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Another Blairite voice in the corporate advertisement-funded media

As voters swing to Labour under Corbyn in many council by-elections the desperation of careerist Blairites grows.

philip collinsOne such, Philip Collins (right) had an article published in The Times today. Collins, Wiki reveals, for years an equity strategist at two investment banks before becoming chief speech writer for prime minister Blair, is now chief leader writer for The Times.

Eerily reminiscent, in appearance and motivation, of Jane Austen’s Mr.Collins, he notes that voters are turning away from the two main parties – “in 1979 the Tories and Labour between them polled 80% of the vote, in 2015 it was just 67% – and adds “A new party led by sufficiently untarnished figures could conceivably capitalise”.

With ‘untarnished’ figures – such as Peter Mandelson . . .

Who can play Roy Jenkins, the éminence grise with experience of Brussels? Why, Peter Mandelson, of course. Which young former foreign secretary will supply the intellectual dash? The new David, Miliband. Harriet Harman as the respected party elder and Douglas Alexander as the strategist completes the gang of four”.

But Oldham stays his hand

JC 4 smallHowever, he recognises: “The case for staying put in the Labour party . . . remains strong. Last week’s Oldham by-election showed that a bedrock Labour vote still exists.”

No, Mr Collins, to that ‘bedrock’ was added thousands of new and returning members and supporters enthused by Jeremy Corbyn’s principled honesty, giving 62% of the vote, nearly triple that of the second party, UKIP.

Collins then warns: “by next year’s party conference Mr Corbyn could have cemented his position by changing party rules” and rues:

“A new party would have no base in local government unless all its councillors resigned the franchise on which they were elected. It would, at least at first, have no activists, no infrastructure and no headquarters. The governing institutions of the Labour Party would be duty bound to stay where they were and, with no trade unions moving.”

A challenge to Corbyn?

And, adds Collins. “Mr Corbyn may not prove as meek, in those circumstances, as many of them suppose”.

We also add what he was surely thinking: that the thousands who have seen the prospect of a better Britain will also continue to support this leader and, against such ongoing electoral support, mainstream politicians and corporate vested interests are impotent.


 

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Secret State 12: DfT alleged to have opposed release of official figures because they would ‘confuse the public’

adrian goldberg2alison munro hs2Following Peter Mandelson’s FT statement, HS2 was on the agenda of Adrian Goldberg’s ‘phone-in’ on West Midlands Radio this morning. We heard from Alison Munro, HS2’s chief executive, that the real argument about the need for HS2 has shifted from speed to capacity. (‘Listen again’ for 7 days here. )

Andrew Gilligan and many others have challenged the need for extra capacity, some offering alternative strategies; Gilligan cites these grounds:

  • the Government’s own official passenger counts show that almost half the seats on the West Coast Main Line line’s peak-time trains last year were empty
  • and that peak-hour crowding on the line has actually fallen in the last three years.
  • Government lawyers say the real capacity issue was not applicable to the long-distance services but to the West Coast main line 50 miles north of London.
  • Figures from Network Rail show that short and medium-distance services out of Euston have loadings of only 76% cent in the busiest hour.

He reports that ministers fought for months against releasing the figures

Numerous freedom of information requests for such information were refused on the grounds that they were “commercially confidential,” but opponents launched a High Court judicial review against the plans and the figures were delivered – on the last working day before the case started:

“In court, counsel for the Department for Transport, Tim Mould QC, defended the failure to release the capacity figures during the consultation period, saying they would have ‘added nothing to the debate’ and ‘confused the public’.“

Gilligan adds:

“The capacity figures are not the first key pieces of information to be withheld by the Government. Earlier (in 2012), The Sunday Telegraph revealed a report, suppressed by Department for Transport officials, which undermined a major plank of HS2’s business case”.

And in May this year another Gilligan article reported accusations that the transport minister and his top civil servant, who prepared draft “environmental statements” for HS2, misled Parliament and campaign groups.

 

Ministries for disinformation!