Archive for February, 2017

Turn Left To Power

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

Product Details

Turn Left To Power is an explosive dissertation in book form offering a fundamental redirection for Labour’s return to power, with bold ideas for a new economic and social settlement, including economic and taxation reform, restoration of responsibility in government and a renewal of democracy. The ideas are relevant whether Brexit goes hard or soft. Frank and at a times brutal, Turn Left To Power offers a collection of fundamental reforms which amount to a political revolution which can propel Labour back to government in 2020.

Check it out now. Paperback £4.99   Kindle £1.99     AMAZON UK

Labour’s Long Haul

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

Once again the Labour party risks further erosion of support by discussing its leadership. So it is time to get real. Labour’s problems are not about Corbyn. It is almost certainly the case that under another leader they would have lost both Copeland and Stoke. Stoke held because Corbyn saw off UKIP’s Nuttall. But that is not the message of this post.

The message is that Labour is not the natural party of government, it is a movement for change; moreover it has its roots in socialist principles, it is of the left, it is for ordinary people and it will govern only when its socialist ideology, its proposed economic reforms and the demands of ordinary people align themselves. It is a startling fact that in the 100 years during which Labour can be ranked as a major political force, only three leaders of the party, Attlee, Wilson and Blair, have ever won a majority at Westminster and formed a government. Callaghan and Brown fought one election each and both lost. Over the same period there have been twelve Tory prime ministers, including May. Only two Conservative leaders in that hundred years have failed to make it to Downing Street, having fought one or more general elections, Hague and Howard.

There is more. Labour’s roots are socialist, but also Scottish and Welsh. It is not an English party by heritage and sends MPs to Westminster from cities and deprived areas in England but never from prosperous rural shires or suburbs doing okay. So if you factor in annihilation in Scotland, with little chance of that changing, Labour is in a serious predicament, not only missing over forty MPs, but also a good deal of talent. So to imagine that changing a leader who has twice been elected by a mass membership which he has grown to the biggest in Europe is, it seems to this blog, to simplify a complex problem. Where that to happen, you would change the cast but not the play. Soon the old refrain would be back; ‘we cannot win under Bloggins’. So how can Labour win?

First of all if the parliamentary party, including the best talent, does not unite behind the leader, it cannot. The British public never vote for split parties. But and this is a a serious point, moving from the left to the centre will make matters worse. The present crisis for Labour has its origins not in Corbyn, but in Blair. For it was the perceived and mostly actual abandonment of the traditional working class and its ability to rely on decent employment prospects in worthwhile jobs, by New Labour, which shrank the Labour vote by over 5 million post 1997. These lost voters have yet to be recovered and until they are Labour will have to content itself with Opposition.

To win them back requires a narrative which people can follow and remember, which relates to them and which offers hope. Its core has to be an economic re-boot of spectacular scale which erases the failures of austerity and delivers real, consistent, economic growth of 5% for several years, driven not by asset inflation but new production to create new wealth. If Labour can present that manifesto of hope and ambition in 2020 it will achieve, post Brexit, a spectacular win, even with Corbyn as leader. Just as Attlee did post  WWII in 1945. Yes May is riding high at the moment and in 2020 could be riding higher still, but Labour need have no doubts. Just think how high the victorious Churchill was riding in 1945, yet he lost to a Labour landslide, because Attlee’s message of a better way forward resonated with the people. In politics nothing is impossible.


Political Thriller: Download or Paperback

Friday, February 24th, 2017

Product DetailsSet in the mid nineteen nineties, this fast moving thriller lifts the curtain on sex, sleaze and corruption in high places as the long reign of the government totters to an end, following the ousting of the iconic Margaret Thatcher. The novel catches the mood of those times with a host of fictional characters who engage in political intrigue, sex, money laundering and murder, pursued by an Irish investigative journalist and his girlfriend, the daughter of a cabinet minister found dead in a hotel room after bondage sex.

Download £2.08 ($2.51)    Paperback 8.99 ($12.99)    UK    US

A Triumph For May: And For Corbyn?

