A final post on boundary changes (at least until the Scottish proposals next month). This comes from a discussion I had with Mark Pack. Normally the thing we look at with boundary changes is what the party-partisan effect is, how the new boundaries would change the sort of swing that Labour need to win a general election. However, currently Labour are a very, very long way from the sort of polling lead they’d need to win a majority, so a small change in that figure really doesn’t make a lot of difference. More interesting in the current political climate is the effect it would have on Labour internal battle and any potential deselections.

The rules for how Labour will deal with re-selections after boundary changes are yet to be confirmed, so these are based on the rules set out for 2011 in the Labour rule book, on the assumption that Labour’s NEC will use similar rules this time round. A Labour MP has a right to seek selection in any seat that contains 40% or more of the electors in their existing seat. If an MP’s seat is divided up so much that no single seat contains 40% of their old electors then they’ll have the right to seek nomination in a seat with less than 40% of their old voters. If they are the only sitting MP to seek selection in a seat, they are nominated through the normal trigger ballot process. If more than one sitting MP seeks the nomination in a new seat there is a members ballot to pick between them.

Applying those rules to the provisional boundaries we can see where there may be contests under those rules. Note that this list is exhaustive, it contains every case where Labour MPs could compete against each other under the selection rules… but in some cases it will be easily avoided through either agreement (there are enough seats to go round) or retirement (an MP will be well over 70 come the general election and possibly considering retirement anyway). Of the 231 Labour members of Parliament in England & Wales, 142 of them should not face any re-selection difficulties connected to boundary changes – they may well see changes to their seat, but there is a single notionally Labour seat to which they have the sole right to seek selection. What about the other 89?

Avoidable Challenges

There are six places where more than one MP would have a right to seek selection for a seat, but where there are enough Labour seats to go round, so if MPs co-operate and agree between themselves who will stand where, no head-to-head challenge is necessary and no one is left empty handed. These are:
Alfreton and Clay Cross. Nastasha Engel and Dennis Skinner both have the right to seek selection here, but Skinner also has the right to seek selection in Bolsover, so a challenge seems unlikely.
East London. Mike Gapes’ seat is sliced up into tiny pieces, and if the NEC follow past practice he should have the right to seek selection in any of the successor seats. He is the only sitting MP with a right to seek selection in the new, ultra-safe, Forest Gate & Loxford seat so I imagine he will go there. If not, he could challenge Wes Streeting, Margaret Hodge or John Cryer (who could, in turn, seek selection in Stella Creasy’s Walthamstow)
Redcar. Andy McDonald and Anna Turley can both seek selection in Middlesbrough NE & Redcar, but McDonald is also eligible for the safe Middlesbrough W & Stockton E seat, so a challenge is avoidable.
Ashton Under Lyne. Jonathan Reynolds and Angela Rayner are both eligible, but Rayner is also eligible for the safer Failsworth & Droylsden.
Stockport. This is avoidable, but not without some pain for Ann Coffey. Andrew Gwynne & Ann Coffey are both eligible for the safe Stockport North & Denton seat. Ann Coffey is also eligible for the Stockport South & Cheadle seat, but that is far more marginal (that said, Coffey will be 73 at the next election, so may not stand).
Pontefract. Yvette Cooper and Jon Trickett are both eligible to seek selection, but Yvette Cooper also has a free run at Normanton, Castleford and Outwood.

