Tag Archives: Jon Ashworth

Corbyn cannot solve Labour’s ‘crisis’ over anti-Semitism because it is FABRICATED

Jon Ashworth: If he really wants Labour to adopt the IHRA ‘working’ definition of anti-Semitism then he is supporting the racist persecution of Palestinians by the Israeli government.

Supporters of the Conservative Party – and of the Israeli government’s racist policies of persecution against Palestinians – are selling you a pup. Don’t let them.

The Labour Party is not facing any real crisis about anti-Semitism; the words you are hearing spoken about it, and reading in the newspapers and online, are attempts to whip up anger against Jeremy Corbyn, based on a false premise.

There is nothing wrong with Labour’s new code of conduct on accusations of anti-Semitism; it is, in fact, better than the flawed International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance ‘working’ definition.

Those who suggest otherwise – including Jon Ashworth and Barry Gardiner, as mentioned in the excerpt below – are promoting a mechanism for allowing the Israeli government to get away with its policy of unbridled race-hatred against the Palestinians.

(They are also promoting a mechanism by which right-wingers both within and outside Labour can get rid of people they consider undesirable – like This Writer. If you would like to learn more about my own fight against false accusations of anti-Semitism, and think you might want to contribute to my fund for legal action, please visit my JustGiving page.)

And they are supporting those who will simply use the IHRA definition as a stick with which to beat the party even more.

Under the IHRA ‘working’ definition, any criticism of Israeli behaviour would be deemed an offence against that country’s right to self-determination and would be vilified as anti-Semitic, allowing the racists to go on purging that country of people belonging to a different race.

The problem – as I’ve mentioned previously – seems to rest on the belief in the mythical (it doesn’t actually exist) Macpherson principle that an incident must be racist if the victim claims it is so.

Macpherson only set this out as a rule for the recording of allegedly racist incidents – intending that they should be treated as potentially racist while a proper investigation took place into the realities of the situation.

Well, there’s an old saying: Sauce for the goose – if a behaviour is wrong for one side, it is wrong for both.

Palestinians who are suffering because the Israeli government is driving them out of settlements across the country (after the passing of its recent “Israel as a nation-state of the Jewish people” Act), and for all the other reasons they are being persecuted, may also claim racism – although they don’t have a dedicated name for it.

As Labour supports Article 1(2) of the 1948 UN Charter referring to “respect for the principle of equal rights and self determination of peoples”, the Party must be clear that the Palestinian people have the same right to self-determination as any other people. To deny that right is to treat the Palestinian people unequally and is therefore a form of racism (I am paraphrasing paragraph 12 of the party’s new code of conduct on anti-Semitism here – sauce for the goose, remember).

So those who are demanding that Labour revert to acceptance of the IHRA ‘working’ definition are – unquestionably – racists.

They have no answer to this argument, so feel free to use it against them at every possible opportunity.

Let’s watch them try to squirm out of the logical dead-end they have created for themselves.

Jeremy Corbyn is facing mounting pressure to tackle the party’s crisis over antisemitism after three Jewish newspapers jointly condemned the party, with two shadow cabinet members among a series of senior figures calling on the Labour leader to change course.

Two shadow cabinet members openly called for the party to reverse its opposition to fully adopting an internationally-recognised definition of antisemitism, while other figures privately expressed anger at the situation.

A day after the Jewish Chronicle, Jewish News and Jewish Telegraph printed unprecedented joint front-page editorials calling a Corbyn-led government an “existential threat” to Jewish life in the UK, there was no official response beyond a brief party statement defending the current policy.

Jonathan Ashworth, the shadow health secretary, said he was “very depressed” by the editorials and called for the NEC to reverse its decision.

The shadow international trade minister, Barry Gardiner, told Jewish News that he believed it “would have been better for the party to adopt the IHRA definition in full with all the examples”.

Source: Jeremy Corbyn faces growing calls to solve Labour’s antisemitism crisis | Politics | The Guardian

Visit our JustGiving page to help Vox Political’s Mike Sivier fight anti-Semitism libels in court


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Ashworth: Presumption that government contracts should go to private firms is wrong

[Image: We Own It.]

Carillion’s collapse really has changed political thinking.

