Jeremy corbyn

The Tories must be careful not to pave the way for Corbynism

To say one thing for John McDonnell, he shows a refreshing preparedness to use a general election to lay out big ideas. While so many candidates for high office will retreat into platitudes rather than risk upsetting some target group of voters, the man who could be Chancellor of the Exchequer in three weeks’ time made a speech on Tuesday signalling what would amount to an even sharper change in Britain’s economic direction than that brought about by Mrs Thatcher’s first election victory in 1979. It is the most striking contribution to the election campaign — and one which the Conservatives need to challenge far better than they have done

James Forsyth

Remain’s last stand: the collapse of the anti-Brexit campaign

Ever since the referendum, the two strongest political forces in Britain have been Leave and Remain. Loyalty to political parties has faded, but feelings about the referendum result are almost stronger now than they were on 23 June 2016. For Remainers, these are tense times: for years, there has been the hope of a second referendum and stopping Brexit. But if the Tories win a majority next month, then the UK will leave the European Union on 31 January and our future relationship with the EU will be negotiated by the man who led the Leave campaign. By the time of the next general election, Brexit will be a settled

Lionel Shriver

Labour’s real 2019 manifesto

In 2019, Labour’s strategy is about delivering a fairer, more prosperous society, in adherence to our motto: for the zany, not the shrewd. Because Labour voters have short attention spans (and therefore do not remember how deeply we got the nation in debt the last time our party was in power), we would like to frontload this manifesto with the vast piles of Free Stuff that will inundate British households if you award our party a majority. You will notice lower down on your ballot a space to tick ‘milk’ or ‘dark’ for your 750g M&S chocolate assortment. Do not forget to further customise your order by ticking ‘creams’, ‘caramels’

Watch: Boris vs Corbyn. The head-to-head in three minutes

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn’s clash last night during the ITV debate was notable for its lack of standout performance from either candidate. The audience, however, provided a much-needed dose of reality for both leaders. Corbyn and Boris’s campaign soundbites were interspersed with bursts of laughter. Whether that was the result of amusement or frustration remains to be seen. For those fortunate souls who didn’t catch the debate, Mr S. has put together a short highlights reel:

It would be a big mistake to underestimate Corbyn

Thud. It’s my advance copy of Dorothy Byrne’s new book, Trust Me, I’m Not a Politician, landing on the doormat. I’ve known Dorothy, Channel 4’s head of news and current affairs, since we were in the newsroom together at Granada Television in Manchester almost 40 years ago. Then as now, she took no prisoners. I remember her curtailing her research conversation with a regional politician with the words: ‘No, I’m afraid I’m not inviting you to appear on tonight’s Granada Reports, councillor. You’re simply not coherent.’ Dorothy’s book reflects on the startling fact that more Britons believe in aliens than trust politicians, and asks what’s gone so badly wrong. Mariella

The reason Jews are scared of a Corbyn government

‘What is it with Jews and Corbyn?’ the guy asked. ‘Why are you so against him being in Number 10?’ I tend to avoid conversations about Jews and Corbyn with Labour voters these days. What more is there to say about the party’s anti-Semitism? If people still can’t see it, I generally take the view they are part of the problem. Over the last four years evidence of Labour’s institutional racism has been overwhelming. But this guy – let’s call him Matt, an architect I met at a friend’s 40th birthday party in Hackney last week – really did appear to have been living under a rock since 2015. Somehow,

‘Utterly betrayed’: Britain’s Jews are now politically homeless

We Jews have evolved to be neurotic; so neurotic that, in certain circumstances, the Syrian border feels slightly safer than Muswell Hill. I’ll take Muswell Hill. Polls say that only 7 per cent of British Jews will consider voting for Labour on 12 December, while 47 per cent of British Jews will consider leaving the country if Labour win. I’d rather fight Dave (generic name) from the Labour Representation Committee than Dave from Hezbollah (likewise generic). But I shouldn’t joke; and nothing feels funny any more. Things are always OK until they aren’t. Jews have fled Labour since Ed Miliband’s time. In 2010 we were split quite evenly between Labour

