Tag Archives: labour party

The Labour party ‘Plebgate’ website they no longer want you to see

Here’s the key question Labour was asking a few months ago: Who do you trust? The Police or Andrew Mitchell?

labour plebgate pic

According to an official police report, Conservative Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell said to a police officer:

“Best you learn your f***ing place … you don’t run this f***ing government … you’re f***ing plebs.”

Andrew Mitchell is denying it. But he won’t admit what he said. And David Cameron is choosing to believe the word of a Tory MP over the word of a hard-working police officer.

But, strangely, when you visit

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Labour Uncut editor Atul Hatwal writes… The two paths to a Labour deal with the Lib Dems

There’s a lot of nonsense talked about the Lib Dems. Intermittent stories about a UKIP surge into third and a Lib Dem collapse to below 10% at the election are symptomatic of an excitable Westminster bubble rather than the reality on the ground.

I write this not as a committed Lib Dem supporter, hoping for the best. Far from it, I’m lifelong Labour (boo, hiss) and even edit a Labour blog – Labour Uncut. But if Labour want to maximise their chances of becoming the government after the next election, it’s important that they take a realistic view of …

Posted in The Independent View | Also tagged | 19 Comments

A tale of two conferences

What a week it has been from arriving as a fresh faced first timer at Liberal Democrat Conference in Glasgow on Saturday after an epic 7 hour coach journey to finally being home and feeling a lot less sleep deprived.

I’m in a relatively unique position having been able to attend and take part in two different party political conferences. For the last two years, I attended and spoke at Labour Conference. In May of this year, I joined the Liberal Democrats. You can read more about that here.

I thought it might be interesting to talk about the main differences and similarities between both parties’ annual gatherings.

For the Liberal Democrats, Conference is formally opened before moving to wine and the conference rally. For Labour it’s much the same but a day later and then the fringes start. The Liberal Democrats discuss policy, and vote on motions published in advance with an opportunity to amend them should conference wish. In Labour they discuss up to 6 contemporary issues which are submitted by constituency parties. These general topics are voted on and then composited. There are votes at labour conferences, but never any debate or contentiousness – very different from the Liberal Democrats.

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Opinion: The Syria Milishambles

See Saw Cameron MilibandEd Miliband has once again done his best impression of a statesman. On Thursday morning, with bags under his eyes, he declared that he was tabling an amendment to the government’s motion on Syria. His amendment would require a ‘clear legal basis’ for military action, and a second vote in the House of Commons following the forthcoming UN weapons inspectors’ report.

The government’s motion, on the other hand, requires a ‘sound legal basis’ for action, and a second vote in the House of Commons following the forthcoming UN weapons inspectors’ report. Snap!

Miliband stumbled and stammered in the Chamber Thursday afternoon as he tried to draw a line in the sand between his amendment that wasn’t an amendment and the government’s identical policy.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 82 Comments

Miliband vs McCluskey: 2 points that strike me about the Labour/Unite row over alleged candidate selection rigging

Looking in from the outside, albeit as a former Labour member myself, two points strike me about the Labour/Unite row over the alleged attempt by the union to rig the selection of the party’s general election candidate in Falkirk.

The first is this:

How lucky is Ed Miliband in his opponent, Len McCluskey?

Yes, you read that right. Ed is lucky in Len. The reason why is simple: Len McCluskey has gone about his attempted putsch of Labour in an extraordinarily cack-handed manner.

If you wanted to set up a comedy caricature trade union boss, you’d make sure he had a salary of £122,000, had called for a general strike, have him make threats against prominent Labour ‘Blairites’, and then protest against the lefty New Statesman when it reports accurately what you’ve said.

If you wanted to be a smart trade union leader, however, you’d operate below-the-radar. You’d do things just the same: ensure your chosen candidate was elected Labour leader (however dubiously), line up your mate to head up the party’s election campaigns, and guarantee loyal union members are installed in as many key seats as possible.

But you’d do so sotto voce.

