Saturday, May 20, 2017

Cowburn, Ashley. “Labour draft election manifesto leaked: Jeremy Corbyn to renationalise Royal Mail and pledge £6bn a year for NHS” ‘Document reportedly states the party supports the renewal of Trident - despite personal opposition to it by the leader’ (10 May 2017) Independent.

  A spokesman for the party leader refused to comment on the 'leaks' Getty

  Labour will pledge to renationalise the railways and Royal Mail, spend an extra £6bn-a-year on the NHS and abolish university tuition fees alongside the bedroom tax, according to a leaked draft copy of its election manifesto.
  The 43 page manifesto – due to be published in full next week – will be considered at a meeting of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) on Thursday before being finalised and distributed to voters. The leak of the document, drafted by Jeremy Corbyn’s policy chief Andrew Fisher, will likely infuriate the leader's inner-circle.
  According to two newspapers, the party, should Mr Corbyn be elected as Prime Minister on 8 June, will re-nationalise energy firms, railways, bus companies and the Royal Mail, which was fully privatised at the end of 2015. The manifesto describes this as a “historic mistake”. 

  All you need to know about Jeremy Corbyn and Labour

  The party will also consider proposals to review the Government’s plans to increase the state pension age to 67 in the next decade, in a move designed to appeal to older voters, who are overwhelmingly more likely to cast a vote in four weeks’ time. 
  As expected, the draft includes commitments already announced as part of Labour’s policy blitz in recent weeks, including ruling out tax increases for those earning less than £80,000 and introducing a wage cap for companies with government contracts, ensuring such firms would be forbidden to pay their highest earners 20 times more than the lowest paid worker.
  Despite Mr Corbyn’s long-held belief of nuclear disarmament, the document states that Labour supports the renewal of Trident – the UK’s nuclear deterrent system. But, it adds, “any Prime Minister should be extremely cautious about ordering the use of weapons of mass destruction which would result in the indiscriminate killing of millions of innocent civilians.
  “It also recommits the party to spending two per cent of Britain’s GDP on defence, as requested by Nato and promises 10,000 extra police officers on the streets of Britain – as announced by the Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott last week. 
  On housing, the draft states that town halls, under a new department for housing, will be required to build 100,000 new council houses a year and offer accommodation to rough sleepers in a bid to tackle the growing crisis of homelessness on Britain’s streets. It is also suggested that private rent hikes will be capped at inflation.

  Mr Corbyn’s party will also pledge to scrap “punitive” benefit sanctions, reverse several of the former Chancellor George Osborne’s welfare reforms, including a £30-a-week cut to disability benefits, abolishing the bedroom tax and order a review of Iain Duncan Smith’s Universal Credit rollout, which has beset by heavy delays. 
  On education, the party says it will restore the principle of free education in Britain, adding: “No one should be put off educating themselves for lack of money or through fear of debt.
  “Labour will reintroduce maintenance grants for university students, and we will abolish university tuition fees. University tuition is free in many northern European countries, and under a Labour government it will be free in Britain too.”
  It comes after footage emerged of John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, telling activists the party would introduce a “National Education Service”, which will be “free at the point of need throughout life”.

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  General Election polls and projections: May 10

  He added: “And that means ending the cuts in the schools at primary and secondary level. It means free childcare. It means free school training when you need it throughout life.
  “And yes it means scrapping tuition fees once and for all so we don’t burden our kids with debt for the future.”

  A spokesman for Jeremy Corbyn told The Independent: "We do not comment on leaks. We will announce our policies in our manifesto, which is our plan to transform Britain for the many not the few."
  But the document will likely prove to be a headache for the party, as the polices will face even further scrutiny ahead of the intended date of publication next week alongside the other major political parties. Conservatives seized on the leaked document as a “total shambles”.
  A spokesperson added: “The commitments in this dossier will rack up tens of billions of extra borrowing for families and will put Brexit negotiations at risk Jobs will be lost, families will be hit and our economic security damaged for a generation if Jeremy Corbyn and the coalition of chaos are ever let anywhere near the keys to Downing Street."
Tom Brake, the Liberal Democrat's foreign affairs spokesperson, added: "This manifesto became meaningless the day Jeremy Corbyn ordered his MPs to vote with the Conservatives and UKIP to give Theresa May a blank cheque on Brexit.
  “Labour supporters should have hope that someone will stand up to Theresa May's divisive Brexit deal, but it won't be Jeremy Corbyn.”
  Another option is available. The Liberal Democrats will stand up for you, your family, your schools and hospitals and give you the final say on Brexit, with the choice to remain if you don't like the deal on offer.”

