Archives for posts with tag: Jeremy Corbyn

Today the FT reports that Jeremy Corbyn was given a ‘rapturous reception’ in Brussels on Thursday, as he warned that leaving the EU without a Brexit deal would be “catastrophic” for the UK economy. Mr Corbyn met Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator (above), the European Parliament President Antonio Tajani and the prime ministers of Portugal, Italy and Sweden on Thursday in Brussels.

Mr Corbyn received a standing ovation from Europe’s centre-left parties as he addressed delegates at the Europe Together conference, just hours before prime minister Theresa May was scheduled to meet her EU counterparts at a European leaders’ summit. He said:

“We’re here to make sure that negotiations get on track, that we defend jobs in Britain, and that we make sure there is trade access to Europe in the future . . . We cannot countenance the idea that we rush headlong into a no deal with Europe. No deal would be very dangerous for employment and jobs in Britain. We are clear in our priorities: a jobs-first Brexit which maintains free access to the single market.”

He advocated “radical alternatives” for Europeans after years of austerity, rising job insecurity and falling living standards.  “The neoliberal economic model is broken. It doesn’t work for most people,” he said, adding: “Our broken system has provided fertile ground for the growth of nationalist and xenophobic politics.”

The FT ends: “Mr Corbyn’s enthusiastic reception was in stark contrast to Mrs May’s arrival in Brussels on Thursday. The UK prime minister was rebuffed from attending a meeting of Britain’s traditional European allies — including the Netherlands, the Scandinavian countries and the Baltic countries — on the sidelines of the summit, though Leo Varadkar, Ireland’s prime minister, was invited to that meeting.”

 

First published in Watershed.

 

 

 

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Total Politics, a member of the Dods publishing group, has published the transcript.

See: https://watershed2015.wordpress.com/jeremy-corbyns-2017-conference-address/

 

 

 

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Comments on an FT article by Philip Stephens 

No policies? Every time I see Jeremy Corbyn being interviewed or giving speeches he is addressing these very issues and more.

“Who can worry about housing, schools or transport, let alone the mundane aspirations of Middle England, ahead of the great liberation struggles.” I don’t know where Philip Stephens has been but every time I see Jeremy Corbyn being interviewed or giving speeches he is addressing these very issues and more.

I would suggest he and the Labour party have lost the working-class vote thanks to the previous Blair government being non representative of them.  Remember Mandelson talking about being: ” Intensely relaxed about people getting filthy rich as long as they pay their taxes…?” Corbyn has also suffered very badly by the press.  Mrs May has profited by Cameron’s mistake and badly handled Remain campaign and we are now at the mercy of this unelected PM and her party… (see also JC policy docs here)

Philip Stephens creates a narrative that doesn’t fit the facts. Corbyn has delivered effective attacks on the Government on welfare, the NHS and housing, some producing small U-turns.

He also travelled up and down the country campaigning to Remain. The problem was he and the Labour Party failed to breakthrough the media ignoring their campaign and focussing (in terms of the Remain argument) exclusively on the pathetic and useless official Remain campaign. Jeremy has been democratically elected twice to be leader. His record should in no way be considered dismal. He has consistently delivered his honestly and long-held beliefs.

Rubbish analysis as per usual although the historical throwback is well put.

Corbyn does care about housing, education, schools, middle england, under invested regions (it was Corbyn who was talking about a migrant impact fund), transition to Green energy.

Corbyn far-left? Inaccurate and “un-FT”. Corbyn seems to be a middle of the road socialist, at least by normal European standards.

Far-left policies include abolishing private healthcare, private education, the monarchy, making all third-level education free, nationalising banks and railways and a number of other things, some of which would probably be quite good for the country.

As it is, Corbyn seems to be a middle of the road socialist, at least by normal European standards. Far-left European politicians would include Vladimir Lenin, Rosa Luxembourg, Alexander Lukashenko and any number of dictatorial 1980s Communist party secretaries in Warsaw Pact-era eastern Europe. Jeremy Corbyn is quite clearly not in that zone unless one is a swivel-eyed Daily Mail reader.

