Category Archives: British Left

A quick fisking

Two prefatory notes:
1. Each week-day morning I get three emails:

    • The Times is usually first out of the traps with Matt Chorley’s Red Box;
    • Paul Waugh shrewdly chips in with Waugh Zone, the political lead of HuffPo UK;
    • and, trailing the rear, because he has been mulling yet another excruciatingly-brilliant punning headline, comes the New Statesman‘s Stephen Bush.

2. Back in the days of yore, when social media were in their infancy, we took umbrage at the utterances of Robert Fisk. Because we were so much more intelligent than Fisk, we would “fisk” his columns, with counter arguments.

So, this grey Yorkshire morning, I’m fisking Paul Waugh.


Way back in 2010, David Cameron made the Liberal Democrats “a big, open and comprehensive offer” to join him in Government. Tomorrow, Theresa May will make what looks to Labour like a small, closed and limited offer to prop her up in power.

Without exception — and for once even the Torygraph is on board — the commentariat do not like the idea.

May’s relaunch speech has been well trailed overnight and includes a line that she will accept “the new reality” of her loss of a Parliamentary majority. But given her lifelong instinct of trusting only a tight-knit team around her, can May reach out to her own party, let alone Labour and others? May rightly wants to build consensus on areas like social care, but just ask Yvette Cooper or Andy Burnham how open to cross-party working she has been in the past. On the Today programme, even the impeccably moderate Damian Green underlined the difficulties of any cross-party working, ridiculing Angela Rayner over the cost of wiping out all student debt. No wonder Labour’s Andrew Gwynne dismissed May’s olive branch, saying “they’re having to beg for policy proposals from Labour”.

We are not — heaven forfend! — to see this as a “relaunch”. Such lèse-majesté would deny the glory of Number 10.

The rest of that paragraph amount to a recital of so many current metropolitan political memes. Memes they may be; but they seem copper-bottomed. The jibe about student debt should not be over-looked: all sides are now coming around to recognising what a total disaster, educationally and financially — as well as electorally, the ConDem government inflicted by cranking up student fees and debt to the highest in the developed world. Predictably, the Tories continue, officially, to impale themselves while, behind the arras, scratching around for a way to climb-down.

If the UK were Germany, we might have seen some sort of ‘grand coalition’ in the wake of the snap election, driven by a sense of national mission to deliver a consensual Brexit (I remember Gisela Stuart floating the Tory-Labour coalition idea if the 2015 election had seen a hung Parliament). But we are not Germany and it takes world wars, rather than impending trade wars, to make our opposing parties work together on that level.

The essential differences between English and continental political practices derive from:

  • the shape of the Commons chamber, itself a distant legacy from the choir-stalls of St Stephen’s Chapel in the Palace of Westminster. Once there are two sides, each individual member of the Commons had to decide whether he (and it was always a “he”) was right of the Speaker (the Administration) or left (Opposition). Not for nothing are the two front benches traditionally two swords’ lengths apart.
  • over the centuries, the main supply of parliamentarians has been the Law, they are a contrarian, disputatious and forensic lot. Each argument has to be set against a counter-argument. Remember Swift’s satire of the Little-Endians versus the BigEndians.

Of course, Jeremy Corbyn’s success so far has been built on vigorously opposing the Tories, not working with them. And everyone in Parliament remembers just how badly burned the Lib Dems were by the Tories in coalition, never given credit for the good stuff, blamed for the bad stuff. May will say tomorrow that through cross-party working, “ideas can be clarified and improved and a better way forward found”. But in fact she’s admitting the reality that just 7 Tory MPs is all it takes to defeat the Government. And critics will say the only true way to get her to make concessions is to threaten rebellion after rebellion.

“Jeremy Corbyn’s success so far“: notice two presumptions there. “Success” in practice amounts to gaining 30 seats when all the indicators were for a possible loss of as many as sixty. However, in all truth, Labour opposition has been remarkably limited: in particular on the #Brexit thing. When 49 Labour MPs voted against the Government to keep the UK in the single market, they were abused and worse by Corbynite supporters.

One person who could more credibly make a genuinely big, bold offer to Labour is David Davis, precisely because he would be trusted by his own side not to sell out on the big principles, while being pragmatic enough on how to deliver them. I’ve said before that DD is the Martin McGuinness of the Brexit movement, capable of compromise without abandoning his supporters’ main strategic goal. And despite errors from key allies like Andrew Mitchell, he looks increasingly like the favourite in any Tory leadership race. Green this morning reiterated David Lidington’s line about “the warm Prosecco problem” of Tory MPs gossiping about the leadership. But Mitchell’s parties feature only the finest Champagne, and DD himself likes a pint of bitter. That’s the kind of cross-class, party consensus that May will need to worry about most.

