Spaffer: Boris Johnson has thrown so much money at private consultants and contractors that the UK’s financial stability is in peril.
The cost of privatisation: faced with the Covid-19 pandemic, Boris Johnson has paid consultants more than £100 million to do his thinking for him – and the cash has been wasted.
Clearly it’s money for old rope, considering the failure of every policy announced by Johnson and his cronies including Matt Hancock, Gavin Williamson and Dominic Raab.
And the waste is very clearly a result of privatisation; before Tory neoliberalism demanded that even ideas should be outsourced, governments used to rely on people called civil servants who spent their entire careers in public service and could therefore be relied on to know how things worked.
Those people have been largely ostracised, retired or otherwise cast out by know-nothings like David Cameron, Theresa May and now Johnson, in favour of their know-nothing friends in the private sector. Here’s the gist from the Financial Times:
The UK’s largest consulting firms have been paid more than £100m to advise the government on its response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a string of delayed disclosures from Whitehall in recent weeks. A total of 106 contracts worth £109m have been agreed between various government departments and consulting firms such as PwC, Deloitte and McKinsey since March, as civil servants scrambled for support to source personal protective equipment, set up test and trace programmes and acquire thousands of new ventilators as the pandemic gathered pace.
The UK’s public finances are now in a terrible state after Johnson and his people awarded huge contracts to firms that were incapable of honouring them – some of which even turned out to be dormant companies – on the advice of firms like PwC, Deloitte and McKinsey. Weren’t these people supposed to be cheaper than doing the work in-house?
The government has been mired in scandal because it adopted a biased algorithm to award ‘A’ level results, on the advice of an outsourced consultancy firm.
It’s a well known adage that the definition of madness is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results.
And yet we see Johnson going back to these private consultants for more advice.
Why aren’t we all drawing the obvious conclusion?
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.
Quite. This is not incompetence. There is no lack of competence In giving contracts to their rich mates or giving them honours or artificially helping the children of the affluent to boost their exam results. This is nor a problem algorithm. This is class warfare.
I’m not claiming credit for calling a thing by its name – this is “multiple discovery”, “simultaneous invention”, “synchronicity” or, if you like, an expression of the “zeitgeist”. More and more people are simply coming to realise, understand and accept that it is the policy of the UK’s Conservative government to push them down unfairly.
That is what the decision – and it was a decision, deliberately made – to punish ‘A’ level pupils who weren’t from private schools was all about. Yes, Gavin Williamson and the other Tories are saying it was down to a mechanical system, an algorithm – but that algorithm was written by a human being who intended it to give an advantage to the children of very rich people.
In this way, the Tory class war has stolen your children’s futures and given them to the undeserving rich.
It’s what the decision – and it was a decision, deliberately made – not to fight Covid-19 in any meaningful way was all about. Tens of thousands of people in care homes have died – your relatives, maybe – because Matt Hancock and the other Tories said people with Covid-19 who lived in those homes should be sent back to them – never mind the fact that they did not have isolation facilities and the virus would run through those places like wildfire and be transferred to others by part-time staff who worked in different homes run by the same – private – firm.
The Tories – and their private business collaborators – failed to source personal protective equipment, ventilators, tests and the facilities to carry out tests. The lockdown they imposed was half-hearted and failed to stop the progress of the disease. Now that they have lifted it, albeit with a few measures still in place, more people are contracting the virus again. So they have stopped reporting the daily number of infections.
And the Tories have rewarded their private business collaborators for their failures with hugely expensive contracts to continue failing us – all at the public expense. Serco’s test and trace contract has been renewed, even though we know it won’t stop any second wave (really just a resurgence of the first wave that was suppressed but never went away).
You won’t get justice against the Tories by the normal means available to civil society because the Tories have either corrupted them already or are in the process of doing so. Boris Johnson illegally terminated Parliament’s last session in the autumn of 2019 and what was the result? He called a general election, lied to us until he was purple in the face and was rewarded with an 80-seat Parliamentary majority.
Now he is using that power to ensure that the courts will not be able to stop any more of his corruption by planning a curb on judicial review of government activity. He is imposing a dictatorship – just as he told you he would, if you could have been bothered to read page 48 of his election manifesto.
The police won’t help. Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock, Gavin Williamson and the others are all above the law – no matter what they do. Try reporting a cabinet minister for a crime and see how far you get. They’ll tell you they’re treating it seriously, bounce the accusation around a few different departments and then say there’s no evidence. I’ve been there.
Hundreds of thousands of people have died already because it is Tory policy to kill claimants of sickness or disability claimants, who they consider to be “useless eaters”. That’s why the newspapers have been full of reports showing people with long-term illnesses and disabilities starving to death.
