Posts Tagged ‘College Green’

Jeremy Corbyn Blasts Universal Credit

October 23, 2018

As Mike has described in detail on his blog, Universal Credit is set to increase the misery of millions more people across the UK when it is rolled out across the country. Various Tories have made gestures of opposing it, but as Mike also explains, you can’t trust any of them. When Tory rebels have their bluff called, or the government offers just a token gesture to placate them, they immediately show their true colours: blue, all the way through. They automatically give in. And the Tories making noises about opposing it are doing no more than that: making noises. Heidi Allen made a great show of weeping in parliament at one woman’s description of the hardships she had suffered due to Iain Duncan Smith’s wretched brainchild. But when Labour made a humble petition to have all the documents published, which the government has not released on the effects of Universal Credit, Allen voted against it with the rest of the Tory party.

Hypocrites to a man and woman.

The Labour party is genuinely critical of Universal Credit, and will do something about it. And in this video, Jeremy Corbyn attacks it and reveals some of the changes he intends to make. He also talks about the mess Brexit has created regarding Northern Ireland and the open border with Eire. It’s from the Daily Heil’s channel on YouTube, but they seem to be letting him speak without misrepresenting him. Corbyn made the comments to them when he appeared in Bristol, and gave his opinion that British schoolchildren needed to know the complete history of the British Empire, and what it had done to the subject nations and peoples.

The video shows Corbyn getting out of his car in front of Bristol Cathedral and the city’s Central Library before going into City Hall, where he watches a video on the Empire. It then moves to him standing outside, with College Green and Park Street, including the Lord Mayor’s chapel, as his backdrop. He says

Three million families are going to be worse off by about fifty pounds a week from Universal Credit, 2.7 million more families will be forced into Universal Credit next year. So immediately we will say ‘We will stop this process and we will make sure that no-one is worse-off under Universal Credit. The experience of Universal Credit has been that the majority of people are considerably worse off, many forced into debt due to delays in payments and many, particularly in the private rented sector, property or home is put at risk because of it. This has got to change very, very rapidly. I raised it yesterday with the Prime Minister the question of the poverty that’s come about because of austerity and because of University credit.

He goes on, but it’s obvious there’s been a cut at this section of the interview.

Well, it would cost in the sense that we’re cutting benefits by Universal Credit, we would be maintaining existing levels of benefit immediately.

There’s then a question from the interviewing journalist, who asks about ‘those savings being built into projections of the country’s (path?)’

Corbyn replies that
That is the problem. The savings that are built in are at the expense of the poorest in our society.

Then comes the inevitable question: ‘so how will you pay?’

Corbyn replies

We’ll pay for it by increasing income from corporate taxation and the wealthiest in our society. We would not be taxing the lowest paid and medium income groups.

Another cut, then

I think it has to change, I think the system has to change dramatically and we will be using a more comprehensive system on this, but essentially our benchmarks would be: nobody should be worse off, nobody should have their homes put at risk because of Universal Credit.

Another cut, then

Well, I think it’s a very real threat, and the DUP are obviously speaking up for their own constituency on this, and indeed there is a great deal of unity on this amongst all political parties in Northern Ireland across all the political divide on having an open border with the Republic, obviously open trade and therefore a customs union within the European Union which reflects that, and I think their position is very real. We will judge this government against the six tests that Keir Starmer has laid out for us and we will vote accordingly in parliament, but we cannot support chequers.

Another cut, then Corbyn concludes

The government has had more than two years to negotiate this and still hasn’t made any progress on it. Quite simply there has to be open trade between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and that has to be the basis of any agreement.

Mike today reported that the DUP were threatening to vote against Tweezer and with as many as 40 other Tory MPs. May was seen blustering in parliament when it came to questions about Northern Ireland. She declared to do that Brexit was ’95 per cent complete’. Among the many excellent Tweets Mike has put up about this issue, from Clare Hepworth, David Lammy, Corbyn and Steven Swinford was a nice rebuttal from Dan Lewis, the NW Chair of the CWU. He reminded everyone that the Titanic also successfully completed 95 per cent of its journey.

https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2018/10/22/so-much-for-her-1bn-bribe-dup-turns-against-may-and-joins-the-eurosceptics/

Tweezer and her disgusting party are a menace to the British people. The poverty foisted on us through austerity and Universal Credit is killing people. And their debacle over Northern Ireland risks one of the essential pillars of the Good Friday Agreement. And if that goes, then the province really could return to murderous chaos.

