Posts Tagged ‘Donations’

Tommy Robinson Exploiting the Misery of the White Working Class

May 20, 2019

Last Monday, 13th May 2019, the great man at the Zelo Street blog put up an article explaining how Tommy Robinson was avoiding the more prosperous areas of northwest England to concentrate instead on the poorest, and those areas with the highest levels of depression. The virulent anti-Islam campaigner, late of the EDL, Pegida UK and the BNP, was avoiding towns like Crewe, Chester, Southport, Lancaster, Northwich, Winsford, Runcorn, St Helens, Ellesmere Port, Chorley, Wilmslow, Ashton-under-Lyne, and places like them. Instead, he was concentrating on towns like Brinnington, Birkenhead, Blackpool, Rochdale, Burnley, and Barrow-in-Furness.

Brinnington has the highest levels of clinical depression in the north and midlands. According to the Groaniad, it accounted for 23.6 per cent of all cases seen by GPs in the town. Four other areas with the highest levels of depression are in or near Birkenhead – Bidston Hill, Tranmere, Woodchurch and Birkenhead Central. Another two are in Fleetwood, near Blackpool. Robinson is due to visit that fair town, as well as Carlisle, which has another area with a very high incidence of depression. Three more areas are Rochdale, whose Heywood area Robinson was due to visit on Saturday. Robinson cancelled a visit to Blackburn, but turned up in Burnley, which has two of England’s most deprived towns near it. He also planned on visiting Barrow-in-Furness, which has an acute heroin problem.

Zelo Street concluded

And by pure coincidence, Stephen Lennon is favouring the area with a visit this week. All the while, The Great Man is waving his begging bowl, telling those amongst whom he comes that he needs their help. That they live on the margins of society, and he lives in the lap of luxury, does not seem to occur to those willing to cheer him on.
Living high on the hog while preying on misery. Welcome to the Tommy Tour.
See: https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2019/05/tommy-robinson-campaign-trades-on-misery.html

It’s not just that Robinson is exploiting the poverty and poor mental health afflicting the people of those towns, he’s also trying use their misery to distract them from the real economic and political causes of their problems. These areas have suffered from the decline of traditional industries, resulting in high unemployment rates. Which would also account for the massive rise in depression due to the lack of self-esteem, hopelessness and sheer despair. These are areas that have not been helped by the neoliberalism embraced and enthusiastically promoted by the Tories, the Lib Dems and Blairite Labour. Thatcher made it very clear that she did not believe in providing any help to failing industries or direct state interference in the economy. Failing companies were to be allowed to fail, on the grounds that state aid was inefficient and would prevent the operation of the market forces that would see new industries take off to provide work and prosperity.

This hasn’t happened. These areas are still poor and depressed. And it was situation made worse in the 1990s when the Tories decided to destroy whatever remained of the British mining industry. This was touted, again, as saving the country from supporting a failing and uneconomic industry, but the real reason was to destroy the NUM, which had overthrown Heath’s government in the 1970s.

But Conservative ideology prevents any discussion of the failings of private industry or the precious market forces, which the supporters of the free market are constantly telling us must be obeyed at all costs, and will ultimately bring back jobs and wealth. And so scapegoats must be found to explain why the free market isn’t working as it should, or to direct popular anger away the businessmen, think tanks and politicians pushing these policies. And so Fascists like Robinson accuse racial or religious minorities or outside groups of causing these problems. The Nazis made Jews synonymous with capitalism, and so claimed they had created a socialist Germany when they persecuted and murdered them. Capitalism, however, was retained and encouraged, although private industry was subject to a complex system of state planning. George Orwell described it as ‘the socialism of fools’. And right-wing populist politicians across the world, from Trump in America to the EDL, UKIP and the Brexit party in Britain are doing it today. Aided by mainstream Conservatives.

The right-wing press, and particularly the Heil and Speccie, have been telling their working class readers that their poor and underprivileged, not because of Tory policies that have decimated manufacturing industry and are destroying the NHS and welfare state for the profit of big business. No, it’s because high-spending Labour authorities and liberal ‘political correctness’ are deliberately diverting funding to undeserving groups, like Blacks, other ethnic minorities, gays and in the case of Tommy Robinson and his supporters, Scary Muslims.

The right have been doing this since Bacon’s Rebellion in 17th century. This was a revolt in Virginia where the slaves were joined by White indentured servants. The rebellion was put down, but to ensure that Blacks and poor Whites never united again to challenge the social hierarchy, laws were passed that separated Blacks from Whites, and gave Whites a higher social status. But crucially, these laws did not improve conditions for the indentured White servants. Materially, they gained nothing from these laws. Nevertheless, they had the psychological effect intended. From then on, White indentured servants didn’t make common cause with the slaves against their exploitation, or at least, not so much, because Blacks were now their social inferiors.

