Posts Tagged ‘Twitter’

Message from We Own It about Their New Website and Campaign Against Channel 4 Privatisation

June 14, 2022

I got this email from anti-privatisation campaign group We Own It informing me about their new website and their continuing campaign against the government’s proposed sell-off of Channel 4.

‘Dear David,

What do Armando Iannucci, the Archbishop of York and Siobhán McSweeney from Derry Girls all have in common?

They’re all taking a stand against Nadine Dorries’ plan to privatise Channel 4.

They’re not the only ones. 27 independent production companies, actor Jon Pointing, comedian Jack Rooke, and the Bishops of Ripon and Leeds are taking a stand too.

They’ve come together today to send a message to the divided Conservative Party: Channel 4 ain’t broke. Don’t fix it. Conserve it.

Thanks to donations from hundreds of you, today we were able to launch an ambitious new campaign which hit the front page of the Yorkshire Post, the Evening Standard, the Independent, the National and local papers across the country.

Check out the beautiful new website and share it to spread the word! We need YOU to make this big launch even bigger! This is a campaign we can win.

Share the new campaign on Twitter

Share on Facebook

Check out the website and forward the link by email to friends and family

THANK YOU so much for showing this government where you stand.

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

PS Thanks so much to everyone who took part in the day of action for the NHS on Saturday. You were all over the press for that campaign as well!’

I very much support this campaign, not least because Bristol is one one of the various cities in which the broadcaster is located. I’m afraid that if the government privatises the station it will have to close down its offices or studios in Bristol and the other towns, and that these local broadcasting industries will be severely damaged. A little while ago I wrote to my local Labour MP, Karin Smyth, to express my fears about the loss of local broadcasting in Bristol. She very kindly wrote back stating that she also was going to oppose Channel 4’s privatisation.

I think the channel has declined in quality since the 1980s and 1990s, but it has been a vital part of British broadcasting and cinema. There have been a stream of British films made either by, or with the participation of Channel 4 films. And when it was first launched in the 1980s, it offered a genuine alternative to mainstream broadcasting. It showed Indian films in a slot entitled ‘All India Goldies’ as well as an adaptation of the Indian national epic, the Mahabharata. It also provided excellent opera coverage, and really did much to bring it to a genuinely popular audience. It also gave Britain the wit and wisdom of the journalist and TV critic, Clive James, who had his own show on a Sunday night. James published a trio of books of his TV criticism, as well as his travel journalism and an autobiography, Unreliable Memoirs. His writing could be hysterically funny, as when he covered the extremely excitable remarks of over-the-top sports commenters. In one of his articles he described how one of the cars broke down or crashed during a race ‘and Murray Walker exploded’. At other times, when discussing the horrors of the Holocaust and the surviving Nazi and Fascist leaders like Albert Speer, Baldur von Schirach and Oswald Mosley, who turned up on British television, he was deadly serious and scathing. As he also was when writing about Stalin’s famine and purges and Mao’s China. He interviewed a number of great personalities on his show, including a very young Victoria Wood and the late, great Peter Cook. For fantasy enthusiasts, there was The Storyteller, a series of tales adapted from folk stories, narrated by John Hurt, with puppet creatures, including the Storyteller’s dog, created and operated by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. Henson and Frank Oz were the geniuses behind the Muppets. They also made the fantasy movie The Dark Crystal, in which every character is a non-human creature. In the 1990s Henson’s Creature Shop also created the various aliens in the Australian-American SF series Farscape. I am very much afraid that if Channel 4 is privatised, then this history and pool of great broadcasting talent and skills will be permanently lost.

And it will be lost not because there’s anything wrong with Channel 4, but because the Tories’ backers, like one Rupert Murdoch, want British state broadcasting to end so their own cruddy networks can move in and take its place.

My Message for We Own It Against NHS Privatisation

June 11, 2022

My last post was about the email I received earlier today about We Own It’s campaign today against the government’s intention to place private healthcare companies on the boards of the NHS. Among their activities they were asking people to write the following message on a piece of paper “Dear [*write the name of your town here*] NHS leaders, let’s rebuild our local NHS together and keep private companies out”, then take a selfie of you with the message and tweet it or, if you’re not on Twitter or in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, email it to them at nfo@weownit.org.uk .

I’ve done this, and here’s my piccie with the message below.

Yeah, I know it’s faint and hardly legible, but I hope it still makes the point.

