Posts Tagged ‘Food Banks’

Scab Starmer Refuses to Fill Employment Rights Shadow Post

December 1, 2021

This is very telling. Mike’s put up a piece this morning reporting that Keef Stalin has effectively abolished the post of Secretary of State for Employment Rights. The post was created in 2018 by Jeremy Corbyn, who appointed Laura Pidcock to it. Andy McDonald has been removed from it and so the post is now vacant. The peeps on Twitter weren’t slow to condemn the move and point out what it means. Damian Willey tweeted

Starmer hasn’t filled the vacant position of Shadow Minister for employment rights. The ‘party of the workers’ doesn’t represent workers rights on its own frontbench anymore. Perhaps he’ll appoint a shadow minister for donors, its what Keith prefers.

Which is fair comment – Stalin is ignoring ordinary, subscription-paying Labour members in order to appeal to the corporate donors he hopes will welcome the return of a New Labour government. And Steve Howell commented

It sums up Starmer’s politics that he’s cancelled the post of shadow secretary of state for employment rights. Presumably, it’s not needed because ‘when business profits, we all do’.

Actually, I think it’s significant that Starmer hasn’t abolished the post. It’s just kept vacant and ignored. My guess is that if someone actually raises it, he’ll try and justify himself by saying that no, it hasn’t been abolished, they’re just looking for the right person to fill, or some nonsense like that.

With the position now vacant, Mike asks what the Labour party now stands for. Good question. The party was founded as a federation of trade unions and socialist societies to fight for trade union rights and decent pay and conditions for working people. During the last four decades of Thatcherism, these have been decimated, including by Starmer’s molten idol, Tony Blair. Workers don’t need less rights – not when so many are caught and exploited in the gig economy with zero hours contracts and so on. But Starmer is clearly trying to appeal to that party of the Tory electorate that blames the unions and bureaucracy for stifling business and demands workers rights are cut even more in order to free business. Brown had the same attitude. He believed the labour market should be more fluid – by which he meant that business should be more able to hire and fire people. Well, we’ve had four decades of this assault on workers’ rights, and all it’s created is a cowed, poor, starving workforce, many of whom have to use food banks to support themselves because their pay is so rubbish.

These are the policies Starmer supports. He’s a Tory through and through, trying to transform Labour into another Tory party.

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Racist Starmer Gives Speech to Labour Friends of Israel Next to Judaeonazi Tzipi Hotovely

November 18, 2021

Yes, I know that according to the I.H.R.A. definition of anti-Semitism, it may be anti-Semitic to compare Jews to Nazis. In the normal run of things, I’d be inclined to agree. But the term ‘Judaeonazi’ was coined by an Israeli chemist and philosopher to describe that type of militant Israeli nationalism and its attendant horror perpetrated on the Palestinians, which are exactly comparable to gentile Nazism and Fascism. Tony Greenstein has argued the case that Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians isn’t like the Holocaust, but it has very strong similarities to the Nazis’ persecution of the Jews before 1942. This was the period when Jews were rapidly stripped of their rights as Germans, had their property despoiled, were thrown out of their jobs, especially in academia and the professions. They could not hire ‘Aryan’ servants, and without any means to support themselves, were left to starve to death. Those who could emigrated. Others mistakenly stayed in Germany and Austria believing that Hitler and his scumbags were only a passing phase. And then there was the beatings and the sadistic humiliations, like being forced to push marbles along the gutter with their noses. It’s horror like this that give the lie to the claims made a few years ago by certain ‘slebs that Britain with Corbyn as head of the Labour party was somehow like the Nazi dominated central Europe of 1938. It was nowhere close, and the very claim is a grotesque smear.

Mike put up a piece today reporting and commenting on a speech Keef Stalin gave to Labour Friends of Israel. One of the other speakers apparently was the grotesque monster Tzipi Hotovely. She’s the Israeli ambassador who was given a very cold welcome by the students at LSE nearly a week ago. They were so vehement in their opposition to her presence that she ended up fleeing with her security guards and the rozzers. Patel and Nandi got on their hind legs to condemn it as intolerance, but the protest wasn’t nearly as intolerant as Hotovely herself. This is a woman who believes that Israel should occupy all of Palestine, that the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of the country that occurred at the foundation of the Jewish state in 1948, is a ‘Palestinian lie’ and that Arab villages should be razed and Jewish settlements built instead. And her British supporters are as bad. At one Zionist demonstration at which she spoke, the crowd chanted about burning down Arab villages and in support of Kach. Kach is a terrorist organisation founded on the teaching of far right Israeli activist Meir Kahane. I’ve got a feeling Kahane was involved in the Gush Emunim attempt to bomb the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem in order to bring about a war between Islam and Israel and the return of the Messiah. Dangerous, dangerous fanatical nutters.

So what did Keef Stalin have to say for himself? Well, apparently he condemned ‘anti-Zionist anti-Semitism’. Well, the Zionist right loves to conflate the two, but they’re really separate. Zionism is an ideology, not a people or religion. It first appeared among European Christians, who wanted the Jews to relocate to the Promised Land in accordance with Biblical prophecy in order to bring about Christ’s return. It was also supported by genuine anti-Semites like Richard Wagner as a way of cleansing Europe of them. The vast majority of Jews up until World War II and its horrors wished to stay in Europe and be accepted as fellow citizens by their gentile fellows. The British Jewish establishment actually condemned the Balfour Declaration in favour of the foundation of a Jewish state in Palestine. They did so because they were afraid it would lead to gentile Brits regarding them as foreigners rather than loyal, patriotic Englishmen who happened to be Jewish. In fact Zionism was linked in many people’s minds as a form of anti-Semitism. When Herzl tried seeking the support of a German aristocrat for his Zionist programme in the 1920, the man told him he didn’t want to be involved. Far from being an anti-Semite, he was a friend of the Jews and feared that if he supported Zionism, he would be thought a Jew-hater. I admit that real anti-Semites have also been hostile to Israel – some Nazis certainly were so after the War. But Israel’s left-wing critics aren’t anti-Semitic. They include many Jews and the main, pro-Palestinian organisations, like the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, does not accept anti-Semites. Thus when Gilad Atzmon, a genuine self-hating Israeli, tried to get into one of their events he was very definitely shown the door.

Starmer also claimed that he wanted ‘every Jew to count’. So would an awful lot of Jews in the Labour party. Starmer’s and the Blairite’s vile witch hunt against critics of Israel is overwhelmingly directed against Jews. They’re five times more likely than gentiles to be accused of anti-Semitism. I’ve said over and again that these are decent, self-respecting people, who have very often lost relatives in the Holocaust and been victims of real anti-Semitic abuse and assault themselves. It also includes many gentiles, who also haven’t an anti-Semitic bone in their body and who have been very active fighting anti-Semitism and racism. Like the Black anti-racist activist smeared as an anti-Semite by Ruth Smeeth, Marc Wadsworth. These people are being silenced and horribly smeared, because they’re the wrong kind of Jews. The Board of Deputies, as one of the peeps on Twitter Mike quotes, aren’t remotely interested in defending them. Well, of course not. The Board of Deputies has been one of the organisations leading the witch hunt against critics of Israel. And the Board doesn’t represent anyone in the Jewish community except the United Synagogue. It’s a sectarian organisation that somehow claims to represent British Jewry in all its diversity, and woe to anyone who points out that Jews aren’t, and never were, a monolithic group.

