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Elite stranglehold on Britain – unbreakable?

As Steve Beauchampé writes in the Birmingham Press and Political Concern, generations of an elite have ruled this nation (with a few intermissions) for as long as anyone can remember, due to a rigged electoral system.

Their dual achievements:

  • comfortable tax arrangements for the few, a political/corporate nexus which ensures highly paid and nominal duties for all in the inner circle
  • vast military expenditure bestowed on the arms industry, as rising numbers of the population survive in relative poverty, wait in hospital corridors, receive a sub-standard education and depend on handouts to eke out their existence.

Direction of travel

Beauchampé:(The) economy is increasingly kept afloat by the economic support of China . . . The modern high-rise residential blocks that have sprung up throughout the capital may give the impression of a modern, flourishing economy, but look closely and you will see that many are all but empty, whilst homelessness and a reliance on subsistence level housing grows . . . “He notes that surveillance is at an historic high with spy cameras, and even microphones installed in many public places -describing the state’s ability to track the population and follow their activities and conversations as ‘frightening’. . .

The elite stranglehold could be broken

OB’s editor agrees with many that electoral reform is a priority for beneficial change – but even under the rigged ‘first past the post’ system, if the weary mass of people (Brenda of Bristol)  saw the true situation they would vote for the candidate with a credible track record who would be most likely to work for the common good.

 

 

 

 

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Reality check for Mr Osborne please

When it comes to the Middle East, George Osborne seems as confused as ever suggests Steve Beauchampé.

The final reflections:

Syria, for all of its horrors, is not the West’s fight and to imply that we ought to have done something more militarily is to imply that there was more we could have done. But the Syrian civil war is a complex, multi-layered web of both centuries old religious, tribal and ethnic disputes and divides and modern day political and territorial opportunism that those recent western military escapades, enthusiastically supported both in opposition and in office by the likes of George Osborne, have exacerbated.

The fall of Aleppo will not end the Syrian civil war, merely change its dynamics. Britain’s best and most productive response must continue to be seeking as peaceful a resolution to the conflict as possible, providing humanitarian aid and bolstering the role of the United Nations.

Read the whole article here. It was first published in the Birmingham Press.

 

 

 

Vested interests rule as Blairites attempt to replace their elite-free, increasingly ‘in tune’ leader

Ever since devolution and the establishment of a Scottish Parliament in the late 1990s, there has been a growing vibrancy to politics in Scotland. Energised by the 2014 independence referendum, boosted further by the election of the estimable Nicola Sturgeon as SNP Leader and First Minister, Scotland appears as a young, optimistic, politically engaged country . . .

In the ‘Disunited Kingdom’ Steve Beauchampe continues:

Around two-thirds of under-25s voted Remain, the opposite of how middle aged and older people acted. The feeling that those generations which had enjoyed free education, a free health service, an abundance of affordable housing and triple lock protected pensioner benefits were limiting the life chances of the nation’s children and young adults was palpable. ‘Grandma, what have you done?’’ read one on-line headline.

Two decades and more of unforgiving, neo-liberal economics and globalization saw the export of jobs and the import of cheap labour and even cheaper raw materials; nearly a decade of austerity and the decimation of public services and the societal values which they underpinned; local pride sapped by a London-centric economy and an unprecedented and growing wealth gap. All this within a moribund political system where the First Past The Post electoral process locks in a two-party hegemony whilst awarding UKIP and the Green Party, who collectively amassed around five million votes at the 2015 General Election, a mere two parliamentary seats.

The impact of all this and more reached a crescendo in an outpouring of anger and frustration, although given the myriad warnings of the economic consequences of a Leave vote the response of electors seems as illogical as rioters attacking their own community.

The political elites voters so often complain of are not about to be replaced, our political infrastructure alone makes this a near-impossibility.

Because leaving the EU addresses none of the above grievances and if there is any taking back of control, to quote the slogan used relentlessly by the Leave campaign, then it will be done by those such as super wealthy, Eton and Oxford educated Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Iain Duncan-Smith, supported by a coterie of hard-right Europhobes rather than by the 17 million others who voted Leave.