They wanted your homes so they imposed the Bedroom Tax and took them away from you.
The list goes on and on.
And still, too many people think they are the best choice to run the UK – even though the economy is in its deepest recession ever, and Brexit means it may never recover. You will suffer – they won’t. They have been stockpiling your cash and will simply use it to sit out any unpleasantness in the future.
But I feel sure a tipping-point will come – a flashpoint. I wonder how much we will all have to lose before that happens. I’m guessing it’ll be pretty much everything.
By then, many people may think there is nothing they can do. I am reminded yet again of Martin Niemoller’s poem about how the Nazis came for different groups who received no help from anybody else until, by the time they come for the author, there was nobody even left for him to ask.
But I am reminded of another group who were put in a similar position. When I visited Bosnia in the 1990s, I was told how – when the tanks from other countries moved in – the people, who were weaponless, left their homes and went up into the hills. They came back at night, when they took weapons – and lives – from the soldiers who had taken everything from them. And slowly, they took back their land from their oppressors.
I can see that happening here in the future.
I would rather it didn’t.
But it will, if people of good conscience don’t wake up, get up and put up a fight.
Keir Starmer won’t do it. He agrees with the Tories. That’s why he’s busy turning the Labour Party into Tory Lite Mk II (New Labour was Mk I) and accusing anybody who disagrees with him of anti-Semitism.
If you don’t want this to fall into violence, then you need to think what else you can do.
The ‘A’ level fiasco creates opportunities. Already some further education institutions have said they will take students who were downgraded, on the basis of their predicted results. Some haven’t. Clearly we should take note of the side that each University, each college, takes. Those who do the right thing should be rewarded in whatever ways we can. Those who do not should be shunned – meaning not only that we should not even try to send our children there, but that we should reject their graduates when they seek employment with our businesses. We know they won’t be any damn good anyway.
And employers who turn down applicants on the basis of the Tory algorithm’s discredited results should also be named, so we can stop buying their products.
That’s the best – non-violent – response I can conceive on the spur of the moment, and these things need to start happening now.
We’d better get to it, if we don’t want to roll over and die. And yes, that means you.
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.
Money: Boris Johnson is rolling in it but his policies have starved the UK of the cash that is the lifeblood of the economy.
Nearly 2.2 million people in the UK are struggling to pay council tax, rent and utility bills because they aren’t paid enough, according to research by two universities.
The reason is Conservative restrictions on pay rises since 2010.
So much for the “trickle-down” economics of neoliberalism, beloved by Boris Johnson and his cronies.
The research by the University of Birmingham and the University of Lincoln shows that nearly 1.6 million people have fallen behind with council tax payments.
Nearly a million people are behind with their rent and more than a million are in arrears over their water bills.
Nearly 2.2 million people have been contacted by bailiffs over failure to pay (which suggests that many have multiple bill-related problems), and nearly one million have said bailiffs have broken the rules.
These findings make a nonsense of claims that average wages are rising.
Perhaps those figures have been skewed by huge increases in the amounts paid to top earners, while those of us who do the work are left to struggle?
Experience shows that higher pay for workers results in increased productivity and market dominance – as Henry Ford learned when he doubled the wages of employees at his motor company in the early 20th century.
He called it the best cost-cutting measure he ever made.
Conversely, as workers struggle to survive real-terms wage cut after wage cut, productivity in the UK has suffered its worst drop in five years.
We have nearly a million people struggling to cope with zero-hours contracts in which they don’t know whether they’ll be working (and therefore earning) from one week to the next.
Average weekly real-terms earnings are not as high as they were before the 2008 financial crash, while bills have increased.
Poverty is particularly high in accommodation and food services; agriculture, forestry and fishing; administrative and support services; and wholesale and retail.
Few households have any savings worth mentioning – the rate is lower than the EU average and far lower than many of our largest and closest European neighbours.
Oh, and Boris Johnson is determined to force us into a “no deal” Brexit, creating even harsher economic conditions.
Considering the situation now, it seems this would be a huge mistake.
He would literally run the entire country into the gutter.
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.
Frack site: The well in Lancashire contributes to global warming and climate change.
Climate change “negotiators” got a hard lesson in their own shortcomings – from a minor.
Greta Thunberg is only 15, but she packed more maturity into her three-minute speech than we’ve seen in decades of mealy-mouthed “negotiations” between representatives of national and international economic interests.