Starmer goes further and talks about how he was given a ‘brilliant book’ on how Jewish racism is held to a higher standard by former comedian David Baddiel. Baddiel’s extremely intelligent and hilariously funny. I saw him at the Cheltenham Festival of Literature reading from his latest novel, Time For Bed. He had the crowd in stitches. Unfortunately, he’s another intellectual whose chosen to check his brains in over his own Zionist prejudices. Years ago he popped his head up claiming that Corbyn was anti-Semitic. Now he’s repeating the old lie that criticism of Israel is anti-Semitic because other nations aren’t held to the same standards. Cobblers. Jackie Walker has said that she became a critic of Israel through her anti-apartheid activism. She was an opponent of apartheid South Africa, as you might expect from a woman of colour, whose mother was a Civil Rights activist from Georgia, USA. She turned against Israel after a friend asked her how she could oppose South Africa but not apartheid in Israel. Good question, especially as apartheid South Africa was an ally of Israel in the 1970s.And speaking for myself, I have always opposed the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Years ago, when I was at College, I went to a performance of traditional Tibetan Buddhist music hosted by the college because I wanted to support the Tibetans’ attempts to keep their culture alive against enforced Chinese acculturation. I also don’t have any time for Turkey’s and Iran’s persecution of the Kurds nor the current Chinese regime’s genocidal persecution of the Uighurs of Sinkiang. And nor, I am sure, do any of the people criticising Israel. Tony Greenstein is a very proud anti-Fascist. He’s written a book on The Struggle Against Fascism on the South Coast and is very proud of the way the good peeps of Brighton and Hove, Jews and gentiles, stuck it to Oswald Mosley when he tried campaigning there. He opposes Zionism because it is a Jewish version of Fascism, which has internalised the anti-Semitic lie that Jews and gentiles are completely separate and never the twain can meet. The same noxious attitude behind the Nazis’ Nuremberg Laws.

And David Baddiel is hardly innocent of racism himself. Back in the ’90s he used to poke fun at a Black football player who had a rather exotic hairstyle by turning up on his and Rob Newman’s comedy programme in blackface as the character Mr. Pineapple Head. Tony’s got pictures of it up on his site somewhere. He points out that Baddield would be prosecuted for this in California, where it is illegal to mock ethnic hairstyles. I think people with daft hairstyles are fair comic material, whatever their race, but he has a point.

Which brings us on to Starmer’s attitude to Blacks and Asians. While he’s loud in condemning ‘anti-Zionist anti-Semitism’ – which he seems to believe is the only real kind of anti-Semitism – he is completely indifferent to the rather more severe racism suffered by people of colour. Now the level of deprivation and marginalisation varies with religion and ethnic group. Chinese do better academically and in employment that White Brits. Indians are about the same, or just below. But Blacks and Muslims are very definitely at the bottom of the heap. I’ve made it very clear that I have absolutely no time whatsoever for Black Lives Matter and Critical Race Theory, which I believe are distorting history to present a grotesquely anti-White ideology, as racist as the anti-Black racism they oppose. But BLM has at its root a genuine problem with Black poverty and deprivation, problems that do need to be tackled. Starmer is indifferent to this, however. He very desultorily took the knee, described it ‘as a moment’ and showed an opportunistic attitude to it. He is also indifferent to the bullying suffered by Black and Asian MPs and activists, like Diane Abbott. A third of our Muslim brothers and sisters in the party have reported islamophobic incidents, but Starmer is ignoring them. Possibly because the bullies responsible are his supporters.

He also seems to want to purge them. Last week Mike put up a piece reporting that a group of six or so Black and Asian MPs were set to be purged. These included Diane Abbott, Apsana Begum and Zara Sultana. Belfield put up a mocking video parodying Abbott claiming that she was due to retire. Well, that’s the first and only time I heard of it. I’ve mixed feelings about Abbott. She’s highly intelligent and on a good day can be brilliant. On a bad day she spouts anti-White rubbish. When Sasha Johnson was shot, the police urged people not to speculate. Abbott, however, jumped in with both feet, claiming that she been attacked by a White supremacist. It was natural, considering Johnson’s radical anti-racism, verging, in my opinion, on Black Fascism. But Johnson wasn’t shot by a white man. She was shot by four Black men, who seem to have been targeting her partner. Everything about it looks gang related rather than anything political. But Abbott wasn’t just wrong – the statement itself was dangerous. In such a tense racial situation, it would have been easy to start a riot. Mercifully it didn’t happen. More recently she gave an interview, which has been widely reposted by the right. Questioned about Labour’s immigration policy, but she meanders incoherently, mumbling first about wanting ‘free access’ before trailing off into a string of unconnected, and unfinished musings. People were asking whether she was drunk. I wondered if it was due to immense stress. She receives half of all the abusive mail sent to women MPs. She was also attacked in her own home by her drug-addict son. He went for her with a pair of scissors so that Abbott had to lock herself in the bathroom and call for the fuzz. After an incident like that, she really couldn’t be blamed if she did want to retire to concentrate more on her family.

But that’s not the reason. I suspect the reason is that she was a friend and lover of Jez Corbyn and is still his ally. And as she’s left-wing, she’s not going to be the type of Black that will appeal to all the Tory voters Starmer wishes to appeal to.

Apsana Begum may have been on the list because she was recently tried for housing benefit fraud. She blamed it on her husband, and claimed she knew nothing about it. This is quite credible, and I believe she’s been acquitted. But to the Tories she’s as guilty as sin. It wouldn’t surprise me if the ostensible reason Starmer wanted to get rid of her was because of the trial – Caesar’s wife must not only be chaste, but she must be obviously chaste, as the old saying goes. But she’s another left-winger and so has to go.

I’ve heard absolutely no reason why Zara Sultana could possibly be targeted for dismissal. In fact it seems that if she is being targeted, it’s because she’s too good at her job. She’s an intelligent Muslim woman who land very effective blows against Bozo and the damage done by four decades of Thatcherism, as well as defending her community. She’s a left-wing threat to Starmer, and if he does want to purge, that’s why. She’s doing what he should damn well be doing.