A question: When Brexit is done and May is left standing there blinking vaguely and surrounded by the wreckage of the economy where will the Conservative Party be in the eyes of the electorate?

Its reputation for sound economic management will have been trashed along with the economic damage it has just imposed on the country so who wins?

Philip you are doing the FT (and its readers) a signal disservice by misunderstanding Corbyn and the Labour left.

Copeland was never likely to vote for an anti nuclear Labour Party – and well you know that. The wonder is that the Labour Party nearly won the seat despite being clearly antagonistic to the existence of the region’s biggest employer. WE, the subscribers to the FT, expect objective reporting that enables good decision making.

Corbyn and labour can’t win at the moment, if they go to the middle and ignore the democratisation of their party they will lose, if they stay a democratic left party the boomers and those with assets won’t vote for them as they fear socialism

Meanwhile the millennials and future generations bear the brunt of public debt created privately, and shareholder capitalism which is a race to the bottom, generation rent, and the absurd 40% of income rent costs in areas where there are plentiful jobs and opportunity epitomises the modern day surplus extraction and misery of those who have not lived among the golden age of capitalism, add tuition fees, stagnating public services (NHS), erosion of employment rights and you can see why Corbyn is confident among that 20% (of which I’m a part, ha ha ha, how funny he’s so inept ha ha ha lets all laugh at corbyn because there are so many other alternatives out there that are SO much better).

The Tories will continue their irrational, economically illiterate policy that is not running the country into the ground but causing growing social issues, and new social actors will emerge from the post 2008 age eventually tipping the balance towards something more corbyn-esque. Until then it will be the same old, same old.

Corbyn’s crackpot policies are simply outrageous! Spending a little more on the NHS and primary school education?  Providing a bit more affordable housing in the midst of a housing crisis? 

Failing to asset strip the public infrastructure? Rowing back a bit on the vast, exploitative Sports Direct-ification of the British economy?  Why, this is simply unpatriotic! How “radical” – somebody stop this crazed moderate, centre-left European-style social democrat Corbyn before my taxes end up a little bit higher and the proles end up with a slightly better quality of life!

God forbid that poorer people should ever have slightly better quality of life. Who knows where that might end? It’s better not to give people hope. It just encourages them to think. 

I agree.  Britain’s low wage, low skill, low investment, low productivity economy would be severely jeopardised by the dangerous, radical policies of Jeremy Corbyn. Sure, he’s languishing in the polls now, but the proles are a fickle lot and cannot be trusted to consistently vote for their own impoverishment. What if Corbyn dons a Union Jack leotard and starts leaping up to belt out a few verses of ‘God Save The Queen’ with gusto on the next campaign trail, waving a couple of flags about like the dickens.  Why, the proles might even be duped by this charade into voting him into office! This would leave us all at the mercy of an outbreak of half-decent working and housing conditions for the proles at any time.  This simply would not do, too much has already been invested by the Conservatives in their cooption of UKIP’s policy platform!

There was no money left. The Tories have just borrowed billions. The crash will be spectacular.

This article is high in the running for one of the worst I have read in the FT in years.  We are in the end times of Neo-Liberalism, an experiment where maybe 20% did very well, and 80% were massively left behind.

Corbyn, Trump, Brexit are consequences of a system that has failed, and a financial system that collapsed in 2008, never a crisis always a collapse.  Stevens has no understanding of the why’s of brexit or the rise of Corbyn.  The left-right paradigm is dead.  I could not find one sentence in this article that is not total ideological nonsense.

If Jeremy has got under the skin of Philip Stephens so badly he must be doing something right.

Most Labour MPs and most journalists hate Corbyn as if he were the devil.  He represents the one pole of the process of polarisation caused by the 2007-9 Great Recession and the continuing crisis of world capitalism.

Let there be no mistake. The reason Philip Stephens is so horrified is because if his buddies amongst the old Labour MPs who are career politicians, were instead people of principle and socialists, then the Labour Party would be challenging for power.

