Anorak

Politicians | Anorak - Part 6

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

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


Boris Johnson and Michael Fallon support Theresa May’s ‘extremely dangerous’ and ‘catastrophic’ plan to cap energy prices

Vote Theresa May and you will be voting for lower energy prices. The Daily Mail is delighted by May’s move – and far more delighted when then Labour Party leader Ed Miliband proposed pretty much the same thing in 2013.

But what about two of May’s Cabinet, Michael Fallon and Boris Johnson – what do they think about the idea of capping energy prices and indulging in what the Mail called “pure economic vandalism” that would turn the lights off all over the country?

 

“We have not seen intervention in industry on a scale like this since the 1970s when they tried to control the price of bread.” – Michael Fallon, current Defence Secretary

“Miliband says he will imitate the catastrophic policies of the emperor Diocletian, by imposing a price freeze on energy bills for the 20 months succeeding the election.” – Boris Johnson, current Foreign Secretary

Boris Johnson had more to say in the in the Telegraph:

“I find it rather incredible that he can seriously pretend to want to do something for the hard-pressed energy consumers in this country, and I find it astounding that so many people are falling for his Wonga-like offer.

“He says he will imitate the catastrophic policies of the emperor Diocletian, by imposing a price freeze on energy bills for the 20 months succeeding the election. And, er, then what? Well, then the energy companies will, of course, recoup their losses by whacking the prices jaggedly upwards again.

“In the meantime, the Labour government would have achieved all sorts of undesirable outcomes. By their meddling jiggery-pokery, they will send out the worst possible message to anyone thinking of investing in this country, or buying shares in British businesses.

“Worse still, perhaps, he will trigger all sorts of perverse behaviour by the companies – none of which is likely to be in the interests of the consumer. The energy companies will sullenly cut costs by laying off staff – so that you spend even longer waiting for a human being to answer the phone, and have to wait in all day for a repair man to come.”

And there was Michael Fallon again at the Tory Party conference:

“Tony Blair took [Labour] away from that; he knew that only business can create wealth and jobs. Now they are signalling the kind of Labour government that would intervene in industry on a scale we haven’t seen since the 1970s, when they tried to control the price of bread.”

“You don’t reduce the pressure on the cost of living by directly interfering in the way that companies invest here… That is extremely dangerous.”

The lads are right behind you, Theresa.

Posted: 11th, May 2017 | In: Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


What the biased Daily Mail said when Theresa May and Ed Miliband tried to fix energy prices

Compare and contras the Daily Mail’s treatment of news that:

a) A Conservative Government will cap energy prices. (May 9, 2017)
b) A Labour Government will cap energy prices (september 25, 2013)

 

daily mail energy bills theresa may

 

Aside from the identity of the blonde in the Mail’s crosshairs and the top ticker moan about the poor state of modern life, the headlines show how the messenger can be more important than the message.

 

 

The Mail is delighted by Theresa May’s move.

 

April 11 may energy daily mail

April 11, 2017

 

Liz Gerard has more:

 

daily mail bias labour tory

 

Now read what May’s Cabinet thought of her idea.

Posted: 11th, May 2017 | In: Key Posts, Politicians, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Labour activist Bethany Barker gets publicly shamed

Kids, eh. They say the darndest things. Take Bethany Baker, 19, described in the Telegraph as the “student chosen to introduce Jeremy Corbyn at his local election launch”. Bethany Baker has just resigned as general secretary of Nottingham Labour Students. She doubtless had a bright and rosy future in the Labour movement until someone spotted “a series of racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic tweets” on her account.

Take these tweets from 2013:

“I cooked brandon chicken and rice, supporting the n***** race.”

“I hate bbc one, f****** c**** black f****** b**** I hate everyone #mayday.”

There’s another tweet mocking Jews in their unlovely “Jew caps”.

 

bethany barker labour

 

The stars and frosting are used lest any reader not on twitter and therefore not used to such nastiness get offended.

The paper adds:

In response to a tweet about the jewellery firm Pandora knowing “your mood” she tweeted “it’s a jewellery company you f****** f****t it will never know your mood”.

Miss Barker has issued a statement:

“Some screenshots have resurfaced about what I said in the past. I’m absolutely horrified and beyond disgusted about these tweets and they are in no way representative of the views I hold now.

“I have no recollection of writing these tweets and I am unequivocally sorry for the shadow that has been brought over our society because of it.

“These views are in no way what I align with today and I am beyond upset that I could ever say such things.”

You might wonder how someone who says such things gets to be a leading light of Labour student politics? Or you may not. You might see the anti-Semitism as some part of Bethany Barker’s audition to be a Labour activist. Or you may not.

