Tag Archives: British

Slaughter by gaslight: why are we letting our leaders lie to us about the deaths they have caused?

His lying face: this is the expression Boris Johnson uses when he’s secretly laughing at you because he’s telling a lie that nobody is going to contradict – like his claim that he has done everything he can to save lives in the Covid-19 crisis when in fact he has caused more than 100,000 unnecessary deaths.

When the British Medical Journal demands the equivalent of a war crimes trial for British political leaders who have worsened the Covid-19 crisis, it’s time to sit up and pay attention.

In an editorial, the BMJ has accused Boris Johnson and his Conservative government of mass murder because he – and they – not only said they were

willing to allow tens of thousands of premature deaths for the sake of population immunity or in the hope of propping up the economy

but actually went through with it – allowing those deaths to take place.

The piece asks serious questions:

If policy failures lead to recurrent and mistimed lockdowns, who is responsible for the resulting non-covid excess deaths?

When politicians wilfully neglect scientific advice, international and historical experience, and their own alarming statistics and modelling because to act goes against their political strategy or ideology, is that lawful?

How big an omission is not acting immediately after the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January 2020?

The BMJ goes on to suggest that Johnson’s failures and omissions amount to “social murder” – conditions created by the privileged classes leading to premature and “unnatural” death among the poorest.

Today, “social murder” may describe the lack of political attention to social determinants and inequities that exacerbate the pandemic.

Gaslighting

Elected ministers – not just in the UK but around the world – have dodged responsibility for the huge numbers of deaths caused by their deliberate decisions to ignore scientific advice and to avoid, delay or mishandle policies that would have saved lives.

They say they have done all they can – Boris Johnson relies on this one very often.

And Johnson also likes to tell us that there was no precedent for Covid-19, meaning he had no way of knowing what to do and when to do it.

He’s lying when he says these things.

Obviously he hasn’t done everything he could, because he ignored scientific advice and delayed vital decisions, causing tens of thousands of unnecessary deaths.

If you have a relative or friend who died because of Covid-19, it is probably because of Boris Johnson.

And he did have guidelines on what to do; they just hadn’t been updated since the Conservatives slithered back into Downing Street in 2010. In fact, they systematically dismantled the UK’s processes for dealing with a pandemic – deliberately ensuring that lives could not be saved.

Sadly, the media have not only allowed this gaslighting to go unchallenged but have often been complicit in it:

Truth has become dispensable as politicians and their allies are allowed to lie, mislead, and repaint history, with barely a hint of a challenge from journalists and broadcasters. Anybody who dares to speak truth to power is unpatriotic, disloyal, or a “hardliner.”

Ministers in the UK, for example, interact with the media through sanitised interviews, stage managed press conferences, off-the-record briefings to favoured correspondents, and, when the going gets tough, by simply refusing to appear.

It is this environment that has allowed covid denial to flourish, for unaccountability to prevail, and for the great lies of “world beating” pandemic responses to be spun.

How many excess deaths does it take for a chief scientific or medical adviser to resign? How long should test and trace fail the public before a minister of health or chief adviser steps down? How many lucrative contracts for unscientific diagnostic tests that are awarded to cronies or errors in education policy will lead to a ministerial sacking?

We know the answer now: it will never happen under the Johnson government. They consider themselves unaccountable and will never willingly accept responsibility for the more than 100,000 deaths we know they have caused.

Media complicity

One reason killers like the Tory government are getting away with it is the complicity of the mainstream media, which treats expert evidence as mere opinion, to be given only the same weight as the self-justifications of Johnson.

Simon Wren-Lewis, in his Mainly Macro blog, accurately states that the media have a heirarchy of opinion-holders, with politicians at the top – even though we know that politicians are either ignorant, or they are liars.

Scientific knowledge isn’t another opinion,

he states.

As long as the media treats scientific knowledge as opinion, it removes itself from reality and diminishes its audience.

And there’s no respite, even when the opinions put forward are transparently lies:

Obvious lies should be less of a problem because most journalists will recognise them as lies, and have the potential to call them such [but] so engrained is the notion of balance that often journalists do not even do that.

Time and again over the last decade, expert knowledge has been marginalised as just another opinion, with the opinions (or indeed lies) of politicians ranked higher.

Time and again, expert knowledge has been proved right and the politicians proved to be liars.

Professor Wren-Lewis points to austerity and Brexit as examples within the last decade, making the point that Covid-19 is taking us in the same direction:

Once again the media has decided that politics rather than expertise will drive its coverage. As a result, even after over 120,000 deaths, we have media coverage which sometimes balances the government’s policy against the opposition who want to follow SAGE, or worse the government’s policy against COVID nutters who happen to be Tory MPs. Worse still, the tiny minority of Barrington Declaration academics are given airtime even after they have been proved wrong time and time again.