Not Enough Labour seats to go round

The following seven areas have enough seats to go round, but one or more of them is notionally Conservative, so there may be a contest for the winnable seat or someone may be left in a seat that is notionally Conservative:
South London. Siobhain McDonagh’s seat is sliced up. Two of the successor seats, Merton & Wimbledon Common (a potentially winnable marginal) and Sutton & Cheam (no hope) are notionally Conservative, so she will have the choice of fighting one of them, or challenging either Chuka Ummuna or Rosena Allin-Khan.
South-East London. Erith and Thamesmead is split up into Erith & Crayford (a Tory seat) and Woolwich. The only option for a Labour seat for Theresa Pearce is to challenge Matthew Pennycook for the Woolwich nomination. Pennycook has the option of seeking the Woolwich nomination, or going up again Vicky Foxcroft for the Greenwich & Deptford nomination.
Coventry. Geoffrey Robinson’s seat becomes comfortably Conservative on new boundaries, but he has the option of going up against Jim Cunningham for the Coventry South nomination. He’ll be 81 by the next election, so I assume he won’t.
Nottingham. Vernon Coaker’s Gedling seat disappears. Half goes into the Conservative Sherwood seat, so there is the potential of a battle against Chris Leslie for the nomination in the Labour Nottingham East and Carlton seat.
Cumbria. The Workington seat disappears. Part of it goes into the very Conservative Penrith & Solway seat, which is unlikely to be attractive to Sue Hayman, leaving her the option of fighting Jamie Reed for the Whitehaven & Workington seat.
Wrexham. Susan Elan Jones’s Clwyd South seat is dismembered. Part of it goes into the elaborately named De Clwyd a Gogledd Sir Faldwyn seat, but that is notionally Conservative. The other part goes into Wrexham Maelor, where she would have to compete against Ian Lucas for the nomination.
Newport. The Newport seats are combined into one. Jessica Morden would also have the right to seek nomination in Monmouthshire, but that’s solidly Tory leaving one Labour seat between her and Paul Flynn. Flynn will be 85 come the next election, so the issue may well be resolved by retirement.

Straight two way fights

There are seven Labour seats where there are two Labour MPs who are eligible for that seat, and that seat only – meaning a straight fight is unavoidable unless someone stands down:
Sunderland West – Bridget Phillipson vs Sharon Hodgson
Newcastle North West – Catherine McKinnell vs Chi Onwurah
Wednesfield & Willenhall – David Winnick vs Emma Reynolds (though Winnick will be 86)
Stoke South – Rob Flello vs Tristram Hunt
Dudley East & Tipton – Ian Austin vs Adrian Bailey (though Bailey will be 74)
Neath & Aberavon – Stephen Kinnock vs Christina Rees
Cardiff South & East – Jo Stevens vs Stephen Doughty

More complicated fights

There are eight areas where there are rather more complicated fights… but where ultimately there are more Labour MPs than there are seats, so something will have to give:

Birmingham. Roger Godsiff’s seat disppears. He will have the right to seek election in four other Birmingham seats, putting him up against Gisela Stuart, Jess Phillips, Richard Burden or Steve McCabe. He will be 73 come the election though, so may choose to stand down.
Islington & Hackney. The change that got the most attention when the proposals were announced. Essentially Meg Hillier, Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott and Rushanara Ali have to somehow share out the Finsbury Park & Stoke Newington, Hackney West and Bethnal Green and Hackney Central seats. Someone is going to get stuffed.
Rochdale & Bury. Debbie Abrahams, Ivan Lewis, Liz McInnes and Simon Danzcuk are in play, with Rochdale, Prestwich and Middleton and Littleborough & Saddleworth. If Danzcuk remains suspended from the Labour party then the problem presumably resolves itself.
Liverpool. Steve Rotheram’s seat disappears and he would be eligible to challenge Louise Ellman, Peter Dowd or Stephen Twigg for selection in their seats. Rotheram himself is standing for Liverpool mayor, so it won’t be an issue for him. If he steps down though whoever is elected in the subsequent by-election would face the same issue.
Bradford & Leeds. Judith Cummins seat disppears. She is eligible to seek selection for Bradford West (against Naz Shah), in Spen (against Jo Cox’s successor) or in Pudsey, where Rachel Reeves will likely also be seeking the nomination (Leeds West vanishes, but Pudsey takes much of its territory and becomes a notionally Labour seat)
Sheffield. Newly elected Gill Furniss sees her seat dismembered – she is eligible to seek nomination in Sheffield North and Ecclesfield (against Angela Smith) or Sheffield East (against Clive Betts).
Pontypridd. Owen Smith’s seat is dismembered and he will have the right to seek nomination in either Chris Bryant’s Rhondda & Llantrisant or Ann Clwyd’s Cynon Valley and Pontypridd. Ann Clwyd will be 83 by the next election, so it may be resolved by retirement.
Islwyn. Chris Evans’ seat also vanished, and he will have the choice of competing against Nick Smith in Blaenau Gwent or Wayne Davies in Caerphilly.

