Perfect Financial Idiocy

Wednesday   27 September

So, John McDonnell would like to bring all Private Finance Initiatives (PFIs) “in house”; the crowd went wild. It’s not hard to fathom the reaction because PFIs aren’t very popular, nor are they well understood. ABOLISH THE RICH, AAAH! Mr McDonnell was followed by junior ministers suggesting that he hadn’t meant; it; PFIs would just be reviewed. Let’s spread a little bit of ambiguity shall we!

The problem is that whether reviewed or cancelled McDonnell is stuck in a 1960s Hungarian economics textbook, he isn’t asking the right questions. This man is auditioning for the role of Chancellor; custodian of the purse, analyst of the economy. The question shouldn’t be “what economic things do people not like” but instead “what economics things do and don’t work for our economy?”

He stopped short of announcing a free unicorn in every household, and everlasting happiness and glee. That would’ve been silly. The problem is that saying you’re going to cancel PFI is a bit silly too. If he’d have had said “we will cancel/renegotiate/yell at the bad PFIs because they are a drain on the taxpayer” then fine. There are bad PFIs in the same way that there are bad things of anything else; it is right and proper to draw a line and say “no more”. But to cancel all PFIs is to say two things, (1) nobody in government for the past 30 years has gotten anything right at any level, and (2) I don’t care what works, I want what I want.

In respect of point 1, I don’t mean the political imperative, of whether PFI is a good or a bad thing, I mean the calculations and the terms; PFIs had to be cheaper than the government’s own ability to self perform those services to be approved, and also, most required provisions to ensure for example, the PFIs were subject to UK tax, value for money reviews were obligatory or the risk transfer to industry justified the profits. So again, where bad ones have been signed or mistakes have been made then great, cancel them (or something similar). Otherwise, I’d like to believe that our public servants are capable. If they’re not, why do we believe John McDonnell, charmer that he is, is going to fix that?!

Point 2 is the same criticism I have been making of Jeremy Corbyn since his election as leader; he treats the means as ends and ignores the real life impact of his policies on people and the world. I understand the appeal of the Corbyn project (much as I disagree with it), and I understand that people feel disenchanted and frustrated with the political class but that shouldn’t lead to the reductive politics of the lowest common denominator and ignorance.

But don’t these companies make massive profits?! Yes and no. They make profit in the same way that anybody selling anything does, but perhaps unusually PFIs also make large losses especially during start up, and they also take the risks of delivery. Making profit isn’t a bad thing, it is the reward for taking risks (and losses) but also a measure of the hassle, overhead, and work involved in delivery. Whether PFI exists or not those profits will be made, unless the government is doing it all itself; having experienced government services I’m not so sure that’s a good idea.

The thing with PFI is that revenues and costs are fully transparent so people can see the profits; before PFI nobody had a clue. Forgetting actual value for money for a second, one of the real benefits of PFI is the transparency for both government and the public; the cost of providing the service is transparent, in one place, benchmarked and market tested.

So PFIs are wicked?

Of course not, there are problems, and there are bad ones. That doesn’t invalidate the concept and it doesn’t justify John McDonnell’s hectoring.

Fix or cancel the bad ones, improve those that can be improved but let us not cast aside success stories that deliver excellent service and value for the sake of it.

Speaking as a taxpayer, I don’t like ambiguity in economic policy; and I’m not entirely sure that Mr McDonnell isn’t spreading a bit of ambiguity now and wouldn’t continue to do so if he reaches number 11.

Barnabus Howard


Theresa May Be For Or Against Anything

28th February 2017

By Barnabus Howard-

Theresa May Be For Or Against Anything

Theresa May hasn’t really done any leading yet. She was after all the recipient of what must be a world record for the number of withdrawals from a leadership election. She barely got to define her plans or her vision, and ‘pop!’ – Prime Minister. I’m not going to ask you to feel sorry for her, but she is in what must be the most bizarre premiership this country has ever seen.

What happens when you become leader? Well, you assemble your cabinet or shadow cabinet from those who agree with you, those who you can work with on a particular issue, and a few rivals that you cannot ignore and/or you don’t want pissing on you from the outside. The backbenchers are therefore by definition either not influential enough, or too extreme for your tastes in one form or another.

