By Nora Mulready People seem to be leaving Labour in droves at the moment, and who in their moderate-progressive-Labour-hearts can really blame them? Not I. There are lots of posts out there from p…
Having detached myself from active involvement in politics when Jeremy Corbyn was elected Labour leader, I felt a pang of nostalgia when my postal ballot arrived this morning for the Surrey Police and Crime Commissioner election on 5 May. This will be the first election for many years which I will not be involved in: as a candidate, agent, canvasser, organiser, or leafleter. Incidentally, I haven’t been asked to leaflet or canvass so it’s possible there is no Labour campaign activity here anyway.
Who to vote for?
I am a Labour Party member and I have been for 20+ years. I have always voted Labour because I believe in Labour values. I oppose Jeremy Corbyn and the half-baked incoherent ideology he has become the figurehead for but I don’t oppose him enough to resign from the party or not vote Labour.
The Labour candidate, Howard Kaye, is an enthusiastic Corbyn supporter and has criticised me on Facebook for not backing him as our leader (whatever Corbyn is, he definitely isn’t a leader!). The party is in a dire state and may not even exist by the 2020 PCC election. Corbyn is the worst leader of any major British political party in history and if he became Prime Minister he would be the worst one ever and a real danger to the country. Despite this, I will still be voting Labour with my first preference.
Who else to vote for?
This election is run under the supplementary vote system where voters express a second preference which is used if no candidate exceeds 50% of first preferences. Labour won’t win in Surrey so my second preference could actually make a difference. There are six other candidates to choose from:
David Munro (Conservative) – I don’t vote Tory. I’m not that sort of person. Ruled out.
Paul Kennedy (Lib Dems) – I think I remember this guy because he tweeted me presistently during the 2015 general election campaign telling me to drop out or stop campaigning to help my hapless Lib Dem opponent compete against the Tory incumbent. He obviously doesn’t care for democracy much. Juvenile. Ruled out.
Julia Searle (Ukip) – Ukip are oafs. They peddle racism and appeal to the worst in people. Ruled out.
Kevin Hurley (Zero Tolerance Policing ex Chief Party) – Hurley is the incumbent PCC and I know him better than all the other candidates. It is only because I know that there is a difference between his rhetoric and reality that I have a grudging respect for him. It was quite an achievement for him to defeat the Tories in Surrey in 2012. Personally, I would prefer a Zero Intolerance candidate but I realise Zero Tolerance was 99% bluster anyway. His rhetoric motivated voters and may have helped police morale, at least until his public spat with the excellent former chief constable Lynne Owens.
However, cutting through the rhetoric, neighbourhood policing has been cut and council tax has risen by the maximum amount allowed each year. Labour invested heavily in neighbourhood policing and it was hugely successful in cutting crime and the fear of crime. Residents in my village are noticing the cuts and feeling less safe. Council tax is a regressive tax – the poorest feel the greatest burden when this tax is raised. This is not a record of success.
Jamie Goldrick (Independent) – The problem with non-party candidates is they haven’t gone through a selection process to weed out eccentrics, fantastists and Nazis. Goldrick and the other ‘independent’, Camille Juliff, seem to be normal people from reading the GetSurrey pieces on them but why are they standing? Goldrick has 15 followers on Twitter. He is a drug expert but his website doesn’t make clear whether he favours more permissive policing of drugs. Maybe he would be a steady hand on the tiller but I don’t have the information to tell.
Camille Juliff (Independent) – Juliff is another insider, a former Surrey Police civilian employee. She has 70 Twitter followers so is barely making any more effort than Goldrick. It has been suggested that they are standing to confuse the electorate and distract from Hurley. I doubt this but how am I supposed to know how they would do the job of PCC? The content of Juliff’s website is better than Goldrick’s but they could both be much better. I want to believe that Juliff would be a competent and ethical PCC but again I don’t have much evidence to go on. I don’t think there have been any hustings, unlike in 2012 when I attended many and got to question the candidates face to face.
