15 Labour MPs release statement calling for change in party policy direction

26th January, 2015 8:50 am

A group of 15 Labour MPs have issued a public statement this morning, expressing concern about elements of Labour’s policy agenda, and urging a change of course in three key areas. The letter – signed by MPs on the left of the Parliamentary Labour Party – calls for an alternative to Labour’s current deficit reduction plans, public ownership of the railways and a return to collective bargaining and employment rights in the workplace.

Update: This post originally listed 16 MPs as having signed the statement, but we have since been told that John Cryer MP did not sign the statement.

Labour Assembly Against Austerity

Michael Meacher – who co-ordinated the statement – told LabourList:

“Jobs and growth are vitally needed rather than prolonged austerity as the best means both to cut the deficit fastest and to give hope to our people. Public ownership is urgently needed to reverse failed privatisations, and the railways should lead the way to a new perspective of the crucial role of the public sector. And an enhanced role for the trade unions is strongly needed both to promote economic partnership in our workplaces and to reverse the extreme inequality now so badly disfiguring our society”.

Here’s the statement in full, which outlines the signatories preferred alternative approach:

1 An alternative to the continuation of austerity and spending cuts till 2019-20

All three main parties, tragically, seem to agree that deep spending cuts must continue to be made until the structural budget deficit is wiped out in 2019-20, even though wages have already fallen 8% in real terms, business investment is still below pre-crash levels, unemployment is still 2million, the trade deficit in manufactured goods at over £100bn is now the largest in modern history, and household debt is now over £2trillion and still rising.

The Tories want to continue with these cuts because it gives them political cover to achieve their real objective which is to shrink the State and squeeze the public sector back to where it was in the 1930s.

It isn’t even as though the deficit is being reduced by these savage cuts. Because the reduction in the government’s tax revenues as a result of shrinking incomes exceed the spending cuts, the deficit (which is still nearly £100bn) is likely to rise, not fall, in 2014-15 and in future years.

There is an alternative way out of endless austerity. We need public investment to kickstart the economy out of faltering growth and to generate real job creation and rising incomes.

It can readily be funded. With interest rates at 0.5%, a £30bn investment package can be financed for just £150m a year, enough to create more than a million real jobs within 2-3 years. And even without any increase in public borrowing at all, the same sum could equally be funded either through the two banks which are already in public ownership, or through printing money (quantitative easing) to be used directly for industrial investment rather than for bond-buying by the banks as hitherto, or through taxing the ultra-rich by a special levy.

2 Returning rail franchises when expired to public ownership rather than subjecting them to competition

The essence of rail reform must be to reverse fragmentation, to reintegrate the system under public ownership, and to run it in the public interest. At present Britain has the highest fares in Europe. The additional costs of privatisation to public funds are estimated at more than £11bn, or around £1.2bn a year, so that the costs to the taxpayer are now three times as much as under British Rail.

Since 2010 rail fares have increased 25%, yet at the same time more than £200m a year has been paid out in dividends to shareholders or overseas state-owned rail companies which now hold two-thirds of the current rail franchises. Over 80% of the public want the railways re-nationalised, which must include a significant proportion of Tories.

The most obvious and simplest way to achieve this is by letting the rail franchises expire and then taking them back into public ownership at no cost whatever to the taxpayer. To subject them to a public bidding competition with private bidders is not only wholly unnecessary but sends out the wrong signals, as though we’re not confident of our own ideology. The Tories certainly didn’t offer a competitive option when they forced through privatisation!

Anyway, the franchise process, so far from being economic, encourages the gaming of wildly optimistic passenger number projections and this, combined with huge legal contract complexity which is bureaucratic and wasteful both in time and money (except for the lawyers and accountants), has led in the past to franchise failures and operating chaos, most notably on the East and West Coast lines. From past experience public ownership has consistently worked better, and we should not gratuitously throw obstacles in our own path in getting there.

3 The need for the restoration of collective bargaining and employment rights as a check against excessive corporate power

When the Thatcher government came to office in 1979, 82% of workers in the UK had their main terms and conditions determined by a union-negotiated collective agreement. The latest figures now show that the coverage is down to just 23%. One very significant result is that the share of national income going to salaries and wages has fallen dramatically from 65% in 1980 to 53% in 2012 – a loss to employees of some £180bn!

This has happened partly from the collapse in trade union membership from 55% of the workforce in 1979 to 23% in 2012. But it has also happened partly as a result of the anti-trade union laws introduced in the 1980-90s and partly because the state has withdrawn support for collective bargaining as part of the free market ideology of de-regulation of all markets, including the labour market. It is somewhat ironic however that de-regulation of the labour market requires the tightest regulation of one of the key players in that market, the trade union movement.

