Tag Archives: backlash

Unafraid: Jews respond to Chief Rabbi’s (and other) claims that they fear a Corbyn Labour government

Ephraim Mirvis: On the eve of the Labour Party’s “race and faith” manifesto launch, he made a fact-free rant claiming that the party has not done enough about anti-Semitism. It is nonsense.

British people don’t like being told what to think, it seems – especially British Jews.

The day after the Chief Rabbi tried to tell them to vote “with your conscience” for Boris Johnson and against Jeremy Corbyn, telling them they were afraid of a Labour government, they were already telling him where to stick his vote.

Within hours, I saw this letter from a British Jew circulated on the social media. It states:

“Dear Chief Rabbi, you have shamed your office today and rendered the Jewish people even more vulnerable to real antisemitism by reinforcing the fake, media-induced antisemitism that you recklessly impute to Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.

“To interfere politically at this point in an election in a way that could affect the only party that could bring hope and social justice to this country is beyond contempt and renders you unfit for office.

“As a Jew and a Labour Party supporter, I am proud to be part of a venture that I see as a continuity of so many of my Jewish forbears who have fought for social justice here and in Europe.

“You talk about ‘the soul of the nation being at stake’ yet have you not noticed what has happened to that soul over the last nine years where: 1. The poor have been vilified 2. The ill have been attacked 3. The mentally ill have suffered 4. Inequality has soared. 5. Greed and financial rapaciousness has flourished 6. Austerity has been unnecessarily applied after a financial crisis brought about by an out of control finance sector that has benefited the wealthiest.

“Where was your voice about the nation’s soul then?

“Yet you inveigh against a decent and honest man who, even now, maintains integrity in the face of manifest manipulation, deceit and digital sleight of hand from the Tories.

“You have shamed your office, the justice-loving tradition of the Jewish people and laid the grounds for future tensions in the most irresponsible way. You seem to lack the acuity of intellect to even spot the most obvious use of this bogus antisemitism as a political weapon.

“Justin Schlossberg of the Media Reform Coalition called the antisemitism saga ‘a disinformation paradigm’ and made a detailed study of the issue. The great scholar, Norman Finkelstein, likewise, sees this a purely politically motivated attack.

“How dare you, amateurishly intervene in this, betraying the great Jewish scholarly tradition of intellectual and analytical acumen embodied in the Talmud and the exegetics of the Chumash.”

The letter is signed, “With profound sadness and considerable disgust.”

While Andrew Neil on BBC1 was enjoying the sound of his own voice a little too much as he tried to gaslight Jeremy Corbyn himself into an apology he had neither any need nor intention of offering, Miriam Margolyes was defending him on Channel 4 (from the anti-Semitism accusation, at least):

The wonderful Ms Margolyes is also among the 10 Jewish voices discussing Mr Corbyn in this video clip:

The Chief Rabbi’s comments have also come under closer scrutiny after evidence was revealed that he is a Conservative and a friend of Tory leader Boris Johnson. Further revelations were to follow.

Indeed. And why did he have nothing to say about two Conservative candidates who recently faced charges of anti-Semitism?

Saddest to note has been the effect on ordinary British Jews, who feel that – well, don’t take my word for it. See for yourself:

The good news is that, as I mentioned at the top of this article, British people don’t like being told what to think: Labour has enjoyed an upward leap in the opinion polls.

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#AbolishTheMonarchy – backlash against Queen for meekly rubber-stamping Johnson’s Parliamentary shutdown

The Queen: By backing Dictator Johnson against the people, she may have signed up for the abolition of the monarchy.

The Queen is back-pedalling hard over her agreement to prorogue Parliament for Boris Johnson.

According to the BBC’s royal correspondent Nicholas Witchell, she has never refused to accept the advice of her ministers and always acted on precedent.

So when Jacob Rees-Mogg, for Dictator Johnson, demanded that she prorogue Parliament during a Privy Council meeting yesterday, he said she would have felt “boxed in”.

