Tag Archives: Driscoll

Jamie Driscoll: Independent candidate to be North East Mayor speaks on Radio 4

Jamie Driscoll is turning out to be a bit of a breakthrough spokesperson for alternatives to the ‘Establishment’ policies of the Tory/fascists and Keir Starmer’s party, that used to be Labour.

Last week he was invited to speak on BBC Radio 4’s Any Questions – and made a lot of sense.

Here’s part of what he had to say:

The rest will be here.

Does it inspire you to look up other independents in your own constituency, to whom you might be encouraged to give your vote – rather than to the so-called Big Two or the Liberal Democrats, whose only policy seems to be to go into coalition with one of the others if they get a few seats in Parliament?


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The news in tweets: Tuesday, July 18, 2023

Is Jamie Driscoll’s crowdfund the dawn of a new model of politics?

Some seem to think so:

In fact it is more the continuation of a democratisation of politics that we’ve been seeing on the social media for several years.

Long-term followers of This Site will remember when I started the CrowdJustice fund to fight Rachel Riley’s lawsuit against me. I started by hoping for £5,000 by the end of the first month – and had it within a single day.

That was in 2019, and my public profile even then was much smaller than Jamie Driscoll’s is now.

The corporate bosses of the social media platforms have since tried to squash independent, left-wing news and politics sites out of public view but Mr Driscoll, being already highly-visible, has been able to avoid such censorship (so far).

It will be up to his supporters to keep it that way – and we can all expect a strong backlash from the Establishment that wants someone like Kim McGuinness (Labour’s just-announced candidate to be North East Mayor) to win:

Gosh. She loves the region and its people and wants to make the North East the home of real opportunity. For whom?

And hasn’t Mr Driscoll already done all of that? And isn’t he better-placed to continue all of that?

The only reason STP (Substitute Tory Party) leader Keir Starmer wanted to replace him is to change policies away from those that work for working-class people and towards something else.

In such circumstances, only a fool would support anyone but Jamie Driscoll.

Is Labour’s candidate selection process racist?

Read Mish Rahman’s statement and you will learn that, it seems, racism is alive and well in the STP (Keir Stürmer’s Substitute Tory Party), despite all the leader’s (false?) claims to have cleaned up the party’s act.

Mr Rahman says: “None of my fellow Bernie Grant Leadership Programme alumni have been selected. We were told the party would support us towards leadership positions as black and ethnic minority activists – yet after this longlisting process, nothing has changed.

“I was blocked for how I voted on the NEC in relation to the composition of party disciplinary structures, following the EHRC report… Being blocked for casting a vote in a democratic process should be a serious concern for all of us in the Labour Party.”

So: not only racism but also totalitarianism. Stürmer’s party hates democracy.

What else are we supposed to conclude from this?

Doubletalk and bafflegab over Labour’s child poverty betrayal

The pundits are out in force, trying to smooth over – or emphasise – the mistake Keir Stürmer’s STP (Substitute Tory Party) has made in refusing to promise to lift the two-child limit on Child Benefit claims.

Some (mostly representatives of the party leadership) are trying to support the decision on the grounds that changing the limit is unaffordable:

Others are attacking it – while still saying Stürmer’s party should get our vote in upcoming elections:

The debate reached ridiculous levels when STP right-winger John McTernan appeared on the BBC’s Newsnight to ask, if the two-child limit on Child Benefit is abolished, where will it end? Scrapping the punitive Benefit Cap? Abolishing Universal Credit and it’s five-week delay in paying claimants?

He said this as though those outcomes would be bad things; they’re not. Watch:

Oh, so the plan is to lift children out of poverty via an improved economy. But Stürmer has no economic policies that are intended to do that – or even like to achieve it by accident; no consequence of any mythical improved economic performance are set to be channelled into a better quality of life for working people under a Stürmer-run government.

In fact, we don’t know what such a government would do, because we are simply not being told.

We can only echo the words of former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn – a man who explained very well exactly what he would have done if elected to form a government:

The simple fact is that Stürmer could find more than enough cash to support the proposed Child Benefit change, by reversing Conservative tax system tinkerings. For example:

Nobody should vote for any candidate – on Thursday (July 20, 2023) or at any other time – just because they have a Labour Party logo next to their name. Without knowing what the organisation behind that banner now intends to do, it would be foolish in the extreme.

Instead – if you want to elect someone with policies equivalent to those for which the Labour Party was originally formed – standing up for the people who do the work – you need to support the Independents who used to be Labour members but have left because their politics and those of Keir Stürmer and his cronies have diverged.

We all know about Jamie Driscoll, whose election for North East Mayor isn’t until next year.

But there’s also Rosie Mitchell, standing as an Independent in Somerton and Frome on Thursday.

And there are two other by-elections on the same day. Who are the candidates there who stand for what you need?