The lesson of our era is the fluidity and rapidity of change. If Corbyn is right, (and I think there is lots of evidence to back him up), if he can be seen to be a leader of masses on protests and demonstrations, this will sharply polarise politics and this may match a simultaneous collapse in Tory support.  The Labour MPs who are resigning and trying to oust Corbyn again with their endless press briefings against him are part of a deliberate coup attempt. This time a sort of coup by water torture. They will fail again. The only major criticism one can make of Corbyn is he is too soft on these saboteurs. There are times when a sword must be wielded.

The worrying thing about this analysis is, his policies weren’t even that far left, they were definitely more central than Thatcher’s. Yet the FT reports this as if he’s Lenin/Kim Jung Un etc. His biggest failing for the press is he wants a meritocracy and for companies which require state support (through the use of tax credits to prop up salaries and increase profits and bonuses) to not pay dividends, which is effectively the Government paying the rich in an indirect way. Yes he has his failings, as does everyone, but generally speaking a lot of his economic policies would work fairly well at creating a long term balanced economy.

Corbyn, and his anointed heir, need to show there is an alternative to the Conservative Creed. Perhaps he needs to lose an election to clear out the MPs who are undermining him.

Perhaps this will result in his own political demise. But if he has a suitable succession plan in place then his success will come after he is gone. With the LabouraTory MPs planked off the sinking ship, seats will be freed for real Labour candidates for the subsequent election.

Facetious commentary. Corbyn has inherited a mess of a party with crumbling membership and totally out of touch MPs.

Time and time again polls have shown that the public want a ring fenced NHS, working railways and better care for the elderly, sick and disabled. To finance that he has stated that he will increase funding to the HMRC so that it can go after companies that are not paying their taxes (last year’s estimated unpaid tax was £34 Billion) which is probably why this article has been written in the style it has.

People want the state to intervene if something isn’t working. The current level of income disparity is something that is directly affecting the world by creating the perfect soil for fascism. Yet no other political leader wants to do anything about it (since it will affect their careers after being an MP). 

Versus the CIA and capitalism he is the best chance we have of having a fair society

Amelia Hiller (Jeremy Corbyn’s Scottish Calamity) should listen to Jeremy Corbyn – first-hand – giving his views on the issue of a second Scottish Independence referendum in this video clip.

“If a referendum is held then it is absolutely fine, it should be held. I don’t think it’s the job of Westminster or the Labour party to prevent people holding referenda.”

Asked about the issue on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, the Labour leader said “No, we’re not in favour of a referendum. I was asked if, in Westminster, we would block the holding of a referendum. I said: ‘No, if the Scottish parliament decided they wanted to have a referendum, then that would be wrong for Westminster to block it.’

“But just to be absolutely clear, I do not think there should be another referendum. I think that independence would be catastrophic for many people in Scotland. It would lead to a sort of turbo-charged austerity with the levels of income the government has in Scotland because there’s a very low oil price and the high dependency on oil tax income.”

Was his reply a ‘calamity’, aka disaster, catastrophe, tragedy, cataclysm, devastating blow, crisis, adversity, blight, tribulation, woe, affliction, evil?

Or was it a measured, thoughtful, statesmanlike response?

 

 

 

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Prem Sikka, Professor of Accounting (University of Essex, below) writes:

Corbyn has rejected the trickle-down economic theory favoured by the Conservatives and New Labour.

The liberal economist JK Galbraith likened it to the “horse-and-sparrow theory”, which argued that if you continue to feed the horse enough oats, some will pass through to the road for the sparrows. Well, the sparrows have seen their share of the economy shrink.

A key strand of Corbyn’s policies is to strengthen workers’ ability to secure a larger share of the wealth generated by their own brawn, brain and skills. Towards this end, Corbyn has promised to repeal anti-trade union laws and promote collective bargaining by giving employees the right to organise through a union and negotiate their pay, terms and conditions at work.

Any mention of “collective bargaining” is likely to send neoliberals into convulsions even though big business has been using collective bargaining for decades to advance its interests. Banks, supermarkets, phone, gas, water, electricity and other companies collectively negotiate with governments to secure their economic interests. Finance directors of the 100 largest UK-listed companies, known as The 100 Group, pool their resources to secure advantages by shaping consumer protection, tax, regulation, competition, trade and other government policies. If big business is able to engage in collective bargaining, it is only fair that workers should also be enabled by law to collectively advance their interests.

