Tuesday 28 September 2021

Another 'stunning success' for the Tory rail privatisation agenda

The hated Southeastern rail franchise has finally been cancelled after the private operators were caught stealing £25 million in public funds since 2014.

Despite a long track record of delays, cancelled services, appalling working conditions, strikes, and lamentable customer service, this woeful franchise had been repeatedly extended by the Tory government since 2014, but the axe has finally fallen to the relief of passengers across the south east.

It turns out the private profiteers were running the services so inefficiently that the only way they could even spin a profit was to embezzle public cash!

And similar to the failure of all the other private rail franchises over the years, the public sector is going to have to step in at the last minute to take over operations.

The most absurd example being the way private operators have abandoned the flagship north east mainline franchise three times, with the public sector taking over at the last minute each time, running the service better, and gradually returning profits to the public finances, only for the Tories to hand it over to another bunch of profiteers who cut and run again, as soon as it becomes unprofitable to them.

This endless cycle of private operators extracting the profits, and public cash being used to clear up their mess is entirely consistent with the Tory ideology of "privatise the profits, nationalise the losses".

As a result of this spectacularly failed rail privatisation agenda, not only does the rail network cost more in subsidies to private franchises than it did to run the entire rail network when it was privatised in 1994, the government has built up a secret £50 billion+ black hole of rail debt from renting the track out to these profiteers at miles below the actual cost of maintaining them.
An overwhelming majority of the public want to see the rail network renationalised, and run as an integrated not-for-profit public service.

Yet the Tories persist with this shambolic mess of private profiteers extracting profits, then offloading operations onto the public whenever the profitability dries up.

Labour should be absolutely hammering the Tories over this, not just on the principle that rail privatisation has proven to be an absolute disaster, but for the sheer incompetence of allowing a private rail operator to steal £25 million from under their noses.

But unfortunately Keir Starmer is too busy waging internal factional war against his own party to care about establishing a critical narrative, and his shadow finance minister Rachel Reeves has only just been pledging her undying loyalty to the interests of capitalist profiteers, by swearing she'll ignore economic common sense, and the will of the British people, when it comes to the need to renationalise vital national infrastructure.

And to make matters worse the Tory Transport minister Michael Green Grant Shapps is seeking to protect the shambolic rail privatisation agenda by hiding it behind a fake renationalisation, whereby private operators keep extracting their publicly subsidised profits, but under a unified brand of "Great British Railways".

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. Access to my online writing will always remain free. If you see some value in what I do, please consider supporting my work with a small donation/subscription.


Friday 24 September 2021

The collapse of Avro Energy and the absolute scam that is energy sector privatisation

So far in September seven energy suppliers have already gone bust, and the industry is warning that the energy crisis could reduce the remaining field from 53 to an oligopoly of just 10 gigantic "too big to fail" energy supply behemoths.

In this article I'm going to take a look at one of the companies which collapsed into insolvency this month; Avro Energy.

Avro Energy is the biggest energy supply company to have collapsed so far, with 580,000 customers, which represented a significant 2% market share.

The company had been registered at a small business unit on Eliot Business Park in Nuneaton and run by a father and son team Jake and Andrew Brown.

The much-repeated origin myth for the company is that Jake Brown had to give up a promising career as a footballer due to injury, so he decided to found a massive energy supply company with a turnover of hundreds of millions of pounds, like you do.

Avro Energy managed to undercut other players in the energy market, which won them a coveted U-Switch recommendation in 2018. This U-Switch endorsement resulted in an astounding 144% increase in customers in the space of a single financial year, a fact that the company bragged about in its most recently filed accounts before they went insolvent.

Avro Energy's most recent accounts showed a turnover of almost £390 million, and they certainly make interesting reading (especially page 21).

The company provided a whopping £830,000 in unsecured loans to a construction company called Berkeley Swiss Ltd, which is registered at a small unit on Eliot Business Park in Nuneaton by a father and son team called Jake and Andrew Brown!

