Anorak

Politicians | Anorak - Part 5

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Politicans and world leaders making news and in the news, and spouting hot air

Donald Trump and the cancer charity horror story

21st Century Bastards Donald TRump- action figures for the post-truth age

 

Occasionally you read something that shocks you. Forbes’ Dan Alexander has a story about Donald Trump’s son Eric and a charity golf event .

The real star of the day is Eric Trump, the president’s second son and now the co-head of the Trump Organization, who has hosted this event for ten years on behalf of the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. He’s done a ton of good: To date, he’s directed more than $11 million there, the vast majority of it via this annual golf event. He has also helped raise another $5 million through events with other organizations.

Fabulous. Overlooking the grandstanding, doesn’t just one extra dollar raised make the entire thing worthwhile? Surely it does.

The best part about all this, according to Eric Trump, is the charity’s efficiency: Because he can get his family’s golf course for free and have most of the other costs donated, virtually all the money contributed will go toward helping kids with cancer. “We get to use our assets 100% free of charge,” Trump tells Forbes.

That’s not the case. In reviewing filings from the Eric Trump Foundation and other charities, it’s clear that the course wasn’t free–that the Trump Organization received payments for its use, part of more than $1.2 million that has no documented recipients past the Trump Organization. Golf charity experts say the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament.

Additionally, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, which has come under previous scrutiny for self-dealing and advancing the interests of its namesake rather than those of charity, apparently used the Eric Trump Foundation to funnel $100,000 in donations into revenue for the Trump Organization.

Read it all on Forbes.

The wonder is that President Trump should know that charity can never replace government social assurance. Nothing and no-one has the financial capacity of the federal government. Contributing your celebrity to the cause is not enough:

Donations rise during good times and fall during bad; the $316 billion given last year is high, but it’s still less than any of the three years leading up to the last recession. It’s understandable that people would have less to give when times are hard, but happens to be the exact time when the need is highest. …

The food stamps program cost $78 billion last year, and Medicaid cost, $251 billion. Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or what used to be called welfare, cost another $31 billion. Once the Obamacare exchanges reach something like full capacity in 2017, federal subsidies for insurance on those exchanges is projected to cost about $108 billion. And that’s before we even mention Social Security, which cost $773 billion in 2012.

So the idea that a reduction in these programs could somehow be made up for by an increase in private giving just doesn’t reflect reality.

Over to the President…

Posted: 7th, June 2017 | In: Money, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Politicians and students agree that looking is a gateway to crime

Politicians all want to censor the web. CapX writes:

It took us many centuries, a lot of effort and much expended blood and gore to get to this place where we are free – at liberty and ruled by the law, not the whims of people nor the rage of the mob. That we have those who would snatch them from us worries me far less than what our rulers will do to us and our liberty in the name of protecting us from those bearded nutters.

Just wait until the next generation of politicians arrive in Westminster from our elite universities. Spiked’s Free Speech University Rankings tells us: “The more prestigious universities, those ranked highest in popular league tables, are nearly always the most censorious; the few green-ranking institutions are generally less highly esteemed.”

Joanna Williams adds:

The link between academic success and a fondness for censorship is more than just a mindset. It is precisely because they are the academic achievers that students at elite universities demand freedom from speech…They’ve learned that language constructs reality, and that ‘words that wound’ can inflict ‘spirit murder’ on those who, according to their gender, ethnicity or sexual identity, are assumed to be forever powerless. The students who excel in elite universities today have come to embody the vulnerability they see in others.

They don’t trust us. They moralise about our choices, thoughts and movements. They pick technical arguments about what should be banned and permitted over debating the root cause of the problem that leads people to become Islamist killers. In the minds of these superior prudes and knowing gatekeepers, the mere act of looking becomes a gateway to crime.

Posted: 7th, June 2017 | In: News, Politicians, Reviews, Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


GE17: who wants to see Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘money shot’?

As Cuck Norris tweets:When phrases enter the language and you use them, but you have no idea of their meaning or derivation: a short treatise.”  has treated Twitter users to Jeremy Corbyn’s “Money shot”.

 

jeremy corbyn money shot labour GE17 fail

 

Collins dictionary defines ‘money shot’: “a shot in a pornographic film in which a male performer is seen to ejaculate.”

Spotter: Cuck Norris 

Posted: 7th, June 2017 | In: Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


GE17: Nuanced tabloids leave voters in a dither

It’s the eve of the 2017 General Election and the the papers remain undecided. It’s all very nuanced at the Daily Mail, Daily Express and Sun.

 

 

One tabloid does, however, make it position clear: Jeremy Corbyn’s cup is empty in the Daily Mirror.

 

Posted: 7th, June 2017 | In: Politicians, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Vladimir Putin is playing things by the book: this book

21st Century Bastards Vladimir Putin - action figures for the post-truth age

 

Is Vladimir Putin following a book, namely The Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia by Aleksandr Dugin, aka “Putin’s Brain”. You can read it on Wikipedia:

The book declares that “the battle for the world rule of [ethnic] Russians” has not ended and Russia remains “the staging area of a new anti-bourgeois, anti-American revolution.” The Eurasian Empire will be constructed “on the fundamental principle of the common enemy: the rejection of Atlanticism, strategic control of the USA, and the refusal to allow liberal values to dominate us.”

The United Kingdom should be cut off from Europe.

Ukraine should be annexed by Russia because “Ukraine as a state has no geopolitical meaning, no particular cultural import or universal significance, no geographic uniqueness, no ethnic exclusiveness, its certain territorial ambitions represents an enormous danger for all of Eurasia and, without resolving the Ukrainian problem, it is in general senseless to speak about continental politics”.

The book stresses the “continental Russian-Islamic alliance” which lies “at the foundation of anti-Atlanticist strategy”. The alliance is based on the “traditional character of Russian and Islamic civilization”.

Russia should use its special services within the borders of the United States to fuel instability and separatism, for instance, provoke “Afro-American racists”. Russia should “introduce geopolitical disorder into internal American activity, encouraging all kinds of separatism and ethnic, social and racial conflicts, actively supporting all dissident movements — extremist, racist, and sectarian groups, thus destabilizing internal political processes in the U.S. It would also make sense simultaneously to support isolationist tendencies in American politics.”

Spotter: Kottke

Posted: 6th, June 2017 | In: Books, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


After London Bridge: we’ve had ‘Enough is Enough’ of Jeremy Corbyn (paper review)

The London Bridge and Borough Market terror attacks – how do the tabloids cover the massacre? All share the same news of heroic deeds, horrific injuries and barbarity. But their different treatment of Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn is notable. Which of the political leaders do you trust to keep us safe?

 

the star london bridge

 

Daily Star (front page): “HEROES”

The paper focuses first not on the Islamist extremists who murdered people, rather on the people who helped defeat them and help the injured. We meet Gerard Vowles and Geoff Ho.

Page 2 – 3: “HUNTING FOR VICTIMS”. Now we get to the killers, who wielded foot-long hunting knives and used a truck to slaughter people. And then to the heroes once more.

