Thursday, 30 June 2016

Vote Labour, Get SNP ... Again

Jeremy Corbyn will not quit without a fight. Labour have a history for not having the courage of their convictions and waiting for someone else to make the difficult decisions for them. In Government they left the difficult decisions to the Coalition to rebuild the shattered economy. David Miliband was rumoured to challenge the unpopular and failing Gordon Brown but it never happened. Now in opposition there is still no challenger to take on the 'mighty' Jeremy Corbyn. They have done all they can safely do without damaging their careers by resigning their shadow positions and voting in a meaningless non-binding motion of no confidence. Labour are now in unprecedented territory. There are no political giants in the Labour Party like Shirley Williams and Roy Jenkins to go off and form a new party so where does Labour go from here. It would not be difficult to imagine the complete disintegration of the Labour Party as we know it and this would all fit with my previous article that project Corbyn is full steam ahead (
Despite reports of Angela Eagle being given the support of the Parliamentary Labour Party to Challenge Corbyn for the leadership the message is that she is giving Jeremy Corbyn more time to do the right thing. What she fails to see, or does not want to see, is that Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters believe he is already doing the right thing by waiting for a challenge and letting the members decide. This is his deep felt philosophy and shy shouldn't it be. He was elected by the membership with a huge mandate. In his mind it would be crassly undemocratic to have the will of thousands of members overruled by 172 MP's so he's going nowhere. 

Knowing a contest is inevitable, the delay in challenging his leadership gives Momentum ample time to organise his election campaign and mobilise his supporters. Even a casual glance at Momentum's website and social media shows they are in full swing recruiting supporters, getting new members to join and relentlessly promoting Jeremy Corbyn to the mass membership (

Jeremy Corbyn will win the leadership challenge. Labour PLP know that and probably explains the delay. Given his almost certain victory we would then see the complete disintegration of the Labour Party as we know it and this is the rub. Jeremy Corbyn doesn't want the Labour party to carry on as we know it. He and his supporters want it to carry on as they want to know it. With 172 MP's having no confidence, his return as Labour Leader with a fresh mandate can only mean mass resignations from the Labour Whip. In Parliamentary terms this would convert all those Labour MP's into independents. The rump of the remaining MP's may not be sufficient to be the largest party in the House of Commons. That honour would fall to the Scottish Nationalist Party, especially if they form a coalition with others.

This would be a planned low point for project Corbyn. What would follow in the party would be a throng of deselections in the constituencies and refusals by others to defend their seats as a Labour MP in the General Election. The Left Wing will then make it's final and decisive move and become Labour candidates with many becoming MPs and re-establish the party as the official opposition, or even in Government. Never say never.

I agree wholeheartedly with the Prime Minister when he said to the Labour leader "For Heaven's sake man, go!"  But it is equally, if not more so, a failing of Labour MP's to stand up to him and remove him by mounting a challenge and is the danger to the nation. With Jeremy Corbyn refusing to go we could well see Angus Robertson at the despatch box as Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, with an SNP Shadow Cabinet at his side and his SNP shadow ministers on the front bench. The spectre of the 2015 General Election was Vote Labour get SNP. Under Jeremy Corbyn this might yet come to pass.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Project Corbyn Makes Its Move

It would be tempting to think Jeremy Corbyn is currently hunkering down in the Winchester with a cold pint and waiting for it all to blow over. This, however, could be project Corbyn transitioning to the next stage and all it going to plan. His Shadow cabinet has always been a rainbow coalition of the hard left, soft left, Blairites and moderates. Jeremy Corbyn's complete polarisation from David Cameron placed him on the remain side of the EU debate and it was absolutely clear to even the casual observer that this was a not a decision of conscience but one of political calculation. 