We Own It on Their Day of Action Against NHS Privatisation Today

June 11, 2022

I got this message this morning from the pro-nationalisation, anti-NHS privatisation organisation We Own It stating that today is their day of action against the Tories’ plans to put private companies on NHS boards. Amongst the forms of protest they’re organising is a photo campaign in which people take photos of themselves with a message on a piece of paper addressed to their local NHS manager stating their opposition of this new phase of Tory privatisation. The email runs

‘Dear David,

Today is your Day of Action  – can you help ramp up the pressure on your local NHS chair to put people before profit as they prepare to reorganise the NHS in England on the 1st of July?

Even if you do just one of these three actions, you can have a HUGE impact today:

1. Send a message directly to your local NHS chair in 3 easy steps:

  1. On a plain sheet of paper, write out the message: “Dear [*write the name of your town here*] NHS leaders, let’s rebuild our local NHS together and keep private companies out”
  2. Take a selfie with your message.
  3. Click the button below to use our tool to tweet your picture (or email it to us at info@weownit.org.uk if you don’t use Twitter, or if you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland!)

2. Join a local action near you today. Find out where actions are happening below.

3. Distribute leaflets by yourself or with friends and family on your local high street. This action is only for people who have received leaflet deliveries from us.

Tweet your picture

Find out if there’s a group action near you

8 local NHS chairs have now come out and pledged that they will BAN private companies on their boards.

When you started this campaign a month ago that number was a grand total of 1.

This happened because 20,500 of you emailed your ICS chairs, or boosted the numbers by sharing the action if you live outside of England. 

Your actions have an impact. By doing even just one of the actions today, you will help protect your local NHS from greedy private companies

1. Send a message directly to your local NHS chair in 3 easy steps:

  1. On a plain sheet of paper, write out the message: “Dear [*write the name of your town here*] NHS leaders, let’s rebuild our local NHS together and keep private companies out”
  2. Take a selfie with your message.
  3. Click the button below to use our tool to tweet your picture (or email it to us at info@weownit.org.uk if you don’t use Twitter, or live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland – your photos will show that people across the UK oppose private companies making decisions about our healthcare!)

2. Join a local action near you today. Find out where actions are happening below.

3. Distribute leaflets by yourself or with friends and family on your local high street. This action is only for people who have received leaflet deliveries from us.

Tweet your picture

Find out if there’s a group action near you

We are working with Keep Our NHS Public and Unite Community to make sure local NHS chairs feel the heat today. 

As they prepare to reorganise local NHS’ across England on the 1st of July, you can remind them that you want the NHS to work for people not profit.

This reorganisation currently only impacts the NHS in England, but it sets a precedent that will have repercussions for the NHS in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. By taking a stand and showing resistance to private companies sitting on boards in England, you will help stop this setting a dangerous new normal for healthcare in the UK. 

NHS leaders need to know that profiteering private healthcare companies cannot be allowed to have a role in our healthcare.

Send them a simple message today by doing one of the three actions below:

1. Send a message directly to your local NHS chair in 3 easy steps:

  1. On a plain sheet of paper, write out the message: “Dear [*write the name of your town here*] NHS leaders, let’s rebuild our local NHS together and keep private companies out”
  2. Take a selfie with your message.
  3. Click the button below to use our tool to tweet your picture (or email it to us at info@weownit.org.uk if you don’t use Twitter or live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland)

2. Join a local action near you today. Find out where actions are happening below.

3. Distribute leaflets by yourself or with friends and family on your local high street. This action is only for people who have received leaflet deliveries from us.

Tweet your picture

Find out if there’s a group action near you

his campaign is already getting results because people like you are standing up and taking action. Thank you so much for all you do to protect our NHS. 

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

I realise that this is very last minute, but I’ve put it up here for those who want to be involved.

There are protests right across England, but the one in Bristol is run by Bristol Protest our NHS at 60 High Street, Hanham, BS15 3DR, and its running from 3-4 this afternoon..

