Archive for the ‘Malcolm Blair Robinson’ Category

Labour’s Road Map: The Missed Way: Read Free or Buy Now

Tuesday, February 18th, 2020

When this dissertation, it is too short to class as a book, was published in 2016,  there was an expectation that Labour would have a  chance of winning in 2020. The unexpected snap election in 2017 was far better for Labour than anyone expected but then came disaster in 2019. One of the major problems for Labour on the doorstep was a lack of credibility in its lavish economic programme. Compared to the detailed specification set down in Turn Left To Power, Labour’s election offering was unconvincing. Although voters liked the economic programme in principle, they and commentators were sceptical of plans for funding it.  Read about the ideas which may have lead to a happier outcome. If you are an activist they will give you confidence to contribute to the debate about Labour’s future.

International Thriller: Read Free with Prime

Sunday, February 16th, 2020

Sunday Blog: February 16 2020

Sunday, February 16th, 2020

New Cabinet

There is much more to this than a shift of places and faces. For the first time for decades we have a government led by a prime minister, not chaired by one. The cabinet is now made up of people who are signed up to Boris’s vision and understand that their careers depend on the success of that vision, not on jockeying around for advantage or in competitive briefing. And that vision is like no other seen in the Tory party in modern times. For Boris is not just the person who delivered Brexit. Part of the package was Texit. It was kept a big secret, hidden by bluff and fumble with the attention span of a goldfish. All of this was necessary because had anybody realised what he was actually about, the full Tory and Establishment machine would have been organised to stop him.

This blog was fooled for sure, but now accepts that Boris is the most formidable politician in Britain by a country mile. The only other to get even close is Nicola Sturgeon. He has shifted the Tory party so far to the left economically that it will not be able to recognise itself. He has mobilised natural Tory patriotism and given it a nationalist edge. He built a stunning election victory not in the Shires, but in Labour’s English bedrock heartland. He outflanked Labour and Farage. He told his new cabinet yesterday and filmed it to rub home the point, his is the people’s government and will prioritise the people’s business.

That will include the biggest programme of public investment probably since the end of WWII. The hegemony of the Treasury is over. For far too long it has run the economy like a single parent shopping for bargains in a budget supermarket. Everything is underfunded and insufficient.  Our productivity is among the lowest in the industrialised world and our household debt is the highest. Because all attention has been on balancing the budget, there has been a complete failure to recognise the importance of expanding the economy. GDP is now just too small to meet  modern demands at reasonable taxation levels.

The priority is to invest to grow the economy.  That is the legitimate role of the state. To facilitate and drive growth, big growth, as well as to maintain sound money. It is not one or the other, it is both. It can be done. Boris is determined that it will be. Because if not, Brexit will fail, the economy will tank, the Labour heartland will return to the fold and the reign of the World King will be over.

So expect more Huawei style decisions. Incidentally their phones are brilliant. We need the best for our country now. Global Britain means tapping into that world. All of it. So China building the full HS2, all branches, in five years for a good deal less than the current budget is not just idle chatter. It is the people’s future. Blue blooded Tories will just have to get used to it. They have nowhere else to go.

But What of Labour?

Labour has very big problems of which finding a leader is the least of them. The biggest is Scotland. Here it has but one MP. One. Founded as a Scottish party, of its six prime ministers, three have been Scots, although Blair sat for an English constituency. Labour has been the vehicle through which the Scottish people felt themselves to be fully engaged in running the UK. Only three Labour prime ministers have managed to win their own majority, Atlee, Wilson and Blair, for which Scottish seats were the critical bedrock which pushed English gains into winning numbers in the Commons. Corbyn actually did quite well in votes in 2020, and better than Milliband 2015, Brown 2010,  Blair 2001 and 2005,  but crashed to the lowest number of seats since 1935. So it is not just votes, but seats they need.

Proportional representation would help, but first past the post suits Boris so well it is most unlikely they will get it. Labour must regain traction in Scotland and shore up Wales to stand any kind of chance. But the SNP is on a roll and the Union looks threatened, so that will not be easy. So electing a new leader is the easy bit. Whoever wins, there is no room for new splits. The page must be turned and turned for keeps on anti-Semitism. And the half of the parliamentary party whose candidate loses, cannot muck about with the sulks.

The Union.

This is Boris’s biggest challenge, although like a gathering storm, it is not yet upon him. If the economy takes off and Britain becomes the must country with which to do business and all the properly funded public services begin to whizz and hum, he is in with a chance. Why unhook from a  Union just when, after years of stagnation, it suddenly comes alive and takes off?

But if this Tory government relapses into the old ways of lavishing upon the few at the expense of the many, then the people will feel conned and the Union will, among much else, be over.