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Jamie Driscoll has given up on the Labour Party and gone Independent. Help him get re-elected as North East Mayor

Independent: Jamie Driscoll.

This is fairly self-explanatory:

The letter in the tweet, to Labour leader Keir Starmer, states: “Given you have barred me from running as North East Mayor, despite being incumbent Mayor, I have no other choice. In 2020 you told me to my face that you would ‘inspire people to come together… disciplining people to be united is going nowhere.’ You’ve broken that promise.”

That’s one more broken promise to add to a very long list, then! And Mr Driscoll comments on this: “You’ve U-turned on so many promises: £28 billion to tackle the climate emergency, free school meals, ending university tuition fees, reversing NHS privatisation; in fact, a list of broken promises too long to repeat in this letter. And please stop saying ‘I make no apologies for…’ before you find yourself saying ‘I make no apologies for making no apologies.

“Britain is a mess. Wages have fallen behind inflation. People are struggling to pay mortgages. Knife crime is out of control. Business investment has flat lined. The climate response is barely existent. People with chest pains wait an hour for ambulances. Our transport system is in chaos.

“It is not grown-up politics to say Britain is broken, and then claim things are now so difficult
we will abandon any plan to fix it. That is mental gymnastics worthy of Olympic gold.”

Mr Driscoll continues: “Worst of all, you’ve said you’re not interested in hope and change. Well, I am – Britain needs hope and change. Instead of London Labour HQ barring me from running, you could have used my work as a showcase of economic competence.

“My Combined Authority has built affordable homes in rural and urban areas. I’ve worked with businesses large and small to deliver a pipeline of over 5,000 new jobs, all backed by our Good Work Pledge. Implemented a Green New Deal and invested heavily in offshore renewable energy. Our Child Poverty Prevention Programme is hailed as an exemplar of best practice. And we’ve increased adult education enrolments from 22,000 a year to 33,000 a year for the same budget. All this wealth generation was done without charging people a penny in council tax.

“I’ve led negotiations and delivered an expanded £4.27 billion devolution deal across the North East to transform our region’s transport system.

“I’ve done this by being pragmatic and putting results ahead of party politics – to the effect that I’ve received praise for my ‘constructive, non-partisan approach’ from Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem, Green and Independent Ministers, Mayors, MPs and councillors.

“I think I’ve shown that hope and change is not only possible – but that it’s a pragmatic, common sense response to the challenges of our time. This is not a time for faint hearts. It’s a time for bravery. Shy bairns get nowt.

“I didn’t become a politician until I was 48. I’m an engineer. Fixing broken systems is what I do.

“We need a new settlement. I value patriotism – and believe it’s expressed by public service, not xenophobia. My Dad drove a tank in the army, my brother served in the navy at the time of the Falklands. My politics are simple – I believe Britain should be run in the interests of the people who do the work. That includes those unable to work, and those retired from a lifetime of work. It’s not left-wing. It’s not right-wing. It’s common sense.

“The groundswell of support I’ve received has been humbling. Business leaders, trade union leaders, charity workers, huge numbers of Labour members, and elected politicians from every party have encouraged me to run as an independent, saying they will vote for me because the North East needs an autonomous voice that’s not in hock to Westminster Party HQs. They may be right.”

It all seems sensible to This Writer.

As an Independent, Mr Driscoll has no access to a political party’s electoral machine. He needs funds and he needs people who are willing to go out and campaign for him.

He has a GoFundMe site here. Its introductory information states: “A full campaign will cost around £150,000. I believe in listening to the public – so if you donate £25,000 by the end of August, I promise I’ll run. And I don’t hit that target, I won’t run. This decision is in your hands.

“As North East Mayor I’ll deliver a Total Transport Network, create a job for everyone who wants one, and deliver a Green New Deal. Find out more on my website https://jamiedriscoll.co.uk/

Funders hit that £25k target in less than two hours. At the time of writing, he is well on his way to the full £150,000 needed to run a full campaign. I would urge you to support him.

And I would remind you that Jamie Driscoll is not the only former Labour representative now standing for election as an independent.

Expect information about the others in the very near future.


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The dishonesty of Baroness Jenny Chapman

Baroness Chapman: she thinks democracy is the right to vote for the person Keir Starmer and his cronies say should represent us, rather than the right to make our own choice. You see the difference?

“Everybody’s entitled to an opinion. What they’re not entitled to do is invent facts,” says Piers Morgan on a BBC News advert that’s currently airing.

Inventing facts was exactly what Baroness Jenny Chapman did – on the BBC – yesterday (June 11) when she told a BBC North interviewer that Labour Party members would be able to choose the candidate they want to be the new North East Mayor.

This is clearly untrue while Jamie Driscoll is excluded from the longlist of candidates.

Baroness Chapman batted this criticism away with a non sequitur claim that Labour is “not a debating society”. That much is very clear.

