Archive for May, 2017

Labour Can Win: Download or Paperback From .99p

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

2017 Labour Can Win by [Blair-Robinson, Malcolm]




Power Corruption and Lies: .99p Download £6.99 Paperback

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

Power Corruption and Lies by [Raven, Tor]

Set in the mid nineteen nineties, this fast moving thriller lifts the curtain on sex, sleaze and corruption in high places. Tor Raven’s novel captures the mood of those times with a host of fictional characters who engage in political intrigue, 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.

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Corbyn Stumble: Lay Off

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

David Dimbleby  has written in the Guardian that Jeremy Corbyn is treated unfairly by the press. This is a most unusual intervention from a national treasure and the voice of the nation on all state occasions, general elections and the like. He weekly chairs the foremost national TV political show, Question Time. So when he speaks we listen and the point he makes is valid. Baiting Labour spokespeople has become a national pastime of much of the media establishment, most of which is to the right or centre right. Corbyn gets the worst treatment of all.

So today when he lost concentration on Woman’s Hour, there was a feeding frenzy of replays and aggressive interviewing of his colleagues by BBC journalists of whom we expect better. It was actually rather cruel. You do not kick people who fall, whether it is Corbyn, Diane Abbot or even Theresa May. But be assured this is a vote winner.

Nobody is voting for Corbyn because he is a faultless spin master. They will be voting for him and Labour because he cares about people and he articulates issues the way they see them. He empathizes with the worries in their lives and their yearning for a better fairer country. He can also suffer from exhaustion. On his schedule on their behalf, that is no small wonder. It shows he his human. Just like them. That is what they like about him most of all.

Labour Can Win

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

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Labour Can Win is an abridged version of my dissertation Turn Left to Power. The Labour Manifesto for the General Election on June 8th contains proposals which echo many of the principles which I have set out in an easy read format. Labour now has the chance to spring an historic surprise on June 8th. If you want a Labour victory, this is a must read. It will give you ideas and inspiration to drive you forward. A message of hope over fear in under 100 pages.

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Leader Debate: Corbyn or May?

Tuesday, May 30th, 2017

There was no knockout blow. Both sides will be relieved. But it was not an even contest, because Corbyn had everything to gain and May had everything to lose. Corbyn came across as principled, comfortable is his skin, engaging and willing to give quite detailed answers to questions even from Paxman. The more people see of Corbyn the more they warm to him.

For May it is the opposite. The more the campaign has exposed of her the less she is liked. A 25 point lead is now down to 5 points. She came across as brittle, evasive and unwilling to answer one single specific question with numbers or costings. She was shown to be a serial mind changer. On Brexit, she campaigned for Remain. On the tax changes for the self employed in the budget, she  scrapped them. On the promise she would not call a snap election, she did. On no cap on social care costs, now there will be one. And this is the person who has staked the whole Tory campaign on her strong decisive leadership. Well it appears voters are now changing their minds about her ability to provide it. Last night she did nothing to halt that trend.

Trump’s Trip: Did It Go Well?

Monday, May 29th, 2017

Trump thinks it was a success. Those Americans who are aware it took place will be relieved there were no disasters. His administration and its supporters will feel pleased. But what is really interesting is the change in dynamic which it inaugurates, about what America First means and how American power overseas will in future be used.

The first part of the tour with the Saudis was a big spectacular and was something of a triumph for Trump, projecting an image across the world which exuded authority and acceptance of US primacy. He used it to tell the Saudis and their allies that they must do more themselves to bring an end to the tyranny of IS. America will back you, but you must do more.

Israel and the Palestinians got the same message but tailored to their own situation. Israel was America’s number one ally in the Mid East, but go easy on settlements and we are not moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem. Yet. To the Palestinians it was the assurance that America would support them in the peace process as long as they made a genuine effort to engage. To both was the message Trump would back anything upon which they both agreed and would not adopt a position favouring one against the other. Very different in style, but not unwelcome to either side, who could see red lines and green lights clearly set out.

NATO was told to pay up its dues and rightly so. America would not and should not pay 70% of the cost of the alliance now that Europe’s economy was almost as big as that of the US. It was at the G7 summit in Sicily that things did not work out so well. Merkel described it as the G6 plus One. This time Trump’s view of world trade was different and his refusal to back the Paris Climate Change Accord was difficult. Merkel returned to Germany and made a speech about not being able to rely on the US and Britain in future. Europe would have to stand on its own feet.

Put simply this Blog would judge the tour a success, but perhaps for different reasons to the official line. Broadly the message to the parts of the world visited was that America First meant that the US was less willing to poke its nose into everybody else’s affairs, unless its own real (rather than contrived) interests were threatened, in which case watch out. But also if the rest of the world wants to play rough and break its toys, it can no longer rely on the US to mend them and clear up the mess.

The rising star of the journey was Ivanka. She is now widely described as America’s First Daughter. Something else to get used to.

Election 2017: Now It Gets Interesting

Sunday, May 28th, 2017

No denying there is still a Tory lead. But the poll in the Telegraph puts Labour at 38% and the Tories on 44%, a lead of just six points. This confirms the trend in all the other polls and evident from the start of the campaign, when May had a lead in the mid twenties. Based on the 2015 turnout this would give the Tories 13.2 million votes, 2 million more than in 2015. Labour would achieve 11.4 million, also 2 million up on their last result. It would also be their best result since the Blair landslide of 1997. Indeed on these figures Corbyn stands to get more votes than Blair in 2001 and 2005, Brown in 2010 and Milliband in 2015. So the idea that Corbyn is a vote loser is rubbish and pedaled only by people who cannot add up, mostly in what was ‘new labour,’ now a muttering rump of lost souls in a political dark corner.