For little obvious reason — but mainly, one has to suspect, for want of a better — David Davis has emerged as the Tory front-runner for a new leader (and, in the present dispensation, Prime Minister). I cannot help musing the Waugh over-eggs his pudding with the “trusted by his own side”. The ultras on the frothing right of the Tory Party trust no-one but themselves — which is why Theresa May keeps head-bangers and second-raters like Liam Fox and Andrea Leadsom as household pets. As of now, Davis’s key strength is keeping in line. Were he to go rogue, he could easily bring down the whole shebang.

One final, dislocated thought:

John Rentoul (another commentator of value) is, but of course, cocking an ironic eye there. Irony on irony: that Paul Staines (by name and by nature) felt moved to protect “the establishment”.

On Saturday I was at the Big Meeting, the Durham Miners’ Gala. The Red Banners flew free. The Red Flag was sung, and — uniquely — the singers knew more than the first verse and chorus.  Tee-shirts proclaimed ¡No pasarán! and La lutte continue! I even heard a scratch band bash out The Internationale. I could have bought books, badges and posters celebrating Lenin, Trotsky, James Connolly.

It was all festive, and slightly tongue-in-cheek. For all the revolutionary ardor, these subversives were set on little more than getting down the next pint.

And yet, according to Guido Fawkes: they had already won! These north-easterners had voted #Brexit. They were successfully challenging the Establishment.


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Two truths are still to be told

I attended closely to the YouTube feed of the “debate” between Jeremy Corbyn and Owen Smith over the leadership of the Labour Party.

It seemed to me that two strong issues went AWOL, by both parties (and — let’s be honest here — there really are two tribes inhabiting the Labour reservation).

So these two essential questions:

What should the Party be doing to improve the lot of left-behind workers?

That is essentially the same question as “What went wrong in the #Brexit campaign?”, or “How to counteract the attraction of UKIP?”, and many others which go back to alienation of the working-class vote.

The answer is quite simple, and comes in different forms of essentially the same thing:

  • Re-activate the employees’ working rights.
  • Do what Citrine and Feather did for the German employees under deNazification.
  • Strengthen the power of trades unions in the work places.

It isn’t enough (though both Corbyn and Smith seem to argue so) to rely on central government racking up “minimum wage” levels.

What that achieves, instantly, is to erode differentials. Indeed it often means that the next wage-tier above minimum is absorbed into a lumpen-proletarian base. It also negates any pressure on the employer to innovate to improve productivity: after all, the combine has a quiescent work-force, which can be refreshed by adding under-25s or “adult apprentices”, who come cheaper than minimum. Or, of course, by using zero-hours contracts. Cue Dilbert from 1993:


There are “costs” to beefing up the unions.

Labour becomes more expensive.

Which means, in the short term, unemployment may rise.

It also means there is more cash floating round the system. That may be “inflationary”, but it also means there is an increase in demand — and both services and manufacturing should benefit. Meanwhile, in the present context, #Brexit has ensured that imports are more expensive, and domestic production should be more competitive. Which should create a demand for skilled employment.

Why did Labour lose the 2015 General Election?

Because of the Big Lie and the Big Bribe.

The Big Lie was that the previous Labour Government’s investment in public services broke the economy and caused the 2007 Crash.

Pause for breath on that one. It wasn’t the collapse of one US over-levered operation after another, until Lehman Brothers were made to walk the plank. It wasn’t the reckless lending of uncontrolled fringe bankers. It wasn’t the Stock Markets taking flight. No: it was because Labour had civilised public education and public health care. No more outdoor school toilets. No lying on hospital trolleys for hours. So: the Tory remedy was to bring back public squalor (Psst: try private health care and schooling!)

The Big Bribe was to pay off those who vote at the expense of those who don’t.

So the seniors get their “triple lock” of guaranteed public pension pay-offs, to be paid for by austerity pay-freezes for those at the bottom of the heap. Oh, and if you’re got money in pension-funds, rush off and invest in a Ferrari or a Spanish time-share. You know you really, really need to. If you’re paying cooperation tax, here’s a let-off.

But to pursue either of those, would involve a real “debate”.


