Posts Tagged ‘Private Eye’

Tony Greenstein on the Neocon Warmongering of Nick Cohen, Private Eye’s ‘Ratbiter’

March 20, 2019

This fortnight’s edition of Private Eye contains yet another piece by ‘Ratbiter’ promoting the fake story that Corbyn’s Labour party is just one seething mass of anti-Semites, and making these allegations against a couple of people in particular. I’ll blog about these latest claims in due course, as they’re very similar to the accusations used against others like Mike, who are very definitely not anti-Semites.

‘Ratbiter’ is the pseudonym used by GuardianObserver journalist Nick Cohen. According to a piece Tony Greenstein put up on his blog in October last year, 2018, Cohen at one time used to be a respectable journalist. He started writing for the Groan / Absurder during Blair’s tenure of No.10, but what actually respectable. He defended immigrants and asylum seekers against Blair’s attempts to demonise them and tighten up the anti-immigration legislation. And then along came 9/11, and he became a determined critic of Islam and a fervent supporter of Bush and Blair’s invasion of Iraq. Greenstein described this part of his journalistic career in a piece he put up defending Jon Lansman, the head of Momentum, who seems to believe the anti-Semitism smears. Cohen had attacked him for not doing enough to purge the organisation of Greenstein himself. Here’s how Greenstein described Cohen and his turn to the Right.

But first let me digress. There was a time, at the beginning of the Blair government, when Nick Cohen was a decent journalist. I even looked forward to reading his column in The Observer. No one was a more indefatiguable defender of asylum seekers from the depredations of a racist New Labour government than Cohen. Cohen was a mainstream Tribune style journalist.

Then something happened. As with Christopher Hitchens it was 9/11 and then the war with Iraq.  From being a left-wing journalist Cohen became transformed into an anti-Muslim bigot. No one, not even David Aaronovitch, banged the war drum more assiduously than Cohen. He did it, he said, in support of his anti-Baathist Iraqi friends, seemingly oblivious to the hundreds of thousands dead in Iraq, the murderous rampages of American troops, the torture centres and the deliberate policy of setting Shi’ites against Sunnis with all the devastatingly sectarian consequences that followed. To Cohen Iraq was a holy war and unlike Aaronovitch he never publicly recanted (Aaro promised to eat his hat, although to my knowledge this never happened).

Instead Cohen became one of the authors and founders of the short-lived Euston Manifesto group of neo-cons and imperialists. For him opposition to war meant you were inextricably intertwined with Islamic fundamentalism and inherently anti-Semitic. Naturally when Jeremy Corbyn came along Cohen joined the rest of the chorus at the Guardian/Observer in his ceaseless attacks on Labour’s most radical and left-wing leader ever. Nothing was too dirty or discredited to attack Corbyn with but it is nonetheless worth remembering that once upon a time Nick Cohen was a decent and genuine journalist.

Today Cohen operates under the pseudonym of ratbiter at Private Eye, acting as a conduit for whatever misinformation about the Left that the Right supplies him with. It is an appropriate name as his journalism, if that’s the right word, is certainly verminous. In this capacity he has written a series of attacks on Momentum’s Left in Brighton and in particular on my friend and comrade Greg Hadfield.

Greenstein then turns to taking apart the lies, smears and inaccuracies Cohen has made against the Momentum left in Brighton in that fortnight’s issue of Private Eye in a piece entitled ‘The New Nasty Party’. And he also reveals another magazine Cohen writes for: The Speccie. Greenstein writes

As befits a good socialist, not only does Nick Cohen write in Private Eye but he is a columnist at that well known socialist weekly The Spectator. And there it was that he attacked poor Lansman for not doing enough in the fight against ‘anti-Semitism’. Cohen starts off his column with the brainless comment that ‘being a Jew on the Corbyn left is soul crushing.’

Greenstein also add the remark that he was tempted to ask Cohen how he would know, as Cohen isn’t actually Jewish. He then goes on to attack the inaccuracies in another, previous article Cohen had written, and a piece on his blog. After describing this lies and inaccuracies, Greenstein concludes by stating that he wrote to the Guardian telling them he would be willing to replace both Cohen and Owen Jones for half their salaries. His offer was unsurprisingly rejected.

A picture of the man himself from Greenstein’s article. If you can’t read the caption, it says, ‘The worst thing about all the Fascists, charlatans and liars running the Leave campaign is all the bloody name calling! To which Greenstein adds a caption saying that he lacks a certain self-awareness.

See: http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2018/10/will-nick-cohen-guardians-hapless.html

Private Eye is therefore publishing highly biased pieces, which could well be considered defamatory – Greenstein said that the only reason he isn’t suing him is because he was already suing the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, and has the Jewish Chronicle and a certain unnamed councillor in his sights – by someone who fully supported and promoted an unprovoked, illegal war. A war that was really wages solely for the enrichment of predatory western multinationals and the American-Saudi oil industry. A war that has left a million dead and seven million displaced in the Middle East, quite apart from the carnage Greenstein describes in the passage quoted above.

But there, no source is apparently too low and no lie too vile in the media’s determination to oust Corbyn.

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Mass Disappointment as Jewish Labour Movement Refuses to Disaffiliate from Labour Party

March 8, 2019

Okay, so I was wrong. Yesterday I wrote a piece commenting on a story in Private Eye that Trevor Chinn, a Zionist businessman, looked like he was going to take his funding away from Tom Watson and his attempt to stage a backbench revolt against Corbyn, and give it instead to the Lib Dems. This section of the story is, as far as I know, true. However, I connected it to the debate the Jewish Labour Movement, real name Paole Zion, was going to stage about whether they should disaffiliate from Labour. I speculated that Chinn, as a Zionist, was taking his money out of Labour because his attempts to boost the Israel lobby weren’t working, and that this may also apply to the JLM.