The deep blue sea

Fourteen Labour MPs do not have a notionally Labour seat they would be eligible to seek selection in. In some cases this is just because of a slight change to an already ultra-marginal seat (e.g. Chris Matheson in Chester notionally loses his seat, but there’s really little change from 2015), in other cases it leaves them with a very difficult fight:

Andy Slaughter would face a Tory majority of 14% in the new Hammersmith & Fulham seat
Gareth Thomas would face a Tory majority of 11% in the new Harrow and Stanmore
Joan Ryan would face a small Tory majority of just 3% in the new Enfield seat
Ruth Cadbury faces a 10% Tory majority in Brentford & Chiswick
Tulip Siddiq faces a 9% Tory majority in Hampstead and Golders Green
Alex Cunningham is only eligible for the nomination in Stockton West, with a 7% Tory majority
Chris Matheson doesn’t actually face much change, but Chester would have a 1% Tory majority on paper
Jenny Chapman faces a notional Tory majority of 1% in Darlington
Madeleine Moon’s Bridgend is merged with the Vale of Glamorgan to create a notionally Tory seat, but with a majority of only 3%
Alan Whitehead’s Southampton Test would have a 4% Tory majority on paper (Southampton Itchen would flip to Labour… but Whitehead doesn’t have the right to go there under Labour rules)
Melanie Orr would be eligible to seek selection in either Grimsby North & Barton or Grimsby South and Cleethorpes. Both, however, would be Conservative.
Holly Walker-Lynch faces a similar situation, under Labour rules she can apply for Calder Valley or Halifax, but they are both notionally Tory.
Finally, in the sorriest situation of all are Margaret Greenwood and Alison McGovern. They are both only eligible to seek selection in the new Bebington & Heswall seat… and even if they do get it, it’s now notionally Tory.

So, by my reckoning there will probably be around 15 re-selection battles where a sitting Labour MP faces up against another sitting Labour MP on the provisional boundaries, though remember that these are subject to change (and it only takes a small adjustment by the boundary commission to shift the number of voters from an old seat above or below 40%). It’s also worth noting that you don’t need boundary changes for a deselection – there is a normal trigger ballot process than can be used to deselect an MP and some of the speculation about deselections – Peter Kyle for example – is not due to Labour seats being merged together.


553 Responses to “Boundary changes – the impact on Labour reselections…”

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  1. Taking of Universities, everyone should be aware of the huge amounts of money being pumped into Western Unis by the Saudi government, and others for the promotion of Wahabist Islam:

    http://www.faithfreedom.org/no-free-lunch-where-saudi-arabian-funding-is-concerned/

    According to Spiked 63% of UK universities now actively practice censorship on campus, not just of speech, but also of ideas too.

  2. Pete B

    Your house is not a mean of production :-)

  3. @Lazslo – I would agree regarding the publication battle. Again, it so distorts quality.

    Interestingly, there was a recent bit of research in the pschology field, but applicable across the board, which found that there is an inbuilt Darwinian mechanism that promotes bad science.

    The principle is that novel findings are sought after as more likely to be published and then cited, but that, by definition, novel and different findings have a greater tendency to be wrong.

    However, because journals want more citations, they veer towards more novel articles, so the papers showing misleading results are rarely replicated in susbequent research, as everyone wants to find something new, rather than confirm a previous finding.

    The authors of the particular study I was reading did also pull together research results where people had tried to replicate notable published findings, only to find the results could not be replicated – implying they were wrong. However, getting these negative findings published was much harder, and as a result few people do it.

    The is the other side of commercialization of education, but the attacks on good science from both ends are leading to some serious ingrained flaws in the system.

  4. Some poll news;

    According the Nate Silver, over the last forty eight hours the chance of a Clinton presidential win have shifted from 57% to 62%.

    There seems to be general consensus that the debate was bad for Trump, and there has been some poll movement in the aftermath.

  5. @Lazslo

    Not all universities / colleges are part of the Russell group – where there has always been the high emphasis on publication, and most lecturers do not lecture in Russell group universities.

    There are also two other big factors at work in the sector as a whole – 1) the attraction of over-seas students 2) the degree to which going to a university/dept will translate into job prospects. The Russell group heavily rely on the their reputations to be attractive to students particularly in relation to job prospects in both of these categories – but for institutions outside of the Russell group how students rate them (staff/facitities etc) has a big impact particularly on over-seas students.

