In France

Christopher Caldwell, in the New Statesman reviews Christophe Guilluy’s body of work including “Le crépuscle de la France d’en haut”. It’s an examination of France but we in Britain should recognise the coming hour glass economy, the growing politics of anti-globalisation, the new definitions of identity and multi-culturalism, even in the home of secular republicanism. In France we add, the poverty of the rural economy, and the massive public housing stock. The French, like us, have an imperial past creating an immigration flow above and beyond that of economics.

He argues that in France immigration is bringing in cheap labour to act as the new servant class to the bourgeois. I can’t find the chart, but the Financial Times during the referendum campaign illustrated that immigrants to the UK were spread, fairly evenly across the skills spectrum and the point has been made very powerfully about the number of immigrants working in the NHS as Doctors, Nurses and other carers. The same is true in both Banking and Construction. Possibly an important difference, certainly I am of the view that the number of people coming here to work is based on demand and stopping them or sending them home is madness and wrong.

The article examines Hollande’s election campaign and how it sought to rebuild Obama’s coalition of ethnic minorities, graduate and post-graduates, women, youths and non-Catholics in France; arguing that this wasn;t a majority but was the core of one.

It’s a long read, but I found it worth while; there are lessons for us in Britain.

In France

Kaahn!

And now I discover why it’s still worth buying and reading the New Statesman magazine. I have just read George Eaton’s full article on Sadiq Kahn’s first year as Mayor of London. It is trailed here on the New Statesman site and the full article is as yet unavailable on the web. It is quite timely as I was challenged as to what good he was doing for those who voted for him by people last week.

He has been busy, freezing the fares on the buses and tubes, launching the Night Tube, introduced a toxicity charge for the most polluting vehicles and imested in skills provision for London’s workers. hasn’t he introduced the bus hopper fare? I know he’s shit-canned the Garden Bridge which I am in two minds about. He has set a 38% affordable housing target for new builds (up from 12%) and redefined the meaning of affordable. The housing policy launch was reported by Dave Hill here…. He has appointed the first female Met Police Commissioner and also appointed a women to the position of Head of the Fire Brigade.

The article also points out that much of Boris’ activity was planned and approved under his predecessor’s (i.e. Ken Livingstone’s) term of office but that Kahn has had no initiatives to inherit, apart from the Garden Bridge, Water Cannon, the Vanity Lard bus, the Helter Skelter without a mat and the Dangleway.

The interview also covers his opposition to the Progressive Alliance; he states that, “There should be no no-go areas for Labour”. He recalls that he was advised to focus on core areas only but (righty) refused. I think that Labour supporters deserve to have a Labour candidate to support, but am ready to take advice from local activists.

 

Kaahn!

Public Interest

So no prosecutions for Electoral Fraud, now there’s a surprise! A blogger, calling him or herself the Secret Barrister explains in detail here, that the Conservative Party at a national level have been found guilty of electoral fraud and that investigations into further prosecution of their, then, national treasurer are still continuing.  At a local level, the CPS had to determine if there was sufficient evidence of corruption (prison) and/or false accounting (fines) to warrant prosecution. They decided that there was insufficient evidence of corruption at a local level, because the national party had told them the expenses were national party expenses, which they then, in some part, under reported. They also decided there was no public interest in prosecuting them for false accounting. The secret barrister describes this as charitable.

Given the amount of words used by the Electoral Commission, in levying the maximum fine, stating that part of the Tories’ offence has been the undermining of public confidence in the PPERA and its electoral expense control, one might have thought that the CPS would consider that there are public interest grounds for prosecuting those for whom evidence of false accounting was solid.

Who appoints the DPP?

Public Interest

Progressives

Much has been said in favour and cynical dismissal of the grass roots progressive alliance. Like Labour, the Liberals and the Greens have supporters covering a broad spectrum of supporters, and frankly none of them can tell their voters what to do. These decisions must be taken in the light of what local people want but these deals aren’t easy and some candidates from all three parties can be deeply unattractive to the others’ voters.  However, UKIP are also standing down in some seats to give the Tories a clean run at mostly Labour MPs.

Progressives

Campaigning

A quick trip around the Lewisham Deptford constituency canvassing for the Labour Party. A couple of accusations about getting Brexit wrong, i.e. the nuance in Labour’s front bench position upsets i.e. pisses off London remainers. Labour’s candidate for re-election, Vicky Foxcroft , voted against the Article 50 notice bill, twice! It makes life easier for people like me; I am glad I don’t live in Vauxhall.

I am surprised at the large number of EU citizens I meet who cannot vote in the general election. Mistakes were made; it’s wrong that people who’ve been here for more than 5 years, in employment, paying tax can’t vote in the general election; nor in the referendum.

One issue came up which I had missed and not expected. The Tories have abolished the council tax support for those on the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Councils have had to develop ways of making up the shortfall, by either cutting (discretionary) services or levying council tax on ESA claimants. There are other laws that stop councils levying the council tax on the wealthier residents, if they have them…. It’s another Tory cut ensuring that Labour councils and the Party take the blame.

I’ll finish by stating that there were a few who say they’ve left Labour because of Corbyn. It’s sometimes hard to determine if this is actually about Brexit, or about other aspects of his politics, but I met one person from Northern Ireland who can’t support him over his record on that subject. Someone else did the talking, but I think these conversations have to start with whether they support the Good Friday agreement or not. From my point of view, the anti-corbynism on the doorstep is less frequent, if more vitriolic,  an occurrence then those who couldn’t support Ed Miliband because they didn’t like the way he ate a bacon sandwich, or something!. Labour supporters who repeat these damaging slurs need to remember the way that Ed was attacked as not being up to it and let’s not forget the attacks on Kinnock either.

A final note, Vicky is well known, although some still ask where Joan’s gone!

Campaigning