Politicans and world leaders making news and in the news, and spouting hot air
John Bercow, House of Commons speakers and husband to Sally the Seleb, has been “blasted for racking up a £10,000 bill; on a junket to Japan”. So says the Sun. We hear the view of “one senior Tory MP, who tells us:
“John Bercow is a disgusting freeloader, I bet the Japanese did not even want him to come.”
By way of balance the Sun also hears from Dia Chakravarty of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, who says Bercow “didn’t provide the taxpayers with better value for money”.
In previous news, totally unconnected to the Sun’s view of Bercow:
MPs and peers have “rediscovered their collective balls” over the phone-hacking affair, the Speaker has told the Guardian.
Sally Bercow has blasted The Sun after the newspaper published pictures of her kissing a man under the headline “Must Tongue Sally”.
Such are the facts.
Conservative Party MP James Cleverly says he’s watched internet porn and smoked cannabis.
But Cleverly, MP for Braintree, Essex, did not tell BBC Radio Five whether or not he had turned to porn and drugs since joining the Commons.
Maybe its just part of the initiation ceremony?
Tory MP David Amess will chair the bill committee for the Government’s Psychoactive Substances Bill.
Good choice. Right man for the job. After all we all asked ‘What’s he on?’ when Amess popped up on TV’s Brass Eye in 1997 to warn us that Cake was “a big yellow death bullet”. Cake was “a new legal drug from Czechoslovakia”. He told us:
“Look at that, a £100,000 in the pocket of the filth that sells it. A big yellow death bullet in the head of some poor user – or custard gannet as the dealers call them.”
Cake was a spoof.
Westminster VIP Peadophiles: a round-up of news. The spotlight is on Tom Watson MP, who during Prime Minister’s Questions in October 2012, called on police to investigate the “clear intelligence” that “a powerful paedophile network linked to parliament and Number 10”.
The Guardian: “Tom Watson faces rising pressure over Leon Brittan claims”
Not from Leon, though. He’s dead.
Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, is facing mounting political pressure over his pursuit of allegations of child sexual abuse against the former Conservative home secretary Leon Brittan. Bob Neill, the Conservative chairman of the justice committee, has demanded the publication of a letter Watson wrote to the director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, in which the Labour MP called for the accusations to be reinvestigated.
What would that prove or disprove?
Neill has also called for Saunders’ subsequent correspondence with the police to be made public to gauge how much influence Watson’s interventions had in Scotland Yard’s decision to reopen the historical rape allegation. Watson claims Lord Brittan would have been interviewed by police even without his intervention.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was interviewed by Eamonn Holmes on Sky News Sunrise. It was painfully enjoyable viewing. It gets worse and worse and worse… From 7 mins 40, Holmes causes wincing…
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says he’s not an anti-Semite, but some people he’s associated with are. Happily for Corbyn, Jewish Labour MP Luciana Berger has accepted the invitation to join his cabinet of all the boxes ticked. Corbyn had floated the sinister idea of a “shadow minster for Jews”, a Judenrat to help the State deal with any little Jewish problems. That hideous plan was dropped. Instead Corbyn looked round and offered a ministerial post to Berger.
And she accepted the role of shadow mental health spokeswoman.
In other news, Corbyn’s all-inclusive Labour Party could well welcome former LibDem MP Baroness Jenny Tonge. Tongue told the Sunday Times:
“I know that lots of Lib Dems are contemplating supporting Jeremy Corbyn, including me. I like and admire Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell (the shadow chancellor). I think they are some of the most honest people you could come across. On defence and foreign policy, Palestine and the bomb I agree with them and they are very green. I am not sure on Europe. I think the rich should be paying for the recession.”
“I have met Hamas leaders both in Damascus and in Gaza. So has Jeremy Corbyn. We were all favorably impressed by those people. We all feel it was very very important to listen to their point of view. They said a lot of wise things.”
Order Order notes:
Ambushed with the news on the Today programme, [Labour Deputy leader] Tom Watson said the woman deemed too beyond the pale to remain in the LibDems is “welcome” to join Labour.
Here are a few “wise words” from the Hamas Covenant:
Our struggle against the Jews is very great and very serious. It needs all sincere efforts. It is a step that inevitably should be followed by other steps. The Movement is but one squadron that should be supported by more and more squadrons from this vast Arab and Islamic world, until the enemy is vanquished and Allah’s victory is realised…
“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).
The BBC says of Hezbollah:
The party’s rhetoric calls for the destruction of the state of Israel. It views the Jewish state as occupied Muslim land and it argues that Israel has no right to exist. The party was long supported by Iran, which provided it with arms and money…
Hezbollah’s aim is not to “end the occupation of Palestine,” or even to “liberate all of Palestine.” Its goal is to kill the world’s Jews. Listen to the words of its leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah: “If Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.” (NY Times, May 23, 2004, p. 15, section 2, column 1.)
As for Tongue, she lost credibility with the LibDems for a few comments of her own:
Tonge resigned as party whip of the Liberal Democrats in early 2012 after saying that Israel would not survive for long in its present form.
Tonge’s remarks, made at a meeting at Middlesex University, included the observation that the American people would soon “get sick” of the billions their government sends annually “to support what I call America’s aircraft carrier in the Middle East — that is Israel.” Party leader Nick Clegg called on Tonge to apologize, but Tonge refused and resigned instead.
Tonge has a well-known history of making inflammatory comments about Israel. In 2004, as a member of Parliament, she was fired as the children’s spokeswomen of the Liberal Democrats after she said she might consider becoming a suicide bomber if she were forced to endure the same conditions as Palestinians.
In 2006, she said, “The pro-Israeli lobby has got its grips on the Western world, its financial grips.” That comment also was condemned by the party leadership.
She was sacked as a health spokeswoman in 2010 after she claimed Israeli troops sent to Haiti after the earthquake there were trafficking organs.
Baroness Tonge, the Liberal peer, said this week that Israel should set up an inquiry to disprove allegations that its medical teams in Haiti “harvested” organs of earthquake victims for use in transplants.
Her call has been sharply criticised by fellow LibDems, but party leader Nick Clegg has refused to act against her.
The organ theft claims were published last week in the Palestine Telegraph, an online journal based in Gaza of which Baroness Tonge is a patron.
In a statement to the JC, she said the Israel Defence Forces were “to be commended for their fantastic response to the Haitian earthquake”. But she added: “To prevent allegations such as these — which have already been posted on YouTube — going any further, the IDF and the Israeli Medical Association should establish an independent inquiry immediately to clear the names of the team in Haiti.”
If she joins the Labour Party, what will Berger do?
