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*UPDATE 6/12/2017* Parliament has been misled by David Davis, Tory Brexit Minster, over the impact assessments, or ‘qualitative quantitative sectoral analysis’ documents (if you prefer to now call them that like the Tories do to deny responsibility) about what Brexit means for the economy.

First he said the 58 assessments existed, then Parliament demanded to see them, now he says they don’t exist despite telling Parliament they did when they voted to see them.

How on Earth he can do his job properly without knowing the risks of Brexit to sectors of our economy is baffling? Is it blind faith, arrogance, incompetence or contempt?

David Lammy, Labour MP, has today accordingly written to the Speaker of Parliament, as per protocol, to raise contempt of Parliament proceedings against David Davis.

In any other job, David Davis would have been sacked for gross misconduct born of negligence and dereliction of duty. Tory MP’s, it seems, think they are Teflon coated, such is their arrogance and contempt not only for their jobs and Parliament, but for the electorate too who put them there. Has there ever been such a self serving lot of fools running the country?


Tories, Brexit, & The Grubby DUP Deal - the end is in sight

Make a note in your diaries of this date: Monday 4th December 2017. Then remember it well. It will most likely turn out to be a significant date for British politics and the demise of Brexit in its hardest form, if not in its entirety. And the end of the Tory Government, ultimately.

We all know Wyre Forest voted ‘leave’ and like many areas damaged by austerity, it is my belief that austerity was a significant causal factor here. Immigration and bashing the EU was merely a convenient Tory/UKIP scapegoat. Those on the left who voted leave argued it would free us up to nationalise and pursue a socialist agenda to reform our economy. I never swallowed this line because it’s hamper was to ignore the reality of public ownership across the EU, including EU Governments’ owning our privatised rail & utilities, and the fact a Tory Government hellbent on privatisation and starving our public services will be responsible for delivering Brexit. When was the last time the Tories did something to ‘sincerely’ benefit working people?

Their handling of the EU Withdrawal Bill and sensible motions to protect employment, environmental, safety, and animal rights, well and truly busts any myth their version of Brexit will enrich the poor, the vulnerable, or workers. The Tory right and UKIP Leave agenda has always been about enriching the rich further, tax dodging (check what EU anti-tax dodging rules will come into play in March 2019, the month we leave the EU) and a low regulation economy, all stuff they hid from plain sight under a banner of sovereignty. When, in fact, we never lost our sovereignty, just pooled 15% of it to enrich our economic and cultural lives. Sure, the EU has its faults, but from what happened on 4th December, quite apart from the whacking bill of £50billion (magic money tree anyone?) being talked about, we see the prospect of some if not all of the UK now remaining in the single market, and the customs union, whilst paying for the privilege yet having no say over any of the rules like we currently do. Take a look at Norway.

So, in my view, this day marks the beginning of the end of the Tory Government, their grubby DUP Deal to stay ‘in office’ but not in power, and a signalling that even the Government’s chaotic approach to Brexit is finally unravelling under the vacuous soundbite strains of ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’ as the load on it increases. Especially, as the looney right of Theresa May’s own Party ratchet up their barmy undeliverable demands for Brexit. Demands that were encapsulated in the Leave lies of the referendum. You’ll recall what they said, “they need us more than we need them” and “we’ll get a better deal than we have now”, along with “absolutely no one is threatening our place in the single market”. None of it true to this point and all said to get your vote and to promise something they never had the capacity or imagination to deliver on, because they were so focused on getting a leave vote, the reality of understanding the single market, customs union, and WTO rules passed them by, deliberately so, if they ever really understood it in the first place. And to be frank, it’s quite clear from some of the things said by the likes of David Davies, Brexit Secretary, (who himself is now looking for an easy way out by supporting his scandal hit mate Damian Green) that he didn’t have the basic grasp of international trade, WTO, the EU, or the implications of a leave vote for the integrity of the UK remaining as the UK as it is now. All of which has been put into sharp focus, and not before time, by the Irish border question. The ‘grown ups’ debate has now started in earnest it seems.