GEEZER: Gerard Vowles, a proper Londoner who makes us proud. He went to help a woman being set upon by the murderers. He “pelted the killers with pint glasses, bottles and chairs”.

GEEZER: A woman “wedged herself in a restaurant door to stop the gang bursting in and attacking diners”. We do not know her name. But she held things up long enough for 20 people to escape.

GEEZER: A cabbie tried to run down the killers with his taxi. (More on him later.)

GEEZER: A copper took on all three killers. He was armed with a baton. He was stabbed many times. He survived.

GEEZER: Geoff Ho is a journalist for the Sunday Express. He was stabbed in the neck trying to help a doorman under attack. He tweeted: “Don’t know whether it was stupid or noble to jump in and break up the fight outside the  Southwark Tavern, but two a*******s trying to do over a lone bouncer on the door isn’t happening on my watch.”

(It’s great that the Star is unable to repeat the word “arseholes” but finds no issue carrying adverts for “Proper Filthy Girls” and an invitation to phone in and “Listen to Mother & Daughter” aural sex. Apparently, incest is ok but arseholes are taboo.)

The paper produces grainy photos of the killers waking through Borough Market. We also see one of them dead on the floor, killed by a policeman. The copper’s a geezer, too, as are all the police who raced to help.

Pages 4-5: “Dozens held in Armed Swoops”

Police raided a block of flats in Barking, where one of the killers reportedly lived. He was, says a neighbour, a “nice guy” who “rewarded favours with curry”. Says Mohammed, a neighbour who had jump-started the soon-to-be killer’s car: “I told him to forget about giving me money. The next day he turned up with a lovely chicken biryani that we all enjoyed.” The killer was also seen wearing an Arsenal shirt – the one he was wearing when he murdered so many. “I couldn’t believe it. I had seen him in that shirt at 5pm that evening,” says another neighbour.

Another adds: “He approached me yesterday and asked me where I hired a van recently. He said he was going to move house… He was being nicer than normal… He was always nice, but yesterday he was an entirely different level of niceness.”

Evil is banal.

Page 6- 7: “MAY: THIS IS WAR – PM vows to crush Islam extremist.” May is “defiant”. But Jeremy Corbyn did a”U-turn”, changing his “long-held  opinion that he was not ‘happy’ with the police’s shoot-to-kill policy.”

Page 21: The horror occupies readers’ minds. They text in their views (click the image to enlarge):

 

 

Daily Express (front page): ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”:

The paper echoes the words Theresa May used to condemn the slaughter.

Page 2-3: “Jihadis walked around like outlaws at the OK Corral.” Sticking with the idea of this being the wild West, the paper issues a phone poll. The question runs: “Is now the time to round up suspects?”

The paper reminds us that the killers wore dummy suicide vests. They yelled, “This is for Allah.” The paper’s editor tells readers of the woman on London Bridge pleading with her stabbed partner: “Stay with me please, I love you. Come on, please. Don’t let those fuckers get away with it.” He says Donald Trump is right to ridicule our politicians for being “politically correct in our reaction to these outrages”.  And “Theresa May is right when she says Enough is Enough.”

Page 3: “Marksmen threaten to shoot a fleeing suspect in pyjamas.” To West Ham, where an eyewitness tells us about a police raid: “Then a young black man, barefoot and in pyjamas came out of the window. They were shouting ‘We will shoot you if you don’t go back in… the police officer was ready to shoot.”

Page 4: “We fought toff jihadis with bottles and hid in cellars and cupboards.”

We hear from Mark Stembridge, owner of Cafe Brood: “Three Asian guys came down the steps after crashing the van. I saw them with the knives. They each had a knife in their hands. They were about 10-12 inches long. The staff reacted very quickly. We had about 130 customers and 15 staff working. We all got inside but we don’t have doors only shutters. The staff protected all the customers and the three guys just hesitated and then they went off.”

Page 4: Elizabeth O’Neill’s son, Daniel O’Neill, was stabbed. The killers told him: “This is for my family, this is for Islam.” Mrs O’Neill calls her son’s attackers “cowards”. She is remarkably restrained. They wanted to kill him.

Page 6: More from the cabbie who tried to run down one of the killers. He had a fare in the back when he saw their rented van crash on London Bridge. “I said I am going to try and hit him, knock him over, so I spun the cab round and was about to ram one of them, but he side-stepped and three police officers came running towards them with batons drawn.” The cabbie told everyone to run. Student nurse Rhiannon Owen is grateful. “I’ve been trying to find the driver all day on social media. I owe him my life.”

Black Cab drivers, eh, salt of the earth. One part of Chris’s – that’s all we know of him – testimony makes me smile: “I saw the van went between one of the traffic light systems. There is an area called Nancy Steps, famous for the film Oliver!.” You don’t get that in an Uber. Chris is a top geezer.

 

Theresa May terror speech express

 

And now we get to Jeremy Corbyn. We read that one of his “leading supporters” has “described Islamic terrorists as ‘freedom fighters'”. It’s Barbara Ntumy  – pronounced numpty? – who reportedly tweeted in July 2014: “One mans jihadist / terrorist is another mans freedom fighter #JustSaying.” She is quoted: “I absolutely 100 per cent condemn terrorism.” Is it fair to drag up an old tweet now? Isn’t Corbyn enough?

On Page 9, we hear of “Nauseating” Jeremy Corbyn, a man who “in the recent past has called Islamic terrorist groups and the IRA ‘friends’ and opposed every piece of anti-terror legislation”. Security Minister Ben Wallace says: “Voters will judge him [Corbyn] on his views and actions in the last 30 years, not his desperate promises and evasive soundbites three days from polling day.” Is Corbyn tough on crime and terror? Express readers get to read Theresa May’s statement in full. They do not hear Corbyn’s.

 

the mirror london bridge

 

 

Daily Mirror (front page): “MONSTERS”

The word dehumanises them. The killers were men.

Page 2 -3: “FACING DOWN EVIL”. We meet the “revellers fighting back against the attackers”. The paper mention religion once in its lead story. It does so when quoting Theresa May, who stated that she would fight the “evil ideology of Islamist extremism”.

Page 4-5: We hear more of the woman begging her partner to hang on. It’s heartbreaking. We do not know if Peter survived. To consider one story up close brings the pain to the fore. The numbers of dead and injured we read and consider as facts. Peter and his lover are intensely human. It’s unbearable.

Page 6-7: “TOWER OF TERROR.”

Police raided the Elizabeth Fry tower in Barking, East London. In all, they made 12 arrests. Chris Hughes, the paper’s defence editor, praises police and MI5. They have “smashed… more than a dozen major plots” cooked up by “Islamist terrorism since 9/11”. MI5 operates with a “professionalism” other intelligence agencies “can only dream of”.

Page 8-9: “People hurled tables, chairs and glasses at then..they weren’t going to stand back.”

