Friday, 30 June 2017

"A Good Man Fallen Among Fabians"?

Very soon, the Fabian Executive will be up for election. Members will vote for up to 10 candidates, and the top 10 will be elected for a two-year term, provided that at least two must be under 31 years of age at the time of election. There are also a few regional and other reps, but the 10 are the big ones.
 
My 70-word statement will read: “Jeremy Corbyn is the most culturally significant British politician in living memory, the most agenda-setting Leader of the Opposition ever, and the global leader of the opposition to neoliberal economic policy and to neoconservative foreign policy. Fabians must co-ordinate that critique at home and abroad, in preparation for the Corbyn Government that will lead Britain and the world out of politically chosen austerity, and away from wars of political choice.
 
In 2015, even the highest scoring of the 10 successful candidates won only 464 votes, while the lowest scoring was elected with a mere 305. You do not necessarily have to be a member of the Labour Party, or anything like that. The Fabian Society can be joined here. But hurry. And if possible, then do please let me know: davidaslindsay@hotmail.com.
 
The Executive meets quarterly, and if we could stretch to 10 candidates, of whom at least two were under 31, then so much the better in order to take control of the Society’s prestigious name and not inconsiderable resources for publication and conference purposes. But come what may, I for one will certainly be doing this. Third time lucky? Luck does not enter into it.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Proudly Parochial

The supporters, and perhaps even the persons, of Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson ought to keep in mind that they owe their respective positions to the votes of large numbers of the same people. In similar vein, I am getting it in both my left and my right ears about Lanchester Parish Council. As a former long-serving member, who stood down voluntarily in 2013 and who then failed to win back his seat this year, I comment with some trepidation. But people have asked for my view. Therefore, here it is.

I voted for 15 candidates to fill the 15 seats on Lanchester Parish Council, and 12 of those candidates were elected. Among those 12 were, and are, Labour, Independent, Conservative and Liberal Democrat representatives. No one on that Council would have been elected on the votes of people who had voted only Labour, or only Independent, or only Conservative, or only Liberal Democrat. Such ballot papers were submitted, but I was at the count, and I can assure you that there were not enough of them to have elected anybody. Everyone who was elected ought to keep that in mind.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Unallowable

Most people have no idea that the councillor's allowance exists, and most of those have no idea how much it is. To the general public, being on the council is voluntary work in the evenings, by people with full-time day jobs. How little they realise. Although the allowance is paid for attendance at as few as four meetings per year. Anything over and above that is, in that narrow sense, voluntary.

At the very least, it ought to be illegal for any council pay any of its staff less than it paid its members. And at the very, very least, the Leader of the Labour Party ought not to appear on a platform with any member of the majority Group on any council that failed to adhere to that rule. Such a member ought to be booed heartily by the crowd at, for example, the Durham Miners' Gala.

The basic allowance for a member of Durham County Council is £13,300. The pay of at least a large minority of that authority's Teaching Assistants will soon be less than that.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Teaching Assistance, Indeed

I do not mean this question rhetorically. What says my Member of Parliament, and apparently now my near neighbour, Laura Pidcock, on the latest development in the saga of Durham County Council and the Teaching Assistants? On her answer depends whether or not she will be worth a vote at the next General Election, no matter how desperately one might yearn for a Corbyn Government, a yearning that is not shared by the Leadership of Durham County Council. The same is true of every other Labour MP is this county, which is of course every other MP at all in this county.
 
Laura walked out of the Teaching Assistants' Solidarity Rally when their principal spokeswoman on last night's Look North, a Lanchester resident who is therefore also now a constituent of Laura's, called for a vote against every Labour candidate at what were then the forthcoming local elections. Under the influence of people very close to Laura, and of one in particular, the TAs seemed to back away from that simple and brilliant strategy.

As a result, Labour kept control of Durham County Council and the injustice continues unrectified. If Labour had lost that control, then it would have been possible to call for a Labour vote at the recent General Election, and it would be possible to call for a Labour vote at the forthcoming one. But as things stood, that was possible only at Easington last time. Will it be possible anywhere else next time?
 
