Opinion Poll tracker – December 2017

Labour’s 2 point lead over the Conservatives disappeared during November and they now hold a very slight lead. There is evidence of some voter movement towards UKIP which indicates that their true national level is around 4% or 5% and their General Election performance was distorted by so many of their candidates standing down and tactical voting. Despite Survation, the only polling agency to call June’s general election correctly, giving Corbyn’s Labour an 8 point lead heading into Christmas , the lead Corbyn had over May is slowly being eroded.

National Overview:
Chart G1 shows the Conservatives have slipped back since the 2017 election and Labour now has a lead of less than 1% in Great Britain. The most striking thing about G1 is the quite extraordinary recovery in the Labour vote from mid-April 2017 when the election was called. Understanding why this happened is key to making sense of the 2017 election and what is likely to happen next. I have to say that from what I have read from political commentators, no-one has yet made sense of this dramatic surge. For myself, I keep coming back to a comment I made to my wife (who is American) that the election was starting to remind me of the Democrats primary battle in 2016 between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders and I do feel that the two elections share a similar dynamic. I have put down some initial thoughts in the Voter Switching section below.

Despite dropping back, the Conservatives are still well placed when compared to previous elections. The difference is that we are now back to 2-party politics last seen in 1979 as shown by chart G3. A piece was written for The People’s News on this very subject, a Road to Landslide, and whilst the prediction was not true it talked about how a return to 2 party politics, except in Scotland, had tipped the scales in the advantage of the Tory Party.

Voter Switching Patterns:
For all the apparent chaos in the Conservative party, their vote share is still where they were when she became PM which does raise the question of where they could be if all was going well. Chart G1 shows that they reached a peak of 47% just after she called the General Election so it does seem that the current pessimism within the party is regret for what could have been rather than whether they made the wrong choice for party leader.

The difference in the political landscape since then is entirely due to the recovery of the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn and chart G3 shows that this has mostly come at the expense of UKIP. This raises the question, how did this come about? I have attempted an answer with the table in chart G4.

In her first 9 months, the Conservatives were steady just above 40% whilst Labour leached voters to the Lib Dems. At the same time, Labour was losing some voters to the Conservatives and there was also a slow drift from UKIP to the Conservatives which then accelerated when May called the election. Over the next month during which local elections took place, Parliament backed the election call and the parties decided their manifestos and candidates, Labour began to recover due to their Lib Dem defectors returning to the fold plus some UKIP voters switching to Labour. The UKIP to Labour switching was something I noticed at the time and I speculated that with UKIP choosing to stand down candidates as a way to not split the Conservative, this had the potential to backfire as in effect their voters were being told what to do which is always a dangerous thing to do in my opinion.
With the benefit of hindsight, the publication of the manifestos backfired considerably on the Conservatives, and Theresa May especially, whilst rejuvenating Labour. The precise dynamic is still not clear to me, but it does look like a combination of prior UKIP to Conservative & Labour to Conservative switchers then changed their minds and decided to vote Labour instead; especially in the Midlands and the North which is where the polls got it so badly wrong and precisely where the Conservatives expected to gain seats. Perhaps the thought process was “same old Tories” and an electorate looking for something different then became receptive to Jeremy Corbyn’s message. But it still should not be overlooked that for all that, the Conservatives are still where they were when May became Prime Minister and the current Labour vote consists of many people who have flirted with all of the other parties especially UKIP. Whilst I am making no prediction of the future, it is not beyond the realms of possibility for some future event to take place that could lead to a UKIP resurgence at the expense of Labour.

This article was written by Nigel Marriot of Marriott Statistical Consulting, the original piece can be found here. This piece has been edited for use here.

Trump blunder further undermines May

This week it was Trump’s turn to add further strain on the “Special relationship”, with the President choosing retweet 3 videos from the fringe far-right Britain First group that claimed to show Muslim youths committing acts of violence. Once again it displayed his penchant for rash, badly thought out actions, leaving his spokespeople to clean up his mess.

