Tag Archives: executive

Dido Harding wants to run English NHS. Where there’s no accountability, there’s no shame

Fiasco: Dido Harding (left) was appointed by Matt Hancock (right – not the donkey, although it probably has more brains than him) to run a privatised Covid-19 ‘test and trace’ scheme (hence the Serco logo) under the NHS banner. It was a disaster. Now she is thinking of applying to be the new boss of NHS England. What do YOU think will happen if she gets the job?

The former jockey who cocked up the UK’s Covid-19 “test and trace” efforts – so badly that £37 billion of public money couldn’t put it right – now wants to inflict herself on the English NHS.

Dido Harding has made a name for herself as the worst possible choice to run any organisation, ever since her lamentable stint as boss of Talk Talk.

Her tenure at the head of “test and trace” almost certainly caused thousands of unnecessary deaths.

But there is no accountability among Tories. She has not been called to face justice for her failures, and she never will be.

Just you think about the colossal amount of harm she could do to the nation’s health if she gets a job running England’s NHS.

The Tories would love it; it would be the best advert for full privatisation they could possibly have.

Source: Former Test and Trace boss Dido Harding considering bid to lead NHS England

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Beckett’s ‘silly cow’ comment shows Starmer has turned Labour into a cess pit

The shenanigans after yesterday’s (March 11) meeting of Labour’s National Executive Committee make This Writer glad not to be a member of that party any more.

The fact that Margaret Beckett is being allowed to continue as chair of the NEC after calling fellow committee member Laura Pidcock a “silly cow” on a Zoom meeting is unacceptable.

Pidcock had made a perfectly reasonable point after a motion to recall Labour’s party conference had been rejected with no vote taken, in a snub to party democracy.

The motion sought to recall the full party conference, possibly to coincide with Labour’s women’s conference in June, for reasons This Writer set out in a previous article:

The motion… reads: “Discussion in local Labour Party meetings has been suppressed; motions banned; scores of activists suspended; and anger and disillusionment is exploding across our lay membership across the party.

“Members are leaving in droves and many more are expressing frustration and dissatisfaction at the attack on democracy and free speech. Many members are saying it doesn’t feel like the Labour Party anymore.”

There is also frustration after several ex-officials suspended over the contents of a damning leaked report have been let back into Labour. 

These are serious, party-splitting concerns, and it is unacceptable that Laura Pidcock, asking how members could have this out-of-hand rejection of those concerns explained to them, was dismissed as a “silly cow”.

The reaction on the social media was unequivocal:

The last commenter is right: this is indeed Keir Starmer’s Labour.

And he has made it a cess pit.

I am delighted that I am not a member of an organisation that puts Starmer and Beckett in positions of seniority that they clearly do not merit. I have a feeling that many other Labour members will also abandon the party in the face of this ill-treatment.

And I expect the general public will do the same at the May elections.

Source: Labour MP Margaret Beckett apologises over ‘silly cow’ remark – BBC News

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Top bosses’ pay passed the UK average for all of 2021 – in just five working days

 

Do they get too much or you get too little? Or both?

According to the High Pay Centre, median FTSE 100 CEOs’ earnings for 2021 surpassed the median annual wage for a full-time worker in the UK by around 5:30 pm on Wednesday, January 6.

It seems that conditions in 2020 mean the situation has taken a tiny, baby step towards equality – although when you see what this actually means, you may not think so:

We estimate that with CEO pay levels remaining essentially flat in their analysis, while pay for UK workers had increased slightly, it means that CEOs have to work 34 hours of the year to surpass median earnings, rather than just 33 hours in 2020.

Wow. Don’t get out the bunting for the street party just yet.

Pay for top CEOs today is about 120 times that of the typical UK worker. Estimates suggest it was around 50 times at the turn of the millennium or 20 times in the early 1980s.

Factors such as the increasing role played by the finance industry in the economy, the outsourcing of low-paid work and the decline of trade union membership have widened the gaps between those at the top and everybody else over recent decades.

This is optimistic:

These figures will raise concern about the governance of big businesses and whether major employers are distributing pay in a way that rewards the contribution of different workers fairly. They should also prompt debate about the effects that high levels of inequality can have on social cohesion, crime, and public health and wellbeing.

I don’t think they’ll raise concern. How can anybody worry about this huge inequality when they’re never told about it?

Be honest…

When’s the last time your boss told you how much more they earn than you do?

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Corbyn calls in the lawyers – just as This Site asked him to

What a coincidence!

The day after This Writer called for Jeremy Corbyn to take court action to stop the current Labour leadership from playing fast-and-loose with party rules to persecute him – he did just that.

Jeremy Corbyn’s solicitors have written to Labour calling for his suspension as one of the party’s MPs to be lifted, the BBC has been told.

I can’t take credit for the move – this is a tiny website with a very small readership – around 16,000 a day on average – but I think it is worth recording my gratitude to everybody who did pass my message on to Mr Corbyn, just in case.

Keir Starmer has built up a reputation, in a very short time, for conceding court cases Labour’s legal advisers say the party should win. In this instance, the opposite should apply – so I fear he’ll decide to fight.

