Archive for the ‘The Press’ Category

Avaaz Appeal for Donations to Fight the Persecution of Gays in Uganda

May 28, 2023

I got this message from the internet campaigning organisation Avaaz yesterday. I haven’t donated, but I’m putting this up because it describes the horrific persecution of gay and trans people in Uganda and in case anybody else may wish to donate. I’m very much aware that gay people in the west haven’t had it easy, but this is Nazi-level persecution.

‘Dear Avaaz members,

I write from Uganda, where a vicious ‘anti-gay’ law is about to be signed — and we’re being hunted like animals.

Days ago, neighbours castrated a transgender person with a kitchen knife. We couldn’t go to the police as we’d be arrested — and had to search for a friendly doctor, as most wouldn’t help us.

We’re being fired from work, rejected by family, evicted, beaten, raped… and worse.

I’m appealing for your support. Please.

This could be our last call for help. When this law is signed, everything we do, including sending this email and raising funds, will become illegal. But right now, there’s still a narrow window when LGBTQ+ groups can receive support — and your donation could help save lives.

You’d fund safe houses where people can hide, along with emergency medical care, legal support, and trauma counselling. We urgently need more safe houses, as we constantly have to run when angry mobs arrive.

We’re being flooded with frantic calls for help, but without more funds we can only help a tiny fraction of people. I’m heartbroken, and don’t know where else to turn.

And it’s all because of who and how we love. In the face of unimaginable cruelty and violence, please stand up for our right to Love. Donate what you can now:

I’LL DONATE £2

I’LL DONATE £4

I’LL DONATE £7

I’LL DONATE £13

I’LL DONATE £26
OTHER AMOUNT

The new law will effectively make it impossible to exist as a LGBTQ+ person in Uganda.

I could get a life sentence for kissing my partner, and be executed for repeated homosexual ‘offences’. Renting to gay people will become illegal — and I could serve 20 years in jail just for sending this email.

They call us “ungodly” filth, but we aren’t the ones inflicting unimaginable cruelty on already vulnerable people. I know girls who’ve been raped by family members to ‘cure’ their ‘lesbian disease’.

That’s why safe houses are so critically important— providing a place of sanctuary in a country burning with hatred. With your help, we could:

  • Fund dozens of new safe houses and emergency shelters across the country;
  • Provide emergency health care and legal support for those who’ve been arrested — and meals for people in jail; 
  • Help fund the development of a new legal case to challenge the law in court; and
  • Power emergency response campaigns, like this one, to defend communities facing discrimination, assault, and war around the world. 

Every penny raised will support LGBTQ+ people in Uganda, and power Avaaz’s emergency response work around the world. By donating, you won’t just be helping in Uganda — you’ll be ensuring this crucial capacity is maintained for others like me, facing unimaginable terror.

Gay, straight, lesbian, transgender — we all just want to live and love in peace. I don’t know when that day will come, but it is not today, and our fight for love must go on. Wherever you are in the world, please stand with us. Donate what you can now:

I’LL DONATE £2

I’LL DONATE £4

I’LL DONATE £7

I’LL DONATE £13

I’LL DONATE £26

OTHER AMOUNT

I’ve been part of the Avaaz community for years. I’ve seen the difference it makes when we come together fast for those in need. Now it’s my community being attacked — me and my people need this movement’s help.

With hope and the deepest of gratitude,

Frank and the whole team at Avaaz

Note: If and when the ‘anti-gay’ law passes, the consequences for an email like this could be deadly — in many ways, they already are. For that reason, we aren’t using Frank’s photo, or their name. 

PS. This might be your first donation to our movement ever. But what a first donation! Did you know that Avaaz relies entirely on small donations from members like you? That’s why we’re fully independent, nimble and effective. Join the over 1 million people who’ve donated to make Avaaz a real force for good in the world.