And Labour’s Blairite wing, despite public rejection of their strong pro-EU stance, are attempting to replace their elite-free leader

JC large rally

Blairites – despite the fact that Jeremy Corbyn’s more conditional support for the EU and reformist agenda arguably chimed more closely with that of many Remain voters than he has been given credit for – are trying to replace him with yet another business-friendly, corporately connected, ‘Britain is open for business’ espousing candidate.

And whilst it would be pleasing to see increased calls for greater transparency and democratic accountability resulting from the UK’s EU referendum, the debate itself could have achieved this. Regrettably however, the more tangible outcome of our Leave vote is the empowerment of UKIP’s (often more extreme) nationalistic and sometimes fascistic counterparts in mainland Europe, most notably Marine Le Pen’s Front Nationale in France but also the Freedom Party in Austria, Law and Justice (Poland), Golden Dawn (Greece) and Germany’s Alternative for Deutschland, have received succour in their never pleasant, sometimes odious, desires to break up an increasingly multi-cultural EU and wallow in their insularities. Their rise means additional fear and hardship for immigrant communities.

The law of unintended consequences writ very large – sometimes people really should be more careful what they wish for.

 

 

 

 

Corporate/political interests threatened by the public support for Corbyn’s caring policies

The corporate world continues to make vitriolic but insubstantial attacks on the Labour Party leader, whose approach threatens their unreasonably affluent lifestyles.

corbyn a threat graphic

Brief reference will be made to arms traders, big pharma, construction giants, energy companies owned by foreign governments, food speculators, the private ill-health industry and a range of polluting interests. One reflection on each sector will be given here – of many recorded on our database:

Arms trade

Steve Beauchampé: “A peacenik may lay down with some unsavoury characters. Better that than selling them weapons”. The media highlights Corbyn’s handshakes and meetings, but not recent British governments’ collusion in repressive activities, issuing permits to supply weapons to dictators. In the 80s, when lobbying Conservative MP John Taylor about such arms exports, he said to the writer, word for word: “If we don’t do it, someone else will”. Meaning if we don’t help other countries to attack their citizens, others will. How low can we sink!

Big pharma

Theresa drew attention to an article highlighting the fact that the Specialised Healthcare Alliance (SHCA), a lobbying company working for some of the world’s biggest drugs and medical equipment firms, had written the draft report for NHS England, a government quango. At the time, the latest attempt at mass-medication – this time with statins – was in the news. The world’s largest manufacturer of low-cost vaccines said that British taxpayers are paying for excessive profits earned by big Western drugs companies.

Construction

Most construction entries relate to the PFI debacle, but in 2009 it was reported that more than 100 construction companies – including Balfour Beatty, Kier Group and Carillion – had been involved in a price-fixing conspiracy and had to compensate local authority victims who had been excluded from billions of pounds of public works contracts. The Office of Fair Trading imposed £130m of fines on 103 companies. Price-fixing that had left the public and councils to “pick up the tab”.

Utilities

The Office of Fair Trading was closed before it could update its little publicised 2010 report which recorded that 40% of infrastructure assets in the energy, water, transport, and communication sectors are already owned by foreign investors. In Utility Week News, barrister Roger Barnard, former head of regulatory law at EDF Energy, wondered whether any government is able to safeguard the nation’s energy security interests against the potential for political intervention under a commercial guise. He added: “Despite what the regulators say, ownership matters”.

Food

A Lancashire farmer believes that supermarkets – powerful lobbyists and valued party funders – are driving out production of staple British food and compromising food security. She sees big business making fortunes from feeding the wealthy in distant foreign countries where the poor and the environment are exploited, also putting at risk the livelihoods of hard working British farmers and their families. Large businesses are gradually asset-stripping everything of value from our communities to make profits which are then invested abroad in places like China and Thailand. She ends, “They do this simply because they have the power to do so”.

Pollution

Government does not act on this, appearing to prioritise the interests of the corporate world. The influential transport lobby prevents or delays action to address air  pollutants such as ground-level ozone and particulates emitted by cars, lorries and rail engines which contribute directly to global warming, linked to climate change. Last November a report found that waste incineration facilities and cement plants across Europe, had seriously breached emission limits. Intensive agriculture’s lavish use of insecticides, pesticides and fertilizers has also released harmful chemicals into the air, in some cases causing water pollution. Manufacturing industries and petroleum refineries produce carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, organic compounds and chemicals which pollute the air. Children in areas exposed to air pollutants commonly suffer from pneumonia and asthma. The burden of particulate air pollution in the UK in 2008 was estimated to cause nearly 29,000 deaths. DEFRA’s report for 2013, however, does not refer to health impacts, though admitting serious levels of air pollution.

