Tuesday 21 May 2024

Blood and Water

On Wednesday, the Liberal Democrats tried to amend the Criminal Justice Bill to make water company bosses criminally liable for sewage in the rivers, the lakes and the sea. The Conservatives voted against, and Labour abstained. As did the SNP, come to that, although Plaid Cymru voted in favour. When it comes to promises about the contaminated blood scandal, then remember what the three largest parties in the House of Commons have done, or not done, about the ongoing poisoning of the public. And remember that all of them, and the Lib Dems, have been responsible for the NHS at some point during the very long period in question.

It was also the Lib Dems who were directly responsible for the privatisation of the Royal Mail. As long ago as 2011, the Post Office had to be hived off from the Royal Mail because the whole City knew about Horizon and would have refused to have bought the Royal Mail in its complete form, or to have handled the sale. Now look up the shareholder base of the Royal Mail, which is not unlike that of the water companies. Yet now even that is to yield to Daniel Kretinsky, who would have no interest in it if he had not been assured of the end of the universal service obligation. He is being advised by Chuka Umunna. Politically, of course he is. But more broadly, Managing Director of JPMorgan Chase? Really? Umunna had only ever been a solicitor and an Opposition MP. Welcome back to the Labour Party as we knew it before 2015. Thank goodness that its latest poll lead is only 16 points, half what it was supposed to have been a couple of weeks ago, and with several months to go before the General Election.

When I tell you that there is going to be a hung Parliament, then you can take that to the bank. I spent the 2005 Parliament saying that it was psephologically impossible for the Heir to Blair's Conservative Party to win an overall majority. I predicted a hung Parliament on the day that the 2017 General Election was called, and I stuck to that, entirely alone, all the way up to the publication of the exit poll eight long weeks later. And on the day that Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister, I predicted that a General Election between him and Keir Starmer would result in a hung Parliament.

I have no plan to join the Workers Party of Britain, although nor would I expect to stand against it. If, however, it did not contest North Durham, then I would. To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not. We have made a start.


  1. What did you make of Vennells?

    1. I felt sorry for her. She had assumed that her carefully rehearsed performance would be the main news.