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Kirsty Williams AM writes: Why Welsh Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru have joined forces

welsh-liberal-democratsThis week, and much to the surprise of many political commentators in Wales, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood and I held a joint press conference announcing that we are to join forces to negotiate with the Welsh Labour Government on next year’s budget settlement.

In the National Assembly, the Welsh Government has exactly half of the Assembly Members. Therefore, each year the Welsh Government needs the support of at least one of the opposition parties to pass their annual budget. In the past, this has given the …

Posted in News, Op-eds and Wales | Also tagged , and | 15 Comments

Opinion: Creating a new Alliance

There has always been a need to blend parliamentary, representative politics with the social activism of extra parliamentary movements. Recent examples of informal action outside the confines of the parliamentary system include UK Uncut on companies avoiding corporation tax and the Occupy movement. Liberal Democrats and their antecedents have an honourable history of involvement in single issue campaigns and community movements.

Indeed, it can be argued that “community politics” grew out of the widespread social campaigning movements of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Given this history you would expect Liberal Democrats to be at the forefront of such campaigning today but we …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 38 Comments

Nick Clegg MP writes… The Labour and Tory exodus

Something is happening on the centre ground of British politics. An exodus. The Conservative leadership is being lured to the right. Ed Miliband is pulling his party to the left. Only the Liberal Democrats are holding firm.

That creates an opportunity for our party. Over the last twenty years the centre has become a crowded place. First New Labour pitched up, determined to demonstrate a new found credibility on the economy. Then followed a detoxified Conservative Party, hugging hoodies and frolicking with huskies. Yet now – in what, in time, may prove to be a highly significant political shift – the …

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Opinon: The Liberal Reconfiguration. Thoughts inspired by the One Nation Labour conference

Last week, my job took me to the One Nation Labour conference at Queen Mary, University of London. There I saw a series of lectures followed by Q&A’s on what the future direction of the Labour party should and should not be. It was a fascinating day – the Lib Dem baiting they have gotten used to falling back on has (mostly) stopped and there seems to be an honest appraisal under way within Labour’s ranks about how they want to move forward. Of most interest to Lib Dems, and indeed liberals of all self-applied stripes, were ideas around …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 34 Comments

A reply to Dan Hodges: why it’s not surprising some Tories aren’t bothered about winning in 2015

dan hodgesThe Telegraph’s token Labour blogger Dan Hodges has a typically punchy post today – Do the Tories actually want to win in 2015? – highlighting the fatalism of some Tory MPs who think victory next time is possible but not worth it:

Hardly worth it? What, just managing to scrape a win at the next election, just managing to govern for another five years, just managing to drive through your agenda on health care reform, welfare reform, education reform, etc?

The Conservative Party is currently in the middle of the biggest

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Julian Huppert MP writes…..The Preamble, 25 years on

25 years ago, our party agreed its new constitution – and the preamble to that constitution, setting out our core values and vision.

Many of us will know some of it – ‘The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, … in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance, or conformity’.

This extract – the bit that appears on membership cards – is in my view truly poetic, and captures brilliantly what we are trying to do. We are concerned about people, and empowering them to do what they can and want to do. …

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Opinion: Against liberalism

Statue of David Lloyd George - Some rights reserved  by GabludlowI am a liberal. I believe in standing up for people and communities against over-powerful vested interests – in business, the State, the media, or the unions. However, I also believe that liberalism alone is an inadequate political philosophy, and an insufficient foundation for this Party.

The problem centres on our determination to play down the significance of Left and Right. We sneer that the concepts are simplistic. We seek to defuse or ignore left-right conflict. The inconvenient truth we deny is that Left and Right do matter, often enough to split our party.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 62 Comments

Opinion: We’ve got our strategy the wrong way round

Liberal Democrat badge - Some rights reserved by Paul Walter, Newbury, UKLast Friday Lib Dem HQ sent out an email to parliamentarians, PPCs, council group leaders and other office holders about our party’s new message script. The full email, if anyone is interested, can be found herehere, courtesy of the Liberator.

Aside from the immensely catchy wordy message of “the Lib Dems are working to build a stronger economy in a fairer society, enabling every person to get on in life” (complete with an incredible 16 sub messages), a key point was this:

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 41 Comments

Launch of Labour for Democracy

Today, an influential group of Labour members are launching a new movement within their party: Labour for Democracy.

