Monday, 27 January 2020

THE LABOUR MANIFESTO VISION - PART THREE - TACKLING POVERTY AND INEQUALITY

In this third post, I am focusing on the section of the Labour Manifesto that carries the title: 

TACKLE POVERTY AND INEQUALITY (pp. 59-85)

It is divided into six parts, outlined below. My task in this series of blogposts is to highlight the socialist vision in these pages of the Labour Manifesto so that the street cliché: "All politicians are the same - there's no difference between them" withers on the vine. The Labour vision and the policies that follow from that way of seeing the world are markedly different from the social, economic and political realities that have come to pass in this last decade shaped by Tory beliefs and policies.     


Is this fair? Labour politicians don't think so; Tory politicians deny the reality.


  •  WORK
'Work should provide a decent life for all, guaranteeing not just dignity and respect in the workplace, but also the income and leisure time to allow for a fulfilling life outside it.'

Under the Tories, pay has stagnated while insecurity and inequality have risen. In the UK, there are 14.3 million people in poverty; 9 million of these live in families where at least one adult works. 

We will rapidly introduce a Real Living Wage of £10 per hour for all workers aged 16 and over - and

Saturday, 25 January 2020

JAGO HAS REACHED THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO

As soon as I got wind of the news that Jago's biography was waiting to be distributed through the University of Chicago Press in the United States of America, I published a Mailchimp Newsletter a week or so ago to my 66 subscribers so they would be first to know. So far 38 have opened and read the good news. Apologies to them for the repetition in this blogpost - but I have added some fresh material to make the reading through worthwhile for everyone. Within three months, these Jago blogposts typically have a viewing figure of around 120. My very first Jago American Connection posting on 12 December, 2016 now has 2444 recorded views. Forgive the geeky attraction to stats - it's difficult to resist this online vice.

Here's the latest update:

JANUARY 2020 - UPDATES ON 'THE REMARKABLE LIFE OF JAGO STONE' - THE BIOGRAPHY

Another couple of months have passed since I created a Mailchimp newsletter; the last one in November had news of final edits but no firm publication date. We still have no firm publication date on this side of the Pond - but the University of Chicago Press website does say very clearly:


Will Publish February 2020.



Jago in 1983 - location unknown - a still from a Harlech TV interview



I think it is highly likely that publication will happen here in February too. (In fact, I've just seen a date on the Unicorn Press website: 15 February 2020! - see the link below.) 

Jago would, I think, be tickled pink that he is now waiting in the portals of the University of Chicago in the United States of America for his life story to be

Sunday, 19 January 2020

THE LABOUR MANIFESTO VISION FOR THE FUTURE - PART TWO: REBUILDING OUR PUBLIC SERVICES

I heard Emily Thornberry, one of the Labour leadership contenders, complaining this week that the Labour Party Manifesto had been a mistake because it was really a fifteen-year programme for government action. The voters rejected it because it was overloaded. Not so. Those voters who abandoned Labour did so very largely because the Tories very successfully made this the Brexit election. Get Brexit Done became the meme that trumped the Labour vision for a better Britain.

As I said in Part One of this series, we would have been better off campaigning on a summary version of our manifesto - but we should be really proud of our achievement in assembling this comprehensive guide to what decent and fair government should mean at the end of the second decade of the 21st century. When we are asked 'What has socialism to offer the voter these days?', our manifesto provides a realistic answer that also excites the imagination.

The first 28 pages had been focused on A GREEN INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION - see this link by pressing here. The next 24 pages explain how Labour will REBUILD OUR PUBLIC SERVICES.


Our public services need to be reclaimed - due credit to Kishimoto and Petitjean (eds) 



This second section of the Manifesto begins with a classic statement of socialist belief and vision:

Universal public services, collectively provided through general taxation and free at the point of use for all, are how we guarantee the right to a good life.

How will this reconstruction be funded? Those earning more than £80,000 a year will pay a little

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

RESISTING THE TORIES - OUR MANIFESTO FOR THE FUTURE - PART ONE: THE CLIMATE EMERGENCY

I promised a re-presentation of the Labour Party manifesto that was published during the General Election in 2019, at the end of last year. The policies and concerns that fill that document are still fundamental to my hopes - and those of millions of others - for a better, kinder, fairer future. Within the parliamentary Labour Party, there are those who are insisting they have been right all along; there never was a chance that these socialist pipedreams would lead to election victory. The manifesto was 'overloaded';  it promised so much as to be unbelievable. I do not share this view. However, I do think we needed a scaled-down, mini-version to help get these vital ideas and policies across to people.

The manifesto was titled:

IT'S TIME FOR 
REAL CHANGE
______________

FOR THE MANY NOT THE FEW

Such messages will stand the test of time - and we need them all the more as the consequences of global warming become evident.


