To applause, she added she had "held back a little".
1. Economic justice
Increase income tax for the top 5% of earners, reverse the Tories’ cuts in corporation tax and clamp down on tax avoidance, particularly of large corporations.
2. Social justice
Abolish Universal Credit and end the Tories’ cruel sanctions regime. Set a national goal for wellbeing to make health as important as GDP; Invest in services that help shift to a preventative approach. Stand up for universal services and defend our NHS. Support the abolition of tuition fees and invest in lifelong learning.
3. Climate justice
Put the Green New Deal at the heart of everything we do. There is no issue more important to our future than the climate emergency. A Clean Air Act to tackle pollution locally. Demand international action on climate rights.
4. Promote peace and human rights
No more illegal wars. Introduce a Prevention of Military Intervention Act and put human rights at the heart of foreign policy. Review all UK arms sales and make us a force for international peace and justice.
5. Common ownership
Public services should be in public hands, not making profits for shareholders. Support common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water; end outsourcing in our NHS, local government and justice system.
6. Defend migrants’ rights
Full voting rights for EU nationals. Defend free movement as we leave the EU. An immigration system based on compassion and dignity. End indefinite detention and call for the closure of centres such as Yarl’s Wood.
7. Strengthen workers’ rights and trade unions
Work shoulder to shoulder with trade unions to stand up for working people, tackle insecure work and low pay. Repeal the Trade Union Act. Oppose Tory attacks on the right to take industrial action and the weakening of workplace rights.
8. Radical devolution of power, wealth and opportunity
Push power, wealth and opportunity away from Whitehall. A federal system to devolve powers – including through regional investment banks and control over regional industrial strategy. Abolish the House of Lords – replace it with an elected chamber of regions and nations.
Pull down obstacles that limit opportunities and talent. We are the party of the Equal Pay Act, Sure Start, BAME representation and the abolition of Section 28 – we must build on that for a new decade.
|He used to be quite a personable young man. |
and, peeping out of the bookcase behind him, could be seen a book cover bearing the top of his head from healthier days and his name in very large print.
Yes, its Conference Season! Brighton! Hotels! Late Night Drunkenness! Promiscuity! (oops, sorry, networking). Here's mr ishmael on Conference:
WHERE'S THE UNIONS? drafted 9/12/2010
Sometime in my
lifetime, maybe before, trades union leaders, most of them, came to see
themselves as an informal arm of govament; it's true, there was
McGahey and Scargill and Red Robbo, but there was also Len Murray, Lord
Murray, eventually, if you please, slithering in and out of Downing
Street; there was Tom Jackson-Moustache of the Post Office Workers but
there was also the repulsive and incompetent Alan Johnson, currently
doping so well as shadow to wee George Spunkface.
Before the 2005 election something called the Warwick Agreement was struck between union bosses and the Labour Party*.
I remember, once, seeing a letter from Harry Fletcher,* lifetime deputy
boss of NAPO, the probation officers' union, or professional
association, as they prefer it to be styled; it was in response to a
very genuinely urgent grievance felt by a member: I am sorry I have
been unable to get back to you, I have been busy lunching with
ministers; honest, not invent, helping to formulate strategies, or some
such, he would have been, useless little turd. On another occasion, at
a NAPO conference, word went around from the leadership, then the
unpardonably loathsome Judy McKnight, that angry members should not
heckle and barrack the pipsqueak, NewLabour arsehole, Paul Boateng, as
he angrily threatened to draw a ministerial red line through the entire
probation service; we shouldn't heckle him because it would seem
racist, him being a Man of Colour and everything, and probably mess up
hers and little fat Harry's chances of a peerage, or a QUANGO, at the
Or that we would all be bamboozled by his nauseating, ever so humble performance at the TUC - which in every previous year he had always treated with absolute contempt?
A few years ago a speech from the PM would still have generated a polite ovation. Not any more. For the most part, delegates sat in stony silence and, as the BBC's Nick Assinder reported, even when promised that the government would not renege on pledges in 'the Warwick agreement' made in June, 'they were far from overcome with excitement or gratitude'.
What seems to have escaped the New Labour policy wonks is that trying to shift the focus of the debates that are likely to take place in the run-up to a general election away from the war and onto domestic issues does not necessarily make anybody feel much better. Most right thinking punters are every bit as pissed off with privatisation, tuition fees and government-inspired hysteria over the 'war on terror' as they have been appalled at the unremitting carnage in Iraq.
