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Peter Kenyon - Labour Party explorer
I'm a political and social entrepreneur, married with 4 grown-up children.
Interests: active citizenship, good governance, gardening (occasional), dinghy sailing (occasional), cycling (very often) and arsenal season ticket holder (syndicate). contact me: peter.g.kenyon at btinternet.com, family, community (aka social) enterprise, west reservoir centre, watercolour painting (occasional)
Recent Activity
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A self-imposed period of reflection since Labour's defeat in the UK 2019 General Election is coming to an end. Where to start? We have at least one thing to thank outgoing leader Jeremy Corbyn for - he did change the terms of debate about economic and social policy, and the role of the state. Whoever is the next Labour leader will be pro-jobs and investment, quality of opportunity, taxing the rich and housing the poor. So why didn't the electorate buy in to that brighter, fairer future? I am still interested in raking over the events leading up to 12... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2020 at Peter Kenyon
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Gordon Nardell is Labour’s candidate in Cities of London and Westminster. He was born and brought up in a Jewish family in north London. His parents came from the East End and Tottenham. He was the first in his family to go to university where he studied law. He began his legal career as a trainee solicitor with a law firm known for its human rights work. He later joined the Bar and was appointed a QC in 2010. On the way he worked at the former European Commission of Human Rights and served as Parliamentary Counsel under the 1997... Continue reading
Posted Nov 29, 2019 at Peter Kenyon
Another Europe is Possible (AEIP) published a model resolution on Labour List today. I'm not sure AEIP hit the right tone Here is my rapid rewrite: Transform Britain, transform Europe Following the results of the European Parliamentary elections, Labour has reflected. It is clear there are more voters in favour of Remaining in the European Union, than leaving – the reverse of the ill-fated referendum promoted by our political opponents in 2016. Now as then the real division in society is not between those who voted Leave and Remain, but between the many and the few. What we in the... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2019 at Peter Kenyon
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Jeremy Corbyn is not a dictator. He said so himself this morning on the Andrew Marr show on BBC1. He was pressed repeatedly by Marr about his Brexit policy. Corbyn not only struck faithfully to the 2018 Conference Policy but made clear future policy would be decided by the Party. Don't take my word for it. Check out Paul Waugh, Editor of the Huffington Post here. Others clung on to him repeating scope for fresh negotiations. I understand that to mean he still wants to unify the country. In 20 seconds he spelled out Labour's priorities for the country see... Continue reading
Posted Jan 13, 2019 at Peter Kenyon
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I’d like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year. There’s so much talent across Britain but we’re being held back by a system that for far too long has only served a privileged few. And now the Conservatives have plunged the country into crisis over the complete mess they've made of Brexit, trying to drive through a bad deal and letting people down all across the country whether they voted leave or remain. Eight years of damaging Tory failure has left us with a divided country where millions are struggling to make ends meet, where so many can’t afford... Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2018 at Peter Kenyon
Bit harsh, dear boy! My concern is about narrative. Our dear Leader has been sounding like a broken record for sometime on this issue. I don't think you or I disagree about the need for government to address the needs of the UK's former industrial towns and villages decimated by Thatcher in the 80s and left to rot by Labour in the late 90s and 00s. I regard revoking Article 50 as the only viable way forward in the light of the monumental problems piling up for the country. They are the direct result of an internal Tory Party spat about Europe dating back to Thatcher's period in office and belated recognition of the Social Europe policy on Commission President Jacques Delors' watch. What is needed now from JC is a coherent strategy. He has demanded an earlier recall of Parliament, a good start. But he needs to start laying ground for future options starting with a demand that the government go back to Brussels to secure an extension of A50 to enable a general election and or public vote to take place on the May deal or Remain.