Page 10-11: “I looked into his eyes and thought he was going to pull the pin & blow us up.”

 

Theresa May terror speech mirror

 

Page 14-15: Only now does the paper turn to politics. We see Theresa May declaring “Enough’s enough.” We get it. The words chime. The paper picks out another of her lines: “Terrorism breeds terrorism…they are copying one another.” And then we get to Jeremy Corbyn. He looks smaller than May. His line runs: “Our police, nurses, firefighters deserve a pay rise. They can’t get by on her warm words.” Get that? In talking of terror and the fight against it, the Mirror backs Corbyn to get better rates for public sector workers. If the voters decide terrorism is the key issue, Corbyn’ scuppered. The Mirror is realistic. Corbyn being tough on terror does not resonate.

Page 16-17: “PM: Net giants give hate ‘safe space to breed.” May is no champion of free speech. To paraphrase Douglas Adams, the killers most likely used phones, roads and drank tea as they plotted. Why not clamp down on those things, too? The Mirror does not condemn Mays illiberalism. It finds an echo in the shape of the no less authoritarian Yvette Cooper. The paper affords the Labour MP and ex-shadow home secretary a platform to say the big web companies must do mote to stamp out “extremist recruitment online”. If Cooper is worth a listen, then why not the current shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott? Is she hard on terror? Is she in hiding until after the election? Is Cooper the future of Labour? If she is, then blimey, they really are shafted.

Pages 18-19: “Richard Angell says the terrorists will not win. More on him here.

Page 20-21: “GIVE MORE COPS GUNS”

Is that a good idea?

 

the mail london bridge

 

Daily Mail (Front page): “Bloody day all of Britain said: Enough is enough.” The message is clear: Theresa May speaks for us all.

Page 2-3: The Mail says at least one of the killers was known to the security services. We’re told he’s the Watford-born man wearing the Arsenal shirt. We’re told of claims he “became radicalised by watching extremist videos on YouTube”.  Funny how it goes that way around: you watch the video then become a killer. Might it be that he liked Islamic extremism and any videos just entertained him? If we present the killers as empty vessels to be easily moulded by a video, we remove some of their own free will from the crime. We move closer to making them victims. And – boy – do Islamists like to be victims.

Page 4-5: More photos of the carnage. Pictures of the dead and injured. Who needs YouTube? If looking can turn you into a killer, should we look at the papers?

Page 6-15:  More and more photos of the injured; more stories of heroism, defiance and bravery – “The fucker stabbed me in the neck,” says Candice Hedge (the Mail says “f*****s” ; dead bodies are ok in the Mail but swearing might influence impressionable minds).

Page 16-17: “MAY: CURB THE HATE ON WEB.”

Page 18: “Hours after latest horror, IS terror guides sill online.”

 

 

Page 19: Richard Littlejohn – “I’m sick of politicians pussy footing around. As they won’t says it, I will – we ARE at war.” He asks if the nation can take Jeremy Corbyn seriously on matters of national security. Hold your tongue. The question is rhetorical. The answer is coming thick and thicker.

Page 20: “There country is not reeling – but nor are we appeasers of terror like Corbyn,” says Dominic Lawson.

Page 21: “Corbyn’s 30 Years of Talking to Terrorists.”

 

 

The Sun (front page): “JIHADI KILLER IS AN ARSENAL SHIRT.”

Football. The Sun has done it and made football a key part of the story. (Add it to the list of unwelcome endorsements.) We learn that the killer in the old Arsenal top was called ‘Abz’.

Page 2-3: “8 Cops. 50 Shots. 3 Losers burning in Hell.” Is Donald Trump writing the Sun’s headlines?

Pages 4-5: “A girl burst in, her neck spurting blood, and grabbed me.”

Page 6-7: “4 Women Among 12 Arrested.” To which the response is: so? Or: How many Spurs fans?

Page 8-9: “We Stopped Them – Bouncer lobs seats at 3 killers. Leads fiends to be shot by police.” Ozzy the doorman is a geezer. “I realised I had to do something,” he says. “… Me and another guy started launching bar stools, bottles and glasses at them… They ran through the barrage and we deflected them and they literally ran  straight into the cops who shot them.” Says Ozzy’s mate: “Ozzy’s an absolute hero.”

Page 10-15: More tales of courage, heartache and horror.

Page 16-17: “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.”

May’s soundbite might just produce the predicted Tory landslide. Corbyn is once more attacked over his ‘U-turn’.

Page 18: “Corbyn is a real threat to security”, says Trevor Kavanagh. The Sun says a vote for May is a vote to “make Britain safer”.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 5th, June 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Jeremy Corbyn ‘looks forward to an asteroid wiping out humanity’

In 2004,Jeremy Corbyn was one of three signatories on an anti-human motion.

 

Jeremy Corbyn pigeons

 

 

Early day motion 1255

Session: 2003-04
Date tabled: 21.05.2004
Primary sponsor: Banks, Tony

Sponsors:
That this House is appalled, but barely surprised, at the revelations in M15 files regarding the bizarre and inhumane proposals to use pigeons as flying bombs; recognises the important and live-saving role of carrier pigeons in two world wars and wonders at the lack of gratitude towards these gentle creatures; and believes that humans represent the most obscene, perverted, cruel, uncivilised and lethal species ever to inhabit the planet and looks forward to the day when the inevitable asteroid slams into the earth and wipes them out thus giving nature the opportunity to start again.

Nice opinion to the electorate, Jeremy.

Tory Peter Bottomley amended that to the hope that “humans and other creatures may with luck have the chance to live together again”.

Posted: 5th, June 2017 | In: Politicians, Strange But True | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Tory MP tweets: ‘Vote Conservative for strong and stable leadershit’

James Conwyn MP, Conservative Candidate for Earlingford Abbey, tweets:

Posted: 4th, June 2017 | In: Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


CIA go home: Donald Trump gets his London Bridge news from the web

If only Trump had access to the best intelligence services in the world and didn’t have to get his news from the Drudge Report. CIA go home, the web has this one:

 

Trump London Bridge

Posted: 4th, June 2017 | In: Politicians | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


How to survive Jeremy Corbyn’s ‘Nuclear Meltdown’

Don’t panic! Jeremy Corbyn might trigger a “Nuclear Meltdown” should the leader of the hollowed out Labour Party make it into Number 10, but surviving the atomic holocaust is just a matter of picking the right level of sun cream. The Daily Mail is here to help its readers survive.

 

Jeremy Corbyn daily mail

 

Factor 5million should just about do it.

Posted: 3rd, June 2017 | In: Politicians, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


GE17 tabloid review: Corbyn’s cat, May’s death and go Amber!

GE17: a look at tabloid reporting on the big debate.

 

Theresa May tabloid biased reporting Jeremy Corbyn

 

Daily Mirror (front page): “Tories are plotting to stab PM in the back”.

No sign of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on the Mirror’s cover, just news that should Theresa May not win a “hefty election majority” Tories will “ditch her”. May is shown looking tight-lipped.

