Posts Tagged ‘Karin Smyth’

Email from Bristol South MP Karin Smyth about the Government’s Health and Social Care Bill

November 21, 2021

I received this message yesterday from my local constituency MP, Karin Smyth, about the government’s Health and Social Care bill, which threatens to further privatise the NHS and give patients poorer service for the profit of private healthcare providers. Karin’s message runs

“Dear David

Thank you for contacting me about the Health and Care Bill 2021-22, I am writing further to our previous correspondence to update you regarding the latest developments on the Bill.

This Bill marks a break from disaster of the 2012 Act known sometimes as the Lansley  Act. Thanks to strong and consistent campaign by many of us the worst excess around competition and fragmentation of that Act are removed.  The Bill does not address the current problems, or indeed those in evidence before the pandemic, and so I will still be opposing as it is unlikely to be amended.  The Health and Care Bill will enter “Report Stage” next week, which is an opportunity for the whole House to consider what has been done during the committee stage.

As you know, as one of the Labour members on the Bill Committee, I have been following this Bill extremely closely, and doing everything I can to improve it, including submitting amendments to make the new boards created by the Bill more accountable, providing for palliative care, and tackling health inequalities.

I will continue to pursue these themes at report stage, and have submitted a number of amendments including one to establish a Good Governance Commission to ensure that ICS boards are accountable and properly scrutinised.

I am committed to upholding the NHS’s founding principles as a comprehensive, integrated, and public NHS that is there for all of us when we need it.

This is a moment of great pressure on the NHS. Yet there is nothing in the legislation to address the greatest challenges facing the NHS. I believe the Government’s focus must be on ensuring that services are appropriately staffed and have the resources they need, and have been arguing for greater workforce planning, and equipping local people with the skills and training needed to help alleviate the pressures.

Thank you once again for contacting me about this important issue.

Yours sincerely

Karin Smyth MP
Labour MP for Bristol South”

I believe Karin is absolutely sincere in her defence of the NHS and is doing everything she can to preserve it. Unfortunately, I really don’t believe this is true of the current Labour leader, Keir Starmer. I believe very strongly that if he is given the chance, he’ll betray it, just like he’s betrayed every other cause he’s embraced and pledge he made to become Labour leader.

Private Eye on the Medical Report Discrediting Blair’s NHS Privatisation

November 3, 2021

This is another piece from an old issue of the satirical magazine, for 15th-25th October 2004. Entitled ‘Kaiser bill’, it discusses a report in the British Journal of General Practice that refutes the arguments for Blair’s privatisation of the NHS and its remodelling after the American private healthcare firm, Kaiser Permanente. The article runs

Last week’s NHS Modernisation Agency conference on the much-hyped treatment centre programme – the mix of private and NHS one-stop units springing up around the country to offer quick and relatively easy diagnosis and surgery – struck a self-congratulatory note.

But a study published this summer suggests there is no evidence that bringing private companies into the NHS is increasing efficiency or reducing costs. Quite the opposite, in fact.

This news will not please the government, which has always promoted health secretary John Reid’s favourite private US healthcare providers, Kaiser Permanente, citing a seven-page research paper in the British Medical Journal in 2002 which purported to show that Kaiser offered “better performance at roughly the same costs as the NHS”.

This conclusion, extolling the benefits of competition, was manna from heaven for health ministers who had been criticised for closing 10,000 NHS beds since Labour came to power. But it seems it was all nonsense.

For a start, two of the report’s three authors used to work for Kaiser; and their paper trigger a storm of protest in the US and from the medical and scientific community here, highlighting its flawed analysis and conclusions. It emerged that Kaiser’s costs were deflated while NHS costs were inflated; Kaiser patients were the “working well” but NHS patients included the poor, elderly and chronically ill; and individual Kaiser charges for visits and treatment were ignored.

Nevertheless, the protests were ignored and the paper – described by one leading academic as “not worthy of a first year student” – went on to form British government policy, featuring in the 2002 review of NHS funding by Derek Wanless and the subsequent white paper on how to deliver the NHS plan. The department of health even joined forces with Kaiser in “learning from Kaiser Permanente” projects managing chronic conditions and care.