Here’s Labour’s Jon Ashworth explaining that outsourcing of government contracts, whether tied to Private Finance Initiative deals or not, leads to firms making their profit by cutting staff wages and conditions – which ultimately leads to a poorer service.

He’s absolutely right. This Writer has been saying for years that poor treatment of workers leads to a poor product.

Therefore it follows that, if private business cuts corners in order to make a profit, the only way to provide a decent service is to eliminate the profit motive and for the government to nationalise its work contracts.

The arguments against this are disproved by the facts. All the privatisation-loving Tories can do with future private contracts is confirm Mr Ashworth’s conclusion.

It will be painful to watch, but necessary – to ensure that everybody gets the message.


Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Here are four ways to be sure you’re among the first to know what’s going on.

1) Register with us by clicking on ‘Subscribe’ (in the left margin). You can then receive notifications of every new article that is posted here.

2) Follow VP on Twitter @VoxPolitical

3) Like the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/VoxPolitical/

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

4) You could even make Vox Political your homepage at http://voxpoliticalonline.com

And do share with your family and friends – so they don’t miss out!

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

#NHSCrisis: Keep reminding May the misery is her fault

Theresa May: In Prime Minister’s Questions last week, she was blaming older people for the crisis in the English NHS [Image: PA].


Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth is absolutely right: With no less than 66 out of 152 English hospital trusts in a state of emergency, it is unacceptable for Theresa May (or Jeremy Hunt) to pass the buck. Blame lies with them and their government.

Mr Ashworth’s points are damning:

Theresa May and her Government not only take no responsibility. She feels no shame and doesn’t seem to realise what’s happening to real people.

So she now considers it a “small number” when more than a quarter of patients are waiting over four hours in A&E.

She now considers it “acceptable” that hospitals have to convert gymnasiums into temporary wards and pensioners are trapped, waiting in cold ambulances.

Rather than action, her response is to try to water down the A&E target as if she believes that changing the goals in Whitehall will make any difference to someone waiting in anxiety on a trolley in a real A&E.

Yesterday she tried to blame family doctors.

Source: Theresa May is in denial and out of touch in her response to the crisis of the NHS, says Jonathan Ashworth

Today (January 15), Jeremy Corbyn outlined a few simple steps that would relieve the immediate pressure on the health service, providing breathing-room for long-term solutions to be found.

He said the Conservatives should cancel their plan to cut Corporation Tax and the higher rate of Income Tax. This would release £70 billion.

The money could be used to ensure there are enough beds for incoming patients and enough staff to treat them.

And plenty of money would be left over – certainly enough to provide £2 billion for improvements in the social care system.

Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners, echoed Labour’s position on the NHS Crisis in an appearance on Peston on Sunday. She said: “You’re not cutting fat from the system; you’re cutting muscle. If you cut muscle, it won’t stand up anymore.”

This Writer could not agree more.

Theresa May, Jeremy Hunt and the Tories simply don’t have a leg to stand on.

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

If you have appreciated this article, don’t forget to share it using the buttons at the bottom of this page. Politics is about everybody – so let’s try to get everybody involved!

Vox Political needs your help!
If you want to support this site
(
but don’t want to give your money to advertisers)
you can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Buy Vox Political books so we can continue
fighting for the facts.


The Livingstone Presumption is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Cameron aide charged over child abuse images – at long last

A Rock in a hard place: Patrick Rock, formerly a senior civil servant and policy advisor, who now faces allegations that he possessed indecent images of child abuse.

A Rock in a hard place: Patrick Rock, formerly a senior civil servant and policy advisor, who now faces allegations that he possessed indecent images of child abuse.

Patrick Rock, a former aide of David Cameron and protege of Margaret Thatcher, has been charged with three counts of making an indecent photograph of a child, and with possession of 59 indecent images of childrenmore than four months after he was arrested on suspicion of child pornography offences.

Crown Prosecution Service lawyers assessed the images as Level C, meaning they showed sexual activity between adults and children.

This is the man who, as deputy head of 10 Downing Street’s policy unit, had been working on policies that are allegedly intended to make it harder to find images of child abuse on the Internet.

He was arrested on February 13, only hours after resigning his position with the government. Coincidence?

Nothing was mentioned in the press at the time, but days later the Daily Mail started stirring up historical allegations against Labour’s Harriet Harman, Jack Dromey and Patricia Hewitt. Coincidence?