More information:

My Email to Black Activist Shola Mos-Shogbamimu about Slavery Reparations

May 26, 2023

I gather that she’s been in today’s Guardian, where she’s written a piece about the death of Tina Turner. Turner was one of the greatest soul singers, even appearing as Auntie Entity, the ruler of Bartertown, in the film Mad Max 3, for which she also sang and performed a theme song. Shola’s piece lamented the fact that the singer had died before Blacks had received their proper compensation for their historic enslavement by White Europeans and Americans. She’s an intensely controversial figure. Some people feel that she is anti-British and I believe there was 38 Degrees petition launched by someone to stop the TV companies using her as a guest on their shows when debating racism and related topics. I feel that the issues of Black compensation for slavery raises questions about such compensation that crosses racial and national boundaries and which may affect Shola herself. Slavery was practised for millennia across the globe. Black Africans were enslaved by other African nations, as well as Muslim Arabs and Turks, as well as Indians, Persians and Afghans. Odiously, slavery still persists in Africa and the global south, and has been revived in Islamist-held Libya and Uganda. At the same time, Europeans were held in bondage as serfs until into the 19th century in parts of Europe, and were also enslaved by the invading Turks and pirates from Morocco, Algiers and Tunisia. This rises the issue that if compensations is to be paid to enslaved Blacks, then the same principle should mean that the victims of these forms of slavery should also receive compensation from those, who historically enslaved them.

I’ve therefore sent her this message via the message box on her website. I’ll let you know if I get an answer

‘Dear Shola,

I was struck by your article in today’s Guardian about the death of the great soul singer, Tina Turner, and lamenting the fact that she died before Black people had received reparations for slavery. The question of slavery reparations raises issues extending beyond western Blacks, including the complicity of African aristocracies, the enslavement of Blacks by other nations, including Islam and India, as well as indigenous White European forms of bondage and their enslavement by the Barbary pirates and the Turkish empire. As the granddaughter of an African prince, I would be particularly interested in your perspectives on these issues.

Regarding indigenous African complicity in the slave trade, I’ve doubtless no need to tell you about how generally Black Africans were captured and enslaved by other Black African peoples, who then sold them on to White Europeans and Americans. The most notorious slaving states were included Dahomey, Benin and Whydah in west Africa, while on the east coast the slaving peoples included the Yao, Marganja and the Swahili, who enslaved their victims for sale to the Sultan of Muscat to work the clove plantations on Zanzibar. They were also purchased by merchants from India, and then exported to that country, as well as Iran, Afghanistan and further east to countries like Sumatra. It has therefore been said that reparations should consist of Black Africans compensating western Blacks. Additionally, Black Africans were also enslaved by other Muslim Arabs in north Africa and then the Turkish empire. What is now South Sudan was a particular source of Black slaves and one of the causes of the Mahdi’s rebellion was outrage at the banning of slavery by the British. This raises the issue of whether Turkey, Oman, India and other north African and Asian states should also compensate the Black community for their depredations on them.

The complicity of the indigenous African chiefs in the slave trade has become an issue recently in Ghana and Nigeria. I understand that the slavery museum in Liverpool was praised by campaigners and activists from these nations for including this aspect of the slave trade. I would very much like to know your views on this matter. Forgive me if I have got this wrong, but I understand you are of the Igbo people. These also held slaves. I would also like to know if you could tell me a bit more about this, and how this may have affected your family’s history. Your grandfather was, after all, a chief, and this raises the awkward question of whether your family owned slaves. If they did, how were they manumitted and did your family give them reparations for their enslavement?

There is also the question of the enslavement of Whites both under conditions of domestic servitude and by the Muslim powers of the Turkish empire and Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Serfdom in England died out in the 16th and 17th centuries, but it continued in European countries into the 18th and 19th centuries. Prussia only liberated its serfs in 1825 and the Russian serfs were only freed in 1860. Serfdom is considered a form of slavery under international law, as I understand. If Blacks are to be granted compensation for their enslavement, then as a general principle the descendants of White European serfs should also be compensated for their ancestors’ servitude.