In the summer, however, the scientific record was finally put straight with a paper in the British Journal of General Practice which comprehensively exposed that the Kaiser paper was propaganda masked as science. It detailed the way in which authors used counting tricks including a curious foreign exchange currency conversion which had the effect of almost doubling NHS costs. Despite this evidence the Kaiser paper still has not been officially withdrawn. Instead it is still promoted on health department websites.

Allyson Pollock, professor of health policy at University College London and one of the authors of the critical BJGP paper said: “There is no evidence that introducing private companies increases efficiency or quality or reduces costs. Indeed, all the evidence goes the other way. Markets – even those underwritten by the state – do not deliver comprehensive universal healthcare. Research in the US has shown how private health providers select the profitable patients, treatments and conditions and at a greater cost than public providers.”‘ Professor Pollock is one of the contributors to Raymond Talllis’ and Jacky Davies’ excellent exposure of the decade’s long privatisation campaign against the Health Service, NHS – SOS.

This is the Blair administration that Keef Stalin idealises, and to whose policies he would like us all to return. At the moment Labour MPs like South Bristol’s Karin Smyth are fighting the government’s NHS privatisation. But I’m sure that Stalin will drop the NHS if there is a chance of getting his rear end in Downing Street. After all, he’s had no qualms about breaking every other promise.

Thatcherism is a monumental failure. It’s time it was comprehensively ended and the Thatcherites thrown out of power – the Tories and Starmer both.

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,”

Disgusted by Pro-Starmer Local Party Delegates to Conference

October 14, 2021

As I said earlier this evening, I was at an online meeting of my local constituency Labour party tonight. I was very impressed by Karin Smyth, our local MP, and her report on Sajid Javid’s health and social care bill, and what she and the Labour party are doing to prevent private healthcare firms sitting on the new commissioning boards the Tories wish to set up and the compulsory outside tendering. Smyth is a supporter of grotty, sectarian, squalid Starmer, but I believe she is sincere in her defence of the NHS and am impressed by how hard she works for her constituents.

But I don’t believe Starmer is, and if the choice comes between embracing the Tories’ privatisation and not getting his overprivileged, aristo, millionaire posterior in 10 Downing Street or winning the approval of the Tory press, the Stormfront Stalin will sacrifice the NHS to the private healthcare parasites and throw any Labour MP who attempts to defend it under the bus.

But I was less than impressed by what the local party’s delegate to conference had to say. They’d voted for nearly all of the motions put at conference. This included the Green New Deal. But it also included them voting for David Evans as General Secretary, the decision to raise the proportion of MPs required for a leadership candidate, and in fact nearly all of Starmer’s notions to knobble party democracy. They also voted for the implementation of the E.H.R.C. report into Labour anti-Semitism.

And then in the questions the local delegate or liaison from Unison, whose scab leadership endorsed all these scummy notions, announced that she also endorsed the implementation of the E.H.R.C. report. She had been indifferent of the anti-Semitism issue until she had attended a very powerful training session, which alerted her to the abuse our Jewish brothers and sisters got from the Left.

This was too much. I was sick of the sectarian anti-Semitism promoted at these workshops, and the way she had swallowed it hook like and sinker.

These training sessions are biased. Starmer has handed them to the Zionist Jewish Labour Movement, the sister of the Israeli Labour party. The JLM was formerly Paole Zion and was dying on its anti-Arab tuckus before it suddenly got a massive influx of money from person or persons unknown. It does not represent Labour’s Jews. You don’t have to be Jewish or even a party member to join it, as you do for Jewish Voice for Labour. It conflates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism and is one of the major organisations behind the witch hunt against putative anti-Semites. And an amazing, incredible number of these seem to be secular or Torah-observant Jews. I say ‘incredible’ because I don’t believe a damn word of it. Not after reading the blogs, testimony and comments on mine and Mike’s blogs from the great Jewish peeps who’ve been a victim of this utterly damnable witch hunt. And also the same from genuinely anti-racist gentiles, like Mike himself, who have always been staunch opponent of real anti-Semitism and Nazism. Some of these people, Jews and gentiles, have suffered real anti-Semitic hate crimes, including violence and assault, either because they were Jews or marched against them as friends and allies. Mike was smeared and purged simply for saying that Ken Livingstone was historically correct about Adolf Hitler’s wretched support for Zionism in the Ha’avara Agreement. This made him an anti-Semite despite the fact that when Mike was at College, he gladly took part in a performance organised by one of his Jewish friends commemorating the Holocaust. He was one of the readers reading out the names of just some of those murdered. I have on my bookshelf a book, in German, he sent me, about the Nazi Sicherheitsdienst and its role in the persecution of political prisoners and the Holocaust. It lists some of the names of those butchered, maps showing the locations of the various concentration camps and pogroms and the stats for the numbers of innocents murdered at these various locales. And in answer to the Holocaust Deniers, yes, 6 million did die.

