Posts Tagged ‘Lib-Dems’

Open Britain Demonstration Against the Tories on Sunday

May 13, 2022

I got this email from the pro-democracy organisation Open Britain earlier this week, announcing a demonstration against Boris and his corrupt coterie in Downing Street on Sunday, 15th May 2020. The email runs:

‘Dear David,

At 2pm this Sunday, 15th May, we will be outside Downing Street to show Boris Johnson and his cronies that we’ve had enough of their lies, excuses, and attacks on democracy. Our message is clear: Boris Johnson is not fit to lead, and we need to act now to stop the rot that is killing our political system. 

We’re proud to announce that Rosie Holt, political comedian and satirist known for playing a role as a Conservative MP, will be our host for the afternoon. 

The following speakers will highlight different aspects of the rotten politics we have in Boris Johnson’s Britain, and point out how we can respond positively: 

David Lammy: Labour MP for Tottenham and Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Affairs.

Peter Tatchell: Human rights activist, campaigner and founder of LGBT rights direct action group Outrage!

Supertanskiii:Political commentator and satirical comedian of online fame.

Marina Purkiss: Political commentator, writer, activist, and campaigner.

Mandu Reid: Leader of the Women’s Equality Party (WEP) and prominent spokesperson for women’s rights in the UK. 

Thomas Brake: Former Lib-Dem MP for Carshalton and Wallington and founder/director of cross-party campaigning organisation Unlock Democracy. 

Additionally, we’re lucky to have DJ Cosette, American DJ, singer-songwriter, and outspoken advocate for progressive politics, providing some tunes to keep things light.

JOIN THE PROTEST | STOP THE ROT | CHOOSE YOUR FUTURE

If you are as concerned as we are about the state of our politics, you won’t want to miss this event. Thanks to the activists above, #StopTheRot will be an afternoon of politics, entertainment and action. We’re going to send Boris a message loud and clear, showing that we’re united against the rot that he and his government have brought to our politics.

We want to know: 

WILL YOU BE THERE ON MAY 15th?

CAN YOU DONATE TO HELP MAKE THIS HAPPEN?

Mark Kieran
CEO, Open Britain’

I can’t do either, but I’m putting this up in case anyone of my readers are interested in attending, or would like to donate.

Ketanji Brown and the Anti-Racist Children’s Book Demonising ‘Whiteness’

March 26, 2022

Ketanji Brown is Biden’s new nomination for the US supreme court. She’s a Black woman of progressive views, and the Republicans have been giving her a right grilling over the past week. There are several objections to her taking up her position. One is that she has a history of giving very lenient sentences, frequently below the recommended length, to perverts possessing child porn. The second is that she is unable to define what a woman is when asked. One of the female Republican politicos asked her that very question, and she replied that, not being a biologist, she couldn’t answer that question. The common sense answer, and the one that nearly everyone would have given a decade ago, is the straight dictionary definition: adult human female. But such straightforward definitions based in biology have become intensely controversial since the rise of the militant trans movement. This instead seeks to define womanhood and masculinity through gender – social sex. A woman, in their view, is simply someone who identifies as one. This has major implications for women’s privacy, safety and sport. Lia Thomas’ victory over his biologically female competitors last week enraged many women because Lia is a biological male with all the advantages. He was able to compete as a woman because he identifies as one. The incarceration of biological men in women’s prisons, simply because they identify as female, is also a major issue. Many of these men are rapists and sex criminals, and there have been a series of assaults and rapes on the biological women they have been incarcerated with. But Brown isn’t the only politico, who can’t give a coherent answer to what a woman is. Jo Swinson, then leader of the Lib Dems, couldn’t when asked last year. Keef Stalin couldn’t when asked if women have cervixes, and declared that it was a question that shouldn’t be asked. Anneliese Dodds and Stella Creasy, also Labour, couldn’t answer it when they were interviewed about International Women’s Day. And Labour’s James Murray also couldn’t answer it when interviewed by Julia Hartley-Brewer on Talk Radio, but simply rejected the biological definition.

But what is also worrying is her attitudes to race. She seems to be a supporter of Critical Race Theory, which seems to me with its rants against ‘Whiteness’ to be simply postmodern anti-White racism. She was asked about a children’s book about raising an anti-racist baby. Aimed at children, this declared that ‘Whiteness is a pact with the Devil’ and shows a White person making just such a deal with Lucifer. I realise that this is intended as a metaphor and that it’s talking about ‘Whiteness’ rather than Whites, but it’s only a very short semantic step from one to the other, a step which critics like James Lindsey see as coming. And metaphorical it may be, but it is similar with how many Blacks really do believe that Whites are demonic.

There’s footage on the web of a Black woman, Angela Shackleford, telling a class of Whites that they ‘were not born into humanity’, will always be the same and are ‘devils to me’. In the realm of religion you have the Nation of Islam, which holds that White people are albinistic mutants created by the evil Mekkan scientist Shaitan to destroy the purity of the Black race. I was told years ago that Rastafarianism also states that White people are devils. And then there’s the Ansaaru Allah Black Muslim sect, whose leader calls Whites ‘Amalekites’ after the Semitic people who warred against Israel as they were passing through the desert on the way to the Promised Land. Their leader’s writings in his text Message to the Blackman in America, is full of anti-White rants, including the remarkable claim that the antichrist has already been born and is a blue-eyed Amalekite. This language is dangerous, because it has been used to stir up real hatred and prejudice against religious and ethnic minorities. For example, in the Middle Ages it was believed that Jews were literally the children of Satan, and this helped foment the pogroms, violence and expulsions directed against them.

