Tory goverment plans to deport millions of British Jamacian British citizens because of Brexit

The Windrush generation began arriving in the UK in 1948.

Some “terrible mistakes” were made in cases involving the Windrush generation facing deportation from the UK, says immigration minister Caroline Nokes.

Many long-term immigrants who arrived from the Commonwealth as children have been told they are here illegally.

The BBC understands Home Secretary Amber Rudd plans to set up a team in the Home Office to help those affected.

It follows a reversal by the prime minister, who will now discuss the issue with other Commonwealth leaders.

A meeting of leaders, which will take place this week, was announced amid growing calls for Theresa May to take action, including a letter from a cross-party group of 140 MPs.

Labour MP David Lammy tweeted that the meeting was a “small U-turn”, adding that he wanted the government to “guarantee the status of all the Windrush children caught up in this crisis” by the end of the day

“My hole life sunk to my feet” Windrush migrant Michrael Braithwaite

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted it was “disgraceful” that the rights of the Windrush generation had been brought into question, calling on Mrs May to “answer serious questions about how this happened on her watch”.

Mrs May’s spokesman said the prime minister was clear that “no-one with the right to be here will be made to leave”.

He added that the PM is “aware that many people are unlikely to have documents that are over 40 years old”.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said he welcomed Mrs May’s decision to meet with other leaders, but added: “She must now go further and make an immediate commitment to recognise and secure the rights of Commonwealth citizens.”

Skip Twitter post by @DavidLammy

David Lammy


My parents arrived in this country from Guyana and I stand in Parliament as a proud son of the Windrush. Thank you to 140 colleagues including @jeremycorbyn @HackneyAbbott @AngelaRayner @YvetteCooperMP @ChukaUmunna @DawnButlerBrent for joining me in writing to @theresa_may today


End of Twitter post by @DavidLammy

Thousands of prople arrived in the UK as children in the first wave of Commonwealth immigration 70 years ago.

They are known as the Windrush generation – a reference to the ship, the Empire Windrush, which brought workers from the West Indies to Britain in 1948.

Under the 1971 Immigration Act, all Commonwealth citizens already living in the UK were given indefinite leave to remain – but the right to free movement between Commonwealth nations was ended from that date onwards.

However, the Home Office did not keep a record of those granted leave to remain or issue any paperwork confirming it, meaning it is difficult for the individuals to now prove they are in the UK legally.

The BBC understands that Home Secretary Ms Rudd will make a statement to the House of Commons on Monday afternoon to confirm the creation of a new team in her department to help the Windrush generation and ensure no-one loses their access to public services and entitlements.

She is also expected to waive fees so that those affected will not have to pay money for new documents to prove their status.

Mr Lammy has also tweeted that he has secured an urgent question in the Commons on Monday to push Ms Rudd for answers.

‘No question of right to remain’

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s World at One, Ms Nokes said the Windrush generation had “contributed an enormous amount to our community [and] to our society” and that the government had “an absolute responsibility to make sure there are no more of these mistakes”.

Asked by ITV News if any people had been deported as a result of these “mistakes”, Ms Nokes said: “There have been some horrendous situations, which as a minister have appalled me.”

Told by the reporter “that’s a yes” and asked how many, she said: “No, I don’t know the numbers, but what I’m determined to do going forward is we’ll have no more of this.”

Penny Mordaunt, the international development secretary, said she wanted to reassure those affected, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “People who are in that situation, there is absolutely no question of their right to remain, and their right to gain access to services such as healthcare.”

A letter to the prime minister, co-ordinated by Mr Lammy, called for a “swift resolution of this growing crisis”.

It said: “We urge you to guarantee the status of all Commonwealth nationals whose right to remain is protected by law and to provide an effective, humane route to the clarification of their status.

“What is going on is grotesque, immoral and inhumane,” he said.

It was signed by 140 MPs including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston.

‘Not welcome’ in UK

Omar Khan, from the Runnymede Trust charity which has been involved in trying to tackle this issue, said the onus should be on the Home Office to help people find the documents they need.

He also called for an extension of legal aid to these cases.

He told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme: “These are individuals who do have legal rights – this is not really an amnesty. The issue is their ability to prove it through documentation is now quite difficult.”

Guy Hewitt, Barbados high commissioner, told the BBC: “I have held as a great honour the fact that I am the first London-born high commissioner for Barbados.

“This is the first time I have felt that the country of my birth is saying to people of my region ‘you are no longer welcome’.”

