Category Archives: Democracy

If Starmer hadn’t whipped Labour to abstain, new Covid tier plan would have been defeated

Keir Starmer: yet another own goal.

Fans of Keir Starmer must be so proud.

He wouldn’t actively oppose Boris Johnson’s revised plan to put England into tiered Covid-19 rules because he said the country needs to have some form of protection against the disease.

And he said he couldn’t support it because it includes measures that would harm the hospitality industry, and the £1,000 support package isn’t enough.

So he whipped Labour to abstain, and the revised tiers – with the pathetic support for pubs – are now law.

But here’s the catch:

With Labour MPs whipped by the leadership to abstain on the vote, 291 MPs in total voted in favour and 78 against the new rules.

Even taking into account the 15 Labour MPs who broke the party whip to oppose the plan, plus Jeremy Corbyn who is still awaiting the restoration of the whip, if Labour’s MPs had opposed Johnson’s plan, it would have been defeated.

Then Parliament would have been able to debate a better plan, that might actually do some good. God forbid, though, that Starmer would ever put his name to that!

Source: Johnson suffers large Tory rebellion as England returns to tiered Covid rules – LabourList

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Keir the Abstainer strikes again: he’ll ensure new Covid tiers happen despite threatened Tory rebellion

Johnson and Starmer: sadly, a more appropriate image would have them both facing in the same direction.

Who was it greeted Starmer’s election as Labour leader by saying, “Finally, a real opposition”?

Those words ring hollow now.

Once again, Starmer is supporting the worst Conservative government, possibly in UK history.

And this time, he’s doing it when even Tories are threatening to rebel.

Here’s the Guardian:

The prime minister is to announce new one-off discretionary funding paid to councils for “wet” pubs and bars which cannot open under the strictest new tier restrictions for England, the Guardian understands.

Starmer will tell his MPs he does not believe Labour should directly oppose the measures because of the need to keep control of the virus. But he will say that, by abstaining, the party can signal that the financial support for hospitality businesses is inadequate.

Coronavirus measures … have become deeply unpopular with [Johnson’s] MPs. On Monday, the environment secretary, George Eustice, acknowledged that up to 100 MPs could rebel.

So, by abstaining, Starmer is showing more support for Boris Johnson than that terrible Tory PM’s own MPs. He has even said he wants to support Johnson…

… But he is refraining from doing so because he wants to curry favour among the hospitality sector and with those who support it.

Nonsense. If he wanted to support the hospitality industry, he’d be joining Tory rebels in voting down the new system in favour of one that provides proper relief.

Twitter knows what’s going on:

Starmer’s latest PR campaign states, “Labour is standing up for Britain.”

How? By lying down and letting Johnson walk all over him?

Source: Labour to abstain in vote on Covid tiers as Tories threaten to rebel | World news | The Guardian

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Labour leader Starmer thought party rules are his toys for coercing the membership; he is badly wrong

We all learned a lot after This Writer’s court victory over the Labour Party on Tuesday, didn’t we?

Yes, I said victory – even though the case was dismissed. I gained more than Labour did.

The court found that Labour had deliberately ignored its own procedures in order to run an investigation that discriminated against me.

We may therefore conclude that Labour’s finding against me in that investigation also discriminated against me, and that the Vox Political articles that the party complained about were not detrimental to the Labour Party, nor were they anti-Semitic in any way.

In other words, any claim that the party ran its complaints system in good faith is utterly discredited.

Furthermore, the court found that this abuse of its own procedures was fully consistent with Labour Party rules – which says to This Writer that the rule book is not fit to be used and should be re-written, preferably by a committee of constituency-based members, with the help of lawyers hired with party funds. No member of Labour’s ruling elite should be allowed to get their fingers into it.

Further evidence of this came on Wednesday (November 25) when it was revealed that Keir Starmer’s Labour elite have tried to pretend there is a rule allowing him to stifle debate on the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn from the Parliamentary Labour Party. There isn’t.

None of the rules specifically forbid the expression of solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn or criticism of the leadership’s political decisions.