And the threat of anti-White racist violence shouldn’t be played down. In 2005 the Guardian reported that racially motivated murders of Whites were almost at the same level as Blacks. Around about the same time it was also reported that Whites constituted the majority of victims of racial abuse and assault. There was also the controversy over the publication of White Girl Bleed a Lot. This argued that there was more mass, communal violence against Whites by Blacks than the other way round. It was denounced as racist, not least because the author seems to have had connections to the far right and had written for World Net Daily. Other criticisms were that his reporting of various events were factually inaccurate.

I really don’t believe that such books and Critical Race Theory in any way help tackle racism. Rather they are intended to teach that all Whites are racist, and that all Blacks can expect from them is racism. Books like that have been around for a very long time. When Mum was a school teacher, she received along with her teaching magazines a list of what the NUT seemed to believe were suitable anti-racist books. There were 20 on the least, and with only a single exception they were all about Black children being racially bullied by Whites. The exception, and the only one I would want to use with a class, was about a young Sikh lad using his swordsmanship skills to survive after the collapse of civilisation. I feel that the proper way to tackle racism in literature and entertainment is to show people of all races cooperating and getting along, in situations that seem natural and unforced. Critical Race Theory does the opposite. It promotes hatred and division, and for that reason many Blacks also despise it. There’s a video online of angry Black father telling a school meeting that he doesn’t want his son taught it. The father hasn’t suffered racism, and he doesn’t want his son taught that it is something he will have to expect either. He wants his son to believe that in America there are no bars to him achieving on the merits of his talents alone. It’s the classic American dream, and although this has certainly not been the experience of everyone, and particularly not people of colour, it’s still admirable.

And definitely better than Critical Race Theory, which is simply anti-White racism with a postmodern twist. Like all racism, it should be discarded and its supporters severely questioned over their suitability to teach and legislate.

Even if, and especially if, they are being nominated as a supreme court judge.

Lobster on the Guardian’s Pro-War and Establishment Propaganda

February 24, 2022

Robin Ramsay, the head honcho of conspiracy magazine Lobster, has added a few more pieces in his ‘View from the Bridge’ column in its most recent issue, 83. Among the interesting snippets is a piece about a talk by Mark Curtis, the editor of Declassified UK about the propaganda and pro-establishment stance of the Groaniad. The piece points out that the newspaper supported Britain’s imperialistic wars in the middle east and elsewhere, ran puff-pieces in support of GCHQ and MI5 and along with the Absurder promoted the anti-Semitism smears against Jeremy Corbyn. Not least because Corbyn posed a serious threat to stopping conflicts like the Saudi war in Yemen. The article runs

Mark Curtis on the Guardian

The historian Mark Curtis is editor of Declassified UK. He spoke at a conference on the Guardian newspaper. Curtis has not posted his talk but here is an account of it:

‘According to Curtis, the Guardian plays a key role in misinforming the British public about foreign affairs and upholding the establishment. It promotes a benign myth of Britain as “the good guys” championing a
rules-based international order, while failing to really cover Britain’s role in World affairs. Indeed, it had been co-opting liberal-minded people into thinking they are being told the truth.
With its wars in Iraq, Libya etc. and its role in supporting countries with bad human-rights records such as Israel and Egypt, Britain had been failing to uphold the rulings and values of the UN and could be reasonably considered “a rogue state”. Curtis also found that the Guardian had unreasonably exempted Britain from responsibility for events in Syria, failing to investigate covert support for jihadist groups in the early part of its civil war. While agreeing with the Guardian’s denunciation of the Trump period and acknowledging the hostile actions of countries like Russia, he thought that the Guardian had been excessively enthusiastic about Anglo-American cooperation under Obama and Biden presidencies.
While the Guardian sometimes exposes how the establishment behaves, it largely acts in support of it, and in recent years it has shredded its capacity to do more independent reporting. Much of this can be explained by what happened since the Snowden revelations, i.e. Britain’s security state took a proactive posture so as to neutralise the independence of the Guardian’s coverage of foreign affairs . . . . It was now running “puffpieces” on the security services, notably GCHQ and MI6, and was often acting as an amplifier and conduit for the state’s media operations of unsubstantiated claims by British intelligence agencies about threats faced by foreign powers.
When in 2015, Britain gained a political leader who might have transformed Britain’s policy towards Saudi Arabia, the Yemen War and elsewhere, the Guardian and the Observer dedicated a huge effort to
undermining the prospect of a Corbyn-led Government. The Guardian’s posture was overtly hostile and it all but accused him of being antisemitic, while demonising the Labour leadership for failing to address antisemitism in the Party. In the four years up to the General Election of 2019, it had published about 1,380 articles on antisemitism and the Labour Party or Jeremy Corbyn.’

https://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/free/lobster83/lob83-view-from-the-bridge.pdf?cache=3

None of this remotely surprises. The accepted view is that the Groan is a Labour party and far-left, but it actually isn’t. There have been numerous times since the 70s where it’s urged its reader to go out and vote Liberal or Lib Dem. In the 1980s one of its journos was promoting the SDP as ‘the sensible party’, as opposed to Labour ‘the loony party’ and the Tories, ‘the patriotic party’. It looks more left-wing than it actually is because of the strong feminist and anti-racist, pro-minority content. And I think Lobster at the time commented on how one of the Groan’s journos backed the Iraq invasion using pretty much the same arguments as the Neo-Cons.

