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What factions currently exist in the UK Labour Party? watch

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    Are there any true left wing Labour MPs left? Or do they all follow the New Labour, pro-austerity rhetoric?

    (Original post by tuck91)
    Are there any true left wing Labour MPs left? Or do they all follow the New Labour, pro-austerity rhetoric?
    Define austerity. Is reducing spending by one pound austerity?

    And do you believe that very large deficits can be maintained indefinitely? Do you support borrowing more and more from the City of London? That would be odd, for someone who claims to be against rapacious banks

    The factions aren't as defined as they were in the past. There are a handful of actively socialist Labour MPs, most prominent being John McDonnell and Jeremy Corbyn. Those are all that remains of "Old Labour", wanting to take the party back to being a general class-based movement of the trade unions.

    Outside them I think there are two broad schools of thought in the parliamentary Labour party.

    One thinks that the Labour party lost touch with its roots in the Blair era, it became a neo-liberal party too close to the Tories, and should promote a more interventionist state, addressing widening inequality with higher taxes for the richest and funding more investment in public services, being more activist on regulation with greater employment regulation, intervening in markets like the housing market, energy markets with price controls etc. These are different from the "Old Labour" school as they don't want to go back to large scale control of the unions and national ownership of large industries, and have generally accepted a market system rather than trying to resist capitalism, they regard themselves as being left-leaning social democrats.

    The other school of thought is that a 'traditional' Labour party is almost always going to lose elections as its not what the British electorate want. Higher taxes, interventionist regulation will switch voters off, the best they can hope for is one-off election wins when the Tories are at a weak point. They argue that the early years of Blair had it right - he positioned himself as a centrist pro-market, pro-business leader who was strong on law and order and issues where Labour had been traditionally seen as weak, didn't want to raise taxes, wanted to keep restraint of public spending (Labour were running budget surpluses in 2001 and 2002) but was socially progressive eg bringing in minimum wage and focusing more on early years education but managing a free-market economy in a 'centre-left' way rather than a 'Tory' way. This school of thought is that whilst some in the Labour party will accuse them of being a sell-out, this type of Labour party reflects more where the British electorate is and this is the type that will win elections. Their narrative of the last Labour government is that when Blair reigned supreme things were good, when Blair got distracted over Iraq/Afghanistan and lost some personal credibility, the influence of Brown increased, public spending rose, factional in-fighting rose and Labour were doomed to lose.

    Gordon Brown, Ed Miliband and Ed Balls were part of the first school; David Miliband, Andy Burnham and Chuka Umunna part of the second school.


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