His EU campaigning was lacklustre, indifferent and apathetic and his true Euro scepticism was only just below the surface. He ignored the open and vocal criticism following the Brexit result. The resignation of Hilary Benn did not have to result in his sacking. For the sake of unity he could have been kept Benn in the Shadow cabinet forcing to resign in protest instead. Protesting to his boss in a private phone call would have been a clear sign to the Labour Leader that he was not about to resign on his own accord. If his magnificent speech in Parliament over military action against Daesh did not make him resign then an expression over his lack of confidence would not have done.   Instead Jeremy Corbyn seized the initiative and he would have been abundantly aware his sacking would lead to mass resignations leaving either the ultra loyal, such as Emily Thornberry or career driven like Andy Burnham. And this plays right into Corbyn's hands. 

The Labour Party rules are clear about what any potential challenger needs to do when there is no vacancy but there are no rules instructing the incumbent leader to do anything. Some comparisons are being made with Tony Benn's challenge of Neil Kinnock's leadership in 1988 but there are few similarities. This was a Labour Party which had just expelled militants, not welcomed them with open arms, this was a Labour Party which voted by block votes. Today's Labour party is one where the members have the say and Jeremy Corbyn has a massive mandate from the membership which has since been swelled by ever more Corbynites. A challenge to his leadership is bound to lose and will embolden him to pursue with ever more vigour his hard left socialist agenda. 

Before he was elected leader I wrote about the dangers of a Corbyn leadership ( it maybe entering the next stage of project Corbyn. A blood letting of the moderates will give Jeremy Corbyn the space he needs to appoint a cabinet of his preference rather than one of political expedience. In my previous piece I was, and still am, very concerned that locally this will be bad news.

Labour will from this point be seen as a hard left party with an ultra socialist agenda. There will be more resignations and, at constituency level there will be deselections as the energised Momentum  makes real progress in taking over the Constituencies and selecting ever more left wing candidates. With Andy Burnham declaring is unequivocal support for Jeremy Corbyn the first visible sign of Project Corbyn part 2 will be his election as a Corbynite Mayor of Greater Manchester in charge of Police and Justice, Transport, Health and Housing. 

Project Corbyn will eventually run it's course and wither but until then it has never been a more critical time for a strong unifying leader of the Conservative party to make sure we stay in Government and spare the country from the extremes of a left wing administration. The new Conservative Leader needs to have broad appeal as possible, I wrote in Conservative Home ( Ordinary, non-political, working people from all backgrounds must be able to identify with Conservative policies and this may not be any of the candidates so far being touted.

Friday, 17 June 2016

Jo Cox MP

They're on the take, all in it for themselves, they do nothing. These are things politicians, whether amateur or professional, hear all the time and we know it is wrong. We know that we seek election because we want to serve those who give us the privilege of representing them on the Council, in Parliament or wherever but this is often overlooked in favour of louder less complimentary commentary. But when challenged you soon discover that these negative sentiments are based on very few MP's who have been in the news for the wrong reasons or even on just one MP (maybe their own) who needs to buck their ideas up. There are hundreds of MPs and the vast and overwhelming majority are there for the right reasons. I would hazard a guess that before the astonishingly tragic events in Birstall few would have heard of Jo Cox just as few have heard of many MPs and some don't know their own. What I hope and pray for out of this tragedy is now that everyone knows what a dedicated Member of Parliament Jo Cox was that she can now be the exemplar of what it is to be a brilliant constituency MP and that the overwhelming majority of MP's are dedicated to serving their constituents.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Corbyn's "Corruption"

This a photo of me and Andy Burnham in one of our lighter moments when he came to meet me at my Ju Jitsu club. I love it because despite us knocking lumps out of each other in the local press he is a good friend and when we see each privately the conversation is usually .... always about football, not politics. People with different political persuasions working together often get the best results. I was really pleased that Andy gave huge credit to Theresa May for her working in constructive collaboration to get justice for the victims of Hillsborough. It reminded me of a moment just recently in a House of Commons debate about the National Living wage where Labour MP, Siobhan McDonagh, spoke passionately about the lengths some employers are going to in order to circumvent to spirit of the living wage. As if in private conversation in the House of Commons tea room Anna Soubry intervened and said;

"As the Minister responsible for retail, I undertake to take this up directly with B&Q. ..... because I think that between us we could do something about it?"