Some features of the corporate-political nexus summarised: victimised whistleblowers, media collusion, rewards for failure and the revolving door

  • Rewards for failure cover individual cases, most recently Lin Homer, and corporate instances. Capita, according to a leaked report by research company Gartner was two years behind schedule with its MoD online recruitment computer system – yet the government contracted to pay the company £1bn over 10 years to hire 9,000 soldiers a year for the army.
  • The 74th instance of the revolving door related to Andrew Lansley’s move from his position as government health minister to the private health sector. An investigation by the Mail found that one in three civil servants who took up lucrative private sector jobs was working in the Ministry of Defence. Paul Gosling gives a detailed list of those passing from government to the accountancy industry and vice versa.

As Steve Beauchampé reports (link to follow), there is a coterie of arch-Blairite, anti-Corbyn Labour MPs who never accepted the decisive democratic mandate Corbyn secured last autumn:

JC large rally

“Mann’s very public intervention can be interpreted as a calculated move to undermine the party’s electoral chances this Thursday . . .

“Realising that they have at best 4-5 months to try to oust him before reforms anticipated at this September’s party conference transfer crucial powers from the party hierarchy into the hands of members, the forthcoming elections will be used by Corbyn’s adversaries as an excuse to try and replace him”.

Will increasingly media-sceptical people – who support Corbyn because they seek the common good – hold firm?

 

 

Media 56: PR rampant in Wales: ‘Tories on the rise’ (BBC), UKIP set to surge (Times). Wrong-footed by latest by-election result?

Yesterday Boris Johnson said the Conservatives are “on the rise” in Wales ahead of May’s assembly election. The Mayor of London spent Tuesday campaigning in Wales, visiting Newport, Cardiff and Brecon, Powys.

boris wales

The Times (aka the Stirrer) reported that UKIP will surge to election success in Wales as Labour risks losing its control of the nation’s assembly, according to a YouGov poll. Neil Hamilton predicted that his party would beat Plaid Cymru and hold the balance of power in Wales, with a breakthrough in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where they expect their first representatives to be elected.

Were they aware of the recent Caerphilly (Moriah Ward) result?

Labour         464         [55.7%; +8.6%]
Independent 196         [23.5%; +23.5%]
Independent   89         [10.7%; +10.7%]
UKIP             77          [9.2%; +9.2%]
Conservative   7          [0.8%; +0.8%]

Though a Conservative spokesman claimed that the party had “established an important bridgehead” by standing in a ward it has previously not contested, David Harse held the seat for Labour with 464 votes — an 8.6% swing to the party and more than 250 votes clear of the second-placed candidate.

luke jamesTory candidate Nigel Godfrey polled only seven votes in council election – 0.8% of the 833 votes cast at the by-election in Caerphilly’s Moriah ward on Thursday. The Tories’ performance was highlighted on social media and may not bode well for the party ahead of the Welsh Assembly elections. Steve Beauchampé drew our attention to this news in an article by Luke James (above, left), who sees this result as ‘a humiliating setback’ to the Conservatives’ Welsh election campaign.

We shall see.

Despite the government’s cruel raids on the most vulnerable, there is more than a bat squeak of pity for the PM as attacks mount

Opener: Steve Beauchampé in fairly civilised vein:

david cameron3“There is something very satisfying about observing Prime Minister David Cameron on the receiving end of a hostile Tory media as he attempts to negotiate new terms for Britain’s continued membership of the European Union.

“This is a man very used to getting his own way, used to having and enjoying that same Tory media supporting his attacks not only on political opponents but on the poor and vulnerable, the defenceless, the voiceless and the marginalised, exaggerating and inflating his pronouncements in the process.

“Born into wealth, married into even more wealth, luxuriating in self-assurance and a veneer of charm, Cameron regularly dismisses legitimate concern and criticism of his government with a string of political catch phrases, jibes, insults and vacuous rhetoric. He does this not as a sideshow, but as a core trait of his political modus operandi”.