Throughout this there seems to be an attitude that Jews, especially Zionist Jews, suffer more prejudice than any other ethnic group. But the opposite is true. Years ago Quentin Letts, a long-term Mail columnist now writing for the times, produced a league table of relative deprivation among different ethnic and demographic groups in his book, Bog Standard Britain. Jews were at the top for having the most privilege, Blacks the least. Sixty per cent of Jews are upper middle class and most severely normal Brits have a positive or neutral view of their Jewish compatriots. Only 8 per cent of the British public are anti-Semites. That’s clearly too high, but I would imagine it was far less than the proportion of the British public who are prejudiced against Blacks, Asians and particularly Muslims. Years ago the French were being accused of anti-Semitism because anti-Semitic incidents supposedly received less attention than islamophobic. According to the Financial Times, which was then a liberal newspaper actually worth reading, this was because the French authorities were more concerned about the much higher level of prejudice against Muslims. Only five per cent of French folks thought that Jews weren’t really French. When you got to Muslims, the figure was 20-30 + per cent, if I remember correctly. Tommy Robinson is able to get away with his far right antics because this prejudice is shared by a certain number of Brits. But it’s a carefully selected prejudice. Robinson is very pro-Jewish and pro-Israel. He marched with the Jewish Defence League, a Jewish bunch of far right Islamophobic thugs and has said that if there was a war between Israel and the Palestinians, he’d fight for Israel. And the Alt Right just loves Israel. A year or so ago Richard Spencer, the founder of the Alt Right, the man who enthusiastically screamed ‘Hail Trump! Hail our race!’ when Trump won the presidential election, turned up on Israeli TV. No, he doesn’t despise Israel, as you’d expect from Starmer’s ghastly rhetoric. He enthusiastically supports it. He’s a ‘White Zionist’, and Israel is the type of ethnostate he’d like for White, gentile America. The anti-racist activist Matthew Collins even says that when he was in the BNP and other Nazi groups, one of his fellow stormtroopers told him privately that he really didn’t understand the hatred of the Jews. I’ve been told that one of the British Nazis even founded a group, Fascists Against Anti-Semitism, to try and persuade the British public that they weren’t all Jew-haters keen to restart the Holocaust.

Yeah, right. Pull the other one, it’s got bells on.

And there’s a section of the Jewish community that reciprocates this racism. According to Tony Greenstein, the respected Jewish historian and very establishment figure, Geoffrey Alderman, was under pressure in the 1970s to withdraw his finding in a book on the British Jewish community published in the 1970s that 2 per cent of Jews voted NF because they didn’t want their children going to school with Blacks. The call was made by the Board of Deputies, who also didn’t like Jews attending Rock Against Racism events for the ostensible reason that Jewish youth might hear anti-Zionist propaganda. I also read on Tony’s or perhaps another Jewish blog that one Jewish Conservative MP in Barnet could be seen hobnobbing with the NF/BNP thugs at elections lamenting that the Nationalist vote was split between the two parties. When you have Jewish Conservatives supporting the NF, it shows just how integrated one section of the Jewish community is and at the same time is so bonkers you wonder if you’ve wandered into a parallel reality.

This is what Starmer’s leadership stands for: racism, anti-Semitism, apartheid and ethnic cleansing. He supports a viciously persecutory state and specifically smears purges Jewish peeps who oppose it. Israel is supported by real Fascists and racists, but he tells us that it’s opponents are anti-Semites. Meanwhile he is utterly indifferent in the poverty, marginalisation and real prejudice and violence suffered by people of colour and specifically Blacks and Muslims. He appears to support rich, Zionist, Conservative Jews, rather than the 40 per cent of the Jewish population that’s as poor and squeezed as the rest of us. That part of the Jewish population that worries about rights of work, about the health service, how they will pay for social care, whether they can afford to put food on the table and the disgrace of an immensely wealthy nation like Britain feeding the poor, the disabled and the unemployed through food banks rather than a functioning welfare state. You know, the same type of issues that caused Jews to join trade unions, found socialist groups and join the Labour party in the first place. The same Jews who are concerned about the government’s increasingly stringent asylum policy, and who are also concerned about the rise of Islamophobia and other forms of racism. You know, traditional Jewish Labour, who share the same fears and aspirations as the wider traditional members of the party. The people Starmer wants to purge.

The good peeps on Twitter haven’t been slow to condemn Starmer’s wretched speech. Go to Mike’s piece to read what such awesome peeps as Another Angry Voice, Jackie Walker – whose tweet also contains a clip of Starmer’s rant – Owen Jones, Barnaby Raine, David Rosenberg, Heather Mendick, Aaron Bastani, Ammar Kazmi, Simon Maginn, Tom London, and Chris Williamson, amongst many others, have to say about it.

Starmer is a racist disgrace. He should not be in the Labour party, yet alone its leader. If anything, he should be goose-stepping about with Tommy Robinson and the wretched EDL.

Private Eye on Starmer’s Recruitment of Anti-Labour Politicians

October 27, 2021

As well as covering Starmer’s attack on democracy in the Labour party, this fortnight’s Private Eye has also published a piece about how he’s recruited someone from the abortive United for Change party and one of Tweezer’s aides. The article runs

Centre Grounding

Labour’s scheme to grow a generation of pro-Starmer parliamentary candidates has recruited a man who tried to set up a multimillionaire-funded anti-Labour party and a former aide to Theresa May.

Labour launched the Future Candidates Programme in August to select, groom, and fast-track a new set of 360 would-be MPs. Announced in that well-known hive of left-wing activism the Times, the scheme was likened to David Cameron’s “A-list” scheme for new MPs, with Labour sources telling the paper the programme would “get pro-Starmer people” as candidates.

This month Labour wrote to the successful applicants, who will undergo online and face-to-face training. Among those announcing themselves as successful future candidates was Ryan Wain, 33 – co-founder and chief executive from 2018-19 of United for Change, a would-be new centrist party funded by multimillionaire Simon Franks.

In 2019 Franks and Wain claimed United for Change would become “the second biggest political party by membership”, with 125,000 members, and would “win the next general election”. But the new party never even launched. Undaunted, Wain found a new multimillionaire as a political sugar daddy, becoming political director of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.

Josh Tapper also announced his place on the future candidates programme. Best known as a regular on Channel 4’s Gogglebox from 2013-18, he left the show when he started working in communications for the Cabinet Office. Although a civil service appointment, this brought him close to the top Tories: Tapper became a campaigns manager in the Cabinet Office during Theresa May’s leadership.

Faced with complaints that none of the applicants chosen was from the left of the party,, Labour sources were brisk with the LabourList website: “This isn’t factional. We just aren’t insulting voters with pisspoor candidates any more.” The man in charge of the selection process? Labour’s election chief Morgan McSweeney, an acolyte of, er, Tony Blair’s spin doctor, Peter Mandelson.

This basically confirms what you already knew, if you’d been following Mike’s blog: Starmer wanted to recruit a new generation of MPs loyal to his Blairite self, and deliberately ignored anyone from the left of the party, or indeed, any traditional Labour member or supporter. He asked people to consider becoming a Labour MP, even if they hadn’t considered supporting the party before. Or something like that. The party’s membership, meanwhile, were expected to continue stumping up the money to support the party, which shows that Starmer considers us to be no more than cash cows to be milked and exploited.

