Tag Archives: keir starmer

The Independent View: Can Ed Davey help a political realignment?

The Lib Dems have been in the doldrums.  But make no mistake, their Party matters to the future of progressive politics in the UK a lot.

First because ‘liberalism’ matters. Against populism and statism, the place of the individual and more broadly a healthy civil society, based around robust human rights, are essential to any progressive politics. And second because Labour cannot win on its own.

Ed Davey has rejected equidistance and working with the Tories. It’s game on. But to play properly together means getting over the past.

When Compass, the organisation I’m Director of, opened out from being just Labour in 2011, the Coalition made Lib-Labery impossible. The Corbyn era put up new barriers. With the Brexit fight lost and Starmer leading Labour there is a chance to build sensible cooperation.

This demands a recognition of common interests and different complementary traditions.  Liberals are not socialists, but both can and must compliment each other in terms of ideas, beliefs and electoral reach. And anyway, Labour, the party of the Iraq War, 90-day detention and antisemitism, needs to be careful about claiming any moral high ground.

Given Scotland, there is little or no hope of Labour winning alone. It either leads and shares some power or returns to the wilderness and leaves the country in the hands of the Tories once again. The Lib Dems are second in 91 seats – 80 of them are Tory facing and none where they present a real challenge to Labour. To get the Tories out means the Lib Dems have to win as many of those seats as possible. The electoral maths demands cooperation, whether its tactical campaigning or something more formal.

In many cases the Lib Dem targets are soft Tory voters who may never vote Labour – unless Labour goes full New Labour once more. That, to say the least, is unadvisable in a world where neoliberalism is crumbling before our eyes. Letting the Lib Dems soak up these voters, actually leaves Labour the space to be more radical.

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Progressive politics needs Starmer to ‘definitely’ be a better Labour leader

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Let’s hope that Ed Miliband’s candid admission is right: that Keir Starmer is ‘definitely’ a better Labour leader than he was.  Miliband’s failed strategic approach, after all, helped put the cause of progressive politics back a decade. And as the Liberal Democrats pick a new leader, it’s essential that those lessons are learned – for both parties.

When ‘Red Ed’ snatched the Labour leadership from his heir apparent brother David in 2010, it was in the aftermath of a crushing election defeat: the lowest share of the vote since 1918 and seat numbers back to 1980s levels.  There was resentment, of course, that the Liberal Democrats did not cobble together a coalition to keep Gordon Brown in Number 10 but any rational assessment would conclude this was never going to happen: the numbers simply did not add up and frankly voters had resoundingly rejected Labour after 13 years in office.

There was talk, in those early days of the coalition, with David Cameron’s Conservatives, of ‘New Politics’. That is a new era of cooperation and consensual discourse.  The sort of politics that would come about in a system where all votes count and which represents the views of all voters. This was, after all, the first government since before the Second World War able to claim it represented more than half of all those who voted.  It was an idea promoted by David Miliband who soon left the Westminster stage.  But for Ed Miliband, it was never on the agenda.

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Non-publication of SAGE minutes could mean that the government are taking decisions contrary to the scientific advice and we won’t know it until it is too late


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Over on the Debated Podcast there is an excellent interview with Judith Bunting, a scientist by training, who was PPC for us in Newbury and West Berkshire in 2015 and 2017, and also MEP for the South-East of England from 2019-2020. Will Barber Taylor engages with Judith on the following topics:

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Why Starmer’s arrival can benefit the Liberal Democrats

From speaking to many Lib Dem activists since the election of Keir Starmer as leader of the Labour Party, one would have assumed this was the end of the Liberal Democrats. Starmer is expected to shift Labour closer to the centre, thus closer to the Lib Dems, rendering us sitting ducks, our voters to automatically assimilate into their ranks. However, I would argue this is not the case.

Firstly, it is wrong to assume that the Labour party under Starmer will drastically swing closer to the centre of the British political spectrum. Starmer himself is named after ardent socialist Keir Hardie and has a long-standing involvement in socialist groups, namely the East Surrey Young Socialists and the youth wing of the labour party, inherently democratic-socialist organisations. Indeed, Starmer has not booted all aspects of Corbynism from his shadow cabinet. Rebecca Long-Bailey, Tony Lloyd and Nick Brown all maintained influential posts, albeit alongside figures who would not have stepped near a Corbyn cabinet, namely David Lammy, Ed Miliband and Jim McMahon.