Unfortunately, I was wrong. The Jewish Labour Movement, which only represents Zionist Jews in the Labour Party, despite the rulings and rantings of Labour’s Compliance Unit and the NEC, voted by majority of its members in Manchester and London to stay on. If they can be believed, of course. It has also been said that no vote was held at all.

Whether this was true or not, what is true is that it was all a stunt. Asa Winstanley of the Electronic Intifada posted a series of Tweets which showed that he wasn’t at all surprised,. Indeed, he even predicted it. He had expected a group of right-wing Labour MPs to split away, followed by the JLM, as the Movements Fuhrer, Jeremy Newmark, had done the exact same thing to disrupt the University and College Union several years ago. It’s done to pretend that Jews are leaving en masse in protest at the anti-Semitism they experience whenever an official body starts criticising their favourite apartheid state. In fact, the tactics had worked and put a chill on any discussion of Israel for a time. But it also put the JLM in court, and the beak was not impressed. He attacked them for using litigation to try and shut down free speech. The judge was particularly critical of the leader of this fiasco, one Jeremy Newmark. Winstanley stated

Newmark was singled out by the judge for giving particularly “preposterous,” “arrogant” and “disturbing” evidence which showed contempt for freedom of speech. He was basically called a liar by the judge — giving “untrue” evidence.

Nomark is the former head of the Jewish Leadership Council, where he showed his complete absence of morals there. They quietly let go of him when he was caught embezzling. No-Morals has been described as ‘bent as a nine-bob note’ and ‘a one-man crimewave’ by one Jewish blogger. After leaving the JLC, he then took over the moribund Paole Zion in the Labour Party, pumped money into it, and reinvented it as the Jewish Labour Movement, and himself as a Labour activist.

But how mighty is this gang of zealots? Er, not very. It has a membership of only 2,000. And you don’t even have to be a member of the Labour Party to join. Which is how David Collier, one of the people behind the Gnasherjew online persona, got in. And which also turns around Collier’s rage at the Beeb inviting Jewish Voice for Labour on to Newsnight. Predictably he accused the Corporation of anti-Semitism and claimed that they were only a fringe movement. Which is what could also be said about the JLM, with their paltry membership and abuse they mete out to Israel-critical Jews like Tony Greenstein, Jackie Walker and others.

Collier and the Jewish Labour Movement is what Norman Stanley Fletcher, the sage of Slade Prison, used to call ‘charmless nerks’. The organisation tweeted about its decision with its members’ usual surly lack of grace. Zionists like Collier and the JLM threaten their opponents online as well as in person, and this post was no exception. They told Labour politicos and councillors that if they stood with JLM, the JLM would stand with them. But if they were against them, they wouldn’t. Which is basically coded language meaning that if they didn’t support the JLM and their war against Corbyn, they’d attack them.

If they were expecting the legions of ordinary people in the party, to be cowed and chastened by the news, they were to be severely disappointed. Marxy spoke for many when he said

Dear JLM

We don’t respond to threats.

Do as you wish.

Labour Party Membership.

This was all just a stunt. While it might take in the public, 29 per cent of whom supposedly now believe the lies about Labour Party anti-Semitism retailed by the media, it didn’t impress Labour’s real supporters. Rather than being aghast at the JLM disaffiliating, like the 200 Labour Party right-wingers such as Ruth Smeeth and Margaret Hodge, most of the real Labour supporters were ready to clap and cheer.

This group of Zionist entryists and surly, domineering racial supremacists have been indulged for too long. It’s about time they were thrown out for racism and bullying.

For more information, see: https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2019/03/07/unwelcome-guests-jewish-labour-movement-keeps-affiliation-with-labour-and-threatens-party-members/

Private Eye: Corporate Donor Trevor Chinn Moving From Watson to Lib Dems

March 7, 2019

Here’s a little piece from this fortnight’s Private Eye, 8th-21st March 2019. According to this article, the Labour donor Trevor Chinn may be abandoning Tom Watson and switching his support instead to the Lib Dems. The article on page 11 runs

As Labour deputy leader Tom Watson tries to rally his party’s “moderates”, one of his loyal financial backers seem to be drifting towards the Lib Dems.

Since 2015, businessman Trevor Chinn has given Watson £50,000 towards his office costs, the last £5,000 coming in November. According to the latest register of MP’s interests, however, Chinn has now given £5,000 to former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron MP to help fund his office.

The apparent drift suggests a financial vote of no confidence in Watson’s prospects as he tries to “convene” a new group of Corbyn-sceptic backbench Labour MPs in the “social democratic” tradition to pressurise the party leadership.

Chinn, senior adviser to private equity firm CVC Capital Partners and a former chair of the RAC, is a long-term Labour funder, mostly for the moderate wing. He gave £27,000 to Owen Smith’s leadership campaign in 2016, and £20,000 to Ivan Lewis MP the same year. All told, he has given around £260,000 to various Labour MPs and groups since 2010.

Chin reportedly gave £500,000 to fund Tony Blair’s office in the 1990s, before figures were made public. Electoral Commission records show  no previous donations from Chinn to any Lib Dems.

I might be wrong, but I think Chinn is one of the corporate donors for the Israel lobby, the Zionist businessmen donating money to right-wing Labour MPs to encourage them to support Israel.

