Posts Tagged ‘Public Utilities’

Sent Off the Suggested Motions from the Labour Left to My Local Labour Party

September 5, 2022

Okay, folks, I’ve sent off the model motions that the Arise Festival of Left Labour Ideas suggested to their followers and supporters that they should propose them to their local Labour parties ready for the upcoming Labour conference to my local party in south Bristol. I put up a piece yesterday showing what they were: renationalising the public utilities, including education and the NHS; ending the deportations to Rwanda; raising the minimum wage to £15; and stopping the further Israeli ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. All excellent policies. I don’t know if they’ll be proposed at the meeting, as the email I got from them about the meeting said they had six already. But you have to try.

As for whether or not they’ll be accepted and passed by conference even if they are passed by the local party, well, unfortunately the ‘100 per cent Zionist’ Starmer is in charge, a true-Blue Labour Tory infiltrator. And there’s Jess Philips, who said that Labour would be even harder on the unemployed than the Tories. Neither of them would welcome these policies, and neither would the rest of the Blairites now packed in the parliamentary Labour party. But there’s always hope.

Update

After sending them off I got a kind reply from the local party secretary stating that they’re only accepting one proposed motion per person. So which one would like I like to choose? It’s a hard one, as they’re all good and necessary. However, I chose the £15 minimum pay rise because people are starving and they need the money now. I really hope it goes through.

Other motions being proposed for the local meeting this Thursday include:

Green New Deal – Proportional Representation – Support for Striking Workers

Reproductive Rights – International Development – Industrial Strategy (End UK Childcare Crisis).

Reproductive rights obviously refers to abortion, which people are afraid is threatened after the repeal of Roe vs Wade in America.

Labour Left Proposed Motions for the Labour Party Conference

September 4, 2022

The Labour party conference is looming and Arise, the Labour festival of left-wing ideas, has sent these suggested motions out to their supporters so they can propose them to their local constituency parties, in the hope that they’ll accept them and propose them at conference. The email I had and the proposed motions run:

Model Motions Recommended for Labour Party Conference 2022

Hello David

Please find below and online here suggested model motions for Labour Party Conference. The deadline for submissions is Thursday 15 September 2022 at 5pm and the word limit is 250 words. They are on supporting public ownership, defending asylum seekers, supporting a pay rise for workers plus those unions taking industrial action to this end. and speaking up for Palestine.

Best wishes,
The Arise – a Festival of Left Ideas Volunteer Team.

1) Public ownership Motion from the Labour Assembly Against Austerity

Public Ownership is Necessary and Popular
 
Conference notes:
That public ownership is popular with voters, with polling indicating these levels of support:

  • Energy – 66% (Survation, 2022)
  • Water – 69% (Survation, 2022)
  • Royal Mail – 68% (Survation, 2022)
  • Railways – 67% (Survation, 2022)
  • Buses – 65% (Survation, 2022)
  • Social Care – 64% (Survation, 2020)
  • NHS – 84% (YouGov, 2017)

Additionally, 61% of the public think local and central government should try to run services in-house first, before outsourcing (Survation, 2015,) 82% want schools to mostly be run in the public sector (Survation, 2020;) and 63% want utilities to mostly be run in the public sector (Survation, 2020.)

Conference believes:

  • The crisis caused by soaring energy bills and the scandal of raw sewage being dumped into rivers this Summer have highlighted the failures of privatisation in Britain.
  • Private companies are making mega-profits from public services – these vast sums should instead be invested to improve services, to give their workers a pay increase and to lower costs for consumers.
  • That the Tory corruption and outsourcing crises during the pandemic have further illustrated the need for public ownership and democratic control.
  • A clear commitment to extending public ownership of key utilities and public services can be a big vote winner for Labour.

Conference resolves:

  • To oppose further Tory privatisation and outsourcing, including of the NHS, education and council services.
  • To support public ownership of key services and utilities including energy, water, railways, buses, social care, the royal mail and the NHS.

