Keir Starmer: if he was really a soldier – as in this mock-up image – he might be less inclined to support illegal torture by members of the armed forces.
The Tories aren’t the only ones getting a hammering from the public over plans to break international law.
Party members are calling on their representatives in Labour’s ruling NEC to debate why MPs were told to abstain from voting on a Bill to allow servicepeople to commit acts of torture.
Labour leader Keir Starmer demanded that MPs should abstain, rather than opposing the plan, which should be abhorrent to any right-thinking human being.
So when NEC member Rachel Garnham asked what members wanted to hear discussed at today’s meeting, this was the response:
1. Paying off Ware & LP saboteurs; 2. 'Britain first' jingoism; 3. Abstaining on Torture Bill; 4. Sacking @NadiaWhittomeMP; 5. Courting billionaire donors; 6. Weaponising antisemitism each time you open your mouth; 7. Persecuting elderly Jews.
Starmer’s leadership is too weak to brook any such criticism of his decisions, so it seems unlikely that any such discussion will take place.
This Writer certainly doesn’t expect to hear about any such deliberations.
So much for Labour Party democracy. Jeremy Corbyn tried to roll it back out to the members, but now Starmer is in charge, the people are losing their voice once again.
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.
Chris Whitty: the Chief Medical Officer has now self-isolated with symptoms of the coronavirus himself. Doesn’t that suggest there’s something wrong with his ideas?
Those of you who have been following This Site over the past few days will have read article after article exposing the failures of the Conservative government – firstly to anticipate, then to combat the coronavirus crisis.
So it should come as no surprise that these failures have ensured that NHS workers and people who contract Covid-19 will die, who should be saved.
And the pedigree of the man making that claim should not be doubted: Richard Horton is the editor of what is possibly the most highly-regarded medical journal of them all: The Lancet.
He said measures implemented “far too late” had left the NHS “wholly unprepared for the surge of severely and critically ill patients”.
As a result, it had been plunged into “chaos and panic”, with patients and NHS staff condemned to “die unnecessarily”.
He pointed to an article in The Lancet, already referenced by This Site, stated on January 24 that the coronavirus was on the verge of becoming a global pandemic and urged the government to ensure that the NHS was prepared.
But Boris Johnson and his government didn’t bother. Successive Conservative governments over the previous 10 years had systematically dismantled the UK’s capability of tackling a pandemic like Covid-19.
The strategy to deal with it was last updated in 2011 and is hopelessly out-of-date.
The dedicated government Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Team, tasked with tackling this type of crisis, vanished around 2011.
The crucial document for getting the right messages to the public – the Communications Strategy – was written in 2012 and is wildly inaccurate in its assumptions about how and where people now get their information.
Worst of all, the government guide to dealing with the fatalities of a pandemic – the deaths – was written in 2008 and had never been updated.
Perhaps we should not be surprised, then, that the Conservative government’s response to coronavirus – throughout February – was wrong.
The Lancet article warned that “preparedness plans should be readied for deployment at short notice, including securing supply chains of pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment, hospital supplies and the necessary human resources”. But this warning was ignored.
Mr Horton lays the blame for this on Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, Chief Executive Officer of the NHS in England Simon Stevens and Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance.
Vallance’s was the mind behind the ridiculous “herd immunity” scheme to allow us all to become infected and if millions of vulnerable people died, that was a reasonable price to pay if the rest developed a resistance to the virus.
It didn’t last long but valuable days were wasted and, of course, while the overarching strategy was “do nothing”, nothing was being done to make the UK ready to fight the disease.
And when the government finally adopted an acceptable approach, the NHS was caught unprepared.
It didn’t have pharmaceutical supply chains ready – note the call for volunteers to ship medicines where they’re needed.
It didn’t have the necessary human resources.
And it didn’t have personal protective equipment, despite protestations to the contrary. As part of his article, Mr Horton called on England’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jenny Harries, to apologise to health workers for saying the UK has “a perfectly adequate supply of PPE” and supply pressures had been “completely resolved” on March 20.