The fact that Theresa May finally recognised that to ensure economic prosperity and peace in the North of Ireland, and to preserve the Good Friday Agreement, requires no hard border with Ireland and hence staying in the single market and customs union, is an admission no deal is a better Brexit as described by her upon her coronation as Tory leader, is dead in the water. It is untenable however that North Ireland gets a deal denied to everyone else, as much as it is untenable Theresa May abandons her plans to allow a bunch of political misfits to run policy in number 10. What’s driving the DUP though? I’d say it’s about the money, their grubby deal to empower themselves, getting the upper hand in North Irish politics, and bad old fashioned power play. They are overplaying their flimsy hand as they don’t even represent the majority referendum decision in North Ireland. Just 10 MPs holding everyone else to ransom with their stubborn, out of touch, and backward looking views. Is this the state of UK politics? Really? I think not. We are better than this as a proud nation. The DUP just broke what they thought they had and the deal with the Tories is about to wither into the ether. The clock just stopped on the DUP Deal, Hard Brexit, and the alarm bells are ringing loud and clear. If an exemption is good enough for North Ireland, what about Scotland? London? Those industries like auto, fishing, agriculture, retail, etc now demanding an exemption too and ironically many also in the largest leave areas signal a seismic shift here in the Brexit debate. Something bigger is happening.

Some may ask why is Labour playing its cards close to its chest? Well, when the Tories, our natural enemy, Bevan had a few things to say about that, is making such huge mistakes, why should we interrupt them? They own Brexit, it is their bad, they will fall into the political wilderness because of it. Labour has said all along we want a Brexit that works for jobs and the environment. That can only happen if we stay in the single market and customs union in my view. It is also my view that it is only a matter of time, as this mess plays itself out as it sadly must, and as Labour prepares for Government, that the right timing for the people to decide what type of Brexit, or no Brexit, will be back on the table. I predicted that in June 2016. My own view on Brexit has been clear from day one, I’ve not changed it, it’s bad economically for the country and its bad for our global influence. On the 4th December 2017, it seems that even elements of the Tory Party grasped that plain fact too. How many Tories will show some guts and come out and say it remains to be seen.

My view remains staunch, I haven’t shifted with the wind for expediency like our MP Mark Garnier does, the yes man of Tory HQ, who sucks it up so he can carry on enjoying the privilege of representing Wyre Forest. I’d prefer to hope that Wyre Forest, ultimately, might prefer an MP with their own mind who acts in the national interest, rather than their own, for the benefit of their constituents, even when there is a disagreement with those constituents on something as fundamental as this. That’s the foundation upon which our democracy is based, and it’s about time our MP recognised it and acted accordingly. If you happen to come across Mark’s own mind, do let me know and return it to him. He might need it at some point to see what damage him and his support for Tory policies and the Grubby DUP Deal is doing. He has, unwittingly however, unleashed the end of Brexit with his support for the Grubby DUP Deal, and with his road to Damascus Support for Brexit, just so he and his lot could put Party above Country and stay in power, and keep their seats. That is about to change, watch this space.

Stephen Brown
Wyre Forest Labour Party

Tories, Brexit, & The Grubby DUP Deal

*UPDATE 6/12/2017* Parliament has been misled by David Davis, Tory Brexit Minster, over the impact assessments, or ‘qualitative quantitative sectoral analysis’ documents (if you prefer to now call them that...

Despite the gimmicks, the jokes and the distractions — today was a 'nothing has changed' Budget from an out-of-touch Government with no idea of the reality of people's lives and no plan to improve them.

The Budget has confirmed what we already knew: that we are worse off under the Tories and it's set to get worse. Economic growth is the lowest since the Tories came to office, real wages lower than in 2010, and the failure to pause the botched roll-out of Universal Credit will cause real suffering. Today the Chancellor has completely failed to recognise the scale of the emergency in our public services and found no meaningful funding to address the crisis in our schools, hospitals or children's services.