As a result, the elimination (or zero-COVID) policy that is supported by many medics and is being followed by some countries, and is today being debated among medical experts has hardly been discussed at all in most media outlets.

Elimination is just not practical, it has been decided.

Whether this goes more widely as a BBC policy remains to be seen, but it is not the BBC’s job to decide that a policy recommended by many medics and economists familiar with pandemics, and implemented in many countries, is not practical.

if politicians get involved then knowledge goes out of the window.

No wonder certain politicians lie all the time when most of the media provides no deterrent.

Equally when a politician contradicts knowledge that is not known to journalists there is no deterrent provided by the media.

And people die in their tens of thousands.

And you sit there, spoonfed lies with a sugar-coating of “scientific knowledge is just opinion”, and let it go on.

But we are all part of the system and we can change it if we want. Right?

Or is our democracy just another sham?

Are you going to carry on sitting still while another 100,000 people die and Johnson lies to us that he isn’t responsible, or are you going to get up and have your say?

What will it take to make get up and take action?

Source: Covid-19: Social murder, they wrote—elected, unaccountable, and unrepentant | The BMJ

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Victory in fight against ‘fire and rehire’ by British Airways after Unite union secures deal

This is great news at a time when companies seem keen to ramp up the stress on employees who already have enough worry with Covid-19.

British Airways has agreed to end so-called “fire and rehire” employment practices.

The company came to the deal after nine days of strike action over the Christmas/New Year period which the union United said caused “overwhelming disruption to the company’s cargo services”.

Unite had proposed a urther nine days of strike action to start on January 22 but the first three days were called off at the last minute, after progress was made at the negotiations.

Another round of strikes due to begin this weekend has also been called off.

The deal is as follows:

  • End of “fire and rehire” (the last area of BA where this was a threat)

  • Workers will revert to previous contractual provisions subject to agreed changes

  • No compulsory redundancies

  • Improved pay protection for staff whose pay sits above the new agreed rates

  • An increase in pay for a significant proportion of staff

  • Members who did not sign the new contract and were dismissed will be offered their jobs back on the agreed terms.

Unite’s members will have to be balloted on the deal, and it is understood that they are likely to accept it.

It’s a great victory for Unite, but let’s not minimise the step that BA has taken at a time when other firms are opportunistically forcing employees to re-apply to do the same job they’re already doing, but for less money and with fewer work-related protections.

BA is setting an example, and even if nobody else follows it, let’s applaud that choice.

Source: Unite ends BA ‘fire and rehire’ dispute by securing deal to avoid forthcoming cargo strike action

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Turncoat Tories who clapped key workers are now planning to stab them in the back

Here’s a relatively new buzzphrase for you: “Fire and re-hire.”

It has become the latest fashion among big corporations in the UK, with multiple strikes taking place over recent weeks as unions have done their best to protest this despicable practice.

The aim is to fire workers, then hire them back immediately – at a lower rate of pay (and possibly with fewer in-work benefits as well).

This means bosses have more cash to pass around among themselves and shareholders – and there’s the added bonus of causing unnecessary unpleasantness to the people who actually generate the profits that these parasites enjoy.

This week, Conservative MPs had a chance to support a Parliamentary motion stating that “fire and re-hire” should be banned. They didn’t even turn up.

Labour has been all over this.

I dare say every Labour MP with a Twitter account has put up something similar.

The Tory press was more interested in hounding Labour’s Ian Byrne for joining a picket line to stop British Gas from using these despicable ‘fire and rehire’ practices.

Here’s Mr Byrne to say what he’s been up to:

Tory rags attacked Byrne for travelling 42 miles to Stockport during lockdown.

They omitted mention of the fact that he was well within his rights as the travel was related to his job, and he was perfectly entitled to do it.

Also, of course, Boris Johnson had travelled to another country, and the Tory rags didn’t utter a whisper about that!

I think Rachael is right. So is Karie:

The TUC has published an article pointing out that “fire and re-hire” is the diametric opposite of Boris Johnson’s claim that he intends to “level up” the UK – as it levels-down workers’ pay and living standards.

The threat of fire-and-rehire, when workers are dismissed and told to reapply for their roles on inferior terms, has been used in sectors from aviation to hospitality in recent months.

And workers at British Gas are currently taking industrial action against an attempt by bosses to unilaterally cut their pay and conditions.