Even for a Blair at his smooth talking best, winning the hearts and minds of a hostile TUC was never going to be easy - the forked tongue being especially visible given that all the pally chat came at the same time as 104,000 civil servants face the sack.
But that would be to miss the point. Blair's main purpose was to lend
credibility to the Big Four union leaders whose loyalty to the Labour
Party has been put under enormous stress in the last couple of years
because of their own members' bitterness at New Labour's agenda. This
anger has erupted on the industrial front in the last few weeks with
very successful strikes on the Yorkshire buses and at British Airways.
And the political expression has been evident in the sensational
results for Respect candidates in Stepney and Millwall.
Despite all the assertions of still being completely in charge and raring to go, Blair is actually up to his eyeballs in the brown stuff and that is the real reason why, as one commentator put it, 'he presented delegates in the Brighton conference centre with a notably different prime minister from the one they have come to expect... there was no lecturing, threatening or casting aside. And there was absolutely no reference to the "forces of conservatism" or "wreckers". Calculated, deliberate and utterly self-serving as usual, the distinct shift of tone adopted by Blair actually marks the culmination of a long spell of backdoor scheming all designed to bring leaders of the four biggest unions - Amicus, Unison, the TGWU and GMB - back on board in the run-up to an election. Those with any sense inside the New Labour machine realise that the support of the Big Four is absolutely essential. Like it or not, the party still relies heavily on union cash to survive. If the recent disaffiliations of the RMT and FBU were to spread to the GMB, Labour HQ would be driven to panic stations. The Big Four are every bit as important when it comes to the Labour Party conference because of the block voting system. Yet according to one 'senior union figure' quoted in the Guardian, 'The new generation of union leaders don't have any personal loyalty to Tony Blair... they may not have moved against him over Iraq, but the war legitimised their thinking that they owe him nothing and they don't have to be deferential towards him.'
But rather than press home their advantage and blow Blair out of the
water, leaders of the Big Four - and Brendan Barber of the TUC - have
settled for a bit of pretty shabby horse trading. Tony Woodley of the
TGWU made this clear in the Morning Star on the same day as
Blair's speech to the TUC: 'The disappointments the movement has with
the government's record - and there are many - will be tempered by the
realisation that we have to work for a Labour victory at that election,
whenever it comes.'
In the weeks since the Warwick agreement leaders of all the main unions have gone out of their way to talk up the concessions which they said had been made by the government. Woodley claimed that ministers had made 'several significant concessions'. Similar claims have been repeated by Prentis, who states categorically that the net result of the concessions made at Warwick is that 'it will be harder for PFI to be carried out at the expense of the workforce and that it will be easier to invest in public services without using PFI'.
Yet the Warwick agreement is not really an agreement at all. It is more a shopping list of demands put in front of the Labour Party chairman, Ian McCartney: issues from skills training to rights of migrant workers, action to tackle workplace violence and uprating of redundancy. All very laudable aspirations in their own right (56 of them in all) but you will have a job finding a copy of an actual agreement anywhere, least of all from the Labour Party.
One or two very minor concessions have been made on employment rights at Labour's conference and some of these might even find their way into the manifesto, but what happens after that is anybody's guess. It certainly doesn't seem to fall into the category of 'major concessions', let alone herald the death knell of New Labour's market-driven manifesto. Away from the national policy forum, every other indicator points to the fact that both Number 10 and Number 11 Downing Street have not the slightest intention of budging from their 'reform agenda' for public services. Why bring Milburn and Mandelson back and why line up 104,000 civil servants for the sack if what you have in mind is to head for what Derek Simpson dreamily informs us is going to be a 'historic, radical and progressive third term'?
Warwick actually provides a very dangerous smokescreen for the government to neutralise the Big Four, all the better to leave Mark Serwotka and the Public and Commercial Services' Union out on a limb. This would be a disaster for every other union. It would put the government's privatisation plans right back on track. Rather than spending hours listening to Wee Ian McCartney, the Big Four would be much better employed getting round a table with all the other unions in the TUC and making joint plans for mass demonstrations and strike action in defence of the PCS.
Too late, now, of course
Fairness at work
mr ishmael's essay today is:
WHERE'S THE UNIONS? drafted 9/12/2010
"Why don't you write a book, my friend said to me, for forty years. There's enough books, don't need any more fucking books, books're the last thing we need more of. The last time he asked, a couple of years back, I wanted to say Well, in a sense, I have, it's called stanislav, a young Polish plumber."
|Birmingham Pride 2021. Shame I missed it.|