Selective deafness: It doesn’t matter how many people shout at Theresa May to quit. She won’t go until she’s pushed.
Schadenfreude: It’s a German word to describe joy at an enemy’s misfortune – and it is appropriate, considering the Conservative Party’s funding problems are partly due to its Brexit failures.
Those problems aren’t going away, either – because Theresa May isn’t going away.
She’s the leader who messed up Brexit so badly that the deadline for the UK to leave the EU has already had to be pushed back twice.
And there’s no sign that she’s ready to quit – why would she? As far as she is concerned, she’s doing a great job. She’s living in a bubble, you see. Nothing critical registers with her.
But her party’s funding situation won’t improve until she goes, because donors are waiting to see who succeeds her before making any cash commitments.
So it seems the party that sets the individual above the group may be sunk by an individual who set herself above her colleagues.
There is also a certain satisfaction in the fact that the politicians who introduced the hated Bedroom Tax, forcing thousands – possibly millions – of people across the UK into rent arrears and making many homeless, may now – or soon – owe a significant amount in rent itself.
It’s poetic, really.
Funding for the Conservatives has dried up so badly that [it seems] the party is struggling to pay the rent on its headquarters.
Concern among activists and MPs deepened … as James Hosking, a City financier and one of the party’s most prominent donors, defected to Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party.
The failure to secure Brexit is one of the main reasons for the crash in donations, with backers unwilling to provide more cash until the issue is resolved.
Fears are also mounting that Theresa May’s refusal to stand aside is starving the party of much-needed funding as donors are holding back to see who the Prime Minister’s replacement will be.
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.
Maureen Lipman: You’d think a performer of her standing would know the danger in ill-advised words.
“Who’ll go?” That’s what This Writer asked yesterday (April 7). The answer, we now know, is: Practically nobody:
Hundreds of protesters gathered in the rain outside Labour’s London headquarters today for a demo against anti-Semitism.
There were shouts of “Corbyn out”, “racists” and “shame”, and boos among the crowd of around 250 people when speakers named the Labour leader.
The protest was called by the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism, which has regularly criticised Mr Corbyn’s approach.
Brilliant. 250 misinformed sheeple, standing outside empty offices, howling lies about one of the strongest advocates against racism of any kind (including anti-Semitism) that the UK has.
On today’s protest by CAA ‘With great chutzpah (cheek/nerve), they call themselves Campaign Against Antisemitism, but the current butt of their campaign is someone who himself is one of the most longstanding opponents of all racism including antisemitism: Jeremy Corbyn’ pic.twitter.com/9B38TNN4JB
I also asked if Gideon Falter, chairman of the CAA, would take the right message from a poorly-attended event – that his organisation’s lies about Mr Corbyn, and about anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, were falling on deaf ears.
It seems he did not:
Thank you to the 2,000+ people who came and made our voices heard, calling on @UKLabour to hold @JeremyCorbyn to account. We did it, and we decided to return on 13th May if we are not satisfied with progress by then. Today, we were the many, they were the few!
She stood next to Mr Falter, to speak against the Labour Party – but brought instant ridicule on herself by attacking Ed Miliband, the party’s previous leader and a man of very clear Jewish descent:
Live on @SkyNews in an interview @maureenlipman says she knew Labour was becoming anti-Semitic when it elected Ed Miliband as it's leader. Sky reporter points out that Ed Miliband is of Jewish heritage.
LI comment: We wish this was #satire but sadly it isn't.
“Everything we’ve heard today points to the fact that we have an anti-Semite as the head of the British Labour Party,” she said.
In that case, everything that was said at the event was slander, because Mr Corbyn is accepted by rational people as the antithesis of an anti-Semite. Indeed, as David Rosenberg states, above, Mr Corbyn is “one of the most longstanding opponents of all racism including anti-Semitism”.
I wish Mr Corbyn would take legal action against Ms Lipman and the CAA for their outrageous lies. Mr Falter was standing right next to her and failed to correct the claim.
But he’s far too clever to be drawn in.
The CAA’s attack on Labour was a false-flag attempt to rid the UK of the best opposition to Theresa May’s diabolical Conservative government. It was clever to attack Jeremy Corbyn on the basis of a problem that everybody accepts exists in many organisations, but the claims of the organisation and its allies have stretched credibility too far and they have lost the confidence of the public.
