Nationalisation: a flawed idea, or an economic saving grace?

Nationalisation is often seen as a buzzword. It usually has a weird effect on people that causes them to start rabidly screaming the words “Marxist” at you every time it’s mentioned. With the Labour Manifesto in the public domain, this phenomenon is becoming more and more common. However, if you’re going to make such a comparison, at least give the Communist Manifesto a read first. The Labour party has pledged to re-nationalise industries such as the Royal Mail, British Energy, as well as Broadband services. Whether the policies put forward by Jeremy Corbyn are plausible or not isn’t the point of discussion, I’m more interested in establishing how or if nationalism fits into the modern-day.

Firstly, it must be established that nationalisation is not actually that radical. Corbyn’s manifesto has been called “Radical” by the BBC and even members of the Labour Party, but the actual policy of nationalisation isn’t as extreme at all. America has utilised nationalisation in various industries, and their Government the exact opposite of socialist. Nearly nine out of ten people in the United States receive their water service from a publicly owned utility and in the last 20 years. Since then, nationalisation of the water industry has only expanded. From 2007 to 2014, the portion of people with water from publicly owned water suppliers increased from 83% to 87%. France’s mass nationalisation of its energy industry in the 1980s, Germany’s re-nationalisation of the Print Office in 2008 after it was privatised in 2001, and Iceland’s re-nationalisation of its largest commercial banks in 2008, shows that it isn’t some outlandish or outdated idea. 

This isn’t necessarily a socialist idea, it’s simply economically liberal. What is then done with nationalised industries is what takes it a step further. Even the services stated above are only a partially nationalised industry, as the state does not have a 100% market share and neither does it legally obstruct private companies from entering the industry. The common question asked is, why on earth would the government want to do this? Simple, it’s because we can’t trust the market completely to operate fairly, and when it crashes, the market won’t protect the public.

In some industries – take water for example – it just makes more sense to have fewer entities providing the service because of the infrastructure involved. The economically savvy readers will recognise this as a natural monopoly. It’s even been used to pull banks and other private entities out of trouble. This is done by temporarily buying them to ensure they don’t collapse and cause damage to the economy as a whole. A good example was when the US government took over GM Motors. When the problem is resolved, the government simply sells the company afterwards. In the case of nationalising industry, it allows the consumer to get a cheaper or even free service whilst the government tanks the cost but runs the companies, they are purchased at a profit which can then go back into your pocket.

Some of you will be reading this and think “Why don’t we just do this for everything? Cheap Nationalised Broadband? Sounds great”. Don’t jump the gun. It’s not something to be taken lightly and isn’t always a good idea. When nationalising an industry, the assumption is the government will actually be good at running the businesses in that industry. You can very easily argue that the British Government, in combination with local government, just isn’t good at it.

To paint a picture, I’m going to use the Labour party promise to provide a state-run fibre broadband service across the country. I am a huge PC gamer nerd. I play mostly League of Legends and Counter-Strike, but anyone who plays video games regularly can unite and agree upon a common enemy, bad ping. Lag spikes are actually the worst, and usually, we all have little tricks we use to try and deal with them, but if they don’t work, we are comforted by the fact that we can just switch broadband providers or upgrade our service. If Broadband is nationalised, you might not be able to do that, leaving you with bad ping and poor gaming experience. 

The state wants to purchase broadband relevant parts of BT, but the BT group also owns Plusnet and EE which have their own broadband services. If only the state broadband service is available in the area you live in, and that service just isn’t good enough, you would have to move to get to a different service provider, because currently there are only 5 providers for commercial usage, and 3 of them (BT, Plusnet and EE) could end up under the state service. To make it even worse, Openreach (a BT Subsidiary) maintains the fibre networks that the other broadband services sell, so if a state broadband service was to exist, the government would either need control of that as well or sub-contract it to Openreach. Even with all those complications, it doesn’t even touch on the fact that everyone who currently works for those companies now becomes state employees, and that’s a whole different fiasco.

