The Department for Work and Pensions office in London.
The lowest part of this whole diabolical indictment against the Department for Work and Pensions under the Conservative Party is the fact that, at some point, this gentleman will have to undergo a Work Capability Assessment.
And, knowing how these things go, it seems very likely he’ll be asked the following boneheadedly stupid question by a man or woman whose DWP-sponsored credentials state they are a “medical professional”:
“How long until it grows back?”
Thank goodness sanity has returned to the Labour Party, and it will cancel the Work Capability Assessment when returned to government (hopefully in 2020 or sooner).
A diabetic man left virtually penniless after being sanctioned for five months by the Department for Work and Pensions, claims his leg had to be amputated after his health deteriorated.
David Boyce, 59, from Weaste, was left without enough money to meet his basic health needs and even had to sell his belongings. But David says he still couldn’t afford to eat healthily, which is an essential part of the management and treatment for diabetes.
David was a photographer who used to own a business, but was forced to give up his work because of ill-health. A dispute with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) over “issues with paperwork” led to David’s benefits being sanctioned fourteen times.
However, it’s clear that the sanctions happened because of a flawed decision-making process on the part of the DWP, as he later won an appeal which successfully overturned every sanction, with support from Salford’s Unemployed and Community Resource Centre. He was eventually awarded the money that had been wrongfully withheld from him.
The government have claimed that benefit sanctions are an “incentive” to “help” people like David into work. However, David has been pushed even further away from the job market, because he now has been left with a greater degree of disability: horrifically, the sanctions have cost him his leg.
David said that by July, complications from diabetes had already caused irreversible damage. His health deteriorated because he had no money to live on: he couldn’t control his insulin intake and was unable to follow his strict diabetic diet.
Subsequently he suffered diabetic ulcers and was diagnosed with the flesh-eating infection, necrotizing fasciitis, and doctors were forced to amputate one of his legs.
Here’s an excerpt from another Beastrabban blog which lays out a little more information about the relationships of Judaism, Zionism and the state of Israel than the Jewish Labour Group would like you to know.
It is good background to the row over Jackie Walker, who has been suspended from the Labour Party for a second time over comments that the JLM alleges are anti-Semitic, even though nobody else in their right mind would agree.
Read the full article on the Beast’s site.
Unfortunately, the Jewish Labour Group, who organised the event, aren’t the only people, who confuse Judaism with Zionism. I pointed out in my piece that there are right-wing individuals and groups, who insist on an exclusively Jewish emphasis on the memorialisation of the Holocaust, and bitterly resent those Jews, who universalise their suffering into a commemoration of all, who have suffered genocide. In fairness, the Holocaust Memorial Day also does. However, what Mrs Walker objected to was that it did not commemorate the victims of ethnic cleansing and genocide that occurred before 1945. I also discussed in my piece the way Netanyahu a few weeks ago grotesquely invoked the Holocaust to justify his government’s refusal to end the occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank. Mike also in his article noted that point of David Schneider’s definition of anti-Semitism, which states that Jews should not be automatically confused with the state of Israel and its crimes, would make many Zionists anti-Semites. This is also true. Netanyahu made a speech equating the Jewish people with the state of Israel, in order to render criticism of the state of Israel unacceptable as a form of anti-Semitism.
A few weeks ago, an American Conservative rabbi, Rabbi Jon Hausman, also declared that Judaism was identical to the state of Israel. He went further, and stated bluntly that those Jews, who did not share his views on the issue, were self-hating. They had not been brought up properly in the teachings of their faith, and so had replaced it with the op-ed pages of the New York Times.
Rabbi Hausman was speaking at an ACT for America event. ACT for America is an organisation dedicated to combating radical Islam, although in practice this seems to be just Islam. The Southern Poverty Law Centre has identified it in turn as a hate group. In this video below, Sam Seder, the presenter of the left-wing news show, the Minority Report, takes apart Rabbi Hausman’s views. He makes the point that Conservatives like Hausman, who have tried to impose their narrow definition of Judaism, have lost the debate for thousands of years. Judaism does not have a central religious official, like the Pope, who defines the faith. He goes further, and says that if you study the Jewish texts, you find that it is actually a sin to establish a state of Israel before the coming of the Messiah. That’s why, if you go to Jerusalem, you find graffiti scrawled on walls, which declare, ‘Zionism and Judaism are diametrically opposed’.
Mr Seder is also unimpressed with the rabbi’s attitude towards parenting. R. Hausman sneered at the members of his own family, and those of other Jews, who don’t make the equation of Judaism and Zionism. But he states that his daughter doesn’t make this theological mistake, but he told her that if she did, he wouldn’t pay for her college education. Mr Seder scathingly remarks about that attitude not being in the Torah.
