Posts Tagged ‘The Guardian’

38 Degrees Email Appealing to Public to Write Letter Supporting NHS Pay Rise to Jeremy Hunt

January 18, 2023

I’ve just got this email from 38 Degrees requesting people to writer to Chancellor Jeremy Hunt asking him to abandon his opposition to the NHS workers’ demands for a pay rise. I’ve written an email as they’ve requested. If you also feel that our great medical professionals and the other staff deserve their rise, please feel free to do so as well.

David, today and tomorrow, nurses in England will be striking. [1] We know they don’t want to do this – but government inaction, pushing our NHS to breaking point, has left them with little choice.

The good news? Things might be swinging our way! Reports are emerging that the Health Secretary, Steve Barclay, is working with NHS unions to try and get more money for NHS staff. [2] But it’s also claimed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt are refusing to budge. [3]

The Chancellor holds a HUGE amount of power over the purse strings. If we want him to stop dragging his heels, thousands of us need to speak up now.

David, you are one of 75,000 of us who signed the open letter in support of striking NHS workers. [4] If all of us bombard the Chancellor with messages telling him to listen to his colleagues, and invest in our nurses and NHS staff, we’ll be impossible to ignore.
David, will you email the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, today to demand he ends his holdout and offers NHS workers a proper pay rise? It only takes a couple of minutes and there are some pointers to help you write your message.

EMAIL JEREMY HUNT NOW

Thanks to pressure from hundreds of thousands of 38 Degrees supporters, in 2021 we helped force the Government to triple its pay offer to NHS staff. [5] We can do it again, but only if thousands of us speak up together in support of striking NHS workers.

If you’ve never sent an email to an MP before, don’t worry, it’s easy and even a short message could make all the difference. Here are some tips for what you could say:

  • Share your story if you are an NHS patient: if you’re waiting for treatment and are happy to talk about this, it will be even more powerful.
  • If you work in the NHS, you could mention it – personalised stories will go a long away
  • Talk about why you back our NHS heroes: even if it’s a line or two, the Chancellor needs to know why the public are backing NHS staff
  • Remember to be polite: There’s a real person at the other end reading your email!

So, David, will you join in and send one of the thousands of emails landing in Jeremy Hunt’s inbox on the day NHS nurses go on strike? It only takes a couple of minutes and there are some pointers one the page to help you write your message

EMAIL JEREMY HUNT NOW

Thanks for all that you do,

Jonathan, Mike, Veronica and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES:
[1] BBC News: Nurses’ strike: New dates as union escalates dispute
[2] The Guardian: Revealed: cabinet split over NHS pay disputes piles pressure on Sunak
[3] See note [1]
[4] 38 Degrees: We support striking NHS staff
[5] 38 Degrees: Pay Rise Posters
Times: 38 Degrees full-page ad
BBC: NHS workers in England offered 3% pay rise

Guardian Article on Ethiopia Covering Up Its Slaving Past

January 18, 2023

Today’s Groaniad has published a fascinating article on Ethiopia’s refusal to acknowledge its history of slavery and slaving, ”If you had money, you had slaves’, how Ethiopia is in denial about the injustices of the past’, by Fred Harter. Here are a few extracts.

‘Histories of the country gloss over slavery and the subject rarely surfaces in public discourse. At the National Museum of Ethiopia in the capital, Addis Ababa, none of the exhibits deal with domestic slavery, while in Dalbo the chains once used to bind slaves have been melted down to make knives and farm implements. Little has been preserved.

“Slavery is a controversial issue,” says Nigussu Mekonnen, a guide at the museum. “There is limited evidence and information about it.”

“We tend to ignore certain kinds of history that would shape the negative image of the country,” says Kiya Gezahegne, an assistant professor in the social anthropology department at Addis Ababa University. Instead, official narratives focus on Ethiopia’s ancient Christian civilisation and its reputation as the only African country to have successfully resisted European colonisation.

“We are taught to be proud of our identity, and bringing in this narrative of slavery would be a challenge to that discourse,” says Kiya.

