Hot Takes #3

21 Feb 2016


Public broadcast announcement: Ken Livingston is a moron


Josh Tuck - @JoshLeNeveu


Sure, who didn’t know this – right?


I’m sure everybody does. However, a few on the far-left of the Labour Party still seem to think he’s fit to hold a position of power. This is despite his over-eagerness to speak to the press regarding private matters – something that resulted in him being dropped from the defence review (thank goodness, or we may now be picking up the debris after the end of the world as we know it). That’s not to mention his archaic views on mental health, more reminiscent of a far-right military general than an ex-London mayor.



This week, however, Ken really outdid himself. Firstly, he suggested that Labour MPs should no longer be able to nominate candidates for the party’s leadership – effectively giving power to left-wing members, rather than moderate MPs. This desire to handcuff the PLP shows just out-of-touch Ken is.

Secondly, Ken couldn’t prevent himself from offering his thoughts on the Oxford University Labour Society, which is now embroiled in accusations of anti-Semitism. This despite the fact that Ken’s own mayoral campaign was engulfed in anti-Semitism. Indeed, allegedly, the former London Mayor said that Jews ‘only vote Conservative because they are rich’. Not only was this a vulgar and indefensible act of stereotyping, but it also should have signalled to Ken not to comment on similar matters in the future.



Labour’s may regret sniggering at the Tories over the EU referendum


Jade Azim - @JadeFracesAzim


"Tory Civil War!" so the joyous Labourite cheers as we hit the long run of the European Union Referendum. But the excitement over this fabled event from the 1992-97 parliament which is remembered so fondly by Labourites and told like folklore down successive Labour generations is misguided.


The Conservatives may completely eat themselves alive, but it doesn’t matter as much as Labourites would like to hope. For not only do they sit on a stubborn 7-12 point poll lead that only continues to grow, but sinister, possibly more sinister than even Boris backing Brexit, EU-related forces await an oblivious Labour too. Splits Labour doth not have in the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP)…much, for once. But splits they have most certainly in their voter base. Polls continually find that C2 and DE voters favour ‘Out’ by quite substantive margins. In fact, support for the EU is more regressive than a Poll Tax: it climbs with affluence. And the Labour Party – so currently unambiguous in its support for the European Union, that even the most pragmatic Labourites who constantly talk about the need to listen to voters fall victim to utter blindness to the average working class voter.


If Labour is not careful, if it takes respite from Conservative splits, it will doom itself, and possibly pave the way for an SNP-style takeover from UKIP in their heartlands. A seemingly unlikely event now, considering UKIP’s weakness at local level in recent council elections, but nothing is impossible in British politics anymore, and Labour can ill-afford to take anything for granted. The EU referendum spells potentially fatal danger for Labour. More than the Conservatives.



Short on style and substance, Hillary risks throwing away the nomination


Joseph Perry - @JosephPerry9


After a bruising defeat in New Hampshire, Hillary Clinton must be wondering just what it takes to win the Democratic nomination. On paper, she faces the easiest race since Kim Jong Un ran the 100m in 5 seconds, but the perplexing reality of this election is very different.


In the state that chose her over Obama in 2008, she was crushed by a 74 year-old socialist. What added insult to stinging injury was the manor of her defeat. 82% of women under 30 – the group Clinton cheerleads the loudest for – opted for Bernie Sanders.



Young people have left her, women are heading towards Sanders, and the poorest voters are feeling the Bern. That leaves Clinton with rich voters, and ethnic minorities – ironically, the demographics which kept her out of the White House 8 years ago.


To avoid an even more embarrassing repeat of 2008, she needs to rethink her strategy, and do it very quickly.


Her primary message is not connecting with Democratic caucus goers. Her pitch as a ‘progressive that gets things done’ is nothing compared to Sanders’ promise of a political revolution. Her pledges to get tough on Wall Street feel empty, and the vision of a Clinton America 2.0 is uninspiring at best.


And, while she hops from state to state, her email scandal continues to hang over her and threaten to explode at any moment.


Democratic voters are looking for a future to believe in and, until Hillary can present one, they will continue to flock to Bernie Sanders.

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