Here’s the video. I should warn you, there is at one point an anti-Semitic slur, when one of the crew off-camera starts to parody the rabbi and those like him. Mr Seder himself laughs at the impression. I don’t condone the use of such derogatory terms. I think the reason it’s use is permissible on that part of the Majority Report is because Mr Seder and some of his production crew may be Jewish. They thus have ownership of the term, in the same way that Blacks can use the ‘N’ word, while others cannot.
From what I gather from my own, very limited reading and from talking to friends of mine, who have a background in helping to teach Religious Studies at college level, Sam Seder is entirely accurate.
No, this isn’t blatant self-advertising. The following excerpt is from an illuminating article on Beastrabban’s blog that provides a huge amount of informed background information on the allegations against Ms Walker and the motivations of those behind it.
I strongly recommend that you visit his site and read the full piece.
Jackie Walker Accused Yet Again of Anti-Semitism
Unfortunately, members of the Blairite Labour party hierarchy don’t seem to have got the message that Momentum and its members aren’t anti-Semites, and that the real threat is showing itself quite openly in the shape of National Action and the National Socialist Party. According to a story in today’s Guardian, Jackie Walker, the vice-chair of Momentum has faced calls to resign after she made ‘insensitive’ comments at a Labour party training day on anti-Semitism. She ‘incorrectly’ criticised Holocaust Memorial Day for commemorating only Jews, and is quoted as saying
“In terms of Holocaust day, wouldn’t it be wonderful if Holocaust day was open to all people who experienced holocaust?”
She also took issue with the definition of anti-Semitism used at the training day, and is also accused of questioning the need for Jewish organisations, including schools to have so much security to protect them from attack. Walker has made a statement… apologising for any offence she might have given.
Another Politically Motivated Smear
I think Mike’s right when he observes that the paper doesn’t supply the definition of anti-Semitism the party used at its training day. In fact, I think there is a lot that this article isn’t telling us. And it seems to me that this is yet another attempt to smear Mrs Walker as an anti-Semite, which is itself part of a wider campaign to purge politically liberal Jews from positions of leadership as part of a Neocon agenda.
Jackie Walker Smeared; They Owe Us an Explanation
It is therefore my belief that the truly wronged party in this instance is Mrs Walker. This seems to be yet another attempt to smear her character as part of a campaign by the Israel lobby against the country’s critics. As I said, it looks like there is a concerted neocon campaign to make sure that only Zionists have ownership of the memorialisation of the Holocaust, to the exclusion of more liberal voices from the rest of the Jewish community. And I can understand Mrs Walker’s opposition to seeing the Jewish community and its schoolchildren walled off from everyone else behind high security. I feel dismayed by the amount of security schools generally have to maintain, with locked gates, though I well appreciate the need to protect our young people from those, who would do them harm.
I think rather than Mrs Walker being queried and investigated for anti-Semitism and ‘insensitivity’, it is the anonymous organisers of this training day, who deserve to give the rest of the Labour party, both Jews and gentiles, an explanation.
Jackie Walker said she had not found a definition of antisemitism she could work with [Image: Andy Hall for the Observer].
This is a pointless exercise. Labour will look at the evidence, see that there is no case against Ms Walker, and reinstate her – as happened before.
The real villains in this little melodrama are the elements of the Jewish Labour Movement who conspired to entrap the Momentum vice-president – and failed rather miserably.
Principle among these must be Mike Katz, vice-chair of JLM, who led the ‘training’ session where a discredited definition of anti-Semitism was put forward (intended to provoke a controversial comment, perhaps?) and the event was recorded on camera – a breach of Labour’s ‘safe space’ policy for training sessions – in order to provide the right-wing press with damning material.
But here’s the thing: The EUMC definition of anti-Semitism is discounted by the vast majority of interested parties – including the organisation that commissioned it. It has no official status and successor body the Fundamental Rights Agency ditched it.
(For a better definition, try my eBook The Livingstone Presumption, price £1.99, available here.)
Holocaust Memorial Day really doesn’t include genocides that took place before World War II – which was the point Ms Walker was making, and one which the Guardian article (quoted below) overglosses. Notice that comments on this article are switched off.
The article is notable for re-sparking the feud between Labour’s John Mann and Ken Livingstone, currently suspended after Mr Mann accused him of anti-Semitism over remarks made in April.
If Mr Mann’s claim about Ms Walker’s comments is any yardstick, Mr Livingstone’s suspension will be lifted soon.