Mortimer, Caroline. “Leaked Labour manifesto: All the key Corbyn policies in the draft document” ‘Forty-three page report says the party would nationalise the railways and pump cash into the NHS’ (11 May 2017) Independent.

  Britain's Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn poses for a picture with his campaign bus in Manchester EPA

  Labour's election manifesto has been leaked five days ahead of schedule.
  Right-wing newspapers have dubbed the proposals as Jeremy Corbyn's bid to "take Britain back to the 1970s", but what is actually inside the 43-page docuemnt?

  One of the core pitches which was widely expected to make the list is the proposed renationalisation of the railways, bus firms, the Royal Mail and the energy industry.

  Read more

  Mr Corbyn and people on the radical left of the party have long called for the return of British Rail but the proposal has gained popularity among the general public in recent years as rail fares continue to go up while cancellations and delays continue.
  Southern Rail customers, who have suffered months of misery due to cancellations, delays and strike action, were recently told the boss of its parent company, Charles Horton, was awarded a £500,000 bonus in April despite the company losing close to £15m
  Labour would also nationalise the energy sector to combat price rises at a time when the cost of commodities is falling. The move will go further than the energy price freeze promised by Ed Miliband in 2015 which was then adopted by Theresa May.

  Labour has said the NHS will be "properly funded" with an extra £6bn-a-year raised by a tax on the nation's highest earners, which will alleviate pressure on doctors and nurses working in UK hospitals.
  It has vowed to take millions off waiting lists and boost support for the equally under-pressure GP and ambulance services.
  The party has also vowed to scrap the Health and Social Care Act 2012 which allowed more privatisation into the NHS.
  It will also invest a further £8bn a year over the course of the Parliament to create a National Care Service which will embody the values of the NHS.

  The rise during the Coalition government was a reason for the collapse of Liberal Democrat support at the 2015 election, as they had pledged to oppose all tuition fee rises.
  The policy is expected to cost around £10bn and it is hoped will attract younger voters to the party.
  Mr Corbyn has also vowed to reverse £5bn of Tory school cuts. 

  Mr Corbyn has proposed the creation of a new Department of Housing and forcing councils to build 100,000 new council houses a year. 
  He will also see that thousands of homes will be offered to rough sleepers and private landlords will not be able to raise rent above inflation.

  The party proposes reintroducing the Ministry of Labour – which was renamed the Department of Employment in the late 1960s – and promises to make the biggest changes to workers' rights in a generation.
It will also scrap Tory plans to increase the pension age to 66, and will retain the laws on workers' rights which have been passed down from EU directives.
  They will also repeal the Trade Union Act 2016 which severely hampered the unions' ability to call strikes.

  Labour says it will continue with Brexit but it rules out "making false promises on immigration numbers".

  Mr Corbyn will immediately secure the rights of the EU nationals who are already living here and scrap minimum income rules for the partners of non-EU migrants. 
  The manifesto said leaving the EU without a deal in place was the "worst possible" option and would damage the economy. It said Labour will formally reject the idea of no deal as "viable". 
It has also promised a "meaningful vote" on the deal in Parliament.

  Policing and Infrastructure
  As Diane Abbott struggled to announce last week, Labour will introduce 10,000 new police officers on the UK's streets. 
  The manifesto also promises to start a £250bn capital investment programme to upgrade British infrastructure.

  On the thorny issue of how the party plans to pay for the new spending, Labour has the rich firmly in its sights.
There will be new income taxes slapped on workers earning more than £80,000 a year – which the party says will bring in an extra £6bn a year which they will put directly into the NHS.
  They also promise to reverse the huge cuts to corporation tax introduced by the Conservatives – bringing in an extra £20bn a year.