Yet slavery was once widespread in Ethiopia. Stretching back centuries, slaves served as soldiers, domestic servants and labourers, who were put to work at royal courts, in churches and fields.

Many were born into servitude. Others were captured in raids and during wars, or sold into slavery after they failed to pay debts. Much of the trade was domestic, although Ethiopian slaves were also sold across the Red Sea to Arabia and Turkey, where they were prized as concubines and servants.

Historical data on the slave trade is patchy. Ahmed Hassen, a professor of history at Addis Ababa University, says the number of enslaved people ebbed and flowed, especially during times of war, but estimates that up to one-third of Ethiopians were enslaved at different points in history.

In some districts, the proportion was likely even higher. The sociologist Remo Chiatti calculates that 50 to 80% of people were slaves in parts of Wolaita, a southern kingdom centred on Dalbo that was absorbed into the Ethiopian empire in the 1890s.

“Slavery was everywhere,” says Ahmed. “It was the backbone of labour; it was the source of everything. It was not only landlords and the court of the emperor keeping slaves, but also rich peasants. If you had money, you had them.”

Abolition came slowly, the result of “external and internal realities”, says Ahmed. The first big step came in 1923 when Haile Selassie signed an accord promising to end slavery to gain admittance to the League of Nations, although the practice was not stamped out entirely. In the 1930s, Benito Mussolini used the issue to justify his invasion of Ethiopia, which Italian fascist propaganda cast as a “civilising mission”.

In 1942, after Ethiopia’s liberation from Italian occupation, Haile Selassie issued the decree abolishing slavery. Even then, the practice lingered in some pockets and the influence of the former slave-owning aristocracy would not be smashed until 1974, when revolution swept to power the Provisional Military Administrative Council, also known as the Derg, a Marxist-Leninist military junta that introduced land reforms.

Today, the impact of slavery is keenly felt. After abolition, many slaves became part of the families of their former masters, but in some areas the descendants of enslaved people are seen as impure and are marginalised, barred from participating in ceremonies such as funerals or marrying into other clans. In Addis Ababa, it is common to hear light-skinned highlanders refer to darker-skinned people from southern Ethiopia as “bariya” (slave).

“Slavery in Ethiopia is not a historical phenomenon,” says an Ethiopian researcher, who did not want to be named. “Its legacy still affects people’s lives today.”

Little has been done to heal these rifts. In 2019, a year after Abiy Ahmed became prime minister on a tide of mass protests and promising reform, Ethiopia’s federal parliament set up a reconciliation commission to address past political repression and historical injustices, including the slave trade.

“It is one of the injustices that Ethiopian society inflicted on its members,” says Cardinal Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel, the head of Ethiopia’s Roman Catholic church, who participated in the commission. “We felt slavery should not be put under the table. It should be studied and addressed if there is to be real reconciliation.”

But the commission’s work was never published and it has now been subsumed into a broader national dialogue commission, which opposition parties claim is government-controlled. Critics of the government say political repression has crept back in after the outbreak of the war in Tigray in November 2020.

The polarised environment has made it harder to discuss issues such as slavery. A teacher in Addis Ababa, who did not want to be named, says he grew up with “zero knowledge” that slavery was once so widespread.“People are too preoccupied with ethnic-based politics,” he says. “If you talk about slavery, you are accused of trying to divide your group.”

He says: “I see a lot of posts online about George Floyd, talking about how racist America is, and of course that’s an issue. But we also need to talk about inequality here. There are still ethnic groups looking down on others.”

A new generation of historians are starting to piece together the history of Ethiopia’s slave trade, but discussions remain confined to academic journals and seminar rooms. Last year, there were no public events to commemorate the 80th anniversary of abolition, and most local oral histories are still hidden.’

This is interesting, as it shows that Ethiopia, like many of the other countries outside Europe that were involved in the slavery and the slavery, is also trying to tackle this aspect of their past. Historical slavery is an issue affecting many different countries and cultures, and certainly not a case of evil White Europeans and American enslaving noble Black Africans. Nevertheless, this is how it is viewed and presented by many activist groups.in Britain and America.