You then have a government or opposition to face. You use the opposition as the electoral stick to keep your own backbenchers in place, “it’s not that I disagree with you [Mr or Ms Lunatic MP – even though I do] but if I take your advice the opposition will fillet us at the ballot box”. In turn you, if PM, use that fragile loyalty to avoid the opposition ever turning you over.

Of course, the longer you are leader the less well it works; eventually you face a backbench rebellion. In time this either ends in electoral defeat, a leadership election or alternatively the “fear” of electoral defeat. Now, if it is either of the two former options then likely you are no longer leader and cease to care. But should it be the latter then that is often enough to reset the clock for a year or so and on you go.

But back to Theresa; her backbenchers are no different from any others, more shrill and extreme than she is (I think you’ll find that a mere three minutes listening to John Redwood, IDS or Phillip Davies will bear me out – as mad as a box of frogs), but they have no credible fear of electoral defeat. It doesn’t seem to matter whether Mrs May does something good, something bad or even anything at all… her lead in the polls remains massive.

Having not had the time or leadership contest to define herself, I can’t imagine that she is in any place to shake off her backbenchers. I have no issue with an “unelected prime minister”, that is just a part of the First Past The Post system. But in this instance not even the Tories elected her. She is, until she wins a general (or leadership) election, Schrödinger’s cat. Both alive and dead at once.

Two recent issues, the scheduled Business Rates hike, and the changes to the insurer payout formula, seem to suggest some incompetence on the part of her team. Sajid Javid was even accused of misleading his own MPs for crying out loud!

Both may seem like pretty niche issues for the man or woman in the street, but are actually important. Rebecca Long-Bailey made a good effort to point out some issues with the business rates hike, but not enough of an effort. The current Labour Party leadership seems unable to articulate any position that both makes sense to voters AND could fix the issue.

Being a very financially literate chap, I was somewhat dismayed to find no real substantive response by the Labour Party, and instead find John McDonnell spending his time pontificating on “unity”. Unity in what I ask?

I specifically did not mention by-elections or Brexit in this post because I think they form a convenient smoke screen for the lack of ministerial-type activity or focus from the Labour Party leadership. If I’ve gone looking for it and can’t find it, what chance does your average voter stand?

Meanwhile, May can spend her time mulling over what she may become after 2020.

By Barnabus Howard

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1st February 2017

By Barnabus Howard-


I am disgruntled. I am a disgruntled former Labour Party member, and I have a problem. As it stands, I am not represented, and that is the source of some rancour for me. I look at the arrayed political representatives and I cannot see a place where I’d feel comfortable. Brexit has and will continue to destroy the political scene as we know it; I am reduced to finding solace in some unusual and peripheral areas.

For me, politics is about governing; I don’t live for campaigning, and as sad as it is I like to think about government and legislation. So finding myself thinking about peripheral (and in some cases long dead) figures like Ken Clarke, Edmund Burke, Nick Clegg and Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. is a bit too much of throwback to my time at university. This does not feel like a place where I should be.

There was a moment during the debate for the second reading of the exiting the EU bill where Iain Duncan Smith briefly made sense, or so I thought. He was disputing the EU’s credentials for fostering piece in Europe since World War Two, and made a comment to the effect of it wasn’t the EU, it was the creation and support of strong democratic institutions in those countries that’d previously been at war.

I disagree with him, but he is right that strong democratic institutions are very important in creating stability. And this is my first real point, it feels to me that, since Brexit especially but also more broadly, that we (the people, the country, everybody) have forgotten what democracy is about.

Democracy is not just about voting, and it is not just about getting a majority. Democracy is hard to get right and although the involvement and engagement of the people is vital, it is exceedingly important that we have structures in place to ensure that the implied principles of democracy are observed. For example, freedom of speech and the rule of law.

The structures I refer to are of course the Supreme Court and Parliament’s oversight prerogative. I’d be inclined to give Duncan Smith some credit if he hadn’t been quite so lazily scathing in his comments about the Supreme Court’s recent judgement! A US Republican, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr once said, “taxes are the price we pay for civilization”. I think the same could be said for Parliament and the Supreme Court’s scrutiny of the government.