It seems suspicions were raised in the Labour Party, because shadow minister Jon Ashworth asked, in the public interest:

  • When were 10 Downing Street and David Cameron first made aware that Mr Rock may have been involved in an offence?
  • How much time passed until Mr Rock was questioned about the matter and the police alerted?
  • What contact have officials had with Mr Rock since his resignation?
  • What was Mr Rock’s level of security clearance?

And, most importantly:

  • Why were details of Mr Rock’s resignation not made public immediately?

Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood stonewalled: “Our … actions were driven by the overriding importance of not jeopardising either [the National Crime Agency’s] investigation or the possibility of a prosecution.”

He said: “We judged it was inappropriate to make an announcement while the NCA investigations were continuing.”

David Cameron has declined to comment on the latest development, saying it is a matter for the courts.

He’s changed his tune, hasn’t he?

When Andy Coulson was still facing charges in the phone hacking trial, Cameron couldn’t wait to get on television and make a statement, and never mind whether it was in contempt of court.

All in all, it seems we are facing yet another cover-up bid by this “most open government ever”.

Let us not forget that this happened in the same week that Iain Duncan Smith lost his legal appeal to keep problems with Universal Credit veiled in secrecy.

The DWP had insisted publication of the papers, warning of the dangers likely to be caused by Universal Credit, would have a “chilling effect” on the DWP’s working – a standard defence (see Andrew Lansley’s successful bid to prevent publication of the risk register, detailing problems with his calamitous Health and Social Care Act) that was thrown out by Judge Wikeley in a trice.

The DWP then argued that the order to publish was perverse – that the tribunal responsible had reached a decision which no reasonable tribunal would have reached. Judge Wikeley found that the challenge “does not get near clearing this high hurdle”.

Finally – and most desperately – the DWP tried to argue that the tribunal had not given due weight to the expertise of a DWP witness. Judge Wikeley had to point out that, by law, he cannot substitute his own view of the facts for that taken by the original tribunal.

The DWP was then sent away to consider whether to lodge another appeal.

That’s at least three attempts to hide facts from the public in a single week (it is arguable that Cameron spoke up about Coulson in order to cause a mistrial and prevent him from being convicted of two charges; he cannot say he was unaware of what he was doing, because he has already been rebuked by another judge, earlier this year, for commenting on the trial of Nigella Lawson’s former assistants. In addition, wasn’t it suspicious that Coulson’s defence team immediately leapt up to call for a mistrial ruling, based on the “maelstrom of commentary” Cameron stirred up?) from – as previously mentioned, this “most open government ever”.

There may be more that haven’t become public knowledge.

Does David Cameron really think the public will put their trust in him, with a record like that?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political needs your help!
This independent blog’s only funding comes from readers’ contributions.
Without YOUR help, we cannot keep going.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy Vox Political books!
The second – Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook
The first, Strong Words and Hard Times
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

The ‘Dunce of Downing Street’ can no longer rely on lies

140402dunce

For someone who was educated at Eton and Oxford, it seems strange that David Cameron never learns his lesson.

Today in Prime Minister’s Questions he got on the wrong side of an argument on the Coalition government’s botched sale of the Royal Mail and committed every MP’s cardinal offence: He knowingly lied to Parliament.

Ed Miliband had caught him out with a question about share prices, pointing out that Royal Mail shares had been sold far too cheaply. Referring to Cameron, he described the Prime Minister as “not so much the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’, more the ‘Dunce of Downing Street’.

Cameron hotly denied that his government had bungled the sale, and in response to Miliband’s claim that nobody had wanted it, he told Parliament that Labour had planned to do the same. “It’s in their manifesto!” he ejaculated.

It isn’t.

I have a copy of Labour’s 2010 manifesto on my computer, so I was able to check it immediately and found no mention of any such sell-off. Cameron was inaccurate.

Not only that, but unless the memory cheats, this is not the first time Cameron has made such a claim. His advisors would certainly have informed him of any inaccuracies, so any repetition is a conscious decision. Cameron was lying.

This blog has covered the offence known as Contempt of Parliament in considerable detail before (mostly in relation to serial offender Iain Duncan Smith). By rights, anybody misleading Parliament who does not apologise and put the record straight should be expelled from the House. The current government seems to be ignoring this (for obvious reasons).

