Posts Tagged ‘‘Standpoint’’

Giles Udy Tries Fomenting Red Scare against Corbyn and Labour

February 4, 2019

The Tories must really be in trouble. Not only are their supporters claiming they’re ahead in the polls, based simply on the evidence of one poll, and their fellow travelers in the Labour party are talking of quitting because of anti-Semitism, yet again, but the Tory press is now trying to run another Red Scare campaign.

This type of anti-Labour propaganda began with the Zinovieff letter in the 1920s. This purported to be a letter from the head of the Comintern in Communist Russia urging Labour to turn Britain into Communist state. It may have cost Labour the election that year, though some historians have suggested that Labour would have lost anyway and the letter itself didn’t make much difference. It certainly didn’t come from the Soviet Union, but was cooked up much closer to home by MI5.

In 1987 when Thatcher was up against Neil Kinnock, the Tory press ran it again. This time they claimed that there was a group of Labour MPs, who were secret Communists. If Labour was elected, they would oust Kinnock, seize power and turn Britain into a Communist state. The Scum also ran a double page spread of various left-wing Labour MPs, like Ken Livingstone and Diane Abbott, with quotes underneath them intended to scare the public into believing they were dealing with the ‘loony left’, as the Tories called them. The quote purporting to come from Red Ken had him saying that he didn’t believe in the British army, but in a worker’s army to guard the factories. And Diane Abbott was supposed to have said that ‘all White people are racist’. At the same time, the Tory press had been loudly telling everyone that Livingstone was a Marxist. Those who knew him made it clear that he wasn’t. He could sound like them on occasions, and was quite willing to use them. But he was never a Communist. So it’s a fair bet that Livingstone and Abbott may never have made the comments the Scum attributed to them, or if they did, they were ripped out of context. In any case there was no secret cabal of Commies within the Labour party plotting to seize power and turn us into the UKSSR.

Not that it stopped one of the Thatcher’s favourite novelists, Frederick Forsythe, writing another thriller based on this premise. This was about MI5 working to prevent Moscow turning Britain into a Soviet satellite through a group of infiltrators, who had worked their way into a Labour party headed by someone, who bore more than a little similarity to Michael Foot.

Now it seems the Tories are running the same scare tactics again. Zelo Street today has put up a very interesting piece about historian Giles Udy, who issued a series of Tweets promoting a forthcoming article in Tory political magazine Standpoint. Udy claims that Labour has a ‘shadow manifesto’ which states that capitalism has taken Britain to the abyss and only the seizure of power by the working class can save us. This document predicts that this revolution will be opposed by a Fascist dictatorship run by industrialists and newspaper editors, which will start a White Terror with death squads. This will only be avoided if the police, civil service, armed forces, security services and the judicial system are purged and replaced with supporters of the revolution. The lower ranks will be sent for re-education.

This is, of course, all twaddle. Zelo Street makes it clear that if you actually look at the article, you’ll find that the document in question doesn’t come from Labour. Not at all. It comes from the Communist Party of Britain’s 25,000 word piece, Britain’s Road to Socialism. This might actually cause a problem for a real journalist or historian, who would be well aware that this very obviously does not come from the Labour party. Udy tries to wave this objection away by saying that the words ‘socialist’, ‘democratic socialist’ and ‘communist’ are virtually interchangeable to describe followers of Marx. As Zelo Street remarks, they aren’t at all, and this is fraudulent in the extreme.


In fact, Udy has previous in trying to smear Corbyn and other members of the Labour party as agents of Moscow. In February last year he issued a series of Tweets touting an article by him in the Torygraph. This was at the time the Tory press were claiming that Corbyn had passed information on to the Czech secret service, despite the fact that he didn’t. Udy claimed that Corby and Abbott must have met party officials when they went on holiday in the former DDR, and that the Stasi would have preserved records of these meetings. Except that Corbyn and Abbott didn’t meet anyone from Honecker’s ruling party, and the Stasi didn’t have any records of them doing so. Those facts did not deter Udy. He claimed that he didn’t believe Corbyn had taken money from the East Germans, but he was only one of various deluded members of the Labour party, who were admirers of socialist totalitarianism, and lamented the fact that Blair’s revolution hadn’t cleaned them all out. The other high-ranking Labour figure and trade unionist, who had taken Soviet money, he claimed, was Jack Jones, the former head of the Transport and General Workers Union, now Unite. He also claimed that Jones’ wife had been a Soviet agent since the 1930s. This was all bilge. He only had one source for this nonsense, and that was the Soviet defector and liar Oleg Gordievsky. But Jones and his wife were safely dead, and so couldn’t sue.

