For the many, not the few

An excerpt from the spring 2017 Labour Party manifesto


So yes, this election is about what sort of country we want to be after Brexit. Is it one where the majority are held back by the sheer struggle of getting by? That isn’t the Britain Labour is determined to create.

So let’s build a fairer Britain where no one is held back. A country where everybody is able to get on in life, to have security at work and at home, to be decently paid for the work they do, and to live their lives with the dignity they deserve.

Let’s build a country where we invest our wealth to give everyone the best chance. That means building the homes we need to rent and buy, keeping our communities safe with more police officers, giving our children’s schools the funding they badly need, and restoring the NHS to its place as the envy of the world.

Don’t let the Conservatives hold Britain back.

Let’s build a Britain that works for the many, not the few.

Creating An Economy That Works For All

Labour’s economic strategy is about delivering a fairer, more prosperous society for the many, not just the few.

We will measure our economic success not by the number of billionaires, but by the ability of our people to live richer lives.

Labour understands that the creation of wealth is a collective endeavour between workers, entrepreneurs, investors and government. Each contributes and each must share fairly in the rewards.

This manifesto sets out Labour’s plan to upgrade our economy and rewrite the rules of a rigged system, so that our economy really works for the many, and not only the few. Britain is the only major developed economy where earnings have fallen even as growth has returned after the financial crisis. Most working people in Britain today are earning less, after inflation, than they did ten years ago. Too many of us are in low-paid and insecure work. Too many of us fear our children will not enjoy the same opportunities that we have.

Labour will turn this around. We will upgrade our economy, breaking down the barriers that hold too many of us back, and tackling the gender pay gap. Our National Transformation Fund will deliver the investment that every part of Britain needs to meet its potential, overcoming years of neglect. Our industrial strategy will support businesses to create new, high- skilled, high-paid and secure work across the country, in the sectors of the future such as renewables. We will stop our financial system being rigged for the few, turning the power of finance to work for the public good. And we will put small businesses at the centre of our economic strategy.

The growth created by our national investment plan, underpinned by the responsible economic management embodied in our Fiscal Credibility Rule, will create good jobs, drive up living standards and improve the public finances.

It is a plan that will deliver Labour’s vision of an economy that works for the many, not just the few – a Britain in which no one is held back.

Jeremy-Corbyn

June 28, 2017 – Arsenal For Democracy Ep. 186

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Bill interviews returning guest Emily Robinson (@see_em_play), a Socialist organizer in Scottish Labour from the US, about the June 2017 UK election results and aftermath. Produced: June 25th, 2017.

Episode 186 (53 min):
AFD 186

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Music by friend of the show @StuntBirdArmy.

Jeremy Corbyn wins Labour leadership race easily

Arsenal Bolt: Quick updates on the news stories we’re following.

Jeremy-Corbyn

BBC News – Jeremy Corbyn wins Labour leadership contest

The victory message:

We don’t have to be unequal. It does not have to be unfair, poverty isn’t inevitable. Things can, and they will change”
[…]
He said the leadership campaign “showed our party and our movement, passionate, democratic, diverse, united and absolutely determined in our quest for a decent and better society that is possible for all”.

“They are fed up with the inequality, the injustice, the unnecessary poverty. All those issues have brought people in, in a spirit of hope and optimism.”

He said his campaign had given the lie to claims that young Britons were apathetic about politics, showing instead that they were “a very political generation that were turned off by the way in which politics was being conducted – we have to, and must, change that”.

 
The breakdown:

The veteran left-winger got almost 60% of more than 400,000 votes cast, trouncing his rivals Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall.
[…]
The Islington North MP won on the first round of voting in the leadership contest, taking 251,417 of the 422,664 votes cast – against 19% for Mr Burnham, 17% for Ms Cooper and 4.5% for Ms Kendall.
[…]
An overwhelming 85% of people who signed up as affiliated supporters for £3 voted for Mr Corbyn – but he also topped the ballot among party members and trade unionists.

 

Sept 9, 2015 – Arsenal For Democracy 142

Posted by Bill on behalf of the team.

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Topics: Are Blairites and Clintonites right about the center-left? What lessons can be learned from the 1820s and 1830s in US politics? Understanding the Trump bankruptcies better. People: Bill, Nate. Produced: September 6th, 2015.

Episode 142 (51 min):
AFD 142

Discussion Points:

– Corbyn and Sanders: Are centrist Blairites and Clintonites right about the left?
– US history: What lessons can be learned from the 1820s and 1830s in US politics?
– Trump bankruptcies: Not as negative as widely suggested? We compare and contrast.