A poll published by the TUC today reveals that nearly one in 10 (9%) workers have been told to re-apply for their jobs on worse terms and conditions since the first lockdown in March.

Nearly a fifth of 18-24 year-olds say their employer has tried to re-hire them on inferior terms during the pandemic.

And twice as many black and minority ethnic (BME) workers (15%) have been faced with “fire and rehire” as white workers (8%)

The Tories – absent from the vote to support banning the practice – were probably instead plotting ways to water down workers’ rights even further.

After Brexit, the Tory government has an opportunity to inflict huge harm on the people who power the national economy. Kwasi Kwarteng may be denying it but if that wasn’t the plan, where were they during the “fire and re-hire” vote?

Bizarrely, the Tories have been helped in this plan by British voters.

British voters voted to leave the European Union.

And British voters voted to give Boris Johnson a Parliamentary majority of 80 seats, to make sure that he would be able to give employers carte blanche to steal pay from the hands of their employees.

Ask these British voters who they would support in a future election and I’m willing to bet that most of them would say they’d support the Tories again.

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Education Secretary denies refusing cheap internet for children, to ensure they couldn’t learn at home

Gavin Williamson: so stupid, he thinks his daft excuse about quality control will hold water. His Tory government doesn’t have any?

It seems Gavin Williamson is making a fuss about this.

According to the Mirror,

Gavin Williamson turned down an offer to get free or cheap broadband for thousands of disadvantaged families, the Mirror has learned.

Broadband giant BT offered to supply families basic connections to allow children to access online learning with schools closed for months during the Covid-19 pandemic.

And the firm’s Chief Executive revealed they had given free wifi vouchers to the Government in June but the Department for Education ‘struggled to distribute them effectively’ and returned them.

Williamson tells a different story:

A spokesman for the education department said a pilot of the scheme had not provided “reliable and consistent” internet connection.

Who do you believe?

Well, BT is an Internet Service Provider of very long standing, with experience in providing a reliable service to many thousands – if not millions – of homes.

And the Conservative Government of which Williamson is a member has also displayed consistency – in wasting public money on services offered by cowboy companies cobbled together by Tory donors or spoilt friends of Cabinet members.

It looks like another ideologically-motivated attack on the poor; pretend the offer doesn’t meet what passes for Conservative government quality control and reject it – to ensure that poor kids miss out on the education that might otherwise give them an advantage over rich kids who tend not to have two brain cells to rub together.

How does it look to you?

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This minority interest group is dictating RACIST membership rules to the Labour Party. Why?

Keir Starmer: he’s caught between a rock and a hard place so perhaps he’s not quite so comfortable now.


I’ll tell you why at the top of this article: because Keir Starmer stupidly signed an agreement that he would let the Board of Deputies of British Jews dictate who could be in the Labour Party and how it would be run, during his leadership campaign.

The Board of Deputies doesn’t represent all British Jews. It represents a minority of them. Yet Starmer gave it power over him and every member of the Labour Party and now it is using it…

To direct racist abuse at black, female MPs, it seems.

The BoD – led from the front by president Marie Van Der Zyl, is calling for the expulsion from Labour of Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy after they appeared on a Zoom discussion which also featured contributions from audience members including expelled Labour members Jackie Walker and Tony Greenstein.

According to Ms Van Der Zyl, Starmer promised to expel any party member found to be giving a platform to former members who had been expelled for anti-Semitism.

There’s just one problem – neither Ms Walker nor Mr Greenstein were expelled for anti-Semitism.

So the attack on Ms Abbott and Ms Ribeiro-Addy comes across as nothing more than pure, unadulterated racism.

And that’s not a good look for a supposedly anti-racist organisation!

Let’s see how this progressed and what people are saying about it. Here’s Ms Van Der Zyl:

“It is completely unacceptable that Labour MPs, and even ordinary members, should be sharing platforms with those that have been expelled from thie Party for antisemitism. Indeed, this breaches the Board of Deputies’ Ten Pledges that Keir and the other Labour leadership contenders signed up to.”

Now consider this:

(In fairness, we don’t know how many members of the BoD are in the Conservative Party, but the organisation as a whole is highly supportive of the Conservatives, despite that party’s own record of racism and anti-Semitism.)

Let’s move on to the racism aspect:

There’s also this:

What will Keir Starmer do?

Will he take action against the first ever black female MP and one of that ethnic minority’s rising stars in order to appease a minority of a minority – prompting more party members to walk out on him than have done so already? At this rate, by Christmas Labour will consist of him and Angela Rayner alone.

Or will he stand by his colleagues and risk re-sparking the war of words around alleged anti-Semitism in his party?