Je Suis Margot Wallström: the silence over Saudi Arabia’s hatred of women and free speech is deafening
Sweden’s feminist foreign minister Margot Wallström should be all over the news. If you value free speech and equal rights you’ll be interested in what she said (or didn’t say) and the reaction to it.
In March, Ms Wallström was scheduled to address the Arab League in Cairo. A friend to the Arabs, Wallström was a leading voice behind Sweden’s decision to become the first Western government to recognise Palestine as a state.
No Arab state complained about Sweden ‘interfering’ in a foreign country’s affairs. Not then. Not until Wallström turned her eye to Saudi Arabia did things become problematic. Her speech, described as “rather anodyne” in the Economist, was never heard. The Arab League banned it. Saudi Arabia intervened. Wallström was disinvited
“The explanation we have received is that Sweden raised the situation with regard to democracy and human rights and that’s why they don’t want me to speak,” said Wallström.
On February 11th, Wallström had told the Swedish parliament that Saudi Arabia was not all that enlightened. She reminded everyone that Saudi women were banned from driving alone, their human rights are violated, the country is a dictatorship and that the “medieval” punishment meted out to Saudi blogger Raef Badawi – he received 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for the cover-all offence of “insulting Islam” – was a “cruel attempt to silence modern forms of expression”.
All true. As Nick Cohen notes, “Margot Wallström is that modern rarity: a left-wing politician who goes where her principles take her.”
But not everyone shares her resolve and clarity of vision. Sweden has an agreement with Saudi Arabia to supply the theocratic dictatorship with weapons. In any diplomatic row it’s always useful to follow the money. The Guardian explains:
Saudi Arabia is Sweden’s fourth biggest export market for arms and defence materials outside the EU, and in 2014 total exports to the kingdom were worth SKr11bn (£900m), according to Dagens Industri, a financial daily. Swedish arms exports to Saudi Arabia peaked at SKr2.9bn in 2011 after the sale of Saab’s Erieye radar system.
The detailed memorandum instructs each party to trade arms, surveillance technology and military expertise, and “establish mutual projects to assemble or manufacture military products in the other party’s country”. Since Saudi Arabia does not produce weapons in Sweden, the agreement was understood by Saudi Arabia as encouraging Swedish arms manufacturers to operate in the kingdom.
She was to return to the theme of Saudi Arabia’s oppression of free speech and women at the Arab League event. But the sensitive Saudis took great offence at her ‘interfering’ in a foreign country’s policies. Their outrage proved to be contagious. The New Yorker reports what then happened:
On March 9th, Saudi Arabia withdrew its ambassador to Sweden, saying that Wallström had “unacceptably interfered” in the country’s internal affairs. The United Arab Emirates followed suit a week later. Due to Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic wrangling, Wallström was also condemned by the Gulf Cooperation Council (which consists of Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the U.A.E.), The Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which includes fifty-seven countries, and the Arab League itself. Finally, Saudi Arabia leveled a more serious charge against Wallström: that by commenting on the punishment of public flogging, the Swedish foreign minister had criticized Sharia law and Islam.
The day after Wallström was supposed to have appeared in Cairo, on March 10th, the government announced its decision not to renew a bilateral arms agreement with Saudi Arabia. No official explanation followed, but the subtext was clear both in Sweden and to Riyadh (which had likely received some advance notice): Saudi Arabia was no longer viewed as an acceptable buyer of Swedish weapons.
Saudi Arabia stopped issuing Swedish business travellers with visas. The Saudis refused to accept four pygmy marmosets monkeys from a Swedish zoo. “They didn’t want the monkeys anymore because of the political situation,” said Skansen zoo manager Jonas Wahlstrom.
Jenny Nordberg makes a point:
Sweden hardly constitutes a threat to anyone, but Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic show of force against the small Scandinavian country may indicate that it would prefer for Wallström’s ideas not to spread beyond Stockholm. As for other countries, they likely will not want to follow Sweden’s example of angering the world’s largest oil exporter and one of the most important players in the Middle East. But there is an obvious double standard in how Western leaders stress the importance of both human rights and women’s rights but mostly fall silent on these issues as soon as immediate economic interests and political alliances are at stake.
Others are less silent:
More than 30 of Sweden’s business elite, including Jacob Wallenberg of Investor, Annika Falkengren of SEB bank, and Stefan Persson of the clothing multinational H&M, signed an open letter calling for the memorandum to be continued. “Sweden’s reputation as a partner in trade and cooperation is at stake,” they wrote.
This is the letter (translated by Google):
Respect the agreement. Trade exchange is an important opportunity to promote human rights and democracy. Moreover, Saudi Arabia, Sweden’s most important trading partner in the Middle East. Breaking trade agreement would jeopardize Sweden’s reputation as a trade and cooperation partner, writes 31 Swedish business representatives.
Sweden’s free trade line has for many decades served Sweden, the Swedish trade and employment well. With a focus on world-class products and solutions, Sweden, even though we are a small economy through international trade built wealth and openness to the world. Sweden and Swedish companies have a high degree of credibility and long-term trade and cooperation. What we say and do mean something in our partner countries.
Sweden has a large number of trade agreements with countries around the world. These agreements are often a prerequisite for our Swedish companies’ opportunities for relationships and business. Now there is intense political debate on one of these agreements, between Saudi Arabia and Sweden.
Sweden is an export-dependent country, one of the most export-dependent countries in the world. Nearly 45 percent of the value of everything produced in Sweden last year was exported. That Sweden succeeds in maintaining and developing this position is crucial for our ability to maintain our welfare. Several countries are major export markets. Saudi Arabia is Sweden’s 18th largest exporting nation and fourth biggest outside Europe. It is our single most important trade partner in the growing Middle East.
In the 1970s and ’80s helped Swedish companies to build Saudi Arabia and beyond, many Swedish companies contributed to the development of the country, including industrial and service companies. Swedish construction industries, telecommunications equipment, machines for the energy and power distribution, automotive, medical equipment, IT services and other services have all helped to modernize the Saudi Arabian infrastructure and social structure. Saudi significant investments are also made in Sweden, particularly in the property sector and the financial sector.
Saudi Arabia is a major player in the Middle East, but also in the world economy. Saudi Arabia is a member of the G20 and ten years is also a full member of the UN trade organization WTO.
Export and establishments in other parts of the world have long been part of the Swedish business success strategy. By competing in the world, our industry has been forced to become more efficient and competitive. Thereby, they have gained market share that promoted employment in Sweden and other countries. Swedish prosperity has grown rapidly as a result of export success in growing international markets. It’s solid support Swedish industry have had free trade and exports in Swedish society has been instrumental in several of our businesses today remains the world leader.