Is that it?
As a voter, I feel dissatisfied by this election.
The party I have been a member of for 20 years has been captured. The Bastille has been stormed and soon the guillotines will start lopping off the heads of deselected moderate MPs.
The last week was the worst in Labour’s history. It has led many moderate members to resign from the party in despair. Like them, I have received a torrent of abuse from the Hard Left because I disagree with Jeremy Corbyn. However, I have decided to remain a member.
Why? Well, there are plenty of reasons to throw in the towel:
The abuse I receive from Corbynites is pretty bad but others have received much worse: anti-Semitic, misogynist, homophobic and nasty in every possible way. I couldn’t blame any normal person for quitting the party after receiving that. Ken Livingstone publicly abused a Labour MP about his fight with depression last week. This shows that the Hard Left will gladly descend into the gutter to abuse fellow Labour members.
“Ten people who speak make more noise than ten thousand who are silent.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
The performance of the party’s leadership shows contempt for people like me. Corbyn and his cronies have a long history of supporting terrorists so his response to the Paris attacks by Islamic State was predictably craven. I am embarrassed to be in a party with people like Corbyn and McDonnell at the helm. How can Corbyn express “solidarity” with France when he believes they brought the attacks upon themselves? I used to enjoy telling my colleagues about my experience of being a Labour parliamentary candidate. Now I have to immediately distance myself from the party’s leadership when it is discussed. How could they trust a captain who shared Corbyn’s outlook on life? Corbyn’s “solidarity” with France does not go any deeper than a hashtag.
Then there is the Corbyn-McDonnell economic plan. By printing money and seizing private assets they would undoubtedly collapse the British economy, if they were in power. The people who would suffer most would be the poorest families, the disabled and the less qualified.
The current leadership is not credible and has no chance of being elected into government. The prospects of removing Corbyn, unless he decides to resign, look slim. So, why am I remaining a member of the party?
Vive La Contre-Révolution
I am remaining a Labour Party member because there is a possibility that the party will cease to exist if the Corbynites are unopposed. If this happens working people will have no voice at all and be left undefended from perpetual Tory government. We dropped to 27% in the polls this week. By 2020 we will be lucky to achieve 20%, or 100 seats, under Corbyn.
“Politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.” – Charles de Gaulle
Aux armes, citoyens.
There is no hope of winning for many elections to come but there is hope of surviving.
Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beeeeep. It’s 6 o’clock on Monday, the 19th of October 2020. Good morning, you’re listening to The Today Programme with John Humphrys and Laura Kuenssberg. The headlines today:
Prime Minister George Osborne has announced that the 2015 Charter of Budget Responsibility will be repealed by parliament this week. He said, “David Cameron’s Fiscal Charter has served this country well for 5 years. After the 2018 worldwide recession, which the Labour Party left us exposed to, my new government has the strength to continue with our long term economic plan and replace the 2015 charter with a new one by the end of this parliament, *quietly* or maybe the next one.” When asked why as chancellor he didn’t run a budget surplus once in ten years, he said that there was “no money left” after the mess Labour left. With over 400 Tory MPs out of 600 in total, it seems Mr Osborne’s economic plan will be whatever he wants it to be.
Labour’s new shadow chancellor initially opposed the repeal of the charter then performed a u-turn and told the Parliamentary Labour Party that they would be voting the other way. In a statement to the House of Commons he said, “Humiliating, humiliating, humiliating, humiliating, humiliating.” Sources said he changed his mind after realising the charter would prevent him from nationalising all companies with over 5 employees and raising income tax to 98%. He said, “I would rather crawl through manure than vote in the same lobby as George Osborne.”
The new Labour leader praised his shadow chancellor saying, “This is an example of the Frank Talking, Truth Politics that people are crying out for.” When asked if he was worried that Labour was reduced to fewer than 100 MPs at the last election, he said, “No, I’m pleased that we lost the election so comprehensively, it gives us the opportunity to provide the real left-wing alternative which the British people truly want.”