But it does present itself as a democratic organisation, and if candidates for political office are excluded from the running before people who are entitled to vote even have a chance to do so, then that claim is clearly untrue.

Here’s the dialogue – watch and listen for yourself:

“This is about getting the right outcome for the people of the North East?” Shouldn’t that be the right-wing outcome?

“We need to have a leader in the region who can be that champion for us.” Who’s “us” in that sentence?

Jamie Driscoll has repeatedly set out the list of his achievements as North of Tyne Mayor – and it’s a long list.

Isn’t Baroness Chapman’s concern that Labour’s representative should be someone who will do what her party’s leaders in Westminster want – and not what the people of the northeast need?

Voters in that region would be well-advised to boycott the Labour Party – no matter whose face is being used to represent it – until this insult to democracy is reversed, and apologies presented by all those involved in it. And that includes Baroness Chapman.


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Labour’s mistreatment of Jamie Driscoll has backfired massively

Dumped: Jamie Driscoll.

It’s the thinnest excuse possible and everybody knows it: Keir Starmer wants self-confessed “last Corbynite in power”, Jamie Driscoll, out of his job as a metropolitan mayor, and he’s using a joint appearance with film director Ken Loach as the reason.

Mr Loach has already been expelled from the Labour Party, although nobody seems to know the reason, and Starmer’s mob is saying that Mr Driscoll having appeared at an event that the great British director also attended is enough reason to exclude him from candidate shortlists.

Mr Driscoll – rightly – reckons that’s a crock. He doesn’t even mention it in his article commenting on his achievements and the way his party is letting the people of northeast England down:

He states:

Labour struggles to convince the electorate it can handle the economy.  You’d think I was exactly the success story the Labour Party would want to shout about.  So when they barred me from standing as North East Mayor, it shocked people from across the political spectrum.  I’ve had literally thousands of messages of support.

I identify as a socialist.  Sometimes that puts me on a collision course with the Party leadership in London.

My first duty is to the people who elected me as their mayor.  The Labour members here, in our region, chose me to represent them last time.  They should have that choice again.  It’s called democracy.  Union leaders, MPs, and other Mayors are making my case, and asking for the decision to be reversed.

There’s a lack of trust in politics.  Second homes.  Second jobs.  Cash for questions.  Not me.  £0 expenses claims.  I pay for my own phone.  I gave up my car and use my bike or public transport so I see what everyone else has to deal with.

Politics needs to change.  We need a new direction.  Power must reside in the North East, and in every region of Britain.  Not in Westminster and Party HQs.  I have a vision of a Britain that’s run in the interests of the people who do the work.  And I believe we can get there.

Say what you like about Unite General Secretary Sharon Graham; she’s on the right side of this argument:

“Nodding heads” are exactly the kind of people Keir Starmer wants in all positions representing the Labour Party. It seems clear that the only people he wants to have any power at all are those who are completely subservient to him.

What of Ken Loach?

Well, we’ve established that he was expelled from the Labour Party for reasons that have never been disclosed. Anti-Semitism has been alleged but no accusation has ever stuck.

Still, right-wing lickspittles like Luke Akehurst are using association with Mr Loach as their reason for wanting rid of Mr Driscoll, as you can see below.

By that token, though, Keir Starmer should also be out of a job at the next election:

Right?

But when Mr Driscoll appeared on the BBC’s Newsnight, Labour sent a party drone from Sussex to undermine him with insults about David Brent (the Office idiot) and falsehoods about party rules.

And what happened? Mr Driscoll ran rings around Paul Richards, who made a fool of himself:

The clip has been sent around Twitter by a few commenters, and their observations speak for themselves. Here‘s Alistair Greaves: “Honestly, @MayorJD gives these ghouls far much more politeness than they deserve. Not sure why the #biasedbbc let Paul Richards have the last word though, and while they can argue “no-one is bigger or better than the party or the rules” JAMIE DRISCOLL HASN’T BROKEN ANY RULES.”

How about MsAlfieB here? “Was the BoD demand that Labour suspend anyone sharing a platform with an expelled member written into the rules? If so that’s really shocking Surely a mayor works for all in his city, not for the Labour party. Labour Party rules can’t be imposed on public servants doing their job.”

(The “BoD” would be the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which is not a Labour-affiliated organisation. But Starmer seems to have allied with it in his purge of left-wing party members.)

Also during that Newsnight appearance, Richards tried to justify the blocking of Mr Driscoll as a candidate by claiming he does not meet the criteria (again: because Mr Driscoll had appeared at an event where Ken Loach – who has not done anything quantifiably wrong – also appeared).

Here’s what happened when interviewer Victoria Derbyshire countered with a list of Mr Discoll’s actual achievements as North Tyne Mayor:

Incidentally…

Now, those are just the opinions of people who inhabit Twitter; the social media equivalent of the man or woman on the Clapham omnibus.

