and ultra loose monetary policy, The kept Labour’s Climate Change Act and amended to make its economy destroying provisions even worse. Human rights and asylum legislation have remained largely untouched and the Tories have kept increasing government expenditure on the same trajectory as NL established. Finally the Tories have done nothing to scale back NL’s Quangocracy: a permanent administrative state, riddled from top to bottom with people committed to Leftist ideology

Last edited 1 year ago by Marcus Leach
Martin Smith
Martin Smith
1 year ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Yes, but they are too afraid to admit the enormity of their error so must Hancock-like (he is the microcosm of modern Tory depravity) double down.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

Before you get TOO wrapped up in the “lockdown demanded by the public” narrative, take at least two steps back. Two things needed to be in place before the government could even START to talk about lockdowns. Firstly, the intensive propaganda campaign designed to create fear, confusion and hysteria. Secondly, the existence of a Bill over 350 pages in length, which HAPPENED to be ready to be rushed through a panicked, near-empty Commons.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Marcus Leach

I know up is down and right is wrong and male is female and accurate is fake etc. these days but you go too far when you describe the Tories as Continuity New Labour!

Marcus Leach
Marcus Leach
1 year ago

The great perversity of Labour’s lead in the polls is that the Tories and the country are in the mess they are in because the Tories have spent 13 years being continuity New Labour, drifting in recent years in to Corbynism.
When Labour attacks the Tories on inflation, government borrowing and the increasingly unsustainable national debt, NHS waiting lists, lost education and strikes, the retort that should be given is obvious, The most proximate causes of these things was the idiotic decision to shutdown the British economy and splurge hundreds of billions to sustain businesses and individuals. The Tories were utter fools to do this, but Labour demanded more and longer lockdows and restrictions and more splurging on handouts. Never have I heard the Tories make the obvious point that the current mess is the result of the response to Covid that the public demanded, and that if they had listened to Labour’s demands to prolong the measures, things would be much worse.
Unwilling to put the public straight on their complicity in the catastrophic economic consequenses of Covid by their overwhelming demands for lockdowns and handouts, the Tories are not only hurting themselves electorally and helping Labour escape culpability, they are failing to teach the public that government handouts may be very nice in the short term, but eventually there is a very heavy price to pay, socially and economically.
Tax the rich and rent controls.
Socialists never learn. The Socialist government cycle: the government gives out enormous handouts and taxes the very wealthy to pay for it. The very wealthy leave the country; the government taxes the less wealthy and borrows more to fund the handouts; the less wealthy leave; eventually the tax base is so diminished and borrowing so expensive that we get economic collapse
Rent controls have been tried in numerous European countries and have always failed and been repealed. Berlin and Scotland are the latest disastrous examples The result is always the same; rent controls lead to sharp reduction in available rented accommodation, a fall in the quality of accommodation and increases the cost of accommodation. Anyone advocating for them at this point is either ignorant of history or stupid.

Last edited 1 year ago by Marcus Leach
Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago

The more worrying aspect of this is that the left-wing insurgency happened long ago – and It will re-appear within days of a Labour win.
.
Doubtless the clever Peter Mandelson is behind the recent suppression of this “tendency”, but Starmer won’t be able to keep it up after Labour gets into office.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

I hope you’re right!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Barton

I hope you’re right!

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago

The more worrying aspect of this is that the left-wing insurgency happened long ago – and It will re-appear within days of a Labour win.
.
Doubtless the clever Peter Mandelson is behind the recent suppression of this “tendency”, but Starmer won’t be able to keep it up after Labour gets into office.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ian Barton
Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago

Tax the rich until only senior civil servants are rich.
Tax oil & gas companies out of existence to fund windfarms and then blame the oil & gas companies for the shortage of oil & gas leading to high prices , and tax them again. Ignore the consequent thousands of job losses in NE Scotland (already happening) but fly in emergency delegations to save some subsidised boondoggle employing 300 in Englandshire. Justify it by claiming oil & gas companies are subsidised if they pay anything less than 110% tax. Describe grants to hopeless green ventures as “investment”. Paint yourself as heroic vanquishers of Big Oil long after Big Oil has left and the remaining companies are all smaller than the inner London branches of Greenpeace and Just Stop Everything.
And that’s before Labour even gets in.

Brendan O'Leary
Brendan O'Leary
1 year ago

Tax the rich until only senior civil servants are rich.
Tax oil & gas companies out of existence to fund windfarms and then blame the oil & gas companies for the shortage of oil & gas leading to high prices , and tax them again. Ignore the consequent thousands of job losses in NE Scotland (already happening) but fly in emergency delegations to save some subsidised boondoggle employing 300 in Englandshire. Justify it by claiming oil & gas companies are subsidised if they pay anything less than 110% tax. Describe grants to hopeless green ventures as “investment”. Paint yourself as heroic vanquishers of Big Oil long after Big Oil has left and the remaining companies are all smaller than the inner London branches of Greenpeace and Just Stop Everything.
And that’s before Labour even gets in.