And it’s the same here. Robinson fully supports neoliberalism. Indeed, in his attack on a female academic at Liverpool John Moores University, he defended it against left-wing academics such as herself. He and his supporters offer precious little that will make the lives of ordinary working people better. The only thing they offer is more division and hatred.

There are issues with Islam, such as the continuing malign influence of the preachers of hate and the dangers of self-radicalisation for the young and disaffected through the internet. And authorities have targeted ethnic minorities for a greater proportion of aid because these groups are, or have been, more deprived, or have specific needs that can only be addressed through projects directed to them. Like the rape helpline for women from ethnic minorities, which Robinson so grossly misrepresented as deliberately excluding Whites and legitimising the assault of White women. It wasn’t the case, and his vile tweets about it resulted in the phone line having to be shut down because of the abusive calls they were receiving, thus depriving extremely vulnerable women of the help they needed.

Fortunately, Robinson’s tour of the northwest isn’t going as smoothly as he planned. A string of towns have made it clear that he is not welcome, there have been large counterprotests. And to cap it all, the internet platform, Stripe, that makes it possible for people to donate their hard earned cash to him, has thrown him off. Which makes it a bit more difficult for him to scrounge off the poor and misinformed.

Robinson poses as a member of the working class, defending them from the politically correct Left and militant Islam. He isn’t. He’s a very rich man, thanks to the money he’s been given by his followers. And he offers nothing to the working class except more neglect and poverty, but with racial hatred and suspicion added. He’s a disgrace.

This Thursday, those who really want to see working people’s lives improved should ignore him, and his lies about Europe and Muslims, and vote for somebody else instead.

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Kevin Logan on Tommy Robinson’s Intimidation of Internet Opponent, UKIP Collapse and British ‘Yellow Vest’ Copycats

December 20, 2018

This is a rather long video of a livestream held by male feminist and left-wing, anti-Fascist YouTuber, Kevin Logan, and Mike Stuchberry on Kevin Logan’s channel. It’s part of a series entitled ‘Let Them Eat Kek’, which as it’s title suggests, is about attacking the Alt-Right, and is a special devoted mainly to Tommy Robinson. It’s just under 3/4 of an hour long, and about half of it is the two discussing Robinson and his fans intimidating one of his internet critics and their family. The rest deals with a rather underwhelming UKIP rally with Tommy Robinson, which illustrates the depths of the Kippers’ decline, and the British imitators of the Yellow Vest protesters across the Channel. I’m putting it up because the conversations describes one instance of thuggish behaviour from Robinson, and shows why people like him should not be allowed anywhere near any political movement aspiring to respectability. And this in turn shows why UKIP’s present leader, Gerard Batten, is a disgrace for taking him and the rest of the far right YouTubers on.

The video was posted on the 16th December 2018, and the events they discuss occurred earlier that Monday. Robinson was annoyed at a piece posted on the Net by a long-time critic, Luke, a university student. Luke had amassed a sizable collection of videos posted on the web by Robinson, and used to put these up to show how Robinson contradicted himself or otherwise managed to make himself look stupid. What particular angered Robinson was a piece by Luke, in which he argued very persuasively that Robinson was not quite the working class hero he claims to be. Logan and Stuchberry believe that Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, has an income in millions of pounds coming from crowd-funded donations, as well as funding by right-wing American think tanks like the Middle East Forum. Robinson lives somewhere on the outskirts of Luton in Bedfordshire. Luke found a house similar to Robinson’s – but which wasn’t the well-known Islamophobes – and from their similarity suggested that Robinson’s was worthy 950,000 pounds.

Robinson decided to show how outraged he was at this by driving up to Luke’s parents in Cumbria that evening in the company of his cousin and former bodyguard Kevin Carroll and Avi Yemeni. Yemeni’s a really repulsive individual, an Israeli-Australian, who claims to have shot civilians simply for throwing stones when he was a member of the IDF. The video contains a clip from one of the video’s Robinson’s band of thugs made of Yemeni boasting to Ali Dawah, another Islamophobe, about this. The trio then turned up outside Luke’s parents’ home at 2.30 in the morning and began filming. They were, in turn, filmed by one of the parents’ neighbours. This film of Robinson and co. is also in the video. For some reason Robinson didn’t take kindly to being filmed in turn. Luke was told of Robinson’s arrival at his parents by others on the Net. He went up there to arrive the next day. He then made some kind of agreement with Tommy Robinson which resulted in Luke taking his videos down. All of them. Robinson then drove back home to Bedfordshire, and posted at four O’clock or so that day a piece on the Net telling his followers not to harass Luke. Logan and Stuchberry aren’t impressed by this, as by that time the damage had been done. Robinson’s followers – the Tommunists, as they call themselves – had already bombarded Luke with threats and put up information about him and his family.