Perhaps you’d prefer the view of a mass media columnist?

The commentary is damning:

Keir Starmer said in January he wanted to “take back control” for local communities. The Labour leader wants them to have more say over jobs, transport, energy, climate change, housing, culture, childcare and finance. He wants to liberate what is now recognised as the most centralised state in Europe. So why, now, has the Labour leader decided that the people of the North of Tyne area will not be permitted to reselect their current mayor, Jamie Driscoll, to stand for Labour at the next election? Why did he agree in March that his predecessor as leader, Jeremy Corbyn, should not be reselected as MP for Islington North?

Whatever the perceived misdeeds of these two politicians, surely these are matters for their respective communities to decide on. Come to that, I notice in the past few weeks that, despite his devolution speech, Starmer wants no devolution of power over council tax rises, local housing decisions or the siting of wind turbines, among other things. Nor will he tolerate any nonsense from Scottish people about “taking back control” of Scotland.

Even before he finds himself in Downing Street, Starmer cannot bring himself to respect the local diversity that has long been Labour’s strength. He cannot allow his party to let the people of the north-east choose who it is they want to lead them. It is a very bad start.

The condemnation seems universal; everyone who doesn’t have an interest in opposing Mr Driscoll seems to be supporting him.

That means two things:

Firstly, the old lies about anti-Semitism aren’t going to work any more.

Secondly, it doesn’t matter who else is on Labour’s shortlist for the new North East Mayor job; if Jamie Driscoll isn’t on it, Labour won’t have a hope of winning the election.

Will Keir Starmer learn his lesson from this?

Probably not, sadly.

In fact, he’ll probably take revenge by setting his sights on two other metropolitan mayors who have supported Mr Driscoll – Steve Rotherham and Andy Burnham.

And that would be an even worse mistake.


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Sitting Labour mayor removed from reselection list – because he MET someone

Dumped: Jamie Driscoll.

Yes, the factionalism within the Labour Party really has become so ridiculous that a successful party representative can be removed from office undemocratically, simply because he met somebody who is not liked by those who are currently in control.

Here’s North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll:

The announcement has been greeted with shock by many, including senior members of the Labour Party:

And what’s the reason for this sudden deselection?

Apparently it’s because Mr Driscoll once met and shared a platform with the filmmaker Ken Loach, who has been ejected from the party on unsupported grounds of anti-Semitism.

Labour said the pair sharing a platform had been “incompatible” with its attempts to tackle antisemitism,

according to the BBC. But then, it went on to say

Loach was expelled from Labour in 2021 amid efforts to tackle the antisemitism experienced during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership

and anybody who knows anything at all about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party will know perfectly well that it fell during Mr Corbyn’s time as leader.

From this, it is easy to demonstrate (i) that the BBC doesn’t bother to check its facts these days, and (ii) that factionalism in the Labour Party is indeed, as John McDonnell stated, out of control.

Apparently,

a senior Labour source told the Press Association Mr Driscoll’s candidacy was blocked because he had appeared with Loach at Newcastle’s Live Theatre.

The source said the mayor’s appearance with the director – famed for films including I, Daniel Blake – and his subsequent “refusing to apologise” was “clearly incompatible” with the party’s promise “to have zero tolerance of antisemitism”.

But

the party has never confirmed why [Mr Loach] was kicked out.

This is bad news for left-wing lovers of quality movies, as Ian Hodson (among many others) has pointed out.

By the way, if Starmer did bring in a law of ‘association crime’, the UK would have to have split from the European Convention on Human Rights and its own Human Rights laws. That would, of course, be entirely out of character for any Labour leadership.

Here’s a member of that party’s current leadership, Jonathan Reynolds, showing that he and his colleagues are indeed out of step with the facts and the character of the party.

Remember, according to the BBC, Labour has never confirmed its reason for expelling Mr Loach.

Another person who thinks it’s okay to override democracy – remember, Jamie Driscoll is the democratically-elected sitting mayor of an English region; by deselecting him, Labour is usurping the right of the voters to re-elect the representative they want – is right-wing lunatic Luke Akehurst, who many believe to be using anti-Semitism as an excuse to rid the party of people he doesn’t like.

Here are a few opinions on that:

Before anyone leaps in to defend Loony Luke, let’s have a balancing view of who the current Labour leadership (including, one concludes, him) thinks is an acceptable person to meet.

No wonder Labour’s party membership is plummeting, with plenty of people out here happy to help anybody who wants to abandon the sinking ship (like lifeboat users, not like rats):

Apparently (and I must be careful here; I’m quoting another BBC report), Mr Driscoll’s deselection leaves Starmerite Kim McGuinness in pole position to become Labour’s candidate.

I think we can all understand why that might seem suspicious.


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