As a company we have a responsibility to ensure that our operations comply with laws and regulations are followed, and that human rights are respected. Saudi society is large and well-known shortcomings regarding human rights, but it is a society in constant flux. State Department’s own report on the situation of human rights in Saudi Arabia illustrates this well, including some progress made.
The core issue is whether we believe that we achieve development, greater openness and prosperity of the people through increased trade and partnerships – or if we believe in insulation and trading halt. For us, the answer is as obvious today as it has been historically. Through international trade, meetings between people, partnerships and collaborations we can increase understanding of each other and to correct deficiencies in the communities. Trade is a fundamental human activity and one of the foundations of our civilization.
Through dialogue and exchange, we can convey understanding and disseminating basic values regarding legal, civil rights and sustainable enterprise. Through business contacts, we have unique interfaces to other communities. Without trade miss Sweden the opportunity to make their voice heard in a globalized world, and to achieve real change. Our company has been operating in Saudi Arabia for many decades.
Now, the question of Sweden’s agreements with Saudi Arabia unilaterally terminated as a reaction to the lack of human rights for the Saudi population. We believe that it would be the wrong way to go. Given that we know the trade impact on social development and we know that dialogue and the strengthening of relations is a positive force, it would be a step in the wrong direction to terminate the contract. For Swedish industry’s part, it can also have major consequences. Sweden is an attractive partner is nothing we can take for granted. It is based on that we are a credible long-term party. Our actions in a country, a region or an industry echoes in other countries, regions and industries. In that sense we Agreement between Saudi Arabia and Sweden not only about defense. It will have repercussions for Swedish companies operating in the country and most probably also for Swedish companies in other countries.
Sweden’s reputation as a trade and cooperation partner is at stake. We therefore expect that the government handles the issue of Sweden’s continued cooperation with Saudi Arabia in terms of Sweden and the Swedish business’s long-term international credibility. Instead of suspending cooperation, the focus should instead be on dialogue and talks on an extension or possible changes, taking into account both sides’ common interests. Sweden will develop as exporting nation, respect for signed contracts safeguarded. The basic Swedish position has been and should remain that trade is an important tool to promote human rights and democracy. A careless handling of contractual agreements may risk jeopardizing this tradition.
Dag Andersson, CEO Diaverum
Carl Bennet, Chairman Carl Bennet
AB, Gunnar Brock, Chairman of Stora Enso
Christian Clausen, CEO of Nordea
Danielson, CEO, SKF
Börje Ekholm, CEO of Investor
Annika Falkengren, CEO SEB
Faxander, CEO Sandvik
Leif Johansson, President of Ericsson
Johnstone , incoming chairman. Husqvarna
Carola Lemne, CEO of Swedish Enterprise Ronnie Leten, CEO of the Atlas Copco Martin Lundstedt, CEO of Scania Keith McLoughlin, CEO of Electrolux Anders Narvinger Anders Nyrén, CEO of Industrivärden Stefan Persson, chairman of H & M Olof Persson, President of Volvo Lars Renström, CEO of the Alfa Laval Cristina Stenbeck, Chairman Kinnevik Hans Stråberg, President of Atlas Copco Karl Henrik Sundström, CEO of Stora Enso Carl-Henric Svanberg, President of Volvo Johan Söderström, CEO of ABB Sweden, Michael Treschow Björn Wahlroos, chairman of Nordea Jacob Wallenberg, chairman of Investor Lars Wedenborn, CEO of FAM Hans Vestberg, CEO of Ericsson, Lars Westerberg, Chairman of Husqvarna Leif Östling, President SKF
Nick Cohen is aghast:
As the theocratic kingdom prevents women from travelling, conducting official business or marrying without the permission of male guardians, and as girls can be forced into child marriages where they are effectively raped by old men, she was telling no more than the truth….
The Wallström non-affair tells us three things. It is easier to instruct small countries such as Sweden and Israel on what they can and cannot do than America, China or a Saudi Arabia that can call on global Muslim support when criticised. Second, a Europe that is getting older and poorer is starting to find that moral stands in foreign policy are luxuries it can no longer afford. Saudi Arabia has been confident throughout that Sweden needs its money more than it needs Swedish imports.
Finally, and most revealingly in my opinion, the non-affair shows us that the rights of women always come last. To be sure, there are Twitter storms about sexist men and media feeding frenzies whenever a public figure uses ‘inappropriate language’. But when a politician tries to campaign for the rights of women suffering under a brutally misogynistic clerical culture she isn’t cheered on but met with an embarrassed and hugely revealing silence.
Here is the speech by Foreign Minister Ms Wallström that was stopped by Saudi Arabia:
There is nothing in the speech that you have not already heard or to mention any specific country. Had the number is not preceded by discussion of the agreement I do not think it had caused any problems, says Thord Janson, Saudi connoisseur of Gothenburg.
It was when contents became known as Saudi Arabia no longer wanted to Margot Wallström, would participate in the meeting of the Arab League, where she was invited as guest of honor.
Read more: Wallström’s speech to the Arab League is set.
According to Wallström halted century due to losses of democracy and women’s rights.
Thord Janson believe instead that Saudi Arabia’s behavior towards Ms Wallström associated with the media image of the country that has been going on for some time in Sweden on military weapons agreement. Saudi Arabia is described as women’s oppressive and undemocratic, which has made one feel irritated and offended.
– You are aware of the tone in Sweden and that it has already said that it does not prolong the contract or that Saudi Arabia considers it to be short and therefore is clearly annoyed, says Thord Janson.
Neither the lines that take up the position of women may have angered Saudi Arabia to stop speech, he believes. However, the differences in approach between countries vast. From Saudi horizon is one not to understand the Swedish criticism of their society that sharia law and outdated punishment.
– Saudi Arabia sign and say they respect human rights but removed define certain things, for example, that you do not treat the genders equally. They say that they are with everything, but not for women who are minors.
Why choose to act now if the protest is really concerned with weapons agreement?
– It is difficult to know. Saudi Arabia will not communicate why you are doing as they do. You also do not know if they were informed before Sweden would come to the meeting. They may have found out about it afterwards and not wished that Sweden would bask in their glory, says Thord Janson.
This is Foreign Minister Wallström’s planned speech at the Arab League Foreign Ministers meeting of the government website:
“Cairo, Egypt, March 9, 2015
Secretary General, excellencies, dear friends,
It is a great honor for me to be standing here today. To be here in Egypt, in Cairo, in this building – the House of Arabs, is special. Egypt HAS always played an indispensable political, economic and cultural role in the region. And it is here That the Arab World, Africa and Europe meet.
