Monthly Archives: April 2017

A quick word about opinion polls

No sooner had I published my latest article, showing the Tories’ poll lead decreasing by five points in two days, than I received this via Twitter:

It seems some people have no sense of reality whatsoever.

For many months, after the attempted ‘Chicken Coup’ in the Parliamentary Labour Party took Labour from equal footing with the Tories to its worst poll ratings for many years, This Site received regular comments from naysayers, claiming that Jeremy Corbyn was causing huge harm to the party and should go – because the poll ratings were so bad.

Now, we are being told that Labour is facing “a heavy defeat” in the election – and we should ignore the poll ratings.

Who are these people? Fools? Idiots? Pranksters?

Long-term readers of This Site will know that I don’t pay much attention to the polls in any case – they are too easily-rigged to say whatever their funder wants. I have readers who are signed up to take part in YouGov polls but have never been asked a political question, which tends to indicate that the organisation chooses its respondents very carefully – does it not?

But if the trend they show changes suddenly and massively, it does indicate that something is going on.

At the very least, it says the poll-watching naysayers should silence themselves.

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Labour slashes Tory lead by a further FIVE points in two days – Skwawkbox

I’m not going to go quite as far as Skwawkbox on the basis of this poll – the others were by YouGov, while this one is by ORB – but the direction of travel seems clear: Tories down – Labour up.

At this rate, Labour’s lead will be enormous by polling day.

A single week of General Election campaigning – with Corbyn taking the streets by storm and Theresa May hiding in empty factories or speaking to a handful of acolytes in strictly stage-managed settings – saw the Tories’ polling lead over Labour fall by a huge eight points.

A new poll, announced … by Britain Elects, shows a further fall – from 16 percentage points to 11 – in just two days.

Source: Labour slashes Tory lead by a further FIVE points in two days | The SKWAWKBOX

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PM’s performance on Marr Show proves without her ‘strong and stable’ soundbite she has nothing to say

She seems very pleased with herself, having just propelled her party further towards electoral defeat.

This should be another nail in Theresa May’s prime ministerial coffin – even though Andrew Marr gave her the usual easy ride in his interview.

Mrs Mike said it is disgusting that BBC interviewers give Labour representatives such a hard time and let the Tories walk all over them. Judge for yourself – you only need to watch the first minute or so to hear the soundbites springing into Mrs May’s responses, but if you can stomach the rest, come to your own conclusion:

Note that her inability to answer a simple question – why nurses are being forced to use foodbanks – has also provoked derision after the BBC posted the interview on YouTube.

Here’s the exchange:

Andrew Marr: “We have nurses going to foodbanks, that must be wrong.”

Theresa May: “There are many complex reasons why people go to foodbanks.”

Adris Ghafar commented: “She can’t answer a single question straight up. She is an idol for all elitist politicians.”

Andrew Barraclough added: “One of the richest countries in the world and we have our nurses going to food banks, disgusting.”

And Dylan’s World concluded: “Couldn’t answer the question about food banks. A party of the rich, for the rich. Disgusting.”

The interview came in for more detailed discussion on Facebook, where Martin Odoni commented: “What’s so pathetic is that Marr, being a BBC (Biased Broadcasting Conservative) presenter, helpfully gave her a starting heads-up not to do it, and she still went onto autopilot within seconds.

“She doesn’t even have the power of thought. I don’t just mean that she can never think outside the box, I mean she can’t think outside the list of pre-rehearsed clichés stored inside a box that otherwise contains nothing but empty air.

“WHAT REASON IS THERE TO VOTE FOR HER?”

Indeed.

And Nessie King was clearly playing the (non-alcoholic version of the) Theresa May drinking game, as she wrote:

“I stopped counting after the first 3 minutes when she used ‘strong’ 10 times – I ran out of coffee!”

There are only two conclusions to be reached, here. The first is, it is possible that Mrs May is not a human being at all, and should be subjected to the Turing Test, to determine whether or not she is a robot.

The other conclusion leads on from the first (if we all accept that she really is human, and is simply inept):

The only sane response to any appeal for you to vote ‘Conservative’ is ridicule.

In his very first question to the Prime Minister, the BBC’s Andrew Marr said: “Can we agree to start with is the one thing that voters deserve is no soundbites?”

