Scrap anti-union laws

– Turn the New Deal for Workers into law in the first year of a Labour government

– Full employment rights from day one

– Support workers on strike

Labour’s New Deal for Workers will restore rights at work for millions of people. I want to see that pledged turned into legislation in the first year of a Labour government.

I want union organisers given access to every workplace by law; a fair pay agreement negotiated in every sector of industry; full employment rights for every worker from day one of the job; an end to zero hours contracts, bogus self employment and “fire-and-rehire”.

But decades of experience as a trade union rep tell me this will not be easy. The UK’s entire business model has been built around insecure work, unequal pay, and stagnating real wages. As an NUJ activist in the late 1990s I saw Labour’s Employment Relations Act watered down by corporate pressure.

We need to scrap the Tory anti-union laws. And wherever Labour is holds power – from councils to city regions to the new national industrial strategy we’ve pledged – I want to see unions recognised as statutory social partners.

In the meantime, as health and education workers join posties, telecoms workers and railway workers on strike, I will always stand with them on the picket line.

Affordable homes for local people

Affordable homes for local people has to be the #1 priority for Mid & South Pembrokeshire’s next Labour MP. The elements of a solution are there: the council’s housebuilding plan, and the Welsh government’s council tax hike on second homes. But the important next steps have to come from Westminster.

We need an increase in the block grant to Wales from Westminster, so that it can fund a programme of council and social housebuilding alongside its commitments to schools.

And we need new powers for local councils to borrow to invest.

We also need to give councils the power to block inappropriate holiday lets, and promote community and co-operative house-building projects.

That’s what I will fight for at Westminster – as part of a comprehensive plan to redistribute wealth to working people.

Wealth redistribution

Child poverty in Pembrokeshire stands at 29% – the highest ever. And that’s before the figures for 2022 have been calculated. And according to a recent poll, some 41% of local people couldn’t afford to turn the heating on when cold.

That’s what 13 years of Tory government have delivered. The answer is to redistribute wealth.

I want to see a Labour government close tax loopholes worth billions a year, and to pledge the extra money to revolutionising health, social care, local councils, defence and the green transition. We need to start taxing wealth as well as incomes, and adopt the steeply progressive tax principles of the successful post-war Labour governments.

That’s how we pay for a major increase to the block grant Wales gets from Westminster. It’s how we fund councils to start building council housing.

We need to promote redistribution through every channel: rising real wages, universal basic services, making the essentials like transport and social care cheap or free; reform welfare and the tax system to create the beginnings of a basic income scheme, as the Welsh government has done for care leavers.

Labour doesn’t just need to win an election. Like the Attlee government of 1945, we need to establish a new consensus: for an economic model that puts people and planet before the interests of high finance.

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Strong on defence

Paul Mason on a delegation to Kyiv, 20 February 2022, with Labour and Plaid Cymru members of the Send

Russia’s attack on Ukraine signals a new period of global conflict – in which totalitarian regimes like Russia and China are trying to break up the system of treaties and laws that have kept order since 1945. They don’t just dislike our democratic way of life: they want to destroy it.

I’ve been in the forefront in building solidarity with Ukraine in the UK – I was in Kyiv until 36 hours before the bombs dropped, making links with unions and human rights groups there. We should go on supporting arms, aid and training for Ukraine for as long as its people want to resist Putin, and we should boost our own defence output to do so.

In a dangerous world like ours, we need strong alliances. That’s why I opposed Brexit, and support Labour’s plans for a security pact with the EU.

It’s why I pushed for Labour to declare its commitment to NATO “unshakeable”, and renew our commitment to the nuclear deterrent. As more of our European left and socialist partners join NATO I have campaigned for the reform of the alliance, prioritising democracy, human security and human rights.

The Tories are failing us on defence. Look at Afghanistan – the possibility of collapse not even mentioned in the risk assessment they published before our troops had to scramble to rescue those facing Taliban repression. Look at the billions they’ve wasted on failed procurement schemes. But done right, defence spending can boost growth and security at the same time.