We really don’t have a left-wing press in this country. The Mirror is Blairite, the I is non-aligned, but was very strongly against Corbyn and again, did its level best to push the anti-Semitism smears. The only left-wing newspaper is the Communist Morning Star. Hence the very narrow range of permitted political discussion in this country, in which anything that might smack of renationalising the utilities and the NHS and ditching four decades of Thatcherism is definitely proscribed.

Lobster Review of Book on the Smearing of Labour MP Chris Williamson

November 22, 2021

The conspiracy/parapolitics online magazine, Lobster, has published a review of a new book on the smear campaign against Chris Williamson, Labour, the anti-semitism crisis & the destroying of an MP, by Lee Garratt, Thinkwell Books (thinkwellbooks.org), 2021, £10.00, by John Booth. Booth states that he knows Williamson personally, having sought to work as a volunteer activist in a Tory marginal. He was sent instead to work with members of his local constituency party, who were campaigning in Joan Ryan’s constituency of Enfield North. This was because, he found out later, that Ryan’s supporters put a higher priority on making sure the chair of Labour Friends of Israel retained her seat than the party actually winning an election. Which just confirms what we knew already about the Blairites and the Israel lobby: they don’t mind destroying the party, so long as they retain their grip on it. But Booth decided instead to go to Derby North to help campaign for Williamson.

The book briefly describes Williamson’s career and the attacks on him as part of the manufactured anti-Semitism crisis, the party’s inability to fight back and the process by which unsubstantiated allegations were uncritically accepted by the party as ‘patterns of behaviour’ that required condemnation and punishment. The book also includes Williamson’s correspondence with the party about these smears and attacks. It notes that Williamson had two allies in the shape of Fabian Hamilton, the Jewish MP for Leeds North East, and Laura Smith, who was at the time MP for Nantwich. It also discusses Williamson’s critics, including Ruth Smeeth, Margaret Hodge and Luciana Berger, who actually stood as a Lib Dem candidate in the north London constituency in which Booth had hope to campaign for Labour. Booth is extremely impressed by a passage in Garratt’s book which makes it clear how absolutely vacuous all this screaming about anti-Semitism is. For all that the Blairites, Tories and Board of Deputies screamed that the party was a hotbed of Jew-hatred, hardly anyone has actually been arrested and charged by the rozzers despite the fact that it is a crime in this country. The passage runs

‘It should be acknowledged that, in modern Britain, anti-semitism is a criminal offence. One can, and should, report it to the police. Consequently, one would expect that any “anti-semitic crisis” in the
Labour Party – at the level and over the timescale that has been alleged – would have resulted in a significant number of criminal convictions. At this point in time then, one may ask, how many Labour MPs have been found guilty of committing an anti-semitic crime? The answer is zero. For those frothing at the mouth regarding Ken Livingstone, Chris Williamson or Jeremy Corbyn, this must come as a surprise.
What about at the CLP [Constituency Labour Party] level? Surely constituencies such as Berger’s Liverpool Wavertree, seen by The Guardian and Berger as festering hotbeds of “anger, denial and prejudice”, would have harboured CLP individuals ripe for committing such crimes? The answer is, up to this point, not one Labour constituency member has been found guilty of committing an antisemitic crime.
Indeed, to find evidence of any anti-semitic acts that have resulted in police action, anywhere in the country amongst Labour’s half a million members, is difficult. There seems to have been only a handful of
members scattered around who have faced criminal charges. And to my knowledge, at this moment in time, not one of them has been found guilty.
This surely is an improbable state of affairs, particularly for an issue that can easily be dealt with in court. Moreover, for such a “crisis” to lack any evidence in relation to its existence, is quite an embarrassment. One looks in vain for the simple acknowledgement of this reality in either party or the media.’

Garratt goes on to describe the anti-Semitism smear campaign as a manufactured witch-hunt comparable to that of Senator McCarthy. Booth concludes his review

There is a wider and deeper context to this “non-story” which I and 2 others, as well as targeted Jewish members of the Labour party, have tried to describe. But by narrowing the focus upon the abusive treatment of Chris Williamson and by adhering to standards higher than those of his dishonest opponents and their mainstream media allies, Garratt has performed a very valuable democratic service. Are there many people left in the Labour party to act on his warning?

I honestly don’t know, as Starmer is continuing his campaign of throwing members out on the flimsiest of excuses. That’s when he can be bothered to find one. With the Blairites and Israel lobby working hard to make sure that people only see their propaganda, I felt it important to put this review up as a reply to it. Especially to book’s like Dave Rich’s, which was part of the anti-Semitism smear campaign against Labour and promoted the lies that Corby and the party were anti-Semitic. As Rich is either head, or something big in the Zionist Federation, this is what you’d expect unfortunately.

