The Labour leader, Keir Starmer, is under pressure from campaigners, unions and his own MPs to set out plans for “wealth taxes” on the richest in society in order to support public services and help the poorest through the cost of living crisis.
As the government prepares to cut spending to fill an estimated £35bn black hole in the nation’s finances, calls are growing for higher taxes on the super-rich, many of whom have seen their fortunes soar during the pandemic.
Richard Burgon, the Labour MP for Leeds East, said: “While living standards are plummeting for most people, it’s been boom time for the super-rich, whose wealth has soared to record highs in recent years.”
Starmer, who is trying to position his party in the centre ground, has avoided committing to higher taxes on private incomes as Labour seeks to woo the City and businesspeople angry at the damage caused by the Conservatives’ mini-budget. But that approach is causing concern on his backbenches and more widely, with the Greens calling Labour “timid” on wealth.
Molly Scott Cato, the Green party’s spokesperson on finance, said: “The Tories have created a big hole the public finances but there is an obvious place to look to fill it: taxing the super-rich. Not only do they have the broadest shoulders but they also increased their wealth during the pandemic because of enforced savings.
“What is more surprising is to find Labour being so timid on wealth taxes. Their proposal to abolish non-dom status will only bring in a few billion while a proper wealth tax could yield tens of billions. We’ve now got two weeks for Labour to remember their egalitarian roots and support loud and growing calls for a wealth tax. Otherwise they will be colluding in the devastating cuts to public services that are being cooked up by the millionaires in Nos 10 and 11 Downing Street.”
UK Home Secreatry Suella Braverman is proceedng with the Public Order Bill introduced by the previous Home Secretary Pritty [23/10/22 Priti, apologies] Patel. It includes a new amendment so that secretaries of state can apply for an injunction ‘in the “public interest” where protests are causing or threatening “serious disruption or a serious adverse impact on public safety”.’ It appears that the government has accepted Labour Parly leader Keir Starmer’s suggestion. The Labour Party has since attempted to position itself as pro-green e.g. with the slogan “fairer, greener future” at it’s 2022 conference.
I’m struck than many of Just Stop Oil’s activists are so young. These are the people that destroying the planet are really going to affect. It could literally be a death sentence for them, wtf are they going to see? We already have serious weather events on a regular basis at 1.1/1.2C increase in global temperature. We’ve seen devestating temperatures, flooding and fires. Despite such devestating effects, Liz Truss’s bonkers UK government is accelerating climate destruction.
It is unfortunate that protests are disruptive but these protestors are certainly not selfish as claimed by Braverman. They’re not the government supporting and indistinguishable from those destroying the planet for profit. I can fully sympathise that climate activists have no choice other than to protest disruptively.
[Responding to applause] Thank you, thank you, thank you. Here we are at the Labour Party conference 2022 - and thanks to the Tory party appointing simple maths misunderstanding incompetents - on the cusp of being elected the UK's government. I'll let you into a secret conference. I am the Establishement's man (more on that later). What I want to tell you right now is that I will govern, WE will have a Labour govenment looking after the Capitalists' interests through the hard times ahead until the Conservatives can take over again, after the hard times ahead, with an almost sane leader. Yes, I promise to you conference that you can depend on me to look after the rich and powerful just as the Tories do while they take a break and duck out of the total chaos that they've caused. And I say clearly to you conference, that I am proud to do this work for the rich and powerful, to be their servant, to keep them safe while I perform my caretaking role for Capitalism. It has been a long road for me to achieve power and I want to thank those that have helped me. I particularly want to thank the Labour officials who were so hostile to and totally undermined the previous leader. And I particularly want to thank the Zionists. I know that all of you in this hall, in this party can't say that word Zionist - that ist forbidden - but I can because I'm leader. So thanks to all the Zionists that hounded out the previous Labour leader and his supporters so that I was able to expell them for being opposed to Zionist apartheid, for being Socialists and anti-racist.(2) We can't have any of them in this party, this is a new era, we are at the centre of UK politics, we are New Labour, the New Red Tories. We are in a new era conference. You will be aware that I thanked the Zionists by installing a former Israeli spy into the centre of Labour Party activities, actually a member of 8200 Unit, to spy on you members and pursue the interests of Israel.(1) I am in thrall to Israel - but don't you dare call me a Zionist - dat is forbidden. As I said I am an Establishment man but unfortunately, what I have yet to realise is that the Establishment moves very slowly but ever so occasionally has seismic shifts. I still have yet to realise that the UK establishment may not be too pleased with me being so in thrall to a foreign state and installing a former Israeli spy in my office. As I finish this sermon, I ask you all to join me in singing the National Anthem ... (1) Also responsible for rapid rebuttal according to the job description. (2) This is all well documented by al Jazeera in their 2 investigative reports 'The Lobby' and 'The Labour Files'.