It took her thirty seconds to bring up ”‘strong and stable leadership”, the campaign slogan which has been repeated so endlessly it has become a source of ridicule for Theresa May.

Arguably, the Prime Minister has refused this no soundbites request within zero seconds, her very first answer beginning with the words, “this is the most important election the country has faced in my lifetime’ itself a campaign slogan that has been repeated ad infinitum.

Later, in particularly awkward scenes, Mr Marr told her, “People can listen to that sort of thing and think it’s a bit robotic.”

Theresa May floundered for an answer, before again repeating her line on leadership.

In the interview may also gave her clearest signal that she will scrap the Conservatives’ pledge not to raise certain taxes in the party’s General Election manifesto.

Source: Theresa May lasts just 30 seconds when asked on Marr ‘not to use soundbites’

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Department for Transport is intimidating applicants for the ‘Blue Badge’

By Mo Stewart

The many reported atrocities created by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) since 2010, when masquerading as welfare reform and austerity measures, created an environment of **fear and anxiety within the disabled community dependent upon State financial support. Now, seemingly, the same unjustified political attack against the sick and disabled population has also created opportunities for other government departments to intimidate those least able to protest, including the Department for Transport (DT).

The award of the Blue Badge is the guarantee that chronically ill and disabled people, who have significant and often permanent chronic illness or disabilities, can access the local shops and community when able to park close to public access. Without this parking priority, many chronically ill and disabled people would be permanently housebound.

The resistance to supply a new Blue Badge was brought to my attention recently when I received an email reminder from the local County Council, advising that my parking Blue Badge was about to end on 29th May, with a suggestion to re-apply as soon as possible.

Included with the email was the same attempted coercion and intimidation that I had come to expect from the DWP. The email reminder stated:

“The Blue Badge that you currently hold will expire on 29-MAY-17. You must
not use the badge after that date and will be liable for fines and other
enforcement action if you do. The expired badge should either be handed in
or cut up and returned to the address below…

Please note that, depending on the criteria under which you are applying,
you may be asked to undergo an independent mobility assessment. You
should apply in good time before your old badge expires to allow sufficient
time for us to deal with your application and to order a new badge from
the Blue Badge Improvement Service”.

When I challenged this unacceptable contact, Customer Services at the local County Council advised that it was “out of our hands” as they are an “administrating authority” and the email reminder notice is dictated by the DT.

Having spent **eight years researching and exposing the American corporate insurance influence with the DWP welfare reforms, I was totally unaware that the essential Blue Badge would be placed under threat by the DT by a right-wing government whose social policies continue to demonstrate that suspicion, and a presumption of guilt and wrong-doing, is attached to all policies impacting on welfare.

Despite having a permanent condition, the County authority will not provide the Blue Badge for longer than three years, thus making sure there is a ready stream of income, and a ready opportunity to intimidate chronically ill and permanently disabled people, who can’t recover. Another example of the inadequate ‘one size fits all’ mentality.

There remains no comprehension by under qualified administrators that someone with a permanent health condition, or disability, can’t miraculously recover despite attempted intimidation.

What is guaranteed is that the relentless intimidation, first by the DWP and now by the DT, demonstrates that no-one with a profound health problem will ever find peace again and this insecurity has caused preventable harm against those least able to protest. In any other circumstance, this relentless intimidation would be deemed as government tyranny.

The endless thinly veiled threat that minimal welfare benefit, needed for financial survival, can be removed at the whim of an underqualified DWP administrator has contributed to many deaths, which the national press continue to resist informing the British people. Now, the essential Blue Badge is no longer secure.

** Cash Not Care: the planned demolition of the UK welfare state. Mo Stewart

 

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Tories lie about so many things – why should we believe them about Jeremy Corbyn?


It’s a nonsense – isn’t it? – that, considering the Tories’ long record of dishonesty, we should believe them when they attack Jeremy Corbyn.

The Canary put it very well in a recent article – complete with video evidence:

Theresa May said she wouldn’t call a snap general election. But then she changed her mind.

David Cameron promised his government would not cut Child Tax Credits if elected in 2015. But once back in Downing Street, he changed his mind and cut them anyway.

Theresa May promised that, before she triggered Article 50 to leave the EU, she would agree a UK-wide approach with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Instead, she triggered it without consultation. The first SNP MPs heard of the Prime Minister’s decision was when it was reported on BBC News.