Logan and Stuchberry state that Robinson and his friends behaved like gangsters intimidating their opponents. They also discuss a Zelo Street article about the incident, which also states very firmly that Robinson and his gang were trying to threaten Luke and his parents. They also state that it’s rather hypocritical of Robinson, as he very frequently doorstepped people himself when he was working for Rebel Media. As a result of Robinson’s tactics, Luke was forced to lock down his Facebook and change his phone number. The two also ask how it is that Robinson remains free and not in prison when he pulls stunts like that. Robinson has served time for various offences, but it seems that he has just enough knowledge of the law to allow him to avoid being sent to jail for a very long time. They also think that the vast amount of money Robinson receives from his fans allow him to afford some very good legal advice. They also refute some of the allegations about the affair in the mainstream media, by stating that Luke did not actually reveal Robinson’s address or show his house.

The two then move on to the ‘Brexit Betrayed’ protest rally by UKIP, which was also addressed by Robinson. Logan and Stuchberry state that this also shows how far UKIP has imploded. The organisers expected about 20-30,000 to attend, and instead the crowd only number 4-5,000, who were outnumber by the anti-racism protesters. The party’s decline has also been shown in the similar reduction in the number of its MEPs. At its height after 2014 election, the party had 24 MEPs. This number has been drastically cut to nine, mostly by MEPs having to resign in disgrace. They were, the pair argue, never really interested in attending except when it concerned their own expenses. Farage himself was an example of this. they also accuse the former Kipperfuhrer of hypocrisy, as while the rest of us will have trouble travelling to the continent after Brexit, his children will find it considerably easier as they have German nationality. As for Robinson, he wasn’t noticeably interested in Europe. It’s simply a bandwagon he’s jumped on. But he’s added his own particularly twist on it. He told the crowd that in order to resist the islamization of Britain the EU would also have to be tackled.

They also tackle the despicable views expressed by two of the marchers. One was a man, who turned up with a model gallows, complete with a noose, who declared that Tweezer should be executed. Logan states that he’s not particularly fond of May himself, but this is disgusting as it’s stating that Tweezer should be killed. He wonders how this man wasn’t arrested. He’s also not impressed with another man, who holds up a placard saying ‘Jo Cox False Flag’. This fellow obviously believes in the conspiracy theory that the assassination of the anti-racist Labour MP Jo Cox by the Nazi Thomas Mair was a ‘false flag’ incident staged by the authorities to discredit the ‘Leave’ campaign, because it occurred at the same time as the referendum on the EU. Logan concludes that the intolerance of these two men bears out what Richard Spencer, the leader of the Alt Right, had already said about the far right: they don’t really care about freedom of speech.

The video ends with Logan and Stuchberry talking about the attempts by a group of British protesters to copy the Yellow Vest protests in France. These succeeded in closing Westminster Bridge, Tower Bridge and London Bridge. This bunch were fellow travelers of Robinson’s, led by James Goddard and Tracey Blackwell, a pair who turn up at every far right-wing demonstration. They are very much unimpressed at these protest, which blocked the road, because one of the vehicles they obstructed was an ambulance. And they’re also not impressed with the way the mainstream media appears to have been fascinated with the protests.

In addition to the two talking, there are odd interruptions by people breaking into the livestream to heckle them. Such as by telling Logan to get a job.

Robinson’s deliberate intimidation of his opponent, Luke, is worrying. Logan and Stuchberry are right when they compare it to that of the mob. But it’s also the type of tactics used by the far right, which has always used violence and the threat of violence to silence their opponents ever since the days of the Nazis and Italian Fascists. And both those movements carried that lawlessness into power with them. This is a very strong argument for not voting for UKIP, quite apart from the racism and islamophobia that the party appears to be courting and encouraging through the recruitment of Robinson and various far right YouTube personalities, like Count Dankula and Sargon of Akkad. If Batten expected them to boost the party’s membership, he’s gravely disappointed. People are leaving instead because of them. I’ve already put up a video by one Kipper bitterly denouncing the party for recruiting the far right activists. One of the people, who has left because of them is Farage himself.

Robinson and those like him are an active menace to democracy, and UKIP is dying because it’s recruited him.

Channel 4 ‘Dispatches’ Documentary from 2009: Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby – Part One

March 11, 2018

Presented by the Conservative journo Peter Oborne, this is a very hard-hitting and extensive investigation into the malign influence and tactics of the Israel lobby. It covers not just the soft corruption of political lobbying – the various donations in money and paid trips to Israel given to Tory and Labour politicos, but also the co-ordinated smear campaign against anyone who dares to speak out in favour of the Israeli state’s victims. It’s a smear campaign that has seen very respected members of the Jewish community, including senior rabbis, and BBC journos like the late Orla Guerin, Jeremy Bowen and even Jonathan Dimbleby accused of anti-Semitism. The result has been that the Beeb was pressured not to put out an appeal for the victims of Israel’s invasion of Gaza, and there was complaints about its coverage of those murdered by Israel’s allies in the Christian Fascists of the Lebanese Phalange in the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps. And there has been constant pressure by these same bullying thugs on the Groaniad under its former editor, Alan Rusbridger. Who really does look like Harry Potter. Much of this pressure and screaming abuse seems to have come from America. The organisations are carefully structured, so that they keep the total number of donations secret, and their donors hide behind anonymity. When investigated they repeat the same, smooth words about just trying to keep the argument open by presenting Israel’s case, or mutter platitudes about supporting a two-state solution. All the while doing their level best to make sure that their voice is the only the British public hear, and rabidly pursuing business deals on stolen Palestinian land.

