Tag Archives: alliance

Take part in the online day of action against Universal Credit sanctions

Today – July 1 – conditionality and sanctions return to the UK’s benefit system.

This means the two million people who signed up for Universal Credit because of the Covid-19 crisis will now be expected to show they are looking for work, and will be sanctioned if they fail to do so.

For the first time, they will experience what – for example – people with disabilities have suffered under the Conservatives for the last 10 years.

Some people are about to be rudely awakened from their previous complacency, I reckon!

Perhaps they would like to take part in this national day of action, organised by one of the larger representative organisations for people with disabilities, DPAC (Disabled People Against Cuts) under its banner of the Scrap Universal Credit Alliance (SUCA).

Here’s what they’re about and what you can do:

There is now overwhelming evidence of both the serious harm that the sanctions regime inflicts on the most disadvantaged members of society and the fact that sanctions are punitive and counter-productive to the aim of getting people off benefits and into work.

Join the Scrap Universal Credit Alliance in our demands to:

#EndConditionality

#ScrapSanctions

#NoMoreBenefitDeaths

Ways you can get involved:

  • Get active on social media at 12 lunchtime on 1 July using the above hashtags and directed @DWP @justintomlinson @theresecoffey . You can find a list of findings, facts, stats and links for reference here: https://dpac.uk.net/2020/06/sanctions-findings-facts-stats-and-links/
  •  Write to your MP asking them to put pressure on the government not to restart conditionality and sanctions.
  • We encourage people to write to their MPs.
  • Write to your local paper
  • If you think you may be affected by conditionality restarting and putting your safety at risk because you still need to shield, it may be worth gathering what medical evidence you have (for example if you received a letter or correspondence from the NHS telling you to continue shielding until the end of July) and pro-actively sending it in to your job centre/adding it in to your Universal Credit journal. It is difficult to know what to do given the complete absence of information from the government.

Source: National [online] day of action against sanctions – 1st July – DPAC

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‘Leave alliance’ in 317 constituencies as Brexit Party announces it won’t challenge Tories

Nigel Farage: You know the saying – everything before the ‘but’ is meaningless.

Nigel Farage has announced that the Brexit Party is allying itself with the Conservatives in a bid to ensure the Labour Party cannot form a government.

His party will not challenge the Conservatives in the 317 constituencies where the Tories won seats in the 2017 election.

Mr Farage said this was to prevent a second referendum taking place – signalling that he fears the British public has changed its collective mind and would vote to remain in the EU after all, given the chance.

This is obviously an attempt to attack democracy. Why should voters not have a chance to change their minds – or confirm the 2016 decision?

And many will suggest that this puts more pressure on Labour – but this is ridiculous.

Labour’s challenge remains the same – to persuade the public that its policies are better for the UK than those of the Conservatives.

And there can be no argument against this.

On Brexit alone, the Tories have had more than three and a half years to “get Brexit done”, as their slogan states – and they have completely messed it up.

Their leader, Boris Johnson, is implicated in a series of scandals – over racism, Russian interference in UK democracy, support for Jennifer Arcuri, and probably other things that This Writer can’t remember off the top of my head. He is a national embarrassment.

Their economic policies will plunge the UK back into economic crisis because they haven’t done their sums properly.

Their health policies have put huge amounts of care into the hands of private companies, meaning people have to pay for many treatments now – and their availability has become a postcode lottery. In the future, we can all look forward to the possibility of bankruptcy if we need serious procedures under the American-style system the Conservatives are trying to bring in by stealth.

And their benefit system has plunged millions into poverty and despair, with thousands upon thousands of deaths related to their cuts.

And the Brexit Party has indicated its support for these wreckers.

This is not a boost for the Conservatives. It is an argument to vote against them.

And it is a huge encouragement for people to vote Labour instead.

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Labour’s first post-‘IHRA’ anti-Semitism accusations have been made – and they abuse the new rules

Remember when right-wing Labour MPs were screaming for the party to adopt the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism with all its examples, including those that make it almost impossible to criticise the Israeli government?