You know it’s looking bad for Labour when the Labour-supporting newspaper finds solace in anything other than a Tory landslide.

There is no mention of Jeremy Corbyn until page 6.

Indeed, in this front-page story, May is name-checked 11 times; Corbyn just twice. Corbyn’s image only appears in a small photo on a left-hand page. And even then he’s not alone.

 

Theresa May tabloid biased reporting Jeremy Corbyn

 

Page 6 -7: “May has to land a huge majority or she’ll be hung out to dry by the Tories,” states the paper. Stabbed and hanged. Brutal stuff. But more likely May will get a great pension and more time to sort out the bins.

On page 7 Jason Beattie says May has “no personality”. She has “sabotaged the Tory campaign”. She is “brittle and desperate”.  Jason isn’t keen on her.

Page 6: “Labour will storm ahead with its blueprint for Britain if it becomes the largest party in a hung parliament.” It will storm ahead before getting caught in an eddy and going nowhere. “If we are the largest party, we go ahead – no deals,” says shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, safe in the knowledge that they won’t be.

Page 7: We get to look at Labour Party winner. “Tony Blair called Sedgefield County Durham his ‘spiritual and political home’,” says Paul Routledge. Yep. it’s Blair, who keeps his money in London. Routledge says it’s “unthinkable” Sedgefield, the seat Blair sat in for 24 years come war, more war and even more war, will turn Tory blue this June. So unthinkable is it that Routledge has written a column on the matter.  The Labour candidate for Sedgefield is Phil Wilson, who tells locals: “What people want is someone born and brought up here. Whose kids went to school here.” Tony Blair was born in Edinburgh. He lives in London. Best of luck, Phil.

Daily Express (front page): “Corbyn Doesn’t Believe In Britain.”

Well, so says Theresa May.

Pages 4-5: “Corbyn? He’s a man who has no plan, says May”

The Daily Express produces a phone poll: “Does Corbyn have what it takes to run Britain?” it asks. Calls are 50p each. Keep an open mind before deciding which number to call for ‘yes’ or ‘no’. Keep your mind so open your brains fall out.

Page 5: “Greater Tory majority will ensure Brexit is easier, claims think tank”. The Express campaigned for UKIP and Brexit. Make the link.

Page 5: “Corbyn backed squatters crusade”. In 2013, Corbyn “helped organise a meeting for the Squatters Action for Secure Homes (Squash) at the House of Commons.”

Daily Mail (front page): “Corbyn’s Sly Death Trap”

The paper cites “new figures” which “suggest… Jeremy Corbyn will drag an extra 1.2 million family homes into  the grip of inheritance tax if he wins the election.”

Vote Corbyn, then. We can all default on our mortgages and squat for free. The kids will love it. Sleep over! But wait. The “policy is not in the Labour manifesto, but appears in a separate costings document.”

Corbyn is mentioned three times on the Mail’s front page. Theresa May is not mentioned once. Indeed, in this front-page story, Corbyn is name-checked 12 times; May just twice. The Mirror and Mail agree on one thing: the other leader is a vote winner for the wrong side.

 

Theresa May tabloid biased reporting Jeremy Corbyn

 

Page 6: “Tories go to war with BBC over Left-wing audience bias.” The paper updates readers on that BBC TV debate May did not take part in. Before you watch May and Corbyn on Question Time – yep, there is a televised leaderzzzzzz’ debate – the paper warns readers that the BBC might be biased to the Left.

Page 7: “For those of you a little hard of learning, the paper produces “How ‘impartial’ BBC has kept up a relentless attack on the Tories”.

Page 8-9:  We get to learn what else Corbyn doesn’t believe in. “He doesn’t believe in Brexit.” So there.

Daily Star (front page): “TV Caroline Love Isle Lesbian Romps.” Vote now!

Page 4: “Seven Days To Save UK, May Warns Voters”. Corbyn is 7-2 to win the vote. Save your money for something worthwhile, like a Daily Express phone poll or a wishing well.

 

Theresa May tabloid biased reporting Jeremy Corbyn

 

The Sun (front page): “Corbyn’s magic money tree will cost families extra £3.5k-a-year.”

Corbyn’s manifesto is full of “far-fetched election bribes” that would “blow a £300bn hole in Britain’s finances”.  On page 2, the Sun reminds readers that the “hard hitting ‘money-tree’ phrase was coined by Home Secretary Amber Ruud.”  Amber. Amber. Amber. The papers love her. May should frisk her for knives.

Page 8: “Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn even believes his cat supports the hard left.” Mr Cobyn says the cat – called ‘El Gato – has shown “socialist tendencies” in allowing a stray cat to share its food.

Jeremy Corbyn has a cat! Dog owners, you know what to do.

 

 

Posted: 2nd, June 2017 | In: Politicians, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


GE17 Cambridge debate: media bias, missing May and Corbyn’s balls

Cambridge debate GE17

 

Last night’s election debate featured  seven politicians, none of whom were Theresa May. How do the tabloids report on the show at Cambridge University?

The Sun front page: “PM: VOTE TORY FOR BEST BREXIT.”

Having trailed Theresa May’s big speech on Brexit (page 1), used an editorial to argue that she must do more than say “I’m not Jeremy Corbyn” (Page 8) and invited Tory MEP Daniel Hannan on to write below the headline “Dodgy dealer Jezza will Wrexit Britain” (Page 8), readers get to the debate on Pages 10 and 11.

Pages 10 -11: “WEAKEST LINK JEZ – Corbyn walloped by all six opponents in debate.”

The paper says Corbyn’s “surprise” 11th hour decision to take part in the TV debate “backfired”. The show was an “ugly shouting match”. Who won? “The most withering assault on Mr Corbyn came from Tory Home Secretary Amber Rudd.” Corbyn “came under fire for being weak from Leave and Remain supporters”. Corbyn “gaffed on the economy”.

Readers do hear from May, who says: “I think debates where the politicians are squabbling among themselves doesn’t do anything for the process of electioneering.”

Daily Mirror (front page): “Nadia: I’m going bald”.

Bigger than the debate is news that TV presenter Nadia is losing her hair. The debate appears on Pages 6 and 7.

Pages 6 – 7: “Leaderless and heartless – Rivals blast PM’s TV debate no-show. Rudd steps in despite father’s death.”

The paper begins by telling readers that Corbyn changed his mind about taking part in the debate. Why? We’re not told. But it looks like it was about upstaging May, who “left Amber Rudd to parrot the Tory line  – despite the Home Secretary’s father dying 48 hours earlier.” In the paper’s mind that means May is “heartless”. But surely Rudd wanted to take part. And doesn’t carrying on in the face of personal pain suggest a strong and  – lest it go unsaid – stable character?

As for why she was chosen to take part – or chose to: shadow home secretary Diane Abbott had been booked to argue Labour’s case. Home Secretary Rudd v Abbott would have been a valid debate. No?