Besides the fact that the videos are of dubious provenance (the Dutch Embassy confirming that one of the perpetrators wasn’t a migrant as claimed), Trump’s actions do nothing other than incite hatred. Irrespective of the content of the video, by posting isolated incidents of cruelty without context with captions of “Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!”, the tweets only motive is evidently to increase anti-Islam sentiment and preach hate, the opposite of what any US president should be doing.

Moreover by having the President of the United States retweet content from Britain First, he has given the small extremist nationalistic group (that was formed by extremist outcasts from the BNP) an enormous level of free publicity. As a result, news channels are forced to talk about them thus further increasing their public exposure. This was just about the best outcome Britain First could have envisaged. Rather ironically in their posting of explicit, violent videos such as “Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!”, they are not dissimilar from their Islamic extremist groups they so vehemently claim to oppose.

However the biggest impact from Trump’s myopic actions are by far the effect it has on Theresa May. Ever since Trump was elected, May has been trying desperately to attract his favour and thus strengthen Britain’s relationship with America in the post-Brexit world. She was the first foreign leader to visit Trump in the White House, only 7 days after his inauguration. Even after Trump’s numerous blatant violations of ‘British values’ such as in the Muslim Ban in January, May refused to condemn Trump’s actions until pressure finally forced her to concede that Number 10 “didn’t agree” with America’s “approach”.

Thomas Mair, the murderer of British MP Jo Cox, shouted “Britain First” repeatedly as he shot and stabbed her. This coupled with the inflammatory content Trump posted meant May would have no choice, but to post a serious rebuke. She was joined by a multitude of figures across every mainstream party as well as religious figures such as the Chief Rabbi and Archbishop of Canterbury.

Despite the strong response from May, Trump refused to back down and as he always does, he took May’s comments as a personal attack, issuing an angry response-
“Don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom”.

In doing so, Trump knowingly undermined May’s position. In the position that she is in regarding Brexit, May has to maintain a friendly relationship with Trump, however his inflammatory retweets and unrepentant behaviour has crossed a clear red line.

If she asks the Queen to cancel the state visit or to not invite him to Prince Harry’s wedding, she would involve the Royal Family in politics and incense Trump personally, thus jeopardising their relationship. If she does nothing, coupled with her previous insipid responses to the almost universally reviled Trump, she will look even weaker. If a post-Brexit Britain is going to force us to suck up to other leaders such as Trump in order to get trade agreements, maybe Brexit won’t allow for a renaissance by unshackling us diplomatically from the tyranny of Europe after all?

As a result, May has been forced to walk this tightrope that Trump has knowingly presented with her. However, luckily for her, as seen with Malcolm Turnbull, the Australian PM, who had a diplomatic spat with Trump regarding a migrant deal regarding asylum seekers on Australian islands such as Nauru, overtime Trump is capable of softening his stance. Regardless, this twitter spat has both angered Britain and harmed the relationship between May and Trump, doing no good for either leader during a time when both of them are sorely in need of allies. However I wouldn’t be surprised if by next week everybody has forgotten this incident, but for the wrong reasons.

Ex-National Security Adviser Charged with Making False Statements to the FBI

L’Affaire Russe has claimed its third victim as former National Security Adviser and retired Lieutenant-General Michael Flynn was charged with making false statements to the FBI in an interview given on 24 January 2017 by special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the growing scandal.

Heckled by protesters ironically chanting ‘lock him up’ as he left a District Court in Washington DC, Flynn signed a plea agreement with the special counsel’s office to avoid further charges and to testify that the President directed him to reach out to the Russian government about counter-ISIL efforts before assuming office last year.

According to the agreement, the charge levelled against Flynn carries a maximum sentence of 5 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000. Section three of the plea stated that Flynn would not be prosecuted for conduct in the statement of the offence, however the statement declined to mention numerous well-sourced allegations against Flynn including plots to kidnap a prominent enemy of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Fethullah Gülen. Experts suggest that this leaves open the possibility of further charges against Flynn if he fails to satisfactorily cooperate with the special counsel’s investigation.