It was a magic moment. The intention of the living wage was to give Britain a pay rise and the attempts of an employer to get round giving this statutory pay rise was caught in this Parliamentary pincer movement and B&Q will now compensate anyone who loses out for two years, doubling their previous offer. A brilliant result for Parliamentary democracy.

It really saddened me to see Labour Leader, Jeremy Corbyn undo all this party unity on getting the best from the National Living Wage in a single moment of political opportunism at Prime Minster's Questions today (11th May 2016). Not only did he undermine the very clear fact that workers will be getting a massive increase in their hourly rates he used the most derogatory term in doing so. He called the National Living Wage "A corruption of the very idea". Jeremy Corbyn's recent opposition to the National Living Wage is inexplicable but it is clearly not corruption to properly reward the hard workers who have made our economy grow, it is not corruption to make sure hard work pays, it's not corruption to see that employers properly pay their most prized asset, their workers.

As the Rt Hon Rob Halfon MP, President of the Conservative Trade Unionists and Deputy Conservative Party Chairman, pointed out in his response (  the National Living Wage will benefit 2.9 million people and mean that by 2020 workers on the National Living Wage will be £4,400/yr better off. Any attempt by any employer to undermine that has Parliament to deal with as B&Q discovered, if only Jeremy Corbyn would stop undermining it by using derogatory terms like "corruption".

My advice to Jeremy is to leave the politicking on the hustings and let his back benchers get on with the job of reasonable and constructive debate.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Corbyn, Why So Hostile to the Workers' Party?

Prime Minister's Questions 26th March 2016, Jeremy Corbyn showed his true stereotype and my blood boiled. On welfare reform he retorted at how disabled people would have been worried about changes to benefits and followed up saying;

"those members opposite wouldn't have any idea what it is like to have to balance a budget at home when you don't have any money coming in, the rent is going up and your children need clothes"

I have news for Corbyn. I'm a Conservative because I know what it is like to have to balance a budget with no money coming in, the rent going up and the children needed clothes.I needed, and got, welfare. I was forced from my rented house as I could no longer afford the rent and had to get emergency housing as I was homeless with a family. I found work as a farm labourer, it wasn't much but it paid. I got back on my feet, the welfare was no longer needed, I bought my own house. This is not a rare story and if Corbyn could countenance having a conversation with any number of Conservatives and he will find my story and background are quite typical.

What really makes my blood boil is that my background as a Conservative could not be more different from his as a Socialist. I had no private education, unlike Corbyn, my family had to graft and graft and often didn't make ends meet unlike Corbyn and I really do know what it's like to live in poverty unlike Corbyn. Also unlike Corbyn I know that what really terrifies is a plunging economy, seeing the news day after day reporting jobs being lost, unemployment rising and taxes increasing. A crashed economy can never help those who need support and Labour always, ALWAYS, crashes the economy and, as a person who has experienced real poverty this is the most terrifying.

I don't begrudge his privately funded primary education or the fact that he has no experience of being in genuine need. As a Conservative I want everyone to have a shot at the same opportunities, but I do object to his pretense that he has the monopoly of comprehension of what it's like to be in need. Just because he has advisers, has spoken to constituents and attends rallies he seems to adopt an evangelical understanding of the desperation of which I have first hand experience.

I put this to you Jeremy Corbyn, instead of pointing the stereotyping finger at the members opposite, do you have any idea what it is like to have to balance a budget at home when you don't have any money coming in, the rent is going up and your children need clothes.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