But can we not be sympathetic to Bethany’s plight? The Sun features a line from Bethany’s apology that the Telegraph does not. She writes: “I have changed so much since I was 14, I was not nice and my past is something I am ashamed of.”

The Independent makes her age-at-tweeting a key part of the story:

 

bethany barker

 

 

Fair enough, no? Who at 14 is not a bit of a dick and says ugly things? And who sane wants to be publicly shamed? If we can spend a moment wondering about Bethany Barker’s state of mind rather than the media’s shaming of her, don’t our hot views cool a little? Those tweets stick and prick with stigma. And we wonder how language became more important than deeds?

 

bethany barker

 

Jacob Collier, chairman of the student group, tells us it’s not Labour policy to be a bigot: “We reiterate these comments are not reflective of Nottingham Labour Students members and we will do everything as a committee to ensure that our society is an inclusive and welcoming place for everyone regardless of their background, ability, age, ethnicity, race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.”

 

 

What price many student activists are now hitting the delete button.

Posted: 9th, May 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Bias media: Daily Express rejects Crusader Jeremy Corbyn over NHS parking charges

On July 1 2014, the Daily Express launched a “Crusade” against parking charges at NHS hospitals. Readers were urged to sign a petition, which began: “I petition the Prime Minister to step in to end the scandalous cost forced on patients and families when parking at hospital…”

 

daily express crusade nhs parking

 

Sarah O’Grady had news:

THE Daily Express has launched a crusade to help the sick, the elderly and hard-pressed families across the country by calling for an end to the disgraceful and unfair practice of sky-high parking charges in hospital car parks.

 

nhs daily express

 

The campaign thundered on. It was backed by a pretty impressive 97% of Daily Express readers.

 

nhs charges

 

Things improved for patients in August 2014 when Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt ordered a relaxation of rules on hospital car parking to ensure seriously ill patients are not penalised.

“Daily Express Crusade victory as ministers get tough on rip-off hospital parking,” cheered the paper, aligning its crusade with political policy. When politicians promise to end the charges they do so because they are on the same side as the Express. The paper reported:

Under new guidelines announced by ­ministers today, “priority groups” should be allowed to park without charge or at a greatly reduced cost.

They include visitors with relatives who are gravely ill or who have to stay in hospital for an extended period.

People with disabilities, those who make ­frequent outpatient visits and staff working shifts will also be able to take advantage of the concessions, the Department of Health said.

The announcement is a major victory for the Daily Express crusade to prevent thousands of people up and down the country being ripped off by extortionate charges of up to £4 an hour.

More than 10,000 people have pledged their support via postal coupons or on our website calling for the sky-high parking charges to be abolished or reduced. The Daily Express will continue to press for the guidelines to be adopted by hospital trusts.

But the charges kept on coming.

 

nhs charges express

 

 

On December 22 2015, the paper picked up its simple sword of truth and the trusty shield of fair play to slam the “Greedy” hospitals earning up to £3.7m a year each through parking charges. “Their current behaviour is completely at odds with the ethos of the NHS,” it added.

As the BBC notes:

Hospital car parking fees were abolished in Scotland and Wales in 2008, although a small number of hospitals still charge as they remain tied in to contracts with private companies that manage their parking facilities. Fees may be charged in Northern Ireland.

In England, whether to charge fees is a decision for individual trusts, with some making parking free for particular patients, such as cancer patients or those using dialysis, or for parents staying overnight with their children.

Who will end this greed? One man will. It’s Jeremy Corbyn, who will end this “tax on serious illness”. He says:

“Labour will end hospital parking charges, which place an unfair and unnecessary burden on families, patients and NHS staff. Hospital parking charges are a tax on serious illnesses.”

So how does the Express report on this breakthrough, the arrival of a champion to lead their Crusaders into Jerusalem’s free parking zones? It doesn’t. There’s not single a word on it in the paper. You can, however, read about it on the Express‘ website – but you’ll find no word on how Corbyn is part of the paper’s Crusade. In fact, there’s no mention of the Crusade at all. The 97% will be disappointed.

Spotter: Liz Gerard – follow her here and here. And read her on Sub-Scribe.

Posted: 9th, May 2017 | In: Politicians, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Anthony Atamanuik understands why Donald Trump says everything twice

Anthony Atamanuik’s impression of Donald Trump is superb.

David Hepworth explains why Atamanuik’s impression works so well:

Like all TV personalities he [Trump] only believes in one thing, which is the thing that appears to be going down well at this particular moment. When he says things it’s clearly the first time he’s thought them. Which is why you can observe him hearing them coming out of his own mouth. They’re clearly as fresh to him as they are to us. And as soon as he’s heard himself say something which sound OK to him he repeats it.

There are two reasons for this. So that he can enjoy the sound of it and also give his mouth time to prepare the next thing to say.