I want a Labour government to match Tory the defence spending promise – of 3% of GDP by 2030 – but to rapidly overhaul procurement, which is squandering billions through lack of transparency and oversight. We need to buy and build as much as possible here in the UK, expanding both defence production and research capacity as part of Labour’s new industrial strategy.

I want to see the UK’s armed forces deeply embedded in the society they defend – and to look like the communities they come from. Those changes are already under way in the armed forces, and Labour should accelerate them.

One of the ways we can do this is to enshrine the rights of veterans and service families to first class public services into law. Another is to expand the reserves system, so that every community has a visible, active relationship to the men and women defending us.

We need to face down Russia’s threats with a strong deterrent force, but always with an eye on the rules-based global peace we must construct once the dictators are overthrown.

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Defend democracy

– More devolution for Wales and its communities

– Extend proportional representation to Westminster elections

– Speed up the plan to create a million Welsh speakers by 2050

– An end to the crony system in Whitehall and Westminster

– Defend the human rights of migrants and refugees

Twelve years of Tory rule, on top of decades of free-market chaos, have severely weakened our democracy. We’ve got ministries run by crony appointees, the electoral commission weakened, the media awash with right-wing disinformation, compulsory ID at polling booths.

So with democracy, it’s time to use it or lose it. We need a radical devolution of power to towns, cities, regions, nations and neighbourhoods.

Labour conference policy is to support PR at Westminster elections. I want to see that commitment in our manifesto and programme for government.

I want to see an elected House of Lords. I support increased devolution of powers to Scotland and Wales, and strong regional devolution for England.

A million Welsh speakers
I support the Welsh government’s plan to create a million Welsh speakers by 2050 (I am learning, slowly). The language is a cultural treasure of global significance and I applaud those who fought to keep it alive. I will use my resources as an MP to encourage more Welsh language speaking, and aim to employ a bilingual Welsh speaker on my team locally. Here’s my life story, and why I’m standing in Welsh.

Kick out the cronies
On the first day of a Labour government I want to see all the cronies appointed by the Tories – to the BBC, the National Trust etc – dismissed, along with the “non-executive directors” they’ve placed in government departments. The bizarre arrangements that allow corporate CEOs to decide how public money is spent should be scrapped: public service should be done by neutral public servants only.

Reject the far-right
With the far-right trying to exploit the migration crisis, backed by well-funded far-right media operations, I’m proud that the Labour and trade union movement has led the counter-offensive from the grassroots up. We need to offer fascism’s target audience a radical alternative and a narrative of hope.

Want to know how? Click here.

Fighting Climate Change

– Make South West Wales a global leader in floating offshore wind

– Fight for our share of Labour’s £28bn/year investment plan

– Make the Celtic Freeport work for local people*

– Massive investment in skills and transport infrastructure, to make sure no community is disadvantaged under the green transition

The climate emergency is intensifying. From coastal erosion, wildfires, floods and heatwaves … we can feel it happening here in South West Wales: but in parts of Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa the effects are already devastating for millions of people.

Yet it’s not too late to act.

Labour has pledged to spend £28 billion a year for a decade – taking the carbon out of our electricity system by 2030. Done right, that could trigger the smart, green reindustrialisation of Britain, providing tens of thousands of decent jobs and cheap electricity.

Offshore wind will be critical to that, and in South West Wales we have the potential to be part of a globally significant project – securing the future of Milford Haven and introducing green steel production at Port Talbot steelworks at the same time.

If selected, I will make it a priority that investment in floating offshore wind generates well-paid jobs, training, transport upgrades and new business opportunities for people here.

Having a Labour MP, who knows industrial strategy and community wealth building from the inside, will be critical to that outcome. So will the active engagement of Labour members and trade unions. I’ve spent decades doing just that.

In the journey to zero net carbon, we have to take all communities with us. The “just transition” can’t be merely a phrase.

That’s why I’ve signed the call for a fossil-fuel non-proliferation treaty: so that we commit all countries to ending investment in new fossil fuel extraction at the same time – so that UK oil and gas communities do not lose out to unfair competition.

To reduce household bills I want Labour to nationalise the energy retailers as proposed by the TUC. I support Labour’s call for a bigger windfall tax on the oil and gas giants.