I’m afraid I may have misheard some of the names in the programme, and so misspelled them, but they should be roughly accurate.

The documentary begins with the Israeli invasion of Gaza and the Conservative Friends of Israel. Despite the horrendous carnage and destruction wrought, David Cameron in a speech made no mention of this, but instead praised the Israelis and his pledged his lasting support to them if he became Prime Minister. It was this that prompted Oborne to launch his own investigation into the Israel lobby. He makes the point that they have influence on both sides of Parliament, as shown by an exchange between a Conservative MP, who was a member of Conservative Friends of Israel, who asked a question about Israel’s continuing safety. This was answered by a Labour MP, who was a member of the Labour Friends of Israel. Oborne then interviews Michael Ancram, former Tory Shadow Foreign Secretary from 2003-5, about the Israel Lobby’s influence. as well as Sir Richard Dalton, the former British ambassador to Iran from 2003-6. Dalton states clearly that the Israel Lobby does exist, and is important in defining the debate about Israel and the Palestinians. The Conservative Friends of Israel is highly influential, and boasts that it includes 80 per cent of all Tory MPs. Its chair, Richard Huntingdon, received £20,000 last year (2008) in donations, and gave £34,000 to the Conservatives. And the director of the No. 10 club, that exclusive Tory fundraising outfit in which, for a mere £50,000, you can meet David Cameron or have lunch with William Hague, is also included. The Tory Friends of Israel also arrange paid trips to Israel for MPs. So far there have been more of these than equivalent trips to America and Europe combined. Oborne states that in fairness, he has to say that he went on one of these, and there was no pressure to report favourably about Israel. But two MPs, who went on one of these trips, then received afterwards £25,000 in donations. This prompts Oborne to ask Ancram if this explains the soft line taken by the Tories about Israeli influence, and why the Tories don’t like to talk about it.

The documentary then moves on to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, during which 1,000 Lebanese civilians were killed, and $3.6 billion’s worth of damage inflicted. Michael Howard gave William Hague £25,000 in donations. Hague then made the mistake of making a speech criticising the Israeli response to Lebanese attacks as disproportionate. As a result, Lord Kalms, a CFI donor and head of the Dixons electronics chain, was outraged, and threatened to withhold further funding. Which he did, and Hague never received a penny more. The Israel lobby attacks even the mildest criticism of Israel. The director of the CFI, Stuart Pollak, had a meeting with David Cameron after the speech. Then, at his lunch with the CFI, Cameron didn’t mention the Lebanese invasion at all.

The programme then moves on to the organisation’s income, as revealed by the Parliamentary Accounts Register. For comparison, the pro-Arab lobby revealed that they had been given £43,000 in donations. How many had the CFI been given? No-one knows. They didn’t register any. They’re structured as a group of individuals, and are not incorporated, so they don’t have declare any under the rules. In 2008 the CFI gave the Tories £2 million, but this is not the whole story. One Tory MP said that after a chance meeting with Stuart Pollak, he received two donations from businessmen he had never met, and who did not live in his constituency. The CFI gave £30,000 to Cameron’s team. And in 2005 Cameron met Plocha Zabludowicz, who gave the future Tory PM £15,000 and a further £35,000 to Tory Central Office. The total figure for the donations given by the CFI is £10 million, more than the other lobbies.

Then there’s the incident of the UN vote over a motion censuring both Hamas and Israel for the carnage in Gaza. The CFI rang Hague up to condemn the resolution and demand that he criticise it. Which he duly did.

But the Israel Lobby only became really powerful in Britain under Maggie’s favourite Labour pet, Tony Blair. Jon Mandelsohn, a prominent pro-Israel lobbyist, stated that ‘Zionism is pervasive in New Labour’ and ‘It is axiomatic that Blair will come to Labour Friends of Israel meetings’. There are more Labour MPs in Labour Friends of Israel than their opponents across the benches in the Tory Friends of Israel. The documentary describes how Blair met the rock entrepreneur, Lord Levy, at the Israeli embassy, who then raised £15 million for the Labour party before the row over ‘cash for questions’. When Blair became PM in 1997, he gave Levy a life peerage. Levy, however, was unpaid and never a formal servant of the British state, so that the deals he made as Blair’s special envoy to the Middle East between Israel and the Arab nations could be kept secret. The programme interviews Prof. Avi Shlaim of Oxford University’s Middle East department, who states that he considers Levy has damaged Britain’s reputation in the Middle East.