As for the United for Change Party, I remember them being promoted by the I newspaper, which raved about how there was going to be another party launched by politicians and (corporate) donors. Which tells you all you really need to know about that newspaper’s politics. It’s supposed to be independent, and so for convenience is lumped in with the liberal press. But like the Groan, it’s really Thatcherite corporatist with something of a pro-European slant and a concern with minority rights. In other words, Blairite Labour cum Cameron Tory.

Blair’s New Labour was serious about promoting multiculturalism and greater diversity with all-female shortlists and an ideology of inclusion. One of the role models Blair praised was the Black American soldier, General Colin Powell. This was at the same time Blair made illegal immigrants ineligible for receiving unemployment benefit, hence the rise of the food banks. These were set up to support the migrants before the Tories expanded it to included everyone thrown off benefits. But Starmer seems to be turning away from any kind of genuine anti-racism. His supporters have bullied Black and ethnic minority MPs and activists, Islamophobia is rising in the Labour party but the only ethnic minority Starmer seems to want to defend are Zionist Jews. Left-wing Jews who criticise Israel are smeared as anti-Semites and purged in a gross display of sectarian anti-Semitism. He’s pledged his support for gay and trans rights, but I wonder how long that will last as Starmer lies through his teeth and breaks promises as easily as breathing.

Starmer is turning Labour into another Tory party, and his adoption of these two candidates show his contempt for the rank and file members of the party he leads very clearly.

Private Eye on Starmer’s Nobbling of Labour Democracy

October 27, 2021

Keir Starmer’s assault on democracy within the Labour party and his purging of the left has become so blatant that even the determinedly anti-Corbyn Private Eye has been forced to take notice and publish something reasonably critical. It has published two pieces about it in this fortnight’s ‘H.P. Sauce’ column, for 29th October to 11th November 2021. One is about the purges, while the other is about Starmer’s recruitment of people, who tried to found an anti-Labour party and worked for Tweezer. The article on the purges runs

Uncontrollable Purges

Although it is 22 years since David Evans, general secretary of the Labour party, first presented a plan to overhaul the running of the party to Tony Blair, it is under Keir Starmer’s leadership that Evans has finally been given the chance to put his ideas for purging the left into practice.

In his paper to Blair, Evans described constituency Labour parties as “dysfunctional” and claimed “the majority of local Labour parties are more like Trotters Independent Traders than Marks & Spencer”. (An amusing reference to the then-popular TV comedy Only Fools and Horse, m’lud). Central to the plan, as chaaracterised by Phil Gaskin, regional director of Labour South West, is to remove members’ say on the policies outlined in the leaflets they stuff through letterboxes.

The party is in a precarious state. Since December 2019 it has lost 150,000 members. it is pending more on legal costs than campaigning. Its funding has been cut by trade unions, and it lost £1.2m of the taxpayer funding based on MP numbers following the net loss of 59 seats in 2019.

Starmer may have promised to put an end to years of internecine warfare, but that did not mean extending an olive branch to the left. Evans’ plans are aimed at keeping opponents of Starmer quiet – those, that is, who escape being forced out or choose not to quit. Changes include abolishing the membership fee and replacing members with “supporters”; meanwhile, policy will be determined by the leadership.

Since Starmer took office there have been hundreds of suspensions directed from the office of the general secretary. For his part, Gaskin has suspended more than half the constituencies in the south-west region for alleged antisemitism or for demanding “democracy”. He also prevented the Bath CLP from donating £3,600 from its £1.3m funds to food banks shortly before Christmas 2020, on grounds that this was not “campaigning”. It was also Gaskin who led the case against film director Ken Loach, expelled from the party in August.

Prohibited from CLP agendas in the south-west region, which covers Bristol, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon, Cornwall and half of Dorset, is any mention of support for ex-leader Jeremy Corbyn and any debate or motion on the subject of, er, free speech.

This shows just how far back the Blairite contempt for democracy, socialism and traditional Labour values goes. It also names Gaskin as one of the chief instigators of the attack on democracy, particularly in the south west. I’ve had emails from the south-west regional office asking me to join their conference or respond to various initiatives. I shall now have to think very carefully about them and especially about whether my local party has also been muzzled by this dicta.

And how utterly, utterly contemptible of Gaskin to ban Bath from supporting a food bank!

My Email to South Bristol Labour Party Complaining about Conference Delegates Support for Starmer

October 22, 2021

Last week my local Labour party held its monthly meeting, online because of the continuing Covid lockdown. There was a monthly report from our local MP, Karin Smyth,along with reports from the two conference delegates. This was followed by a speech from the Unison liaison – I’m afraid I’ve mistakenly said that she’s Unite in the letter, for which I apologise to Unite – and that’s when I got sick and tired of it all and quietly left.

Smyth’s talk was highly informative and chilling in her description of the government’s continuing campaign to privatise the NHS and replace it with a system financed by private health insurance as in America. She supports Starmer, but is very committed to protecting the NHS for which I respect her.

I was less impressed with the two delegates, who supported Starmer and David Evans’ measures destroying party democracy and purging the left. It’s blatant factionalism and the reasons they gave were spurious. They claimed that as Starmer only had 200 MPs, he needed to shore up his support so that he has 40 to form a cabinet. But he has no shortage of supporters in the parliamentary party, and so the rationale makes no sense. They did, however, vote for the Green New Deal, but didn’t vote for the measure supporting the Palestinians. They claimed they didn’t understand it. I think it’s far more likely they shared Starmer’s aggressive Zionism and support for the current far-right Israeli government’s colonisation of Palestine through the construction of illegal settlements and the consequent suffocating restrictions on those of the indigenous Palestinians.

But I was most annoyed by the Unison liaison’s speech talking about how she’d been indifferent to the problem of Labour anti-Semitism, but had just attended a ‘powerful’ presentation about the terrible abuse our Jewish brothers and sisters in the Labour party were suffering from the Left. What was this abuse? Why, it was all tropes, as you’d expect. This is just Zionist propaganda. Tropes are invoked to smear reasonable criticisms of Israel by decent people through contrived parallels to real anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and myths. As I have said ad nauseam, the people targeted for these smears are mostly genuine anti-racists and opponents of anti-Semitism, many of whom – indeed the majority – are self-respecting Jews. These are people, who frequently lost relatives in the Holocaust and have suffered genuine abuse and violence from real anti-Semites and Nazis.

