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A draft manifesto

jeremy-corbyn_3341664bWas it sabatage or deliberate that we’ll never now but Labour’s draft manifesto has certainly caused a stir.

It’s on a par with the Atlee post war programme. It’s certainly radical and certainly kills dead the thought that all political parties are the same.

But will it work?

What about the nationalization?

According to YouGov the renationalization of the railways and Royal Mail get the thumbs up of the overwhelming majority of the British public.

Breaking up the energy companies might also prove as popular. Hardly that different from what happens in Germany.

Ending Zero Hour Contracts

It follows New Zealand’s lead and banning exploitative Zero Hours Contracts and would again get the backing of many across the political spectrum. According to YouGov even Conservatives support the ban by 46% in favour to 35%.

National Investment Bank

With brexit on the horizon investment in industries will become crucial if the country is to compete. Far better to create a bank that’s main aim is to encourage this than to through money to prop banks such as RBS that are in the muck because of their feckless disregard to due diligence. A national investment fund/bank is good enough for almost every other developed country why not in the UK?Clampdown on outsourcing companies
Company receiving taxpayers’ cash for doing government work must pay their fair share of taxes. Most of the public would go for this. Why successive governments haven’t used the leverage of government contracts to insist on this before is a mystery.

Certainly this is about state intervention in a way that has certainly hasn’t been seen since the 1970s, and perhaps since the 1940s.

Its certainly lives up to Jeremy Corbyn’s mantra of “Taking Control.”

Labour has given itself a radical edge. The polls still indicate that the public are not convinced that Corbyn is a PM in waiting. But certainly today Labour have got everyone attention.



Welsh local election results


Tories on track for general election success.

The local elections are over in Wales. What can we read in the results? Although Labour lost over a hundred seats they must be breathing a massive sigh of relief.

Why? It wasn’t the wipeout that many predicted. They held on to Caerphilly, Cardiff, Neath Port Talbot, Newport, RCT, Swansea and Torfaen.

All be it, they lost Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr.  Once part of the South Wales coalfield and for much of the twentieth century regarded as Labour strongholds.

Both seats have been lost Independents in Parliamentary elections in the past. And it was these that swept Labour out of control of the respective county halls. Interestingly neither seat seems fertile ground for the other political parties. But it does show that once loyal Labour voters have moved from supporting Labour in the past it is possible to do it again.

Conservatives will of course be quietly satisfied with the results having gained seats in many parts of Wales and it augers well for their general election campaign.

The results will help them to decide which seats to target for June. When the dust settles we will expect that most of their resources will be concentrated in North East Wales where they can expect some happy hunting.

Plaid Cymru will be disappointed though gaining over thirty seats they failed to gain overall control of any authority other than Gwynedd.  In their target seat of Ceredigion their council results so no gains at all. Despite gaining 8 more seats control of Carmarthenshire still eludes them.

Similarly they only gained 2 seats in Ynys Mon so again control is out of their grasp. But they will be quietly optimistic of wrestling the seat from Labour in the general election.

In 2012 the Liberal Democrats had a disaster but rather than gain ground they have suffered further losses. On the bases of this they will find it difficult to gain any seats in Wales in the forthcoming general election.

Cardiff Central where they had hopes has become a three way marginal seat with the Conservatives also back in the game here.

Finally, UKIP have now ceased to be a force in either England or Wales. Their last remaining stronghold is their presence in the Assembly. Even here, because of defections they are down to 5 members from their original 7 members.

Their vote throughout the country has gone straight to the Tories. And even those Labour voters that voted UKIP have not gone back to Labour but have moved to backing the Tories.

What does this all tell us about the general election result? The local election results point to Teresa May getting her overall majority. Unless there is a dramatic change in Labour’s fortune the only question is how big a landslide?


Brexit and the election

“It’s wrong to leave the European Union.” By the smallest of margin that is the view of the people in the latest poll.

And with Angela Merkel making it absolutely clear that whatever deal is struck the terms won’t be as good as what the UK has at the moment.

Undoubtedly Teresa May will use the German Chancellor’s remarks to her own advantage. “Look they’re all ganging up on us, so you need a strong leader to stand up to them.”

Strong or not, the 27 remaining countries in the EU are not going to give ground and having triggered article 50 the UK has very few negotiating cards in its hand.

Playing the nationalism card

May might say that “Every vote for the Conservatives will make it harder for opposition politicians who want to stop me from getting the job done.

Every vote for the Conservatives will make me stronger when I negotiate for Britain with the prime ministers, presidents and chancellors of the European Union.”

She is using the same phenomena that Mrs Thatcher used with the Falklans – nationalism.

It’s the plucky UK in battle against the rest of the EU. You can almost here the soundtrack of the Dam Busters march playing in the background. And of course if anyone does not share the vision they are “saboteurs.’ May’s election announcement bounce therefore has similarities to Thatcher’s Falklands poll bounce.

Not our call

But as the EU and Mrs Merkel made very clear the reality is very different. In the negotiations what happens is largely down to the EU, with the occasional choice for the UK.

But even these limited choices should be made by democratic means, and not by one person who has the interests of her party to worry about.

 Brexit hits economy

But opportunist May had to call the election now. For the negative impact of brexit are about to become very clear.

Today’s announcement by the Office for National Statistics that UK economic igrowth has slowed down sharply in 2017 adds to the nervousness of business. As it does to the City, which constitutes far more hundreds of thousands of employees than the small, avaricious band of bankers who made their notorious contribution to the financial crisis.

The impact on prices and real earnings from the collapse of the pound is daily  becoming more evident. And plans for major firms to relocate their investments to continental Europe will gradually be implemented.

As a musical hall magician would say “All will be revealed.” But not until after 8 June.

 Blair wants to stop a landslide

That’s why Mrs May and her friends in the supporting media are pushing for a landslide result. They know that they have a small window of opportunity to get us out of Europe before it dawns on the nation what a terrible mistake it has done. But by then it will be to late.

That’s why the Conservatives will focus relentlessly on Brexit and leadership. So is a wipeout for Labour inevitable? Not necessarily.

It is fashionable to ignore Tony Blair in Labour circles but yesterday he was right in saying the campaign slogan of Labour should be “no blank cheque.” It accepts the reality of the polls that May is likely to win the election. But at a stroke it shifts the attention from Corbyn’s leadership credentials and focuses more on the need to strengthen Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition. Choices can then be made in the country’s best interests and not in the Conservative party’s interest.