Remember how those people swore blind that adopting these examples would not lay party members open to false accusations by those abusing the new rules?

Well, they lied.

(Or at least, they have been proved wrong.)

The first accusations under the new system are starting to come to light, and they are damning.

Consider the case of Eleanor Penny, a correspondent for Novara Media, who happens to be Jewish.

It seems – and please correct me if I’m mistaken – that parts of this video in which Ms Penny states that it isn’t anti-Semitic to criticise Israel, holding it to the same standard as other countries, are being used as the evidence against her.

Fortunately there are those among the rest of us who are not willing to lie down and put up with this nonsense:

For what my word is worth (not much at the moment, owing to my own suspension by Labour after allegations of anti-Semitism – a suspension that is now in its 16th disgraceful month), Labour should not just dismiss the complaint.

The party needs to make a sincere apology for allowing such an abuse of its complaints system to take place – as it should with other false complaints such as that against me.

And does the complaint itself count as anti-Semitism, as it is intended to create discrimination against a Jew?

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Israel’s Arab MPs back Corbyn – and oppose IHRA definition – in antisemitism row

In a Knesset session, Arab MPs protest against recent legislation that defines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

If your knee-jerk reaction to the headline is, “They would, wouldn’t they?” then you need to read what follows.

You see, the letter from the Joint List MPs in the Israeli Knesset – who include one Jewish representative – could really put the cat among the pigeons.

It highlights the double-standard of a UK organisation setting Jews above all other minorities – giving them protections available to nobody else – when the self-defined “nation-state of the Jewish people” has just stolen rights from all minorities in Israel.

It highlights the fact that the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism – which the Labour Party in the UK is under extreme pressure to adopt in full – prohibits opposition to Zionism, which is not a characteristic of Judaism but a political philosophy that, as characterised by the government of Israel, is racist.

Where does this put those in the UK who are demanding that Labour adopt the IHRA definition?

Where does it put Gordon Brown, who has put pressure on Labour’s NEC to adopt IHRA in full, “unanimously, unequivocally and immediately”, saying Labour is all about equality and solidarity?

IHRA would grant Jewish people more privileges than any other minority in the UK. That’s not equality. The demand that Labour supports Zionism is not solidarity.

It would be collusion in racism, as the Joint List letter makes clear.

Where does it put Margaret Hodge, who has admitted that the anti-Semitism row in the Labour Party is about right-wingers like herself and Mr Brown trying to remove Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the party?

She said: “The problem is that he is the problem.”

It puts them on particularly weak territory.

And where does it put Labour’s National Executive Committee, which is due to vote in a meeting on Tuesday, on whether to adopt the full IHRA definition, with all its examples including support for Zionism with all the implications of support for racism that it entails?

If it supports the change, the NEC will be deliberately provoking constituency party units that have supported the current code of conduct, which supports the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism but omits some examples in favour of explanations that improve on those put forward by the IHRA – removing ambiguities that prohibit criticism of Zionism and/or policies of the Israeli government?

It leaves them up to their necks in the… soup.

If they support a move to describe criticism of racist Israeli policies as anti-Semitic; if they support demands to prohibit criticism of the racist, land-grabbing and genocidal political philosophy that supports such policies; if they support self-determination for Jewish people but not for Palestinians…

They will be worse than those who are demanding it of them – because they will be silencing international condemnation that may be the only way to prevent the name of Palestine becoming just another entry in a history book – and the Palestinian people being the victims of another avoidable genocide.

A political alliance of four Arab-dominated parties in Israel’s parliament have broken ranks with fellow legislators to announce their support for Jeremy Corbyn.

In a letter to the Guardian, the Knesset members said they commended the Labour leader for “his long-standing solidarity with all oppressed peoples around the world, including his unflinching support for the Palestinian people”.