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Any illusions I had that Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn might see the light -' there is no better Brexit' were blown away reading his interview with the Guardian newspaper published today. I have fantasied since 24 July that he was not going to get on the wrong side of Labour Leave voters. He was going to wait until the Tories made such a monumental mess of Brexit that there was no one to blame other than the Tories. But no, his Guardian interviewer reports: The Labour leader insisted that even if his party won a snap general election in the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2018 at Peter Kenyon
Hyperbole has ruled. It's time for truth. And there is not much time left. Labour is finally engaged in rigorous parliamentary opposition to the Tory government and its Brexit plans. By the time you are reading this article the Meaningful Vote (MV) on the Tory deal may have already taken place. A defeat for the Tories whether before or after Christmas is only the first step along an uncertain path with unwelcome consequences. A rearguard action is reportedly underway inside Prime Minister May's cabinet to change course. On 15 December the Daily Mail led with: Cabinet at war on Brexit:... Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2018 at Peter Kenyon
This question haunts the frontbenchers of both the Conservative government and Her Majesty's loyal opposition, the Labour Party. With less than 60 hours to go before the planned Meaningful Vote (MV) on Prime Minister Theresa May's blind Brexit deal, there is still time for a Conservative coup. One of my fellow members of Labour Business has suggested an elegant but politically explosive escape route for the Tories, famed for their ruthlessness in despatching leaders that threaten their Party's longer term electability. The PM explains to Parliament, after defeat in the MV, that given the failure of her "deal" and with... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2018 at Peter Kenyon
The Leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn's speech replying to the opening of the Meaningful Debate (not) by the Prime Minister was less than inspiring for political nerds like me who fail to see why the Labour Party is having anything to do with the political insanity called the Conservative Party and its obsessions with the European Union. But Corbyn is consistent in his inconsistencies. Strangely, he was less than focussed on the prospect of an early General Election that one might have expected given the calamitous defeats the Conservatives suffered just minutes earlier. Perhaps the considered wisdom in the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2018 at Peter Kenyon
Now we know. The Article 50 (A50) process to leave the EU can be reversed – unilaterally. Cue: national shroud-waving. The prevailing political wisdom [sic] is (maybe) the people have spoken. Therefore, the idea of stopping Brexit is anathema, at least to the vast majority of parliamentarians, without another public/people's vote (also known unsurprisingly as a referendum). But what is the juridical position? Unless the UK unilaterally deactivates the A50 process, it will cease to be a member of the European Union on 29 March 2019. No amount of UK parliamentary bluster will stop that process unless legislation is passed... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2018 at Peter Kenyon
Patience is an essential virtue in political life. A year has passed since I last posted on the only issue that matters to the future of the UK and its peoples. Then I called for a refocus on Tory disasters. All that has changed is that the disasters are mounting. The people who will suffer most are many of those who thought leaving the EU would offer a better life. As a rank-and-file Labour Party member, I have tabled a resolution for consideration at my local branch in the City of London. It is based loosely on a model resolution... Continue reading
Posted Jul 1, 2018 at Peter Kenyon
Pressure is mounting on the Labour Party frontbench to refocus on opposing Brexit. Ganging up on Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn is not likely to help deliver a positive result. There is a more pressing imperative - the Tories. It is Labour's job in opposition to wrong-foot the Tories and force a fresh General Election as quickly as possible. There has been an unnecessarily prolonged period of Labour front-bench Brexit-babbling which left Remainers like me frustrated and baffled. Why should Labour want to side with the hardliners in UKIP and the Conservative Party? Corbyn's mistake following the EU referendum result was... Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2017 at Peter Kenyon
Reflecting on this elegant prose that is the section of the Labour Party Manifesto 2017 concerning Brexit, one fact screams out - Labour did not win the June 2017 election. Labour's bold ambition set out in the first paragraph (see below) needs to be recast in the light of May's reckless attempts to hold on to power: Labour accepts the referendum result and a Labour government will put the national interest first. We will prioritise jobs and living standards, build a close new relationship with the EU, protect workers’ rights and environmental standards, provide certainty to EU nationals and give... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2017 at Peter Kenyon
UK politics: is a return to two dominant parties unthinkable? Looking at the latest opinion polls, odds for political betting on seats in the next UK Parliament (note: not Westminster) the odds on a return to 2-party politics must be very long indeed. My own political life was shaped by simplistic descriptions of the ideologies of the two main parties in the UK. Conservatives/Tories stand for selfishness and greed. Labour stands for sharing and collective action. One Nation Toryism forged out of experience post World War II recogognised that the old order shaped by the aristocracy was finished. But the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2017 at Peter Kenyon