Although nationalisation isn’t a ‘pipe dream’ like some would call it. The belief that magically buying all these industries will solve itself is certainly naïve. As I have displayed by briefly exploring the result of the nationalisation of just one service, this is not a straightforward process by any means. Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said the nationalisation plans of the Labour Party as a whole is risky and would require a restructuring of the economy specifically in the area of taxation. This would be a slow and gradual process that would take around 10 years. This doesn’t just apply to the Labour Party’s plan, it applies the nationalisation as an idea. 10 years is two governments, maybe three, governments. Who says our economic situation doesn’t change? Who says halfway through the project it’s no longer economically viable and the whole thing gets put on hold?

Nationalisation isn’t the Marxist evil that many claim it to be, but it isn’t necessarily the undeniable saving grace of the British population that it is being peddled as either.

Labour’s re-nationalisation of key infrastructure can put the UK back on the world map

Labour’s recent policy announcement of nationalising part of BT and taxing tech giants in order to provide free fibre broadband to every household in the country has resulted in the usual displeasure from the right wing commentariat, as well as various Tory and Liberal Democrat figures implying it to be some sort of communistic experiment. Considering, though that BT was in public ownership up until 1984, this is a testament to how far the Overton window has shifted rightward as a result of the neoliberal economic orthodoxy.

The good news is that Labour is effectively challenging this at the upcoming election, as it has been doing since 2017. The pledges to nationalise rail, water, Royal Mail and telecommunications will allow for a new era of economic prosperity to be shared by the many, and are necessary to ending the post-Thatcherite consensus that has held so much back.

Firstly, Labour’s policy to bring about free broadband has already been shown to be hugely popular. YouGov’s snap poll has shown that 66% are in favour of this policy and only 22% oppose it. This follows the trend for polling other forms of nationalisation. Having the rail, water, and mail services in public ownership all seem to have more than the majority in favour.

The Tories economic policies of simply more of the status quo are clearly out of touch with a public which is lethargic of more expensive and inefficient services provided by private monopolies and oligopolies. The economic data seems to back up the public’s perceptions. For example, water prices have risen by 40% since privatisation. More than 12,000 jobs have been lost since Royal Mail was sold off by the coalition government, whilst its boss has gained a pay rise of £100,000 to his salary. These issues are inherent to private ownership, especially of natural monopolies such as rail and water, since any sort of competition is highly limited. When profit for the owners and maximisation of shareholder values become the only goals, fairness and a good service for consumers come last. This is evident in the public perception throughout the previous years.

Critics of such policies, and the large scale nationalisation and spending plans that Labour are proposing ignore the widespread need for such investment into our economy. With the case of broadband in particular the UK is in great need of investment and improvement. The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) statistics show that Britain ranks 35th out of 37 countries assessed for the proportion of fibre in its broadband. Furthermore, Britain has fallen from 8th to 10th in the EU for levels of connectivity. Whereas South Korea has 97% of its country covered by broadband (number one on the list by the OECD), with a much more active state involvement in developing the infrastructure needed to roll it out, and indeed with implementing it, compared to only 8-10% for the UK.

Labour’s £20 billion investment goes further than this, it will provide broadband for free, which will save ordinary families hundreds of pounds per year, and bringing the many benefits of fast communication through broadband to every household, which is especially lacking in rural regions. Finally, this policy will be paid for by large tech giants, going some way to address the inadequacy of the tax they pay to the UK exchequer, for example Amazon, which paid only £1.7 million in taxes in 2017, despite profits of £72.3 million. This policy is effective on two fronts. The first, allowing for improvements in fibre broadband coverage in the UK. Second, for its cost burden to fall on those large corporations which are yet to pay their fair share of taxes, as opposed to ordinary workers and consumers. 

Trusting corporate interests to deliver essential services has seemed to be a policy that can no longer be relied upon. Labour’s policy to bring these into public ownership is to be encouraged if we hope to build an economy which serves the public’s interest as opposed to private monopolies who have few incentives to change the current arrangements, catering to their ability to profit off such services as opposed to investing into those services for the good of the public.