Friday, February 24th, 2017

The Conservative victory in Copeland is a great political achievement. It is a major boost for May, who perhaps lacked democratic endorsement, having been voted in by Tory MPs only (which this blog applauded and would make mandatory for parties in government) and having lost the ultra safe Richmond to an anti-Brexit Lib Dem in a vanity contest involving Zach Goldsmith. This is also a heavy blow for Labour, whose difficulties increased in a constituency dominated by the nuclear industry, to which its leader is a life long antagonist.

On the other hand large numbers expected Labour to lose Stoke and it did not, in spite of a UKIP challenge and an ultra Brexit local electorate. So Corbyn actually did better than his enemies hoped, most of whom are in the PLP, and his allies feared. He is certainly not out and only a little more down than he was before. The same cannot be said for UKIP. It failed in its bid to break through and take Stoke and came nowhere in Copeland. It is difficult to convince this blog that the party, for UKIP  as a front line player,  is not over.

The political realities are as follows. May cannot call a snap election because we now have fixed term parliaments and the process would be too complicated to navigate through the Commons. But even if she could, Copeland may prove a false dawn. Hard Brexit plays very badly in the South East and the Lib Dems would prove formidable challengers in many seats. The crisis in public services from austerity would be laid bare in a general election campaign as well. Labour might not be strong enough to significantly advance, but as Stokes shows, it is not as weak as the media and anti-Corbyn faction proclaim. The outcome of a national contest might well be a Lib Dem, SNP, Labour led coalition.

What happens next depends on the actual terms of Brexit. What those are depend on elections coming up in France, Italy and Germany, where latest polls show Merkel may be in trouble. Oh, and there is Trump. So the game is not over, even if champagne flows freely in Downing Street today. In fact it has hardly begun.

Gothic Crime: Vintage Mystery

Monday, February 20th, 2017

Whilloe's First Case

St.John Whilloe is the black sheep member of a wealthy legal family, whose firm of solicitors looks after the affairs of many of the top families in the country. He is consulted by a young woman who claims to be frightened by her husband. Things are not as they seem and St.John finds himself drawn into a complex web of intrigue and murder. He is soon in a race against time to solve a mystery with roots in a tortured family history, with sinister paranormal undertones.

     US        UK

Trump: Has The Media Got It Wrong?

Monday, February 20th, 2017

Judged by previous presidencies, the Trump White House is chaotic. So the media daily tell us. But we may have been here before during the presidential campaign. Not a single media commentator predicted a Trump win at any stage. Always there were comparisons to show the next gate would close in his face because analysis shows…… The reason was , as this blog eventually pointed out, Trump was not running a presidential campaign. He was running a Trump campaign. And that was a campaign to his template, not a politically designed process  to meet expectations, conform to the game and play to the rules. The mood was anti-political establishment, which Trump tapped into, and he won.

Now he is President he does not see himself as fulfilling a role to time honoured norms. He thinks all that is out of date, has created a mess and is past its sell by date. So he has become himself, Donald Trump, the populist leader of the United States who also has the title President. That is exactly what his supporters voted for. The dismay in the media, among the commentators, academics and the political establishment at all levels is profound. Not only is Trump doing it his way, but it in no way connects to their way and much of what they do is irrelevant. At some point Trump will have to connect with Congress to deliver on his promises, but the idea is to build a populist head of steam which Republicans in Congress feel they cannot resist, without fear of retribution at the hands of their voters. Which explains how an apparently chaotic White House to the politicos, runs like a finely tuned machine in the eyes of its occupant.

Opinion polls give Trump the lowest rating of any new president in history. Bar one. Rasmussen gives him 51% approval, although that has fallen from 55% a few days ago.  Rasmussen were nearest to the actual result of the election, so they are worth watching. His new appointment of NSA and his promised new Executive Order on travel and immigration will be important moments. Meanwhile the show, like no other before it, goes on.