The documentary then moves back to CFI lobbyists at the Tory party conference. Their purpose there is to make sure Cameron’s policies are in line with Israel’s This means that Michael Kaminski, the Polish leader, who heads a small, far right nationalist party, is lionised by the Tories, despite his record of making anti-Semitic remarks and his refusal to apologise for the suffering of Jewish Poles during the Second World War. Stuart Pollak was most keen not to have Cameron’s speech to the CFI at the Tory conference covered. He is shown waving the camera crew away. The CFI totally support Kaminski. They also plead that they’re totally transparent through the distinction between their donations as a group, and those of individual businesspeople.

Continued in Part Two.

Channel 4 ‘Dispatches’ Documentary from 2009: Inside Britain’s Israel Lobby – Part

March 11, 2018

The documentary then moves on to January, 2009 and the invasion of Gaza, and allegations of Human Rights abuses by Israeli forces were still circulating months later. But Oborne points out that you wouldn’t know it from the contents of the News of the World and the Mirror. Both these rags ran stories instead about the threat to Israel from the surrounding Arab nations. The hacks behind these pieces had been given free trips to Israel by BICOM, one of the wealthiest lobby groups in Britain. Oborne then goes on to interview David Newman in his office in Jerusalem. Newman worked alongside BICOM in disseminating Israeli propaganda in British universities. Newman states that there is indeed a debate within Israel about the status of the settlements in Palestinian territory. Groups like BICOM close down this debate abroad, and instead demand absolute for Israel.

Plocha Zabludowicz, the head of BICOM, is the 18th richest person in Britain. And he is very definitely not part of traditional British Anglo-Jewish society, but came up through the Jewish Leadership Council, who are described as the lords of the big Jewish donors. Oborne then interviews the head of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, Rabbi Emeritus David Goldberg, and asks if he knows him. Goldberg states that his name doesn’t ring a bell. Zabludowicz is actually of Polish ancestry. He is a Finnish citizen with a house in north London. His father made a fortune peddling Israeli arms, as did Zabludowicz himself before moving into property and casinos. His company is registered in Lichtenstein. He is, in short, ‘a rank outsider’. He was also one of the guests at Madonna’s birthday party in Italy.

Zabludowicz generously bankrolls BICOM, to whom he gave £800,000, who wrote a clause into their accounts recognising his generosity. He had given them £1.3 million in the previous three years, and has business interests in the Middle East. These cast doubt on the possibility of reaching a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. Oborne then goes on to discuss the case of one of the illegal Israeli settlements in Occupied Palestine, whose supermarket is owned by Zabludowicz. Newman states this indicates the direction in which BICOM is moving. Rabbi Goldberg states that it shows that Zabludowicz calculates that the settlement won’t be returning to the Palestinians, even under the most generous peace deal. As for Zabludowicz himself, he declined to meet the Dispatches team, but instead released a statement claiming that he was a major supporter of the creation of a separate Palestinian state, and that he understood that concessions would need to be made. Oborne was, however, successful in talking to Lorna Fitzsimons, BICOM’s chief executive. She claimed that BICOM was very open, that their donors do not influence policy. When asked about Zabludowicz, she claimed he was different from anyone else and she didn’t know about his business connections. All the organisation was doing was to make journos and people aware of the different strands of the debate on Israel.

Oborne moves on to the other groups involved in the Israel lobby – the Jewish Leadership Council, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the Zionist Federation, and states that some members of these groups are very aggressive towards the TV and press. He then interviews Alan Rusbridger about his experiences of dealing with them. Rusbridger states that some TV editors warned him to stay away from them and the whole subject of Israel and the Palestinians. The Guardian was attacked for criticising Israel in a way that no other country does. There was a special meeting at the Israeli embassy between the ambassador, Zabludowicz, Grunewald of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the property magnate Gerald Reuben. They were unhappy about a Groaniad article comparing the Israeli’s occupation of Palestine with apartheid South Africa. So Grunewald and his mate, Roman Leidel, decided to pay Rusbridger a visit. Grunewald is a lawyer, claimed that the article was fomenting anti-Semitism, and would encourage people to attack Jews on the street, a risible accusation which Rusbridger denied. This was followed by complaints to the Press Complaints Commission about the article by the pro-Israel American group, CAMERA, or Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, which specialising in attacking journos critical of Israel. The Press Complaints Commission duly investigated the article, and found that only one fact was wrong. When asked about this, Rabbi Goldberg states that Israel is indeed an apartheid state. There are two road systems, one for use by Israelis and one for the Palestinians. There are two legal systems in operation. The Israelis are governed by Israeli law, while the Palestinians are governed by military law. When asked what will happen to him when his comments are broadcast, the good rabbi simply laughs and says that he’ll be attacked once against as being an ant-Semitic, self-hating Jew.