He added: “She and her advisors, I have little doubt, will be frankly resentful of the way this has been done and will be concerned at the headlines which say ‘Queen suspends Parliament.”

Rightly so – because, as current slang has it, the optics are terrible.

People are saying democracy has been denied by an unelected monarch acting on the wish of an unelected prime minister.

And they know she could have stopped him:

And it has focused the anger of the people on the monarchy:

That’s the nub of the matter, isn’t it?

And when this crisis is all over, with Dictator Johnson and his cronies banished to the waste-bin of history, it seems likely the people will want to seek assurances that this can never happen again.

We will need checks and balances to ensure that no unelected head of state can ever again deny us our right to representation.

It seems that, with a few penstrokes, the Queen may have put an end to the British Royalty.

Source: Queen and her advisers ‘resentful’ over how Boris Johnson handled prorogation – Mirror Online

What were our expert commentators saying about a ‘Brexit backlash’ against Labour, again?

It turns out everyone who said that Labour, as well as the Conservatives, suffered a loss of votes at the local elections last week because of its Brexit policy… was wrong.

This is a day of revelations. Read the findings, courtesy of the most reliable UK polling company, Survation:

“On balance, there does not appear to have been a major Brexit backlash against Labour in Remain areas or in Leave areas.

“A range of other factors will significantly affect voting in local elections, regional elections, general elections, and European elections.”

The Survation report states: “For every 1% higher the Leave vote was within a local authority in 2016, in 2019 Labour received 0.08% fewer votes within the local authority than in 2015.”

This shows that Labour experienced a decline in vote share in Leave areas – but the Brexit effect was not “major” according to the report.

I seem to recall a commentator in the social media saying last week that disgruntlement over Brexit had a negligible effect on the election results, and that other issues were far more likely to have comee into play.

Who was that, again? Oh yes…

It was me.

Source: Exclusive: No “major Brexit backlash” for Labour in locals, new analysis shows – LabourList

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Insensitivity of Queen’s Speech prompts backlash against the monarchy

Insensitive: The Queen recorded her message in the White Drawing Room of Buckingham Palace. If she’d had any nous, she would have gone to a food bank or homeless centre.

In her Christmas message, the Queen spoke about poverty – a message that was utterly undermined by the opulence of the surroundings in which she delivered her speech.

Rather than expressing solidarity with those of her subjects who are currently suffering extreme poverty, the monarch of the fifth-richest country in the world – who enjoys enormous personal wealth – seemed to be rubbing their noses in it.

She seems to have joined Emmanuel Macron in this ill-advised behaviour, and look how well the French people have responded to his antics – they spent weeks rising up in protest against him.

Perhaps the fault lies in poor advice but the Queen didn’t have to accept it.

The fact that she did means she holds ultimate responsibility for the backlash from the public, including tweets like these:

https://twitter.com/Tech_FTW/status/1077681202570629121

The sarcasm makes a perfectly valid point. A person as rich as she is has no grounds on which to lecture the poorest in the country about respecting people whose lives are different or putting aside our differences in the national interest (which is a Tory slogan if ever there was one) – the Mirror‘s Kevin Maguire tweeted, “Privileged wealthy hereditary monarch bunged £76m a year, sitting in front of a golden piano in the palace she’s billing taxpayers £369m to tart up, kills satire by lecturing the nation to pull together.”

Some pointed out that Her Majesty doesn’t practise what she’s preaching:

The brickbats just keep coming. Much criticism concentrated on the golden piano behind the Queen:

The Erard grand piano was bought by Queen Victoria in 1856. She and Prince Albert installed grand pianos in the private apartments of all their residences, where they would play arrangements of overtures and symphonies and sing together.

The current Queen shows no sign of any such leanings, so one might be justified in asking why she needs to hoard such a valuable item, while taking tax money that could be used on programmes to help those in poverty and using it to make her palace pretty. Is that really the decision of a responsible leader?

And is it any surprise, therefore, that her speech has led to renewed calls for the abolition of the monarchy?

