Tag Archives: Deputy

May is going, Cable is going, and is there going to be another Labour leadership coup?

Tom Watson: On his way out?

We seem to be in another period of apparent change, with leaders being replaced by popular political parties in an attempt to change their image.

The Conservatives finally plucked up the courage to backstab Theresa May on Friday; she’ll be gone by June 7.

Meanwhile, Vince Cable has announced that his own long-trailed departure as leader of the Liberal Democrats will happen on July 23. It seems he has been waiting for a moment when it seemed his party’s fortunes were improving and thinks that it has now arrived.

These are cosmetic changes. Nobody seriously believes that the new leaders of these parties will take them in a different direction. The Conservatives may get a more strongly-Brexiteer leader but their main policies of oppression against the poor will remain the same. The Liberal Democrats will remain an irrelevance.

And then I saw this on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/MarxyMarxy/status/1131894227061940224

That would be very silly – and therefore exactly the sort of tactic the Labour Right is likely to employ. And it won’t get them anywhere because, despite all their whining about Jeremy Corbyn, we all know that their claims about him are not true. Consider Rachael’s tweet, below:

Exactly.

Of far more interest is the possibility that Tom Watson will be replaced as deputy leader after years of trying (and failing) to undermine Mr Corbyn.

Look at the latest news item to feature him – a claim that people who supported remaining in the European Union are abandoning the party. That supports the claim that “Remain” anger could be harnessed as a way of levering Mr Corbyn out, to be replaced by another faceless so-called “Centrist” with policies the same as the Tories and Change UK, no doubt.

It would be far better for Mr Watson to be removed and Labour to retain its current reforming socialist position.

His card has been marked for a considerable amount of time.

Watson’s hypocrisy: He complained about campaign for his resignation but plotted to remove Corbyn – claim

A more topical shot of Mr Watson would be one of him with his back to the camera, because he does his best to ignore legitimate criticism of his activities.

If only we could ask Mr Watson for his side of the story – but he blocks anyone who contacts him on the social media with tricky questions like that.

The following tweets will seem highly repetitive but the point needs to be made: Talk radio station LBC has alleged that Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, attended a secret barbecue hosted by Peter “I try to undermine Jeremy Corbyn every single day” Mandelson, at which they and other hard-right Labour MPs discussed ways to “save” the party from its current leader.

This is the same Tom Watson who complained bitterly about a campaign calling for his own resignation after one of his recent high-profile attempts to stab his party leader in the back.

The apparent hypocrisy should be obvious to everybody.

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Did a shocking conflict of interest push Margaret Hodge’s attack on Corbyn up the BBC news agenda?

.

Look at the state of this: When Margaret Hodge launched her vile attack on Jeremy Corbyn, claiming against all the evidence that he was a “f***ing anti-Semite”, she knew she could be sure of good news coverage – because it seems her daughter is Lizzi Watson, deputy editor of BBC News at 6 and 10.

It follows that other news stories such as the Daily Mail smear alleging Mr Corbyn went to a cemetery and laid a wreath for terrorists (in fact, none of the terror suspects named by that hack-rag were buried in that site) would also receive strong coverage, on the insistence of a person with such a strong connection with the issue.

It also follows that stories that do not fit the anti-Corbyn agenda would be suppressed. So those of us who are fighting false allegations of anti-Semitism (please see my JustGiving page for details of my own case).

This tweet puts it very well:

In the name of balance, it should be noted that the BBC does have a policy under which employees must report any conflict of interest arising from family connections. We have no evidence to suggest that this was followed, as the BBC is refusing to admit any connection between Ms Watson and Margaret Hodge.

Oh, and you see that other story, about Saudi Arabia bombing a school bus in Yemen? Consider this:

The school bus was in Saada, where the bomb makers included Lockheed Martin. A major shareholder in Lockheed Martin is Capital Group, and a senior executive of that company is none other than Philip May, husband of the UK’s Conservative Prime Minister, Theresa May.

Wouldn’t it have been better for the TV news to ignore the lie about the Labour leader and discuss the UK Prime Minister’s actual connection to the bombing of a school bus?