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A question for the new Labour leader

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Labour’s new leader Keir Starmer has gained a lot of publicity recently for stating that he will tackle Anti Semitism in his party but he has been silent so far on the existence of organised Trotskyist groups within the ranks of the party he now leads.

Trotskyist entryism dates back to the 1930s when Leon Trotsky advised his supporters in France to join the Socialist Party with the aim of winning new adherents. Ever since then democratic socialist parties have been targets for entryism.

In the 1950s British Trotskyists split over whether to infiltrate Labour, with Gerry Healy’s faction going in initially as a secretive group known simply as ‘The Club’ then more openly as the Socialist Labour League. It eventually won control of Labour’s youth section before the party’s National Executive Committee took action.

The forerunner of today’s Socialist Workers Party followed Healy’s supporters into Labour as the International Socialist but didn’t stick around long.

Then came Militant, the most successful so far, who by the 1970s had, like the Socialist Labour League before them, won control of the youth section. It went on to have thousands of ‘supporters’, three of whom were eventually elected as Labour MPs. Militant flourished because the left in the party was strong particularly on its National Executive, where people like Tony Benn resisted any attempts to take action against them. Eventually Labour acted but it was only after years of Militant operating openly and growing.

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Should Left-leaning Liberal Democrats back the policies of Keir Starmer’s Labour Party

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In January Sir Keir Starmer, then a candidate for Labour’s leadership, wrote an article in the Guardian about his motivations and values. There was much in what he revealed there likely to appeal to Liberal Democrats of a centre-left persuasion.

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19-20 January 2019 – the weekend’s press releases

  • GP postcode lottery shows vital need for a national workforce strategy
  • Lib Dems: Car insurance rise shows cost of Brexit
  • Labour failing their duty as Official Opposition on Brexit
  • Fox’s failure to sign trade deals shows Brexiters’ ‘Global Britain’ does not exist
  • Corbyn isolated as over 100 Labour MPs set to back Lib Dem call for a people’s vote

GP postcode lottery shows vital need for a national workforce strategy

Responding to the analysis done by the BBC which shows the huge variation in the availability of GPs in different parts of England, Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Judith Jolly said:

Getting access to your GP should never

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Labour lashes out at Lib Dems

Remember how, last week, Jeremy Corbyn’s relaunch was such a runaway success. Not even Tony Blair in the early years could gather such positive headlines.

Ok, so maybe that’s not quite how it happened. At least we’re now clear on their policy on freedom of movement. They love immigration and they hate it, depending on who they are talking to.

Labour has stepped up its attacks on the Lib Dems in the last couple of days, presumably because they have to fight two by-elections on 23rd February where the Leave vote will be split 3 ways and we are the only party offering any sort of opposition to the Tories.

But they couldn’t quite manage it competently. The International Business Times was none too chuffed to find its video being used by Jeremy Corbyn, uncredited, to attack Tim Farron.

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Julian Huppert writes… The future of universal jurisdiction

The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill about to complete its ride through the Commons, contains a range of items under ‘social responsibility’. One of these relates to changes to the way arrests for crimes under Universal Jurisdiction would be implemented (Clause 152). These are crimes such as genocide, torture, piracy and hostage taking, where the UK asserts the right to try people regardless of where the crime may have taken place.

This has been controversial in the past, particularly with the attempted arrest for private prosecution of Tzipi Livni, the former Israeli Foreign Minister, in 2009. She avoided arrest …

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Daily View 2×2: 26 January 2010

Today we say ‘Happy Birthday’ to the Special One – Jose Mourinho – who is 47, and to ice hockey’s record goalscorer Wayne Gretzky, who is two years older.

Nine years ago today, more than 25,000 people died after a massive earthquake measuring up to 7.9 on the Richter scale hit the Indian state of Gujarat and neighbouring areas in Pakistan. In 1998, US President Bill Clinton told a White House press conference “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky”.

2 Big Stories

Mother aquitted in new ‘mercy killing’ trial 

Yesterday Sussex mother and former nurse Kay Gilderdale was acquitted of attempting to …

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