The Swedish activist shamed her elders at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP24, where representatives eventually managed to reach a weak agreement over how to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. But everybody there knew they weren’t doing nearly enough to achieve that goal, which is why Ms Thunberg’s words had such bite.
Here’s her speech:
“You say you love your children above all else and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.”
“You are not mature enough to tell it like it is,” she told an audience entirely composed of her elders (but clearly not her betters). “Even that burden you leave to us children.
“Our civilisation is being sacrificed for the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money.
“It is the sufferings of the many that pay for the luxuries of the few… We need to keep the fossil fuels in the ground.”
She also said: “You have ignored us in the past and you will ignore us again.”
Now consider the current court case in the UK over plans by our Conservative government to expand fracking.
If ever there was an example of the many suffering to support the luxuries of the few – the opportunity of a very small number of people to continue making enormous amounts of money – it is the fracking industry in the United Kingdom.
The current case highlights new planning guidance by the government which makes it easier to establish fracking sites. The document orders local authorities to facilitate the establishment of such sites, and proposes the removal of the need for new wells to get planning permission.
The government did not carry out any assessment of the impact its plans would have on the environment, and the guidance was imposed on the country without any public consultation.
It seems clear that James Brokenshire, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, qualifies as one of the people Ms Thunberg describes as “not mature enough to tell it like it is.”
So do former prime minister David Cameron and his successor Theresa May. At a time when sustainable energy has never been cheaper or easier to supply, one is led to ask why they continue to kowtow to fossil fuel corporates like Cuadrilla bosses Roy Franklin and Francis Egan.
Fracking at Cuadrilla’s only UK site, in Lancashire, was halted again on December 11 after yet another earth tremor was caused by the process. This one measured 1.5 on the Richter scale, causing a woman who lives 1.6 miles from the site to say she heard a loud “bang” and her house shook. A Cuadrilla spokesperson said the effect would have been “like dropping a melon”.
We may conclude from this that the spokesperson is “not mature enough to tell it like it is” either.
But what is to be done in the face of such monumental selfishness, such wilful ignorance, such naked greed?
I’d like to think change is coming, whether the government figures and corporates named above like it or not – but I don’t think it will, unless somebody does something shocking.
I think someone would have to grab Messrs Cameron, Brokenshire, Egan and Franklin, along with Mrs May, drag them to the fracking well in Lancashire, and throw them down it – and then fill it in on top of them.
That’s what it would take to get these people to look up from counting their money and pay attention – the threat of extreme sanction.
But I can’t advocate such extreme measures – and the system is skewed in favour of the privileged. So what’s to be done?
Memorial: A photograph of Labour MP Jo Cox among flowers left in tribute to her. Economist Andrew Lilico’s words about her murder are vile.
Economist Andrew Lilico deserves recognition.
This Fellow of the Institute of Economic Affairs and Chairman of the IEA/Sunday Times Monetary Policy Committee, as chief economist of Policy Exchange from 2009-10, produced what the BBC has described as the “essential theory” behind the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition government’s initial deficit reduction strategy.
Not only that, he also takes credit for being the lead economist of the UK’s official Leave campaign that led to Brexit.
The association with the two atrocities against the UK’s population mentioned above – austerity and Brexit – should be enough to mark this man out as a vile individual, but the tweet reproduced immediately below should leave no doubt in anybody’s mind:
It's impossible to avoid the thought that that 4-6% margin that the murder of Jo Cox cost the Leave vote in 2016 has had a profound impact on politics. (Leave was 10% ahead & rising, before her horrific murder.) One of the most influential assassinations in British history.
This person’s only interest in the politically-motivated murder of a fellow human being, it seems clear, lies in the effect of that murder on his campaign for the UK to leave the European Union; he’s more concerned about the loss of votes than the loss of a life.
He makes no mention of the fact that the killing was carried out because his campaign, and those that supported it, whipped up far-right nationalists to a point at which one of them believed murder was acceptable.
His only interest is in the number of votes the Leave campaign may have lost as a result of it – as if it makes a difference. Leave won anyway and UK politicians have been planning the country’s departure from the EU, which is set to take place at the end of March 2019.
And he’s lying about the Leave campaign having a 10 per cent poll lead, too.
Complete bullshit. Only one poll ever suggested Leave had a 10-point lead. Leave was marginally ahead before the murder; for a coupe of days Remain got a boost, then opinion reverted to where it had been. This kind of lie has to be challenged.
He also claims to be an adult human. No evidence of that either. Three opportunities to do the right thing: don’t think it; don’t write it; don’t press ‘tweet’. Failed three times. Cynically foul-minded.