My problem with our lazy view of the democratic structures we have, is that we choose to forget how this all works. Parliament’s job is to scrutinise government, and make sure that many views are heard. And that is why I have been thinking about Ken Clarke. His contribution to that debate was in a part a rambling rehash of the referendum discussions, but in parts he was very eloquent. He may well have said plenty to irritate government ministers with his slightly predictable remarks, but he managed to highlight quite cleverly the quandary and ineffectiveness that the Labour Party has brought upon itself. He mentioned that the Eurosceptic MPs had not given up on their cause over the last 20 or 30 years. The Labour Party’s position on Brexit may well be based on a determination not to be cast as out of touch and to be seen as based in democratic instincts, but in so doing it makes itself an irrelevance. Elections are not about the answer, but the questions that the electorate deem important. Ignoring the issue and waiting for somebody to want to talk about nuclear disarmament or nationalisation is simply negligent.

I’m a private citizen, so I can choose to accept the referendum result even though I thoroughly disagree with it. The Labour Party has no such freedom; even if you do not intend to stand in the way, saying so only serves to do half of government’s job for them.

Which brings me onto Ken Clarke’s précis of Edmund Burke’s famous quote, “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion”. I think this quote should be printed in big bold letters on every ballot paper. That aside, the point is that your MP should vote in such a way that represents your interests whether you see it that way or not. His constituents voted him out shortly thereafter, and perhaps the same would happen to MPs who chose not to accept the referendum result. But that is what is supposed to happen.

The Tories may have taken what seems like a risky position in accepting the will of the Leave voters lock, stock and barrel. I think they know that most of their Remain supporters are going to be more scared of a Corbyn government than they are of Brexit. I certainly won’t be voting for them, but equally Corbyn’s new approach of trying to appeal to everybody by taking no position on anything of consequence makes it impossible for me to consider the Labour Party should a general election be held tomorrow.

I strongly believe that most people sit a bit on the right, a bit on the left, and a bit in between. For me that means I want some sort of free society, a regulated capitalism, a society and a government that aim to meet people’s aspirations and look after those who are struggling or in need. Labour’s silent opposition can’t fulfil that, and neither can the Conservatives’ disregard for those who voted to Remain (as well as all the people they normally ignore).

That leaves me in limbo; and I’m not quite ready to join Nick Clegg on the periphery just yet!

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Talking to Jeff about Google

1st February 2016

Talking to Jeff about Google

Another week passes and we are now less than 100 days from the first real test for a Corbyn-led Labour Party. Already the the briefings have started. From Corbyn’s team it has been suggested that losing 300 council seats in England, slipping back in Wales and losses in Scotland wouldn’t be a bad result, but they expect the race for London Mayor to be close. They are clearly managing expectations. But if they are right we will face a long, hot summer of Labour discontent and the much talked about leadership challenge would not be a case of ‘if’ but when.

But leaving aside elections and predictions it can be argued that Corbyn is on the side of the public on many issues. Building on successful opposition to cuts to police funding and cuts to tax credits he has added a tax avoidance issue to his belt. The row over the tax settlement with Google saw Corbyn champion the cause of us all, especially Jeff, who provided the question for PMQs. Corbyn played his hand well. Cameron blustered and spluttered. It was hard to find anyone on the Prime Minister’s side, apart from his probable successor George Osborne. Corbyn and the public (thank you Jeff) were on the same side.

There was another row at PMQs and Cameron once again showed that he is willing to use provocative language when it comes to refugees. I haven’t met anyone who isn’t concerned by the plight of the people living in harsh conditions in Calais. People have varied opinions on what should be done or how, or if we should help at all. Corbyn had visited the Calais ‘jungle’ and was obviously shocked at what he saw. Cameron saw not squalid conditions or suffering – he saw a political opportunity. That isn’t to say Cameron doesn’t care, it simply shows that he gets politics. So he spat out the word ‘bunch’. Labour benches erupted with fury and Jeff, along with the majority of the electorate, stared at their tax returns and sighed. Another Corbyn victory, downgraded to a non-event.