But this comes to nothing. The JLM and related organisations like the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and Labour Friends of Israel, the GnasherJew troll farm and all the scummy rest specialise in going through peoples’ social media posts looking for whatever they can use to twist so that it sound anti-Semitic. That’s how they got self-respecting, anti-racist Jews like Jackie Walker and Tony Greenstein, as well as Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Graham Bash and many, many more. Men and women whose only crime has to criticise Israeli for its barbarous persecution of the Palestinians. Disgust which they also share with anti-racist Zionists – there are a few – and Israelis.

I am utterly disgusted by this and do intend to challenge this in my local party. Whatever Starrmer wants, his vicious, sectarian anti-Semitism is still an issue some of us intend to keep on fighting.

No pasaran to Blairite social Fascism and anti-Semitism!

Is Sajid Javid Now Preparing to Introduce Private Health Insurance

October 14, 2021

I’ve just attended an online meeting on Zoom of my local Labour party in south Bristol. There was an excellent report by our local MP. Karin Smythe, who mostly laid down the issues involved in the government’s new health and social care bill, and Labour’s opposition to it. The opposition largely consists of removing the participation of private healthcare companies on the new commissioning groups the Tories are proposing. They also want an end to compulsory tendering.

All good stuff. And I believe that Smyth is sincere in her opposition, but I don’t have the same faith in Stormfront Starmer.

But she also dropped a bombshell. Sajid Javid also wants to introduce another Health and Social Care Bill and is talking about a ‘Health and Social Care Levy’. No-one is sure what it is, but it looks like a form of private health insurance.

Private health insurance and privatisation. This is the American system that Thatcher wanted to introduce.

I’ve got friends who come from medical families and who trained as doctors and pharmacists. For all you Tories and Blairites reading this, just ask yourselves: Do I have £50,000 to spare for an operation? Because this is the average cost of one.

Do you want to spend the equivalent of £200 simply for seeing your doctor, never mind prescription?

Can I afford £50 to spend on medicine, as this is what some of the medicine that we get from the pharmacies really cost?

40,000 people die every year in America because they no longer can afford their medical treatment.

Inability to afford medical care is either the primary, or at least the secondary cause of bankruptcy in the ‘Land of the Free’.

Do you want this squalid, sorry state of affairs for Blighty and its great people?

I damn well don’t!

If this is true, then Sajid Javid, Matt Hancock, Iain Duncan Smith, Rishi Sunak and Boris Johnson and all the rest are vermin. Utter, murderous vermin.

Email from Local Labour MP Karin Smyth Giving Her Opposition to Tory NHS Privatisation

September 26, 2021

Last week anti-NHS privatisation group We Own It were asking their followers to write to their MPs to get them to oppose the government’s new Health and Social Care bill. This would further open up the NHS to privatisation, not least by allowing private healthcare firms to sit on the boards of NHS trusts. I was one of the peeps, who responded, writing to my local Labour MP for south Bristol, Karin Smyth. Yesterday she sent me this email:

“Dear David,

Thank you for contacting me about the Health and Care Bill 2021-22.

As one of the Labour members on the Bill Committee, I have been following this Bill extremely closely, and doing everything I can to improve it. Whilst there are some positive aspects of the Bill, including reversing some of the devastating policies introduced under the Health and Social Care Act in 2012, there are also some extremely concerning elements.