They added: “We stand in solidarity with Jeremy Corbyn and we recognise him as a principled leftist leader who aspires for peace and justice and is opposed to all forms of racism, whether directed at Jews, Palestinians, or any other group.”

“As long as efforts to curb anti-Jewish sentiment in the UK are focused on combating the disparagement of Jews merely for their membership in a minority group, they have our full support,” said the group, which includes the deputy speaker, Ahmad Tibi. But they added that the definition of antisemitism “goes far beyond anti-Jewish animus to include anti-Zionism”.

Arab and other minorities in Israel have felt under threat after the Knesset passed a law in July declaring that only Jews have the right of self-determination, encouraging Jewish settlement, and downgrading the status of the Arabic language.

The Joint List letter said Palestinian citizens of Israel have “yet to experience a single day of equality”, adding that millions more in the West Bank live under occupation and “under siege in the Gaza Strip”.

“Incredibly, instead of taking that government to task for its unadulterated racism, the British political class ignores the Palestinian historical plight,” it said. “With the Netanyahu government ramping up the racism, our struggle for survival is more precarious than ever.”

Source: Israel’s Arab MPs back Corbyn in antisemitism row | World news | The Guardian

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QC criticises IHRA definition of anti-Semitism as ‘not fit for purpose’

“A particular problem with the IHRA definition is that it is likely in practice to chill free speech, by raising expectations of pro-Israeli groups that they can successfully object to legitimate criticism of Israel and correspondingly arouse fears in NGO’s and student bodies that they will have events banned, or else will have to incur considerable expense to protect them by taking legal action. Either way, they may not organise such events.”

The definition of antisemitism adopted by the government is not fit for the purpose of decision making, declares Geoffrey Robertson QC in an opinion published today.

The opinion, which was produced to advise the Palestinian Return Centre, states that the definition does not cover the most insidious forms of hostility to Jewish people and the looseness of the definition is liable to chill legitimate criticisms of the state of Israel and coverage of human rights abuses against Palestinians.

Mr Robertson, an expert on freedom of speech and human rights, who has lectured on genocide at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has criticised Theresa May for adopting a definition which was not intended to be binding and which was not drafted as a comprehensible definition. By pivoting on expression that arouses hatred (a “very strong word”) it does not cover speech that arouses hostility, or which “politely spreads the poison of prejudice” against Jews as a race. He evinces surprise that Jewish organisations are advocating acceptance of the full definition by the Labour Party and other organisations have not realised that it fails to protect Jews from many prevalent kinds of antisemitism.

Source: Eminent QC Criticises IHRA Definition of Anti-Semitism as “Not fit for purpose” in Opinion Published Today

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Even full acceptance of the IHRA examples of anti-Semitism won’t stop Labour’s backstabbers from attacking Jeremy Corbyn

Joan Ryan MP: This shot is taken from the Al-Jazeera documentary series The Lobby, in which Ms Ryan, chair of Labour Friends of Israel, is told by Shai Masot, the Israeli embassy’s then-political officer, that his government was providing a one million pound slush fund for her organisation to undermine people considered to be enemies of that country’s administration. Mr Masot was shipped back to Israel after the documentary series revealed that he was conspiring with Britons to undermine the UK government.

Why are Labour’s leaders agonising over this? We have an admission that the row over the party’s definition of anti-Semitism is artificial, courtesy of The Jewish Chronicle.

For weeks, supporters of the Israeli government have been pressuring the Labour leadership to accept the full IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism, with all the examples including those that forbid any criticism of Israel and Zionism (I’m paraphrasing for brevity; you can look them up for yourself).

But now we see Labour MP and Israeli government poodle Joan Ryan (she is the chair of Labour Friends of Israel, so I believe the implied criticism is justified) saying attacks on Mr Corbyn will not stop, even if Labour adopts the full IHRA definition with examples.

So Labour has nothing to gain from doing so.