2) Motion on asylum seekers & Rwanda from the Arise Volunteer Team:

Labour should oppose the sending of asylum seekers to Rwanda

Conference notes:

  • the commitment of both candidates in the recent Tory leadership to the unethical, inhumane and racist Tory policy of forcibly sending asylum seekers to Rwanda, and the widely-condemned Nationality and Borders Act (NABA,) with its two tier system of ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ refugees that would prevent some 99 percent of refugees from seeking asylum and its threat to the citizenship of 6 million people in Britain. UNHCR said the Nationality and Borders Bill would “penalise most refugees seeking asylum”.
  • the scale of opposition to the Government’s inhumane treatment of refugees who just want to rebuild their lives here in safety.
  • the decision of the European Court of Human Rights which forced the cancellation of the first scheduled flight on 14 June 2022.
  • Public polling shows increasing support for asylum seekers’ rights, including their right to work.
  • Other disastrous aspects of the ‘hostile environment’ policy over recent years including the Windrush Scandal and the notorious ‘Go Home’ vans.

Conference resolves:

  • For the Labour party to clearly oppose this obscene Tory policy in its entirety as part of campaigning for an end to the ‘hostile environment’ and against racist anti-immigrant narratives, including through a commitment that the next Labour Government will immediately cancel the Rwanda Asylum Scheme.
  • To oppose “no recourse to public funds”, NHS access restrictions and other ‘Hostile Environment’ policies.

3) Pay and backing trade union action motion from the Labour Assembly Against Austerity:

Britain Needs A Pay rise

Conference notes:

Twelve years of the Conservative Government’s low-pay agenda has significantly diminished the real value of people’s incomes with average real wages still below 2008 levels;

The situation is getting worse. Real pay dropped by 4.1% in June compared to the same period last year, with record falls of 3.4% in the private sector and 6.7% in the public sector;

The imposition of significantly below-inflation pay awards which amount to real terms pay cuts;

An increase in trade union campaigning for improved pay awards, from protests to strike ballots and industrial action;

That 76% of people support the view that pay should rise in line with the cost of living (Survation August 2022)

Conference believes:

Below-inflation pay offers will increase poverty and hardship;

That the Government should not impose real terms pay cuts on public sector workers;

It is wrong that many private firms are imposing real terms pay cuts while making big profits, awarding bonuses and large dividend payments;

Recent trade union campaigns, including strike action, have led to numerous enhanced pay awards.

Conference resolves:

To oppose the Conservative Government’s imposition of real terms pay cuts;

To support inflation-proofed increases in pay in both public and private sectors and urgent measures to restore the real value of pay lost under successive Conservative Governments since 2010;

To support a National Minimum Wage of at least £15 an hour.

To support trade union campaigning, including through backing workers taking industrial action, to achieve these aims.

4) Palestine motion from Labour & Palestine / Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Justice for Palestine

Conference strongly condemns:

  • Israel’s renewed bombing of Gaza in August 2022 killing 44 Palestinians, including 15 children, and notes the UN Special rapporteur description of it as an  act contrary to International law. 
  • the Israeli army’s killing of the Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh and beating of her coffin bearers by Israeli police.
  • the outlawing of 7 NGOs including Addameer; the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees and Defence for Children International – Palestine.

Conference recognises that these events are illustrative of the conclusions of leading human rights organisations including B’tselem, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International that Israel is committing the crime of apartheid against the Palestinian people, and further erode any possibility of a just solution.

Conference notes policy passed at Labour Party Annual Conferences 2018 ,2019 and 2021 in solidarity with the Palestinian people and against Israel’s ongoing violations of their rights and of international law.

Conference Resolves:

  • To support the application made in April to the International Criminal Court (ICC), calling for an investigation into the Israeli government’s systematic targeting of journalists.
  • To stand in solidarity with all human rights defenders and fully oppose the Israeli government’s attempts to silence them
  • To adhere to an ethical policy on all UK trade with Israel in line with policy passed at previous Conferences, including banning trade with illegal settlements and ending the ongoing arms trade.
  • To oppose fully any UK legislation aimed at preventing legitimate and democratic solidarity actions in support of the Palestinian people.’

These policies are popular and necessary. Among the polls showing public support for renationalising the utilities, I’m massively impressed that 82 per cent want schools to be in public hands. As for the motion on Palestine, it really amazes me how anyone in a genuinely left-wing party could support the closure of quangos devoted to protecting women and children. If ‘100 per cent Zionist’ Starmer supports this, then he’s a depraved monster, utterly unfit to govern any country devoted to humanity and the rule of law. This shows that hardly anybody wants academies or a return to grammar schools, despite the Tories constantly pushing them. I’m going to check with my local constituency party to see if these or similar are among the motions they are going to discuss this Thursday prior to conference. If they aren’t, I will propose them.