There is no easy choice but we should have no sympathy – he has done this to himself.

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SICKENING bullying of innocents shows Riley won’t stop until she is made to

Take a look at this:

The “friend to Holocaust deniers” is, according to Ms Riley, the film director Ken Loach. But he is nothing of the sort and there is no evidence showing otherwise.

You’re probably familiar with the story. Mr Loach, along with Jewish poet Michael Rosen, was chosen to judge a children’s competition run by the anti-racism charity Show Racism The Red Card.

Ms Riley tweeted, and then deleted, this criticism, calling both “deniers/proponents of anti-Jewish racism”:

Note that no evidence was put forward in support of these wild claims.

SRTRC initially refused to change its decision, but the announcement trumpeted by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, suggested a u-turn.

All was not as it seemed, though.

In fact, as SRTRC has now stated, the decision for Mr Loach to withdraw was mutual – and based on the fact that he and his family had been subjected to appalling abuse – both online and in person – by people who had swallowed the Riley/BoD narrative, or had a similarly hate-filled agenda of their own.

See for yourself:

“A significant factor in Ken Loach’s decision is the abuse online and in person that he and his family have received. It is profoundly distressing, and he is very concerned to protect those closest to him.”

It seems the claim against Mr Loach was that he had mistakenly emailed in support of a person accused of anti-Semitism. He had immediately withdrawn that support after the facts were put before him.

That’s not enough for the hate-mongers, though. I have experience of this myself; having been contacted by a person who said she had been falsely accused, I discovered that the accusations were accurate and cut ties with her. It was enough for the haters and they still use the incident as an excuse to tar me with false accusations.

I cannot prove that Ms Riley’s tweet prompted others to abuse Mr Loach and his family (although it is certainly an example of such abuse itself). But how many other people broadcast the false claims? And on whose information were those claims based?

The latest tweet makes one thing perfectly clear:

Rachel Riley isn’t going to stop.

She will continue with her campaign of online abuse and bullying – against innocent people – until she is made to stop by the power of the law.

So it’s hand that there is a case currently in motion that could achieve just that end.

Ms Riley has accused me of libelling her, issuing court proceedings against me. I believe she has done this in the knowledge that libel cases are horrifyingly expensive; she thought I would not have the funds and would have to give in – essentially, she thought she could use her vast wealth to buy justice.

So far, I have been able to crowdfund the money needed to mount a defence – but the case is going to court and I will need much more in order to succeed.

If you think Ms Riley’s abuse of innocent people is as despicable as I do, please help me fight her. Here’s how:

Donate to my CrowdJustice campaign.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking your friends to pledge.

On Twitter, you could tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

On other social media platforms, please mention the campaign there, quoting the appeal address.

Mr Loach is innocent of wrong-doing, his family certainly are, and so am I. So, I suspect, are many more of Ms Riley’s victims.

Please help stop this vile victimisation and bullying.

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

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Charity Commission urged to take action over political activity by Board of Deputies

Marie Van Der Zyl: The president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews may find herself answering serious questions if she wants to keep her charitable status.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews has become the second self-declared “pro-Jewish” charity to be reported to the Charity Commission for breaking the rule never to support or oppose a particular political party.

Online commenter Simon Maginn quoted the Commission’s own documentation that states: “Whether or not charities choose to undertake political activity, they must never support or oppose a particular political party or endorse a particular political candidate.”

He continued: “The BoD have demanded the Labour Party, but no other, agree to a ’10 point pledge’. I asked the BoD why this was so; they explained that the Labour Party is “infested” with “anti-Jewish racism”, “more than any other party”.

“This is not what CST [Community Security Trust, an organisation established to ensure the safety and security of British Jews in the UK] statistics show, though. CST 17 shows antisemitism rising the further to the political right one goes… Thus, statistically, a Labour member or supporter is less likely to be antisemitic than a member or supporter of the Conservative Party.

“The House of Commons Home Affairs Committee report on Antisemitism in the UK (2016-17) says this:

“It should be emphasised that the majority of antisemitic abuse and crime has historically been, and continues to be, committed by individuals associated with (or motivated by) far-right wing parties and political activity. Although there is little reliable or representative data on contemporary sources of antisemitism, CST figures suggest that around three-quarters of all politically-motivated antisemitic incidents come from far-right sources.

“I asked BoD why, in light of this, they were singling out Labour as particularly problematic, when the available statistical information showed the opposite to be the case; they offered no statistical rebuttal.