Mike states that it’s possible she won’t last till the end of the week. I hope so. And if she’s pushed tomorrow, it won’t be too soon.

Vox Political: 3 Pro-Corbyn Labour Councillors Purged in Bristol

September 21, 2016

This is another story about the anti-Corbyn shenanigans in Bristol. A few weeks ago one of the city’s Labour MPs, Thangam Debonnaire, attacked Jeremy Corbyn. Now the local Labour party has purged three councillors, who support the Labour leader. They are Harriet Bradley, the councillor for Brislington West, Mike Langley, of Brislington East, and Hibaq Jama of Lawrence Hill. As a result of these purges, the local party has destroyed its slim majority on Bristol city council. They used to have 37 councillors. Now that they’ve purged these three, it’s gone down to three.

Mike asks the obvious question: what kind of politician destroys their own party’s majority in a major city council, simply out of spite against a leader they don’t like? He states that it’s exactly the type of behaviour he criticised the NEC for in a previous article, and state that the people responsible must be named, shamed and disciplined. They’ve harmed the Labour group on the council and made the party the subject of ridicule and disrepute. He states very clearly: Not in my name.

Labour loses its majority on Bristol City Council after Corbyn supporters are purged

The I newspaper adds a few more details to the story. It states that

Bristol was one of the success stories of Mr Corbyn’s mixed local election results earlier this year, with the party taking over the mayoralty and controlling it alongside the elected council for the first time since the post’s creation…

Labour’s national office said it does not comment on the reasons why people are suspended from the party. The Bristol City Council Labour group whip Christopher Jackson confirmed the councillors had had their whips removed “as per the usual”.

The three councillors could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.

The paper also quotes a Labour spokesman as saying

“The Labour party has a robust validation process for all votes to ensure every vote cast is eligible in keeping with the Labour Party rules.”

This affects me as a Bristolian. My local councillor was one of those, who signed a petition against Corbyn, so this purging of the three pro-Labour councillors basically tells me that the party does not want my support, or those of people like me, and regards they and me with fear and contempt. The party hasn’t given any reason why the three were purged. Simply trying to shrug it all off as ‘as per the usual’ is nowhere near sufficient. Quite honestly, I don’t think they have a good reason, just as they haven’t for all the 130,000 Labour party members Smudger and the NEC have purged.

I know I’m not going to be alone in being outraged by this. A few months ago there was a mass demo of Corbyn supporters on College Green outside the Library, Council House and Cathedral here in Bristol. The great man himself also appeared to address the crowd. But this has been too much for the Blairites on the local council. No doubt they will start cooking something up about the three having brought the party into disrepute through abusive emails, but the fact that Jackson just shrugged off demands for an explanation saying, ‘as per usual’ simply indicates that they’re so arrogant the Blairites can’t even be bothered to make up any kind of pretext for the purges. They just say, ‘the usual’, and hope the rest of us will swallow.

We’re not. I’m very tempted to write a letter to the local Labour party complaining about this and demanding an explanation. I do not want to see the Labour party in my city taken over by people, who are Tories in all but name, and who, as Blairites, are complicit in supporting his privatisation of the NHS, the welfare cuts, the work capability test and all the rest of the foul policies Blair introduced to grind the working people of this country down so he could get votes from ‘aspirational’ – read, ‘snobbish and embittered’ ex-Tory voters.

Pro-Corbin Article in Today’s Counterpunch

June 30, 2016

The American left-wing magazine, Counterpunch, has an important article by Thomas Barker urging people outside the Labour party to support Corbyn in his desperate battle with the Blairites. Barker describes how 172 MPs have come out against him, including Ed Miliband, all claiming that he is ‘unelectable’, despite having the biggest mandate of the party leaders. He states very clearly that their opposition to Corbyn is based on his desire to bring back real Socialism into the party, and make the Left a renewed force in British politics, through supporting the nationalisation of the railways, free education, a better minimum wage and so on. He states that Corbyn also has limited support from the constituency parties, and so urges those outside the party to show their support.