The paper also notes that the SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, for it is she, “sent her deputy Angus Robertson”. Nicola wasn’t there either. The Mirror says the Green’s Caroline Lucas, LibDem’s Tim Farron and Plaid Cymru’s Leanne Wood mocked May for her no show; Sturgeon escaped any attack.

The Mirror says Rudd “struggled” and “squirmed”. Corbyn was “stunning”. The audience”cheered” Corbyn.

Daily Mail (front page): “FURY AT BIAS ON BBC TV DEBATE – TV chiefs under fire over ‘the most Left win audience ever’.”

The paper says “even BBC presenter Mishal Husain was heckled when she pointed out he [Corbyn] had been unable to set out the cost of his flagship child care policy”. Corbyn was “repeatedly cheered despite a meandering performance”.

The paper’s quote about the audience being skewed towards Corbyn comes from George Eaton, “political editor of the Labour-supporting New Statesman magazine”, who opined:” This feels like the most left-wing audience in any TV debate.”

Page 6: “CORBYN’S L-LA-LAND ECONOMICS”

Page 7: “An audience as balanced as a gorilla on a unicycle,” says Quentin Letts – in a view about as balanced as a trout on LSD. Jeremy Corbyn, evasive on immigration, was rewarded with whoops and wolf whistles. Welcome to the BBC!” May did well to stay away from this “bent, babyish custard-pie fight”. It was a “demeaning brawl”. Corbyn and Robertson “found themselves sniping simultaneously at Miss Rudd. Two angry men shouting at a younger women. Great look, guys.” So much for equality (and gerraload of Amber’s legs!).

Daily Express (front page): “Corbyn’s Plot To Bring In Migrant Workers”

The debate features first on page 5.

Page 5: “Rudd blasts the ‘Jeremy money tree’.”

Rudd mocked Corbyn for his “fantasy economics” in a “heated live television clash”. May is praised for sticking to her decision not to take part whilst Corbyn U-turned. Rudd landed “body blows” on Corbyn. And, er, that’s it.

Daily Star (front page): “Corbyn does a U-turn”

Page 4: “Corbyn’s U-Turn”. The Labour leader “tried to wrongfoot Theresa May”.

Such are the facts.

 

Posted: 1st, June 2017 | In: Politicians, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Jeremy Corbyn divides us into white deplorables and black victims

Jeremy Corbyn says “Only Labour can be trusted to unlock the talent of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people.” Sajid Javid,  Tory MP and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, endorses the message.

 

 

 

Jeremy Corbyn Javid

 

How great is Corbyn, eh. Without him you blacks, Asians, Jews and Jedis will be unable to achieve anything under your own steam. Jeremy Corbyn has distinguished the victims – you – from everyone else. Corbyn has divided you into racial blocs.  There’s no need for vigorous debate when identity is all. Being is achieving.

As Corbyn alleviates the knowing white man’s burden by feeling your black pain and leading dark-skinned faces out of the Heart of Darkness into the rosy-fingered dawn, whites who don’t vote for him become the country’s equivalent of Hillary Clinton’s “deplorables”. If you’re not for the Asians and Blacks then you must be against them.

Corbyn, the arch authoritarian, has taken the Left from policing language to policing democracy. He and his kin are seemingly blind to their own bigotry. They reduce the options for the powerless ethnic minorities they represent. Look out for articles portraying black and Asian voters backing Theresa May and her Conservatives as victims of “internalised racism”, just as women who voted for Donald Trump over Clinton were accused of “internalised misogyny”.

Opportunity has less to do with socioeconomic status than race in Corbyn’s world view. If you want to end social inequality and improve the lives of working-class people, you need to vote in accordance to the colour of your skin. That’s what the Left’s anti-racists do – they make it all about your race. It really is beyond parody.

Posted: 31st, May 2017 | In: Politicians | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


UKIP candidate campaigns for inter-stellar colony ship for ‘the chance to begin anew’

Check out this brilliant flyer from Suffolk UKIP candidate Aidan Powlesland. He calls for a fleet of inter-steller vehicles to mine Saturn’s astroid belt for platinum and water. Why? For “the chance to begin anew”.

 

UKIP flyer funny GE17

UKIP candidate Aidan Powlesland

 

Spotter: Johnny Paige

Posted: 26th, May 2017 | In: Politicians, Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


LMFAO: the brilliant Pope meets Trump gif

Spotter and creator:

Posted: 25th, May 2017 | In: Gifs, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Trump and Pope Woody Allen star in The Shining, The Addams Family and The Omen remakes

When the Trumps met the Pope, the Addams Family remake was on:

With Woody Allen:

Yeah. That’s all folks!

Posted: 25th, May 2017 | In: Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Church of Satan distances itself from Donald Trump

orb trump

 

On his first overseas trip as US President, Donald Trump placed his hands on a large glowing ball in Saudi Arabia. The Church of Satan puts out a statement on Twitter: “For clarification, this is not a Satanic ritual.

 

The comments come thick and fast:

Note: the photo is of Donald Trump at a summit in Riyadh. Trump, King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi placed their hands on a miniature globe at the Global Centre for Combating Extremist Ideology on Sunday. Reports that as they did so a million children felt their life force ebb are – as yet – unsubstantiated.

Posted: 22nd, May 2017 | In: Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Art Buchwald for the LA Times in 1973 – Nixon (not Trump)

Art Buchwald for the @latimes in 1973.

 

 Art Buchwald for the @latimes in 1973.

Posted: 20th, May 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Sunday Sport: ‘teenage Jeremy Corbyn squashed girl’s pet rabbit with his pogo stick’

The Sunday Sport has news on Jeremy Corbyn. It might not be the current Labour Party leader. It might be a “sex dwarf”  look-alike. But someone thinks Jeremy Corbyn “squashed my sister’s bay rabbit with his pogo stick”:

 

sunday sport corbyn

 

Spotter: @Poshboy97

Posted: 17th, May 2017 | In: Politicians, Strange But True, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Labour Party’s ‘imaginary monkey’

John Trickett – Shadow lord president of the council, standing in Hemsworth. The Times has news:

 

 

the time Labour

 

Spotter: Michael Moran, by Patrick Kidd in The Times

Posted: 17th, May 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Hard Left’s last gasp for power: tracing Jeremy Corbyn’s revolutionary socialism since 9/11

May 1, 1928 Communists in London celebrating May Day.

 

News that Andrew Murray, a “longstanding communist party member who joined Labour in December”, is running the Labour Party’s General Election campaign raises eyebrows. The Hard Left have taken over Labour.

