Friday, 22 January 2016

Seven rubbish defences for Labour’s defence policy review

While the party membership has been convulsed by the burgeoning civil war over the Corbyn leadership phenomenon, policy has – understandably – taken something of a back seat.

However, in recent weeks it has been in the news over one area. Surely, you say, it must be how to rework Labour’s economic policy to make it more electable? After all, aside from the public’s lack of personal engagement with Ed Miliband, that’s the factor generally accepted (including in Labour’s own post-mortem, the Beckett report) to have essentially lost it the last election?

Oh, how naïve. It’s defence, of course. Not because it was an election-loser for Labour, you understand, or even figured highly in doorstep conversations, but because it is a personal hobby horse of Our Beloved Leader and his entourage (prominent kitchen Cabinet members Andrew Murray and Seumas Milne, for example, being long-time Stop the War Coalition stalwarts).

The original brief for the defence review thus considered everything the Stoppers hold dear, from dumping Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent to leaving NATO. That said, last week the leadership rowed back from the latter and sidelined Ken Livingstone from the defence review, realising that leaving NATO was really a step too far for most.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

The best of 2015

And so we come to the traditional year-end round-up of the Centre Left's most popular posts:

5. Five dangers for Labour as the finish line approaches - In those heady days when we had merely slightly-hopeless Ed Miliband rather than disastrous Jeremy Corbyn as party leader, there was actually a time when many felt that Miliband was on track to become Prime Minister. Yes, thanks to some fairly serious differences between pre-election polling and the final result, many languished under that comfortable delusion. The Centre Left did not, even though even this blog did not fully appreciate the scale of defeat which awaited us.

4. The Muslim Manifesto and Labour's useful idiots - In March, a few signs of the madness currently gripping the national party started to make themselves evident. Here we had a (thankfully small) group of MPs inviting a hate-preacher to speak in Parliament, a clear indication of The Madness. With well-known Hamas sympathisers Andy Slaughter and Yasmin Qureshi leading the charge - thanks, guys.

3. Why backbenchers talking to terrorists is not the same as senior politicians talking to terrorists: a primer Later, during the leadership election, many attempted to defend Corbyn's association with terrorists by comparing it to the UK government talking to the IRA. This piece looked to gently explain why that argument is rubbish.

2. Tory fumbles put Labour back in the race - A few weeks before the general election saw the Tories wobble with a few serious gaffes. It put Labour back in the race in everyone's minds, only to have our hopes cruelly dashed on election night itself.

And, at Number One:

1. "Unite is proud to associate itself with Lutfur Rahman" - Or thus spake Andrew Murray, right-hand man to Len McCluskey and the leader's Chief of Staff at the Unite union. Only he turned out to be wrong when McCluskey changed his mind. Rahman, of course, was stripped of his office as Mayor of Tower Hamlets in April, after an electoral court convicted him of electoral fraud. What a sweet, sweet day was that for some of us (well, he did once try to have me arrested).

That's it - a very happy New Year to all Centre Left readers, after a year when we actually broke into the top 40 of UK political blogs for the first time. Thanks for all your support, we'll be here as long as you keep reading.
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