Mike Vickers' Blog

April 8, 2015

Looking for a Labour Party Strategy

Filed under: Left Politics, Politics — derryvickers @ 8:57 pm

I find it very depressing that I can’t find a clear Labour Strategy – Miliband keeps pulling rabbits out of his hat – today its non-doms , last week it was regular contracts after 3 months – Why not regular contracts on employment and specific opted-outs if the case can be justified or the employee wanted it so; before that it was the Mansion Tax. But nothing coherent; I’m not even clear on Labour’s position on Immigration.

Where is the New Jerusalem – perhaps one might find it in Owen Jones’ article in today’s Guardian.

‘Partly it comes down to fairness for the professor [Anthony Atkinson]: the government’s universal credit scheme aims to cut the marginal tax rate on the poor to 65%. If that’s good enough for those scraping by, why not for those richer than ever before?’

 ‘In other European countries, it is taken as read that trade unions have a role in drafting social security legislation – why not here too? Another radical but attractive proposal is to grant all citizens an inheritance payment on reaching adulthood, funded by a 2% tax on personal wealth. With the return to precarious employment, the state could guarantee work, with a minimum wage that actually meets people’s living costs. A maximum pay ratio in businesses would stop shamelessly self-interested CEOs paying limitless salaries and bonuses while their cleaners languish on poverty wages’

‘We need a whole new way of thinking. The nation’s wealth is not the product of the genius of a few canny entrepreneurs. It is a collective endeavour, the product of the labour of millions and the support of the state. The hospital cleaner, the road-builder, the teacher training up both workers and the entrepreneurs of the future: all help generate wealth. The state builds and maintains the infrastructure, funds the research, educates the nation, protects property and tops up low wages. So much of our collectively produced wealth should not be locked away in a few bank accounts. The triumphalists will tell us that there is no other way. They are wrong, and it’s about time we called their bluff.’

April 5, 2015

In the Absence of War =- A Play for Today

Filed under: History in the making, Left Politics, Politics, Scotland, War — derryvickers @ 8:01 am

David Hare’s almost documentary play on Labour’s failure to take over power from John Major in 1992 – ‘In the Absence of War’ – is showing across the Country. Last week it was at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow.

The play is about a charismatic politician (Kinnock) who is in front in the Polls but fails at the last hurdle. Follows the party policy instead of his gut feel (cf Borgen).

I was enthralled but  I can’t say I was ‘entertained’ – too much nearer the present truth.

As Joyce McMillan sets out in her article in yesterday’s Scotsman


Some critics say there is comedy in the play.

To me the play is Shakespearean tragedy or possibly Sophocles.

‘Alas poor Yorick, I knew him well’

A fuller piece by David Hare himself


Hare states:

‘It had long been evident that in any democratic society, whatever the current flux of ideology, there will always be two major parties, one protecting Money and the other representing Justice’.  We shall see whether still true in May!


To our local politics here in Scotland in the last paragraph of McMillan’s article re the SNP, she posits ‘and asking which of those huge, political-soul-destroying pressures it can resist, once it is drawn into the corrupt and charismatic world of serious Westminster politics’.


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