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The world re-arranged (slightly)

Yesterday I had an appointment with the local GP (and would be seen, promptly, by a very personable young lady doctor). As I waited,  I was continuing re-reading Neal Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon, a text which requires a considerable degree of focus.

In the background there was a radio, tuned to BBC Radio 2, burbling MOR pop, which I could barely hear. Somehow my attention drifted from Stephenson to the radio. It took a moment to identify the track:

I can’t say I ever paid much attention to Terry Parsons, a.k.a. Matt Munro. Probably one of the few occasions he came to my 51D0MjaOdCLattention was as “Fred Flange” on Songs for Swingin’ Sellars. For some reason — probably because we were fans of The Goon Show (largely because we thought we spotted the dirty jokes smuggled past the BBC editorial blue pencil) — the LP was declared kosher among jazzers, as we were.

Yet this particular song resonated for me. As I recall, it appeared around 1970 — by which time I was well over the adolescent (and subsequent) music addiction.

The lyrics (apparently by Tim Harris) involve a list of Harris’s ex-girlfriends — hence Shirley Wood, Margaret Baty/Beatty and Annie Harris.

My guess: had the song appeared a decade earlier (at the height of the CND marching epidemic) it would have done a heck of a lot better.

Still: it has survived. It is as slick as anything that the London production line was churning out at that time. The sentiments aren’t too dusty, either.

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All gloom and doom

Expressing what I feel about the state of the Labour Party comes easier vocally. Putting it into words here is more difficult, because a stream of blasphemies and obscenities doesn’t adequately suffice.

So let me start a distance back, and take a run at it.

First there was Peter Bradshaw on screen villains in today’s Guardian G2. This on Lotso-Huggin’-Bear from Toy Story 3:

… the “loveable” Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear, richly and warmly voiced by Ned Beatty. He is the senior prisoner and everyone appears to respect him as a sweet, grandfatherly figure — but, in fact, he is an insidious and creepy bully, almost like a cult leader, who rules with henchmen enforcers. That name, and the character’s bland cuddly teddybear face are both highly effective at putting across Lots-O’-Huggin’ Bear’s parasitic villainy.

Remind you of anyone?

Meanwhile, the stiletto’ed arm of the Murdoch Empire, The Times, has been assiduous in rooting out the excesses of the Corbynist/Momentum Tendency. Anyone have any notion what that motive might be?

Sure enough, Lucy Fisher, “Senior Political Correspondent”, gets her by-line as the main item on today’s page 2. She starts by reporting that:

Jess Phillips, the MP for Birmingham Yardley, improved her security after an internet troll sent her pictures of a woman impaled by a spear upon which her face had been superimposed.

There’s a lot of that sort of thing around, but  — be assured — it’s absolutely nothing to do with the pro-Corbs lot. As they rarely desist from telling us.

Then Lucy Fisher, “Senior Political Correspondent”, comes up with something quite astounding:

Another Labour MP yesterday accused Momentum, the left-wing network of Mr Corbyn’s supporters, of planning to film constituents visiting his advice surgery in what he said was a bid to intimidate them.

Neil Coyle, the MP for Southwark, asked on social media why the group’s “cronies” were allegedly targeting his surgery. He said he had seen 50 per cent fewer constituents since Momentum protested outside his office several weeks ago.

On Wednesday night a left-wing activist posted on a Facebook group for Southwark Momentum details of the time and place of Mr Coyle’s next surgery. Another man on the thread, which was seen by The Times, wrote: “Be firm but polite and make sure someone is videoing.”

Mr Coyle said: “The intention to protest, the consequent police presence and the cameras outside stop people coming to see me. You don’t visit your MP unless you’ve got a significant problem — often it’s benefits issues, housing pressure, immigration concerns. People coming about these serious things are not in a mood to be filmed.”

Mr Coyle said that after he contacted Southwark Momentum, the post encouraging video cameras to be used outside his office was taken down. A Momentum spokesman said Mr Coyle’s claim that activists linked to the group were trying to intimidate his constituents was nonsense.

You see! As sure as night follows day, there’s the blanket Momentum denial. It’s nuttin’ to do wit’ us, guv! Honest!

And yet …

It all sounds terribly familiar.

My alter-ego (who must be well-identified by anyone in the know) has been there, and bears the political scars. I have mentioned them here in previous posts, and I don’t retract from them one iota.