Canterbury: the gritty electoral battleground in the Tory heartlands

The resignation of Tim Walker – Canterbury’s Liberal Democrat candidate for the 2019 general election – is just the tip of the iceberg of the complex political battle current raging in this historical city in the heart of the garden of England.

Canterbury voted in favour of remaining in the European Union in 2016. Over 60% of Canterbury’s population voted not to leave the EU and both of it’s Universities, including the University of Kent that boasts the moniker of being the UK’s ‘European university’, openly support remaining in the Union.

While this would appear to be an advantage to Rosie Duffield, who has always vocally supported remaining in the Union, her own party’s neutral position over Brexit could cost her votes. While Tim Walker has stepped down in Canterbury, the Liberal Democrats have told Channel 4 that they still plan to run a candidate in Canterbury, potentially leeching support from the Labour MP. They have  chosen an ex-councilor to run called Claire Malcolmson. Vote shares for Canterbury predict the Liberal Democrats to gain 23% of the City’s vote, giving the Conservatives a comfortable lead of 6% on Labour. However, if just 30% of Canterbury’s remain population voted ‘tactically’ – voting irrespective of party line and focusing on a candidate’s Brexit stance – then the scales could be tipped in favour of a Labour win.

However, understanding the difficult position Rosie Duffield is currently in requires context on Canterbury as a constituency, and what makes Canterbury such a difficult city to predict in the 2019 election.

Before 2017, most election polls predicted a comfortable win for the Conservatives, making Canterbury a certain ‘safe’ seat; one that has been held by a Conservative for almost it’s entire 100-year existence. In 2017, the Tory frontman Sir Julian Brazier was looking to shore up his considerable majority in the city – a majority he had held his entire 25-year career as an MP. In 2015, Sir Brazier won by a 42% majority, beating his nearest competitor by over 9000 votes.  

The Tories were confident, given the constituencies location in the heart of Kent, they were further reassured when Brazier’s opponent was announced: an ex-teaching assistant with no prior Parliamentary experience, Rosie Duffield. Duffield’s prior popularity in the Labour Party was scarce. Her political experience was limited to an unsuccessful run for the council in 2015, as well as her work as a political satire writer.

Labour’s gains in the 2017 election surprised pundits across the political spectrum, and Canterbury was no different. With a majority of just 187 votes, Rosie Duffield beat the incumbent Julien Brazier to become Canterbury’s MP. After conceding defeat, Mr Brazier blamed Canterbury’s invigorated student population for the shock win.

On a national scale, the student vote appeared to factor heavily into Labour’s success, with reports estimating that almost 90% of the student population eligible to vote registered in the election, with a further 55% of students backing Jeremy Corbyn’s Party.

Since 2017, Rosie Duffield has cemented her place in Labour Party politics, becoming the Secretary to the Shadow Secretary of State for Women and Equalities and serving on several Parliamentary committees. In 2018, Duffield demonstrated her commitment to staying in the European Union by being one of 6 frontbench MPs to resist a Labour whip to abstain from voting to remain in the EU single market after Brexit, precipitating her exit from the shadow cabinet.

In late 2019, she made further headlines after a speech on her experiences surviving and overcoming domestic abuse during a hearing on Theresa May’s domestic violence bill – a speech which moved the Commons to tears.

Duffield also took a very vocal stance on antisemitism in the party, admitting to reporters in 2018 that Labour did have a ‘problem’ with antisemitism, leading to condemnation from Canterbury Council’s Labour chairman. Ms Duffield has shored up her meteoric rise in leftwing politics and in just two years has made herself into one of the Labour Party’s rising stars.

But her competition this year will be difficult.

