Governments have limited bandwidth. Limits to how many priorities they can pursue. This Government has had its decided for it – by a referendum of the people – and it is dominating the agenda like nothing else.
Theresa May was hoping there would be a little capacity in the system for her pet projects – bringing back grammar schools, workers on boards – but alas. Nicola Sturgeon used the hiatus between the House of Commons and Lords on Monday to drive a coach and horses through the Prime Minister’s wishful thinking.
Downing Street has now got to manoeuvre Britain’s leaving the European Union and keeping Scotland in the United Kingdom. This would be tough for a good Prime Minister. (more…)
May’s weakness exposed, leadership in local government and an impressive start for Open Labour – Progress director Richard Angell has this week’s Last Word
The Tories in 2015 told Britain not to vote Labour because Ed Miliband would be a disaster for the economy and he would be pushed around by Nicola Sturgeon. If it was not for the fact that the National Health Service was in crisis and the government’s only idea for improving schools is to bring back grammars, you might have to pinch yourself to remember who won.
The morning after Sturgeon ambushed the country and announced her intention to legislate for a second referendum on Scottish independence, the Times ran with a government source saying: ‘This timing is completely unacceptable … it would be irresponsible to agree to it and we won’t.’ If half of what the first minister said about being kept in the dark about how Brexit might proceed is true, the fault in many ways lies with Theresa May and her operation in No 10.
May likes to maintain that her ‘thoughtful’ style is a strength and shows that she is considered. It is anything but. The weakness of No 10 and her inability to know her own mind is why so much of Brexit is still unclear and why she cannot show her own colleagues, let alone parliament or the devolved administrations, the respect and consideration they deserve. (more…)
Jeremy Corbyn has appointed a new campaign chief to replace former Ken Livingstone aide Simon Fletcher. Niall Sookoo who previously worked in Corbyn’s press team returns for another bite of the cherry. He takes on a tough task in the shadow of Labour’s disastrous loss in Copeland.
In Sookoo’s favour he inherits a blank piece of paper. Jon Trickett did so little as the shadow cabinet campaign coordinator that even Corbyn thought his performance was lacklustre. He then sacked him in the middle of two byelections – and nobody noticed. However, poor Sookoo now has two shadow cabinet bosses – and they could not be more different. Andrew Gwynne won the Oldham byeelection for Corbyn last year and ensured a top notch ground game in Copeland. Ian Lavery has never been involved in any kind of byelection, let alone general election, type operation and labours under the bizarre notion that Corbyn is ‘one of the most popular politicians in the country’.
Since Corbyn has put Labour on a ‘war footing’ he has shown a tendency to misfire. Rather than shooting at the government he seems to only be successful at finding his own foot.(more…)
Save our NHS, time to speak truth to power on Copeland, gongs gone wrong and thank Lord for the upper house – Progress director Richard Angell has this week’s Last Word
Tomorrow I, along with thousands of other Labour activists, will be taking to the street to defend our National Health Service. As shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth put it, ‘the NHS is going through the biggest financial squeeze in its history’ – and Saturday is our opportunity to call on the government to do something about it. A national social care crisis has brought social care to its knees, crippling local government, and forcing the Red Cross to describe the situation in Britain’s health service as a ‘humanitarian crisis’.
There are those that would seek to convince you that these pressures were inevitable – that, had Labour won the last election, these issues would have devilled Ed Miliband and Andy Burnham as they do Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt. They are wrong. Britain’s health and social care problems are a direct result of seven years of chronic underfunding – a political choice. Each of us has a duty to hold the Tories to account. However, Labour wanting to defend the NHS with every sinew did not save use in Copeland and it will not save us nationally. Hopefully, our actions can save it.
I hope you will be joining me this weekend. (more…)
Guardian UK politics podcast: Anushka Asthana is joined by Paul Mason, Zoe Williams and Richard Angell to discuss whether Labour’s warring factions can put aside their differences and reconnect with lost voters. Plus John McDonnell on tackling tax avoidance