She was wrong, and it means doctors are risking their own health, if not their lives, every day by having to assess patients with respiratory symptoms, without the equipment necessary to protect themselves.
Worse still, the government didn’t follow basic World Health Organisation (WHO) advice. According to Mr Horton: “They didn’t isolate and quarantine. They didn’t contact trace. These basic principles of public health and infectious disease control were ignored, for reasons that remain opaque.”
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: all the way down the line, Boris Johnson and his government have had to be dragged into doing the right thing – always late and never willingly.
Already more than 1,000 people have been acknowledged to have died.
And it seems clear that more will follow – who would have lived if Mr Johnson and his ministers, their advisors and the leaders of the NHS had simply done their jobs properly.
Naga Munchetty: Why do a gang of old, white men think they understand racism better than her?
There’s no business like show business, is there?
That’s what politics is – at least, as far as the BBC is concerned – and the Naga Munchetty scandal is simply evidence of that fact.
To demonstrate my point, I’ll come to it at a tangent: Yesterday evening (September 28) I was watching a thought-provoking Doctor Who story (stay with me!) in which people living a slave-like existence in a dystopian regime were distracted from their hellish lives by government-controlled media that played video “nasties” at them constantly, with viewing compulsory.
They were given an illusion of democracy, being asked to vote on the decisions of their governor – but none of their choices made any difference to the real balance of power, which was held by corporate interests who were unaffected by the vote.
It struck me that this show, made more than 30 years ago, is a frighteningly accurate comment on the situation in the UK today.
How many of us go to the BBC for our news? The last statistics I saw suggested 70 per cent of us consider it our primary news provider.
That’s because it is described as our “public service broadcaster”.
But it seems the BBC is providing its services to somebody else.
Look at Ms Munchetty: she has been censured after voicing an un-approved opinion about US President Donald Trump’s racism towards women of colour.
“Every time I have been told, as a woman of colour, to go back to where I came from, that was embedded in racism,” Munchetty told viewers in July, during a discussion with her co-host Dan Walker. She went on to add that she was “absolutely furious a man in that position thinks it’s OK to skirt the lines by using language like that”.
This triggered a complaint – from an unnamed source. One wonders who this person was, as they seem to have been able to influence the BBC’s mostly white, middle-aged-or-older, complaints unit members in a way that most people find impossible. Theirs was the only complaint about this issue.
Kerry-Anne Mendoza got it right when she criticised the BBC’s actions in this tweet:
The BBC v Naga Munchetty scandal
Racist sees woman of colour on BBC describing racism, gets butthurt.
Racist complains to the BBC, demanding consequences for this assault on white fragility.
BBC sides with racist & chastises woman of colour.
This is correct; Trump’s words were racist and Ms Munchetty – a woman of colour herself – had every right to call them what they were. It is the BBC’s decision that is racist – and this creates problems for it in more ways than one.
BBC editorial standards director David Jordan tried to defuse the row on Radio 4’s Today show, saying that, while Mr Trump’s comments were racist, Ms Munchetty had breached editorial guidelines because she appeared to make a judgement on the US president’s personality: “In the politics of the present, when we are in a politics of name-calling and insult, I think it’s probably unwise of the BBC to be calling out people for being liars or racist. What is really important is that we look at the things people say, we analyse them, we describe them objectively.”
But the official finding of the complaints unit shows that Ms Munchetty did not directly accuse Mr Trump of racism in the brief exchange, which took place in response to questions on her personal feelings from her co-host, Mr Walker.
Mr Jordan’s words seem to suggest that BBC political coverage is little more than an act, with presenters told to keep to a pre-arranged script – as satirised by Channel 4’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy in response to a tweet by veteran broadcaster John Simpson:
Hello John? John! Executive Complaints Unit here. The viewer must not know whether or not you support the rule of law, decency or respect…..What? Yes I know these are universally held values but on the other hand they may be bad things. John? Hello? Are you still there…? https://t.co/Lh9rM5sgRx
Now the BBC has put itself in a situation where it has been forced to accept a review of the decision by Ofcom, measuring it against the regulator’s own broadcasting code. A team is already reviewing the footage and a verdict is expected next week that could potentially undermine the BBC’s complaints process.