Sir Brazier’s favourite was elected his successor to become Canterbury’s Conservative candidate – a veteran of local politics, Anna Firth. Firth is an ex-barrister, Councilor, and ran for the European Parliament in 2017. The avowed Brexiteer gained local infamy in October when she shared a video with Boris Johnson, promising a new hospital was being created in Canterbury, a hospital that, it was later revealed, did not even appear in the government’s plans. Firth’s highly pro-Brexit stance has led to a deep affinity with Boris Johnson and other hardline Conservative Brexiteers – an affinity which may resonate with voters in the traditional Tory heartlands.

Canterbury will serve as an important litmus test for the 2019 general election, with all of the major frontrunning parties fielding hopeful MPs. Whether Canterbury remain supporters are willing to put party allegiance aside and vote strategically to stop Firth’s election, however, is beyond prediction.

Labour party suspends National Executive Committee Member over antisemitism

A Labour Party Member and member of its National Executive Committee has been suspended from the Party after reiterating an antisemitic conspiracy theory about recent claims of an “Israeli agent” infiltrating the party’s leadership.

The pronounced anti-Israeli party member, Pete Willsman, was also believed to be a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn during his run-up to leadership of the Party, and has claimed that the Jewish state of Israel was behind the recent claims of antisemitism made against the Party.

The suspension came after a leaked conversation by Willsman stated that some of the Labour Party members who were pushing antisemitism claims were working “indirectly with the [Israeli] embassy”, and that it is these members, who are linked to the Israeli Government, “whipping it up all the time”.

Willsman also called the antisemitism claims, which has caused the Equality and Human Rights Commission to launch an investigation into the Party two days before his suspension, “total lies”.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission, the prevailing investigatory body charged with investigating discrimination and racism among UK institutions, stated earlier this week that it would be launching a formal inquiry against the Party due to fears of the Party failing to address complains of unlawful acts committed by Party members that were believed to be antisemitic in nature.

The commission stated two reasons as to why the Party was to be formally investigated. The first reason was that the elected Labour Leadership has failed in it’s duties to offer actions that would end discrimination against Jewish Members in the Party, and the second is that the Party’s leadership has failed to address the problem of antisemitism in their party by themselves before the commission stepped in.

The Labour Party has since stated that they are “fully committed to the support, defence, and celebration of the Jewish community and is implacably opposed to antisemitism in any form”.

However, many high-profile Party members have come out on social media in support of Willsman, many purporting the same conspiracy theory that had the National Executive Committee member suspended in the first place.

David Icke, an author, public speaker, and Party Member with a large following of almost 200,000 people on Twitter, posted an image of what appeared to be an image supporting Willsman’s conspiracy about Israel infiltrating the Party’s leadership.

Another influential account with over 10,000 followers, who goes by the name of “True Labour”, uses a video of Labour frontrunner Tom Watson singing a Jewish Song to the political group “Labour Friends of Israel” to sarcastically imply that Israel has been lobbying the Labour Party to “falsely” provide allegations towards socialist Party Members.

The Editor-in-Chief of The Canary, a left-wing publication, also referred to the recent allegations as “weaponizing antisemitism” in a form of gas-lighting. The Canary was mentioned last year as one of the main publications that were pushing anti-semitic agendas and has been referred to by the left-wing Guardian Columnist Owen Jones as dangerous to the left through it’s proliferation of conspiracy theories.

It would be wrong to suggest that the labour Party does not have any issue with antisemitism, just as it would be wrong to suggest that the Conservative Party has no issue with Islamophobia. However, what is wrong, is to suggest that the Conservative Party’s Islamophobia negates the need for the left to also address it’s own shortcoming and biases, and few biases have existed within Socialist circles longer than the question of Judaism. Sub-cultures of the Labour Party have begun to consider conspiracy theories, mimicking those found in much darker periods of history, to justify and avoid questioning the potentially discriminatory nature of recent political campaigns, where any dissenting opinions are simply considered to be under the employment of an opposing entity.

The only question left for the Labour Party to answer, however, is how it will combat the disenfranchisement of Jewish Party Members and the rise of this form of thinking in the future.