Many other Jews are also critical of Israel. Oborne goes on to talk to Tony Lerman, formerly of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, and now a Groaniad journo. Lerman states that the Israel lobby don’t take into account the diversity of Jewish views on Israel. This is confirmed by Avi Shlaim, who says that there is a split in the Jewish community over Israel. The community’s leaders are largely pro-Israel with a narrow rightwing agenda that is not typical of Jewish Brits. And libelling Israel’s critics as ‘anti-Semitic’ is now common policy.

One example of this use of libel is a New York blogger, ‘Hawkeye’, who hunts through the Guardian’s ‘Comment is Free’ column, claiming it is full of anti-Semitic bias. Rusbridger states that this is dangerous and disreputable. ‘Hawkeye’ attacked Lerman in particular as a nasty anti-Semite. Lerman states that this tactic has been adopted because it’s a useful defence of Israel. Rabbi Goldberg concedes that some people might be seriously anti-Semitic, others are just voicing genuine opinions, which should be respected. Michael Ancram, even, was accused of being anti-Semitic, which he said he takes with a pinch of salt.

But this leads into the whole question of whether the BBC has been corrupted by the influence of the Israel lobby. On record, BBC journos and spokespeople claim that the Corporation’s reporting of Israel is unbiased. Off-record, the stories different. News staff state that there is always pressure from top management for a pro-Israel slant. Oborne then interview Charlie Brebitt, an accountant at the LSE, who was formerly of Channel 4, who confirms that there is a very strong and active Israel lobby, and a sizable body of sympathy with Israel. The BBC has no choice but to respond. Honest Reporting, another pro-Israel media attack dog, and the other parts of the Israel lobby take advantage of this, alleging that there is an institutional bias at the Corporation against Israel.

In 2003 during the Iraq invasion the Beeb broadcast a hard-hitting documentary investigating Israel’s secret nuclear weapon’s programme, entitled ‘Israel’s Secret Weapon’ on the 16th March. The Israeli Press Office issued a statement comparing this to the worst of Nazi propaganda, and imposed restrictions on BBC staff in Israel. When Ariel Sharon, the Israeli leader, visited Downing Street, the only journos banned from covering the meeting were the Beeb. Honest Reporting UK complained that the programme was part of a campaign to vilify Israel. One member of the group, Nathan Sharansky, complained that the late Orla Guerin, here shown with two eyes, was anti-Semitic, and that she shared the goals of Palestinian terror groups.

Continued in Part 3.

TYT on Bernie Sanders Winning by Getting Funding from the People, Not Corporations

February 15, 2016

This is another fascinating and thought-provoking clip from The Young Turks on the other side of the Pond. Bernie Sanders, the ‘Democratic Socialist’ contender for the Democrat party’s presidential candidate, won the New Hampshire primary by 22 points. After his victory, Mr Sanders announced that he was going to New York to raise funds.

But he was not going to curry favour to the big corporations. Instead, he appealed to the American people to go directly to his website, and contribute to his election campaign fund. In a few hours, $6.4 million had been raised. Sanders’ campaign received 26,000 donations. The average amount of $34.

As Cenk Uygur points out, this is truly astonishing and confounds Conservative expectations utterly. They expect politicians, like Sanders’ rival, Hillary Clinton, to go to them. Clinton is a bog-standard Wall Street stooge, despite her pretensions to Progressive views. It’s been remarked that when she gave her speech on Saturday, she sounded like a Goldman Sachs executive, her remarks about the company were so glowing. But Sanders has raised $5 million more than her in January by going to the American people. Not corporations, but Mr and Mrs Ordinary Joe and Josephine America.

This is one of the reasons why Bernie should get in. Americans do not trust their politicians, because too many of them have been bought by the corporate donors. For example, something like 90 per cent of Americans support some form of gun control, including a plurality of people in the NRA. But you’d never know it, because the NRA is funded by the gun manufacturers, and who in turn fund politicos. And so when the question of gun legislation comes up, there’s a lot of shouting about the right to bear arms, and nothing gets done. And then someone else is shot and killed by a crim or rampaging loony.

And the dependence on corporate donations is killing American democracy. There’s a long article on it in Lobster, where they point out that because American politicians pursue the big corporate donors, they’ve neglected their grass roots supporters to the point where that’s withering. In some states there are only 2-3 activists. And Congress’ approval rating is abysmally low – only 15%. It was even at one point as low as 9%. Princeton University even issued a study declaring that America was not a democracy, but an oligarchy.

And it’s exactly the same over this side of the Atlantic as well. Since Bliar, politicians in the Labour party have also actively pursued wealthy donors, at the cost of their grassroots membership. Politicians are bought and sold by corporate donors and lobbyists. And the public know this, no matter how hard Cameron tries to make it seem that he’s actually doing something about it with specious lobbying and transparency bills, which actually stop charities from petitioning parliament while leaving the professional lobbyists unscathed.

