The Bleating of the Blairites


, , ,

A sleepless night and day of drama over, I should congratulate Jeremy Corbyn and his team on a fantastic job done. This really was a watershed election. I suspect that what happened is that the mainstream media realised it is losing influence, and tried to compensate by becoming so shrill and biased it simply lost all respect. This election may be the one where social media finally routed the press barons. They may in turn start to wonder if it is worth sinking millions into a newspaper if it can’t buy an election

New media beat old media, the insurgents routed the establishment, the young insisted the old also consider their opinion, hope beat fear, altruism wrestled with selfishness, and I would personally go so far as to say good stood up to evil. The result against the combined power of state and media was fantastic. We have nonetheless still got Theresa May as PM propped up by climate change denying, misogynist, creationist, homophobe, anti-abortion terrorist-linked knuckle-draggers from the DUP. But cheer up, it won’t last long.

Tomorrow I will publish an article on the SNP. It is on the stocks, but I want to look at it again when my anger dies down. But for now, let me think about the Blairites.

The Blairites hate Labour’s good result, even though it saved their own jobs. They had put so much work into preparing the ground for their next coup attempt against Corbyn. There was a fascinating campaign to demoralise Labour chances undertaken by Blairite MPs and the Blairite Westminster commentariat.

Here for example was Michael Savage, political editor of the Observer.


Here was my response.


His Guardian colleague Polly Toynbee was on the BBC on Thursday morning explaining coming defeat would be Corbyn’s fault, and her colleague Anne Perkins, the Guardian leader writer whose soul is but a shrivelled husk of right wing hate, wrote the most horrible diatribe in the Guardian on Tuesday advising “Corbyn supporters” not to hope.

These Blairite journalists and the Blairite politicians all live in the same bubble where everybody hates Jeremy Corbyn, and nobody will vote for left wing policies.

Labour Uncut, aka Corbyn Hate Central, had a wonderfully delusional piece by the ludicrous Atul Hatwal, who went and visited a lot of Blairites all over the place and published his firm conclusion that everybody hates Jeremy Corbyn.

Just over two weeks ago I posted a projection of huge losses for Labour – over 90 seats – based on dozens of conversations with activists, candidates and officials who cumulatively had sight of tens of thousands of canvass returns.
Since then, I’ve continued those conversations as Labour has apparently surged in the polls.
In every seat, canvassers are encountering lifelong Labour supporters who still identify with the party but not Jeremy Corbyn.  This group tends to have voted for Ed Miliband reluctantly and are now either sitting out this contest or ready to vote Tory for the first time to prevent a Corbyn premiership.
These switchers represent a new generation of shy Tories, located deep inside Labour’s core vote. They are embarrassed at voting Tory, sufficiently so to deny their intent to friends, families and pollsters. Some of the older Labour officials and campaigners have reported familiar doorstep cadences from 1992 – “It’s in the eyes,” one said to me.

But Hatwul is not alone in his drooling imbecility. If anything he is out-drooled by Jason Cowley, the editor who has dragged the New Statesman to the right of the Economist. Both Cowley and Perkins quote Hatwul’s “research” and Cowley on Tuesday expected a “catastrophic” loss of 90 seats. It is a shame that a magazine with a great history has come to be edited by a bigot so blinkered he has lost the faculties of perception. This is funny from Cowley’s anti Corbyn hate fest – written just three days ago:

In recent days, I have been speaking to Labour candidates, including those defending small majorities in marginal seats, as well as to activists. The picture emerging is bleaker than the polls would suggest and the mood is one of foreboding: candidates expect to lose scores of seats on Thursday. There’s a sense, too, that two campaigns have been conducted simultaneously: candidates with majorities under 10,000 are trying to hold back the Tory tide, while Corbyn is, as some perceive it, already contesting the next leadership contest – one in which, at present, he is the sole candidate.

What a stupid arse Cowley is. Do read the whole thing, he is hilariously wrong on all counts. Anybody can make a mistake. But Cowley is making a dishonest mistake. Blinded by Blairite affections, consumed by a passionate rejection of the idea that socialism might be popular, the Labour candidates he has spoken too share his Blairite outlook and they were all engaged in a circle of delusion. A circle which includes Laura Kuenssberg, who at the start of the BBC election night coverage assured us that senior Labour figures she knew had been telling her from the doorstep that the anti-Corbyn reaction would belie the opinion polls.

This was all of course intended to be self-fulfilling prophecy. The Blairites and their media fellow travellers were engaged in a deliberate attempt to reinforce the Corbyn bogeyman narrative to the public in the last few days before the election. They were deliberately trying to make the party they ostensibly supported lose, so they could take back control of it again. The Manchester Evening News claimed “Labour insiders” as the course (sic) of its nonsense story that Labour stood to lose seats in Manchester owing to its stance on anti-Semitism.

