Tag Archives: Gardiner

TV panellists clash over Labour offer to voters

“Britons to be priority on council house lists” thundered the headline in The Times, announcing a Tory government plan to make people who migrate into the UK second-class citizens as far as housing allocation is concerned.

It’s a red herring: people with UK citizenship are already advantaged on housing lists because immigrants have to wait two years before they can be considered for social housing – they have to build up a history as taxpayers and so on.

The policy proposal is most likely an attempt to distract the public from the fact that the UK’s Conservative government has failed to meet its target for house building – if it even tried. Tories are motivated by profit and if fewer houses are available, demand goes up and people pay more.

This was all aired on the BBC’s Politics Live. Then American commentator Dr Frank Luntz spoke up. He took a wider view than the other panellists, considering the issue as an election strategy, and suggested that the Labour Party was perceived as prioritising people its leaders expected to vote for it, over those in greatest need – incensing Labour representative Barry Gardiner.

Here’s the exchange.


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After police abused the new Public Order Act, above-the-law politicians won’t change it

A reminder: here’s Republic chief executive Graham Smith being arrested for not breaking any laws, by at least eight police officers.

There can’t be any doubt now that the big story of the Coronation weekend is the abuse of the new Public Order Act by police, to arrest and detain people who had every right to protest against a monarchy they do not want.

Graham Smith, chief executive of the anti-monarch group Republic, was jailed early on Saturday morning, on suspicion of conspiring to cause a public nuisance by disrupting the celebrations on London’s streets.

He has made it clear that neither he nor anybody else in his group had any intention to break the law.

Indeed, Republic has made it clear that it co-operated fully with the Metropolitan Police before the event even started:

Graham Smith, speaking for Republic on 3 May, said: “We have had two meetings with the Met police, and numerous phone conversations. They have repeatedly said they have no concerns about Republic’s plans.”

Mr Smith was released on Saturday but police retained his phone and luggage straps that they had claimed could have been used for “locking on” – attaching protesters to street furniture to cause disruption.

These items were returned on Monday evening, when officers admitted they were not able to find any reason to charge Mr Smith with a crime. Here are his comments:

Do you believe the claim of regret by the police? Richard Murphy, of Funding the Future, doesn’t:

I do not believe the police. Politely, they are asking us to believe in yet more fairytales if they expect us to think that these arrests were a mistake.

They announced zero tolerance of protest in advance of the coronation.

They got new powers enacted days in advance of the coronation to arrest without reason.

Republic had been completely open and honest about their intentions, I know. I get their emails. And so there was no new “intelligence” for the police to act on to justify their actions, as they and those seeking to excuse them (Ed Balls, I am looking at you) claimed. There was just a police conspiracy to appease Suella Braverman by showing zero tolerance that backfired spectacularly in both the UK and around the world.

And now they have not only had to eat humble pie, because their actions were so obviously unjustified and unjustifiable –  because not only was the protest peaceful but there was never a conspiracy that it should be anything else  – but they have now paved the way for rightful demands that use of this law be restricted until such time as it can be repealed.

The only impediment to that happening is Labour’s support for these laws – which looks most especially crass now.

I fear Mr Murphy’s hope for Labour may be forlorn. More on this below.

This morning (Tuesday, May 9), Mr Smith was interviewed by Kay Burley of Sky News, who did her level best to undermine his assertions – and he made mincemeat of her. Fair play to her for posting the clip, though!

This Writer cannot understand why Burley kept harping on about the cost of the Coronation. I had heard the £250m line too – and whether it cost that much or the more modest £100m figure that has been more widely-quoted, it’s still money that could have been put to better use in a country whose people are struggling financially because the government has sucked all the money out of it.

And she was unable to stop Mr Smith from making his point that “there was no evidence of any intent or capacity to commit any offence” and “no suggestion of wrongdoing… at all”.

While Burley was putting forward a pro-Establishment view, other journalists went very strongly the other way. Here’s Michael Crick – and I know he’s problematic too, but his words are worth hearing – on LBC:

Sadly, it doesn’t matter what the commenterati say about it; the political elite in Westminster have closed ranks to deny that anything untoward happened at all – and they certainly won’t consider revising or repealing the vague law that allowed this scandal to happen.