This will undoubtedly annoy the Blairites, especially the motion on Palestine. I’ll let you know if they start throwing around any fake accusations of anti-Semitism again.

New Advert for British Rail Nationalisation Shows Europeans Laughing at Britain for Allowing Them to Buy It Up

August 19, 2022

The Mirror has published a very incisive piece about an advert calling for the renationalisation of the railways, in which Europeans laughs at us for allowing their state owned railways to buy up ours. The article by Mike Boyd, ‘Europe mercilessly mocks UK government for allowing British rail to fund their rail systems’ begins

‘The British rail system has been mocked by Europeans appearing in an advert pushing for the network to be made public.

In the viral video produced by the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) – whose members are striking across the UK today – the franchised structure of the UK’s rail network is mercilessly ridiculed.

In the clip representatives of “the people” of France, Netherlands and Germany “thank the British people” allowing their “publicly owned rail networks” to “buy up your rail network”.

In one brutal moment the cast explain: “So when you buy a ticket on Thameslink, Gatwick Express, Grand Central, Chiltern Railways, Merseyside Rail, Scotrail, Greater Anglia, London Midland, DLR, Northern Rail, London Overground, Cross Country, Southern and South Eastern, the profits go to making our railways cheaper.”

They add: “In 2012 we got £3million just from Greater Anglia. Not only that, the British taxpayers pay our franchises massive subsidies, without which we could never make a profit.

“So even if you never catch a train, you’re still sending us money. But before you say, ‘ah, we’ve left the EU’, that doesn’t make a difference.

“In fact, the Tory government want to privatise even more, which means we can take over even more.

“So to the British people we want to say, thank you.”‘

The advert, the article says, was first made in 2017, and has resurfaced as the rail workers launch industrial action.

See: https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/uknews/europe-mercilessly-mocks-uk-government-for-allowing-british-rail-to-fund-their-rail-systems/ar-AA10Nk81?ocid=msedgdhp&pc=U531&cvid=9fa61476fe6f474a9295c590d336f5f1

This is precisely correct, and there was criticism a few years ago of the Dutch railway company’s management of one of the rail franchises a few years ago, though the company responded with a statement that they were actually investing millions into it. But this problem isn’t just confined to the railway networks – it’s also in the electricity and water companies. I’ve got a feeling that the local water company for Bristol is owned by the Indonesians, and at least one of the electricity companies owned by the French. This is all a product of Thatcher’s privatisation. These companies have no interest in giving the privatised utilities the investment they need, only in using the profits to give dividends to their shareholders and bonuses to their chief executives. There are state owned electricity companies in the US, and I understand that those that aren’t owned by the state are protected by law from foreign companies owning a controlling stake in them. The same is true of the press, which is why Dirty Rupe Murdoch abandoned Australia to become an American citizen.

The railways, electricity and water need to be renationalised now. However much the Heil, Torygraph, Financial Times and GB News may scream against it.

Grammar Schools Did Not Benefit the Working Class; They Excluded Them

August 13, 2022

I got the book I ordered on James Callaghan’s period as Prime Minister, James Callaghan: An Underrated Prime Minister, edited by Kevin Hickson and Jasper Miles through the post yesterday. It’s a collection of papers on various aspects of Callaghan’s government. I’ll put up a piece introducing it later. I’ve only been dipping into it, reading the odd chapter.

The defeat of Callaghan’s government at the 1979 general election and the victory of Maggie Thatcher ushered in a period of Tory rule that lasted until 1997 when Blair got into power. But he was also a Thatcherite, and in some ways it was a change of face, not a change of direction. Callaghan’s defeat meant the end of the old social democratic consensus, but as recent events are showing, elements of this consensus are still very much relevant and desperately needed. Such as the return of the public utilities to public ownership.

One of the issues the Tory leadership candidates have been promising is the return of the grammar schools. Well, bog-eyed Nicky Morgan promised this a few years ago, and the policy was a failure then. There’s a considerable nostalgia for them in certain parts of the British electorate that still resents the establishment of comprehensive school. For these people there’s a simple difference between the two. Comprehensive schools are nasty failures showing everything wrong with progressive attitudes to education, while the grammar schools with their tradition values were so much better. The Tories have been pushing this line since 1969 or so. The line is that through scholarships and the 11+, working class children who went there had a far better education than they now have in comprehensive schools. But this is a very rosy view of the reality, which was that the grammar schools were solidly middle class institutions from which the working class were largely excluded.