I have therefore sent off this email of complaint. It criticises the delegates’ Starmerite factionalism, and the leadership itself for calling for a return to Blairism. I attack Blair’s further privatisation of the Health Service, the introduction of the Work Capability Tests and the bullying tactics used by the DWP on claimants. I also attack Blair for his illegal invasion of Iraq and Libya, and the consequent destabilisation of the Middle East. A destabilisation that prepared the way for the rise of ISIS. I also make it plain that I oppose Blair’s corporatism and his grant of government positions to the captains of industry and his support for big business over the wishes of communities and their small businessmen and women. I make it very clear that I feel Blair and his policies are not to be supported or revived, and that Starmer has shown that he is completely treacherous and untrustworthy. He will, I feel, turn on his own supporters the moment it suits him, and his support for the NHS at this moment is merely tactical.

I also attack the Unison lady’s talk, pointing out that this has probably been given by JLM, a Zionist organisation, who aren’t interested in Jews but protecting Israel and its barbarous treatment of the Palestinians. I denounce the mass purges from the party of Starmer’s critics and critics of Israel, and briefly describe my own experience of being so accused. I end by asking to present my case at a future meeting of the party.

I may well have set myself up for expulsion as another evil lefty troublemaker, but I can’t let these evil policies and falsehoods go unchallenged. Here is my email below:

“Dear Sir/ Madam,

Thank you for sending me this month’s reports. However, I must express here my very strong disapproval and dismay of some of the views expressed by the speakers at this month’s meeting and particularly the actions of the conference delegates. This does not extend to the great work of our local MP, Karin Smyth. I very much appreciate all the very hard work she does for her constituents and defending the NHS against Tory privatisation.

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same of the Labour leadership. Keir Starmer’s return to Blairism is a source of severe concern. Tony Blair in office continued and extended further the Thatcherite policies of the previous Tory governments. Indeed, they have complained that he went further in his privatisation of the NHS than they would have dared if Labour had stuck to its traditional defence of the Health Service. For example, when the Community Care Groups were set up they were given powers not only to purchase services from private medical companies, but also to raise funds privately. The polyclinics were supposed to be privately run, and he continued handing over doctor’s surgeries to private health companies as well as the management of hospitals to private healthcare chains.. Please see books like Raymond Tallis’ and Jacky Davis’ NHS – SOS for further details.

I am also disgusted by the bullying attitude towards welfare claimants and the Work Capability Tests that Blair also introduced. This has seen genuinely poor and disabled people thrown off benefits for the most trivial reasons, leading to great hardship, deprivation and death. This should be ended now. The unemployed and disabled should not be supported by food banks but by a properly funded and functioning welfare state, and damn whatever Rupert Murdoch and Geordie Greig say in their wretched propaganda sheets. But I see precious little evidence of this from Starmer. Indeed, he seems to favour extreme right-wing members, who believe that conditions should be made even harsher for the unemployed!

We also suffered from massive corporate corruption by Blair giving places in government to the private companies that the same departments were supposed to be regulating. The result was a colossal increase in the expense of public works and the favouring of these companies over the wishes of local communities and their businesses. See Bremner, Bird and Fortunes’ You Are Here and George Monbiot’s Captive State, for example. Blair also showed his absolute contempt for international law and the British people with his illegal invasion of Iraq. Yes, Saddam Hussein was a monster, but the invasion of Iraq left the country in chaos and destroyed what had been one of the most secular societies in the middle east with something like a welfare state where women could pursue careers outside the home. This is all gone. 200,000 people have been killed and millions more displaced, contributing to the refugee crisis we see now. Moreover it gave a space for the emergence of the monstrous ISIS. It has also, in my opinion, further contributed to the alienation of Muslims in Britain and abroad, as has Blair’s similar participation in the overthrow of another tyrant, Colonel Gadaffy.

I am utterly disgusted that Kier Starmer should believe Tony Blair is a leader worth emulating and to whom the Labour party should return and refer for its policies. I do not trust him to continue defending the NHS once is power, and I am afraid MPs like Karin will be faced with the difficult choice of supporting the leader or supporting the NHS. The purges and long list of broken promises to members show that Starmer is, in my opinion, utterly without principle and treacherous and I am afraid that valued MPs like Karin will also be purged if they dare to show any independence against him.

I am deeply disgusted by the conference delegates’ support for the leadership’s motions affecting party democracy. These are entirely partisan, and go against both the democratic traditions of the party and the views of many of the ordinary members. Starmer seems determined to purge the party of the left and make Labour into another, perhaps not even paler, version of the Conservatives. At the same time, he seems to have done precious little to oppose them in parliament, to the point that he has been easily ridiculed and mocked by Johnson, to the applause of the media.

I was also disappointed by the delegates’ refusal to support the motion in favour of the Palestinians. The motion is not difficult to understand. The Israeli state is colonising Palestinian territory with the construction of illegal settlements in defiance of international law. At the same time there is a system of apartheid in Israel that persecutes Palestinians as second class systems. This has to stop if Labour really believes in peace and equality in the Middle East. I fear the delegates’ refusal to support the motion has less to do with a failure to understand the situation than Keir Starmer’s support for the hard-right government in Israel.

This brings me on to the comments by the Unite liaison officer and her praise for the ‘powerful’ training she had received showing the ‘terrible abuse’ Jewish members of the party had received from the left through tropes. She comes across as a thoroughly decent woman, though naive and uninformed, and I fear that she has been terribly mislead by people I can only describe as liars, propagandists and smear merchants. People who, in my certain experience, have smeared thoroughly decent, genuinely anti-racist people, including staunch opponents of anti-Semitism, as Jew-haters. Starmer handed over anti-Semitic training to the Jewish Labour Movement, an extremely partisan and biased organisation. According to the organisation’s Jewish critics, they used to be Paole Zion, ‘Workers of Zion’, a Zionist organisation which describes itself as the sister party to the Israeli Labor Party. This organisation was moribund until it suddenly received an injection of funds from persons or persons unknown a few years ago.Its Jewish critics have pointed out that its members do not have to be either Jewish or members of the Labour party, as is the case with their ideological opponents in Labour, Jewish Voice for Labour. Yet the Jewish Labour Movement is somehow privileged as speaking for Labour’s Jewish members and Jewish Voice for Labour demonised as anti-Semitic ‘commies’ by right-wing Labour MPs like Neil Coyle.  

In my experience organisations like the JLM are not interested in tackling anti-Semitism. They are there to counter criticism of Israel and Zionism, and the use of literary tropes is the only method they can use to do so. And their targets have been overwhelmingly Jews. Jewish Voice for Labour have complained that Jews are 300 times more likely to be accused of anti-Semitism than non-Jews. Those accused have included self-respecting men and women, who frequently lost relatives and friends in the Shoah, and who, along with their gentile friends and supporters, have suffered real anti-Semitic abuse, harassment and assault from genuine Nazis and anti-Semites. I cannot express sufficiently my absolute disgust at this deplorable persecution. Miri Hillel, a Jewish journalist, has said that many Jews are afraid of speaking out against this campaign of official harassment because of the effect it has on their families. Those accused of anti-Semitism are subjected to horrendous, foul abuse because of these lies and smears.  . 

