Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
As I have been saying

Cross-party cooperation on the left? It's not as mad as it sounds

David Boyle  The Guardian

It is called The Alternative, and I'm rather proud that my own essay, on a new approach to economic policy, provides the second chapter (the first is by the most optimistic commentator in western Europe, Neal Lawson). Whatever people say about those chapters, the book as a whole will provide a background text to the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton this weekend, after another major setback (the Brexit vote); and we will hear a great deal more about building a cross-party platform on the left.

Lib Dems are all optimists at heart. They have  to be. But there are some rather obvious barriers to a pan-left platform at the next election: three in particular:

First, there are no mechanisms in any of the formal party structures to organise a formal pact. It will take every particle of Paddy Ashdown's considerable energy, through his new More United platform, to make it remotely possible for anyone to stand down in favour of anyone else....


And there are additional complicatins to which only vague allusions are made, not least the division between Corbyn and the Blairite Parliamentary Party.

Second, Labour party members dislike each other so much that they seem unable to work together, let alone with anyone outside....

Third, and rather less obviously, the formal parties of the left - Labour, Lib Dems and Greens - have long since become bored by economics, forgetting that any winning platform must include a challenging recipe for creating prosperity.

There never was a period in recent history when a better way of doing this was needed more, given that we are subservient to an economy devoted to funnelling money upwards to billionaires, from where it patently fails to trickle down....



"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Sep 18th, 2016 at 12:58:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, the economic planning within Labour has always been weak. Even Gordon Brown and Alaistair Darling mainly borrowed their ideas from the Chicago school.

Corbyn is trying to do something different with no underlying idea of how to go about it. It's a serious, disabling, weakness

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Sep 18th, 2016 at 04:27:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Corbyn is trying to do something different with no underlying idea of how to go about it. It's a serious, disabling, weakness

We'll it's not exactly well-trodden ground, it? Wtf is the alternative, Osborne-lite a la May? Recycled third way BS?

He's venturing where no one dares to tread and has the support of millions who respect his opinions and are damn determined to have a last shot at making democracy work.

What will make or break him is the quality of cabinet, especially Treasury, he can appoint.

Any opinions on that?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Sep 18th, 2016 at 06:58:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems that Corbyn has very little talent at his disposal and almost anyone with any ministerial experience is a Blairista.  The quality of the various leadership candidates who have stood against him has been appalling.  You wouldn't put any of them in charge of a major ministry, and that is even before you considered their political leanings, which are of course, all anti-Corbyn.

Labour need to do some serious reselection of candidates not just to get rid of some anti-Corbynites, but to attract some talent to the party. Most of the PLP at the moment seem to be time-serving placeholders for whom politics is a career and ministerial positions a reward for long service.  They are currently whinging that Corbyn isn't giving them their due and guaranteeing their re-selection, despite them stabbing him front and back at every opportunity.

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Sep 18th, 2016 at 07:45:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, front and back, but also on live TV - too many times. Alas, the most likely remedy any time soon would be a real, succesfull Guy Falkwes Day - best done during Prime Minister's Questions. But that would likely take out Corbyn and others of his supporters. better, but less likely, would be a massive shift in public attitudes giving rise to popular demand for new elections.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Sep 19th, 2016 at 03:42:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reading Tony Judt's Ill fares the land for starters... But I honestly think there has been written enough. The knowledge is available, the scholars are available.

What IMO has been lacking the most, politically, is cohesive narrative.

by Bjinse on Sun Sep 18th, 2016 at 09:08:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree, you really need to refresh the PLP to get talent on board. The Blairite fast-track scheme created, over the 15 years of operation, a plp largely devoid of competence, imagination or, indeed, anything other than a stolid preference for centre right policies.

But I think they need to reach out and create an effective economics advisory team. It is regrettable that Stiglitz and Piketty were frozen out when really they should have been encouraged to create the foundations for a new Labour economic policy. Steve Keen and Varoufakis should have been welcomed in as well.

When you are creating afresh from whole cloth, as Labour imagine themselves to be doing, you need the very best minds and encourage them to reach for realistic 21st century solutions for the society we want. Time servers and ideological sycophants will not do it but I suspect that's what we'l get. And it won't work and doom the entire project

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 19th, 2016 at 10:39:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the problem no doubt is that if you get the best minds in, the current placeholders may be made to feel small and insignificant. Fragile egos may not accept this.