He begins

Since last Thursday’s EU referendum, some 172 right wing Labour MPs have put their name to a vote of no confidence in their leader Jeremy Corbyn. They claim that Corbyn is ‘unelectable’, despite winning the biggest mandate of any party leader in British history.

Even leaders proven to be ‘unelectable’, such as Ed Miliband, are now calling for Corbyn to resign.

In reality, these Blairite MPs are opposed to Corbyn’s program of a £10 an hour living wage, mass council house building, free education, and nationalisation of the railways.

It is hardly surprising that right wing MPs have come out against Corbyn, but what is most galling is the attempt by small groups of Labour members, including MPs and councillors, to enclose the debate within the confines of the party.

This is a huge mistake.

The implications of the ongoing leadership struggle are much bigger than one party. This is a struggle to reconstitute the left as a mass force. The idea that you need to be part of Labour to have an opinion on this is exactly the kind of exclusionary nonsense that needs to be avoided if Corbyn is to succeed.

The article’s at: http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/06/30/saving-labour-from-blairism-the-dangers-of-confining-the-debate-to-existing-members/

Go and read it.

People are indeed showing their support for Corbyn. Mike has linked to an internet petition asking him not to resign, and on Tuesday evening there was demonstration in his support on College Green in Bristol

And the Blairites, as a political faction, are vile. Tony Blair was a neoliberal Tory and a Thatcherite. One of the first things he did when he got into No. 10 was invited her round. She described New Labour as her greatest achievement. Well, she did make it very clear she wanted to destroy Socialism.

Blair continued the disastrous PFI, which has seen this country saddled with massive, off-the-accounts debt for shoddy workmanship in public utilities. He also continued and expanded Thatcher’s privatisation of the NHS. This was a conscious policy. He wanted to introduce an insurance-driven system like America, but didn’t want to lose an election by telling the voters. See Jacky Davis’ and Raymond Tallis’ NHS-SOS. It was Blair that also called in ATOS to conduct the fitness-for-work tests that have so far seen 500 or see people die of starvation and misery, and a further 290,000 suffer varying degrees of harm to their mental health. And it was Blair, who began the transform of our publicly funded schools into privately run academies.

Quite apart from Bliar, Mandelson and Broon introducing tuition fees.

This has all reduced the British people to poverty. It’s provided the basis for Cameron’s policies, which have continued them. As a result of 30 odd years of Thatcherism, our children will have worse schooling, the working and lower middle class will be saddled with immense debt if they go to Uni, and we are being charged for the health service, to the profit of private medical firms like BUPA, Circle Health, and Beardie Branson’s Virgin Care.

Enough’s enough. It’s time the Blairites were thrown out of the party, and treated with the contempt they deserve by the working people of this country, whom they’ve spurned. It was after all one of the Blairite MPs, who stated that Labour would be even harder on jobseekers than the Tories. All to curry favour with the corporate, tax-dodging fat cats and media barons like Murdoch, Dacre, Desmond and the weirdo Barclay Twins.

And so I say: I support Corbyn.

Pro-Corbin Rally in Bristol Yesterday

June 29, 2016

Apart from the post-Brexit anti-racism rally on Bristol’s College Green yesterday, Points West also covered a rally in support of Labour’s leader, Jeremy Corbin, held at the same time and in the same place. They interviewed one of the rallies organisers, who had rejoined Labour after Corbyn had won the leadership contest. She had been a member, but had left, and was rejoining the part after twenty years. The interviewer raised the matter of the party’s MPs passing a no-confidence vote in him. Unfortunately, the three Labour MPs for the region, according to the programme, have also joined in this vote. The rally’s organiser replied that, whatever the parliamentary party may think of Corbyn, he was immensely popular with the grassroots members. The party membership was up to 200,000, with tens of thousands joining or rejoining the party thanks to Corbyn’s leadership. After raising the issue of the no-confidence vote yet again, and getting another, more positive response, the interviewer turned to the camera, and concluded the interview by saying that, while Corbyn was having trouble with his MPs, at least he could rely on some support here in Bristol.