This seems to fit with a story Mike put up yesterday about 100 or so Labour MPs writing to the Jewish Labour Movement requesting them not to break their links with the Labour Party. As Mike points out, the Jewish Labour Movement is an explicitly Zionist organisation, former Paole Zion, or Workers of Zion. It is the sister party to Havoda, the Israeli Labour Party, which has heartily supported the Israeli state’s policy of apartheid and systematic oppression and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. It’s former national director, Ella Rose, previously worked at the Israeli embassy. It was also mentioned by Israeli embassy official Shai Masot as one of his allies when he was caught by al-Jazeera plotting to remove Alan Duncan from the Tory cabinet.

It is one of the organisations within the Labour party responsible for the campaign of lies and smears against Mike and other decent, anti-racist folk, accusing them of anti-Semitism. One of the victims Mike highlights in his piece was the academic and anti-racist activist Jackie Walker, a Jewish lady of colour with a proud personal record and family tradition of standing up against racism and anti-Semitism. But she was smeared and has suffered the most foul abuse, some of it vitriolically racist. According to these campaigners for racial purity, Walker can’t be Jewish, because she’s black. Despite the fact that there have been Black Jews in Ethiopia for millennia.

In his article Mike deals with the accusations against him, such as that he claimed that Paole Zion did not represent Jews – false, as Mike said that they only represent Zionist Jews, and that by attacking Zionism he was attacking the Jewish people’s right to self-government, although that notion applies only to individuals, not nations. And by supporting Israel the Paole Zion and its protectors within the Labour party are denying the Palestinian’s right to self-government.

Mike concludes that the Labour party should be throwing them out, not begging them stay.

https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2019/03/06/labour-should-be-throwing-the-jewish-labour-movement-out-on-its-ear-not-begging-it-to-stay/#comment-114287

Looked at together, these stories suggest that the Israel lobby is seriously worried about its waning influence in the Labour party. It looks like it’s picking up its ball and its money and is debating going elsewhere. And the Blair project was also dependent on Israeli cash. According to Lobster, Blair was able to remain financially independent of the trade unions, and thus act against them, because he had funding from the Israel lobby, raised through Lord Levy, whom he met at a party at the Israeli embassy.

And no-one knows exactly who is funding the Jewish Labour Movement. As Paole Zion, it was more or less moribund until two years ago, when suddenly it was revamped and given a massive cash injection. Those 100 MPs – almost certainly Blairites – are probably partly motivated in their attempts to persuade the JLM to stay for fear of their own places in the party. If the JLM goes, and Chinn takes his money to the Lib Dems, then corporate support for them may also dry up. In which case they become even more vulnerable to the Corbynite grassroots, who aren’t impressed with their disloyalty.

Hopefully this means that the Israel lobby in the Labour party is weakening. If that’s true, then perhaps in time we can look forward to seeing a genuine, socialist Labour movement and government determined to work for the ordinary people of this country. Which includes Jews along with all the other ethnicities, religions and philosophies of this great and diverse land. And not a bunch of corporatists determined to back the interests of an interfering and oppressive foreign nation at the expense of their constituents.

Lobster Review of Book Revealing Very Different View of the Crisis in the Ukraine

March 6, 2019

Lobster has posted a very interesting review by their long-term contributor, Scott Newton, of Richard Sakwa’s book on the current geopolitical tensions over Ukraine, Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands (London: I.B. Tauris). Sakwa is the professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent.  In this book, he tackles and refutes the story peddled to us by the mainstream media that the current confrontation between NATO and Russia and the civil war in Ukraine are due to Russian imperialism under Putin.

Sakwa is under no illusions how brutal and corrupt Putin’s regime is, but the book argues that in this instance, Russia is the victim. He argues that at the heart of the crisis is a conflict between two forms of Ukrainian nationalism. One wants a strong, united Ukraine centred firmly on Kiev, with Ukrainian as the sole official language, looking to the EU and the West, with its economy based on free trade and private industry. This form of Ukrainian nationalism is hostile to Russia, which is particularly resents because of the Holodomor, the horrific artificial famine created by Soviet collectivisation in the 1930s. The government is roughly liberal, but includes Fascists. The second form of Ukrainian nationalism is popular in the south and east, which are predominantly Russian-speaking, whose families and businesses have links with Russia, and which is dominated by heavy industry and reliant on trade with Russia. This wants a federal Ukraine, with both Ukrainian and Russian as the official languages.

The review discusses the origins of the Maidan Revolution, directed against the corrupt regime of Viktor Yanukovych, who had just signed a trade agreement with Russia. The nationalist regime which replaced him, led by Petro Poroshenko, was of the first, pro-western, anti-Russian type, was strongly influence by the Far Right, whose squads massacred anti-Maidan demonstrators. This regime set about demolishing Soviet-era monuments, establishing Ukrainian as the country’s only official language, and repudiating the agreement allowing Russia to station its ships in Sebastopol until 2042. As a result, Russia seized the Crimea, which had been Russian until 1954 and the Russian-speaking areas in the south and east seceded and split into different autonomous republics. Kiev responded by sending in troops, but this has led to a stalemate so far. The West supports Kiev, seeing Putin’s support of the Ukrainian separatists as the Russian president’s attempt to undermine the political order which emerged after the collapse of Communist in 1991.

Sakwa instead views Putin as reacting purely to preserve Russia from possible NATO aggression. This is the based on the original agreement with former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not expand into eastern Europe. Gorby also hoped to create a new international system in which the world would not be dominated by a single superpower, but there would be a number of different leading states, whose cultures and economic and political systems would differ. These difference would be respected, and they would all work together for international peace. This has been violated by the West, which has expanded eastward into Ukraine, which has also signed the Lisbon agreement with the EU. Putin’s response, which you don’t hear about, is to call for a federal, pluralist, non-aligned Ukraine, which cooperates with both Brussels and Moscow, and whose security is guaranteed by both sides.