My Video for Self-Published Book on a Parliamentary Chamber for the Workers

June 1, 2022

One of the great commenters on this blog paid me a wonderful compliment the other day by saying how great it would be if I put up a YouTube channel to combat some of the claims made by a certain internet historian. But as this particular individual puts up two a day, this would be too great a task. Now I did put up two YouTube channels under my own name, David Sivier. The first simply deals with replica musical instruments I’ve made for myself and cardboard models I’ve made of various archaeological monuments and artefacts. Unfortunately, I tried getting the channel to accept images from my mobile, with the result that it no longer recognises me as the channel’s owner and so I have been able to put up anything more on it. Hence the launch of the second David Sivier YouTube channel. I’ve put up a couple of pieces of music there, as well as some political stuff. I may also have put up political material on the first David Sivier channel. One of the videos I put up was for my self-published book arguing that as millionaires and the heads of companies now dominate parliament – about 77 per cent of MPs are businessmen – we should have a separate chamber composed of workers, elected by the workers. The book examines the idea from the 19th century Chartists, who set up their own ‘parliament of trades’ in one of their meetings, through the anarchists and Utopian socialists like Saint-Simon, the German council revolution of 1919, and the corporatism of Fascist Italy to the self-management experiment of the former Communist Yugoslavia, where the local councils had a chambers for the workers.

A few weeks ago I found a launch video for Red Line TV, a left-wing YouTube channel based on the left-wing Labour Briefing. It’s put up a number of videos discussing topics like women’s rights, racism and the trans issue. In the launch video, they were appealing for subjects to discuss and inviting people to come on. I fancied sending them a copy of the book and suggesting they might like to talk about that as something different, and as provocation to get Labour actually representing working people again. Unfortunately, There doesn’t seem to be anywhere on their site you make such suggestions or contact them, except to become a member. I did find something about contacting them elsewhere, but this seemed to be through Twitter, and I don’t have it and don’t want it. I’ve therefore stymied in that department. If there are any other left-wing vloggers who’d be interested n talking about it, let me know.

Anyway, here’s the video:

Email from Open Britain Giving Further Details of Today’s Demonstration

May 15, 2022

Yesterday I got this email from the pro-democracy organisation Open Britain giving more information about their demonstration against Johnson and his corrupt cronies outside Downing Street today at 2 pm. It also shows how people can also get involved with the campaign, whether they’re physically present or not. The email runs:

‘avid,

Tomorrow, we’ll stand united to call for a new chapter in British politics. 

The timing couldn’t be better. Boris Johnson and his government are reeling from their party’s staggering local election losses and the announcement of over fifty additional fines related to Partygate. 

Increasingly, people are waking up to the reality of Boris Johnson’s rotten government. We don’t want to be the country that overturns the Human Rights Act, restricts the right to protest, exerts partisan control over its elections watchdog, and allows its leaders to remain above the law. We know we deserve far better. 

The tide is with us. All that’s left to do is make ourselves heard. 

Join us tomorrow at Downing Street at 2pm to kick off the protest. 

If for whatever reason you are unable to attend tomorrow, don’t worry – there’s still ways you can help out: 

  • Sign the petition calling to rewrite the ministerial code so that a PM can be investigated and sanctioned by an independent body.
  • Get loud on twitter during the rally tomorrow and amplify the work we’re doing on the ground! Check out @stoptherot_uk and use the hashtag #StopTheRot
  • Chip in to help us keep the momentum and continue protesting like this around the UK this summer.

JOIN US TOMORROW | STOP THE ROT | OWN YOUR FUTURE

The scale of corruption from this government has been unprecedented. Our response tomorrow will be unprecedented as well. 

We hope you won’t miss out on this historic day of reckoning for the least principled, least honest, and least decent government in living memory. 

Looking forward to seeing you there. 

Yours, 
Open Britain Team 

P.S. We’re working hard to build a movement that can stand up to immense levels of government corruption and political rot. It’s no easy task. Anything you can chip in to support the cause goes a long way. 

Donate

Hope Not Hate Call for Twitter Protests against China’s Uyghur Genocide

February 20, 2022

I got this email from the anti-racist, anti-religious extremism organisation Hope Not Hate today. It’s by a Uyghur Muslim activists calling for people to tweet messages of protest against their genocide by the Chinese state. Which is being carried out at the same time the world enjoys the Winter Olympics there.

‘This is the first time I’m writing to HOPE not hate supporters, so let me introduce myself: my name is Rahima Mahmut. I’m a Uyghur singer and activist in exile, and I lead “Stop Uyghur Genocide”, the UK-based campaign to defend Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims from the genocide being perpetrated against them by the Chinese government. 