UK could bring National Grid and retailers in-house and build public renewable energy, says ex-Labour policy chief
17 August 2022, 12.01am
When 62% of Conservative voters want energy run in the public sector, it’s fair to say the left has won the argument (75% of Labour voters agree, 68% of Lib Dems).
Yet public ownership is opposed passionately by the Conservative government, while the leader of the opposition has said he is “not in favour” of it – despite his election on a platform that committed to “bring rail, mail, water and energy into public ownership to end the great privatisation rip-off and save you money on your fares and bills”.
Public ownership is on the media’s radar, too. When Labour leader Keir Starmer announced his policy to freeze bills this week, he was asked why he wouldn’t also nationalise energy, replying that: “In a national emergency where people are struggling to pay their bills … the right choice is for every single penny to go to reducing those bills.”
But so long as energy remains privatised, every single penny won’t. Billions of pennies will keep going to shareholders instead.
The energy market was fractured under the mass privatisations of the Thatcher governments in the 1980s. It contains three sectors: producers or suppliers (those that produce energy), retailers (those that sell you energy), and distribution or transmission (the infrastructure that transports energy to your home).
It is important to bear this in mind when we’re talking about taking energy into public ownership. We need to be clear about what we want in public ownership and why.
By 2019, Labour had a detailed plan on how to do this – worked up by the teams around then shadow business and energy secretary Rebecca Long Bailey and then shadow chancellor John McDonnell. The plan is not the only way, but it illustrates what exists and how one could go about re-establishing a public energy ecosystem, run for people not profit.
The recent TUC report shows the cost of nationalising the ‘Big 5’ energy retailers – British Gas, E.ON, EDF, Scottish Power and Ovo – to be £2.8bn, which would go on buying all the companies’ shares. That’s a lot of money, equivalent to more than the annual budget of the Sure Start programme in 2009/10 (its peak year). But it’s a one-off cost, not an annual one.
And it’s not like the current privatised system doesn’t have its costs: since June 2021, the UK government has spent £2.7bn bailing out 28 energy companies that collapsed because they put short-term profits ahead of long-term stability – companies like Bulb Energy. We have spent billions of pounds already to get nothing in return. So £2.8bn is not a large amount of money to pay to gain these assets, rather than just bailing them out.
The big energy retail companies made £23bn in dividends between 2010 and 2020 according to Common Wealth, and £43bn if you include share buy-backs. What you choose to do with that surplus in public ownership is another matter: you could use it to invest in new clean energy or to lower bills or fund staff pay rises, rather than subject your workers to fire-and-rehire practices as British Gas did last year.
Labour’s previous plan also involved taking the distribution networks – the National Grid – into public ownership. This would end the profiteering at this level, too – with £13bn paid out in dividends over the five years prior to 2019. As Long Bailey said at the time, we need “public driven and coordinated action, without which we simply will not be able to tackle climate change”. Like previous nationalisations, the purchase of the grid and distribution networks could be achieved by swapping shares for government bonds. By international accounting standards, the cost is fiscally neutral as the state gains a revenue-generating asset, which more than pays for the bond yield.
The final part of the plan – and the most complicated – is production and supply. It would be impossible to nationalise the oilfields of Saudi Arabia or Qatar – and for good reasons we should want to leave fossil fuels in the ground, anyway, rather than contest their ownership.