The Teaching Assistants will march again at the Durham Miners' Gala this year. One speaker, Steve Gillan of the Prison Officers' Association, has already assured me that he will march with them. Will Jeremy Corbyn, Angela Rayner, Ken Loach and Len McCluskey, all of whom have offered strong support in the past, do likewise? For that matter, will Laura Pidcock, who already seems to be getting a lot of coverage as a poster girl for the Left?

Saturday, 10 June 2017

General Election Roundup

I told you that there would be a hung Parliament.

Nicola Sturgeon has some nerve, calling for Theresa May to resign because she had taken her party from a hung Parliament to a minority government. Sturgeon took her own party from a hung Parliament to a minority government. I said then that she ought to resign. And I say now that May ought to resign. So much for "the ruthless Tories". If that were true, then May would have been removed yesterday morning. If they have any sense, then they will put in David Davis, who is mildly anti-war, and who is a good civil libertarian who fought and won a court case on those issues alongside Tom Watson. He is also a friend of George Galloway's.

If there is another General Election this year, then vote Labour in every constituency in Great Britain. No exceptions. None. We could sort out any difficulties once we had won. Labour has just won Kensington, the wealthiest constituency in the country. Anything is now possible. Anything. Those who say that Labour's policies were more popular than Jeremy Corbyn was, they were Labour's policies only because Corbyn was Labour's Leader. Both the policies and the Leader have clearly gone down well in Kensington.

The attack line about murky connections to Northern Ireland 30 years ago has been blown out of the water by the fact that Theresa May now intends, not in the 1980s but today, to be sustained in office by a party from over there which has its own history of paramilitarism, and which has a large financial scandal still hanging over it. Now, the DUP has its moments. Its votes helped to stop David Cameron from intervening in Syria. It is economically populist, favouring investment in infrastructure, as well as the retention of the Triple Lock on pensions. But even so. The facts are the facts.

Craig Mackinlay has been re-elected. Although I would not have voted for him, I am quite pleased about that. As for Nigel Farage, he can no longer use the line that he has changed politics forever. If the seven times failed parliamentary candidate came back, then it would have to be on the grounds that Brexit was in mortal danger. Well, which is it, then?

Every good wish to Laura Pidcock now that she is the Member of Parliament for North West Durham. At 29, she clearly intends to stay for 35 or 40 years, The never-consulted Constituency Labour Party is already on manoeuvres. How do I know that? How do you think? She really does need to move here, having made such a fuss of the unnecessary claim that she already did. And she needs to become known at Westminster for the right reasons, not the wrong ones. No one wants a Geordie Jess Phillips. (Yes, of course I know that neither she nor her constituents are Geordies. But Private Eye or the Fleet Street sketch writers will not know that.)

With Laura installed, there is literally no remaining reason for the County Durham Labour machine's continuing persecution of me. It ought to withdraw its action forthwith. Indeed, it ought already to have done so by now. Its failure to do so has no motivation beyond malice and spite.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Fit To Print

Ladies, if I may be so bold, today is the 104th anniversary of the death of Emily Wilding Davison. She had thrown herself in front of the King's horse at the Derby four days before, in a protest demanding that women be given the vote.

I doubt that I shall ever quite forgive the Labour Party for having made it impossible for me to vote for it today. In most cases, everywhere outside County Durham (other than Easington) and outside Manchester Gorton, you should vote Labour. But I can't. And it hurts.

This time tomorrow, either Laura Pidcock will be the MP for North West Durham, or Laura Pidcock will not be the MP for North West Durham. Either way, there will be no remaining reason to persecute me, and I trust that the astonishingly ongoing attempt to do so will finally be dropped. Anything else would be too malicious and vindictive for words.

Two months ago, I had never voted for a Lib Dem candidate for anything. Lib Dems are surprisingly thin on the ground in Lanchester. But I have now voted Lib Dem twice. For Lanchester Parish Council, where no party ever runs a full slate and I trust that none ever will, I cast my 15 votes variously for Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Independent candidates, and for those of No Description. 12 of my 15 preferred candidates were elected, from the first four of those categories.