Jane Martin, one of the contributors to the book on Callaghan, makes this point in her chapter ‘Education: Politics And Policy-Making with the Intellectuals of ‘Old’ Labour’. She writes

‘Government reports and sociological surveys soon evidenced the reality behind secondary education for all. It was obvious that middle-class offspring dominated grammar intakes, owing to advantages imbued by family background, and social class remained a major influence on educational achievement. From 1946, the secondary modern schools and bottom streams of the grammar schools were full of working class children who had largely negative experiences. Defenders of selective education argued only a small number of children had the academic ability to attend grammar schools, but research showed that coaching and intensive tuition, used by the middle classes, improved test scores. Added to which, successes secured by fifteen- and sixteen-year old secondary modern school candidates for the new ‘O’ Level examinations exposed the fallibility of a selection process that made it acceptable for around 80 per cent of mainly working-class children to ‘fail’.’ (p. 166).

This is what the Tories are really promising when the start the nonsense of going back to the grammar schools: the exclusion of the working class from a superior set of school intended to cater for the middle classes. Even Thatcher’s education minister, Rhodes Boyson, recognised this. When he was a teacher in a secondary modern he put some of his pupils forward for ‘O’ levels, because he knew they could pass them.

Sunak and Truss are once again pushing for policies designed to keep the working class down, all based on nostalgia for a previous education system that was seriously flawed, but has been promoted as far better than the comprehensive system. But the fact that they’re now talking about how wonderful grammar schools were is also a tacit admission that their academy schools are also a failure.

There is no alternative to keeping comprehensive schools. What is needed is not their abolition, but their better funding and a real drive to improve educational standards. Not more class snobbery disguised as educational meritocracy.

We Own It Petition for the Nationalisation of Failed Energy Company Bulb

August 13, 2022

I got this email this morning from pro-nationalisation organisation We Own It:

‘Dear David,

Privatisation has failed.

The Guardian is saying water should be nationalised. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown is saying we need to bring energy into public ownership temporarily. Even the Telegraph and the Times are questioning privatisation.

Meanwhile, 100,000 people have pledged to stop paying their energy bills.

YOU can put a solution on the table – sign our new petition for the government to turn Bulb into a new public energy supplier which can cut people’s bills.

Nationalise Bulb

Private energy company Bulb collapsed in November 2021 and the government is planning on spending £2.2 billion to prop it up.

Right now the government is considering giving a further £1 billion to private company Octopus to take over the company.

This makes no sense. Other countries like France, Germany, Italy and the US all have public suppliers of energy. France has used publicly owned EDF to limit energy bill rises to 4% while our bills have gone up by 54% and that increase will go up to 119%!

The government could take Bulb’s 1.7 million customers as the basis of a new publicly owned energy supply company.

Sign the petition now

The situation is desperate and politicians know it. You can highlight this huge opportunity to politicians and the public. You can push for public ownership that can cut everyone’s bills by spreading the word.

Please sign and share now – before the government hands Bulb back to the private sector.

THANK YOU for your support.

Cat, Alice, Johnbosco, Matthew, Jack and Kate – the We Own It team’

I’ve had absolutely no reservations about signing the petition. It makes sense, far more sense than successive right-wing government spaffing public money against the wall trying to prop up failing private companies from a doctrinaire, inflexible belief in the superiority of private enterprise and in order to shove more public money into their friends’ pockets as management and shareholders. And this is an important first step to the nationalisation of the energy sector as a whole.

When even Gordon Brown, Blair’s right-hand man, the Torygraph and the Times are having second thoughts about the privatisation of the utilities, it’s clear that something is profoundly wrong with privatisation.

Thatcherism has failed.

Nationalisation is the solution.

Tories out!

