Monday, February 3, 2014

Labour Dominates Quangocracy
Labour Placemen Waging a Gramscian ‘War of Position’

Labour view the quangos as their hinterland in exile; with six-figure, three day-a-week sinecures for their failed politicians. This public-sector intensive care system keeps them in the game even when they are out of office, allowing them to wage a Gramscian war of position sniping at the likes of Gove. Index-linked gold-plated pensions, offices, expense accounts, staff, drivers and all the other accoutrements of a quangocrat. Typically they will also have a semi-private / public arts sinecure in their portfolio as well to provide canapés and a bit of glamour. It really is time for a Year Zero clear out of these placemen and placewomen from public life…

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Union Reform: Follow the Money

GMB Red Ed Ballot Paper

Ed’s proposals are being briefed out. At first glance they seem a sensible attempt to reduce control of the Labour Party by union vested interests. As always the key factor is money. Here it doesn’t look so good. The unions seem to keep control of the purse strings:

“…for too long we have operated with structures which were laid down in a different era which did not anticipate the new forms of communication and community activism available for a modern political party.

And, in a 21st Century political party, it is no longer acceptable or fair for people to give money to it without having made an active choice as individuals to do so.

So every individual member of an affiliated trade union will be given a straight “Yes or No” choice about whether they want to pay a small sum to ensure their union’s voice is heard within the party.

Trade unions will continue to affiliate collectively to Labour but, for the first time, the payment of affiliation fees will become a wholly transparent process based on individual positive consent.

These reforms will be introduced during 2014 and will apply to new members of affiliated organisations first. It will be fully implemented for existing members of such organisations within five years – which is the time frame recommended by successive reports into the future of political funding by Sir Gerald Hayden Phillips and Sir Christopher Kelly.

During this period, affiliated organisations will be encouraged to help the party maximise the number of people who agree to pay an affiliation fee.

At the end of this period, the affiliation of each organisation will be determined by the number of members who have consented to the payment of affiliation fees. Only those who have made a positive choice to pay affiliation fees will be counted.”

These reforms are a good start, unfortunately it is still the case that he who pays the piper calls the tune…

UPDATE: Source says “it’s a five-year plan. And anything political phased in over five years is unlikely to come to pass.”

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Illegal Foreign Worker Inside Labour HQ
General Secretary Knew Arnie Graf Had Visa Problem

Within Labour HQ they will be wincing in pain at the Sun’s frontpage story, because insiders knew there was a problem with Arnie Graf’s immigration status – a business visa only entitles the holder to have meetings, do deals, research, buy and sell goods and services – not to do paid work. The issue was flagged to Labour’s General Secretary Ian McNicol as recently as a few weeks ago. Legally the buck stops with him…

The Guardian reported as far back as June 2011 that there was a problem when it ran a profile about Arnie Graf’s hiring by Ed Miliband:

“It was an unusual commission: “‘Ed Miliband – would like you to do a piece of work for him?'” Chicago community organiser Arnie Graf recalls being asked back in November. “But because of our immigration rules and the type of visa you’re on,” the veteran activist quotes the Labour leader’s aide as continuing, “you can’t do anything ‘productive’.”

Screenshot_2014-01-28-08-39-44

Arnie’s activities in the UK have changed over the years since, his original review of the party’s campaign stucture has led to more work, for which the Labour Party admits he has been paid his usual rate plus expenses. He has been spending months at a time in the UK, culminating in a starring role in last November’s Labour Party political broadcast in which he says “For 48 of my 50 year career I never worked for a politician or a political party. Fundamentally, I did not trust them. That is until I met Ed Miliband two years ago, along with hundreds of Labour party members and staff throughout the UK. I decided to work with Ed because I believe in his basic goodness and compassion.” A video confession that he is working illegally in the UK for the Labour Party…

Monday, January 20, 2014

Rachel Reeves: Labour’s New Benefits Literacy and Maths Test

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Unite to Labour:
No Reform, No Primaries, Unions Control Selections

redlen
The Collins review into Labour’s links with the unions has evoked a response from Len McCluskey. Guido has the official response of the Unite Executive Council. In summary it is “Sod Off Mililband”.

  • Unite refuses to accept any reduction in the 50% union conference vote.
  • Unite still intends to support the selection of their own candidates.
  • Absolutely opposes open primaries which would dilute their power to control selections.

The unions have pretty much killed off Miliband’s reform plans…

N.B. Unite’s response, in full, is here [PDF].

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Labour Plan to Make Benefits a “Human Right”
Secret Recording Reveals Plans for Lib-Lab Deal

fabian-wolf-in-sheeps-clothingThis covert recording obtained by Guido – made at the Fabian Society’s recent £100-a-ticket gala – reveals that Labour are planning to enshrine welfare payments as a human right, with plans to extend the Human Rights Act to include ‘economic and social rights’. Essentially enshrining socialism in law. No wonder the symbol of the Fabian Society is a socialist wolf in sheep’s clothing…

The Sun reported the plan which Labour’s Shadow Minister for Scotland, Willie Bain, himself describes as a “scrounger’s charter”. In response Labour put out a statement claiming “The discussion at a Fabian Society event was about methods used abroad, not something the Labour Party is considering as a policy.”  If you listen to the actual recording you will realise that is complete spin:

After admitting it will be a lot easier for Labour to do a deal with Vince Cable he says a Lib-Lab coalition would make welfare benefits a “human right”:

willie-bain“Sadiq asked me to do this and Jon Cruddas is keen on this as well is to look at whether economic and social rights can be put into law. At the moment the human rights act just deals with civil political rights. It needs really careful handling because I think the politics of this would be the Tories would say it’s a scroungers charter, helping skivers….we might just talk about having a commission on it. It might need a commission after the election…that’s something again where there’d be a communality with the Libs.”

Lawyers will love this, welfare reform would be impossible because it would be a “human right”…

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…


Seen Elsewhere

How Avoidable Scandals Destroy Stupid Politicians | Alex Wickham
UKIP Mosque Confusion | The Week
Let’s Ban the Word Internet | Padraig Reidy
Are the Broadcasters Ready For the Election? | Specccie
Moral Bankruptcy of the BBC | David Keighley
UKIP’s ‘Starsky and Hutch’ | Total Politics
Innocent Sun Journo Just Doing Her Job | Sun
Boris Sent Up North | Times
The Only Way to Mend the EU | Leo McKinstry
Northern Labour Tearing Party Apart | David Aaronovitch
Osborne is Son of Brown | Peter Oborne


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Tony Blair threatens Ed:

“If you had a strong political lead that was combining the politics of aspiration with the politics of compassion, I still think that’s where you could get a substantial majority…  If I ever do an interview on [the state of the Labour Party], it will have to be at length…”



Left on Left says:

The lefties are attacking because the panellist is a millionaire and lives in a London home worth upwards of two million. Someone had best tell them he’s called Ed Miliband.


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