Another interesting payment in their most recent accounts is a £2.25 million management fee to a company called Sendito Marketing, which is registered at the same unit, on the same business park, and run by the same father and son team!

A look at the accounts for Sendito Marketing at the time of the £2.25 million management fee show that it only had tangible assets of £111, and just three employees, two of them being the directors Jake and Andrew Brown.

It makes you wonder what kind of management service could be provided by a company with just three employees and assets worth £111, that's worth £2.25 million doesn't it?

So what was it that Jake and Andrew Brown were doing that warranted a billing their own company for over two million quid?

More recent accounts for Sendito Marketing show that it's reduced its workforce to 0 the following year, and that the directors have been using it as a kind of personal slush fund, with hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of advances and repayments between the empty shell company and its two directors.

I'm no corporate accountant, so I can't tell you if any of this is unlawful, but there's no doubt whatever that it's dodgy as hell for directors to transfer literally £millions out of their own company in unsecured loans and mysterious "management fees" to other companies which they also own.

Who knows how many millions the Browns extracted from Avro Energy through the years, in bloated executive salaries, shareholder dividends, dodgy unsecured loans, and even dodgier "management fees"?

All we can say for sure is that this massive scale of wealth-extraction was enabled by the ideological madness of energy sector privatisation.

Lack of scrutiny

It's only since this company went bust that anyone in the corporate media has paid the slightest attention to the dodgy financial arrangements of the Avro Energy directors.

Up until just months ago, pretty much everything that was written about them outside of specialised energy market journals looked more like a corporate puff piece than any kind of real journalism. The heart-warming origin story, the relentless rise, the amazing entrepreneurship, the value for money ...

Did U-Switch do any kind of investigation into exactly how Avro Energy prices were so low before they convinced hundreds of thousands of people to switch over to them?

How on earth was the U-Switch website still recommending Avro Energy as a Five Star company, and exceptional value for money, right up until the moment the company went insolvent?

What were the energy market regulator Ofgem doing when the directors of this company were transferring literally £millions out of it, into a network of other companies that they owned?

Presumably it's standard practice for energy market companies with hundreds of thousands of customers and hundreds of £millions in turnover to be registered at a tiny industrial unit that's somehow home to 81 other companies, including several that are owned by the same directors?

Did the local Tory government bother to do any due diligence before they ran a blatant puff piece like this about these energy sector profiteers?


The majority of British people believe that the energy sector should be run as a publicly owned not-for-profit public service, but the politicians in Westminster prefer to leave it in the hands of private sector profiteers, and there are clearly very few rules governing the conduct of private operators in the shambolic privatised free-for-all that is the UK energy market.

It's not just that the energy supplies of literally hundreds of thousands of people have fallen into the hands of unscrupulous operators like the Browns, it's the deliberate running down of the nation's energy infrastructure because it's more profitable for the private owners to neglect it and then shut it down, than it is to keep it properly maintained.

And then there's the way that the governments of foreign states like France and China have come in and bought out £billions worth of privatised UK energy assets.

The Conservatives conducted the mass sell-off of British energy infrastructure by assuring the British people that the private sector would run things better than the British state, but then they've done nothing when France and China have come along to take control of these British energy assets for themselves!

The depraved mentality in Westminster politics is that the British state is incapable of running vital energy infrastructure for the benefit of the British people, but that the governments of France and China should be allowed to run it, in order to extract wealth out of British consumers to fund improvements to their own energy infrastructure overseas!

It's a bizarre self-hating ideology that borders on treason, but the Westminster establishment class are so strongly committed to it, and so vehemently opposed to proper public ownership, that they savagely hounded Jeremy Corbyn out of frontline politics for daring to offer the British public renationalisation.
  • It makes absolute economic sense to run energy and other vital national resources as public not-for-profit public services, rather than letting a chaotic mix of private profiteers and foreign governments run our energy infrastructure as a wealth extraction scam on British energy users.
  • Running the energy sector as a national enterprise would help to prevent dodgy private profiteers like the Browns from using it as their own personal cash machine.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. Access to my online writing will always remain free. If you see some value in what I do, please consider supporting my work with a small donation/subscription.