“Thus, the BoD have made a very public statement that the Labour Party is problematic based on faulty data. They are ‘opposing’ the Labour Party in so doing. The issue is politically sensitive. The BoD’s ’10 point pledge’ has had enormous publicity, with all the Labour leadership candidates signing up to it. This, in my opinion, amounts to the BoD ‘opposing’ the Labour Party by singling them out for opprobrium and not demanding any other party sign the pledge.

“I think this politicisation of the BoD’s activities presents a negative image of charities, which the British people believe to be politically neutral. The suggestion that a charity might be using its charitable status to oppose one party and, by implication, support another is damaging to the reputation of the charitable sector generally.”

He tweeted his letter for all to see:

It’s a strong argument.

And it will be interesting to see what the Charity Commission does with it…

… Especially as it is already dealing with a complaint about the Campaign Against Antisemitism.

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

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Labour anti-Semitism row: members should use their votes to send a message nobody can ignore

Marie Van Der Zyl: The president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews needs to think before issuing bigoted press releases.

Congratulations are due to Labour deputy leader candidates Dawn Butler and Richard Burgon, who refused to kowtow to the Board of Deputies of British Jews by supporting their frankly anti-Semitic “10 pledges”.

In a hustings on Saturday, both confirmed that they did not support the demands, even though their fellow candidates for the deputy leadership – and all the leadership candidates have.

Ms Butler said she intended to wait until she had seen the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) report on antisemitism in the party – and that she would support whatever it said. Personally, This Writer thinks that statement is premature; she should wait to find out what the verdict is before deciding whether it is worth supporting.

Mr Burgon, who has a history of questioning the so-called “witch-hunt”, said he had concerns about some of the demands. He made it clear that he would not support any move to pass investigation of anti-Semitism accusations to any external organisation.

He also said that he did not accept the Board of Deputies’ demand that only Jewish organisations it supported should be consulted on issues relating to all British Jews; all Jewish groups should have a voice. And he said the BOD needed to explain how the IHRA “working” definition of antisemitism could be implemented in the Labour Party without compromising freedom of expression or the rights of Palestinians.

(See this article for a full report – including video.)

Like the knee-jerk bigots they are, the Board of Deputies responded almost immediately – and stupidly.

“It beggars belief that after four and a half years of failure on antisemitism, Richard Burgon and Dawn Butler still think that they know better than the Jewish community how to fight this vile prejudice,” the BoD said in its statement. Trouble is, the Board of Deputies doesn’t represent “the Jewish community” because there isn’t a single, unified Jewish community in the United Kingdom.

Not only that, but neither of them said they knew better – this is falsely attributing words to people who did not speak them.

Oh, and after four and a half years, there is less anti-Semitism in the Labour Party than in the UK at large – and much less than in right-wing parties like the Conservatives. But we never hear the Board of Deputies complaining about that, do we? Because they are predominantly Tories, perhaps? (And don’t try to call this whataboutery; this is a political issue and the politics of BoD members is relevant.)

“No other minority would be treated in this way and this sort of thing is the very reason why Labour is being investigated for institutional antisemitism by the EHRC.” True in part: no other minority is treated the same as Jews, because the Board of Deputies has demanded that they be singled out for special treatment. This may be viewed as anti-Semitic in itself – applying double-standards by treating them differently from any other ethnic group.

And it is hypocritical to use the EHRC investigation against these candidates when one of them – Dawn Butler – specifically said she is waiting for its outcome.

Here’s a link to the tweet. Be sure to read the comments because many of them are scathing.

But don’t just take my word for it.

Jewish Voice for Labour has been a voice of sanity in this affair since the start, and its comment on the “10 pledges” is a damning indictment against the Board of Deputies.

“This organisation, deeply unrepresentative of British Jewry, presumes in effect to dictate to a major political party how it should run its internal affairs,” JVL states.

“Make no mistake – these are not ten requests: they are ten demands and one threat. The threat to each of the candidates for leader of the Labour Party. is in effect. accept our demands or we will attack you as enablers of antisemitism just as we contributed to making Jeremy Corbyn virtually unelectable. This not only brings shame on the Board of Deputies. It also brings danger to Jews living in the UK who will be seen as claiming a privileged place in determining how the country will be governed.” Applying double-standards by demanding that they be treated differently from any other group – see?

“It is deeply regrettable that all the Leadership candidates have succumbed to this blackmail.”

The statement goes on to explain what’s wrong with the “10 pledges”:

“Demand 1 is that all outstanding disciplinary cases should be swiftly concluded with a fixed timescale. That sounds good, but some cases are more complex than others. Those accused of something as serious as antisemitic behaviour must be allowed appropriate time to mount a defence, may need extra time because of serious illness, etc. Justice is complicated. The Board is simplistic. And underlying its attitude is the clear view that the only verdict that will satisfy the Board is ‘guilty’.”