For further information, see https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2023/jan/18/ethiopia-slaves-in-denial-about-injustices-of-the-past

John Bird and John Fortune Skewer the Iraq Invasion: Yes, It Was All About Oil

January 10, 2023

The satirist and actor John Bird passed away just a week or so ago over Christmas. As well as appearing in the short-lived BBC comedy series Chambers and Absolute Power, he and John Fortune appeared on Bremner, Bird and Fortune on Channel 4 as ‘The Long Johns’, whose satirical dialogues expertly lampooned the rich and powerful. This had the same view Private Eye’s Ian Hislop stated on a radio 4 show some time ago, that satire should also have a serious intent and show what was really going on underneath the surface. It was incisive, witty stuff that revealed the reality behind the fine words uttered by politicians, businessmen and elite bankers to show the greed, double-standards and predatory exploitation underneath. Many of the dialogues had a simple formula. They took turns playing George Parr, who changed his profession to match the topic of the day. One week he could be a general, another an admiral, or a senior civil servant. Other characters included Washington diplomats and the dictator of an anonymous African country, who was happy to see his people mired in starvation and poverty so long as he could take the money from the Chinese building his nation’s infrastructure. The other John would play a journalist interviewing him. The questions would result in bizarre denials from the official, which would show the contradictions in the official’s story or decision and lead to them actually revealing the real reasons for the decision or policy in spite of themselves.

In this piece from 2007, posted on theDossier’s YouTube Channel, the two discuss the-then recent admission by Alan Greenspan, the head of the Federal Reserve in America, that it was embarrassing to have to admit it, but yes, the Iraq invasion really was all about oil. As everyone knew. The official denies that this was the case, pointing out that before the war Blair had passed a resolution stipulating that the oil reserves should stay in Iraqi hands. This was revoked a year later after the war, when Blair passed another resolution saying that the allies should have it for safekeeping or something. As a measure of generosity, the allies allowed the Iraqis to keep 17 oil wells out of a total of 80, and promised to give 20 per cent of the profits from their oil fields to the Iraqi government. Iraq nevertheless contains an extremely large proportion of the world’s oil, whose worth is in the trillions.

The former Guardian journo Greg Palast amply demonstrated in his book, Armed Madhouse, that the Iraq war was an attempt by the American and Saudi oil industries to seize the Iraqi oil fields and their wealth, as well as the Neo-Cons attempting to seize the country’s state industries for America and create the kind of low tax state founded on free trade they wished to see in America. The result was the absolute collapse of the Iraqi economy with soaring bankruptcies and unemployment. Not to mention the chaos and bloodshed caused by the war and the sectarian violence that followed it, and the unrestrained, murderous, Nazi criminality of the private military contractors – read: mercenaries – who were hired by the Americans as part of the peace-keeping forces.

This is political satire at it’s best, and some of the commenters on YouTube have compared Bird and Fortune with the superb BBC comedy, Yes, Minister, which is also still relevant even after all these decades. John Fortune died some years ago, and was much missed, as John Bird will be, for his part in these dialogues. You wonder what they’d have to say about Sunak and the present government. It, and it’s equally incompetent and corrupt predecessors, would have been excellent material for them to send up.

Diane Abbott Slams Rishi Sunak’s Bogus Promise about Continuing Maths Education Until 18

January 5, 2023

Yesterday, our latest prime minister, Rishi Sunak, announced that as well as tackling the state of the NHS and channel migrants, he would make it compulsory for school students to continue to study maths until 18. This was, he announced, necessary to combat poor maths literacy. His speech has impressed precisely no-one, and has been extensively torn to shreds by commenters like Owen Jones and Novara Media. After all, it’s the Tory policies of underfunding, cuts and stealth privatisation that have created the mess the NHS is in, in the first place. As for the channel migrants, they’ve been unable to tackle that either, except with Patel’s plan to send them all to Rwanda, a country suffering serious human rights abuses. That plan was condemned by the public and also, I believe, various judicial authorities.