The Conservatives came to power on the promise of reducing Britain’s debt and deficit. Instead, they have borrowed more than all previous Labour governments combined.

During the 2015 election campaign, the Tories promised not to increase National Insurance contributions. But in the first major budget of the May regime, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced an increase in NI contributions. They were later forced to U-turn, leaving a gap in their budget, after mass outcry.

Source: Here is every key promise the Conservative Party has broken since the last general election [VIDEO]

But there’s more:

The Conservatives lied to the police about the accuracy of their election spending claims – and that’s not including the possible election expenses fraud prosecutions, on which we’re still awaiting progress.

The Conservatives tried to deny evidence that their policies are causing people to die at a younger age.

The Conservatives lied about making a ‘sweetheart’ deal with Tory-held Surrey County Council to keep council tax down, while forcing Labour-held councils to make heinously difficult spending decisions with the limited funding granted to them.

The Conservatives lied in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election, claiming the town’s two other Labour MPs had voted against Brexit (which the electorate there had supported).

Tory lies fuelled a 213 per cent increase in disability hate crime between 2010 and 2015.

The Conservatives continually lie that they are helping people with long-term illnesses and disabilities in fact their ‘work capability assessment’ drives those people towards death.

The Conservatives lied about the failure of a Trident missile test, so Parliament would vote to spend more than £200 billion renewing the nuclear weapons system – a system that doesn’t work.

The Conservatives lied when they said they could be trusted with the economy.

The Conservatives habitually lie about giving more money to the National Health Service. In fact, they have taken money away.

The Conservatives regularly lied to the BBC, in order to make the broadcaster persuade the public that “various fiascos were triumphs”.

And that’s only going back as far as March this year!

Yet we are being asked to believe they can bring “strong and stable” leadership to the UK.

We are being asked to believe they can negotiate a departure from the European Union that will benefit us all (this is impossible).

And we are being asked to believe that we should not choose Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party instead, on the premise that he is weak, that his policies are practically Communist, and that he will “bankrupt” the UK (this is also impossible, as economists know well).

Let’s examine just one of these claims – that Mr Corbyn is weak.

When an Opposition leader forces a government to cancel policies, we don’t say he is weak; we say he is strong – and Mr Corbyn has forced Tory reversals on many of them.

Here are just 30:

Theresa May and her Conservatives are weak, and they are liars. Your vote should go to Labour – it’s the only sensible choice.

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Theresa May and the Tories are falling apart before our eyes

Theresa May [Image taken from Twitter].

Today we have yet more evidence that Theresa May and the Conservative Party are simply incapable of running an election.

Now that we are all wise to the silly “strong and stable” brainwashing technique Mrs May is trying to force on us at every opportunity, it gratifies This Writer’s heart to hear the choruses of “Weak and wobbly!” echoing around this great country of ours, every time she makes a speech on TV or the radio.

The people have got the message – but it seems Mrs May has not. In her responses to interviewers, her lack of interest in her own surroundings, and in her party’s stage-management of everything she does, we can see that this is a woman who is out of touch and out of her depth. She should not be in politics at all.

For example: Challenged by Radio Derby host Chris Doidge after Boris Johnson called Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn a “mugwump” (Johnson had no idea the original meaning was “great chief”), Mrs May had no answer but the one that has clearly been programmed into her by (presumably) Lynton Crosby:

And look at this video, in which she doesn’t even know where she is:

Broadcaster Paul Mason tweeted an excellent point about this: “Note Theresa May downward glance to right, a classic facial tic for liars: she does not know where she is and is *not* pleased to be there.”

Yesterday (April 27), Mrs May was in Leeds:

But here’s the catch:

That’s right – this was another 100 per cent stage-managed all-Tory event in which no dissenters were allowed. In other words, it was propaganda – not news.

Why are the Conservatives so terrified of engaging in the election? This Question Time audience member has the answer:

So, if a Conservative Parliamentary candidate comes knocking on your door, you tell them: “Never mind Brexit! Never mind Jeremy Corbyn! Never mind “strong and stable leadership” [listen for the chorus of “Weak and wobbly!” from houses all around]…

“Just you tell us your policies on healthcare, education, social security, and taxation. What are you hiding?”