There is also an economic dimension to this. The West wishes to promote laissez-faire capitalism. But this didn’t work when it was introduced into Russia by Yeltsin. This type of capitalism has been rejected, and 51 per cent of the Russian economy is owned by the state. Sakwa also notes that Putin has been active building up an alternative political and economic system across the globe, in eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Syria, and Cuba and Venezuela, as well as a system of alliances with the BRICS economies, as well as a Eurasian Economic Union with the former Soviet republics of central Asia. It is also cooperating with the China on the new silk road. The result has been that Russia has created a ‘second world alliance’ system with its own financial institutions and systems of international government.

Newton says of the book that

Sakwa’s argument that the Ukrainian crisis results from the destabilization of the country by forces committed to militantly anti-Russian nationalism, egged on by former Soviet bloc countries and external interference by the United States and the European Union, propelled by a dogmatic and triumphalist liberal universalism, is highly persuasive. 

This is how it appears to me, from reading previous discussions of events in Ukraine from Lobster and other, alternative news sources. As well as the fact that if Putin really did want to conquer all of Ukraine, he surely would have been able to do so, and not stopped with Crimea and the east.

Newton also wonders why we haven’t seen Sakwa, with his impressive command of Russian and eastern European history, in the media.

There can be very few academics now operating who possess Richard Sakwa’s expertise in modern Russian (including Soviet and post-Soviet) international history. Why, then, do we not seen more of him in the mainstream media, both broadcasting and print? He has been on RT, discussing the Skripal poisonings amongst other things (no doubt leading 
some to suspect him of being an apologist for Putin, which he certainly is not). But I have never seen him on (for example) BBC or Channel 4 (this does not of course mean he has never been interviewed there but it does suggest that any appearances have been somewhat limited). Why? Is this an accidental oversight, or are his opinions deemed by news and current affairs editors to be ‘unhelpful’?

That’s a very good question. My guess, given how the anti-Putin view is just about the only one accepted and promoted by the media, including Private Eye, is that current affairs editors really do see him as ‘unhelpful’. And this amounts, as Newton discusses at the beginning of his review, to fake news and fake history. 

For more information, go to:

https://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/free/lobster77/lob77-frontline-ukraine.pdf

 

 

Ken Loach Talks about Writer and Poet Kevin Higgins, Suspended for Satirising War Criminal Blair

March 3, 2019

Here’s another excellent piece from Labour Against the Witchhunt, where the respected left-wing film-maker, Ken Loach, talks about the case of Kevin Higgins. Higgins is a writer and poet, an overseas member of the party, living in Ireland. He was suspended in June 2016 for daring to write a poem satirising Tony Blair and the bloody carnage he had caused in Iraq. Loach only reads a part of a poem, as it’s rather too long to repeat in full. Before he does he jokes that as this is what got Higgins suspended, then everyone present is also going to be suspended simply for being there. So anyone who doesn’t want to be suspended should leave.

The poem is a reworking of a piece by Brecht, about a soldier, who gets shot, and his needy widow receives only something insignificant. In the part Loach reads, which I’m paraphrasing, not quoting, Blair’s ‘no longer new’ wife wonders about what she will receive from all the depleted uranium shells he had dropped during the battle of Basra, all the soldiers he had sent to meet Improvised Explosive Devices in far Mesopotamia? She got for all that white night terrors of him on trial for his crimes and the desire never again to look out the window of their fine Connaught Square House at the tree, which people said was once used to hang traitors.

Loach says of  Higgins that he guesses Higgins isn’t the only one who’s disgusted with Blair, with his illegality, the hundreds of thousands he caused to die and the millions he’s made since he left office. ‘If anyone brings the party into disrepute, it’s that mass murderer.’

He goes on then to reveal what happened to Higgins himself. He didn’t hear anything, so in May 2017 he wrote to the Governance and Legal Unit requesting all the documents relating to him to be sent to him within forty according to his right in the laws about data protection. Nine months later, no reply. The video was uploaded on YouTube on 7th February 2018. He was still suspended, as far as Loach knew.

The cineaste concludes

It is incompetent. It is inefficient. It is unprincipled. And those people should not be in charge of that disclipinary procedure.

Loach is absolutely correct. And Higgins’ suspension, simply for satirising Blair, isn’t the mark of a democratic socialist party. It’s the action of a rigidly centralised dictatorship, where the leader was, like Mussolini, always right. It’s like nothing so much as Stalin’s ‘cult of personality’ in the USSR, with the exception that Higgins only got suspended. In Stalin’s USSR, he’d have been tortured and shot, or at the very least sent to a gulag.

And Loach is definitely correct when he says that he probably isn’t the only one disgusted with Blair. Millions of us are. Over a million people marched against the Iraq invasion, including the priests at my local church. It was one of the biggest popular demonstrations in British history, but Blair and his vile cronies ignored it. And people certainly left the party and refused to vote for the grotty profiteer because of his greed, his illegality, his warmongering, his privatisation, his insistence on absolute obedience and micromanagement of party affairs. Private Eye called him the ‘Dear Leader’, satirising the smaltzy, sentimental image he tried to project, as well as his demand to be loved. The Tory party at the time stood in opposition to the War, which got a left-wing friend of mine to buy the Spectator for a time. I think that this was mostly opportunism on the Tories’ party, as there is nothing they love better than a good war. But to be fair to them, Peter Hitchens, the brother of the late atheist polemicist Christopher, genuinely despised him for Iraq and continues to loathe him, describing him as ‘the Blair creature’.