Thursday 23 September 2021

I read Keir Starmer's interminable 14,000 word essay, so you don't have to

Brexit chaos; the energy crisis; Rishi Sunak's malicious tax raid on ordinary workers; corrupt government supply contracts;  all-time record NHS waiting lists; a social care plan that doesn't fix social care; £millions worth of perfectly good food rotting in the fields; raw sewage in our rivers; the brutal Universal Credit cut; the HGV driver shortage; instability in Northern Ireland; a Home Secretary who keeps on demonstrating that she doesn't even know the absolute basics of UK criminal law; tyrannical government crackdowns on free speech and the right to non-violent protest; soaring rates of in-work poverty; cynical Tory efforts to disenfranchise literally millions of voters; the alarming UK export collapse; the Tory betrayal of pensioners by smashing open the pensions triple lock; the climate crisis; the housing crisis; the insecure/low-pay/gig economy/zero hours exploitation crisis; the creative industries crisis; average wages lower in real terms than they were over a decade ago ...

And what has the Labour leader Keir Starmer been doing instead of holding the government to account over any of this?

He's been writing an 14,000 word essay with the stated intention of "putting an end to the navel-gazing"!

As if it’s even possible to think of a better example of political navel-gazing than the so-called “Leader of the Opposition” focusing their energies on an absolute policy-vacuum of an essay as the country degenerates into chaos around him!

Throughout this epic bore-fest of an essay Starmer uses buzzwords over and over again, but in such an empty and inconsistent manner it gets really annoying.

He invokes Britain’s better/bolder/brighter future under a Labour government 34 times, but doesn’t provide even the skeleton outline of a policy framework that would deliver it.

His 12th invocation of the concept of "opportunity" comes when he says "that is why we must turn our attention to opportunity and security".

You're not turning attention to opportunity and security if you've already previously mentioned the subject of opportunity 12 times and security 10 times.

Endless repetitions and basic errors like this make it seem like nobody has even bothered to copy edit what the dear leader has written, and let it go out full of mistakes, pointless repetitions, poor wording, and inappropriate turns of phrase.

When we first heard of this 14,000 word essay we were assured by Starmer’s political allies and his liberal-capitalist cheerleaders in the media that it would serve as some kind of magical reset moment, to turn around his floundering leadership.

But if it was intended for such a lofty purpose, why is it so poorly written?

At one point Starmer demonstrates a ludicrous lack of self-awareness by slamming Conservative slogans like “levelling up” which he says are used “in the absence of a defining economic project or plan”.

However this empty sloganeering is precisely what he’s guilty of himself with all of the buzzwords and soundbites that are littered throughout his policy-vacuum of an essay!

It’s utterly infuriating to read because it's so full of empty posturing, yet so shockingly devoid of concrete proposals to actually improve the material conditions of peoples lives, and restore hope to their austerity-wracked communities.

This lamentable paucity of solutions is illustrated by the way he twice refers to people suffering in the exploitative private rental market in order to paint a picture of how unfair things are, but then goes on to offer precisely zero solutions to the private rental crisis.

He could have proposed the introduction of rent control measures; or clamping down on slumlords with legislation to ensure housing is fit for human habitation; or building more social housing; or laws to ensure more affordable housing in new developments; or new rules to stop buy-to-let slumlords buying up all the affordable housing for their speculative get-rich-quick schemes; or literally anything to actually address the problem he’s highlighted.

But he doesn't actually propose anything to materially help, he just uses the plight of ordinary people to piggyback on.

What's worse than the way he uses other people's suffering as emotional punctuation is the downright Tory "strivers and skivers" rhetoric he resorts to.