The BBC were quick today to suggest that Corbyn should use his success to broaden his cabinet and his policy platform, to bring the Blairites back onboard. They meant that if he squeezes himself inside the Overton window he may win power eventually. I remain confident Corbyn will ignore any such blandishments and go on to further develop a radical alternative to neo-liberal policies. The Blairites need to be stamped out, not encouraged.

The parliamentary boundary review will now be a top legislative priority for May as it is reckoned to be a net advantage to the Tories of 18 seats at the next election, which may be soon. That will be an interesting negotiation with the DUP as it will cost them a seat. But the boundary review provides the perfect opportunity for Corbyn to force through compulsory re-submission of candidates to members. Jeremy also needs to concentrate on seizing the institutional control of the party that he lacks to date. His enhanced prestige at the moment needs to be ruthlessly exploited.

I rather hope we will hear a good deal more bleating by the Blairites in the near future, as they are hurtled towards political oblivion.


Penistone and Stocksbridge and Wentworth and Dearne results


, ,

Penistone and Stocksbridge

Name Party Results
Baker, Penny
Liberal Democrats
Booker, John Charles
UK Independence Party
Smith, Angela Christine
Labour Party
 22,807 ELECTED
Wilson, Nicola Jayne
The Conservative Party

Wentworth and Dearne

Name Party Results
Healey, John
Labour Party
 28,547 ELECTED
Jackson, Steven Paul
The Conservative Party
Middleton, Janice
Liberal Democrats

Barnsley Central and Barnsley East results


, , ,

DB2NNceW0AQjky-.jpg large

Barnsley Central – turnout 61.04%

(2015 turnout 56.82%)

Name Party Results
Felton, Gavin
UK Independence Party
Ford, Amanda Jayne
The Conservative Party
Jarvis, Dan
Labour Party
 24,982 ELECTED
Morris, Stephen
English Democrats – “Putting England First!”
Ridgway, David
Liberal Democrats
Trotman, Richard Thomas James
Green Party

Barnsley East – turnout 59.07%

(2015 turnout 55.97%)

Name Party Results
Dalton, James
UK Independence Party
Devoy, Tony
The Yorkshire Party
Lloyd, Andrew Paul
Conservative Party
Peacock, Stephanie Louise
Labour Party
 24,280 ELECTED
Riddiough, Kevin David
English Democrats – “Putting England First!”
Turner, Nicola
Liberal Democrats

Thank you


There it is. It’s been an incredible effort today and we’ve done everything we can. All that’s left to say is….

…thank you.

Thank you for all you’ve done for this campaign.When this election was called we knew it would be tough — the Tories wouldn’t have called it otherwise. But together, in less than eight weeks, the Labour movement has achieved so much.

Because no matter how high-tech and well-run this campaign was, we couldn’t have done it without you.

Record breaking donations, huge crowds and thousands of members and supporters campaigning for the first time. We left no stone unturned.

So thank you to the thousands who knocked on doors today and throughout the campaign. The thousands more who made calls, organised campaign centres and helped people to polling stations. Who shared our message online, reminded friends and family to vote, donated and campaigned for what we believe in.

You’ve done the Labour movement proud — both today and over the past 51 days — and we can’t thank you enough for that.

Team Labour

Dan Jarvis on the manifesto, tackling poverty and why the headline on the 10pm news still matters


, , ,

Labour’s Dan Jarvis has been the MP for Barnsley Central since 2011, when a by-election was triggered after the resignation of the previous MP over the an expenses scandal. The seat has been held by Labour ever since its creation in 1983, consistently with large majorities.

However, it is one of many areas in this part of the world that voted heavily for leave in the EU referendum, with 68 per cent of the town backing Brexit. Whilst it is a rare seat where every major party, including UKIP, is standing, and Jarvis had a 12,435 majority in 2015, he and his team are taking nothing for granted in these topsy-turvy political times.

Why are you standing and what have you got to offer the people of Barnsley Central in Britain’s next parliament?

“Very sadly my neighbour Michael Dugher is not standing, and some colleagues have decided that they want to pursue other things. I’m standing now for the same reason that I stood in the first place – I believe in the value of public service.

“I think I’m very lucky to have the opportunity to do something that I consider to be very worthwhile – it’s not the easy option in life, being a member of parliament is a massive life commitment, but it is also a wonderful privilege.