The Lobster review can be read at https://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/free/lobster82/lob82-labour-anti-semitism.pdf

There is also a longer review of the book by the estimable Tony Greenstein, which can be read on Tony’s blog at: https://tonygreenstein.com/2021/09/book-review-labour-the-anti-semitism-crisis-and-the-destroying-of-an-mp/

Protests Planned Saturday against the Privatisation of the NHS

June 29, 2021

I went to an amazingly great pro-NHS zoom meeting last night organised, I think, by the anti-NHS privatisation organisations We Own It and/or Keep Our NHS Public. The speakers included Dr. Louise Irvine and Antonio Perez-Iranzo, a Spanish doctor working in the NHS, who described how Centene, the private health care company that’s being given positions on NHS boards and allowed to take over doctors’ surgeries, has managed to wreck healthcare in his home country. They were so terrible that eventually the Valencian government was forced to take the service back inhouse and kick them out. Rabina Khan, a Lib Dem councillor in Tower Hamlets, talked about her experience of the poor service they delivered when they took over the traditional GP’s surgery at which she was a patient. She was particularly concerned about the effect of privatisation on the elderly, and on Black and Bangladeshi women. Another speaker told of the vastly poorer service they gave when they were given NHS contracts and acquired GPs’ surgeries in Nottingham. The final speaker was Jeremy Corbyn, introduced as the ‘best Prime Minister this country never had’. Absolutely. He provided more details on the continuing NHS privatisation, showing his absolutely and unfailing commitment to the great institution created by Nye Bevan. He reminded everyone that one he waved the documents showing this was going to happen in parliament and asked Johnson about it, prime ministerial liar called him a liar. But he was right, and if, anything, understated the case. There was also time given for ordinary folks to ask their questions and give their experiences of the destruction of the NHS by these parasites.

In every case, the story was the same. Centene are given the contracts without warning, over the heads of local people, patients and even other doctors. Notification of the change comes from a bland, corporate letter and people are urged to get on Zoom for further information. This is a problem for older people, those not on the internet or who have problems using it, and people for whom English is not their primary language. Centene is a for-profit American health insurance company. Already big, it became massive in America with the introduction of Obamacare. It states in its corporate literature that it is only interested in making a profit, and that if this doesn’t happen, it will divest itself of those loss-making interests. Louise Irvine stated that, as a doctor, you don’t think of making a profit, even though since the inception of the NHS doctors are actually private businessmen, who contract in to the NHS. The only way to make a profit is to reduce costs. Which means sacking people and actually providing a worse service by reducing the amount of care given. In Nottingham, when Centene took over the service, they dispersed 3,000 of the 11,000 patients in their newly acquired GPs’ surgeries to others.

They are purely in it for the money, the profits of which go outside this country to their American shareholders.

Keep Our NHS Public is planning a demonstration against the privatisation of the NHS In London on Saturday, 3rd July 2021. This also includes issues like patient safety, and pay justice. They are going to assemble outside UCH on Euston Road, NWI at 12.00 before marching to parliament square. There are other protests also planned elsewhere in the country for the same day. Details of them can be found at their website https://keepournhspublic.com/ They also recommended people looking at an essay on this privatisation by a member of the Socialist Health Alliance, whose website is https://sochealth.co.uk.

They are naturally extremely keen for people to join their organisation or set up their own. Whatever we do, we have to organise to show the strength of opposition to this privatisation. They state it will be a long struggle, but people have succeeded in getting contracts taken away from the profiteers Serco, Circle Health and others.

The message is clear: Get rid of Centene and the other private companies profiting from the NHS. Get Boris out, and a proper government in, one committed to ending NHS privatisation.

And that does not include the Labour Blairites, who were as keen to privatise the NHS as their Tory heroes.

Yes, Young Radicals Really Are Leaving Labour for the Greens

June 13, 2021

Yesterday Mike put up a piece about the shift in voting intention among the young. Many of them are choosing to support the Greens rather than the Labour party. According to stats from the Tory-owned YouGov, 27 per of young people intend to vote Green, as against 35 per cent for Labour and 21 per cent Conservative. Mike and the peeps on Twitter were in no doubt that it was because of Starmer’s miserable leadership. If you punish the previous leader of the party by suspending him, ‘throw the Palestinians under the bus and give in to flag-shaggers’, as Frank Owen’s Legendary Paintbrush said, ‘you lose the youth vote’. Not only that, but if you go back on your election promises to renationalise the NHS and the utilities, strengthen the welfare state and restore the trade unions and workers’ rights, and start giving people a decent living wage, you will lose voters, and not just the young ones. These were all extremely popular policies, but they’re anathema to the Tory Labour right. Hence Starmer has broken all of these promises. They are also not going to support a leadership that seems more determined to purge the Labour left – which is really just traditional, centrist Labour – than fight the Tories.

As it stands, Starmer doesn’t represent anything. He’s an opportunist, as shown the other day when he pledged to back Trans self-ID after people have started questioning it and the danger it represents to women. Most supporters of the trans ideology undoubtedly do so out of conviction, but this looked like a cynical attempt to garner support from the gay and trans communities.

Young people tend to be more radical than their elders, and this generation are particularly worried about the environment. It can be seen in the rise of Extinction Rebellion, who are damned nuisance in my opinion, but I don’t doubt they’re right about the environment. I don’t have the stats available at the moment, but the YouGov figures certainly tally with the results in Bristol at the council elections. Many wards elected Green councillors, particularly in the more radical areas of the city.

Britain’s young people are suffering. Their education has suffered because of the Coronavirus lockdown, their job prospects are also in doubt because of the effect the lockdown has had on the economy, they’re mired in debt thanks to the massive hike in tuition fees brought about by the Tories’ Lib Dem collaborators and the welfare state no longer exists to support them, or anybody else. And they are worried about possible irreversible damage to the Earth’s ecosystem and the final extinction of life, including humanity, on our beautiful world.