SB continues with a references to Cameron’s recourse to ‘fear tactics’ and a dependency upon his political foes to assist with the Remain campaign, as they did before the Scottish referendum, “to deliver a vital victory and personal salvation”.

 

Today in Rupert Murdoch’s Times, Philip Collins (below) wields the knife more gently:

Philip-Collins“Only an incompetent leader would find himself with an overall majority but face possible resignation within months . . . David Cameron’s reputation as a leader has been rising . . . Yet, with all these advantages he has somehow contrived to get himself into a mess on the European Union such that, four months on from this undreamt of domination, he might be forced to resign. If the deal is declared a dud, if the referendum on EU membership goes against his recommendation to Remain, Mr Cameron will be finished. It is hard to think of a comparable political disaster . . .

He really isn’t as good as he appears, is he?

Mr Cameron has always been over-rated by his friends . . .

.

All fists flailing: the Plastic Hippo:

plastic hippo“Even if we disregard the blatant lies, the avarice, the duplicity, the arrogance and the sheer incompetence and if we forget the broken pledges, promises, pleas and piffle and if we ignore the bluff, double-bluff and triple-bluff, it is still possible to feel some sympathy for the Rt Hon David Cameron MP. It cannot be easy for a two-bit chancer, snake oil salesman and card-shark to invite himself to the biggest crap game in Europe and expect to be taken seriously.

“He might be a shallow embarrassment but he is our shallow embarrassment and at least deserves our pity.

“Cameron promised a “definitive” referendum on UK membership of the European Union. This solemn pledge was made when opinion polls confidently predicted another hung parliament and a continuation of the disastrous coalition between vicious Tories and the now extinct Liberal Democrats. Simply to break even, Cameron had to raise the stakes to see off the challenge of xenophobes, little Englanders and racists threatening to take votes in Tory marginal constituencies. Knowing full well that a referendum would never take place during a coalition government, he now has to go through the motions after unexpectedly gaining a slim majority.

“This bold action will reduce the national debt by about the same amount as the cost of Mr Cameron`s travel and catering bill accrued to secure the deal.

“The promise was of full-on treaty change, massive reform and ever widening European division. Realising that he is holding a busted flush, snake eyes Cameron has dropped the anti. He will fold and walk away from the Brussels crap game waving his winnings at a grateful British public. The massive reforms will include an end to benefits paid for the fifth, sixth and subsequent children of Transylvanian shepherds currently working in Redcar steel mills. This bold action will reduce the national debt by about the same amount as the cost of Mr Cameron`s travel and catering bill accrued to secure the deal.

The Hippo notes: “Full-on treaty change will ensure that the European parliament will not be allowed to impose impertinent and unnecessary scrutiny and regulation of the City of London thus maintaining the honourable reputation of that noble financial institution as the finest, most relaxed illegal gambling den on the planet. Knock twice and tell them Dave sent you”.

And Steve ends:

“For a variety of reasons I still think that Remain will win, yet be in no doubt that before polling day Cameron will be forced to make further concessions to salvage a campaign where both he and the Establishment will often be outflanked and outwitted by opponents. But the discomfort of David Cameron, watching him duck and dive serious political engagement, and find out what it’s like to be relentlessly pilloried in the media, promises to be something to savour”.

Pins for butterflies anyone?

 

Michael Dugher: of poor judgment – or worse?

In a recent Newsnight programme, as some speakers pointed out, having a leader with certain ministers ‘facing in different directions’ is not a viable game plan – and Jeremy Corbyn was urged to ‘establish a coherence’. Ahead of the media today, the Labour Party website gives the full list of the current shadow cabinet ministers.

That deeply disappointing, unsupportive deputy leader Tom Watson, misguidedly led tributes to the departing Michael Dugher (left), who previously worked in public relations as government lobbyist for American multinational Electronic Data Systems (EDS), one of the government’s largest IT contractors. He was one of several lobbyists who were elected to parliament in michael dugher2010.