In my case, in that lobby to Haringey Council Chamber, the push to the wall, the clenched fist waved in front of the face, the crude threat with the expletive, was made by one Councillor Ron Blanchard, a close acolyte of the Blessed Jeremy Redeemer. But, of course, there was no third-party witness. So it couldn’t have happened. Could it?

And here we are …

The whole Party mechanism has been put into cold storage, for fear of those regimented hordes of infiltrators, for fear of personal abuse, and worse. But it’s all  MI5 plotting against the Sainted Jeremy and his variant of “democracy”.

44 Labour women MPs (that’s out of a total of 99, with one murdered already) have complained of continuing on-line personal abuse. They put their grievances in a formal letter to the Party Leader:

Rape threats, death threats, smashed cars and bricks through windows are disgusting and totally unacceptable in any situation.

This is acknowledged by all factions, yet the simple words of condemnation offered in response are inadequate.

We expect swift and tangible action against those who commit such acts.

Response: oh, well, the abuse goes with the job. And anyway, it’s gotta be some other lot. It’s nuttin’ to do wit’ us, guv! Honest!

This way madness lies …

If ever there was proof positive that a point-of-view was plain wrong, it has come from the mouth of Diane “unsuitable blonde, blue-eyed Finnish nurses” Abbott.

Here she is, given her hat-stand and rope-to-hang-her-arguments-from by The Times:

… it is interesting to compare and contrast Corbyn and Sanders. Their political programmes are very similar. Like Sanders, Corbyn is proud to call himself a socialist. In fact Sanders calling himself a socialist is remarkable in a country where, in living memory, using such a term was enough to get you witch-hunted out of public life. Even in Britain, under New Labour, calling yourself a socialist was forbidden to anyone with serious political ambitions…

Both are treated with cool disdain by their political establishments. Email leaks this week revealed how antagonistic Democratic bigwigs were to the Sanders campaign. As a result the chairwoman of the Democratic national committee, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, had to resign. Goodness knows what the leak of similar emails by the Labour Party would reveal. But it is easy to guess

But the big difference between the two is the way they have been treated by their respective country’s media. Mainstream media in the US has been very sceptical about Sanders’ policies, particularly his signature policies on healthcare. This has been bruising, but fair.

By contrast the British media has scarcely discussed the policies on which Corbyn campaigned. Instead they have concentrated on tearing him down as a man and delegitimising  him as a political actor.

For the record, as long ago as 1974, when my alter-ego put out an election address  and described myself as a “socialist”, eye-brows raised. Even Tribune, which was my spiritual home in many ways, felt the usage worth notice.

What we need to underline (as I do above) is the paranoia that Diane Julie, M.A. (Cantab) radiates. Len McCluskey knows it has to be MI5. Diane Julie sees pale-pinkos machinating against the Blessed Apostle in the National Executive.

Is it all hopeless?

Well, it’s going to be hard to drain the swamp while we are up to our arses with rabid alligators. But for the sake of having a real Opposition, delivering for the people (not just the mouthy student types) Labour has properly sought to represent these hundred years and more, it has to be done.

Owen Smith may not be the instant solution. He’s an improvement on the Corbs lot, and I’ll be doing my bit in the cause. And if Smith doesn’t hack his way through the swamp of Momentum dis- and mis-information, we’ll have to try again.

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Fretting about Fratton

portsmouthfirst2Handy Hancock

In the Portsmouth municipal elections in May, who will be the Liberal Democrat candidate?

Apparently, although this is a safe LibDem ward (58.7% in 2010), there may not be one.

The sitting councillor is a certain Mike Hancock, of whom many — especially those with a scurrilous turn of interest — may have heard much.

Hancock is currently “suspended” from the LibDems, but only after a report by Nigel Pascoe, QC, was leaked. Political Scrapbook have been on the case.

Disgraceful Mike

It would be unnecessarily cruel to suggest that Mr Hancock has aged disgracefully since that photo above … well, perhaps not.

HancockEven so, Hancock seems to have a continuing close throttle-hold on Portsmouth’s LibDems:

The [Portsmouth] News understands Cllr Hancock will still be able to attend group meetings but without voting rights.

And a meeting of the Portsmouth Lib-Dem exec agreed last night not to put up a candidate against Cllr Hancock in Fratton ward at May’s local elections.

The meeting saw seven vote for the motion, one against and one person abstained.