Trailer for Sunday Blog

Friday, February 14th, 2020

This blog, as regulars know, is neither pro Tory, nor pro Brexit. But it is pragmatic. So Boris’s reshuffle is good news and Javid’s sacking/resignation is the best news of all. Because it shows that at last this nation will return to government by Number Ten and not by the Treasury, through its poodle of the moment in Number Eleven. This is a colossal sea change and long overdue. For years we have suffered from monumental economic mismanagement leading to inequalities and inefficiencies not seen for generations.

More on Sunday.

As for Boris, he is on a roll. If he stumbles it will be more to do with the sound of smashing plates in the night, than run ins with the Treasury.

SUNDAY BLOG: February 9 2020

Sunday, February 9th, 2020

Trump: Have the Democrats Failed?

That depends on which side you are on in a very polarised country.  From this side of the Atlantic it seems to me that there have always been two issues which  American voters need to think about. One is about Trump and whether he acted unconstitutionally in his dealings with Ukraine. The other is about the Bidens. Why was the son paid a million dollars a year to sit on the board of a known to be corrupt company, when he had no qualifications or experience relevant to the role? And is it true that the Ukrainian prosecutor investigating corruption in that company was fired after the then Vice-President, Biden Snr., told the Ukrainian government that US aid would be withheld if they did not remove them?

Trump is now acquitted by the Senate. But questions about Biden remain. He is faltering in the primaries and running short of money. He would be a calamitous choice for  the Democrats to run against Trump. The whole impeachment saga has killed his credibility, if not in America, certainly in the rest of the world. So even though the Democrats failed, and failed badly, in their impeachment campaign, which I thought doomed from the start, the removal of Biden from the prospect of running for president, in a perverse way, does them a favour.

Cabinet Reshuffle UK

It is reported that the Boris cabinet will get a substantial makeover in the latter part of the coming week. This has been trailed since his election triumph. It is obvious to everyone that the general tone and performance of post coalition Tory cabinets has not been up to snuff, with too many ministers either below par or out of their depth or fighting each other. In some cases all three.

Government is not just about Brexit, it is about running the country so that people can go about their business and get on with their lives, supported by public services which run smoothly and deliver. Clearly this is not happening now, nor has it been since 2015. So Boris and Cummings have to wield the axe without fear or favour and come up with real talent. Of course one hopes, very much, that women and ethnic minorities will be well represented in the new line up. In their ranks talent abounds, not least because to get there they have had to try a good deal harder to override a system which for centuries has been organised to favour white straight men.

Neighbourhood Crime

Latest statistics reveal that while the police across the country are good at the big stuff the kind of crime, burglaries, car crime, knives, robberies, which affects ordinary people every day, is now all but ignored. A crime number is just about all you can expect to get. Lots of reasons are given, not least Osborne era cuts.

But the main reason is that the Peel model of neighbourhood policing which was designed to prevent crime as much as to solve it, has completely disappeared. We need a nationwide Neighbourhood Police Service to restore the principle of community security, which concentrates on the whole range of small but upsetting threats and fears which spoil the days and nights of far too many.

Post Brexit: A Weekly Blog

Sunday, February 2nd, 2020

Now that we are formally out of the EU and a new political dynamic will develop, this blog, which has been a bit intermittent of late, will become a weekly commentary. This is partly because it will better reflect a considered view of developing post Brexit political issues, but also to allow me time to concentrate on Zara Vine Two, a project far behind schedule.

For the moment one thing has struck me. There will be a sea change, not just because of Brexit itself, but because for nearly 50 years the nationalist wing of the Tory party has been rampant. Its message was continuous and unending. All our problems were the fault of the EU, which we should never have joined. But now they have won their argument, they and they alone will be responsible for whatever happens next.

As regular readers know I think the European Union is the greatest political achievement since the fall of the Roman Empire. So I am an ardent Remainer.  The thought of the Brexiteers carrying the can for the  multiple outcomes of their folly is rather uplifting.



Zara Vine: Download or Paperback

Saturday, February 1st, 2020

Brexit Over? The Way Ahead.

Saturday, February 1st, 2020

So now it is done. We are formally out of the EU. But we are still in it for the transition. So it is not over yet. We are in the departure lounge waiting for take off. But we are not sure where our flight will take us. We hope it will be somewhere nice. Actually nicer. But more than half the passengers do not want to go at all. So those that do now have to show that their promises can be met, their ideas work, we will be better off than staying put and what is about to happen is a great leap forward and historically uplifting.

This first day of freedom. One which will be forever celebrated as the future unfolds.

Or one which will live in infamy?

Labour’s Challenges Ahead: Tougher Than They Appear.