Boosting workers’ share of GDP seems to be a key part of Corbyn’s policies, as without adequate purchasing power people cannot stimulate the economy

With this in mind, Corbyn advocates wage councils to set working conditions, a decent living wage and the abolition of zero-hours contracts to end the appalling insecurity caused by such working arrangements. Public sector workers have faced wage freezes and cuts in their real wages since 2008. They too have family responsibilities and Corbyn has promised to provide “an inflation-plus pay rise for public sector workers”. He has called for an end to workplace discrimination by requiring firms to publish data about the gender pay gap.

Further changes to dialogue about a division of the economic cake come through proposals to change corporate governance. Corbyn particularly wants to enact measures that would prevent directors and shareholders from extracting cash and then dumping companies, leaving employees, pension scheme members and taxpayers to pick up the tab. In the coming days we may well hear more about how workers and other stakeholders are to be represented on the boards of large companies, together with details of stakeholder votes on limiting excessive executive remuneration.

Jobs and prospects of decent pay would be boosted by investment in infrastructure and new industries. Labour has promised to create a new national investment bank and invest £500bn to reinvigorate the economy.

The burden of debt on young people and their families would be reduced by the abolition of tuition fees. This would enable many to start businesses and join the home ownership ladder, which is an increasingly distant dream for many.

Corbyn has been upfront about how various financial measures are to be funded. These include a marginal rate of 50% on taxable incomes above £150,000 and an increase in corporation tax rate. A reversal of the £15bn corporation tax cut announced by the chancellor in March alone would fund the abolition of the £10bn tuition fee.

In a relatively short time, Corbyn has laid foundations of a New Deal that would ensure economic gains are shared more equitably. Of course, lots more needs to be done – and the media can play a vital role in stimulating the debate rather than obsessing over personalities.

 

 

 

air-pollution-brum

Jeremy Corbyn’s Energy and Environment manifesto acknowledges that 29,000 people die early every year because of polluted air and one of his eight campaign proposals is for “Cleaner air – tackling the air pollution crisis in our big cities and committing to full   independent public inquiry into levels of air pollution”.

The government has agreed to improve their plan to curb emissions after a High Court ruling. Documents revealed during the case showed the Treasury had blocked plans to charge diesel cars to enter towns and cities blighted by air pollution, concerned about the political impact of angering motorists.

Following December’s review of the high incidence of ill-health and premature death in Birmingham and other cities, The Times today reports that nitrogen oxides from diesel engines are one of the main pollutants, inflaming the lungs, causing respiratory diseases such as asthma and are linked to a raised risk of heart attacks, strokes and cancer. Data from King’s College London showed that Brixton Road in south London breached nitrogen dioxide pollution limits for the entire year in the first five days of 2017.

Pollution also increases the risk of dementia for those living near a busy road, according to a study published this week.

Research published in the Lancet followed ‘emerging evidence’ which suggested that living near major roads might adversely affect mental activity. As little is known about its relationship with the incidence of dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple sclerosis, Health Canada, the Federal department responsible for helping Canadians maintain and improve their health, funded research investigating this association. It involved nearly two million people in the Canadian province of Ontario, between 2001 and 2012. The abstract (link above) describes the method used and gives the information that 243,611 cases of dementia were diagnosed during that time, but the risk was greatest in those living closest to major roads. Compared with those living 300m away from a major road the risk was:

  • 7% higher within 50m
  • 4% higher between 50-100m
  • 2% higher between 101-200m

No association was found with Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis.

As the BBC website reported, the Canadian analysis suggests 7-11% of dementia cases within 50m of a major road could be caused by traffic. It added that the researchers adjusted the data to account for other risk factors like poverty, obesity, education levels and smoking.