If you had added a warning to people who may be minded to take similar action should there be a 2nd referendum, I could understand a bit more but you seem more upset for the alleged loss of possible votes rather than the loss of a human life. I’m sure your mum would be very proud
Wow. Arguably the most insensitive & utterly disgraceful tweet I have ever seen. Now we play politics with the murder of a young mother & MP? The thought behind this, & the actual wording of this tweet is sickening. You, Andrew should be terribly ashamed of yourself.
Wow. This is unspeakable. I thought I couldn't be shocked anymore at the depth our political conversation has sunk to. This marks a new low in the race to the bottom. What happened to ethics? Or basic human decency? Fills me with despair
“We’ve had a so-called ‘Iron Lady’, but this one’s brass is tarnished beyond control.”
That was just one of the responses to Theresa May’s brazen (see what I did there?) bid to entice disenchanted Labour voters into the clutches of the Conservatives, with the complicity of the formerly left-wing Guardian/Observer. I’m guessing she thought people who believe those papers are still left-wing would be fooled.
That doesn’t seem to have worked out too well for her!
In her begging letter published by the paper, she wrote (reproduced from May’s Facebook page – if you aren’t boycotting the Guardian/Observer, you’re part of the problem):
“I believe that the principles that guide us – security for families and the country, freedom under the rule of law and opportunity for everyone – can unite our people and help build a better future for our country.”
She claimed this meant getting “the best Brexit deal for Britain, one that protects jobs and rights and makes the most of the opportunities that Brexit brings, to play a more global role, while also delivering on the domestic issues that matter to people here at home.
“We are investing in our NHS, to secure it for the future. We are driving up standards in our schools, so every child can get a good start in life. And, 10 years on from the financial crash, we are building an economy that works for everyone in our society.
“These are our Conservative solutions that will build a country that works for everyone: fixing markets, not destroying them; helping with the cost of living; ending austerity; building an economy of the future which benefits the whole country.”
And she couldn’t resist making a swipe at Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party – getting it into the second paragraph of her begging letter: “Millions of people who have supported Labour all their lives are appalled by what has happened to a once-great party under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn. Antisemitism has grown, the party’s response to threats to our country’s security has become equivocal, and moderate Labour MPs have become targets for deselection and harassment. These are all alien to Labour’s best traditions.”
Theresa May wouldn’t know any “best traditions” if they had been drilled into her by her priestly father, of course.
On Twitter, she wrote:
I want voters who may previously have thought of themselves as Labour supporters to look at my government afresh. https://t.co/gcQJmRdNdG
“I want” doesn’t get, of course – and the responses online have shown that her bid for acceptance by the people of the country has flopped badly.
The people of the UK told Mrs May in no uncertain terms that her NHS privatisation policies were a disaster for those who needed its help, with waiting times at Accident & Emergency departments now so long that people had died before being seen by a doctor.
They pointed out that NHS trials of drugs that could help the British people were being halted, and that nurses were quitting, because of Brexit.
They denied her claim to be investing in schools, pointing out that teachers have had to appeal to parents for the cost of the pens that pupils need to write down their work. It has also been revealed that a teachers’ pay rise cannot be fully funded by the cash Mrs May has provided, meaning schools must force some staff out of their jobs in order to pay others – or cut the number of hours their teachers work.
They mocked her party’s economic ineptitude, pointing at low growth, the weakness of the Pound, high inflation, low wages and the fact that millions of people now have less than £100 in savings.
They said they were not fooled by her plan for social housing as Conservative policies have forced thousands of families out of their homes – many of them with nowhere to go but the streets, and highlighted the fact that rents were so high that many people had been forced to move away from their communities.
They reminded her that her idea of help with the cost of living, for people who are out of work, sick or disabled, is to slash value of benefits to the point where people fall into debt and despair, with knock-on effects on their mental health that may lead to suicide attempts. Many thousands of people have died.
They pointed out that her idea of help with the cost of living, for women aged in their 60s who have been denied a pension for six years because of Conservative policies, was to become apprentices (if they could get any firm to take them on at that age).
And they said her idea of help with the cost of living, even for people in work, was to send them to a food bank.
They said her foreign policy in general – and Brexit in particular – had made her government an international laughing-stock.
And as for protecting jobs and rights – they pointed at her racist “hostile environment” policy and the effect it had on the Windrush generation. The obvious question is: Who’ll be next to feel the Tory pinch?
They pointed out that racism, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are rife in the Conservative Party.
And they raised the issue of burning injustices (remember Mrs May’s promise to end those) that she had not mentioned:
The fact that she had bribed the Democratic Unionist Power to help her stay in office after she threw away her Parliamentary majority in the 2017 general election.