Nairn, Allan. (10 Apr 2017) Democracy Now. Objections or Questions.

1.       ALLAN NAIRN: Well, I have a—first, I have a brief question for Julian Assange. Mr. Assange, you said that you did not get the leaks directly from a state. You said you know you did not get the leaks directly from a state. Do you know that Russia didn’t give you the leaks through an intermediary?
2.       ALLAN NAIRN: So it is possible that, as Comey said, Russia gave you the leaks through an intermediary?
3.       ALLAN NAIRN: OK. Well, my view of this is that during the campaign, WikiLeaks often suggested that Trump would be less dangerous than Clinton. (Objection 1.1) [JULIAN ASSANGE: No, we didn’t.] ALLAN NAIRN: I think you did.
4.       ALLAN NAIRN: I think that concept is wildly, gruesomely mistaken. There was the argument—well, it’s just—
5.       [JULIAN ASSANGE: In fact, I was asked that question directly on Democracy Now! at the time about what my position was, asked which one I preferred. And my response is, being asked this question is being asked: Do I prefer cholera, or do I prefer gonorrhea?] ALLAN NAIRN: OK. Well, let’s say—let’s say, if you frame it that way, the idea that the two—
6.       ALLAN NAIRN: The Democrats were responsible for that epic loss, no question.
7.       ALLAN NAIRN: I agree with that. However, I would note that the Trump campaign thought that WikiLeaks was on their side.
  Now, the idea, that Mr. Assange just suggested, that Trump and Clinton were equally dangerous, two different deadly diseases, I think is wildly and gruesomely mistaken. (Objection 1.2) Clinton represented a criminal establishment. But Trump and the people he brought in with him make it worse, make it even more criminal. This idea that it was just a choice between the lesser of two evils. (Objection 1.3, which contradicts Objection 1.1.) Well, in politics, in life, you fight like hell to have good choices, to have better choices—in this case, Sanders was a better alternative—but once that is no longer possible, then of course you choose the lesser evil. (He agrees with Objection 1.3) What do you want, more evil? More killing? More pollution? More abuse of immigrants? More racism? More impunity for corporations? More aid to death squads? More spending for the military? All of that is what you get with Trump, in distinction to the bad—the other bad things you would have gotten with Clinton. And the win of Clinton was not—or, I’m sorry, the victory of Trump was not equally as bad as it would have been if Clinton had lost. It’s a catastrophe. It’s an utter catastrophe. And those who are poorest, those who are already most oppressed and most vulnerable, are the ones who are suffering most as a result.
  And we ain’t seen nothing yet. They’re just getting started. Now with Gorsuch coming on the Supreme Court and with the possibility that the legislative filibuster in the Senate will be abolished, as well as the Supreme Court filibuster, if that happens, that will give Trump and the radical Republican right, who now control the Congress, essentially absolute power. The only thing standing in their way will be some federal judges, which means that within the system there will be no blocking power. There will be nothing to stop them. In that case, the only way to stop them will be from outside the federal system, which means in the streets or from the systems of the states and localities. We’re in the midst of a right-wing revolution. I agree that a lot of this discussion about Russia and leaks is misguided, a lot of it, and it’s diverting attention from two main facts. One, we’re in the midst of a right-wing revolution that must be stopped and reversed. Two, the Democratic establishment discredited themselves, and they have to be removed and replaced by the Democratic base.
8.       [JULIAN ASSANGE: I caution Allan strongly. I have a lot of respect for his work, but I caution him strongly to not to get swept up into what is an attempt by the Democratic Party in this particular case, but by the two parties, to polarize the population into party politics. There’s lots of interesting things that can come out of this Trump administration. We’re seeing great horrors, of course. But we are seeing these horrors. We are seeing the—] ALLAN NAIRN: Not so interesting to the people who are being killed and deported.
9.       ALLAN NAIRN: The conflict between Trump and the intelligence and the deep state is a spat, not a struggle. Trump has insulted them. He has disrespected them. So they’re unhappy with that. More importantly, Trump wants them to change their tactics to become more crude and even more violent. Once they work together on a couple of new wars, they’ll get along just fine. (Objection not to Mr. Assange.)