Whilst celebrating Birmingham City Council’s award which will be used to provide ‘state-of-the-art’ hydrogen fuel cell buses, more rapid and effective political action will be taken only when public awareness rises. To this end, a few references to the region’s research into cleaner modes of transport by road, rail and water follow:

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The Midlands Energy Consortium includes such members as the University of Birmingham, Loughborough University, University of Nottingham, the University of Warwick and the British Geological Survey. This Consortium also hosts the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) – a public-private partnership established to speed up the deployment of new low-carbon energy technologies in support of the UK’s energy and climate change goals. Industry partners include Microcab and Airmax Group

microcabBirmingham University’s Centre for Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Research is part of the university’s School of Chemical Engineering. With its programme of research into hydrogen as a future energy source, the university is working towards making a low and no carbon economy a reality.

Among the work highlighted at a seminar was the investment in laboratory facilities that support research such as the production of hydrogen from waste, fuel cell electrical drives for vehicles and the use of natural gas in fuel cells for domestic hot water and power.

Professor Rex Harris, University of Birmingham: two major threats facing our planet: resource depletion and climate change

In 2013, he gave a Lunar Society Boulton and Watt Commemoration Lecture, focussing on hydrogen, rare earth magnets, sustainability and the role of the city and region, past, present and future, considering two major threats facing our planet: resource depletion and climate change. Both operate on similar timescales and both require urgent remedial action. He drew upon his own research on hydrogen and magnets and demonstrated that they are essential partners in any life-saving drive towards a sustainable society and showed why Birmingham and its environs could play a pivotal role in the implementation of carbon-free technologies by building upon its manufacturing and engineering history and creating a much-needed manufacturing renaissance.

ross-barlow-university-backgroundPutting theory into practice he and his team have converted a canal barge now known as The Ross Barlow: a zero-emission hydrogen hybrid and we read that the longer term aims of this project include the development of a green hydrogen generation and refuelling infrastructure throughout the inland waterways on suitable sites throughout the network.

2014: design of the UK’s first hydrogen-powered locomotive

Later Professor Harris participated in the development and design of a narrow-gauge hydrogen-hybrid locomotive, with Andreas Hoffrichter, The Birmingham Centre of Railway Research and Education and others see the proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part F: Journal of Rail and Rapid Transit, May 14, 2014

May 2016: Partnership between Harborne garage, engine manufacturer KMS and the City Council

The conversion of 63 diesel-powered ‘black’ cabs in Birmingham to run on petrol engines using LPG-fuel started under the city’s NOx Reduction Champions project. Birmingham city council said that eventually the vehicles will be “Euro 6 compliant – the standard at which all vehicles within the scope of the city’s government-mandated Clean Air Zone will be exempt from any charges.” Harborne Garage has been fitting the new LPG (liquefied petroleum gas)-fuelled engines as part of the NOx reduction project

May 2016: Millennium Point: fuel cell & hydrogen technical conference

In May at Millennium Point, Birmingham, UK, the university of Birmingham hosted a technical conference on the progress of fuel cell & hydrogen. The conference showcased the latest fuel cell & hydrogen research and new developments, trends and deployment issues. Preparations are under way for the 2017 conference.

July 2016: the city’s first hybrid and fully electric buses, with charging facilities

West Midlands Travel has been awarded more than £3 million by government to fund 10 hybrid and 19 fully electric buses, and install electric charging facilities. Birmingham City Council and Transport for London have jointly won £2.8 million for 42 state-of-the-art hydrogen fuel cell buses.

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Green and Labour policies are firmly based on reducing air pollution

corbyn-energy-report-coverJeremy Corbyn’s 2015 Energy and Environment manifesto outlined his plans for the UK to achieve 65% of energy from renewable sources by 2030 – without fracking.

If elected his government would put cities, councils, devolved governments and communities at the heart of an efficient decentralised energy system with measures including a shift to largely renewably generated.

 

 

 

 

A picture conveying a message its target readership doesn’t want to hear. Instead the Post presented a belittling exercise by Neil Elkes headlining the Bakeoff.

corbyn-2-sept-brum

Meanwhile social media is resounding to #neweconomics messages like these:

corbyn-new-economics

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On two occasions recently, expert speakers on different subjects have been invited to Birmingham city centre by different organisations and – despite publicity – had tiny audiences, one consisting of two people and the other of seven. Solihull is similarly apathetic – see honourable exceptions in the end-note. 