As if this was not damaging enough for the President, a report by CNN suggested that the ‘very senior’ transition official mentioned in Department of Justice filings was President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Flynn alleges that the transition member directed him to engage with members of the UN Security Council prior to assuming office in order to ‘influence those governments to delay the vote or defeat’ of Resolution 2334, a resolution which criticised Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories.

The President’s personal attorney, Ty Cobb, published a statement in Comic Sans in an attempt to distance the administration from Flynn by suggesting that he was also an ‘Obama administration official’ (he served as Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, however this has little to do with the charges brought against him) and that the allegations made by the special counsel were why he was fired less than a month in office. This is unlikely to persuade many as allegations of impropriety by the President mount.

Cobb thought that L’Affaire Russe would have subsided by Christmas, but it is clear that Mueller’s team is just getting started. The fact that Flynn could have been charged with much more serious crimes and was able to sign a deal with Mueller indicates that there are much larger fish to fry. But how much bigger can you get than the former National Security Adviser without involving the President and/or his family?

Why Neo-Liberalism will destroy this planet

Ecology: The Crisis of Capitalism & why it will kill us all.

Neo-Liberalism, our dominant economic ideology. The ideology that supposedly won the day for capitalism, but has capitalism won the battle and lost the planet? The impact of Neo-Liberalism on our environment might be too much to bear.

Let’s start with some simple immutable scientific facts:

The global Capitalist economy doubles in size over the course of 30yrs @ avg norm of 3% growth a year.With each doubling comes a doubling of energy and resources required*Source Post Carbon institute. IEA.Man-made Co2 emissions take roughly 37yrs from emission to become fully active participants in climate warming.Co2 is cumulative and persistent over millennia. Meaning every gram we have emitted as a species over the last millenia is having an effect on us today, when this was small scale and the population low it was inconsequentioal, today Co2 production is a global industry and it will not naturally resolve itself within acceptable human time frames if we dont take massive immediate measures.Above 2.3oC of warming = runaway warming. All life on earth will be in terminal decline by 2100.The system will not save us. Paris climate deal in 2015 promised not to break 1.5 oC of warming, but constant rises in temperature may now be inevitable due to the lag to effect. Consequently any measures we put in place to reduce carbon today, will not be felt for decades. We have no time left for discussion yet we are locked into an economic system that demands it survive at the cost of this world.Transportation accounts for 20.7% of global emissions*2013. Nothing can replace the 1.2billion fossil fuelled vehicles we have today, we do not have the electrical generating capacity nor the available space in emissions before 1.5oC to produce a billion electric cars and infrastructure globally, and charge a third of that number in electric vehicles. Their limited range impairs their usefulness to a global economy with supply chains that cross continents.There will be near 2 billion fossil fuel vehicles in use by 2050. 150 to 250 million electric vehicles. Yes it is progress but it will be too slow to be of use.

If we stopped all man made production of CO², right now, Temperatures would still rise for near four decades due to the lag to effect of man-made Co2, meaning it may already be too late to avoid 2.3oC never mind 1.5oC as set out by Paris climate talks.

It is my belief that I have spotted something that our climate models missed and our world leaders either do not know about, or they do not want you to know the following. We only discovered the 37yr lag to effect in 2012. This means all warming experienced so far is prior to 1980, i.e. prior to globalization’s accent. Post 1980 we massively increased our rate of Co2 emissions year on year, in effect, we turned the gas up on the stove, and only now, 2015> do I believe we will see the full effects of this. If I am right, changes will happen far quicker than models previously suggested which in turn may lead to all life on earth being in terminal decline by 2100 as crops fail and resource wars rage.

Take a look at graph. Ask yourself how much needs to be done and can a profit motivated society solve these issues without some miraculous intervention.

A Conservative budget, if not a show of fiscal cruelty, a lesson in grandstanding.

