Saturday, July 13, 2013

Labour Ministers Opposed Plain Packaging

plain-packsLabour are trying to make a big issue out of the government formally dropping plain packaging, as if this was all Lynton Crosby’s doing. The policy was not actually in the Queen’s Speech so this announcement was hardly a surprise. The fact is it is hard to find a major lobbying firm that is not, or was not retained by Big Tobacco at some point over the last 30 years.

It is not as if when Labour was in government ministers showed any more enthusiasm for the plain packaging idea:

Alan Johnson, Secretary of State Health, 16 December 2008:

alan-johnson

“I have to say, however, that despite the fact that the right hon. Gentleman is quite right about the huge response in favour of plain packaging, there is no evidence base that it actually reduces the number of young children smoking. We want to keep that under review, and when there is an evidence base for it, it could well be another important measure to meet our goal, which is to reduce the number of young people smoking.

Gillian Merron, Public Health Minister, 25 June 2009:

gillian-merron

“No studies have been undertaken to show that plain packaging of tobacco would cut smoking uptake among young people or enable those who want to quit to do so. Given the impact that plain packaging would have on intellectual property rights, we would undoubtedly need strong and convincing evidence of the benefits to health, as well as its workability, before this could be promoted and accepted at an international level – especially as no country in the world has introduced plain packaging.”

Andy Burnham, Secretary of State Health, November 2009:

sad-burnham

“No studies have shown that introducing plain packaging of tobacco products would cut the number of young people smoking, or enable people who want to quit, to do so. Given the impact that plain packaging would have on intellectual property rights, we would need strong and convincing evidence showing the health benefits of this policy before it would be acceptable at an international level.”

Exactly the same lines spun by the current government yesterday,,,

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

New Leaked Unite Briefing Details Plot to Stitch Up Seats

Joey Jones has a private and confidential briefing note that was handed to Len McCluskey in March. It outlines, explicitly, Unite’s plot to stitch up seats.

“The central task of the Political department since the last EC has been to maximise the possibilities of working class and progressive candidates in the Labour Party Parliamentary candidate selection process… Selections are now commencing in a number of seats – and the rest of the selections in the marginals will be completed at least by the end of the year.

 Our expectations are realistic, but we campaign as hard as possible for victories.  A key part of our general political strategy involves winning more Unite members to join and become active in the Labour Party. This has been particularly urgent in those constituencies with forthcoming selections. Indeed it is also readily understandable if you want a progressive working class Labour candidate, join and work for one is the simple message. As soon as the boundary review was abandoned, we accelerated our member development programme. Only members joining prior to six-months before the commencement of the CLP selection process are eligible to participate in the process.

We are working with other Unions to ensure general agreement around candidates in selections. With some give and take broad agreement has been reached across the main trade unions involved. Regions have been asked for their preferences – and in the main have produced comprehensive proposals – usually following regional discussions with TULO or, Big Four unions.

Future Candidates Programme: Our second Future Candidates Programme took place in February. We now have 30 potential candidates on the programme, and will be inducting a further 20 after Easter.  This is a serious long-term training programme, aimed at developing Unite Activists so that they can become candidates for public office.”

They go on to express disappointment at the Labour policy review and plan greater union involvement in setting party policy:

“The Labour Party policy review is proceeding in two ways.  Jon Cruddas is directing the Policy Review, involving Shadow Cabinet groups, and with a number of meetings at Westminster. This is not developing as well as we might like – and we are seeking to get bigger trade union involvement in this.”

You can read the document in full here. Caught red handed…

Ed Flip-Flops on “Opt In”

“If Ed follows through with what’s being trailed, it will make Blair’s Clause 4 moment look like a resolution of the Tufty Club”, so says Dan Hodges. Miliband will today attempt to mend the financial link between Labour and the unions, requiring union members to positively opt-in to their political levy rather than opt-out. The problem? Convincing the union bosses themselves to agree to stop pulling the strings on labour leaders. Forcing the union bosses to accept something they see as weakening their personal power – McCluskey himself says as much in the Guardian – will be a huge test of  Ed’s resolve. McCluskey incomprehensibly argues that getting union members to positively opt-in is disengaging. Kinnock took on Militant, Blair took on Clause 4 and ignored the unions. Ed’s hope is that the unions go along with opt-in even though they hate it in the knowledge that, if they don’t, he’s done. He’ll be seen as too weak to lead the country if he can’t lead his party.