The Migration Observatory at Oxford University estimates there are 500,000 people resident in the UK who were born in a Commonwealth country and arrived before 1971.

People born in Jamaica and other Caribbean countries are thought to be more affected than those from other Commonwealth nations, as they were more likely to arrive on their parent’s passports without their own ID documents.

The Empire Windrush arriving at Tilbury Docks with 482 Jamaicans on board

Many have never applied for a passport in their own name or had their immigration status formalised, as they regarded themselves as British.

The Guardian newspaper has highlighted a number of cases of such people being threatened with deportation.

With many thanks to: BBC England for the origional story.



Lawyers acting for whistleblowers have released further evidence they say shows the Vote Leave campaign broke EU referendum spending rules.

The material allegedly shows how closely the campaign worked with youth group BeLeave.

It comes from Mark Gettleson, a web designer, the third person to make claims about Vote Leave’s spending in evidence to a select committee.

Vote Leave has rejected claims of illegal co-ordination with BeLeave.

Legal Firm Matrix Chambers argues, in a 50-page legal opinion, that Vote Leave should have declared payments of just over £625,000 to Canadian data firm, AIQ.

Facebook suspends Brexit data firm
If included in the campaign group’s overall spending return, the payments would have pushed Vote Leave over the £7m limit.

Vote Leave says the £625,000 doesn’t count as its own expenditure, as the money was a donation to Darren Grimes, who set up the group, BeLeave.

He says he spent the money on services provided by AIQ, although the money went directly to AIQ from Vote Leave, for “services in kind” to BeLeave.

The Electoral Commission has said this would have been within the rules, provided that Vote Leave and BeLeave were not working together – a decision that is the subject of a separate legal challenge by the Good Law Project.

Former Vote Leave activist Shahmir Sanni and Christopher Wylie, who worked for controversial data firm Cambridge Analytica, have already claimed that Vote Leave used BeLeave to get round spending limits.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, a key figure in the Vote Leave campaign, has claimed that the allegations are “ludicrous” and that the Leave campaign won the poll “fair and square and legally”.

In the Matrix Chambers legal opinion, Mark Gettleson – who is referred to as J – adds further details of alleged working together.

It also reveals that he met Darren Grimes when they were both working on MP Norman Lamb’s Lib Dem leadership campaign.

The Fair Vote group, which campaigns for another EU referendum, has published some of Mr Gettleson’s evidence on its website.

It includes an email from Mr Gettleson, who worked for Vote Leave between February and April 2016, that says that Vote Leave was responsible for the BeLeave campaign concept and website.

It also shows Mr Gettleson introduced Vote Leave to AIQ, saying he “headhunted the successful digital team,” the campaign group says.

Another email between Mr Gettleson and Cleo Watson, Vote Leave’s head of outreach, is about another group, Veterans for Britain, which donated £100,000 to AIQ. Campaigners claim Veterans for Britain was also used by Vote Leave to sidestep the rules.

Kyle Taylor, director of the Fair Vote Project, said: “This new evidence, on top of Shahmir Sanni’s and Chris Wylie’s, should without a doubt force Parliament to take immediate action and show the British public that it cares about protecting one of our highest ideals – democracy.”

Mr Gettleson’s lawyer, Tamsin Allen, of Bindmans solicitors, said he had hoped to remain anonymous but realised the details in the legal opinion might have led to him being identified and had taken the decision to release the emails.

The legal opinion was submitted by Matrix Chambers as evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee’s inquiry into fake news.

“We consider that there is a prima facie case that… electoral offences were committed by Vote Leave in the EU referendum campaign,” the opinion says.

The Electoral Commission, which is investigating Vote Leave’s spending, declined to comment.

Former Vote Leave officials and Veterans for Britain have been contacted for a response.

With many thanks to: BBC England for the origional story.

Clearly Good Friday Agreement hasn’t delivered what it promised.

These two letters appeared in The Irish News yesterday-Wednesday 11/4/2018

Letter (1)

ON the 20th anniversary of its signing, the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) is under attack from various quarters. Brexit threatens its very foundations. Political unionism, as it has done from the time of the agreement was completed, seeks to undermine it at every possible opportunity. Some others, well intentioned but, I suggest, very mistaken, suggest that the requirement for cross-community support embodied in the ‘weighted majority’ provision of the agreement should be abandoned so as to restore ‘normal politics’ in the north. Clearly the agreement has not delivered what it promised. At its heart was the recoginition that there are two fundamentally different politicial identities in the north; one nationalist/republican wishes to see the partition of the country in 1920 reversed and replaced by a united and secular 32-county republic; the other unionists who see their future as continuing to be to be linked to England. The GFA specifically recognised the existence of these two blocs.

