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Soon to be Dead Ed

On Thursday Ed Miliband defied the wishes of his paymasters and called the strikes a mistake and further claimed that the Basic State Pension is enough for everyone to survive on and didn’t know what all the fuss was about. He said this as he hoisted the Hammer and Sickle flag above his £1.6 million home near Hampstead Heath.

The Unions were fuming. With the usually docile ATL issuing a fatwa on Miliband’s head – dead or alive (preferably dead). A Unison representative said they gave life to Miliband and they ‘can take it away’. Bob Crow, of RMT fame, offered to ‘crack some f***ing nuts!”

Those on the right issued as statement in solidarity with Miliband, stating that it is ‘better to be dead than red’ whilst they visibly backed away from Mr. Miliband in case the angry mob turned on them after dealing with Miliband. Have fear right wingers, they’re after you too.

Some or all of this report may have been made up.

Innovation and growth

March 28, 2011 3 comments

Innovation is a process of resource allocation. First, developmental, in that it commits resources to irreversible investments with uncertain returns. Second, organisational, in that it generates returns through the integration of human and physical resources. Third, strategic, in that it allocates resources to overcome market and technological conditions that other firms take as given.

Why is innovation important to growth?

Stagnant growth, little to no growth, is as a result of a) lack of consumption, and b) lack of innovation. While lack of consumption may be tackled through Keynesian demand-side economics – boosting the aggregate demand in an economy. This is artificial and cannot be sustained without innovation. For the reasons mentioned above, innovation is a greater driver of growth than demand-side economics.

What has innovation and growth got to do with today?

Well, if you hadn’t noticed it is a worry that Britain’s growth could stagnate. The coalition government also launched http://www.startupbritain.org – a website with useful links and information, together with corporate sponsorship, to help people to innovate and start up their own business with the drive of entrepreneurialism.

Great idea, but what’s the catch?

There isn’t one. However, many may feel that this is just another shallow gimmick by the government to get people on board with their programme. It may be, but it’s not a gimmick. It’s a step in the right direction for Britain to realise its entrepreneurial spirit. It’s something that should be applauded, embraced and built upon by all major parties, especially Labour if it is to seek re-election.

Obituary: Britannia

October 19, 2010 Leave a comment

The Great and ever victorious Britannia is dead. She will be mourned by a nation.

Britannia was born at the beginning of time to Europe and God. She was the outsider in her family, rejected by her jealous sisters for her ravishing beauty, her fierce temperament, and hips that would bear an Empire.

Every woman wanted to be her and every man wanted to be with her.

Her sister, Marianne, was, for a long time, jealous of Britannia. While Britannia had the beauty and the modesty Marianne was off cavorting with French peasants. Marianne wanted to be Britannia, but eventually she settled to be the fiery, less attractive sister who has a thing for short cowardly men, and a penchant for cheese.

She had relationships with many people; the longest on/off relationship was with Mister Conservative, though she had flings with Messrs Labour and Liberal. Mister Conservative was her favourite, and she his. They had their fallings out, as do all relationships. He cared for her like a gentle lover would. He gave her gifts, fed her grapes as she relaxed on the Chaise Longue, read to her. He made sweet, sweet love to her. It was a special relationship and from their communion many children were borne. When they argued, he was out of the House for a while, before she forgave him and invited him back – mainly for the sex.

But when they did have their arguments, there were always others to step into the gap Mister Conservative left. Those were namely Messrs Labour and Liberal. Mister Liberal was a timid lover who rarely showed any passion and drive that attracted Britannia. Love was made, but there wasn’t much in it. Mister Labour was the casual fling; she was the casual fling for him. He often neglected her and was often found in the embrace of other women, especially N.H. Service. But he was good to her when he was around, often buying her gifts and showing her the passion she craved. In the end she always went back to Mister Conservative.

Her downfall arrived on the 19th of October in the Two Thousand and Tenth Year of our Lord. Britannia was cruelly beaten to death by the man who claimed loved her, encouraged by his jealous business partner Mister Liberal Democrat.

It is a complicated tale to tell and not a pleasant outcome. Mister Liberal Democrat, having never experienced the taste of Britannia and never likely would do either, entered into a business arrangement with Mister Conservative after arrangements with Mister Labour collapsed. It was a good deal for Mister Conservative, he was back earning money and he was back in the embrace of his beloved Britannia. Jealous of what Mister Conservative had with Britannia, Mister Liberal Democrat began feeding Mister Conservative lies about Britannia and how she was some sort of cheap whore. These rumours remain as rumours, vile and malicious as they are. In a fit of rage, encouraged by Mister Liberal Democrat, Mister Conservative beat Britannia to death. Blinded her because she saw too much, gagged her because she threatened to speak up. Shield stolen so she could not defend herself and trident snapped so she could not attack back. All this was done in the presence of Mister Liberal Democrat who was shouting encouragement and lies while sadistically shaving Britannia’s lion. If that was not enough, they maimed her three sons. The oldest, Royal Navy was drowned before being crippled. He is still in intensive care. Her middle child, Army, was up in arms about the commotion before he too was bloodied and crippled. He may never walk again. The youngest, Royal Air Force was quiet throughout, but he did not escape the carnage. He had his wings clipped and his aspirations of becoming a pilot may never happen.