I was born in Ghulja, near the Kazakhstan border, and I come from a large Muslim family. I came to the UK in 2000, a few years after Chinese police massacred peaceful protestors in my hometown, and have lived here ever since. 

It has now been more than five years since I have had any contact with my family back home. As reports of concentration camps and unprecedented surveillance emerged from the Uyghur region (so called “Xinjiang”) in 2017, thousands of Uyghurs in exile like me received final messages from their family, all communicating the same thing: please do not contact us – when things change, we will reach out to you.

Uyghurs like myself that have spoken out, including brave concentration camp survivors, do so at huge personal cost. But we won’t be silenced

Sunday marks the closing ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics, coined the “Genocide Games” by campaigners and activists across the world due to the Chinese government’s persecution of the Uyghurs and other Turkic groups native to the Uyghur region.

While China puts on a show to entertain the world, the genocide continues with alarmingly little attention for the plight of the Uyghurs. Let’s use this moment while the world’s attention is on China to stand in solidarity with the Uyghurs and shine a spotlight on the genocide taking place in my homeland.

Will you take part in a “Twitter storm” to tell the world that while China celebrates the end of the Beijing Olympics, the genocide against the Uyghurs continues? 

Send your tweet

ot on Twitter? Read and share this blog which explains more about what’s happening in the Uyghur region and what we can do about it. 

It is estimated that anywhere between 1 and 3 million Uyghurs are forcibly detained in so-called “re-education camps”, where systemic sexual violence, cultural erasure, birth prevention measures, organ harvesting and torture are commonplace. 

And outside the camps, Uyghurs are transported across China to work in factories, under prison-like conditions and subject to a mass-surveillance state that monitors their daily practises. 

This has been going on for years with almost no consequences for the Chinese government. China hosting the Olympics adds to their legitimacy, despite the atrocities being committed there. If you agree this is unacceptable, please join me in speaking out on social media on the day of the Olympics closing ceremony.

Send your tweet

(Or read and share this blog which explains more about what’s happening in the Uyghur region and what we can do about it.)

Thank you for reading and for your support, 

Rahima

UK Director of the World Uyghur Congress and Executive Director of Stop Uyghur Genocide‘ 

I’m not on Twitter, so I can’t join the Twitter storm she and Hope Not Hate are calling for, but I’ve absolutely no objection whatsoever to raising awareness of the Chinese state’s campaign to wipe them. So if you’re on it, and you feel strongly about this issue, please tweet your support for the Uyghurs.

Anti-Trans Rights Activist Kellie-Jay Keen Asks Why We Aren’t Kneeling for Women

January 10, 2022

This is probably going to be a very controversial post, as it is about a highly controversial woman, Kellie-Jay Keen, and a very controversial issue, Asian grooming gangs. Kellie-Jay Keen is a woman’s rights activist, who contends that transpeople aren’t the members of the sex they transition to, and should be excluded from biologically natural women’s spaces, changing rooms, toilets, bathrooms and women’s sports, because of the dangers they pose, Last week she posted this video asking why people weren’t kneeling for abused girls and women, as they have kneeled and marched for issues like Black Lives Matter. She talks about someone she can’t name making a video about the abused girls in Rotherham, whose abusers were allowed to continue assaulting and exploiting them for twenty years because they were Pakistani and the authorities were afraid of starting race riots and destroying community cohesion. She states that someone she can’t name is making a film about this, in which the abused girls and women present their own stories and testimony. Despite the film-maker being an unperson, subject to cancellation, she has no time for any kind of purity considerations and urges people, whatever their ideological and political alignment, to watch the film. From the hints and information elsewhere, it looks like this film is being made by Tommy Robinson, aka Stephen Yaxley Lennon, former leader of the English Defence League, Pegida UK and someone, who could be fairly described as a racist, islamophobic thug.

Robinson is a formerly member of the BNP. He has, I believe, been jailed for assault and convicted of mortgage fraud. He has intimidated his critics by turning up on their doorstep or that of their close relatives in the middle of the night with his fellow thugs demanding a word. He did this to Mike Stuchbery, an Australian academic and teacher, whom he falsely claimed was a paedophile. As a result Mike has lost his job and is now working on the continent. He also falsely claimed that the Syrian victim of racist bullying in school was really the perpetrator, for which he was sued for libel. He has posted a series of videos commenting on the trials of various Asian men accused of grooming and rape outside the courthouses were they were being tried, making it very clear he believed the men were guilty. This is against the strict rules governing the reporting of such trials. It may even assist the guilty to get off, as they may claim that they were subjected to a mistrial due to Robinson’s biased videos.