Unfortunately with a first past the post voting system, the number of votes is not the whole story. Blair lost a staggering three million votes between 1997 and 2001, yet his landslide majority remained almost intact. There are now two critical elements in play before June 8th. The first is whether the Lib Dems and UKIP perform better on the day than in the opinion polls. If they do that will almost certainly hurt both main parties, but the Tories will face the heavier loss. The second is how much the turnout goes above the 30 million or so of 2015. Because the increase will indicate more young people voting and they will break for Labour.

Yes Labour can win.

To Help Labour Win: From 99p

Saturday, May 27th, 2017

To help Labour activists these two handbooks are available from 99p.

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Labour Continues to Climb: Latest Corbyn Message

Saturday, May 27th, 2017

It is heartening news for this blog, which has campaigned for a change of foreign policy since 2009, that at last Labour has had the courage to walk away from the foreign policy consensus which has delivered nothing but misery to millions for over fifteen years. These interventions destroy the fabric of states, leaving a vacuum in which all manner of rebel groups vie for power and in which perverted ideologies of cruel repression with violence germinate and blossom. Not only have we caused suffering to millions but also created a diaspora we cannot cope with.

The Labour manifesto is the most radical for decades, signalling a new way of resolving problems and advancing the common good. This now embraces foreign affairs, including the use of the military to advance political objectives. That is very good news for the country and I suspect very good news for Labour’s prospects on June 8th. According to a poll in today’s Times , the Tory lead over Labour is now down to five points. For Corbyn to speak out took courage in an area where cowardice and self interest tends to dominate, because the truth is too unpalatable to face. He made clear there was no excuse for Manchester and there was no justification for the cruelest act of terrorism thus far in the War on Terror, which he described as a failure, pointing to a different way forward.

It was expected that the Tories would fly into self righteous orbit, putting words into his mouth and meaning  opposite to his message. Yet when the BBC went onto the streets of a South London marginal to gain reaction, they could not find anybody who did not support the views of the Labour leader. The public back this much more than the political establishment, including New Labour. There was another objective too. To provoke May into grandstanding and saying things that were just not true about Corbyn, which replays can confirm. This reinforces the seepage of her ‘trust clever Theresa who knows what to do’ image. Judging by the clip of her on the news last night, she took the bait.

Funding Social Care: A Tripwire For May

Friday, May 26th, 2017

Before we look at what has happened, let us look at the ideal world. In that a person is born, nurtured, educated and grows up to take their place in adult society. They get a job, buy or rent a house, which takes no more of their income than a proportion which leaves sufficient over, to save for the cost of bringing up a family, retirement and old age. Either the home can be bought at the outset and paid for during the working life, or savings will provide the funds to buy one, as often in Germany, at retirement. In this world there is a constructive partnership between the person and civil and private providers as well as the state and capital. Some services are provided by the state, to enable which taxes are paid. The rest is down to you. Insurance can be used to spread privately paid for services.

After the war (WWII)  we lived in a period of hard core socialism followed by a period of social capitalism. This was a model of capitalism which promoted free enterprise, but retained political, in other words democratic, control over the shape of the economy. It worked well for a while, but eventually it became unresponsive and inert and failed to deliver competitive outcomes. People became disillusioned and turned away, electing Margaret Thatcher in 1979.

She offered first an economic model driven by control of the money supply, but later modified this to control by the markets. That conformed with new developments in technology which enabled more extensive world trade and ultimately globalisation. At first the new model was very liberating and worked for the majority, whilst leaving a minority whose welfare was, in exchange for the fact that they were somehow left behind, protected by the state. Thatcher also took the decision to sell council houses to their tenants at a discount. Popular and apparently benign, it has proved the cancer which is killing the current economical model.

This is what happened. If Thatcher had given cash raised on the sales back to councils to build more houses and if, when house price inflation first began to exceed general inflation, the Bank of England had introduced a Mortgage Rate, separate to Bank Rate, to regulate the housing market, things would now be very different and much better. Instead housing shortages have built up, savings have dried up, money is sucked in by borrowing countless billions overseas and pumping it into property via huge mortgages, which further inflate a market out of control. Young people cannot afford to buy, so taxpayer money has to be used to guarantee even bigger loans and to boost savings for deposits, inflating the market even more. Rents are so high in the private rented sector that billions have to be paid to landlords by the government, to subsidize the gap which tenants cannot meet. Another thrust on the inflation pump. At this point we no longer have a free housing market, but a government funded scam acting against the public interest.

The result is that people have to work round the clock to pay for housing costs and instead of saving as they did in the past, everything goes into the property, sucking up not only their own resources, but the resources of the state, because of rising benefit costs and lower taxation revenues. By creating an economy which favours asset inflation over wealth creation and borrowing over saving, the state ends up so short of revenue that it has to raid the inflated assets to carry on. And the people who have spent a lifetime borrowing instead of saving, have to accept that. The trouble for May is that they won’t.