Labour has a historic problem here, in that This Writer’s experience is that the party automatically assumes any accusation made against a member to be proof of that member’s guilt in any case.

“Demand 4 is that prominent offenders who were expelled or who left while under investigation should never be readmitted to membership. Never is a long time. The current Labour rules allow for the possibility of readmission after any offence, depending on behaviour, after a 5-year period. There is no reason, other than malice, that for this sole category of disciplinary finding the possibility of behavioural and attitudinal change should be excluded.

“The aim of this demand is revealed by its inclusion of the word ‘prominent’. How can it be just or appropriate to specify different penalties for people depending on how well known they are or have become? How can it possibly be acceptable to single out people by name? The explanation is that the two people mentioned [Jackie Walker and Ken Livingstone] were prominent ‘scalps’ claimed by a political campaign to extend the meaning of antisemitism. This is political vengefulness.”

Indeed.

“Demand 3 is that “Jewish representative bodies” (read, BoD) be given access to details of ongoing disciplinary cases. The confidentiality owed to ongoing investigations into allegations that have not been established to have merit is to be tossed out of the window. It beggars belief: the BoD is demanding the right to information that would give them, and their allies on the right of the Party, the ability to put pressure on how individual cases are determined. Out goes the independence of the judicial process. And what about the breaking of hard-won data protection laws?”

I seem to recall mentioning this myself.

“Demand 2 is the very purest chutzpah. The demand is that processing of all complaints, in effect the whole disciplinary process, be outsourced to an independent provider. This would mean that the Party would lose control of who was entitled to be a member! No autonomous organisation could implement such a scheme, least of all a political party. It strikes at the very heart of the freedom to organise for political change in this country. Parties are voluntary associations of people who come together to achieve shared ends, within national legal constraints. Their freedom of discussion and action and of self-regulation is the very fabric of our democratic processes.

“Demand 5 is headed “Provide no platform for bigotry”. But honesty in advertising would require it to be retitled “No platform for those who disagree with us”. What it says is that when people are going through the out-of-control disciplinary process assured by Demand 2, and while the details of the investigation are being fed to the BoD and its allies as a result of Demand 3, any other members who argues publicly that this treatment is misguided or unjust will themselves be suspended – and indeed perhaps expelled. If enacted this would ensure that no members could challenge unjust or slanted decision-making. Because those that did so would very likely cease to be members.

“Demand 6 – to adopt the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) “international definition of antisemitism” with all its subordinate clauses, without qualification – begs many questions. Apart from the fact that the Labour Party has already done precisely this (misguidedly in our view), the IHRA document has proved ineffective in actual disciplinary situations. This is because its definition of antisemitism is so confused and its examples highly contentious, with no rules as to how to resolve the inevitable resulting disagreements as to what is and what is not antisemitic. The document was never drafted as a legally binding document, as countless critics (including Ken Stern, its drafter) have affirmed.

“Demands 7 and 8 both seek to define the “Jewish Community” by excluding many Jews – evidently the wrong sort. The right sort include those who run the Board, and the cadres of the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM). The JLM it should be pointed out refused to campaign for the great majority of Labour MPs at the recent general election. It does not require its members to be either Jewish or in the Labour Party.

“Demand 7 is that all Labour Party internal training in antisemitism should be carried out by JLM. For two years from 2016 the aggressively pro-Israel JLM did indeed deliver the Labour Party’s antisemitism training. Its course content was both didactic and dogmatic, based on the supposedly revealed truth of the controversial IHRA document. When in 2018 the Labour Party asked them to revise their approach JLM walked away in a huff. Now they want it back, but on their own terms. Demand 7 is that they be given it.

“Demand 8 extends the same monocular approach to the UK’s Jews as a whole. The Labour Party is required to agree to communicate only with ‘mainstream’ Jewish Groups. That is to demand the exclusion of two-thirds of the country’s Jews. Why would they be so afraid that Labour might communicate with the wrong sort of Jews? The  Jewish Chronicle had a ready answer when it reported Demand 8 as being ‘to engage with the Jewish community via its “main representative groups and not through fringe organisations” such as Jewish Voice for Labour (emphasis added)’. Are our demands for a pluralistic vision of the Jewish communities in Britain really so much of a threat that contact with them is contamination? For the Board is demanding, in essence, that expression of our views be banned in the Labour Party.

“Oy Vey.”