They and the rest of the British people need and deserve better. The Tories will always be the Tories, the Lib Dems have no principles when it comes to power, and under Starmer Labour has been hollowed out and turned into a vestigial, sham opposition. So they’re going to the Greens. I don’t this will trouble Starmer, as the attitude among the Blairites seems to be that so long as the party is kept out of the hands of its traditional supporters, the socialists and working class, then everything’s great. Even if the party goes under or loses its place as the main opposition party.

But the party’s real supporters and activists demand better. They want a proper Labour party that stands up for working people. And that means

Starmer must go!

Labour is losing young voters to the Greens – because of Starmer | Vox Political (voxpoliticalonline.com)

Tom Mayhew Skewering the Lies about Benefit Claimants with Laughter

March 18, 2021

Okay, I finally stayed up last night to listen to Radio 4’s Tom Mayhew Is Benefits Scum. I blogged about this programme a little while ago when I first read about it in the Radio Times. I said that it looked like it was worth listening to, as it seemed that it would tell the truth about what it’s really like to live on benefits. This is as opposed to the various ‘poverty-porn’ documentaries like Benefits Street, that seek to portray everyone on welfare as a scrounger. Unfortunately, it’s on at 11.00 pm on Wednesday evenings, which is a bit past my usual bedtime. But last night I actually managed to stay up and listen to it.

It’s not long, only a quarter of an hour in length, and mixes staged recreations of meetings with Jobcentre staff and benefits advisors, and stand-up, observational comedy based on Mayhew’s own experience of the benefits system. He also had a guest performer, Francesca Inez, a disabled woman, who gave her own perspective on how unfair and humiliating the system’s treatment of the disabled is.

It started out in the Jobcentre, where Mayhew was being asked by the clerk if he had really been spending 35 hours a week looking for work. Had he gone for that job as a miner as he should have done? Going out, he found his friend Francesca lying on the floor. She had gone through the process of seeing what would be the ideal job for her, and told it was ballet dancer. She had fallen over trying to practise. Mayhew commiserated with her, telling her that the machine had told him his ideal jobs were footballer, boxer and the Queen’s butler.

This sketch led into Inez herself talking about the grotesque injustice of the benefits system. She said people ask her what should be the proper relationship between government agencies and the disabled over benefits. She said it should be a partnership between the government and the claimant’s doctor. Unfortunately, this had been scrapped by New Labour, who had decided that a sizable number of claims for disability benefit were fraudulent, and so had introduced the Work Capability Test. In fact, the proportion of fraudulent claims was 0.05 per cent, so it was in fact easier for Mayhew to get a job as a footballer than to commit benefit fraud. She asked who would seriously want to be unable to go out on their own, to go to the toilet on their or prepare their own food, all for the sake of £100 a week. She was also massively unimpressed by the clerks the Department for Work and Pensions send round to make sure that claimants really are disabled. ‘Oh, I’m just here to see if you’re still wobbly’, she imitated one saying. He reply was ‘Well, I’ll give you a wet shave, and then you tell me.’

Mayhew also attacked the sanctions system. He thought you were only sanctioned if you deliberately tried to mislead or play the system. But no! He found himself sanctioned for eight weeks simply because he’d sent the wrong form in. But he’d been told that it would take eight weeks for his case to be reviewed. How strange, then, that he had his benefits restored after only four after he’d written to him MP. He then gave a shout-out to David Gauke, a Tory, saying how weird it was that a Tory MP should actually help someone on benefit.

He argued that it was wrong to call welfare payments ‘benefits’. Benefits sounds like something extra on top of one’s wages. Instead it should be called ‘Survival Money’, because you needed it to survive. This would make it difficult to have people thrown off it as well. Depriving someone of benefits sounds much better than removing their survival money. And as for sanctions, how does being hungry make someone better at finding work?

He also joked about the massive lack of self-esteem people on benefits have. He told one story of how he’d been accosted by a man while walking back from the Jobcentre. The man had told him that he should carry himself with a bit more confidence, head held high, because if he’d been a mugger, Mayhew would have been an easy target. It was, Mayhew jested, a Virtual mugging in which he’d been robbed of his self-respect. He then told another one about a mugger marching him to a cash machine, telling him he was going to leave him with nothing. ‘How kind of him to clear my overdraft!’

More seriously, Mayhew told a chilling anecdote which showed how easy it is for desperate, starving young men to be reduced to selling their bodies for sex. He’d met someone at a gathering, and they promised to get in touch with each other again via email. A few months later he got one from this man. Mayhew replied to him, saying he was in a bad patch financially, and asked him for £50. He told him he’d be able to pay him back in two month’s time. The man replied that he couldn’t give him any money, but he would pay him £200 to have sex with him. Mayhew joked that he didn’t, as he wouldn’t do anything like that for less than £350. But for a moment he was tempted. Poverty has often forced desperate women into prostitution, but this story showed it could also happen to men.

I had a great, appreciative comment by Mayhew to my original blog piece about his programme. He asked me if I could do something to further publicise his programme, because he’d been going through the papers and hadn’t found any reviews of it. Listening to his programme, it was easy to understand why: he was too sharp, and told the truth.