In its provisions it sought to provide a framework in which nationalists/republicans and unionist could co-exist peacefully within the existing six-county state until a majority of its people decided that a united Ireland should be re-created. In the meantime, the two communities were to be accorded ‘parity of esteem’, their separate political ‘identities’ treated equally. Certain defined and major consequences should have followed from this commitment to parity of esteem given in the agreement by the British government. Among these consequences was that no longer should symbols of the British state, including in particular the Union flag, have been given the exclusive priority over Irish nationalism they had enjoyed in the northern state since partition.

That commitment to equal status between nationalism/republicanism and unionism and to faithful implementation by the British government to the obligations flowing from it were of the essence of the parity of esteem provision and of the overall compromise embodied in it. The British government has openly reneged on the promise of parity of esteem between nationalists/republicans and unionists. At every step of the way since signing of the GFA it has continued to try to relegate the Irish identity to a position of inferiority.The Union flag is flaunted on government buildings, ignoring the rights of the now almost equal in numbers nationalist population.

The demands of political unionism continue to be given preference, including in relation to the provision of an Irish language act which the British government had committed to in the St Andrews Agreement 12 years ago. Like all agreements, the GFA is only as good as the intentions and behaviour of the parties to it. Like other agreements, it requires for its effectiveness that there should be sanctions against those who breach it. That has been the critical weakness which has left the GFA in the perilous state it now finds itself in.

Bad faith on the part of unionist parties who always opposed the agreement and also on the part of a British government which has itself both broken the agreement and refused to sanction unionists for their breaches. As co-guarantor of the GFA, successive Irish governments cannot escape their share of the blame either. The GFA deserves to survive. If honoured, both to the letter and spirit, it provides the pathway to peace and reconciliation among the people of Ireland. The question is, who of us is prepared to do that?

With many thanks to: Patrick Fahy Omagh, Co Tyrone.

Letter (2)

In DUP’s case silence is not golden but our eyes still see

‘Silence is golden, but my eyes still see’

SUCH is the refrain popularised by the 1960s band The Tremelores, albeit on the back of the original version of the song by the Four Seasons in 1964. Some of us can even remember that far back.

I was reminded of the song recently when I was pondering how come the DUP Brexiteers were so quiet, relaxed even, when on March 19 Michel Barnier and David Davis jointly announced outline agreement on the Brexit transition arrangement.

Now, instead of falling stright off a cliff edge next March, the UK can gradually slide into the sea, not even getting its feet wet until December 2020. And, of course, the draft agreement contains the now infamous ‘backstop’ on the Irish border – Option 3 as it is known. Unless and until someone comes up with something better than north/south regulatory alignment, then the backstop applies.

This is the same backstop by the way that the UK signed up to last December and which Mrs May promptly rubbished a few weeks ago when the EU dared to put it into draft legal text. Now we’re told the UK only agreed to a backstop, just not the one they agreed to last year.

In that case, what kind of backstop do they envisage then? I know. We should ask the DUP because they must surely have the answer, given their near prone reaction to the inclusion of Option 3 in the transition deal.

Does the DUP know something the rest of us don’t? They support the Tory hard Brexit line by enthusiastically embracing the leaving of the customs union and the single market, yet they claim to be in favour of a soft border. Really? Maybe they could tell us how to bring that about.

Ian Paisley jnr doesn’t seem to want one when he tweets: “We’re warning the Irish Republic, don’t get in our way in trying to force us to have a different type of Brexit to the rest of the UK” (March 23). Get in whose way?

Not Northern Ireland’s way surely because we voted by a sizeable majority to remain in the EU. Oh, he must mean the DUP’s way then. I wonder by what right he deigns to threaten a sovereign state that is intent only on looking after the best economic interests of its people and safeguarding the GFA for the preservation of peace here?

In truth, by action if not by word, the DUP would love to see a hard border again. In their case, silence is not golden, but our eyes still see.

With many thanks to: EO Cassidy Omagh, Co Tyrone.


Facebook suspends Brexit campaign data firm! Does that not make Brexit illegal?

The British Columbia-based company denies ever being part of Cambridge Analytica or its parent company SCL.