An incoming Labour government should choose to enhance the role of trade unions because trade union rights are human rights, a trade union presence creates more just and equal workplaces, and trade union collective bargaining is more redistributive than statutory wage setting and will assist on the road from austerity. We should therefore actively promote sectoral collective bargaining and strengthen the rights of trade unions to recognition, and of their members to representation.

Diane Abbott
Dave Anderson
Katy Clark
Jeremy Corbyn
Fabian Hamilton
Kelvin Hopkins
Ian Lavery
John McDonnell
Michael Meacher
Ian Mearns
Grahame Morris
Linda Riordan
Steve Rotherham
Jim Sheridan
Chris Williamson

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  • Dave Postles

    Thank you. Let’s also make the point that #3 is entirely consistent with ‘pre-distribution’.

  • Duncan Hall

    A very good statement. Let’s hope it has some impact.

  • Tommo

    Beware Greeks bearing gifts !!!!

    • treborc1

      Or Tories of course.

    • Dave Postles

      The real adage is: Trojans are stupid.

  • treborc1

    What no Miliband, not even Reeves, no Mandy, I know Blair is heart broken at the death of his Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz his mentor and friend and of course his contact to many rich people.

    16 socialist that is it, in a once proud labour party, bet Miliband is now grinning into the mirror or is that grimace or face of hate.

    16 people who have an idea sadly pity the leader did not.

  • Michael Murray

    This statement should be implemented forthwith to stop those unfortunate victims of the cuts contemplating suicide.

  • bikerboy

    Ok that’s the Chavez love bombers so not serious.

  • Doug Smith

    Well done to the 16 Labour MPs who have signed this statement.

    And let’s hope the result in the Greek election marks the beginning of a new People before Profit politics.


      This is very disappointing – only 16!
      Obviously there is missing a little note from Diane Abbott – “can I be excused the mansion tax”.

      • Doug Smith

        16 MPs – that’s more than the probable total of Green and UKIP MPs after the May election.

        16 MPs could have considerable influence if they are able to develop sufficient resolve to move from rhetoric to principled action.

        • Dave Postles

          ’16 MPs could have considerable influence if they are able to develop
          sufficient resolve to move from rhetoric to principled action.’
          Sadly, that’s a flight of fancy. Their influence in the LP is likely to be minimal. John M will have to continue in association with the extra-Parliamentary movements in which he is a sublime participant and Jeremy C and Michael M to continue to write in The Morning Star. I have no crystal ball and it’s just a hunch, of course.

          • MikeHomfray

            If the overall majority is small then groups of MPS can have influence

          • Dave Postles

            … or they might just take the whip to avoid a government defeat.

          • Doug Smith

            “Sadly, that’s a flight of fancy.”


            This best way to stiffen the resolve of Labour Party faint hearts is to develop a non-Labour Syriza-like electoral coalition.

            As the situation progresses the 16 MPs may feel they want to join.

          • BillFrancisOConnor

            That’s total fantasy.

          • Doug Smith

            An anti-Tory/anti-corporate realignment is already occurring.

            Labour’s pro-TTIP/pro-austerity/pro-privatisation Tory-like policies just won’t cut the mustard.

      • SilentHunter


        I’m glad you’re able to say that; I’m not allowed to . . . apparently. lol

    • A good result in Greece. Is Labourlist going to congratulate Syriza? Are the Labour Party governing class happy about that or would they rather the Greek working class had stuck with PASOK?

      Incidently, we need to recognise , whatever we think of capitalism and the profit motive, that austerity hits those profits too. So, as Syriza has demonstrated, an anti-austerity movement can expect to attract some support from sections of the capitalist class. Probably not from financial capitalists, though, who are the worst of the lot!

      • Doug Smith

        The oddest thing about Syriza is their insistence on staying within the EU/Eurozone.

        Let’s hope Tsipras doesn’t do a Hollande.

        • jaime taurosangastre candelas

          I think the oddest thing about Syriza is their touching naïveté that they have any cards at all to play in their negotiations.

          Unlike the main banking crisis, Greece’s crisis is directly liked to decades of overspending by Government, and corruption in hiding that. Maybe Goldman Sachs did charge a few tens of millions in helping them hide that, but that is tiny.

          Now their debt is bankrolled by the ordinary citizens of members of the EU and contributory nations to the IMF. To make it personal, by you, me and many millions like us.

          There is no chance at all that anything other than a symbolic lightening of repayment conditions will be sanctioned. Of course, the Greeks can chose to walk away, but they will never get another penny of international assistance for a generation, and the country will die. Greece is too small to matter, and the principle of indulging them too horrendous when larger creditor nations will demand the same.

