Merseytravel Staff Briefing

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Don’t you think this is an odd article to appear in a Merseytravel staff briefing, it even name drops the Labour nomination for Manchester Mayor? I wonder if all the other to be declared candidates will get such publicity from this taxation funded public sector body?

Labour selects Mayoral candidate

Steve Rotheram will be Labour’s candidate in next year’s Liverpool City Region mayoral election. The MP for Walton beat Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson and MP for Wavertree Luciana Berger in a vote of Labour members in the region, with the results announced on Wednesday (10th August). Fellow MP Andy Burnham won the Manchester mayoral nomination for Labour on Tuesday. The other parties have yet to decide their candidates for the election which will be held on 4th May 2017.

Oh Mr Burnham did you really think the Northern Poorhouse was anything more than spin?

I am not known for my support of Andy Burnham but this piece in the Echo really does make me wonder how he and indeed other Labour worthies ever came to the conclusion that George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse was anything more than party political froth.

Talked about for a handful of years what on earth has been delivered for the ‘North’ that would not have happened anyway? Any medium to large project you can think of has been linked to the Northern Powerhouse in recent times and just about every council policy document you look at name drops it. But that does not mean that things have been achieved because of what some now refer to as the Northern ‘Poorhouse’.

Right wing Labour politicians are clutching at straws by begging for a policy devised by a now ousted Tory Chancellor and that was of little substance to be saved.

Labour’s new civil war over racism and power

To see senior Labour figures literally kicking verbal lumps out of each other may be entertaining to those of us who despise the authoritarian Labour Party but what is going on is more than a spat about racism vitally important though that is.

For a party supposedly of the left to be openly at war over racism is bizarre in itself but I go back 30 years or more to one of the most telling things I was told as a young politician. It came from a young Labour Party member who quite openly said to me that there were more racists in his party than in the other political party or words to that effect. And it seems to have come to pass many years later played out on our TV screens with senior Labour figures making such allegations about others in that comradely Party.

But of course this is just the latest spat in Labour’s ongoing civil war. The Red Tories want Corbyn out, they want him to look like he can’t lead his party, they are making the Labour Party impossible to lead.

Yes Corbyn is no great leader of men and women but neither is he the appalling man many of his own MP’s are trying to make him look like. He probably has many principles which his own party is trying to make him compromise. They may, in many cases, be principles that we libertarians could not agree with but at least he has principles.

Burnham is quite obviously jockeying for position as he can smell a possible end to Corbyn’s leadership and he needs to reinvent himself again after getting such a pasting in the last leadership election. He’s even using left wing rhetoric these days; very different to that he used when he lost to Corbyn and even further away from his days as a Blairite Minister privatising the NHS.

The majority of Labour MP’s want their party to swing back to the right, to be Blairite under a more palatable title. No more New Labour by name but very much so in policy terms.

My argument is that a right wing Labour Party is no good for the UK. Yes they may be able to unseat some Tories but why do we need Red Tories to replace Blue Tories? The changes would only be at the margins.

What we need is a radical, diverse and yes yet more radical alternative to Labour settling back down as the just slightly better alternative to more Tory years. Canada has that alternative model and those of us who want open inclusive government should take note. Why even some Americans can see that a more radical path needs to be taken with the rise of Bernie Sanders in the Democrat Party. I am always amazed to hear Labour Party members arguing for Hilary Clinton to win the Democratic nomination.

Justin Trudeau did not come to power by being slightly less right wing than the Canadian Tories he did it by turning the Canadian Liberal Party into a radical party that is openly prepared to tear up old outdated policy stances.

Radical policies are not based on class war as Labour and its core supporters believe, they are based on true empowerment of people, celebrating diversity and getting voters to coalesce around a common radical and positive agenda. Labour are incapable of such an approach whether the left or right is running their show.

The UK is crying out for a Justine Trudeau type leader not talk of moderation and aiming for the center ground, or worse centre ground positioning dressed up by left wing rhetoric. Is Tim Farron up for that?

Merseyside Labour’s big shots who barked up the wrong tree – What will become of them?

It was this recent article in the Liverpool Echo (see link above) that made me think about how many of Merseyside’s Labour MP’s and prominent local authority notables must now be pondering their future because they backed the wrong horse in the 2015 Labour Leadership election. The link below reminds us of those who publicly backed Andy Burnham, a chap many see as being very much on the right wing of the Labour Party.

This link shows just how many of the big beasts in Labour’s Merseyside jungle refused to back Corbyn who, of course, won the election by a landslide. However, some of them were then quick on their feet though as they saw the way the wind was blowing. They got a place in Corbyn’s team even though they had publicly made it very clear they saw Andy Burnham as Labour’s only credible Leader.

Many of my friends in the trade union movement, who have not been Labour Party members for many years are rejoining the Labour now to try to shore up Corbyn who remains under attack from many of his MP’s, despite Labour’s membership being very much behind him.

At face value Labour is returning to what in my mind it should be i.e. a clearly socialist party as opposed to the social democrat and even Christian Democrat one it became under Blair and Brown. Indeed, the ferocity of Labour attacks on those who rely on welfare/benefits to survive before the 2015 General Election made many of us wonder just how far to the right Labour was capable/prepared to travel. Of course those making these appalling attacks were dubbed ‘Red Tories’.

I am sure, like me, you can also sumise that the new socialist members of the Labour Party across Merseyside will have a copy of ‘that letter’. Surely they will be using it as a good starting point to deselect the MP’s and Labour worthies who penned it?

Will those who have been trying to re-position themselves as no longer anti-Corbyn, in the hope they can dodge the culling that surely must be on the cards, save themselves with their fancy footwork? Time will tell.

Why you can almost hear the words of Sir Humphrey saying ‘that was very brave’ to those who signed the letter which some if not all of them may one day very much wish they had not sent.

More on the dilemma that Labour MP’s face

I have been following, as readers of this blog site will know, the dilemma of Labour MP’s after the election of Jeremy Corbyn as their Leader. It is all too obvious that the vast majority of Labour MP’s did not want him as their Leader and they still don’t want him.

Yesterday of course the Labour Leadership via Shadow chancellor John McDonnell did a huge U turn and decided not to support the Tories financial planning for the public deficit, a plan they said they were going to support only a few days ago!

Also, have you noticed that Labour MP’s who do not support Jeremy Corbyn seem to express their loyalty to the Labour Party and not to their Leader? This has to end in tears.

So here we have a political party which its ordinary members and supporters now have a Leader they want, voted for by a huge majority and are loyal to. None of the other candidates came anywhere near presumably because Labour members thought they were all too far to the right. Yet the vast majority of Labour MP’s are backers of the 3 candidates who lost, or to put it bluntly got hammered, in the Leadership election.

My reading of this bizarre situation is that this is far from being a sustainable situation and that something has to give. In the real world of party politics the ‘give’ can only really be a coup by Labour MP’s or the MP’s who are not supportive of Jeremy Corbyn being deselected.

NHS Privatisation

The Liverpool Echo has the story – see link above.


Here we go again with parts of the NHS being privatised this time unsurprisingly under a Tory Government. This process started in earnest under the last Labour Government and if memory serves Andy Burnham had a hand in it back then did he not?

Do politicians not understand that we don’t want our NHS in private hands for private profit!