That was not a one off, although the Lib Dems had not put up here in the past. I have no need to be too tribal about politics, since my own position is so obvious. My parliamentary staff in 2020 would have comprised, and my parliamentary staff in 2022 will comprise, a broadly ecumenical spread. Of course, overarching and undergirding my many causes is that of bringing together the many critiques of neoliberal economic policy and of neoconservative foreign policy.

If anyone elected today fancied having me on the staff in order to pursue some or all of the many research options in that link, then do please get in touch. Bottom of the pay scale, of course. That would do me so long as I could carry on living here. Don't worry about anything that might still be hanging over me. Has a parliamentary pass ever been refused to anyone, anyone at all, who had been nominated for one by a Member of Parliament from Northern Ireland?

Those projects, and many others besides. My work to secure the translation into English, and the publication in this country, of Operation Israel, which is my friend HernĂ¡n Dobry's definitive account of Israel's arming of Argentina during the Falklands War. My work for the Dorje Shugden practitioners, who are persecuted by the Dalai Lama. My work on Modern Monetary Theory, my discovery of which ranks in my life as a light bulb moment second, although strictly second, to my discovery of Thomism. And so on.

In the meantime, if the print media are dead, then someone needs to tell George Osborne, and someone needs to tell the authors of this morning's front pages. The Sun's was an important reminder that that newspaper's almost entirely public school staff are in fact engaged in a joke on their readers. But the reason why alternatives have never come to anything has been because of a failure to appreciate that the sport and the showbiz are what hook those readers. Having bought the paper for those stories, they then read the politics as well.

It's obvious, but this point is lost on an awful lot of people. It is not, however, lost on me. Watch this space. In fact, don't just watch this space. Especially if you are looking for an investment opportunity, then do please get in touch.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

But YOU Probably Should Vote Labour

Why am not being loyal to Labour? Oh, I don't know, perhaps because nationally it has placed me under a lifetime ban from membership for almost as long as Laura Pidcock has been old enough to vote, while locally it is trying to frame me in a criminal trial.

And why am I not rallying to the Red Flag of Laura Pidcock? A tougher one, I admit. But perhaps because it is hardly as if she kept that Flag flying during the Blair years. I have no doubt that she sincerely opposed the Iraq War. But she was a 15-year-old schoolgirl at the time. I, on the other hand, was arguing the case on the General and Executive Committees of the Constituency Labour Party of the then Government Chief Whip. Laura's last leaflet disgraces her by carrying this photograph, accurately captioned though it is.


Laura also claims to live in Lanchester when she does not. She lives in Cramlington, where she recently lost her seat on Northumberland County Council. Laura's greatest disgrace, however, was when she walked out of the Teaching Assistants' Solidarity Rally because a speaker, from this constituency, had called for a vote against all Labour candidates at what were then the forthcoming elections to Durham County Council. Due to the advice of middle-aged adolescents close to Laura Pidcock, people who have never been involved in grown-up politics in their lives, that strategy was not adopted.

As a result, Labour retained Overall Control, justice for the Teaching Assistants is far from guaranteed, and those who have wronged them remain unpunished. It is therefore imperative, both that Grahame Morris be re-elected at Easington, and that all other Labour parliamentary candidates in County Durham be defeated. Moreover, here in North West Durham, we have the privilege of being able to vote for Owen Temple, who has been and who remains, with Alex Watson, one of the two greatest champions of the Teaching Assistants' cause among Durham County Councillors.

However, you are probably not reading this in North West Durham, or even in County Durham at all. If you are in Manchester Gorton, then I implore you that the present global situation is such that the whole world is crying out for the return of George Galloway to the Mother of Parliaments. Do your duty to the human race. Everywhere else in Great Britain, much the same can be said about the need to make Jeremy Corbyn the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in place of the current Saudi puppet regime in Downing Street and Whitehall.