Facebook has suspended a Canadian data firm that played a key role in the campaign for the UK to leave the EU.

The social media giant said AggregateIQ (AIQ) may have improperly received users’ data.

It cites reported links with the parent company of Cambridge Analytica (CA), the consultancy accused of improperly accessing the data of millions.

AIQ denies ever being part of CA, its parent company SCL or accessing improperly obtained Facebook data.

The Vote Leave campaign paid AIQ £2.7m ($3.8m) ahead of the 2016 EU referendum.

An ex-volunteer with the campaign has also claimed Vote Leave donated £625,000 to another group to get around campaign spending limits, with most of the money going to AIQ. Vote Leave has denied any wrongdoing.

AIQ’s website once quoted Vote Leave chief Dominic Cummings saying: “Without a doubt, the Vote Leave campaign owes a great deal of its success to the work of AggregateIQ. We couldn’t have done it without them.” The quote has since been removed.

In total, AIQ was given £3.5m by groups campaigning for Brexit, including Vote Leave, the Democratic Unionist Party and Veterans for Britain. The UK’s Electoral Commission reopened an investigation into Vote Leave’s campaign spending in November.

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“In light of recent reports that AggregateIQ may be affiliated with SCL and may, as a result, have improperly received FB user data, we have added them to the list of entities we have suspended from our platform while we investigate,” a Facebook spokesperson said.

“Our internal review continues, and we will co-operate fully with any investigations by regulatory authorities.”

In a message posted to its website, AIQ says it is “100% Canadian owned and operated” and “has never been and is not a part of Cambridge Analytica or SCL”.

It adds: “Aggregate IQ has never managed, nor did we ever have access to, any Facebook data or database allegedly obtained improperly by Cambridge Analytica.”

Media captionHow the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica data scandal unfolded

It also denied ever employing Chris Wylie, the Canadian whistleblower who alleged that the data of 50m people was improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica. Facebook has since said the number of people affected could be closer to 87m. CA says it obtained the data of no more than 30m people and has deleted all of it.

Spotlight on Brexit campaign
Analysis by technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones

It was three weeks ago that Facebook suspended Cambridge Analytica just hours before a whistleblower’s revelations to the Observer newspaper triggered the current scandal over improper use of data.

Christopher Wylie insisted that Aggregate IQ was closely linked to Cambridge Analytica, and supplied documents to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport select committee which he said proved it.

Now Facebook’s decision to suspend the Canadian firm from its platform appears to give further validation to Mr Wylie’s claims. It also throws the spotlight back onto the potential use of Facebook data during the Brexit campaign.

Facebook says it is looking into whether the data that Cambridge Analytica acquired improperly from as many as 87 million people – 1 million of them in the UK – ended up with Aggregate IQ. The firm worked for both Vote Leave and BeLeave during the EU referendum campaign, but has always insisted it has never been a part of Cambridge Analytica, and has not had access to any of its Facebook data.

AIQ is a small company operating out of Victoria, British Columbia. It uses data to help micro-target voters and was founded by two Canadian political staffers.

Apart from its Brexit work the company has also been accused by Mr Wylie of distributing “incredibly anti-Islamic” content on social media ahead of the 2015 Nigerian presidential election to discredit Muslim opposition candidate Muhammadu Buhari, who went on to win the contest.

The BBC has approached AIQ for a response to the Nigeria allegations.

Mr Wylie has said that AIQ was referred to among Cambridge Analytica staff as “our Canadian office”. He told the Guardian he helped to set up the firm as a “Canadian entity for people who wanted to work on SCL projects who didn’t want to move to London” and that he had known the firm’s co-founder, Jeff Silvester, since he was 16.

AIQ says it “has never entered into a contract with Cambridge Analytica” and that “Chris Wylie has never been employed by AggregateIQ”.

Cambridge Analytica is at the centre of a row over whether it used the personal data of millions of Facebook users to sway the outcome of the US 2016 presidential election and the UK Brexit referendum.

With many thanks to: BBC England for the origional story.

Aggregate IQ: DUP on whistleblower’s pro-Brexit list

Mr Wylie answered questions from MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sports committee

A former employee of the controversial political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica has named the DUP on a list of pro-Brexit groups.

Christopher Wylie claims those groups were working together according to a “common plan” at the time of the EU referendum in 2016.

He was addressing the Commons Media Committee on Tuesday.

Mr Wylie described a Canadian digital marketing firm Aggregate IQ as a “franchise” of Cambridge Analytica.