70 years ago the last time this was tried  people had had 5 years of actual contact with and reliance on experts. because there was no other choice rather than 40 years of films that sold experts as geeks and nerds and not to be trusted

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Sep 19th, 2016 at 05:40:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, that's a very good point

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 19th, 2016 at 06:10:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well one problem here is that all the people you mention have different economics. I'm not sure that Picketty's model is compatible with Keen's for example. And I think McDonnel also has his own economic world view. Finally inviting too many primadonna experts into your team can blow up spectacularly. For example Richard Murphy of "people's QE" fame now supports Owen Smith.

Just thinking about the practical. Ideally you'd want to get rid of most of the 172 who voted no confidence. However since there is no way to do so before the next election you'll probably have to try to keep the majority onboard. If more than half split they could claim official opposition and the media could freeze Corbyn out.
Supposing Corbyn wins of course. NEC would have to purge well over 100k voters . And there are some indications they just night.

by generic on Mon Sep 19th, 2016 at 06:52:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, of course yes. But it's not as if any front rank economist is going to soil himself with Labour after the way Stiglitz and Piketty were treated. So it's McDonnel only (we're doomed)

Well, the boundary changes will have an impact on some of the 172. TBH, I don't think you have to get rid of anything like the amjority; there are those who have no real argument but require more organisational competence from the top, there are those who can be accomodated and there are a few who really ought to be banished to the darkest, coldest backbenches to make their own minds up about their future. I'd suggest that there are possibly fewer than 20 irreconcilables.

That said, I think the membership who have been stripped of their vote are pretty miffed to say the least and will want some high profile heads.

But most commentators suggest that Corbyn is going to walk it

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Sep 19th, 2016 at 07:14:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I haven't heard anything from Stiglitz or Piketty. And it is pretty difficult to accurately appoint blame in this case.
But frankly you have an economic advisory board as a form of advocacy. You don't keep them around for advice.
Maybe Keen's work is getting close to giving you useful input, but you don't really need economists if you take some general MMT points on board and don't try to do complicated things. If you have a housing crisis build social housing, if you have unemployment hire people and if you have a climate apocalypse build better infrastructure, raise taxes on bad things and outright ban even worse things.
And more than economists you need international law experts to warn you of the traps the neoliberal international has left. As well as experts on the internal structure of your political entity. UK political institutions aren't likely to be friendlier to even the mildest socialism than the NEC.
Having said all that I don't think that Corbyn's labour currently has anything close to a sufficient plan. And realistically they will spend the next few years on the defensive against Tory insanity and sniping from the backbenches.
by generic on Mon Sep 19th, 2016 at 08:46:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Guardian - Former Corbyn adviser Thomas Piketty criticises Labour's 'weak' EU fight

The French economist Thomas Piketty has criticised Jeremy Corbyn's "weak campaign" for Britain to remain in the EU as he confirmed that he had quit as an adviser to to the Labour leader.


keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Sep 20th, 2016 at 12:03:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
IOW, he resigned from advising a Labour Party whose PLP membership were largely Blairites.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Sep 20th, 2016 at 03:04:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, now I remember.
However what he said explicitly was:
Mr Piketty added the decision was "not because of political disagreement" but "simply because I was never able to find the time to be properly involved in this council".
But, he added: "That being said, I am of course deeply concerned with the Brexit vote, and with the weak campaign of Labour (even though Corbyn is obviously not the primary [person] responsible for this disaster)."

From here
I know others were a lot more bitter about the whole thing but this seems to be the Guardian spinning again.

by generic on Tue Sep 20th, 2016 at 03:14:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Could they creditably parachute Steve Keen into a traditionly staunch Labour constituency and then appoint him to Treasury? He is from a Commenwealth  nation.    

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Mon Sep 19th, 2016 at 08:39:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No need for anything that formal. Bring him into McDonnel's planning meetings on an ad hoc basis

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Sep 20th, 2016 at 12:00:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That would be a workaround. But can an advisor be appointed to the Cabinet if they are not an MP? I know a member from Lords can be.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Sep 20th, 2016 at 03:07:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be good to do both. McDonnel's Plannign meetings could serve admaribly to broadening the understanding of existing Labour MPs - at the risk of tipping off Blairites and who ever they wished to inform.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Sep 20th, 2016 at 03:14:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Top Diaries

Occasional Series