Keen herself, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to be racist at all. She talks freely about White paedophiles and abusers such as clergy and scout leaders. She also describes how, when she was studying theology at university, she was sent to interview a White family where the mother and eldest daughter were prostitutes and the youngest was being pressured into it. The eldest daughter was 15, the youngest 13. The husband and father told her that they were all ‘on the game’, but she was too naive and ignorant at the time to know what this meant. And so she let this abuse get past her unstopped.

The issue of Pakistani grooming gangs preying on White girls is a real one, and despite recent revelations and action it seems there is still cause for concern. The Lotus Eaters mentioned on one of their videos about ‘Diversity Failing Girls’, that the police in certain cities are not recording the ethnicity of the abusers in many cases. The issue is being played down, almost certainly because of racial sensibilities.

I fully appreciate the reasons why. Crime by Blacks and Asians has been subject to considerably biased reporting in the past by the racist, right-wing press in order to stoke up hostility and resentment. And the danger that the real far right, apart from Robinson, will use anti-White hate crime to boost their own popularity is very real. Way back at the turn of the century racial incidents against Whites formed the majority of such crimes. Independent and I journo Yasmin Alibhai-Brown were a report about this for the-then Committee for Racial Equality and the issue was being discussed in the press and media. However, Nick Griffin and his storm troopers in the BNP also turned up and launched a campaign to encourage White schoolchildren to imagine they were the victims of racial abuse and discrimination. The BNP became much more popular, winning seats on local councils, culminating in an infamous edition of Newsnight which included Griffin as a panel guest. The wretched party and its fortunes plummeted following a massive backlash by severely normal Brits, and I think the BNP is now more or less extinct, along with other similar parties. There is a real danger that the exploitation of the issue of Pakistani grooming gangs and other anti-White racism by people like Robinson could lead to a resurgence of real Fascism in this country.

But I also believe that part of the problem is the institutional attitude towards racism in this country. The various anti-racist organisations in this country were set up to deal with the real, vicious racism and discrimination directed against people of colour. I think they therefore find it extremely difficult to tackle anti-White racism. Thus a few years ago three BAME racists, two Asian and one Black, objected to anti-White incidents being recorded as hate crimes. One of them said explicitly that he didn’t think it was right, because anti-racism was created to protect Blacks and Asians. And there was a furore in 2017 when Labour MP, Naz Shah, liked and retweeted a message stating that the Rotherham victims should shut up in the interests of diversity. Shah later deleted her tweet and disliked the post. Nevertheless, I think her actions show the reluctance some members of the Black and Asian communities feel about acknowledging such crimes. Another of these is Diane Abbott. She was asked about the issue of racism by other ethnic groups apart from Whites by, if I remember rightly, an Asian gent. He was told that it shouldn’t be tackled because ‘they’ would use it to divide and rule.

This is the wrong approach. I believe anti-White racism can and should be integrated into the general, mainstream anti-racism movement, and that people would be as willing to march for the White victims of racism as they would for Black, Asian and other ethnic minorities. There’s little doubt that one of the most powerful motives behind the Brexit vote was anti-immigrant sentiment, but not all Brexiteers were racists. Many of them were left-wing anti-racists, and one of the complaints they made was that the media ignored pro-Brexit marches which included Black and Asian demonstrators. I also remember reading an article in the Independent years ago in which one of their reporters went to see if UKIP really was as racist as it was claimed. He found a small shop selling anti-EU merchandise, including T-shirts showing a British bulldog with a torn EU flag in its mouth. But to his surprise the couple running the shop weren’t White skinheads, but a pair of Ugandan Asians, who were grateful to this country for taking them in.

I believe that the size of the historical Black population in Britain has been exaggerated, but it was there. There were Black and Asian MPs before the election of Diane Abbott, Bernie Grant and Paul Boateng in the 1980s. And even if the majority of the Black and Asian community has only been here since Windrush, this is still three generations. They’re British, and deserve to be treated as such. Which in my view means that as well as being protected from racism and discrimination, it should also be exposed without fear or prejudice when it occurs in their communities. I realise that this won’t be easy and will require tact and sensitivity, but I do believe that Blacks and Asians will march in support of White victims just as Whites have marched to support Blacks and Asians. The slogan ‘Black and White, unite and fight’ must cover everyone, including Whites, subject to racist abuse, violence, and injustice.