He’s basically setting himself an impossible task if he’s arguing that Britain should be a fairer place with more “opportunity and security” but keeps actively reinforcing damaging and divisive Tory tropes like “strivers vs skivers” that are used to justify inequality and the way that so many people in Britain are denied opportunities and left to destitution.

When it comes to the radically right-wing culture war agenda the Tories have been pushing Starmer once again identifies the problem, and fails to deliver a solution.

You can't just sit it out and refuse to engage with it in this social media age when the means of communication is controlled by capitalist social media behemoths and hyper-partisan billionaire media barons, because they know that the provocative stuff is what gets all the clicks and attention.

You can either try to sell a compelling evidence-based narrative to compete with the right-wing culture war bollocks, or you can sit it out and cede centre stage to your political opponents.

The essay doesn't mention Starmer's predecessor Jeremy Corbyn by name once, but it's stuffed full of undisguised repudiations of Corbynism. 

Starmer's screed isn't aimed at at the majority of British people who actually agreed with Corbyn's positions on principles like public ownership of vital national infrastructure (NHS, energy, water, public transport, Royal Mail); clamping down on tax-dodging; and avoiding imperialist war-mongering disasters like Iraq and Libya.

It's not aimed at building bridges with all the genuine socialists he tricked into voting for him with his unity candidate posturing, and his long-abandoned 10 pledges.

It's clearly intended to signal that principle-politics have gone in the bin, and that private utilities profiteers; city speculators; and international arms traders no longer have any reason to fear Labour, because the party is back under liberal-capitalist management.

Even as a dedicated political nerd I found it excruciating and exasperating to read a document that expresses so many lofty ambitions, but outlines absolutely no processes for actually delivering them other than a kind of plaintive mewling that it’s Labour’s turn in power next.

Towards the end of this interminable waffle Starmer sets out  “10 principles for a contribution 
Society” that he says will “form the basis of a new contract between Labour and the British people”.

Anyone who paid attention to Starmer’s rise to the Labour Party leadership can’t fail to notice the way he’s casually replacing literally all of his 10 clear, unambiguous, policy-based leadership election pledges with a load of empty, half-arsed talking points that even the most obtuse of liberal-capitalist dweebs could only pretend to be enthused by.

Let's go through them one by one:

1 “We will always put hard-working families and their priorities first.”

Yes, Labour should always prioritise the interests of ordinary workers over those of exploitative capitalist bosses (the clue is in the name), but hiding away from even alluding to the class conflict between workers and capitalist exploiters dilutes the message, and the emphasis on “hard-work” turns what could and should have been a good point into a Tory-style “strivers vs skivers” trope.

Why is it only hard-working families who deserve top priority?

What about people who can’t graft their fingers to the bone at any particular point (because of disability, age, unexpected loss of employment, responsibility to others ...)?

Don’t they deserve to have their needs prioritised too?

2 “If you work hard and play by the rules, you should be rewarded fairly”

Just in case you thought it could have been poor phrasing that turned Starmer’s first principle into a right-wing “strivers vs skivers” trope, he basically reiterates the point again.

If you’re a good little worker who doesn’t rock the boat you’ll be treated fairly, but no guarantees to anyone else.

3: “People and businesses are expected to contribute to society, as well as receive.”

Oh look! Point three is another reiteration of the idea that the most vulnerable in society don’t deserve to receive support.

Of course businesses and individuals that can afford to contribute are expected to contribute, but what of those that can’t?

Starmer strongly implies they don’t deserve to receive anything.

4: “Your chances in life should not be defined by the circumstances of your birth – hard work and how you contribute should matter.”

hard-work again is it?

All of these first four points could have been simplified into three distinct points, and expressed in a clearer and much less divisive way:

  • “Labour will always be on the side of ordinary workers”
  • “Businesses and individuals that can afford to contribute are expected to contribute”
  • “Labour believes in equality of opportunity for all, not inherited privilege for a gilded minority”

5: “Families, communities and the things that bring us together must once again be put above individualism.”