Not if you’re Lizzi Watson, it seems.

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Jeremy Hunt’s planned promotion shows Tories value TREACHERY above all else

Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt are the Tory fools who have created the crisis in the English NHS.

What a message to give the people of the UK: That under Conservative rule, cheats do prosper and treachery is a valued trait for government ministers.

That is the message being given by Theresa May, who reportedly wants to promote Jeremy Hunt in a Cabinet reshuffle planned for Monday (January 8).

The only thing making her hesitate is the fact that the NHS winter crisis that he has engineered – at her request – might cast a shadow over her plan to make him First Minister, replacing the disgraced Damian Green as her de facto deputy prime minister.

Despite all her best attempts at rigging media coverage of the catastrophe, public opinion is that Mr Hunt has made a pig’s ear of managing the health service in England.

With that in mind, why would the British people accept him in the second most responsible job in government?

Here’s how the Torygraph has reported Mrs May’s dilemma:

Hunt when she reshuffles her Cabinet next week because of the worsening winter crisis in the NHS, The Daily Telegraph understands.

Mrs May wants the Health Secretary to take over the role of de facto deputy prime minister vacated by Damian Green last month but has been warned that the timing could not be worse.

She will spend the weekend deciding whether to keep Mr Hunt in his post until the spring, rather than moving him as part of a reshuffle aimed at refreshing the public face of the Government.

It’s ludicrous, isn’t it?

She has to try “refreshing the public face of the government” because so many of her Cabinet members have been sacked after a series of scandals late last year.

None of them are considered trustworthy by the British public, and she is thought to be the worst of all.

As for Mr Hunt – well, consider the reactions to his reported promotion on the social media:

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/949636277846110208

Mrs May can dress Jeremy Hunt up as prettily as she likes, but she’ll never cover up his stink.


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These Corbyn detractors need to get their stories straight

Flint: Resigned her place in the shadow cabinet and is now complaining that women have not been given top jobs.

Flint: Resigned her place in the shadow cabinet and is now complaining that women have not been given top jobs.

Some of Labour’s right-wing women seem to be agitating against Jeremy Corbyn – unwisely, perhaps, considering their previously-stated positions.

The Graun quoted Caroline Flint and Lisa Nandy, both complaining that women have not been appointed to top jobs in the shadow cabinet, in line with comments by Harriet Harman at Labour’s women’s conference.

Ms Flint said: “We haven’t got women in the top jobs in our party. That includes the major offices of state. I think that is a missed opportunity.”

Maybe it is, Caroline – but you missed it! Ms Flint, lest anyone forget, announced her refusal to accept any position in the shadow cabinet two days after Mr Corbyn was elected leader. She said she could “best support the Labour party and the leadership from outside the shadow cabinet.”

Now she’s complaining about the lack of women in top positions? Let’s have some consistency, please, Caroline!

Worse still, Lisa Nandy told Sky’s Dermot Murnaghan she was “uncomfortable” that Labour’s leader and deputy leader were both men. This is bizarre. She saw that women and men were on the ballot papers for both positions. The Labour Party chose the people who most members considered were best for the roles. That’s democracy.

Is Lisa Nandy opposed to democracy now?

Furthermore, Ms Nandy is the new shadow energy secretary, meaning she has accepted a job in the shadow cabinet – but is still content to snipe at the leaders, and the system that put them on top – a system in which she participated.

Ms Nandy said she supports a long-standing proposal that either the leader or deputy leader should be a woman. In the name of gender equality, this is all well and good. But Labour relies on the principle that a job should be done by the best person for it, regardless of background, privileges, sex, religion or any other possible reason for division.

Demanding that possible candidates be disqualified because of their sex is an act of negative discrimination (is there any other kind?) and should not be allowed.

The simple fact is that the Labour Party did not support the female candidates for leader or deputy leader – not because they were female, but because of their policy proposals.

Regarding the shadow cabinet appointments, This Writer does not have inside information about the deliberations that took place. However, considering the complaints about those appointments are coming from two people who have deliberately left Labour’s front bench, it is clear that they should not be taken seriously.