The fact that she had cut police numbers by more than 20,000, leading to a catastrophic crimewave.
The fact that her government had managed to avoid prosecutions in scandal after scandal.
And the fact that she had lied – again – when she said austerity was over at this year’s Conservative Party Conference; more cuts are on the way and she has absolutely no intention to restore funding for essential services.
They summed it all up by saying they had taken her advice and looked at her government afresh…
And all that they found was a stain on the nation.
See for yourself. Here is just a sample of the responses she received:
My parents have just returned from Spain. They told me that the Spanish people they spoke to 'feel sorry' for the British people. Our govt is a laughing stock. I think that this view is shared globally, not just in Europe.
I want voters who may previously have thought of themselves as Conservative voters to look at the current Conservative Party policies and compare them to the Labour Party policies. Then decide who better represents your interests, rather than the interests of a privileged few.
If only she could see the mental and physical damage she has caused to our Once Proud Nation under her watch, she would cower into the deepest Abyss she could find We’ve had a so-called Iron Lady But this ones brass is tarnished beyond control
Maybot not programmed for Labour voters. Maybot's appeal is for Labour MP's to help her out with Brexit. Maybot has serious malfunction as she voted stay but now wants to leave. Maybot if not malfunctioning is a cheap political opportunist….
Why would people you’ve branded as Citizens of Nowhere vote for you? Why would people whose Freedom of Movement you’ve stripped from them vote for you? Why would people who love the NHS vote for you, when drugs trials are stopping and nurses are leaving due to Brexit?
I beg to differ. Austerity is still a blunt club hitting our vulnerable people to death. With more cuts in pipeline already. You have no plans to roll back, to properly fund essential services or halt UN criticised policies. Too much hurt. Too late…we know you.
What would Napoleon have made of this? His “nation of shopkeepers” is falling apart – all by itself.
And it’s all down to greed.
That would be greed by big companies, that are leaving the UK because they know a Tory-negotiated Brexit well mean a drop in profits.
Greed by company bosses who preferred to keep retail profits for themselves, rather than share them with staff.
Greed by central government, that has kept business rates too high to allow businesses to establish themselves on high streets.
Greed by shop landlords, who have pushed rents too high for businesses to be cost-effective in their spaces.
And greed by private car parking firms, making it impossible for shoppers to afford parking charges.
Most of the people named above are idiots.
Shop space that is occupied is better than shop space that is empty. It means retailers are making a profit and can afford to pay rents and business rates.
Some money is better than no money so any landlord with empty shops is a bad landlord and deserves to go bankrupt, and any government that sets business rates so high that retailers can’t afford to occupy the space is a bad government.
And any private car parking company charging so much that most people can’t afford to park in their spaces is a bad car parking company. They may say it’s fine because some people can still afford their prices, but it’s better – obviously – if lots of people can afford them. That way, everybody wins.
The question that arises is, why would anybody want to create conditions that stop retailers from taking up shop space, or employees from taking jobs with those retailers, or shoppers from being able to park their cars near those stores?
And that brings us back to the companies that are leaving the UK because of Brexit. They are greedy and want too much profit so we should have very little sympathy for them.
But we should also have very little sympathy for a government that knows it is creating economic conditions that will drive these big employers away.
Until all of these situations change, the UK’s economy will remain in deep, deep trouble. Who does that help?
Labour has called on the UK Government to save Britain’s “dying” high-streets, as new figures published by the Party reveal that 100,000 retail jobs have been lost over the last three years.
New analysis by Labour of ONS figures released on Tuesday has revealed that a staggering 100,000 retail jobs have been lost in stores across Britain since 2015, with Labour blaming poor wage growth and the Government’s handling of Brexit.
Rebecca Long Bailey, Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, has urged the Government to reform the business rates system to ease the burden on traditional high streets.
She also called for a register of landlords of empty shops, to make it easier to bring boarded up shops back into use, and an inquiry into excessive car parking charges levied by private firms.
This is deliberate needling by Chuka Umunna. He’s trying to provoke an aggressive reaction from among the membership of the Labour Party – as he was with his dehumanising tactic of calling us all “dogs”.
Notice that Sophy Ridge asked a leading question, allowing Mr Umunna to wax lyrical on this theme. He immediately goes off-course and crashes. He claims that the Labour Party has met the Macpherson report’s definition of “institutional racism” – but fails to elaborate on what it is.
Allow me to fill in the blanks. According to the report by Sir William Macpherson to the Stephen Lawrence inquiry, “institutional racism” is “the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin”. And it does not apply to the Labour Party at all.