Local Election Roundup- Brexit hangs heavy over results

The 2019 Local Elections has produced some expected results and equally unexpected results – however, there are evident things that jump out portraying the public and society’s opinion on each of the main political parties.

The governing Conservative Party have, at the time of writing, lost over 900 councillors with more losses predicted to come shortly. Their support is at an all-time low, shown by recent historical lows in Tory polling. The country has lost its confidence in the government and party needs to get it’s act together or they could risk driving themselves into permanent opposition.

The Labour Party were expected to gain councillors in the Local Elections today but despite 9 years in opposition at the time writing this they have lost over 100 councillors.

Labour seems to have been punished for its vague and indecisive policy on Brexit. The leadership need to correct the parties viewpoint and make it clear what they want for the next steps. Members of the cabinet say that they want a second referendum and others publicly say that they would like to carry out and respect the result of the 2016 referendum.

The public is confused – and the party is confused. The party’s stance on Brexit needs to be made unequivocally clear before they move on. I support the Labour Party and they need to make it clear what they want to regain the trust and support of the people.

The Liberal Democrats are rightly happy with their gains in this year’s local election. It was a great night for both them and the Greens. There is clear signs the public have changed their mind on the United Kingdom’s membership of the European Union. The Liberal Democrats made gains in every region of the country, from Brexit heartlands like Sunderland to liberal heartlands down south. The Lib Dems are making a resurgence in British Politics and should this success carry on – they could become a big player in future elections. The party stance is clear on Brexit and they have won in Leave Councils – is this the evidence people are longing for that the public divide is swinging towards the opinion that we should remain in the European Union?

‘Partied out’: how today’s Labour Party has let me down

As a 19-year-old Economics and Politics undergraduate, my route into the realm of political discourse has been relatively hassle-free. Indeed, over the past three years, I have actively engaged in our democratic system: from chairing hustings to grassroots campaigning for the Labour Party.

But having entered the political fray through joining the Labour Party, I soon found myself quickly disappointed. Of course, political parties are rarely ‘catch-all’, but the party I once joined in good faith today systematically alienates me and others. Why? Brexit.

Brexit and all it stands for cannot be confined to the left-right spectrum. The issue has divided us all, it transcends party politics to the extent that it has usurped my ideological commitment to the Labour Party. According to an eye-widening poll by Our Future, Our Choice, only 2% of young people believe that Britain’s standing has improved since the 2016 referendum. Shocking as this is, why should we be surprised? Not only were the voices of 2 million 16-17-year-olds suppressed during the referendum, but the voice of Remain has since either been silenced within the major parties or drowned out by a chorus of MPs “elected on a leave manifesto” – a phrase I hear all too often.

The fact of the matter is this: thanks to Brexit, I am politically homeless. No single party stands for the issues I find important. Of course, when associating with a party, it’s impossible to expect every box to be ticked. But Brexit is a box simply too imposing to leave blank. In fact, every other box – health, education, economic policy, foreign policy – has been subsumed by our ensuing withdrawal. It impinges on nearly every issue of political life. That’s why it has pushed so many people away from identifying with a party – and spawned the rise of ‘The Independent Group’. Simply put, Brexit cannot be overlooked by anyone looking to join or vote for a party.

For most voters, identity politics has been replaced by an issue-based agenda. Whilst Brexit has divided much of the country, it has united many young people regardless of their political leanings. Indeed, on the 27th of February, I stood in the Lobby of Parliament shoulder-to-shoulder with young people from across the political spectrum, all of whom were telling MPs how they, as representatives, have failed us by blindly supporting something they know will scar the economy and the electorate in the process. After two years of intense partisanship, it was refreshing to not be bound to a party while fighting against the impact of Brexit.

The common perception of the younger generations today is that we are apathetic, and can’t be trusted. I’d like to offer an alternative perspective. I’m not disenfranchised. I’m disillusioned. The party I subscribed to in 2015 has taken a position on Brexit I simply cannot support- it is ignoring the very voices it claims to represent.