And this monster seems intent on coming back into politics. He has praised the Independent Group, which led Mike, Martin Odoni and others to ask why he should still be allowed to remain in the Labour party. It is against the rules to be a member or support a rival organisation. This was the rule the Blairites used to throw out Moshe Machover, the Israeli academic and anti-Zionist. His crime was that he had a piece published in the Morning Star, as have very many leaders and MPs over the years. Professor Machover was grudgingly readmitted to the party after a massive outcry. But Blair gives them his support, and no-one important seems to raise any objections whatsoever. The left-wing vlogger, Gordon Dimmack, says he has heard speculation that if the wretched group survives, then before long Blair will return to active politics. It’s an idea that he says gave him nightmares.

Unfortunately, I think it’s a distinct possibility. Despite the fact that his time as this country’s leader has been and gone, he was on Andrew Marr’s wretched propaganda show today. I’m glad I missed it, as it would only have infuriated me. But it does seem to bear out these rumours.

One million men, women and children killed. Seven million displaced all across the Middle East. A secular state with free healthcare and education destroyed and looted. A state where women were free to have their own careers and run businesses. Where there were no ‘peace barriers’ between Shi’a and Sunni quarters in cities to stop them murdering each other. A country whose oil reserves have been looted by the American and Saudi oil companies, and whose state industries were plundered by American multinationals.

And this creature appears on TV again, to grin his sickly smile and utter neoliberal platitudes and smooth words. But hey, you can’t criticise him, because he stands for inclusion and diversity. While parents starve themselves to feed their children, students are faced with unaffordable tuition fees and the disabled are thrown off benefits thanks to the wretched assessments and work capable tests he, Mandelson and the others in his coterie introduced.

Higgins’ poem reminds me about one of the great protest poems written back in the ’60s about another unjust war, Vietnam. This was To Whom It May Concern (Tell Me Lies About Vietnam) by Adrian Mitchell, where every stanza ended ‘Tell me lies about Vietnam’. The note about it in Colin Firth’s and Anthony Arnove’s The People Speak: Democracy Is Not A Spectator Sport states that he added stanzas later to include more leaders and more wars.

So perhaps if Blair comes back to politics we should write another: ‘Tell Me Lies About Iraq’. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Private Eye’s Biased Reporting of Power Struggle in Socialist Health Association

March 1, 2019

This fortnight’s Private Eye, for 22nd February – 7th March 2019 ran an article by ‘Ratbiter’ about a messy power struggle for struggle of the moribund Socialist Health Authority. This blamed its current leader, Dr Alex Scott-Samuel, for taking it to the point of death. Dr Scott-Samuel was described as a conspiracy theorist, who appeared alongside anti-vaxxer Andrew Wakefield on a show broadcast on David Icke’s forum and had unjustly attempted to get one of his Association’s employees, its director Martin Rathfelder, sacked.

The article, ‘Socialist Malaise’ ran

The once respected Socialist Health Association is looking peaky. If not dead, it’s certainly in a coma. 

The Association campaigned for the creation of the NHS in 1948 and has fought to defend free healthcare at the point of use ever since. But it hasn’t published a policy statement since 2017, and calls to its office are likely to go unanswered since it sacked its only staff member last year. Who could have brought a proud campaign group to the brink of death? Step forward Dr Alex Scott-Samuel, chair of Liverpool Wavertree Labour party.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell assured worried Labour supporters that Scott-Samuel and his comrades were drying to get Luciana Berger MP deselected (prior to Berger leaving Labour of her own accord) not because they were anti-Semites, but because of “other issues”. These honeyed words became harder to swallow when it became clear Scott-Samuel had made comments promoting a “Rothschild” conspiracy theory that led Liverpool University to emphasise last week that it no longer employed him.

Scott-Samuel’s arrival at the Socialist Health Association was part of a wider move by Jeremy Corbyn supporters into Labour’s 20 affiliated socialist societies. They have a seat on the party’s national executive committee (NEC), which is handy as Labour fights its civil wars. More significantly, the societies have impressive voting rights in local Labour parties. A minimal presence in a constituency gives the Socialist Health Association the right to send five delegates to the local Labour party and help purge the sitting MP and councillors, should they so desire.

Martin Rathfelder, the association’s direct, told the Eye that “everything changed” when Scott-Samuel and friends took over the association in 2017. As a neutral officer, Rathfelder said his job was to encourage doctors and nurses to stand for election. “They really didn’t like that,” he said. “They saw it as me threatening their control.”

Scott-Samuel saw his chance to strike when Rathfelder lost his temper with a YMCA worker in Crewe who was refusing to let members into a hall the association had booked. He sacked Rathfelder for “being abusive” and encouraging “candidates to run against a sitting officer”. The purge ended in fiasco. Unison was appalled and withdrew its funding from the association. Rathfelder appealed and secured a very generous settlement-so generous that the association has been unable to hire a replacement.

Even though it is now a moribund organisation, surely Scott-Samuel can still defend public health in a personal capacity as a good socialist must? He had that chance in his latest appearance on The Richie Allen Show (broadcast on conspiracist David Icke’s forum) when he was on air alongside a supporter of discredited anti-vaxxer Andrew Wakefield. Once upon a time the Lancet, Private Eye and most of the national press took Wakefield’s claims that the MMR vaccine might cause autism seriously-but now every sensible person accepts Wakefield is a fraud. Not so Scott-Samuel. When presented with a chance to warn parents that listening to the anti-vaxxers could put their (and other) children’s lives in danger, he ducked it for fear of offending his fellow conspiracists.