“I’m really proud of the progress that we’re making here in Barnsley, proud of my record of standing up for the town, and I want to keep doing that. So, for those reasons, I’m standing, and I hope people will look at me as someone who’s absolutely committed to standing up and representing here locally, and I think people will judge me on that record.”

How would you describe your politics?

“I always describe my politics through the prism of wanting to ensure a level playing field. I’m a member of parliament because I believe that every child should get the same life opportunities regardless of where they grow up. I think that’s in the very best traditions of our Labour movement – we are about equality of opportunity. I would describe my politics as about making sure that the kids that grow up in often quite deprived parts of my Yorkshire constituency get the same life opportunities as those who grow up in more affluent parts of Britain.

“That is my defining mission – that is what gets me out of bed, to build the kind of country that enables that same equality of opportunity. That is not the country that we live in at the moment, and my great frustration is that Britain is a great country, but it could be greater. I’m absolutely convinced that there is only one political vehicle to achieve that fairness and that equality – and that is the Labour Party. And that is our challenge today, tomorrow, and into the future – to demonstrate to the public that if you want a fairer country, most people do, we’re the only party that can deliver it for them.”

How has Brexit affected Barnsley?

“The overwhelming majority of my constituents voted to leave the European Union, they did so in most cases not because they wanted to express a critique of the EU itself, but because they wanted to take an opportunity to kick back against a political establishment that they thought had not served them well.

“Too many people in towns like Barnsley felt like they had been left behind. Too many felt that globalisation had brought all sorts of benefits to the country, but not to them. We’re now not quite a year on from Brexit, and people expect the decision that was reached to be honoured. People don’t want to see me as their MP or the national Labour Party in anyway seeking to backtrack from the judgement that was reached. At the same time, none of my constituents voted to be poorer. None of them voted to have fewer rights that protect people in the workplace.

“What they want to see from me and from us collectively as a Labour Party is a vision for Britain beyond Brexit. I’ve actually spent quite a lot of time thinking, talking, writing about that – I wrote a paper a couple of months ago – about Britain beyond Brexit. I think that is a challenge for us as part of this election, to demonstrate as we leave the European Union that we can use that as a moment – of course, it’s much easier to do in government than ever it would be from opposition – to build the kind of country that all of us want to see.

“I think we have to be positive and upbeat about that. There’s quite a lot of people within the labour movement and within the country more generally who disagree with the decision and didn’t want to leave the EU. I speak as someone who voted for remain, but is bound by the decision, and now thinks that the most sensible way to proceed is in a kind of optimistic and upbeat fashion. To secure the best deal from the negotiations, and also to use this as a moment to build the fairer more decent society that we’re in the Labour party to achieve.”

Why does Britain need a Labour government?

“If Britain, as a country, looks back – Labour governments have been good for Britain. Labour governments have certainly been very good for Barnsley. My constituency has benefited much more under a Labour government than they ever had done under a Tory government.

“I think the manifesto is a really strong offer to the country, and it’s a much stronger offer than the Tory manifesto, what we’ve got to do is demonstrate that we understand the challenges that the country faces – and there are many, let’s be honest about it, this is a moment of profound challenge and uncertainty for the country as we leave the EU. We’ve got to demonstrate that our values, our ideas, our analysis of the challenges that we face, is the right one. I think that given the nature of the challenges, given the huge and widening levels of inequality that we have at the moment, given the huge pressures that we have on our public services, it is only a Labour government that can seek to reduce those inequalities and make sure that our public services are fit for purpose.

“And not just about the public sector, also the private – I think we’ve got a strong offer for business, to say to them that we recognise that they are wealth creators that create jobs and that we want to build the business environment that will allow them to compete and prosper as well.

“I’m pretty upbeat about the offer, I think the manifesto is full of big, bold ideas – that’s what manifestos should be about – and in the final days of the campaign we’ve got to get out there [the message] that voters should place their faith and trust in us. That we’re best placed to deliver on the big challenges the country faces.”

What have been the biggest issues on the doorstep?

“The truth of the matter locally is that more people have wanted to talk to me about their own immediate neighbourhood than they have about national issues. I spend a lot of time talking about parking, a lot of time talking about litter and fly-tipping and dog fouling.

“In politics you’ve got to be prepared to listen to what people have got to say, and make time for them. If it’s important for them, it’s important for you.

“Most people have wanted to talk about their individual circumstances, either relating specifically to where they live, or specifically relating to their own lives. Whether its a lack of employment opportunities, or whether it is about skills, training, education. Whether it’s about older people and ensuring that we have a system of care that works for them and their families.

“That has been the focus of much of the conversations. You do find people who’ve read the manifesto but more often than not people will want to have a conversation with you about their locality and what’s happening locally.