NHS Treatment Delayed is NHS Treatment Denied

So the Junior Doctors have had their 'strike' with a threat of more to come. Not all doctors were on strike as emergency cover was maintained. In other words the Junior doctors, under the direction of the BMA, decided that to press their argument home they were to impose on the patient weekend conditions on a weekday. Throughout the day there have been conflicting versions from striking doctors as to why they are on strike. One version complains that they will 'effectively get a pay cut' with the new contract, another complains that they will no longer get higher pay for unsociable hours. Most follow what is the quasi-official line of the BMA that this is all about patient safety. This is where the argument completely unravels. Study after study shows that discharge rates at weekends reduces massively (my personal favourite study is from the 2003 paper from the Emergency Medical Journal Reducing delayed discharges is not only crucial to the welfare of the individual patient but also to the patients waiting for admission and patients waiting to be seen in A&E only to be delayed by, you've guessed it, a delayed discharge elsewhere in the hospital. It is no coincidence that A&E sees its highest backlogs on Mondays when doctors resume non-emergency work and go about releasing patients who could otherwise have been set free to go home 24, 48 or sometimes 72 hours earlier. While the frantic bed unblocking goes on there are patients being denied the care and treatment they need. In my own personal experience I have been told to come to hospital on a Sunday to collect a patient who was discharged only to wait for over 4 hours while nurses frantically searched for a doctor to sign a prescription. A consultant was found who was worked off his feet. If junior doctors were on shift his job would have been less exhausting, my friend would have been discharged a great deal earlier and the bed would have been free, for example, to an A&E patient. Ironically it is in A&E where a junior doctor may well be working at the weekend and frustrated with weekend bed blocking due to lack of junior doctors on the wards. This account is repeated in the BMA's own publication "Hospital Discharge: The Patient, Carer and Doctor perspective" where patient "Julie" spoke of hours of delay due to not being able to find anyone to sign the paperwork. In this same publication a former chair of the BMA Junior Doctors Committee says of delayed discharges "When done poorly patient care can suffer, with distressing consequences for the patient and their family. Jeremy Hunt has called on Junior doctors to follow nurses, technicians, caterers, engineers and all the other people that make the NHS tick to work a regular weekend shift to nail the problem of delayed discharges. They've been persuaded by the BMA not to answer that call and go for the emotive argument of patient safety. The actions of the highly qualified, dedicated but poorly led junior doctors have not only continued to leave patients at greater risk at weekends but have decided to exacerbate this by recreating these conditions as a form of industrial action.

Failure to make adequate and timely arrangements to discharge patients has been a blight on the NHS for too long. It creates bottle-necks that often disrupt entire hospitals and adds to the stress suffered by patients, who find themselves stuck in hospital. If patients are not discharged, new patients, who require medical attention, cannot be admitted. Delayed discharge will only be eliminated for good when the NHS is adequately resourced and capacity meets demand.

I have to be honest, that last paragraph is not from my own hand so I must give it the necessary credit. My thanks to the BMA.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

U Turn If You Want To, Labour IS for Turning

U turn if you want to, the Lady's not for turning. This was Margaret Thatcher's response to appeals from all sides to U turn on economic policy. She didn't, she pushed on with painful but necessary economic reforms and she got Britain back into shape stronger than ever. Ironic that today, on what would have been her 90th birthday, the new Labour leadership has done exactly the opposite. A matter of days ago Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell was saying that he supported the Osborne charter of running a budget surplus in normal times. Today all that changed with Labour's U turn, they will no longer support George Osborne's charter. More accurately Labour leadership won't support it. Labour MPs took to Social media to openly criticise their party leader's stance, Shadow Cabinet member retaliated by giggling down the Radio 4 microphone and the leader himself cold stone silent. When they were last in Government Labour were openly, repeatedly and rightly criticised for not making the most of economic growth by putting money aside for economic downturns. Gordon Brown convinced by his own rhetoric that he had abolished boom and bust went further and sold billions of pounds worth of gold reserves at rock bottom prices. George Osborne's charter aims to correct that. No matter how convinced a future chancellor might be that the good times will never end the law will require them to run a surplus budget. If this had been the case in 2008 the Great Recession would not have been anywhere near as great.

Tonight Labour are ending this email to their members

"In less than 24 hours there will be a vote in Parliament on George Osborne’s “Charter” of cuts.
Make sure your friends and family know what Osborne is up to and why Labour is voting against it."

Labour is telling it's members that it will be voting against repairing the roof while the sun is shining. Have they not learned anything?