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Sheffield #Labour councillors who broke #UCUstrike #picket line trigger #YoungLabour declaration

Packed: the Young Labour rally that Keir Starmer’s Labour conference app falsely stated was cancelled. Now Young Labour is refusing to campaign for party members who break picket lines.

This may have deep repercussions across the Labour Party – and indeed the Labour Movement, although the two are now very clearly separate entities.

After Labour members of Sheffield City Council broke the picket line at that city’s university, where UCU workers were striking over pay, pensions and other working conditions, Young Labour – the party’s youth branch – has announced it will not campaign for such people in any way:

Make no mistake – this announcement is a calculated slap in the face for Labour’s leader, Keir Starmer, who with his barely-legitimate general secretary David Evans unilaterally cancelled Young Labour’s conference, that must run alongside the main party conference, according to its rules.

That decision was apparently because the Young Labour conference would have featured an event showing solidarity with Palestine – at least, that’s how YL chair Jess Barnard saw it.

Note the line that a lack of solidarity “has no place in our movement”. Keir Starmer is fond of flinging that phrase around and this seems a deliberate choice to fling it back at him.

What will Starmer do?

Will he condemn his councillors and cause a rift with them? Will he condemn Young Labour and cause a rift with them?

Or will he just hide wherever he goes for weeks on end when difficult questions present themselves?

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#Labour councillors crossed a #picket line they should have been joining. Here’s the shameful reason [VIDEO]

The Labour Party is supposed to represent workers and working-class people, especially if they are struggling for decent pay, in-work benefits and pensions, as part of its reason for existing – wouldn’t you agree?

Members of the University and College Union have been striking in a dispute that is partly over the management and financing of the University Superannuation Scheme (USS), which provides pensions to the UK’s older universities as well as research institutes and academic thinktanks, and partly over low pay and issues including insecure fixed-term contracts used to employ an increasing number of teaching staff.

So why did Labour councillors in Sheffield not only cross a picket line but, in one case, apparently assault a picketer?

It seems a meeting of Labour-led Sheffield City Council had been scheduled to take place in a university building – during the strike, which seems extremely insensitive of a Labour-run organisation.

These councillors were attending a pre-meeting, and it seems they crossed the picket line to do so, attracting cries of “Scab!” from some of the picketers. That’s how the incident came to take place.

Sheffield UCU subsequently released a statement:

For those who can’t read images, it says:

Today, the majority of Labour councillors entered a University of Sheffield building for a pre-meeting, and in doing so, walked past striking members of Sheffield UCU. Along with UCU members from 57 other HE institutions across the UK, today is our first day of strike action in our dispute over rampant precarity, unhealthy workloads, equal pay, and substantial cuts to our pay and pensions. These are issues that we trust would be of particular importance to the Labour party.

“We do not condone the use of university buildings during strike action, and when we learned of this meeting, had worked with the Sheffield Students Union to find an alternative location in the Students Union next door, which is treated as neutral ground during industrial action.

“We are extremely disappointed that any member of the Labour party would choose to cross past striking union members, despite being given an opportunity to support our action by simply relocating their pre-meeting to a nearby building. We understand that at this pre-meeting, the Labour members took a vote and were determined to not attend the later, full council meeting. This decision does not negate their previous choice to do so, but we are pleased they made the correct choice in the end.

“We appreciate the solidarity of those Labour, Green, and Lib Dem council members who chose to not enter the building.”

Yes indeed. Apparently the alternative, Student Union, building was turned down by councillors because they thought it was too small for social distancing.

That doesn’t excuse the Labour Party from having scheduled a meeting to take place at the university during strike action, though.

What were they thinking?

And isn’t this typical of Labour Party policy at the moment – that the challenges faced by workers and working-class people are increasingly overlooked by career politicians who are more concerned with keeping their positions as members of the Establishment?

If that’s the political position occupied by Keir Starmer’s Labour, then it is worse than useless to the people for whom that party was originally formed.

Labour Exploitation Party. They climb to the heights by walking all over us.

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Symbolic: NHS gets the George Cross while its workers get crucified

We’re all on the same page over this one, it seems.

The George Cross is the highest award that can be bestowed by the United Kingdom “for acts of the greatest heroism or for most conspicuous courage in circumstance of extreme danger” by civilians (or military personnel not in the presence of an enemy.

Today, it has been awarded to the National Health Service – not to any individuals within it, but to the organisation itself, in each of the four UK countries.

No NHS worker will receive the medal. None of them will be remotely better-off as a result of this tokenistic act.

Of course the leaders of the NHS in the different countries have made a show of it. Don’t bother watching the video if you don’t want to. I was squirming within 20 seconds…

Here’s a better response: accurate and to the point (it’s also full of strong language so don’t watch if that kind of thing offends you):

Let’s break it down a bit. What good does this symbolic award achieve?