Abbott in a tweet stated that Sunak’s plan for continuing maths education until the school leaving age was bogus because the Tories had cut teacher’s pay, as well as underfunding education generally. She’s absolutely right, as I can remember from my schooldays when schools were increasingly decaying thanks to cuts to funds. Except for the academies, of course, which were given more far more than state schools. Critics have also wondered whether Sunak will even have time to implement this reform before the possibility that he and his wretched party are voted out at the next election.

There’s also been an interesting opinion piece in the Groaniad by a lecturer in mathematical biology. He argues that it’s unnecessary, as maths is already the most popular A Level subject, far outstripping its nearest rival, psychology. He also states that making it compulsory would further decrease the numbers of people taking arts and humanities subjects, as they’d have to give up them as well as choose another STEM subject to harmonise with the maths. He also makes the excellent point that making it compulsory might put people off it even more by forcing them to study a subject they hate.

To me, it just looks like Sunak trying desperately to look like he’s actually doing and standing for something, whereas in fact he stands for nothing except the worn out Tory policies that have driven the public services into the ground and working people to desperation. The fact that he has nothing to say was shown very clearly just before Christmas, when he, or one of the Tories, announced they wanted to meet the railway unions, but wouldn’t talk about wages. As wages are part of the issue, this negated the whole point of any meeting. Again, it was just an exercise in public relations. He wanted it to appear that he was doing something and prepared to negotiate while the reality was the complete opposite.

Sunak is flailing about with nothing to offer, and it’s obvious.

Short Questionnaire by 38 Degrees Seeking People’s Views on the State of the Health Service

November 25, 2022

Here’s another email I got from the internet petitioning organisation seeking to gauge people’s views on the current state of the health service, and the particular issues they are most concerned with, as part of a wider campaign to defend it. Two of the questions, not on this email but there if you answer the questionnaire, ask you if you would be willing to speak to TV, radio or the press or talk about it on social media, and ask you for your telephone number if you would like to be part of that aspect of the campaign. I filled it out, as I am very concerned and angry about how they’re treating the NHS, but clearly not everyone will want to take it that far or give their home phone numbers.

‘David, the 38 Degrees community has been campaigning for YEARS to get the NHS the funding and workforce plan it desperately needs. It’s why we drove an ambulance with our message to Rishi Sunak across the country over the summer. [1] Now, we need to think about our next move.

If we’re going to keep fighting for what’s best for our NHS, it’s going to take all of us getting involved. And that means we should all have a say in what we do next. By taking this quick survey we’ll know what’s really important to all of us, and then together we can plan our next big NHS campaign.

So, David, will you take a quick survey and have your say on what we should do next? It takes two minutes. Here’s the first question to get you started:

How concerned are you about the current state of the NHS?

Very concerned

Concerned

Neither concerned nor unconcerned

Not concerned

Not at all concerned

Not sure

Things are so bad that ordinary people can’t help but speak up. A 77-year-old patient caught Prime Minister Rishi Sunak off guard by telling him to “try harder” to improve nurses’ pay, and a patient told Health Secretary Steve Barclay that he was doing “bugger all” about long ambulance waits. [2]

38 Degrees has a proud history of campaigning to protect our NHS. From fighting for a fair pay rise for NHS staff, to ensuring the NHS is properly funded and staffed, as well as opposing plans to raise the age limit for free prescription charges – we’ve fought relentlessly for an NHS we can all be proud of. [3] And with so many challenges left that fight is far from over.

By sharing your opinion in this short survey, we’ll be able to prioritise the issues we campaign on together. But to make the best plan we can, we need all of us to share our views.

So will you take this short survey today to help us keep fighting for the future of our NHS? It only takes two minutes. Here’s the first question to get you started:

How concerned are you about the current state of the NHS?