Labour, as an organisation, has always provided an appropriate and professional service. Where party members have been found to have been exhibiting racist behaviour, it has not been in their capacity as members or officers of the party – it did not reflect Labour’s policies or procedures. And we know that the vast majority of accusations that have been levelled at Labour members have been false. Right?
Mr Umunna, a supporter of Labour Friends of Israel – an organisation that has now been proven to have been supporting the interests of the Israeli government in UK Parliamentary affairs (right?) – went on to say that Labour had failed to address “the racism known as anti-Semitism”. But Labour has been addressing it since 2016; it is the intervention of MPs like Mr Umunna (whose questioning of Ken Livingstone over anti-Semitism that year clearly showed he had already decided on the senior Labour member’s guilt) that induces the public wrongly to believe otherwise.
He demands that Labour should have adopted the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, rather than its own code of conduct, failing to mention the fact that the IHRA document is vague, allows critics of the Israeli government to be falsely labelled anti-Semitic (because he’s involved with Labour Friends of Israel?), and was intended to be a tool to help investigations – not as evidence, or indeed proof, of claims against any party member his gang would like to accuse.
The dishonesty in his next comment is staggering. He claims that, if Labour had adopted the IHRA working definition, the party could have moved on to discuss the big political issues of the moment. This is not true. He knows – and we know (right?) that the accusations of anti-Semitism will not stop while Jeremy Corbyn is leader of the Labour Party. The Israeli government does not want a supporter of peace between its country and Palestine in line to be the next Prime Minister of a country as influential as the UK still remains, and that is why these claims continue. One was made the very morning after Labour adopted the IHRA definition, if I recall correctly.
His claim that there are still outstanding complaints is false, as you can see from this tweet by NEC member Claudia Webbe:
I’m Chair of Disputes for Labour’s NEC, I’ve spent the last series of weeks ensuring we are up to speed & ensuring all current Dispute Panel cases are dealt with, this is now complete. I am now working on revisions to our disciplinary procedures to better ensure fairness & speed
That being said, This Writer has been facing action under Labour’s disputes procedure since May 2017 and at the time of writing I am yet to be given details of the date and location of the first hearing at which I will be allowed to give evidence, which indicates that the process up to now has indeed left much to be desired – especially as I am utterly innocent of the charge against me, including all its particulars.
I am currently crowdfunding to carry out legal action against all my accusers and you should be able to find information on how you can help me, at the end of this article.
I cannot discuss the claim that Labour has not told MPs about threats of violence to them. I do know of a claim that a supporter of Joan Ryan MP threatened to kill a youth member who intervened when he tried to pressure a female vote-counter and then tried to assault the same young man on a second occasion. The Metropolitan Police has said it was ‘assessing’ the complaint.
Labour organisations, MPs and officers have made their opposition to Mr Umunna’s claims clear:
BAME Labour condemns the assertion that Labour is institutionally racist. Our party has a proud history fighting racism that continues today under @JeremyCorbyn and these remarks undermine our task of challenging the real rise in racism today.
For anyone to say @UKLabour is institutionally racist is just not right. I wouldn’t be a part of it otherwise. We’ve a rich & proud history in #Labour of constantly standing up against discrimination (even when others were/are trying to stoke hatred) & long may that continue.
I have literally spent all of life fighting racism. And today is a sad day @UKLabour is NOT institutionally racist. If it was I would go. @ChukaUmunna & Trevor Phillips interventions are disappointing. Windrush, hostile environment that's a clear example of a racist institution.
The mention of Trevor Phillips refers to a former chair of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission who has claimed that Labour “is led by anti-Semites and racists, who basically want to essentially eliminate anyone who disagrees with them” – in a staggering reversal of the facts. It is right-wingers like Mr Umunna (and, one must conclude, Mr Phillips) who want to eliminate anyone who disagrees with them. I make no comment about whether they are racist in any way.
This is true. Many have questioned why Labour right-wingers seem able to come out with any old claptrap and go unpunished for it, while rank-and-file members such as myself can be suspended – and indeed expelled, as happened to Marc Wadsworth – on the basis of similar claptrap, sometimes uttered by other Labour MPs (Ruth Smeeth in the case of Mr Wadsworth).
Chuka Umunna says that @UKLabour is ‘institutionally racist’ and has likened party members to ‘dogs’. If the party Whip is not withdrawn from him now it will make a mockery of the disciplinary procedures used against ordinary members. https://t.co/fcP2B8cZDe
He makes a strong point: Labour members have exercised their democratic right to express their dissatisfaction with the behaviour of the right-wing MPs (like Joan Ryan, in the case under discussion) and to demand better.