Gothic Thriller: A Vintage Read

Sunday, February 19th, 2017

Satan's Disciple

An English village slumbers on the Surrey/Sussex borders, but the pastoral exterior hides a number of nightmare secrets. The return of a young man, Philip, after a long absence stirs memories of the horrific murder of his mother and uncle years earlier and of an ancient curse delivered upon the family in Napoleonic times. The villagers’ unease grows as Philip embarks upon an affair with the local farmer’s daughter, and a series of mysterious deaths follows in his wake. Soon anxiety turns to fear as they sense evil in their midst. Could Philip be in league with the Devil? Set in the 1920s and full of authentic period detail, this is a tale which will haunt readers long after the last page has been turned.                             US        UK 

Prisons: A First Step

Sunday, February 19th, 2017

The increases in pay for prison officers will be widely welcomed by a critical public service, put under siege by crass decisions taken by government, which undermined the operating capability of almost all prisons and brought a number into dysfunction and crisis. But there is still a long way to go before our prisons deliver a balance of punishment and rehabilitation in a civilised environment, which values the dedication of staff and the human potential of those who have committed crimes, sometimes because they are wicked, but often because they are desperate and know no better.

There is much yet to do. First the notion that prisons should be privatised and become institutions in which shareholders can make a profit is mad. That has to stop and all such prisons re-nationalised. Next, as many more staff as are needed must be recruited and trained as a priority. Third, there must be a balance between sentencing, capacity, and purpose at present missing. We have to be clear what prison is for. At the moment it is far too often a university in which criminals learn to how commit more crimes.

A Better Way Forward: Download or Paperback

Friday, February 17th, 2017

Turn Left To Power: A Road Map For Labour by [Blair-Robinson, Malcolm]

Malcolm Blair-Robinson is a writer and blogger who has been a keen political observer for more than sixty years. Born a Tory, he became a founder member of the SDP, before gradually migrating left. In 2014 he published his idea of Dynamic Quantitative Easing which aroused interest in high places and this forms a core element of this powerful and compact analysis of Labour’s opportunity to regain power. Frank and at a times brutal, Turn Left To Power offers a collection of fundamental reforms which amount to a political revolution.


Blair’s Mission: Past Its Sell By Date?

Friday, February 17th, 2017

On the face of it there is no earthly reason why those who want to remain in the EU should not be politically mobilized. It is not undemocratic because we are a parliamentary democracy with a formally constituted opposition. After an election the losing side becomes the Opposition and continues to make its case. So Blair is well within his rights and he is entitled to tap into the political potential of anxious Remain supporters.

It is not quite as simple as that. Brexit was not an election. It was a referendum and they are different. Simply put parliament transferred its sovereignty to the people on the  ‘in or out’ question. The voters chose out. What they chose was a complete change of direction. Some will have wanted to put the clock back, while others had a clear vision of a new world. It was not a vote on a matter of policy. It was on a matter of principle. And British history on matters of principle is that whatever the shortcomings and in spite of vigorous opposing views, whatever change it is, sustains. Once the break came from Rome in the Reformation there was no turning back in spite of the rocky road which had to be traveled before everything settled down.

So it may be with Brexit. Not least because the old EU which Remainers favour may itself be gone. Once again there is talk of Greece in trouble and dropping out of the euro, except this time there is also talk of it using the US dollar. Whichever candidate wins in France will demand big changes in the way the EU is managed, and if it is Le Penn there could even be Frexit.  The same applies to Italy. In both France and Italy, even if they stay in the EU, there will be huge pressure to come out of the euro. Merkel may not get back to power in Germany. There are reactionary far right nationalist governments popping up in Eastern Europe. So we could find that we cannot turn the clock back even if we wanted to and some new set of alliances held together by NATO and free trade is the shape of things to come in whichever direction we go.

Moreover the warnings about the Scots voting to exit the UK may no longer be valid. Scotland might well have voted to remain in the EU and if the price for doing so was to exit the UK, the SNP might triumph in its ambition of an independent Scotland. But if there is instability in Europe, together with convulsions in the US and uncertainties about the nature and direction of globalisation, Scotland may well feel the time is not right to go it alone.