Shocked at what happened, Mister Conservative broke down in tears and began blaming Mister Liberal Democrat. Mister Liberal Democrat, with his silken tongue, convinced him to blame it on Mister Labour’s neglect that ultimately led to her ‘suicide’. Fortunately for justice the plot was foiled. Messrs Conservative and Liberal Democrat were not available for comment at the time of printing.

Britannia is survived by many, many children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren etc., etc.

Britannia, born when time began, died 19/10/10, aged ageless.

Generation of the damned

October 7, 2010 Leave a comment

The Coalition’s recent announcement of cuts to the Benefit system, coupled with perceived cuts to the public sector and welfare state in the October Spending Review has damned an entire generation to relative poverty and poor prospects.

It is a well known principle that investment in the welfare state and education can enable individuals to remove themselves from the poverty cycle. As has been discussed in a previous post: you are only as rich as your poorest citizen. The cuts seek to trap our poorest citizens in the poverty cycle without any means to remove themselves.

The Conservatives, especially Cameron, hark on about Broken Britain. Britain is not broken, but it soon will be. It is also well known that anti-social behaviour and general social ills are created and fuelled by poverty, bear in mind that there are always exceptions to the rule. So to ‘fix’ broken Britain what is needed is investment in education, as the great liberator, and welfare to work schemes as well as maintaining the welfare and universal benefit system – means testing might be a better option than an arbitrary reduction.

The ‘Free’ schools are another name for Grammar Schools but free from state control and therefore able to select pupils thus further damning children from poor areas. I, separate from Oldfield-Pike, advocate a fully comprehensive education system so that there is not two-tiers within the education system.

The perceived result of the Browne Review, set to announce tuition fees to £10,000, coupled with the governments reduction in funding for Higher Education will inhibit the majority from applying to go to University and will reduce the calibre of the institutions for those that do. Now, more than ever, do we, as a country, need to push for greater investment in education or we risk falling behind the rest of the world in teaching and research.

The Coalition government wants to get people into work and off the benefit system but the way they are approaching it can only spell disaster. The welfare to work programmes have been scrapped which means relying on the voluntary sector to provide the programmes through the ‘Big Society’, but, because public spending is being cut across the board, there is not any money for charities etc. to provide for these welfare to work schemes thus trapping them in the poverty cycle with their children and their children’s children ad infinitum.

Is it Time to Bring Back the ‘old’ Clause IV?

October 5, 2010 Leave a comment

Clause IV of the Labour Party Constitution is known as the aims and values of the Party. It was altered in 1995 by the New Labour leadership in order to embrace the Thatcherite consensus in Britain.

The text of the ‘old’ Clause IV was written in 1918 by Sidney Webb and states the Labour Party exists;

“To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service.”

Whereas the ‘new’ Clause IV states;

“The Labour Party is a democratic socialist party. It believes that by the strength of our common endeavour we achieve more than we achieve alone, so as to create for each of us the means to realise our true potential and for all of us a community in which power, wealth and opportunity are in the hands of the many, not the few. Where the rights we enjoy reflect the duties we owe. And where we live together, freely, in a spirit of solidarity, tolerance and respect.”

The ‘new’ Clause IV is aspirational; something that New Labour would have liked to achieved but did not, much like the majority of people in this country. Aspire, but forever a pipe dream. The ‘old’ Clause IV had distinct aims and a working model to obtain these aims. However, where the ‘old’ Clause went wrong was that it was hijacked by those on the far left because it was left open to interpretation. As the author of the original Clause, Sidney Webb, put it;

“This declaration of the Labour Party leaves it open to choose from time to time whatever forms of common ownership, from co-operative store to the nationalised railway, and whatever forms of popular administration and control of industry, from national guilds to ministries of employment and municipal management [which] may in particular cases commend themselves.”

Clause IV never meant to be an absolute nationalisation of industry but a common ownership of the means of production, whether that was nationalisation of key industries or a co-operative economy. It was a much clearer and, possibly, a more obtainable goal than the aspiration of New Labour rhetoric.