Labour faces mixed poll ratings nationally so how do you deal with that in Barnsley?

“I completely ignore the polls, to be honest, we’ve got a plan for our campaign locally and it is untouched and unmoved by the polls.

“I think every candidate must run the strongest possible campaign and that’s what we’re doing. We’re leaving nothing to chance. We’ve all of us, involved in my campaign, have committed a huge amount. We’re working literally around the clock, seven days a week, to make sure we get the best possible result. Polls come and they go.

“It’s obviously encouraging that there’s been a narrowing of the polls, but we’re not doing anything differently as a result of that. We’re just getting on with talking to as many voters, getting every opportunity to communicate our local campaign messages and we will continue to do that until 10pm on polling day. At which point we’ll have a quick cup of tea, draw breath, and then go to the count.

“There is a national campaign that is playing out, and that is very important because people look at the debates and they read the newspapers, and they hear these national messages, but here in Barnsley Central its a very local campaign.”

Do you think Labour receives a fair hearing from the media?

“I think it’s always quite unseemly for politicians to start blaming the media, but I think that there is probably more that we could do to ensure that we use the mainstream media to deliver some of our strong messages. I think social media is an important tool to use in this campaign, but it is still not as significant as the major broadcast news.

“What the 10 o’clock news on the BBC is leading with is a big deal, and as a party we need to make sure that we’ve done everything we possibly can to shape those strategic news moments. I sometimes look at the mainstream media and think that maybe they’re not with us, or sometimes think that they don’t necessarily give us the fairest of hearings, but I don’t think now is the moment to have that debate.

“I don’t think you can blame it on the media, I think we have a responsibility to ensure that we engage with them and give them every opportunity to report the messages that we want them to report. Criticising or blaming the media is unhelpful throughout the campaign.”

What was thing you did to relax, that wasn’t campaigning, and what was it?

“I can hardly remember what that was. I guess it was running the London marathon, which some people wouldn’t necessarily describe as the most relaxing of experiences, and it was certainly pretty hard work. I’m really pleased that I did it, it was 3h 45m away from my phone which was a blessed relief.

“Talking to some of my Labour colleagues, all of us find elections pretty intense experiences, not just for us but for our families, who don’t see very much of us for a period of time. They’re obviously moments of great uncertainty, but they’re also moments of great opportunity as well.

“I was in the West Midlands talking to people about this yesterday – these are the moments that we come into politics for. We come into politics because we want to deliver real and meaningful change for our communities, this is the moment when we have the opportunity to do that, by electing Labour MPs to the House to stand up for their communities.”

“We need to seize that opportunity – this has been an incredible campaign, and who knows what’s going to happen in the final few day. There can be no relaxing, no doing other stuff – we need all hands to the pump for the final period as we turn out the Labour vote around the country.”

Want to help keep Barnsley Labour? Find campaign events near you here


Architects favour Labour Party




The majority of UK architects plan to vote for the Labour Party in tomorrow’s general election, according to research from industry magazine The Architects’ Journal.

A report published today on the magazine’s website suggests that the political party led by Jeremy Corbyn is significantly more popular with architects than Theresa May’s Conservative Party, which is currently in power.

Of the 261 architects, students and architectural technologists surveyed, 64 per cent said they intend to vote for Labour in the nationwide ballot, versus 14 per cent who plan to select the Tories.

The results reveal a noticeable shift from the poll the Architects’ Journal (AJ) conducted two months earlier, which also put Labour ahead of the Tories, but by only 13 per cent.

It is possible that the party election manifestoes may have influenced this shift – as these were all released between the two polls.

Labour’s manifesto included a separate 12-page document dedicated to architecture and design, highlighting many of the concerns outlined in Dezeen’s Brexit Design Manifesto.

It may have been this that led 60 per cent of AJ’s respondents to claim that Labour understands the needs of the architecture industry better than any other party.

The Conservative Party only briefly mentions the creative industries in its own manifesto, although it did previously promise to put the sector at the heart of its plans to revive UK industry, particularly when the country leaves the European Union.

Conservative prime minister Theresa May called the snap election ahead of the start of Brexit negotiations, to determine which party will oversee the UK’s departure from the European Union.

Tory election pledges include offering a creative industries tax relief scheme and the protection of intellectual property rights. It also proposes new technical qualifications known as T-levels.

Labour also pledges to support intellectual property rights. Additionally, it plans to put more creative subjects on the school syllabus, pump funding into school arts facilities, and offer lower levels of corporation taxation for small businesses.


The clock is ticking


, , , ,


Come along to the Kingstone Campaign campaign centre today and be a part of political history as we fight for a Labour Government. We’ll give you a full briefing before you hit the streets so you can help get as many Labour voters to the polling booth as possible.

