Category Archives: Labour Party

Labour Party election gains fall short of ousting the Tories

The recent election results of UK General Elections have thrown a lot many surprises. Though neither the Conservatives nor Labour won the support of a majority of voters, yet it was a big opportunity lost by Corbyn. Although many political pundits have forecasted a change of regime, yet the election results proved them wrong. Theresa May has somehow managed to continue, but with reduced numbers. In fact many Tories are now challenging her leadership and asking her to resign.

The Labour Party had huge chances of winning the elections. Their manifesto catered to the public in general which promised to create a million good quality jobs and guarantee a decent job for all. It further proposed to invest £500 billion in infrastructure and industry, backed up by a publicly-owned National Investment Bank and regional banks, to build a high skilled, high tech, low carbon economy. Further investment in the high speed broadband, energy, transport and homes to allow good businesses to thrive, and support a new generation of co-operative enterprises. It further promised to build a million new homes in five years, with at least half a million council homes. To provide relief to tenants it promised to introducing rent controls, secure tenancies and a charter of private tenants’ rights, and increase access to affordable home ownership. In industrial law, it promised robust employment rights from day one in a job, end exploitative zero hours contracts, and create new sectoral collective bargaining rights and stronger Trade Unions. In the health sector, it promised to end health service privatisation and bring services into a secure, publicly-provided NHS and integrate the NHS and social care for older and disabled people, funding dignity across the board, and ensure parity for mental health services.

In the education sphere, a new National Education Service, open to all throughout their lives with a universal childcare to give all children a good start in life, allowing greater sharing of caring responsibilities and removing barriers to women participating in the labour market was promised. To ‘insource’ public and local council services, increase access to leisure, arts and sports across the country, and expand publicly controlled bus network along with government control of Railways. To shrink the gap between the rich and the poor, a progressive tax system was to be introduced.

Whereas the Conservatives promised to secure the best deals from Brexit to control the laws, borders and money and also to form new trade deals for UKs goods and services with different states. Affordable housing, new rights and protections for workers, create more and better-paid jobs, tackling the cost of living by capping rip-off energy tariffs and keeping taxes low have been promised. There would be increasing school funding every year which would provide real technical education for young people. There will be increase in the NHS budget every year to ensure every family gets proper medical care. Though the election results have dealt a brutal blow to Theresa May yet the Labour Party’s inability to form a majority has raised many questions on Corbyn’s ability to head the party.

Corbynomics meets Piketty, Stiglitz; From Milibandism to “People’s Quantitative Easing”, the new Labour’s flavour (Part 2 of 3)

The anti-austerity leader is a strong opponent of military interventions. He has clearly indicated that bombing Syria may not defeat ISIL but would rather involve heavy casualties and has even warned Cameron that any attempt to launch air strikes will be blocked by him. Corbyn is a strong proponent of political and diplomatic solutions, instead of armed conflict. His staunch opposition to renewal of the Trident Nuclear Programme and his ambivalence on continuing membership of NATO has recently raised many eyebrows. But he continues to be defiant and it can only be expected that he may take a more nuanced position in near future. He considers NATO as a cold war vestige which should have been disbanded alongwith the ‘Warsaw Pact’ in 1990. Corbyn views EU and NATO as tools of US policy in Europe. As the US remains overwhelmingly the military superpower, it seized opportunities in 1990 and in 2001 to increase its military spending and develop a global reach of bases unmatched since the Second World War. Also the expansion of NATO into Poland and the Czech Republic has increased tensions with Russia and the West’s intentions in Ukraine are unclear. Corbyn argues that the obsession with cold war politics that exercises the NATO and EU leaderships is fuelling the crisis and underlines the case for a whole new approach to foreign policy. He warns that the long-term effect of the aggressive US foreign policy, backed by the EU and the British government, can lead to further conflagrations and an ever-growing and more fearless Russia-China bloc will increasingly rival NATO and the EU, leading to a more turbulent future.

On the issue of continuing membership of the EU he has made it clear that worker rights cannot be overlooked as part of David Cameron’s renegotiation strategy. Now he has stated that Labour would make the case for continued British membership of the EU whatever may be outcome of the renegotiation. Labour will now make the case that the membership would help Britain to create jobs, secure growth, encourage investment and effectively tackle the refugee crisis.  He has further warned that if the employment protections are diminished then instead of leaving the EU, Labour on coming to power in 2020 will reverse and restore those protections. Protection of the NHS from EU competition law, reform of the state aid rule, reform of the EU budget and increased flexibility on transitional controls will be in the Labour’s agenda.

