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Webchat with John McDonnell, Shadow Chancellor, Friday 6 December at 12 midday(150 Posts)
We’re very pleased to announce a webchat with the Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, this Friday 6 December at 12 midday.
John has been Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington since 1997. Born in Liverpool, he studied at night school while working before going to university. He went on to work as a union official and in local government at the GLC and at Camden Council. He campaigned for Jeremy Corbyn to win the Labour leadership in 2015 and has been Shadow Chancellor since then.
Labour’s economic plans have proved a talking point during this election; the manifesto includes plans for free nationalised broadband services, increases in NHS spending, an increase in the minimum wage, freezing the state pension age at 66, and a ‘Green New Deal’. John has said the plans will tackle rising living costs; the IFS has said that Labour’s spending plans don’t add up (it says the same about the Conservatives).
Labour’s pledge to compensate WASPI women with an average £15k payout has caused a huge amount of conversation on our sister site Gransnet, so we’ll be taking questions from GN on that (and other topics) too.
Please do join the chat on Friday at midday, or if you can’t make it, leave a question here in advance. Please note John won’t be able to do the full hour because his time is pretty over-committed but we will detain him as long as we can!
As always, please remember our webchat guidelines - one question per user, follow-ups only if there’s time and most questions have been answered, and please keep it civil. Also if one topic is overwhelmingly dominating a discussion with a guest, mods might request that people don't continue to post what's effectively the same question or point. (We will be taking action on this, including suspending the accounts of MNers who continue to heckle after we've posted to ask people to stop, so please take note.) Rest assured we will ALWAYS let the guest know that it's an area of concern to multiple users and will encourage them to engage with those questions.
Have you signed the Labour Women's Declaration on Sex Based Rights? If not, why not?
Hello John, what are Labour's plans to prevent any further harassment and victimisation of women within the movement who campaign for their sex based rights, such as happened to those attending the Woman's Place meeting in Brighton during your recent conference?
These are the women of Greenham Common. The Women Against Pit Closures. The women of the Gay Liberation Front. The women who run DV centres, rape crisis services. These women are not inimical to Labour values: they ARE Labour values.
For 2 hours, the women endured banging on the windows and abusive shouting that – every day, everywhere – terrifies women with abusive, violent partners trying to get in, and get at them. It is abusive, coercive control intended to make women submit. & it is against Labour Party rules.
Laura Pidcock has said that Labour will protect the sex-based exemptions in the Equality Act and that they will specifically apply to biological women only, despite transwomen with GRCs being able to change the sex marker on their birth certificates to female.
Dawn Butler says that this is wrong and that Labour will make sure that biological women do not have the right to single-sex spaces.
Which of these is correct?
Thank you for your commitment to maintaining single sex exemptions under EqA. Could you clarify how this will be achieved? I see two issues:
1 - single sex services/spaces are permitted discrimination in two ways where trans is concerned - a) by sex (if they don't have a GRC) and b) by gender reassignment (if they do have a GRC). The bar for B is much higher than the bar for A, so if you introduce self-ID, you are likely to increase the number of GRC holders and therefore dilute the exemptions
2 - How is applying the exemptions to be made workable? You can't ask to see a GRC on privacy grounds and the DBS procedure (when needed) is highly opaque wrt to trans people. Also, identity documents are self-ID already (driving licence, passport, etc) so how will providers create workable policies excluding on the basis of A or B as above if they cannot identify the groups?
(Cross posted with Empress - not duplicated on purpose. But I would like granular detail on this policy before I could vote Labour.)
As a former Labour member who is feeling entirely politically homeless due to the blatant lack of respect for women's sex-based rights in all the political parties, why should I give Labour my vote?
Also - I think I should note my general goodwill towards you, John, and say that I am myself nowhere near your constituency but know people who live in it and you've helped with several important local issues. And that I come at my views on queer theory--based gender issues and on feminism from an Engels-based perspective. We should be friends, you and I!
Did you cost universal basic income at all?
If so what's prohibitive about it for the Labour party?
(And ofc eqA but better people have asked)
Please explain why you think these photos of you stood in front of Mao and stalin are acceptable in the modern UK. And also why you wanted a female MP ‘lynched’.
Having declared "travellers welcome here" for your own constituency
What do you think of Priti Patel open racism to an ethnic minority.
1. As travellers are considered a race, could the EHIC be looking at the Conservatives and investigate this proposal to confiscate travellers vehicles and in effect their homes.