I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the Secretary General for inviting me to address this meeting. Your invitation is proof of the excellent relationship between the League of Arab States and Sweden – a longstanding relationship built on respect and commitment to serve the interests of the States and peoples That we Represent, also in times of huge challenges.
In 1933, a time of crisis and depression for Europe as well as for the Arab world, a young Tunisian poet wrote about “The Will to Live”:
“Those without passion to climb up the mountains,
must live forever Among Holes in the ground ”
I have always been inspired by the passion and energy that i see in the many bright and highly motivated young people That I meet during my trips, especially in this region.
It is our responsibility, as leaders of our respectively the communities, to sacrifice young members of our population the Means to fulfil Their dreams and the Possibility to live Their lives in freedom, peace and security.
The League of Arab States is a key partner for Sweden, as are your members. I highly appreciate the Accreditation to the League of Our Ambassador in March 2012.
The Swedish Government will put Increased emphasis on the Southern leg of the European Neighbourhood Policy That is beingdeveloped. North Africa and the Middle East are our neighbors and we will work together with the EU partners, and with you to make this shared region prosperous and peaceful.
Our destinies and paths are intertwined, through geographical proximity, history, economy and family ties. One fifth of all Swedes have a background outside the borders of Sweden. We have for example a large Iraqi diaspora – close to 2 per cent of our population – that is a vibrant part of our society.
Sweden is overpriced Extending a hand in Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Assistance throughout the region. Palestine, of course, is a case in point. So are Those Affected by Conflict in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and elsewhere.
We have in relative terms received more asylum seekers from Syria than any other Western country – Approximately 65,000 in the last three years. Yet, of course, this is nothing Compared to many of your countries. I especially admire the Responsible approach of Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey towards Syrians fleeing the war. Efforts of others are equally important.
As you are all well aware of, as the first EU member state, Sweden Recently Decided to Recognise the State of Palestine. The Swedish government took this decision with joy and pride.
Our decision to Recognise Palestine fully comp lies with international law. It is a natural step to meet the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people to self-determination. The hardwork of the Palestinian Government, state-building and Reforms have made Palestine ready to perform the Duties of a state.
The recognition AIMS at making the parties of the conflict less unequal. IT AIMS at Supporting moderate actors In Both Palestine and Israel. And it AIMS to Provide a positive injection to the Middle East Peace Process.
Some say our recognition was premature. I say it May havebeen too late.
Young women and men in bothering Palestine and Israel are about to lose hope. They need to see thatthere is an alternative to violence, to a depressing status quo and to a Continuously negative development on the ground.
I am heartened by the fact That our step is inspiring a renewed debate in Europe and beyond on what the international community can do to Provide them with preciously needed hope.
We are very Concerned to see how the economy of Palestine is being squeezed from Several ends. Jointly with other EU member states we will do our utmost to try to alleviate the burden and to convince Israel to change its actions, in Particular to fulfil Their legal obligations to transfer Palestinian money to the Palestinians.
And we will work hard, with other members of the EU and the international community, and with you, to do what we can to bring the peace process back on track and to arrive soon at a two-state solution with Israel and Palestine living side by-side in peace and security.
Together we face growing extremism and radicalization. ISIL or Da’esh perform the count in the extreme. We need to work together to fight this scourge, to identify and deal with its root causes and to do this while paying full respect to human rights and international law.
I wish to express Sweden’s solidarity with all innocent victims, in so many of the Member States of the League of Arab States, thats every month, every week, every day – suffer from the brutal violence That Da’esh and other terrorist organization create.
Terrorism and foreign terrorist fighters Illustrate That the problems we are facing have no boundaries. International cooperation is Crucial while we still need to address These issues in parallel on local and national levels. Tirelessly.
Democracy, Security and economic development are interrelated. Without progress in One of These fields, sustainable results in the other can not be expected.
Inclusive socio-economic development of ice Particularly important. Educational and economic empowerment is the best antidote to radicalization and terrorist recruitment.
Employment is Crucial, especially for our youth. Youth unemployment is a key challenge, in Europe and in this region.
Human rights are a priority in Swedish foreign policy. Freedom of association, assembly, religion and expression are not only fundamental rights and important tools in the creation of vibrant societies. They are indispensable in the fight against extremism and radicalization. So is a vibrant civil society.
Yesterday was International Women’s Day. This is a day to celebrate women’s achievements, Recognise challenges, and focus attention on women’s rights, women’s representation and Their adequate resources. Our experience Is that a women’s rights do not only benefit women, but society as a whole.
More than 20 years ago, in 1994, the International Conference on Population and Development met here in Cairo to DISCUSS various issues, including education of women and protection of women from all forms of violence, including female genital mutilation and sexual harassment. Many of These issues are still very much in play today and I urge you to Contribute to upholding the agreements made here in Cairo 20 years ago.
Many of you here today have the privilege of representing large young population. They are a valuable asset. It is for Their sake, and Their children’s sake, That All Our Efforts Must Be Concentrated.
Many of them were not born 15 years ago When my predecessor and friend Anna Lindh came to inaugurate the Swedish Institute of Alexandria together with you, the Secretary-General, in your previous capacity of Foreign Minister of Egypt. Let me invite you to commemorate Anna Lindh and celebrate 15 years of the Institute this autumn. It will be a great opportunity to Strengthen our ties and make use of this unique platform for dialogue and instruments to dispel the dangerous ignorance.
Let us together break the negative spiral of war, conflict and terrorism into a movement towards democracy, respect for human rights and socio-economic development. We have to continue to create hope.
Thank you. Shukran.
Foreign Minister Wallström “
“It’s time to become a little braver in foreign policy,” says Wallström. “Does anyone seriously mean that Sweden should apologize for what we say about democracy and human rights? We’re not backing down from that.”
Is Jeremy Corbyn a 9/11 Truther? The Telegraph says:
Jeremy Corbyn has claimed that 9/11 was “manipulated” to make it look like Osama Bin Laden was responsible to allow the West to go to war in Afghanistan.
Couldn’t Tony Blair have just downloaded a dossier? Why kill so many?
In comments that will raise questions about his suitability to lead the Labour Party, Mr Corbyn appeared to blame George Bush and Tony Blair for using the September 11 attacks in New York to allow them to go to war.
In a series of further articles, Mr Corbyn also appears to endorse controversial conspiracy theories about a “New World Order”…
What did he say?
In the 2003 article for The Morning Star newspaper, Mr Corbyn wrote: “Historians will study with interest the news manipulation of the past 18 months.