To achieve a carbon-free electricity system we need to take the National Grid into public ownership, or at the very least a controlling public stake, and reconfigure it as a network that takes renewable-generated electricity from homes, small solar sites, nuclear – at small scale and large – and a renewed onshore wind sector. We also need to build zero net carbon priorities into the energy planning system.

At the same time we’ll need more investment locally in flood defences, water conservation, coastal adaptation and fire and rescue services to cope with the extreme weather events associated with climate change.

The key to making it happen is money: borrowing to invest, taxing wealth, stopping up the loopholes in the tax system, and a major increase in the block grant from Westminster to Wales. Let’s make it happen.

* I’ll have more to say on the Celtic Freeport when we know if it’s got the go-ahead, in the March 2023 Budget

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Crime is a Class Issue

Crime is a working class issue. From nuisance and anti-social behaviour, through to low prosecution rates for rape and domestic violence, and the long-term failure to combat organised crime and corporate corruption – failures in the criminal justice system are eroding the quality of life in our communities, and even belief in a democratic system.

And the poorest suffer the most: twice as likely to suffer violence, or be burgled, three times more likely to be robbed; six times as likely to be a victim of domestic violence, according to Public Health England. According to the public health expert Michael Marmot: “Anti-social behaviour undermines social cohesion and community function and increases community dissatisfaction and feeling unsafe in the community, all of which undermine health”.

I want the police to become crimefighters – not crime administrators. I want the criminal justice system to become an engine of rehabilitation and social justice. That means more police officers, more probation staff, more prison staff and a fully resourced courts system.

It means removing the pressure on police forces to deal with problems that other services are too stretched to handle – like homelessness, addiction and mental health problems. A strong welfare state, with resilient communities, public services we can rely on can free police resources to prevent and prosecute crime.

A combination of cuts, staff shortages, and routine racism have undermined morale and leadership in too many of our police forces. There can be zero tolerance for the kind of racism and misogyny revealed in recent investigations. I want to see swift and transparent justice for the victims where policing goes wrong. And more powers for police and crime commissioners to demand change.

I was proud to stand alongside protesters on the Black Lives Matter demonstrations of 2020 – just as I played a leading role in justice campaigns for victims of police racism in the 1990s. I want to see the Spycops enquiry speeded up, so that the full story of politicised policing and misconduct can be revealed – and to make sure it never happens again.

Fighting crime effectively means more national co-ordination. Alongside our local police forces I want to see the National Crime Agency beefed up into an FBI-style body whose main purpose is to convict the organised fraudsters, the major drug gangs, the people traffickers and the corrupt businesses that launder their money, and the money of the super-rich. That agency, together with the Serious Fraud Office, should have independent powers to pro-actively investigate allegations of corruption among politicians, too.

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Transform the NHS

– Keep Withybush Hospital open with a full range of essential services, in line with the advice of experts and clinicians.

– Fight for a bigger block grant for Wales, recognising the unique pressures on its rural and coastal communities.

– Transform the NHS into an engine of social justice, with a new emphasis on public health

Across Britain, the NHS is in crisis. It’s the result of more than a decade of underfunding, a crisis in the care system and acute social pressures. The Tories have declared war on the NHS workforce. And some Tory MPs are now suggesting we have to start paying for NHS treatments.

But it’s not enough to say “Defend the NHS” – though we have to defend the principle of free healthcare provided by publicly owned services.

We need to Transform the NHS. We have to redesign the service so that it promotes health and wellbeing for all. So that health and social are workers can move from crisis management to the kind of 21st century system they dream of running.

That means more money across the board: for primary care; for more staff; universal access to elderly social care, a workforce on the wages they deserve and access to mental health services for all who need them.

It also means setting mandatory public health targets – not just for local authorities but for industry sectors – and building in the Marmot Indicators (on child mortality, wellbeing, decent housing etc) into all aspects of government policy.

Labour’s top priority should be to provide free universal healthcare, social care, dentistry and mental health services for all. These are the foundation stones of a 21st century economy based on solidarity.

We will need redistribution via the tax system to pay for it. And in Wales that means a bigger block grant, paid for by taxing wealth and unearned incomes across Britain.

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