This is particularly interesting for people like myself who have made complaints to the BBC that have been rejected – and in particular to the BBC’s attitude toward racism.
After the BBC broadcast its Panorama documentary, Is Labour Antisemitic in July, it received more complaints about that programme than any other during the following 14 days.
Yet it has steadfastly rejected those complaints, which concerned the quality of the evidence used by the Panorama programme-makers, and many of which were made by people who had been through the disciplinary procedure that the BBC claimed to have been investigating.
So it seems the BBC is happy to accuse Labour of a form of racism on the basis of unreliable evidence – and to defend its claim against thousands of people who know better – and is also happy to make a false accusation against one of its own presenters, on the basis of a single complaint.
Clearly the BBC’s definition of racism changes to fit individual situations. That is, in itself, institutionally racist.
And this supports the claim (in the Doctor Who story I was watching – remember it?) that people are kept down by a complicit media. The BBC wants people to think Labour is racist so it suppresses complaints that undermine that position; the BBC wants people to think Donald Trump isn’t racist, so it smears its own presenter.
Now, the big question:
Who tells the BBC to do these things? And what is their motive?
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.
Powys is, geographically, the largest county in Wales – with the smallest population. It habitually receives the least extra cash in the annual settlement from the Welsh Assembly.
As a result, it struggles to provide services – partly because private companies that carry out many of those services assume local authorities have money to burn and charge accordingly (I had that from a council officer).
It must be true, the reasoning runs, because just look at the salaries paid to the council’s chief officers.
And salaries paid to chief officers are high because if they weren’t on a par with richer councils, nobody would even offer to do the job.
So everyone with a chance to demand more is on the take – and who can blame them in these uncertain times?
And public services suffer.
But the only reason we pay our taxes – council tax, income tax, and any other tax that feeds into local authority budgets – is to receive public services.
But (again) we can’t withhold our tax money on the grounds that these services are being withheld from us, because that is a crime and we would be fined at the very least (thereby giving more money into the pot).
Whatever happens, we lose. And this will continue as long as public servants are paid £55 for doing nothing at all.
Incoming Powys chief executive Dr Caroline Turner, has been given a cash boost worth more than £25,000 by Powys councillors.
This will be on top of her salary of £138,000 a year.
At the Full PCC meeting on Thursday, January 24, councillors had to appoint Dr Turner to … statutory roles [including] election returning officer.
There are five sets of fees, some of which are set by external bodies:
Parliamentary elections fees which are set at Westminster – £2,685 for Brecon and Radnorshire and £2,500 for Montgomeryshire.
Welsh Assembly election fees of £4,730 for Brecon and Radnorshire and for Montgomeryshire it’s £4,730.
Elections for Police and Crime Commissioner (set by the Police and Crime Commissioner Board) – £2,870 for Brecon and Radnorshire and £2,574 for Montgomeryshire.
European Elections (which may not happen again) – £5,952.
Local Government elections £110 per contested ward and £55 per uncontested ward.
Last week I made it clear that Labour’s National Executive Committee has descended into racism in order to attack innocent party members like myself under a false pretence of anti-Semitism.
In the same accusation against me, the NEC also fell into anti-Semitism – by supporting an affiliated organisation that victimises people it considers to be the “wrong kind of Jews” (although they may not be described in that way).
By now, readers of This Site will be well aware that I attended a disciplinary hearing arranged by Labour’s National Constitutional Committee, at which a prejudiced panel arbitrarily decided that all the accusations against me were proved, despite having heard no evidence at all in support of such a claim.