So, yes, everywhere outside County Durham (other than Easington) and outside Manchester Gorton, Vote Labour.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

“The Most Dangerous Man In The Most Dangerous Country In The World”

This morning, I received the following anonymous letter from the United States, which I reproduce here as the single paragraph that it is:
 
Your England betrayed and partitioned Bharat. Your England betrayed and partitioned Eretz Israel. Who speaks for that England today? Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Diane Abbott, Len McCluskey and George Galloway are all over 60. Ken Livingstone and Ronnie Campbell are over 70. Dennis Skinner is over 80. Tony Benn and Tam Dalyell are dead. Angela Rayner, Richard Burgon, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Laura Pidcock could never appeal to your “Middle England”. But you, David Lindsay, are not yet 40 and you appeal to the middle class, you have friends on the right from London to Washington, D.C. You are the most dangerous man in the most dangerous country in the world. That is why we, the defenders of Bharat, the defenders of Eretz Israel, are sending you to jail and sending you to your death. If somehow you avoid the prison cell that we have prepared for you, you will be killed. We will attend your trial at Durham Crown Court on June 13 and any days following to make sure of it. Once you have been in that cell, you will be killed anyway. This letter has been sent to all the parts of your little network: “Councillor Alex Watson OBE”, Owen Temple, Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Diane Abbott, Len McCluskey, George Galloway, Ken Livingstone, Ronnie Campbell, Dennis Skinner, Angela Rayner, Richard Burgon, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Laura Pidcock, the Durham Teaching Assistants’ Committee, the Durham Miners’ Association, Durham Unite Community, the Durham Stop the War Coalition, the Durham People’s Bookshop, the Nottingham Centre for Theology and Philosophy, The Word, the Morning Star, the Northern Echo, The Universe, the Durham Police and Crime Commissioner, and all the rest of them. All those enemies of Bharat and Eretz Israel know that we, the defenders of Bharat and Eretz Israel, are either going to send you to jail and then kill you when you come out, or kill you if you are not sent to jail. You are not going to Parliament, you are going to prison, and then you are going to be killed. We are the heirs of Nuthurum Godse, we are the heirs of Moshe Sneh. You are going to be killed. You, David Lindsay, are going to die at our hands for Bharat and Eretz Israel. So is any lawyer who acted in your defense in any case, anywhere in the world, for the rest of your life. So is any witness who testified in your defense in any case, anywhere in the world, for the rest of your life. So is every member of any jury or bench that acquitted you in any case, anywhere in the world, for the rest of your life. All those will be killed for the defense of Bharat and Eretz Israel.
 
I am about to hand in the following to Durham City Police Station:
 
This morning, I received the letter that is attached to this statement. The envelope is also attached, from which you will see that it was posted on Friday 26th May in the United States, a country that I regret to say that I have never visited. I have of course kept copies of the letter and of the envelope; attached to this statement are the originals. Moreover, I have of course made all living persons named in the letter, as well as my solicitor, aware of its existence and of its contents.
 
In the light of this communication, I find that I am the victim of an act of intercontinental terrorism, from one nuclear-armed state (the United States) to another (the United Kingdom) in the name of the current governing ideologies of at least two more (India and Israel). I demand that the outstanding criminal charge against me be dropped, that any other investigation against me be terminated, that all relevant files be closed, and that all record of my arrest and charge be purged. I demand that the items of property seized from me and, quite improperly, from a member of my family be returned immediately. I demand a public apology, and that I be compensated in what is, under the circumstances, the extremely modest sum of, after tax and other deductions, four times the Durham County Councillor’s annual allowance of which this action has deprived me. In other words, a net figure of £53,200.
 
I demand that the American Ambassador, the Indian High Commissioner and the Israeli Ambassador be summoned to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to account for this turn of events. I demand that all known supporters of Narendra Modi and the BJP, or of Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud, or of any of their respective coalition partners, be brought in for questioning, both in the United Kingdom, and in the American state identifiable from the postmark on the attached envelope, as well as in at least all of the neighbouring American states. I demand that the staff of the Crown Prosecution Service who made the decision to charge me be interviewed under caution as to their ties to either or both of India and Israel. I demand that the Leader of Durham County Council, Councillor Dr Simon Henig CBE, be arrested and interrogated as to his personal, family and other links to either or both of Israel and the Crown Prosecution Service. And I demand the arrest, and the comprehensive interrogation, of Oliver Kamm of The Times, of Damian Thompson of The Spectator, and of  [name redacted, because he goes crying to Google whenever I fight back].
 