After an embarrassing budget u-turn in March, today, neither Hammond or May could afford to make any mistakes. In review, Hammond can be happy that his performance was gaffe-free, but apart from that there isn’t much else to commend.
He began by declaring his vision for Britain saying: “I see a future full of new opportunities outside the EU,” adding: “a good deal with the EU is a top priority but we must prepare for every possibility.” He announced an extra £3bn will be set aside for a pre-existing budget of £700m for Brexit preparations. In short, under increasing pressure from raging backbench Brexiteers, Hammond has flung some money at the Brexit problem.
The Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR), an independent body set up by George Osborne to provide economic forecasts, has predicted productivity and GDP growth will fall from their previously thought 2.0% to 1.5% this year, in theory meaning as a country we have less money. The OBR has also predicted the amount of money the government borrows will fall from £58.2bn to £49.9bn. But, lets be clear, if this reduced borrowing is in fact achieved, it won’t be due to ethical fiscal ‘conservatism’ from the Tories, but rather because of devastating cuts to those most vulnerable in our society.
A fall in productivity and GDP means less money for the government, and an inevitable increase on working class taxation, the government will undoubtedly have to borrow more money, so Hammond’s plans and the OBR’s numbers just simply do not add up. Of course, though, Hammond masquerades these inaccuracies with organised skits – a pack of couch sweets handed to him by the PM.

In his rebuttal, Jeremy Corbyn said: “As liberals we love to share polices,” and Tories certainly love to steal them. After weeks of hounding, the government will finally remove the 7-day waiting period on Universal Credit, the right to benefits will now begin on the same day of the claim. The re-payment period will also be increased from 6 to 12 months.
The National Living Wage will be increased from £7.50 to £7.83, which is not nearly enough, but certainly progress. Also, Hammond proudly announced the top 1% are now paying a higher share of tax, the problem is they’re still earning considerable more than everyone else – not to mention the money that is being siphoned offshore and therefore not eligible to be taxed.
An injection of £2.8bn will be pumped into the NHS, and ironically £350 million will be available immediately, that is what they promised, right? The problem is it is HALF of what Simon Stevens, head of the NHS, said the service needs to survive.
£28 million will be given to Kensington and Chelsea council to support the rebuilding of the community around Grenfell, this will include the developments of a community space and mental health services. So, instead of being housed like they’re asking for, victims of Grenfell can look forward to a nice visit to a community centre built by the inept council responsible for the tragedy. Councils will also be given extra powers to tax the owners of houses left empty up to 100%. The only problem is, if you’re rich enough to buy a house and leave it empty, you’re probably not worried about that.
In the headline grabbing announcement, Hammond has abolished stamp duty for all first-time buyers, on properties up to £300,000, supposedly meaning 80% of all first-time buyers will not have to pay the controversial tax. Although a welcome charge for many of us, this really does little to tackle the actual problem of having nowhere to live.
In a devastating fact check, the OBR have just announced: “we expect this to increase house prices by 0.3 per cent, most of this effect is expected to occur in 2018.” This would mean that first-time buyers would in fact be paying more for their house, which only benefit pre-existing home owners who are already on the housing ladder.
There was little mention of a goal to ‘balance the books’, maybe the Tories have finally given up on fixing the mess they’ve created. In conclusion, this was a budget of dire economic performance and even worse predictions. If May does the unthinkable and remains in office for term, we can look forward to continued austerity, higher taxes, and a failing NHS.

Millennials just want a solution to the housing crisis – and Labour have it

Today the Tories, in another pathetic attempt to win young votes, announced they will be introducing a Millennial’s Railcard. But if they want to win young votes they need to fix the housing crisis, as it remains the greatest problem for young people today.
The dramatic rise in house prices that has gone untempered since the dawn of Neo-Liberalism has had a dramatic impact on youth home ownership. Home ownership is at a 30 year low, and the percentage of 25-34yr olds on the property ladder has fallen to 37%, down from nearly 60% 10 years ago. The average house now costs 8x the average annual wage.
Claims from Tory ministers that our young should simply “buy less sandwiches” show how completely out of touch the government is with the problem. Millennials are the first generation in history to be called entitled for wanting housing and education. How dare they want these wild luxuries. But to spell out how bad it has become here’s a handy graphic, of the ridiculous rise in prices.

