“Solidarity is key”. That’s the message Chuka Umunna sent last night to his fellow Labour MPs.
It’s not particularly hard to read between the lines on this one: if Jeremy Corbyn wins he’ll work with the Islington North MP, and he’s urging others to do the same. He’s yet to say whether he’d serve in a Corbyn shadow cabinet but Umunna – who was tipped as a favourite for Labour’s next leader before he dropped out of the contest – is calling a truce.
This morning they’ve suggested another for MPs and party members to chew over. After pledging support for the arts yesterday, Corbyn has argued for flexible age pensions – surely a signal that he recognises one of the reasons Labour lost the election was because they didn’t speak to older people. He floats the possibility of raising income tax rates (including the basic rate) and corporation tax (which will be just 18% by 2020) to pay for his plans. But he notes once again that these ideas are up for discussion.
Yvette Cooper made a different kind of intervention yesterday when she said the UK should take in 10,000 refugees. There are desperate people coming to Europe seeking refuge and as I’ve written in the past the British government’s response has been appalling. At a Channel 4 hustings yesterday Cooper laudably called for the leadership candidates to unite on the issue of asylum and they have (they do, however, differ on immigration). Butsome have taken issue with her speech, saying that it doesn’t match her record on the subject.
Andy Burnham is also pursuit of internationalist credentials today. At RUSI – a think tank that focuses on military affairs – he’ll promise to “fight nationalism” if Labour leader. He’s also repeated his support for Britain staying in Europe.
As teachers across the country prepare to go back to school, Liz Kendall is offering a clear message on the foundation years (zero to five). She wants them to be given equal importance and status to primary and secondary education “to tackle the inequalities that set in before children even start school”. As a former director of Maternity Alliance, Kendall has a lot of ideas in this area.
David Cameron has taken a slightly different approach to the new academic year. Today he’s launched another wave of free schools, as if they’re the solution to improving our education system. As Christine Blower, NUT leader, has pointed out there’s no evidence to show free schools are better than others, while Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt has argued this does nothing to deal with the teacher recruitment crisis. Needless to say, Cameron isn’t exactly an expert in the state school system.