Why give them the oxygen of publicity when their argument is dead?
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Thanks today go to Vox Political commenter concernedkev, who brought this writer’s attention to a piece by Labour MP Tom Watson. It’s self-explanatory so here it is:
I have had cause to write to [the Telegraph] about a disturbing allegation shared with me by Chris Bryant MP. They just ignored me.
My letter was prompted by a conversation I had with Chris. He told me that he’d had lunch at the Quirinale restaurant with Telegraph political correspondent Matthew Holehouse. [We won’t quote this part because there is a direct quote from Mr Bryant later in the piece, as follows:] “Matthew Holehouse told me at lunch at Quirinale that he had been accidentally included in a series of email exchanges between senior figures at Conservative Central Office who were speculating about which Labour sitting MPs were paedophiles and how they should deploy this ‘information’. Matthew seemed to think that this showed that CCHQ was run by a bunch of children and he said it was worse than Damian McBride. He reckoned the paper would be running the story later that week, unless the powers that be intervened. I asked him which senior figures were involved. He said ‘very senior’, but refused to elaborate. He also refused to tell me which Labour MPs were speculated about. He didn’t believe that any of the emails’ allegations were anything other than nasty vindictiveness and an attempt to smear Labour MPs.”
When what he told me had sunk in I was furious. It showed that senior offices at CCHQ were either a; holding back vital intelligence from the police abuse inquiry or b; engaging in a smear campaign against their opponents. Either way, it showed appalling conduct.
I felt it needed addressing at a senior level in both the Conservative party and the Telegraph.
Here’s the letter I wrote to David Cameron about the matter on 26th January:
Dear Mr Cameron,
Child Abuse Allegations
As you know, the scandal of child sex abuse at every level of society, including in the highest reaches of political life, has caused deep distress to many thousands of sex abuse survivors. Your party, with others, has been arguing for a full, open inquiry into these matters and for the police to pursue perpetrators.
You have also rightly been among the first to deplore the fact that — amid the speculation that this scandal has caused — a number of individuals have found themselves the subject of baseless, hurtful and defamatory allegations, often spread in an irresponsible way on social media networks and by email. Just this weekend Lord Selwyn Gummer condemned online “innuendo” as “wicked”.
With the above in mind, I understand that there has been an email exchange between several members of staff at CCHQ in which the staff are reported to speculate about which sitting Members of Parliament might be paedophiles.
It is possible that it is a serious piece of investigative work. In which case I urge you to hand this evidence over to the police immediately, so that they can investigate -rather than keeping it in the confines of the party. You recently publicly declared that all documents held by party whips will be made available to the police. I trust the same is true of internal party emails.
If, however, it is a scurrilous and puerile attempt to smear sitting politicians, then that is a different but no less serious matter.
First, I am sure that you would consider it your duty to report the existence of such an email and the identities of those who originated and circulated it, in the same way that other instances of unfounded smears disseminated by political advisers have rightly been condemned by you in the past.
Second, I would hope you also see it as your duty privately to share the relevant material with the MPs who are mentioned in this email, so that they can take necessary legal action to protect their reputations if they want to do so.
I hope you would agree that it would be wholly inappropriate for you and party officials to sit on these emails and refuse either to confirm their existence, or inform those whom it defames. That would be a disservice to the public interest, it would further harm the proper process of getting to the truth of child sex abuse and it would damage your personal reputation.
I do not intend to publicise this letter at this stage, as I appreciate you may not be aware of this matter. I do not want to put undue pressure on you while you are investigating the issues I have raised and taking the necessary actions.
However, I look forward to hearing your response as a matter of urgency.
[Needless to say, he didn’t get an urgent response and had to write a follow-up letter which got the brush-off from Grant Shapps, Tory party co-chairman. He continues:]
We tried to chase up the Telegraph for a formal response but they kept ignoring us. I even asked my researcher to call the switchboard to ask for Robert Winnet’s mobile number but they refused to give it him. If I’m being honest, at this point I gave up. You can only fight so many battles.
Despite giving up I still think that Chris’s account of Holehouse’s allegations are in the public interest and would ordinarily have been jumped at by a newspaper editor.
When I read Peter Oborne’s article yesterday I felt I should at least explain that he was not alone. He did a brave thing and today he is being mocked by his former employers and others in the industry.