The phrase I often hear when discussing housing with people is “I have no idea how your generation will get on the property ladder”. Luckily the political parties have had some ideas, there manifesto commitments are listed below.
Labour have pledged to build 1 Million new homes, and half of these will be affordable homes, and impose rent controls in London. Driving down prices, allowing more people to own homes.The Tories say they’ll build more but won’t commit to a number of homes.
From this we can clearly see the difference between the two major parties. Labour want decisive state action to cure the problem and increase home ownership by building a decent number of affordable homes. The Conservatives will do nothing.
This is why the young have flocked to Corbyn’s banner, that unrealistic and luxurious promise of a home.
But will Corbyn’s plan work? Are more homes and more affordable homes truly the answer to this failing market? Yes is the simple answer to both questions.

The decisions by Thatcher’s government to stop building social homes started the problem. And no party since has decided to reverse that decision. The building of social housing is at an all time low under this Tory government, we have seen a 97% percent drop in the number of government funded social homes since the Tories came to power.The problem has a simple fix, build more affordable houses. The new budget proposals on housing will be like sticking a sticking plaster on a leaking nuclear reactor. Only Corbyn’s solutions on housing will really cure the problem.
The Problem the Tories and Liberal Democrats face is the top down state action needed to fix the housing crisis is not in their ideology. They are not Socialists, like Labour, and believe in free market solutions which have failed.
Worse than this the Tory party has been corrupted on housing policy. Firstly 128 Tory MPs are landlords. Secondly the Tory party is backed by a number of property firms, who pay them £3.3 Million in donations. Neither of these people want Corbyn flooding the market with cheap state housing bringing down their profits. Monied interests have yet again corrupted the Tory party into making decisions designed for the rich, not the people.
Even worse than this is political aims of the Tory party when designing housing policy. According to Nick Clegg the Tories refused to build more social housing due to the fact it might have long term impacts on elections. In a meeting with Osbourne and Cameron one of them stated ‘I don’t understand why you keep going on about the need for more social housing – it just creates Labour voters.’
The Tories will never fix the housing crisis, we need a Labour government for that.

Purging the Blairites won’t help Corbyn

This autumn I started at university, although I’m studying for a mechanical engineering degree I was glad of the opportunity to expand my horizons. This amounted to trekking through the rain to the first meeting of my local socialist students’ branch. I was initially delighted when I found out about the group, as I identify with their socialist ideas and hopes. I thought what I was about to see would be a like-minded group of individuals with whom I would work to bring about some real change; no matter how small. I was bitterly disappointed.
Everything started well, a speech by a local union rep about a history of trade unions and how important they are with examples of all the good they have done; the five day week, paid sick leave and legally mandated holidays, to name but a few. After the inspiring speech things started to go downhill. A passionate man stepped forward and began whipping the crowd into a frenzy, he spoke of pressing home advantages Corbyn had won. Nothing wrong with that, but when the talk turned to mandatory re-selection it became clear what the true agenda was. This man, like so many others on the far left fringes of the Labour Party, wanted to bring in mandatory re selection for MP candidates which would effectively bring about a “purge” of the Labour Party. “Bring down the Blairites” was the rallying call.
Now don’t get me wrong I certainly don’t want to see a return to Blair’s policies with most of them being, arguably, centre right. The last thing our broken country needs is an economy that only caters for the elitist super rich driven by capitalist greed that was offered under Blair’s premiership. Our country cannot keep going with privatisation, PFIs and austerity. The ordinary working families have to come first for once. As we all know, the goal of almost every political party is to win power, get into government and bring about the changes they want. This is done, at least in our country, by winning the centre ground.
Although we have returned to a polarised political climate not seen since 1995, all that this has resulted in is a failure of both leaders to win over the majority of the public. Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May both currently have negative approval ratings, showing that there are many people feeling as though they are being left out in the cold. There is a feeling that no leader can tie our fractured country back together after the political upheavals in the last few years. Since 2014 we have seen a Scottish independence referendum, followed by a general election in which we saw UKIP emerge as true political power with 12.6% of the vote. This led to the now infamous Brexit vote. Before the electorate even had a chance to catch their breath, we were hit by another general election where politics flipped again with socialism flirting with a return to the mainstream. All of this has meant a highly divided country where there is a massive proportion of the country who feel left behind, sidelined and ignored.
This means that there is a massive opportunity. Jeremy Corbyn is attempting to take this chance. By saying he is willing to work with the right hand elements of the Labour Party and inviting them to his front bench, he is showing all of us-and by us I don’t mean the rank and file of the Labour Party, I mean the United Kingdom, that he is stepping up to plate and can indeed be a Prime Minister for the many. This is also clearly reinforced with both his, and his grassroots group Momentum, opposition to mandatory re-selection. There is hope yet.