My generation can be trusted, perhaps more so than the generations which sit in government. The plethora of well-informed young people appearing on news stations across the country today is inspiring, revitalising and stands in stark contrast to the ministers who ricochet from failure to failure.

So, far from apathetic, there’s real energy within my generation to stand up for our future; a future which, for many of us, we were unable to shape.

Though the Brexit debate has pushed people away from party politics, they haven’t left politics itself. By people from across the political spectrum all pulling in the same direction on one issue, things will be resolved for the better. On the 27th of February in Parliament, our MPs listened. On the 23rd, at the March for a People’s Vote, they listened again. It is imperative, for their parties’ sakes as well as ours, that they keep listening.

Jeremy Corbyn Must Back the Kyle/Wilson Amendment

Labour MP’s Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson may just have handed the government an answer as to break the Brexit deadlock. Their amendment (which proposes that MP’s support Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement on the condition that it is then put to a public vote) has been growing in popularity recently, gaining the backing of several senior MP’s; most notably John McDonnell who endorsed it as a  possible “solution” to the Brexit stalemate.

The proposed amendment has a clear aim: to break the Brexit impasse by delivering a legally binding answer to the Brexit question; one which has the support of both Parliament and the people in what Peter Kyle describes as a “double lock”.

The Brexit checkmate, which has driven Britain to the brink of a No-Deal crisis, needs to be resolved as soon as possible. The only way it is going to be resolved, however, is through compromise and unity. Both Labour and the Conservatives have opposed each other every step of the way during the negotiation period and for far too long have been fighting internal battles rather than dealing with the crisis cooperatively.

In times of crisis, it is the duty of government to come together in the national interest. The Kyle/Wilson amendment offers them the chance to do just that.

It’s not perfect, it is a compromise. Corbyn and May must meet in the middle and seek to forge some sort of consensus.  In an ideal world, Labour would force a general election and deliver a workable Brexit. May would see her deal pass through the Commons with the support of the ERG. However, neither of these outcomes seems remotely possible; and Brexit Britain is far from ideal.

Perhaps this is the one admirable quality of the newly founded Independent Group: they recognise that Brexit is a unique moment in British political history and one which requires cooperation in place of division.   

Many Labour members (myself included) have been rightfully sceptical of the division and hostility which would accompany a second referendum, but the Kyle/Wilson amendment would not be a simple re-run of the 2016 referendum.

It is different in a number of crucial ways. As opposed the 2016 vote, the outcome of this “yes” or “no” vote will be clear and concise and have immediate ramifications; as opposed to a freestanding second referendum, the answer to which would provide more questions than it would answers. It is not a simple re-run where the first vote is disregarded; it is a reaction to two years of parliamentary proceedings which have left us with a clear choice: Theresa May’s deal or a No-Deal. There is no majority for either of these things, so the choice must be given back to the people.

Most importantly, the Kyle/Wilson amendment, if given Labour backing, has a significantly higher chance of passing through the Commons than a simple 2016 re-do would have.

The amendment offers Corbyn a lifeline at a time of crisis. Not only does this option give him the chance to appease MP’s and younger members campaigning for a People’s Vote, he also has the chance to reverse the worrying trend which has seen many Labour MP’s resign from the party. For right or wrong, Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit stance has been greatly criticised by certain groups of MP’s and by backing the Kyle/Wilson amendment, Corbyn can stem the flow of defectors which threatens to engulf him and the party into a full-blown crisis.

Importantly, the amendment offers Corbyn the chance to do all this while simultaneously avoiding casting Labour as the “Remain” party and the Tories as the “Brexit Party”. This would have no doubt lost him many voters. As reports have suggested, the motion has the support of many senior Tories and, should it pass, May too would be required to support a second vote.