Good points by Paul Bernal – but academic, as no NHS employee has actually received one.

Alastair Campbell gets closer to the aim the Tory government was hoping to achieve, I think:

Exactly. The statement appears to be: “We clapped you, and we gave a medal to your services, that your bosses can display proudly in their headquarters. What more do you want? Money? Sorry. All your getting is a bit of tin and the clap.”

Here’s what NHS staff really need:

The contrast between what’s needed and what’s provided is stark – and insulting.

And we all know it:

Worse still is the injury. NHS workers can’t have their pay rise because, guess where the Tories have put the money instead? Here:

How sad that not one of the NHS bosses has had the courage to tell HM The Queen to take her piece of tin and shove it so far into Boris Johnson that he’ll need surgery to remove it.

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Arrogant Dorries rejects cross-party talks to help mental health of NHS & care staff – EIGHT TIMES

Nadine Dorries: Wrong again.

The health minister who is so stupid she said the November lockdown in England could only have been predicted with a crystal ball has struck again.

There’s a reason we call Nadine Dorries “Mad Nad”.

Over the weekend, the woman widely considered to be the stupidist Tory MP – against stiff competition! – admitted that she did not understand the information being received and used by her own department of government; SAGE had demanded a lockdown in September.

Now she has demonstrated that she does not understand that her government’s failure to get to grips with the Covid crisis in any meaningful way over a period of nearly a year is having a devastating effect on the mental health of people working in the NHS and in the care sector.

Labour MP Doctor Rosena Allin-Khan does – and appealed to Dorries no fewer than eight times to join with her in devising a mental health package that has cross-party support. Dorries rejected it in a manner that belittled not only herself but her entire miserable government:

Condemnation has rained down on Dorries from all sides:

It won’t have any effect, though.

I say that not because the Johnson government has a huge Parliamentary majority – granted to it by a population that was desperate to resolve the Brexit crisis that the Tories had created and gulled by rabidly right-wing mass media into thinking the Tories were the only party that could provide a solution (which is lunacy, if you think about it for just one moment).

The reason condemnation won’t work on Tories like Dorries can be summed up in a simple, well-known saying:

No sense, no feeling.

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This is why you shouldn’t blame Corbyn for refusing to talk with Theresa May

Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May: He was canny enough to know her offer of cross-party talks was a sham.

After years of ignoring everything apart from her own weird prejudices (think “hostile environment”), it took the biggest loss of a vote in Parliamentary history to bring Theresa May to the negotiating table with other party leaders – we’re told.

She made a great show of opening up to cross-party talks, but all the evidence shows that this is just another delaying tactic.

Even The Sun‘s Tom Newton Dunn thinks so:

If this comment from Richard Burgon is accurate, then it’s clear that Mrs May hasn’t taken the idea of cross-party talks seriously at all:

What is the point of claiming to be prepared to listen to other party leaders if Mrs May has made it clear from the outset that she won’t change anything? None that I can see. How about you?

And that’s why, as Labour Insider states, Mr Corbyn has rejected the offer of talks as a “stunt.” According to that account, he also said “unless the Conservative government removes a no deal Brexit as a possibility then they are not honestly open to working together”.

Mr Corbyn’s demand was echoed by the leaders of the Liberal Democrats, SNP and the Green Party.

And what do we get from the media?

This Sky News interview is typical of the attitude we have seen – and the interviewer’s attitude is atrocious:

And it leads to the kind of nonsense spouted by Hugo Rifkind here:

That will never happen.

It seems clear that Mrs May’s idea of cross-party talks involves her talking to the other parties and them listening. She won’t change a single part of her offer so it seems clear that this is about browbeating other politicians.

And it won’t work for a very simple reason:

The second party of Dave Ward’s tweet raises an interesting question. We know Labour MPs have been talking with the Conservatives – but has it been with an entirely supportive attitude? It seems not:

It seems we have Michael Gove to thank for keeping some Labour MPs on the straight-and-narrow, then!

What about the political leaders who did agree to meet Mrs May?

Here’s Caroline Lucas’s report:

And here’s Nicola Sturgeon:

All of this supports what Steve Howell suggests here:

This rings true. Another Tweeter pointed out that “The last time Jeremy Corbyn had meeting with Theresa May, they agreed timetable for vote on her Brexit deal of Dec 11th. She renegaded on agreement wasting a month. Why should he now believe what she says, not ask for No Deal off the table without which talks have no purpose?”

So we have a situation in which Theresa May has put on a show of being reasonable, when in fact she isn’t being reasonable at all.