Corbyn’s class war is the last thing Britain needs

Jeremy Corbyn’s election launch was a declaration of class war. He was ‘going after’ some named individuals who he portrayed as tax dodgers, bad bosses, dodgy landlords and big polluters. He may not have realised how much he sounded like the party leader in Orwell’s 1984, denouncing ‘enemies of the state’, and singling out ‘Emmanuel Goldstein’. Perhaps the 32-hour week is really to allow us more time for the daily two-minutes hate and the annual hate week expected by Big Brother. Corbyn’s divisive message invites other parties to declare their commitment to the common good. Instead of Corbyn’s declaration of class war other manifestos should be our declaration of independence

Corbyn reveals his election attack lines at PMQs

The last PMQs before the general election offered a teaser for what to expect over the next six weeks. With Boris Johnson keen to fight the incoming election on a promise to get Brexit done so the UK can focus on domestic issues, it’s clear Jeremy Corbyn plans to respond by suggesting the Prime Minister’s Brexit would be damaging to public services. Top of that list is the NHS. The Labour leader used the final session to lead on the NHS – suggesting the Prime Minister’s ‘sell-out deal’ with Donald Trump would mean NHS money going into private profit. Corbyn pointed to a recent Channel 4 Dispatches investigation to claim

The question a second referendum must ask

Mostly I stay confident the Prime Minister’s team are playing a weak hand badly, but my confidence does occasionally falter. Then Downing Street does something really stupid (like expelling 21 of its own parliamentary party) and I’m reassured that these people aren’t clever at all. This happened last weekend when I opened my Sunday Times to find there a personal attack on Sir Oliver Letwin by ‘senior sources’. These sources had scoffed to journalists that when, before the Commons vote on his amendment, Letwin was at Downing Street to discuss it, he was taking ‘conspiratorial phone calls’ on his mobile phone, giving him ‘instructions’ from David Pannick. Lord Pannick is

Will Labour MPs do anything now Louise Ellman has quit?

Another female Jewish MP has left the Labour party, apparently bullied out of the movement she has worked in for decades. Louise Ellman, MP for Liverpool Riverside, announced in a letter last night that she ‘cannot advocate a government led by Jeremy Corbyn’ because he ‘is not fit to be Prime Minister’. She complains that ‘anti-Semitism has become mainstream in the Labour Party’ and that the leader ‘has attracted the support of too many anti-Semites’. It is a damning letter, and one that has widely been tweeted by the colleagues Ellman has left behind as proof that something needs to change in the party. The problem is that we’ve seen

Isabel Hardman

John McDonnell is taking back control

Over the past few weeks, rumours have swirled in Westminster that the Labour party has acquired a new leader — that John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, has almost completed a long, stealthy campaign having stolen more and more power from his beleaguered and exhausted boss. While there has been no announcement, plenty in the party believe that there certainly has been regime change: Corbyn in office, but McDonnell in power. While Corbyn has always seemed like an eccentric grandad who potters about in his allotment, there is something steely and not altogether comforting about McDonnell. Even though he gives broadcast interviews from his sitting room, which looks like the backdrop

Did anyone take the Queen’s Speech seriously?

If today’s Queen’s Speech was meant to offer a preview of what the next general election and life after it will look like, you might be forgiven for wishing you were somewhere far, far away from British politics. The debate in the House of Commons this afternoon was turgid and pointless. It was almost as if everyone involved couldn’t quite be bothered to rise to the occasion of a new legislative programme because they knew that it was more of a political messaging operation. Jeremy Corbyn gave one of his least convincing speeches as Leader of the Opposition, which is plumbing quite some depths. He managed to both dismiss the

