austerity

Five reasons Labour won’t come third in Scotland this May

First published on LabourList

The team of spin doctors around Seumas Milne are colluding with Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Tories in the expectations game for Jeremy Corbyn’s first real electoral test in May. Both of them want people and the media to think that Scottish Labour might come third in the coming Scottish parliament elections. Davidson because it makes it more likely her party will come in second. However, for the Labour leader’s office it seems that they are prepared to throw hard-working members of the Scottish parliament under a bus just so expectations are exceeded in a few months’ time.

Those campaigning for a Corbyn leadership last summer told the wider party that an anti-austerity leader would turn around Labour’s fortunes in Scotland. The rhetoric and the party policy has changed north of the border: a top rate of tax to pay for a fair start fund for the poorest kids, 1p on income tax to reverse local government and education cuts. Scottish Labour has even junked its historic support for Trident to align itself with the new leadership, and voted in Holyrood accordingly.

Having spent this time last week on the doorstep in six very different Scottish constituencies, I know our party colleagues there need our help with one-to-one chats with voters, not journalists. (more…)

rhubarbTV: Head To Tozer

Episode 2 of Head To Tozer is here! Watch Ben Tozer interview the director of Progress – Labour’s progressives, Richard Angell.

About rhubarbTV

We are rhubarbTV. It’s an acronym. Royal Holloway’s Unique Broadcasting and Recording Brand. And that is exactly what we do, broadcast and record. We aim to cover an array of events both on and off campus in order for clubs and societies to reach a stronger audience with what it is that they do.

Never think we don’t care

Scotland_tour-199x400.jpgFirst published on LabourHame

Ahead of the Progress campaign tour to Scotland’s central belt, Richard Angell – director of Progress and founder of @Lab3seats – outlines why UK Labour are keen to rally round.

The result in Scotland in May 2015 was a blow for everyone in the Labour movement. No one predicted it would be a near total wipeout. In Scotland itself fellow members are left with nearly no parliamentary representation and were plunged into not one but two leadership elections. Now you are straight back in the firing line trying to make the case for Labour against a resilient and insurgent Scottish National party.

You have had to take the loss, feel the pain and do it all again. Doorstep by doorstep. And, if some accounts are true, the environment seems even more aggressive towards us than last May, which in turn was worse than the referendum before it. I hear your pain. (more…)

Leaked letter opens the floodgates

First published on Progressonline

David Cameron has made a pig’s ear of it again. A leaked letter that he is pressuring his local council to resist the worst implications of George Osborne’s cuts is either confirmation that Jeremy Corbyn’s anti-austerity politics is catching on or that the prime minister has no idea what the implications of his own policies are in his own back garden. You decide.

Either way – Labour has seen the chink in his armour and is pressing its advantage. Jonathan Ashworth – member of parliament for Leicester South and shadow Cabinet Office minister – was straight on Cameron’s flagrant disregard of the Ministerial Code as he offers up use of the No 10 Policy Unit to provide free consultancy to his local struggling Tory council. (more…)

The hard left is not the heart of this party

First published on LabourList

The debate goes that Jeremy Corbyn is the heart, Liz Kendall is the head. He speaks to true Labour values. The latter can convince once-Tory voters – critical to Labour’s future prospects – back to our party. The others split the difference.

Many appear excited at the politics Corbyn’s is giving voice to. But the reality is that what he represents is not pure form of Labour politics but an extreme one.

Corbynistas, neo-Bennites, or just simply Bennites and I want the same ends: a fair and equality society where the postcode you are born in does not determine the achievements of your life. That much we can agree on. (more…)

Hope

First published on ProgressOnline

Hope the play

Hope runs at the Royal Court, London SW1 until 10 January 2015

Actor Paul Higgins moves seamlessly from foul-mouthed and over-confident Downing Street operator in the Thick Of It to his latest role as contorted local councillor in Jack Thorne’s latest play, Hope. Always the bridesmaid and never the bride, Higgins is number two this time to cold Labour council leader Hilary (played by Stella Gonet) rather than hothead Labour apparatchik Malcolm Tucker.

The play revolves around the huge and desperate cuts that Eric Pickles and his colleagues have forced on local government. It looks at the trials and tribulations of a council having to find £22m of cuts in the coming year. All trying to do the right thing, many hours are spent trying to choose one cut over another. It all turns sour when a day centre for disabled people gets axed. Run by the ex-wife of the deputy leader, she is able to use her foot in both worlds to rally anti-austerity forces locally and nationally. The council backs down and it only gets worse. (more…)

Debate: The Coalition Government Has Failed

A debate organised by KCL Politics Society and New Turn, in partnership with KCL Conservative Society and KCL Labour Society. Under the title ‘Have the coalition failed?’ the event took place 6.30pm on 22 October 2013 in room B5, Franklin Wilkins building, Waterloo.

Proposition: Richard Angell, former national chair of Young Labour, and Sam Coates, out-going co-chair of the Young Greens.

Opposition: Oliver Cooper, chairman of Conservative Futures, and Joshua Dixon, executive committee of Liberal Youth.

* It is worth noting that the event was only an all-male panel due to sickness of one of the speakers on the day

Social democracy in an era of no money

Progress deputy director Richard Angell addressed the International Union of Socialist Youth in Austria yesterday on the legacy of New Labour and next steps for social democracy in an era of no money, and Ed Miliband and Liam Byrne’s work on the ‘new centre ground’.

New Labour as a political project was born out of the 1980s and a disastrous period of rejection by the British public. Labour presented the public with manifesto after manifesto packed with policies we liked and stood passionately against a government that looked to act with spite against many of those we sought to represent – trade unionists, the LGBT community, Scotland and the people of Liverpool – and failed on its own terms on a number of occasions – three million unemployed twice is a damning record, but we achieved no cut-through and symbolically missed out in 1992. (more…)

Cutting waste or wasting potential?

First published on ProgressOnline

It is undeniable that the terrible cuts of the Lib-Con coalition are focused on the young. Our country’s potential lies in the hands of our young people and this government should be offering them helping hand not holding them back.

To date we have seen the Future Jobs Fund axed, the baby bonds abolished, 10,000 student places erased and free swimming for under 16s cut, cut, cut.

None of these are cuts to waste, they all waste the potential of those we should be cherishing most. What is deeply regrettable is that all of these cuts could have been prevented. (more…)