And so what Labour proposed in 2019 was a mass investment in new renewable energy generation projects, with the public sector taking a stake and returning profits to the public. For example, under the ‘People’s Power Plan’, we proposed 37 new offshore wind farms with a 51% public stake, delivering 52GW alone by 2030, equivalent to 38 coal power stations. There were additional proposals for onshore wind, solar, and tidal schemes, as part of a 10-year £250bn Green Transformation Fund, which included other schemes like the Warm Homes insulation initiative.
Labour’s new shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has promised a similar level of investment – a £28bn a year climate investment pledge.
Any surplus energy would then be sold on international markets, with a People’s Power Fund – a sort of sovereign wealth fund – to deliver public investment in local communities’ social infrastructure: a genuine levelling-up fund, perhaps.
Many people will say this can’t be done, but of course it has been before. The 1945 Attlee government nationalised energy and successive Conservative governments – including those of Churchill, MacMillan and Heath – were happy to have a nationalised asset. Harold MacMillan famously accused Margaret Thatcher of “selling off the family silver” when she privatised state industries.
When I was born in 1979, the National Coal Board, British Gas and British Petroleum were all publicly-owned or majority publicly-owned companies. Between them, they were the major suppliers of our energy. Our gas bills came from British Gas and our electricity bills from our regional electricity board (in my case Seeboard, the South Eastern Electricity Board), and coal and oil fuelled our power stations.
The regional electricity boards had been brought into being by the Attlee government’s Electricity Act 1947, when electricity companies were forcibly merged into regional area boards and nationalised. The Coal Industry Nationalisation Act 1946 and the Gas Act 1948 had together brought energy into public ownership.
Seeboard was privatised in 1990, and later became part of EDF Energy – ironically, the nationalised French energy company, whose profits from the UK’s stupidity are used to subsidise French consumers.
The French government has now fully nationalised EDF (previously it was 84% publicly owned), and household energy bills rose by just 4% this year – compared to over 50% in the UK and a forecast 200% by January 2023.
If Starmer doesn’t want to listen to me (or his own commitments from 2020), perhaps emulating the centrist Emmanuel Macron in this instance would be palatable?
From the depletion of fish stocks to the burning of the Amazon, profit has proved a failed regulator for use of our natural resources
In his later years, Robin Cook argued: “The market is incapable of respecting a common resource such as the environment, which provides no price signal to express the cost of its erosion nor to warn of the long-term dangers of its destruction.”
From the depletion of fish stocks to the burning of the Amazon, profit has proved a failed regulator for use of our natural resources. The market has also failed to decarbonise at pace, or to end the scourge of fuel poverty.
On the media this week, shadow energy secretary Ed Miliband said Labour is “continuing to look at what the right long-term solution is for our energy system”. It is up to all of us to campaign for that solution to be public ownership – whether that’s from within the Labour Party (like me) or from the outside.
Related at OpenDemocracy
Two articles about the UK Labour Party, Craig Murray discusses the pointless Keir Starmer:
Starmer’s role has been simply to emasculate the Labour Party, and to purge it of any elements that might seek to pose a threat to rampant neo-liberalism and wealth inequality. His efforts to ban Labour MPs from supporting striking railway workers must be anathema to anybody who has the slightest feel for the history and traditions of that party and indeed the most basic understanding of its very raison d’etre.
This Tony Benn quote from the 1980’s has come into vogue because it is prophetic, and the process appears now complete:
If the Labour Party could be bullied or persuaded to denounce its Marxists, the media – having tasted blood – would demand next that it expelled all its Socialists and reunited the remaining Labour Party with the SDP to form a harmless alternative to the Conservatives, which could then be allowed to take office now and then when the Conservatives fell out of favour with the public. Thus British Capitalism, it is argued, will be made safe forever, and socialism would be squeezed off the National agenda. But if such a strategy were to succeed… it would in fact profoundly endanger British society. For it would open up the danger of a swing to the far-right, as we have seen in Europe over the last 50 years.
Starmer is in one sense the apotheosis of this process. Not only has he acted to purge the Labour Party of socialism, he also offers so very little of a meaningful alternative to the Tories that there is very little danger of the Tories being voted out of office. Not only is he a safe right-wing backstop, he is a self-redundant safe right-wing backstop.
and Jeremy Corbyn openly discusses the many parties that obstructed him. The article also discusses Julian Assange.