To go directly to the petition if the above links aren’t work, it’s address is at: https://weownit.org.uk/act-now/nationalise-bulb

Academic Historian Pauline Gregg on the Nationalization of the Electricity and Gas Industries

August 11, 2022

With the energy crisis threatening even greater numbers of working people with grinding poverty, while the bosses of these industries record obscene profits and pocket millions in bonuses, I looked up the nationalisation of the electricity and gas industries in Pauline Gregg’s The Welfare State (London: George G. Harrap, 1967). She writes of their nationalisation

‘The Electricity Bill came up for its second reading on February 3, 1947. The history of electricity supply was another example of haphazard growth and piecemeal legislation. At one time there had been no less than 635 Electricity Undertakings over the country; in London there were still 75 in 1947. The industry was governed by 243 Provisional and Special Orders and Acts of Parliament; tariffs and voltages differed from area to area, and often in adjoining districts; municipal ande company undertakings had never come to terms. Whichever Government had been returned in 1945 would have had to impose some degree of order and rationalization upon the industry. Scotland alone showed some ordered development. In 1941 Thomas Johnstone, the devoted Secretary of State for Scotland in the Coalition Government, had appointed a committee to consider the practicability of developing the water-power resources of Scotland for the generation of electricity. It was a scheme which would make work for areas which were losing their population besides bringing the great boon of electricity to small townships and scattered homesteads. It was a great tribute to a country at war that in February 1943 it had passed the Hydro-electric Development (Scotland) Act which established a Hydro-electric Board for the North of Scotland.

The Bill before the House in 1947 proposed to establish a British Electricity Authority with full responsibility for generating electricity and selling it in bulk. Local distribution would be in the hands of fourteen area boards, Scotland would still be served by the Scottish Hydro-electric Board, who jurisdiction was extended to include some 22,000 square miles north and west of a line from the Firth of Tay to the Firth of Clyde-about three-quarters of the total area of Scotland. Again the measure raised only a token opposition and took 165 Conservatives into the lobby against it on February 4, 1947, rather as a gesture against the Labour Government than from real opposition to the Bill.

A similar pattern was proposed for the reorganisation of the Gas Industry. On January 21, 1948, the Bill “to provide for the establishment of Area Gas Boards and a Gas Council” was presented by Hugh Gaitskell, who had succeeded Shinwell as Minister of Fuel and Power. It was given its second reading on February 11 by 354 votes to 179. Gas supply, like Electricity was complicated, disintegrated, inefficient and controlled by a legislative framework that was a major obstacle to improvement. All Reports agreed on the desirability for larger areas of administration and for great integration, and Gaitskell claimed that the most suitable structure for the industry would be found under public ownership.’ (pp. 73-4).

And on pages 76-77 Gregg explains why these measures were needed and that they didn’t constitute a political and economic revolution.

‘Nationalization, it has been said, was a political and economic revolution, forced through after a generation of waiting. There had been a generation-and more-of waiting, but both the election results of 1945 and the debates in the House of Commons overrode any suggestion that they were ‘forced through’. The myth that they involved “a political and economic revolution” is disposed of on several grounds: the industries concerned (with the exception of iron and steel) were either semi-derelict or in urgent need of such reorganisation as could come only from a central authority with large resources to back it; they were all natural monopolies amenable to the advantages of large-scale operation; they were either public services or approximating to such; their public control was in step with a world-wide movement and one which, in Britain itself, was already well established. Banking and insurance all over the world, big power projects like the Tennessee Valley Authority in the U.S.A., the Volta River scheme in Ghana, the Panama Canal Company, the Aswan Dam on the Nile, the Kariba Dam on the Zambezi, afforestation schemes, flood-control, navigation improvement, agricultural development, railways in Europe, America, Canada, Australia-schemes which started before or after and continued at the same time as the British nationalization undertakings – put Britain in the main flood of development, not in any revolutionary situation. For the Labour Party and for their opponents this was paradox that changed the political scene. Who had stolen whose thunder was difficult to determine, but, with the exception of iron and steel, it was unlikely that much party political capital could ever again be made out of the issue of nationalization’.

This last sentence was disproved when Thatcher and the Tories went on their rampage of privatisation in the 1980s and ’90s. But even then, support for privatisation never went above 50 per cent. The nationalisation of the utilities was common sense and the majority of the Tory party at the time understood this. Privatisation was supposed to open up further sources of investment, and competition would lower prices.

This has not happened.

Energy prices are going up, while bosses are pocketing massive pay rises. Thatcherism, as I have said in a few previous posts, has failed.

The only solution is to renationalise the utilities.

