Better Politics – Different Politics – Corbyn Politics

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Modern politics are stale politics, and have become meaningless to so many. The number of people engaging in voting has been in decline since 1945. Working class voters  are detached from the political process, their voices unheard as politicians  became middle-class, Oxbridge PPE educated.

Heath-fig-1Working Class MPs in Britain (%), 1964-2010 

(The rise of Middle class in politics)

So Westminster has become more and more remote, and politicians further from identifying with the needs of ordinary people. The People’s Parliament is supposed to be the mouthpiece of people. Politicians are elected to serve people and speak for people. These days governments seem to be about controlling people. Politics is Upside-Down. Rather than people making decisions we are being told what to do. Or what we can’t do.

We are told we cannot afford compassion, we cannot ensure our social security, we cannot afford health and education, and decent homes for all. We are told there has to be Austerity because we have no money.  This is a lie.

  1. The government issues money, and it does so by public spending.

  2. Wealth is created by working  people – not banks, or rich business owners.

  3. Life’s essentials – food, water, energy, warmth and shelter have been sold for profit, and allow the rich to  divide and control because of people’s  fear of destitution.

If politics is to change for the better, we need to all be a part of it. We  need the Labour movement to reach the voices of ordinary men and women.  We don’t want a nanny state looking down telling us what to do.

We do want to be part of  society, one where we all belong, can contribute, where there is no poverty. We want opportunities for all , and we want security. We want a Responsible State, a Courageous State.

A Responsible State – is a society where we all collectively work for the benefit of everyone, ensuring opportunities for everyone. A Responsible state ensures that when crisis , illness or old age , we care for one another. A Responsible State is not the law of the jungle – it is not neoliberalism , it is the basis of civilisation.

A Courageous State (RichardJMurphy)  is driven by the principles that

  • People come first;
  • People must have the opportunity to achieve their potential;
  • Poverty is unacceptable;
  • Sustainability is essential;
  • Balance is best for human well-being;
  • Government has to work well;
  • Real business deserves strong support.

Lack of Democracy in recent governments is because they have protected the powers of the very rich, and their  lobbyists. Secret trade deals like TTIP  are dangerous and must be opposed. The first principle  of the  Courageous State, i.e.) that “People come First” has been lost. That is where we must now begin.

The surge of support for Jeremy Corbyn as the next leader of the Labour party has astounded everyone. Perhaps we underestimated the anger.

Politicians,  caught unaware by surge of popularity  for Jeremy Corbyn, are fearful of sudden change. We are so entrenched in Thatcher’s neoliberalism. But if we listen, if we are courageous, if we learn why Jeremy Corbyn has inspired people, we will realise that this is an exciting time in politics. The Labour Party, will become, once again, the People’s Party. And that will be wonderful.

Here is Jeremy Corbyn’s vision for 20:20 .

It is one we can all share.

Labour must reconnect in all parts of Britain from Southampton to Nuneaton to Kilmarnock.

There is a clear choice: to accept the Tories’ race to the bottom on cuts or to set out a vision of a modern, innovative country.  We cannot cut our way to prosperity.And we need something different – a better kind of politics too.

With Jeremy Corbyn as leader, Labour will be able to reconnect with Britain with policies designed to deliver in every part of the country

jeremy house of commons

Jeremy is standing to deliver:

  • A new kind of politics: a fairer, kinder Britain based on innovation, decent jobs and decent public services.
  • Growth not austerity – with a national investment bank to help create tomorrow’s jobs and reduce the deficit fairly. Fair taxes for all – let the broadest shoulders bear the biggest burden to balance the books.
  • A lower welfare bill through investment and growth not squeezing the least well-off and cuts to child tax credits.
  • Action on climate change – for the long-term interest of the planet rather than the short-term interests of corporate profits.
  • Public ownership of railways and in the energy sector – privatisation has put profits before people.
  • Decent homes for all in public and private sectors by 2025 through a big housebuilding programme and controlling rents.
  • No more illegal wars, a foreign policy that prioritises justice and assistance. Replacing Trident not with a new generation of nuclear weapons but jobs that retain the communities’ skills.
  • Fully-funded NHS, integrated with social care, with an end to privatisation in health.
  • Protection at work – no zero hours contracts, strong collective bargaining to stamp out workplace injustice.
  • Equality for all – a society that accepts no barriers to everyone’s talents and contribution. An end to scapegoating of migrants.
  • A life-long national education service for decent skills and opportunities throughout our lives: universal childcare, abolishing student fees and restoring grants, and funding adult skills training throughout our lives

Our Watchword is Unity. In that is our Strength.