Many causes for concern include: 

  • small amounts (barring accidents) of fluoride, a toxic substance (see Royal Society of Chemistry) added to our water supply – though not in wealthier London and the South.

fluorosis-dentalFluorosis (left) is the mildest affliction; last year, research published in the BMJ,  found that medical practices located in the West Midlands (a wholly fluoridated area) are almost twice as likely to report high hypothyroidism in comparison to Greater Manchester (non-fluoridated area).

The lead author was Professor Stephen Peckham, from the Centre for Health Service Studies (University of Kent).

  • high levels of air pollution leading to early death or chronic disability.

air-pollution-brum

  • New procedures allowing unlabelled radioactive material to be carried on our roads and sometimes by rail – see parliamentary evidence. (Below formerly labelled vehicles).

nuclear-mareials-lorry-labelled

 How many people will attend the BMI meeting on this subject?

Endnote:

In contrast to this apathy, residents in Moseley, Stirchley and Bournville turn out in good numbers- an average of 50 people – at meetings in the vicinity.

Will those who show no interest in these matters complain the loudest if a radioactive leak happened near them or if they were made aware that their health problems were caused or exacerbated by air pollution or fluoridation? Will they chase compensation, instead of addressing the roots of the problem – a political regime which gives lip service to concern about these conditions but allows the profiting industries to go ahead unchecked.

 floral-tribute

Sentiment rules: if a child is knocked down in the street strangers hurry to deposit flowers; if his death is due to an air-pollution related condition it goes un-noticed.

 

 

 

In the FT, Robert Skidelsky (below right), Emeritus Professor of Political Economy at the University of Warwick, advocates the issuing of Gesell money to consumers in parallel with the monetary financing of a public investment programme.

Gesell money?

skidelskyHe recalls that Silvio Gesell’s idea was to give cash directly to households and to give people an incentive to spend the money and not hoard it – just as much of the cash already issued under QE lies idle.- unspent currency notes would have to be stamped each month by the post office, with a charge to the holder for stamping them.

How can this be done today?

Skidelsky points out that smart cards could be created with £1,000 for each person on the electoral register. The cards could be programmed to reduce the value of the balance automatically each week and this would boost its multiplier effect: “There are 46m voters on the register in the UK. Thus £46bn of new money might be injected into the economy (and) the effect on sales and prices would be widespread”.

John Maynard Keynes advocated a public works programmes which would get money into the pockets of workers who would be guaranteed to spend most of what they received from the jobs created and thus generate further spending. The tax on Gesell money does the same. Skidelski continues:

“The issuing of Gesell money to consumers should, therefore, be done in parallel with the monetary financing of a public investment programme. The government should pay for, say, an investment programme not by issuing debt to the public but by borrowing from the central bank. This will increase the government’s deficit, but not the national debt, since a loan by the central bank to the government is not intended to be repaid. Thus the government acquires an asset but no corresponding liability”.

For example, a £50bn programme of transport, housing, hospital, and school-building would not just restore capacity in the construction industry, it would simultaneously increase demand in the retail sector. If you build a new school or hospital you set up a demand for all the equipment needed for them to work.

However, as the prolonged recession and mediocre recovery has destroyed a great deal of industrial capacity, increased consumer demand ideally means increasing the economy’s capacity to meet that demand.

To limit the leakage of the extra spending power into imports, the government should give preference to British firms. An infrastructure programme financed by borrowing from the Bank of England that gives preference to British manufacturers would give Mrs May the industrial policy she is looking for.

The investment programme and Gesell money initiative together spread over, say, two to three years, would inject a total of £100bn of extra spending power into the economy — £50bn on consumer goods, £50bn on producer goods.

Here is a two-pronged strategy both for fighting the next recession and for rebalancing the British economy. And if it is a step too far for a Treasury still mired in Osbornian austerity thinking, it should be taken up by the Labour party.

See also on the Political Concern site: Shinzo Abe and Jeremy Corbyn advocate increased public investment, lower taxation & a high wage policy