  6. Laszlo
    A longer extract is:
    “We know how great this country could be for all its people with a new political and economic settlement, with new forms of democratic public ownership, driven by investment in the technology and industries of the future, with decent jobs, education and housing for all, with local services run by and for people, not outsourced to faceless corporations.
    That’s not backward-looking – it’s the very opposite. It’s the socialism of the 21st century.”

    He doesn’t mention means of production, so I took him to mean that he wanted to steal everything, including the corner shop, the local pub, and my house. Still at least he’ll be able to give it to an employed, well-educated immigrant family, so I suppose it’ll be fine.

  7. THOUGHTFUL

    Yet another right-winger who quotes Spiked, AKA Living Marxism, run by former members of the pro-Russian Revolutionary Communist Party.

    Extraordinary.

  8. CARFREW

    @” The problem is that the media and Corbyn’s opponents are going to keep hanging the Socialist tag around his neck anyway. So he may as well reclaim it”

    So -you missed the bit about not apologising for Socialism anymore-and the bit about “It’s the socialism of the 21st century.” ?

    He isn’t so much hanging it around his own neck-he is staming it on his forehead.

    He wants us to understand that the Labour Party is now offering the Voters Socialism.

    I thought that was pretty clear !

  9. @RedRich

    Yes, the increasing reliance on (fees from) overseas students is yet another pressure leading to poorer standards. The general trend towards students seeing themselves as having “bought” a qualification, irrespective of their capability or level of effort, is particularly problematic in overseas students, for whom there is often a cultural layer of prestige/disgrace according to outcome.

    Universities that rigorously maintain standards and are willing to fail students place themselves at risk of becoming less attractive with a negative impact on that particular funding stream. With the result that administrators put significant pressure on academics to find ways not to fail students, no matter how poor.

  10. Pete B: “I posted a link to that table last night not to show that we were ahead of Germany or whatever, but rather simply that we are still a major player in the world economy and that fears that no-one will deal with us are fantasy.”

    The fact that we did well in FDI in 2013 reflects the position when we were viewed as ongoing EU and single market members.

    So, being in the EU worked for us in terms of FDI. What happens post-Brexit remains to be seen, but one of our main selling points will have gone.

  11. ROBIN

    I think there is another factor which influences student expectations when they come to university and it is in many ways counter-intuitive: the focus throughout their mainstream education on targets produces an expectation that providing they clear that bar they simply cannot fail. So in my field you see pupils (and then students) who produce essays which are grammatically correct but which actually show little or no insight or creativity (and are sometimes no more than statements of the bleeding obvious). It can develop of course but it is difficult sometimes for the pupils/students to see why they are not getting high marks – it’s kind of ‘what’s wrong with it?’

  12. LASZLO
    “Your house is not a mean of production”
    That’s debatable. The function of the shop-house in SE Asian cities is obvious in providing a work-place, but even in the West, workers couldn’t function unless they were provided with shelter and sources of water, sanitation and household facilities to allow producers to pop off to catch the 8.15 and children to toddle off to be trained as productive citizens.
    COLIN
    While Corby may be proclaiming socialism, he is also defining it explicitly in terms of the 21st century and the UK and European post-industrial economic, social and specific industrial and working rights systems – and of parliamentary and community based democracy.
    Others, as noted in this thread, could equally call it social democracy – or indeed democratic socialism.
    A related question is whether nevertheless Corbyn’s socialism is in an effective succession from ‘classic’ socialism, correctly, in respect of economic efficiency and the throwing off of chains, discarding public ownership except of public services and utilities, and continuing to build on rights of organisation in the work place and the role of trades unions.
    He seemed to me to go a long way to describing a coherent package of systems, not just measures, which would go towards that outcome, both in Labour policy and as he sees it in the UK economy.

  13. @Carfrew

    “””
    It may alarm some to learn that this is a socialist blog. I don’t mean that it is intended to promote Socialism, I mean that it operates under a socialist mode of production. Anthony doesn’t do the blog for a wage for someone else.
    “””

    Surely under a socialist system, we would have collective ownership of the blog, and Anthony would be paid a decent wage?

    I think popping up and doing stuff for free in return for reputational credit, if it can be attributed to a governmental system at all, is closest to the post-disaster “adhocracy”* in one of Charlie Stross’s books (I forget which).