The definition and examples of anti-Semitism in Labour’s code of conduct are better than those put forward by the IHRA. The only people suggesting otherwise are those who have a vested interest in silencing criticism of the Israeli government and its genocidal ongoing eradication of the Palestinian people (and those who have been duped by their claims).

And let’s face it: The attacks on Mr Corbyn have been pathetically ridiculous. He was at a wreath-laying ceremony in a cemetery where none of the terrorists involved in the Munich attack on Israelis were buried; he was at the wedding of a man who said something anti-Semitic four years later, and had no way of knowing.

Other party members have been attacked with equally specious, unevidenced claims.

I’m one of them! To help me take legal action against those who have made false claims against me, please visit my JustGiving page.

See for yourself what Ms Ryan has said:

Even after all that has happened over the past four weeks, the leadership appears to be desperately trying to wriggle out of accepting IHRA. Instead it seems determined to protect the rights of those who wish to call the Jewish people’s right to self-determination a “racist endeavour”.

That some have decided to put this right over the express wishes of Britain’s Jews is beyond arrogant and insensitive. IHRA needs no additions, deletions or qualifications.

Nor should we pretend that even full acceptance of IHRA ends the battle against antisemitism in the Labour Party.

Ms Ryan’s article could have been written by an Israeli government propagandist.

Particularly offensive is her statement that Mr Corbyn claims to be willing to talk with anyone who wishes to bring about peace, and her outraged assertion that he will not talk with Israelis.

Of course, we have only her word for that. But if true, doesn’t that indicate that the representatives of the Israeli government have no interest in peace – at least until they have wiped all traces of Palestine off the world map?

Source: Jeremy Corbyn appals me – and his behaviour will get no better – The Jewish Chronicle

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‘Universally-accepted’ definition of anti-Semitism isn’t even accepted by its author

Kenneth Stern: The author of the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism opposes its use as demanded by the groups that have been attacking the Labour Party.

I have mentioned in previous articles on the Labour anti-Semitism row that the author of the IHRA working definition of it is on the record as having rejected the use to which organisations like the Board of Deputies of British Jews are putting it.

His name is Kenneth Stern and he know better than the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council, Labour Friends of Israel, the Jewish Labour Movement, the Campaign Against Antisemitism, any right-wing Labour MP and the Israeli government. If you don’t accept that, your opinion is not worth our time.

Here are his reasons:

According to the latest hysterical criteria of the Israel lobby* and their camp followers, the original drafter of the so-called IHRA definition of antisemitism, an avowed Zionist, should himself be categorised as an antisemite, or perhaps a “kapo”. For that is the conclusion one must reach if one accepts the assertion that anyone who challenges any aspect of the holy writ that the IHRA definition has become is an antisemite.

The drafter of what later became popularly known as the EUMC or IHRA definition of antisemitism,including its associated examples, was the U.S. attorney Kenneth S. Stern. However, in written evidence submitted to the US congress last year, Stern charged that his original definition had been used for an entirely different purpose to that for which it had been designed. According to Stern it had originally been designed as a ”working definition” for the purpose of trying to standardise data collection about the incidence of antisemitic hate crime in different countries. It had never been intended that it be used as legal or regulatory device to curb academic or political free speech. Yet that is how it has now come to be used. In the same document Stern specifically condemns as inappropriate the use of the definition for such purposes, mentioning in particular the curbing of free speech in UK universities, and referencing Manchester and Bristol universities as examples. Here is what he writes:

“The EUMC “working definition” was recently adopted in the United Kingdom, and applied to campus. An “Israel Apartheid Week” event was cancelled as violating the definition. A Holocaust survivor was required to change the title of a campus talk, and the university [Manchester] mandated it be recorded, after an Israeli diplomat [ambassador Regev] complained that the title violated the definition.[See here]. Perhaps most egregious, an off-campus group citing the definition called on a university to conduct an inquiry of a professor (who received her PhD from Columbia) for antisemitism, based on an article she had written years before. The university [Bristol] then conducted the inquiry. And while it ultimately found no basis to discipline the professor, the exercise itself was chilling and McCarthy-like. [square brackets added]”

Of course the groups which were behind this “McCarthy-like” repression of free speech condemned by Stern are the very same ones which are now engaged in the current vendetta against Corbyn. For example in the case of the Bristol University lecturer who was subjected to an inquiry into false accusations of antisemitism, it was the misnamed Campaign Against Antisemitism, in reality an aggressively pro-Israel lobby group, which had called for her to be sacked unless she recanted.