The Kyle/Wilson agreement is unique in that it is a gamble for both May and Corbyn. They would be isolating minorities for the greater good. In accepting it they would be going against significant groupings in their respective parties – the ERG in the case of May and the Labour Brexiteers for Corbyn.

In this time of national crisis, the Kyle/Wilson amendment seems the least terrible option.

With little over a month remaining, we really are down to the wire. Labour must put their weight behind this motion and give the British people a chance to prevent Britain from crashing out of the EU without a deal.

This Labour Split Will Achieve Nothing

Less than half a year ago, Chuka Umunna described the prospect of a new political party emerging from the People’s Vote campaign as “utter bollocks”, claiming he would never support a move which would “aid and abet Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nigel Farage and others”. Today however, Umunna, alongside six other Labour MP’s, have resigned from the Labour Party in protest over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, Brexit and anti-Semitism in the party.

Upon hearing this news, I decided to visit the Independent Group’s website to better understand what it was that this new group stood for. I was greeted with a white blank page, learning later that the website had crashed after only a couple of hours;a fitting metaphor for a group of MP’s whose vision for Britain remains vague and ambiguous.

It seems their main purpose is to fix British politics which to them is ostensibly “broken”. Are they right to suggest this? Maybe so, there are a significant group of people who have felt left behind for too long by mainstream party politics. But splitting from the Labour party to fix this issue, quite simply, won’t work.

Centrism is not the answer to this mess. At times of immense social and political unrest centrism has proved inefficient. We have seen this in France, with substantial protest directed towards President Macron and his centrist government. In Britain, the Liberal Democrats, despite having offered a People’s Vote for months, have failed to win over any disaffected voters. The Labour split will only make the politics of this country more fragmented, more convoluted and more divisive by splitting the left-liberal vote.

In splitting the left vote, Umunna and co. have handed the Tories a lifeline. Not only does it drastically increase the prospect of a 1980s style Tory landslide, it also may have inadvertently have scuppered the slim chances of a second referendum. People’s vote campaigners need Labour MP’s like Umunna to endorse a second vote and help win over the Labour frontbench. By defecting the party, Umunna has offered MP’s reluctant to a People’s Vote the chance to frame supporting a second referendum as aligning the Party with a group of rival MP’s. The Independent Group have identified what they stand for, but have offered no answers as to how they are going to change Britain for the better. A second referendum at present time has no chance of getting through Parliament with or without Labour backing.

It cannot be denied that some of the anti-Semitic abuse which MP’s like Luciana Berger has received has been vile. It is also true that the Labour leadership has been too slow in confronting these issues and bringing these Party members to justice. However, we cannot pretend that just by leaving the Party the issue of anti-Semitism on the extreme left will go away. Labour would be best equipped to root out anti-Semitism with the help of MP’s like Berger whose struggle and defiance can be used to champion inclusivity in the face of extremism.  

Ultimately, this split was inevitable. These MP’s are remnants of the New Labour project, whose visions are irreconcilable with those of Corbyn. As much as this split is about Brexit and anti-Semitism, what unites all these MP’s is opposition to the Corbyn project.

Now, more than ever, it is vital that Labour re-affirm its values and unite behind Corbyn. This split offers Labour an opportunity to both rally behind Corbyn’s message of hope but also work harder to deal with issues surrounding anti-Semitism in the party.

The People’s Vote campaign needs Labour, and to serve the country Labour should finally back a PV

Throughout the Brexit negotiations, Labour’s frontbench has continuously appeared ambiguous, sitting on the fence when asked about what they’d do as an opposition to the Tories. By doing so, they’ve managed to hold on to their Leave and Remain voters throughout the negotiating period.

But has it all been worth it when it comes down to the wire?

Whether it was Keir Starmer who has pushed for the opportunity of a second referendum, or Dianne Abbott ruling out any sort of referendum, Labour’s shadow cabinet has seriously harmed the People’s Vote campaign. As a result, there is little chance that any sort of integrity can be found on Brexit.