The Home Secretary, Michael Gove, has reached out to the 6 million families now dependent on food banks since benefits and tax credits were abolished. He said that the government would allow charities to continue to feed people so long as they were removed from the electoral register. He told the Conservative Party conference, “For too many people voting takes up too much of their time when they could be looking for a job, or working more hours if they have a job, or doing voluntary work in their communities. The government will help those struggling to find time to vote by removing them from the electoral register for free. *applause in background*”. He denied he had further plans to remove the vote from anyone who doesn’t own a house.
After last week’s expulsion from Ukip of a further 4 of their new MPs, a new party has been set up called “People’s Ukip”. Its leader, Suzanne Evans MP, said that Nigel Farage was proving too divisive so the only option was to split from the party. She said People’s Ukip is the true voice of the 33% of the electorate who voted to leave the EU in 2017.
In other news, following this year’s invention and mass production of gravity-defying hoverboards, the Civil Aviation Authority has announced that only holders of pilots’ licences will be allowed to use them.
Today, the Labour Party set off in a new direction. Unfortunately, it is not a direction I can follow.
It was a great honour to be the Labour Party’s parliamentary candidate for Guildford in May (as it was being a Labour council candidate 7 times in the previous years). I was privileged to work with many wonderful people who were doing everything they could to make Britain a fairer, more successful country by electing a Labour government. Together we increased the number of Labour votes by 132%, one of the highest increases in the whole country.
The national result on 7 May was bitterly disappointing and meant that we would have to think again about how we related to the electorate. I am horrified that the national party have chosen to turn their back on the British people and engage in meaningless posturing instead by electing Jeremy Corbyn as leader.
I spoke to hundreds, possibly thousands, of voters during the election campaign but one conversation in particular exemplifies the problem. I spoke to a self-employed plumber on his doorstep for over 15 minutes a couple of weeks before polling day. We talked about many subjects. Immigration and abuse of the benefit system were in there but they weren’t his top priorities, he needed to know that we understood the concerns though. I convinced him that we did. We talked about the traffic in Guildford and the difficulty for working people doing long hours to support their households generally. We understood each other and empathised on this. He asked if Ed Miliband was really up to the job of leading the country. I told him I had met Ed and looked him in the eye and I trusted him. He believed me. And I believed me.
In the end I put him down as a DTY. (For non-canvassers this means he was undecided how to vote this time, voted Tory last time, but would prefer Labour to Tory this time if that was the only choice).
Now that Jeremy Corbyn is Labour leader, I could not stand on that voter’s doorstep and tell him that he should vote Labour. I could not persuade him that Labour under Corbyn would protect the economy and national security because I do not believe it myself. By the next election every voter will have heard of Corbyn’s positions on reopening coal mines, printing money, giving up the Falklands, appeasing Putin, seizing shares from private investors and all the other daft loony left fantasies and they will laugh at Labour canvassers.
Since I can’t support the direction that the party has chosen to take I don’t feel that I should hold any administrative position any more. I am stepping down from the Surrey Heath CLP Executive Committee and from being the Community Campaigning Officer. I am very grateful to the other EC members for their comradeship over the last few years and I wish them the best for the future. I have cancelled the small extra donation I was making to the party every month. I will not be putting my name forward to be the Labour candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner in Surrey next year.
I will always remain a Labour member and voter because I have a responsibility to everyone, all 6,534 people, who voted for me in May. I have given up much of my free time over the years campaigning for Labour and after a very draining election campaign I am ready for a little break anyway. I fear that the next few years would have been spent battling the hard left within the party instead of fighting the Tories if I had decided to continue. I don’t wish to give up my free time to do this.
Labour is going for a walk in the wilderness now. I won’t be coming along but I’ll be waiting for it to return. I hope I don’t have to wait too long.