His other media claim to fame is as Vice-Chair of Labour Friends of Israel, a title still used in today’s Jewish News article though he is listed on the LFI website as a supporter. Dugher has condemned academic and economic sanctions such as the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign which sees Israel as an apartheid state (putting it mildly) and alerts the public to multinational companies complicit in its activities.

Abysmally poor judgment?

In March, as vice-chair, Dugher gave a keynote speech at the ‘We Believe in Israel’ conference, where he said, “Each time I visit Israel, my admiration for that great country grows.”

Extremely short memory?

The far from radical BBC News reported that 2,100 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip and that the number of civilians killed during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge offensive raised international concern and condemnation. Admiration????

Corbyn israel 2100 strikesIsrael insists that its forces acted ‘according to the highest international standards’

Corbyn’s strength comes from his wider support in the party and Dugher, with other careerist Blairite MPs, rounded on the establishment of Momentum – new grassroots volunteer-led groups – following Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in the Labour leadership contest.

Progress supporters and ‘their acolytes in the commentariat’ (Woods) compared Momentum with the now renamed Militant. Caroline Flint MP acidly warned that the new group could “destroy” (right-wing) Labour and Michael Dugher said it was “crazy” of supporters to establish it.

 first meeting2 cross section momentum l

Truth is the casualty here; first-hand experience to date is of four-square solid citizens: Birmingham Momentum who care for the 99%. Above: a cross-section of the 120+, eminently sane and constructive. Check its Facebook page.

Conspiracy theory? Yesterday the writer was told that when Indian rulers wanted to destroy their opposition, they ‘planted’ people within the movement. No need to do that here. Though in public meetings (notably Question Time’) applause is all for the new Labour movement, careerist hopefuls, including Watson, Flint, Dugher, Ben Bradshaw, Jess Philips, John Mann, Simon Danczuk, Mary Creagh, Mike Gapes and Tony McNulty continue to be enormously helpful to the Conservative government and media.

As Steve Beauchampé, a wise observer, said by email: “I agree with Danny Finkelstein on Newsnight (that Corbyn should) lead, dispatch his opponents in the Shadow Cabinet where necessary, don’t apologise, tough it out and set out a firm platform of policies”.

All Labour MPs, councillors and party activists who have ‘learned little from the excitement, energy and debate generated by the recent national leadership campaign’ please note

press 2header

Steve Beauchampé observes, in the Birmingham Press:

“Regrettably it would appear that West Midlands Labour has learned little from the excitement, energy and debate generated by the recent national leadership campaign when eventual winner Jeremy Corbyn spoke to packed and overflowing halls nationwide, including in Birmingham, and party membership soared to its highest level for decades.

“Were the West Midlands Labour Party asleep all last summer?”

He describes the decision by West Midlands Labour Party officials to bar those candidates standing to succeed Sir Albert Bore as leader of the Labour group on Birmingham City Council from taking part in public hustings as portraying ‘what remains of democratically accountable politics in Birmingham’ in a very poor light.

This, though at least four of the five candidates – Councillors John Clancy, Barry Henley, Penny Holbrook, Mike Leddy and Ian Ward – appear to have been willing to participate in such a debate. One event had already been announced and a second was apparently being planned.

Steve continues: “It is a missed opportunity to reinvigorate the body politic, which in Birmingham has been largely moribund for a long time, thus creating a situation whereby the current government feels able to circumvent the will of the city’s electorate and barely a word of protest is heard”.

How different from the current Labour leader’s aspiration:

corbyn conduct policy

Beauchampé touches on “a decade and a half of unwarranted and unwanted restructuring and interference by central government, including the imposition of the Leader and Cabinet system of governance, the wholesale privatisation and outsourcing of public services and the ongoing, ideologically driven, seismic cuts in central government funding (which) have eroded and emaciated local government, and with it key parts of its democratic structures and accountability. Adding substantially to this meddlesome litany is Chancellor George Osborne’s imposition in all but name of metro mayors upon regions whose electorate roundly and democratically rejected the mayoral model just three years earlier”.

Read more about the city’s situation by following the Press link.

Steve Beauchampé ends:  “One local political website has suggested that Labour’s hustings decision signals the death of democracy in the city. Well no, but it is a missed opportunity to reinvigorate the body politic, which in Birmingham has been largely moribund for a long time, thus creating a situation whereby the current government feels able to circumvent the will of the city’s electorate and barely a word of protest is heard”.