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

Sounds like wishful thinking to me. Yes, there certainly are people who want more socialist politics, just as there are people that want more conservative politics. Both sets of people will find it very difficult to elbow their way into government, no matter how popular/populist their political desires. UKIP and its successors didn’t gain Members of Parliament even after benefitting from the results of the Referendum – so a Johnny-come-lately Leftish insurgency is probably already too late to have any major effect on the results of the next General Election.
Another perspective is not to expect Left or Right labels to be much of a Unique Selling Point… both the main parties are relentlessly pandering to the Establishment and the disaffected still have an enormous barrier to overcome. In my opinion the disaffected cannot do it from within an existing party.

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Most could start the change process by voting for Reform or the SDP. Not sure if the British Communist Party still exists .

Ian Barton
Ian Barton
1 year ago
Reply to  AC Harper

Most could start the change process by voting for Reform or the SDP. Not sure if the British Communist Party still exists .

AC Harper
AC Harper
1 year ago

Sounds like wishful thinking to me. Yes, there certainly are people who want more socialist politics, just as there are people that want more conservative politics. Both sets of people will find it very difficult to elbow their way into government, no matter how popular/populist their political desires. UKIP and its successors didn’t gain Members of Parliament even after benefitting from the results of the Referendum – so a Johnny-come-lately Leftish insurgency is probably already too late to have any major effect on the results of the next General Election.
Another perspective is not to expect Left or Right labels to be much of a Unique Selling Point… both the main parties are relentlessly pandering to the Establishment and the disaffected still have an enormous barrier to overcome. In my opinion the disaffected cannot do it from within an existing party.

Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
1 year ago

This already exists and it’s called the SDP.

I think 2024 too soon for an SDP surge but it will come in councils in the late 2020s once labour inevitably disappoints the voters.

Ian McKinney
Ian McKinney
1 year ago

This already exists and it’s called the SDP.

I think 2024 too soon for an SDP surge but it will come in councils in the late 2020s once labour inevitably disappoints the voters.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
1 year ago

Could there be a more perfect embodiment of the “left” than that woman beside McDonnell?

james goater
james goater
1 year ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

Yes indeed! I was similarly impressed by the photo which, as you say, seems to accurately portray a potential “leftist insurgency”. The tiny banner indicating that the holder is a member of the “Worker – Communist party of Kurdistan Abroad Organization” added to McDonell’s expression of steely determination(?) completes the picture; not a pretty one, it could be added.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
1 year ago
Reply to  james goater

Sadly there are not nearly enough handsome, charming and wealthy White males to marry these ‘ladies’ and soften their politics. McDonnell thinks he’ll lead them because he hasn’t been paying attention to American politics (the POC have realised they don’t need collaborators like him).

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
1 year ago
Reply to  james goater

Sadly there are not nearly enough handsome, charming and wealthy White males to marry these ‘ladies’ and soften their politics. McDonnell thinks he’ll lead them because he hasn’t been paying attention to American politics (the POC have realised they don’t need collaborators like him).

james goater
james goater
1 year ago
Reply to  Albert McGloan

Yes indeed! I was similarly impressed by the photo which, as you say, seems to accurately portray a potential “leftist insurgency”. The tiny banner indicating that the holder is a member of the “Worker – Communist party of Kurdistan Abroad Organization” added to McDonell’s expression of steely determination(?) completes the picture; not a pretty one, it could be added.

Albert McGloan
Albert McGloan
1 year ago

Could there be a more perfect embodiment of the “left” than that woman beside McDonnell?

Samuel Gee
Samuel Gee
1 year ago

This would be good news and should also be replicated on the right. We need a choice. This wouldn’t be mine. But currently there is no debate between the two main parties about politics or economics or what would make this a better country and why. Nothing that sharpens the analysis or leads to better policy or a long-term outlook or proposal. Instead, we catch people eating cake and not wearing seatbelts. I didn’t like Corbyn’s world view or his principles but at least he had some you could loathe.

Samuel Gee
Samuel Gee
1 year ago

This would be good news and should also be replicated on the right. We need a choice. This wouldn’t be mine. But currently there is no debate between the two main parties about politics or economics or what would make this a better country and why. Nothing that sharpens the analysis or leads to better policy or a long-term outlook or proposal. Instead, we catch people eating cake and not wearing seatbelts. I didn’t like Corbyn’s world view or his principles but at least he had some you could loathe.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago

In contrast to UKIP and the Brexit Party, the Left does not believe tin democracy. The Left believes in totalitarian dictatorship. There will therefore be no Left-wing party trying to win power through the ballot box. Most of the Left-wing politicians are quite happy standing for Parliament on manifestos they despise and taking the salary and perks on a lie.

George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago

Ha ha, if only.

George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago

Ha ha, if only.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago

In contrast to UKIP and the Brexit Party, the Left does not believe tin democracy. The Left believes in totalitarian dictatorship. There will therefore be no Left-wing party trying to win power through the ballot box. Most of the Left-wing politicians are quite happy standing for Parliament on manifestos they despise and taking the salary and perks on a lie.

