This Is Not the Time for the Left to Abandon Labour

First Published in the Huffington Post

For many on the Left, the Labour party is beyond the pale. Damned as having sold out, and seen as no different from the Tories, many see the idea of voting Labour as an assault on their integrity. Instead they will either vote Green, SNP/Plaid Cymru, or not vote at all. We should start by admitting that this view is not ridiculous. Labour, from 1994 onwards, spent 16 years appeasing the wealthy and they media allies and telling them that the Party posed no risk to the Neo-Liberal status quo. Where they did good work (creating Tax Credits, building the Sure Start early years programme, renovation of social housing) they failed to talk about it enough, leaving mainstream political discourse firmly stuck on the right. New Labour deliberately took the left for granted, believing it had nowhere else to go, instead focussing on Conservative inclined voters in marginal constituencies. While that approach won Labour 3 elections, its share of the vote gradually dwindled from the landslide inducing 43.2% in 1997 to 35.2% in 2005 and then to 29% in 2010.  Continue reading

What Natalie Should Have Said – How to Fund the Green Party’s Citizen’s Income Policy


Natalie Bennett’s recent interview with Andrew Neil was the sort that politicians try to avoid. Neil, one of the UK’s best political journalists, understands the detail of policy and asks difficult questions about how it is to be implemented. This was no exception – Neil began by acknowledging that the Greens now had a range of other policies that went beyond the environment – before tearing into them, and demanding to know how they would be paid for. While some have described the interview as a ‘car crash’, Bennett actually did pretty well – giving clearer and less evasive answers than most politicians, and showing a grasp of detail that is rare for a leader of a small party.  Continue reading