Labour's leader Jeremy Corbyn wants members to decide who will be their prospective parliamentary candidate at the next General Election. Given the Tories inability to govern that opportunity might not be far away. Reactions to Ian Lavery MP's recent pronouncements suggest that the age of entitlement in the Labour Party is not over (yet). Let me untangle these issues. Ahead of the shock, surprise May 2017 General Election, Labour was so ill-prepared that the NEC took upon itself the power to select candidates. Serial rebel MPs in the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) were given a 'Get out of Jail' card.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2017 at Peter Kenyon
Labour's right-wing declared war on newly-elected Leader Jeremy Corbyn immediately after the official result was declared a year ago. It started with a warning from Lord Mandelson reported in the Guardian on 25 September 2015 by Nicholas Watt: ‘The former minister and adviser to Tony Blair offers his view in a private paper that circulated to political associates last week in which he urges them to dig in for the “long haul”. In his paper, Lord Mandelson writes: “We cannot be elected with Corbyn as leader. Nobody will replace him, though, until he demonstrates to the party his unelectability at... Continue reading
Posted Aug 29, 2016 at Peter Kenyon
Whoever wins Labour's 2016 leadership election, there is no immediate prospect of its civil war being settled anytime soon. Hostilities were opened almost immediately after Jeremy Corbyn was declared winner nearly a year ago. Intermittent skirmishing occurred. An 8-month phoney peace was shattered in the wake of the EU referendum with the collapse of the broad-church shadow cabinet and that overwhelming vote of no confidence by the PLP in Corbyn. Sources close to Corbyn insist there was a plot orchestrated by Deputy Leader Tom Watson. Whatever, Watson will still be deputy leader after the result is declared on or around... Continue reading
Posted Aug 23, 2016 at Peter Kenyon
I think the unthinkable – a re-united Labour Party by the beginning of next month Am I alone in thinking nothing good can come from the Labour Party leadership election continuing another day. What we have learned is multifarious. For me the most shocking realisation is that Labour's elected and unelected representatives can trash the Labour 'brand' with impunity. Rank and file members do not enjoy such liberties. That is not right or equitable. For me this was sufficient reason to vote the Centre Left Grassroots Alliance (CLGA) slate for the constituency section of the National Executive Committee slate. And... Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2016 at Peter Kenyon
I adopt the mantle of brand manager and speculate about whether 'Labour' can be saved The 2016 Labour leadership election result will be announced (presumably in Liverpool) on 24 September – Declaration Day. Whoever wins must be assured of the support of all sections of party. No ifs, no buts. All of which should go without saying. That's how it should have been last year. So what can be learned from the last eleven months? In the first instance, the new leadership election rules (agreed by Conference while Ed Miliband was in charge) radically altered the balance of power between... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2016 at Peter Kenyon
Prepare for the worst. The Labour Party's National Executive Committee (NEC) has a poor track record when it comes to acting responsibly and judiciously. Excluded from leading on policy-making by Tony Blair twenty years ago, it might have focussed on taking care of the money, membership and building a campaigning machine capable of outflanking the mainstream media (MSM). As we saw last week at its Special Meeting it descended into political and administrative machinations, behind the cloak of the Party Rule book. Corbyn supporters celebrated the 18-14 vote in favour of the Leader being on a ballot paper in the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2016 at Peter Kenyon
Nineteen weeks ago I posted in the wake of Labour's latest electoral setback. The response of Labour Party members to the need to elect a new Leader was quite unexpected. Well until serial rebel Jeremy Corbyn MP entered the race, when the mood changed and hundreds of thousands flocked to join whether as members, registered supporters or affiliates. Now luxuriating in his first party conference, Corbyn continues to demonstrate political skills that are reaching out - providing encouragement to those of us who don't rule out a return to two-party politics in the UK. Grumbling from the with the Parliamentary... Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2015 at Peter Kenyon
Was the result such a catastrophic disaster for the Labour Party? There are innumerable headlines to choose from. Here's is one from the International Business Times: SNP destroys Labour in electoral disaster for Ed Miliband as Conservatives set for Commons majority OK, are there any members of the Labour Party left in Scotland? Are there any Labour councillors? MSPs? Of course. Are there any Labour MPs representing Scottish constituencies? Just one, a loss of 40 Westminster Parliamentary seats. Even if Labour had retained all its Scottish seats the Conservatives would still have been the largest party in the House of... Continue reading
Posted May 19, 2015 at Peter Kenyon
I suppose the answer to my question back in mid-January is NO - a controversial assertion following Labour's wipeout in Scotland. But the electorate seems to have taken the view that a Labour/SNP tie up was not in the national interest and more voted Conservative on Election Day than had previously indicated to hungry pollsters that they might.
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Whenever I mouthed off as a child my parents encouraged me, in a kindly manner, to always practice what I preached. Today, I hope every member of Labour's front-bench will do likewise. Uppermost in the minds of us labelled as the left of British politics is the victory of Syriza in yesterday's Greek general election - a victory for hope. The speed with which it concluded negotiations this morning to form a government - one hour - reinforces that message. Syriza's leader, Alexis Tsipras, has taken political ambition to new heights, by taking on both the global neo-liberal and the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2015 at Peter Kenyon