“After September 11, the claims that bin Laden and al-Qaida had committed the atrocity were quickly and loudly made. This was turned into an attack on the Taliban and then, subtly, into regime change in Afghanistan.”
So he’s not a Truther, then. Although the Mail tweaks the words to say:
Corbyn’s conspiracy theory: 9/11 attacks were ‘manipulated’ to make it look like Osama Bin Laden was responsible, says Labour leader
The Tele adds:
However, in previous years he wrote a series of articles which appear to have endorsed the conspiracy theory about the “New World Order”…
We can find no link to the original article. Can you?
For $70 that’s less than you pay your Mexican gardener, right? – you can buy a saucy Donald Trump outfit. What straight, red-blooded American male doesn’t look at Trump and think, ‘Boy, I’d sure like to make sweet love to him but I don’t wannabe a gay’? Well , now you guys can get a woman to play the Don and make real your sexual fantasy.
CNBC has more.
According to a survey released by the National Retail Federation on Monday, political costumes tied for 10th place in its annual top costume list for adults (though this likely wasn’t what they had in mind).“As we’ve seen for several years, Hollywood and pop culture both have a tremendous impact on how adults and their children decide to dress the part each Halloween, and it’s evident some of the biggest newsmakers of the year will be out in full force this fall,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said.
David Cameron was once at a party where people were taking drugs. Probably. In “PM at coke party — Cameron embarrassed as stars did lines”, the Sun’s James Beal says Dave and Sam Cam were at at a party at a mate’s house. Someone who can remember being there tells the Sun:
“There were a lot of big names and A-list celebrities there. It was a pretty wild night and Dave and Sam were having a few drinks. As the night wore on, it became obvious quite a few people had been taking drugs.
“There were guests snorting cocaine in various rooms and in the toilets. Dave and Sam never touched the stuff. But you could see they were uncomfortable. I don’t think they felt they could intervene. The extraordinary thing is the guests didn’t feel they were doing anything wrong by taking drugs around the PM.”
Why would they? Indeed, it’s a pretty sound indictment of Dave that people feel relaxed in his company. No news of anyone slapping their dick in a dead pig’s face, as alleged in Lord Ashcroft’s book Call Me Dave, who also says Dave can “scratch a pig’s back so effectively that the creature sighs”. From Dave? From the pig? From the pollsters at Tory HQ, delighted that Dave is so actively wooing the youth vote.
Another “friend” arrives:
“I’d be astonished if Dave had not taken cocaine at some point. He’s been around it for a long time. He told me once about it being handed round at a Cotswolds dinner party. People were leaving the table and returning with bright eyes and dusty fingers.”
“He was uncomfortable about it being so open but did not object. It was before he was an MP in 2001, but probably around the time he was a candidate. Cocaine was in plentiful supply in the late 1990s. If you were in your late 20s or early 30s and you were not taking it, you were in a minority. Once he decided to go into politics, my sense is he sought to move away from that crowd.”
George Osborne is away.
British Prime Minister David Cameron placed his penis inside the head of a dead pig. Well, so says a ‘serving MP’, who adds, anonymously, that Cameron tapped the dead pig’s maw to enter an Oxford University dining society as a student. The club was the Piers Gaveston, so named after the apparently edgy lover of Edward II.
It’s not all that debauched, though, is it? Had the pig been alive at the time and had Cameron been trying to off it by choking the thing to death, you might have a story. As is it, we’ve got the kind of aside any abattoir worker would laugh off as ‘kid’s stuff’.
The anecdote features in Call Me Dave: The Unauthorised Biography Of David Cameron by Michael Ashcroft and Isabel Oakeshott.
Which makes us wonder if either writer ever read Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 72′, the writer’s reportage on the 1972 presidential campaign. Thompson writes:
In both the Ohio and Nebraska primaries, back to back, McGovern was confronted for the first time with the politics of the rabbit-punch and the groin shot, and in both states he found himself dangerously vulnerable to this kind of thing. Dirty politics confused him. He was not ready for it….
This is one of the oldest and most effective tricks in politics. Every hack in the business has used it in times of trouble, and it has even been elevated to the level of political mythology in a story about one of Lyndon Johnson’s early campaigns in Texas. The race was close and Johnson was getting worried. Finally he told his campaign manager to start a massive rumor campaign about his opponent’s life-long habit of enjoying carnal knowledge of his own barnyard sows.
“Christ, we can’t get a way calling him a pig fucker,” the campaign manager protested. “Nobody’s going to believe a thing like that.”
“I know,” Johnson replied. “But let’s make the sonofabitch deny it.”’
Also in Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72, published in 1973, Thompson turns to the subject of journalism:
So much for Objective Journalism. Don’t bother to look for it here — not under any byline of mine; or anyone else I can think of. With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.
In Better Than Sex: Confessions of a Political Junkie, the fourth volume of his Gonzo Papers originally published in 1994, Thompson adds:
There are a lot of ways to practice the art of journalism, and one of them is to use your art like a hammer to destroy the right people — who are almost always your enemies, for one reason or another, and who usually deserve to be crippled, because they are wrong. This is a dangerous notion, and very few professional journalists will endorse it — calling it “vengeful” and “primitive” and “perverse” regardless of how often they might do the same thing themselves. “That kind of stuff is opinion,” they say, “and the reader is cheated if it’s not labelled as opinion.” Well, maybe so. Maybe Tom Paine cheated his readers and Mark Twain was a devious fraud with no morals at all who used journalism for his own foul ends. And maybe H. L. Mencken should have been locked up for trying to pass off his opinions on gullible readers and normal “objective journalism.” Mencken understood that politics — as used in journalism — was the art of controlling his environment, and he made no apologies for it. In my case, using what politely might be called “advocacy journalism,” I’ve used reporting as a weapon to affect political situations that bear down on my environment.
So about that pig… do you believe it to be true?
Thanks to Labour MP Jess Phillips we now know that women – portrayed by many as irony-proof, reactionary, weak and victims-in-waiting – can handle themselves. Phillips’ contribution to womanhood was to tell fellow Labour MP Diane Abbott to “fuck off” during a heated debate at a meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP).
Phillip, MP for Birmingham Yardley MP, is upset that the four top jobs in party leader Jeremy Corbyn’s team have gone to men. She wanted a woman to get one or more of them, perhaps a woman like her – a woman who in the heat of diplomacy told Ms Abbott what to do. As she says:
“I roundly told her to fuck off.”
After which, according to Ms Phillips, Abbott “fucked off”.
Future Foreign Secretary Phillips tells the HuffPost:
“People said to me they had always wanted to say that to her, and I don’t know why they don’t as the opportunity presents itself every other minute. I said: ‘Who the fuck do you think you are?’”