Let’s remind ourselves of why the People’s Vote has been campaigning for another referendum. Firstly, they argue that democracy did not stop after June 2016, meaning the people are still allowed to have their say, particularly as polls have shown that the nation’s attitudes are gradually changing towards a larger Remain majority. Secondly, and more importantly, they argue that the June 2016 referendum was based on lies and corruption, pushing the electorate to vote for promises which have not been delivered.

Alternatively, Labour are now considering another referendum as a ‘last resort’ option to break the Brexit deadlock, and it is this discourse that will seriously harm the integrity of a second referendum.

Why? Because it defeats the purpose of a “People’s Vote”. A second referendum has not been campaigned for because we would need to go back to square one. Instead, A second referendum has been campaigned for because of the corruption of the first referendum. Labour will be ignoring the vital messages of the carefully constructed People’s Vote campaign.

Vital they were. By going back to square one, Labour will alienate all those who voted Leave in June 2016, angry at the thought that their vote didn’t count the first time around.

Where does this leave us? With a second referendum with no integrity. The Murdoch monopoly alongside another carefully constructed Leave campaign will continue to spout anti-establishment messages, calling for the people to rise against the elite who believe they know better.

Will we ever get a decision based on fact and change for the greater good rather than based on anti-establishment messages?

Labour’s shadow cabinet will seriously damage the People’s Vote campaign, and it’s all down to the political games of survival which Labour and the Conservatives have been playing.

By remaining ambivalent, Labour has remained relevant. Yet, this has also left Labour stuck in a rut after the intrinsic route which has been taken after the defeat of May’s deal. By playing with tactics, members of Labour’s frontbench are missing the point. Why are their decisions being made for the sake of the party over the needs of the people? How can they ignore the fact that the people’s needs will not be met from the promises of the June 2016 campaign?

By remaining ambivalent, Labour’s frontbench has missed a clear chance at reinstating political integrity. By ignoring the messaging of the People’s Vote, Corbyn is taking us back to square one and missing the opportunity to give Britain a credible future.

Corbyn Plans to Call Vote of No Confidence in Government

The Labour Party has begun rallying MP’s ahead of the ‘Meaningful Vote’ on Tuesday. Messages have been sent to all parliamentary members to remind them to be present for the ‘Meaningful Vote’.

Members have also been told to remain present on Wednesday – as it is believed that the Labour Leader will be tabling a Vote of No Confidence.

One Senior Shadow Cabinet Minister said: ‘There is now recognition that we cannot wait any longer. If May goes down to defeat and she does not resign and call an election, this is the moment we have to act.’

If the Labour Leader fails to obtain the support of the Commons, then he will be under increased pressure to support calls for a ‘People’s Vote’.

It is believed that if the Labour Leader refuses to call a vote of no confidence, then others will. Angela Smith, MP for Penistone and Stocksbridge, said: ‘The time for prevarication is over. If May’s deal fails we have to test the will of the house and if we fail, we must consider all options including campaigning for a second referendum as this is party policy.’

Even senior members within the Conservative Party have expressed their belief that the ‘Meaningful Vote’ will go against May’s Deal. One claimed that Theresa May could not win ‘in any circumstances’ and that a victory would be being defeated by less than 100 members of the Commons.

Mrs. May, writing in the Sunday Express, called for the cross-party support of her deal. She noted: ‘My message to Parliament this weekend is simple: It is time to forget the games and do what is right for our country.’

Defeat would only give her party two weeks to attempt to form a new government. If it cannot form a government, then there will be a General Election.

Comment from Thomas Howard, Editor at TPN:

Theresa May has suffered several defeats in recent weeks and is set to suffer her biggest to date on Tuesday.

Even if a vote of no confidence fails, she will not necessarily be victorious. It is essential that she maintains the unilateral support of the DUP and Conservative Party.

Timing is crucial and it is clear to see that the Labour Leader has been playing a clever game and has the Prime Minister in a vulnerable position. Even if her deal passes, she will face defeat – as it is clear that she would not retain the support of the DUP