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.
George Galloway is an outspoken politician and broadcaster. He was a member of the UK Labour Party but was expelled from the organisation in 2003. He later became the leader of RESPECT and was elected as the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow in 2005 on the RESPECT Party ticket. He is now an independent candidate for Manchester Gorton in the upcoming UK general election. The general election will take place on 8th June. We sat down with Mr Galloway at his campaign headquarters in Levenshulme for the second of this interview series. This is what he had to say.
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 Tories support the idea of a ‘property-owning democracy’ and have enacted policies like Right to Buy and Help to Buy to make this ideological principle into a reality. However the Tories are failing to do this, and criticism of the Tories in accordance with their own logic is important if they are going to be defeated in an election. According to the OECD, Britain is 32nd out of 37 countries when it comes to home-ownership among families the report characterises as ‘just managing’. The housing crisis is at intolerable levels for millions of people across Britain, and the Left needs to put forward a convincing case to deal with the immediate problem.
Earlier this month the housing charity Shelter analysed the number of homeless people in the England. The analysis combined the official figures from four different sources: national government statistics, the number of people in hostels, those in temporary accommodation, and the number of people on waiting lists for social housing. From these figures, it’s estimated that over 250,000 people are homeless in England alone. Labour has worked with Shelter for a number of years and it appears that the party are proposing bold solutions to this injustice.
I recently had the good fortune to visit the city of Berlin in Germany. As well as doing all the standard tourism stuff I did some research into how the people of the city think about Germany politically and how they perceive the city’s past. I came across a phenomenon called ‘Ostalgia’ which I wanted to unpack. Ostalgia is literally nostalgia for East Germany (‘ost’ is east in German), and this can be from people who previously lived behind the Berlin Wall or people who look back on the DDR with a romantic longing.