Mystic Dale

Not surprisingly, when Iain Dale cooked his predictions, that there would be 30-35 LibDems in the next Parliament about LibDems, he wrote:

This seat has never had a huge LibDem majority since it was won by Mike Hancock in 1997. It’s always ranged between three and six thousand. It’s difficult to assess the impact of the groping scandal, but on top of their national woes, it could be that the Tories win back what was once for them a safe seat. Hancock has failed to squeeze the Labour vote as much as some of his colleagues, and not so long ago they managed a healthy 25%. If they return to those levels the Tories will win.

Dale may be on the right lines here (though he is surely sadly wrong about Lynne Featherstone having more than the faintest hope of holding Hornsey & Wood Green). What should not go unnoticed is the reservoir of potential left-of-centre votes in Portsmouth South. Hancock was elected for the SDP in the 1984 by-election. It was a three-horse race:

SDP 37.6%
Tory 34.3%
Labour 26.5%

Revolting youth

Despite what Dale says there, Hancock survived in 2010 by squeezing the Labour vote to half its natural level. That will not be repeated. The constituency, reckoned Anthony Wells:

contains Portsmouth University, and is the more student heavy of the two Portsmouth seats.

Portsmouth University has 18,000 students. In the 2010 General Election campaign, nationwide, students polled had near a half tending to the LibDems. Latest numbers suggest that figure is down to barely double figures — and a switch to Labour of perhaps 30% +. If those rough numbers make any sense, they alone destroy Hancock’s majority.

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Methinks he doth protest too much 2

Now for some passing wind on that, quite extraordinary, Paul Dacre out-pouring.

Despite the very Daily Mail mock-querulous title, Why is the left so obsessed by the Daily Mail, which comes suspiciously close to John Rentoul’s classic QTWTAIN meme, it is really an object-lesson in self-obsession. Reading it had Malcolm in a mental spin. Was he:

  • getting some after-wash from Neville Chamberlain’s Declaration of War speech?

Look at the text of that — one of the most “national” of occasions imaginable  — and notice how frequently Chamberlain reverts to a subjective first-person pronoun:

You can imagine what a bitter blow it is to me that all my long struggle to win 
peace has failed. Yet I cannot believe that there is anything more or anything 
different that I could have done and that would have been more successful.

  • Or was Dacre having a senior sub-Henry V moment?

If so, it’s a matter of common observation that Henry’s two great speeches (before Harfleur and before Agincourt) both come at moments when the King’s impetuosity, bad judgement and blind stupidity have landed him, his authority, and followers in a crisis from which it needs the opposition’s even worse judgement and crasser stupidity to extricate him. If that needs teasing out:

  • Henry had expected a quick success at Harfleur, a symbolic and cheap victory, from which he could draw instant credit, and gain a base in Normandy. From there he could engineer a twin-pronged attack from this northern base and from his support in Aquitaine. What he hadn’t calculated was the town would hold out for a taxing six-week siege, which took Henry’s late-summer campaign into foul autumnal weather. What saved Henry and the English at Harfleur, as the text of the play makes abundantly clear, was French inadequacy and unpreparedness:

Our expectation hath this day an end:
The Dauphin, whom of succors we entreated,
Returns us that his powers are yet not ready
To raise so great a siege. Therefore, great king,
We yield our town and lives to thy soft mercy.
Enter our gates; dispose of us and ours;
For we no longer are defensible.

  • Similarly at Agincourt it was a battle for the French to lose against a weak, sick, impoverished enemy. And lose it they did, by not knowing their own ground, through overconfidence:

Then let the trumpets sound
The tucket sonance and the note to mount;
For our approach shall so much dare the field
That England shall couch down in fear and yield.

  and greed for ransom:

It is now two o’clock: but, let me see, by ten
We shall have each a hundred Englishmen.

Now review Dacre’s self-defence, or rather — to save time and the efforts of all these little electrons — just the odd sample:

Let it be said loud and clear that the Mail, unlike News International, did NOT hack people’s phones or pay the police for stories. I have sworn that on oath.

No, our crime is more heinous than that.

It is that the Mail constantly dares to stand up to the liberal-left consensus that dominates so many areas of British life and instead represents the views of the ordinary people who are our readers and who don’t have a voice in today’s political landscape and are too often ignored by today’s ruling elite.

The metropolitan classes, of course, despise our readers with their dreams (mostly unfulfilled) of a decent education and health service they can trust, their belief in the family, patriotism, self-reliance, and their over-riding suspicion of the state and the People Who Know Best.

