Recent Articles

Why David Miliband can’t sweep Iraq under the carpet

by Darrell Goodliffe     May 23, 2010 at 11:17 am

Two Labour leadership candidates yesterday distinguished themselves by showing some candour over the issue of the Iraq War and a third, David Miliband, made me feel personally vindicated by yet again showing why he is the wrong choice to lead this party.

Don’t fool yourself that Iraq doesn’t matter because British troops are out; it matters for a few reasons:
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Is Compass pushing Labour into oblivion?

by Darrell Goodliffe     April 25, 2010 at 4:37 pm

Sunny Hundal wrote in support of the Compass proposals to encourage tactical voting. Supporters of non-tribal politics seem to be flocking to support the idea which is understandable.

However, I think it is simplistic to see a hung Parliament as automatically leading to a Lib-Lab pact as some do; in fact, I think the likely outcome is that the Liberal Democrats will, in fact, support the Conservatives, not formally but in a ‘supply and confidence’ manner.

Let’s be quite clear that this is not just based upon personal experience or the fact that the Liberal Democrats are in coalition with the Conservatives in many areas.

It is based upon a reading of Nick Clegg’s character and policies especially and although it is totally fair to say that the leader is not the party let’s also be quite clear that were the Lib Dems to gain a vast amount of seats Clegg’s personal capital would carry him and his prospectives a long way.

Indeed, given recent events who honestly feels that the LD’s would really defy their leader?

So, what does Clegg think? Let’s look at The Liberal Moment published just last year. Clegg says of Labour:

“I believe Labour’s basic approach to governance – to social, political, economic and environmental progress is fundamentally flawed”.

He complains that ‘top-down, state-centred’ approachs to social problems are the wrong response; ironic, considering he wants to use the state to break-up the banks amoung other things.

Talking about the ‘suggestion’ that Liberal Democrats ‘fall in line to hold back the rise of the Conservatives’ Clegg says he would ‘never’ contemplate such a move. He talks about the problems with Labour in power like the Iraq War and the curtailment of civil liberties but crucially he says:

“even if none of these things had happened the Liberal Democrats would remain a very different party with a very different ideological core”

Clegg hardly sounds here like somebody spoiling for a ‘progressive Lab-Lib alliance’ does he? Instead, he argues that Labour is undergoing the same fate that befell the old Liberal Party and this is what gives the Liberal Democrats their opportunity.

Selectively he talks about Labour turning on the Lib Dems by entering coalition with the Conservatives to keep them from power. Anybody can tell this is a one-sided and biased account of a situation where Lib Dem’s ‘turning’ on Labour is just as likely.

Clegg feels that the chances of the Liberal Democrats replacing Labour as Britain’s leading progressive party are ‘high and growing’. Given that are people really naive enough to think he would prop Labour up?

If people want an end to tribal politics then casting their vote, even tactically, for Nick Clegg is not the way to achieve it…..before you cast your Compass vote take the time to read what Clegg really thinks.

Anti-strike decision is a blow to democracy

by Darrell Goodliffe     April 2, 2010 at 11:05 am

No doubt some Labour Party members will be delighted that the High Court has granted an injunction against the RMT’s proposed rail strike on April 6th.

Cynically, they will look at the timing and feel it benefits the Party; however, such a view is short-sighted and naive. It is the view of people whose obsession with the past is blinding them to present day realities. In the long this road leads to ruin because it obscures what makes this Party a *Labour* Party.

Bob Crow may not be the most affable character and it may be true that since the RMT is not affiliated it does not have the best interests of the Party at heart. Regardless of that no union can be subservient to the electoral interests of the Labour Party (just as the Party cannot be the same to the unions) because if they are they fail in their basic duty which is to their membership not the Labour Party.

Similarly, the Labour Party must stand-up for the wider interests it represents. But what happened in the courts yesterday is a blow against us all because it’s a blow against democracy.
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Let’s not deny it: Libdems are closer to Labour than Tory voters

by Darrell Goodliffe     March 3, 2010 at 8:45 am

Nick Clegg and the Libdem leadership have insisted on a policy of ‘equidistance’ from both main parties; putting forward various policy demands as a price for their support in any kind of deal.

While this might seem like good politicking it actually leaves the party vulnerable to ‘love-bombing’ from both sides.

But polling shows that the Libdem leadership are dangerously out of sync with the sentiment of Liberal Democrat voters.

The latest YouGov poll illustrated how the attitudes of Labour / Libdem voters tend to have more in common than Conservative / Libdems voters.

Liberal Democrat voters tend to prefer leading Labour politicians compared to Conservative ones.
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Cadbury’s and Kraft: what the left needs to consider now

by Darrell Goodliffe     January 20, 2010 at 10:54 am

Cadburys has succumbed to the advances of Kraft in a takeover deal worth £11.5bn. Unions have expressed their concern for the future of Cadbury’s workforce.

They are right to be concerned; Kraft financed its takeover by incurring £7bn of debt and that will have to be repaid somehow and already, Cadburys Chairman has said job losses are ‘inevitable’. Plus there is the highly likely chance of asset-stripping.