At a time of mounting concern about mental illness, social care, obesity and measles epidemics, the Socialist Health Association is now not only useless, but also dangerous. (p.10).

Now I don’t know what the facts behind this article’s account of these events really are. It’s possible that Dr Scott-Samuel really is a raving anti-Semite, who believes in an odious conspiracy theory about the Jews centred on the Rothschilds. And if he didn’t speak out against the anti-vaxxer’s nonsense, then he was seriously, dangerously wrong not to. There is indeed a surge in the diseases Ratbiter mentions, especially in America amongst predominantly right-wing communities that are against vaccination. But Private Eye also has its own biases, that cast serious doubt on parts of the narrative as told here.

Firstly, as you can see, the story is very anti-Corbyn and determined to push the view that he, or his supporters, are Jew-haters. And Ratbiter is one of those involved in pushing it in Private Eye. I think I can remember an article by the redoubtable and definitely Jewish Tony Greenstein on his blog, where he revealed who Ratbiter was. Or the identity of one of the people behind the pseudonym. As we’ve seen, Wavetree wished to deselect Luciana Berger, but I’ve seen precious little evidence that genuine anti-Semitism is involved. Berger has suffered some horrendous anti-Semitic abuse, but she’s pointed her finger in the wrong direction when it comes to culprits. There’s no evidence that anyone in the Labour party or who supports the Labour party has ever sent her anything anti-Semitic. The local party wanted her out because she’s a lazy, entitled Blairite – she was parachuted into this very safe constituency when she was in a liaison with Blair’s spawn, Euan. Who was rumoured to be the new leader of the Centrist party a few months ago.

Going on to Scott-Samuel’s views on the Rothschilds, the banking dynasty is indeed the centre of any number of conspiracy theories about the Jews trying to take over the world, and enslave and destroy White gentiles. They also figure in more sanitised versions in which the culprits aren’t the Jews, but the New World Order or Illuminati, or there is a distinction made between good Jews, those murdered by the Nazis, and evil Jews, like the Rothschilds and other elite bankers. But the Rothschild’s are hardly innocent or above suspicion. During the 1930s and ’40s they did lend money to the Nazi regime, even when it was persecuting and murdering Jews in the death camps. Recently Mike mentioned on his blog the case of a female Labour supporter/member, who was accused of anti-Semitism after a Tweet or Facebook post she made about the Rothschilds. But Mike made the point that the Rothschilds are immensely rich and powerful, and asked why they should be exempt from criticism or their power and influence from legitimate questioning. I don’t know, but Scott-Samuel’s case could be another like this.

And lurking behind these events and machinations is the article’s bias about the SHA itself. This, we are told at the start, is an organisation that campaigned for the NHS and for free healthcare ever since. But I remember a few years ago, when Blair was still a power in the land, the Eye ran a story about a socialist health organisation – it might be the SHA, or it might be the Socialist Medical Society – which complained that it had been taken over by the Blairites and turned into a mouthpiece for their privatisation campaign. This organisation was also described, if I recall correctly, as almost on its last legs. If this was the SHA, then the Blairites cannot complain about being displaced by Corbyn supporters in their turn. Well, they can, but they’d be hypocrites. Which definitely wouldn’t stop them.

And note another unspoken assertion in the article: the Blairites in the Labour party apparat – the party bureaucracy – are the victims, who rightfully hold their position, while Corbyn’s supporters are invading, disruptive supporters. But the opposite is almost certainly the case. Blair’s supporters within the Labour party are numerically small, and they hold control of party’s bureaucracy against the wishes of the majority of party members. Whom they have been desperately trying to purge, using their positions. And it would only make the party more democratic and accountable if they were forced out. They were put in place by a firmly centralising Labour administration, determined to make sure that no-one was appointed to any position of authority within the party without the express permission of Blair. And in the case of the student union, that meant that the system of election by the students themselves was removed and replaced with appointment from above. By Blair.

Ratbiter’s Private Eye article is thus, whatever the truth about its allegations of Dr Scott-Samuel’s conduct and views, just another piece of Blairite anti-Corbyn propaganda. It is designed to preserve the Labour party as the exclusive property of wealthy, entitled neoliberals like Luciana Berger, keen to carry on Blair’s noxious and destructive policies of privatisation and the destruction of the welfare state. And as inveterate enemies of Corbyn, the Eye is more than willing to give ample space to Ratbiter’s and the other Blairites’ lies and smears.

 

Zelo Street Demolishes Times Anti-Corbyn Smear

February 25, 2019

It seems the media really are absolutely terrified of Corbyn getting into No.10, as they’re increasing their vilification. Not only are the accusations that he, and his supporters in the Labour party, are anti-Semites are coming thick and fast from the Independents and the Blairites with the Labour split, but the right-wing, and specifically the Murdoch press, are falling back on the old canard that he’s a Trotskyite.

This morning, the good fellow at Crewe behind the Zelo Street blog put up a piece demolishing the latest attempt by the Murdoch press to defend Tom Bower’s biography of the Labour leader. This is the hit piece on Corbyn, which has screamed that he’s a ruthless operator, who has skillfully removed all ‘centrist’ – read: Thatcherite – opponents – who stood in the way of his ruthless ascent to power.

The claim itself is nonsense. Corbyn won the first Labour election partly because the Thatcherite vote was split between three candidates. And far from being a ruthless Machiavellian intriguer, one of the complaints I’ve heard is that he isn’t ruthless enough. When he first came to power, he was expected to purge the party bureaucracy of Blairites, just as Blair and Brown had purged the apparat before them and stuffed it full of their supporters. But he didn’t. If he had, we wouldn’t be suffering this mess now.