A letter from Fraser Welsh (who?), head of internal governance (oh), states: “The Labour Party disciplinary case against the former Leader has now concluded… However… motions around this issue… are providing a flashpoint for the expression of views that undermine the Labour Party’s ability to provide a safe and welcoming space for all members, in particular our Jewish members. Therefore all motions which touch on these issues must be ruled out of order.

“We are aware that this ruling will be questioned, so the following explanation of the powers exercised by the General Secretary, as well as the rationale for this decision may be helpful:

“The Labour Party’s Code of Conduct: Antisemitism and other forms of racism states (Appendix 9 in the Rule Book): “The Labour Party will ensure the party is a welcoming home to members of all communities, with no place for any prejudice or discrimination based on race, ethnicity or religion.”

“Chapter 1 VIII.3.A tasks the NEC to “to uphold and enforce the constitution, rules and standing orders of the Party and to take any action it deems necessary for such purpose…

“Chapter 1 VIII.5 states: “All powers of the NEC may be exercised as the NEC deems appropriate through its elected officers, committees, sub-committees, the General Secretary and other national and regional officials and designated representatives appointed by the NEC or the General Secretary. For the avoidance of doubt, it is hereby declared that the NEC shall have the power to delegate its powers to such officers and committees and subcommittees of the NEC and upon such terms as from time to time it shall see fit. Further, it shall be deemed always to have had such power.”

None of the rules mentioned specifically forbid the expression of solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn or criticism of the leadership’s political decisions. And Mr Welsh – deliberately? – omits any evidence in support of his wild claims from his letter, meaning local party leaders have no reason to believe him.

Having just won a court case on the basis that its rules don’t mean Labour has to follow any procedure that isn’t specifically codified in the rule book, the party’s leaders can hardly insist that, in this instance, they do.

And it is encouraging to see so many local parties overruling the diktat from party HQ in order to continuing expressing their support for Jeremy Corbyn, for free speech and for democracy. I’ve been monitoring Twitter and here is a taste of what’s been happening:

Opposition to Starmer’s power grab has extended to the unions, which are not governed by Labour Party rules and can say and do what they like:

It seems the whole Labour movement is turning on Starmer:

Sadly, the Conservatives are doing very well out of the civil war that Starmer has stirred up – and will continue to profit in any forthcoming elections, as long as Starmer and his elites have any power in the Labour Party. Here’s the reason:

The longer this continues, the worse it will get. Labour Party members across the UK have made it clear that they do not accept Starmer’s dictatorship and while the dissent is only a whisper at the moment, it will soon become a roar.

Starmer has put himself in an impossible position. Having abused party rules in a vain attempt to assert dictatorial authority, he is unlikely to accept the democratic decision of members to deny him that authority.

I think, therefore, that Labour members will have to consider what other steps they can take to have him removed. Potential left-wing challengers for the leadership position should start generating support – but should wait until large numbers of CLPs have registered their opposition to Starmer’s activities before demanding an election.

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Labour NEC elections: should Electoral Commission investigate Starmer vote-rigging claims?

Stymied: Keir Starmer has failed to increase his power on Labour’s ruling NEC – and may face an investigation by the Electoral Commission over the possibility that his leadership team interfered with the votes, binning many that should have been counted.

Perhaps Labour Party members – the few who remain – should be grateful for small mercies: after the NEC election left-wing Grassroots Voice candidates took five of the nine CLP seats.

It means Keir Starmer’s ‘Stalinist Right’ (apparently) faction has been denied a chance to consolidate its power over the party; he will continue to face opposition to his more extreme right-wing policies in the party’s ruling committee.

But do these results really matter, when they come amid allegations of vote-rigging?

The claim is that Starmer’s leadership has been disregarding votes by people who subsequently quit their membership of the Labour Party in disgust at the undemocratic decision to suspend Jeremy Corbyn for no reason at all.

And it seems this claim may have validity. The number of votes counted in this election is said to be around 117,000 – 27 per cent of the membership, according to the most recent figures we have. Last time, 68 per cent of the membership voted.

That’s a huge difference.

It is entirely possible that the 117k figure represents 68 per cent of the current membership, after the party haemmorrhaged members following Starmer’s election as leader and his immediate choice to betray those who voted for him by ignoring his 10 pledges and turning the party’s direction sharply to the right.