In Britain, a from of serfdom continued in the Scottish and Northumbrian mining industries. Miners were bondsmen, whose contracts bound them to the mining companies and who were metal identity collars to prevent them running away exactly like slaves. I would be grateful if you would tell me whether their descendants should also receive compensation for their forefathers’ virtual enslavement.

Over a million White Europeans and Americans, mostly from southern European countries such as France, Spain and Italy, were enslave by the Barbary pirates. This only came to an end with the French conquest and occupation of Alegria. If people are to be compensated for their ancestors’ enslavement, then presumably America and Europe should also receive compensation from these nations for this. The Turkish conquest of the Balkans in the 14th century by Mehmet II resulted in the depression of the indigenous White Christian population into serfdom as well as the imposition of slavery. When Hungary was conquered, the Turks levied a tribute of a tenth of the country’s population as slaves. When one of the Greek islands revolted in the 1820s, it was put down with dreadful cruelty and the enslavement of 20,000 Greeks. Do you feel that the descendants of these enslaved Balkan Whites should also receive compensation from their former Turkish overlords?

There is also the fact that after Britain abolished the slave trade, she paid compensation to the former African slaving nations for their losses as part of a general scheme to persuade them to adopt a trade in ‘legitimate’ products. This was believed to benefit both Britain and the African nations themselves. How do you feel about the payment of such compensation? Do you feel that it is unfair, and that these nations should pay it back to us, or that they should pay it to the descendants of the people they enslaved?

Finally, slavery still persists today in parts of Africa and has even revived. The Islamist terror groups that have seized control of half of the former Libya have opened slave markets dealing in the desperate migrants from further south, who have made their way to the country in the attempt to find sanctuary in Europe. At the same time, slave markets have also opened in Uganda. Slavery is very much alive around the world today. I would be greatly interested in your perspectives on this issue, which is affecting people of colour in the global south. How do you feel it should be tackled? Are you working with anti-slavery organisations, such as Anti-Slavery International and the various organisations by former African slaves to combat this? If not, I would be very grateful if you could tell me why not, when you are obviously motivated by a human outrage at the plight of the historic victims of western slavery.

I hope you will be able to provide me with answers to these questions, and very much look forward to receiving your reply.

Yours sincerely,

David Sivier

38 Degrees Petition Against Water Companies Charging Us to Clean Up the Mess They’ve Made for Shareholder Profits

May 26, 2023

SHOCKING: WATER COMPANIES WANT YOU TO PAY MORE TO CLEAN UP THEIR MESS. [1]

Water companies have APOLOGISED for sewage spilling into our rivers and seas, and announced that they would FINALLY proceed with the upgrades we have been demanding – to the tune of £10 billion. [2]

But that’s not the whole story!

It was also revealed that we – their customers – will be footing the bill. [3] Then, to add insult to injury, these same companies are still planning to give out shareholder dividends of £14.7 billion from our increased bills at the same time. [4] It’s an outrage!

Thankfully, this has yet to be approved by Ofwat, the water regulator, and we have some time to show these companies how strongly the public is against these plans. If we get thousands of signatures on a petition demanding no bonuses for CEOs or dividends for shareholders, we can pressure them to put a stop to this unjust system – and take responsibility for cleaning up their mess once and for all.

So, David, if you think water companies should be footing this bill and not us – their customers – add your name to this petition today: click the button below and your name will be added automatically.

ADD MY NAME

I’M NOT SIGNING BECAUSE…

Here’s the petition text in full:

To: All water companies in England and Wales

Petition text:

No bonuses or dividends while you hike our bills to clean up the mess you made.Why is this important?Although the announcement of investment in our sewer network is welcome – your customers cannot be expected to foot the bill.The lack of investment and funding since water companies went private is not the public’s fault and therefore the onus to fix this should not be on us. And we definitely shouldn’t be paying a penny more for as long as shareholders and executives are still getting bonuses and dividends.SignedThousands of your customers

Our pressure is working but we cannot take our foot off the pedal. Sign the petition below and demand water companies stop this bill hike if shareholders are still being paid. Click the button below and your name will be added automatically.