        • The reality is that Syriza would have lost if they hadn’t adopted a pro-euro stance. Theoretically if Germany and Holland recycle their surpluses to their customer countries with the euro in the same way they did when they had separate currencies then the euro could work. That would require a revision of the SGP rules, introduction of Eurobonds, ECB creation of money on a vast scale. Maybe even for Germany to run a trade deficit as you say!
          Politically that’s unlikely to happen. So we’ll have to see what happens next!
          As Alexis Tsipiras says – it’s like playing poker. He’d never get what he really wanted by playing his hand face up.

          Angela Merkel is claiming he’s got a weak hand. But she knows that if Greece were to leave the Eurozone and suddenly start to recover, which of course they will, then the Euro project will be scuppered as Spain, Italy, Ireland and even France start to follow suit.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Why, or more pertinently, how, would Greece start to recover if they left the Eurozone?

            They would only do so by reneging their debt, in which case they would get no further investment, or by redenominating their debt in new Drachmas, in which case they would devalue immediately, have no leverage internationally (not that they have much now, as no one trusts them), and pay even more to service it.

          • I’m sure I’ve explained this to you before. They will recover when they introduce a freely floating currency under their control and which will be a monopoly of the Greek government. No one will be able to tell them , as the Germans are doing at present, how to run their economy. No-one will be able tell them they can’t borrow this or spend that. It will be hard at first but it’s hard for most Greeks now. But with the right sense of National spirit they’ll pull through.

            Sure, if they do it badly their recovery will be slower than if they do it well. But it is inconceivable that they could do it so badly that the outcome will be worse than the last 6 years of imposed economic nonsense.

            It’s down to the Greeks to decide if they want their independence back and if they think they have what it takes to control their own destiny.

            I’d hope to be the first one to book a holiday there after they’ve done that! There’ll be millions of others – some because the holidays will be less expensive. Some because they are interested in what’s happening and want to support the new Greek government.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            I think you are hopelessly deluded.

            Any Greek recovery after a “Grexit” would have to be entirely self-financing, with real actual proper money, because after Grexit no one is giving them anything.

            Secondly, the Greeks have nothing beyond Feta cheese that anyone else wants to buy.

            Thirdly, there is not going to be any tourism if civil conditions break down (I have spent a year in the Balkans during a civil war, and such violence is I think part of their terrible history, never far from the surface), and that is far more likely than your scenario.

            But please keep dreaming. It is nice to have a bit of completely unrealistic fantasy in our lives.

          • Look, Jaime, why don’t you think before you write? Think about what is “real actual proper money”? Nearly every country in the world (The Euro countries are something of an exception) issues “real actual proper money”. Why should Greece be any different?

            Your “Feta cheese” comment displays your ignorance of the potential of the Greek economy.

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            “Real actual proper money” is something that holds value within a small percentage band (+/- about 10%) against other currencies. Not something that has variations in value of an order of magnitude in a few years.

            Go on then, apart from my feta cheese example or possibly honey or yoghurt, can you name a Greek export that is going to underpin a national recovery? They don’t seem to be very good at ships any longer.

          • There is no such requirement for +/- 10%. The Swiss currency has jumped in value by about 20% in the last week. So therefore, by your definition, the Swiss franc is not “”Real actual proper money”. Please think about what you write before pressing the post button. It’s tedious to have to correct basic errors.

            For more information on the extent of the Greek economy , beyond Feta cheese, please just Google “Economy Greece Wiki”

          • jaime taurosangastre candelas

            Would you have the courage to put a large chunk of your savings into a new Drachma on day one of existence, if you think it such a good investment?

            If you cannot say “yes”, then you have no argument.

          • All my savings are tied up in my own business! I don’t have any other shares. But, investing in Greece after the introduction of the New Drachma would be a good bet. It will start off very cheap and rise in value as the Greek economy improves – taking the price of property and shares with it.

          • The Pound Sterling lost 25% relative to other currencies in 2008. Is the Pound a non-viable currency?

          • Patrick Nelson

            Isn’t real actual proper money actually money tied to something with intrinsic value like an oil or gold standard? Can fiat currency ever really be called real actual proper money?

    • SilentHunter

      Hear hear.

    • Jeremy_Preece

      I am a serving Labour Councillor and I would not consider myself to be on the left. I consider myself to be pretty mainstream.
      What do I think of these three proposals
      1. Totally agree
      2. Absolutely agree
      3. A bit undecided although broadly supportive.
      I imagine that many commenting and voting on this site feel that they are also mainstream Labour but that it is the leadership that has changed direction.
      I also believe that 1 and 2 are broadly popular and probably vote winners. It seems a bit of a no brainer really.

      • Jeremy_Preece

        Sorry. I put the mouse over the vote up button out of interest to see who had voted and accidentally clicked – I only vote for myself in elections! Surprised that it actually let me do so.

        • Brian Ross

          How many postal votes are Labour councillors allowed to fill out on their own behalf these days Jeremy?