Jeremy Corbyn is doing something to reverse this trend. Under Corbyn, membership of the Labour party is actually going up. But you ain’t going to hear it from the corporate media, and especially not from the Beeb.

So, go, Corbyn and Bern! They’re the only people, who stand a chance of making Congress and parliament respectable and respected by ordinary people again.

Quentin Letts and the Tory Attack on Short Money

January 21, 2016

Last week or so Mike over at Vox Political put up a piece about the Tories wishing to abolish Short money. This is the funding given by the state to opposition parties. I’m not actually surprised the Tories want to get rid of it. They’re authoritarians anyway, who hate any kind of opposition. But I’m particularly not surprised they’ve decided to attack Short money, as it’s one of the issues criticised by Quentin Letts in his 2009 book, Bog Standard Britain (London: Constable and Robinson Ltd).

Letts is the parliamentary sketch writer for the Daily Heil. He’s been one of the panellists at the Cheltenham Festival of Literature, and also on at least one edition of Have I Got News For You. Here’s what he has to say about it in his book:

Our political class has a horror of losing its perks. Nothing new. In 1970, soon after losing the general election, Harold Wilson was seen queuing for a taxi late one night outside the Members’ Entrance to the Commons. Friends of Wilson were distraught. A few days earlier he had been Prime Minister but there he now was, waiting for a cab like the rest of humanity. Instead of seeing this, as they should have done, as eloquent testimony to the ephemeral nature of elected office, Harold’s cronies secured him a state-paid limo and chauffeur.

We have been paying ever since for Leaders of the Opposition to be thus pampered. In 1974, having regained the premiership, Wilson returned the compliment by slipping the shadow cabinet a wad of public money. This ‘Short money’, named after Edward Short, the Labour minister who presented the proposal to Parliament, is now worth some £7 million a year to the Opposition parties. short money was given on the premise that an Opposition would be improved by having researchers who could prepare meaningful policies. It would result in better government. Nice one! In practice, Short money allows an Opposition to save its money for election campaigning. This creates an arms race of electoral fundraising which in turn results in dodgy donors being given undue pre-eminence over the political parties’ mass membership. Short money also allows Opposition spokesmen to keep large retinues which makes them feel important and saves them having to do so much thinking for themselves. Result: an overblow secretariat, lazy parliamentarians, hefty bills which have to be picked up by the taxpayer. Short money is an expensive con. All it has done is expand a professional political class. And all because socialist Harold’s friends thought it was improper that he should have to queue for a taxi. (pp. 219-20).

Letts’ party political bias is evident here. He despises ‘Socialist’ Harold Wilson, for having money given to him and his party after he left office. I’ve no idea whether the story about the limo and Wilson waiting at a taxi stand is true. I assume it is. But that’s not the reason the Tories want to get rid of it, nor is the explanation that it’s all about curtailing the bloated retinues and pomp of the political class. If that were the case, then Cameron would be happy to see greater clarity of the political process through the Freedom of Information Act, and by quite happy to see MPs’ expenses scrutinised by the press.

In fact, the opposite is the case. Cameron and his hand-picked cronies, including Jack Straw, are doing their best to rip the guts out of FOIA. They don’t like people challenging government decisions, and particularly not when it comes to MPs’ expenses. Hence the government got very huffy when the Independent asked for them under the Freedom of Information Act. Campaigners and journalists making such requests have been told that the Act is to allow people to understand how government decisions are made, not for them to challenge them. So shut up, run along, and do what we tell you. We’re back to the old slogan of Mussolini:

Believe.
Obey.
Fight.

As for forcing parties to rely on their grassroots’ members’ subscriptions, rather than contributions from wealthy donors, that’s a load of hogwash as well. The Tories are raking huge wads of cash from their backers in business, as well as corporate largesse from courtesy of lobbyists. And they have absolutely no interest in what their ordinary members have to say. The local, constituency parties have complains again and yet again that they are ignored at Westminster. The effect of corporate funding on the parties has been that they’ve all shrunk, both Labour and the Tories. The Tories are now under 100,000 members. That’s a massive fall for the party that was, not so long ago, Britain’s largest, with at least a quarter of million members.

They simple fact is that the Tories want to stifle the opposition anyway they can. And they’re trying to do it by starving them of funds. This explains the latest Tory attack on the union levy. And simply by their attack on the Freedom of Information Act, it seems to bear out that the Short money must actually be doing the task for which it was intended, namely, allow the Opposition to frame policies better. That’s clearly a danger as they’re trying to stop people using the Freedom of Information Act, not just by narrowing even further what may be released under it, but also by raising the fees charged.

This is clearly a very, very frightened government.