The Government says the Bill builds on the NHS’s own proposals for reform, aiming to make it less bureaucratic, more accountable, and more integrated. Like many in the health sector, I agree with the objective of more integrated health and care services. But I am concerned that this is the wrong Bill at the wrong time.

Without serious changes, it will fail to integrate health and social care, erode local accountability, and give significant powers to the Health Secretary.

In particular, my Labour colleagues and I are seeking to amend the Bill to remove any possibility that private, profit-motivated firms can have any role in the boards of the new Integrated Care Systems (ICS). During Committee Stage of the Bill, the Health Minister conceded to these concerns and said the Government will bring forward a proposal to protect the independence of ICS boards by preventing individuals with interests in private healthcare from sitting on them. The Opposition will continue to press Ministers on this concession as the Bill progresses.

I’ve also been pursuing the theme of ensuring that the new bodies the Bill creates are properly accountable to local communities, and act in the interest of the patients they serve. Along with Labour colleagues, I supported a number of amendments to make this happen. We proposed that the Chairs of these Integrated Care Boards should be locally elected, and that Board members should be nominated by Directors of Public Health, mental health trusts, social care providers and trade union representatives, and a member representing patients. We also proposed that the Bill should include specific reference to health inequalities, so that NHS England has to take account of their effects when making decisions.

I am committed to upholding the NHS’s founding principles as a comprehensive, integrated, and public NHS that is there for all of us when we need it.

This is a moment of great pressure on the NHS. Yet there is nothing in the legislation to address the greatest challenges facing the NHS. I believe the Government’s focus must instead be on ensuring that services are appropriately staffed and have the resources they need, and have been arguing for greater workforce planning, and equipping local people with the skills and training needed to help alleviate the pressures.

Thank you once again for contacting me about this important issue.

Yours sincerely

Karin Smyth MP
Labour MP for Bristol South”

Smyth is on the right of the party, and has said that she respects and supports Keef Stalin having worked with him. On the other hand, she does work hard for her constituents and has made it extremely clear that she is no fan of the Tories’ attempts to dismantle the NHS. Indeed, she told a meeting of the local Labour party that she became an MP because she was so appalled and David Cameron’s wretched NHS reforms.

I don’t trust Starmer to oppose NHS privatisation whatever he may say about it, simply because he has shown precious little difference between himself and Boris and has broken every promise he made to continue the policies advanced by Jeremy Corbyn.

But I greatly appreciate the hard work Karin Smyth puts in on behalf of the people of Bristol and her local party, and her strong efforts against the Tories’ attempts to destroy the NHS.

My Reply to Karin Smyth MP’s Email about the Anti-Semitism Allegations

September 5, 2021

One of the people I contacted for assistance against the anti-Semitism allegations levelled against me by persons or persons too cowardly to reveal their real identities was my local MP for south Bristol, Karin Smyth. I received this reply from her on the 27th of last month, August 2021, in which she told me that she thought it was inappropriate for her to get involved. She also said that she had confidence in the impartiality of the Complaints Team and that an EHRC report had said that there was a problem with anti-Semitism complaints in the Labour party, and so there was a need to respond to them promptly and fairly. Here’s her email

“Dear David

Thank you for your e-mail.

I believe that it is important that the Labour Party has a clear process to investigate complaints of whatever nature. Therefore, it is not appropriate for me as an MP to get involved with individual cases.

I have confidence in the Complaints Team to investigate allegations fairly. There is an appeal procedure available, should you need it.

As you will know, anti-Semitism has been a very sensitive issue within the Labour Party (the EHRC report in 2019 found significant failings in the way the Labour Party had handled anti-Semitism) and the Party is now doing its utmost to respond to all complaints promptly and fairly.

Yours sincerely

Karin

Karin Smyth
Labour MP for Bristol South”

Repeated observation of the handling of such cases has demonstrated to me that they are anything but impartial. I can appreciate Smyth not wanting to get involved, but am afraid that her personal biases may well be involved. She has said that she has worked with Starmer and has immense respect for him because of his work in establishing the Good Friday Agreement with Mo Mowlam in Northern Ireland. Well, that may be so, and if it is, it’s probably one of the few good things the wretched man has done. As for the EHRC report, others have found that anti-Semitism in the Labour party was lower than in other parties and actually fell under Jeremy Corbyn. Quite apart from the anti-Semitism in a process which particularly targets left wing Jews. I have therefore sent her the following reply.