Very concerned

Concerned

Neither concerned nor unconcerned

Not concerned

Not at all concerned

Not sure

Thanks for your support,

Flo, Mike, Jonathan, Angus and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES:

[1] Express & Star: Ambulance protest greets Tory Party members at hustings
[2] The Guardian: Woman confronts Steve Barclay on NHS outside hospital
Evening Standard (paywall): Rishi Sunak told by patient to ‘you are not trying, try harder’ to give nurse’s pay rise
[3] 38 Degrees: NHS Staff Pay Rise Campaign
38 Degrees: We need to properly fund and staff our NHS now!
38 Degrees: Keep prescriptions free for Over 60s

38 Degrees Petition to Get Jeremy Hunt to Provide Free School Meals to Children on Universal Credit

November 25, 2022

I got this message yesterday from the internet petitioning organisation objecting to Jeremy Hunt’s apparent refusal to provide free school meals to four-firths of a million children on Universal Credit, but who currently don’t qualify for free school meals. I’ve signed it, and if you feel as strongly about it as I do, I hope you’ll do the same. Because this is obscene. Britain is one of the richest countries in the world, and millions of working people and children are going hungry. They have to use food banks to stave off starvation, and now there are warm banks to make sure they don’t die of hypothermia because they can’t afford to heat their homes. Marcus Rashford, God bless ‘im, managed to shame them into providing fee school meals to deprived kids during the holidays. And they hate him for it. They published hit pieces afterwards lambasting him for being rich and having more than one house. Guess what? That’s irrelevant. The Fabian Society rejected class war, and so, I think, did the Labour party in general. They fought for the working class but saw socialism as such an eminently reasonable social system of society that everyone would benefit. This is where Labour differs from Communism. The only people who are fighting a class war, and exploiting class resentment, are the Tories in order to keep the workers firmly in their place.

‘Dear David,

800,000 vulnerable children are going to school hungry and missing out on free school meals – yet Chancellor Jeremy Hunt had nothing to say about it in last week’s budget. [1] He’s happy to leave hundreds of thousands of families, on Universal Credit but not eligible for free school meals, to struggle to feed their kids. [2]

David – we won’t let the Government get away with this. Our petition to expand free school meals is over 90% of the way to 100,000 signatures – but your name is missing. [3]

We MUST push this up the Government’s agenda if we’re to protect families struggling this winter. [4] That’s why we have BIG plans to expand this campaign – and it all starts with ramping up names on this petition and handing it in to Rishi Sunak to put child hunger firmly on his radar. As for the next stage of the campaign… watch this space!

So David, will you add your name to show Rishi Sunak he can’t get away with letting kids go hungry?It only takes a few seconds to sign!

I’LL ADD MY NAME

I’m not signing because…

It feels like we’re getting close to a breakthrough, David. Supermarkets, local councils, and celebrities are piling on the pressure to expand free school meals. [4] But time and again, the Government has failed to give critical support to families most in need – which is why we need your name, and your support.

So David, will you sign today to urge this Government to expand free school meals and keep this country’s children fed?If each of us reading this signs, we’ll smash the 100,000 target!

I’LL ADD MY NAME

I’m not signing because…

Thanks for all you do,

Flo, Tash, Siobhan, Angus and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES:
[1] The Guardian: ‘It would mean so much’: parents on the need to expand free school meals 
The Independent: Feed the Future: Jeremy Hunt ignores pleas to expand free school meals in autumn Budget 
[2] See note 1.
[3] 38 Degrees: Rishi Sunak: don’t let kids go hungry by ditching the free school meals expansion! 
[4] Evening Standard: UK supermarkets join calls for expansion of free school meals 

38 Degrees Petition against MPs Attending Parliament While Being Investigated for Sexual Misconduct

November 19, 2022

I got this email from the internet petitioning organisation 38 Degrees yesterday, and I have absolutely no qualms against signing it whatsoever, because there have been scandals involving MPs sexually assaulting their staff that have caused real outrage already. And I’m really shocked by the claim that 50 MPs are being investigated for such crimes. If you feel the same way, please feel free to sign as well.