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Tory lead falls by EIGHT points in one week 

This is one for all those committed poll-watchers who were determined that all the polls show the Tories trouncing Labour:

The Tories are losing their lead – in a big way.

With more than a month to go before the general election takes place, there’s plenty of time to take the remaining 16 points away from the Blue Meanies and create a commanding lead.

It’s good to see members of the public are realising just how biased the news media have been.

One week ago, just after the General Election was called, the Tories were – according to Tory-owned YouGov – running 24 points (48%/24%) ahead of Labour in voting intention.

For the moment, let’s leave aside the issue of whether it’s really credible that almost half the people in the country intend to vote Tory when the Conservatives are a shambles and the Prime Minister is so clearly wooden and remote – even with the help of glove-puppet media.

Today, the Daily Mirror is reporting YouGov’s polling results showing a dramatic change to 45%/29% – still a substantial 16points, but down by eight percentage points in just a single week. (NB: the Mirror says seven, but it wrongly states that YouGov’s voting intention polling had the Tories 23% ahead last week).

Source: Tory lead falls by EIGHT points in 1 week | The SKWAWKBOX

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Let’s play the Theresa May ‘general election’ drinking game!

[Image: Dave Brown – Political Cartoon gallery.]

This will be a hit with alcoholics everywhere. The rest of us can enjoy it with softer drinks too!

Many of you will have noticed that Theresa May’s speeches – when she can be bothered to turn up and make one – are peppered when the same two words, repeated over and over again: “Strong” and “stable”.

She’s trying to brainwash us!

She seems to think the British people are so easily-led that all she has to do is tell us her government has these qualities and we’ll believe her.

How mad is that? Perhaps she should see a psychiatrist.

Until Mrs May does seek medical help, we’re stuck with this never-ending mantra – possibly right up to June 8.

So let’s, for all our sakes, have a bit of fun with it.

From now on, whenever you’re watching or listening to the news, or political reporting of any kind on the TV or radio – equip yourself with your tipple of choice.

Whenever Mrs May says either “strong” or “stable” (or both together), you shout “Weak and wobbly!” Then you take a very stiff drink.

For those of you playing with alcoholic beverages: If you aren’t wobbly by the time her speech ends, the broadcaster must have edited it.

If you’re playing with non-alcoholic drinks: If you aren’t in danger of a lavatorial accident by the time her speech ends, the broadcaster must have edited it.

This is how we defeat the Tory brainwashers; not with argument – but with ridicule.

Alternatively, here’s another way of blocking out the brainwashing techniques:

Wear earplugs!

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Tatton Tories have found someone as vile as George Osborne to replace him: Esther McVey

Esther McVey: Her return to the media spotlight means I can use this evil-eyed image of her again.

The last time most of us heard of Esther McVey, she had been handed a £530-a-day job at the British Transport Police Authority as a consolation prize for losing Wirral West in the 2015 general election.

It paid £32,000 a year but she was only required to work 60 days. Barring sickies, she’ll have worked a little more than 120 days in this job, so far. It must be exhausting for her; my heart bleeds.

Westminster will be much less troubling for her, I’m sure – but not for the rest of us.

Perhaps the best way to demonstrate to the people of Tatton that electing her is a terrible decision, is to recall some of the terrible decisions – by which I mean lies – she made, last time she was in Parliament.

Fortunately, I have already written an article on exactly this subject! In it, I pointed out:

“This is a woman who has lied to the public that it is impossible to carry out a cumulative assessment of the impact on the sick and disabled of the Coalition’s ‘final solution’ changes to the benefit system.

“This is the woman who, in the face of public unrest about the prevalence of zero-hours contracts, announced that Job Centre advisors will now be able to force the unemployed into taking this exploitative work.

“She has previously misled Parliament over the loophole in Bedroom Tax legislation that meant the government had removed Housing Benefit from thousands of people who were exempt from the measure – including Stephanie Bottrill, whose suicide has been attributed to the pressure of having to survive on less because of the tax. Asked how many people had been affected by the loophole, McVey played it down by claiming she did not know the answer, while other ministers suggested between 3,000 and 5,000. In fact, from Freedom of Information requests to which just one-third of councils responded, 16,000 cases were revealed.