It’s all very well saying this. We can all recognise the detrimental effects of four decades of Thatcherite “greed is a virtue”, “I’m Alright Jack”,  “what’s mine is mine” selfish individualism.

But what’s the plan? 

What’s the programme to tear down this toxic cult of the individual and bringing back real community spirit? 

Is there even a plan at all, or is it just a vague ambition?

6: “The economy should work for citizens and communities. It is not good enough to just surrender to market forces.”

What does this mean in practical terms? 

Does it mean Labour will be renationalising vital national infrastructure and services so that they’re run for the benefit of the British people, not private profit-seeking wealth-extractors?

Does it mean Labour is going to actively intervene in the economy when “market forces” come into conflict with what’s good for citizens and communities? 

What is the framework for deciding what is “good for citizens and communities”?

7: “The role of government is to be a partner to private enterprise, not stifle it.”

This isn’t some kind of wonderful revelation, it’s a trite point that's so damned obvious that nobody would contest it.

Corbyn’s entire pitch to private enterprise was that the government would support them as long as they paid their contribution, rather than exploiting their workers or squirrelling their profits away in tax havens.

The idea that government and the private sector should work together rather than attacking one another is so incontestable that it doesn't need stating, and especially not in a list of someone's ten most important political principles!

8. “The government should treat taxpayer money as if it were its own. The current levels of waste are unacceptable.”

This is where it goes from misguided and poorly phrased to downright bizarre.

Government ministers treating public money as if it were their own slush fund isn’t a political principle to live by, it’s a massive great piece of the problem.

Treating public cash their own personal property is exactly what the Tories have been doing when they've been doling out secretive untendered £multi-million PPI contracts to their spivvy mates and party donors isn't it?

This attitude that what’s public is theirs to give away is the driving force behind Tory ministers flogging off and giving away tens of £billions in public assets like literally thousands of schools, energy infrastructure, public transport, the forensic science service, the aviation fuel distribution network, the Royal Mail, an ever increasing share of NHS services …

Starmer should be vehemently calling this plundering mentality out, not pledging to adhere to it!

9:  “The government must play its role in restoring honesty, decency and transparency in public life.”

Ha! What better way of proving your commitment to honesty, decency, and transparency in public life than tearing up the 10 concrete policy-based pledges you signed up to to get yourself elected, and replacing them with a load of vague, vapid, poorly phrased, ill-conceived pish?

10:  “We are proudly patriotic but we reject the divisiveness of nationalism.”

This is nothing short of a blatant and quite deliberate provocation aimed at Scottish people.

When Starmer claims that "we are proudly patriotic but we reject the divisiveness of nationalism" he's saying that his form of 'patriotic' British nationalism is a good, natural and unquestionable thing to be proud of, but people taking pride in being Scottish (or Welsh) is grotesque, wrong, and divisive.

If Starmer was remotely serious about attempting to win back the party’s lost Scottish heartlands, he’d show contrition and a willingness to engage. Instead he’s coming out with this deliberately provocative, flag-waving, British nationalist drivel.


It takes an extraordinary level of hubris to present such a poorly written and ill-conceived essay as the miracle that’s going to save your disappointing, directionless, and downright divisive leadership.

It takes a severe lack of self-awareness to accuse the government of using empty rhetoric in such a vapid policy-vacuum of a document.

It takes a massively disrespectful attitude to expect everyone to just forget all about your 10 policy-based leadership election pledges because you’ve scrawled down 10 policy-free vague ambitions to replace them with.

It takes a profound lack of strategic awareness to expect to win plaudits and popular support by sitting on the sidelines writing essays, as the country is crying out for strong opposition to Bodger Johnson’s callous, corrupt, and incompetent Tory cabal.

And it takes an extreme humour bypass to fail to spot how hilarious it is that you’ve written a 14,000 word essay explaining how you’re no longer interested in "navel-gazing".