But Mr Livingstone is wrong in his claim that Ms Walker was ignorant; she knew that the EUMC definition of anti-Semitism is not acceptable and that Holocaust Memorial Day does not cover historical genocides prior to World War II.
Perhaps the ignorance is all on the opposing side?
Momentum vice-chair Jackie Walker has been suspended from Labour over controversial comments she made at a party training event.
Leaked footage showed the campaigner saying she had not found a definition of antisemitism she could work with.
The footage also showed her questioning why Holocaust Memorial Day was not more wide-ranging to include other genocides.
Labour said it did not comment on individual party memberships but it is understood Walker has now been suspended.
Labour MP John Mann called Walker’s comments “unacceptable in a modern political party” by any standard.
But former London mayor Ken Livingstone defended some of Walker’s comments, saying “there’s a difference between ignorance and antisemitism”.
When she was asked whether she had considered resigning given the outrage among some Jewish groups, Walker said: “Some other prominent Jewish groups, of which I’m a member, think a very different thing. What we have to look at when we’re talking about this subject, particularly at the moment, is the political differences that are underlying this as well.”
I was going to end the article here, but let’s have some words in support of Ms Walker by fellow Jews who were at the training session, shall we? Just to add a little substance to this story:
We are Jewish Labour activists who were with Jackie Walker at the training session on antisemitism led by Mike Katz, vice chair of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) during the Labour Party conference in Liverpool on Monday September 26. Like her, some of us were heckled when we raised questions unpalatable to others in the audience who share the JLM’s bias towards Israel, its coupling of Jewish identity with Zionism and its insistence on the uniqueness of Jewish suffering.
Jackie had every right to question the JLM’s definition of antisemitism and the tendency of mainstream Jewish organisations to focus entirely on the slaughter of Jews when they commemorate the Nazi Holocaust. We share her determination to build greater awareness of other genocides, which are too often forgotten or minimised. Jackie responded appreciatively when one audience member described Holocaust memorial events involving Armenians and others.
We were shocked at the way the level of barracking rose as soon as Jackie began to speak. JLM supporters demonstrated contempt for her as a Jewish woman of African heritage who is a lifelong anti-racist advocate for the rights of minorities and a leading Labour Party activist in her Thanet constituency.
We unreservedly condemn allegations of antisemitism made against Jackie Walker. Calls for her to be disowned by the Momentum movement of which she is vice-chair, and for her to be suspended for a second time from the Labour Party, are reprehensible instances of the witch hunt to which she and other Corbyn supporters have been subjected over recent months.
The way Jackie has been treated demonstrates the unfitness of the JLM to deliver training on antisemitism. It is an organisation committed to one, contested strand of Jewish labour tradition to the exclusion of any other; it relies on a definition of antisemitism that conflates Jewish identity with Zionism; and it exploits its interactions with party members to set the limits of political discourse about the Middle East in accordance with its own partisan ideology.
By promoting the witch hunt, the JLM has helped to relegate the vile prejudice of antisemitism to a tool in the armoury of pro-Israel advocates, backed by Corbyn’s enemies in the political and media establishment.
Graham Bash, Hackney North CLP
Rica Bird, Wirral South CLP
Leah Levane, Hastings and Rye CLP
Jonathan Rosenhead, Hackney South and Shoreditch CLP
Glyn Secker, Dulwich and West Norwood CLP
Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi, Chingford and Woodford Green CLP
So the JLM has a pro-Israel bias (rather than pro-Jew?), links Judaism with Zionism (when Jews can be opposed to Zionism and Gentiles can support it), and has trivialised anti-Semitism by accusing a person who is innocent.
Why are comments closed on the deplorably fact-free LabourList story about Manuel Cortes of the TSSA and anti-Semitism?
Is it because someone might write a polite rebuttal of his comments, pointing out the falsehoods and misunderstandings in them?
Firstly, why does he consider Ms Walker to hold anti-Semitic views? She is Jewish herself, let us remember.
She questioned the definition of anti-Semitism put forward at a Jewish Labour Movement training day because it used a discredited definition of anti-Semitism that attempts to combine the political state of Israel with Zionism and suggests that opposition to the actions of the first and the behaviour of those who identify with the second is somehow anti-Semitic.
What about the fact that the Jewish Labour Movement smuggled a camera into this ‘safe space’ in order to pass prejudicial footage out to the right-wing press. Was that all right, then?
Yes, Ms Walker criticised Holocaust Memorial Day because it does not acknowledge genocidal events prior to World War II. Is that criticism not justified? Or has Mr Cortes not looked into it?
