David Miliband has joined forces with his party leader brother Ed behind Labour plans to deliver a “living wage” of well over £7.20 an hour – rising to more than £8.30 in London – for millions of workers in both the public and the private sectors.
The Miliband brothers, whose relationship has been tense since Ed narrowly defeated David in the 2010 leadership contest, are working closely together on how to make the living wage – as opposed to the lower minimum wage – the new norm and a core economic policy for Labour at the next election.
Miliband the elder, who is still outside the Shadow Cabinet, seems to be returning to the fold. This sort of “re-unification” of the British Labour Party can only be seen as a good thing, and puts the party in a stronger more united position to take the fight to the coalition.
Here in New Zealand, Labour Leader David Shearer pledged his support for the idea six months ago. With wages static and costs rising, it is easy to see the Living Wage being a big part of the conversation come 2014.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron has been trying to reverse his lacklustre polling with a re-boot of his government, which means he is ’more determined than ever to cut through the dither that holds this country back’.
I guess if you think the fundamental problems of the economy are “dither”, then you’re not exactly starting from a strong place.
Any, I read an article about his latest scheme and actually had to re-read it. Yes, their latest plan to re-boot the economy is with… more DIY?
David Cameron is to announce an emergency year-long free-for-all in house extensions, allowing homeowners to build up to eight metres into their gardens without council planning permission.
So I guess the boost will come from all the extra reality TV shows that will spring up to capture the misadventures of unregulated house modifications?
Listen to this brilliant exchange between Michael D Higgins, who has since been elected President of Ireland, and a US tea party backing radio host. Stunning.
Two nights ago members of the Lib Dems delivered hundereds of these leaflets to the good people of Manchester…
Obviously they haven’t been keeping up with the news…
Via Guido Fawkes.
One of the largest local body elections on the planet is just over a month away. It is to elect the Mayor of London and the Greater London Authority. It is worth noting that any commonwealth or EU citizen living in London is eligible to vote – so make sure you remind your friends doing their OE in old blighty (details here).
The two main players, Tory Mayor, Boris Johnson, and his Labour challenger (and predecessor), Ken Livingstone have been on the campaign trail literally for years already. But they formal campaign has just kicked off with the launch of their television ads. While I do have my obvious partisan bias, I do think that Ken’s ad really outshines Boris. Very interested to hear what you think.
Firstly, Ken’s ad…
And now Boris’…
The French elections are quickly approaching, and things are looking good (but not great) for Socialist candidate François Hollande…
A quick look at the 13 – yes, 13 – polls carried out recently reveals … not a lot for the first round, next month.
Four suggest Sarkozy is leading, seven have the socialist candidate, François Hollande, ahead, and two have them neck-and-neck. The leader of the far-right Front National (FN), Marine Le Pen, is given a first-round score ranging from 13.3% to 18%, in an election when even 1% is going to make a difference.
Six of the 13 polls give the former prime minister, and Sarkozy’s sworn enemy, Dominique de Villepin between 1% and 1.5%. There is only one problem: he’s not even standing.
Then in Spain, the austerity budgets of the recently elected People’s Party (Conservative) government are coming up against massive resistance…
Spain‘s prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, faces the toughest week of his three months in office as he is forced to announce up to €40bn (£33.45bn) in spending cuts and taxes in a budget on 30 March, the day after a general strike.
Rajoy was recently forced to backtrack by fellow EU leaders who refused to accept the deficit target of 5.8% of GDP Spain set unilaterally for this year. They told him to cut to 5.3%.
Firstly, commiserations to Anna Bligh, her team and my ALP colleagues who fought so hard for Queensland. Also, congratulations to Campbell Newman – the size of his win is impressive indeed.
One thing that has struck me though, is just how un-proportional the results are. For example, Bligh’s Labor Party received 26.6% of the first preference votes, yet they are only predicted to gain seven seats in the 89 seat Parliament (roughly 8% of the seats).
I’ve crunched some numbers and determined what the Queensland state parliament would look like if they used a purely proportional voting system, with a 5% threshold. It’s important to note that there are other systems out there, such as New Zealand’s MMP, which would allow for the two independents to maintain seats and would change the makeup of Parliament. It also demonstrates the size of Newman’s LNP win – even with a proportional voting system they manage to get a majority of the seats in the parliament – something traditionally very rare with systems like this.
It leaves me feeling very grateful that here in New Zealand we have a proportional voting system!
|Party||% Vote||Predicted Actual Seats||Proportional Seats|
Two big events for social democratic parties this weekend.
The first is the Queensland state election. It’s expected that Labor are going to lose – but there may be a silverlining is they can prevent opposition leader Campbell Newman from winning a seat.
The other event is the Canadian NDP leadership convention, which is underway. I haven’t been following it closely and have no idea who will prevail.
I’ll probably be live tweeting the evening – feel free to follow!
The Conservative British chancellor, George Osbourne, has just released their budget. It’s not going down so well. The New Statesman have a fantastic gallery of the various newspaper front pages.
When even the Daily Torygraph are publishing stuff like this, you know you’re in trouble…
From the SMH…
ALP branch leaders from across the state have called for the party’s rank and file to be involved in the direct election of the next parliamentary leader of the NSW Labor Party.
A statement signed by branch secretaries, presidents and councillors calls on the state Labor conference, to be held in July, to investigate the benefits of opening up ballots for the NSW parliamentary leadership to rank-and-file members.
It represents a groundswell of support from Labor’s grassroots for a more democratic process of electing party leaders. It is also a bid to rebuild flagging membership numbers.
The statement says social democratic parties overseas have demonstrated that giving party members a role in deciding the parliamentary leader can drive significant membership growth. The New Democratic Party of Canada has reportedly boosted its membership by 50 per cent.
Sounds like the NDP delegation to last year’s ALP conference made a strong impact! They shouldn’t forget however, that many of the NDP’s new members come from newly established branches in Quebec, where they previously had virtually no presence, but still managed to win 59 of the 75 seats at the 2011 election.