J Boyd
J Boyd
1 year ago

There is already a well established insurgency to the Left of Labour: the Green Party.

It’s also worth pointing out that Syriza and Podemos were marginalised very quickly, primarily because they threatened the EU establishment.

Whatever happens, I think that the smart money is on a few years of real chaos and a Tory landslide (a Boris comeback) c. 2028.

Though I’m still not convinced that the Tories will lose next year.

J Boyd
J Boyd
1 year ago

There is already a well established insurgency to the Left of Labour: the Green Party.

It’s also worth pointing out that Syriza and Podemos were marginalised very quickly, primarily because they threatened the EU establishment.

Whatever happens, I think that the smart money is on a few years of real chaos and a Tory landslide (a Boris comeback) c. 2028.

Though I’m still not convinced that the Tories will lose next year.

Dustin Needle
Dustin Needle
1 year ago

Looking at the placard held by the chap in the headline photo, I doubt there will be much in the manifesto for the Communist Party of Kurdistan Abroad and their many supporters in the Red Wall constituencies. However, they will vote Labour anyway because they are sure to implement plenty of left-wing policies not mentioned in the manifesto.

Dustin Needle
Dustin Needle
1 year ago

Looking at the placard held by the chap in the headline photo, I doubt there will be much in the manifesto for the Communist Party of Kurdistan Abroad and their many supporters in the Red Wall constituencies. However, they will vote Labour anyway because they are sure to implement plenty of left-wing policies not mentioned in the manifesto.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

I wonder where all the immigrants come down on this.
Anyway, let’s go full throttle, on rent control and good old tax the rich.
But I think that you Brits also need a new Church of Renewable Energy to replace the current moribund religious communities. Your beloved North London luvvies clearly need a place to worship Gaia.

Last edited 1 year ago by Christopher Chantrill
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

Inequality is at record levels (and has been climbing for years), and full time workers now require government handouts simply to pay the rent. I think taxing the rich is perfectly sensible, especially idle wealth such as capital gains. You can’t get any more out of the working classes let’s be honest

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

“You can’t get any more out of the working classes let’s be honest”.

What arrant nonsense! British ‘productivity’ is amongst the worst in Europe, and has been for years.

What on earth is ‘idle wealth’? Certainly NOT capital gains! You sound like one of those rabid old socialists like, Laski, Bevan, Mikado, Miliband & Co. I hoped we had seen the last of them, but sadly you have proved me wrong.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

Productivity when talking at a national level has nothing to do with the work ethic of the average employee. You increase productivity buy businesses investing in new tools and technology to increase the output of their staff. Instead it’s simply been used to feather the nests of those already at the top with large bonuses and share buybacks.
The billions of pounds currently tied up in property for instance would be much better served by industry investing to increase their productivity, however the tax system overly rewards idle speculation at the expense of that happening.
Wages have also risen much more slowly than business profits since the demise of the unions, so despite the UKs productivity being relatively poor, the gains from what little improvement there has been hasn’t been spread evenly throughout society. People will put up with inequality as long as their own financial situation is improving, but that’s no longer the case. No doubt your answer to the failings of neoliberalism will be to double down and deregulate that little bit further, however those views are now being held by an ever decreasing minority

George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Shhh. If people find out that Britain doesn’t have to be an economic basket case, with falling real wages, growing inequality, shrinking children, galloping inflation, grotesque debts, a collapsing birthrate, and all the rest, they might wonder why the leaders of both parties seem determined to continue with the present approach.

George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Shhh. If people find out that Britain doesn’t have to be an economic basket case, with falling real wages, growing inequality, shrinking children, galloping inflation, grotesque debts, a collapsing birthrate, and all the rest, they might wonder why the leaders of both parties seem determined to continue with the present approach.

George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago

“but sadly you have proved me wrong.”
You know Charles, it gladdens my shrivelled lefty heart to see you admitting you were wrong. I thought that your views were altogether immune to evidence of any kind.
I’m proud of you.
From little acorns….

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

Productivity when talking at a national level has nothing to do with the work ethic of the average employee. You increase productivity buy businesses investing in new tools and technology to increase the output of their staff. Instead it’s simply been used to feather the nests of those already at the top with large bonuses and share buybacks.
The billions of pounds currently tied up in property for instance would be much better served by industry investing to increase their productivity, however the tax system overly rewards idle speculation at the expense of that happening.
Wages have also risen much more slowly than business profits since the demise of the unions, so despite the UKs productivity being relatively poor, the gains from what little improvement there has been hasn’t been spread evenly throughout society. People will put up with inequality as long as their own financial situation is improving, but that’s no longer the case. No doubt your answer to the failings of neoliberalism will be to double down and deregulate that little bit further, however those views are now being held by an ever decreasing minority

George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago

“but sadly you have proved me wrong.”
You know Charles, it gladdens my shrivelled lefty heart to see you admitting you were wrong. I thought that your views were altogether immune to evidence of any kind.
I’m proud of you.
From little acorns….

