London’s ghost kingdom of the poor

Why Labour’s high command was more culpable than most.

I'd like to congratulate the London Evening Standard on reaching its initial target of raising £1m for redistribution among the poorest people in London.

The Standard's Dispossessed Fund is an example of non-state-driven community power and action of a kind that has no doubt been noticed by the likes of Maurice Glasman, an intellectual outrider for David Miliband as well as Jon Cruddas and James Purnell, both of whom I regret are not running for the Labour leadership.

I contribute to the Standard, and wrote an op-ed column on London poverty for it last Friday.

Here's an extract:

For the long years of his chancellorship, Gordon Brown freely indulged bankers as they traded their asset-backed securities, what Warren Buffett now calls their instruments of mass destruction. Meanwhile, he used the tax receipts raised from financial services to redistribute by stealth. That, at least, was the plan.

It was a frivolous time, when it seemed as if the whole culture was beguiled by the glamour and allure of easy money. The high command of the Labour Party, whose historic mission it had been to reduce poverty and inequality, was more culpable than most.

"We [Labour] are intensely relaxed about people becoming filthy rich," said Peter Mandelson, creating the mood music for the New Labour years, before everything darkened. "It's not a burning ambition for me to make sure David Beckham earns less money," Tony Blair said in 2001, rejecting a call to raise the higher rate of income tax.

It was as if Labour had lost its language, and it was only voices from the margins of the party, such as those of Frank Field or Jon Cruddas, or compassionate Conservatives such as Iain Duncan Smith, who spoke about the catastrophic effect that entrenched poverty can have on the individual and wider society.

The then Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, argued, too, that the exceptionalism of poverty in the capital required a bespoke government response; after a struggle, he at least managed to turn the meagre minimum wage into the living wage.

There was, of course, a parallel that London did not share in the boom -- a city of generational struggle, of long-term welfare-dependency, homelessness and vulnerability, as highlighted by this newspaper's fund for the Dispossessed campaign.

Jason Cowley is editor of the New Statesman. He has been the editor of Granta, a senior editor at the Observer and a staff writer at the Times.

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Which CLPs are nominating who in the 2016 Labour leadership contest?

Who is getting the most CLP nominations in the race to be Labour leader?

Jeremy Corbyn, the sitting Labour leader, has been challenged by Owen Smith, the MP for Pontypridd. Now that both are on the ballot, constituency Labour parties (CLPs) can give supporting nominations. Although they have no direct consequence on the race, they provide an early indication of how the candidates are doing in the country at large. While CLP meetings are suspended for the duration of the contest, they can meet to plan campaign sessions, prepare for by-elections, and to issue supporting nominations. 

Scottish local parties are organised around Holyrood constituencies, not Westminster constituencies. Some Westminster parties are amalgamated - where they have nominated as a bloc, we have counted them as their separate constituencies, with the exception of Northern Ireland, where Labour does not stand candidates. To avoid confusion, constitutencies with dual language names are listed in square [] brackets. If the constituency party nominated in last year's leadership race, that preference is indicated in italics.  In addition, we have listed the endorsements of trade unions and other affliates alongside the candidates' names.

Jeremy Corbyn (46)

Bournemouth East (did not nominate in 2015)

Bournemouth West (nominated Jeremy Corbyn in 2015)

Brent Central (nominated Jeremy Corbn in 2015)

Bristol East (nominated Andy Burnham in 2015)

Cheltenham (did not nominate in 2015)

Chesterfield (did not nominate in 2015)

Chippenham (nominated Yvette Cooper in 2015)

Colchester (nominated Yvette Cooper in 2015)

Crewe and Nantwich (nominated Jeremy Corbyn in 2015)

Croydon Central (nominated Jeremy Corbyn in 2015)

Clwyd West (did not nominate in 2015)

Devizes (nominated Jeremy Corbyn in 2015)

East Devon (nominated Jeremy Corbyn in 2015)

East Surrey (nominated Andy Burnham in 2015)

Erith and Thamesmead (nominated Jeremy Corbyn in 2015)

Folkestone & Hythe (nominated Andy Burnham in 2015)

Grantham and Stamford (nominated Jeremy Corbyn in 2015)

Hampstead and Kilburn (nominated Yvette Cooper in 2015)

Harrow East (nominated Jeremy Corbyn in 2015)

Hastings & Rye (did not nominate in 2015)

Herefore and South Herefordshire (did not nominate in 2015)

Kensington & Chelsea (nominated Jeremy Corbyn in 2015)

Lancaster & Fleetwood (nominated Andy Burnham in 2015)

Liverpool West Derby (nominated Andy Burnham in 2015)

Leeds North West (nominated Jeremy Corbyn in 2015)

Morecambe and Lunesdale (nominated Andy Burnham in 2015)

Milton Keynes North (did not nominate in 2015)

Milton Keynes South (did not nominate in 2015)

Old Bexley and Sidcup (nominated Yvette Cooper in 2015)

Newton Abbott (nominated Liz Kendall in 2015)

Newark (did not nominate in 2015)

North Somerset (nominated Jeremy Corbyn in 2015)

Pudsey (nominated Andy Bunrnham in 2015)

Reading West (did not nominate in 2015)

Reigate (nominated Yvette Cooper in 2015)

Romford (nominated Andy Burnham in 2015)

Salisbury (did not nominate in 2015)

Southampton Test (nominated Jeremy Corbyn in 2015)

South Cambridgeshire  (did not nominate in 2015)

South Thanet (did not nominate in 2015)

South West Bedfordshire (did not nominate in 2015)

Sutton & Cheam (nominated Jeremy Corbyn in 2015)

Sutton Coldfield (did not nominate in 2015)

Swansea West (nominated Jeremy Corbyn in 2015)

Tewkesbury (nominated Jeremy Corbyn in 2015)

Westmoreland and Lunesdale (nominated Jeremy Corbyn in 2015)

Wokingham (nominated Jeremy Corbyn in 2015)

Owen Smith (12)

Altrincham and Sale West (nominated Yvette Cooper in 2015)

Battersea (nominated Yvette Cooper in 2015)

Blaneau Gwent (nominated Jeremy Corbyn in 2015)

Bow and Bethnal Green (nominated Jeremy Corbyn in 2015)

Reading East (did not nominate in 2015)

Richmond Park (nominated Jeremy Corbyn in 2015)

Runnymede and Weybridge (nominated Yvette Cooper in 2015)

Streatham (nominated Liz Kendall in 2015)

Vauxhall (nominated Liz Kendall in 2015)

West Ham (nominated Jeremy Corbyn in 2015)

Westminster North (nominated Yvette Coooper in 2015)

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