“Mark Hoban stood in for McVey to trot out the lie that independent reviews of the Work Capability Assessment had identified areas of improvement on which the government was acting. In fact, out of 25 recommendations in the Year One review alone, almost two-thirds were not fully and successfully implemented.

“In a debate on food banks, McVey’s lies came thick and fast: She accused the previous Labour government of a “whirl of living beyond our means” that “had to come to a stop” without ever pausing to admit that it was Tory-voting bankers who had been living beyond their means, who caused the crash, and who are still living beyond their means today, because her corporatist (thank you, Zac Goldsmith) Conservative government has protected them.

“She accused Labour of trying to keep food banks as “its little secret”, forcing Labour’s Jim Cunningham to remind us all that food banks were set up by churches to help refugees who were waiting for their asylum status to be confirmed – not as a support system for British citizens, as they have become under the Coalition’s failed regime.

“She said the Coalition government was brought in to “solve the mess that Labour got us in”, which is not true – it was born from a backroom deal between two of the most unscrupulous party leaders of recent times, in order to ensure they and their friends could get their noses into the money trough (oh yes, there’s plenty of money around – but this government is keeping it away from you).

“She said the Coalition had got more people into work than ever before – without commenting on the fact that the jobs are part-time, zero-hours, self-employed contracts that benefit the employers but exploit the workers and in fact propel them towards poverty.

“She lied to Parliament, claiming that children are three times more likely to be in poverty if they are in a workless household. In fact, according to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, in-work poverty has now outstripped that suffered by those in workless and retired households; children are more likely to be in poverty if their parents have jobs.

“She attacked Labour for allowing five million people to be on out-of-work benefits, with two million children in workless households – but under her government the number of households suffering in-work poverty has risen to eight million (by 2008 standards), while workless or retired households in poverty have risen to total 6.3 million.

“She claimed that 60,000 people were likely to use a food bank this year – but Labour’s Paul Murphy pointed out that 60,000 people will use food banks this year in Wales alone. The actual figure for the whole of the UK is 500,000.

“She said the Coalition’s tax cuts had given people an extra £700 per year, without recognising that the real-terms drop in wages and rise in the cost of living means people will be £1,600 a year worse-off when the next general election takes place, tax cuts included. She said stopping fuel price increases meant families were £300 better-off, which is nonsense. Families cannot become better off because something has not happened; it’s like saying I’m better off because the roof of my house hasn’t fallen in and squashed me.

“Her talents won exactly the recognition they deserved when her Wikipedia entry was altered to describe her as “the Assistant Grim Reaper for Disabled People since 2012, second only to Iain Duncan Smith. She was previously a television presenter and businesswoman before deciding to branch out into professional lying and helping disabled people into the grave.”

“In her food bank speech, she also said the government had brought in Universal Credit to ensure that three million people become better-off. There’s just one problem with that system – it doesn’t work.”

It is clear that Esther McVey should not be allowed anywhere near Parliament, and it is an indictment against the Conservative Party that it has decided to parachute her into Tatton. The good people of that constituency should want nothing to do with her.

Unfortunately, the good people of Tatton gave George Osborne – George Osborne! – a majority of 18,000 at the 2015 election.

What were they thinking?

I fear for the future if they let the woman who was once nicknamed “Fester McVile” slither back into Westminster.

Esther McVey has been selected as the Conservative candidate in Tatton after former Chancellor George Osborne said he would not to stand for re-election.

Former minister and Wirral West MP Ms McVey was chosen to contest the Cheshire constituency at a Conservative Party selection meeting on Wednesday.

Mr Osborne said he was leaving Parliament “for now” as he becomes the Evening Standard editor.

Ms McVey lost her seat as MP for Wirral West to Labour in the 2015 elections.

Source: Esther McVey selected to contest Tatton for Conservatives – BBC News

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Scurrilous smear campaign against Vox Political writer is worthy only of contempt

Ken Livingstone. Many of the claims against me are about my research into allegations against him [Image: PA].

It looks as though This Writer is going to be in the news – for all the wrong reasons.

Today I received a telephone call from a newspaper reporter, saying the paper had been contacted by an organisation calling itself the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, which had claimed that I (Mike Sivier) should be deselected as a council candidate because I’m an anti-Semite and hate Jews.