ADD MY NAME

I’M NOT SIGNING BECAUSE…

Thanks for all you do,

Simma, Ellie, Jonathan, Megan, Kate and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES:
[1] The Guardian: ‘The whole thing stinks’: water firms to pay £15bn to shareholders as customers foot sewage bill
BBC News: Sewage spills: Water bills set to rise to pay for £10bn upgrade
The Telegraph (paywall): Households will absorb cost of water companies’ sewage-spill prevention, Therese Coffey concedes
[2] See note 1
[3] See note 1
[4] See note 1′

I’ve signed it, because I strongly believe that it’s outrageous that customers should be charged for cleaning up the mess solely so that the companies can keep their boosted profits for their shareholders and senior staff, and I hope you’ll sign too.

Despite What Fraser Nelson and His Ilk Believe, the Sick and Disabled Are Still Expected to Look For Work

May 25, 2023

Earlier this afternoon I posted a piece about an article by Fraser Nelson, the editor of the Spectator, about how there were too many people off sick when they were tens of thousands of jobs going vacant. Some other politico, I don’t know if it was one of the Tories or Starmer’s crew, has also announced that they intend to retrain those currently off sick to fill those vacancies. I’m certain they were talking about the ill, rather than the unemployed, though the article revealed the same persecutory attitude the Tories have towards them. I’m afraid I really don’t know much about the current official processes governing the long term sick and disabled. I’m therefore grateful to Trev, one of the great commenters on this blog for the information he’s posted about the treatment of the sick and disabled wishing to claim benefits And one of the things that is very clear is that they are expected to look for suitable work. Which shows that, if Nelson really was talking about the sick rather than the unemployed, he’s talking massive nonsense. Even if Nelson was talking about the unemployed, some of my arguments against the policy still stands. And Trev’s comments still show the persecutory and vindictive nature of Tory policy towards the sick and disabled.

Trev writes

‘I didn’t know there still was any Sickness Benefits. There are no Sick Notes anymore because the Tories scrapped them. You have to get a Fit Note that says what you can do not what you can’t do, then apply for ESA (Employment Support Allowance) which replaced Income Support, then once in receipt of ESA you are still required to look for work if placed in the ESA Work Related Activity Group. People are routinely informed that their ESA has been stopped and the DWP have decided they are now fit for work. I have health problems but I think it better to stay on legacy JSA instead of bothering to apply for a Fit Note and ESA because once lost I can never get my JSA back again and the conditions on legacy JSA are more favourable than UC.

Many of the sick or disabled who are claiming Benefits are forced to look for work and apply for jobs, as well as attending Government schemes such as the Health and Work Programme run by Reed in Partnership aka “Better Working Futures”. I’m currently on that scheme and they are always texting you with “Hot Jobs”, which could be virtually anything, a part-time Cleaner 2 hours a week or a full-time factory/warehouse job involving shift work and heavy lifting. Everyone who is sent there is out of work but has some ailment, illness, health condition, physical or mental. One week they sat us down in a classroom and showed us a video of a man born without limbs, then we had to write a list of things in our lives that we feel grateful for. Last week I was in a class being taught how to write a cover letter for a job application. It lasts for 15 months and is compulsory if referred by the Jobcentre.

P. S.
If you have a health condition or disability that prevents you from leading a normal daily life such as needing help to get dressed, cook a meal or move around, for example, you can apply for PIP (Personal Independence Payments) of varying levels and amounts, and which replaced DLA (Disability Living Allowance). I don’t know about how that relates to work requirements or jobsearch, might depend on whether you’re also getting ESA and are in the WRAG or not.
And the Tories said their Welfare Reforms were intended to simplify the Benefits system! They lied.