Right-wing rags like the Heil, the Scum and the Depress sell copies by spreading moral panic about benefit claimants. They actively paint them as scroungers and malingerers, as does right-wing internet radio host Alex Belfield. Although rather more polite, the same attitude also pervades the Torygraph and the Times. These papers very definitely do not want their Thatcherite ideals contradicted by people, who’ve been at the sharp end of the system, showing their readers they’re perfectly decent, honest people and telling them how dysfunctional, humiliating and malign the system really is.

And unfortunately I don’t see the supposedly left-wing press being much better. The Mirror, the Graun and the Absurder have all struck me as being Blairite New Labour, who wholeheartedly embraced Thatcher’s contempt and persecution of the unemployed, the sick and the disabled. The Graun has many times urged people to vote Lib Dem in recent elections, so again, these papers won’t want their readers disabused of some of their received notions.

Added to this is the current campaign by the Tories and their lapdog press to destroy the Beeb. This is partly because the Tories depend for their propaganda on the favour of Rupert Murdoch and his papers, who hates the Beeb as an obstacle to his domination of the global media. They also hate the idea of a state TV broadcaster as part of their opposition to any kind of state intervention, as well as the idea of an impartial, public service broadcaster. Hence the attempt to set up various rivals to the Beeb by the Times.

As a result, the papers have been running stories about how the BBC is too left-wing and too ‘woke’. Belfield put up a video a day or two ago rejoicing over the cancellation of Nish Kumar’s The Mash Report. Director-General Tim Davie had supposedly cancelled it because it was too biased towards the left. Belfield went further, and claimed that the real reason it was axed was because it wasn’t funny and was helmed by a ‘box-ticker’ – his term for a person of colour or other minority, who’s been given a job because of their identity rather than talent. Kumar’s Asian, so Belfield’s comment looks just a tad racist to me. Belfield claimed that cancelling Kumar’s show wouldn’t make any difference, as the Beeb as a whole is too left-wing and needs to be privatised.

It’s obvious from this that the right-wing media, then, aren’t going to give a good review to an explicitly left-wing comedy show. I also think that class is also an issue here. New Labour, it has been pointed out, was liberal but not socialist. Blair had turned his back on the working class, and instead New Labour concentrated on trying to recruit the middle classes. The left-wing elements of New Labour ideology was a concern with combating racism and other forms of prejudice, such as against gays, and promoting feminism and better opportunities for women. I think defending and promoting the disabled is in there, so long as they are properly respectable and not benefit scroungers. Mayhew is working class, and so isn’t of interest according to New Labour ideology.

All of which means that, unfortunately, the press isn’t prepared to give a hearing to something like this. Which is a pity, as it’s very good. Mayhew tells his stories and his jokes in a normal, conversational tone. He doesn’t harangue or shout for effect, as many comedians do. And he’s actually very witty. To simulate a studio audience, the show used canned laughter because it was impossible to have a live audience due to the Coronavirus. Mayhew made a couple of jokes about how the imaginary audience hadn’t paid for their tickets. He then told how, after one gig, he’d been accosted by an unhappy audience member. Why didn’t he get a proper job instead of standing there complaining, asked the man. To which he replied, ‘Have you seen my show?’ He then commented that at least he was a Tory who had paid for his ticket. He also made jokes about other people, being paid to do nothing all day. Like MPs.

It’s a pity the shows on so late on a weekday night, as it’s a funny, necessary antidote to the constant propaganda being pumped out about benefit claimants being scroungers. I don’t know anything about Francesca Inez, but from what I heard she deserves a place with the other disabled comedians, who have appeared on TV. At the very least, she deserves an endorsement from DPAC because of the way her comedy tries to bring their concerns to public attention. The show also demonstrates very clearly why we need a public service broadcaster, as it’s only a broadcaster like the Beeb that would take a chance on a show like it.

I think it’s only a four part series, and concludes next week. If this sounds like the kind of thing that tickles your funny bone and you also agree with its message, then please tune in.

I hope this is the start of a great career for Tom Mayhew, and that the show later gets repeated in an earlier slot when hopefully more people can hear it.

Tony Benn on the Misrepresentation of ‘Moderates’ versus ‘the Left’ in the Labour Party

September 28, 2020

I fond this passage, ”Moderates’ versus ‘Left Wing’ – a Misleading Description’ in Tony Benn’s Argument’s for Democracy, edited by Chris Mullin (Harmondsworth: Penguin 1981). In it, the great man shows that its the Labour party as a whole that’s moderate, and those the media describes as moderates aren’t always moderate Labour, but just as likely Tories or Lib Dems. He writes

First, the uxse of the adjectives ‘moderate’ and ‘left wing’ mjerits some examination. The Labour Party, being avowedly socialist in its aims, is itself left wing and so are all its members, as compared to the Conservatives and Liberals. Moreover, the term ‘moderate’ is equally confusing. By any world standard of socialism, the entire Labour Party is exceptionally moderate, offering, even in its supposedly ‘full-blooded’ manifestos in the past, the most modest proposals for changes in the structure of wealth and power, all to be achieved firmly within the framework of parliamentary democracy, complete with regular and free general elections. The main characteristics of the ‘left wing’ of the party are that it may be more analytical and philosophical in its approach, and more committed to carrying through the policies agreed at conference, once they have been endorsed by the electorate and a Labour government is in power. By contrast, some of the self-proclaimed ‘moderates’ have ended up in other political parties. Whatever else they turned out to be, the were not moderate socialists but committed Conservatives or Liberals. Thus the labelling now in general use is not very accurate in describing the wide spread of opinion within the party, and the spirit of tolerance to be found among people of differing views. (p. 35).