For the record, I’m not, and I don’t. Obviously.

Admittedly, the story seems likely to run only in a local(ish) newspaper, the Powys County Times, but the timing is significant as, if a negative story about me goes to press in this weekend’s edition (the paper is a weekly), there will be no time for corrections before people go to the polls on May 4. I believe this is intentional on the part of these Campaign Against Anti-Semitism people.

The organisation seems to be more concerned with defending the reputation of the state of Israel than anything else – according to Powerbase, the “online guide to networks of power, lobbying… deceptive … public relations and the communications activities of governments and other interests”, member (or former member, it’s hard to tell) Joseph Cohen founded the Israel Advocacy Movement – which concerns itself with countering “the increasing hostility Israel suffers at the hands of the British public, caused by huge volumes disinformation circulated by Israel’s enemies”.

For the record, I’m not one of Israel’s enemies. I have no objection to there being a state of Israel. I do, however, object to hostile activities authorised and enacted by its government, where Israel is the aggressor. I would object to those activities if they were carried out by any country or government, and I would hope that you would feel the same.

For information, the Israel Advocacy Movement has “campaigns” against the UK charity War on Want, singling out its support for the boycott movement against Israel, and the pro-Palestinian Palestine Return Centre. And a local newspaper in Kent reported that Kent Anti-Racism Network accused the IAM of having a hand in the controversial suspension by the Labour Party of longstanding anti-racist activist Jackie Walker, for allegedly anti-Semitic comments.

According to the Charity Commission, Campaign Against Anti-Semitism is a “volunteer-led charity dedicated to exposing and countering antisemitism through education and zero-tolerance enforcement of the law.” This seems to mean that it is an organisation dedicated to bringing private prosecutions against individuals it accuses of anti-Semitic activity, claiming that the Crown Prosecution Service “has failed to take action, so now we must act instead”.

An alternative interpretation, of course, as used by one blogger currently being prosecuted by this organisation, is that the CAA attempts “to use the law to silence dissenters”.

No trustees are listed on the Charity Commission’s website. Why not? What reason do they have for secrecy?

The organisation’s website is registered at 167-169 Great Portland Street, London W1W 5PF. It must be pretty cramped as apparently Companies House has 1,109 firms registered there, all on the 2nd floor.

Is anything about this starting to seem a little suspicious to you?

Perhaps we should consider the article about me, which is headlined Labour Council candidate Mike Sivier defends far-left antisemites and quotes far-right Holocaust denier. So I’m a supporter of both the far left and the far right at the same time, it seems. Am I now a contortionist?

You may wonder what point this headline is trying to make. Hopefully, all will be revealed.

The text claims “He [meaning me] enthusiastically supports the hard ‘Corbynite’ left within Labour, referring to those who formerly led the Party as ‘neoliberals’.” Indeed. New Labour did follow neoliberalism and I’m not the only person to have mentioned this.

“He writes prolifically on issues relating to Zionism and Jews…” No, I don’t. Vox Political has published 8,686 posts (this is the 8,687th), of which around 40 mention Zionism or Judaism. Most of these are related to the controversy last year around Naz Shah and Ken Livingstone, and detail my attempts to find the facts, even as others tried to obscure them with claims about anti-Semitism.

“… and is an ardent defender of members of the Labour Party who are suspended or expelled over allegations of antisemitism.” Again, no. I’ll defend people I think are wrongly accused, but I don’t support everybody who is suspended or expelled for this reason. Note the ambiguity in the language used, though: I am said to be a “defender of members of the Labour Party who…” etc. You are meant to believe this means all of them, but the author could easily say they only meant some. Of course, there’s no getting out of the fact that the article wrongly claims I defend these people, whether the accusation is correct or not.

Case in point:

“He has defended Jackie Walker, particularly for her comments that Jews were the chief financiers of the the slave trade.” This is a lie. Jackie Walker did not say that, but organisations like CAA still repeat it.