It will be something of a personal turnaround, the once union-backed leadership contender Ed Miliband is on the record as having explicitly opposed an opt-in as recently as last year. Only this weekend Tom Baldwin was briefing the Sunday papers that Labour had no intention of doing anything on the union front. This is either a weak panic move or the strong seizing of an opportunity presented by Unite’s fraud fiasco in Falkirk…

Guido wishes Miliband well. As with Nixon going to China, only he, a Labour leader made by the unions can break the union bosses control of the Labour Party. If he succeeds in genuinely breaking their financial stranglehold on the party he will be entitled to demand wider political funding reforms, a cap on donations to end millionaire donors bankrolling the Tories. He will do politics a service if all political parties have to rely on their supporters for money, parties will have to meaningfully engage with their grassroots,

Saturday, July 6, 2013

What Owen Jones and Len McCluskey Don’t Tell You:
Unite Don’t Represent Majority of their Members Politically

Unite’s leaked May 2013 internal political report to the union’s powerful Executive Council written by the union’s political director emphasises that Unite’s priority is to get a majority of its membership in marginal constituencies to vote Labour. Unite’s own research (see page 5) reveals that only a minority of around 37.5% of the membership vote Labour. A figure in line with national polling…

unite-represent

So when Owen Jones and Len McCluskey claim that Unite represents a political voice for “millions” of its members, it is not completely true. Unite gives political support to the Labour Party whereas most Unite members – according to Unite’s own research – don’t support the Labour Party. McCluskey and his media-friendly paid lobbyist Owen Jones are a small left-wing clique who have got control of the union because most members are apathetic. As evidenced by the fact McCluskey won Unite’s leadership having received only 144,570 votes yet claims to have a “two million strong” union. That if true would make Red Len supported by a mere 7.3% of his members.

owenx480In reality most people join a union to obtain organised represention for themselves in the workplace and primarily in order to have someone to negotiate on bread and butter issues like pay and conditions. They vote on national issues. They certainly don’t join the union to bring about the Marxist wet-dreams of Owen Jones…

Friday, July 5, 2013

Read Leaked Labour EU Vote Briefing

“Why won’t Labour offer a say to the British public on Europe?”

Thursday, July 4, 2013

McCluskey: Trust in Labour’s HQ Gone

FRAUD

Len McCluskey is tonight, with a straight face, calling upon the Labour party to “restore integrity to its discredited inquiry into the selection campaign” in Falkirk.

Denouncing the party’s own investigation as scandalous in its shortcomings, McCluskey has told the Labour Party’s general secretary Iain McNichol that the report was:

“Simply a ‘stitch-up’ designed to produce some evidence, however threadbare, to justify pre-determined decisions taken in relation to Falkirk CLP.

Even on the basis of this flimsy report, it is clear that these decisions cannot be justified. There is no emergency which would justify imposing these undemocratic restrictions, since any real problems could easily be addressed before embarking on a parliamentary selection process.

The report has been used to smear Unite and its members. Even if the allegations of people being signed up to the Party without their knowledge were true, this had nothing whatsoever to do with my union.

It is noteworthy that members of the shadow cabinet have been in the lead in initiating this attack upon Unite. Have they had sight of this report while I, the leader of the union put in the frame, has not had the courtesy of a copy?

The mishandling of this investigation has been a disgrace. I, however, am obliged to uphold the integrity of Unite, and I can no longer do so on the basis of going along with the activities of a Labour Party administration in which I can place no trust.

I will therefore be publicly proposing that an independent inquiry be held into all circumstances relating to Falkirk CLP and the conduct of all parties involved, including Unite, the Labour Party centrally (including the Compliance Unit) and in Scotland, the officers of the CLP itself, and all those who have sought or are seeking nomination as the Labour PPC.

Unite will cooperate fully with such an inquiry, and draw appropriate conclusions from any findings regarding our own behaviour. I trust that you will support such an inquiry, will direct all Labour Party employees to cooperate with it and encourage other individuals to do likewise.”

Len really is not happy they have kicked his girlfriend Karie Murphy out of the party…

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Quote of the Day

Kim Howells, former MP and NUM official, tells The World This Weekend that the Labour Party must break the union link…

“I think this threatens the whole reputation of the Labour Party. The Labour Party has got be seen to be above special interest politics. It’s no good any more assuming that ‘Well, the British People at large are going to be broadly sympathetic to the Trades Union movement therefore it doesn’t really matter.’ It does matter. It’s got to be seen to be a party that represents everyone. As society changes more quickly now than it has ever changed. The ‘Old Order’ is rapidly dissolving… Oh it’ll be a gift to the, to the Tories and the Lib Dems and the rest who want to see Labour defeated obviously, and kept out of government. But remember there are a lot of people inside the Labour movement who hate being in government because it means making very difficult decisions. They’d rather be a Ginger group outside. They’d rather be calling for what we used to refer to as “impossibleism” because it sounded good and it fitted their rhetoric. It’s a nonsense of course. And if Labour’s going to win the another General election and win cleanly then it’s got to change its constitution and its way of selecting candidates.”