In my view it is only by doing so that we can truly combat racism as a whole and keep it from being exploited by people like Robinson.

Novara Hack Banned on Twitter for Being the ‘Wrong Kind of Jew’?

December 13, 2021

Perhaps I’m being too suspicious here, but I think there’s more to this than an overreacting algorithm. Novara Media put up a video today reporting that Rivkah Brown, a reporter and their commissioning editor, had had her account suspended on Twitter. Her crime was putting up the internet address of a sexual advice line run b by Novara and putting images of herself up. Apparently this violated the company’s rules against the posting of personal information, and Aaron Bastani, one of their anchors, also had his account suspended simply for talking about Brown’s. The images appear to have been harmless selfies, one taken at a party Brown was attending. In the video, Michael Walker and Bastani suggest that this shows that Twitter is moving in an increasingly authoritarian direction as a reaction to demands for greater action by the internet companies against real invasions of privacy and doxing. They also state that the far right have welcomed the move, as this means they can have videos of themselves and their noxious activities taken down. They consider that this comes because social media has become too effective at holding the powerful to account. They wonder if the footage of George Floyd being murdered by the cop in America would have been allowed on it today. Would the Arab Spring a few years ago happen in quite the same way? Bastani also describes how friends of his can’t put the names of their businesses on certain media platforms. One of these is a woman who deals in Persian tea. She can’t put the name of her business up, because it contains the word ‘Persian’. Others have had problems with ‘Syria’. He suggests that this censorship is done in favour of certain states in the global north.

Neither say it, but I wonder if there isn’t another issue here hanging unspoken. A quick glance through Google reveals that Brown is Jewish and the editor of Vashti, a magazine that aims to diversify Jewish opinion or media. She was also a critic back in February of Labour’s anti-Semitism panel. Now I might be wrong here, but I wonder if she was taken down following complaints from the usual suspects, who are determined to vilify and silence ‘the wrong kind of Jews’. You know, those awkward types, who refuse to obey Starmer and the Israel lobby by not supporting Israel or its ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. The vast majority of people smeared and purged from the Labour party for anti-Semitism are Jewish, which should show anyone how stupid and mendacious the charge is. A little while ago Novara covered the case of another Jewish journo, Emily Wild, who got the heave-ho from her news company for telling it like it was about Israel’s attack on Gaza and the Palestinians instead of using the passive voice and making it all sound like a struggle between equals.

It really wouldn’t surprise me if this was an attempt by the ultra-Zionist fanatics to try to silence her using even this flimsy excuse about posting personal information as the only thing they had to hand.

Starmer Takes Labour to Far Right with Appointment of Yvette Cooper and David Blunkett to Shadow Cabinet

December 1, 2021

Well, Starmer has had his cabinet reshuffle, and as Mike and the good folks on Twitter are saying today, the poor, the unemployed, the disabled and immigrants should beware. Because he’s just made Yvette Cooper Shadow Home Secretary. Cooper previously had the job from 2011 to 2015 when, according to Damian Willey, she was all but invisible except for the times she deigned to give us all the benefits of her views on immigration. In 2014 she denounced Tweezer’s immigration bill as too soft on it, the same bill which caused the illegal deportation of the Windrush migrants. She also wanted to stop immigrants and asylum seekers claiming child benefit for children living abroad, and her voting on immigration is comparable to Priti Patel’s. Daniel Grigg summed up just what her appointment means on this issue: “Nothing says couldn’t give a toss about migrants’ rights more than promoting David Blunkett and Yvette Cooper. So this is Labour now is it?”

The vile woman was responsible for the introduction of the Work Capability Test in 2008. These were subsequently kept in place by those Tory monsters, Iain Duncan Smith and Esther McVile. Kahlisee is right when he says, “In policy terms, it would appear Cooper has more in common with the Tories than she does with Labour values.” And other Tweeters described how Cooper’s fitness for work tests would dock points from the disabled for the following:

Amputees using their stumps to lift objects.

People being able to walk using an imaginary wheelchair.

People with speech problems who can nevertheless write down what they want to say, and deaf claimants who can read it.

