Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Faced with anti-Semitism, the left commentariat’s eerie silence

Well, mostly: there are always exceptions.
“No-one can justify the Toulouse attacks”, said Stop The War Coalition’s Lindsey German, “but…” and, without irony, proceeded to attempt to do precisely that, with the usual litany against Western imperialism. It was, predictably, all our fault.

However, we expect that from the Stoppers. More interestingly, there were a few mainstream voices. On Tuesday while it was still entirely uncertain what had caused the attacks, a Guardian editorial gleefully
jumped in:
“Currying votes from the extreme right is a two-edged sword, and Sarkozy could be about to feel its blade.”
Of course, it was all the fault of that nasty Sarkozy. And how conveniently it played to our prejudices to see that it was to see that it was right-wing fascists responsible for the horror. Except that, of course, in this case, they weren’t.But more generally, the reaction we saw in the liberal-left press was all the more intriguing.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Livingstone logic

I thought I’d said my piece on Ken and would now wait to see if he could muddle his way through to a Labour victory, however unlikely it might seem.

However it seems that Ken can’t help himself: he seems doomed to throw the election because of one thing: his own extraordinary lack of self-awareness.

Firstly it seemed impossible to make worse the situation with regard to the hypocrisy of his tax position but, no. Instead of doing the smart, if excruciatingly embarrassing, thing of saying it was all a mistake and he would pay the tax immediately (what we in the trade call "doing a Blears"), when interviewed by LBC on Tuesday he offered to pay it back – in the event that he were elected Mayor.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Public sector pay: the Chicken Licken model

As part of the Budget run-up, on Friday Britain’s labour movement was convulsed at the thought of the latest Osborne proposal: that national public sector pay rates might be scrapped.

But
, before we join the voices of the major trade unions and the TUC who are, understandably, trying to look out for their own interest group, as a party whose interests are not always identical to those of our union colleagues, it might behove us to take a few minutes to take a step back.

Now, while no-one would suggest we should be adopting the Tory Budget wholesale, smart opposition is about determining which bits to oppose. A regional bargaining system would likely increase some pay-rates, as well as decreasing (or failing to increase) others.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

A trip to Stockholm for London Labour

This week’s revelations about Ken Livingstone’s tax affairs are not shocking. They are not even very surprising. But they are important in another sense: in the direct contradiction they highlight between word and deed.

Now, as many readers of Labour Uncut will know, its contributors are not generally renowned as class warriors. But, as a politician, it is simply staggeringly unwise to show yourself in the light that Livingstone has just done. As Nick Cohen
notes in the Observer: 
“Livingstone…is now the champion of the suffering 99% and enemy of the despised 1%. “Cameron’s problem is too many of his team have become super-rich by exploiting every tax fiddle,” he cried. ‘No one should be allowed to vote in a British election, let alone sit in our parliament, unless they are paying their full share of tax.’ He was talking about himself.’”

Friday, 2 March 2012

Why Occupy failed

I have to make a confession. I haven’t really engaged with Occupy London – evicted yesterday from St Paul’s – in the few months since it started out. Perhaps I missed something vitally important about it all. I think I’ve written about them only once, in passing, mainly because I wasn’t sure that they were relevant to anything the Labour Party was fighting for.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have not come to stick the boot in while they’re down. They may live to fight another day. And in many ways I admire them, as I admire anyone who will get up and do something, anything, rather than sit on their backsides and moan about how dreadful everything is. I’m for the door-knockers, the poll number takers and the leaflet-stuffers (of which roles I have done plenty over the last twenty years). I’m with them for not accepting things the way they are. After all, as I once heard a General Secretary of the party drily observe, “why would you join the Labour Party if you were happy with life as it is?”

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