Bushfires across Australia in their summer of 2019/20 - climate catastrophe arrives



The Foreword carries Jeremy Corbyn's name but it could have been written by anyone who cares about the plight of this country and all the other nations where the quality of life for so many has been adversely affected by neoliberal economic policies that put the pursuit of profit before the welfare of the citizen.

"The last decade has seen a wealth grab by a privileged few, supported by the Conservatives, at the expense of the majority. The big polluters, financial speculators and corporate tax-dodgers have had a free ride for too long ….

" I am not prepared to continue to see more families without a proper home and more people queuing at food banks or sleeping rough on the streets.

I am not prepared to put up with communities blighted by lack of investment, endless cuts to

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

TAKING RESISTANCE INTO THE NEW YEAR - UNDERSTANDING OUR LABOUR PARTY'S DEFEAT

Messages of love and hope are big deals. Nearly all of us - excepting only those people whose balance of mind is disturbed - thrive on love and hope. That is why I am launching in 2020 this series of blogposts which are designed as reminders of the socialist vision that inspired the Labour Party Manifesto in the General Election, November/December 2019. In this first one, I am reflecting on the reasons for defeat. Hereafter, my focus will be on the Manifesto.

Hundreds of us took part in the canvassing of Camborne, Redruth and Hayle in support of the excellent Labour candidate, Paul Farmer, in the 2019 General Election. This was a marginal constituency; one we would take. We had no idea of the power of the meme we were fighting against - the Tory candidate who was returned didn't seem to bother to canvass. He didn't need to. 



Yes - we were defeated; our vision for a better way of life for the many was rejected. But that doesn't mean that the messages of hope and decency and fairness which shaped our Labour manifesto should be rolled up into a ball and thrown away as rubbish. On the contrary, those messages need constant circulation. They represent the beating heart of the Labour Party - the Party that belongs to its half-a-million members. The Party of Clement Attlee and Aneurin Bevan, the makers of the NHS and a welfare state. The Party of Harold Wilson who declined to follow the American lead and send British troops into war in Vietnam. The Party led by Jeremy Corbyn - the Clement Attlee of the 21st century - that came so close to power in 2017 that the Establishment worked every weapon in its armoury to

Thursday, 19 December 2019

ANOTHER GLIMPSE OF JAGO - AND MORE IMAGES OF HIS ARTWORK

As we near Christmas 2019. I still have no word from Unicorn, the publishers, about the publication date for 'The Remarkable Life of Jago Stone'. It was going to be October 1, then December 1. Both dates passed, with many apologies from Unicorn. But sometime I hope in early 2020 the biography of Jago will be in bookshops and available online. Having worked on and reread a number of final drafts since completing the book over a year ago, I can say with conviction that the book does provide a remarkably interesting and worthwhile read - and visually it is a treat!

In these last couple of months I've had a fruitful contact through the medium of Facebook with a toy-bear-maker, Jean Grogan. We share a bond with teddy-bears. Those of you who read my thoughts regularly will be familiar with Peter Ted and his adventures. He's my bear. His partner is Sally Anne; she's Louise's teddy. Here's a link to press for those of you unfamiliar with this interesting side to our life:

https://robdonovan.blogspot.com/2019/07/peter-ted-goes-to-his-oxford-gaudy.html


Jean, as I say, makes them. Here's her website address:

https://www.facebook.com/littlescruffsbears/


Jean made contact and began telling her Jago Stone story in early November. Jago, it seemed, used to come 'most days' into the Tea Shop that she and her husband ran in the village of Sedgeberrow near Evesham in Worcestershire.


The parish church of Sedgeberrow, near Eynsham in Worcestershire.


This is Cotswold territory - and around fifty miles and a hour and a half drive from Hellidon in Northamptonshire where Jago had been loosely based. Quite some distance. The year is 1984. As

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

RESISTANCE NEWS - LOVE IN THE CORBYN FAMILY - AND OUTSIDE

In a statement on Twitter last weekend, Jeremy Corbyn's sons - Tommy, Seb and Benjamin -  
expressed their pride in their father, He may have been the leader of the Labour Party when it experienced a crushing General Election defeat but they argued their dad had paid the price for being ‘honest, humble and good-natured in the poisonous world of politics’. They also praised his lifetime record of championing the ‘less fortunate’ and for producing the ‘most wonderful manifesto the country has ever seen’. They claimed that Jeremy Corbyn had suffered the ‘most despicable attacks, filled with hatred’

                                                            
                                                                Absolutely right.


Jeremy Corbyn's three sons - Tommy, Seb and Benjamin - in 2018



Here is their inspiring letter:





I wanted to shine a spotlight on their Twitter letter to widen its circulation and increase the numbers reading it. When so much of what hits our senses is angry and abusive, it is so important to be taken