Mark Adkins makes good points on this:

Amazingly, in the face of the astonishing insensitivity displayed in this year’s Christmas message, there are still people who disagree.

But I bet they’ll all laugh at the following response, as much as I did:

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Seriously, Simon Danczuk? You think Labour MPs should reject the will of the party?

If this report on politics.co.uk is accurate, it seems some so-called Labour MPs are too big for their boots and need to be kicked out.

The article claims that the Parliamentary Labour Party would try to remove Jeremy Corbyn if he becomes their leader, in a move that would be seen by the grassroots party as arrogant and undemocratic.

Any such rejection of the will of the Party is likely to cause a backlash that will break the MPs behind it – and quite right, if they are willing to split the party in order to service their own bloated egotism.

The article quotes Simon Danczuk as saying Labour MPs would “not put up” with Corbyn’s “crazy left-wing” policies.

If this is correct, perhaps Mr Danczuk didn’t realise which party he was joining when he signed up. He’s in the Labour Party, not with the Conservatives – although, with views like these, he can cross the floor to be with his real friends any time he likes.

“Am I going to put up with some crazy left wing policies that he is putting forward and traipse through the voting lobby to support him? It’s not going to happen is it? So I would give him about twelve months if he does become leader.”

The report states that, under Labour party rules, MPs can force a new leadership election with the support of as few as 47 MPs.

So what?

If Labour’s membership wants a left-wing leader, after the policies of all the right-wing neoliberals failed them twice, then they won’t brook any nonsense from the idiot right-wingers and will simply eject them, rather than the leader they want.

Yet the apparently-deluded Danczuk seems determined to deny the facts of the matter. If his view is widely-held in the PLP, the fact that Labour lost an election that should have been easy pickings suddenly becomes far easier to understand.

With a new poll suggesting Corbyn is set to win the leadership by a landslide, many Labour MPs are now calling for the whole race to be suspended and re-run.

“[The race is] not even tenable. We’re moving towards a position where [re-running] it is necessary,” Danczuk told LBC.

No, we’re not.

We’re moving towards a position where the resignation or removal of anti-democratic MPs like Danczuk is not only necessary but vital.

Source: Labour MPs plotting coup against Jeremy Corbyn ‘on day one’ – Westminster

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Labour is a ‘headless chicken’ over tax credits

Open mouth, insert foot: Harriet Harman made her Tax Credits mistake on yesterday's (July 12) Sunday Politics TV show.

Open mouth, insert foot: Harriet Harman made her Tax Credits mistake on yesterday’s (July 12) Sunday Politics TV show.

Harriet Harman has softened her position on George Osborne’s ’emergency’ budget; while she still supports his tax credit cuts, she says she is “happy to be overruled” after a backlash from rank-and-file party members (including This Writer).

The statement follows another backlash against a local party official who wrote to others in an attempt to stop Constituency Labour Parties from giving their support to leadership candidate Jeremy Corbyn, who currently has the second-highest number of CLP nominations.

The person responsible for the latest attempt to rig the Labour leadership election (the first being the ridiculous ‘Tories for Corbyn’ campaign) – Luke Akehurst – was taken to task by fellow Labour members (including, again, This Writer) on Twitter. Pressed to explain his attitude, he referred us to a blog piece he wrote before the general election which appears to explain much that is wrong about the current attitude of some of Labour’s leading lights.

It’s all about ‘triangulation’, rather than ‘dividing lines’, Mr Akehurst reckons.

He writes: “It involves adopting for oneself some of the ideas of one’s political opponent (or apparent opponent). The logic behind it is that it both takes credit for the opponent’s ideas, and insulates the triangulator from attacks on that particular issue.”

In the words of the late – great – Tony Benn, Mr Akehurst is calling for Labour and its leaders to be ‘weathercocks’ (triangulators) rather than ‘signposts’ (adopting dividing lines against their main opposition). Mr Benn said some politicians are like signposts. They point in the direction they want to travel and say, “This is the way we must go!” And they are constant. Others are like weathercocks; they lick their fingers, find out which direction the political winds are blowing and follow.