 

 

Spotter: David Hepworth

Posted: 9th, May 2017 | In: Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Local Elections make Labour elite choke on their quinoa

Why has the Labour vote evaporated? Maybe it’s because Labour stopped representing the people it was created to represent. It is a party not fit for purpose.

Aditya Chakrabortty looks at Labour’s Welsh problem in the Guardian. In the recent local council elections Labour lost its Welsh heartland council of Blaenau Gwent to independents.

For decades, Labour took this area and its other heartlands for granted – while it flirted with Mondeo Man and Worcester Woman. It parachuted in its plastic professional politicians – just think of the way Tristram Hunt was airlifted into Stoke – and ignored the need to nurture local talent. Now in Wales and elsewhere, it is paying the price of decades of ingrained arrogance.

No. It’s worse than that. Labour is utterly disconnected.

It’s Brexit, says Mick Hume:

Brexit has brought to a head the divorce between Labour and millions of working-class voters. Some 90-odd per cent of Labour MPs backed the establishment’s Remain campaign – including Corbyn, the ‘man of principle’ who shelved his longstanding Bennite principle of opposing the EU for the duration of the referendum campaign. More than 70 per cent of Labour MPs, however, represented seats where the majority of voters backed Leave.

As the newly elected Tory mayor of Tees Valley said after his victory in that supposed Labour stronghold last week, locals had ‘voted strongly for Leave but our local Labour opponents were all for Remain, making them completely unconnected’.

If you want to find individuals who epitomise Labour’s aloofness from the proles, their detachment and otherworldliness from people who don’t know how to pronounce quinoa (tip, it’s pronounced “Eugh!”) you could cop a load of pretty much any of Jeremy Cobyn’s shadow Cabinet but my pick has to be knowing anti-sexist Emily Thornberry.

When not mocking the working classes, the Islington MP is patronising. Speaking on Peston on Sunday Thornberry revealed her low opinion voters: “There is no alternative vision that the Tories are offering. It is not good enough for people to simply say ‘I like Theresa May’s hair’ or ‘I like that shade of blue’. Politics is not about that, politics is about how you change people’s lives.”

Next week, Emily will use her Missionary Masterclass to tell voters how to hold a pencil and that tobacco, although a leaf, is not one of their five a day.

Posted: 9th, May 2017 | In: Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


GE17: The reactionary Progressive Alliance will eat itself

The alternative to Theresa May’s Tories is to vote for a rival party. It pretty much doesn’t matter which one. They’ve decided to be the same. The BBC tells us:

Jeremy Corbyn needs to get round a table with the Greens to discuss ways of developing a progressive alliance, it’s co-leader Caroline Lucas has said.

Bit odd, no?

The alliance of Labour, Green, LibDem, SNP and whoever else opposes the Tories points to one alternative – a two party answer. You can have the one leader one nation Conservatives, or the multi-leader, one world alternative.

As Tim Worstall wonders, why not all just join the same party?

Robert Harries replies:

Because the Labour Party are far too pro-industrial socialism and (in theory) want to forward policies for material abundance for the masses, while the Greens are just austerity-socialists, middle class ‘moralists’ and neo-Malthusian moronic shites who aim for us all to be poor and think working class people going on cheap flights on holiday is a terrible thing.

It’s happening!

The Green Party has been the main driver of such alliances so far, having stood down for Labour or the Lib Dems in Ealing, Hove, Ilford, Hove, Oxford West and Abingdon, Richmond Park and Twickenham, while the Liberal Democrats agreed to stand down in Brighton Pavillion to enable Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas a better chance of retaining her seat.

Labour has meanwhile made it clear at a national level that it would not support such alliances, but activists in a number of constituencies have nonetheless defied such orders and decided not to back their own candidates in order to increase the chances for another progressive candidate in the region.

If you don’t back your own candidate – and how crap must they be? – you reduce the electorate’s choices. How is that progressive?

Lib Dem grandee Vince Cable has been caught on tape sharing such scandalous information that the Conservatives have felt honour-bound to release it to the general public.

In the “secret tapes”, Cable refers to Labour’s Rupa Huq, who is defending her marginal seat of Ealing Central and Acton…

Cable, who is fighting to regain his former seat in Twickenham, lets slip that he gave Huq a lift home after a TV appearance and they “talked for a couple of hours”. The former Coalition Business secretary then drops the bombshell: “It was very clear that on almost every issue our views were almost identical.” He urges “our people around the country” to “think and act in a constructive way”.

The plan seems simple: create an anti-democratic ego-led mess so that before long we’ll be begging to be controlled by the EU’s anti-democratic egomaniac technocrats.