It is quite possible for Labour to readopt to ‘old’ Clause, but to keep it fluid and malleable so as to not fall into the trap that ‘Old’ Labour did during the latter half of the 20th Century whereby Clause IV where hijacked by the ‘hard’ left in order to bring about their vision of a socialist state. That view has no place in the modern Labour Party or in modern society, but Clause IV is still as relevant today as it was in 1918.

Categories: Analysis, Labour Tags: ,

Balls the Architect…

September 30, 2010 Leave a comment

The nominatons to the Shadow Cabinet are closed and the voting will soon begin, with the result being announced on the 11th October, Ed Balls is vyeing for the post of Shadow Chancellor against his wife, the Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Yvette Cooper.

Balls claims he is the architect of New Labour’s economic policy, an economic policy that abandoned Labour principles by embracing the free market and the deregulation of banks that led to the arrogant claim of ending boom and bust. It can also be argued that such a policy led to the economic predicament we, as a country, now find ourselves. A post-recession economy where growth is still fragile, record levels of private and public debt – a clamp down on credit – all due to the liberalisation and deregulation of the economy and running the economy on debt and credit when times where good.

Labour’s new leader, Ed Miliband, has already distanced himself from the party of Blair and Brown – how will Ed Balls, the ‘architect’ of New Labour’s economic policy, fit in with Mr. Miliband’s vision?

On paper he won’t. In reality he will have a tough fight on his hands as Yvette Cooper is a competent economist and has transformed the DWP while she was there. Balls favours a slowing of the cuts to an impossible level instead relying on the proceeds of growth to reduce the deficit. As we have already discussed in a previous post, while he is technically correct in his approach, his approach is unrealistic. Cooper, as far as we are aware, is more in line with Mr. Miliband’s own approach to reducing the deficit – reduce the deficit by half over 4 years, but slow the rate of cuts by increasing taxes.

Balls, as is Ed Miliband, is tainted by the Blair-Brown era of Labour but, as Leader, Ed Miliband has the opportunity to redefine himself and the Party. Will Balls be able to do that? Yvette Cooper was not marked as a Brownite or a Blairite in the previous administration and already has the cleansheet to start in the New Generation.

Time will eventually tell who will be Shadow Chancellor, we hope it’ll be Yvette Cooper, we know that both will be in the Shadow Cabinet, but where we have no idea. Just don’t hold out for the outside contender grabbing the top spot.

How Red is Ed?

September 27, 2010 Leave a comment

If his father, Ralph Miliband and famous Marxist historian, was alive he would probably laugh and call his son a Tory. As a Conservative Tweeter said: “he’s only red in comparison to his brother which everyone is doing.” By everyone it can only be assumed that he is referring to the right-wing press and the Lib Dems.

Ed won the Labour Leadership by 1.3% – an incredibly close competition by anyone’s standards. Some have pointed out that he only won due to a “Union bloc”. They have little understanding of how the college system works, how AV works and how the Labour Party works.

The college system is far from ideal as it gives an individual the potential for more than one vote, but one also has to recognise that the Labour Party was established by Trade Unions, Socialist Societies and individual left-wing Parliamentarians. By recognising the obscure construction of the Labour Party the college system becomes more self-proving. As many members of the affiliates and unions aren’t members of Labour, the college system limits their power to restrict outside influence on the party.

By saying that Ed won because of a Union Bloc disregards the turnout for the Union vote at 10%. And it is also individual union members that vote not the Union Leaders. However endorsement does help. Either this is because the Union Leaders have gauged the opinion of the majority of their members or it gives a banner for undecided members to aim for. Take, for example, ASLEF who gave their endorsement to Diane Abbott – the majority of ASLEF members voted for Diane and not Ed thus further disproving the ‘Union bloc’ theory.

Now moving onto AV. AV is a preferrential voting system whereby a candidate needs 50% of the vote plus 1 in order to win. Low and behold Ed received more than 50% of the vote because he was more preferrable than David. In order to obtain over 50% of the vote Ed had to appeal to the broad cross section of the party. He obtained an overwhelming majority in the Union and Affilates section. Was close behind David in the MP and MEP section as well as the Membership section. One can rely on ‘ifs’ but the reality is, is that the alternative didn’t happen.

Now that Ed has won he needs to start including the membership in decisions of the Party in order to win around members that didn’t vote for him in order to unite the party. The Top heavy structure that was developed so superbly under New Labour must be dismantled to usher in Ed’s “new generation”.

As a Labour Member and supporter of David I am disappointed that David lost, but I’m not disappointed that Ed won. I’m happy that Ed won, as I did vote for him, and Labour has a new Leader.

Categories: Analysis, Labour Tags: ,