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. Access to my online writing will always remain free. If you see some value in what I do, please consider supporting my work with a small donation/subscription.


Friday 3 September 2021

Labour's "Fit for the Future" report is fit only for the bin

A group called Labour in Communications have launched a 26 page document entitled
"Fit for the Future" which attempts to map out a strategy for reversing the party's catastrophic fortunes.

The problem of course is that the people who wrote it are a combination of useless political dinosaurs like Neil Kinnock, who should stay in the party's past rather than pontificating about the party's future, and some reality-averse political daydreamers.

The report comes out with 20+ recommendations, and I'll just go through a few of the report's lowlights here to illustrate how clueless and out of touch it all is.

Labour should have fewer policies

This "fewer policies" recommendation was what triggered all the gales of social media derision, and drew my attention to the existence of this flawed report in the first place.

Despite the fact that practically nobody in the country can name a single Labour Party policy since Starmer took over, and one of the most common complaints about Starmer is that nobody knows what he even stands for, this report suggests Labour needs even fewer policies!

The report claims that there's been over 200 policy announcements since Starmer took over, but the reason these policies haven't become well known isn't that there are too many of them, it's that so many of them have been derisory, hopelessly unappealing shit.

Take Thangam Debbonaire's announcement that she was going to side with landlords to help them bleed Covid-affected tenants dry, or Analiesse Dodds bizarre insistence that Labour would vehemently oppose any efforts to tax the windfall profits of profiteering corporations that made billions during the pandemic, due to the fact the rest of the economy had been forcibly shut down.

The problem here isn't that there are too many policies, it's that policies that side with exploitative landlords and profiteering corporations go entirely against what the Labour Party is supposed to stand for.

"Creating a political cabinet with a mandate to deliver Labour’s message to the public"

If delivering Labour's message to the public hasn't been one of the main priorities of Starmer's cabinet already, no wonder nobody seems to knows what Labour's policies are, or what the party stands for.

Creating a new "political cabinet" tasked with what the actual shadow cabinet should be doing is absurd and confusing.

But they can't recommend that the actual shadow cabinet simply do its job properly, because there's no surer way to lose influence over powerful people than tell them the truth about what they're actually doing wrong.

"Reintroducing a pledge card of announcements to tie together different policies"

Keir Starmer already made 10 pledges to Labour Party members during the post-Corbyn leadership election, all of which have been broken to one extent or another.

Who on earth would be gullible enough to believe a "pledge card" from someone who has already proven beyond doubt that his "pledges" aren't worth the paper they're written on?

It's actually an insult to all Labour Party members to even dare utter the word "pledge", without the slightest reference to Starmer's abandonment of all of his leadership election pledges.

"Integrating and investing in digital, placing it at the core of the communications strategy"

How far behind the curve are these people if they think embracing online activity is some kind of bold and inventive new strategy?

The really sad thing is that under Corbyn's leadership Labour took massive strides forward in online campaigning, but all of those advances have been burned to the ground by Starmer's factionalist right-wing advisers, who see everything through their bitter factional agenda.

They don't see the mass membership, and online campaign groups, and left-wing independent media outlets as powerful assets to the party in a landscape where the Tories hold almost all of the other cards, they see them as enemies who need to be attacked and destroyed.

They blame online activists for Corbyn becoming Labour leader in 2015, they blame them for Corbyn defeating their cowardly Anyone But Corbyn coup in 2016, and they blame them for Corbyn almost winning the 2017 general election.

How on earth are these people glibly blethering on about digital communication strategies, when the entire approach to Labour's existing online supporter base since Starmer took over has been antagonism and abuse!

The report makes no mention of the giant leap backwards the party has made since 2019. It's as if they're proposing the construction of a wonderful new house, without any mention of the pre-existing house that's been deliberately and spitefully burned to the ground!