However, lawyers for Aggregate IQ have said the firm had “never entered into a contract with Cambridge Analytica”.

They added that it had “never knowingly been involved in any illegal activity”.

Mr Wylie claimed a number of groups had worked together in order to get round campaign spending controls.

‘Cheating may have swayed Brexit poll – Christopher Wylie
Zuckerberg will not appear before MPs
Vote Leave boss denies Analytica links
He rejected Cambridge Analytica’s assertion that it is not linked to Aggregate IQ.

Christopher Wylie giving evidence to MPs on Tuesday.

During the EU referendum in 2016, the DUP spent £32,750 on marketing with Aggregate IQ. They employed the firm again during the Assembly election campaign of 2017, declaring more than £8,000 in digital advertising.

The DUP said they declared all expenditure as required with the Electoral Commission, and chose Aggregate IQ because the firm is expert in its field.

It’s understood the Electoral Commission is investigating the Vote Leave campaign for alleged breaches of the EU referendum campaign spending rules. However the commission says the DUP is NOT under investigation.

A former Leave volunteer, Shahmir Sanni, has claimed that the Vote Leave campaign exceeded spending limits in the referendum by co-ordinating their activities with other like minded groups, including “BeLeave” a group targeting young voters.

Mr Sanni says Vote Leave gave BeLeave £625,000, but required it to spend the cash on Aggregate IQ. This kind of coordinated spending would have contravened the campaign spending rules.

Vote Leave have denied accusations that they broke the spending rules during the UK’s 2016 referendum on whether or not to stay in the European Union.

In the Commons, the Labour MP Ben Bradshaw accused the DUP, Vote Leave and other groups of “collusion”.

The DUP’s ad appeared in wraparound in London’s free Metro newspaper.

In contrast to BeLeave, there is no suggestion the DUP received any money from Vote Leave.

Last year, it was revealed that a Scottish-based group called the Constitutional Research Committee had donated more than £400,000 to the DUP during the EU campaign.

The money was used for a four-page wraparound advertisement in the “Metro” newspaper and other expenditure including Aggregate IQ’s online advertising.

With many thanks to: BBCNI for the origional story.



Italy, Germany and the EU’s Future

More than a quarter of a century ago, much of the European center-left made a course change, edging away from its working class base, accommodating itself to the globalization of capital, and handing over the post World War II social contract to private industry. Whether it was the “New Labour” of Tony Blair in Britain or Gerhard Schroder’s “Agenda 2010” in Germany, social democracy came to terms with its traditional foe, capitalism.

Today, that compact is shattered, the once powerful center-left a shadow of its former self, and the European Union—the largest trading bloc on the planet—is in profound trouble.

In election after election over the past year, social democratic parties went down to defeat, although center-right parties also lost voters. Last year’s election in the Netherlands saw the Labor Party decimated, though its conservative coalition partner also took a hit. In France, both the Socialist Party and the traditional conservative parties didn’t even make the runoffs. September’s elections in Germany saw the Social Democrats (GPD) take a pounding, along with their conservative alliance partners, the Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union. And Italy’s center-left Democratic Party was decisively voted out of power.

It would be easy to see this as a shift to the right. The neo-Nazi Alternative for Germany (AfG) has 92 seats in the Bundestag. The Dutch anti-Muslim Party for Freedom picked up five seats. The extreme rightist National Front made the runoffs in France. The racist, anti-immigrant Northern League took 17.5 percent of the Italian vote and is in the running to form a government.

But the fall of the center-left has more to do with the 1990s course change than with any rightward shift by the continent. As the center-left accommodated itself to capital, it eroded its trade union base. In the case of New Labour, Blair explicitly distanced the Party from the unions that had been its backbone since it was founded in 1906.

In Germany, the Social Democrats began rolling back the safety net, cutting taxes for corporations and the wealthy, and undermining labor codes that had guaranteed workers steady jobs at decent wages.

The European Union—originally touted as a way to end the years of conflict that had embroiled the continent in two world wars— became a vehicle for enforcing economic discipline on its 27 members. Rigid fiscal rules favored countries like Germany, Britain, Austria and the Netherlands, while straitjacketing countries like Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland, particularly in times of economic crisis.

Center-left parties all over Europe bailed out banks and financial speculators, while inflicting ruinous austerity measures on their own populations to pay for it. It became difficult for most people to distinguish between the policies of the center-right and the center-left.