          • Jeremy_Preece

            Very good Brian :), and by the looks of the poster, you are slap bang up to date too.

            Real answer – we are allowed the same as everyone else on the electoral role! i.e. one if we are not going to be voting at the polling station. And just to be completely pedantic – I can’t vote for myself as I live just over the border in the next ward, where I am pleased to report, that all three seats are already held by excellent Labour councillors, each with considerable experience. (Which is why I vote for them)

    • Ringstone

      Is Greece the next “new way forward” for the innumerate Far Left now Hollande is out of favour and Venezuala [an oil roducer for goodness sake] has tanked?
      What’s the political equivalent of the “commentators curse”, because these people do seem to unerringly pick a loser?

  • RWP

    How will the Westminster political commentators, and the Tories, see this? As an attempt to undermine EdM? Or a pretext for EdM to take a more radical course?

    • CrunchieTime

      Probably exactly for what it is. A group of the usual left wing subjects doing what they usually do when they don’t get their own way. They have no other way of influencing the cabal at the top of the party, who refuse to listen to anyone else other than each other, including the party rank and file.

      AND it will be used by the media to undermine the Labour leadership, in order to make them look weak, ineffective and not in control of their divided party.

      Well done the Labour PLP, self interest rules the day and you’re all still getting paid.

      For now…

    • treborc1

      Well some of the Blair-rites will think it’s a take over but sixteen people who are to the left , I think Progress will be saying something soon. Maybe to let us know Blair is to get a safe seat, another leftie

  • Tissue Price

    Whether you agree with the policies or not, it’s pretty embarrassing to have this sort of thing going on 100 days before the election, isn’t it?

    • BillFrancisOConnor

      Typical Tory Troll remark & up voted by your Tory troll friends.

      • Tissue Price

        You don’t think it’s a bit off-message to have a substantial subset of your MPs launch an alternative manifesto? In election year, no less?

        • David Pickering

          Any person that upsets poor old Bill is deemed a Tory Troll.

          • wolfman

            He’s right about you though !!

          • BillFrancisOConnor

            Cheers Wolfman.

          • David Pickering

            What, that I’m a Tory Troll? Lol

        • BillFrancisOConnor

          You’re a Tory. What are you doing over here on this site?

        • CrunchieTime

          I pretty sure that Bill completely agrees with you that it is embarrassing. This type of intervention at this stage of the campaign is pretty much as helpful as a turd on a dance floor. But he cannot allow himself to agree with you because he’s too bound to tribal loyalties. Those of us ex Labour Party members are not as constrained.

          It does make me wonder just who’s running the Labour Party campaign though? Is it being masterminded by the Marx Brothers or the Three Stooges?

          Having said that, I agree with much of the aims and ideals of what has been listed above. It’s the manner of saying it which makes the Labour “leadership” look weak and not in control.

          Labour do seem to be experts in finding new ways to shoot themselves in the foot.

      • Tissue Price

        I mean, there are probably at least 16 Tory MPs who think that grammar schools should be brought back, the NHS should move to an insurance model and we should get out of the EU tomorrow.

        But they’re not embarrassing their leader by launching an alternative manifesto, are they?

        • Dave Postles

          Two defected to UKIP and Lady Warsi is a loose cannon.

        • BillFrancisOConnor

          Except that 2 MPs defected to UKIP and stood against the Tories in by-elections and hammered them. Is that the kind of thing you mean by ‘not embarrassing their leader’?

    • Stephen Rogers

      No it isn’t. You mean that the Tory propaganda machine will make it embarrassing. What they have stated makes economic sense. We have to stand up to the Tories arguments on austerity. There is an alternative, and this is it. Please don’t give me the argument, this is extreme left wing ideology, because it isn’t. It’s the sort of policies the Labour Party needs to adopt for a fairer society. We have got the most right wing Government since Edwardian times. I like watching Downton Abbey, but I don’t want to live it. Thirty years ago these policies would have be considered right of the Party. It should never be, win at all costs, if means having watered down Tory policies.

      • Sam Henly

        It should be embarrassing that 15 MPs have stood up and effectively called the leadership useless. It should also be embarrassing that it took the LP almost a whole 5 year term to mention the elephant in the room. These ideas aren’t exactly new. Also re: point 3 shouldn’t have to be stated. That, IMO, says a lot about the (sorry) state of the party.

        • Stephen Rogers

          I don’t agree, and, in all honesty I think Ed probably agrees with them. I think, Ed Balls is the architect of Labour’s austerity programme. He has his supporters in the Blairite camp, who showed their true colours at the end of last year. Ed has to keep the Party together, so there is not a split, but the cracks are beginning to show, which puts Ed in a difficult position.
          The Tory propaganda machine will make mincemeat of the Party if Ed changes the policies now. I just hope there will be ongoing debate about austerity,within the Party, if Labour forms the next Government.