From which we draw the following:

The Mail doesn’t pay for stories

The precise wording is from “the police”, but the broader implication is left hanging.

That anyway-up patently doesn’t approach a half-truth.

The Information Commissioner’s report  to Parliament, What Price Privacy Now? [December 2006] revealed 58 Daily Mail journalists making 952 “transactions” to be investigated under “Operation Motorman” — oh, and another four journos making a further 30 approaches on behalf of the Mail’s Weekend Magazine. Those were commercial transactions, buying personal information obtained illegally, and much indirectly from corrupt police sources. That put the Mail at the top of the list of media outlets paying Clifford and his ilk for Section 55.

So much for Mr Dacre’s sacred “oath”.

The Mail boasts it is the stalwart defender of the public against this liberal-left consensus that dominates so many areas of British life.

boot-guide-slides-15_152909132742.jpg_halfpage_sligeshowHuh? Notice, too, how this “enemy within” is conflated with today’s ruling elite.

Oh, c’mon Dacre! What are these numerous “areas of British life”, all under the loony-lefty Alexander McQueen shearling-and-leather ankle boot (number 27 of the 88 approved by Vogue last “Fall” — and very fetching, too, as left above)?

When we read Dacre’s piece, he seems to identify just three main nodules of this “liberal-left consensus”: the BBC, the Guardian and the Labour Party. One is under attack from all quarters on the right, one is financially “embarrassed” and the last has been out-of-office these last forty months. So none hardly “dominates”.

Ordinary people who are our readers … don’t have a voice in today’s political landscape and are too often ignored by today’s ruling elite.

A voice in the landscape, Mr Dacre? Surely jarringly close to a mixed metaphor! Perhaps it’s almost “crying in the wilderness”.

Anyway, the one thing of which we can be certain is that this lumpen-bourgeoisie [no! Malcolm didn’t invent, just borrowed] is not short of bellowing mouthpieces. The Daily Mail and General Trust has revenues in excess of £2 billion a year, and we can add in the weight of the Murdoch media, the Torygraph, the Express, and all the others. That’s no small shout.

Far from being ignored by today’s ruling elite, your average Tory politician pants for a chance to be petted by Mr Dacre (as, to his lasting shame, did Gordon Brown).

The metropolitan classes, of course, despise our readers …

Again, huh? Who are the “metropolitan classes”? Is it London versus the rest? Is the Great Wen one seething mass of lefty Mail-hating? We fully appreciate that the Northcliffe formula is based on the “daily hate“, but are all those Mail-readers across Greater London self-despising hypocrites?

Over-riding suspicion of the state and the People Who Know Best

Much “suspicion” is ta direct consequence of all those Mail “daily hates”, through whether it is “over-riding” [riding over what?] is a dubious proposition. On the whole, your average Mail reader seems quite prepared to meet the services of the state face-to-face, and ask for more — consider how Dacre makes a regular thing of rubbish collection, [No, that wasn’t an unconscious irony.]

And we clearly recognise in his self promotion throughout this article one person at least “who knows best”.


Congratulations, yet again, to the Guardian. Every half-formed prejudice one might hold against Dacre and his scandal-sheet has been proven to the utterance by this article.

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Why the GMB story isn’t what they say it is

This morning you don’t have to look too far across “the usual suspects” (ConHomePaul Staines by-name-and-nature … the Daily Mail) to find general satisfaction that the GMB union is slashing support to the Labour Party.

On the one hand, it is supposed to be the spiteful pay-back for Ed Miliband’s “reforms”. On the other, Paul Kenny sees it as the inevitable recognition of individual membership:

The GMB said its decision to reduce its funding for Labour reflected its estimate of the number of union members who would be willing to affiliate themselves to it individually following Mr Miliband’s change.

At the moment the union automatically affiliates 420,000 of its members to Labour, at £3 each per year,

It estimates about 50,000 of the 650,000 GMB members would actually choose to affiliate with Labour. This figure is derived from the number who took part in the Labour leadership contest in 2010, it said.

That amounts to saying no more than “no double membership”, which is far, far less than the Tory spin on a “Labour financial crisis”. On the contrary, if by some act of collective will all 50,000 committed former affiliates were to sign up for full Party membership, the Labour Party would be well into pocket:

  • 420,000 @ £3 per head per annum = £1,260,000 a year
  • 50,000 @ £3.71 per head per month = £2,226,000 a year.

But, then, reason and logic are not what is expected from “the usual suspects”.

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