And the only reason she was even able to put up this pretence is she was shored up by the DUP. And even this was unreasonable as her deal runs roughshod over Arlene Foster’s red lines. Ian Lavery suggests more realistic rationales for the Northern Irish party’s support:

Gracie Samuels was more blunt:

And Cllr John Edwards wraps the whole situation up in a nice bundle:

How can we have confidence in her? She has delayed democracy in order to present our MPs with an impossible choice; she has bribed another political party to ensure she cannot be ousted; and she has lied to us all about her cross-party talks.

The fault lies with us – the people of the United Kingdom – for allowing a political organisation as venal and corrupt as the Conservative Party to govern us, and for voting in favour of an undefined departure from the European Union in that party’s illegally-influenced referendum.

Have we learned our lesson yet? Or shall we take the lead of the Tories’ media friends and blame Mr Corbyn?

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Brexit and the economy are inseparable and MPs are right to refuse ‘no deal’ while the cabinet splits

Imagine this container ship almost empty.
That would be what happens if Mrs May’s government remains divided over Brexit – with a knock-on, disastrous effect on the economy [Image: Reuters].

Cast your eyes over the following Twitter thread by Paul Mason:

With the above in mind, the following makes sense:

A powerful cross-party group of MPs is drawing up plans that would make it impossible for Theresa May to allow Britain to crash out of the EU without a deal in 2019. The move comes amid new warnings that a “cliff-edge” Brexit would be catastrophic for the economy.

One critical aim of the group – which includes the former Tory chancellor Kenneth Clarke and several Conservative ex-ministers, together with prominent Labour, SNP, Liberal Democrat and Green MPs – is to give parliament the ability to veto, or prevent by other legal means, a “bad deal” or “no deal” outcome.

Concern over Brexit policy reached new heights this weekend after the prime minister told the House of Commons that her government was spending £250m on preparations for a possible “no deal” result because negotiations with Brussels had stalled.

(Source: MPs move to block Theresa May from signing ‘no deal’ Brexit)

The issue is that Theresa May’s cabinet has split and there is no clarity on the way forward. This leaves the UK looking weak to foreign leaders – and a bad investment to foreign businesses. They won’t want to locate here and they certainly won’t want to spend their money on our goods. And home-grown companies – with the wherewithal to do so – will leave

That would be disastrous for the UK’s economy – the money would simply dry up.

So MPs who have more than their own interests, or even those of the Conservative Party, at heart have drawn up amendments to the current EU Withdrawal Bill, in a bid to force a united position on weakling prime minister Theresa May’s cabinet of chaos.

The immediate result is that committee stage discussion of the Bill will be held back while representatives of each party try to work out a compromise version of it that a majority can support.

This may not be possible.

If not, then the minority Conservative government is facing a serious – if not fatal – crisis.

Brexit is the issue Theresa May demanded a mandate to handle, and she didn’t get it.

With Parliament deadlocked, it is looking increasingly likely that she will be unable to deliver any agreement.

In such a situation, it is not beyond possibility that we will find ourselves facing another election.

And all the while, the clock is ticking down to the deadline for our departure from the EU. These are dangerous times – and our future is in the hands of fools.


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Will more rats leave the sinking Tory ship?

John Baron [Image: BBC].

John Baron [Image: BBC].

According to the Daily Express, Six Tory MPs [will] defect to Ukip if it wins [the] Rochester and Strood by-election.

If it’s true, doesn’t it say everything you need to know about the kind of person who joins the Conservative Party these days? They’re not interested in helping anybody else. They’re not even interested in helping the party that got them into Parliament. They only want to help themselves.

The Express reckons John Baron, MP for Basildon and Billericay, might be next to cross the floor. If this is true, it will be just about the only thing he’ll have done that is worthy of public attention since he became an MP in 2001.

According to Wikipedia, he supported David Davis in the 2001 and 2005 Tory leadership elections (no fan of Cameron, then), and he has been consistent in opposing wars in Iraq and Libya. Then there’s this: “In June 2012, Baron delivered a letter, signed by over 100 Tory MPs, to the Prime Minister David Cameron urging him ‘to place on the Statute Book before the next General Election a commitment to hold a referendum during the next Parliament on the nature of our relationship with the European Union’.”

That’ll be the UKIP connection, then.

It seems a bit tenuous, though. Also, this is the paper that reckons 40 per cent of Labour voters are going over to UKIP, which is a bit surprising. Why would anyone support a party whose members like to call Labour supporters “You lefties”?

Look at what Mark Reckless, whose defection to UKIP triggered the by-election, had to say: “There are many Labour voters who would never have considered voting for me because I was a Tory. Now I am UKIP they are willing to vote for me to rep­resent them. The Tory label was holding me back. I feel now I have been set free.”

What a lot of bilge.

The verdict? Well, we’ll only find out if UKIP wins, won’t we?

Postscript: Meanwhile, UKIP has received the dubious support of the neo-fascist group Britain First.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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