Here‘s Ms Walker explaining what she did say: “Yes, I wrote “many Jews (my ancestors too) were the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade”. These words, taken out of context in the way the media did, of course do not reflect my position. I was writing to someone who knew the context of my comments. Had he felt the need to pick me up on what I had written I would have rephrased – perhaps to “Jews (my ancestors too) were among those who financed the sugar and slave trade and at the particular time/in the particular area I’m talking about they played an important part.” The Facebook post taken by itself doesn’t, and can’t possibly reflect the complexity of Jewish history, of the history of Africa, the history of people of the African diaspora and the hundreds of years of the slave trade. The truth is while many peoples were involved in this pernicious trade it was the rulers of Christian Spain and Portugal that ordered the massacre and expulsion of thousands of Jews from the Iberian Peninsula who forced Jewish communities to seek refuge in the New World and the Caribbean. It was European and American Christian empires that overwhelmingly profited from the kidnap, enslavement and death of millions of Africans and I’m happy to make explicit and correct here any different impression my Facebook post gave. The shame is, at a time when antisemitism has been weaponised and used against certain sections of the Labour Party, nobody asked me before rushing to pin the racist and antisemitic label on me.”

She continues: ““If my historical understanding is shown to be wrong by future research I will of course adapt and change my views as necessary. For the record, my claim, as opposed to those made for me by the Jewish Chronicle, has never been that Jews played a disproportionate role in the Atlantic Slave Trade, merely that, as historians such as Arnold Wiznitzer noted, at a certain economic point, in specific regions where my ancestors lived, Jews played a dominant role “as financiers of the sugar industry, as brokers and exporters of sugar, and as suppliers of Negro slaves on credit, accepting payment of capital and interest in sugar.””

Any questions?

“He endorses the views and cross-posts the writing of Tony Greenstein.” And why not? His comments – particularly on the Jackie Walker controversy – made a huge amount of sense.

“He endorses the late Tam Dalyell’s slander saying: “…concerns that Tony Blair was being ‘unduly influenced’ by ‘a cabal of Jewish advisors’ may have been entirely justified.”” This one has been taken out of context. Responding to criticism of that claim, I said that, without further information – to prove or disprove the claim – it may have been justified. I was pointing out that the commenter to whom I was replying had not made his case; I wasn’t saying that there was any factual accuracy either way.

“He has defended the antisemitic tweets of Naz Shah, despite that MP accepting that what she had said was indeed antisemitic.” Not true. Naz Shah was right to apologise for her tweet stating “The Jews are rallying” in response to an online poll about Israel’s military activities. I believe her intention was to suggest that people who were pro-Israel were trying to skew the result of the poll, but her use of the word “Jews” instead certainly skews any interpretation of her tweet towards anti-Semitism. So she was right to apologise for it.

The images posted by Ms Shah were a different matter. One – showing a map of Israel overlaid onto a map of the United States – was a response to a plan to forcibly move Palestinians from the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and anywhere else they still had settlements, and move them to Jordan, or Saudi Arabia, or Egypt. The image posed the simple question: “How would you like it?” Ms Shah was using it for a different purpose, in response to Operation Protective Edge, the conflict between the Israeli military and a number of militant Palestinian groups in Gaza, in which Israel’s military superiority resulted in obscenely disproportionate Palestinian casualties and deaths – to suggest that the United States, whose Congress had expressed “vigorous” support for Israel, was too closely implicated in the conflict. Hence her “Problem solved!” comment – which should never have been taken as a serious expression of a desire to force all of the Israeli state to move to the American mainland.

The other – showing a police ‘mug shot’ of a black man, overlaid with the words “Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal” – was widely misinterpreted. The man in the photograph was civil rights icon Martin Luther King and his words were intended to show that an act can be perfectly legal and still be wrong. In this context, Ms Shah (and others, I’m sure) was using it to show that Israel’s military action against Palestinians in mid-2014 was legal – and wrong. The fact that it mentions Hitler is regrettable because of the obvious connotation for Jewish people, but the point was valid.

“He has asserted that the SWP’s claim that only thousands — not millions — of Jews died in the Holocaust reflected that party’s need to be “politically correct”…” This is another lie. I stated that I wasn’t “going to comment on “thousands” instead of “millions” because I don’t know [why it was said]” – as anyone can see if they follow the link provided in the article. The commenter to whom I was responding had said “In 2008, the SWP issued an explanation of the Holocaust that … omitted any reference to Jews” – and I was responding to that, pointing out that “the Nazi holocaust involved many other groups as well as Jews, and it seems likely that the SWP was simply being “politically correct” [in using an umbrella term – “victims” – to cover them all]. That is a matter of opinion, not fact – note my use of the word “seems” – and not an assertion at all.