Paul Anderson and Kevin Davey, authors of Moscow Gold: The Soviet Union And The British Left, look at UK’s Leninists since 9/11, and ask “if life in the mainstream will make or break revolutionary socialism”:

 

1. What is to be done?

By the end of the 1990s, to most observers of the British left, the Leninist era seemed to have come to an end. The Socialist Workers Party, quasi-Trotskyist and owner of a competent offset press in east London, still had some life about it, but not a lot. The Scottish Socialist Party – essentially the renegade Glasgow office of the Trotskyist Militant Tendency, which had been expelled by Labour in the late 1980s and early 1990s, with SWP and independent barnacles hanging on – had some support in urban western Scotland. And the hardline Communist Party of Britain, the main Stalinist splinter from the ‘official’ Communist Party of Great Britain (which had given up the ghost in 1991, 70 years after its launch with a giant subvention from Moscow), was still influential in a few trade unions. The CPB still had a daily paper, the Morning Star, though hardly anyone read it any more.

This is what Leninism had dwindled to, unless you also count the aloof cadre at New Left Review or the machinations of mayor of London Ken Livingstone’s office, in both of which veterans of another Trotskyist outfit, the International Marxist Group, latterly Socialist Action, had key roles. New Left Review a dry bi-monthly theoretical journal, had gone through several changes of tack since its 1960s and 1970s IMG-dominated heyday (if that’s the word), but the onetime followers of the Trotskyist guru Ernest Mandel – most notably Tariq Ali and Robin Blackburn, were still very much on board. Livingstone had a later generation of IMGers in key staff positions, among them John Ross as chief economic adviser and Simon Fletcher as chief of staff. Mood music for this embattled rump was provided by the occasional jeremiad in the comment pages of the Guardian and in the London Review of Books.

On the best estimate, the membership of all the Leninist groups at the turn of the millennium totalled no more than 6,000 – of whom perhaps one-third were active.

Most were in the SWP, the CPB or Militant’s successor groups, with a few hundred scattered among more esoteric fractions, some of them crazy but most of them deadly dull: Socialist Action, so deeply embedded in the Labour hard left that even members found it difficult to distinguish themselves from centrist trade-union bureaucrats; the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, previously Socialist Organiser, notable for picking ideological fights on foreign policy with everyone else and then claiming to be victimised; the group that had once been the Revolutionary Communist Party, a slightly unorthodox Trotskyist group, but after a series of baffling changes of political direction under a variety of names was in the process of launching Sp!ked, a website devoted to provocative libertarianism; the Communist Party of Great Britain (Provisional Central Committee), a weird sect that had emerged from a Stalinist fraction in the Turkish Communist Party and had spent most of the 1990s engaged in litigation over former assets of the real CPGB – fighting for flats above chip shops in Dagenham – but had also set up Weekly Worker, an entertaining newspaper, largely online, devoted to left sectarian quibbling.

Few would have predicted any kind of revival for the Leninist fragments. Yet that is what happened in the early years of the new century. The starting point was the creation of an electoral coalition to fight the 2001 general election against Tony Blair’s Labour government, the Socialist Alliance, by the SWP and the English successor-group to Militant, the Socialist Party of England and Wales (the unfortunately acronymed SPEW). Blair, said the comrades, had traded the promise of socialism for a destructive neoliberalism: it was time for a new left initiative. The SA attracted a few independents and started brightly, but got nowhere. All the same, the experience gave the SWP, with John Rees and Lindsey German at the helm, a taste for working with other organisations it not had for more than 20 years – even though they’d decided that SPEW wasn’t exactly an ideal partner.

Then came 9/11 – and everything changed.

 

2. War and peace

The destruction of the twin towers of the World Trade Center by Islamist terrorists on 11 September 2001 had a disorienting effect on the British left. A brief, shocked silence was rapidly followed by attempts to make sense of the outrage. On the Leninist left and among its sympathisers the narrative that it was payback for American imperialism in the Middle East was quick to emerge. The “root cause” of the attack was not Islamist fanaticism, they argued, but crusader power – US support for Israel, the punitive sanctions imposed on Iraq after the 1991 war against Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, arms sales to Saudi Arabia, exploitation of the region’s oil. The British government was on the side of the imperialists – and it was crucial that the imperialists were defeated. (This is Lenin’s doctrine of “revolutionary defeatism”, developed in World War I, according to which the left in any country engaged in an imperialist war should support the defeat of its “own” ruling class in order to bring on the revolution.)

The analysis was simplistic and met deserved scorn from many left and liberal critics, but after Blair’s decision to support US military intervention in Afghanistan, the knee-jerk anti-imperialism of the Leninists gained a wider hearing. The SWP went all-out for the most opportunist popular front ever. The minuscule party – with an unstable membership of less than 2,000 – ditched SPEW and the Socialist Alliance to set up the Stop the War Coalition, with the aim of attracting the mosques to the anti-imperialist cause. It soon became an alliance of Trotskyist and Stalinist Leninists and the Islamists of the Muslim Association of Britain, with a sprinkling of Labour leftists (among them Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell), Greens, anarchists, CND (by now controlled by the hard left), Scottish and Welsh nationalists and Liberal Democrats.

Opposing the Blair government’s political and military support for the US invasion of Afghanistan in 2001-02 was not popular: overturning the Taliban and catching Osama bin Laden were objectives shared by an overwhelming majority of Britons. But opposing Blair’s subsequent backing for the US invasion of Iraq to overthrow Saddam Hussein was different. The 9/11 link to Saddam was, to say the least, not persuasive – and the official rationale for the invasion shifted suspiciously from Saddam’s support for terror to weapons of mass destruction. Taking out Saddam by force seemed a massive risk. US President George Bush appeared to be preparing for an intervention that was at best opportunist, half-thought-through and dangerous – and Blair seemed to be tagging along uncritically. It was more complex than that, but Stop the War, with the SWP firmly in command and the CPB playing a key supporting role, found itself in the position of being the only organisation in place with the means to mobilise popular opposition to war. Its high point was the 15 February 2003 demonstration in London against intervention in Iraq, which attracted perhaps 1 million people.

It would be ludicrous to claim that many of the 15 February demonstrators were signed-up Leninists. But the Stop the War organisers and spokespeople for the movement for the most part were: Rees and German from the SWP; the organisation’s chair, Andrew Murray, a leading figure in the Stalinist Straight Left fraction of the 1970s and 1980s (a bizarre secretive group that operated both in the CPGB and the Labour Party), who had become a member of the CPB central committee and an official for the train drivers’ union Aslef; the Labour MP George Galloway (expelled from the party in autumn 2003 for bringing Labour into disrepute after calling on British troops to refuse to obey orders); Kate Hudson, chair of CND and a member of the CPB. And they had media support too – most importantly from the comment editor of the Guardian, Seumas Milne, another veteran of Straight Left.

The Leninist-Islamist alliance (minus most of the Labour hard left and the CPB, at least formally, but backed by many conservative Muslims) was subsequently the basis for a new electoral party, Respect (Respect, Equality, Socialism, Peace, Environmentalism, Community, and Trade Unionism). German failed miserably as its candidate against Ken Livingstone in the 2004 London mayoral election; but Galloway won Bethnal Green and Bow on a Respect ticket in the 2005 general election. The Scottish Socialist Party, without Islamist support, also did well in the 2003 Scottish Parliament election, winning six seats.

