Tag Archives: general

#Colston4: #Tories plan #appeal against verdict on statue topplers

Suella Braverman: this grinning Tory twit is the Attorney General. Fear for the future of justice in the UK.

The latest Tory attack on justice will be against trial by jury, it seems.

The standard of criminal justice, under which anybody accused of a crime is judged by a jury composed of 12 people taken at random from among the general public, is accepted across the world as a paragon of fairness.

The result of the so-called “Colston 4” trial in Bristol has been taken as an example of that. The four defendants had admitted toppling the statue of slaver Edward Colston from its plinth during a demonstration in mid-2020 but, after hearing all the evidence, a jury of their peers acquitted them of criminal damage.

That should be the end of the matter.

But it seems the Tories didn’t like it so – as with the finding of corruption against now-former North Shropshire MP Owen Paterson – they want to change the rules. Here’s Attorney General Suella Braverman, showing that she has been promoted far beyond her abilities:

Confusion? There was no confusion in the Colston case. We can see this clearly because Braverman could not explain the nature of the confusion she was trying to describe. Without that, her reasoning for referring the case to Appeal Court judges falls apart.

I tend to believe the following is a more accurate interpretation of Braverman’s – or at least, Tory government, reasoning:

And Rob Baron makes a solid point, too:

Yes. With no grounds to suggest a mistrial, Braverman is attacking the judgment of an independent jury. That is not acceptable behaviour for anybody working in, or with, the justice system.

Pete Milford explains the reason:

Braverman’s announcement also attracted criticism because it highlighted Tory hypocrisy:

Braverman would be extremely ill-advised to follow through on her threat.

It would be paraded as another example of Tory corruption.

But I doubt she is intelligent enough to understand the harm she would do to her own government. I await her announcement, one way or another.

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Will #BorisJohnson call a #GeneralElection in 2022 – or will one be called in spite of him?

Boris Johnson: time up?

What do you think of this?

It’s a valid interpretation of events, I think.

After Owen Paterson, we’re seeing questions being asked about more Tories – and they won’t be the only ones.

Plus, of course, there is the question of what will happen when Boris Johnson’s latest expenses claims are examined by the Parliamentary standards commissioner.

The trouble – for Establishment influencers, at least – is Keir Starmer. Nobody likes him and that isn’t going to change.

(Labour’s base-line 36 points in the opinion polls is down to tribal voters who either still haven’t worked out that he’s a Tory in a red tie or simply don’t care, as long as he isn’t Boris Johnson.)

So if an election is held between a Johnson-led Tory Party and a Starmer-led Labour, we’ll probably end up with a Hung Parliament and the balance of power going to the Greens!

That could be fun..!

The next few months could be about finding replacements for both main party leaders who are acceptable to the Establishment and the media pundits who represent it.

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Tories lift unfair threat to doctors over face-to-face appointments

Don’t sweat it, Sajid: really, this image should show egg on his face but we can’t have everything we want, can we?

The GP strike is off – for the moment.

You’ll remember This Site reporting last week that GPs in England were threatening to strike after Sajid Javid wanted to compel them to hold face-to-face appointments with anybody who wants one – and threatened to publicly humiliate surgeries that didn’t meet targets he would impose.

Well… it seems Javid has discovered that a week in politics really is a long time.

After the threats and counter-threats, appointment figures for September have been published – showing that GPs have already conducted a significantly higher number of face-to-face appointments.

Remember, they started doing this before Javid made his ridiculous threat.

According to The Guardian,

Figures from NHS Digital show that 28.5m appointments were estimated to have taken place in September – about 8% higher than for the same month in 2019, and up around 3m on the figure for August.

Of the appointments made in September, 43.2% took place on the same day they were booked and 61% were in person. This 17.3m total for face-to-face contacts is the highest figure recorded since February 2020 and is up by about 3.5m on the figure for August, when 58% of appointments were face-to-face, the data suggests.

It’s still fewer than the 80 per cent of appointments that were face-to-face before the arrival of the Covid crisis…

But it was enough to cause a shamefaced Department of Health and Social Care to withdraw its threat to publish monthly “league table” data showing what proportion of surgery appointments occur in person or virtually,

according to sources.

Oh, and

An NHS source claimed “naming and shaming” GPs carrying out low levels of face-to-face appointments had never been included in the plans, only that “appropriate levels of face-to-face appointments for patients based on local need must be delivered”. The NHS source added that “while more localised access data will be published, the plan does not include ‘naming and shaming’”.