On international issues, she voted for the illegal invasion of Iraq five times, 14 times voted against an inquiry into it, voted eight times for the use of British armed forces in overseas operations, and also voted to replace Trident with another nuclear missile. She and Ed Balls also flipped their homes three times. Ed Poole said of her appointment: “Yvette Cooper is an ableist nightmare. Among other things. If you need any more evidence that Labour is finished as a force for equality, democracy, socialism or just plain human decency her promotion is it.” And Julie Harrington said, “Labour is now a hard right party.”

And then there’s Starmer’s appointment of David Blunkett to his ‘skills council’. This has proven something of an embarrassment as the internet never forgets, and his critics were able to find a clip from years ago in which Blair’s former cabinet minister made a homophobic slur about legendary Queen singer, Freddie Mercury. Aaron Bastani posted a piece on Twitter which seems to be an extract from a longer film about Queen or Mercury. It begins with members of the band, including awesome axeman and astrophysicist Brian May, describing how hurtful some of the comments were when their friend and bandmate passed away of AIDS in 1991. This is followed by a clip of a much younger Blunkett on some kind of panel show saying that he didn’t want people idolising Mercury because of his ‘bizarre and perverted lifestyle’.

Now you could be generous, and argue that this is not homophobic but just fair comment about rock and pop stars. Gay, straight or whatever, pop music, especially Heavy Metal, is associated with debauchery and excess. Sex, drugs and rock and roll, as the old saying goes. I can remember the rumours going around college that the name of American rockers, WASP, was an acronym standing for ‘We Are Sexual Perverts’. Other suggestions are that it also stands for White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, or, as their lead singer answered a question about it on a chat show, ‘We Aren’t Sure, Pal’. Some of us can also remember that momentous occasion in the ’90s when Motorhead’s Lemmy got a letter of complaint and an apology published in one of the Brummie papers. They claimed that he’d hung a woman upside down from a cupboard for a day during about of rock and roll debauchery. No, corrected the late Mr. Kilminster. It was three days, and he tied her to a bed. The newspaper was happy to print apologise and print the correction. Which must be one of the few instances where someone has written to the press complaining that their article about them has made them appear less degenerate and degraded than they want to be known.

It may also have been a clumsy attempt to point out the dangers of getting AIDS through promiscuous sex. Part of the problem was that at the time there were parts of the gay community that were extremely promiscuous. I can remember one of the gay journos on the Observer writing an article about it back in 1984, with the detail that there was a self-group, Orgiasts Anonymous, in either LA or San Francisco. The group was set up to like Alcoholics Anonymous, but to help talk gay men out of going to the bathhouse every time they felt the overwhelming urge. Not that the dangers of catching the disease was limited to gays. It also affected promiscuous straight people having unprotected sex, as well those who caught it from their partners and haemophiliacs from contaminated blood products. It would have been possible to make a comment about the dangers of excessive sex without sounding anti-gay. But Blunkett didn’t. His comment about a ‘bizarre and perverted lifestyle’ sounds like the standard denunciations of homosexuality.

In fact Mercury’s sexuality really wasn’t all that remarkable, and not what he was celebrated for. The 1980s had seen the appearance of a number of openly gay and gender-nonconforming pop stars – Marc Almond and Jimmy Summerville with the Communards and Bronski Beat; Boy George of Culture Club, Holly Johnson of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Marilyn and the Pet Shop Boys. I can’t remember if Elton John and George Michael had come out of the closet by the time of Mercury’s death. And Mercury didn’t, as far as know, have the reputation of being the most promiscuous of them. There were rumours, for example, that either Almond or Summerville, I forget which, had had to have their stomach pumped following various shenanigans with a rugby team. I honestly don’t remember any such rumour about Freddie. And I think there were probably far more angry headlines in the Heil and other right-wing papers about Marc Almond and Frankie’s relax video than I ever remember about Mercury. People didn’t idolise him because of his sexuality or lifestyle, although I did notice than there was a fashion among young gays at the time to dress like him. What people celebrated him for was what he was: a superb performer with an incredible vocal range that even now few others can match.

Mercury passed away thirty years ago, but is still a towering presence in British pop music with legions of fans, many of whom will not have been best pleased by Blunkett’s denigration of their hero. As I doubt will many gays and their allies. Tony Blair was the Prime Minister who set the ball rolling for gay marriage with the introduction of civil partnerships, and this makes Blunkett’s comment seem very homophobic after the intervening years. And if Bastani hadn’t forgotten Blunkett’s views on Mercury’s death, you can bet others won’t have either. Quite apart from the other vile policies Blunkett shares responsibility for as a member of Blair’s cabinet.