The Leninist revival was, however, patchy and short-lived. It bore the seeds of its own destruction in the blurring of aspirations required by the anti-war popular front: deference both to Muslim moral conservatism and to Scottish nationalism north of the border.

Despite their organisational zeal and campaigning efforts, the micro-parties recruited fewer new members from Stop the War than they had expected, and the new recruits, though often as ardent and narrow-minded as any “class-against-class” communist of the early 1930s, chafed at the bit of party discipline.

While the high-ups in the SWP and CPB engaged in the Stop the War love-in with Islamists, pacifists, Greens, the Scottish National Party and the traditional Labour hard left, undermining their own arguments for a distinctive revolutionary party, the narcissism of small differences disorganised the movement on the ground – where it was amplified by articulate (if hardly independent-minded) novices radicalised by campus identity politics.

The Leninists’ embrace of Islamism was particularly problematic: if everyone could agree that Islamophobia was bad and it was easy enough for Galloway and leftist intellectuals to declare anti-imperialist solidarity with Islamists, the culture clash between Leninist and Islamist anti-imperialisms could not be avoided in campaigning activity, particularly where the rights of women and gay people were at stake. Meanwhile, in Scotland, the Leninist left could not find a narrative to rival that of the SNP.

3. Splitters!

In Scotland, the SSP’s Tommy Sheridan never got into bed with Galloway and Respect – in part because there was little in the way of Muslim radicalism in Scotland with which to ally – but the News of the World reported in 2006 that he had taken part in orgies at a dodgy sex club in Manchester. He sued the paper for libel and won damages, but his account of his actions was at odds with what he had told his SSP comrades, and he was soon charged with perjury for lying in court. Sheridan’s economy with the truth led to the SSP imploding: it lost all representation in Holyrood in 2007 as its followers transferred their support to the SNP, which became for the first time the largest party in the Scottish parliament. Sheridan was convicted of perjury and jailed in 2010.

In England and Wales, growing tensions between Galloway and the SWP – largely over the role of Islamists – led to a spectacular split in RESPECT. Rees and German were off-loaded by the SWP in 2009-10 and set up a website in lieu of a party, Counterfire, which adopted political positions barely distinguishable from those of the traditional Labour hard left except for its empathy for radical Islam, Iran and Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Galloway, who made a fool of himself in the reality-TV Celebrity Big Brother in early 2006, abandoned Bethnal Green and Bow and then failed to become the MP for Poplar and Limehouse in 2010. SPEW, the CPB and the RMT railworkers’ union set up No2EU as a left-Eurosceptic electoral alliance for the 2009 European Parliament elections: it secured less than 1 per cent of the vote. SPEW’s next initiative, the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition (supported by the SWP and RMT but not the CPB), stood in the 2010 general election but lost all its deposits with a similar, stubbornly insignificant, share of the vote.

Meanwhile, the Trotskyists in Ken Livingstone’s office received big pay-offs after he lost the London mayoral election in 2008. By then, only train-spotters could tell they remained Trotskyists, so deeply had they subsumed their identity in that of Labour’s hard left and Livingstone’s enthusiasm for attracting inward investment by giant global corporations.

Things got little better for the groupuscules after Labour’s general election defeat in 2010. Galloway made a spectacular comeback to win a by-election victory as a Respect candidate in Bradford West in 2012. But he did this without much Leninist support: his electoral base in Bradford was almost entirely Muslim, communal and largely conservative. The SWP went into meltdown when the leadership mishandled allegations of rape against one of their number, a nasty affair that lost the party nearly all of the members it had recruited during the Stop the War campaign.

The film-maker Ken Loach and others – many of them, like him, formerly of the Workers Revolutionary Party, once the biggest Trotskyist group in Britain but utterly discredited in the mid-1980s when its leader, Gerry Healy, was accused of serial sexual assaults – set up Left Unity, a supposedly new party which was not explicitly Leninist, though most of the members it attracted were old-left Leninist has-beens. Unsurprisingly, it failed to get off the ground.

TUSC staggered on, failing to win local council seats, and No2EU did even worse in the 2014 European elections than it had in 2009. Slightly more in tune with the times, Counterfire, the CPB and others opened a second popular front – the People’s Assembly Against Austerity – bringing together Labour, Green and trade union leftists, among them Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. Despite its large meetings and occasional demonstrations, it had little public impact.

These false starts and falterings are not the whole story. The Leninist micro-parties may have got nowhere in 2010-15, but after the collapse of the SSP and RESPECT many individual Leninists, drawing on the hard-left networks in which they had embedded themselves, did much better in the trade union bureaucracies.

 4. Part of the union

Assisted by the apathy of members and the complacency of their opponents – while building on the alliances forged in Stop the War and local campaigns – the hard left won several key positions, elected and appointed, on top of the handful it already held. The most important victory came in 2010. Unite, the giant general union born of a series of mergers with the TGWU, elected Len McCluskey as general secretary on a 15 per cent turnout. McCluskey, a self-declared former-supporter of Militant in Liverpool (although he was never a member and is much more a product of the 1970s CPGB union machine than of Trotskyism), won against a candidate supported by the SWP and other Leninists. He appointed Andrew Murray of the CPB and Stop the War as his chief of staff.

Over the next five years the hard left in the unions huffed and puffed, complaining that Ed Miliband, who they’d backed in 2010 for the Labour leadership, was a great disappointment. In 2013 there was a major falling-out between Miliband and McCluskey after complaints that Unite was trying to fix the Labour parliamentary selection in Falkirk. Miliband’s response to the unions throwing their weight around in internal Labour politics was a change to the party’s leadership election rules. In 2014, he eliminated the formal role of trade unions in the electoral college that had chosen Labour leaders since 1983: members of Labour-affiliated unions and registered supporters were given a vote in party leadership elections with the same weight as that of a standard full member.

Hardly anyone objected. The commentariat saw the move as Miliband taking on the union bosses in a new drive for “modernisation”. But Unite and others saw the change as an opportunity – and in 2015, after Labour lost the general election, the chickens came home to roost.

Unite and Leninist-influenced hard left networks in the unions played a significant role in the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader. Their intervention was mostly indirect. Unions in which the hard left was dominant splashed cash for propaganda and funded phone banks. Unite in particular invested heavily in the Corbyn campaign.

This support was contested and appears to have been grudging – McCluskey wanted to back Andy Burnham but was overturned by his executive. Corbyn’s leadership campaign director was Simon Fletcher, a longtime Socialist Action stalwart who had served as Ken Livingstone’s chief of staff before taking up a similar role with Corbyn. Activists from the People’s Assembly Against Austerity played an important part in organising public meetings for the Corbyn campaign, as did the Labour Representation Committee, a parallel initiative set up in 2004 that brought together the remnants of the Leninist left in the Labour Party and the unions that had survived two decades of expulsions of entryists.