Ben Jones
Ben Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Actually, Billy Bob, we could get significantly more out of the underclasses if they could be bothered to find work and not claim benefits. Harsh? Yes. True? Also yes.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

Unemployment has been at record lows, and the number of people in work at record highs for a good few years now. In fact the central banks have been composing that having such low unemployment meant employees had too much power to demand pay rises. I’m not sure forcing the dregs of society into jobs they don’t want will do much to increase productivity, it will more likely be a burden on those businesses

Ben Jones
Ben Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

And economically inactive people, who are nothing but ‘fiscal drag’ hardly help do they? If they work they might no longer be ‘dregs’ will they? We’re into fourth-generation families with no experience of work. It’s seen as somehow inevitable. It’s an economic – and moral – disgrace.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

I agree it would be a good thing for themselves and society to get off the benefits, however in order for it to happen you first need to attract good jobs to the economically depressed old industrial and coastal towns. Given the choice between a zero hour Amazon “fulfilment centre” style job or the dole I’d probably take the second option myself. How would you go about reviving these areas, levelling up if you will?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

I believe the (not really) modern term is “Unnecessary Feeders” but I’m told the Davos crowd have plans for those. You might just check to see if you are included as I am, a pensioner!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

I agree it would be a good thing for themselves and society to get off the benefits, however in order for it to happen you first need to attract good jobs to the economically depressed old industrial and coastal towns. Given the choice between a zero hour Amazon “fulfilment centre” style job or the dole I’d probably take the second option myself. How would you go about reviving these areas, levelling up if you will?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

I believe the (not really) modern term is “Unnecessary Feeders” but I’m told the Davos crowd have plans for those. You might just check to see if you are included as I am, a pensioner!

Ben Jones
Ben Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

In fact, it’s good we’ve had this exchange because it made me think – if a genuinely radical left-wing party representing the genuinely *working* classes promised to get tough on the indolent they might actually be onto something. A bit of tough love, even.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

A few dole bludgers is the least of the UKs worries at present. If you have a solution that would turn them into valuable employees then I’d be all for it, but I’m not sure there’s an easy answer. It’s not a few benefit scroungers that are causing record low homeownership rates, record inequality and record numbers of full time workers in need of government handouts

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

…and what about all those lazy pensioners? Get them back to work as well! Yes, I too can a great future for this kind of thinking! And is there any reason why a wealthy investor can’t also work in Amazon? Now we’re getting somewhere!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

A few dole bludgers is the least of the UKs worries at present. If you have a solution that would turn them into valuable employees then I’d be all for it, but I’m not sure there’s an easy answer. It’s not a few benefit scroungers that are causing record low homeownership rates, record inequality and record numbers of full time workers in need of government handouts

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

…and what about all those lazy pensioners? Get them back to work as well! Yes, I too can a great future for this kind of thinking! And is there any reason why a wealthy investor can’t also work in Amazon? Now we’re getting somewhere!

Ben Jones
Ben Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

And economically inactive people, who are nothing but ‘fiscal drag’ hardly help do they? If they work they might no longer be ‘dregs’ will they? We’re into fourth-generation families with no experience of work. It’s seen as somehow inevitable. It’s an economic – and moral – disgrace.

Ben Jones
Ben Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

In fact, it’s good we’ve had this exchange because it made me think – if a genuinely radical left-wing party representing the genuinely *working* classes promised to get tough on the indolent they might actually be onto something. A bit of tough love, even.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

Precisely.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

..back to work for you too Charlie! ..you lazy git you!

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

..back to work for you too Charlie! ..you lazy git you!

George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

Actually, no, rubbish
Leaving aside your rather ugly terminology, does it trouble you that the majority (61%) of the poor in this country are in work? (JRF)
Does it strike you as odd that wages in this country are so low and the cost of living (particularly housing, childcare and energy) simultaneously so high, that 17% of all working people (2.2m) are also in receipt of Universal Credit? (UC Stats and Working population) .
Given that benefit tapers in this country are sharp. (i.e. as you begin to earn, your benefit support is withdrawn almost 1:1) many households on low incomes can find themselves only a few pounds better off after a full week of work than they would be without any work at all. Isn’t it something of a wonder that people seek work at all – especially those with caring responsibilities (a sick parent or relative, a child)
Forget the impact on working people – consider what it does to the incentives of employers in the bottom quarter of the income range. To spell this out. I can pay someone the minimum wage or I can pay them about 30% more than the minimum wage and the worker will be no better off. Why would I increase pay?
Surprise! That’s exactly what many employers do. Most of them aren’t even aware of it – they just pay “the going rate”. But, the going rate is essentially set by what the benefit system considers to be the bare minimum subsistence level. The effect of this is that a big swathe of people at the bottom end of the labour market have effectively no disposible income to contribute towards wider economic activity. They pay the landlord, they pay their utility bills and they buy food. But that’s it.
I’ve been around the houses. Let me make it even simpler – you can’t fix poverty just by making people poorer.

