A vote for Owen Smith is a vote for democratic socialism

With the ballot papers about to be despatched in Labour’s increasingly testy leadership election, it’s a good time to take stock of the debate so far, and to summarise what we’ve learned from a contest that has tended to generate more heat than light. The most important thing is that this is a historic contest.  […]

Momentum and Lewisham – is the Left blowing Corbyn’s victory on gesture politics?

Faced with an unprecedented assault on local government finances, the Lewisham branch of Momentum is reported to have called on the Labour council in the borough to set a “no-cuts” – i.e. an illegal – budget.  It’s an issue that was bound to come to the surface after Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in Labour leadership election […]

Labour’s zero-based review: an opportunity for the left?

The Labour Party has today announced a zero-based review of public spending, to be completed early in the next Parliament.  It’s being presented in some circles as a renewal of the commitment to stick to something close to austerity after the election – which in some senses it is; in others it has been presented […]

The Brighton and Hove City Council budget: protest and responsibility

The funding cuts faced by Brighton and Hove City Council are brutal. Cuts in central Government support mean that the council has to find £24m in “savings”; on the basis of leaked documents the local paper, the Argus, reports that budgets for the care of the elderly and disabled will be badly hit.  There is […]

Brighton Greens and mediation: the absence of politics

The Brighton Argus reports today that the Brighton and Hove Green Party has called in mediators to deal with growing rifts within the Green Group of councillors, following a vote at a General Meeting earlier this week. In one respect, though, the Argus has in my view seriously misunderstood the issues.  It talks about different […]

The Spirit of ’45: a flawed but powerful message for contemporary politics

You would need a heart of stone – or to be Liam Byrne – not to shed a tear during The Spirit of ’45.  My moment came when the retired doctor – one of a number of individuals whose reflections and reminiscences punctuated the narrative, and whose demeanour might have been made for a white […]

The bedroom tax: where does Labour really stand?

Where does Labour stand on the bedroom tax?  The stance of many – probably most – Labour activists is clear; at a personal level they completely oppose this penalty on those whose social housing has a “spare” bedroom, and for very good reasons.  The implication of the penalty for “under-occupancy” is that social housing is […]