As for terrible anti-Semitic tropes, this is being done to silence criticism of Israel by finding spurious literary and historical parallels with real anti-Semitism. Thus, any mention of Israeli embassy official Shai Masot’s covert negotiations with British civil servants to exclude Alan Duncan, a critic of Israel, from the cabinet, as a plot or conspiracy is loudly denounced as an example of the old myth of Jewish conspiracies like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. But Masot was plotting and engaged in a conspiracy in the true sense of the word. Describing it as such does not connect it to real, poisonous anti-Semitic myths like the infamous Protocols or the more recent myth of the Great Replacement. Such literary criticism, and that’s all it is, is done not to protect Jews, but as a cynical campaign to deflect criticism from Israel by misrepresenting its critics as anti-Semites.

I myself haver personal experience of the witch hunt against critics of Israel. A few weeks ago I was told I was under investigation following complaints of anti-Semitism about an article on my blog. What the complainants objected to was almost wholly statements I had made criticising Zionism. They objected to my statement that all states and ideologies, including Zionism and Israel, should be open to examination and criticism, even though the I.H.R.A. definition of anti-Semitism says that criticism of Israel is perfectly acceptable provided the country is not held to a higher standard than others. They also didn’t like my statement that many gentiles initially did not support Zionism because it was too closely linked to real anti-Semitism, even though this is historically documented fact. They also considered that I was being anti-Semitic simply for stating another historical fact, which is that Zionism was, up to the Second World War, a minority position among European Jews. Most of them wished to remain in their homes, fighting for equality and to be accepted as fellow Brits, Frenchmen, Germans, Poles and so on rather than move to a country to which they felt no connection. Again, documented historical fact. I am further disgusted by the deplorable way Starmer is trying to silence reasonable opposition to Israeli’s barbarous treatment of the Palestinians through mass expulsions and the proscription of organisations defending those unfairly purged, such as Labour Against the Witch Hunt and the Labour In Exile Network.

I was so outraged at the Unite lady’s speech defending the JLM training that I left the meeting. I feel that the meeting has been very one-sided in the views presented. I would therefore very much like to talk about my experiences of what I can only describe as a factionalist with hunt the demonises and expels decent people and exposing them to real anti-Semitic abuse and violence at a forthcoming meeting.

Yours faithfully,”

Is Starmer Trying to Manufacture a Rupture with the Unions?

September 29, 2021

Mike put up a piece this morning reporting that the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union had disaffiliated from the Labour party following the party’s threat to expel their lead, Ian Hodson. Hodson’s crime was to have dealings with one of the organisations Starmer has expelled on the trumped up charge of anti-Semitism, Labour Against the Witch-Hunt. LAW was founded to support Labour members, who had been unfairly accused of anti-Semitism and expelled. However, Labour Against the Witch-Hunt was perfectly acceptable when Hodson dealt with it. The expulsion is yet another example of Starmer’s retroactive justice, which has always been the mark of the tyrant. BFAWU is one of the founding members of the Labour party, and Keir Starmer is the first Labour leader to have driven such a union away. This is yet another first in his long list of disgrace and treachery. BFAWU planned their vote to coincide with Starmer’s speech but it was moved forward to the day before. They also released a statement criticising the bargain basement Stalin for ignoring Tory inflicted poverty to carry on a factional campaign against the left.

The statement, as quoted by Mike, ran

“We need footballers to campaign to ensure our schoolchildren get a hot meal. Workers in our sector, who keep the nation fed, are relying on charity and good will from family and friends to put food on their tables. They rely on help to feed their families, with 7.5% relying on food banks, according to our recent survey.

“But instead of concentrating on these issues we have a factional internal war led by the leadership. We have a real crisis in the country and instead of leadership, the party’s leader  chooses to divide the trade unions and the membership by proposing changes to the way elections for his successor will take place.

“We don’t see that as a political party with any expectations of winning an election. It’s just the leader trying to secure the right wing faction’s chosen successor.

“The decision taken by our delegates doesn’t mean we are leaving the political scene; it means we will become more political and we will ensure our members’ political voice is heard as we did when we started the campaign for £10 per hour in 2014.

“Today we want to see £15 per hour for all workers, the abolition of zero hours contracts and ending discrimination of young people by dispensing with youth rates.

The BFAWU will not be bullied by bosses or politicians. When you pick on one of us you take on all of us. That’s what solidarity means.”

(Boldings Mike’s)

The campaign for a minimum wage is yet another cause Stalin has betrayed. He initially supported it, but now has turned against it, presumably because it’ll upset the Tory businessmen and right-wing media he’s trying to impress.

I wonder if Stalin is trying to manufacture a break with the unions, or at least those that threaten the dominance of the right. The Tories, as the party of the rich and business, hate the unions with a passion and have done everything they reasonably could to destroy them or at least severely curtail their power. The unions are blamed for the industrial unrest of the 1970s, and there have been a series of attempts by the Tories to stop the union levy to the Labour party. And one refrain used by the Tories over and over again is that the Labour party is the puppet of its trade union bosses. In fact Labour was partly founded to represent the trade unions, developing from the ‘Lib-Labs’ – the union representatives who sat in parliament as members of the Liberal party in the late 19th century and the Labour representation committee. Blair’s New Labour remodelled itself on the Conservatives following the example of Bill Clinton’s New Democrats, who embraced Republican policies in order to appeal to Repeal voters. Starmer is doing the same, trying to purge the party of socialists and rejecting the socialist policies of the last manifesto, policies that he planned to support, in order to appeal to Tory voters and businessmen. Starmer seems to follow Blair in wishing for donations from business to be the main source of party income, rather than subscriptions from the party’s members and funding from the unions. Essentially the New Labour project was a capitulation to Tory criticism. And right at the beginning of his leadership, Tory Tony threatened to cut all ties with unions if they didn’t support his reforms of the party.

This is why I think Keef Stalin may be trying to engineer a split with the unions in his campaign to remodel the party fully into a clone of the Tories.

Stalin’s driving away of BFAWU is an attack on the essential character of the party and its history as a genuinely working class organisation.

And I am afraid that unless he and his clique are stopped, it will just be the first of many such anti-union attacks.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2021/09/28/founding-union-splits-from-labour-in-disgust-at-starmer-hours-before-his-big-speech/

Belfield Attacks Gemma Collins for Guzzling £700 Gold-Wrapped Steak

September 29, 2021

I’ve put up several pieces on this blog commenting on, and occasionally reblogging, videos from mad right-wing YouTuber Alex Belfield. I don’t share his right-wing political opinions, but he’s interesting for what he says about the attitudes of a certain type of working class Conservative. And occasionally he does say something worthwhile that people across the political spectrum can agree on. This morning he put up a video attacking Gemma Collins for eating a £700 steak in a very expensive London restaurant. Belfield states that the steak itself couldn’t have cost more than £50, and quotes the prices of steak available from your average supermarket that are much, much lower at about a tenth of that. He finds this kind of very ostentatious, massively expensive consumption on overpriced luxuries obscene when large numbers of Brits can only get their meals at food banks and those that aren’t are worried about how they’re going to pay for their next meal.