The tableau only gets more lovely when we realise that Mr Corbyn and Ms Abbott, appointed Shadow International Development Secretary by the new Labour leader, were lovers in the 1970s.
It might also offer an explanation as to who daubed the graffiti on a wall in Stoke Newington Church Street, where Abbott is MP. For years the legend declared:
“Diane Abbott is a Slag”
Ms Phillips is not done. She adds:
“It was nothing to do with the fact they were lovers.”
She then writes in The Huffington Post:
“Whilst our start was cordially disharmonious, perhaps me and Jeremy Corbyn can take this journey together. Me a new MP, him a new leader.”
She had us right up to’ journey’. Jeremy would put you inside your own special carriage, with all the other, strident, foul-mouthed women.
Dana Milbank has a great story on the Republican presidential candidate not invited to appear on CNN’s debate. Fifteen got the invitation. One did not. His name is Jim Gilmore.
“I’m very disappointed,” the former Virginia governor told me when I reached him on Wednesday. He paused, as if reflecting on his word choice. “Uh, actually, I’m angry,” he revised. In fact, “I’m really upset about this…
“It’s wrong and against the public interest. I just am rebelling against the unfairness of it all and the wrongness of it all. CNN is not being faithful to the stewardship they’ve taken on.”
So how did Gilmore spend his evening?
And so the former governor, Republican National Committee chairman and chairman of a national homeland-security commission did the only thing he could do: While the other candidates reached tens of millions of Americans on the airwaves, Gilmore went to his campaign office in Alexandria, Va., and tweeted out his own answers to his 1,500 followers using the hashtag #GOPDebate:
Was it a hit? Did it trend? No. After a few tweets were pretty much ignore, he tweeted that it was “all process and nothing to tweet about.”
Milbank got in touch.
Could he say how much money he has raised?
“Nope, can’t do that,” he answered. (He has not yet had to file a report to the Federal Election Commission.)
Would he run ads?
“We’ll augment our strategy with ads if we raise enough money to run ads,” he replied.
How about campaign staff?
“Okay, let me count,” he replied. “Dan. Dick. . . . Alex. Um, let’s see here. Um, Jeff. . . . I think seven at this point,” although “some are part time.”
You’ve read about Ahmed Mohamed, the 14-year-old pinched for taking a homemade clock into school – staff and Texas police thought it was a bomb and arrested him.
Well, the Dallas News report features a few works on Ahmed’s dad.
He just wants to invent good things for mankind,” said Ahmed’s father, Mohamed Elhassan Mohamed, who immigrated from Sudan and occasionally returns there to run for president. “But because his name is Mohamed and because of Sept. 11, I think my son got mistreated.”
Does eveyrone get a turn, like jury service?
For a moment Bono was worried. No less a colossus of diplomacy than Sir Elton John had received a personal call from Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.
At which we all scream: ‘Knew it! Knew he was gay! No-one that upset by homosexuals can be straight! The topless shots! The love of close-contact wrestling! Putin was the last to know.’
But then the vision of new alliances gets murky. The story goes that Elton thinks he met with Putin but the Putin he met with was an imposter, a Sham Putin – a man only pretending to be the macho leader. Well, so says his spokesman. On Instagram, Elton thanks the Russian:
“Thank you to President Vladimir Putin for reaching out and speaking via telephone with me today. I look forward to meeting with you face-to-face to discuss LGBT equality in Russia.”
But Mr Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, says no meeting ever took place. “Putin did not have a conversation with Elton John and, more importantly, we did not receive any kind of offer about a meeting,” Mr Peskov told reporters. “If there will be such a wish, I don’t doubt that the president will be ready to meet, including with Elton John.”
No word yet from Mr Putin, aka jobbing Putin ‘look-alike’ ‘@RocketMan’….
What’s Jeremy Corbyn been up to, then? It’s more what he’s not been up to. He’s not been singing the National Anthem in public. On this occasion Corbyn did not sing the anthem at an event to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.
Still. It’s not as bad this, surely. In 1993, John Redwood, in addition to being MP for the Planet Zog South constituency, was also Secretary of State for Wales. Not that you would have guessed it from his rendition of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau…
Tory MP Alec Shelbrooke was in the Chamber to take part in the Trade Union Bill debate. He’s a little deaf.
If only the BBC had the resources to check.
More on Jeremy Corbyn and the Jews is a rambling column from Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. The headline comes in the form of an order:
Fling mud if you must, but don’t call Jeremy Corbyn an anti-Semite
And the teaser:
Some of the people the left-wing hopeful has been closest to are conscientious and ethical British Jews
What about the lazy and amoral Jews? Is Corbyn being over picky in selecting his Jews?
Is Jeremy Corbyn the enemy of Israel and British Jews? That is what the The Jewish Chronicle, some MPs and various sections of the media would have us believe. It is an accusation that is both absurd and menacing. The right, Blairites and hard Zionists have formed the most unholy of alliances to slay the reputation of the next likely leader of the Labour Party.
The Jewish Chronicle has not labelled Corbyn a racist. What it said was:
…although there is no direct evidence that he has an issue himself with Jews, there is overwhelming evidence of his association with, support for — and even in one case, alleged funding of — Holocaust deniers, terrorists and some outright antisemites.
Alan Johnson MP has also highlighted a few of Corbyn’s associates.
What evidence have his detractors produced to “prove” that he is anti-Semitic?
No, the JC has not proven anything. It asked questions:
The JC rarely claims to speak for anyone other than ourselves. We are just a newspaper. But in this rare instance we are certain that we speak for the vast majority of British Jews in expressing deep foreboding at the prospect of Mr Corbyn’s election as Labour leader… If Mr Corbyn is not to be regarded from the day of his election as an enemy of Britain’s Jewish community, he has a number of questions which he must answer in full and immediately. The JC asked him earlier this week to respond. No response has been forthcoming.
1. Did you donate, as alleged by its founder, to Deir Yassin Remembered (DYR), a group that publishes open antisemitism, run by Holocaust denier Paul Eisen — an organisation so extreme that even the Palestine Solidarity Campaign refuses to associate with it?
4. Why did you write to the Church of England authorities to defend Rev Stephen Sizer, a vicar banned from social media because of his habit of posting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, telling them that Rev Sizer was “under attack” because he had “dared to speak out over Zionism”?