One of these accusations concerns the Jewish Labour Movement and ran as follows:
On 2nd October 2016 Mr Sivier posted: ‘JLM is not a movement that represents Jews; it represents Jewish Zionists’. ‘The Jewish Labour Movement does not represent Jews who are not Zionists. It persecutes them’.
“This comment is grossly offensive to those the Party seeks to represent particularly the Jewish community. Comments like these have had and continue to have a serious impact on the Party’s position as an inclusive organisation, which stands against antisemitism.
“To state that the Labour Party’s official Jewish affiliate does not represent Jews denies Jews the right to self-define. This conduct is abhorrent, antisemitic and falls way below the standards expected of Party members. This is clearly prejudicial and/or grossly detrimental to the Party.”
Of course I was not suggesting that the JLM does not represent any Jews; my words make it clear that I was saying the organisation – the Labour Party’s official Jewish affiliate, according to the NEC – represents only those Jews who support the political doctrine of Zionism (and even then, only those who support the interpretation of that doctrine supported by that organisation’s leaders).
I confess I was amazed to see this put forward as a charge against me, because my reasons for saying this were supported by the Jewish Labour Movement itself.
When I was interviewed by Labour investigating officer Stewart Owadally about this and other charges in October 2017 and he challenged me on this, I asked him if he had read the article – and he said that he had not. He had not read any of my articles beyond the specific parts he had been asked to highlight and question. This explained why he had not spotted the answer to his question, directly below the words he had highlighted. I simply read it out.
My article argues: “Look at the organisation’s own website. It states:
“The Jewish Labour Movement is also affiliated to the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Zionist Federation of the UK, and organise within the World Zionist Organisation… Our objects: To maintain and promote Labour or Socialist Zionism as the movement for self-determination of the Jewish people within the state of Israel.”
““Zionist”… “Zionist”… “Zionism”… “within the state of Israel”.
““It seems clear that “Jewish Labour Movement” is a misnomer. It should be “Zionist Labour Movement”.”
In my written defence, I went further: “What about Jews who aren’t Zionists, as the JLM defines them?
“How do you think the members of Jewdas – attacked as the “wrong kind of Jew” after Jeremy Corbyn attended an event organised by the group – would describe the JLM?
“Here’s how. Responding to attacks on Mr Corbyn for attending the event in late March, the Jewdas website – at https://www.jewdas.org/enough-is-enough/ stated: “What has happened over the last week is anything but an attempt to address antisemitism. It is the work of cynical manipulations by people whose express loyalty is to the Conservative Party and the right wing of the Labour Party. It is a malicious ploy to remove the leader of the Opposition and put a stop to the possibility of a socialist government. The Board of Deputies, the (disgraced for corruption) Jewish Leadership Council and the (unelected, undemocratic) Jewish Labour Movement are playing a dangerous game with people’s lives.”
“So these Jews consider the JLM to be unelected, undemocratic, and playing a dangerous game with people’s lives. Representative of Jews in general? No.”
I continue: “What about Jewish Voice for Labour, which admits full membership only to Labour Party members who identify as Jewish – unlike the JLM, which allows full membership to non-Jews, and also to non-members of the Labour Party? This organisation has campaigned against what it sees as false accusations of anti-Semitism against notable figures like Ken Livingstone, Jackie Walker, and Marc Wadsworth (as has This Writer), and also campaigns against the persecution of Palestinian people by the state of Israel.
“And JLM members hate it. Responding to Harrow East Labour Party’s decision to affiliate to JVL, JLM chair Ivor Caplin told the Jewish Chronicle it was a “stupid decision” to affiliate with an “obsessive group that is often far too generous to antisemites and Holocaust revisionists”. But at least members of JVL are all Jewish, which is more than can be said for the JLM.”
So how can we describe the claim that I am denying Jews the right to self-define?
Bogus. It is the JLM that denies Jews the right to self-define – by siding with those who treat other Labour-supporting Jewish organisations as the “wrong kind of Jews”.