Starmer has appointed as part of his team people who have caused untold suffering to the poor, the disabled, asylum seekers, immigrants and been responsible for the destruction and looting of an entire country, Iraq, for the benefit of the oil industry and multinationals. These are good reasons for anyone concerned about the massive growth of poverty and inequality and real imperialism and exploitation to despise Starmer and what he is turning the Labour party into.

Get Starmer, Cooper, Blunkett and the rest of the Blairites out before they do further damage.

isttps://voxpoliticalonline.com/2021/11/30/starmtrooper-cooper-new-shadow-home-sec-will-compete-with-pritipatel-in-race-to-the-right/https://voxpoliticalonline.com/2021/11/29/starmers-reshuffle-disaster/

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I’ve also written the following books, which are available from Lulu.

The Global Campaign, Volume 1

Price: £12.00

Available at The Global Campaign Volume 1 (lulu.com)

The Global Campaign Volume 2

Price: £12.00

Available at Global Campaign Vol 2 (lulu.com)

For a Worker’s Chamber

Price: £4.50

Available at For A Worker’s Chamber (lulu.com)

Privatisation: Killing the NHS

Price: £5.25

Available at Privatisation: Killing the NHS (lulu.com)

Crimes of Empire

Price: £10.00

Available at Crimes of Empire (lulu.com)

Scab Starmer Refuses to Fill Employment Rights Shadow Post

December 1, 2021

This is very telling. Mike’s put up a piece this morning reporting that Keef Stalin has effectively abolished the post of Secretary of State for Employment Rights. The post was created in 2018 by Jeremy Corbyn, who appointed Laura Pidcock to it. Andy McDonald has been removed from it and so the post is now vacant. The peeps on Twitter weren’t slow to condemn the move and point out what it means. Damian Willey tweeted

Starmer hasn’t filled the vacant position of Shadow Minister for employment rights. The ‘party of the workers’ doesn’t represent workers rights on its own frontbench anymore. Perhaps he’ll appoint a shadow minister for donors, its what Keith prefers.

Which is fair comment – Stalin is ignoring ordinary, subscription-paying Labour members in order to appeal to the corporate donors he hopes will welcome the return of a New Labour government. And Steve Howell commented

It sums up Starmer’s politics that he’s cancelled the post of shadow secretary of state for employment rights. Presumably, it’s not needed because ‘when business profits, we all do’.

Actually, I think it’s significant that Starmer hasn’t abolished the post. It’s just kept vacant and ignored. My guess is that if someone actually raises it, he’ll try and justify himself by saying that no, it hasn’t been abolished, they’re just looking for the right person to fill, or some nonsense like that.

With the position now vacant, Mike asks what the Labour party now stands for. Good question. The party was founded as a federation of trade unions and socialist societies to fight for trade union rights and decent pay and conditions for working people. During the last four decades of Thatcherism, these have been decimated, including by Starmer’s molten idol, Tony Blair. Workers don’t need less rights – not when so many are caught and exploited in the gig economy with zero hours contracts and so on. But Starmer is clearly trying to appeal to that party of the Tory electorate that blames the unions and bureaucracy for stifling business and demands workers rights are cut even more in order to free business. Brown had the same attitude. He believed the labour market should be more fluid – by which he meant that business should be more able to hire and fire people. Well, we’ve had four decades of this assault on workers’ rights, and all it’s created is a cowed, poor, starving workforce, many of whom have to use food banks to support themselves because their pay is so rubbish.

These are the policies Starmer supports. He’s a Tory through and through, trying to transform Labour into another Tory party.

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I’ve also written the following books, which are available from Lulu.

The Global Campaign, Volume 1

Price: £12.00

Available at The Global Campaign Volume 1 (lulu.com)

The Global Campaign Volume 2

Price: £12.00

Available at Global Campaign Vol 2 (lulu.com)

For a Worker’s Chamber

Price: £4.50

Available at For A Worker’s Chamber (lulu.com)

Privatisation: Killing the NHS

Price: £5.25

Available at Privatisation: Killing the NHS (lulu.com)

Crimes of Empire

Price: £10.00

Available at Crimes of Empire (lulu.com)