Mr Benn would have been witheringly opposed to a weathercock like Luke Akehurst.

Triangulation leaves Labour without any principles of its own – the party ends up wasting time, chasing other people’s policies like (to stretch Mr Benn’s “weathercock” analogy) a headless chicken.

This brings us back to Harriet Harman. Instead of defending tax credits as a way of ensuring a certain standard of living and encouraging people to be good parents – the position of the Labour Party when it introduced tax credits a little over 10 years ago – she thought the wind was blowing in George Osborne’s direction and decided to let it blow her along with it. Big mistake.

Osborne’s tax credit raid will make working people and parents significantly poorer than they are now – and this is even after five years of being hammered by cut after Tory cut.

Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has said the rise in the minimum wage heralded by Osborne in his budget to offset his benefit cuts would raise £4 billion for families, while they would lose £12 billion in government help.

The freeze in working-age benefits, tax credits and local housing allowance will deprive 13 million households of £260 a year, on average.

And Harriet Harman supported it. That position does not correspond with Labour Party principles. It’s the position of a headless chicken.

Look at what has happened now: Harman has been forced to backtrack, with a spokesperson saying she had been “setting out an attitude that we are not going to oppose everything”. Headless chicken.

Sadly, Labour’s leadership candidates offered a mixed response. Liz Kendall fully supported Harriet Harman’s position – most probably because she is a closet Tory.

Andy Burnham’s spokesperson (!) said he did not support the tax credit cuts but added that he “will not offer blanket opposition and, where we agree with a government policy, we won’t oppose for the sake of it”. Headless chicken.

Yvette Cooper said she opposed the cuts because they would “hit working families, reduce work incentives and push more children into poverty”. On the fact of it, that’s good. However, she would be another extension of the New Labour disaster, which was all about ‘triangulation’, as Mr Akehurst’s article illustrates. Headless chicken.

The only ‘signpost’ among the lot of them – the only one with solid Labour principles – is Jeremy Corbyn. He said he was “not willing to vote for policies that will push more children into poverty” – and when he said it, he didn’t mean he might change his mind tomorrow, or whenever it becomes expedient. He means he is not willing to push more children into poverty – ever. Signpost.

We need more people like Jeremy Corbyn leading Labour – and fewer like Harriet Harman.

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Election choice isn’t as ‘stark’ as David Cameron wants you to think

How many of these will have a say in the next UK government, because Labour and the Conservatives won't offer what the electorate wants?

How many of these will have a say in the next UK government, because Labour and the Conservatives won’t offer what the electorate wants?

According to the BBC, “David Cameron is to tell voters they face a ‘stark choice’ between him and Labour’s Ed Miliband as the election campaign officially gets under way.”

Really? So it’s just a two-horse race again, is it? This writer disagrees.

People are sick of the Tories’ right-wing politics, that take from the many and give to the few – overbalancing the economy in the process. How many measures have been put in place to keep the ship of state from overturning since George Osborne became chancellor? Too many.

Tories have inflicted a massive rise in appallingly poorly-paid jobs, triggering consequential rises in housing benefit claims and food bank use.

They say they have cut the national deficit by half, but in numerical terms it is only down by a third, and now it is rising again. The national debt has doubled under the Conservatives. Responsible government? Not a bit of it!

Meanwhile, Labour has a better offer, but simply isn’t saying what people want to hear – basically out of fear that it will scare them off. Ever hear of the ‘Overton Window’? It’s a concept devised by American conservatives to describe what is deemed politically possible at any time. At the moment, that window opens onto ideas that are very much in the right wing of the political spectrum, presenting the illusion that they are moderate, middle-ground views.

Owen Jones, in his latest book The Establishment, makes the point clear: “When Labour’s Ed Miliband proposes a temporary energy price freeze – a welcome, albeit pretty unremarkable, policy – it is portrayed by media and right-wing politicians as crypto-Marxism, even though most voters support a far more radical option: renationalising the energy industry lock, stock and barrel.”