Make sure people know. Share the truth about this Budget now.

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Labour would take a different approach and build an economy for the many, not the few. We would scrap the public sector pay cap for the whole of the public sector; pause and fix the Universal Credit roll-out; introduce a real living wage of at least £10 an hour by 2020 and an energy price cap.

This Saturday, we're holding our biggest Campaign Day ever so that we can share our positive vision with people across the country.

Together we can stand-up against this failed Tory Government. Get involved with an event near you this weekend.

John McDonnell
Shadow Chancellor

We are all worse off under the Tories

Despite the gimmicks, the jokes and the distractions — today was a 'nothing has changed' Budget from an out-of-touch Government with no idea of the reality of people's lives and...

Once again its a case of the expectation of hope being defeated by the reality. The Tories had a chance to address the critical issues facing the country from everything on the economy, to Brexit, the NHS, Housing and Education. Once again they blew it.

On the housing crisis all they do is redirect money from taxation into developers pockets, many who donate to the Tories, by scrapping stamp duty for first time buyers which will force up house prices, even the OBR says so. Wyre Forest has a housing crisis, we are crying out for more rented social housing to be built in what is a low wage area, with over 3000 on the waiting list, and we get this. The Tories offer nothing for hard pressed working families who can’t afford to buy a house and need a home to rent. It’s Pathetic. 

Then we get £540million for driverless cars and yet our public transport system is creaking at the seams. Does anyone in the Tory Party ever use local trains or buses?

Boris’s Leave campaign bus promised £350million a week for the NHS, instead £3billion is going to have to be spent on Brexit bureaucracy replacing institutions we already had via the EU. The Tory Brexit plans are in chaos and we are staring down the barrel of ‘no deal’ and the reality of which many people still don’t appreciate the gravity of because it will make lives even harder for people in Wyre Forest because the economy will suffer. The people of Wyre Forest did not vote Leave to be poorer but this is what a Tory Brexit with their budget so lacking in imagination to rise to the challenges we face, will deliver to them. 

Sadly, the NHS suffers again. Yes it will get a single sum of £350million overall to ease winter pressures but that’s for the entire winter not for every week, and it’s way too little. Whilst the promised £2.8billion by 2020 is welcome it’s some £17billion less than needed according to the influential Kings Fund. It won’t even begin to address the issues. It’s £18million per week and falls well short of Leaver Boris’s NHS bus promise. Don’t expect the Tories to solve the NHS crisis, especially as our local NHS remains in special measures and near £40million in deficit with a further £123million required in cuts. Tory promises simply don’t cut any ice.

This is not a budget designed to help working people, it won’t solve low pay, the housing crisis, the NHS crisis, or put a spring in anyone’s step who’s worried about rising bills and falling wages. Labour’s alternative budget on the other hand would address the issues, on pay, the NHS, Housing and Education, not to mention addressing tax dodging which is costing the country billions of pounds; and it was all contained in our fully costed election manifesto here: https://labour.org.uk/manifesto/

It’s hard to believe that the election was just 5 months ago as the Tories lurch from one crisis to another. It was also not very reassuring to see it’s business as usual for our local Tory MP Mark Garnier, who this week reappeared after his recent disappearing trick following his embarrassing antics, but we can all be assured that he’ll be voting for and cheering on these Tory budget measures that won’t do anything for the majority of his constituents in Wyre Forest. His mission statement says ‘working for all Wyre Forest on every issue’. Frankly he should be prosecuted under the Unfair Trading Regulations, or Trade Descriptions Act for misleading people. Has anyone informed Trading Standards? Only Labour has the plans to deliver for the majority in Wyre Forest and across the country, the sooner a general election comes the better in my view. We can then start to rebuild the country and repair the damage of 7 years of needless Tory austerity.

Stephen Brown

Wyre Forest Labour Party

Tory budget not designed to help working people

Once again its a case of the expectation of hope being defeated by the reality. The Tories had a chance to address the critical issues facing the country from everything...

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