Whatever. It doesn’t matter now that it isn’t going to happen anyway, does it?

Source: GPs win ‘significant concessions’ from NHS England over in-person access | GPs | The Guardian

Budget responses: will there be an election next year?

Keir Starmer: an election will be a chance to get rid of HIM.

To be honest, This Writer had not expected it, but some people are claiming that Sunak’s Budget is heralding a general election next year.

And my first response was:

Good! We’ll be able to get rid of Keir Starmer.

Wait – what? Shouldn’t I be hoping to get rid of Boris Johnson?

Sure. But Starmer represents a more long-term threat to the UK.

You see, Tories do what Tories do. But by turning Labour into Tory-lite (or more accurately Tory-Hard-Right), Starmer is deliberately ending any chance for a better future, for millions of people who are being plunged into poverty by Johnson and Sunak.

Think about all the socialist policies that you support:

These are now FORMER Labour economic policies. They’re still popular but now neither of the main UK political parties will support them. Instead, they’ll try to force you to choose between the very similar policies that THEY want.

How are you going to get any of them if Boris Johnson or Keir Starmer is running the UK? You won’t.

Water re-nationalisation may become a test case now. The companies running water services in England are run by the national governments of eight foreign countries who have chosen to dump raw sewage into our waterways rather than progressively update the Victorian sewerage system from the time they took over the system – as the terms of the sale demanded.

The government now says the public would have to pay for improvements. If that happens, shouldn’t the water companies come back into public ownership? After all, we’re still paying for everything.

We need leaders who will campaign for the changes – and the services we want. Some are saying that Labour’s Socialist Campaign Group should step up.

But they’re too scared of being expelled from the party by the Starmtroopers in the Governance and Legal Unit.

So where’s the Opposition going to come from?

A recent local election saw Labour lose a seat – and come a distant third – to an Independent candidate.

They’re usually Tories in disguise but wouldn’t it be welcome if we had socialists standing independently and winning elections?

Who’s up for it?

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No ‘unsustainable’ pressure on the NHS? Then why are GPs threatening to strike?

Sajid Javid: behind the smug smile there appears to be no intelligence at all.

The following tweets appeared next to each other on my timeline:

It’s just more evidence that Sajid Javid was lying when he said pressure on the NHS due to Covid-19 was “not unsustainable” – as if we needed it, after Stephen Powis contradicted him during his own press conference on Wednesday:

GPs are under severe pressure due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis – worsened by the government’s refusal to take action to reduce infections, in the face of increases past 50,000 a day and the worst death rate since March.

But Health Secretary Sajid Javid wants to compel them to hold face-to-face appointments with anybody who wants one – and is threatening to publicly humiliate surgeries that don’t meet targets he imposes.

As a result,

GPs in England are threatening industrial action in protest at the government’s attempt to force them to see any patient who wants a face-to-face appointment.

The British Medical Association’s GPs committee voted unanimously to reject the plan by the health secretary, Sajid Javid.

The doctors’ union has decided to hold a ballot on possible industrial action, which could result in family doctors at the 6,600 practices in England reducing the work they undertake.

So Javid’s interference is likely to make it less possible to see a GP personally. What a stupid way to run a health service.

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Evans wins card vote on his GenSec job amid claims of vote-rigging

Rigging the vote? Keir Starmer (left) retains the services of his hitman David Evans (right) – but how many delegates to Labour conference were denied their vote by foul means in order to achieve the outcome? And will any of the votes in this year’s conference be honest?

David Evans has survived a vote on whether he will be allowed to continue as Labour Party general secretary.

Evans’s boss, Keir Starmer, had been pushing for the vote to be by ‘show of hands’ – an inaccurate method which right-wingers have allegedly used to rig vote results in the past.

But Evans himself announced that the vote would be by the more accurate ‘card’ system, in which every vote is counted.

It seems clear that Evans – and Starmer – had become confident of the result, and claims are circulating that they had eliminated enough anti-Evans delegates to make the vote go their way.

It was still a relatively close-run thing, with 59 per cent for Evans and 41 against. I wonder how many votes that translates into – and expect that we’ll all be surprised at how low the number are.

Stories of delegates’ party memberships being suspended before they could attend conference, being refused admittance for “security” reasons, or being denied the chance to vote when they did, are rife.

And who actually counted the votes?

But the result did not prevent humiliation for the hated general secretary. During his report, Evans told the assembled delegates, “Everybody remembers why they joined Labour,” and asked: “What was it for you?”