This criticism can be applied to many Labour policies: They are timid. They are too concerned with what can be seen through the Overton Window. They are made in fear of a backlash from the right-wing press.

So when Labour says it will “reform” the work capability assessment, this flies in the face of public opinion that demands its abolition altogether and reform – real reform – of the benefit system as a whole, to serve the British population and not private industry.

When Labour says it will make public spending cuts – but they won’t be as harsh as those imposed by the Conservatives, this flies in the face of public opinion that demands an end to austerity altogether; in fact, it seems possible that Labour can achieve its plans simply by reversing the tax cuts for the very rich that the Tories have made over the last five years.

Neither of the ‘Big Two’ parties are offering what the public wants – and this means the door is open for the smaller parties.

Even the BBC’s arch-Tory Nick Robinson acknowledges this, in his first blog after returning to work post-medical procedures.

“With the polls so close, with the inexorable decline of the big two parties, with the widespread hunger for a different type of politics the range of election outcomes is bewildering. They go way beyond single party governments led by David Cameron or Ed Miliband or another coalition with Nick Clegg.”

They do indeed. With the rise in support for the SNP in Scotland – due to a collapse of confidence in a Labour Party that many Scottish voters no longer see as representing them (we’re back to that Overton Window again; it seems Labour has been looking through it in the wrong direction), Labour is unlikely to win a majority as matters currently stand. The Tories can’t win one in any case.

So we’re looking at coalition deals, confidence-and-supply votes, and the possibility of extremely unstable governments for the foreseeable future.

It seems unlikely that these will have any staying power. The Coalition went the distance because the Liberal Democrats turned out to be more yellow than their party colour, and did whatever their Tory masters told them, simply to hold on to a bit of power, some ministerial salaries and a few ministerial cars.

Future partners in government could include the nationalists (Welsh and Scottish), the Greens, the DUP – and they’ll all be much more strident in announcing what they want because they’ll know that, without their support, the government will be powerless to act.

The ‘Big Two’ parties need to learn a lesson from this (although they probably won’t).

This is what happens when you offer people what you want, rather than what they want.

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Too poor to eat; too long to wait

'Bin diving': This is a stock shot of a man in Chelyabinsk, Russia, looking for food in rubbish bins - but it is happening here in the UK as well, and your Coalition Government will try every trick in the book to deny responsibility for it.

‘Bin diving’: This is a stock shot of a man in Chelyabinsk, Russia, looking for food in rubbish bins – but it is happening here in the UK as well, and your Coalition Government will try every trick in the book to deny responsibility for it.

Two stories on Welfare Weekly yesterday (December 9) really stood out – they express the Coalition Government’s attitude to state-funded benefits and the people receiving them so well.

The first was entitled Too Poor To Eat: Man Reduced To Tears As He Describes Being Unable To Afford Food and describes vividly – in this season of goodwill to everybody – how contemptuously the Coalition regards the people for whom it has the greatest duty of care, and how it has turned the welfare state into a tool of warfare against those least able to fight back.

It told the story of Mike from New Cross, who called LBC radio to describe how he has had to live off a tin of spaghetti a day and is forced to root through supermarket bins to survive.

“What you get covers just what you need, and you have to go to food banks,” he said.

“For these people to sit there to say oh go and get a job – I’m out there every day, looking and searching, and you know you’re trying to do it on your own, but you can’t, and it gets harder and harder.

“You’re just trying to get by. Some days I can’t eat. I don’t eat.”

The other was Five-Week Wait For Benefits Will Increase Food Bank Use, Says TUC. This warned that Universal Credit – if it ever gets introduced across the whole of the UK – will involve a wait of more than five weeks before claimants can receive benefits, rather than the current two.

New claimants will not be eligible for any financial support during the first week of their claim, and will then have to wait a further month before any benefits are paid.

The warning came in response to a cross-party inquiry into hunger and child poverty, which found that delays in benefit payments is one of primary reasons for soaring numbers of food bank users.