That isn’t to say that offensive language shouldn’t be challenged but as I was reminded shortly afterwards, for many people, and I guess the Jeffs of this world who were cheering Corbyn’s assault on the Google tax deal, referring to people as a ‘bunch’ even if they are suffering isn’t offensive. It is simple, everyday language. Cameron knew what he was doing; he was playing politics and attempting to win back Jeff. Whether it worked remains to be seen but he played the Labour benches like a seasoned pro.

So as we moved towards the weekend I looked forward to the political agenda being set by Labour, on behalf of Jeff and millions of others. The (People’s) Shadow Chancellor only needed to keep up the pressure. I waited. I made some coffee and waited. He talked. I couldn’t believe it! He talked about open bloody borders! It wasn’t long before the news was over another Labour row! (Sorry Jeff).

This brings me to a question I have struggled with since September. What happens if Corbyn has tapped into something? What if the electorate, away from opinion polls, like him and what he stands for? What then? What if in May Labour gains seats in Scotland, do well in England, hold on in Wales and win the London Mayoralty?

The Corbyn grip on the Party would tighten. Issues like Trident would come and go. Any thoughts about a challenge to his leadership would be laughed at, and attention would turn to the general election in 2020 and the possibility of Corbyn in Number 10.

What if that happens?

But I fear that no matter how many times Corbyn champions the issues that matter and shows the Tories up for what they are; no matter how often he speaks up for people like Jeff, for me, for you – he will revert to type and push us away by shouting about the Falklands, secondary picketing or some other issue that he knows will divide opinion. Perhaps he does it to prove he doesn’t want or need our vote.

Maybe he believes that he can win without us, without Jeff. Maybe he is right. I doubt it.

By Barnabus Howard

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Jeremy’s sizeable mandate, Trident renewal and leadership

13th January, 2016

Jeremy’s sizeable mandate, Trident renewal and leadership

It seems that not a day passes without someone mentioning the M word. No not Momentum; I am talking about mandate. Jeremy has, it is said, ‘a huge mandate’. It must be true because Diane Abbott talks about it all the time.

If a journalist says during any interview: “the Labour Party is divided. The PLP doesn’t support the leader…” before we get to the question she prods the air with her finger and informs the world “people have to realise Jeremy has a huge mandate, the biggest a Labour leader has ever had”.

Ask the current city minister Corbyn fanboy Richard Burgon about anything and he will reply “Jeremy has a huge mandate”, before adding, “an anti austerity mandate!” as though that is the answer to everything. You can see his eyes widen, almost dance in triumph. He has won. He has mentioned mandate. That is all he has to do!

Well, someone has to remind the leadership that their mandate wasn’t actually a mandate to tear up the rule book. It wasn’t a mandate to scrap Trident. It wasn’t a mandate to give the Falklands to Argentina. And it certainly wasn’t a mandate to allow Ken Livingstone to blame the last Labour Government for the London bombings. And it wasn’t a mandate to suggest that the brutal murders in France were anything other than the product of sick, barbaric minds.

Sir Paul Kenny from the GMB hit the nail on the head when he said: “I don’t remember recalling any speech anywhere where someone said, ‘I’m standing on a platform that I will do what I want, when I want, irrespective of what the rules of the Labour party are.” More of that can be found here.

And while we are talking about Mandates, remind me about Abbott’s, McDonnell’s and Corbyn’s respect for Tony Blair’s mandate. It appears that not all mandates are equal.

But harping on about the glory days won’t solve our current problems. Jeremy Corbyn won the leadership election. He is the leader of the Labour Party and that is that. I am sure that if there was another leadership contest tomorrow, under the same rules he would win again. Why? The loss of many long-standing members who drifted away, turned off by the far left approach of Jeremy and his gang and of course the £3 rent-a-vote crowd haven’t moved on.

So I don’t think there can or should be a challenge yet. I agree he is slowly wrecking the Party I love but apart from bedding down and waiting there is nothing I can do; for to strike too early would see him elected again.

People talk about fancy, clever manoeuvres to bring him down. They say the PLP should select their own parliamentary leader. But there is a problem with that. They would soon have that huge mandate rammed down their throats. The party as an organisation would have to act against them. Sure, it would be an interesting constitutional crisis but the mandate man would win. The party would never recover and a split would be inevitable. A split that would set the Labour movement back 100 years.