As for security at Jewish schools – I remain confused. Is this a reference to a situation here in the UK? If so, why was Ms Walker’s comment about security at her child’s school countered with a comment about IS attacking a school in Toulouse which, unless I am mistaken, is in France?
It seems Mr Cortes made his comments without full knowledge of the facts of the situation – and LabourList posted its article in a similar state of blissful ignorance.
Perhaps both could research their subject a little better before adding their threats to the persecution of someone who might – just might – have a point.
The vice-chair of Momentum is today under increasing pressure to quit after a major trade union backer of the Corbynite group expressed its disgust at her comments about Holocaust Memorial Day.
The head of transport union TSSA described Jackie Walker’s views as “abhorrent” after she criticised the annual day of remembrance , questioned the need for security at Jewish schools and said she had not found a definition of anti-Semitism she could “work with”,
Jackie Walker, who has vigorously denied claims of anti-Semitism, has apologised but faces a fight to retain her role at Momentum.
Last night Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the TSSA, called for swift action against Walker and threatened to pull his union’s support for Momentum if they kept her in place.
“I am deeply saddened that a fellow member of our Labour and trade union family holds such anti-Semitic views,” Cortes said.
“Jeremy rightly spoke of the urgent need for our Party to unite so we can take on the Tories. Frankly, I can’t think we can do this when people who holds such abhorrent racist views are allowed to remain active within our Party.
“I am asking Jackie that in the interests of unity she resigns at once from our Party and also as vice-chair if Momentum. If she doesn’t, both the Labour Party and Momentum need to act to get rid of her at once. Furthermore, TSSA will seriously reconsider our union’s support for Momentum if she is still in post by this time next week.”
In the run-up to the EU referendum, the ‘leave’ campaign hammered home the message ‘Take back control’, with particular reference to immigration.
Within hours of the announcement of the result, leading leave campaigners were frantically rowing back on the promise that exit would mean ‘control of our borders’, watering it down to meaningless levels or saying outright that free movement would be required for free trade.
Trust in Establishment politicians is at an all-time low – and with good reason.
This week, the Times – now a ‘Murdoch rag’ but still claiming the gravitas and credibility of a ‘broadsheet’ paper – published an appalling, blatantly racist and xenophobic cartoon. The cartoon shows Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn at the helm of the Mersey Ferry (Labour’s conference this week was held in Liverpool) crammed with ‘generic foreign types’, titled ‘Migrant Ferry Across the Mersey’:
The cartoon is supposed to be an attack on Corbyn’s ‘no false promises on immigration’ statement in his speech to close the conference on Wednesday.
As so often, though, it simply exposes the motives and mindset of the people behind it. The Establishment – in which the Times is embedded as deeply as a tick –is absolutely terrified of Corbyn’s authenticity.
To resort to the basest kind of ‘dog whistle’ propaganda shows just how deeply afraid they are of Jeremy Corbyn’s refusal to treat the electorate as gullible idiots who’ll believe any false promise for long enough for the promisor’s purposes to be achieved.
400 girls will have to resit their maths and english papers [Image: PA].
How can we believe Theresa May’s claims that reviving grammar schools will improve social mobility when the entrance exams are a fraud?
That’s the question facing the UK after Devon and Cornwall Police opened an investigation into 11-plus exams in Plymouth.
It seems 400 girls took the exams – but it has emerged that many of them had already seen the papers, giving them an unfair advantage.
Didn’t Mrs May say reviving grammar schools was about removing unfair advantages?
It seems somebody didn’t see that memo.
Hundreds of girls will have to resit their 11-plus exams in Plymouth after it emerged many of them had seen the papers already.
A fraud investigation is underway, after the City Council reported the leak to Devon and Cornwall Police.
It’s thought it will affect 400 pupils who were trying to get a place at Plymouth High School for Girls and Devonport High School for Girls. They sat a Maths and English exam on two consecutive weekends earlier this month – but immediately afterwards there were reports that some girls had been shown the test beforehand.
Jackie Walker (center right) at a meeting of Momentum in Brighton and Hove, in June [Image: The Electronic Intifada].
Suddenly the attack on Jackie Walker makes a lot more sense. The “training session” at the Labour Party conference used a discredited definition of anti-Semitism that deliberately confused it with anti-Zionism.
Is this why the definition used there was not mentioned in Jessica Elgot’s Guardian article on Wednesday (September 28)?
So now we know Ms Walker certainly was justified in objecting to the definition of anti-Semitism put forward on the day. It has never been formally endorsed by the EU, but has been vigorously promoted by groups with an interest in confusing the state of Israel with Zionism and criticism of either with anti-Semitism.