Let’s just go back to the Board of Deputies’ tweet for the last part of its statement: “In the Deputy Leadership election, members now have a clear choice about whether they want to become a credible party of opposition or waste yet more years fighting the Jewish community about who gets to define our oppression.”

It seems clear that it is the Board of Deputies that is “fighting the Jewish community” – by falsely claiming to be representing it and demanding the exclusion of all others.

But Labour Party members do have a clear choice now.

It is impossible to ensure that nobody votes for the candidates who have misguidedly supported the Board of Deputies’ childish demand.

But what a message it would be, if Dawn Butler and Richard Burgon received more support than any of the other candidates – by a significant margin.

If you are a Labour member, and you want sanity to be brought back to the party, then This Writer would like to appeal to you to abstain from voting for any of the candidates who have supported the Board of Deputies’ pledges.

Use your votes to make a statement that they cannot ignore.

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Undemocratic, unrepresentative: but the Board of Deputies is gaslighting Labour into thinking it stands up for British Jews

Marie Van Der Zyl: What is the president of the Board of Deputies trying to achieve? And why is she trying to gaslight us all into thinking she represents all British Jews? She doesn’t.

This Writer came in for some flack a couple of days ago after I characterised the Board of Deputies of British Jews as undemocratic and unrepresentative.

A person on Twitter claimed that the BoD, that has managed to get eight of the Labour leadership and deputy leadership candidates to sign up to its 10 pledges intended to seal its anti-Semitism witch-hunt into party policies (see my recent articles), is democratic because it has elections.

Well, I did a bit of research, going to Jewish sources.

According to Jewish Voice for Labour – which I certainly trust more than the Board of Deputies itself or that organisation’s Wikipedia page – this is the situation:

The Board’s claim to be democratic is, however, distinctly tenuous. There are no British Jewish elections, no direct way for all British Jews to directly elect the board’s 300 Deputies. To be involved in electing Deputies, one must be a member of one or more of approximately 138 synagogues, or be connected to one of 34 ‘communal organisations’ (such as the UJIA or Reform Judaism) that are affiliated with the Board, all of which elect one to five Deputies—anyone not involved with these institutions does not have a vote, despite the Board still claiming to speak on their behalf. Inevitably, some individuals may be represented multiple times, through being members of more than one organisation.

The biggest problem, however, is with the elections held by affiliate organisations to select their deputies—it is these that justify the Board’s claim to be a representative democracy. Transparency is a fundamental requirement of democracy—there needs to be openness as to who the electorate is and how many of them turn out in order for any election to be considered legitimate. Despite its own constitution obliging it to receive the data (Appendix A, Clause 3: “the election shall not be validated unless the form incorporates… the total number of members of the congregation… and the number who attended the election meeting”), the Board does not release a list of the membership size or the numbers voting in each affiliate organisation, and claims to have no idea what the numbers might be. The Board’s spokesman explained to me that, “While we do need to be more thorough in collecting statistics, these figures wouldn’t add anything—they don’t speak to the democratic legitimacy of the organisation or to anything else.” This seems extraordinarily complacent—can we imagine a British election in which the size of the electorate, the list of candidates standing, and the turnout remained secret? It would be regarded as an affront to democracy.

So there you have it.

There are indeed elections for the Board of Deputies…

But they are an “affront to democracy”.

And this is the organisation that dares to lecture Labour on its policies, practices and procedures?

Pathetic.

The members of Labour cannot allow anyone who supports this group’s bigoted demands to have a senior role in the party.

I tweeted Jennie Formby, the party’s general secretary, to ask if there was a system by which the membership could hold a “no confidence” vote in the current election process.

But she hasn’t even had the courtesy to respond.

Source: Who exactly does the Board of Deputies represent? | Jewish Voice for Labour

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Labour leadership: Here are 10 Pledges that the candidates – and ALL of us – can support

Labour’s remaining leadership candidates need to stop listening to outside organisations representing a minority viewpoint that does not have the party’s interests at heart – and start listening to people like Kay Green.

Everybody who is angry at the Labour leadership and deputy leadership candidates who have signed up to the Board of Deputies of British Jews’ 10 pledges, like turkeys voting for Christmas, should read a new article by blogger Kay Green.

It has been suggested that perhaps Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy, Jess Phillips, Keir Starmer and Emily Thornberry (leader candidates) along with Dr Rosena Allin-Khan and Ian Murray (deputy candidates) signed up to these pledges without reading them, simply to get the BoD off their collective backs.

If so, they would at least have some excuse for failing to realise the huge amount of harm they would be doing to the Labour Party if they follow through on the demands.