Its aim is to reach out to Lib Dems (and possibly Greens as well) in order to prepare a pluralist agenda around progressive issues. Although it does not explicitly say so, it is presumably also preparing the ground for a possible Labour-led coalition after 2015. Their position is based on polling evidence:

On all the major issues  Labour and Lib Dem voters tend to give similar levels of support to broadly  ‘progressive’ value statements, with Labour voters giving slightly stronger levels

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 38 Comments

Manchester Labour’s “crazy” decision to spend £425k on pop concert

The decision of Manchester’s Labour-run Council to spend almost half a million pounds on a pop concert starring Alicia Keys has been branded “crazy” by Lib Dems in the city. Manchester City Council is currently in the process of making £296m of cuts to its budget over a two year period – cuts condemned as “ideological” by the Labour Council Leader Sir Richard Leese.

Here’s what the Lib Dem group leader on Manchester City Council, Simon Wheale, had to say about this use of scarce public money:

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 9 Comments

Opinion: Make a clean break – You shouldn’t flirt behind your partner’s back

On Saturday evening at Brighton, I attended a meeting organised by the Social Liberal Forum (SLF) with the controversial title ‘Disengaging with the Tories before 2015′. A number of equally controversial speakers were featured, including Neal Lawson (Chair of Compass), Stuart Weir (former Director of Democratic Audit) and Green MP, Caroline Lucas.

Between them, they suggested essentially that we break up the coalition as soon as possible and form a progressive leftist coalition. (Lord Renard and Tim Farron were also there and

Posted in Conference and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 20 Comments

Time now to prepare for a progressive centre-left coalition in 2015

Compass chair Neal Lawson has a must-read letter to the Lib Dems in this week’s New Statesman. In it, he argues that the centre left bungled a governmental opportunity in 2010 due to unpreparedness. He encourages us to start the ground work now for a potential centre left progressive coalition in 2015, rather than leaving it to the likes of David Laws and Michael Gove to “stitch it up again”.

That’s why we have to build relationships now – through policy, ideas debates and campaigns. We

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 43 Comments

Opinion: Moderates vs Radicals: the battle for the Liberal Democrat soul

Why did you join the third party? The party with no hope of winning the election? The party who now linger at 10% in the polls, under constant attack on all sides?

Many commentators openly wonder why there is a Liberal Democrat party at all. In an unforgiving two-party system these doubts are not so easily dismissed: how is it that as a small, stubborn party polling just a core vote barely in double digits we are able to sustain our existence, and why do we?

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 57 Comments

Clegg: ‘I’d form a new coalition with Ed Miliband’

There was an interesting interview with Nick Clegg in yesterday’s Sunday People:

Nick Clegg would form a coalition with Ed Miliband in the next government, he told The People.

The Lib Dem leader could even stay on as Deputy PM if a general election ­replaced one governing party with another.

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Opinion: Lords reform – how Labour could learn from the Germans

Labour clears the way. So says the century-old Labour campaign poster depicting working men smashing down the door to the House of Lords. Oh dear. Given the opportunity earlier this month to live up to that proud boast they sided instead with rebel, anti-reform Conservatives and together succeeded in forcing the Government to abandon a vote on its proposed timetable for the bill.

Without the timetable, those who, for whatever bizarre reason, don’t believe that the governed should elect those who govern them could talk until the cows come home, ensuring the reform bill is killed off.

Labour could easily have sided with the Government. The …

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Lords reform: did we really expect any better of either the Tories or Labour?

All three main political parties fought the 2010 election promising the electorate that, if elected, they would reform the House of Lords. All three promised the same in 2005, too. And 2001. Yet in 2012 only one party is staying true to that promise: the Lib Dems. The Tories and Labour, in contrast, are happily indulging in party politics to block progress in advancing legislative democracy.