Thursday, June 20, 2013

£50,000 Balls at Bust Co-op’s Gala Dinner Tonight
Sings for His Supper to Bust Bankers Labour Owes £3.6 Million

Blinky BallsIt looks like it is a busy day for Ed Balls, the man who aspires to be a chef, lunching today, according to EyeSpy.MP, with The Telegraph’s Deputy Editor Benedict Brogan at the Michelin-starred chef Michel Roux Junior’s Roux at Parliament Square. We’re all in this together, eh?

Tonight Ed’s waistline takes another hit when he is the keynote speaker at the Co-operative Party Gala Dinner 2013 at the Hilton Victoria Hotel off Millbank. The evening will apparently “provide a unique opportunity to enjoy the company of some of the country’s leading co-operators and Co-operative Party members, supporters, workers, Councillors and Members of Parliament.”

low-cost-loans-240x1632The financial hub of this great co-operative movement is of course the Co-operative Bank, which was encouraged by the Labour government to take over the Britannia Building Society in 2009 because politically Labour wanted to expand the co-operative base. Ed Balls is a Co-op supported MP, his office gets bunged £50,000 a year from the Co-op. The Labour Party itself is literally in hock to the Co-operative Bank to the tune of £3.6 million on a low interest you scratch-my-back I’ll-scratch-yours terms deal. Tonight Ed Balls will sing for his supper as their after dinner speaker…

The Co-operative Bank is a financial disaster after the Labour government induced deal, the bank’s bonds have hit junk status, 7,000 end investors – typically pensioners – will be wiped out by the bond haircut that will be necessary to plug the black hole in the Co-op Bank’s finances. It smells bad. Ed Balls isn’t going to do himself any favours tonight if he is trying to rebuild his reputation for financial probity…

UPDATE: According to reports from the room tonight, Ed is still a keen Guido reader:

Monday, June 3, 2013

Balls Abandons Universality to Save His Job

Ed Balls has finally blinked, tearing up the party’s previously unbreakable commitment to universal benefits, alienating the Labour left and cynically conceding to the centre ground. He announced today that Labour would cut winter fuel payments to the rich, something Miliband has previously defended as “a bedrock of our society”. Channelling Osborne, Balls will say:

“In tough economic times we have to make difficult choices about priorities for public spending and what the right balance is between universal and targeted support. So at a time when the public services that pensioners and others rely on are under strain, it can no longer be a priority to continue paying the winter fuel allowance to the wealthiest pensioners.”

This is of almost no financial significance, it is however hugely significant politically. Abandoning such a historically fundamental Labour policy reveals much of Balls’ fears for his own job. He knows that if he cannot improve flat-lining public confidence in his competency by next year Miliband has a decision to make. This LabourList/Survation poll is why Balls knows being fired could easily become a reality:

ed-kinnockIn the Sun today Trevor Kavanagh says Miliband is the new Kinnock. This is a comparison Guido has made in the past, not least to Ed himself, that he would go the same way as Labour’s 1992 leader. It makes sense for Miliband and Balls to change track two years before the election rather than leave it any later and risk their credibility sinking even lower. They have two years to get the party, then the people, on board…

Friday, May 17, 2013

Labour Won’t Pledge to Repeal ‘Bedroom Tax’

Well this is hardly going to help improve Baldamort’s status as a Labour pariah in lefty circles. After all his party’s truth-stretching moralising, the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary has refused to commit to repealing the spare room subsidy:

“We are not going to make promises we can’t keep. I believe very strongly that this is a tax that will cost more than it saves, but I know I have to prove that beyond reasonable doubt and that is the research that I am doing now to gather evidence from across the country. We hear of houses lying empty because people can’t afford the tax that would hit them if they moved in, so obviously it does not make sense. We have to work through our position as fast as we can, but no one will forgive us for making promises we can’t keep.”

Still peddling the bedroom ‘tax’ lie, but not saying he would repeal it. So much for Owen Jones’ “People’s Assembly” against t’cuts: he can’t even win the argument in his own party…


Seen Elsewhere

Danczuk: Rotherham Abuse Imported From Pakistan | Telegraph
Ashya King Case Shows How Authorities Get it Wrong | ConHome
The Carswell Show | Jon Craig
Cops Seized Journalist’s Phone to Out Whistleblower | Press Gazette
Chuka’s £2,500 Tax Avoidance Donation | Times
Another BBC Stitch Up? | David Keighley
Divided, Pessimistic Tories Expect Defeat | Alex Wickham
Labour Suspends Rotherham Council Members | Sky
PM Used Terror Crisis to Deflect From Carswell | Rachel Sylvester
Scotland Surges for Freedom | Times
Carswell Left Because Cam Can’t Be Trusted on Reform | ConHome


VOTER-RECALL
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George Osborne rejects the Ice Bucket Challenge from Ed Balls:

“I’d rather pay the money to charity and pour cold water on his policies.”



Owen Jones says:

We also need Zil lanes.


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