They would trigger an all-out witch-hunt, with members expected to be expelled upon being accused, no matter how dodgy the accusation or suspicious the accuser.

Many believe the majority of party members would not accept this ill-treatment by the leadership and would walk out, declaring an intention not to support the party until this nonsense is purged. That is my belief.

This would critically weaken the Labour Party, making it unable to win any general elections, possibly for decades to come. It would also end the careers of all those who signed up to the pledges as politicians who should expect to be taken seriously.

So we’ve established that the 10 pledges are an attempt at sabotage by an organisation – the BoD – that is dominated by Conservatives who intend nothing but harm to the Labour Party.

Now here’s Kay Green with an alternative.

She has taken the BoD’s headline pledges and crafted 10 of her own, using the same wording where available but attaching different – and much improved meanings.

So, for example, where the BoD suggests pledge 1: Resolve outstanding cases should mean “All outstanding and future cases should be brought to a swift conclusion under a fixed timescale,” Ms Green suggests:

Many members are hampered in their political activities by the lingering uncertainty of what they suspect are vexatious, politically motivated complaints. We are a well-funded organisation. If you haven’t got the staff, please employ some to get these cases looked at speedily and, where not justified, thrown out.

Isn’t that a million times better than the nonsense from Marie Van Der Zyl and her vicious Tory cronies?

Under pledge 2: Make the Party’s disciplinary process independent, the BoD stated “An independent provider should be used to process all complaints, to eradicate any risk of partisanship and factionalism” and this may be viewed as one of the more reasonable demands. But Ms Green’s version is better:

Stop taking instructions from organisations that have, one way or another, managed to present as the uncontested voice of people who don’t necessarily agree with them, and please endeavour to stop MPs being fooled by such organisations.

We can all get behind that! And yes, it is a criticism of the Board of Deputies itself, which claims to speak for all British Jews despite specifically excluding some individuals and organisations in a manner which is itself anti-Semitic.

If you don’t believe me on that, examine the Board’s pledge 8: Engagement with the Jewish community to be made via its main representative groups, which states: “Labour must engage with the Jewish community via its main representative groups, and not through finge organisations and individuals.” These groups would all be chosen by the Board and would exclude organisations like Jewish Voice for Labour or Jewdas.

Ms Green’s version of that pledge is exemplary. Re-worded as “Engage with the membership, and with the people of this country, as efficiently and as directly as you can”, it states:

When you engage with “the community” please take some time to work out exactly who you are engaging with, and what actual proportion of the actual people in this country you are dealing with. If it turns out to be a strangely small number of voices speaking for a larger group, do some research and try again.

This is another criticism of the Board of Deputies, of course.

Other pledges by Ms Green demand that Labour give a better account of itself and its processes to members. I particularly applaud pledge 4: Prevent re-admittance of prominent offenders, which states:

Resist giving shadow cabinet posts or other power positions to MPs or execs who have repeatedly briefed against the party and/or the manifesto in ways that clearly go against the members’ wishes, or who have seriously misrepresented or slandered the membership.

The fear at the moment is that such people will in fact end up in positions of considerable power.

But probably the best of the lot is Ms Green’s version of pledge 5: Provide no platform for bigotry. Her version exposes the Board of Deputies for what it is – bigotry writ large.

The BoD version of this pledge demands that “Any MPs, Peers, councillors, members or CLPs who support, campaign or provide a platform for people who have been suspended or expelled in the wake of antisemitic incidents should themselves be suspended from membership” – in other words, anybody with opinions the Board does not personally support should be removed from the party. Yes, there is reference to “anti-Semitic incidents”, but who decides that they are genuine examples of anti-Semitism? The Board of Deputies, which has a political agenda? That is bigotry.

Indeed, among its pledges, the Board actually names individuals it demands should never be allowed back into the Labour Party.

Ms Green has recognised this, and her version really puts a seal on what the BoD has been trying to do:

Bigotry means disrespect for, or abuse aimed at, others whose ideas disagree with yours.

Do not let anyone with a powerful voice in the party demand the silencing or no-platforming of members, former members, or citizens generally, unless those individuals are clearly breaking the law by, for example, inciting violence.

On the other hand, on no account name or label individuals you happen to disagree with in a way that encourages the public to see them as ‘fair game’ for abuse or disrespect, especially don’t do this just because you don’t want views that challenge your own heard.

There are more, and they are also good. I recommend you visit Ms Green’s site (address below) and see for yourself.

I would extend this recommendation particularly strongly to the individuals named at the top of this article.

Source: 10 Pledges to end the leadership crisis for Labour – Kay Green

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