 

Posted: 8th, May 2017 | In: Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Daily Express: Macron win overshadowed by breaking Broccoli news

Having supported UKIP and Marine Le Pen’s Presidential bid (she was backed by former UKIP and Express columnist leader Nigel Farage) – “Good news for the UK’ EU trembles as Marine Le Pen victory would make pound STRONGER” (April 17);  “‘It will be GAME OVER’ Le Pen victory will DESTROY European Union’, warns former Italian PM” (March 1); “Marine Le Pen will BREAK DOWN the European Union even if she LOSES, experts claim” (April 23) – how does the Daily Express cover the news that Le Pen lost and Emmanuel Macron won in France?

Answer: with Broccoli.

 

express macron

Posted: 8th, May 2017 | In: Politicians, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Bloody Corbyn And Brexit: Voters’ deliver candid message to Labour

It turns out that having rubbished the electorate for being thick and voting the wrong way in the referendum, when you go asking for them to vote for you you get told to naff off.

The former leader of the Labour group on Leicestershire council, Robert Sharp, is upset. He tells the Leicester Mercury:

“I am personally disappointed but we saw it coming. I have said before that it has been tough on the doorstep. We have struggled to get local issues noticed.

“All we have had back at us is Brexit and ‘bloody Corbyn’. I don’t want to sound like a bitter candidate who has just lost his seat and is trying to blame someone else, but Jeremy Corbyn has had a negative impact on this campaign.”

Jeremy Corbyn brexit

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


BBC pundit: ‘Everyone who votes Tory is a racist’ and Labour is mystified by Brexit

On BBC TV’s Newsnight, former Newsnight Economic’s Editor Paul Mason – he now works at Channel 4 –  has news for all Tory voters. It’s all about race.

 

PS: You anti-racists can vote Labour, then, which has no problem with racism at all.

PPS: Brendan O’Neill knocks:

racism labour brexit

Posted: 6th, May 2017 | In: Politicians, TV & Radio | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Green Left Weekly: ‘British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has done remarkably well’

jeremy corbyn the green paper

 

Australian publication Green Left Weekly aims to deliver “news and ideas the mainstream media won’t”. For instance, it’s the only paper we can find that says “British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has done remarkably well since Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May’s April 19 announcement of general elections on June 8.”

Green Left Weekly reported that on May 4. Two days on and the poisonous mainstream media has a different view on Corbyn’s performance.

 

council elections theresa may corbyn newspapers

 

Spotter: Tim Worstall

Posted: 6th, May 2017 | In: Broadsheets, Politicians, Reviews, Tabloids | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


You Janus: John Prescott demands ‘cheap publicity stunts’ to damage Theresa May

Compare and contrast former deputy prime minister John Prescott’s views on TV debates.

 

Sky's TV debate campaign is cheap publicity for Murdoch. Gordon can beat Cameron any day of the week. Doesn't need to go on Sky to prove it

September 2 2009:

“Sky’s TV debate campaign is cheap publicity for Murdoch. Gordon can beat Cameron any day of the week. Doesn’t need to go on Sky to prove it.”

 

john prescott tv debates may

 

April 17 2017:

Empty seat her.

Is Mr Prescott’s view altered by the fact that in 2009 uninspiring anointed Prime Minister Gordon Brown was a poor performer on live TV and Labour could only lose – but in 2017 uninspiring anointed Prime Minister Theresa May is a poor performer on live TV and Labour can only gain?

 

 

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


Brexit thrives as voters bring about the demise of UKIP and Labour’s slow suicide

UKIP’s vote share in the Council election is down by 16%. They are demolished. The good news is that this also demolishes the argument that a vote for Brexit was a vote for racism and Nigel Farage’s monocular views.

 

Operation Black Vote launched the campaign, due to be shown in London and Manchester, to encourage people from ethnic minorities to register and vote in the EU referendum   Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3609357/Operation-Black-Vote-unveils-controversial-referendum-poster-comparing-Asian-woman-angry-white-thug-Nigel-Farage-claims-goes-far.html#ixzz4gC3k2In0  Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Operation Black Vote launched this to encourage people from ethnic minorities to register and vote in the EU referendum

 

Brexit lives on and thrives as UKIP dies on the vine.

At 09:00 BST, across the 23 English and Welsh counties that had fully declared results, the Tories had control of 10 authorities and 561 seats, a net gain of 155.
Labour had control of five authorities and 404 seats, a net loss of 125. The Lib Dems had 143 seats, a net loss of 28. UKIP had failed to win any seats, a net loss of 41, while the Greens had picked up five.

Labour are being eroded. Jeremy Corbyn could reduce a Tory landslide by resigning immediately. The Tories only need slap his face on posters to secure voters in the General Election. He won’t, of course. Labour is so far to the Left that it’s now anti-Labour.

Posted: 5th, May 2017 | In: Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0