Incredible how many so-called moderates are jumping to the defence of an MP with a history of disgraceful conduct, casually defending someone who made malicious complaints about a party member's 'antisemitism' which was found to be UNTRUE. That tells us all we need to know.
The current Labour leadership understands that this is democracy – but the MPs under the spotlight – including Mr Umunna – don’t. The reason for this is explored very thoroughly in a Twitter thread by Ben Goren:
2/ It reveals a view of party politics that is naturally top down, paternalistic, and ultimately antithetical to democracy. This should not be a surprise since this is the quintessential characterisation of how the party operated as NuLabor™.
4/ Those who dissented from 'on message' were derided, ignored, sidelined, and ostracised. Those who 'paid tribute' to the 'Emperor' were rewarded with front bench positions. The party ditched democracy for internal feudalism for the expediency of getting into power.
6/ Conversely, the idea that grass roots members, CLPs, or conference should have or exercise power to challenge the authority of the leadership or these parachute MPs was regarded by them as at best arcane, at worst an insult. Democracy was 'mob rule' & should be limited.
8/ As a result the membership imploded and, over time, so did the voter base. As it became clear the party had lost touch with both its socialist roots and had essentially eviscerated internal democracy, public engagement and participation with it dissolved. This was ignored.
10/ They regard Corbyn's approach as a form of weakness. For them the leader doesn't listen to the party, he LEADS the party. Like children, they are comfortable with a strong paternal figure setting out the boundaries of behaviour. Without firm boundaries enforced: chaos.
12/ "What if the King starts listening to the peons who love him & not his Court?" Also incomprehensible is the idea that the base might come to a unified informed conclusion against a Court that knows what's best for them. It must be the work of HQ. Hence, 'call off the dogs'.
14/ Many are naturally terrified by the move to radically improve internal party democracy, more power and influence to the public, less for the Court. If @UKLabour introduces open selection or mandatory re-selection, there may be 150 'primary' challengers for their seats.
16/ Jeremy Corbyn does not need to, and indeed cannot, 'call off the dogs'. He never set them on their quarry in the first place. Like a bleeding fish thrashing in the water, sharks are attracted to dying prey. The courtiers are so used to thinking of the members as passive …
18/ As for the courtiers, after baying for Corbyn's blood, carrying out one failed coup after another, smearing him and the membership incessantly, briefing against the party to the press, they should expect no sympathy and Corbyn should do nothing to save them at the reckoning.
So these people – Mr Umunna, Ms Ryan, Mr Phillips, Ms Smeeth, and the others not mentioned above – believe that Labour should be ruled from the centre, with the wider membership only allowed to service the needs of the privileged few in the PLP, NEC and other positions of power. That is why they believe Jeremy Corbyn can “call off the dogs”, as Mr Umunna unappealingly (indeed, unacceptably) described it.
But Mr Corbyn cannot. He did not set these “dogs” loose. And the right-wingers only have themselves to blame for their current predicament.
Indeed, their accusations may be considered victim-blaming of the lowest kind. Consider:
3 years of constant olive branches were held out to this group of Blairites who worked tirelessly to undermine our chances of having a Corbyn-led Labour gov. Even after a 2nd leadership election which prompted May to call a GE. THEY chose to throw it back in the members faces.
I don't remember Chuka Umunna calling for the attack dogs to be called off when the right-wing dominated NEC disciplinary people were instantly expelling thousands of ordinary Labour members for "crimes" like once retweeting Caroline Lucas or liking the Foo Fighters too much 🤔
Chuka Umunna can disagree with Labour’s direction if he wants. But party members are not dogs. The constant dehumanising narrative used against hundreds of thousands of decent Labour members – who just want a better world – as a thuggish rabble has to stop.
Yes it does. But we cannot descend to their level because we know that they have an advantage – a set of privileges – that the rest of us do not: They can say what they want with impunity but if we put one word out of line, they’ll use it as a stick and beat us with it. Like dogs.
This is a debate that requires the ultimate in restraint from those of us who are in the right. We must be polite. We must be accurate. We must be forensic.
And when the other side changes its tactics, we must adapt. For instance:
Amazing eh? A couple of CLP “no confidence” votes against Tory enabling #Labour MPs who’ve constantly attacked Corbyn & there's suddenly appeals for “unity” from other enabler’s who have yet to face their own constituency “no confidence” votes! https://t.co/rTlienDwS4
Back in 2016, during the so-called “Chicken Coup” that led to the second leadership election that Jeremy Corbyn won, Ms Eagle accused supporters of the Labour leader of vandalising the window of her constituency office. This was a lie. The broken window led to a staircase and not the office, and a police investigation showed no evidence that supporters of Mr Corbyn were responsible.