But if Starmer’s people have been binning votes from people who were members before they quit in disgust, then it seems they have acted unconstitutionally by removing votes that should have counted; these people were members when they voted and had every right to vote at the time.

Fortunately for democracy in the UK, we have an organisation dedicated to ensuring that elections are carried out in a free, fair and legal way.

So here’s the question:

Should the Electoral Commission be called in to investigate this election?

And if so:

Should the result of the NEC election – as currently reported – be ignored until the Electoral Commission is able to confirm (or deny) it?

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Labour anti-Semitism: Nandy investigated but not suspended – where’s the fairness?

Keir Starmer’s Labour leadership has shown its innate bias yet again, with an investigation but no suspension after multiple complaints against Lisa Nandy. Meanwhile left-wingers continue to face immediate suspension.

The party’s infamous Disputes office is said to be investigating multiple complaints after Nandy described anti-Semitism on BBC Radio 4 as “a form of racism that punches up”.

The Prole Star reported that “Nandy’s remarks have been equally offensive to other BAME communities who felt the idea of ‘punching down’ depicted them as being somehow beneath the racists attacking them”.

And despite being chair of Labour Friends of Palestine, Nandy failed to secure a meeting with Starmer for leading British Palestinians who are concerned that the party’s approach to antisemitism was preventing them raising real abuses inflicted every day by the Israeli state on occupied Palestine.

He said he was too busy. And she also declined to meet them.

Contrast this with the treatment of Wirral Labour councillor Jo Bird, who has been suspended by the party for a third time after commenting on the EHRC’s report about anti-Semitism in the party, and on the suspension of former leader Jeremy Corbyn that followed it. Cllr Bird is Jewish.

After Bristol West CLP voted to condemn Jeremy Corbyn’s suspension and demand his reinstatement to the party, and to oppose any and all politically motivated disciplinary actions against the left by the leadership, chair Dr Hannah Little and co-secretary Darran McLaughlin have been suspended by the party. No complaints were said to have been made.

This is clear victimisation. The two named members may have allowed the motion to be discussed but every member present had a vote. Why have they not been accused? Is it too much bother? Is it easier to select two high-profile members for a “show trial”?

Meanwhile, Labour members across the UK continue to defy Starmers diktat that they must not criticise his leadership over the EHRC report and/or about Corbyn’s suspension – including in his own Holborn constituency.

The Highgate branch has expressed its solidarity with Corbyn as a “lifelong campaigner against racism and antisemitism”. The motion stated: “We believe that unity, not division, is important for the Party to make progress and effectively challenge racism, fascism, antisemitism and harassment in whatever form this may take” in a clear jab at Starmer’s protestations that he wants to unify the Labour Party.

His idea of unity seems to be to drive out or silence anybody who disagrees with his diktats.

This Site has said it before and no doubt I’ll say it again: Starmer can say what he likes but he cannot stop party members from acting in accordance with the rules and there is no rule to stop them discussing the activities of the leadership.

If you all do it, there’s nothing he can do about it.

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Jonathan Pie has waited four years to make this video. Let’s enjoy it with him

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#USAElection2020 – it’s Biden! so Boris Johnson is in trouble

Joe Biden has beaten Donald Trump in the US presidential election – meaning trouble for UK prime minister Boris Johnson.

Biden topped the 270 electoral college votes needed to take the presidency when Pennsylvania declared for him on Saturday afternoon (UK time – November 7).

This means – hopefully – we will all be treated to the sight of Donald Trump being dragged from the White House by secret service men, kicking and screaming. That’s what he promised!

Trump may well follow through on his threat to bog the process down with litigation. We’ll see.

Assuming such shenanigans are dismissed, Biden’s accession to the Presidency creates serious problems for Boris Johnson.

Once described by Biden as a “kind of a physical and emotional clone” of Trump, he has long been considered hostile to Johnson’s right-wing, populist politics.

Part of this can be traced back to Johnson’s dismissal of Barack Obama. His claim that Obama’s “part-Kenyan” heritage gave him an “ancestral dislike of the British Empire” may be considered racist.

Biden’s team has, we’re told, kept a close eye on the Johnson government, taking offence at the way it has cosied up to Trump.