He also describes another similar obscene display of wealth when a group of Japanese businessmen came in to a restaurant and ordered £1,000 bottles of wine. Of which they only drank one glass before leaving. The restauranteur was not impressed by what Belfield describes, rather vulgarly, as ‘willy-waggling’ and so gathered he staff and treated them to the expensive steaks and wine the Japanese had left behind untouched.

Unfortunately, I can’t say I’m particularly surprised by these crass, offensive displays of wealth. I read a book on Japan years ago by a former Times journalist, who remarked that as many Japanese had become millionaires, they’d overtaken the Americans for vulgar displays of wealth. One example of this is a Japanese department store which served, for the equivalent of $100, tea containing gold flakes. This could be drunk in a special room set aside where the drinker could contemplate a print of Van Gogh’s ‘The Sunflowers.’ Then there’s the brand of Swizz vodka, Goldberg, which also contains gold flakes. In the case of the Japanese tea, I suspect there’s an influence there from Chinese alchemy. This differed from the western type in being focused on the quest for immortality. Chinese alchemists believed that this could be achieved by replacing the perishables materials of the human body with imperishable matter, and so slowly poisoned their clients by getting them to eat gold, pearls and so on. On the other hand, it could just be a display of tasteless vulgarity.

Of course, there are other ways in which the people Private Eye once described as the ‘futile rich’ flaunt their wealth in front of the poor. Grossly overpriced clothes has always been one favourite, like the £7,000 leather trousers Tweezer sported when she had her rear end in 10 Downing Street. And modern celebrity culture, unfortunately, is characterised by a very materialist attitude in which actors, sportsmen and pop stars frequently engage in tasteless demonstrations of their wealth. You think of all the jewellery sported by a certain type of pop star with the dollar sign, for example.

Gemma Collins and a number of other celebs is a frequent target of Belfield’s, along with Carol Vorderman, Katie Price and Marcus Rashford, amongst others. Some of these attacks seem based on little more than personal dislike. Others, such as his attacks on Diane Abbott, seem rather more for political reasons. But there’s a serious point behind his video on Collins and the gold-wrapped steak. Such displays of very conspicuous wealth are obscene and offensive when people are poor and starving, and always have been. It’s how revolutions start. The guzzling of such food and drink recalls Marie Antoinette’s inflammatory comment during the French Revolution. When told the starving masses had no bread, she supposedly said, ‘Let them eat cake’. The result of this contempt for the poor was the overthrow of the monarchy and the massacre of the aristocracy as enemies of the people.

Despite the right’s attempt to monopolise politics and discredit the left, some writers and academics are very much afraid that the increasing gulf between rich and poor will provoke an uprising. Watch out! When people are starving and desperate, eating £700 steaks is the kind of behaviour that will have the peasants picking up their pitchforks and the tumbrils once again rolling down the streets on the way to the guillotine.

Johnson Insults Low Paid Workers by Telling Them to Rise through their Own Efforts

August 29, 2021

This comment from the incompetent, libidinous, blustering, greedy clown infesting No. 10 clearly demonstrates the absolute contempt he and his fellow Tories really have for working people. Yesterday Mike put up a piece from a Mirror report, in which Johnson told low paid British workers claiming benefits to make ends meet that they will have to see their wages rise through their own efforts. This is his ‘strong preference’, which he thinks is shared by the vast majority of people in this country. He’s not going to pass legislation to raise wages and doesn’t want them to claim benefits, which is money raised through taxing other people. This is at a time when those on Universal Credit are facing a cut of £1,000 per year. Of course, this is rich coming from the man who got Tory donors to pay for his new wallpaper, a nanny and whined that he couldn’t live off his £150,000 a year salary, as the good peeps on Twitter, including Angela Rayner, reminded us all. And this grasping attitude is shared by his cabinet, as Daniela Nadj pointed out. Rishi Sunak is building a new swimming pool in his garden and Dominic Raab spends £40,000 on a holiday. But for the rest of us, there’s 2,000 food banks and hundreds of baby banks.

Well, this is a typical Tory attitude and it goes back centuries. Way back in the 19th century one of the leading politicians of the day – and it might have been a Liberal rather than a Tory – told a meeting at one of the northern industrial towns that the means of prospering was within their grasp. It’s the old nonsense that if you work hard and have talent, you’ll get on. If you don’t, it’s your own fault. This particular speech was made at time when industrial workers could have a working day going up to 18 hours in poorly ventilated, dangerous factories, and families could be crammed into overcrowded basements.

And when Cameron was in power he declared that he was going to make work pay, not by actually raising wages, but by cutting benefits. Because working people didn’t want to see the closed curtains of their unemployed neighbours. As for the comments about taxation, that sounds like a populist move, but it’s really about not taxing the rich fairly for their share, just like he doesn’t want to damage their profits by making them pay a real living wage.

This is all about protecting and enriching the bloated elite even further by playing on the petty jealous and resentment within certain sections of the working class. All the while supported by the underlying message that we somehow live in a fair society in which full of opportunities to get on. Which is why there are so many graduates now working in burger bars or signing on.

For further information, see:

Tory Flag-Waving Now Reaching Reaganite Proportions

April 6, 2021

Patriotism, someone once said, is the last refuge of the scoundrel. And the Tories have done their best to show how true this is, especially last week when it seemed that they wasted no opportunity to wave the flag. This also led them to generate more synthetic outrage towards the BBC. Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty raised Tory ire when Stayt joked about the relatively small size of the union flag on display during an interview with Matt Hancock or one of the other Tory ministers. This led to howls from the Tory press that the Beeb was sneering at the flag. They weren’t. They were laughing about the Tory’s sheer opportunistic use of it.

It’s no accident that they’ve started waving the flag in the weeks running up to the local elections. Their performance on health, the economy, Brexit and just about everything else has been dire. They’re still trying to privatise the health service by stealth, they insulted the nurses with a 2 per cent pay rise, which is in real terms a cut in their salaries, wages are still frozen, more people are being forced into real, grinding poverty, the queues at the food banks are as long as ever, or longer. The Brexit that Boris has been so desperate to ‘get done’ is spelling disaster for Britain’s manufacturing industry, and businesses dealing with the continent and ordinary Brits wishing to travel abroad are now faced with mountains of paperwork and bureaucracy. Bureaucracy which the Brexiteers blithely assured us wouldn’t happen. Hopefully this year will see us coming out of lockdown and the Coronavirus crisis. We’ve a far higher rate of peeps receiving the vaccine than the EU, but that shouldn’t distract attention from the colossal way the Tories have mismanaged the Covid crisis as a whole. As Mike’s pointed out in one of his articles, Tory bungling and corruption – they gave vital medical contracts to companies owned and run by their friends and supporters, rather than to firms that could actually deliver – that over 100,000 people have died of the disease. One of the good peeps on Twitter has shown how this compares to the numbers killed in some of the genocides and ethnic massacres that have plagued recent decades. And the report, which was supposed to show that Britain isn’t institutionally racist, has been torn to shreds with some of the academics cited claiming they were not properly consulted and seeking to distance themselves from it. And then there are the mass demonstrations up and down the land against their attempts to outlaw any demonstration or protest they don’t like under the guise that it would be a nuisance.