          • Sam Henly

            The Tory propaganda machine will savage Labour no matter what policies it supports. More important is the fundamental problem with Labour, which has of course been covered quite extensively here and elsewhere. While it holds that ‘center’ ground and tries to appeal to everyone they end up satisfying no one. In my view they should asked these kinds of question 5 years, or preferably even longer, ago

            “I think Ed probably agrees with them”.

            Then does he have no conviction or, ironically, no balls?

    • robertcp

      A letter is hardly an alternative to a manifesto that does not actually exist yet!

  • David Pickering

    Union funded politicians call for more power for the unions, shocker. As I’ve said perviously on LabourList, when vested interests give money to politicians they inevitably expect a payback.

    These corrupt politicians would do well to remember, they work for their constituents, not the lobbyists stuffing money into their gobs.

    “without any increase in public borrowing at all, the same sum could equally be funded either through the two banks which are already in public ownership, or through printing money… or through taxing the ultra-rich by a special levy.”

    So, either you fund projects by printing money, or you fund projects by further attacks on the minorities you have previously gone out of your way to make unpopular.

    Miliband needs this ‘helpful intervention’ like a hole in the head. The Tories will have a field day at PMQs.

    Politicians never changes, does it?


      Typical idiot remark as none of these politicians benefit personally from TU support unlike the many corrupt mainly Tory M.P.’s who prefer to only work part time for their constituents.

      • David Pickering

        Perhaps you had better read the register of member’s interests. If you want to continue with your amusing claim, I’m happy to list the donations each of them have received from unions. There seems to be tens of thousands of pounds being paid from unions to the MPs on this list calling for more union power.

        • treborc1

          So what, better to have a donation to an MP to run it’s offices then have a payment from some Wanker sorry dam I mean Banker .

          Any donation given to an MP will be given by people like me who pay the levy to the Union to be used as the Union see fit.

          • David Pickering

            It doesn’t matter if it’s a millionaire buying influence through political donations, or the man on the street buying influence through collective political donations. They are both corrupt. It’s like being pregnant. You either are, or you aren’t.

          • stephen marks

            So it ‘doesn’t matter’ if a millionaire uses his wealth to distort the political process away from democratic equality, and that is just the same as millions of men [and women] in the street clubbing together to combine their small resources to even the balancer back up again? The few buying influence to do down the many is corrupt. The many combining to counter the few is what democracy is for.

          • David Pickering

            On the contrary. It does matter if a millionaire uses his wealth to distort the political process. But you do not counter corruption with more corruption. Everyone who buys political influence is corrupt, be that the millionaire, or 1 million dinner ladies clubbing.

            Buying political influence should be a criminal offence which carries a mandatory prison sentence. It’s the only way to stop the court buying influence.

        • robertcp

          You are surprised that Labour MPs are getting money from trade unions. Why do you think it is called the Labour Party?

          • David Pickering

            I’m not surprise at all that Labour MPs are getting money from unions. I’m just pointing out the clear link between accepting union money, and calling for policies that favour unions.

            You seem to be unimpressed that I’m highlighting that particular example of corruption.

      • Steve Stubbs

        The old saying “he who pays the piper calls the tune” is absolutely spot on, whether you are talking about union-subsidised MPs, or MPs who get donations from City fat cats. To say they don’t benefit personally is pure nonsense, the donated cash is helping keep them employed. If there was no benefit to the union, or the city money men, they would not cough up the cash.

    • BillFrancisOConnor

      More and more people are beginning to realise that all you ever do is write Tory supporting sh*te.

      • David Pickering

        I appear you wheel out that sentence whenever people dare to disagree with you. That’s the second time you’ve written that about me in less than a week.

        You need some new lines, comrade.

        • BillFrancisOConnor

          But all you are here to do is bash Labour, aren’t you?

          You’re not interested in debate or an exchange of ideas with people on the left. All you’re about is making negative remarks about the Labour Party. That’s pretty futile, isn’t it?

          • Dave Postles

            Atlas Shrugged

          • David Pickering

            The more people who read Atlas Shrugged, the happier I will be. Thanks for the plug 🙂

          • Dave Postles

            It’s not a plug or a compliment. The rest of us have lives to lead rather than wasting time reading a rambling, self-indulgent ‘novel’. She obviously and mistakenly considered herself in the same class as Tolstoy or Dostoevesky, but was probably as inconsiderable as E. L. James.

          • bikerboy

            Now you’re showing off. We’re all plebs here and we don’t get that.

          • David Pickering

            Doh, really? You mean, you as a socialist are not puffing a libertarian book? Well I never.

          • Dave Postles

            Mixed economy, moi. We know that ‘freedom for the pike is death for the minnow’.