Related Links

AFD: “The Only Way is Blair”
AFD: “When The Party’s Over: The 1820s in US Politics”
AFD: “Op-Ed | Trump’s Bankruptcies in Perspective”

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And don’t forget to check out The Digitized Ramblings of an 8-Bit Animal, the video game blog of our announcer, Justin.

The Only Way is Blair?

Questioning a fundamental tenet of the Tony Blair mythos (and the Bill Clinton mythos).

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One of the major talking points put forward by Tony Blair allies (and the former Prime Minister himself) in the aftermath of the 2015 election fiasco and again now during the leadership contest with the rise of leftist Jeremy Corbyn has been that Blair’s strain of Labour Party ideology (“New Labour”) was superior to all others because he “won three elections in a row” with it and brought Labour out of its nearly two decades in the opposition wilderness. Blair’s own snide phrasing, which he even dared to utter long before the election loss, was “a traditional left-wing party competes with a traditional right-wing party, with the traditional result” implying that a traditional left-wing party can’t win elections (not that Labour ran a particularly or consistently left-wing campaign this year).

Similarly, we sometimes hear roughly the sentiment echoed in the United States with regard to Bill Clinton’s centrist/triangulating Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) and the “New Democrats.” Blair explicitly modeled his 1997 election campaign on Bill Clinton’s 1992 and 1996 presidential campaigns (and Clinton’s wider political philosophies), so there are always comparisons between the two. At minimum, they both ran on highly personality-oriented campaigns that claimed to be bringing a new direction to politics on the whole, not just to their own parties. Something transcending those “tradition” right and left alignments, supposedly.

Let’s examine these dual contentions, though. Did the Democrats re-take the White House in 1992 because of Clinton’s Democratic Party centrism? Did Labour re-take parliament in 1997 because of Blair’s New Labour approach?

Blairites and Clintonites alike fervently believe that centrism is what won them power. I would contend instead that inevitability did. Eventually, the opposing major party returns to power.

Blair going centrist didn’t “save” Labour from itself. Conservatives held power for 18 years. Prime Minister John Major’s net approval rating across the early 1990s was in -60 to -20 range. The Labour leadership had higher net approval before Blair took over as opposition leader in 1994, and Major’s net approval really fell off a cliff even before Blair’s ascent. I would conclude from that that any reasonably competent politician (left or center) could have led Labour back to power in 1997 after a whopping eighteen (bleak) years of Conservative rule. (True, leadership ratings are not wholly predictive at the ballot box, but they’re indicative of strengths or weaknesses in broad terms.)

By comparison, Democrats panicked after losing the White House only 3 times in a row in merely 12 years (1980, 1984, 1988). In all likelihood, rota fortunae (the ever-rotating wheel of fortune), not DLCism, won the White House back for Democrats in 1992. The relatively centrist Democratic Congressional caucus also kept shrinking before and after Clinton’s ascent to power, eventually leading to the loss of its House majority in 1994 for the first time since the 1950s. It’s a little hard to square that fact with the Clinton hype.

Much like Prime Minister Major, of course, President George H.W. Bush was struggling with rather low popularity by 1992. Where the year before his high ratings had deterred every single top-tier Democrat from challenging him (leaving Clinton to emerge startlingly from the third tier), by July 1992 George H.W. Bush had the approval of less than 30% of Americans. Not a ringing endorsement for him, and also not really a function of anything Clinton was doing. I believe a reasonably competent progressive Democrat — anyone who could connect with voters on their top concerns and tap into their frustrations — could have won the White House in 1992.

“Inevitability” is, of course, a loaded word in politics. But I’m speaking in broad, big-picture terms based on historical and structural realities. The odds were very low that, in both the U.S. and the U.K., during the 1990s, the major left-leaning parties (Democrats and Labour respectively) would completely wither away and die out as a major party. Thus, regardless of ideology, they would have remained the only serious voting options for people who had lost patience with the incumbent governments. Eventually, in democratic systems, people always get tired of single party rule and change horses.

That’s why three terms in a row for one party to rule is already relatively unusual, 4 terms is rarer, and 5 almost never happens. At a certain point, how far left/center/right your party runs in a breaking-point election becomes pretty irrelevant in a system dominated by two parties. People get frustrated enough to vote for the opposition party automatically. It doesn’t even take that long, considering just 12 years seems to be a pretty common point for voters to jump ship.

Republicans have learned that fact very well and used it to their advantage to continue winning elections with ever-more conservative platforms. Rather than giving up and moderating, they just wait it out and organize for the next moment of frustration in which to bring extreme candidates into office to enact steadfastly conservative agendas.
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