John McDonnell suggests Labour could be open to referendum before election

The Labour party is abuzz with talk that the party could back a second referendum before a general election. It’s not that Jeremy Corbyn has suggested such a move is on the cards – in fact, this week he’s been saying the exact opposite while setting out his stall for a general election. However, John McDonnell has used an interview with Alastair Campbell for GQ to open the door to the possibility of holding a second referendum first. Asked which ought to come first, McDonnell says while his preference remains a general election ‘let’s see what actually parliament will wear in the end’: AC: Do you agree with me that

Corbyn’s cynical Brexit scheme will end in tears for Labour

My piece for Coffee House last week likened Boris Johnson to the naked emperor, puffed up with self-importance but devoid of real power. As the Tory party conference has got underway, I have become even more confident that Boris’s cabinet will soon be shown to be as denuded of power as their leader. But it isn’t just the Tories that are in a mess. Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit position is as untenable and, if anything, even more bizarre than Boris’s. Has there ever been a major party leader entering conference season and an election campaign, in short succession, while explicitly refusing to take a position on the most important issue of our times?

The Tories only have themselves to blame for Labour’s threat to Universal Credit

The Labour Party is buzzing about in Iain Duncan Smith’s constituency today, threatening both to unseat the former Conservative leader and scrap the reform he introduced: Universal Credit. Jeremy Corbyn made the promise, saying the changes to the benefits system have been an ‘unmitigated disaster’. The party will first get rid of the most controversial aspects of UC – including the fitness-to-work tests, the two-child limit, and sanctions which dock benefits from claimants who miss appointments – before scrapping it entirely. This has naturally prompted protests from the Tories, including some of the many MPs who served as work and pensions Secretary at one point or another. But the truth

Labour’s reckless net zero promise

On the face of it, the Labour party conference commitment to bring forward Britain’s net zero greenhouse gas emission target to 2030 is nothing short of reckless. ‘We need zero emissions,’ the economist Paul Johnson and member of the Committee on Climate Change tweeted. ‘Getting there by 2050 is tough and expensive but feasible and consistent with avoiding most damaging climate change. Aiming for zero emissions by 2030 is almost certainly impossible, hugely disruptive and risks undermining consensus.’ The GMB, the union representing what remains of Britain’s industrial workers, warned that it could lead to widespread job losses. The GMB is right. Accelerated decarbonisation is a formula for rapid de-industrialisation.

Is this the beginning of the end for Jeremy Corbyn?

Did Labour’s conference help or hinder Jeremy Corbyn’s chances of becoming prime minister? For some, Corbyn ended up stronger than ever. There will be a review of the post of deputy leader, one likely to see the authority of Tom Watson, his severest internal critic, greatly diminished. Corbyn also won a critical vote on Brexit which endorsed his position of neutrality going into a general election. The conference also passed a raft of policies that confirm support in the party for Corbyn’s desire to dramatically extend state intervention in the cause of promoting economic growth, greater equality and tackling climate change. As John McDonnell, the ultimate architect of the party’s

Ross Clark

Jeremy Corbyn would destroy the market for specialist medicines

Amid Labour’s jubilation over the Supreme Court decision yesterday it would have been easy to miss Jeremy Corbyn’s latest attack on the market economy. But it shouldn’t go unremarked because what Corbyn proposed would seriously damage the pharmaceuticals industry – either meaning that taxpayers would have to bear the enormous costs of developing drugs, or would mean fewer drugs being developed at all. Corbyn cited the case of nine year old cystic fibrosis sufferer Luis Walker, who is being denied the medicine, Orkambi, because the drugs manufacturer is refusing to sell it to the NHS at an affordable cost. Labour, he said, would end the outrage of drugs companies which put

Corbyn takes aim at Labour’s favourite bogeymen in conference speech

Jeremy Corbyn has just delivered one of his better party conference speeches. It wasn’t just because it was much shorter than the average political address, but also because it made clear that Labour knows what it wants to do when it gets into power. There were a lot of policies in there. Some had popped up in other speeches this week, like the plan for free personal care. Others were new and very significant indeed, like the plan to take on pharmaceutical companies. This is Labour’s ‘Medicines for Many’ programme which will make government funding for medical research conditional on the drugs being offered at an affordable price to the