  14. Forgotten footnote:

    * I love words that use both Latin and Greek

  15. On Socialism,

    I bow to Laszlo’s deep understanding of the historical origins of socialism, and his unique perspective having lived it earlier in his life.

    But I think this may be one of those situations where the meaning of the word has rather morphed over time. Perhaps it is a bit like one person saying Stephen Fry is “gay” and someone else saying “no he isn’t, he’s actually terribly depressed”.

    I am not exactly sure what “controlling the means of production” would even mean in the context of a modern, integrated, global 21st century economy. It works fine, perhaps, for a Russian family in the late 19th century making baskets in their dacha, but if 5,000 car workers “control” the Ford factory, they would have to do so via mechanisms so complex that they would amount to a form of government, with individual workers having virtually no say at all. What difference is there in reality between that and a Ford factory owned by a state-run car firm?

  16. @ Robin

    Couldn’t agree more, the whole approach currently encourages lecturers to over marl.

  17. I understand that a University local to me is running a large surplus while making cuts in staff and courses. They also appear to be in the process of buying up a large portion of the city centre and turning them into flats.

    Perhaps they see property as a better commercial proposition. Or perhaps it is being readied for privatisation.

  18. NEIL A
    “What difference is there in reality between that and a Ford factory owned by a state-run car firm?”
    I think you need to contextualise that question, for example, in the context of Soviet firms which I visited in 1989: e.g. Kaprograd, in the Urals, which processed all the scrap copper in the SU, or in state farms and collectives in Lithuania and Latvia operating state owned dairy, brewing and similar small industries. The firm and the municipality were parts of one “soviet” which also owned and ran all the housing, the health polyclinic, the baby creche, the transportation system, the school and the old age care system. Ford factory would also have had to submit to the control of Gosplan which would determine that its engines had to be made in Glasgow and its car windows in Hull, as they needed the employment, and to an accountancy systems based mainly on reaching production targets, since its financing would be directed by a central bank’s control of production and market viability maintained as need be by subsidy to meet any deficit between earnings and costs.

  19. @Neil A

    “I am not exactly sure what “controlling the means of production” would even mean in the context of a modern, integrated, global 21st century economy. It works fine, perhaps, for a Russian family in the late 19th century making baskets in their dacha, but if 5,000 car workers “control” the Ford factory, they would have to do so via mechanisms so complex that they would amount to a form of government, with individual workers having virtually no say at all. What difference is there in reality between that and a Ford factory owned by a state-run car firm?”

    ————

    Lol Neil, they don’t have to all run every aspect together. they can just own shares in the firm and appoint a management. John Lewis do.ok…

  20. I gave up on Socialism when I realised that as soon as it’s mentioned people start droning on and on and on going in ever decreasing circles…..it’s almost as bad as debating University Education!

    Now, who’s up for a good fight about Brexit!

    Peter.

  21. @Neil A

    “I am not exactly sure what “controlling the means of production” would even mean in the context of a modern, integrated, global 21st century economy. It works fine, perhaps, for a Russian family in the late 19th century making baskets in their dacha, but if 5,000 car workers “control” the Ford factory,”

    ———

    Socialism arose precisely in response to modern economic developments, chiefly the rise in capitalism, i.e. the increasing concentration of capital and power, and the economies of scale favoured by the industrial revolution.

    Prior to this, if you were a carpenter, say, you prolly owned your own tools and could negoriate a price fairly. Once you’re working in a factory though, if you don’t like the wages you can’t easily just go and build yiur own production line. You can go and work for someone else, but not much cop if the capitalists buy up all thd rivals and impose the same carp conditions everywhere.

  22. @PETER CAIRNS (SNP)

    “I gave up on Socialism when I realised that as soon as it’s mentioned people start droning on and on and on going in ever decreasing circles…..it’s almost as bad as debating University Education!”

    ———

    Aw, did we get off your favourite topic??

    When do peeps stop going on avout Indy etc. then? ‘cos some of you drone on about that a lot more than we talk Uni education!!

  23. John Pilgrim
    As Marvin the Paranoid Android would say “Sounds awful”

  24. @Alisdair

    “Surely under a socialist system, we would have collective ownership of the blog, and Anthony would be paid a decent wage?”