Jacob Rees Mogg – Ignorant or Evil?

Corrupt, elitist and Authoritarian. Jacob Rees Mogg shows everything wrong with the current Conservative party.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has been seen as the new young(ish) rising star of the Conservative Party. The “MP for the the early twentieth century” has begun to top online leadership ballots in recent weeks which has thrust him further into the spotlight. There has been feeble attempts by the right to humanise Rees-Mogg, through copycat groups like Moggmentum (Momentum) and meme pages like “Middle class Memes for Rees-Moggian teens”. However it is clear to see that the homophobic Brexiteer is truly the symbol of everything that’s wrong with the tory party and by extension the government of this country.
The easiest way to judge an MP is on their voting record. To put it lightly, Rees-Mogg’s is awful. He has continually voted for his own personal gain, not his constituency’s. He voted against raising taxes for those earning over 50 grand a year i.e. himself. He voted against raising capital gains tax, protecting himself and his mansion. He voted too to reduce corporation tax, which is leading to an increase in his profits from his own stockbroking firm. All of this is frankly disgraceful but nothing compared to his moral track record. He voted for the removal of finical support for apprenticeships. Shooting hundreds of young people in the foot, forcing these young people away from trades and secure working into the land of zero hours contracts and then has the audacity to claim that the way out of poverty and into a house is work. Good luck getting a mortgage when you haven’t even got a contract or any hope of saving 20,000 pounds. We haven’t all got noble fathers to project us into the fast lane. The cherry on the cake is his blatant homophobic attitudes, he voted against equality law and against gay marriage hiding behind his catholic religion despite the softening of the catholic church towards LGBT community. Rees-Mogg also has archaic views on abortion, in a recent interview, he stated that he thought all abortion was wrong in all circumstances, even as a consequence of incest or rape or to save the life of the mother. Despicable.
Jacob Rees-Mogg is always a familiar face in the house of commons, he has a great myriad of talents in the realm of public speaking. He used to hold the record of the longest word spoken in parliament and has plans to regain this title. Jacob Rees-Mogg is also the primary filibustering expert in the Tory party. The ability to talk bills out of the house has been used numerous times, for example he and a colleague were able to talk for two hours about the pros and cons of delaying the start to the meetings. These meeting were about the NHS. The vote to bring in a bill, which would have reduced the damage caused by the 2012 care act, was unable to be debated. Filibustering is an awful, archaic, undemocratic practice which has been the death of many good bills. Indeed in the USA the republican party which is hardly a hallmark of a good moral compass, wishes to get rid of it, yet our possible future prime minister counts it as part of his skills.
However his most atrocious comments have come this week. Claiming the increased usage of food banks was ‘uplifting’. Claiming somehow that is it due publicity of food banks that is raising the usage. Not the disastrous working conditions of our poorest citizens caused by his parties gutting of our welfare state. We must ask our-self is it ignorance or morality that fuels these despicable beliefs.
The British public would never get behind this man. The man claims to have six children but in my book you are not a father if you’ve never changed a nappy, never had to get up at 3 every night to calm your crying child. Mogg instead passes it off to a paid nanny. If by some disaster he became the leader of the Tory party before 2022, the next election would be handed to Corbyn on a silver platter, much like the ones I’m sure the aristocratic Jacob Rees-Mogg ate off as a child. The working class voters that backed May in the 2017 election would never stand behind the an old Etonian. The pain of the last old Etonian MP, Cameron, is still very much felt today by those lower income families. The public have learnt not to stand behind a plummy voiced millionaire stockbroker. The tory party will sign their own death note by putting Jacob in power. That’s one bonus I suppose.