Both the People’s Assembly Against Austerity and the LRC consider that Leninist parties should be allowed to operate freely inside Labour, and members of both – along with activists from TUSC and other far-left operations – have enthusiastically signed up to Momentum, the continuity Corbyn leadership campaign set up by his campaign manager Jon Lansman, a veteran of the early-1980s Bennite left who is a key player in the LRC.

As far as anyone knows, Corbyn himself never joined one of the Leninist groups, but throughout his political life he has drawn on their support and ideas. He basked in the political milieu they dominated, and was heavily involved in campaigns in which Stalinists and Trotskyists played major if not defining roles – the Chile Solidarity Campaign, the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the Anti-Apartheid Movement, the Cuba Solidarity Campaign, Liberation, Labour CND, Stop the War, the Labour Representation Committee and many more.

 

May 1, 1936 May Day Communist demonstration in Hyde Park, London.

 5. Imperial lather

More importantly, Leninist anti-imperialism continues to play a central role in shaping his thinking on foreign affairs: if there’s any guiding principle to Corbynism, it’s that the west – in other words, the US and the other “imperialist powers” – is always wrong. The west is by definition imperialist, whatever the aims or impact of its policies, from humanitarian intervention to regime change, from economic development to trade agreement, from the extension of democracy and human rights to formal alliances between states.

In this world, any opposition to the west that arises on the ground is understandable whatever form it takes, and is mostly viewed sympathetically. From the IRA to Hamas, from Cuba to Hezbollah, from North Korea to Venezuela, “anti-imperialists” are “friends” usually deserving solidarity – and a blind eye has to be turned to most of their flaws and their crimes.

As leader, Corbyn has appointed people from the Leninist periphery of hard-left Labour politics who share this worldview – let’s call them Leninoids, as they retain no formal relationship to organised groups – to key positions in the Labour Party, most importantly John McDonnell as shadow chancellor and Seumas Milne as chief spin-doctor. Back in the 1980s, McDonnell, along with Ken Livingstone, was part of the Labour Herald crew that was kept afloat by the Workers Revolutionary Party. Milne’s political sympathies have always been much more towards J V Stalin.

One of the strangest and most shocking characteristics of this boilerplate ‘anti-imperialism’ is a deeply ingrained deference to the Leninists’ old flame, Moscow. The hard left defended Vladimir Putin’s military intervention in Georgia in 2008 and excused Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its subsequent bloody interference in Ukraine. This left raised only a finger in protest at Putin’s cynical support of Bashar al-Assad in Syria – and its leading protagonists have long been favoured talking heads on Moscow’s international propaganda TV channel, RT. That Russia might itself harbour imperialist ambitions remains unthinkable for the last Leninists standing. Their crude anti-imperialist reflex gives Moscow a pass, just as it did for Saddam, and just as it continues to do for Iran and China.

It would be wrong to describe the elevation of a few backward-looking fossils as a Leninist revival. It is certainly not a Leninist takeover of Labour. Corbyn’s mindset is indebted to Leninism, but the Labour Party members and supporters who voted for him were and are people who wanted a change of tack on austerity and foreign military intervention. What they’ve  got isn’t what they wanted. Putting it crudely, a handful of Leninists past and present have been given key bureaucratic positions by a hard-left Leninist-fellow-travelling leadership. Or to frame it differently: in choosing his team, Corbyn took a leaf out of Livingstone’s book and co-opted Leninist organisational talent for reforming and social-democratic ends.

 6. Corbynismo o muerte?

It’s not the wisest move an aspiring prime minister could make, nor has it united the party, so the future of Corbyn’s fragile and fractious project is unpredictable. One thing is clear, however. Corbyn’s leadership of Labour is unlikely to regenerate the CPB, the SWP or any of the other micro-parties. It is much more probable that the sharp left turn for Labour that his leadership represents will deny Leninists their most potent recruiting argument, that Labour is selling out socialism and the working class. The more successful he is, the more difficult it will be to differentiate their brand – and if he sinks, their close association with him makes it likely that they go down with him.

Sadly, another Leninist mini-revival cannot be ruled out. The organisations are still there, ageing, battered and bruised, and there are plausible scenarios that they could exploit to their advantage. But nearly a century of experience suggests that Britain’s Leninists are on their last legs and going nowhere.

The best hope for the left in electoral politics remains Labour – even if there is a mountain to climb by 2020 and Corbyn fails to enthuse the voters. The party is easy to join and it is a movement for change. Most of its members are sane democratic socialists with no illusions about the scale of the challenge facing them. If you want thrills and spills in the here-and-now and Labour doesn’t appeal, you’re better-off doing your politics yourself than joining one of the self-appointed vanguard parties. You might get nowhere, you might win meaningful victories, but you won’t find yourself dragged into cadre servitude by a central committee that treats new recruits as expendable extras in a misconceived historical movie.

Because that is what British Leninism is today: a tawdry political re-enactment society. They can grow Lenin beards and pretend to be hipsters, or dye their hair red like Rosa Luxemburg’s. But it’s not a politics for today. It isn’t going to find the way forward. The raison d’etre of Leninism is to mislead, to misrepresent and to divide the left. It’s time to let 1917 go.

Reproduced with permission of the very good Little Atoms.

 

Read the book: Moscow Gold: The Soviet Union and the British Left.

Posted: 15th, May 2017 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


He’s right: Jeremy Corbyn’s high income does not make him wealthy

jeremy corbyn money

 

Is Jeremy Corbyn a wealthy man? We don’t know. We haven’t seen his tax returns. All we do know is that he earns well. The UK average salary is around £27,000 a year. Corbyn earns more than £137,000  year. According to the Mirror, the pay gap is a “grotesque chasm between a rich one per cent and the other 99% of the country”.

Is Corbyn grotesquely rich? An annual income of £100,000 is enough to put you comfortably within the top 2% of all earners.

The Mail spots Corbyn speaking with Julie Etchingham on ITV’s Tonight show:

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has REFUSED to say that he is a wealthy man – despite earning more than £137,000…

He said: ‘I consider myself adequately paid, very adequately paid for what I do…. What I do with it is a different matter. I consider myself well paid for what I do and I am wanting to say to everyone who’s well off, make your contribution to our society.’

Ms Etchingham, 47, reminded him that people at home will be ‘shouting at the TV saying “of course you’re a wealthy man on a £137,000″‘.

But he replied: ‘No, I’m not wealthy because of where I put the money, but I’m not going into that.’

He’s right. Wealth is having a great deal of money, resources, or assets. We don’t know if Jeremy Corbyn is wealthy. We do know that he is paid well and his income affords him choices. Wealth inequality is not the same as income inequality. The two can be linked. But they are not cause and effect.

 

Posted: 15th, May 2017 | In: Money, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Paul Nuttall’s comedy walk goes viral – UKIP leader walks on the spot in election video?

UKIP leader Paul Nuttall stars in his party’s election broadcast. He appears to be going nowhere. Maybe it’s the world that turns as he stands still?

Spotter: RossFairbairn

Posted: 12th, May 2017 | In: Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0