          • David Pickering

            I am a capitalist. I’m also against political corruption. I debate plenty of people on the Left, if only to point out the madness of their beliefs.

            Whether my comments are futile or not, I doubt they could be a futile are your attacking everyone who disagrees with you as being a Tory troll.

          • bikerboy

            Ssshhhh – “could be as… as your attacking….”

            Just here to help out. An emollient, as it were. Thanks. That is all.

          • robertcp

            You are on the wrong site if you think that the Left is mad.

          • David Pickering

            Bank bailouts
            Staggering deficits
            No more boom & bust
            ID cards
            £1,000 fines for leaving your bin on the street
            CCTV on every street, every car journey recorded by the state and kept for two years
            Criminalising civil protest without prior consent from the state

            All brought to you (or in the case of ID cards, attempted) by the glorious, caring Left.

        • BillFrancisOConnor

          Your comments aren’t even literate.
          ‘I appear you wheel out’ – I mean WTF does that mean?

          • David Pickering

            Thank you for pointing out the auto-correct errors. Duly corrected.

    • treborc1

      Well you have had a field day does that mean your a Tory, of course it does.

      • David Pickering

        You really think me pointing out political corruption makes me a Tory? The Tories are every bit as corrupt as Labour.

        • robertcp

          Do you support state funding of political parties?

          • David Pickering


  • Markham Weavill

    Rail reform might play well in the South East but for the rest of the country its of little practical consequence. They’d do better promising to improve bus services outside the South East.

    As for bringing back unions and collective agreements. That’s not something governments can do. Its up to the workers to combine together. It needs the unions to promote what they can help workers achieve. Too many voters still only think of unions as holding the country to ransom through strike action.

    I’m wary of government getting involved in job creation schemes. Too many in the past failed to achieve anything and were seen , quite rightly in some cases, as a tool for massaging the unemployment rate. The quickest route to put money back into the economy, especially at local level, would be a sustained bout of public sector house building.

    • You underestimate the legal obstacles placed in the way of trade union organisation and activity. The Green party has a set of very clear policies for restoring essential freedoms to Trade Unions and for enhancing employment rights. The Labour Party should do no less. It is essential both on democratic grounds and in order to reduce the unfettered domination of corporate Britain.

  • wolfman

    We are where we are. It’s time for Unity and time to get banging on them doors. We don’t need Blair and Mandy moaning on one side and the left wing moaning on the other. We really have to get this shambles out it’s imperative !!. Let this be the last of the calls for change from either side. Please !!!

    • CrunchieTime

      Yes, I think the ordinary members deserve far better than this from their PLP.

      Why on earth should any Labour party member take the election seriously if significant lumps of the PLP don’t?

  • Teddy Mcnabb

    the predictable warped, hugging terrorists , dictators , Comrade Gerry Adams will be delighted, as will Castro Maduro , dangerous loonies at best !

    • treborc1

      All the way for Tory land to say this…

    • robertcp

      What are you on about?

  • Charlie_Mansell

    Hopefully there will be no UK calls for a Labour post-May coalition with UKIP (ANEL’s UK’s equivalent as BNP equate to Golden Dawn) today after the Syriza/ANEL coalition announcement today! http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-30981950

  • andywade

    Now this is what I want to see from Left-wingers! LEFT WING IDEAS

    • treborc1

      True but sixteen out of all those MPs labour have, not to many front bencher’s because most of those are Progress…

      • Jane Manby

        most of them have too much personally to loose by left wing changes

        • treborc1


  • DRbilderburg

    Deathly silence about the only Socialist party in the EU Syriza gaining control in Greece
    A case of those fking ghastly Greek peasants from Labours Metropolitan elite

    • treborc1

      Now of course they have to perform because if not, they will be gone at the next election and Greece maybe gone with it, winning is one thing doing the tasks you have stated is another.

      But I really do hope they can succeed in this task.

      • DRbilderburg

        Given the state the country’s in they have little to lose with youth unemployment at 30% and interest repayments on the loan suffocating the Economic life out of them
        It’s the same argument we have here if no ones working then tax revenues are non existent how do they pay off the debt There’s life outside the great neolib project called the EU The Greeks might be wise to look for salvation there

        • treborc1

          The EU cost is way to high…28% unemployment with no hope of getting it down , the next will be riots and what then German soldiers keeping the peace.

  • MikeHomfray

    Seems pretty basic stuff to me

  • Stephen Rogers

    I totally support you. Good luck. Am I being too optimistic, Greece and now this. Let’s us have the guts to stand up to the Tories

  • Chilbaldi

    The usual suspects.

  • bikerboy

    Crikey – seems Demis Roussos is so shocked by the Greek election result he has died.

  • RedMiner

    Only 15 Labour MPs could be found to support these modest proposals?