We should all share Jeremy Corbyn’s Vision for Education

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We should all share Jeremy Corbyn’s Vision for Education

By Naomi Fearon, previously Published here on Labour Futures

Recently we have seen Jeremy Corbyn announce his proposal for a National Education Service. This proposal is based around what Jeremy sees as the fundamental and underlying principle of education which is, “A collective good that empowers society and the economy”. It is worth noting that our education system has undergone some changes these last few years, most of which have included cuts, further privatisation through academies and free schools, more curriculum alterations and a continued rise in tuition fees. It is clear that Jeremy genuinely values education and the profession, stating in a written address to The Socialist Educational Association (SEA), Labour’s only educational affiliate, that, “In a fast changing world where new technology is making new jobs and breaking old ones, and information of every kind is instantly available, we need an education system that opens minds and imagination”. In this address he also referred to teachers as “dedicated” and was scathing of the fact that teaching by some, has not been valued as a specialist skill. With such clear passion and vision for education, it is not hard to see why Jeremy has won the supporting nomination from The SEA.

Through the National Educational Service proposal, Jeremy outlines his belief that like our NHS, the education system should be ‘from cradle to grave’. Further education has taken quite a battering over the last few years with the adult skills budget being slashed by 40% since 2010. The Association of Colleges (AoC) has predicted that if the spending cuts continue at their present rate the actual budget outside of apprenticeships will be reduced to zero by 2020 with no public funding remaining for any courses outside higher education and the student loan scheme. In his National Education Service proposal, Jeremy has stated that he would reverse the cuts and would look to significantly expand the adult education service. This would be funded by a 2% rise in corporation tax and would enable anyone of any age regardless of their background or circumstances to retrain or learn something new, opening up a wide range of opportunities.

At the opposite end of the education spectrum, Jeremy is keen to ensure that all children have equal opportunity to pre-school education. A report in 2014 by The Family and Childcare Trust showed that many parents in Britain are paying more for childcare annually than the average mortgage bill. The trust says childcare in England, Wales and Scotland is becoming increasingly unaffordable with a 27% rise in costs since 2009, while wages have remained static. Rightly dismissing what he calls the false dichotomy between early years and adult education, Jeremy argues for free universal childcare recognising that the current system is patchy and rather costly to say the least stating that, “Some families who are very poor can get a place, those who are well off can pay and everyone in between has to make their own arrangements”.

Recognising that education is a right and should not be a privilege, Jeremy has called for the abolition of tuition fees and the restoration of maintenance grants. He has proposed that free university should be funded through a higher rate of national insurance on the highest earners and by bringing Britain’s paltry rate of corporation tax up from 20% to 20.5%. Both the National Campaign against Fees and Cuts and the Labour Campaign for Free Education are supporting Jeremy for leader and unsurprisingly he is proving popular with university students, many of whom are turning up to see him at rallies. Tuition fees have been a widely contested issue since their introduction in 1998 under New Labour, with continuous demos from students calling for their removal. The abolition would be a welcomed policy by many and ensure that anyone entering Higher Education would not be saddled with a large burden of debt once they left.

Hot on the heels of tackling one controversial issue, Jeremy has been unafraid to take on another; academies and free schools. Academies since their introduction in 2000 have again, like tuition fees, been a widely contested issue. Whilst a few individual academies and free schools may do well, overall the programme has been a failure. In January of this year, the House of Commons Education Committee concluded that

“It is too early to judge whether academies raise standards overall or for disadvantaged children” also stating that “Academisation is not always successful nor is it the only proven alternative for a struggling school”.

Ofsted’s 2014 annual report stated that

“It is too early to judge the overall performance of free schools”.

These findings, along with continual financial scandals and the closures of some free schools has continued to paint a rather grim picture for the already unpopular programme. Jeremy voted against the introduction of both types and schools and has called for them to be taken back under local authority control. As Jeremy puts it “Why was it believed the ability to run a business, to sell cars or carpets might make you best-placed to run a school?” Recognising that schools should be accountable to parents and communities and not private market interests and board rooms, Jeremy would seek to rebuild our much fragmented school system.

Amongst Jeremy’s education proposals, it is important not to forget that Jeremy clearly values teachers. Any key element of a successful working partnership should be trust, co-operation and communication clearly something both Michael Gove and Nicky Morgan have failed to comprehend. It is no secret that the relationship between the teaching profession and the government has been anything but harmonious with previous education secretary Michael Gove referring to the profession as ‘enemies of promise’ and a ‘Marxist blob’. With relations showing little signs of thawing, any incoming Labour leader would need to defend our much maligned teachers against such attacks. Government figures from last year show that teachers are working up to 60 hours a week with many leaving the profession altogether. Jeremy recognises that the profession has been highly demoralised stating,

“Let’s thank and value teachers, and try to reduce the stress levels. I talk to a lot of teachers and so many say, ‘I would love to recommend teaching as a career but I don’t want anyone to do what I have had to do. The pressure is too great.’ That should not be so.”

Jeremy is right to address this issue as in order to have a world class education system we need to ensure that teaching is an attractive profession, not one full of over-worked and over-stressed teachers – many of whom are leaving in their droves.

It is clear that Jeremy knows that education should be lifelong and based around creativity, democracy, co-operation and equal opportunity – this is a vision we should all share.