The response? Delegates broke into a chant of “Oh Jeremy Corbyn!”

The vote result does not bode well for the rest of the conference – or, indeed, for the future of the Labour Party under these two Tory cuckoos. Expect a mass exodus as Starmer and Evans steer a once-great party of the people into obscurity and ignominy.

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Labour Conference delegates are urged to oppose David Evans as general secretary

Antidemocratic: Keir Starmer and the general secretary he appointed unilaterally – against Labour Party rules – don’t want party members to take any part in democratic decision-making. Delegates to the annual party conference should therefore use their democratic rights to vote Evans out of office – and Starmer as well, if possible.

Labour Party groups across the country are being urged to ensure that their conference delegates will not endorse Keir Starmer’s choice of David Evans as general secretary.

The Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD) supported its call simply by referring to Evans’s record in office, since Starmer appointed him to the job last year:

Since the NEC appointed Evans to act as General Secretary in May 2020, various measures have been introduced to curtail the rights of Labour Party members. Unprecedented restrictions have been placed on discussions of party business, with around 70 local party officers suspended from party membership for defending local party democracy.[See Note 1] This has made local party meetings into unwelcoming spaces for many party members and as a result our membership has already suffered a large decline.

None of this has been of electoral benefit, as is evident from: Labour’s significant decline in opinion polls since the summer of 2020; the predominately poor local election results in May; and the appalling loss of Labour support in the Hartlepool and the Chesham and Amersham by-elections.

And recent reports in the media suggest that the party is considering giving the General Secretary new powers to appoint people to make decisions on disciplinary charges – matters that are currently determined by people who are elected. Evidently this would not make the complaints process independent, but instead increase the General Secretary’s role in the prosecution and judgement of complaints – contrary to natural justice.

The risks for the party, if it continues to attack its own members and not put up any serious opposition to the Tories, is that we will be seen as divided, and voters, the majority of whom are being harmed by this government, will continue to look elsewhere when they want to vote for an alternative to Tory policies.

Regrettably, the party has been deterring, not attracting, electoral support. Right-wing factionalism does not deliver victories for Labour. It undermines the party’s functioning, both internally and also in elections.
It has been a mistake, with damaging consequences, that the party recently abandoned its democratic traditions. It is a mistake that Annual Conference can help to correct.

The long standing custom and practice was that party members discussed and adopted positions on matters across the full range of party business and policy. The culture, of encouraging internal debate, helped our party became one of the largest political parties in Europe. It also assisted the leadership, keeping it in touch with our members, who form the backbone of our local campaigns.

Our members are important to our success. The stifling of internal democracy is unfortunately damaging the party and this is benefiting our electoral opponents.

We need a General Secretary who will prioritise uniting the party around an alternative agenda to that of the Tories, to aid Labour in making a much needed electoral advance. It is an important post in the party, which should not be used as a platform for divisive attacks on party members.

Annual Conference needs to shift the party’s focus on to fighting the Tories. Delegates can best assist the party in achieving such a re-orientation by rejecting the NEC’s recommendation on the General Secretary.

Sadly, though, Evans’s own diktats mean party members can’t pass resolutions on the matter or even discuss it at their meetings because – and this is damning – “the current regime in the party is intolerant of democratic discussion on these matters“.

That’s right:

The acting General Secretary has placed significant restrictions on what local parties can discuss in meetings. Misleadingly presented as ‘guidance’, in reality dictates were issued, as became evident when many local party officers were suspended from party membership accused of failing to follow the so called ‘guidance’.

The dictates have effectively proscribed local party meetings from discussing the situation arsing from the political attacks on Labour’s former Leader Jeremy Corbyn. Party members have been barred from discussing their opposition to these attacks and from expressing solidarity with Jeremy.

In addition, severe restrictions have been placed on discussing other important political areas of party business, such as: whether the IHRA definition informs the most effective way to combat antisemitism; the decision of the Labour Party to make substantial payments to former members of party staff who appeared on a BBC Panorama programme; the EHRC’s report on the Labour Party and the party’s response to it; and ‘matters relating to the internal processes of the PLP’.

Presumably Evans is hoping that his order denying party members the opportunity to discuss his election means delegates will do as they are told and obediently nod him in – so he can cause even more damage.

To This Writer’s way of thinking, this should be cause for him to be automatically barred – not just from any position of authority in the Labour Party, but from membership of the organisation in any way at all.

Repressing other members simply isn’t appropriate behaviour for a Labour Party representative.