The Guardian has long been viewed as the voice of the liberal-left in Britain, so it surprised many during the Corbyn leadership to see it act as one of the main media vehicles through which the campaign to bring him down was fought.
The paper was a key part of the “anti-semitism crisis” that engulfed Corbyn’s leadership. From 2016-19, the Guardian published 1,215 stories mentioning Labour and anti-semitism, an average of around one per day, according to a search on Factiva, the database of newspaper articles.
In the same period, the Guardian published just 194 articles mentioning the Conservative Party’s much more serious problem with Islamophobia. A YouGov poll in 2019, for example, found that nearly half of the Tory party membership would prefer not to have a Muslim prime minister.
The Guardian’s coverage of anti-semitism in Labour was suspiciously extensive, compared to the known extent of the problem in the party, and its focus on Corbyn personally suggested that the issue was being used politically.
The late Jewish anthropologist David Graeber commented after the 2019 election: “As for the Guardian, we will never forget that during the ‘Labour antisemitism controversy’, they beat even the Daily Mail to include the largest percentage of false statements, pretty much every one, mysteriously, an accidental error to Labour’s disadvantage”.
Activists from Extinction Rebellion blocked the entrances at Lloyd’s of London headquarters and prevented staff from entering the building, with the aim of closing down the insurance and reinsurance giant for the day.
The climate campaigners are is demanding that Lloyd’s of London stop insuring fossil fuels projects, and highlighted the Trans Mountain Pipeline extension in Canada, which they believe is being insured through the Lloyd’s marketplace.
The action is part of the April Rebellion and comes after 10 days of ongoing disruption across the UK from Extinction Rebellion and the Just Stop Oil coalition.
The United Kingdom’s ostensibly leftist Labour Party came under fire Monday after calling for nationwide injunctions to block direct actions by climate campaigners that shut down oil terminals to demand an end to new fossil fuel investments.
“Those protesting against fossil fuel giants should be applauded, not arrested.”
“On the Conservatives’ watch, drivers are being hammered by rising petrol prices and now millions of motorists can’t access fuel,” tweeted Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer. “The government must stop standing idly by and immediately impose injunctions to put an end to this disruption.”
Steve Reed, Labour’s shadow justice secretary, made similar remarks Monday, outraging supporters of the Just Stop Oil (JSO) demonstrations—which started at the beginning of April—along with other leftists within and beyond the U.K.
“The Labour Party has just called for nationwide injunctions against climate protesters who are peacefully demonstrating against fossil fuels for all of our futures,” said Joe Ryle, who campaigns for a four-day work week and serves as the media and communications lead for a think tank.
“This is a disgrace, flies in the face of all the climate science, and will be deeply unpopular with Labour members,” asserted Ryle, a former press officer for the political party.
Former party leader Jeremy Corbyn made clear he disagrees with the push by Labour to criminalize or further block legitimate climate activism directed at the fossil fuel industry.
“We need a Green New Deal and a sustainable planet for future generations,” said Corbyn. “Those protesting against fossil fuel giants should be applauded, not arrested.”
“Absolutely incredible,” declared British columnist Owen Jones. “In Keir Starmer’s game-changing video in the Labour leadership campaign, he was showcased as a crusading lawyer who defended activists from being prosecuted by the state. Now he’s calling for environmental protesters to get locked up!”
Just Stop Oil activists have vowed to continue their efforts to disrupt oil infrastructure across the country amid mounting criticism and concern of fuel shortages ahead of the Easter Weekend.
“Supporters of Just Stop Oil have no choice but to continue to take action whilst our government refuses to end new fossil fuel projects,” the campaign said in a statement to The Independent Tuesday.
“The government can end the disruption immediately by making a statement that they will end all new fossil fuel licences and consents in the UK.”
Breaking news is that Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak are fined over ‘Partygate’ lockdown parties …
Looks like I should start campaigning against Keir Vissarionovich Starmer and his Stalinist Blue Labour party. Looks like the best election result I could hope for would be a hung parliament so that the smaller parties with green policies will have power.