Oh and I almost forgot, there’s also the much dreaded WCA (Work Capability Assessments) whereby a private company gets public money to find sick & disabled people capable of working. I’m not sure which particular group it applies to, ESA or PIP. WCA was introduced by New Labour.’

My best wishes to Trev and to everyone else struggling with this vile system designed to humiliate and degrade some of the poorest and most vulnerable in society.

38 Degrees Petition to Get Government to Solve High Energy Bill Crisis

May 25, 2023

‘David, energy prices are falling but we’re still paying DOUBLE what we were in 2020.

This means the average household will fork out over £2,074 each year for gas and electricity. [1] At the same time, thousands of families are buckling under £3.6 BILLION energy debt from simply trying to stay warm last winter. [2] It’s clear: the system is broken.

BUT, we have a rare chance to fix this: right now MPs are debating laws to overhaul our energy system. [3] It’s an unmissable opportunity to force the Government to commit to long-term solutions that will prevent families being punished by sky-high costs. But it’ll take us fighting together to make them listen.

We need to move fast. Some MPs are pushing the Government to use this moment to end forced prepayment meter installations and make sure more of us can insulate our leaky, cold homes. But they’ll only win if there’s a tidal wave of public support. [4]

So, David, will you sign our petition and call for the Government to commit to long term solutions to the energy crisis?It only takes 30 seconds to sign.


YES I’LL SIGN

I’M NOT SIGNING BECAUSE…

Time is ticking as the Government’s Energy Bill goes through Parliament, so we need to urgently get all MPs to support two things:

  • Making sure no-one gets their energy supply cut off if they can’t top up their meter, by ending forced transfers to prepayment meters.
  • Helping households stay warm by raising minimum energy efficiency standards of private rented sector homes so they are better insulated.

We don’t have long, David, but we know no one else can quickly ramp up the pressure like we can. Thousands of us recently piled pressure on the Government and forced them to make vital reforms to the private rental market – after FOUR YEARS of delays! [5] We made our voices impossible to ignore, and we can do it again.

So, David, will you help raise the pressure on MPs to back vital reforms to our broken energy system?It only takes 30 seconds to sign.

YES I’LL SIGN

I’M NOT SIGNING BECAUSE…

Thank you for being involved,

Angus, Flo, Matt, Simma and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES:
[1] BBC News: Warning energy bills to stay high despite drop
[2] Energy Live News: UK retail energy debt surges to £3.6bn
[3] UK Parliament: Energy Bill
[4] House of Commons: Energy Bill (Amendment Paper)
[5] 38 Degrees: KEEP YOUR PROMISE ON RENTAL REFORM
The Guardian: Hunt and Braverman among five in cabinet earning thousands as landlords

I’ve signed it and urge everyone concerned about this vital issue to sign too.