It is over three months since the 2015 general election and I feel like I am still in mourning. The national result for Labour was awful and inevitably means we have to do some soul searching. I have a few thoughts about what happened and I will share these soon but in the meantime it has been decided that we will elect a new leader first and this looks like it will be an even bigger disaster than the election was.
Before nominations closed I speculated about the possible candidates. Unfortunately, Labour MPs decided to use their one special privilege in the new election system to nominate an unelectable leader which the vast majority of them could not serve under, Jeremy Corbyn. The candidates for London mayor obviously thought that this would endear them to some members but Sadiq Khan, David Lammy and Diane Abbott have made a huge misjudgement by nominating Corbyn. One commentator described the MPs who nominated Corbyn as “morons” and I find it difficult to understand their actions too. MPs have a special role in electing the Labour leader so they can’t blame the members (and supporters) if they choose one of the candidates which MPs put on the ballot paper. Everything which flows from the leadership result is primarily the responsibility of the MPs who nominated each candidate.
I’m backing Liz
Since I wrote my last blog on the subject, I have decided to back Liz Kendall for the Labour leadership. I even made a small donation to her campaign fund. I did this because I think she has the ability to challenge us to look properly about why we didn’t win the electorate’s trust in May. She is committed to Labour values but questions the old processes to achieve them. For example, she champions better public services such as social care and education but is open to new ways to make them better for the public who use them. This may be uncomfortable for some colleagues but if we just replay the 2015 election in 2020 then we should expect the same result.
Liz has talked about tackling inequality and reversing the inheritance tax cut. She has pledged to eliminate low pay, something George Osborne’s new minimum wage for over 25s will not do. Britain’s defences and our place in the world are under threat. The 1945 Labour government helped secure the post-war peace and Britain should always take the lead internationally. Liz has pledged to keep our armed forces properly funded and keep Britain at the heart of the EU.
If Jeremy wins I’ll remain a Labour member
Ballots will be going out in the next few days and the polls claim that Jeremy Corbyn will be our next leader. Jeremy has rebelled against the party position over 400 times since he became an MP so I’m sure he won’t mind a humble party member raising a few questions about himself. If Corbyn wins I will remain a Labour Party member. However, some of his people have suggested there may be purges of members who disagree with him so I guess it is possible I may be expelled for “defending my principles”, as Jeremy would call it.
Tony Blair said that if you stood for Labour in 1983 then you are true Labour. I would also claim that if you stood for Labour in the debacle of 2015 then you are true Labour too. A debacle it was: we were led to a position which the electorate could not agree with. We need to learn from this. Again. It happened before. I remember 1983 and 1987. Voters didn’t forgive us until many years after we eventually came to our senses again.
If Jeremy Corbyn wins, I will continue to oppose some of his policies. He proposes to print infinite money to fund public spending. Incidentally, this was one of the policies of the Peace Party in Guildford. They got 230 votes. The problem with the government printing money is that it devalues all existing money, people’s savings, incomes, company balance sheets, government gilts. Personally, I think this is a banana republic policy.
Corbyn proposes cutting defence expenditure even more than the Tories have done and unilaterally scrapping our independent nuclear deterent. He wants closer relations with Russia. This is a recipe for utter disaster. We should be increasing defence spending and making sure our borders and interests are secure.
Corbyn is against HS2 and the third runway at Heathrow. Both of these projects and many similar much needed infrastructure projects are needed to support British trade, business and links to the rest of the world. I will continue to speak up for such projects.
Jeremy wants to renationalise sections of British industry. I prefer to concentrate on what we want to achieve by intervening in markets rather than tie ourselves to one process. If Royal Mail is to be fully renationalised, will the shares be seized from investors and shareholders like postal workers? If not, how will the state pay the market price for hundreds of billions of shares in utility companies, rail companies, telecom companies and airlines? State seizures of assets have been tried before, such as during the Russian Revolution, with mixed results in the long term.