    ————

    Lol no, you don’t have to own everything you make use of.

    if you hire a carpenter, you don’t have to own him and his equipment. You just hire him. But under socialism he needs to be independent.

    It’s just free trade, really, updated for conditions of capital and industrialisation. Ensuring the worker can sell his services fairly, instead of being forced to accept carp conditions because can’t walk away and provide his services independently.

    incidentally, this may become increasingly important for people in formerly safe professions like law, accounts etc.

    Because as computer algorithms hoover up more of the work, those companies that control the software will rule…

  25. @Colin

    “So -you missed the bit about not apologising for Socialism anymore-and the bit about “It’s the socialism of the 21st century.” ?

    He isn’t so much hanging it around his own neck-he is staming it on his forehead.

    He wants us to understand that the Labour Party is now offering the Voters Socialism.

    I thought that was pretty clear !”

    ————

    That may be the case Col., but how is any of what you just said inconsistent with what I said?

    I didn’t dispute he might be offering “socialism”, whatever he means by it, but simply pointed out a rationale for doing it. i.e. others will say he’s offering socialism regardless, so may as well determine what that means rather than letting opponents do it.

  26. “I think popping up and doing stuff for free in return for reputational credit, if it can be attributed to a governmental system at all, is closest to the post-disaster “adhocracy”* in one of Charlie Stross’s books (I forget which).”

    ————

    Haven’t read Stross but will have to check it out. Good to be ready post-disaster. Like I wasn’t quite ready enough for peeps deciding I needed to be paying more for my synths…

  27. Carfrew
    “if you hire a carpenter, you don’t have to own him and his equipment. You just hire him. But under socialism he needs to be independent.
    It’s just free trade, really, updated for conditions of capital and industrialisation. Ensuring the worker can sell his services fairly, instead of being forced to accept carp conditions because can’t walk away and provide his services independently.”

    That ignores the fact that many people just want a safe 9-5 job without having to worry about admin, taxes, whether to take holidays, etc etc. I haven’t seen figures to prove it, but I suspect that when holiday pay, sick leave, pensions etc are taken into account many sole traders would be worse off than employees

  28. JOHN PILGRIM

    All very interesting I’m sure. But down in the Dog & Duck I do not expect to hear questions like :-” Ay up then our Albert-is yon Corbyn a Soshulist like-or d’ya reckun ‘eese a Soshul Demucrat like?”

    I heard both McDonnell’s & Corbyn’s speeches & listened to them vary carefully. Corbyn said Labour’s offering is “Socialist” & McDonnell said ( I quote the last lines of his speech :-“That’s our vision to rebuild and transform Britain. In this party you no longer have to whisper it, it’s called Socialism.”

    Corbyn said that his 500,000 new Members will explain this policy to voters across the country , who will vote for it & give Labour a majority.

  29. @Pete B

    They can have that under socialism. they don’t have to be self-employed, in the sense of running their own business, doing the accounts etc. etc.

    They can work for a company and be paid a wage, as before, but the difference is the workers own the company, not someone else. So they can step in and influence management not to take the p1ss. eg John Lewis…

    Is the idea. I’m not advocating it, just clarifying a bit. There are arguments for caoitalism too, concentrating resources in the hands of those best able to use them etc…

  30. CARFREW

    @”, so may as well determine what that means rather than letting opponents do it.”

    His opponents don’t need to determine what he means by it.

    He spent an hour telling us all what he means by it.

    This is it :-

    http://labourlist.org/2016/09/united-we-can-shape-the-future-jeremy-corbyns-speech-to-conference/

  31. “There are arguments for caoitalism too, concentrating resources in the hands of those best able to use them etc…”

    And, particularly relevant to worker-ownership, having owners of capital take losses, rather than workers.

  32. Carfrew
    Ok, if we’re shifting ground from self-employed to the John Lewis model. I’ve always thought that JL seems to work well and has a generally contented workforce. There must be a reason why the model hasn’t taken off though, even if I can’t think of it. Perhaps it’s because not many owners are as benevolent as John Lewis and it would be difficult to build a successful business from nothing using that model.

  33. @Bill P

    “And, particularly relevant to worker-ownership, having owners of capital take losses, rather than workers.”