Now The Tories Are Coming for Those on Sickness Benefits

May 25, 2023

Earlier this week the Spectator published a noxious piece by its noxious editor, Fraser Nelson. Nelson was complaining about the numbers receiving sickness benefit while businesses in Britain are struggling to recruit workers. This included, he said, army officers with a beginning salary of £35,000. From what I could gather, the thrust of his article was that the people on sick leave and benefits should be taken off them and then forced to go into one of these vacant jobs. This has been followed by various other right-wing politicians declaring that they intend to retrain the long-term sick to fill these vacancies. The implication here is the old Blairite assumption about people on disability benefits that a certain proportion of them, at least, must be malingerers. It’s why the work capability assessment was set up to find a certain percentage of claimants fit for work, whether they were or not, and the consequent scandals of genuinely critical disabled and terminally ill people being thrown off benefits and told to get a job. It’s the attitude behind the New Labour and the Tories’ wretched benefit reforms, which not only demands claimants look for work and have their searches checked by the staff, but also has them thrown off benefits and sanctioned on the slightest pretext. If they’re starting on the long term sick, it probably indicates that they’ve gone as far as they can demonising and humiliating the unemployed and have been forced to start demonising and humiliating the sick. It’s also based on the unsympathetic attitude that working is good for you and will get you back on your feet. This was the attitude a few years ago when Dave Cameron’s coalition government came to power, and disability campaigners tore into that, showing that this simply wasn’t the case. There seems to be no awareness that some people are sick because of their jobs and working conditions. As for the mental health crisis hitting Britain, it isn’t due to Gary Lineker spreading fears about climate change, as Richard Tice has declared. It’s far more to do with the cost of living crisis caused by rising inflation, stagnant wages kept below the rate of inflation, as well as job insecurity caused by zero hours contracts and the gig economy and the detrimental effects of Brexit. But Reform and the Conservatives can’t admit that, as they believe that this has all been a splendid success and will make us all wealthier and business more secure and prosperous in the long run.

Behind this, I suspect, is the need to get British workers to take the jobs that were originally filled by immigrants and migrant workers now that immigration has become such a hot topic and the Tories are announcing their intention to cut it. It’s basically a return to the calls for Brits to work a fruit pickers instead of migrant workers a few years. That was met by complaints from people who had tried, but were turned down as the farmers preferred to employ migrants.

As for retraining the unemployed to fill certain jobs, there are obvious problems with this. Not everyone has the strength or temperament, let alone the academic qualifications for certain jobs. Army officers are an example of this. Membership of the armed forces demands physical and mental toughness as well as the ability to kill while observing the laws of war. In the case of the officer corps, it also demands intelligence, the jokes about military intelligence being a contradiction in terms aside. Those are very exacting standards and not everyone is able to fill them. There are other problems matching people to jobs. I was given grief when I tried signing on after gaining my archaeology Ph.D. nearly ten years ago by the clerks at the Job Centre. They were annoyed that I spent my time looking for jobs as an archaeologist, particularly in academia. I was told at my last meeting with them, where the supervising girl basically told me not to bother signing on any more, that I should really have been looking for menial jobs like cleaning before trying to find the work I was qualified to do. It shows the way the Job Centre staff aren’t interesting in making sure the right people find the right jobs but simply getting people off their books. But the problem with this is that employers of such jobs probably aren’t interested in taking on graduates, who are obviously overqualified. And some of the jobs that need to be filled require years of training and experience. Our favourite internet non-historian the other day put up a piece asking why this country needed to import architects and archaeologists from overseas. With archaeologists I think he may have a point, as I think there may be surplus of qualified archaeologists compared to the number of jobs. The profession was expanding a decade ago, but that seems to have passed and the number of archaeology firms set up in the boom time may have shrunk. I don’t know about architects. Assuming that there is a shortage of British architects – and I’m not sure there is – the problem here is that it takes years of study and training to qualify as one. It’s not a profession where someone can be retrained and fit to work in a few weeks.

The demands for people on sickness benefit to be retrained to fill these job vacancies then is just more right-wing Tory ideology about benefit scroungers and malingerers, which ignores the real reasons behind their sickness and the problem the unemployed face finding jobs they can actually do. But as the government and business faces increased difficulty recruiting foreign workers because of Brexit and the controversy over immigration, we can expect these demands to get worse.