 –

The Birmingham Labour Party has now announced that there will after all be a public hustings although the date and venue are yet to be confirmed.

State radio highlights Corbyn’s handshakes and meetings, but not recent British governments’ collusion in repressive activities

Steve Beauchampé: “A peacenik may lay down with some unsavoury characters. Better that than selling them weapons”.

The BBC, whose coverage of the Labour Party leadership race has often felt unbalanced, spent time this week highlighting the fact that in 2009 frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn shared a platform at a meeting organised by the Stop The War Coalition with Lebanese political activist Dyab Abou Jahjah, who holds some very questionable views on the holocaust.

Also raised, initially in a public ‘phone in on the World at One (Radio 4) and in many of the corporations’ subsequent news and current affairs programmes, was Corbyn’s use of the word ‘friends’ to describe the militant Hamas and Hezbollah organisations, both of which have engaged in some evil activities in connection with their support of the Palestinian cause.

Legitimate questions, although selected by the BBC from a large number of callers who, one imagines, wished to raise a wide variety of subjects with the potential Labour leader.

But whilst it is unreasonable to expect Corbyn to control whom he appears alongside at a public meeting, that he did not organise and which was after all about a very worthy cause (enhancing the Middle East peace process), one for which he has sincere and long-held views, Corbyn’s description of Hamas and Hezbollah does seem rather unfortunate. But we all make misjudgements and frankly, I’m considerably more concerned as to whether Jeremy Corbyn (and ultimately those who might seek to govern with him) has plausible ideas to tackle the myriad of contemporary problems that confront Britain and the wider world, including that of the Palestinians.

This is not the first occasion on which the BBC has questioned Jeremy Corbyn about his relationship with both pro-Palestinian militant organisations and the IRA (whom he spoke with nearly a decade before the British government admitted to doing the same). Indeed, during the current Labour leadership campaign several of the Corporation’s senior political presenters and reporters have highlighted such issues.

Yet the BBC shows no such doggedness in holding to account some members of the current and previous government about their track record, not merely of giving verbal support, but also practical assistance, to several of the world’s most dubious regimes.

Because Britain arms, trains or sells equipment to overseas governments that subsequently attack, torture or otherwise repress their political opponents. Hideous regimes such as those in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Israel and Egypt – a military dictatorship in all but name – are legitimised by our government’s willingness to collude in their repressive activities, sometimes for strategic geo-political reasons, sometimes for the purpose of trade.

Amongst Britain’s ‘friends’ are Turkey and Qatar (both accused of tacitly backing Islamic State) and China (where does one even begin!). Until recently these friends also included Syria (approached by the UK and USA in 2010 about forming a possible military alliance against Iran as a means of thwarting its nuclear ambitions) and individuals such as Vladimir Putin (whom Cameron once declared was a man that Britain could do business with).

There’s plenty more, as a quick perusal of the Amnesty International or Human Rights Watch websites will attest, whilst our country’s own involvement in extraordinary rendition and the abuses and illegality conducted at Guantanamo Bay is equally inexcusable.

Pragmatism in a complex and changeable political landscape, or turning a blind eye to try and gain an international or trading advantage? Either way, such activities often result in real actions with real consequences for real people. Incalculably worse in their impact than any handshakes, debate or badly chosen words that Jeremy Corbyn may have in his debit column.      

Steve Beauchampé: August 21st 2015. First published in The BirminghamPress.com http://thebirminghampress.com/2015/08/give-peace-a-chance/

See also John Wight:

It is not Jeremy Corbyn who has questions to answer, it is those who supported the war in Iraq, the bombing of Libya, who provide unquestioning support to Israel, and had little or nothing to say over Britain’s shameful relationship with Saudi Arabia – it those people who have questions to answer, with some undoubtedly justified in being expected to answer them from the dock at the International Criminal Court at The Hague.

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/john-wight/accusations-of-corbyns-links-hypocrisy_b_8020196.html

Gordon Brown: the Labour Party needs a leader who is radical, credible and electable, someone who gives hope – Jeremy Corbyn

Under Corbyn the haves will have a little less and the have nots will have a little hope writes author Steve Beauchampé, in the Birmingham Press article summarised below.