2. Would councils be able to cope with the influx of emergency accomodation for what could be 30/50 people on one day/night just from one family.
I left the Labour Party due to its treatment of women over sex-based rights. I am now politically homeless.
The preservation of women's rights, spaces and services and the recognition that we are sex class in our own right is extremely important to me. I have huge concerns over Self-ID and it's implications with regards to women's safety and safeguarding.
Many former labour voting women no longer feel that they can trust the party because of its stance on this matter. Especially after the lack of condemnation from the party over the behaviour of activists outside the WPUK meeting in Brighton.
Your manifesto pledge over Self-ID and retaining single sex spaces has been thrown into confusion by members of the party and has,once again, left women feeling like you just does not care.
How do you intend to regain the trust of those potential voters who you have lost over this issue?
The Women and Economy briefing paper published earlier this year stated that the majority of women were employed in the health, social care and education sectors - in total 33% of women in employment. Many of these and other women’s roles will be in public sector, where a pay freeze has been in place for 9 years while workloads increase.
What are your thoughts about women being disproportionately impacted by low pay, frozen salaries, a median 17.3% pay gap across all employment due to being female (govt gender pay gap report Nov 2018) and the projected further likely disproportionate impact of continued austerity and Brexit?
Do you believe that women can have penises?
Thanks for coming on. I know renationalisation is something you're very passionate about. I'm also very much in favour. But do you think you've been over-ambitious with your plans? Renationalisation is always going to ruffle feathers - is taking on so many industries at the same time a wise move?
Why the fascination and drive towards a damaging nationalisation programme that would concentrate power, when devolved socialist and near-socialist ownership schemes such as co-ops or shared ownership of local services (1 share per person living in the area covered by the service, cost for the share covered by general taxation) would be a much better and more palatable solution and would invest individuals into caring for their local services?
And when are we going to stop charging people to access one of the most basic necessities of life - water, and pay for it from general taxation?
Hi John. I asked the same question on the webchat with Phillip Lee:
How are Labour planning to tackle the recruitment crisis for NHS workers? Thanks
Dawn Butler believes a man who says he is a woman immediately becomes a woman and should have access to women's sex-segregated spaces. Is she fit to hold the position of (shadow) women and equalities minister if she does not know what a woman actually is?
Am in Scotland in a marginal labour seat
SNP have been very active and have had them round the neighbourhood knocking at people’s doors and actually saying that the candidate would talk to me about my concerns on women’s rights
Not heard a peep from labour candidate
Have labour give; up on Scotland ?
Hello John. I live in an EU country abs van vote under the 15 year rule via postal vote. Johnson has said that he wants to limit postal voting, which would effectively disenfranchise me and others in similar position, (all of us likely to be anti Brexit.)
What is your view on postal voting as a method of voting and also the length of time (15 years) under which a British citizen can continue to vote in this way.
I'm in the North West, no sign of a canvasser.
Have Labour given up on us as well ?
I'm in the North West as well and have a box of Fair Play for Women leaflets ready to start a discussion with my Labour canvasser. However no-one has been round. I'm a lifelong Labour voter who can't vote for you this time around because of your party's position on the definition of the word woman. How are you proposing to remedy this situation?
I represent Safe Schools Alliance, we would love to meet with you to discuss our 5 questions: safeguarding but as I have only one question I will ask:
Will you support schools to uphold the rights of girls to safe, single -sex provision including toilets, changing rooms, dorms on residential trips and fair access to sport?
Question from Gransnet user Pollyanna 1962
Why aren't you offering to do anything for the 1960's women. Its way to arbitrary to stop at 1960. I'm a 1962 born but now have to wait until I'm 67 to get anything at all. I have over 40 years contributions effectively locked away. If I live that long, who knows the state will have stolen £42000 from me. You need to consider us before you get me vote.
Question from Gransnet user Song 7
Struck me that Trump was correct in saying that he would not want to take over the NHS. Of course not: he would want it privatized first! The timeless model applies to all gross-scale businesses: propose a small but significant advantage but then minimize workers' pay and conditions, scoop off excessive profits and then scarper, leaving ruin. There barely even seems to be any law against it. It's already being applied to the NHS, to other "caring" institutions, to housing, to the probation service and to universities, colleges and schools, let alone to department stores like BHS. Please expose this model and tell the public how you plan to change laws permitting this model. Thanks for your commitment. Wishing you well.
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