Clearly the Coalition Government is not bothered about the plight of people like Mike – its Universal Credit policy makes it perfectly clear that the plan is to increase the agony – for anyone who has the temerity to claim the social security for which they have been paying taxes, ever since they were old enough to be trusted with money.

And there’s another factor at play here: Blame.

Look at what Mike said: “For these people to sit there to say oh go and get a job…” Suppose he starves to death, as Mark Wood already has. What will the Coalition Government and its media puppets say? “He was another lazy man who couldn’t get up off his backside and get a job“?

Suppose more people do end up going to food banks as a result of a switchover to Universal Credit (you never know, that change might just happen) – will right-wing critics attack them in the same way a commenter on Mainly Macro attacked them? Will they be told they don’t really need the free food parcels on offer there? Will they be told they’re only going because it is free, and there is limitless demand for anything that is free? Will they be told they are just pretending to be hungry?

And what, exactly, is the ultimate purpose behind these claims?

Is it not to insure the Coalition Government against the backlash when somebody dies?

They may starve; they may commit suicide through despair. Both have already happened – here in the UK – many times since the Coalition slithered into office. Ministers don’t want you to know that they were responsible; that their policies led people to this point; that this is what they were intended to do.

Speaking ill of the dead is a better outcome for ministers than admitting they failed to provide the protection for which the people of this country pay their taxes.

Shame of British press as private health’s failure is blamed on the NHS

drips

Daily Telegraph headline this morning: “15 babies poisoned by NHS drips”.

Terrifying – and entirely inaccurate.

Oh, 15 babies were poisoned by drips – and one has sadly died as a result – but the contamination is believed to have come from liquid feed manufactured by a private, London-based health company called ITH Pharma Ltd, and not from any equipment provided by the National Health Service.

Lazy reporting – or part of an ongoing campaign against the NHS by the privatisation-crazy right-wing press?

If the latter, it clearly backfired – as the public backlash against the story demonstrates.

Look at the ‘Comment’ column following the article. ‘Cochranereturns’ wrote: “Another headline from the DT trying to pin blame on the NHS when the fault lies outside the organisation. I complained to the Press Complaints Commission under clause one of their charter about the following headline last week: “NHS breaks promises after staff torture patients at Winterbourne View”: the PCC responded within 24 hours (and the DT removed the link I’d complained about). I suggest people do the same about this article.”

‘Cydee’: “Bad reporting.”

‘Mynydd’: “This is the result the right wing media, and Mr Cameron/Hunt’s philosophy that private companies through competition will always produce the cheapest product, quality, and quality control is of secondary importance.”

‘Percypottamus’ warns: “Much more blatantly Tory-inspired anti-NHS propaganda like this and I will be cancelling my subscription.” Good for you, Sir!

‘Ostercy’: “Odd how you try to blame the NHS for this and not private medicine.”

‘NitroFan’ raised another aspect of the ongoing NHS saga – the too-close relationship between private health firms and the MPs they sponsor, and to whose parties they donate. Or, as ‘NitroFan’ put it: “I would be extremely interested (doubt I am alone) to know who owns ITH Pharma Ltd and the basis on which their contract was awarded! And who awarded it!”

Wouldn’t we all?

On the Vox Political Facebook page, coverage of the story was universally condemned as well. “As usual blame socialised medicine and not the private company contracted to provide the service (devices) in the first place,” commented ‘The Bullingdon Club’.

Sean Young picked up on the obvious inconsistency in the way the story was presented: “Clearly the way to stop such terrible deaths caused by the incompetence of a private company is to increase privatisation!” Riiiiight…

And that’s just the reaction to the story in the Daily Telegraph. The image at the top of this article presents our favourite Angry Yorkshireman’s opinion of the Murdoch Media version of these events.

It won’t change the way these ignorant right-wingers try to influence your thinking but it is encouraging to see that the once-impressionable British public is having none of it.

The worm – it appears – has turned.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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