Now she is adopting a conciliatory tone. But note that she is trying to take the lead. We can unite to take on the Tories – if we follow her lead and that of her group within the Labour Party.
No, thank you, Angela. You had your chance and you attacked us.
You know what sickens me most about Labour's hard right… People are literally dying under this govt. But they spend ALL their time attacking Corbyn. Then when we say we have had enough, they throw their hands in the air and say, can we all get on with fighting the Tories!
If you hear someone attacking Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour leadership, using accusations of anti-Semitism against him and the membership at large, or claiming that the members are somehow traitors for using the party’s own mechanisms to stop them… these are the people to oppose.
The evidence is mounting up, and it says: Austerity was about making the rich richer and the poor poorer – and never about settling the UK’s debt.
Why else would successive Conservative governments have inflicted devastating cuts on government programmes that help the poor, while cutting taxes that affect primarily the rich at the same time?
The Conservatives have been labelled con artists after running up mountains of debt in spite of austerity cuts at the same time as the rich significantly increase their wealth.
Since the recession Britain’s wealthiest have seen their net worth more than double while poverty has gripped the nation elsewhere.
Food bank use has reached the highest rate on record as austerity-induced benefit cuts fail to cover basic costs. According to Shelter the number of ‘homeless but working’ families has risen by 73 per cent , with the poorest 30 per cent of UK households worse off by £50 to £150 last year.
When George Osborne and David Cameron came to power in 2010 they claimed austerity would save the country from disaster. They said its predecessor Labour government was living “beyond its means” and left the nation with a rising mountain of public debt.
But eight years on and public sector net debt, adjusted for inflation, has risen by 53 per cent under consecutive Tory governments. What’s more, the government has recovered all but five per cent of the £1.2 trillion bailout provided to the banks during the credit crunch and recession according to the latest figures – but they continue to impose crippling austerity cuts regardless.
As author Marcus Chown wrote on Twitter, “the Tories said austerity was to pay down UK debt. It’s almost tripled. They said we’re all in this together. The rich have doubled wealth.
Cartoonist (and friend of Vox Political) Gary Barker produced this cartoon, explaining prime minister May’s policies in a few brief words.
Beastrabban has been expanding on This Writer’s article about Theresa May and the disaster that is neoliberal capitalism, over on his Weblog.
He makes another link – with the return of Fascism across Europe, of which support for the far-right AfD in the recent German elections is a part.
Here is an extract. You can read the full article using the link below.
The Korean economist, Ha-Joon Chang, makes pretty much the same case in his book, 23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism. Chang is also an admirer of capitalism, but his book is a sustained attack on Thatcherite neoliberalism. He shows that every country in the world has begun its rise to economic prosperity through protectionism, and that the countries with the most flexible labour markets and stable, prosperous industries are those with a mixed economy of socialized and private industries and a welfare state. And this includes those countries, where the industries may not be nationalized, but the workers have a share in the management, such as in Germany and Austria.
As Stephen Gowans writes in his recent essay “We Lived Better Then”: ‘Of course, none of the great promises of the counterrevolution were kept. While at the time the demise of socialism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe was proclaimed as a great victory for humanity, not least by leftist intellectuals in the United States, two decades later there’s little to celebrate. The dismantling of socialism has, in a word, been a catastrophe, a great swindle that has not only delivered none of what it promised, but has wreaked irreparable harm, not only in the former socialist countries, but throughout the Western world, as well. Countless millions have been plunged deep into poverty, imperialism has been given a free hand, and wages and benefits in the West have bowed under the pressure of intensified competition for jobs and industry unleashed by a flood of jobless from the former socialist countries, where joblessness once, rightly, was considered an obscenity. Numberless voices in Russia, Romania, East Germany and elsewhere lament what has been stolen from them — and from humanity as a whole: “We lived better under communism. We had jobs. We had security.” And with the threat of jobs migrating to low-wage, high unemployment countries of Eastern Europe, workers in Western Europe have been forced to accept a longer working day, lower pay, and degraded benefits. Today, they fight a desperate rearguard action, where the victories are few, the defeats many. They too lived better — once.’
We … need to recognize the role of neoliberalism in creating the poverty and insecurity, which leads to so many traditional White Europeans fearing for their future, and the way Conservatives and Fascists across Europe and America are exploiting this to keep themselves in power by misdirecting these fears onto immigrants, Blacks, Muslims, Roma and Jews.
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