Video Showing How the Hutchison Antigravity Effect Was Faked

May 24, 2023

The Hutchison effect is supposedly antigravity and other weird phenomena generated by a variety of electronic equipment. There are a number of videos about it on YouTube claiming that it may provide free, Zero-Point energy and that it has somehow been covered by the scientific and political establishment. I came across it in the 1990s when Hutchison and his experiments were just coming on to the scene. Hutchison – I’m afraid I’ve forgotten his first name – had collected a mish-mash of electronic equipment and the weird phenomena started when he set it all working. At that point he seemed not to be claiming to know how it worked, or which piece of the equipment, if any, was responsible for it. I think the parts as a whole totalled about £250,000 in cost, and so was extremely expensive to try to replicate. He made videos about the weird phenomena he claimed it produced which circulated about the paranormal/fringe science community. One of the Magonians went to one showing of one of these films, and weren’t impressed. There was footage of yoghurt purportedly rising up into the air. They said it looked like it had been poured out of the pots and then the film placed upside down so it appeared to flow upwards. It did, however, convinced Albert Budden, who wrote a book suggesting that the ‘Hutchison effect’ as it was being called, was the principle behind UFO flight. Then it seems the interest in Hutchison and his machines appeared to die away. I was surprised to find that it was still going.

I found this video on Robert Murray-Smith’s channel on YouTube. Smith shows how Hutchison faked the footage of a plastic balls placed between two Tesla coils appeared to be levitated into the air. You won’t be surprised to hear that it had nothing to do with electronic standing waves, and everything to do with concealed strings. Smith appends his video with an apology, stating that he doesn’t want to upset anyone nor cause people who believe in alternative physics and for whom he has nothing but respect, to question their beliefs. He just wants to point out that there are a lot of charlatans out trying to fool people.

Momentum Warn Starmer that Purging the Left Could Cost Him Voters

May 23, 2023

I’ve just found this piece from the I by Chloe Chaplain reporting that Momentum have warned Starmer that he could lose votes from purging his party’s left and pointing to their own electoral successes to show that Labour can still win with left-wing policies. He’s also been warned that he cannot rely on the Tories’ implosion to secure a Labour victory.

Purging the left and ditching socialism could see Labour lose voters, Sir Keir Starmer warned

Sir Keir Starmer has been warned he risks alienating core Labour voters who could stay home and not vote if he turns his back on socialism ahead of the general election.

The left of his party are pointing their own local election successes as evidence that a radical agenda can be attractive to voters. And others are warning Sir Keir of the danger of losing out to apathy.

The Labour leader has made a considerable shift to the centre since taking charge, with appeals to former Tory voters who could be tempted to swing to his party. In doing so, he has pulled power away from the vocal left-wing of his party that had dominated under his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn.

As the general election draws closer, and with Labour’s final policy agenda being drawn up, left wing campaigners and MPs are pushing to stop the leadership turning its back entirely on pledges they argue are very popular among voters.

The campaign group Momentum argues that the results in the local elections, which saw the Labour pick up a handful of significant councils but remain short of a majority in several target areas, prove Sir Keir cannot rely on the implosion of the Tory vote along to win a majority in the Commons.

It cites the Labour administration in Worthing, West Sussex – where Momentum co-chair Hilary Schan was elected as a councillor – and successes in Broxtow, Nottinghamshire, and Preston, Lancashire as examples of a socialist policy platform winning votes. They argue that, if he continues on his current path of “purging” left-wing candidates and policies he could lose support in areas like these.

Ms Schan said the three authorities were a “a living, breathing demonstration that there is no trade-off between electability and transformative policies”.

“As a general election closes in, the Labour leadership has a chance to lay out a bold programme to fix the Tories’ broken Britain. Choosing to instead pursue yet more purges and division will only weaken our electoral coalition and damage prospects of a Labour majority,” she said.’

See: https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/other/purging-the-left-and-ditching-socialism-could-see-labour-lose-voters-sir-keir-starmer-warned/ar-AA1byC1M?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531&cvid=1184f029167a4c0c8267ef811cf5256a&ei=50

I’m glad this is being pointed out to Starmer and that it’s got what appears to be a neutral report in the I. As opposed to the right-wing press, which will probably report this with headlines screaming that it’s another attempt by Corbynite anti-Semitic Trots to keep their hold on Labour. But I have absolutely no doubt that Starmer won’t listen, and will carry on purging the left.