As for the revelations in Bower’s biography that supposedly reveal what an absolute blackguard he is, they’re incredibly disappointing. One of the worst of these came from his ex-wife, who says that he ignored her emotional needs, was boring and talked about politics all the time. What a bastard! This is hardly spousal abuse, It’s just two people, who were unsuited to each other. This fortnight’s Private Eye sent it all up with a spoof of it, by Tom Boo-hoo-hooer, with the title ‘Chapter 94, How Corbyn Wet the Bed, Cried All Night and Pooed his Nappies’.

Faced with this ridicule, the Times has seen fit to try to defend Bower, with the allegation that Corbyn is an academic failure – he apparently got two ‘Es’ and a failure at ‘A’ levels – but became a Trotskyite while teaching geography in Kingston, Jamaica. Corbyn went over there as part of the VSO programme. Apparently it was his experience of the 1968 Kingston riots that turned him into a radical leftist determined to create a British Communist state.

Zelo Street remarks that there are several problems with this. Firstly, no-one in Corbyn’s family told Bower about this, and the idea that they were deliberately concealing it from the old hack is absurd. David Osland on Twitter pointed out that at the time it would have been difficult for Corbyn to have become a Trotskyite in Jamaica, as there was then no Trotskyite movement there. Another Tweeter also pointed out that the real Trotskyites had Corbyn down as a trendy leftie, like Margaret Hodge, rather than anything further and more serious. John Field then made the point that most people accusing him of being a Trotskyite don’t actually know what a Trotskyite is. The article concludes

‘Exactly. Bower has been touring the TV studios, rambling on about communism without one gram of fact to back it up. He is just smearing with the objective of delegitimising Corbyn.
Trouble is, he’s not very good at it. Bit like the press which is enabling him, then.’
See: http://zelo-street.blogspot.com/2019/02/corbyn-biographer-trotskyism-smear.html
And that’s also my experience of talking to people, who believe he’s Trotskyite: they don’t know what a Trotskyite is, and don’t off any evidence that he is one. None whatsoever. They don’t provide any evidence that he belonged to any Marxist organisation, let alone specifically Trotskyite one, or that he believes or has said anything remotely about Trotskyite dogma. It’s just smears without any shred of supporting evidence. But it’s said by the Times, the Mail and the rest of the dying press, so their readers believe it.

Dodgy Lawyer Mark Lewis Ridiculed and Attacked for Threatening Tweets

February 22, 2019

Here’s someone else, who could soon be getting the banhammer from the relevant authorities, to use the parlance of a website that’s best not named. On Wednesday, Mike got back from a visit to the hospital with Mrs. Mike to find he had a tweet from one Mark Lewis, a lawyer claiming to be acting for Rachel Riley and Tracey Ann Oberman. He wanted Mike to get in contact with him, and was threatening to take out a Norwich Pharmacal Order to disclose his address. He also claimed he had screenshots of Mike’s tweets.

Mike went out and took consultation from m’learned friends, who told him not to respond. Shaun Lawson, whose article is at the centre of all this, posted up a series of tweets explaining what it was all about, and how Lewis was really trying it on.

Riley, Oberman and their legions of moronic squadristi were offended by an article Lawson posted about how they had bullied and smeared a 16 year old schoolgirl as an anti-Semite, and then did the same to her father. The girl suffers from anxiety, and her mass abuse on twitter naturally caused her immense distress. Riley, whose only claim to fame is that she’s the woman who puts the letters on the board on Countdown, and Oberman, a Z-list actress were annoyed that Lawson’s account of their trolling and bullying had been widely reblogged and spread across social media. So they started threatening libel action against anyone who did so.

This what their lawyer, Lewis, is threatening to do. However, Lawson points out in his tweets about this matter that legally Lewis doesn’t have a leg to stand on. The article consisted mostly of tweets made by Riley and Oberman themselves, and is not libelous. He’s just fishing, and cannot take out a Norwich pharmacal order. Although to me, from his deranged and threatening behaviour, it may be that he himself needs a few pharmaceutical orders. Also, threatening people over twitter is against the guidelines of the Solicitors’ Regulatory Authority. He already has form for this, having been fined £2,500 before for this. One Tweeter posted the internet address of his record and the 42-page judgement that the SRA issued against him.

And he may well get another one, as so far he’s tried to bully 76 people, some of whom know the law here as well as he does and have duly reported him.

Private Eye has a very sharp response from dodgy lawyers, who make baseless threats: Arkell vs Pressdram. It comes from a case in the 1970s when one of the parties sent a legal threat to the other, who responded succinctly: ‘F*** Off!’

The good peeps he threatened on twitter were not so crude, but they did tell him what he could do. They told him he should be ashamed of himself, particularly as he was now threatening to sue a 17 year old girl for blogging about the Riley and Oberman’s bullying. His actions were ‘heavy-handed’ and ‘churlish’ and showed Riley and Oberman in their true colours. He was also called an ambulance-chaser, with someone mockingly saying that they’d had an injury in the last three years, which wasn’t their fault. Would he mind acting for them? Which parodies the adverts for such ambulance-chasing firms on daytime television. Another Tweeter, Adam Vickers, asked him if he would stand up for a Palestinian friend of his, who had been attacked and harassed for supporting the victims of Israeli brutality. Others said it was all bullsh*t, and he was a creepy little weirdo.

As for Lewis himself, he and his partner fled the other year to Israel, claiming that they were doing so because of increasing anti-Semitism in Europe. This is true of continental Europe, perhaps, and especially eastern Europe. But the level of anti-Semitism in Britain, while rising, is certainly nowhere near an existential threat to Jews. Which means that Lewis is either another hysterical paranoid, very gullible, or he’s talking more Zionist propaganda.