"Holding shadow cabinet meetings outside of London on a rotational basis to detoxify the party’s London-centric image"

Holding a few shadow cabinet meetings outside of London isn't going to do anything to shift any perceptions that Labour is London-centric. Virtually nobody pays attention to actual government cabinet meetings, let alone shadow cabinet meetings.

If Labour wants to reach out to other parts of the UK, they don't need vapid gimmicky nonsense like this, they need bold, clear policy proposals aimed at improving the material conditions of people's lives, and rebuilding their shattered austerity-ravaged communities too.

"Refocusing Labour’s message to the public to be centred on our vision for the country, and not our own internal issues"

This is ambition is going to be incredibly difficult to pull off because of two main factors.

  • The party's shocking inability to outline even the most basic pencil sketch of what their vision for what a post-austerity, post-Brexit, post-Covid Britain would look like so far.
  • The ongoing factional war against the left (membership purges, shadow cabinet purges, endless Stalinist diktats, internal election-rigging, factionally motivated suspensions, persecution of left-wing Jews, the utterly divisive side-lining of Corbyn ...).
It's such an unrealistic daydream to imagine that the party can suddenly force the public to concentrate on their political messaging, when a significant portion of their members, activists, organisations, and previously supportive independent media sites that they'd need to spread the party message are actually busy fighting back against the bitter factionally motivated internal war the party bureaucrats are busy waging!

Party Conference

The report pins an awful lot of hope on the upcoming party conference, saying that it's an opportunity for Labour to "dominate the news agenda", and imploring the leadership to finally "give more thought to the overall narrative they want to convey", but under current circumstances this is wildly optimistic.

Just last week unionised Labour Party workers voted on taking industrial action against 90 proposed involuntary redundancies (which are being proposed as a solution to the vast hole in the party finances caused by Starmer 's minions deliberately driving 100,000+ paying members out of the party). 

It doesn't matter how many "primary colours" Starmer uses to paint his vision of Britain in his conference speech, it's going to be spectacularly undermined if he ends up having to cross a picket line of the Labour Party's own workforce to make it.

Then there's the fact that Starmer's bloodthirsty NEC henchman David Evans still hasn't had his position ratified at conference. Given the massively divisive internal civil war he's been waging since the moment he took over, it wouldn't come as much of a surprise if there was some kind of conference rebellion, and insistence that he's replaced by some kind of unity figure.

Then there's Starmer's absurdly divisive decision to keep Jeremy Corbyn suspended from the parliamentary party, which is yet another cause of entirely unnecessary division.

If Starmer had been honest about his pledge to promote party unity and kept Corbyn onboard, then a hugely energised audience for an on-message Corbyn conference speech would go down as a success, even if Starmer's speech underwhelms.

But if Corbyn turns up and gets big audiences under the current circumstances, Starmer is going to look a complete tit, no matter how well his own speech does or doesn't go.


There are elements of truth to this report.

It's beyond obvious that the party should be concentrating on stuff like online presence and effective communication.

The problem with it is that the recommendations seem to have been delivered from a position of absolute denial about the terrible state the party is in.

Wishing for a better online strategy is meaningless if you've pissed off and alienated most of your existing online activists.

Wishing for fewer and clearer policies is meaningless, if the policies you want to focus public attention on represent absolute betrayals of historic Labour Party values.

Wishing for more popularity outside of London is meaningless, if all you've got to offer is vapid gimmicks that have no material effects of people's lives or communities.

Wishing for internal party issues to go away is meaningless, if the party leadership is busy waging bitter factional warfare against your own members, supporters, activists, and voters.

Wishing for party conference to be some kind of magical turning point is meaningless, when it's looking more and more like the moment when all the problems you've been creating for yourself collide in an excruciatingly public humiliation.

Wishing for a bright future for your party is meaningless, if you're wishing from a position of denial about the terrible state it's in at the present.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. Access to my online writing will always remain free. If you see some value in what I do, please consider supporting my work with a small donation/subscription.