As for New Labour’s right-wing policies appealing to Tory voters, this needs to be qualified. The public ownership campaign group We Own It has cited statistics again and again showing that the British public, including a majority of Tory voters, want the utilities taken back into public ownership. What is stopping this isn’t public opinion but Thatcherite ideology and the media and political establishment, which will seek to demonise and undermine any politician that seeks to press for such policies.

BBC Launches Fact Checking and Verification Service – But Can We Trust It?

May 22, 2023

Okay, I just caught the announcement on today’s midday news that the Beeb has launched a fact checking and verification service. I didn’t quite catch all of the announcement, but I think there was something about the war in Ukraine. Assuming that this was part of the same announcement rather than a separate news item about the war, it may have been related to the conflicting claims yesterday made by Russia and Ukraine about Bakhmut. The Russians claimed they had taken the town, while the Ukrainians denied it. The BBC seemed to be saying that this new service would be able to cut through such confusion. The Beeb also announced a few years ago that they were going to launch a service aimed at checking and rebutting the fake news coming out of the internet. The announcement today seems to suggest that they’ve finally completed setting the service up. Events have moved on a bit since then, and internet fake news and the ‘alternative facts’ put out by Donald Trump aren’t such a pressing issue on the public mind. They’ve therefore decided to announce its launch with a more topical question, such as who’s telling the truth about the war in Ukraine.

But can the Beeb itself be trusted? One of the right-wing news outlets – I can’t remember which one – said that Britain had one of the very lowest rates of public trust in the news in the world. Only 13 per cent of us, according to polls, supposedly believe the newspapers. I think the amount of trust in the Beeb might by higher, but it seems to me that this will also have been hit by allegations by the Tories about left-wing bias, particularly over Brexit. But the BBC has shown several times to people on the left that it can’t be trusted. It wholeheartedly took part in the mass demonization of Jeremy Corbyn as an evil anti-Semite. And I particularly remember the way it blatantly edited and censored Alex Salmond during the referendum a few years ago on Scottish independence. Their correspondent, Nick Robinson, had asked Salmond if he was afraid that the Scottish financial firms, located in Edinburgh, would move south if Scotland became independent. Salmon answered that they’d gone into that, and the firms wouldn’t. This clip was gradually edited during the day so that first it appeared that Salmond hadn’t given a satisfactory answer, and then that he ignored the question altogether.

And part of the problem isn’t what the Beeb or the rest of the lamestream media tells you, but what they don’t. Like the Maidan Revolution that toppled the pro-Russian Ukrainian president eleven years ago and started the path to the current war wasn’t a spontaneous, popular uprising, but carefully stage-managed by Hillary Clinton and her deputy Victoria Nuland in the state department with the cooperation of the National Endowment for Democracy. Other lowlights that found their way into the alternative media were reports that Clinton and Nuland had been recorded discussing whether or not they wanted the boxer-turned-politico Klyuchko in the Ukrainian cabinet. The gruesome twosome were also recorded lamenting that they hadn’t rigged the Palestinian elections, thus allowing the Palestinians to elect a Hamas government.

Today’s announcement is no doubt intended to reinforce the Beeb’s image as a source of unbiased, objective news. Certainly, that’s the image the corporation likes to project of itself. A few years ago, there was an advert for the Beeb’s news programmes which stated that the Beeb was listened to all over the world, especially in countries with authoritarian and dictatorial governments. The people in these countries trusted it to give them the real news that was being suppressed or distorted by their official news agencies.

Except I think it may be too late for that. The Beeb has shown itself too biased, too untrustworthy too often. You’re far better off getting information from the left-wing alternative internet channels like Novara Media and OpenDemocracy. The internet is notorious for the amount of rubbish, fake news and conspiracy theories circulating on it. But sometimes it’s more truthful than the mainstream news. It wouldn’t surprise me if some of the fake news the Beeb will now claim to have checked and refuted is actually truthful, but needs to be discredited because it doesn’t fit the establishment agenda.