In declaring support for the Jewish Labour Movement and its anti-Semitic* aggression against such people and organisations, the NEC is also declaring its own anti-Semitism.
*I know – it seems strange to describe an organisation claiming to represent Jews as anti-Semitic. But the JLM’s aggression towards the JVL, Jewdas and the others is entirely due to their identity as groups of Jews, so it is entirely appropriate to describe that organisation – and therefore Labour’s NEC – in that manner.
Claire Perry: Even in the Commons, it seems she’s a loudmouth.
I hope he sues her out of every single possession she has.
Tory blowhard Claire Perry – who has amazingly managed to con the people of Devizes into making her their MP – appeared on the BBC’s Question Timeyesterday evening (November 15) and said the following:
But Ms Perry probably thought it was worth making the claim because Labour’s chief organising committees don’t need any evidence to find members guilty of anti-Semitism.
His party’s ruling National Executive Committee (of which, yes, he is a member) isn’t above falsely accusing innocent members of anti-Semitism, purely to score points with one or two members of the general public who make false claims, purely (in turn) in order to make Labour’s NEC do exactly as I’ve just described.
And his party’s National Constitutional Committee, which runs the disciplinary hearings at which these cases are heard, isn’t above ignoring the facts of these cases to find these false accusations true.
So Labour certainly has a perception problem when it comes to anti-Semitism. Both those organisations would rather trash the good names of innocent members than risk their party being slagged off as racist by a few liars.
Yet Claire Perry still called Jeremy Corbyn an anti-Semite.
And the NEC and NCC have brought themselves into disrepute with their false accusations and perversions of justice.
And the fact that they have done this means they have jeopardised any credibility a future Labour government might have as being able to deal with facts rather than fantasy.
So I’d like to ask the members of those organisations who came up with the boneheadedly imbecilic idea of pandering to a bunch of liars…
How’s that working out for you?
Afterthought: More shocking than Ms Perry’s libel is the fact that the BBC allowed it to be broadcast. As I understand it,Question Time isn’t recorded live – precisely in order to prevent legally-questionable material being broadcast, because every fresh publication of a libel is a new libel. In broadcasting her outburst, the BBC has made itself liable for legal action as well.
It seems the reaction of the Labour right and its media allies to the overwhelming victory of the ‘left slate’ in the NEC elections has been an object lesson in how to portray oneself as a sore loser.
It’s worse than pathetic – it’s hilarious. Take a look at the Skwawkbox article:
Monday’s outstanding result for the grassroots-left ‘slate’ of candidates – a clean sweep of all nine positions – in the elections for Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) was a huge boost for the morale and plans of Labour’s huge pro-Corbyn majority and the Labour leadership.
Conversely, it was a massive blow to the Labour right and its media allies, who reacted – with utter predictability – by focusing on the success of Peter Willsman and treating the illicit recording of his outburst during a July NEC meeting as if narratives that it was antisemitic were not false, when the reality showed the opposite.
Victory: The NEC election result should not only produce the thumbs-up from Jeremy Corbyn – it should be considered a massive thumbs-up for him.
All nine – yes, nine– members of the ‘left slate’ in the elections to the Labour Party’s ruling National Executive Committee have won seats, confounding the attack dogs who tried to undermine support for Jeremy Corbyn with accusations of anti-Semitism against him and one of the candidates.
Not only that, but the victory means that a review of internal party democracy is likely to see major changes including the introduction of mandatory reselection of candidates, meaning no sitting MP can expect to keep their Parliamentary seat without the support of their constituency party members.
Guys, the #JC9 just won every seat in the Labour NEC elections. This means we can likely get the Democracy Review through and return power to the party membership. The largely SOCIALIST party membership. This. Is. Huge.
Opponents of party leader Jeremy Corbyn were hoping to steal support away from the left-wing candidates who support him – most obviously with accusations of anti-Semitism against Peter Willsman, and claims that their support for the leader indicated that they must be anti-Semites (even though no accusation against Mr Corbyn – and there have been many – has been proved).