Let me explain. I understand what Jeremy’s sizeable mandate is. It isn’t actually a mandate. Look at the latest wheeze from Billy Bragg – a series of ‘Corbyn For PM’ concerts, a bit like Red Wedge without the talent. But look again – not a mention of the Labour Party… it is all about Jeremy. In short he doesn’t have a mandate – he has a Cult. And like all cults many of the followers don’t understand the nasty stuff at the core. For every Ethel holding a bring and buy sale to raise funds for the local food-bank there is a Jon Lansman dreaming of a union with Putin. For every Jimmy dreaming about a world of peace there is a Max Shanley bullying and shouting down dissenters.

The sad thing is during our years in government we accepted them. We looked at them but didn’t move against them. We were too kind. But the Cult isn’t kind. It isn’t cuddly and they want a fight. Our problem is working out when?

We can win small battles. We can succeed in keeping renewal of Trident as party policy. But we won’t win many elections.

To those thinking of throwing in the towel, think of this: we have Dugher, McFadden and Benn; the Cult have Abbott, Burgon and McDonnell. Think about that for a while and that mandate doesn’t look very big at all.

The Cult has a leader who is unwilling to address his PLP to avoid confrontation. A leader not willing to explain his reshuffle or his plan is no leader at all. Regardless of the size of his mandate eventually his lack of leadership will be exposed and when that happens the Cult will begin to crumble.

So if not now, when? My guess is that in May we will win the London Mayoralty. We will slip slightly in Wales. A few surprises but still under-perform in Scotland, and in England we will lose some very good councillors and probably a few councils.

The EU referendum will come and go. I think the UK will remain in and then we have party conference which will be a very moody and acrimonious place. Trident renewal and other debates will dominate but Corbyn will come away battered and bruised.

In 2017 with the Cult rank and file starting to have doubts then we can start to rebuild and save the Party and start to plan for the real fight against a Tory Party without Cameron.

But until then we have a job to do and that job is part of being Labour. We have councillors and councils to defend. In Wales and Scotland we face tough elections. In London we need Sadiq as Mayor.

We need to continue to campaign, canvass and fight in every seat. Not because of or for Corbyn, but because we are Labour. And Labour is bigger than any mythical mandate Diane Abbott screams about!

By Barnabus Howard

Please note: articles and posts on ‘Middle Vision’ reflect the views of the individual authors and not of all involved in ‘Middle Vision’


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RELATED – Britain Deserves Better Than Corbyn The Destroyer

A painful 36 hours and the sacking of Michael Dugher & Pat McFadden

6th January, 2016

 NOTE: Updates to rolling resignations etc at end of post

A painful 36 hours and the sacking of Michael Dugher and Pat McFadden

This should be a post celebrating a Labour reshuffle. A reshuffle that puts us into full campaigning mode ahead of the various electoral contests in May. Contests that we need to do well in.

But the Labour Party of 2016 isn’t that predictable. It sees an open goal and quickly lobs the ball into the back of our own goal.

So, back to the reshuffle.

Almost 18 hours after the reshuffle started the first decision was made public. The SACKING BY PHONE of Michael Dugher from his position as Shadow Culture Secretary. According to Dugher his crime was to speak out against Momentum, the left wing faction that is plotting to deselect Labour MPs who don’t worship at the shrine of Uncle Leon. The sacking was announced by a furious Dugher who promptly took to the airwaves to put his case to the public (OK, most of whom were asking – ‘who? Michael who?’).

When Dugher was appointed to the Culture job a joke bounced around Westminster about Dugher not having read a book since he left school… primary school. But that misses the point. He is one of our best communicators. A great campaigner and yes he is brutal. He attacks Tories with ease and they hate him. But apparently so does Corbyn. Other frontbenchers issued statements saying how much he would be missed.

Me? I think Corbyn has just placed the political equivalent of the red dot of a sniper’s rifle sight to his own head. Dugher will not shut up. He will still remain a Labour loyalist but when the coup comes, and it will, Dugher will be the sniper who takes that all important first shot.