As of yesterday, it is the publicly stated position of the Prime Minister that the CPS is bringing at least one case that is “unfounded”. Not merely likely to lead to an acquittal, but baseless and groundless as a prosecution; not merely inadequate as to its basis in evidence or as to its grounds in the public interest, but having no such basis or grounds whatever. That is the publicly stated position of the Prime Minister. And now, this. How many more, one wonders? There is a strong case for a Royal Commission into the CPS.
 
In the meantime, my work goes on, with my efforts positively redoubled by this atrocity. My work to secure election to Durham County Council and to Lanchester Parish Council in 2021, and as the Member of Parliament for the constituency containing Lanchester in 2022; I neither rule out, nor rule in, the possibility of standing for Police and Crime Commissioner in 2020. My work to defend, restore and expand the public transport on which, as a disabled person, I am dependent. My work to secure justice for Durham County Council’s Teaching Assistants, including, since unfortunately we were unable to deprive Labour of overall control of that authority this year, my work to secure the re-election of Grahame Morris at Easington, the defeat of all other Labour candidates in County Durham at the forthcoming General Election, and the election of Owen Temple here at North West Durham. My work to secure the election of a Labour Government overall, with Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister, implementing almost all of the current Labour manifesto, and supported by George Galloway as the Member of Parliament for Manchester Gorton.
 
My work to unite the trade unions and all the non-Labour sections of Durham County Council, in order to bring the Volkswagen Group’s production for the British market to County Durham after Brexit, in very stark contrast to the mere management of other people’s poverty for 32 years and counting. My work to ensure that apprentices and trainees enjoyed all the privileges that were extended to their peers in Further and Higher Education, and vice versa. My work to secure the representation of the working class, and especially of the rural working class, on all public bodies, as well as in the media.
 
My work to give voice to the fact that the workers, and not the liberal bourgeoisie, are the key swing voters. My work to give voice to the fact that identity issues must be located within the struggle for economic equality and for international peace. My work to give voice to the fact that the leading role in the defence of universal public services belongs to those who would otherwise lack basic amenities (the working class), while the leading role in the promotion of peace belongs to those who would be the first to be called upon to die in wars (the working class again, but perhaps even more so the youth, who were right about the First World War, right about the Vietnam War, and right about the Iraq War). My work to give voice to the fact that the decision of the EU referendum by people and places that voted Labour, Liberal Democrat or Plaid Cymru means that the concerns of those people and places ought now to be the focus of political attention, and not least of the negotiation of the terms of Brexit.
 
My work of opposition from the start to the failed programme of economic austerity. Against all Governments since 1997, my work of opposition to the privatisation of the NHS and other public services, to the persecution of the disabled, to the assault on civil liberties, to every British military intervention during that period, to Britain’s immoral and one-sided relationship with Saudi Arabia, to the pernicious military alliance with Turkey, and to the demonisation of Russia.
 
My work to remove the obscenity of weapons of mass destruction, with Trident cancelled in favour of properly staffed, properly paid, properly accommodated and properly equipped Armed Forces, as well as civilised care for veterans, as well as flood defences, as well as cybersecurity, as well as intelligence and counterintelligence, and as well as civil nuclear power. My work in favour of civil nuclear power, and in favour of the exploitation of this country’s vast reserves of coal, in the clean extraction and incineration of which Britain was once the world leader, as the twin pillars of an “all of the above” energy policy that would guarantee high-wage, high-skilled, high-status jobs abroad while delivering independence from the tyrannical and unstable sources of much of the world’s oil and gas.
 
My work with and for the ancient indigenous Christians of the Middle East and North Africa (and not least of the Holy Land), my work with and for the Jews of Iran, my work with and for the Dalits, my work with and for the Chagossians, and my work with and for the Rohingya, among others. My work of demanding that Altaf Hussain be deported to stand trial in Pakistan. My work in rejection of any approach to climate change which would threaten jobs, workers’ rights, the right to have children, travel opportunities, or universal access to a full diet. My work to rescue issues such as male suicide, men’s health, and fathers’ rights from those whose economic and other policies have caused the problems in the first place. My work, as a mixed-race person, of refusal to recognise racists, Fascists or opportunists as the authentic voices of the accepted need to control immigration. And my work to safeguard the overseas aid target of 0.7 per cent of GDP, by specifying in the Statute Law that the United Kingdom’s aid to any given country be reduced by the exact cost of any space programme, or of any nuclear weapons programme, or of any nuclear submarine programme, or of any foreign aid budget of that country’s own, but with the money thus saved having to remain within the budget of the Department for International Development.
 
