Despite finishing second in the recent general election Jacinda Ardern’s Labour Party will lead the next government of New Zealand after reaching an agreement with the centre-left Green Party and the conservative populists of New Zealand First. The move will result in New Zealand’s first government not led by the National Party since 2008 and as a result much attention has been paid to what the priorities of the next administration will be. In recent days Ardern has been more explicit in what her government will do and on the whole the Left should welcome the announcements, although there are some caveats that need to be added.
Because Parliament is in recess most political news has moved into two distinct categories: commentary on reports that were going to come out anyway or political gossip and speculation. One story that is gaining popularity in some parts of the press is the idea of outspoken Conservative MP Jacob Rees-Mogg launching a leadership to replace Theresa May as Tory Party leader. If such a bid was successful Rees-Mogg would also become Prime Minister, the third of which in two years. People began to talk about how ‘funny’ the idea of a Rees-Mogg premiership would be but the notion of the MP for North East Somerset becoming Prime Minister should jolt the Left out of any complacency that they may have slipped into after May’s failure to form a majority government at the last election. A side note is that all references to Rees-Mogg’s voting record come from TheyWorkForYou.com.
Jess Mayo is a businesswoman and local political activist. She is a member of the Green Party of England and Wales and is the party’s candidate for the parliamentary seat of Manchester Gorton. The UK general election will be held on 8th June 2017. We sat down with Ms Mayo at the Green Party’s headquarters in Chorlton for the first of a series of interviews with left-wing general election candidates in this constituency. Here is what she had to say.
The Labour Party has been characterised by the Tories and the right-win press as hating business and anyone who earns a living in the private sector. Naturally this is untrue, but it is a powerful idea given the millions people who people who work for for-profit entities. A while ago I argued that Labour’s future electoral success doesn’t mean moderating their policies, but articulating how socialist principles can be of benefit to businesses. Although this has a philosophical contradiction, insofar as collective ownership of the means of production and capitalism are inherently opposed, in the short term a left-wing case involving business will be required. It appears that John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn are that case, and it isn’t such that it will alienate businesspeople.
Politics is seen in a negative light in the eyes of many people for a number of reasons, and one of the most widespread perceptions is the idea of politicians promising a laundry list of things in manifestos before doing the opposite when in power. The Tories have a terrible record of doing this over the last seven years but the Budget announced a few days ago provides another such example. If the Tories are going to be beaten there needs to be a coordinated strategy calling them out for this hypocrisy as well as messages put out about how the Budget is appalling for ordinary people.
The Labour Party exists to represent the working people of Britain. It’s founders, inspired by socialist thinkers throughout the ages, wished for ordinary people should be represented in the corridors of power. For many years they were successful in doing this, however although the years of New Labour put the party into government, working people felt abandoned. The difficulties that the Labour Party currently face are in part because of this feeling of abandonment. Labour need to change tack so that they can return to government whilst also sticking to their socialist principles. The example I shall take is how Labour should approach the business community.
The fragile but promising democracy of The Gambia has been given a boosted after the European Union announced that it would provide the country with €225 million of investment. The EU’s Commissioner for International Development and Cooperation Neven Mimica has said that “there is no time to lose” and that the money will “make sure that the new Gambian state can deliver as it should… that it can deliver up to the high expectations of its people”. Considering the dire situation of The Gambia’s public finances, the country needs all the help it can get, but there are certain things that must be kept out of negotiations.