Both backed austerity as a strategy for the debt crisis. Both weakened trade unions through “reforms” that gave employers greater power. Short-term contracts—so-called “mini jobs”—with lower wages and benefits replaced long-term job security, a strategy that fell especially hard on young people.

The recent Italian elections are a case in point. While the center-left Democratic Party (DP) bailed out several regional banks, its Labor Minister recommended that young Italians emigrate to find jobs. It was the Five Star Movement that called for a guaranteed income for poor Italians and sharply criticized the economics of austerity.

In contrast, the DP called for “fiscal responsibility” and support for the EU, hardly a program that addressed inequality, economic malaise, and youth unemployment. Euro-skeptic parties took 55 percent of the vote, while the Democrats tumbled from 41 percent four years ago to 19 percent.

In the German elections, the SPD did raise the issue of economic justice, but since the Party had been part of the governing coalition, voters plainly did not believe it. The Party’s leader Martin Schulz, , called for a “united states of Europe,” not exactly a barnburner phrase when the EU is increasingly unpopular.

Breaking a pre-election promise to go into opposition, the SPD has re-joined Merkel’s “Grand Coalition.” While the SPD landed some important cabinet posts, history suggests the Party will pay for that decision. It also allows the neo-Nazi AfG to be the official opposition in the Bundestag, handing it a bully pulpit.

The unwillingness of Europe’s social democrats to break from the policies of accommodation has opened an economic flank for the right to attack, and the center-left’s unwillingness to come to grips with immigration makes them vulnerable to racist and xenophobic rhetoric. Both the Italian and German center-left avoided the issue during their elections, ceding the issue to the right.

Europe does have an immigration problem, but it is not the right’s specter of “job-stealing, Muslim rapists” overrunning the continent. EU members—most of all Italy—have a shrinking and increasingly aged population. If the continent does not turn those demographics around—and rein in “mini jobs” that discourage young workers from having children—it is in serious long-term trouble. There simply will not be enough workers to support the current level of pensions and health care.

In any case, many of the “immigrants” are EU members—Poles, Bulgarians, Greeks, Spaniards, Portuguese and Romanians—looking for work in England and Germany because their own austerity-burdened economies can’t offer them a decent living.

The center-left did not buy into the right’s racism, but neither did it make the point that immigrants are in the long-term interests of Europe. Nor did it do much to challenge the foreign policy of the EU and NATO that actively aids or abets wars in Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and Syria, wars that fuel millions of those immigrants.

One of the most telling critiques that Five Star aimed at the DP was that the Party supported the overthrow of the Libyan government and the consequent collapse of Libya as a functioning nation. Most the immigrants headed for Italy come from, or through, Libya.

When center-left parties embraced socially progressive policies, voters supported them. In Portugal two left parties formed a coalition with the Social Democrats to get the economy back on track, lower the jobless rate, and roll back many of the austerity measures enforced on the country by the EU. In recent local elections, voters gave them a ringing endorsement.

Jeremy Corbyn took the British Labour Party to the left with a program to re-nationalize railroads, water, energy and the postal service, and Labour is now running neck and neck with the Conservatives. Polls also indicate that voters like Labour’s program of green energy, improving health care, and funding education and public works.

The examples of Portugal and Britain argue that voters are not turning away from left policies, but from the direction that the center left has taken over the past quarter century.

The formulas of the right—xenophobia and nationalism—will do little to alleviate the growing economic inequality in Europe, nor will they address some very real existential problems like climate change. The real threat to the Dutch doesn’t comes from Muslims, but the melting of the Greenland ice cap and the West Antarctic ice sheet, which, sometime in the next few decades, will send the North Sea over the Netherland’s dikes.

When Europe emerged from the last world war, the left played an essential role in establishing a social contract that guaranteed decent housing, health care and employment for the continent’s people. There was still inequality, exploitation, and greed—it is, after all, capitalism—but there was also a compact that did its best to keep the playing field level. In the words of Mette Frederiksen, a leading Danish social democrat, “to save capitalism from itself.”

The Thatcher government in Britain and the Reagan government in Washington broke that compact. Taxes were shifted from corporations and the wealthy to the working class and poor. Public services were privatized, education defunded, and the safety net shredded.

If the center-left is to make a comeback, it will have to re-discover its roots and lure voters away from xenophobia and narrow nationalism with a program that improves peoples’ lives and begins the difficult task of facing up to what capitalism has wrought on the planet.

With many thanks to: Conn Hallinan and CounterPunch for the origional story.