Last edited 1 year ago by George Venning
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

What is YOUR definition of poverty, may I ask?

George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago

I’m definition agnostic.
You can use relative poverty, you can use the indices of multiple deprivation. The JRF uses “When a person’s resources (mainly their material resources) are not sufficient to meet their minimum needs (including social participation)” which is the basis of the figures in my earlier comment.
But Mr Micawber’s definition works too.
I would add that some estimates of how much money people need in order to be able to sustain a “decent” standard of living – including ones used to determine people’s eligibility for Universal Credit assume that all discretionary spending (non essential travel, all clothing and toiletries, books, entertainment etc) should amount to no more than £10/week.
Maybe you think £10 a week is plenty. I don’t. But let’s agree on this, it’s not a lot of personal spending to grow an economy on is it? It wouldn’t support a flourisihing hospitality sector, or the arts, or much in the way of sports.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

I tend to believe what I see with my own eyes, and I currently see far too much obesity, which presumably is NOT the result of poverty.

Additionally I have noticed that the capital seems to be infested with “sturdy beggars”, mainly, but not exclusively of the Scotch variety. I had been informed that these were former soldiers, but on investigation this turned out to be untrue.

However I do agree that £10 a week is ludicrous, but sadly can offer no reasonable solution.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

As @ 14.57 BST, my innocuous reply seems to have been censored!

Hallelujah! Finally posted @ 18.00 BST.

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago

But the ghost of your innocuous reply is so very tantalising.
I shall enjoy imagining the forbidden fruit that the moderators have denied us all.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

It maybe just in the ‘Sin Bin’ for a couple of hours with any luck.

I suspect using the word Sc*tch was the trigger. I imagine some evil little Jock is behind this, as it has happened before!

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

It maybe just in the ‘Sin Bin’ for a couple of hours with any luck.

I suspect using the word Sc*tch was the trigger. I imagine some evil little Jock is behind this, as it has happened before!

George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago

But the ghost of your innocuous reply is so very tantalising.
I shall enjoy imagining the forbidden fruit that the moderators have denied us all.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

I tend to believe what I see with my own eyes, and I currently see far too much obesity, which presumably is NOT the result of poverty.

Additionally I have noticed that the capital seems to be infested with “sturdy beggars”, mainly, but not exclusively of the Scotch variety. I had been informed that these were former soldiers, but on investigation this turned out to be untrue.

However I do agree that £10 a week is ludicrous, but sadly can offer no reasonable solution.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

As @ 14.57 BST, my innocuous reply seems to have been censored!

Hallelujah! Finally posted @ 18.00 BST.

Last edited 1 year ago by Charles Stanhope
George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago

I’m definition agnostic.
You can use relative poverty, you can use the indices of multiple deprivation. The JRF uses “When a person’s resources (mainly their material resources) are not sufficient to meet their minimum needs (including social participation)” which is the basis of the figures in my earlier comment.
But Mr Micawber’s definition works too.
I would add that some estimates of how much money people need in order to be able to sustain a “decent” standard of living – including ones used to determine people’s eligibility for Universal Credit assume that all discretionary spending (non essential travel, all clothing and toiletries, books, entertainment etc) should amount to no more than £10/week.
Maybe you think £10 a week is plenty. I don’t. But let’s agree on this, it’s not a lot of personal spending to grow an economy on is it? It wouldn’t support a flourisihing hospitality sector, or the arts, or much in the way of sports.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

We can go a good bit further than that; the poor spend all their money, locally thereby increasing economic activity on British goods and services. That spending naturally percolates up to the rich owners, manufacturers etc.
If you increase the income of the poor you increase economic activity ie British mnfrg. and wealth which now IS worth investing back into manufacturing.
By contrast, enriching the wealthy other than through real economic activity A/A results in spending on Italian supercars, French yachts, Greek villas, Caribbean islands, world cruises etc. none of which does a single thing for the British economy. Indeed the opposite! And don’t we have the proof of that staring us in the face?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

What is YOUR definition of poverty, may I ask?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

We can go a good bit further than that; the poor spend all their money, locally thereby increasing economic activity on British goods and services. That spending naturally percolates up to the rich owners, manufacturers etc.
If you increase the income of the poor you increase economic activity ie British mnfrg. and wealth which now IS worth investing back into manufacturing.
By contrast, enriching the wealthy other than through real economic activity A/A results in spending on Italian supercars, French yachts, Greek villas, Caribbean islands, world cruises etc. none of which does a single thing for the British economy. Indeed the opposite! And don’t we have the proof of that staring us in the face?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

Unemployment has been at record lows, and the number of people in work at record highs for a good few years now. In fact the central banks have been composing that having such low unemployment meant employees had too much power to demand pay rises. I’m not sure forcing the dregs of society into jobs they don’t want will do much to increase productivity, it will more likely be a burden on those businesses

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

Precisely.