Both Gordon Brown and Lord Mandleson expressed concern about Kraft’s intentions. Back in December Mandleson said;

If you think that you can come here and make a fast buck, you will find huge opposition from the local population and from the British Government

However, despite this both have been powerless to do anything and Mandleson now has washed his hands of the whole affair saying what happens is a “matter for the shareholders”.

But what happens to Cadbury’s is of concern to both British citizens, especially as we have to deal with the consequences of redundancies and we lose a successful British brand.

So, what can the left do to shape the debate in situations like this?
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Britain cannot let Haiti be pushed to ‘shock capitalism’

by Darrell Goodliffe     January 18, 2010 at 10:30 am

As political leaders there is much more Barack Obama and Gordon Brown could be doing to help Haiti. Above all they must make sure that the disaster is not compiled by the cynical exploitation of the current crisis.

In an article for The Nation Richard Kim details how Haiti has been crippled by its indebtedness to Western powers.

Following Haiti’s liberation from the French in 1804 it was forced by 1825, under threat of embargo from France and other Western powers, to pay 150 million francs in reparations to French slave owners. It turned primarily to Germany and the US for help.

However, it has never escaped from this spiral of debt and also has been subjected to the imposition of ’structural adjustment policies’ by the World Bank and IMF.

All of which have contributed to Haiti being not just the poorest but also one of the most unequal societies in the Western hemisphere.
According to a report;

It is second only to Namibia in income inequality (Jadotte 2006) , and has the most millionaires per capita in the region. Margarethe Thenusla, a 34-year old factory worker and mother of two said, “When they ask for aid for the needy, you hear that they release thousands of dollars for aid in Haiti. But when it comes you can’t see anything that they did with the food aid. You see it in the market, they’re selling it. Us poor people don’t see it”.

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2010: A crunch year for us progressives

by Darrell Goodliffe     January 3, 2010 at 8:37 am

[image by Gary Barker]

A General Election which always is a watershed moment in any countries political history.

This one will see a resurgent Conservative Party face an increasingly tired looking Labour Party and a Liberal Democrat Party that has aspirations to greatness.

Meanwhile, the Green Party could well be on the cusp of a breakthrough moment in Brighton Pavilion.

It is my sincere belief that David Cameron is wrong when he says that people throughout politics share a commitment to progress and that all the signs indicate the election of a Conservative government (with or without assistance from AN Other in the form of a coalition) will damage the cause of progress dramatically in this country.

Given that the question becomes for progressives; how do we stop this occurring? Do we look to Labour, the Lib Dems or the Greens?
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Revealed: Cameron meets NHS ‘advisors’ who want to completely undermine it

by Darrell Goodliffe     December 29, 2009 at 9:00 am

David Cameron spent some time in a House of Commons private office with Nurses for Reform earlier this month seeking inspiration to remodel the National Health Service.

We are told he wanted to discuss NFR’s ideas on the future of health policy and have them present a range of ideas.

We already know what Daniel Hannan thinks of the ’60 year mistake’ but what does Cameron think? He would have us believe he ‘loves the NHS’ and it is ‘safe in his hands’ and surely consulting nurses proves this? However it’s worth examing the people associated with Nurses for Reform, which is:

growing pan-European network of nurses dedicated to consumer-led reform of British, European and other healthcare systems around the world.

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Happy anniversary Nick Clegg?

by Darrell Goodliffe     December 21, 2009 at 1:16 pm

Nick Clegg celebrated his second anniversary as Liberal Democrat leader on the 18th of December. It was an occasion barely marked in the wider press which is probably a little strange given recent opinion polls have at least pointed to the possibility of a hung-parliament and thus increased Clegg’s potential relevance as a kingmaker.

So, what state does the third party find itself in?

In the polls the Liberal Democrats are hovering around the 20% mark but that barely tells the story of a year that has seen some problems most notably over our ‘narrative’ and policy wrangles like the one over tuition fees which brought Clegg into direct conflict with the leading policy making body; the Federal Policy Committee.

It was a conflict that Clegg lost eventually although he did win the concession that fees will be ‘phased-out’ over 6 years.

Clegg’s ambition is outlined in his pamphlet The Liberal Moment in which he argues the time is neigh for the Lib Dems to overtake Labour. However, in my experience there is no evidence that this collapse is anything more than cyclical disillusionment with a government that has been in power for a long time.
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Israel: time for perspective and action

by Darrell Goodliffe     December 28, 2008 at 10:39 pm

Conservative Home carries a couple of articles on the recent excesses of the Israeli military. Alex Deane loses himself in his eulogy to the State of Israel surrounded by “enemies who wish her ill”, this “sliver of democracy and decency has always held my sympathy” he informs the reader.

However, pick-up a Sunday paper and you can see that Israeli policy is pretty far from decency. If even the likes of Deane are feeling that supporting Israel is now “less straightforward” then serious questions have to be asked about how long the guilt-induced whitewashing of Israel’s actions can last.

Signs were emerging yesterday of a new consensus with all three parties criticising Israel’s recent air raids on the Gaza Strip. However, the crux of the question is what will emerge out of this new climate of criticism.
In other words, will we see concrete calls for increasing stringent sanction to be applied to Israel while it continues to violate international law with impunity?
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