Royal Navy vital to a Socialist Britain


Its often assumed by many, even some of Labour’s own MPs, that if a truly socialist government gets into power then we can say goodbye to our long held naval superiority, even if since the 1920s its been quality over quantity. However there are a plethora of reasons for keeping up investment into the royal navy. Having a powerful military force allows the UK a louder voice internationally, allows for a projection of “soft” power and also provides essential employment and training for thousands of individuals. It is a shortcoming of our species but it is essential to realise that the entire world will not turn peaceful overnight. If the UK rolls back its navy then we can quickly see what little say we have on the geopolitical stage slip away, especially after Brexit. Continued investment in new ships, boats and personnel will only increase the UK’s global presence which will allow for a much stronger platform to act as an example nation for socialism.
The expansion of the Royal Navy would free the UK from being the USA’s poodle in foreign affairs. If we truly wish to forge our own destiny in international politics, something we have not done since the Suez Crisis, we go against the Neo-Liberal consensus of going hand in hand into foreign lands for questionable reasons. Blair made these mistakes, Labour must not continue this. Corbyn, despite reports, is not against legal Un sanctioned humanitarian intervention. He is just against the US going where it pleases, driven by corporate desires and forgetting possible long-term damage. This has befouled the west’s reputation to the developing world, and set a poor example of hegemonic abuse to China and other Bric States.
It is also vital to realise that the role of the royal navy is not what it once was. We traditionally see the navy as our global war projection with almighty sea battles fought in both the world wars reinforcing this view. However in modern times the Royal Navy has become more of a “soft” power rather than military. Yes, I know we still have destroyers and frigates fighting ISIS in US carrier groups, but the navy has adapted far beyond that.
In 2004 after the tragedy of the Tsunami the navy frigate HMS Chatham was there offering humanitarian support, actions that have been repeated all over the globe, in Haiti among other places. The ebola crises was another example of royal navy setting up relief teams and helping the locals. All of this not only directly helps people it also raises the UKs moral standing in the global community meaning more nation states are more likely to follow in the UKs example and we end up with a global community that pulls together and helps one another out. An example set by our very own Royal Navy. We must learn to understand that a military’s purpose is for good, and can be applied for such in areas of crisis, not just war zones.
It is also very important to consider the great changes that have happened to UK industry, we have have seen our manufacturing base fall by two thirds in the last thirty years. However one area we still have some semblance of global leadership is the high end manufacturing. Our car companies are blazing a trail, for example Jaguar Land-rover beginning development of “see through” cockpits allowing drivers to look down through their car floor at the road and our microchip start ups are being snapped up for billions by foreign companies. However China is beginning to switch its self from just purely mass manufacturing and “sweatshops” into high tech laboratories meaning a massive loss of jobs unless we are able to keep up. The Navy is one avenue whereby people can get the funding to gain the knowledge and understanding to be able to leave the navy and go on to make huge differences in the technology world. Too many potential STEM students are being put off by the vast cost incurred by going to university and a stable promised job on the other end as well as support throughout will ensure a steady stream of well trained personnel able to contribute.
It is quite clear to see that we cannot begin to scale back our navy, as we have seen in successive Tory plans, reducing the 12 frigates down to eight. As it has so many uses beyond providing death to foreign lands. It has uses such preventing the shipment of heroin that funds ISIS, protecting the fishing rights of the Falkland islanders and mapping the ocean floor to name but a few.
The military may be an easy target for socialists for a place to cut government spending but losing further jobs by cutting Naval development is economically unwise, despite its cost to the tax payer. It is essential that political mistakes don’t get passed on to the services. Iraq wasn’t the fault of the army for example. We on the left must be able to look beyond all of this and realise the vast benefit of having these services.