Mike also took issue with a report in the Guardian, which said that Riley and Oberman were preparing to take legal action against 70 individuals in connection with their campaign against anti-Semitism in the Labour party, and that Lewis said that these tweets against them constituted harassment. Mike commented that it was really the other way round.

His article concluded

Perhaps this is a serious attempt at using the law to bully perfectly decent people, but it is clear that the people behind it cannot be taken seriously.

I’ll take it seriously when I see a reason to do so. Right now, I don’t.

If Lewis continues flagrantly continues to break the SRA’s regulations regarding such bullying, will it be long before we can expect him to be well and truly whacked with the banhammer and receive a visit from Mr. Struckoff?

MP Who Claimed Mike Anti-Semitic Charged with Expenses

February 22, 2019

Ho ho! Much fun was had yesterday by Mike’s supporters on Twitter at the news that Chris Davies, the Tory MP for Brecon and Radnorshire, has been charged with two counts of making a false instrument, and one count of providing false or misleading information for allowance claims following allegations that he falsified two invoices for expense claims. Which, for laypeople, means expenses fraud.

Davies is a member of the Tory Eurosceptic group, the European Research Group and a member of the Conservative Friends of Israel. It was Davies, who leapt in publicly to support the howling denunciations of Mike as an anti-Semite by the Sunset Times and the woefully misnamed Campaign Against Anti-Semitism.

However, Mike also urges caution in the discussion of Mr. Davies’ case. Davies, like anyone else, deserves a fair trial. And it is important that it is a fair trial, because if Davies is found guilty, then the voters of Brecon and Radnorshire and sign a recall petition demanding his removal as an MP. If only 10 per cent of electors sign this, then a bye-election has to be held.

Mike concludes

As far as I’m concerned, that can’t happen soon enough. But it will only happen if justice is served so I must appeal for everyone to withhold their opinions until after the verdict.

Davies is due to appear before the beak on March, 22nd.

https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2019/02/21/mp-who-claimed-vox-political-writer-supported-anti-semitism-is-charged-with-expenses-fraud/

I’m reminded here of Private Eye’s ‘Curse of Gnome’ column. This is an occasional feature, which appears every time someone, who sued, or tried to sue the Eye gets caught breaking the law and is duly punished. The Eye then publishes an account of it, under a picture of a skull to celebrate their comeuppance. It’s too early for such schadenfreude just yet, but their is a kind of justice here all the same, although, I hasten to add, Davies’ guilt has yet to be proved.

Belgian MPs Claim British Pensioners Receiving ‘Hitler Handouts’

February 22, 2019

I found this grimly fascinating snippet in today’s I for 22nd February 2019 on page 2, entitled ‘British pensioners on Hitler handouts’. It runs

Dozens of British pensioners are still receiving secret payments from Germany for collaborating with the Nazis, a group of Belgian MPs claim. They say the former collaborators, along with ex-SS guards, could be receiving up to £1,100 tax-free cash per month, thanks to a decree made by Hitler that was not revoked.

I can very well believe it. And how these Nazis and collaborators got here is a real scandal that the British secret state most definitely does not want the public to know about. They were recruited by the British intelligence agencies after the War, because they were believed to be useful in tackling the threat of Soviet espionage during the Cold War. I’ve got a feeling the West German secret service also recruited them for the same reason. This is probably also the reason why Hitler’s decree giving these horrors pensions was never revoked. And their presence in the West German intelligence agencies didn’t do them any good whatsoever. Markus Wolf, the head of the East German secret service still turned the West German spy agency into Swiss cheese.

Ken Livingstone discusses the scandal of the recruitment of former Nazis and their collaborators in his 1987 book, Livingstone’s Labour. He describes how some of them were giving jobs in the mining industry, and the disgust of the other miners at seeing them and their Nazi tattoos in the showers. Livingstone’s book, with its strong condemnation of any kind of racism, amply demonstrates that whatever Red Ken was, he definitely wasn’t an anti-Semite. Indeed one Jewish blogger, who belonged to the Jewish Socialist Group, posted up a piece stating that the man Private Eye dubs ‘Leninspart’ drew the ire of the Board of Deputies on one occasion because he gave the Jewish Socialists a small grant. This angered the Board, which is in any case very Conservative establishment, because the Jewish Socialist Group were not affiliated to them and so were outside their control. They were, to quote another anti-Semitic trope ‘the wrong kind of Jews’. You know, not nice, cosy, right-wing Jews that are part of the British right-wing establishment. The other kind of Jews, all those awkward fellows from eastern Europe, who were into anarchism, socialism and Marxism. The kind of people in the Jewish Bund in Poland and the former Russian Empire, who wanted to live in their ancestral homelands in peace, friendship and equality with their gentile compatriots. The type of Jews the British Zionist establishment is trying to smear as ‘anti-Semitic’ and ‘self-hating’.

Livingstone called out these Nazis thirty years ago, which is probably one of the reasons the British establishment cordially hates him. And the Blairites and Israel lobby in the Labour party despise him because he dared to tell the truth about Israel: that the Zionists did collaborate with Hitler for a while to send Jewish colonists to Israel. And the Board despises anyone who does not automatically and uncritically support Israel and its ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, just as they really despise genuinely socialist Jews.

It’s almost certainly true that British Nazis are receiving pensions from the Third Reich. And it’s a glaring scandal that they were ever recruited in the first place. Those pensions should be stopped, the British secret state’s recruitment of them should be made very public. And Livingstone and all the others, who have been unjustly smeared as anti-Semites should be readmitted into the party and duly given apologies.