What I'm up to within Labour
Leaving the single market is inconsistent with our anti-austerity agenda. Government estimates of the loss of GDP caused by a hard Brexit range from 6.2% to 7.5%. In plain English: hard Brexit results in fewer jobs and lower wages for ordinary workers. The estimates of lost taxes range from £36bn to £45bn. This is equivalent to about ¼ to ⅓ of the NHS budget. Brexit threatens to intensify austerity. Leaving the single market also threatens to damage peace in N. Ireland.
Brexit is the most serious crisis faced by the UK since Iraq. In my role on Labour's National Policy Forum and as a member of the advisory group for the Labour Campaign for the Single Market I'm working to ensure UK permanently remains part of the European single market and a customs union, while retaining workers’ rights and freedom to move. I will also support efforts to keep the door open to a final referendum on the final deal.
I've written for the Independent, New Statesman, Labour List and the Fabians about:
- a possible long term solution to Brexit,
Discussion paper circulated to National Policy Forum, Leeds 17/18 Feb 2018.
I’m on the advisory group of the Labour Campaign for the Single Market.
Other Labour activity. I am a Unite member, was vice chair of my local CLP, and have campaigned hundreds of times in over 15 key seats. I have been a fully paid up member since 2005, and first joined when I was 22.
I am the author of two Fabian Society reports: one on a one-off wealth tax, with special rules for tax avoiders, to reduce the deficit; and the other on new fiscal rules and a Rainy Day Fund to help prepare for a future banking crisis.
Also I have been horrified by the cases of sexual harassment which have recently been made public. I played a small role in successfully campaigning for an independent service complaints ombudsman for the military, and want to work to set up something similar for the Labour party. Read more in my article for Labour List.
I am currently a Campaign Director at an anti-corruption NGO. Previously I was Assistant Director at the Royal British Legion, having served in a Royal Engineers bomb disposal team during the Iraq war. I am still involved in veterans' issues as a director of Plane Saver Credit Union - which I'm helping to turn into the largest military credit union in the UK. I spent five years founding and running a programme to build up legal cases against suspected war criminals, changed UK law on war crimes, and I remain a member of the Advisory Council of the International Initiative for a Crimes Against Humanity Convention. Earlier, I was a civil servant in the Prime Minister's Strategy Unit for five years. I was also a director of my own small business for over fifteen years and helped set up our local foodbank.
Over the years, and working with others, I've successfully worked for:
- Extra funding enabling an increase in the number of Sure Start Children’s Centres from 524 by 2004 to over 3,000 today;
- Armed forces widows to retain their independent pensions (worth £120m over 40 years);
- Increased compensation for military veterans with mesothelioma (an asbestos related cancer that mostly affects working class veterans);
- Higher grade hearing aids for veterans with hearing injuries (worth £10m over 5 years);
- The Ministry of Defence to establish an Armed Forces Credit Union;
- An independent armed forces ombudsman;
- Veterans to keep their war pension - compensation for injury - safe from the means test for social care;
- A new War Crimes Act so Rwandan génocidaires and other war criminals can be prosecuted here;
- Sanctions to be placed on Sam Pa, a Chinese multi-millionaire bankrolling Zimbabwe’s secret police and military;
- British support for a new International Convention on Crimes Against Humanity;
- The living wage for the cleaners at my workplace.