Friday, January 24th, 2020

Labour’s position is a lot more complicated than it looks. It lost the election big time, but with more votes than Milliband, Brown and even Blair, both in 2001 and 2005. But those votes did not translate into seats. Why? Because Labour is the party of working people and its bedrock base had three strong foundations, Scotland, Wales and the smaller industrial towns of the Midlands and the North. In Scotland Labour was wiped out in 2015,  on the Red Wall it crumbled to a disaster under the Boris onslaught, and in Wales they are a lot weaker. But in the South East they won Putney and held Canterbury.

The root of all this lies in New Labour, whose embrace of Thatcher’s economic verities and her destruction of the industrial heartlands, drove large numbers of Labour voters to become non-voters, as the voting figures for the period clearly demonstrate. So to scrabble about in the centre, which has moved left because of Corbyn, will risk putting the party on the right of Boris, leaving him in control of the Red Wall, while the SNP continues to dominate Scotland. Labour will never form a majority government by that route.

Labour is a party of reform. It only governs when voters en masse crave reform. In all its history only three leaders have ever won a majority and governed with their own mandate. Blair, Wilson and Attlee. So Labour has to work out how it can keep very many of the popular elements of its current policy portfolio and match it to a coherent plan of how they will finance an economic reboot with a huge expansion of rewarding well paid jobs for the many. Taxing the rich and robbing Peter to pay Paul was their 2019 undoing. People liked their programme, or most of it, but thought it completely undeliverable by Labour. Labour’s problem is not policy. It is credibility.

Internal splits, over Corbynism, Brexit and  the ongoing issue of anti-Semitism, presented a picture of a fractured party held together by duck tape for the general election, just at the moment when the Tory party, so recently split into countless factions and groupings, came together as one behind Boris. Individually many of Labour’s manifesto proposals had wide public support. Some ideas were clearly extravagant election bribes which should not have got past a coherent economic team able to add up, but there was more good than silly.

The problem was, and will remain, a complete absence of any really ground breaking ideas about how to finance the economic re-modelling of a modern state, in which the many are starved of resources, because the money supply needed to fund it is starved of liquidity. Meanwhile  the ever increasing value of assets without the creation of new wealth, continues to suck what cash there is from the bottom to the top. The rich grow richer at the expense of the poor. Government borrowing is falling, whilst personal debt is the highest in Europe. Interest rates are low, while rates for personal borrowing, even from traditional lenders, are extortionate.

The new leader of the Labour party has to demonstrate a grasp of not just the issue, but also the method behind a solution.That alone will unite behind it both the working class and the educated middle class in all parts of England, leaving Scotland in the hands of the SNP or maybe out of the UK altogether. Tinkering with taxes on the rich and borrowing the rest will not do, nor will it sell to voters. That is the challenge. Meet it and a Labour landslide mandating reform beckons. Fail, or worse if the Boris government solves it first, and it matters not who leads Labour. Because it will be on the road to the margins, far away from any prospect of power.

Royal Rumpus: Time For Change

Tuesday, January 21st, 2020

The rubbish written and spoken by commentators and the media about the Harry and Meghan affair has damaged the so called Royal Family, but not in the way its supporters think. There is absolutely no reason why a mature couple should not have the power to decide how to lead their lives, provided they are not in receipt of public funds.

The notion of this family at the apex of the State is relatively new and certainly not to be confused with the institution of the monarchy, which has evolved over a millennium. The purpose of the monarchy is to provide an impartial Head of State, who is the guardian of good governance and the rule of law. Above politics in the party sense, but not detached from the political responsibility for the maintenance of effective government and the protection of citizens rights.

The problem now engulfing the family itself, as well as the nation at large, is that it has  been revealed  by recent events to be politically useless, whilst living in a world of pampered luxury and privilege, beyond the comprehension of the vast majority of ordinary people who help pay for it. For three years the country suffered government paralysis over Brexit, while the economy near flatlined and public services in every direction faltered and failed. In any other western democracy, the Head of State would have demanded of political leaders a better performance in government and parliament, or would have dissolved both, so that the people could choose  new ones. But here the Queen was constrained by ‘convention’ to the point of wringing her hands and watching.

The storm broke first with the scandal of Andrew and the paedophile. Then Meghan declared she had had enough. Harry was torn, but chose his own immediate family of wife and son, over the notion of Royalty and his place as the now distant 6th in line to the throne. His brother is the king in waiting. Harry is the redundant speare, because now William and Kate have produced three heirs.  The petty discussion over tiles and prefixes in a world of food banks and housing shortages, where ever more details of scores of footmen and lifestyle details of what is closer to a soap opera than a public need, has caused many to raise questions about whether time is up for this whole thing.

That is the damage. It is not about Harry and Meghan, who remain hugely popular among the rising generation on both sides of the Atlantic. It is about the rest of it. If it is to survive it has to be cut down to size and brought up to date.