This list is very far from exhaustive.
 
In this county, as a matter of policy, no one would ever be arrested, still less charged, with anything relating to the law against cannabis. In this country, no one would run much risk of arrest, never mind charge, never mind conviction, never mind anything more than the most derisory of sentences, for what has long been the illegal activity of foxhunting, to which the Police act as escorts, arresting only anyone who might seek to obstruct this criminality or to object to it. No one other than a Premier League footballer, and even then probably only one from the “wrong” club, would run any risk of arrest or prosecution for “digital penetration” of a 15-year-old girl who had, furthermore, been out drinking with the complete impunity of everyone from her parents to the relevant licensees. No one other than a minister of religion, or possibly a teacher, would run any risk of arrest or prosecution for any kind of sexual activity with a 15-year-old boy. Yet look at how I have been treated, and for reasons that have now been communicated to me directly by the perpetrators.
 
In the light of that communication, I find that I am the victim of an act of intercontinental terrorism, from one nuclear-armed state (the United States) to another (the United Kingdom) in the name of the current governing ideologies of at least two more (India and Israel). I demand that the staff of the Crown Prosecution Service who made the decision to charge me be interviewed under caution as to their ties to either or both of India and Israel. I demand that the outstanding criminal charge against me be dropped, that any other investigation against me be terminated, that all relevant files be closed, and that all record of my arrest and charge be purged. I demand that the items of property seized from me and, quite improperly, from a member of my family be returned immediately. I demand a public apology, and that I be compensated in what is, under the circumstances, the extremely modest sum of, after tax and other deductions, four times the Durham County Councillor’s annual allowance of which this action has deprived me. In other words, a net figure of £53,200.
 
I demand that the American Ambassador, the Indian High Commissioner and the Israeli Ambassador be summoned to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to account for this turn of events. I demand that all known supporters of Narendra Modi and the BJP, or of Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud, or of any of their respective coalition partners, be brought in for questioning, both in the United Kingdom, and in the American state identifiable from the postmark on the attached envelope, as well as in at least all of the neighbouring American states. I demand that the Leader of Durham County Council, Councillor Dr Simon Henig CBE, be arrested and interrogated as to his personal, family and other links to either or both of Israel and the Crown Prosecution Service. And I demand the arrest, and the comprehensive interrogation, of Oliver Kamm of The Times, of Damian Thompson of The Spectator, and of [name redacted, because he goes crying to Google whenever I fight back].

Liar Pidcock

Last night, Laura Pidcock told Made in Tyne & Wear that, "I live in Lanchester." That was just a lie. A plain and simple lie. For electoral purposes, she has the use of an address here that is really just a couple of rooms above a shop. But she lives in Cramlington, where she recently lost her County Council seat.

This is not about having to be local. It is about not pretending to be local, or anything else, when you are not. It is about not telling lies. I longed with all my heart to vote Labour this time. But I will not, I cannot, vote for this candidate. Vote for Owen Temple, the Teaching Assistants' champion, and a man who does not tell lies.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

To Draw From This Lesson

Excellent stuff in today’s free Morning Star, from Ken Loach, from Solomon Hughes on the proposed abolition of the Serious Fraud Office, from Richard Rudkin on Jeremy Corbyn and the Northern Ireland where Rudkin served as a soldier, and from Corbyn himself, correctly analysing the banking crisis and predicting the housing crisis in the course of a single column on Tuesday 21st October 2008:

The galloping economic crisis around the world has turned all the market arguments of the 1970s and ’80s firmly on their head. The 1976 Labour government’s capitulation to International Monetary Fund conditions politically cleared the way for the Tories to win the 1979 election. Thatcher then declared war on industrial Britain, with the successive destructions of the shipbuilding, engineering and mining industries.