Make sure to wear practical shoes, comfortable clothes and be prepared to be busy!

Campaign centre details:

Today is your last chance to make a difference. Don’t wake up tomorrow wishing you’d done more.

Thank you, team.

The Labour Party

Mark Steel: Whichever idiot called the election is distracting May from thinking about Brexit


, , ,

As Theresa May declines to participate in a succession of TV debates and media appearances in the run-up to the General Election in order to concentrate on Brexit, Independent columnist Mark Steel considers how she’d probably love to get her hands on whoever called it in the first place.


UK hasn’t done enough to tackle terrorism, says woman whose job it was to tackle terrorism


, , ,


The UK hasn’t done enough to tackle terrorist extremists in the UK, according to the woman responsible for doing just that for the last six years.

Prime Minister Theresa May took the unprecedented step of attacking her own track record in tackling extremism when talking the reporters today.

She told the press, “The UK has not done enough to defeat extremism, and I should know because it was very specifically my job.

“When I say we haven’t done enough, I can be sure I’m correct in that assessment because everything we did for the last six years in trying to tackle extremism went across my desk as Home Secretary, and was specifically approved by me.

“So when I say we haven’t done enough, I am basically saying I was a bit s**t at my job for quite a number of years.

“That’s how confident I am about this election; I can openly admit I did a bad job, but you lot will still vote for me because Jeremy Corbyn looks a bit awkward in a suit.

“Wonderful, isn’t it?”


Half of NHS areas planning to cancel or delay spending because of financial pressures


, , , ,


The NHS is now planning to delay or cancel spending in half of local areas this year to meet financial targets, according to The King’s Fund’s latest quarterly monitoring report.

The report finds that 50 per cent of clinical commissioning group (CCG) finance leads say that achieving this year’s financial forecast is likely to depend on delaying or cancelling spending. More than 40 per cent say they plan to review or reduce the level of planned treatment they commission following the recent downgrading of the 18-week referral-to-treatment target. Just under half of CCGs were also uncertain or concerned about their ability to increase funding for mental health services in line with the national commitments.

The survey of NHS trust finance directors suggests that NHS finances improved over the last quarter of 2016/17, with more than half of finance directors (54 per cent) expecting to have ended the year in surplus, significantly more than were forecasting this three months ago. But while progress has been made in reducing spending on agency staff, the report suggests that the underlying financial position remains gloomy, with many trusts having relied on one-off actions such as land sales and payments from the Sustainability and Transformation Fund (additional central funding that is conditional on targets being met) to improve their position.

The 2017/18 financial year promises to be another difficult one for the NHS. While trust finance directors are more optimistic than at this time last year, 43 per cent of them expect to overspend their budget and a similar proportion (46 per cent) are concerned about meeting financial targets. This lack of confidence extends to the commissioning sector, with only one in five CCG finance leads confident they can achieve financial balance this year.

The final quarter of 2016/17 saw a sharp improvement in A&E performance, with 90 per cent of patients admitted, transferred or discharged within four hours. Despite this, fewer than 1 in 10 (9 per cent) trust finance directors are confident that the NHS will meet the commitment that 90 per cent of patients will spend no longer than four hours in A&E by September 2017. Across 2016/17 as a whole, NHS performance deteriorated in a number of key areas:

  • 2.5 million patients (11 per cent) spent longer than four hours in A&E, an increase of more 685,000 on the previous year
  • more than 362,000 patients (9 per cent) waited longer than 18 weeks for hospital treatment in March 2017, an increase of almost 64,000 on March 2016
  • 26,283 patients waited longer than 62 days for cancer treatment having been urgently referred by their GP, an increase of 8 per cent on the year before
  • almost 2.25 million bed days were lost as a result of delayed discharges from hospital, an increase of nearly a quarter (24 per cent) on the previous year.

Richard Murray, Director of Policy for The King’s Fund, said: ‘Given the enormous pressures experienced in January, the improvement in A&E performance in February and March is a tribute to successful planning and the hard work of NHS staff during a difficult winter.

‘While the financial picture improved at the end of the last financial year, much of this is down to one-off actions such as selling land. The high levels of concern about the year ahead suggest that NHS providers are again likely to run up a significant deficit in 2017/18, a year when the sector is supposed to be in balance.

‘With many CCGs planning to delay or cancel spending, local NHS leaders will be forced to make tough decisions about priorities and this is likely to have a direct impact on what care patients can access and how long they have to wait for it. This reinforces the underlying reality that demand for services is continuing to outstrip the rate at which the NHS budget is growing.’