Also to This Writer’s way of thinking, this should be cause for a vote of “no confidence” in Keir Starmer’s leadership.

Starmer appointed Evans and we must conclude that he not only supported all the anti-democratic restrictions Evans has imposed – he demanded them.

That is not appropriate behaviour for a Labour Party leader so Starmer should get the boot too.

So, Labour delegates – are you up for it? Will you fight for your rights? Or do you actually deserve everything Starmer, Evans, and indeed Boris Johnson are shovelling at you?

Your choice.

Source: Labour Party Delegates Should Oppose the NEC Recommendation to Endorse David Evans – Campaign for Labour Party Democracy

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Sharon Graham wins Unite election – meaning the nomination process is broken

Sharon Graham: she’s the new Unite general secretary but the election has cast a shadow over the legitimacy of the nomination process.

Congratulations to Sharon Graham for becoming the first female general secretary of the UK’s largest trade union, Unite.

And well done to her, also, for demonstrating that the mechanism for nominating candidates is badly broken and must be improved.

We can see this because of the number of Unite branches that were seen to nominate different candidates.

Steve Turner reckoned he had 525 branches behind him – the most of any candidate – but it is widely believed that he only beat right-winger Gerard Coyne into second place because supporters of Howard Beckett held their noses and voted for him.

Beckett himself managed 328 branch nominations but pulled out in order not to split the Left vote. In hindsight, that may seem ill-advised.

Graham herself had 349, while Coyne managed just 196.

The fact that these nominations were not matched by the proportion of votes offered to each candidate indicates that there’s something wrong with the process.

I don’t know what that process is, but if it doesn’t offer sufficient weight to the number of members in each branch who support a particular candidate, then it needs to be fixed.

If it doesn’t even allow rank-and-file branch members a say, then it must be corrected at the earliest opportunity.

And there’s a knock-on effect, too: because they saw Turner receiving the most nominations, so-called ‘optics Left’ ‘influencers’ tried to exert pressure on Graham and Beckett to withdraw (successfully, in Beckett’s case).

We see now that this was a bad call.

You can read a more detailed piece about this over on Skwawkbox.

The message to take home is that Unite could have ended up with a leader who did not represent the intentions of its voting members – because of its faulty nomination system and the reactions of influential people.

Source: Graham’s win discredits Unite nominations process – and destroys ‘blue-tick’ left’s credibility – SKWAWKBOX

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Keir Starmer’s latest insulting betrayal of Labour is a doozy

Keir Starmer (right) is showing he is closer politically to Boris Johnson’s Tories with every rotten right-wing decision he makes.

If we ever needed more evidence that Keir Starmer thinks his job is to contain the Labour Party, rather than lead it, here it is:

He is trying to recruit people from outside Labour – who may never have considered even voting for it – to become Parliamentary candidates for the 2024 general election.

The insult on top of the injury is that the plan is a direct copy of a Conservative initiative – the so-called ‘A-list’ scheme. Here’s Elen Courea of The Times:

What incredible contempt for the party members who represent everything Labour should stand for.

He’ll take their membership money (let’s face it, he’s desperate for the funds).

He’ll tell them what to do – and punish them brutally if they don’t comply.

But he’s absolutely determined to exclude them from having anything to do with how the party is to be run. That’s for Tories, like him.

And we all know it, don’t we?

But there’s trouble on the horizon.

Once again, the UK’s biggest union – Unite – has spoken up in protest at Starmer’s plan that is “potentially bypassing the talent in our movement”.

The statement says:

“It is depressing that the latest offering from the Labour Party is a plan to imitate the Tories’ candidate selection model.

“Our party is packed with talented people who have dedicated themselves to their party, their union or public service.

“These should be our A-list candidates and we should be proud to nurture them to stand for Labour.

“This is where the trade unions come in, with successful programmes dedicated to supporting Labour members and trade unionists to become MPs.

“The briefing around the ‘calibre’ of the latest intake of Labour MPs is disrespectful snobbery towards people who give their all for Labour.

“Labour should be working with the trade unions – our living and breathing link back to workplaces – to develop a candidates programme that the whole movement can get behind.

“But if the party carries on alienating and offending members, it will be hard to find anyone inspired to stand for office as a Labour MP.”

Well, it will be hard to find anyone willing to be a Labour MP who is’nt a Tory.

And they’ll be second-class Tories, too – because all the top-tier Tories will be on the proper ‘A-list’ scheme.

With every step he takes, Starmer makes it more clear that his job is to bury Labour forever.