George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago
Reply to  Ben Jones

Actually, no, rubbish
Leaving aside your rather ugly terminology, does it trouble you that the majority (61%) of the poor in this country are in work? (JRF)
Does it strike you as odd that wages in this country are so low and the cost of living (particularly housing, childcare and energy) simultaneously so high, that 17% of all working people (2.2m) are also in receipt of Universal Credit? (UC Stats and Working population) .
Given that benefit tapers in this country are sharp. (i.e. as you begin to earn, your benefit support is withdrawn almost 1:1) many households on low incomes can find themselves only a few pounds better off after a full week of work than they would be without any work at all. Isn’t it something of a wonder that people seek work at all – especially those with caring responsibilities (a sick parent or relative, a child)
Forget the impact on working people – consider what it does to the incentives of employers in the bottom quarter of the income range. To spell this out. I can pay someone the minimum wage or I can pay them about 30% more than the minimum wage and the worker will be no better off. Why would I increase pay?
Surprise! That’s exactly what many employers do. Most of them aren’t even aware of it – they just pay “the going rate”. But, the going rate is essentially set by what the benefit system considers to be the bare minimum subsistence level. The effect of this is that a big swathe of people at the bottom end of the labour market have effectively no disposible income to contribute towards wider economic activity. They pay the landlord, they pay their utility bills and they buy food. But that’s it.
I’ve been around the houses. Let me make it even simpler – you can’t fix poverty just by making people poorer.

Last edited 1 year ago by George Venning
J Boyd
J Boyd
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Wages have declined because the model that emerged in the 1990s was depression of pay for low-skilled workers through immigration at unprecedented levels. I am not opposed to immigration in itself, but when the net migration figures are 100,000+ per annum (and they have been far higher than that for years), there is an inevitable impact on wages.
Taxation will not create equality: we need higher wages and I am afraid, higher prices.It’s naive to think that we can have food at ultra-low prices if the people producing it are to receive decent pay.
Redistribution requires the better-off to pay more for what they buy so that low-skilled workers are paid more. Tax-funded benefits just subsidise low wages.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  J Boyd

I agree with all that, immigration has been abused by industry as a way of keeping wages down. However I believe the tax system could be tweaked in order to tax wealth more than labour in order to make working hard pay

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  J Boyd

I agree with all that, immigration has been abused by industry as a way of keeping wages down. However I believe the tax system could be tweaked in order to tax wealth more than labour in order to make working hard pay

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

“You can’t get any more out of the working classes let’s be honest”.

What arrant nonsense! British ‘productivity’ is amongst the worst in Europe, and has been for years.

What on earth is ‘idle wealth’? Certainly NOT capital gains! You sound like one of those rabid old socialists like, Laski, Bevan, Mikado, Miliband & Co. I hoped we had seen the last of them, but sadly you have proved me wrong.

Ben Jones
Ben Jones
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Actually, Billy Bob, we could get significantly more out of the underclasses if they could be bothered to find work and not claim benefits. Harsh? Yes. True? Also yes.

J Boyd
J Boyd
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Wages have declined because the model that emerged in the 1990s was depression of pay for low-skilled workers through immigration at unprecedented levels. I am not opposed to immigration in itself, but when the net migration figures are 100,000+ per annum (and they have been far higher than that for years), there is an inevitable impact on wages.
Taxation will not create equality: we need higher wages and I am afraid, higher prices.It’s naive to think that we can have food at ultra-low prices if the people producing it are to receive decent pay.
Redistribution requires the better-off to pay more for what they buy so that low-skilled workers are paid more. Tax-funded benefits just subsidise low wages.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

Inequality is at record levels (and has been climbing for years), and full time workers now require government handouts simply to pay the rent. I think taxing the rich is perfectly sensible, especially idle wealth such as capital gains. You can’t get any more out of the working classes let’s be honest

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
1 year ago

I wonder where all the immigrants come down on this.
Anyway, let’s go full throttle, on rent control and good old tax the rich.
But I think that you Brits also need a new Church of Renewable Energy to replace the current moribund religious communities. Your beloved North London luvvies clearly need a place to worship Gaia.

Last edited 1 year ago by Christopher Chantrill
George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago

The obvious strategem would appear to be to run in marginals on a populist platform but to offer to stand down in return for a cast-iron commitment to electoral reform.
The goal would be to avoid gifting the Tories another victory whilst also making real progress towards the wider goal of ending the Tory/Labour duopoly (a duopoly which is especially galling to the left/progressive side of the argument, split as it is between Labour, the LibDems, Greens, SNP/Plaid and so on)
It’s not without risk but that’s kind of the point.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

“ a cast-iron commitment to electoral reform”.
“Aye there’s the rub!” How long did it take to honour such a commitment for BREXIT?

Do you really think it would be any better with electoral reform?
I suspect the old adage “ if you see a politician’s lips moving you KNOW he is lying “ will prove true yet again, don’t you?