And so, with all this discontent, they’ve fallen back to Thatcher’s tactics of waving the flag at every opportunity. One of the hacks at the Absurder in the 1980s said that Britain had three parties – the patriotic party, who were the Tories, the loony party, which was Labour, and the sensible party, which was the SDP/Liberals. Which showed you the paper’s liberal bias even then. The SDP, Liberals and their successors, the Lib Dems. have sold out utterly, while after four decades of Thatcherism Michael Foot’s Labour party looks far less than loony. But the hack was right about the Tories and patriotism. Thatcher waved the flag as frantically as she could and constantly invoked the spirit of Winston Churchill and World War II. One particularly memorable example of this was the Tory 1987 election broadcast, which featured Spitfires zipping about the sky while an overexcited voice told the world ‘Man was born free’ and concluded ‘It’s great to be great again’.

Here’s another feature of Fascism that’s been adopted by the Tories to add to those on Mike’s checklist. Fascism is an ideology of national rebirth and revival. Thatcher was claiming she was making us great again, just as Donald Trump claimed he was doing for America. Just as Oswald Mosley called one of his wretched books The Greater Britain. And unfortunately, as Zelo Street has also pointed out, Fascists like the Nazis have also used people’s natural loyalty to their flag as a means of generating support for their repulsive regimes. British Fascism was no different. Mosley also made great use of the flag at his rallies, and this tactic was taken over by his successors in the National Front and BNP. This has been an embarrassment to ordinary, non-racist Brits, who simply like the flag. One of my friends at school was a mod. At the time, the union flag and British bulldog formed a large part of mod imagery without meaning that the person was a racist or White supremacist. During one of the art lessons my friend started painting a picture with those two elements – the union flag and bulldog. The teacher came over and politely asked him not to do so, as he was afraid people would like at it and come to the wrong conclusion. This was just after the 1981/2 race riots, so you can understand why. But it is frustrating and infuriating that ordinary expressions of reasonable patriotism or simple pop culture iconography have become suspect due to their appropriation by the Far Right.

But the real excesses of flag-waving were to be seen over the other side of the Pond in Reagan’s America. Reagan was wrecking his country with privatisation and an assault on what the country had in the way of a welfare state, while murdering the people of countries like El Salvador and Nicaragua by supporting Fascist dictators and their death squads. But, like Thatcher, he did everything he could to use the symbols of American nationhood. Like the Stars and Stripes. A Republican party political broadcast in 1984 or thereabouts showed the American flag being raised no less than 37 times. This was so bizarrely excessive that one of the Beeb’s foreign correspondents commented on it. As far as I am aware, no-one took him to task for sneering at it.

This flag-waving is part of the Tories attempts to present themselves as the preservers of British national identity, tradition and pride against the assaults of the left, particularly Black Lives Matter and their attacks on statues. I’m not impressed with the attacks on some of the monuments, like that of Winston Churchill, even though he was a racist. But in Bristol the only statue attacked was that of the slavery and philanthropist Edward Colston. None of the other statues in and around Bristol’s town centre of Edmund Burke, Queen Victoria, Neptune and the sailors who made my city a great port, were touched. And then there was the protest last week against the new school uniform policy at Pimlico Academy in London. This ruled out the wearing of large afro hair styles. So the students started protesting it was racist. The headmaster also raised the union flag, which led the statement from one of the students, Amna Mukhtar, that it weirdly felt like they were being colonised. And then some idiot burnt the flag in protest. The headmaster has now rescinded the school’s uniform code and taken the flag down. Now I gather that one of the Tories is now calling for every school to fly the union flag.

It all reminds me of the comments the late, great comedian Bill Hicks made when Reagan and his supporters were flying the flag and their outrage when a young member of the Communist party burned it. After making jokes about the Reaganite rage and hysteria, Hicks said that he didn’t want anyone to burn the flag, but burning wouldn’t take away freedom, because it’s freedom. Including the freedom to burn the flag.

Quite. And the Tories are wrecking our country and taking away our freedoms while cynically waving the flag.

So when they start spouting about it, use your scepticism and think of Hick’s comment instead. And vote for someone else.

Are the Tories’ Concentration Camps for Asylum Seekers A Deliberate Anti-Immigration Deterrent

February 11, 2021

This is another piece simply based on my impressions of the titles of a couple of videos I’ve come across on YouTube, so again, I may be prejudiced and incorrect in my assumptions. But I don’t think I am. A few days ago some of the anti-immigration channels on YouTube put up videos about the demonstrations by asylum seekers incarcerated in the new detention centres set up by the grinning racist, Priti Patel. There has also been a fire at Napier Barracks, which one of the videos seemed to insinuate was an act of arson by the immigrants there in protest at their conditions. If you believe liars like Alex Belfield, illegal immigrants to Britain are living in the lap of luxury at the British tax-payer’s expense. In fact, as Mike has pointed out, the conditions in the new detention centres are appalling with inadequate showers and hygiene facilities and arrangements for social spacing. He compared them to concentration camps. Now, according to one of these right-wing videos, the asylum seekers incarcerated in them are trying to escape back to Europe. At least according to the wretched channel, We Got A Problem.

It struck me that this wasn’t unintended. Thatcher’s whole attitude to welfare support was based on the Victorian idea of ‘less eligibility’. You make the conditions of state support deliberately harsh, humiliating and degrading to deter people from seeking it. It was the idea behind the workhouse. Now it seems the Tories have created workhouses for asylum seekers in Patel’s new detention centres as a deliberate deterrent to stop them from either coming to this country in the first place, or to encourage them to leave if they’re here.

Tony Benn warned that what governments did to immigrants was what they’d like to do to the rest of the population, if they were able Ten years ago right at the beginning of this long period of Tory rule, I was alarmed by the possibility that the Tories were considering the restoration of the workhouse system. It was only abolished in 1947 with the creation of the welfare state, and Thatcher wanted to destroy the latter. Food banks were originally set up for asylum seekers after Blair removed state support. Then the Tories expanded the system to include domestic citizens, who were thrown off state benefits thanks to the wretched welfare reforms.

Which means if this carries on, will the Tories start building camps like Napier barracks for the unemployed and disabled, as a cheap alternative to the present benefit system and to deter more of poor from seeking them? Just like they’re now doing to asylum seekers?