Author Archive | Barton Creeth

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Does Labour’s jump in the polls prove moderates were wrong?

  I’ve been banging on about Labour heading for electoral disaster since Jeremy Corbyn first looked like he would win the 2015 Labour Party leadership election. In 2015, I agreed with Tony Blair when he wrote in the Guardian: “If Jeremy Corbyn becomes leader it won’t be a defeat like 1983 or 2015 at the more…

The perfect poem for Labour’s anti-semitism row

Those following the anti-Semitism row in the Labour Party will be aware of the recent suspension of Momentum vice chair, Jackie Walker. Following an investigation into comments she made on Facebook about Jews and the trans-Atlantic slave trade, she’s been reinstated into the party. The Walker incident, and similar incidents, have opened a fierce debate more…

LPNI members standing in #AE16 against party’s wishes

Here’s my quick take on Labour Party members in Northern Ireland standing in May’s Assembly elections against the explicit orders of the NEC and party leader. Jeremy Corbyn and the NEC have said that, for the time being, Labour in Northern Ireland can’t stand in elections. Frustrated with years of being told to wait, a more…

Wormwood Scrubs prison, picture by Dylan Harries from Creative Commons

Rehabilitation revolution? The Tory mission to change the prison system

Michael Gove promises “wholesale change” of the prison system. Is his reform agenda One Nation Conservatism in action or just more empty social-justice rhetoric from the Tory government?   The prison service is in crisis and getting worse. As a report from Nick Hardwick, the former chief inspector of prisons, shows, more prisoners were murdered, more…

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The CND and the movement trying to stop Trident’s renewal

I took a break today from RTÉ’s coverage of the general election to head down to Trafalgar Square and check out the CND’s #StopTrident rally. Here’s my report. I’m an instinctual multilateralist, but last night I had pints with a friend who passionately believes the UK should give up its nuclear weapons. So today, after more…

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Corbynism: what’s on and what’s off the table?

If straight talking, honest politics is what Jeremy Corbyn brings to the leadership of the Labour Party, then what he and those he’s promoted into senior positions have said matters. What makes moderates like me uneasy, however, and why many moderates have left the party in large numbers, is that what Corbyn and those around more…

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Syria Still Dreams of Freedom

Rejecting the choice between Assad and ISIS, Syrians living in the UK argue a third way is possible, and seek support in reclaiming the dream they rose up for in 2011: a democratic and free Syria.  Before conflict overcame his native country, Amer Masri left Syria to study genetics in Edinburgh. “You know, like Dolly more…

Saturday Labour roundup: Corbyn, Syria, and potential mutiny

On Monday, I said that this would be Jeremy Corbyn’s worst week ever, and it has been, and next week will be worse again. That’s the pattern. It was a week defined by Chairman Mao’s little red book, Livingstone blaming Blair for the 7/7 terror attacks, McDonnell’s endorsement of the IRA’s “ballot, the bullet and more…

It’s going to be a bad week for the Labour Party

CUSHTY CORBYN: This week that will be the true test of Corbyn’s ability to fight off his opponents in the PLP. Anger and defiance on the right of the party is growing, but Corbyn remains the overwhelming first choice for the Labour grassroots, with 66% of members backing him.

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Syria is not Iraq: Labour can reclaim principled intervention

Last Sunday, Labour MP Jo Cox, the former head of policy at Oxfam, co-wrote a piece for the Observer with Conservative MP, Andrew Mitchell, arguing that British forces could help achieve an ethical solution in Syria. They lay out a threefold plan placing civilians at the heart of a British response to the humanitarian crisis more…

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Do urban Gaeltachts produce a compromised Irish?

The creation of urban Gaeltachts in Belfast and other Irish cities should be regarded as one of the greatest language revitalisation projects ever undertaken. As a leading University of California linguistics professor puts it, ‘I know of no parallels to this achievement anywhere else in the world’. The urban Irish-language movement has largely coalesced around more…

Could Labour open up a Pandora’s box by standing in Northern Ireland?

If elected leader of the Labour Party, Andy Burnham could allow candidates in Northern Ireland to stand for election. It’s not surprising, therefore, that the Labour Party in Northern Ireland (LPNI) unanimously endorsed his candidature for leadership only a week after Labour’s catastrophic loss in the General Election. In a press statement from 15 May, more…

End Tweedism now! Professor Lawrence Lessig and the campaign to end political corruption

In 1945, the world had very few democracies. Millions of people across the free world had just fought and died to hold back a bloody tide of totalitarianism; standing in the bombed-out ruins of Western civilisation, my grandparents’ generation, frequently called the Greatest Generation, set out to rebuild the institutions of democracy where they had more…

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Anatomy of an English Defence League demonstration

  While out on a jog this morning I received a text from my wife, “There’s some crazy racist demonstration at the Blackhorse Road station”. That’s right, I remembered, the English Defence League is in town. I had received a flyer earlier in the week asking residents of the area to attend a counter-protest organised more…

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Voting and Belonging: Why Voting for Labour Matters… to Me

At a party in east London recently an American, here on a temporary student visa, put a question to me after I told him I had been out canvassing for Labour. “What’s that like, being American and getting involved in British politics?” You never get used to these questions as an immigrant. They seem innocent more…

Can Northern Ireland afford to gamble on corporation tax?

Chancellor George Osborne will devolve corporation tax powers to Northern Ireland if our politicians can show they are able to manage the financial implications of such responsibility. He seems to be measuring their preparedness by the outcome of the current talks process, though it’s not clear just how much progress he needs to see before more…

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Christians on the Left host food poverty debate

The number of food banks is on the rise in Northern Ireland. According to Advice NI, the number of food banks in Northern Ireland has increased from two in 2011, to at least 14 in 2014, and Trussell Trust reports distributing more than 11,000 free food parcels this year. Churches have taken a lead in mobilising volunteers, more…

Graffiti on a Belfast Dole Office

The reality of welfare reform: “it’s a horror show”

  At the NICVA offices along the Duncairn Gardens on Wednesday, an important conference was held to open up debate about the future of welfare reform in Northern Ireland. It was one of those crisp autumn days which one likes to think of as typical of the atmosphere of cool, reasoned thinking. After heated debate more…