6/3/22 Since the election of Keir Starmer as the leader of the Labour Party – and arguably before but definitely since – the Labour Party is not a democratic party having abandoned party rules, principles and policies to the benefit of the right-wing of the party.
If you vote Labour, then you are voting for dictatorship.
7/3/22 1.25am Went to a Wetherspoons pub tonight. No nuts, dark rum or brandy, that’s pretty crap Tim.
Your wi-fi was crap too. I had taken a new device but prompted and expected to login over http, not https. I recognised that it was crap and unwilling to take such a dangerous step because I know what it means. Being a pub, it’s probably worse not having any nuts, dark rum or brandy. It’s not really a pub then, is it?
[11/3/22: Was there again last night Tim. The forty-niner is off. It’s got that nasty sweet taste where fruit flies have got in or the lines have never been cleaned. It looks the wrong colour too, clear but like a strong orange tint. I shouldn’t need to tell you this really, you should make sure that it’s good. Shame I can’t afford a real pub.]
Back to Keith being crap
Oh, sorry been to the pub, forgot about making the postscripts blue. That’s magick that is ;) Shall I make it really skimple? “with love”. I can do that because I’m a magickian ;)
Back to Keith Stalin. The Skwawkbox is probably the best source that documents Keith’s Stalinism. As I said earlier, if you vote Labout you’re voting for dictatorship.
Cor, I had a wierd week. A local bully set his dog on me Tuesday in the park and we were fighting. I was ill with an upper respiratory tract infection (like a cold but actually a swollen neck causing cold symptoms) and NHS 111 were really crap, should be 5417 or 7175 or something instead. I’ve got it recorded thi scunt trying to rebuke me for not registering with a GP. The point is that I had registered and deregistered because GPs are cnuts. I am not registered with a GP practice because they are abusive shits.
Then on Friday a cabbie smacked mirrors with me and tried to claim that I had damaged his car so the mirrors didn’t tuck in any more. Did my mirror smack his mirror or his mirror smack my mirror? If his mirrors don’t tuck in any more, why does the left one not tuck in? Is his car just an old car like Blair’s one with the knackered gearbox?
Yes, I know Keith Stalin Fascist Shit. I haven’t smoked for five days.
2.37 Why you waiting for me? It’s all at skwawkbox.
I’m reaching a few conclusions about COP26. It isn’t serious about addressing climate change because governments are sucking up to the filthy rich and powerful. That’s what refusing to address aviation is about, all the private jets and Bezos and actors appearing. Aviation appears to be a good target for climate activism, it’s hugely damaging and far more likely to get public support. I’ll be going to my local airport on Saturday.
In UK and worldwide we need to elect some Greens or e.g. nationalist parties, with strong green policies. It’s happening anyway, Bristol is likely to elect some Green MPs at the next election. The Greens are taking votes from Labour and hopefully people will realise that the current Labour party is undeclared Tory and anti-democratic in party actions, Stalinist really. [ed: Stalinist as an insult: authoritarian dictatorship with a total disregard of others’ perpectives, crushing and destroying people.] It’s a shame that the elections are so far away in 2024.
Officially the UK government has committed to Net Zero by 2050, but behind the scenes an organised, well-funded opposition to climate change action is growing on the Conservative Right. And many of those at the vanguard – and their tactics – come straight from the veterans of Brexit.
A classic example of this appeared in The Telegraph this week: the day before the Budget, it reported a YouGov survey that found a majority of the British public “want a referendum on Boris Johnson’s net zero plans” by the next general election – a majority of those who expressed a preference, that is.
Perhaps it’s because I spent so long looking at the dark money behind Brexit, but the first thing I thought while reading The Telegraph’s story was: “Who has paid a professional pollster to carry out a survey on a question nobody is asking?”
The answer is something called Car26.org. This, The Telegraph informed its readers, is a “new campaign group calling for a referendum on net zero proposals and a pause in eco regulations until such a ballot is held”.
Yep, you read that right. No climate change mitigation policies until a referendum on Net Zero. Sound familiar?