    Presumably the rest will be ‘tougher than the Tories’ if elected.

    Supporting austerity is a tacit admission it was Labour spending that caused the trouble in the first place…and the leadership wonders why it can’t get a big lead in the polls!

  • foto2021

    The lemmings are back! But only 15 signatories. Is that really the best they could do?

    Labour spent its way into our current fiscal problems; we cannot spend our way out.

    • Philip Leicester

      You mean like we did in 1945. Or are you on the road back to Wigan Pier?

      • foto2021

        Labour ran up massive debts between 1945 and 1951 adding to the already enormous debt from WW2. This was a classic example of Labour spending money we did not have. The debt was a millstone around Britain’s neck for decades afterwards.

        Given the chance, I have no doubt Labour would do it all over again. Gordon Brown certainly tried, and his profligacy was the single biggest contributor to our current problems.

        • maleredfem

          Labour ran up massive debts between 1945 and 1951 adding to the already enormous debt from WW2. This was a classic example of Labour spending money we did not

          When your economy’s been wrecked by war, you kind of don’t have an alternative to spending money that you haven’t got. A national economy is not in any way analogous to an
          individual or household budget.

          Also, would you seriously rather that no NHS or social security had been created just so that we were slightly less indebted?

          The debt was a millstone around Britain’s neck for decades afterwards.

          Funny how it didn’t stop us from having nearly a quarter-century of full employment, then, isn’t it?

          Gordon Brown certainly tried, and his profligacy was the single biggest contributor to our current problems.

          Bollocks! It is the global financial crisis that is primarily to blame for our budget deficit, not overspending by Gordon Brown.

          Now take your tedious, hackneyed, Tory-partisan claptrap elsewhere!

  • Michael Worcester

    why don’t they form a socialist party and put it their ideas to the people?

  • Canarydan

    Surprised to see Dennis Skinner missing from the list.

    • Jimmy Sands

      Not really. This sort of shape throwing has never been his style.

  • Repunitprimes

    Congratulations to Katy Clark, Scottish labour missed a trick by voting in Jim Murphy rather than Katy, not that I am complaining, Jim is a great recruiting sergeant for the Yes minded scots.

  • SilentHunter

    Well . . . it’s a start!

    Only another 300 odd MP’s to win over.

    I see Diane Abbott is jumping on the bandwagon again.
    I don’t think folk will forget the “Private school for my boys – just not for the rest of you” fiasco, so easily, Diane!

    What an appallingly unprincipled person she is.

  • Gary Barker

    Join the Greens you 16. You know it makes sense.

  • paul barker

    If 4 or 5 Libdem MPs put out their own manifesto there would be headlines about Libdem Splits but this wont attract much attention, presumably because Labour being split isnt News any more.

  • Matthew Blott

    I expect a few Labour MPs will be getting drunk on Marxism over the next few days but I’d be careful about getting too carried away. I wish the new Greek government well (it’s nice to see a fellow atheist as a head of state) but some on the Left heralded Francois Hollande’s election as a new dawn and his personal poll ratings now make Miliband’s look good.

    • RWP

      The new Greek PM is head of government, not head of state (that is the president, whose resignation is what triggered the Greek election).

      • Matthew Blott

        Yes, you are quite correct (and I’d like to think you were pointing this out to be helpful). Let me put it like this then: nice to have a fellow atheist running a country 🙂

  • jimmy


  • Olly

    Cameron and Clegg will be smiling today – and looking forward to this week’s PMQs I’ll bet. To see a lesson for the UK in the Greek election result is lunacy. Still, it’s always entertaining to see Labour’s Wilderness Tendency strike out. Nothing makes them happier than being ideologically pure and practically unelectable.

    • Doug Smith

      Remind me, please. How did the Blairites fare in 2010?

      • Olly

        You mean after the twelve years of constant election winning?

        • Canarydan

          Norwich played Paulton Rovers in the FA Cup once and won 7-0. A few years before that they played Torquay and beat them 6-1. I’m sure there are a few deluded fans who would use that as evidence that Norwich are brilliant. The reality is that they were playing lousy opposition and anything other than a resounding victory would have been beyond atrocious.

          Although Norwich is not a great example to be fair. Their support-base has tended to be pretty consistent over the years with their average attendance staying at around 25,000 ever since the stadium capacity increased to fit 25,000 fans.

          Remind me how Labour’s support-base fared over your twelve years of “constant election winning”?

          • Jimmy Sands

            “the reality is that they were playing lousy opposition”

            And now we’re playing Real Madrid?


          • Canarydan

            Real Madrid would be flattering. But according to the electorate, Cameron’s Conservatives were playing in a considerably higher league than Howard’s or Hague’s.

          • Jimmy Sands

            “according to the electorate”

            Are you at all familiar with the phrase “circular argument”?