That Preston Journalist Calls for the Nationalisation of the Water Companies

August 11, 2022

Oh ho! Here’s another right-wing explicitly demanding a socialist policy. Thatcherite heads will explode! That Preston Journalist is another right-wing journalist, but with a particular hatred against Nicola Sturgeon, whom he calls ‘Jeanette McKrankie’, and the SNP. But yesterday evening I found a post of his where he bitterly criticised the water companies for profiteering while people suffer in the heat and worry about paying for their drinking water. He stated that he was surprised himself by saying, but the water companies should be nationalised. They were mostly foreign owned, they didn’t invest in properly repairing and maintaining the water infrastructure, so that millions of gallons of water were wasted in leaks. He specifically mentioned an old lady who had to wait an extremely long time before someone from the water company fixed her pipes. The profits from the companies were instead given to their foreign bosses and shareholders. In the meantime, not only had the infrastructure not been maintained, but they had even been selling off reservoirs, just as those in use were running dry.

This is exactly what left-wing critics like Mike have been telling everyone for years. This is exactly why Jeremy Corbyn put the nationalisation of the utilities in the Labour manifesto – and why the Tories attacked him as a Commie and Tory infiltrator Starmer broke the pledge as soon as he could.

Thatcherism is a failure!

Corbyn was right!

Nationalise the utilities now!

The 1959 Labour Pledge for Nationalisation and a Mixed Economy

August 10, 2022

I found this statement in Pauline Gregg’s 1967 book, The Welfare State (London: George G. Harrap & Co Ltd). It was formulated at the 1959 Labour conference as a response to a move by Hugh Gaitskell, then leader of the Labour party, to drop Clause IV, the commitment to common ownership, from the party’s constitution. The nationalisation had not proved popular, and the results were disappointing. It was felt that the party’s commitment to expanding nationalisation in its 1950 manifesto had contributed to its defeat, and the party had again lost the general election of October 1959. Gaitskell stated that nationalisation was not the be-all and end-all of socialism, but only a means to the ends of full employment, greater equality and high productivity. He also feared that the commitment to common ownership would lead to the party being continually misrepresented as wanting to nationalize everything.

However, Clause IV was not dropped and compromise formula agreed instead, pledging the party to a variety of forms of common ownership and to preserving private enterprise . It stated that the social and political aims of the party could

“be achieved only through an expansion of common ownership substantial enough to give the community power over the commanding heights of the economy. Common ownership takes varying forms, including state-owned industries and firms, producer and consumer cooperation, municipal ownership and public participation in private concerns. Recognising that both public and private enterprise have a place in the economy, it believes that the further extension of common ownership should be decided from time to time in the light of these objectives and according to circumstances, with due regard for the views of the workers and consumers concerned.’ (p.129).

Well, now is such a time. Rising fuel prices are pushing a greater number of hard-working Brits further into poverty, as well as damaging the entire economy. Gas, water and electricity would be cheaper if run as nationalised industries. Thatcherism has been an immense, colossal failure, as has its child in the Labour party, Blairism.

Now it’s time to go back to this formula for a mixed economy.

Tory Comedian Gets Frightened by Prospect of the Return of Corbyn

July 26, 2022

I found another highly amusing video from GB News on YouTube the other day. It was so amusing I didn’t watch it, but just enjoyed its title. Because it was about the Scots comedian, Leo Kearse, getting terribly ‘frit’ as Thatcher would have said, about the possibility that Jeremy Corbyn might make a bid to be mayor of London.

If only.

This seems to follow a story in the Depress which came up on my internet news page last week, reporting that Corbyn’s supporters were urging him to try to return as party leader or something. It wasn’t clear quite what, but obviously all good, virtuous right-wingers who hate Mayor Sadiq Khan because he’s some horrible anti-White, anti-British leftie Muslim supremacist are also alarmed that Corbyn might try for the job. And evening more frightening, he might just get in.

Kearse himself has appeared on a number of right-wing media and news outlets. He’s been a regular guest on the Lotus Eaters and GB News, where he frequently appears on a spot where they analyse what the papers are saying. Sometimes there’s a point to what he’s saying, such as when he appeared in mock Nazi uniform as a representative of the ‘Love’ party to confront Scots minister Humza Yusuf. Yusuf and the SNP had passed legislation banning hate speech, but the boundaries of the law were set so wide, and the types of individual and groups so numerous, that Kearse and others took it as an assault on free speech. They saw it as totalitarian, and hence Kearse turned up as a Nazi to protest it. He marched around, stating that no-one could possibly object to what he and the ‘Love’ party stood for, because they represented love. Of course, the Love party didn’t exist, and this was a piece of satire directed against Yusuf and the SNP. Whatever you feel about the intention of the act – and I doubt very many decent people really want to tolerate abuse aimed at people simply because of their sex, gender identity, race, religion, sexuality, or disability, I do think he had a point in that legislating against hate speech really does threaten free speech. There’s the question of who defines what hate speech is, and that reasonable discussion and criticism of vital issues is limited and curtailed by well-,meant, but badly framed laws.