Dominic Cummings has been likened by some on Biden’s team to Stephen Miller, the Trump policy adviser who contributed to a controversial 2017 travel ban and policy of separating migrant children from their parents.

More tangibly, Biden warned Johnson away from his threat to break international law on Brexit and – potentially – undermine the Good Friday Agreement that brought peace to Northern Ireland.

Biden’s own heritage is Irish. It seems, when it comes to ancestry, Boris Johnson’s judgement is poor indeed.

So when it comes to trade deals, Johnson may find himself losing any ground he gained by cultivating close links with Trump.

That doesn’t mean we’ll all be saved from eating chlorinated chicken after all.

In fact, it’s more likely to mean Johnson will toss more of our national property in, to sweeten the deal.

Whatever happens, it seems Boris Johnson is heading for even more trouble – and, as usual, it’s all of his own making.

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Dyer does it again: EastEnders star calls for end of Eton boys running the UK

Danny Dyer: he’s holding a photo of “that melt” Oswald Mosley and his bunch of “fascist slags” the Black Shirts, during a brief documentary clip about the Battle of Cable Street.

It is time for working-class people to take over from Eton alumni – who have made it perfectly clear that they cannot run the UK properly.

That’s the opinion of Danny Dyer, the EastEnders actor and game show host who is himself descended from royalty, let’s remember.

On BBC Breakfast today (October 28), he said:

Dyer has form when it comes to criticising old Eton boys. Today he was commenting on Boris Johnson but he was particularly scathing about Johnson’s former Eton classmate David Cameron – a previous prime minister – not so long ago:

He makes a good point.

This Writer has long said that the inverse ratio between the quality of Eton’s reputation and that of its former pupils; I am glad to see this viewpoint being put to the wider audience that Dyer can command.

Sadly we will continue to be saddled with dimwitted toffs like Cameron and Johnson, as long as the UK Establishment continues to adhere to out-of-date, out-of-touch beliefs that more than 60 million people should have the courses of their lives dictated by an elite few who have absolutely no understand at all of the realities of life here.

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Starmer’s Tory-supporting crackdown on his own party makes him a danger to people with disabilities

[Image: @Rachael_Swindon on Twitter.]

Apologists for Keir Starmer who reckon he’s easing the way for Tory legislation to make them “own their mistakes” will have a hard time justifying this.

Starmer and his team are working behind the scenes to stop Labour MPs from criticising the Conservatives.

After significant rebellions against one-line Labour whips on the Overseas Operations Bill and the Covert Human Intelligent Sources Bill (the so-called ‘Spycops’ bill that allows government agents to commit crimes including murder, torture and rape), the whips office has broken party protocol to issue written reprimands to the rebels.

The letters stipulate a reprimand period of six months, to be extended to twelve if the recipient continues to break the whip.

They have been shared with Labour’s parliamentary committee – a group of backbench MPs elected by the parliamentary Labour party (PLP), and currently dominated by the right – which will determine whether to inform the MP’s constituency Labour party (CLP), as well as the party’s national executive committee (NEC).

This information could then be considered when an MP seeks reselection ahead of a general election.

“That’s the fear factor,” one MP told Novara Media. “This could impact your reselection [and] it might be over a one-line whip. It’s intimidation plain and simple.”

A number of those who received letters are seeking legal advice from union representatives, the MP added.

But that’s not all.

It seems someone in Starmer’s office has taken it upon themselves to water down criticism of the Tory government’s failure to protect people with disabilities by reducing the disability employment gap and mitigating the effect of the Covid-19 crisis on them, and in its new COVID-19 guidance for people placed in the “clinically extremely vulnerable” group.

Someone in the office of the shadow minister for people with disabilities, Vicky Foxcroft, sent a draft of her comments to John Pring of Disability News Service which differed significantly from the official version of her comments released by the Labour Party.

The changes include the removal of a reference to the “vital” role played by trade unions in protecting disabled people from discrimination, along with any reference to disability discrimination.

Read the DNS article and see for yourself. It states,

Responding to the new pandemic guidance… her official statement said that disabled people were just “anxious” rather than “extremely worried”. Her call for disabled people who might need to shield again needing to be “properly compensated and not left without enough money to survive” had vanished.