The Labour leadership election is great fun. For Tories and Trotskyites alike. The system means that they can all sign up to be “registered supporters” for £3 and vote in our election. If the Tories had such a system I would definitely sign up to vote for Bill Cash or Jacob Rees-Mogg. They would be out of power for a generation. They can’t believe their luck that they have a chance to remove the only other possible governing party from the field for a decade.
Jeremy Corbyn didn’t really want to be a candidate for leader. Diane Abbott did it last time so it was his turn. He doesn’t act or talk like a leader. Electing him as leader of the Labour Party would do immeasurable harm to the very people we wish to protect and to represent.
But I did not shoot the deputy
Choosing who to vote for in the deputy leadership election is harder. I wish this election had been held after we knew who the new leader was, or on a ticket system. My preferred ticket would be Kendall-Bradshaw to give us the best possible chance of organising to win in 2020.
However, if Jeremy Corbyn wins I expect he will get a metaphorical ice pick that will make his ears burn in a year or two to we will need a deputy leader in the co-pilot seat with the support base to drive things forward. Caroline Flint looks like the best candidate to me for this scenario.
If either of the two less radical candidates, Yvette Cooper or Andy Burnham won (whom I both like), we would need a more radical deputy to make sure we reform. Stella Creasy would be best in this scenario.
I like Tom Watson too but I think a deputy needs to be very loyal and I remember his treatment of past leaders.
I have spent a lot of time talking to voters on the doorstep, including in marginal constituencies, and this is what informs my opinion. As a defeated Labour candidate for parliament in the momentous election of May 2015, I endorse Liz Kendall as our next leader. I like Yvette Cooper and Andy Burnham too and I recommend placing them second and third respectively.
For deputy, I would prefer Ben Bradshaw if Liz Kendall was leader. However, I believe that the most likely outcome is that Jeremy Corbyn will win the leadership so I recommend voting for Caroline Flint first as the best person to pick up the pieces when his leadership implodes. Stella Creasy is a great candidate too.
Under the Conservative-Lib Dem changes to the NHS, every part of the system is open to privatisation and cuts. The latest service potentially on the chopping block is transporting seriously ill patients to non-urgent medical care, like pre-planned operations. This service in Surrey, North East Hampshire and Hounslow will be put out to private tender soon and a “consultation” has been launched today.
This was received today from Surrey Heath Clinical Commissioning Group:
Patient Transport Services – consultation
NHS Surrey Heath Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is one of several CCGs in Surrey, North East Hampshire and Farnham and Hounslow reviewing non-urgent NHS Patient Transport Services, which will start in April 2017.
Non-urgent Patient Transport Services provide routine, pre-planned transport for patients who need to attend hospital, medical centres and outpatient appointments and cannot make their own way there because of recognised medical conditions which fulfil specific eligibility criteria.
They also provide pre-planned transport for patients who require clinically trained staff to transport them because of their medical requirements.
Have your say!
Please take the opportunity to get involved and have your say on the new Patient Transport Services.
• Hear about the plans at a public meeting at The Camberley Theatre, on Thursday 9th July from 2.30pm.
• Take part in the online survey.
• You can join the PTS Patient Advisory Group if you use the services.
The procurement is being managed by North West Surrey CCG on behalf of all the organisations involved.
Here is a link to the CCGs’ case for privatising this service. They cite lack of funding as one of their reasons for privatising the service:
We have an increasing ageing population and a greater number of people with debilitating comorbidities which will create a future requirement for many more trips to appointments, yet no additional funding will be available to support this.
The South East Coast Ambulance service, as part of the NHS, currently deliver the service. Once it is privatised the £6.5m per year will go to a private company to pay their executives and shareholders. NHS jobs will be lost and private companies will be rewarded for recruiting the lowest paid workers they can get away with.
This is the future of the NHS thanks to the Conservative-Lib Dem Health and Social Care Act.