He also had a point when he attacked the Scottish university and its students, who had a young student of international law disciplined and attacked because she dared to question whether transwomen were women and stated that sex and gender were defined and based on biology. It might not be a point of view that the pro-trans lobby agrees with, but it is a reasonable one, and in my view, not bigoted, but simply common sense. Her freedom of speech and belief should have been protected, and I think that Kearse was right to defend her and mock the academics and students who tried to make her life a misery.

At other times Kearse is just boorish. He had some kind of debate on GB News with a young, feminist comedian, Smurthwaite. I forgotten what the subject of the debate was, but he peppered whatever he was saying about the topic with gibes about how nobody watches women’s football. It’s almost certainly true that the audience figures for the women’s game are lower than the men’s, but some of that is probably because it’s only within the past decade or so that the women’s game has been a broadcast sport on British television. It really took off in Italy back in the 1980s, when women’s games, according to a Beeb documentary, attracted crowds of 30-40,000. Also, the size of the viewing audience doesn’t actually say anything about the quality of the game itself. When women’s football began being broadcast, Private Eye’s TV critic remarked that the quality of the football was just as good, but with fewer ponytails. Other people have commented that while women don’t have the same physical power as men, they make up for it in being more skilled. Another comment I’ve heard is that they play a better game ’cause there’s less showing off. Having seen some prize examples of this during previous World Cups, I can believe it.

Eventually, Smurthwaite allowed that people weren’t watching women’s football, at which point Kearse cried exultantly, ‘At last, some truth!’ Which isn’t an argument, just boorish needling and sneering.

I’ve got a feeling that Kearse, like the Lotus Eaters and the rest of the lamestream media, including Private Eye, believes that Corbyn really is an anti-Semite and ‘far left’. The truth is ‘no’ on both counts. Corbyn wasn’t and isn’t anti-Semitic, just pro-Palestinian. He also had a proud record of standing up for Britain’s Jewish community and had a sizable number of Jewish supporters in the Labour party. But these were outside British Jewry’s right-wing establishment – the Chief Rabbinate, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and the United Synagogue – who all took it upon themselves to vilify Corbyn as the latest incarnation of Nazi evil. As for being ‘far left’, Corbyn really stands for a return of the post-War consensus: nationalised public utilities, a properly nationalised and funded NHS, strong trade unions and a proper welfare state that gives people what they need to live on, instead of leaving to food banks or choosing between whether they want to eat or heat their homes.

This strikes me as far more frightening to the Tories than Communism or Trotskyism because it’s far more realistic. It gave the British people a rising standard of living for three decades until the election of Maggie Thatcher. And if it returns and shows itself to be popular and successful. it will have shown the Thatcherite experiment to be what it is – a dismal, malign failure.

And that scares the living daylights out of the political, economic and media elite. Hence the desperate scramble to vilify Corbyn in any way possible, and the absolute terror in right-wingers like Kearse that he might return.

And worse, become mayor of England’s capital. Where he actually would do something for the working man or woman, rather than deceive them with lies about Brexit and cutting taxes.

Left Labour Event Tomorrow Demanding the Return of Public Ownership

July 5, 2022

Tomorrow the Labour left has organised a Zoom event calling for a return to nationalisation as part of the Arise Festival of left-wing Labour ideas. The event is called ‘Public Ownership Now!‘, and the description of it in the email I received runs

Online. Wednesday July 6, 19.00.Register here // Retweet here // Get ticket for the whole festival here.

With: Ian Lavery MP // Kate Osborne MP // Kevin Courtney, NEU General Secretary // Nadia Jama, Labour NEC // Johnbosco Nwogbo, Lead Campaigner, We Own It // Fraser McGuire, candidate on Socialist Future slate in Young Labour // Dr. Sonia Adesara, Keep Our NHS PubliC.

Join the discussion on how public ownership, stopping the privatisation scandal & public control are essential to tackling the crises facing Britain. From addressing the cost-of-living crisis, to the climate emergency, to the urgent need for more resources for public services, extending public ownership across the economy is key.’

Hosted by the Labour Assembly Against Austerity – online event as part of Arise 2022 – A Festival of Left Ideas.