“Dear Karin,

Thank you for your kind reply to my email asking for assistance in tackling the allegations of anti-Semitism that have been made against me. While I can appreciate some of your reasons for doing so, such as your statement, “I believe that it is important that the Labour Party has a clear process to investigate complaints of whatever nature. Therefore, it is not appropriate for me as an MP to get involved with individual cases.” The rest of your reply is much less satisfactory and, along with your closeness to Keir Starmer, raises serious issues about your own impartiality. 

You say:

“I have confidence in the Complaints Team to investigate allegations fairly. There is an appeal procedure available, should you need it.”

I am aware of the appeals procedure. I have no confidence however, in either the ability or willingness of the Complaints Team to investigate these issues fairly, based on the experiences of friends and colleagues who have been similarly smeared, nor the entire  disciplinary procedure. The courts used to judge these cases are very strongly biased. In the cases of people I know personally who have been through them, members of those tribunals acting for the Labour party have been instructed to avoid looking at particular sections of the accused’s defence which support their case. We are also seeing people expelled for the crime of having given interviews to organisations that Keir Starmer and David Evans wish to proscribe, but were actually perfectly acceptable at the time the interviews were given, such as Pamela Fitzpatrick. I have also noticed that all these allegations are directed against the Labour left, and especially against critics of Israel. Reasonable criticism of Israel and Zionism should be perfectly acceptable. It is not the same as anti-Semitism, although this what my anonymous accusers seem to believe. I was accused of anti-Semitism because I argued that Zionism was a minority position amongst European Jews before the Second World War, which it was according to respectable historians. They also objected to my saying that the real definition of anti-Semitism is hatred of Jews as Jews. There is nothing anti-Semitic in this. This is how the founders of modern anti-Semitism, noxious individuals like Carl von Schoenerer, a 19th century Austrian anti-Semitic politician, actually defined it. There was a disgusting rhyme that demonstrates this. It roughly translates into English as ‘The religion is beside the point. In the blood is the swinishness’. I was also accused because I said that every ideology and state should be open to discussion and criticism, including Zionism and Israel. Which obviously isn’t anti-Semitic, because it does not single out Israel for special or exclusive condemnation.

There have also been a series of high profile cases which in my view have also demonstrated the blatant bias of what can only be called a witch hunt. Jackie Walker was accused of anti-Semitism for remarks she made at a discussion of the commemoration of the Holocaust. The Jewish Labour Movement running the event secretly recorded her and then leaked the recording, despite the fact that this was supposed to be a closed session. Marc Wadsworth was similarly accused of anti-Semitism because of a remark to Margaret Hodge criticising her for passing on a Labour leaflet to a Torygraph journalist. This was supposed to correspond to the trope of the disloyal Jew, despite the fact that it wasn’t. Wadsworth had worked with the Board of Deputies to combat real anti-Semitic attacks by the NF on the Isle of Dogs in the 1980s and didn’t know Hodge was Jewish. And I could go on. I also find it no accident that the majority of those smeared as anti-Semites are themselves Jewish, which indicates to me that there is a kind of very partisan, sectarian anti-Semitism in these accusations. The corrupt way the Labour party has handled these investigations, and the way it has leaked details to the press and local party informing some accused members that they have been suspended, as happened to one member in Wales, but not told the person themselves, indicates that the party and its bureaucracy are deeply untrustworthy.

Then there’s your comment

“As you will know, anti-Semitism has been a very sensitive issue within the Labour Party (the EHRC report in 2019 found significant failings in the way the Labour Party had handled anti-Semitism) and the Party is now doing its utmost to respond to all complaints promptly and fairly.”