Udy was supposed to be a historian of the gulags, and was respected on the Right supposedly for his insight into the Labour party and Soviet Union. But Zelo Street said that after this article, he squandered whatever little credibility he had, and was just a paranoid fraud. ‘So no change there’.

None whatsoever. When things get tough for the Tories, run a scare story about them and Communism. This posed a problem when Blair was in power, as he was as right-wing as they were. They solved it then by published various fictions predicting that sometime in the next decade the remains of the European socialist parties would united with the Muslims to start a new Holocaust of European Jews. Frederick Raphael reviewed a book, which had this as its theme, set in France, around about 2004 in the Spectator as I recall. Now that they’ve got a real left-winger to fear and smear in the case of Corbyn, they’ve dropped all the stuff about Islam and are going back to Communism.

As for Standpoint itself, it’d be very interesting to know what connections it has, if any, with the British or American secret state. When the roughly left leaning political magazine, Prospect, first appeared about a decade or so ago, Lobster noted that it was more than a little like Encounter, another political mag from the ’60s – ’70s that was revealed to have been financed by the CIA. The right-wing press in this country has been running articles from the British secret state. It’s therefore quite possible that British intelligence or one of its nominally independent subsidiaries has been feeding it bilge about the Labour party as well. Like the smears against Corbyn and other British, American and European political figures claiming they were agents of Putin by the Integrity Initiative.

Which brings us right back to MI5 and the Zinoviev letter. And how old and shopworn the Tories’ smear tactics are.

Osborne’s Attack on National Insurance as Jobs Tax and the Privatisation of the NHS

December 8, 2013

Last Thursday, Gorgeous George delivered his ‘state of the economy’ address. This was muddled and contradictory. Osborne seemed to be trying to be optimistic, declaring that the economy was recovering, while at the same time saying it was still in a parlous state and more cuts needed to be made. Mike has provided an excellent critique of his speech over at Vox Political. It can be found at One of the most significant parts of his speech was where the Chancellor described National Insurance as a tax on jobs, and stated that he was repealing it for those age 18-21 to get them into work. This seems to have been lauded, at least on the BBC, as a positive move. Points West, the local news programme on BBC 1 for Bristol, Gloucestershire and Somerset, did a piece that evening commenting on George’s speech, with one of their journalists reporting from one of the region’s factories. He interviewed one of the firm’s managers, who concurred entirely with Gideon’s comments about NI. Yes, he said, they’d like to employ more young people, but they were prevented by the costs of National Insurance. He then repeated Gideon’s comments about it being a tax on jobs.

This criticism of National Insurance rang alarm bells in me. A little while ago I was talking to a friend of mine, who told me that he’d been arguing with a Conservative on the net. This Tory was repeatedly arguing that Britain could no longer afford the NHS. My friend had been arguing that contrary, and tried to show that the NHS was not only more competitive and efficient than the social insurance schemes or completely privatised systems the Lib-Dems and Conservatives favour, but it could be made entirely affordable through increased NI contributions. This had not impressed the Tory, who continued posting the nonsense about the necessity of privatising the NHS. ‘Of course’, said my friend about the arguments against privatisation ‘this isn’t going to make much difference. The City want to decouple National Insurance from the welfare state as they don’t want it NI contributions raised’. If that’s correct, and I don’t doubt for a moment it is, then Gorgeous George’s comments about National Insurance are part of his wider plan to privatise the NHS.

It’s also part of a wider plan to abolish welfare benefits. At the moment, state pensions are still provided through NI contributions. If Gideon abolished this for 18 to 21 year olds, as one of Mike’s commenters has pointed out, then it means that they either have to take out a private pension plan or take out a workplace pension. It also means that they will have to work for another three years longer than those a few years older, who were luck enough not to be caught out by Gideon’s reform.

None of this was really picked up on at the time, though the Beeb did cover some of Labour’s criticisms of the Chancellor’s speech. I wonder if more trenchant criticism of Osborne’s comments on the economy on the BBC may have been hindered by the Conservative bias of the Beeb’s news team themselves, and an attack on the BBC as a state industry in the Tory magazine press. This week’s edition of Standpoint, which was launched as a Right-wing rival to Prospect, carried an article by Toby Young declaring ‘Now is the Time to Privatise the BBC. In a recent interview with Andrew Marr, Greg Dyke shrugged off Tory allegations of left-wing BBC bias as something that you could expect them to do, when faced with something they disagreed with. Every government, whether Left or Right, has believed that the BBC was biased against them. Nevertheless, with the Tories explicitly demanding the cessation of the BBC as a state broadcaster, it’s to be expected that any further criticism of the Conservatives in the next few weeks may be somewhat more muted than usual.