Labour Party

Social care: the public service alternative

Really the only good thing about the Tories’ proposals for social care funding is that they are so blatantly not a solution to anything. The door is still open wide, perhaps now even wider, for a labour movement push for a real alternative on this crucial issue, shifting the debate, winning concessions and damaging the government in the process. But at the moment the push is far too weak. Our minimum alternative should be to make social care and support provision a publicly-owned, publicly-provided system, with enough public funding to ensure it is completely free, high quality and provides...

Push Labour to fight the Tories

The Tory government has brought the NHS its worst-ever winter. The Tories are floundering on many other issues. A 60%-29% majority thinks they are handling Brexit badly, and a 52%-18% majority, that Brexit has gone badly since December 2020. Yet Keir Starmer’s eyes remained fixed on reconciling Labour with big business. He told the CBI bosses’ group (22 November) that “Labour is the party of business”. It was the same keynote in his soon-forgotten pamphlet just before Labour Party conference in September, and in his conference speech. The government is setting records for u-turns. Yet the...

Safe routes for refugees! Fight for free movement!

Many hundreds joined the protest at the Home Office initiated by Sisters Uncut on 25 November, to mourn and denounce the deaths of 27 refugees in the Channel the day before. Hundreds joined a Stand Up to Racism rally at Downing Street on the 27th. There have been protests around the country. The PCS civil service union has joined a legal challenge to the Tories’s “pushback” policy, and says: “If the government does not abandon this appalling approach, we will pursue all legal avenues including a judicial review... PCS will not rule out all forms of industrial action, including disrupting the...

Needing right-wing policies to beat the Tories?

We had a friendly, respectful debate about the way forward at a recent Labour Party branch meeting in York. It was prompted by members asking questions. Why are the Tories still popular despite their incompetence and corruption? Do the Tories have a Trump-like base of support, impervious to evidence and argument? In the tussle between the left and the right within Labour, which side has the answers that can deliver a General Election win? Some people had stayed loyal to Labour throughout the Blair years and said they were tired of being made to feel ashamed of New Labour’s achievements. Unlike...

Stalinism: not so “external”

Urte March, in their review of Corbynism: What Went Wrong? in Solidarity 614 cites their own comrade Tim Nailsea’s review of the Communist Party’s re-issued Britain’s Road to Socialism. This is to hammer their argument that Martin Thomas is wrong to blame Stalinism for many of Corbynism’s weak points when the finger should be pointed at the reformist character of the Labour party itself. But, as Nailsea says in their review: “Britain’s Road to Socialism is, in fact, probably one of the clearest blueprints for reformist socialism one might find on the British left”. Since its publication in...

Unison battle heats up

On 2 November the left narrowly won the Labour Link National Committee elections in the public services union Unison. With union President Paul Holmes suspended, we expected a dead heat in votes between left and right at the first Labour Link Committee meeting on 16 November. In fact, the right narrowly won all contested votes, because the Labour Party had expelled (for links to Socialist Appeal) Lilly Boulby, who was elected to the Labour Link Committee from the union’s National Executive (NEC). The right won Chair and Vice Chair of the Committee, and the casting vote where votes are tied...

Reinstate Crispin Flintoff

Crispin Flintoff, well-known for organising “Stand Up for Labour” comedy events and gigs and hosting the online “Not the Andrew Marr Show”, has been suspended from the Labour Party because as Henley constituency secretary he circulated his CLP chair’s resignation letter to members. In August National Executive Committee (NEC) member Ann Black reported “nearly 100 members still suspended after more than 18 months... more than 1000 complaints... unresolved”. Most of those suspended we don’t know about because unlike (to his credit) Flintoff, they are intimidated by former general secretary...

Barry Gardiner’s support for the far right

Brent North Labour MP Barry Gardiner has been prominent opposing “fire and rehire”. He has joined demonstrations at the Clarks dispute in Somerset, far from his constituency. He has good connections in the unions, and in the Corbyn years he seemed to have a surprising amount of support from people who saw themselves as part of the Labour left. Yet as far as I can see Gardiner, who loyally served Tony Blair as a minister, is a self-serving opportunist. That is bad enough, but far from the worst of it. After all, a Labour MP who backs a strike for opportunist reasons can still help boost the...

Corbynism's fundamental failure was on campaigning

Mike Davis reviews Corbynism: what went wrong? This is a thoughtful if polemical book charting the rise and fall of the Corbyn project. The essence of the analysis is that Corbynism ran aground on two political issues: antisemitism and Brexit. The remedy for which could have been debate and education. Additionally only a meagre culture of political discussion was developed. Membership mushroomed with Corbyn’s election in 2015. However, the older rejoiners were already "formed" and youth were not drawn into regular activity and education—youth and student activity declined, while the right...

Corbynism's flaw was unity with the right, not Stalinism

The Alliance for Workers' Liberty has issued Corbynism: What Went Wrong?, a 60-page assessment of the collapse of the Corbyn project. At the outset, the pamphlet correctly identifies the ‘real lost promise’ of Corbynism. Rather than building an independent socialist movement in workplaces and communities which could have ousted the right in the Parliamentary Labour Party and in local government, propelled Labour to power and held the leadership to account on its promises, Corbyn kept the membership as an auxiliary social movement only to be mobilised at times of leadership or parliamentary...

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