Everything Benn said is right, and unfortunately as true now as it was when he wrote it nearly forty years ago. The Labour Party has always been very moderate in its approach to socialism. That’s why it aroused such scorn from Lenin and the Communists, and why historically even other continental socialists, who had more moderate views, looked down upon the Labour party as something that wasn’t really, or was just barely, socialist.

And we’ve seen that the so-called ‘moderates’ in the Labour party were and are anything but. They’re neoliberal Thatcherites, true-blue Tories. They were caught intriguing against Jeremy Corbyn in order to prevent the Labour Party winning the 2017 and 2019 elections. In their struggles to overthrow him, some of them even appealed to Tories and Lib Dems to join constituency Labour parties. One of the intriguers was, apparently, a member of a Conservative internet group, and more extreme in his bitter hatred of Corbyn and his supporters than the real Tories. But you’ll be purged as a member of the hard left and an anti-Semite if you dare mention this. It’s only Corbyn and his supporters that are infiltrators.

As for Jeremy Corbyn and the Left, I’ve said many times before: Corbyn wasn’t particularly. The policies he adopted and advocated were traditional Labour policies of a mixed economy, strong welfare state, properly nationalised NHS and strong trade unions able to protect working people. This is the social democratic consensus which governed this country from the end of the Second World War to Thatcher’s election in 1979. It is not even remotely Communist or Trotskyite. But the media have bellowed and screamed that it is, and unfortunately there are too many people who believe this flagrant lie. People who have no idea what Communism is, or what Trotsky said.

Tony Benn: the greatest Labour leader and Prime Minister this country never had.

Gogglebox Clip Shows Starmer’s Uselessness as Opposition Leader

September 27, 2020

Mike’s mentioned this in his piece about Starmer now trying to win back donors to the Labour party when its haemorrhaging ordinary members thanks to his return to Blairism. One of the shows the peeps on Channel 4’s Gogglebox watched on Friday was an interview by Andrew Marr of Keir Starmer. And unfortunately, if the clip can be believed, Starmer was completely trounced by Marr.

The Labour leader was repeatedly asked what he would do about the Covid crisis. Starmer’s reply was a refrain of ‘We support the government’. Marr remarked that Starmer had done so much condemning past Tory policies in retrospect that Johnson had called him ‘Dr. Hindsight’. This is biting, but it appears from the clip that Starmer has earned. He was presented as having nothing to say against Johnson and his policies, which are wrecking this country, and impoverishing and destroying the lives and livelihoods of its people.

Starmer’s performance at PMQ’s has shown that when he does care to attack Johnson, he can land devastating blows. And it shouldn’t be hard. Johnson’s administration is one long catalogue of abject failures and U-turns. So much so, in fact, that Zelo Street has presented some very persuasive posts arguing that the Tories are considering easing him out and replacing him with someone else, like Michael Gove, Rishi Sunak or Priti Patel. But Starmer seems determined to put up only the weakest, most ineffectual opposition.

This is almost certainly because Starmer’s a Blairite. Blair’s policy was to take over those of the Conservatives and try win over their voters and their press and media. He was a neoliberal, whom Margaret Thatcher regarded as her greatest achievement. Much of New Labour campaigning was based on the claim that they could implement these policies better and more efficiently than the Tories themselves. They also made a feeble effort to retain their traditional working class support by presenting themselves as being less extreme and harsh in their welfare reforms than the Tories. But as one of the Blairite women MPs – I think it may have been Rachel Reeves – announced that Labour would be harder on the unemployed than the Tories, this claim is extremely dubious. Blair, Brown and their cronies also expected to retain working class support because they didn’t think they had anywhere else to go.

That argument doesn’t work. Some members of the working class simply stopped voting Labour. Others, a minority, moved to the right and started supporting UKIP and then the Fuhrage’s Brexit party. And many in the traditional Labour heartlands of the north and midlands were won over at the last general election by the Tories’ promise ‘to get Brexit done’. Starmer and the Labour leadership shouldn’t be so complacent about working class support.

But Starmer has shown that he has little idea or even interest in winning back traditional Labour supporters. Despite the vicious hostility the Tories and their complicit media succeeded in whipping up against Jeremy Corbyn, Labour’s policies – nationalised utilities, a properly funded, state owned NHS that provides treatment to everyone, free at the point of service, strong trade unions and restored worker’s rights, and a proper welfare state that gives people what they really need and deserve to live on, instead of forcing them to rely on food banks and charity. But this conflicts with Blairite neoliberalism, and so Starmer has shown that he’s determined to move away from them and the working class in order to present Labour yet again as a pale imitation of the Conservatives.

It seems very much to me that Starmer and his supporters were never primarily against the Tories. They were just anti-Corbyn. Especially considering the allegations about the Blairite plotters and how they actively conspired to have the party lose the 2017 and 2019 elections. Through the past years they called on Tory and Lib Dem supporters to help them in their campaign against the Labour leader. Alistair Campbell even went as far as campaigning for the Lib Dems.

The result is Starmer’s appallingly feeble performance in the clip shown on Gogglebox. Starmer’s determined to hang on to Blairite policies, but Mike has argued that they won’t work this time. The Tories are destroying this country, and what is needed is a complete change of policies, not just a change of parties.

