Progress | Centre-left Labour politics

Austerity: Is it over?

Today’s PMQs was a lesson for the Tories on what to expect from a snap election. It is clear that voters heard exactly one thing from Theresa May’s conference speech: ‘austerity is ending’.

It is the one thing Jeremy Corbyn clearly heard too, and his line of attack in the chamber today would be exactly what Labour would follow in an election next year. Is austerity over for mental health services? Is it over for education? Is it over for councils? We may find that the Conservatives have a very different idea of what austerity being over looks like to the vast majority of the country. With almost nine years of following austerity as a flagship policy, national debt is not dropping: the government cannot claim either that it is ‘mission accomplished’, nor that things will get better.

Add this to the list of reasons Tory backbenchers won’t want to risk an election next year in the eventuality of a Brexit deadlock. With the Fixed-term Parliament Act meaning that calling an election requires two-thirds of parliament, the possibility of going up against May at the ballot box next year seems to be a pipedream.

What does this mean for Labour’s Brexit policy, which prioritises pushing for a general election over a People’s Vote? It certainly does not negate the former element of it, but it does mean that preparations should be put in for what happens when – as seems likely – no election is forthcoming. The leadership still appears reticent to back a final say for the public on the Brexit deal. Members must make the most of current policy to put the pressure on.

What you can do: sign up to join the Labour bloc on the march for a People’s Vote on 20 October.

– Conor Pope, deputy editor

Latest on Progress

The centre cannot hold

With the Bavarian state elections fast approaching – there is bad news for progressives. The collapse of Germany’s centre-ground and the rise of the far-right looks set to continue, warns Penny Bochum

Read now >>>


The Brief: Universal basic income

Following this week’s Progressive Britain podcast, read Stefan Rollnick’s explainer on UBI

Read now >>>

Strategy board elections are open now until 5pm on the 18th October. The Progress strategy board exists to guide the work of Progress, and ensure the strategic aims of the organisation.

Think you’ve got a role to play? Nominate yourself for the strategy board elections now.

The Progressive Britain podcast

Is universal basic income just a pipe-dream or is it necessary for a new age of automation? Conor Pope, Richard Angell and Henna Shah sit down with Anthony Painter from the RSA to dispel some of the myths – and discuss the potential opportunities – of UBI.

Listen >>>

Help reform abortion law

Here at Progress we believe in a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body: you can listen to our podcast on the subject here. We don’t think that’s controversial – but some people do.

Recently we learned about the case of Emma: she’s 18 years old, 28 weeks pregnant and her baby has been diagnosed with a fatal condition called anencephaly. Current legislation means that the only way Emma can terminate her pregnancy is by travelling to England. Because she wants to stay in Northern Ireland to be surrounded by loved ones, she is being forced to deliver a baby girl she knows will die at birth.

In the words of Progress chair Alison McGovern: ‘That my friends, is a f*cking disgrace.’

But we’re not powerless. Click here to tell your MP that you expect them to vote for the October 23 bill that will put this law in the dustbin of history.

Five things to read today

Alastair Campbell talks about depression
Time to change

UK supreme court backs bakery that refused to make gay marriage cake 
Owen Bowcott, Guardian

As a decriminalisation bill is brought to Westminster, Northern Irish women tell their stories of abortion
Emily Baker, The Pool

Gordon Brown warns of ‘poll tax-style chaos’ if Universal Credit not halted
Emilio Casalicchio, PoliticsHome

What’s Behind Democrats’ Shrinking Senate Odds? 
Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight

Sign up to his email

Do you know someone who would enjoy this email, or are you finding it here for the first time? You can sign up here.

Progressive centre-ground Labour politics does not come for free.

It takes time, commitment and money to build a fight against the forces of conservatism. If you value the work Progress does, please support us by becoming a member, subscriber or donating.

Our work depends on you.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Conor Pope

is online features editor at Four Four Two Magazine

Sign up to our daily roundup email