* I use the term “Israel Lobby” as a shorthand for those who use false or wildly exaggerated charges of antisemitism against the Labour party as a cover for their real goals which are (a) to make pro-Palestinian activism impossible within the Labour Party, and (b) to ensure that Corbyn is removed as leader of the Labour party. In reality, as Moshe Machover has repeatedly pointed out, this is a loose coalition of rather different political groups from the centre-right to the far right, some of which are connected to pro-Israel and rightwing Jewish organisations, but some of which have no particular connection or interest in either Judaism or the Israel-Palestine conflict, but are simply using the antisemitism hysteria as a means to attack the Corbyn political project. Some have suggested that the term “anti-Palestinian Lobby” might be a more appropriate terminology.

Oh, it had to be the CAA behind an aggressive attempt at censorship of free speech!

Mr Stern continues:

Imagine a definition designed for Palestinians. If “Denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination, and denying Israel the right to exist” is antisemitism, then shouldn’t “Denying the Palestinian people their right to self-determination, and denying Palestine the right to exist” be anti-Palestinianism? Would they then ask administrators to police and possibly punish campus events by pro-Israel groups who oppose the two state solution, or claim the Palestinian people are a myth?

The full article is well worth reading and may be found here: Why the man who drafted the IHRA definition condemns its use :: Jewish Voice for Labour

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Slavishly adopting the IHRA examples of anti-Semitism won’t help Labour

Left-wing Labour NEC candidate Huda Elmi makes good points in the Independent article quoted below – although it is sad that some received wisdom is still being regurgitated unquestioned.

For example, we are told that there is “a real sense of alarm” in many parts of the Jewish community in the UK.

Isn’t that because of mass media attempts to stir up such alarm – with hardly any hard evidence to support them?

It is only days since Jewish businesswoman Mandy Blumenthal had her feet metaphorically swept out from under her by Victoria Derbyshire, who pointed out that there is hardly any evidence of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, but a wealth of proof that the party has tightened its procedures for fighting it in any case.

And this provides us with what should be our main reason for rejecting calls to adopt all the examples that support the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism: It will increase false accusations, rather than supporting the fight against real hatred of Jews because they are Jews.

Instead, Labour needs to stop looking for ways to find innocent people guilty, and try instead to exercise some sense in examining the claims that are being made – and the people making them.

If you have to twist somebody’s words to make them look bad, then they don’t have any charge to answer and the integrity of their accuser is to be questioned.

Likewise if you have to shoehorn behaviour into one of the IHRA examples in order to make them seem guilty. If it isn’t obviously an expression of hatred towards Jews for being Jews, then it probably isn’t actually one.

Here’s Huda Elmi:

The biggest contention that my fellow critics of the IHRA examples have is with a particular one that focuses on calling the state of Israel a racist endeavour. IHRA’s defenders like to say that it allows for criticism of the policies of Israel, but not of the endeavour of building the Israeli state per se (that is to say, Zionism).

But this is an impossible distinction to maintain in practice. Allowing criticism of policies but not allowing a discussion of the ideologies or political movements that are behind those policies is nonsensical. It is like saying you are allowed to criticise privatisation, because it is a policy, but you aren’t allowed to link that to neoliberalism as the ideology that upholds it.