Starmer and his Blairite policies are wrecking the Labour Party. He should go, and make way for someone better able to attack and defeat the Tories.

See: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2020/09/27/starmer-runs-out-of-credibility-and-cash-and-runs-to-the-rich-as-labour-supporters-run-away/

The Guardian Is Dying and I Have No Sympathy

July 21, 2020

On Saturday Zelo Street revealed that there’s a real crisis at the Grauniad. Its readership has plummeted and in response, Kath Viner has announced a swingeing round of job cuts and redundancies. Whole sections of the Saturday edition will vanish for good. The Street went on to ponder whether left-wingers should go on defending and buying it. One the one hand, the standard of its journalism is a cut above the rest of the press. On the downside, it ain’t the paper it was ten years ago.

In Zelo Street’s opinion, the paper has conceded too much to the press pack and the groupthink that infests the rest of the media. It would not expose political corruption, like the Hamilton scandal that caused such outrage and merriment in the 90s. Nor would it expose the phone-hacking scandal. It would not go out on a limb to defend whistleblowers from the intelligence agencies, like Edward Snowden. As regards the Labour Party, it backed Ed Miliband against Corbyn, and then Kier Starmer. And it always reported on Corbyn from the hostile perspective of his enemies. And so now it is on its last legs, its supporters like Zelo Street are wondering whether to go on with it. As you can tell from the replies his piece has received, others are very sure they won’t. They despise it for his fascination with America, which has turned its politics to that of American Democratic centrism, way to the right of traditional British politics.  They despise the fact that Viner and her lead columnists are all alumni of Oxford University, so that their views reflect those of the metropolitan bubble. And they really hate it for its Blairism, pushed by people like Marina Hyde and Polly Toynbee. This was another cause of its fascination with America, among other things. Blair was a firm Atlanticist, and wished to turn the Labour Party into the domestic equivalent of the Democrats.And they also hate the way it pushed the anti-Semitism smears under Jonathan Freedland.

See: https://zelo-street.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2020-07-19T10:30:00%2B01:00&max-results=20

I share their feelings. I can’t say I’m a Guardian reader – I’ve only ever read it occasionally. In some ways it’s too left for me, and too right-wing in others. As regards the Labour party, it and the Absurder have a long history of promoting the Liberals in the 1975 general election. I believe that in the 2017 election it actually ran an editorial telling people to vote Lib Dem.

And it tried everything it could to smear Corbyn. One of the most risible was a letter it published from some deranged female, arguing that he and Bernie Sanders were obviously homophobes and misogynists because they preferred loose, baggy clothing over fitted outfits. This was back to the bad old days of the male-dominated trade union movements of the 1970s. This was published despite the fact that Bernie has turned up at the invitation of many women’s groups and feminist rallies because of the support he’s given the American women’s movement. I’m sure the same is true for Corbyn. As the former Labour leader has listed break-making as one of his hobbies, he can’t be said to be a stickler for upholding traditional gender roles.

And then there was the anti-Semitism smears. They were pushed as hard as they could by Freedland and others. Many of the hacks, like Jessica Elgot, who co-penned the recent article repeating the libel that Mike was an anti-Semite, were out-and-out members of the extreme Zionists now comprising the British Jewish establishment. As I’ve blogged again and again, they define anti-Semitism almost wholly in terms of anti-Zionism. No Jewish voices critical of Israel, whether liberal Zionist or anti-Zionist, religious or secular, may be allowed to be heard. Historical truth is covered up and propaganda and lies pushed in its place. Corbyn was never an anti-Semite, and neither were his followers. Especially not his followers. But they pushed it until this gentle man, who has actually done so much in his career to support the Jewish community, appeared to be little less than Hitler incarnate.

Rusbridger wasn’t perfect. He seemed almost an enamoured of Blair as the rest of the media. But he stood up to the Israel lobby. He appears in Peter Oborne’s documentary for Channel 4’s Dispatches on the Israel lobby describing how, when he accurately reported atrocities committed by Israel and her Christian allies in Lebanon, he would be paid a visit by the head of the Board of Deputies and his pet lawyer, screaming that it was anti-Semitic. As they did to everyone, even highly respected foreign correspondents like Jeremy Bowen and Orla Guerin at the Beeb. Now that situation has been reversed, with Groaniad hacks publishing dangerous, vile nonsense about how politicos from Poland’s Law and Justice party, which has a streak of anti-Semitism a mile wide, aren’t really Jew-haters because they’re good friend of Israel. Israel is a good friend of every murderous bastard, even if they are real Nazis, so long as they buy their guns and armaments.

Most of the Groaniad’s readers were left-wing Labour. They heartily supported Corbyn, and the Graun repaid them by attacking their hero and, by extension, they themselves, at every opportunity. And the hacks themselves were also hypocrites. One of the commenters on Zelo Street’s article states that none of the named, celebrity hacks on the rag was willing to take a pay cut to protect the jobs of the minions further down the journalistic ladder. And despite its own attacks on the system of unpaid internships, it used more unpaid workers than the other rags.

Viner has only herself to blame for this mess. If she wanted to win back readers, she’d go back on all this, clear out the Blairites and start producing reports and comment from a genuine, traditional Labour perspective. She start protecting whistleblowers and start writing genuinely critical articles against Israel and defend those falsely accused of anti-Semitism. But she won’t do that, because she’s a Blairite through and through.

She is killing the Guardian. And as it stands now, I and thousands of others don’t care if it dies.