This represents a serious policy change from Labour – back to the indifference to anti-disability discrimination that marred the New Labour years and Ed Miliband’s leadership.

People with disabilities can no longer rely on Labour MPs to stand up for them because it seems the party leadership now supports the Tories’ campaign to punish them, just for existing.

Starmer seems determined to let Boris Johnson’s corrupt Tories do whatever they want – harm whoever they want – while threatening to sabotage the careers of anybody in his own ranks who dares to protest.

The big question is: What is to be done about this?

The union Unite has already cut its funding to the Labour Party by 10 per cent, and the decision to remove a supportive reference to trade unions from an official comment could be interpreted as an attack – or even a retaliation. Should that union – and others – cut support for Labour even more?

And what about constituency Labour parties? The threat to MPs – which includes sanctions that could lead to their deselection (to be replaced by right-wingers parachuted in by head office, no doubt – that was Tony Blair’s practice) – is also an indirect attack on the power of members to choose their representatives.

Will they act? Should they?

What do you think?

Source: Keir Starmer Has Launched an Unprecedented Crackdown on Rebel MPs | Novara Media

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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Cambridge Analytica did not misuse data in EU referendum; it just lied about what it could do, says watchdog

This can’t be the first time an organisation harmed its own reputation with wild claims.

But Cambridge Analytica seems to have engineered its own destruction with its claim to be able to influence people using data it had accrued about them.

These referred to Americans but it seems they raised questions about the organisation’s role in the UK’s referendum on membership of the European Union in 2016.

As a result, the (UK’s) Information Commissioner launched an investigation into the company in 2017 – and it collapsed in 2018.

Were the two events related? If so, it could be argued that Cambridge Analytica’s own boasts destroyed it.

Cambridge Analytica had repeatedly claimed in its marketing material to have “5,000+ data points per individual on 230 million adult Americans”, suggesting it had incredible power to micro-target individuals with suggestive political messaging using a giant psychographic database.

However, the investigation concluded that “based on what we found it appears that this may have been an exaggeration” and much of the company’s activities followed “well recognised processes using commonly available technology”.

So did it attract the unwanted attention of the information regulator needlessly?

Well, it seems the firm wasn’t involved in the EU referendum campaign at all:

[Elizabeth Denham, the Information Commissioner] said she found no evidence that Cambridge Analytica were actively involved in the EU referendum campaign, beyond an early proposal to work with UKIP which was not put into action.

It turns out the Information Commissioner found no evidence of collusion with Russia to influence the referendum either:

[Denham] said her team also found no evidence Cambridge Analytica aided Russian intervention in the UK political process.

Particularly interesting to This Writer, though, was the revelation that

the company’s data protection practices were lax “with little thought for effective security measures”.

Couple this with the following –

Cambridge Analytica founder Alexander Nix was disqualified from acting as a company director for seven years for “offering potentially unethical services to prospective clients” including bribery or honey trap stings, voter disengagement campaigns, obtaining information to discredit political opponents, and spreading information anonymously in political campaigns.

– and we see that the firm (or at least its founder) was quite happy to break the Data Protection Act left, right and centre by obtaining information and then distributing it to the public in breach of the law.

This links with my recent court case against the Labour Party, in which I gave evidence that employees had put together false information about me and passed it to newspapers who then published it to thousands of people.

Labour’s representative tried to claim that, even though the party (as represented by its general secretary) was the data manager responsible for the way the information was used, it was not responsible for the acts of any employees because (as I understand it) there is no evidence that it ordered them to commit those acts.

But then, they wouldn’t have had access to this – false, in my case – information if Labour had not ordered them to compile it.

Put the two cases together and it seems the Data Protection Act is a dead letter – unless a person whose information has been misused can prove exactly who misused it and why they did it. That’s going to be impossible in most cases, isn’t it?

I was therefore hoping to read that the Information Commissioner was bringing recommendations to the government that would strengthen the law.

And I was keen to see what they would be.

I was disappointed. It seems all the information that we are obliged to provide to organisations, just to get on in modern life, is vulnerable to abuse every way you can imagine. Not a happy thought!

Source: Cambridge Analytica did not misuse data in EU referendum, says watchdog | UK news | The Guardian

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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