MARGARET BOWKER

News

Events attended

On September 22, we attended the AGM of Milton Keynes University Hospital. It was an enjoyable AGM and very informative with presentations and lots of media. I particularly liked the R&D slot and the description of the dogs that had been trained to sniff out disease. We met Joe Harrison, the CEO, and said we would pass on anything we heard from the Health Secretary in reply to our lobbying letter.


Thoughts on the Labour Leadership Contest

September 1

So Labour seems to be going activist in general; looking for radicalism, practical radicalism, I hope, the sort that works within the confines of what is possible as well as desirable and gets results. I remember offering Labour, (they hadn't asked for it, but got it anyway), some specific advice, one bit economic 2010, and the other on the EU 2015, prior to the general elections, and neither gelled but they were only elections, unlike now. Okay, we all know now that Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader. So here ends my blog. Any further comments will go on the weblog site.

August 26 - Market Turbulence

So who out of the four candidates would stand the best chance of knowing what his/her Chancellor should be doing and saying, if he/she came up against the present  market situation? This is not just an undeliverable wish list.

August 22 - Theory and Practice

Observing and commenting on events in Greece, the calling of an election and the division of Syriza, brings to mind the difficulty of putting theories into practice; and what happens when a party dominated by radical theory gains power. Syriza is moderating to cope with the forces of the real world, the markets, the creditors etc. Those unable to compromise have split away and formed their own party. Who is right? Who will function better? On the face of it, a moderately centrist party will be more able to go with the flow, the flow of power, and achieve more for their country. The radical left, now the third largest party, bases its policies on a complete reversal of the status quo, and if necessary, would leave the Euro, not stay in as polls have said. I commented on INET yesterday in reply to Joseph Stiglitz, who really doesn't like the conditionality attached to the third bailout and Euro economic policy. But as my comment said, Greece didn't want to leave the Euro, which decided everything; and their greatest needs such as debt restructuring, humanitarian measures, easing on primary surpluses could well be achieved if there is acceptable compliance. None of this is easy, but both sides will wish to put the good of the country first.


And how does this relate to the Labour Party Leadership contest?  This is also being played out in the real world. This is a contest of theory versus practice. And if Jeremy Corbyn gets in, how will he cope with most of the parliamentary party not being with him? This is why the Greek PM called an election, except it was for about a third dissenting and a fifth walking out of the party. This is a fascinating contest in the UK, I daresay America is watching as well. 




August 16 - Syriza and the Corbyn Movement

I've been an activist, a pragmatic one, 'demanding' positive results, for most of my life, with perhaps time out in the Eighties for dodgy health, but still even then, an activist in my head; and a watcher of international events and economies. I watched the economic situation in Greece for years and when an activist party on the left, Syriza, actually got into power at the beginning of this year, my focus sharpened considerably. And I've been with them ever since, fascinated to see what would happen and at times, rather worried; and  will be with them, commenting, responding as a member, to  policy makers on global think tanks where the professional commentators do not go, shouting out ideas, until the Greek people have a totally viable way forward. But there has been compromise, it has been necessary, when in power, a new government comes up against reality, against greater forces and gets as good a deal, a way forward, as can possibly be reached.. There has been months of adjustment and it has been painful. Nevertheless, Syriza did form its own party, set out its policies, did want power, parliamentary power, and attained it.

So what does the Corbyn Movement want? They are left, they are activist, they want more equality, I won't argue there, they want the Labour Party to become a democratic mass social movement, although I'm not sure what that means, they want to renationalise in some cases, they want the rich to take much more of the burden, they want change. Do they want parliamentary power beyond what naturally comes with winning the Leadership contest? Could they govern, if given the chance? Should they form their own party, like Syriza and Ukip did? Can they reply to Janet Daley's points in the Telegraph? This is a hugely interesting and significant debate, this struggle for the Labour party's way forward.




August 15 - A New Blog

This will be a short blog, ending September 11, on some of the issues thrown up by the various campaigns. The bedroom tax, or spare room subsidy, as it affects the severely disabled, has been one of the issues I've been nagging about, both confidentially and openly for a while now. Could one of the candidates, Yvette Cooper, perhaps, as I have already tweeted my preference,  take this up? Cases are going to the Supreme Court next year and it would be good to support the initiative, and show concern and action on instances of unfair austerity, as this candidate has been doing on other matters. 

I was very interested in Jeremy Corbyn's People's QE. I seem to remember this was suggested several years ago. Only the proposal was the BoE targeting its QE on infrastructure etc, not the government, which would have required the Bank to lose its independence. In the event, the Bank chose not to target, seeing problems, and the recovery was kick-started by stimulating the housing sector, Summer 2013, as a number of us were lobbying for. Lord Turner's para-shooting in money was another idea on the go at the time. Corporate finance for infrastructure projects has been encouraged and there's been some government stimulus, one of the major projects I've been associated with is funded in this way, East West Rail, but there's still considerable corporate funding out there, capable of funding UK infrastructure. It was about 250 billion at one time.  Better, I think, to use investment money than print it for projects, rather than to protect the economy in very difficult circumstances, as has been done. 


2015 Events attended

In July 2015, we attended several events, including a first year HND photographic exhibition at Bouvier House CMK and an exhibition of the redevelopment plans for the Agora, Wolverton.

April 2014 MK Reception for Shadow Deputy Prime Minister

On April 9, we were invited to attend a reception for the Shadow Deputy Prime Minister and the launch of the Labour local election campaign. The event went very well and we were interested  to see the new policies they set out. Labour formed the new Council.

 



 











  




 

 

 

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