He voices the thoughts of so many: “I did not vote for Labour in the 2015 General Election. I have not voted for the party since before Tony Blair and his New Labour ideologues ascended to power in the mid-1990s. But should Jeremy Corbyn win the current leadership contest and lead the party into the 2020 General Election, it is quite possible that I will give Labour my vote”.

This is not because Corbyn is a conviction politician (rather than a politician who should be convicted, a description applicable to several of his critics)

Again, voicing the reasoning of so many, Steve will ‘quite possibly’ give his vote because he is “in broad agreement with many of his policies and am sympathetic to the kind of society that he aims to create”.

Jeremy Corbyn’s overarching vision involves the creation of a form of social democracy that appears not dissimilar to that championed by the SNP:

“The society Corbyn envisages differs vastly to that produced by the ultra free market economy so loved by George Osborne and many luminaries of the New Labour era, an always and ever open for business society where everything has its price, but nothing is valued, money is power and the vulnerable are scorned”.

But to portray Corbyn as anti-business is incorrect

“Although he is committed to policies designed to narrow Britain’s increasing wealth gap, and to ensure that the poorest and most vulnerable are not scapegoated for the results of a banking crisis and subsequent recession for which they were not responsible, he is supportive of those businesses who behave responsibly to their employees, customers and the environment whilst also being cognisant of their impact upon wider society”.

Steve comments that in most western democracies (Ed: especially Scandinavian) most proposals in Corbyn’s programme would be regarded as routine social democracy. Only in the context of a political centre ground that has travelled inexorably to the right for much of the last 35 years, and particularly since 2010, are they viewed as extreme.

He adds several paragraphs about Corbyn proposals, listed here:

  • a high tax economy for the wealthy,
  • a low tax economy for the poor,
  • increased public spending,
  • re-nationalisation of the railways (by not renewing private sector franchises),
  • nationalisation of private utilities in the energy sector,
  • removal of all elements of privatisation from the NHS,
  • bringing free schools and academies under effective local authority control
  • re-introducing rent controls to reduce the amount the state pays to private landlords,
  • strengthening those democratically accountable local institutions laid waste, first by New Labour, and then by Osborne’s austerity mantra,
  • improved and more sympathetic working conditions and practices,
  • rebalancing the economy away from a reliance on financial services to the manufacturing sector,
  • tightening banking regulations (Osborne intends relaxing them further),
  • re-introducing a 50% rate of income tax,
  • raising corporation tax (currently at a historically low level) by 0.5%, as a means of paying for the abolition of tuition fees
  • and creating an investment bank to stimulate investment and growth.

There’s much more – the scrapping of Trident, Britain’s independent nuclear deterrent, a substantial increase in the number of ‘affordable’ homes being built (at the expense of ones property speculators can afford), including those by local authorities, opposition to fracking and the creation of an elected second chamber to replace the House of Lords.

Corbyn’s agenda for devolution includes a loosening of Treasury controls over Local Enterprise Partnerships, a re-balancing of transport policy away from the South East and opposition to the imposition of metro-Mayors without approval via a local referendum.

A raft of measures designed to reverse the Conservative’s unrelenting discrimination against the economic and social rights of under-25s

Corbyn has stated that apprentices would be paid the minimum wage, young people would no longer be denied housing benefit simply because they are young and would no longer need fear the debt laden future after graduation. He continues:

“This broad sweep of policies gives lie to the myth that a Jeremy Corbyn-led administration offers nothing more than a return to the politics of the 1980s, that he would make Labour the party of protest, permanently in opposition. On the contrary, many of his ideas offer forward thinking answers to contemporary issues. For sure he proposes to finally right certain ideologically driven decisions that were taken under Thatcher and Blair, but so he should, these were wrong then and are still wrong today”.

Moving away from the New Labour era, an always and ever open for business society where everything has its price, but nothing is valued, money is power and the vulnerable are scorned: “As former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said, the Labour Party needs a leader who is radical, credible and electable, someone who gives hope. That would be Jeremy Corbyn then”.

Read the whole article here: http://thebirminghampress.com/2015/08/anyone-but-the-other-three/