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Boris Johnson’s fascists may be unbeatable – because the OPPOSITION is saying the wrong things

Representatives of the UK’s Opposition parties are helping Boris Johnson’s fascist version of the Conservatives to stay in power beyond the next election because they are saying the wrong things.

The controversy over violent protests is just one such matter. Labour representatives have been queuing up on both the mass and social media to condemn members of the public who were involving in violence in Bristol on March 21 – buying into the fascist narrative pushed by Priti Patel.

Why aren’t they pointing out that there wouldn’t be any violence at all if the government hadn’t given them a very good reason to protest?

It’s a really simple point but it is far too intelligent a strategy for a nincompoop like Keir Starmer, of course.

I’m saying this in response to the latest Mainly Macro blog piece by Simon Wren-Lewis, who is been providing useful thinking-points for many years.

He’s currently saying Johnson’s fascists are going to win the next election because people have accepted that he had the right strategy for distributing the Covid-19 vaccine and will be happy to believe anything he says about the economic bounce that is certain to happen as most people go back to work.

It won’t matter that economic conditions will not improve to its position before Covid (let alone before the crisis of 2008); people will believe the hype because they want to – and because they don’t know any better.

So Johnson will probably call an election for late 2022 or early 2023, having repealed the Fixed Term Parliaments Act in order to do so. This was a manifesto promise so we know it’s coming anyway.

Professor Wren-Lewis doesn’t want the fascists to win. In fact, he says it is vital that Boris Johnson’s government be removed as soon as possible:

It is an authoritarian government with immense power because of its solid majority, and the longer it stays in power the more difficult it will make the life of any opposition.

And, indeed, the life of ordinary citizens.

But his main idea about how to defeat Johnson is hopeless: he wants “socially liberal” political parties to team up, so that only one candidate is fielded against Johson’s fascists in any constituency. It simply won’t work.

Firstly, Labour voters are still too angry at the Liberal Democrats over that party supporting the Tories into power in 2010. Yes, the Lib Dems have had their arses kicked as a result and are now a minority party in Westminster, but they haven’t “suffered enough”, as the phrase goes, and should be left in the wasteland.

So the two main parties aren’t going to ally, and without that, there’s no point in the others coming in.

Professor Wren-Lewis also makes another grave error of judgement, which is that, under Keir Starmer, Labour is not a “socially liberal” political party. It is strongly right-wing.

On the political compass, Labour would currently appear in the right wing/authoritarian quadrant, slightly to the left of Boris Johnson’s Conservatives. Starmer has spent the last year dragging it there, from its previous position near to the centre but on the left wing/socially liberal side, where Jeremy Corbyn had put it.

Oh, you thought Corbyn had sent Labour to the far left? Go to the back of the class.

The final idea in the Mainly Macro piece is that Opposition parties should be more careful about what they choose to talk about, and how they address those subjects.

Activists are bad judges of what will win an election, he says, and he’s right on this. They want to talk about their pet issues, which are unlikely to be what will win over the left wing authoritarians that Labour needs or the left wing social liberals that the party is currently haemorrhaging.

Professor Wren-Lewis puts forward the very sensible view that Labour – and indeed the Opposition parties as a whole – should remember that winning parties can avoid talking about subjects in an election campaign and still act on them in power:

This point is so obvious to Conservatives that it is second nature. A Conservative party will not campaign on privatising the NHS but that does not stop them doing it when in office.

Election campaigns, which for oppositions last five years, involve promoting your most popular policies. For successful Labour oppositions that is going to involve left wing economics policies but not socially liberal policies.

Again, for Labour, the problem is that the party no longer has any popular policies – or any policies at all; Starmer threw them all out after he got himself elected leader.

Like a proverbial headless chicken, he chases whatever seems to be popular at the moment in a blind panic to find something that will reflect well on him.

And he is plummeting in the polls because he is trying to be too much like the Tories when he finds such an issue.

Look at Covid-19 – he became ridiculed as the Tories’ yes-man.

On the right to protest, his party has made itself vulnerable to accusations of supporting violent lawbreakers when Labour representatives could have avoided the claim simply by pointing out that the Tories have incited violent protest by introducing draconian new criminal laws alongside legislation to ban protest altogether, in any meaningful way.

So Johnson is winning because Starmer is simply too stupid to govern.

That will remain the situation until Labour gets a new leader – of the left – who does what needs to be done, rather than what they want to do.

Source: mainly macro: As things stand, the chances of defeating Johnson at the next election are miniscule

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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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