John McDonnell’s supermarket checkout tax: bad economics, bad Socialism

The Labour Party is considering a tax on supermarkets that use self-service checkouts, with the aim of preserving jobs.  A motion proposing such a tax was passed by St Ives constituency Labour Party in January and John McDonnell has welcomed it on his “People’s Chancellor” Facebook feed. The problem is that it is both very […]

The Posted Workers Directive is an excuse, not a reason, for opposing the Single Market

In recent speeches, most notably to the Scottish Labour Party conference, Jeremy Corbyn has cited the Posted Workers Directive as a reason for resisting membership of “the” Single Market, on the grounds that it allows workers from abroad to undercut the pay and conditions of local workers, and is therefore an example of how the […]

Corbyn’s EU speech: right direction, but still serious misunderstandings

Jeremy Corbyn has made his much-trailed major speech on the EU.  As widely trailed, Corbyn appears to have accepted the principle of a customs union with the EU.  It was a fascinating and wide-ranging speech, although still concerned, as ever, with generalities rather than detailed policy proposals. Corbyn structured the speech around three main themes: […]

Local elections: why Labour bucked the trend in Wales

Anyone listening to the Today Programme on Radio 4 this morning would have heard John McDonnell denying vigorously that yesterday’s local election results were a disaster.  His argument: Labour had held Cardiff, Swansea, Newport, Neath and Port Talbot.  They had stemmed the tide in Wales.  Diane Abbott was saying much the same thing this afternoon. […]

Anatomy of a disaster: Labour after Copeland and Stoke

After the by-elections, the comment on the state of Labour.  For the Labour Party – which won Stoke and lost Copeland – the very fact that its, rather than the Tories’, performance was the focus of attention ought to be bad enough, given that the Government is in clear disarray over Brexit.  But there is, […]

Labour’s £59bn elephant in the room

John McDonnell’s response to the Autumn Statement on this morning’s Today programme offered a fascinating insight into a growing political problem that seems to be passing unnoticed.  McDonnell, as ever, talked about fair taxation – dealing with tax avoidance, stopping tax giveaways to business and wealthy individuals, while struggling to defend Labour’s acceptance of proposed […]

Time for Corbyn to go?

As the fallout from the UK’s vote to leave the EU continues, two Labour MPs – Margaret Hodge and Ann Coffey – have tabled a motion of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership at the Parliamentary Labour Party.  It follows a referendum campaign in which Corbyn has made little impact, at least until the last […]