‘Dear David,

Did you know that right now MPs who are under investigation for sexual assault by the police cannot be banned from Parliament and can only be asked not to attend? [1] It’s shocking, but it could be about to change.

Because earlier this week, a group of influential MPs in Westminster met to discuss the possibility of MPs being banned from Parliament if they are accused of sexual misconduct. [2] Earlier this year it was revealed more than 50 MPs were being investigated for such behaviour, so this change can’t come soon enough. [3]

The panel is debating this right now, but they could get pushback from some of their fellow MPs, and that’s where we come in. Together we need to show that the public would be in favour of this move – and any other actions they can take to clean up Westminster’s toxic culture and make sure the Houses of Parliament is a safer place to work.

So David, will you sign the petition today which will show those in charge that the public would back a move to ban MPs under investigation for bad behaviour? It takes 30 seconds to sign:

SIGN THE PETITION

NO, I DISAGREE

Earlier this year, an MP who was arrested on suspicion of rape was simply asked to “please stay away”. [4] And MP Ahmed Khan said he’d steer clear of Parliament while under investigation, but kept coming in anyway until finally resigning after being found guilty of sexual assault. [5]

After the party gate scandal, the then Prime Minister, Boris Johnson promised to change the culture within Downing Street but it’s clear that the Houses of Commons needs cleaning up too. [6] That’s why, over the summer, more than 78,000 38 Degrees supporters signed a petition and came together demanding change. [7]

One of our demands was to enforce a ban on MPs coming to Parliament when under investigation. It sounds like those in charge are considering this change – so now it’s time we pile the pressure on again.
Will you sign the petition to help them make the right decision?It takes 30 seconds to add your name:

SIGN THE PETITION

NO, I DISAGREE

Thanks for being involved,

David, Megan and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES:
[1] BBC News: Conservative MP arrested on suspicion of rape
[2] The Guardian: MPs facing sexual assault claims could be banned from parliament
[3] The Mirror: Three cabinet and two shadow ministers facing allegations of sexual misconduct
[5] See note 1.
[6] BBC News: Imran Ahmad Khan: Sex assault conviction MP resigns
[7] BBC News: Boris Johnson will address No 10 ‘party culture’, says Tory chief
[8] 38 Degrees: Clean up the toxic culture of harassment in Westminster

38 Degrees Petition to Remove the Ban on Onshore Windfarms

November 14, 2022

Here’s another petition I got from 38 Degrees, and it also shows up the hypocrisy of Rishi Sunak and the Tories. Sunak has been talking up the advantages of green energy at the very same time he and his wretched gang of robbers are trying to limit it. Despite its advantages, the Tories have placed a ban on onshore windfarms which this petition hopes to lift. It runs

Over 70% of us support this, so why is it banned?

“…diversifying our energy supplies by investing in renewables is precisely the way to insure ourselves against the risks of energy dependency.”

David, these are the words that our PM, Rishi Sunak, delivered to COP27 on Monday. [1] But just before this, his government announced that onshore wind farms would stay banned in England – limiting the amount of renewable energy we can generate here. [2] It doesn’t make sense!

At a time when energy bills are soaring, you would think the PM would be doing everything in his power to reduce them – instead of banning such a cheap source of energy. [3] And wind power is hugely popular here in the UK – even 84% of Conservative voters want it! [4] The Government’s decision to take it off the table is quite baffling.

Right now Rishi Sunak, his green policies and his COP27 appearance is all over the news. And we know public pressure works on Rishi’s environmental policies. In recent weeks he’s U-turned on fracking and whether or not he’d be going to COP27 in the first place. [5] Let’s add our voices together again and tell the PM that we, the public, want him to u-turn on wind power too.

David, will you add your name to a petition calling on Rishi Sunak to scrap the ban on onshore wind farms? For every 500 signatures, we’ll send him a message telling him how much bigger the petition has grown. It takes 30 seconds to sign:

ADD MY NAME

Building an onshore wind farm and maintaining it creates less emissions than any other energy source and can be done in just a few months. [6] The areas they’re built on can still be used for farming too, so it’s a win-win situation. The need for cheap energy quickly has never been higher than now.