National Health Service should continue to be completely publicly run and publicly accountable. There cannot be any trace of privatization. A National Education Service, like the NHS, will be the Labour’s flagship education policy. A free University education, funded through a higher rate of national insurance on the highest earners is now being envisaged. He even wants to offer an apology to the students who had to pay fees because of the previous Labour governments decisions. Hard-hitting on the bailout plans, he has lamented that instead of the bailout money reaching the desired public, it has gone to various banks all across Europe leading to continuing destruction of the economy of many troubled countries. A strong proponent of renationalising the railways, he argues that it will allow the public to get the benefit of the investment in infrastructure that is currently underway. Also rent controls will be reintroduced so that an average citizen need not face extreme difficulties because of the mindless surging property prices.

He is a supporter of a United Ireland, even controversially inviting Sinn Féin Party President to London in 1984. Being sympathetic to IRA campaign, his party’s early stand of support for United Ireland was changed by Blair to one of neutrality. The tussle between Irish Nationalists and Unionists is surely going to escalate.

Corbynomics meets Piketty, Stiglitz: From Milibandism to “People’s Quantitative Easing”, the new Labour’s flavour (Part 1 of 3)

The loss of the Labour Party in the 2015 General Elections led to the end of Milibandism and the rise of Jeremy Corbyn, the backbencher MP for Islington North. The new leader of Labour Party is now exhorting fellow Englishmen to support “sunshine of socialism” to break through against the “narrow, nasty” politics of the Conservatives. Extremely conscious of rising inequality, child poverty and widening health inequalities, he plans to set up a National Investment bank to invest in infrastructure, such as housing, transport, rural broadband and green energy; and bankroll that investment with “people’s QE”, money created for a social purpose rather than for banks. Corbyn argues that, if it was acceptable to use QE to support the banking system and encourage lending, it should also be acceptable to use it to fund investment. He envisions a modern, more productive and fairer economy. Agreeing with anti austerity economists, like Stiglitz, he is of the opinion that reducing government investment, for the sake of prudence, is dangerous because it prevents growth, innovation and productivity increases. This in turn lowers the tax receipts resulting in higher debt. In fact noted economist Keynes first proposed “monetising public debt” to pay for public works in order to stimulate recovery from depression. The Treasury would sell new bonds direct to the Bank of England, which would issue credits on which the agencies in charge of public works would draw to pay for the labour, equipment and materials they required.

Corbyn camp has vociferously attacked the privatisation spree as “a confidence trick”. They dismiss it stating that the British people have been clearly robbed while those snatching up the public assets have been printing money. Privatisation of water, energy and rail and even the PFI schemes have been one long confidence trick. A Corbyn led Labour Government would reserve the right to renationalise Royal Bank of Scotland and other public assets, with either no compensation or with any undervaluation deducted from any compensation for renationalisation if they are now sold at a knockdown price. Chancellor, George Osborne, plans to sell off £31bn of public assets in 2015-16. This is now opposed by Corbyn arguing that Conservatives’s “free market dogma” will be challenged and a future Labour Government under his leadership would re-empower the state.

Thomas Piketty, “the modern Marx” and author of the international best seller ‘Capital in the Twenty-First Century’, has researched that capital becomes destructive when it chronically exceeds income. A steeply progressive tax, raising top rate of income tax, a land value tax, inheritance tax are few measures that could absorb the superfluous wealth and redirect it to more productive purposes. Under Corbyn’s plans, Labour 2020 will make large reductions in the £93 billion of corporate tax relief and subsidies. He plans to tackle tax avoidance and evasion by stronger anti-avoidance rules brought into UK tax law, aim of country-by-country reporting for multinational corporations, reform of small business taxation to tackle avoidance and evasion, enforcement of proper regulations to ensure that companies pay what they owe and reversal of the cuts to staff in HMRC and at Companies House, taking on more staff at both, to ensure that HMRC can collect the taxes. He laments that UK has shifted from taxing income and wealth to taxing consumption; and from taxing corporations to taxing individuals.

Corbyn will face his first electoral challenge in Scotland in May 2016 Holyrood elections. It will be a tough contest against the incumbent Scottish National party. He has recently signed an agreement with Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale pledging a more autonomous structure. Corbyn, derided by many, will be before the public with his ‘too good to be true’ plans.