The Labour Party moved to the left after 1979. But now those who chimed in with the right wing, saying that the 1983 manifesto was the longest suicide note in history, should think again. A very interesting part of that manifesto proposed the establishment of a national investment bank and suggested that the Bank of England exercise much closer control over bank lending policies, with its development plans being agreed with the government.

The manifesto also proposed the creation of a public bank through the post offices and a securities commission to regulate the City’s institutions. It called for a new pensions scheme that would give rights to trustees and contributors to control the investment strategies of pension funds. The last paragraph of this section of the manifesto also made it clear that any banks that failed to co-operate in the national interest fully would be taken into public ownership.

Following the election, the Tories continued with their free-market strategy and, when Labour finally defeated them in the 1997 election, there was a very big change of mood. The New Labour government did dramatically increase investment in health and education and made some valuable reforms, such as the Human Rights Act and the Minimum Wage Act.

However, with Gordon Brown as Chancellor and Blair as Prime Minister, Labour resolutely refused to end the Tory strategy of deregulation. New Labour used its influence in Europe and on the board of the World Bank and the IMF to continue the development of free markets and globalisation through free trade.

Peter Mandelson, while European trade commissioner, presided over a strategy to enforce an open-market policy on developing countries which enabled globalised business to dominate vulnerable markets and destroy local industries and agriculture. The crisis that has developed over the past three months has been a long time coming and has been essentially brought about by excessive levels of consumer debt and the massive US federal debt.

In order to avoid a complete meltdown of the banking system, governments all over the world are now either taking outright ownership of failing banks or taking a substantial equity share in them. All governments are currently pumping billions into bank loans so that the internal lending system can be revived between financial institutions.

The problem now becomes political. Brown and Alistair Darling claim to have saved the banking industry from total collapse and the only interference in the workings of the banks that they have made is to try to control executive pay and bonuses. We have also seen a rather limp statement from the housing minister, asking them to slow down on repossessions of the properties of people with mortgage arrears.

The stark reality is that the free-market system has brought about this crisis and the competition rules of the European Union have already been torn up with respect to banking. It is time to draw from this lesson and make changes.

And:

New Labour’s reliance on the market to solve all problems has come a cropper. The government is currently building fewer houses for social rent than at any time since the 1920s. Since all developments in the pipeline are effectively “add-on” to private-sector developments, it’s likely that there will be a housing shortage for those in need in the near future.

We urgently need to invest in new building, providing local authorities with the powers and funds to purchase properties facing repossession and to buy unsold private-sector homes and turn them into council tenancies. It is also clear that many industries and companies are facing short-term financial problems and, therefore, unemployment is beginning to rise. Without rapid intervention by central government, we will see a repeat of the devastating rates of unemployment of the 1980s, at the height of Thatcherism.

This is not an isolated issue that only faces western European economies — the global effects are enormous. A very disturbing report from the UN food and agricultural association showed that one billion people are now desperately hungry because they can’t afford food. In other words, one in six of the world’s population is now starving.

Over the past month, there have been very welcome developments and discussions about what a socialist economy would look like in this country and on a wider scale. Free-market capitalism and deregulation have created the hunger, poverty, misery and insecurity that many people are facing. Surely it is now time to explain that the role of the political system and of central government is to ensure that everyone has food, work, housing, health and welfare available for them.

The solutions are at hand — fully nationalising the banks, taking failing rail companies into public ownership, protecting public services from cuts, increasing pensions and benefits to help reinflate the economy, putting huge resources into conquering the misery of homelessness and overcrowding that so many families face.

Globally, the peace and anti-war movement has shown that people can and do work across frontiers to achieve a common aim. We have to use the same spirit to conquer the global hunger and poverty brought about by the madness of free market global capitalism.

Sadly, there is also Laura Pidcock, telling us that we plebs in North West Durham have no culture. I cannot tell you how much I ached to vote Labour this time, and how much I still do. All my heart yearns for the national victory that is now in sight. But I cannot possibly vote for her. And nor should you.