Adopting a formal position that carries with it well documented ambiguity over key questions of free speech on Israel will only raise tensions further, create uproar and mayhem in many sections of the party and provide a never ending supply of rows and media stories that will only erode the trust of the Jewish community further.

Even Kenneth Stern, who helped author the IHRA definition, opposes its accession to concrete legal definition and a framework for tackling antisemitism. Lawyers across the political spectrum, academics and institutions see no legal merit or status to the document. In the Labour Party, it would do nothing to help clear the backlog of cases, which would only be confused further by such an unclear and imprecise set of examples.

Whether we adopt the full definition or not, intense disagreement on Israel and on Zionism will continue to exist at all levels of the party. Any proposal that does not recognise that fact will not be compatible with the need to detoxify spaces infused with the bitter atmosphere that make Jewish Labour Party members feel unsafe in the first place.

Source: Accepting the full IHRA definition is not the answer to Labour’s antisemitism crisis – here’s what the party should do next | The Independent

Visit our JustGiving page to help Vox Political’s Mike Sivier fight anti-Semitism libels in court


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Welsh petitioners lead the way with plan for a low-pollution, NON-NUCLEAR energy policy

Artist’s impression of a six-mile sea-wall with turbines to generate low-carbon electricity at Swansea Bay, south Wales. The Conservative Government wants to ring Wales with nuclear waste instead. [Image: Tidal Lagoon Power].

Why does a certain kind of politician have to try to destroy our natural resources? What is this fascination they have with trashing our homes? And what can we do about it?

While the first two of those questions remain subjects for debate, an organisation in Wales may have the answer to the third.

Much of Wales remains startlingly unspoiled after nearly three centuries of industrialisation across the United Kingdom, but current plans by the Conservative Government would ring that country of the UK with the worst kind of polluters.

The Tories are keen to flood the UK with the nuclear waste generated by no less than 13 nuclear power plant rebuilds, including eight which will impact on the western coast of Britain: two at Hinkley in Somerset, two at Oldbury in the Severn estuary, two on Anglesey, three planned at Moorside, Cumbria, plus a recently-announced plan to build a Small Medium Reactor inland at Trawsfynydd.

There is also the issue of radioactive mud from the Hinkley A and B reactors being dumped in the sea just off Cardiff, and the rejection by Westminster of the Swansea Tidal lagoon – a renewable energy scheme that could have powered the equivalent of 155,000 Welsh homes.

And let’s not forget the attempt to bribe communities anywhere in Wales to host radioactive waste burial sites – literally sitting on some of the most toxic substances known to humanity.

The plan, it seems, is to cut back on renewable energy and increase nuclear pollution – at huge expense to the taxpayer.

So not only do they want to poison us – they want to make us pay for them to do it. Charming!

The Westminster government’s policy conflicts (deliberately?) with that of the Labour-run Welsh Government, which has three objectives:

  • Reduce the amount of energy used in Wales.
  • Reduce Welsh reliance on energy generated from fossil fuels.
  • Actively manage the transition to a low-carbon economy.

This plan means nuclear energy should be cut as it is neither low-carbon nor renewable. Considerable amounts of carbon are released in the mining, milling and separation of the Uranium which powers nuclear plants from the ore in which it is found – and then it has to be transported. So in the case of Hinkley C, for example, 50g of carbon dioxide are likely to be released for every unit of electricity generated – breaching the Climate Change Committee’s recommended limit for new sources of power generation beyond 2030.

And, of course, supplies of Uranium are limited. This means poorer ores would be processed as supplies run out, increasing the amount of CO2 generated by the process and, once the supply is depleted, we will have prevented future generations from using it in new – and maybe less harmful – ways in the future.

So the Welsh Government should be utterly opposed to the Westminster government’s plan – right?

Of course it isn’t as easy as that. Energy is not a devolved issue, meaning Westminster still has full control over the policy – across the UK.

But the Welsh Anti-Nuclear Alliance has devised a way of getting around that problem:

The organisation has launched a petition, on the National Assembly for Wales website. It does not call for opposition to the Westminster government’s policy because this would be pointless.