            David Cameron is the least substantial PM in living memory. We should be ought of sight by now.

          • Olly

            Well, let’s see. A massive landslide which declined to a solid working majority of something over 60 by 2005. Where you have a point is the turnout – a decline to the lowest levels since 1918, at less than 60%. But I have to ask, if this was the Labour Left’s record would you be so keen to try and paint three time election success as some sort of failure? Wouldn’t a win be very much a win for you?

          • Olly

            Well, let’s see. A massive landslide in ’97 declined over a decade or so to a decent, working majority of over 60. Pretty good record. Where you have a point is the issue of turnout, which declined over the same period to the lowest levels since 1918 – below 60%. But I have to ask, if this was the record of the Labour left (rather than New Labour) would you be so keen to find a way of painting three election wins as some sort of rank failure?

  • SilentHunter

    Diane Abbott?

    Is that an “irony alarm” going off in the distance?

  • Grouchy Oldgit

    Austerity is a giant con that punishes everyone except those that actually caused the financial crash and prolongs recession rather than stimulating growth. Congratulations to the Greek people for voting against austerity and to these 16 Labour MPs for supporting basic Labour principles. Unfortunately Miliband and Balls have been toeing the Tory line of ever more cuts for so long that to change direction this close to the election they would lose the little credibility they have.

  • SilentHunter

    Are we allowed to say . . . Well done 14 Labour MP’s and just not mention the one who sent her kids to private school?

    I had no idea that mentioning D A was “verboten” here. I see that other commenters are allowed to say the “DA word” :o) Just not me, eh?

  • Jimmy Sands

    Be a shame if they felt they had to leave. No really.

  • Sylvia

    Ed does have just over 3 months to get to No.10, then he can start putting meat on te bones of the pretty general policies so far stated. I think these ideas are exactly what he is thinking & wants to do, but maybe he has worked out that ‘softly, softly’ is the way to go for now.
    Although it is pretty obvious that much of the public (no I don’t know the percentage) would be right behind these ideas & therefore ED.

  • Citizen Shaggy Smith

    Come on over to my place. Yeah we’re having a party.
    Socialist Labour is dead. Jump aboard the Green Machine. The only party heading down the left lane.

  • PeterKenyon

    Are these messages the ones that win Labour an absolute majority in 100 days time? Or is there a more persuasive way of setting out those policies that will assure the Recovery for All sought by Ed Miliband? Something to contemplate.

  • Guest

    Can someone point me towards a policy of Labour that is carrying on austerity?

    • RegisteredHere

      I can’t (because LL won’t let me post links), but I believe Labour has agreed to follow the coalition’s spending plans in the next parliament.

  • Jack

    No mention in the statement of getting rid of Trident? As well as taking the railways back into public ownership as the franchises run out, how about taking our democracy back when the Queen’s franchise runs out?

    One of the lessons that Alexis Tsipras of Syriza has given us by rejecting a blessing from the Archbishop is that we don’t need the approval of the establishment to implement reforms, we need confidence and determination together with the support of the people. I have absolutely no doubt though that even now, the dirty tricks brigade in the US, to whom Syriza will be anathema, is plotting to undermine the new Greek government in whatever way it can in case it shows that there is an alternative to the ruthlessness of the US Capitalist system.

  • David Pickering

    I would criminalise all non personal political donations, and set an annual limit for personal donations so that there is no ability for anyone to buy influence.

    Large political donations, be it from wealthy individuals, unions, businesses, or the United and Cecil Club, are corrupt, and should be criminalised.

  • getahead

    That would certainly trash the country.

    • maleredfem


  • Dazed & Confused

    Vile Marxists/neo Communists, masquerading as mainstream politicians demand that their idiot leader lurch toward the hard left…Why are these disgusting creatures allowed to represent a so called middle ground party?

  • Derek Robinson

    Fine… but unhelpful.

    There are plenty of internal discussions, meetings and ways to put your point to your party. This is just stupid

  • Those 15 Labour MPs should have kept deficit reduction separate from their very left wing ideas on nationalisation, etc. There are plenty of economically literate Tories who will agree with them on deficit reduction: that after all is a purely technical matter.

    Unfortunately, those Tories will tear up the letter when they read the left wing stuff.

  • Jonty45

    Looks like Jurassic Park, return of the Dinosaurs!

  • david morgan

    One of the best articles I’ve read. Well done to the 15. I’d also like to see anti-benefit sanctions on the list. I suspect Tory/Labour/Lib-dems know that without the sanctions unemployment would ‘double’. It is the fear factor that stops 50% of the ‘shadow’ unemployed not signing on.

    100,000s being punished with sanction poverty to keep Daily Mail buying voters happy.

  • Leon Carter

    Am surprised Dennis Skinner has not signed this? any reason why?


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