5. Why do you associate with Hamas and Hezbollah and refer to them as your “friends”?
7. Why did you describe Raead Salah, a man convicted of the blood libel, as an ‘honoured citizen’?
No “proof” has been offered. It’s not a witch-hunt. But questions have been asked. Words do matter. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown should know that. When she commented on a LibDem peer she noted:
Baroness Jenny Tonge is savaged by Zionists and her own party for saying that nation “is not going to be there forever in its present form”.
What Tonge actually said was:
“Beware Israel. Israel is not going to be there for ever in its present form. One day, the United States of America will get sick of giving £70bn a year to Israel to support what I call America’s aircraft carrier in the Middle East – that is Israel. One day, the American people are going to say to the Israel lobby in the USA: enough is enough… Israel will lose support and then they will reap what they have sown.”
(Other words from Tonge produce a context: “The pro-Israeli lobby has got its grips on the western world, its financial grips. I think they’ve probably got a grip on our party.”)
As Howard Jacobson puts it:
Magnanimity is by definition unilateral, but it takes two for it to be more than a suicidal gesture. And the question has to be asked whether a Jewish state, however magnanimous and conciliatory, will ever be accepted in the Middle East.
So much for the words. Brown adds:
That he has appeared on Press TV, the Iranian-funded station? Well, until late 2009, the Telegraph journalist Andrew Gilligan presented a fortnightly programme on that channel. Is Gilligan therefore also a Jew-hater? Of course not. Next: Corbyn shared a platform with Carlos Latuff, the Brazilian-Arab cartoonist who condemned Israel’s oppressive policies in Palestine.
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre has declared Latuff anti-Semitic but Eddy Portnoy, writing in the Jewish daily Forward, claims he is a “furious” critic of the state of Israel, not an anti-Semite. So no consensus there.
Who knew that not all Jews agreed on everything? What we don’t get to know is what Yasmin Alibhai-Brown thinks of the cartoons?
As for sharing spaces: many of us speak at conferences where some speakers turn out to have nasty views about various ethnic and religious groups. That is the complex and argumentative world we live in. To talk to those we violently disagree with is surely an obligation.
The Guardian’s Ian Black accuses Latuff of “drawing, without inhibition, on judeophobic stereotypes in the service of the anti-globalisation movement.”
“Some of the people Corbyn has been closest to are conscientious and ethical British Jews. The late Mike Marqusee, a Marxist, New York secular Jew who migrated to the UK, was his friend. So, too, is Ken Loach, a liberal British Jew and fierce defender of Palestinian rights.”
Ken Loach is Jewish?!
At a meeting she chaired in 2012, in which the ex-BBC journalist Tim Llewlynn claimed that “Zionists are scattered at strategic points throughout British business”, Alibhai-Brown told the audience that Professor Hugh Blaschko had complained to her that “Israel will bring the worst out in us Jewish people.”
It’s a shame that Alibhai-Brown attaches so much respect to the likes of Marqusee, Loach and Blaschko by dint of their Jewishness. Is she really saying that Jews supportive of Israel, the vast majority, are unethical? That’s the sad implication from someone who should be concerned with racial harmony considering her forced flight from her homeland of Uganda.
And no Jew has a problem with Loach for being “a fierce defender of Palestinian rights”. The problem Jews have with Loach is that, just like Jeremy Corbyn, he seems to want the only Jewish state finished, destroyed, dead. Most reasonable people don’t see that as a “conscientious and ethical” position.
As for Corbyn, Forward writes:
Jeremy Corbyn, was unable to respond to questions from the Forward in time for this article. Previously, Corbyn has said that he has “no recollection” of donating to Deir Yassin Remembered and that Eisen’s “position on the Holocaust is wrong and reprehensible.” As for referring to Hamas and Hezbollah as ‘friends’ and Salah as a ‘very honored citizen,’ this was “diplomatic language in the context of dialogue, not an endorsement of a particular set of views.”
Such are the facts.
Labour MP Dennis Skinner loses it on BBC News, then casually wanders off with his mic on.
It is, says Jonny Nelson, “wonderful lunchtime viewing”.
In an “EXCLUSIVE” By Tom Newton Dunn, Political Editor of the Sun, we read the most worrying story about Jeremy Corbyn:
Jeremy Corbyn is to appoint a special Minister for Jews
Anyone else feel a chill run down their spine on hearing that? As one reader puts it: “Corbyn wants a Judenrat.”
The Jewish Chronicle hears the same rumour that the Jews are to be handled as a separate group to the rest. (That paper also notes that Corbyn might go for a Minister for Muslims.)
The 66-year-old new Labour boss was hit by a barrage of criticism during the leadership campaign when his past links to extremists who hate Israel emerged.
Mr Corbyn has shared platforms in the past with Middle East terror groups Hamas and Hezbollah.
And as The Sun revealed last month, he also invited Lebanese fanatic Dyab Abou Jahjah into the Commons who published sickening anti-Jewish cartoons and branded gay people “Aids spreading faggots”.
Alan Johnson highlights a few of Jeremy’s associates:
Why don’t you challenge your ‘friends in Hamas’ about the inclusion in their Charter of this canonical Hadith: ‘The Day of Judgment will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdullah, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’
And why are Hezbollah your friends? They are an antisemitic Islamist goose-stepping ‘Party of God’ who persecute (and assassinate) liberals and democrats in Lebanon whenever they can. The Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah said ‘If Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide.’
And more… You still need more?
Why did you lend your support to Raed Salah? No, he is not a ‘critic of Israel’, but a straight-up Jew hater.
You said in 2012, ‘Salah is far from a dangerous man’, even though the left-wing, anti-Netanyahu Israeli newspaper of record, Ha’aretz, reported that Salah was first charged with inciting anti-Jewish racism and violence in January 2008.
You said ‘Salah is a very honoured citizen’, even though Salah was found guilty of spreading the blood libel – the classic antisemitic slander that Jews use the blood of gentile children to make their bread.
But Jeremy Corbyn’s a true friend of the Jews, says “a source close to Mr Corbyn”:
“Jeremy is not anti-Semitic in any way, but he knows his former associations have been problematic. He wants to solve this and a position for Jewish people and minorities is a good way to do that.”
No. It is not. But it kicks away doubt. You Jews not like the rest. You are different. You need a different minster. You are the alien race. You are not like the British.
It is deeply sinister. It points at the Jews and marks them for special treatment. It says you are ‘The Other’. You are a ‘special’ case. You are not of us. It is utterly chilling.
So who will be the Judenrat?
Mr Corbyn, who is said to want a Jewish MP to do the job, may also struggle to persuade anyone senior to take it up. The two most prominent Jewish Labour MPs, Ivan Lewis and Luciana Berger, are both public critics of him.