“… and defended NUS President Malia Bouattia’s reference to the “Zionist-led media”.” Again, a lie. I didn’t defend the comment at all; the commenter was attempting to establish a spurious connection between opposition to Zionism and anti-Semitism. As I stated at the time: “Your comment about Maalia Bouattia conflates Zionism with Judaism and so I discount it out-of-hand. The two are not the same and unless you have performed extensive research into what she meant and why she meant it, you have no business making such a suggestion.”

 

Mr Sivier explicitly states that he believes that there is a “conspiracy” by Jews: “…it is a conspiracy, have no doubt about that” and those who would defend them in the UK.” Another lie. The article referenced here is about the exposed attempt by the (now-former) Israeli Embassy staffer Shai Masot to influence the top level of UK politics – and it was a conspiracy. But it was a conspiracy by agents of a foreign government, manipulating (or working with) people here in the UK. Their religion or ethnicity was neither here nor there. I don’t even know whether everybody involved was Jewish or not, as it has no bearing on the story.

“In the same breath as naming leading Jewish figures, Labour MPs and British journalists he says: “We are being told that agents of a foreign country have infiltrated our institutions”.” Agents of a foreign country. Again, whether they were Jewish or not is irrelevant; this was about a foreign country trying to influence UK politics for its own ends.

The next part of the article discusses my defence of Ken Livingstone, which I have covered in great detail elsewhere on This Site. I do not intend to cover that ground again here. Suffice it to say that Mr Livingstone’s words of 2016 were historically accurate and were not anti-Semitic – he was not even accused of this when the Labour Party disciplinary panel met at the end of March. He was found to have brought the party into disrepute – but this is a measure of opinion – not fact. And opinion had been skewed against him by people who had, for example, misquoted him as saying Hitler was a Zionist (he never said it) and who had misinterpreted the images that had been posted by Naz Shah.

Moving on, the article attacks me for quoting from a website called Redress Online, because it publishes the work of Gilad Atzmon who, it is claimed, is a notorious anti-Semite.

I did, indeed, refer to that website – it was the origin of the infamous image of Israel superimposed on the American Midwest. There was no way to state this fact without referring to Redress Online!

The reasons for the image’s creation are as described in my article and have nothing to do with anti-Semitism but are, in fact, satirical.

Gilad Atzmon, any anti-Semitism of his, and any use of my work by him, are entirely irrelevant to those facts. I can’t help what other people do with my work – as the Campaign Against Antisemitism article clearly demonstrates.

 

I really wasn’t all that bothered when James Mendelsohn criticised me on Twitter for referring to the Atzmon-connected site, partially for the reasons listed above, and also because Mr Mendelsohn is a persistent troll who has spent months sending abusive tweets, Facebook comments and blog comments in my direction.
Considering his behaviour, perhaps my response, “You’re the one claiming he’s a neo-Nazi so I’m not all that bothered”, is more understandable.
Okay, we’re on the home stretch.
“He is not only antisemitic on several counts under the terms of the International Definition of Antisemitism, but, en route, defends many of the leading individuals responsible for it.” Obviously the claim that I defend anti-Semites isn’t true, for reasons laid out above.
The so-called ‘International Definition of Antisemitism’ is highly controversial because it prohibits legitimate criticism of the human rights record of the Israeli Government by attempting to bring criticism of Israel into the category of anti-Semitism, and does not sufficiently distinguish between criticism of Israeli actions and criticism of Zionism as a political ideology, on the one hand, and racially based violence towards, discrimination against, or abuse of, Jews. It tries to blur the distinctions between Israel, Zionism and Judaism in an unacceptable way.
So, in the end, we have confirmation of what may have been suspected at the beginning: The Campaign Against Antisemitism is really nothing of the sort – it is a campaign against criticism of, not Israel, but merely the current Israeli government.
I am being attacked under a false flag – because anti-Semitism is much more emotive than opposition to political decisions by a foreign government.
The attack on me is also libelous, because an assertaion of anti-Semitism is likely to lower me in the estimation of right-thinking members of the public generally.
Considering the fact that the claim is likely to be published in a newspaper, I may need to take legal advice on this matter.

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