The Conservatives living up to their anti-reform name…

The Conservative Party has fought the last three elections promising to introduce a mainly/wholly elected second chamber to replace the current House of Patronage. They signed up …

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Revealed: The document that explains how Unite intends to take over the Labour party

That’s the headline on a post over on Labour Uncut, and they have the full internal Unite strategy document to corroborate those claims:

The strategy is a powerful statement of intent. It’s clear that Unite intend to fundamentally change Labour…

In one passage, plans are set out to recruit 5000 new members from Unite into the Labour party. But this is no altruistic membership drive; the purpose of this influx of activists is to control local constituency parties…

The document goes on to outline how these new activists will be marshalled by Unite’s political structures to act as a bloc within CLPs. There

Posted in News | Also tagged | 10 Comments

Labour councillor apologises for using hose pipe during ban

GetReading reports:

One of Reading’s newest councillors has been spotted using a hosepipe to clean his car – despite the ban.

Posted in News | Also tagged | 16 Comments

Opinion: What would Labour do?

“What would Jesus do?” ran the famous ‘90s slogan, often with little agreement on the answer. But that question seems positively trivial alongside the far more problematic “What would Labour do?”

As the Coalition is finding to its cost, Labour is often very effective at attacking Government plans but rather less forthcoming on what its alternative might be. And I imagine it must be a little galling for Government ministers when Labour decides to attack policies that they trumpeted in their own 2010 manifesto.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 32 Comments

Labour’s legacy: £1 million every month on unused fire stations

We are used to stories of how Labour in Government wasted stacks of cash during their 13 years in office. From aircraft carriers to PFI projects to centralised ID databases and other IT projects, billions were needlessly thrown away. Those billions burnt the gaping hole in our public finances that the Coalition is trying, in difficult circumstances, to fix.

Another example of Labour profligacy came to light this week in the Times (£). Apparently, £1 million a month of our hard earned taxes is going to pay costs on unoccupied state of the art fire service control rooms built by …

Posted in News | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

Professor John Curtice: ‘Labour cannot afford simply to ignore the Liberal Democrats’

On Juncture, the website of the Institute of for Public Policy Research, psephologist Professor John Curtice provides some very interesting data which suggests Labour would do well to keep talking to the Liberal Democrats:

…the hung parliament brought about by the 2010 election was no accident. It was a consequence of long-term changes in pattern of party support that mean it is now persistently more difficult for either Labour or the Conservatives to win an overall majority. Meanwhile, although the current review of parliamentary boundaries will not deliver the Conservatives quite the

Posted in Polls | Also tagged | 43 Comments

Police investigate Labour in Leeds over fake poll card allegations

The Leeds Labour Party is being investigated by the police for over claims it has broken the law against issuing imitation poll cards. Parties and candidates are not allowed to issue leaflets which look like official poll cards, but this is what Labour has been distributing in the Otley and Yeadon ward:

After the legality of the leaflets was raised with them, the Labour Party has said they stopped delivering the leaflets.

Posted in Election law and News | Also tagged and | 13 Comments

Cardiff Labour candidate faces police investigation over their home address

Following a referral by Cardiff Council’s Electoral Registration Officer, the police are investigating one of the city’s Labour council candidates over allegations that he provided a false home address for use on the ballot papers.

Luke Holland gave as his address a property that he moved out of last year. However that old address is in the ward where he is standing and his current address is outside the ward. Mr Holland does not deny the crux of the allegations, having told the media:

It is true that I currently rent a flat in a neighbouring ward – a fact that

Posted in Election law, Local government, News and Wales | Also tagged and | 4 Comments

Labour candidate suspended over ‘kill Justin Bieber’ jibe

Via @suttonnick:

Western Mail front page -

Posted in News and Wales | Leave a comment

The Tories’ and Labour’s collective tax omnishambles

Labour is against reducing the 50p top-rate tax to 45p for those earning more than £150,000. What could be clearer? As it happens, quite a lot could be clearer.

First, the omnishambles…

Given how widely predicted George Osborne’s decision to reduce the top-rate was you would have thought Labour would have anticipated it and worked out their line. They failed to — as Mark Pack noted here, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna contradicted himself within 24 hours, while Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls declined to declare his hand.

When Labour did …

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