It calls for the Welsh Government to take action that will make nuclear power proliferation unnecessary.

The petition asks the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to invest in green renewable energy sources, thus reducing the need for fossil fuels and nuclear energy in Wales. Specifically, this means:

• Supporting emerging low carbon technologies that could put Wales at the forefront of renewable energies and help to slow climate change; and
• Investing in energy sources that do not leave a legacy of radioactive waste, spoil heaps and damage to health and the environment.

If the Welsh Government was able to show Westminster that it was actively engaging in such activity, it may be possible to persuade the political polluters to put away their plans. Remember, these are long-term schemes and it is possible to demonstrate that one course of action may make another unnecessary.

Here’s what you can do:

Sign the petition.

You don’t have to live in Wales; anyone can sign and the numbers will count towards those needed for a debate in the Welsh Assembly.

Get in touch with your friends and relatives, and get them to sign the petition.

And share the petition – or at least share this article – and urge anybody who may read it to sign.

This is a major opportunity – not just to oppose a hugely dangerous plan to pollute one of the UK’s great natural landscapes but also to become a world-leader in the development and exercise of non-polluting, renewable energy supplies.

Let’s take it.


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Has Chuka Umunna taken leave of his senses?

Ill-judged: Blue-scarved Chukka Umunna should remember that Michael Heseltine did much to destroy the UK's communities as part of the Thatcher and Major governments.

Ill-judged: Blue-scarved Chuka Umunna should remember that Michael Heseltine did much to destroy the UK’s communities as part of the Thatcher and Major governments.

After the story in The Guardian there are only two things required of Chuka Umunna: Repudiation – or his resignation.

The article states that Blue Labour stalwart Umunna would call on Conservative heavyweight Michael Heseltine for advice if Labour wins the general election. If this is true, it is madness.

Heseltine was a leading member of the Thatcher and Major Conservative governments of the 1980s and 90s, pioneering the disastrous ‘Right to Buy’ initiative that sold off the majority of council houses without replacing them, leading to the current housing crisis and the Bedroom Tax.

More recently he authored the ‘No Stone Left Unturned’ plan which made 89 recommendations on ways of stimulating local growth – 81 of which were adopted by the Coalition Government, with little effect. The UK economy has been stagnant for many years, with productivity at around the same level as it was when the Coalition came into office; it seems any boost in GDP has come from other areas – possibly the reduction in wages brought about by the widespread abuse of zero-hours contracts to rob working people of their rights to a steady job and entitlements to holiday and sick pay.

Yet it is in this area – revitalising the cities and regions – that Umunna wants Heseltine to advise. It would be an utterly pointless exercise.

For any stimulation policy to work, it has to put money where it can be most effective – in the hands of the people who actually need it to pay for things they need. But Heseltine is a Tory – they take money away from the proles; they don’t hand it out to them. He’ll devise something that makes towns look very pretty in order to hide the rot inside as local businesses and residents go to the wall.

Not only that, but it seems Umunna has not learned the overriding lesson of the Scottish referendum campaign: Voters will not tolerate a Labour alliance with the Conservatives on any level at all.

One of the main reasons the SNP is polling so well north of the border is because of a myth propagated by its candidates and supporters, that Labour and the Conservatives are “in bed”, “in cahoots”, “in alliance” – choose the phrase you prefer. It isn’t true – Better Together was an alliance of convenience because both parties wanted Scotland to remain in the union; they have very little else in common (although the SNP has exploited the very few examples of common ground to great effect, also).

Now along comes Chuka, thinking he’s clever with a plan to be inclusive and revive the “big tent” policies of Tony Blair – another figure who is now widely reviled by the electorate – and confirming everything the SNP whisperers have been saying!

Is he trying to stab Ed Miliband in the back?

If not, then now is the time to deny the Guardian story and put Heseltine back in his box.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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