The taxpayer-funded European Research Group of Conservative MPs – which played a starring role in the UK’s exit from the EU – has largely morphed into the Net Zero Scrutiny Group. The Global Warming Policy Foundation — which long promoted climate change denialism — has been relaunched as Net Zero Watch. Wycombe MP Steve Baker, the “Brexit hardman”, is a leading light in both.
Hours after telling world leaders in Glasgow to stop “quilting the earth in an invisible and suffocating blanket of CO2”, Mr Johnson controversially hopped on board a chartered private plane.
His spokesman defended the decision saying: “It is important that the prime minister is able to move around the country and we have obviously faced significant time restraints.”
A No 10 spokesperson said: “All travel decisions are made with consideration for security and time restraints.
As world leaders come together this week at COP26, I write this from a cell in Wandsworth Prison where I am serving a 12-month sentence for a peaceful climate protest, after climbing on an aeroplane during Extinction Rebellion’s October Rebellion in 2019.
The world’s “carbon budget” is the total emissions allowed to retain a 50% chance of keeping global temperature rise below 1.5C, but analysis shows this will be blown in 11 years if the current rate of emissions continues.
Police have made five arrests as hundreds of climate activists marched through Glasgow as part of demonstrations around the Cop26 summit.
The protest was one of several in Glasgow on Wednesday, as the Cop26 summit discussed the financial system.
Police Scotland said on Wednesday evening that five arrests had been made.
Two of the arrests took place after a number of officers were sprayed with paint. Cans of spray paint were also seized.
More than 58,000 activists including Greta Thunberg are set to protest in two COP26 rallies in Glasgow this weekend.
There wasn’t any really.
[2/11/20 ed: I would say that the scale of the problem was dramatically overstated for political reasons by opponents inside and outside the party, as well as by much of the media. That was enough to get Jeremy Corbyn suspended from the Labour Party despite it being an entirely true and accurate statement.
Aljazeera’s investigation ‘The Lobby‘ documents the Israeli embassy smear-campaign against Socialists in the Labour Party using false manufactured accusations of anti-semitism.
An update to an earlier post from March 2019 to reflect changes since then. This is a work in progress and needs to be finished.
Since then Boris Johnson was apponted leader of the Conservative party in July 2019 and we’ve had the general election of December 2019. To my surprise the UK Labour party led by Jeremy Corbyn fared poorly in the general election and Boris Johnson’s Conservatives won comfortably. Jeremy Corbyn was replaced by Keir Starmer as leader of the Labour Party and the UK has experienced the Coronavirus pandemic during 2020 with a lockdown starting in late March.
Boris Johnson & Co are rabid Eurosceptics and succeeded at the general election using the simplistic mantra “Get Brexit Done”. Johnson & Co are indicating that they are intending to pursue a no-deal Brexit whereby UK will leave the EU in a chaotic manner. Their strategy appears to be to align closely with US instead of EU so that another simplistic mantra for the simple “we want our country back” is exposed as bolox.
Boris Johnson is widely regarded as an elitist, racist and sexist incompetent idiot. What is beyond doubt is that he is negligent and often poorly prepared. The UK has suffered severely from Coronavirus / Covid-19 under Johnson’s chaotic and inadequate response. Johnson failed to attent 5 early Cobra meetings addressing Coronavirus https://www.businessinsider.com/boris-johnson-skipped-five-emergency-meetings-on-the-coronavirus-2020-4
I wrote in my previous post that “Socialists are a diverse bunch often fighting injustice e.g. anti-racism, and campaign for human rights, universal healthcare, democracy, equality, workers’ rights, etc. There are more radical Socialists outside of parliamentary politics fragmented according to adherence to the different historical origins and aspects of Socialist Ideology. The Labour party catchphrase “For the many, not the few” catches the Socialist ethos perfectly.”
Current UK Labour party leader Keir Starmer does not meet this definition and we have instead returned to the normal situation whereby UK voters are denied the opportunity to vote for a Socialist party.
During Keir Starmer’s previous role as UK’s Director of Public Prosecutions, he … < to be continued >
The climate crisis receives very little attention from UK politicians and we currently have allegations of Russian hacking which appear to be a moral panic totally without substance.