But I feel for Corbyn. Facing situations like this, which are totally new to him, his advisers should be there to help and guide him. Instead they crack silly jokes and issue sarcastic statements to the press. To them this seems to be a game. It reminds me of when Gordon Brown was let down by his team during the election that never was. Instead of insisting on a coherent line and message for journalists, they too resorted to cheap jokes and sarcasm. We know what happened next.

But every time I start to feel sympathy Jeremy pulls me back and quickly reminds me that he is undeserving of any sympathy. To him it seems it is all a bit of a joke!


I imagine Corbyn had his ‘dream’ team written down but was wrong-footed and confused as one by one his allies declared that they were either happy where they were or didn’t fancy joining the shadow cabinet at all. The latter group of course adding “unless you insist on it”.

Faced with all of this what does Corbyn do? A good, strong leader would face down the doubters and push ahead. Announce a shadow cabinet that would push his policies through; which would speak for him. But Corbyn isn’t good. He isn’t strong. He is a leader trapped. Trapped by his own self doubt. But mostly trapped by the baying mob that is Momentum. For it is they that own Corbyn and not Corbyn that owns them.

Late into Thursday night news came out that Pat McFadden the Shadow Europe Minister had been sacked for ‘disloyalty during the Paris attacks’. He has certainly been sacked but the reasons haven’t been confirmed but this is what McFadden said:


I agree with every word and if Corbyn does have a problem with it he needs to explain and explain quickly what it is.

The other changes are Emily Thornberry replacing Maria Eagle at Defence with Maria moving to Culture. Pat Glass replaces McFadden.

Emma Lewell-Buck takes on the devolution role as a junior minister attending cabinet.

So rather than a reshuffle we have an act of vengeance by an angry, vindictive leader.


It is no longer about who survived and who didn’t. It isn’t about who walked and who didn’t.

None of that matters. We have just seen the real battle for the soul of the Labour Party start.

Where am I? I am in the trenches with Watson, Dugher, McFadden, McTernan and the others. Last time we won but didn’t finish the job. [Kinnock -v- militant and the founding of New Labour].

This time we will.

The prize? A Labour Party that speaks to and for my class, for those who need a helping hand. A Party that applauds aspiration and achievement. A Party that people can once again trust and believe in.

Where are Michael Dugher and Pat McFadden at the moment? Probably campaigning against the Tories – that won’t ever change.


Resignations from the junior positions have started with Jonny Reynolds  and Stephen Doughty going (the latter announcing his resignation live on TV).

Westminster rumour mill is in full flow and Emily Thornberry may be the only person left shadowing Defence in a few hours.

Corbyn and his team remain defiant but it is possible that sacking McFadden was both petty, foolish and will be the moment recorded in history as Corbyn’s first real defeat.

By Barnabus Howard

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It’s Christmas! And Jeremy Corbyn Cares

18th December, 2015

Jeremy Corbyn Cares – oh yes he does!

I am not joking Christmas panto style. Jeremy Corbyn does care. Anyone who says he doesn’t is simply wrong!

He cares about a lot of things.

He cares about things that most of us in the Labour Party care about.

He cares about poverty, housing, the NHS, unemployment, education etc. He also prefers peace to war. Tell me someone who disagrees with that?

So I can tell you that he cares a lot.

But, and there is always a but…

For someone who did such a great job at winning the leadership contest he is making a Widow Twankey hotchpotch of being the leader.

From what appeared to be a half-hearted attempt to get a ‘left’ candidate on the ballot, to a win in the first round of the ballot backed by hundreds of thousands of new supporters, he appears to have delivered nothing more than a baying mob on the internet, capable of issuing de-selection threats or even death threats within minutes of a half criticism. He has delivered a party that is at war with itself and he is making little attempt to act as peacemaker.

Perhaps this is a war he rather likes.

Of course people like Diane Abbott and Richard Burgon have all the answers. Of course they will deliver us from our childish and foolish idea that winning elections is important. They will tell us why people with experience of such things are wrong. But mostly they will tell us, with sneering contempt, that Jeremy will lead us to where we deserve to be led and that we simply don’t understand that things have changed and of course when asked a difficult question their answer is always that “Jeremy cares”

They are right. Things have changed. Looking at Ipsos MORI polls and comparing December 2010 and 2015 we can see how much they have changed:

Dec 2010:  Lab 39, Cons 38 LD 11

Dec 2015:  Cons 38 Lab 31 LD 9

Satisfaction: Ed Miliband +1  c/w Jeremy Corbyn -17

Corbyn trails Miliband by 18 clear points. Why is that important? Because both leaders were at the same point in their leadership – around 100 days.