They’re closing ranks and trying to traduce the character of a respected journalist because he spoke truth to power like he’s supposed to, though on this occasion it was a powerful media mogul.
It’s not right.
You can read the full article (this is just an excerpt) here.
Withholding evidence is a serious offence. If the Telegraph does have this material, and does not intend to use it in a story, then its writers, editors and publishers may be accessories to the crimes of child sexual abuse to which they are said to relate; by holding them and not releasing them to the police, they would be allowing the perpetrators to remain at large.
How long has it been since Labour was deemed the party with no policies and no direction? Now it seems the Conservatives have taken up this undesirable label and applied it to themselves (excuse the choice of words) liberally.
Labour’s stand on energy prices sent the Tories scurrying away to find an answer, after they finally realised that baldly claiming nothing could be done was not going to cut any ice.
When they finally came up with something, their answer was to “Cut the green crap” and reduce the environmental levy on energy firms – a u-turn within a u-turn for the party that once proclaimed to the nation, “Vote Blue – Go Green”.
This week they have also u-turned on cigarette packaging – for a second time within a matter of months. Before the summer, the Conservative vision was to safeguard children from smoking by removing packaging for cigarette packets. Then – after coincidentally hiring fag-company lobbyist Lynton Crosby to run their campaigns for them – they decided that the packaging could stay. Now – in the face of a possibly Lords rebellion – they are reversing their position yet again.
This is the context in which Boy Chancellor George Osborne will make his Autumn Statement – and he has already put himself on a sticky wicket before going in to bat.
Remember David Cameron’s massive error of judgement at the Lord Mayor’s banquet a few weeks ago, when he stood behind a gold-plated lectern that could easily be sold off or melted down to help pay of the interest on his government’s ever-increasing borrowing burden, and said austerity was here to stay?
It seems Gideon was eager to follow in his master’s footsteps, stumping up £10.2 MILLION (including VAT at the 20 per cent level that he imposed on us all in 2010) on new furnishings for his Whitehall HQ, from exclusive designers Panik, Ferrious and Senator. One Treasury insider, according to the Daily Mirror, wondered “why we couldn’t have just bought new furniture from Ikea”.
Good question! It is also one that is especially pertinent after it was revealed that Osborne has been calling for last-minute spending cuts from the Home Office and the departments of Justice, Defence, Business and Work and Pensions (yet again), because he will not be able to fund the £2 billion of giveaways announced during the conference season without them.
These include scrapping a rise in petrol duty of almost 2p per litre, free school meals for pupils aged five-to-seven and rewarding marriage in the tax system.
It seems clear that these measures were all unfunded when they were announced, putting the lie to Conservative claims that they have any kind of plan – and ruining their claim that Osborne’s schoolboy-economist austerity idiocy has done anything to improve the UK economy.
Hutton went on to state that Osborne decided to “borrow from the Keynesian economic locker… never admitting the scale of the philosophic shift, and then claimed victory”. In other words, Osborne is the biggest hypocrite in Westminster (and that’s a huge achievement, considering the state of them all)!
Result: “The public is misinformed – told that austerity worked and, as importantly, the philosophy behind it works too… Thus the Conservative party can be protected from the awful truth that Thatcherism fails.”
Labour MP Michael Meacher is much more scathing (if such a thing is possible). In a Parliamentary debate, quoted in his blog, he told us: “We do have a recovery of sorts, but one that has been generated in exactly the wrong way. It has been generated by consumer borrowing and an incipient bubble, and it is not — I repeat, not — a real, sustainable recovery.”
In other words, the – as Hutton describes it – “eclectic and spatchcocked Keynesianism” employed by Osborne, while superficially useful in the short-term, will cause immense damage over a longer period because he doesn’t understand it and only used it in desperation.
Both Hutton and Meacher agree that a sustainable recovery can only come from what Meacher describes as “rising investment, increasing productivity, growing wages and healthy exports”, none of which are supported by Osborne’s current behaviour.
And yet, according to the Daily Telegraph, Osborne will fulfil another of this blog’s long-standing prophecies on Thursday by telling us all that “Britain can no longer afford the welfare state”.
From a member of the most profligate snout-in-trough overspenders ever to worm their way into public office and then inflict a harm-the-defenceless agenda on the nation, that will be the biggest lie of all.
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