Other reports have also found that there is less anti-Semitism in the Labour party than in other parties, and especially the Tories. They also found that it had dropped under Jeremy Corbyn, despite the vilification of the former leader as an existential threat to Britain’s Jews, as well as reports that Corbyn was deliberately prevented from promptly and correctly addressing cases of anti-Semitism by right-wing members of the party apparat determined to discredit him. I am also concerned at the way this is being pushed, while other forms of racism, such as the alleged bullying of Black and Asian MPs and activists and the rising Islamophobia within the party are being ignored and tolerated.

I regret that I see these accusations as nothing short of the ultra-Zionist right trying to silence responsible criticism of Israel and its persecution of the Palestinians, while those following in the Thatcherite traditions of Tony Blair, like Mr Starmer himself, appear to be using it to purge the party of traditional socialists. They are anything but impartial. 

Your closeness to Mr Starmer and statement of faith in the complaints procedure therefore makes me wonder about your possible bias in this, and how far you may be trusted to represent fairly your constituents and ordinary rank and file members on this and related issues.

Yours faithfully,

David Sivier”

I’ve only just sent the email off. I’ll let you know what reply I get, if any.

Anti-Semitism Smears: My Email to Local Labour MP, Karin Smyth

August 21, 2021

As part of my campaign to clear my name of the vile accusations of anti-Semitism that have been anonymously made against me, I have contacted my local MP for Bristol South, Karin Smyth. My email runs

“Dear Karin,

Thank you for all the hard work you have put in for your constituents, your regular briefing to Bristol South Constituency Labour Party and particularly your determination to defend the greatest of British institutions, the NHS. I great appreciate your efforts on this behalf, especially in these arduous times.

I regret that I am contacting you over a personal dispute between me and the NEC, which I find particularly distressing. I have been accused of anti-Semitism, a form of racism of which I have a particular and deep abhorrence. Yesterday I was informed by the Complaints Team at the Labour Party about the matter and instructed to formulate a reply and a defence, if I had one, within seven days. I intend to fight this all the way, as I have always made my opposition to racism, including anti-Semitism, and its related political expressions, Fascism and Nazism, abundantly clear.

I am particularly vexed by the fact that my accusers are anonymous. This is contrary to natural justice and the principles of English law, which says that the accused has the right to face his accuser and question them. I am not convinced by the argument that it is to protect the accuser from anti-Semitic intimidation, as Nazis and anti-Semites are rightly hated by the vast majority of Brits and those who stand up to them correctly viewed as heroes. It is far more like the use of anonymous informants by totalitarian regimes such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet bloc.

I am going to fight these lies and smears, though I regret that knowledge of previous cases has given me little hope that I will win my case. I have no confidence in the NEC and Labour party justice, which I believe to be nothing short of Kafkaesque show trials and kangaroo courts.

I would be very grateful indeed if you could look into this matter and suggest ways in which I may carry my defence further.

Yours faithfully,

David Sivier”

I am also contacting a number of other organisations and individuals about this in order to publicise this grotesque travesty of justice. I will let you know how this goes, and whether I receive replies.

Bristol MP Karin Smyth on her Support for Afghan Refugees

August 18, 2021

I got this email from my local MP, Karin Smyth, in which she states her support for the refugees seeking to flee Afghanistan. She is also harshly critical of Boris Johnson’s attitude towards them, and his decision to accept only 5,000 in the next year. She also states her support for the country’s women who worked for our forces, as well as the 70 female members of the Afghan parliament, and calls for the government to support and protect those, who wish to remain in the country.

“I am writing to update you with my views on the situation in Afghanistan and the response to date of the British government. There is a statement on my website here which addresses some of the wider issues, however in this e-mail I will focus on the needs of the those most at risk from the Taliban regime. 

In his shameful, arrogant and complacent speech to the House of Commons this morning Boris Johnson did confirm that around 20,000 Afghan refugees would be allowed to come to United Kingdom. Shockingly the Prime Minister revealed that only around 5,000 Afghans will be permitted to apply to settle here this year. This puts at risk hundreds of interpreters and support staff who help UK forces in the country, those working for non-governmental organisations and, particularly, those brave Afghan women who stepped forward to improve the governance of their country.
 
His failure in this crisis has been highlighted by MPs from all sides, including a very powerful contribution from Keir Starmer, the leader of the Labour Party which you can watch here.
 