Well, if Cameron wants to play that game, then I suggest Labour also plays it too. Mike suggested that Labour should immediately cease any co-operation with the Tories, such as the pairing agreement, which states that if one Tory MP can’t make it to a debate, his Labour opposite number must be drop out as well. The Tories only have a majority of 16. Let’s make it impossible for them to govern.

Way back in the 1970s and ’80s, any government that consider cutting Short money could count on being told by the Mandarins in Whitehall that the policy was ‘very courageous’. Meaning, to those who used to watch Yes, Minister, that it was likely to lose them election. Let’s put that into practice, and make sure that it does.

Californian Entrepreneur Wants Politicians to Wear Sponsorship Badges

December 31, 2015

This is a brilliant little piece from Kyle Kulinski, one of the presenters at the internet news show, Secular Talk. I don’t support the channel’s secularist, anti-religious views, but do agree with much about what they say politically. This is one of the pieces.

A Californian businessman has become so fed up with the corporate corruption of politics, that he has launched a campaign, ‘California Is Not For Sale’. In order to shame the politicians, who accept donations from corporations to represent their interests in Congress, he is pressing for those politicians to have to wear the logos of their sponsors. His acknowledged goal is that every politician, who enters Congress should have a clean suit. In other words, they should represent not their corporate donors, but the people, who elected them.

And the businessman pushing for this change is a Republican. Kulinski points out that this shows how bi-partisan the issue is. Everyone is fed up with the corruption in American politics. Here’s the video.

I think it would be an excellent idea if the same idea was tried over here. British politics is in a very similar situation. Politicians and political parties, including New Labour under Tony Blair, have shown themselves extremely keen to accept donations and sponsorship from corporations. Under John Major this ‘sleaze’ got so bad that Private Eye started publishing the various Tory politicos, who belonged to the drinks corporations when they started voting against the laws proposed to solve some of Britain’s emerging drink problem. And the situation has not got better. The Eye has run many articles over the years documenting the corporate sponsorship of events at the various party conferences, Conservative and Labour. One means by which corporations have entered party politics is by creating various think-tanks to press for certain policies. These are then taken up by the political parties. At the same time, corporations send senior employees to work in the various political parties, supposedly advising and helping them draft legislation. The most notorious example of this is the banks and large accountancy firms, which have sent their employees to work in the Inland Revenue and the treasury, to assist the government in producing ‘tax efficient’ and ‘business-friendly’ financial legislation. Thus the big banks are let off the hook for their role in wrecking the economy, corporations escape paying their rightful share of the tax burden, leaving poor to be hit by welfare cuts and tax increases. All in the name of fiscal responsibility.

I do differ strongly with Kulinski when he says that he wants to get union funding out of politics. The situation is different in America, where there is no real working class party as such. Here in Britain it’s different. The Labour Party was founded by various socialist parties and the trade unions to represent the working class. Hence the name. Thus the trade unions are part of the Labour party, and should continue to be so, whatever Blair or his minions think about severing ties with them.

But otherwise I think this is a great idea. We do need to shame the corporate whores at Westminster, by making them wear the logos of the companies, who bought them. After all, if they’re proud – or shamelessness enough – to display and boast of the firms sponsoring the events at the party conference, then they should have the guts to wear their badges in parliament.

Vox Political: Lewes Bonfire Night to Feature Giant Effigy of Cameron and Pig

November 5, 2015

One of the most spectacular and elaborate celebrations of Bonfire Night is that held at Lewes. They have a long tradition of producing, and then burning, particularly huge and well made guys that frequently make a satirical dig about those in authority. A few years ago the Tory press was delighted about how the Bonfire revellers had produced effigies of Tony Bliar, and possibly Gordon Brown, to consign to the flames.

If the news from Buzzfeed is right, the likes of Murdoch, Dacre and Dirty Dez and co. probably aren’t going to be quite so happy about this year’s guy.

According to Mike over at Vox Political, they’ve made one of David Cameron, with a pig and a fox. Because of that story about Dave inserting part of his anatomy into a severed pig’s head in order to get into the Piers Gaveston Society when he was at Oxford.

Mike’s story’s at http://voxpoliticalonline.com/2015/11/05/a-massive-effigy-of-david-cameron-and-a-pig-is-going-to-be-set-on-fire-buzzfeed-news/

Go there for a sneaky peek of what it looks like.

It should be said that there’s very little to support the story of Dave Cameron performing an unmentionable act with the remains of a pig. It’s a scurrilous tale, the primary, and indeed nearly the only source for which is Lord Ashcroft. And his reason for recounting it seems to be pique at not having got a place in the government after all the money he’d donated to the Tories over all these years.

As this looks like the kind of corruption the Eighteenth century was notorious for, I don’t see how anyone actually comes out looking any good. Not Ashcroft, for effectively trying to bribe his way into parliament. And not Cameron, for accepting the bribe. It is, however, much more difficult to produce an effigy portraying the act of accepting bribes, and the story about Cameron and the pig has better comedy value.