Possibly mitigating against this is the letter to the party’s acting general secretary, David Evans (his appointment has yet to be ratified by a Labour Party conference), demanding that the Parliamentary party whip be restored to Corbyn.

According to Skwawkbox, the letter

  • condemns the ‘double jeopardy’ and ‘deliberate political interference’ of withdrawing the whip from Corbyn after he was reinstated by an NEC panel
  • makes clear that the decision of the panel was based on independent legal advice and the recommendation of Labour’s disciplinary investigative unit
  • implies that their advice was that there were no valid grounds for Corbyn’s suspension
  • confirms that the whip had been restored to Corbyn on the lifting of his suspension, making an utter mockery of Starmer’s excuse that he was ‘not restoring’ the whip rather than withdrawing it
  • makes clear that the meddling in the disciplinary outcome is exactly that kind of ‘political interference’ the EHRC has ruled unlawful
  • accuses Starmer and other right-wing MPs of smearing the NEC panel members who acted in accordance with the party’s rules and the legal advice they gave
  • says that Starmer has put NEC members in a legal bind – and that as a highly-qualified barrister he has no excuse for his ‘unconscionable’ choice
  • demands that Evans rebuke Starmer for his political interference in party processes and undermining public confidence in Labour’s disciplinary process
  • ‘requires’ Evans to immediately ‘demand’ that Starmer upholds the NEC panel’s decision and restores the whip to Corbyn

So now Starmer is well and truly caught between a rock and a hard place.

I wonder what sanctions will be carried out by the NEC members who signed the letter, if they don’t get what they demanded?

Perhaps Starmer’s decision will be made easier by the continuing rebellion of party members across the country, who continue to ignore his diktats that they should not speak up on Corbyn’s behalf or campaign for him.

This Writer is delighted to see that Bristol South CLP (I’m from that part of Brizzle) has just voted to support Corbyn:

I understand Brent Central CLP has also passed a motion demanding the restoration of the Labour Parliamentary whip to Corbyn.

And it seems another CLP has passed a motion calling on the NEC to take all steps possible to remove David Evans from office.

November 19 has been a disastrous day for Keir Starmer and his cronies.

How much worse can it get before he bows to the inevitable?

Source: Jeremy Corbyn’s lawyers challenge Labour over MP suspension – BBC News

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Labour NEC elections: should Electoral Commission investigate Starmer vote-rigging claims?

Stymied: Keir Starmer has failed to increase his power on Labour’s ruling NEC – and may face an investigation by the Electoral Commission over the possibility that his leadership team interfered with the votes, binning many that should have been counted.

Perhaps Labour Party members – the few who remain – should be grateful for small mercies: after the NEC election left-wing Grassroots Voice candidates took five of the nine CLP seats.

It means Keir Starmer’s ‘Stalinist Right’ (apparently) faction has been denied a chance to consolidate its power over the party; he will continue to face opposition to his more extreme right-wing policies in the party’s ruling committee.

But do these results really matter, when they come amid allegations of vote-rigging?

The claim is that Starmer’s leadership has been disregarding votes by people who subsequently quit their membership of the Labour Party in disgust at the undemocratic decision to suspend Jeremy Corbyn for no reason at all.

And it seems this claim may have validity. The number of votes counted in this election is said to be around 117,000 – 27 per cent of the membership, according to the most recent figures we have. Last time, 68 per cent of the membership voted.

That’s a huge difference.

It is entirely possible that the 117k figure represents 68 per cent of the current membership, after the party haemmorrhaged members following Starmer’s election as leader and his immediate choice to betray those who voted for him by ignoring his 10 pledges and turning the party’s direction sharply to the right.

But if Starmer’s people have been binning votes from people who were members before they quit in disgust, then it seems they have acted unconstitutionally by removing votes that should have counted; these people were members when they voted and had every right to vote at the time.

Fortunately for democracy in the UK, we have an organisation dedicated to ensuring that elections are carried out in a free, fair and legal way.

So here’s the question:

Should the Electoral Commission be called in to investigate this election?

And if so:

Should the result of the NEC election – as currently reported – be ignored until the Electoral Commission is able to confirm (or deny) it?

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Outraged Labour members want to know why Starmer supports illegal torture by UK armed forces

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:

Some have used it as a subject for humour – with a strong underlying criticism of Starmer, who many party members now consider to be no better than a Conservative:

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.

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Coronavirus: The Tories’ catalogue of failures means people who should have lived WILL die

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.

Source: Coronavirus: UK response means NHS staff and patients will ‘die unnecessarily’, Lancet editor says | The Independent

Naga Munchetty: who do we trust when we can’t trust the ‘institutionally racist’ BBC?

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:

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:

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?

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New council chief gets £55 for UNCONTESTED elections – and there’s no money for services

Powys County Hall.

What a barmy contradiction!

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.

Source: POWYS: New Chief Executive gets over 25k payment boost | County Times

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Labour’s NEC – and NCC – has taken sides against the ‘wrong kind of Jews’

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.

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