She was also attacked for suggesting that Holocaust Memorial Day referred disproportionately to the Shoah inflicted on the Jewish people by Adolf Hitler’s Nazis. While the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust does in fact commemorate other holocausts, they all happened after World War II. Ms Walker, it seems, was objecting to the fact that transatlantic slavery, which happened before the Shoah, is not mentioned. In a statement attacking Ms Walker, it is noteworthy that the Trust only mentions events subsequent to World War II – meaning she was correct.
So the attack on Ms Walker was utterly unjustified, it seems.
Unfortunately, this story has shown once again that a lie can go around the world while the facts are still getting their shoes on.
Ms Walker has deactivated her Twitter account, claiming that she has been inundated with a torrent of anti-black racism and denial and questioning of her Jewishness.
The whole episode leads This Writer to question the role of the Jewish Labour Movement, which organised the training session and would have known the definition of anti-Semitism it was putting forward was prejudicial.
It seems the JLM also leaked a video of the incident involving Ms Walker to the right-wing media in a deliberate attempt to discredit her – and a deliberate flouting of Labour Party rules. Training sessions are intended to be ‘safe spaces’ where ideas and questions can be explored without prejudice against the individuals exploring them.
There are plenty of other Jewish representative organisations but it seems the JLM gets the lion’s share of media attention.
Perhaps, that should change, if this is what the JLM does with it.
The vice chair of the Jeremy Corbyn support campaign Momentum has slammed as an “outrage” a training session at the Labour Party conference which conflated criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.
Rosenhead told The Electronic Intifada on Wednesday that the group, all of whom were Jewish, were “concerned to understand how the Jewish Labour Movement thought training on anti-Semitism should be carried out, but became aware of serious defects.”
Jewish Labour Movement vice chair Mike Katz ran the session. At one point, he claimed that the “standard” definition of anti-Semitism was the “EUMC definition.”
A new disease is spreading through the UK after breaking out in Boston during a transmission of the BBC’s Question Time.
Here are the details:
Okay, the image was hastily knocked together, misspells Boston and put its quotation marks in the wrong place, but it was put together with amazing rapidity (by someone else, on Twitter, so don’t blame This Writer).
It was a response to a claim made on the programme by an audience member, who seems to think that people who support the policies of Jeremy Corbyn are delusional in some way.
To judge by his appearance, the man who put forward the claim firmly believes that the only cure is to…
… dress up as former children’s TV entertainer Timmy Mallett.
(Didn’t Timmy have a hit pop song? Is that an itsy-bitsy, teenie-weenie, yellow polka dot mankini under that unbuttoned shirt?)
Chris Law was held for questioning by Police Scotland and released pending further inquiries [Image: Katherine Anne Rose for the Observer].
The urge to suggest that, if the accusations keep piling up, the Parliamentary SNP will be Angus Robertson and Mhairi Black by the 2020 election, has turned out to be too strong to resist.
Realistically, if there is a by-election following the conclusion of the case against Ms McGarry, This Writer doubts Scottish Labour will be able to win it.
While members and supporters of the party north of the border have accepted the reasons for its fall from grace with the voters, it seems party officials and elected representatives have not.
Labour lost because of policy drift toward the right wing of politics, and because of complacency about the electorate. Under Kezia Dugdale, I don’t see any change.
The party urgently needs centre-left candidates to provide a strong alternative to the SNP’s nationalist version of socialism (not to be confused with National Socialism, which historians will remind us was something very different).
But perhaps such speculation is premature.
What do we think?
Police have detained and questioned Chris Law, the MP for Dundee West, over alleged financial irregularities with his pro-Scottish independence tour in a repainted green goddess fire engine.
Law, who was held for questioning by Police Scotland in Dundee on Wednesday and released pending further inquiries, is the third recently elected Scottish National party MP to be interviewed by police over their financial dealings.
Natalie McGarry, the MP for Glasgow East and another prominent pro-independence campaigner who joined the SNP in the surge of support after the 2014 referendum, was charged on Tuesday with embezzlement and breach of trust.
McGarry, who is alleged to have stolen money from the Women for Independence campaign group she helped found, denies the charges. A prosecution raises the prospect of a byelection in Glasgow East, a key target seat for Labour.
Michelle Thomson, elected for Edinburgh West during the SNP’s landslide general election victory in May 2015, has been questioned by detectives investigating alleged mortgage frauds linked to property dealings. She has not been charged with any offence and also denies any impropriety, but, like McGarry, resigned from the SNP whip in the Commons and then from the party after being detained. The party is said to be considering reinstating Thomson amid reports she is not the focus of the police investigation.
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