Here’s prime minister Rishi Sunak. First he said he supported what the police did:

“The police are operationally independent of Government, they’ll make these decisions based on what they think is best,” he told broadcasters in Hertfordshire.

“Actually I’m grateful to the police and everyone who played a part in ensuring that this weekend has gone so well, so successfully and so safely, that was an extraordinary effort by so many people and I’m grateful to them for all their hard work.”

Then he repeated his assertions to TV reporters:

It’s interesting that Sunak claimed the arrests were “operational decisions made by the police at the time”. I wonder if we can have that confirmed? I’ll try to contact the Met and see what response I get.

Meanwhile, here’s Tory MP Peter Bone, who supports his prime ministers point of view, having his derriere turned into burger meat and handed back to him by Marina Purkiss:

So much for the Tory point of view.

And what about Labour?

Lisa Nandy, on the morning media round, made it clear that her party sides with the Tories and repeated the assertion (although not in as many words) that Labour wants to be able to clamp down on protesters just as hard as the Tories appear to have done:

Even Barry Gardiner, usually excellent at presenting his party in a reasonable light, struggled in a discussion of the scandal on the BBC’s Politics Live:

And what does Labour think of Republic, and the right of anti-monarchists to be able to present their point of view?

Admittedly, party MPs have protested:

John McDonnell, the former shadow chancellor, questioned the rules this week, saying: “I can’t see that allowing local parties to participate in groups like these is going to bring down civilisation as we know it.

“A form of institutional paranoia has emerged in the higher echelons of the party’s bureaucracy which has led to a level of control-freakery in relation to the activities of local CLPs which borders on farce.”

Another MP and former shadow frontbencher, Clive Lewis, who will address anti-monarchy protesters staging a demonstration against the coronation in London on Saturday, said he had “serious misgivings” about the rule preventing affiliation with Republic, adding there was a long history of branches having relationships with democratic campaigning organisations.

Lewis said: “It feels wrong, and sits uncomfortably with me. I think a lot of people will find it problematic, even people who are going to be supportive of the coronation and the king. Many of them will also be people who believe in freedom of speech, freedom of expression and having an open, honest political debate about the future of this country.

“If you join the Labour party, you often joined because you want to make a difference to make your country better, and those are the kind of people who will want to ask questions about the kind of democracy we have.”

But Starmer seems to feel he has to act this way because it might win him some votes – despite the fact that it makes him (yet again) a hypocrite:

Labour under Keir Starmer’s leadership has attempted to underline its patriotism in order to reconnect with voters in “red wall” seats. In the past, Starmer had advocated abolishing the monarchy.

Meanwhile…

Yes, littering is indeed a crime, but it seems nobody has been punished for it.

Instead, the police concentrated their resources on persecuting people who had not broken the law at all.

It really is the big story of the weekend: supporters of the monarchy attacked, arrested, and imprisoned dozens of people on the day their icon was crowned – not for any crime, but simply for having a different point of view.


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‘Chinese agent’ dead cat falls flat for Tories as it turns out she has donated to them

Political influence: Christine Lee has been donating money to the Conservatives for many years, and has been seen with David Cameron (pictured), Theresa May and Boris Johnson.

Remember this sideshow from last week?

The claim was that Christine Lee had been influencing Labour MP Barry Gardiner with donations, while her son was working in his office – but Mr Gardiner swiftly and efficiently killed the allegation:

So all the donations were legitimate, MI5 knew about Lee and was kept informed about her by Mr Gardiner’s office, and there is no evidence to suggest that her son had anything to do with the matter.

MI5 appears to have confirmed this:

More concerning is Ms Lee’s connection with another political organisation… The Conservative Party.

Here she is in close contact with former prime minister David Cameron:

And now here’s a tweet that proved prophetic:

This is the reason:

Apparently she has been backing the Tories for quite a while too. That’s probably the reason the amount she has handed them seems to fluctuate.

Yes indeed:

Possibly the funniest observation of all (although not from the Tory point of view) is this:

And, in the name of political balance, the sharpest comment is this:

So we see that a tactic intended to smear the Labour Party with allegations of corruption and possible treason, to distract from the Downing Street parties scandal, has backfired in Boris Johnson’s face – and now it is his Tories who must face the same claims.

I look forward to seeing them explain their way out of this one.

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.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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