Rishi Sunak’s decision to re-ban fracking was the right call, but keeping the ban on wind power is not. The UK has the largest wind energy resource in Europe – so onshore wind farms should be a no-brainer. [7]

In the past few months, together we have accomplished so much for our environment: The Government released its plan to stop sewage pollution, fracking was banned – again – and just last week we were part of a national outcry that persuaded Rishi to attend COP27. [8] We only brought about this change because we did it as a community. So let’s do it again and get Rishi to scrap the ban on new onshore wind farms.

Will you add your name to the petition now? It’ll take just 30 seconds:

ADD MY NAME

Thanks for all you do,

Simma, Megan and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES:
[1] Gov.uk: PM statement at COP27: 7 November 2022
[2] Daily Mail: Now ban on onshore wind farms will stay as Rishi Sunak axes another Liz Truss policy
[3] The Guardian: England is failing to capitalise on its onshore wind potential 
[4] Renewable UK: Polling in every constituency in Britain shows strong support for wind farms to drive down bills
[5] The Guardian: Rishi Sunak will keep ban on fracking in UK, No 10 confirms
Sky News: PM makes ‘screeching U-turn’ on attending COP27 – and all his campaign pledges are under review
[6] National Grid: Onshore vs offshore wind energy: what’s the difference?
[7] See note 4
[8] DEFRA: Consultation on the Government’s Storm Overflow Discharge Reduction Plan
See note 5′

I’ve signed it, and if you feel the same, please feel free to do so as well.

Labour Party Now Running Islamophobia Awareness Days

November 1, 2022

I’ve had an email this evening from Labour General Secretary David Evans inviting me to sign up to two Islamophobia awareness training sessions. The email says

‘The Labour Party stands united against Islamophobia. Islamophobia is a pervasive hatred in our society which manifests in violent hate crimes, targeted discrimination, and loss of opportunity for many Muslims.

We had to root out the Antisemitism which had infected our party and we are serious about tackling all forms of discrimination. That is why we also have new codes of conduct to tackle Islamophobia, Afrophobia and anti-Black racism.

This Islamophobia Awareness Month the Labour Party will be offering two member training sessions on Islamophobia Awareness. Understanding Islamophobia is vital to tackling it.

This is an introductory session on Islamophobia and how it presents itself in the UK. We encourage you to sign up to this important session.

…..

‘I know that there is more work to be done, and we are committed to this. Whilst there can never be any complacency on these issues, Keir, Anneliese and I are leading a thorough programme of reform in the Labour Party.

This includes:

  •     the introduction of an independent complaints process
  •     mandatory unconscious bias training for staff
  •     changes to our hiring practices
  •     and a diversity and inclusion board

Labour won’t dismiss structural racism – we’ll tackle it head on, with a landmark, new Race Equality Act, by implementing all the Lammy Review recommendations, and with a curriculum that reflects our country’s diverse history and society.

We have also worked constructively with the Labour Muslim Network, and together with the Parliamentary Chair, Afzal Khan MP, we are committed to implementing all the recommendations in their report.

Thank you, 

David Evans
General Secretary’

This comes after the scandals and allegations of the bullying of Black and ethnic minority MPs and staff and that a third of Muslim Labour party members have experienced Islamophobia. Well done, but a little late, especially as many of the bigots responsible for the bullying and racism came from the Blairite right. However, I also have a few reservations of such anti-racist training. How genuinely anti-racist will it be? The anti-Semitism training given to members was handed over to the Jewish Labour Movement, and their idea of anti-Semitism conflated it very strong with criticism of Israel. I wonder if the anti-Islamophobia training will also be handed over to ideologically motivated groups with their own agenda. For example, Ed Hussein wrote an article in one of the broadsheets – possibly either the Independent or the Guardian, stating that when he was a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir, a genuine Islamic supremacist party, they used to shut down any criticism of the activities on campus by screaming ‘Islamophobia’. I have to say I’m very sceptical and wary about such courses generally, as in my experience they can begin with the assumption that all Whites are racist, especially after the BLM protests and the introduction of Critical Race Theory and courses relating to it in universities and businesses.