    ———-

    Sure, until they get “to big to fail”, whereupon ordinary peeps bail them out. Or more conventionally, just accruing increasing political power as your capital mounts, so can persuade politicos to bail you out or favour you in various ways…

    Such is the power of capital, you can stack the deck to make it less likely you’ll make losses and you’ll have more in the tank when you do. Including the ability to buy out rivals and drive down wages…

  34. @John Pilgrim

    I always thought British Leyland building a bus factory in Workington and then having to compete with Volvo and Mercedes as the height of that particular folly. Russian factory planning, given it was mostly run by engineers, was in comparison reasonably rational.

  35. @Pete B

    I wasn’t shifting ground. I am simply showing that the model is flexible enough to accommodate the self-employed carpenter or the production line worker. Socialism always existed re: the self-employed, what was newer was the extension in the light of the rise of capital and industrialisation.

    As for why it hasn’t taken off more, in terms of things like workers owning factories, is an interesting question. Can’t say I’m up to speed on it sufficiently to give a thorough answer. People who start businesses like to keep control as it expands, would be one reason. Access to capital, and of course what happens if a company needs rescuing and buying out etc…

  36. COLIN

    “All very interesting I’m sure [sniff] . But down in the Dog & Duck I do not expect to hear questions like :-” Ay up then our Albert-is yon Corbyn a Soshulist like-or d’ya reckun ‘eese a Soshul Demucrat like?””

    OTOH, Colin, down in the Tata Arms, they tend to be better informed than the yokels of Colinshire, and interested in whether the Government will intervened with state investment, a union presence on the board, protected pension rights and commitment to market support for purchase of steel products – indicators of a post-industrial democratic socialism.

  37. Now that we have had the discussions of the First International replayed, and had the penetrating comments equivalent in quality to Senior’s last hour (as then the profits to wages was about one to eleven, he thought that the reduction of working time would destroy profits, as workers worked for their wages for 11 hours and for profits for one hour. Well, bourgeois economics – that’s about 95% of all economics publications – hasn’t become better).

    It would be great to have some polling.

  38. @COLIN

    “@”, so may as well determine what that means rather than letting opponents do it.”

    His opponents don’t need to determine what he means by it.

    He spent an hour telling us all what he means by it.

    This is it :-”

    ————

    They might not need to Colin, but that doesn’t mean to say they wouldn’t.

    You may think Corbyn’s take on it is utterly damning and worse than anything others might have come up with, which is a commendably charitable view of Corby’s opponents!!…

  39. JOHN PILGRIM

    Lets hope those sophisticates are duly impressed then.

    I think Wales is one of the areas that The 500,000 need to start convincing.

  40. CARFREW

    I don’t really know what you’re on about now.

  41. If you want to know how a socialist production system can operate in a modern industrial environment you can watch it here https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aI7ornrCKnM

    The productivity increase was beyond belief. However, as the teams recognised that their work and remuneration was depended on supplier, customer relations and also on investment and dividend policies, they wanted to take control over these (so they wanted to control not only their work process).

    The experiment was immediately abolished.

  42. @Colin

    I’m just explaining the point you keep dancing around. That it makes sense for Corbyn to define what he means by socialism rather than letting others distort it.

    Don’t worry, others seem to be ok with it!!

  43. “why it hasn’t taken off more, in terms of things like workers owning factories”

    Try to get a treasurer for a club, a small church, some local society etc.
    ‘I’ve no head for figures’ ‘I don’t understand accounts and balance sheets’ ‘I wouldn’t want to be responsible for other people’s money’ etc etc.
    It does mean being on the ball all the time with what are after all rather routine, boring activities, but open to all kinds of criticism if you get it wrong, including ‘lining his own pockets’
    Of course, if you are prepared to pay properly for a professional … and when the business has been built up, you can, but in the early days ‘it’s fairly routine really, isn’t it? Do we have to pay that much?’

  44. @Laszlo

    just spotted what you wrote earlier.

    None of what you wrote, while it may be true, makes me properly “wrong”. Marx may indeed have been concerned with productivity, he was concerned with numerous things, but being concerned with productivity does not mean you’re not concerned with who controls the means of production as well.

    One thing Marx was definitely concerned with, and which you leave out, and is pretty central, is the theory of surplus value. Capitalists creaming off the value added by employees, and another reason for handing back control. You say Lenin didn’t write much about Marx but I read his pamphlets* and he did, especially about stuff like surplus value.

    I can accept that control is more fundamental than ownership, but it doesn’t really mean you have to chuck out everything I said now does it. Ownership is a form of control.

    * I found them very interesting, especially comparing the writings before and after the revolution. Before the revolution it was all about the people having the power, not the likes of him, AFTER it was like ok, we said we weren’t going to rule but the people want us to, we are the “vanguard” etc.

  45. A couple of posters have cited John Lewis as an example of what a successful organisation might look like in a “socialist” world. I’m not going to comment on the substance of the debate, I just want to point out that the JLP is a very unique structure; it is neither a cooperative or a partnership in the usual, legal structure, sense of the words. There’s a good overview here:

    http://www.thenews.coop/85112/news/general/john-lewis-model-perfect-co-operative-group/

    In essence (and in my opinion) it’s success is in the way it has firmly given ownership to its workforce, but at the same time restricted the power of the employee in strategic decision making – avoiding the pitfalls of an industrial democracy.

  46. @Pete B

    “One possibly overlooked passage in his speech said “We know how great this country could be for all its people with a new political and economic settlement, with new forms of democratic public ownership……”. Sounds pretty socialist to me. He’d better not try to steal my house.”

    ———–

    I know we’re talking ownership in part because Corbyn said it but apparently if you say “ownership” everything you say according to Laslow is completely wrong. And it wouldn’t be stealing, because you’d still own the house. It’s just that others would too.

  47. @Laszlo

    ‘Now that we have had the discussions of the First International replayed,’

    Viva Bakunin.

    @Carfrew and Colin

    Personally I don’t think the tag of socialist has a negative impact on voters in this country in the way say ‘liberal’ does in the US. Marx was never a big influence on socialism in the UK, you can easily argue that christian and co-operative thinking were much more so. The collectivism underpinning institutions such as the NHS are not seen as alien but part of our national make-up – so many inherently see the positive aspect to socialism. Whether they think in sufficient numbers it should be applied in the economy, or that Corbyn’s blend is worth a try is highly debatable. Personally I think its their collective view of his leadership ability which is much more of a negative, not his socialist creditentials.

  48. Perspective and Context.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37510253

    Peter.

  49. Carfrew

    Of course Ilyich wrote about Marx, what I meant was that apart from the State and Revolution he didn’t write much about how the socialist system would actually work (he certainly didn’t consider any of the 1917-22 regimes socialist).

    Oddly, Stalin didn’t either, but for legitimacy reasons he put it into the 1936 constitution (via Bukharin, executed two years later) that the SU is socialist and building communism, but if one carefully reads the Economic Problems, it is clear that he didn’t consider the then economy socialist, and the main thrust was the the law of value (and other economic laws) was still valid, as the Soviet Academy denied this. It was a Trotskyst (Khruschev) who said that in 20 years they would have communism.

    Marx (who first clarified the surplus value properly) indeed built his analysis on Mehrwert. Again the point is not that at the given level of productivity the worker produces more than needed for his own reproduction (more than the value of the labour force, which is about 17 times of the wage in the US manufacturing), but – who controls the surplus value. While legally it would require expropriation (taking away the means of production), it would also require the communities to take control of the means of production (and not some state bureaucrat).

    While one doesn’t see an appetite for this among the people, the Volvo Kalmar experiment shows that it can come about spontaneously (and without the expropriation of the means of production it would be stopped).

    Now having said all these, there is a letter from Marx to Engels (or vice versa, sorry I won’t look it up) in which he says that it would be easier to buy out the lot than if they were willing to sell.

    So, before signing off from the seminar – it is perfectly feasible, but without social demand it is not possible, the social demand cannot be created by slogans, but only by practice. The function of the party is to recognise the attempts or experiments in the everyday life, appraise them, and support them if they are for the goal. Parties do not invent social changes. It is the task of those everyday people.

    Apologies.

  50. @Redrich

    “The collectivism underpinning institutions such as the NHS are not seen as alien but part of our national make-up – so many inherently see the positive aspect to socialism. Whether they think in sufficient numbers it should be applied in the economy…”

    ——-

    The polling shows peeps quite keen on stuff like some nationalisations. ..

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