Let’s not have any more of this.

Additional: It seems John Prescott agrees with me. Not sure whether that’s a good or bad thing… He said: “I think that’s their right, of course, [not to serve in the shadow cabinet] but then don’t complain if the cabinet’s not of your own making. I mean, we’ve just seen that with Harriet, about five or six of their leading women refused to stand, and then complained about the make up of the cabinet. Look, that’s just not on. It’s each individual’s right to do that but don’t criticise a cabinet when it’s made up from 45% of the women members in the PLP and more women than men in his cabinet. So why the hell are you moaning?”

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When is Labour going to get its act together?

Harriet Harman: Temporary leader; totally inert?

Harriet Harman: Temporary leader; totally inert?

Here’s a short message for members of the Parliamentary Labour Party:

W A K E  U P!

The general election happened nearly three weeks ago. All the other political organisations are getting busy and you lot are all faffing around, staring up each other’s rear ends and mumbling about who you think will be the next leader and deputy leader.

And you know what really hurts? It’s when we see headlines like this:

Nicola Sturgeon attacks UK government’s spending cuts

and this:

Nicola Sturgeon: SNP will work across party lines to keep Human Rights Act

She’s stealing Labour’s thunder and you’re all so dim-witted that you’re letting it happen.

What’s the matter with you?

Don’t try telling me you can’t move forward until you’ve got the new leader because that’s not true. The Labour Party has particular values that it should always keep, no matter who’s in the driving seat (or asleep at the wheel, as is the case at the moment).

Look at this blog’s own article about Labour’s values. The message was that Labour should be the enabling party – offering the best possible choices for the largest possible proportion of the UK’s population. Anything less than that is a betrayal of the party’s ethos.

That’s why Liz Kendall should never be Labour leader, by the way – and why Chuka Umunna couldn’t. She wants private companies in the National Health Service, meaning she supports the postcode lottery that this creates. “Oh, so sorry, sir (or madam)! You want a service that is not provided in your part of the country! Have you considered moving somewhere hugely more expensive?”

That’s just ridiculous, isn’t it?

Look at the headlines quoted above: Sturgeon attacks spending cuts; Sturgeon will work across party lines to keep Human Rights Act.

The Tory spending cuts and the repeal of the Human Rights Act are completely unproblematic as far as the grassroots Labour Party is concerned: We’re against them both.

We want our Parliamentary party to broadcast that opposition loudly and continuously while these matters are up for debate and the vote.

Labour should have attacked Tory spending cuts first; Labour should have been appealing across party lines to maintain the Human Rights Act – that, incidentally, Labour passed into law.

So where are you?

Don’t tell me you’re scared Peter Mandelson or Alan Milburn will come out and berate you, because that’s pathetic. They’re yesterday’s men – more plastic Tories who caused many of the problems with Labour’s appeal today.

Look at all the plans in the Tory manifesto and the Queen’s Speech tomorrow. Labour should oppose most, if not all of them.

So where is the opposition?

Oh, I forgot.

It’s being voiced by Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP.

That’s not good enough.

Labour must get its act together and it needs to happen now. Yesterday would be better.

And for those of you in the PLP who feel this blog is being unfair on Tory policies…

You do not represent Labour values; you are there under false pretences and you should sling your bleedin’ hook.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

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Storm in a scrapyard over Hughes – while Osborne should be arrested

I can’t see any reason to make a fuss over Simon Hughes.

The Liberal Democrat deputy may have failed to declare – fully – a £10,000 donation from a scrap metal firm. Big deal. He did not see any of the money himself. Apparently there’s another donation of £15,000 from a cruise company. Hughes was the speaker at a Christmas cruise on the Thames, operated by this company, and has spoken about both firms in Parliament. It looks like straightforward ‘cash-for-questions’, if there’s truth to it.

Isn’t it more interesting that this should come to light on the same day that I read about George Osborne and his paddock?

This is not an allegation but fact: Osborne – who is, let’s remember, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and therefore should know the rules extremely well – included the mortgage for a paddock in his taxpayer-funded expenses.