Miliband, like Corbyn, was leading a party that had lost a general election. See what I did there? Miliband was LEADING… OK it turned out he was leading the party to another defeat but he was leading (of sorts). Corbyn is in a worse position than Miliband. That is how bad things really are.

But it is almost Christmas and I want to end on a positive point.


He sang Happy Birthday to a woman who had been flooded out of her home. That showed he cares and you can watch how much he cares here

On the Saturday afternoon of his election he kept a promise and attended a constituency engagement with a mental health charity.

So don’t tell me that Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t care. He does.

The problem is that there are things that he doesn’t care about.

He doesn’t care about the Labour Party. He doesn’t care that long-serving members and activists are leaving.

He doesn’t care if his advisers tell people to vote for other political parties.

He doesn’t care if he says votes on military action should be free votes and then tries to whip his own MPs to vote against action in Syria.

And there are things that he should care more about.

He has to care more about his parliamentary colleagues and he has to understand pressure they are under from the internet warriors and leftist thugs.

And when he shows he cares about that he then has to care about and stamp out the ‘my way or the highway’ behaviour of some of those close to him.

He has to start to show us that he cares about winning in 2020.

So please don’t tell me Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t care – he does. But something is seriously lacking in this care-full-ness. Simply caring about things isn’t enough.

If caring was enough, Michael Foot would have been Prime Minister; Neil Kinnock would have enjoyed being resident in Number 10; Gordon Brown wouldn’t have called the removal vans after the 2010 general election and Ed Miliband would be enjoying a bacon butty in Downing Street.

So let me be clear… when it comes to caring about stuff Jeremy Corbyn is very impressive. Yes I am impressed that he cares.

But (yep, another but!) in just 100 days he has wrecked the Labour Party. He has made it a laughing stock. He has exhausted me emotionally. I feel anger and genuine upset as friends quietly (and some not so quietly) cancel their direct debit to the party coffers. They haven’t left because you don’t care.

Jeremy they know you care; they really do.

But I can’t help thinking that if you really cared about the Labour Party you would be doing things differently.

Jeremy, the last time I saw you walking alone in Islington you looked tired. So I hope you have an enjoyable Christmas. I hope you meet up with friends and enjoy your nut roast (please tweet a picture of it). But most of all I hope that you resolve to change, to learn about leadership, but most of all understand that to do all of the things we both care about we need a Labour government and not an opposition with a leader who cares about stuff.

Merry Christmas


P.S. He cares so much he even dresses up as Santa!



By Barnabus Howard

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Labour students plan to split into two societies

After months of divisiveness plans have been placed… to create another Labour students society in Manchester, explicitly for pro-Corbyn Labour Party members.

The battle at Westminster for political centre ground

They want to kill us,” says the Blairite figure, eyes shining in the lights of the Christmas tree. “They don’t care about winning an election these Corbynites, they care about controlling the Labour Party, not the country. But no one is doing a damn thing to stop them. It’s mad.” He tips his glass for a champagne refill and declines a mince pie. “For us to do nothing is like being on the boat in Jaws and not going back to harbour. Are we going to dither until the shark has chewed up the entire boat? We need to kill the shark before it kills us.”


George Kendall's posts around the web

The Centre Left

British Politics from the Centre

The Alternative Politics

We can do better than this.


Work in progress from Susan Greenberg

Aussie Nationalist Blog

A Traditional Australian Nationalist

Home - Great British Politics

British Politics from the Centre

Gatestone Institute :: Articles

British Politics from the Centre

Stories by Kate Godfrey on Medium

British Politics from the Centre

The Backbencher

Gossiping about politics, and politicking about gossip since 2012.

Nick Cohen: Writing from London

Journalism from London.

Planet Pedro!

“Socialism without democracy counts for nothing, and a non-social democracy is not a democracy”

John Rentoul

My personal blog

Middle Vision

British Politics from the Centre

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