As my Labour colleague Harriet Harman mentioned in the debate, there are nearly 70 women in the Afghan Parliament, many of whom are determined not to leave the country and lose all the gains of the last twenty years. There are also women teachers, doctors and many other professionals at risk in Afghanistan for simply having worked. It is imperative that the UK government offers genuine support for those women.
 
The Prime Minister has so far utterly failed to provide the leadership required. He must expand the re-settlement scheme, removing the arbitrary cap, and make the application process fast and straight-forward. He must also work with our international partners regarding the immediate safety of those currently in Afghanistan and those who may remain in the longer term.

I hope that he will do so.”

So do I, but this is Priti Patel and Boris Johnson. If there’s anything immoral and evil they can do, rather than the right thing, they’ll do it. As much as I detest Starmer, he’s doing the right thing here, as is Harman.

And so is Karin Smyth, who I’m very glad is also adding her voice to this debate and her determination to save the lives of people who have worked for us.

Reply from Local MP Karin Smyth to Letter Against Tory NHS Privatisation

July 19, 2021

Firstly, sorry for my silence the past few days. The TV company we’re with were upgrading the network in our area and we lost internet and TV reception. The TV came back on as expected, but we still couldn’t get the internet. We had to call an engineer out and the first opportunity for one to come was today. Well, he did indeed come and fix it, so all should be up and running as usual. We hope.

Last week I put up a piece about the pro-NHS group, We Own Out, encouraging people to write to their MPs asking them to vote against the Tories’ latest wretched health bill, introducing more privatisation into the NHS. I wrote to my local MP, Karin Smyth, as requested, and got an excellent reply from her last week. Here it is.

“Thank you for your email regarding the new Health and Care Bill which was debated for the first time in the House of Commons yesterday. I voted against the Bill along with my Labour colleagues but it was passed with a large government majority. Jon Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Health, made a very strong contribution and you can read the whole debate on the Hansard website here. There was not time for me, or more than 30 other MPs, to speak so I was unable to place on record yesterday why this legislation is such a missed opportunity which fails patients and their families in Bristol South.

Before I became your Member of Parliament I worked in the NHS and witnessed at first hand the wholesale chaos of the last reorganisation of the NHS in 2012 pursued by the then Conservative/Lib Dem coalition government. Up until that point there had been a general consensus about how to improve healthcare in our country: enhanced GP services, more care within communities to help support people closer to home and a stronger role for local government. Instead of listening to those of us within the NHS about the problems their plans would create the government simply ploughed ahead with a market and competition based system.

So now the government has accepted the almost complete failure of their last attempt and is having another go.

What they should be doing is giving new life to the NHS to enable it to fulfil the objectives set out by its founders in the pioneering post-war Labour government – high-quality healthcare, free at the point of use, fit for the modern world. But instead of a focus on improving care we have a proposals to create nothing more than a cronies charter, giving the Secretary of State huge unaccountable power to interfere in local NHS decision making with dozens of new, appointed, positions of responsibility. There is nothing to tackle the workforce crisis which means it is becoming harder and harder to recruit doctors, nurses and other staff. It is the fault of government, not hard pressed staff,  that people in south Bristol found it difficult to see a GP or were waiting for an operation even before the pandemic.  

In the coming months the Bill will be subject to line-by-line scrutiny and I expect to be part of the committee which undertakes that work. I will have a relentless focus on amending it to improve outcomes for patients and their families, through an integration of health and social care based on quality rather than cost saving or even cost cutting. I want to see effective, locally accountable and properly funded health services of which we can all be proud.

I will be updating you regularly on that work. We must all keep up the pressure on the government to make sure the National Health Service, on which we all rely, can meet our health and care needs in the 21st century.

Yours sincerely

Karin Smyth
Labour MP for Bristol South”

I’m very grateful for her reply. I’ve heard Karin speak before at local meetings of her disgust with the Tories’ privatisation of the NHS. She has said that she became an MP specifically because she felt so strongly about what they were doing to this most precious of British institutions.

I think she is a member of Labour’s right-wing, but am absolutely confident she will fight for the NHS and do exactly as she says she will about scrutinising and opposing this vile piece of legislation.