Jews know the codes. They’ve grown up with them. Lewis and Berger are not fools. They won’t take the poisonous job.
Lewis has spoken out:
“Some of his stated political views are a cause for serious concern. At the very least he has shown very poor judgment in expressing support for and failing to speak out against people who have engaged not in legitimate criticism of Israeli governments but in antisemitic rhetoric. It saddens me to have to say to some on the left of British politics that anti-racism means zero tolerance of antisemitism, no ifs, and no buts. I have said the same about Islamophobia and other forms of racism to a minority of my constituents who make unacceptable statements.”
Drip. Drip. Drip. Anti-semitism seeps back…
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn most likely picked a political party because he’d not be any good at party based on joy and a celebration of the human spirit.
“Humans represent the most obscene, perverted, cruel, uncivilised and lethal species ever to inhabit the planet and [we look] forward to the day when the inevitable asteroid slams into the earth and wipes them out, thus giving nature the opportunity to start again”
Former environment minister Michael Meacher once agreed:
“The lesson is that if we continue with activities which destroy our environment and undermine the conditions for our own survival, we are the virus.”
And Joanna Lumley:
“If three billion’s going to become nine billion, that’s wrong. So we’ve become a plague.”
TV’s Voice of God David Attenborough:
“We are a plague on the Earth. It’s coming home to roost over the next 50 years or so. It’s not just climate change; it’s sheer space, places to grow food for this enormous horde. Either we limit our population growth or the natural world will do it for us, and the natural world is doing it for us right now.”
More on the Green Shirts who want you dead.
Spotter: Brendan O’Neill
Liverpool fan John Smith has been winning plaudits for his work with the disabled.
The Mirror reported on August 18:
A lifelong Liverpool FC fan who overcame his disabilities to become a club charity coach has been recognised by the Prime Minister. John Smith, from Croxteth, was presented with a Point of Light award at Liverpool FC’s match against Bournemouth for his commitment to teaching wheelchair football to people with severe disabilities.
Prime Minister David Cameron was full of praise for the 39-year-old:
“For many people conquering disability to play wheelchair football would be enough of a challenge, but John has gone so much further. Through his key role in Liverpool’s Respect 4 All programme, he is sharing his wheelchair football skills with others and helping to make football more accessible for disabled people. What John is doing at Liverpool is inspirational and I am delighted to recognise him as the UK’s 317th Point of Light.”
John Smith features on the Number 10 official Facebook page.
On August 21, the Disability News Service had more on John Smith:
A disabled football coach has been recognised by the prime minister with a national volunteering award, even though that work is threatened by a legal battle over the “bedroom tax” with work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith…
Because he lives alone in social housing, in a two-bedroom adapted bungalow, he was forced to find an extra £12 a week towards his housing costs after he was told he was not entitled to a second bedroom because of the government’s “spare room subsidy removal policy”, also known as the bedroom tax.
This meant that Smith had to cut down on his spending on food while fighting the decision through the tribunal process, a battle which he said caused him to feel “very stressed”.
Last September, he won an initial appeal, on the grounds that he needed his spare room to store essential independent living aids, including his second wheelchair and a bath chair, as well as equipment he uses to play and coach wheelchair football, boxes of specialist powdered food, a bag of swimming equipment, and a punch-bag he uses to keep fit.
The room is also used to store a table football game that he plays with friends.
But after his initial victory, the work and pensions secretary appealed against the tribunal’s ruling, putting at risk all of Smith’s volunteering work and social and community links.
Now he is having to await the result of test cases in the Supreme Court, in which the bedroom tax will be challenged on the grounds that it discriminates against disabled adults like him.
Jeremy Corbyn offers something different to Labour voters. He offers them socialism. The Press don’t like him. His quotes of old have been mangled into neat headlines.
HEADLINE: “Tony Blair must face trial for war crimes over ‘illegal’ Iraq invasion, says Jeremy Corbyn”
Quote in Full:
Pressed on whether Mr Blair should be charged with war crimes, he said: “If he’s committed a war crime, yes. Everyone who’s committed a war crime should be.”
HEADLINE: “Jeremy Corbyn to ‘bring back Clause IV'”
Quote In Full:
“I think we should talk about what the objectives of the party are, whether that’s restoring the Clause Four as it was originally written or it’s a different one, but I think we shouldn’t shy away from public participation, public investment in industry and public control of the railways.
“I’m interested in the idea that we have a more inclusive, clearer set of objectives. I would want us to have a set of objectives which does include public ownership of some necessary things such as rail.”
HEADLINE: “Corbyn’s bid to turn Britain Into Zimbabwe”
Quote In Full:
“The ‘rebalancing’ I have talked about here today means rebalancing away from finance towards the high-growth, sustainable sectors of the future. How do we do this? One option would be for the Bank of England to be given a new mandate to upgrade our economy to invest in new large scale housing, energy, transport and digital projects: Quantitative easing for people instead of banks. Richard Murphy has been one of many economists making that case.”
HEADLINE: “Watch Out! Corbyn targets every organisation in Britain as he vows to cut ludicrous salaries” (now changed)
Quote In Full:
“High quality global journalism requires investment. Please share this article with others using the link below, do not cut & paste the article. I do think the salary levels and the bonus levels again have got to be looked at. I am looking at the gap in every organisation between highest and lowest levels of pay.”
HEADLINE: “Corbyn slammed over plan for ‘women-only’ train carriages to curb sexual harassment on public transport”
Quote In Full:
“My intention would be to make public transport safer for everyone from the train platform, to the bus stop, on the mode of transport itself. However, I would consult with women and open it up to hear their views on whether women-only carriages would be welcome – and also if piloting this at times and on modes of transport where harassment is reported most frequently would be of interest.”
More to follow…
In 1987, Maggie Thatcher was well into her second term as British Prime Minister. With an election looming – which she won – Thatcher thought it a good idea to appear on the BBC’s Saturday morning show Saturday Superstore.
Dressed in uniform ‘hearing-aide beige’, Maggie would seduce the mums and dads to her cause and turn the kids on to politics. She tooks calls. One caller, an Alison Standfast, asked her, “Where will you be if nuclear war breaks out?” Maggie said she’d be in London, possibly stood amidst the ruins in a blackened concrete hellscape. It’d be awful but at least she could finally empathise with the miners.
Incidentally, Maggie wasn’t the most right-wing personality on show. That honour goes to presenter Mike Read, the BBC Radio DJ who released this record in praise of UKIP (remember them?). For resons unclear, Read sang his tune in a West Indian accent, like Max Bygraves.
The first GOP debate of 2015 is given the Bad Lip Reading treatment. It’s a cracker: