Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Labour Party

3 Brexit Futures: Stories from Next Year

In Spring 2019, the UK is meant to leave the EU. Prime Minister Theresa May soldiers on, but many think she can’t get the job done. Former Prime Ministers John Major and Tony Blair gave ruthless speeches again May, and EU’s lead Brexit negotiator accused May of being “vague” and “not credible”. Major–a member of May’s own party–was especially vicious:

It all has me thinking about what comes next. How might these Brexit negotiations conclude? Three possibilities stick out to me.

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Could Corbyn Cancel All the Student Debt? Yes–But He Has to Bend a Rule

There was a row this week in the UK over Labour’s plan for the university system. Individual Labour politicians have in the past talked about doing something about student debt, but this week Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn distanced himself from outright debt relief:

What I said was we would deal with it by trying to reduce the burden of it, we never said we would completely abolish because we were unaware of the size of it at that time.

Some in the British press are trying to portray this as a U-turn, but the Labour manifesto did not itself make any firm pledges on debt relief. It promised to eliminate tuition fees, but the debt issue was left to one side:

The average student now graduates from university, and starts their working life, with debts of £44,000. Labour will reintroduce maintenance grants for university students, and we will abolish university tuition fees.

Corbyn indicated this prior to the election–Labour was still trying to figure out the debt issue:

Yes, there is a block of those that currently have a massive debt, and I’m looking at ways that we could reduce that, ameliorate that, lengthen the period of paying it off, or some other means of reducing that debt burden. I don’t have the simple answer for it yet – I don’t think anybody would expect me to, because this election was called unexpectedly; we had two weeks to prepare all this – but I’m very well aware of that problem. And I don’t see why those that had the historical misfortune to be at university during the £9,000 period should be burdened excessively compared to those that went before or those that come after. I will deal with it.

So instead of playing he-said he-said, let’s take a look at what Labour could do about student debt and see if we can help Corbyn figure it out.

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How the Lib-Dems and the SNP Failed the Progressive Movement in Britain

The Labour Party was able to increase its vote share to about 40%, a level which has often historically been enough for Labour to form governments on its own.

But Labour was unable to form a government because the Conservatives also increased their vote share, albeit by a smaller amount:

This large Tory vote share enabled the Conservatives to prevent the assembly of a grand coalition of the left. Much of the turnover came from the collapsing UKIP vote, which fell more than 10 points from 2015 levels. But some of it came from the SNP, which dropped 1.7 points and 12 seats to the Tories. And some of it even came from the Lib-Dems, who lost 0.5 points and failed to win over many anti-Brexit Tory voters. Labour took care of business, but the junior partners came up short. What went wrong?

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The 3 Groups Only Corbyn Could Win for Labour

Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has gained 31 seats in parliament and increased its vote share by nearly 10 points. This gives Labour its largest vote share by percentage since 2001. This is somewhat perplexing, because Corbyn had a net approval rating of -11, even during the final week of the election campaign.  But even though many ordinary Labour voters might have preferred a more traditional Labour leader, they appear to have nonetheless preferred Corbyn’s Labour Party to the alternatives. In the meantime, Corbyn helped bring in three groups of people which a more traditional Labour leader might have failed to attract.

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Britain: For the Love of God, Please Stop Theresa May

On June 8 (this Thursday), Britain has a general election. I care deeply about British politics–I’m doing my PhD at Cambridge. But more importantly, Theresa May’s government has managed the country’s economy and public services with stunning fecklessness, and I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t do my part to point this out.

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