Stop the election, the ‘wrong’ candidate may win!

July 28, 2015

Democracy is all well and good but when the ‘wrong’ person is in danger of winning you have to draw the line somewhere. That staunch democrat, Labour MP John Mann has called on Harriet Harman to ‘halt the contest’. The election is apparently “out of the control” and at risk of being distorted by “infiltrators”. Utilising the eminently democratic institution and friend of Labour, the Sunday Times, Mr Mann said that Harman should step in as “speculation grows” that 140,000 people may have joined the Party since the General Election, just so they could vote for Corbyn. Obviously such an influx of members are for nefarious purposes. How can Labour be so popular after losing the general election? No wonder Mr Mann can smell a rat. In fact NEC member Anne Black has told us that at its July 21st meeting it was reported that since the general election 55,000 people had joined and one third of those were under 30, typically, she said, many were 18 or so. (Download a PDF here corbynarticle or read on below) Read the rest of this entry »


Owen Jones: holder of the Blairite flame?

July 24, 2015

Reading Owen Jones piece in yesterday’s Guardian I had to check again whether it had really been written by him. The article castigates the Blairites in the Labour Party over their abstention on the welfare bill parliamentary vote. He complains that they failed to defend New labour’s ‘legacy’. The sub-heading of the piece reads:

The Blairites and Brownites are in perverse denial of their good record on poverty and the public services.”

Astonishingly Owen says that “It’s people like me who are the holders of the Blairite flame…”. The “greatest defenders of this (New Labour) legacy are the left”. (Download a PDF here owenjones or read on below) Read the rest of this entry »


“Cash strapped Councils struggle to cope as Osborne’s austerity cuts bite”

July 23, 2015

Research by the Financial Times shows the extent to which local authorities are struggling to cope with the cuts in funding associated with the coalition government’s ‘austerity’ measures. The FT reported that vital services to 150,000 pensioners have been withdrawn whilst child protection spending has been cut by 8% since 2010. The FT says that local authority services are “creaking” under the weight of growing demand at the same time as their resources are being cut. Council budgets have been cut by £18 billion ‘in real terms’ (i.e. taking inflation into account) since 2010. The next round of cuts will mean at least the loss of another £9.5 billion by the end of the decade. (Download a PDF here impactofausterity or read on below) Read the rest of this entry »


Tory ballot-rigging threatens democratic right to strike

June 16, 2015

“Today’s Queen’s Speech is a speech for working people, from a One Nation government that will bring our country together.” David Cameron

The government’s ‘reform’ of trade union law constitutes an anti-democratic ballot rigging proposal designed to undermine the potential power of trades unions and to strengthen the power of employers over their workers.

One of the government’s key Bills in the New Parliament is the Trades Unions Bill. The declared purpose of the Bill, according to Minister Sajid Javid, is to “ensure hard-working people are not disrupted by little supported strike action”. The legislation is said to seek to ensure that strikes were the result of “clear, positive and recent decisions by union members” giving strikes a “democratic mandate”, “minimising disruption for hard working tax payers”. The centre-piece of the legislation will be amendment of the balloting regulations, but there are other proposals included which show that the purpose of the Bill has nothing to do with a democratic mandate but is designed to weaken trades unions and give more powers to the employers. (Download a PDF here balloting  or read on below)  Read the rest of this entry »


Get off the fence Harriet – Labour should oppose the theft of ‘social housing’

June 7, 2015

At the recent Prime Minister’s Question Time David Cameron goaded interim Labour Leader Harriet Harman on Labour’s attitude to the extension of ‘right to buy’ to Housing Associations. Did Labour agree with it? She failed to answer, repeatedly. Why? Her failure to respond reflects Labour’s fear that they will be denounced as being against “aspiration”. Yet the answer to Cameron should have been obvious. The government has no right to tell independent organisations that they have to sell their properties. With a little intelligence, something seemingly beyond the Labour front bench currently, she could have pointed out that if Labour has proposed extending the ‘right to buy’ to the properties of private landlords the Tories would have screamed that this was theft, class war, or even worse, socialism. Heaven forbid, this would challenge the sanctity of private property. But isn’t that what the government is proposing in relation to Housing Associations which are private businesses, albeit that most of them have charity status? How can they tell these independent organisations what to do? Whatever happened to ‘localism’? Download a PDF here getoffthefence of read on below. Read the rest of this entry »


Stop the Tories ballot-rigging proposal

May 31, 2015

Stop the Tories ballot rigging proposals

A letter to the Swindon Advertiser

The parliamentary majority which the Tories won in the General Election was delivered by the undemocratic first past the post system (FPTP). Whilst they might be said to have a Parliamentary mandate they certainly do not have a popular mandate, with little more than one in three voters supporting them and just under one in four of the electorate. Their vote increased by just 0.8%. A big majority of voters, 63.1% of those who voted, voted against them. Tory grandee Quentin Hogg once warned about the dangers of ‘elective dictatorship’ under this system. FPTP allows them to do whatever they can get away with so long as they can win a vote in parliament.

That the Tories have secured a small majority with such a vote underlines the need for a more proportional electoral system. Whatever you might think the politics of UKIP one MP from a vote of 3.8 million can scarcely be deemed democratic. The same applies to the Greens with 1.3 million votes. In Scotland half of the electorate has three MPs out of 59. Read the rest of this entry »


What happened and why?

May 13, 2015

These are some brief initial observations on the outcome of the General Election. 

Understanding exactly what happened in the General Election will take some time. It makes no sense to draw hasty conclusions on what is a complicated outcome in which a number of different trends appear to have clashed. However, what is clear from the results is that the small Parliamentary majority which the Tories gained was  delivered above all by the First Past The Post (FPTP) electoral system. The bald facts are these:

  • The Tory vote across the UK increased by 608,306 on 2010
  • Labour’s vote increased by 737,799
  • The Libdems lost a staggering 4,420,936
  •  UKIP’s vote increased by 2,961,583
  •  The Green Party vote increased by 868,946.

Read on below or download a PDF here: whathappenedandwhy

See the PDF for voting tables for UK, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for 2010 and 2015. Read the rest of this entry »


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