George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago

Like all cynics, I’m a disappointed optimist really.
As I’ve said on here before, the reason Brexit was such a shambles was that the person who called the referendum campaigned against it, didn’t want to do it and published no plan for doing it (indeed, a big part of “Project Fear” was simply pointing out that there was no plan for how to do Brexit).
That meant that, when leave won, the leave campaign had no plan of action. Moreover, leavers turned out to be a disparate group with very different and often contradictory ideas about what Brexit was an how we should do it. In many cases, individual Brexiters turned out to hold views markedly different from the ones they had set out on the campaign. The small majority for some form of Brexit but absence of a majority for any specific form was a foolproof recipe for chaos. And so it proved.
To avoid that problem in proposing electoral reform you can specify either the mode of reform that you want (e.g. PR, STV or whatever) or you can stipulate the process (e.g. constitutional convention followed by referendum).
As an optimist, I think that it would be more democratic to specify a process rather than an outcome but I would also prefer that route because I wouldn’t want to put Turkeys in charge of driving Christmas through Parliament.
This isn’t to say that politicians don’t lie. The point is minimise their scope for getting up to their usual horsefeathers

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

I’m afraid with FPTP we are in effect “shackled to a corpse”, and likely to be so for sometime to come.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

There’s more than that. Cameron not only pointed out that there was no plan, he ENSURED that there was no plan, nor could one be produced.

George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

He wasn’t alone in that, of course.

The Brexit Campaign itself, chock full as it was, with people who had been desperate to get us out of the EU for years – decades even – could not muster even the semblance of a coherent plan. Not even a programme.

However genuine the motives of the Brexit-supporting public, the leaders of the campaign (those who were going to be charged with dleivering Brexit) were, transparently, recognisably, charlatans. Those who placed their trust in them were indeed betrayed but not by the Remoaner blob or the EU or anyone else (the opponents of Brexit simply continued to hold the beliefs they had always held) and David Cameron, for all his sins, for all his blockheaded stupidity, at least had the decency to get out of the way after he lost.
The people who betrayed Brexit were the people who spent decades using the EU as a scapegoat for the failings of their own political class and who were then exposed when they were they were given precisely what they had demanded and had to admit that they didn’t know how to use that tool to achieve anything they had promised.
It is an under-remarked matter that, after Cameron resigned (correctly recognising that he could not lead the country through Brexit since he didn’t bleieve in it himself) not one Brexit-supporting candidate even challenged May for the leadership. There is your betrayal.
[Deep breath]
The point of electoral reform is that it is a much better vehicle for achieving the thing that Brexit claimed to offer – a new start. The point of such reform would be to end the effective political monopoly that is created when only two viable parties exist and they are doomed to endless psephological warfare over a collectively hallucinated “centre ground” which bears no meaningful relationship to the lived experience of the wider public.
The form my patriotism takes is my belief that the people of this country are generally all right, and that, if their actual preferences were channelled into political action, we would find ourselves on a very different and much better trajectory.

Last edited 1 year ago by George Venning
George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago
Reply to  ben arnulfssen

He wasn’t alone in that, of course.

The Brexit Campaign itself, chock full as it was, with people who had been desperate to get us out of the EU for years – decades even – could not muster even the semblance of a coherent plan. Not even a programme.

However genuine the motives of the Brexit-supporting public, the leaders of the campaign (those who were going to be charged with dleivering Brexit) were, transparently, recognisably, charlatans. Those who placed their trust in them were indeed betrayed but not by the Remoaner blob or the EU or anyone else (the opponents of Brexit simply continued to hold the beliefs they had always held) and David Cameron, for all his sins, for all his blockheaded stupidity, at least had the decency to get out of the way after he lost.
The people who betrayed Brexit were the people who spent decades using the EU as a scapegoat for the failings of their own political class and who were then exposed when they were they were given precisely what they had demanded and had to admit that they didn’t know how to use that tool to achieve anything they had promised.
It is an under-remarked matter that, after Cameron resigned (correctly recognising that he could not lead the country through Brexit since he didn’t bleieve in it himself) not one Brexit-supporting candidate even challenged May for the leadership. There is your betrayal.
[Deep breath]
The point of electoral reform is that it is a much better vehicle for achieving the thing that Brexit claimed to offer – a new start. The point of such reform would be to end the effective political monopoly that is created when only two viable parties exist and they are doomed to endless psephological warfare over a collectively hallucinated “centre ground” which bears no meaningful relationship to the lived experience of the wider public.
The form my patriotism takes is my belief that the people of this country are generally all right, and that, if their actual preferences were channelled into political action, we would find ourselves on a very different and much better trajectory.

Last edited 1 year ago by George Venning
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

I’m afraid with FPTP we are in effect “shackled to a corpse”, and likely to be so for sometime to come.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

There’s more than that. Cameron not only pointed out that there was no plan, he ENSURED that there was no plan, nor could one be produced.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Saying politicians lie is like saying stand up comics tell jokes.. actually, there are other similarities as well if you think about it.. maybe that’s how Zelenskyy took over?