38 Degrees Open Letter to Get Rishi Sunak to Attend the COP27 Next Week

November 1, 2022

I got this email from internet democracy group 38 Degrees about their petition against Sunak’s ambivalence about attending next week’s summit on climate change. Sunak has apparently said he may not go, and so 38 Degrees have set up this campaign to persuade him.

This is outrageous: Rishi Sunak says he may not be attending the COP27 summit next week. [1]

David, we knew the new Prime Minister was not the strongest on climate change. But the decision to not attend a crucial event where world leaders agree on steps to tackle the climate crisis is shocking and concerning. Especially when a UN report last week showed that current actions by countries across the world have not gone far enough. [2]

Sunak has blamed “domestic challenges” for this decision, but the fact is that the climate affects us all. [3] Not attending such an important summit – even for one day – while also removing the Climate Minister from the Cabinet shows the climate crisis is not a top priority for this government. [4] Rishi Sunak may say the environment is important to him, but his actions say otherwise.

His decision has not gone down well – the media, world leaders and UK MPs have been criticising it and news today has pointed to signs that he may be wavering in his decision to not attend. [5] So let’s be the voice that finally persuades him to attend the summit. If we sign an open letter in our hundreds of thousands it could push the PM to attend the meeting and show us he cares about saving the planet.

So, David, will you add your name right now and demand the PM attend the COP27 summit? By clicking the button below your name will automatically be added to the open letter.

ADD MY NAME

I’M NOT TAKING PART BECAUSE…

To: Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister

We, the public, are calling on you to make tackling the climate crisis a top priority. You’ve claimed it is, but your actions this week – removing the Climate Minister from the Cabinet, and refusing to attend the COP27 summit – say otherwise.

We understand that domestic issues are important, but the climate crisis will affect us all. The fact that you won’t attend and be part of the global conversation is damaging and concerning for everyone. Especially given the latest reports from the UN that current actions by all countries across the world have not gone far enough to limit any rise in global temperature to 1.5C.

Show us you care about the climate crisis and the environment. Commit to attending the summit for at least one day, as your predecessor Liz Truss promised, and give Climate Minister Graham Stuart the right to attend Cabinet meetings.

Signed,

The British public

The PM’s absence at this global summit will be keenly felt. Since the UK were the hosts of the summit last year it means we are the current holder of the COP presidency until this year’s summit starts. By not bothering to attend, Rishi Sunak will be sending a message to the whole world that the UK is not committed to tackling the climate crisis. But taking action to save our planet is a team effort and we need to play our part.

That’s why we, the public, need to add our voices and let Rishi Sunak know that the climate crisis is one of our top priorities. And as Prime Minister he needs to commit to doing something about it. We and future generations deserve better.

Will you be the voice of reason and add your name to the open letter today? By clicking the button below your name will automatically be added to the open letter.

ADD MY NAME

Thanks for all you do,

Simma, Megan and the 38 Degrees team

NOTES:
[1] The Independent: Sunak prioritises ‘depressing domestic challenges’ over attending climate summit
[2] The Guardian: Climate crisis: UN finds ‘no credible pathway to 1.5C in place’
[3] See note 1
[4] See note 1
Daily Mail: Rishi Sunak pulls out of Cop-27 climate summit and downgrades the status of his climate minister – but No10 insists new PM remains committed to net zero target
[5] See note 4
The Guardian: Global anger at Sunak’s Cop27 snub that raises fears over UK’s climate crisis stance
BBC News: Rishi Sunak criticised for skipping COP27 climate summit
BBC News: Rishi Sunak could still attend COP27 climate summit

I’ve signed it, because despite Sunak’s stopping fracking, his possible refusal to attend the summit shows that the Tories still don’t care about the environmental crisis and are hostile to further steps to prevent climate change. His absence will harm Britain’s international standing in this struggle.