He bought a farmhouse in Cheshire, along with the neighbouring land, for £455,000 in 2000, before he became an MP – but then, between 2003 and 2009, he claimed up to £100,000 in expenses to cover mortgage interest payments on both the land and the building. The mortgages were interest-only. After 2003, he never paid a penny himself.

When he re-mortgaged in 2005, he increased the amount to £480,000 – again on an interest-only basis – to cover the intial purchase costs and £10,000 for repairs. He was using public money to claw back his outlay on the property, so from then on, none of the money paid on that building or land was paid by Mr Osborne. It all came from the taxpayer.

During the MPs’ expenses scandal of 2009 we learned that he had “flipped” his second home allowance onto the property and increased the mortgage. What we didn’t know was that the expenses payments were not just for the house, but for the paddock as well; it is registered separately with the Land Registry.

Osborne sold the house and the land – both of which are now firmly established as having been funded with your money, not his – last year, for £1 million. That’s more than double the original price. He has pocketed that money; the taxpayer won’t get any of it back.

So he has exploited us to make £1 million for himself.

Make no mistake – this was not a necessary expense to help him discharge his Parliamentary duties; it was a property scam.

Because the money was claimed as a Parliamentary expense, I think there are grounds for a fraud inquiry. It seems like an open-and-shut case of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception (Theft Act 1968, section 16).

Let’s also remember that this is a man with what I believe is known as “form”. Earlier this year he was caught in the First Class compartment of a train, having paid only a Standard Class fare. Again, he had obtained an advantage via deception.

Did he pay any penalty for the railway incident? I’ve heard nothing. Will he pay a penalty for this £1 million wheeze? I doubt it.

But you should remember it, next time you see him telling you that his latest plan to squeeze the last vital pennies from your bank accounts are “fair”.

And you should pay particular attention to this comment from him, made when he became Chancellor (and therefore while he was still claiming the mortgage on expenses, before making the sale): “I took a pay cut, and froze my pay on taking this job, took a pay cut from the previous chancellor, the Labour chancellor, in order to show that politicians weren’t going to get away with it.”

He seems to think he can.

I find it extremely dubious that the allegations about Hughes should take pride of place on certain news media websites, while the facts about Osborne appear to be all but brushed under the carpet.

My opinion: Osborne should be arrested and remanded in custody (without bail – the risk that he might abscond would be too great) until a trial can take place.

“Tax the rich” says Clegg – in search of the ‘poor’ vote?

Nick Clegg seems to have had a change of heart.

In a Guardian interview (quoted by the BBC) he has called for a “time limited contribution” from the richest in society beyond his party’s current policy for a mansion tax – taxes on properties above a certain value.

This is a departure for the Deputy Prime Minister who voted solidly for the millionaires’ income tax cut (from 50 per cent to 45 per cent) in George Osborne’s most recent attempt at a Budget.

Some might say that the turnaround is genuine, that Mr Clegg has rethought his position and, in light of the Coalition’s failing economic plan – which has put government borrowing up by a quarter so far this year – admitted that the Tory plan, to cut public services to the bone and tax the poor for the remainder, simply won’t make the grade.

But then we see that, in the same interview, Mr Clegg said he wants to see the return of David Laws to a cabinet position. Laws quit after having to admit he had claimed £40,000 in Parliamentary allowances to pay his partner’s rent. He spent 18 months on the backbenches. If you or I were to overclaim £40,000 in housing benefit, we would be jailed for six months.

So you can see that Mr Clegg is still a big fan of privilege and the principle that, when you’re in power, you change conditions to help your friends.

That’s why I say: Don’t be fooled by this man. He’s seen the state of the opinion polls; he knows his party could be cut down to a maximum of 10 MPs in 2015, and he wants to stop that from happening. That’s why he’s appealing for the sympathy of those of us on low or middle incomes. He wants us to believe that he identifies with us against the rich. In fact, he’s banking on it, even though he himself is a rich man from a privileged background.

What a morally bankrupt attitude (as I’m sure David Cameron might describe it, since he’s fond of that phrase).