George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago

Like all cynics, I’m a disappointed optimist really.
As I’ve said on here before, the reason Brexit was such a shambles was that the person who called the referendum campaigned against it, didn’t want to do it and published no plan for doing it (indeed, a big part of “Project Fear” was simply pointing out that there was no plan for how to do Brexit).
That meant that, when leave won, the leave campaign had no plan of action. Moreover, leavers turned out to be a disparate group with very different and often contradictory ideas about what Brexit was an how we should do it. In many cases, individual Brexiters turned out to hold views markedly different from the ones they had set out on the campaign. The small majority for some form of Brexit but absence of a majority for any specific form was a foolproof recipe for chaos. And so it proved.
To avoid that problem in proposing electoral reform you can specify either the mode of reform that you want (e.g. PR, STV or whatever) or you can stipulate the process (e.g. constitutional convention followed by referendum).
As an optimist, I think that it would be more democratic to specify a process rather than an outcome but I would also prefer that route because I wouldn’t want to put Turkeys in charge of driving Christmas through Parliament.
This isn’t to say that politicians don’t lie. The point is minimise their scope for getting up to their usual horsefeathers

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
1 year ago

Saying politicians lie is like saying stand up comics tell jokes.. actually, there are other similarities as well if you think about it.. maybe that’s how Zelenskyy took over?

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
1 year ago
Reply to  George Venning

“ a cast-iron commitment to electoral reform”.
“Aye there’s the rub!” How long did it take to honour such a commitment for BREXIT?

Do you really think it would be any better with electoral reform?
I suspect the old adage “ if you see a politician’s lips moving you KNOW he is lying “ will prove true yet again, don’t you?

George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago

The obvious strategem would appear to be to run in marginals on a populist platform but to offer to stand down in return for a cast-iron commitment to electoral reform.
The goal would be to avoid gifting the Tories another victory whilst also making real progress towards the wider goal of ending the Tory/Labour duopoly (a duopoly which is especially galling to the left/progressive side of the argument, split as it is between Labour, the LibDems, Greens, SNP/Plaid and so on)
It’s not without risk but that’s kind of the point.

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
1 year ago

The Left is a mass of tiny factions, arguing about arcane historical feuds, hating each other far more than they hate the Tories, and totally without organisational or management skills. It is a point of principle with them (possibly the only thing that they agree about) that being an ideologically pure loser is preferable to compromising to win.
The only way that the Left can have any influence is within the Labour Party. Outside it, in a FPTP system, it has no chance.

Caroline Watson
Caroline Watson
1 year ago

The Left is a mass of tiny factions, arguing about arcane historical feuds, hating each other far more than they hate the Tories, and totally without organisational or management skills. It is a point of principle with them (possibly the only thing that they agree about) that being an ideologically pure loser is preferable to compromising to win.
The only way that the Left can have any influence is within the Labour Party. Outside it, in a FPTP system, it has no chance.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

The problem with the idea of “destroying the Conservative Party at the polls” is that on the evidence, the most likely consequence is the emergence of ANOTHER Blairite, globalist, false-flag operation under the Conservative banner.

After all, they have done it before. They didnt spend a decade purhing the Party to no purpose.

The Right and Centre-Right are disorganised, lacking a narrative and stalked by the shades of Mrs Thatcher and the “Party of Unemployment”. Farage has fired his broadside and cannot repeat the performance. Johnson was rapidly nobbled; Truss simply hasnt the necessary charisma or ability.

ben arnulfssen
ben arnulfssen
1 year ago

The problem with the idea of “destroying the Conservative Party at the polls” is that on the evidence, the most likely consequence is the emergence of ANOTHER Blairite, globalist, false-flag operation under the Conservative banner.

After all, they have done it before. They didnt spend a decade purhing the Party to no purpose.

The Right and Centre-Right are disorganised, lacking a narrative and stalked by the shades of Mrs Thatcher and the “Party of Unemployment”. Farage has fired his broadside and cannot repeat the performance. Johnson was rapidly nobbled; Truss simply hasnt the necessary charisma or ability.

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
1 year ago

I’d vote for stopping funding the insanity in Ukraine. No NATO membership, security guarantees for Ukraine from the west and Donbass from the east. Crimea to Russia. But where is the anti-war left? Only the ‘far right’ is anti-war these days while Bill Kristol is a ‘diversity’ Democrat. Curiouser and curiouser.

Last edited 1 year ago by Martin Smith
George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Smith

The anti-war left has now been re-branded as the anti-war right in order to make us sound ickier.

As you know, you can say pretty much any old nonsense about the left these days because, you-know, we’re anti-semites and we want to erase women and pronouns and glue ourselves to traffic in order to imprison you in your walkable neighbourhood. Or something. Honestly, it’s pretty exhausting keeping up with all the stuff we have to do to win uncle Putin’s approval these days.

George Venning
George Venning
1 year ago