In fact, throughout the country Jeremy Corbyn is massively popular with traditional Labour voters and the party’s grassroots base. Mike’s written a series of articles about this over at Vox Political. The members of the parliamentary party, who are desperately trying to oust him, are Blairites to a man and woman. And it’s disgusting that they should try and mount this coup against him, just as their bosses’ policies were. Blair took over the Tories’ policy of privatising everything that he could get his hands on, and sell to corporate fat cats. This included expanding their attempts to sell off the NHS. Like the Tories, they knew that this would make them lose the next election if the British public ever realised, and so, like the Tories now, they have deliberately kept its privatisation very quiet. Nevertheless, they did it, and the threat is very real. See Jacky Davis’ and Raymond Tallis’ excellent book, NHS SOS.

The Labour party has, under Jeremy Corbyn, overtaken the Tories in terms of mass membership. This is the complete reverse of the previous situation. For decades the Tories were easily the largest party in the UK, with a membership of about 2 1/2 million. Now it’s half that. Many branches have less than 100 members, and their members are, on average, of retirement age.

Blair reformed the Labour party according to Thatcherite, neoliberal ideas. Those ideas have run their course, and the consequences have been terrible. They have wrecked this country, and are reducing its people to poverty. But many of the members of the parliamentary party joined when Bliar was in the ascendant, and have swallowed the economic snake oil. Thus we had one Blairite MP saying before the last election that Labour would be even harder than the Tories on the unemployed. It’s all been to suck up to the middle class ‘swing voters’ New Labour targeted at elections, at the expense of their true, working class constituency.

One of the consequences of this is that the neoliberal political class, drenched as it is in Thatcherite orthodoxy, has refused to countenance any criticism of the private market policies that have generated this poverty and inequality. And so instead, the xenophobic right has arisen, under Nigel Farage, blaming the poverty and country’s ills on immigrants and the EU.

There are several good arguments against the EU. But Corbyn needs to be backed to return real life and vitality back to the Labour party and democracy. The country needs to be built back up from the devastation inflicted from three decades of Thatcherism, and working people, whatever their race or ethnic origin, given back their dignity and protection from the predatory factory masters that Thatcher, Major and Bliar released. And the country needs a true democratic choice between left and right, not merely between two right-wing parties, whose policies are now indistinguishable. As the Neo-cons and Neolibs intended all along.

As for the Blairites, if they cannot stomach what their party was founded to stand for, and what their grassroots members want, and what the party’s supporters want and need, they should leave. Go to the Tories. That’s their natural home after all. One of the first things Blair did when got into No. 10 was invited Maggie round for tea. Well, she’s dead, Blair’s out of power, and his heir and collaborator, Broon, lost the election. It’s about time the Blairites and their supporters either genuinely started representing Labour – organised labour, the labour of the unions, the working class, and the students and white collar workers Bliar betrayed. Or they should leave, and make way for those who will.

Post-Referendum Anti-Racism Rally Yesterday in Bristol

June 29, 2016

Points West, the local news programme for the Bristol area yesterday, reported on two large rallies being held on College Green in Bristol, in front of the Council House, Bristol Cathedral and the City library. One of these was an anti-racism rally, intended to show that, whatever people voted in the Referendum, people of all races and nationalities were still welcome in Bristol. It’s desperately needed, as nationally there has been a disturbing rise in racist incidents. The I newspaper the other day reported that someone with a laminator in Huntingdon had been putting cards on people’s cars and through their letter boxes calling on the Polish ‘vermin’ and ‘scum’ to get out of Britain. As well as eastern Europeans, Black and Asian Brits have also been attacked and insulted. One British Asian was told by a cabbie that he had voted ‘Leave’ ‘to get you lot out’. Mike over at Vox Political the other day posted an article reporting the long string of foul racist abuse that had been posted online. And in Newcastle there was a standoff with the English Defence League, which I know upset several of my readers, who come from that area.

The organisers of the demo in Bristol made it clear that it wasn’t just for people who voted to Remain, but for everyone, who wanted to show that foreigners were still welcome in this multicultural port city. It seemed to have been a colourful demo, with an optimistic, positive message following the deep division that have been caused by the Referendum itself. Unfortunately, according to the local news, the only people who attended were those who voted ‘Remain’. Points West is the Beeb’s local news programme for Bristol, and so I have my doubts about its impartiality. If anybody reading this voted to Leave, but did attend the demo in Bristol, or has done so or is going to do so elsewhere, please post a comment letting us know. However we may differ on Britain’s membership of the EU, it’s important not to let the racists, Nazis and Islamophobes win.