Posts Tagged ‘Keith Vaz’

Private Eye on New Labour Rigging Party Election in Rotherham

October 26, 2021

This comes from the ‘H.P. Sauce’ column in Private Eye’s edition for 30th November – 13th December 2012 nine years ago. It’s about how Tom Watson, Angela Eagle and Keith Vaz nobbled the party election in Rotherham to exclude the popular candidate and get their people in, to the disgust of the local party. The piece runs

Labour has a dismal record of fixing selection contests, but the “Rotherham fiasco” marks a new low.

After local MP Denis “expenses fiddler” MacShane was belatedly expelled from parliament, the party’s “special selections” committee arrived in South Yorkshire to draw up a shortlist for the by-election on 29 November.

MP Tom Watson presided, supported by Keith Vaz and Angela Eagle, and their first casualty was popular local councillor Mahroof Hussain. He was followed out the door by Yorkshire-based solicitor Richard Burgon, who had the support of nine affiliated trade unions – a record for any potential Labour candidate in recent times.

Watson and chums opted instead for the chief executive of a cancer relief charity, Sarah Champion, and one Sophy Gardner, an RAF Wing Commander. Realising their decision might not go down too well with the comrades, Watson demanded that the vote of the selections committee “not be recorded”.

Hearing of the “fix”, more than 80 members of Rotherham Labour Party duly walked out in disgust, leaving the two endorsed candidates to slug it out, with Champion receiving all of 13 votes to her rival’s 11.

Not everyone was cowed by the order “not to speak to the media.” After the mass exit, one disgruntled comrade told the Rotherham Advertiser: “These people who ‘arrive’ in Rotherham to further their careers and then decide they know enough about us to represent us, make me sick. What a slap in the face to impose someone who has been a card carrying member for two years and a union member for two weeks. You would have thought they had learned a lesson because they imposed MacShane and they say we aren’t capable of choosing a candidate! Excuse me while I go and puke.”‘

This shows just how long the Blairites have been rigging elections, though I’ve no doubt that there were cases going even further back when Blair was parachuting in his preferred candidates to safe Labour seats over the wishes of the local party. Given this piece of prime Blairite corruption, it should have been no surprise when Starmer started changing the selection rules against the Left.

Right-Wing YouTubers Ignore Serious Issues at Labour Conference to Concentrate on Race and Personalities

September 28, 2021

I’ve said several times that as the failure of Thatcherite free market capitalism increases, the Tories will try to divert attention away from it by concentrating instead on issues of race and immigration. And this is has happened in the shape of the right-wing YouTubers Alex Belfield and Sargon of Gasbag and the Lotus Eaters. For example, the privatisation of the utilities ain’t working. This is why Jeremy Corbyn in his brilliant 2019 manifesto argued for their renationalisation. Just over 50 per cent of the British public agree with the renationalisation of the electricity companies with only 14 per cent opposing. Keir Starmer is one of those, as he tied himself up in knots on the Andrew Marr show this Sunday denying that he had ever said he was in favour of nationalisation while he very much had talked in favour of common ownership in his campaign to become party leader. Mike in his piece about it asked what common ownership meant if not nationalisation. Well, there are other forms of social ownership, such as municipalisation. When Blair dropped the commitment to nationalisation – Clause IV – from the Labour constitution back in the 1990s, his apologists stated that it didn’t mean that other forms of common ownership would be ruled out and specifically pointed to municipalisation. On the other hand, people have said that despite these arguments, it was very clear what the removal of Clause IV meant: the end of Labour as a socialist party and a commitment to private enterprise. Conference challenged that as well when they voted overwhelmingly for return of the electricity companies to state ownership.

This is clearly an embarrassment to Starmer, especially as the motion was passed not just by the traditional Labour left, Corbyn’s supporters, but also by members of the party’s right. Which means that people across the party have woken up and realised that the private ownership of the electricity sector isn’t working.

So, how are popular right-wing YouTubers like Belfield, who makes much of having 300,000 supporters, and the Lotus Eaters responding to this decision? Well, from what I can see, they ain’t. Instead Belfield and the Lotus Eaters are making much of the statement by one of the hosts at the Conference yesterday that too many white men were putting their hand up, and that this didn’t represent the diversity of the people in the hall. Belfield and the Lotus Eaters both extensively discuss and criticise diversity and racial issues. Carl Benjamin, aka Sargon of Akkad, is an avowed anti-feminist. You’ll remember that he gained notoriety a year or so ago over a tweet he sent to Jess Philips telling her that he ‘wouldn’t even rape her.’ I think this is quite deliberate. They seem to be trying to appeal to the same constituency as UKIP, of which Sargon was briefly a member and which he helped to destroy. When he joined, everyone who didn’t have such strong views about race or migration immediately denounced his recruitment and left. Academic studies of UKIP, such as for example the book, Revolt on the Right, have found that the party’s core supporters were socially conservative older White men of 50 +, who felt left behind by Blair’s multicultural Britain. At the same time, the core supporters of the Republicans and especially Trump in America were supposed to be angry White men. Which explains why Belfield and the Lotus Eaters have seized on the statement by a conference host which sought to minimise them.

When not exploiting the call for fewer questions from White men, Belfield has been playing up personalities. Keith Vaz has returned, and this has been criticised by Belfield after reports of bullying by him. Belfield also attacked him for supposedly looking the other way when Asian workers in Leeds were being paid starvation wages by their Asian employers, a situation also ignore by Black Lives Matter. It’s a fair point, although the local Labour MP has pointed out that she repeatedly tried to get something done about it but was ignored by the local council. He also repeated the criticisms of Angela Rayner for calling the Tories ‘scum’. Well, it is unparliamentary language, but Nye Bevan, the Labour politico who set up the NHS and welfare state, famously called the Tories ‘vermin’. He was angry about the real poverty and suffering their policies had caused, and to which we’re returning thanks to Cameron’s, Tweezer’s and Johnson’s determination to drag us all back to the Victorian age. And then there’s Claudia Webbe, who stands accused of using misogynistic language against someone and threatening to attack them with acid. This is serious stuff, but it’s a distraction from the serious point that a majority of the party at Conference has decided that electricity privatisation is a failure. This is a direct assault on Maggie, and so can’t be tolerated.

The fact that Belfield and the Lotus Eaters aren’t arguing against electricity nationalisation, which they would have done at one time, shows that part of the Tory media realises very well that it isn’t working. They still support it, but have no arguments for keeping it in private hands.

So all they can do is make personal attacks and hope people will ignore the rest.