Supporters of Mr Willsman have pointed out that the accusations against him amount to a claim that demanding proof in support of anti-Semitism allegations is now considered to be anti-Semitism as well.
But people like Mr Eaton forget that we can check this – many votes were made online and the dates they were made are likely to be easy to verify. I would like to see the Labour Party release a statement on this.
The result makes it clear that the anti-Semitism smear campaign is not working at all. In fact, it might be turning party members away from Labour’s right wing.
The Times reports that right-wing antisemitic smears against Jeremy Corbyn are not working
Margaret Hodge, Luciana Berger, Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, Blairites, Labour Friends of Israel and Campaign Against Antisemitism, are, in fact, boosting Labour Party membership
Actor and stand-up comic Eddie Izzard, who won his position on the NEC by default after another left-wing member was forced to resign her position, was ousted.
And on a personal note, This Writer is pleased to record the abject failure of right-winger Gary Spedding, who contributed to a smear piece calling me an anti-Semite on an online magazine site called Prospect, and then called me an anti-Semite directly on Twitter. Read about it here.
It will be interesting to see the results of the next – Survation, as that company is the most trustworthy – opinion poll on voting intentions, conducted after the new NEC holds its first meeting (today, September 4) and makes its decisions regarding the democracy review and its code of conduct on anti-Semitism.
For now, the result is good:
The NEC results show
✅ Membership moving further left. Groups like Progress and Labour First were nowhere
✅ Izzard was 10th – as an independent
✅ Membership clearly unrepresented by parliamentary party and what media gatekeepers allow
Martin Odoni at The Critique Archives has done it again.
Days after he provided us all with a template letter to send a complaint to the Labour Party about the shocking behaviour of Margaret Hodge MP in comparing Labour’s disciplinary process with Nazi Germany, he has produced another.
This concerns the fringe group Labour Against Anti-Semitism (LAAS), whose organisers seem to believe they are entitled to ride roughshod over the law of the UK, ignoring data protection legislation to access email lists they had no right to use.
I am grateful to long-time friend of This Site Glynis Millward, who wrote as follows:
“This self styled group are in breach of data protection act (DPA) and the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR)
I am advising all those who have been targeted by this group to contact the ICO, who have flagged up LAAS on their systems quoting the reference ENQ 738439
The ICO case officer dealing with this is:
Information Commissioner’s Office
0330 414 6209”
Please feel free to complain about LAAS to the Information Commissioner’s Office via the details above, and to the Labour Party, using the template letter accessed via the link to The Critique Archives, below.
The other evening, I put up a template (well, of a sort) for people to submit complaints to the Labour Party about the appalling comments of Holocaust-Manipulator Margaret Hodge. Today, the fringe Labour Party group, ‘Labour Against Anti-Semitism’ (LAAS), a smear-group who operate in the name of the Labour Party but without the party’s recognition or permission, have been revealed to have broken the law, possibly on three counts – data protection, breach-of-privacy, and defamation. I have therefore written up another complaint and sent it to the Labour Party, and am once more sharing the text, so others can copy-paste with appropriate amendments to add their own voices if they so wish. E-mail address to send to is [email protected].
If I recall correctly, Labour Against Anti-Semitism is the pet project of one Euan Philipps, who was quick to accuse me of wrong-doing when I was accused of A-S in May last year.
It seems that this organisation is not above wrong-doing of its own, however. Do people like this believe the law doesn’t apply to them – while doing everything they can to smear the innocent?
When Darren Williams – who does not seem to have ever asked to be included in LAAS mailings – asked to stop receiving them, as he had every right to do, instead of simply complying as data laws require, LAAS tweeted a screengrab of his request with a snide comment:
Data laws do not allow such mailings without the explicit permission of the ‘data subject’ to use his/her email address for that specific purpose.
Under UK data protection laws, data breaches can attract huge fines imposed by the Information Commissioner, as well as incurring police action.
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