Labour’s Jon Ashworth raised a point of order after PMQs, demanding that Cameron return to the Commons to correct himself. Fat chance.

A spokesperson insisted that the language in the Labour manifesto was “similar” to a 2009 plan by Lord Mandelson to sell off 30 per cent of the Royal Mail and prepare the remainder for modernisation.

This means nothing. If it isn’t in the manifesto, Cameron can’t claim that it is.

But then, Cameron seems very confused about manifesto pledges. He once claimed that Andrew Lansley’s reorganisation of the NHS in England had been a part of the Conservative Party’s 2010 manifesto, for example – despite having himself ordered that nobody should mention it in the run-up to that year’s election, in case it put voters off supporting the Tories.

I leave you with Martin Rowson’s cartoon on the Royal Mail sale, for Tribune magazine.

140402royalmail

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political exposes the lies at the heart of our rotten Tory-led government
… but we cannot do so without YOUR help.
This independent blog’s only funding comes from readers’ contributions.
Without YOUR help, we cannot keep going.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy the first Vox Political book,
Strong Words and Hard Times
in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Heywood on Rock: Announcement ‘inappropriate’ while investigations were ongoing

Sir Jeremy Heywood. [Image: PA]

Sir Jeremy Heywood. [Image: PA]

The cabinet secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood, has answered queries from the Labour Party over the way the arrest of Patrick Rock was handled by 10 Downing Street.

Labour’s shadow minister Jon Ashworth had raised questions about the arrest of Mr Rock, formerly a senior advisor in Downing Street, on suspicion of an offence relating to images of child abuse.

Principal among these was the following: “Why were details of his resignation [which would have included the allegation of possessing child abuse imagery] not made public immediately?”

This is important as the Daily Mail revived ancient allegations that members of the Labour Party had been connected with a paedophile group, in the period between Mr Rock’s resignation/arrest and the revelation that this had taken place.

Sir Jeremy’s response: “Our … actions were driven by the overriding importance of not jeopardising either [the National Crime Agency’s] investigation or the possibility of a prosecution.

“We judged it was inappropriate to make an announcement while the NCA investigations were continuing.”

Do you think that’s good enough?

In any other recent situation involving allegations relating to child abuse connected to a public figure, the arrests have been publicised immediately. Look at Dave Lee Travis and William Roache (both of whom were acquitted, although the former must go back for a retrial).

Look at Freddie Starr – TV cameras were outside his home when the police went to talk to him (before any arrests were made).

These are people with a far higher public profile than some Downing Street advisor – yet he got special treatment, with a delay of publicity, and the Mail slid a ‘dead cat’ attack on Labour into the gap.

Remember when I last wrote about this, two days ago? I made it clear that Heywood needed to make his answer good, as “it would be unfortunate for his career if it became clear at a later time that he had tried to protect anybody. Closing ranks to look after your own people is a human response – but inappropriate at high levels of government.”

Isn’t that exactly what has happened?

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political is an independent political blog.
We don’t receive any funding other than contributions from readers.
Without YOUR help, we cannot keep going.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy the first Vox Political book,
Strong Words and Hard Times
in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook

Labour demands clarity over the Patrick Rock allegations

A Rock in a hard place: Patrick Rock, formerly a senior civil servant and policy advisor, who now faces allegations that he possessed indecent images of child abuse.

A Rock in a hard place: Patrick Rock, formerly a senior civil servant and policy advisor, who now faces allegations that he possessed indecent images of child abuse.

Credit where it’s due: Whatever you think of the Labour Party, its leaders deserve praise for asking the right questions about the Patrick Rock affair.

Mr Rock was arrested on February 13, suspected of possessing child abuse imagery – shortly after he resigned his position working on policies that we all thought were intended to make it harder to find such images on the Internet.

Details of his resignation and arrest were not released to the public, but the media sprang into action and in a matter of days, the Daily Mail ran a major story accusing three leading members of the Labour Party of sympathising with paedophile groups.

It was only after this story had run its course that the major news media made the public aware of Mr Rock’s arrest – and Vox Political was not the only blog that voiced suspicions about the sequence of events.

It seems somebody at Labour was paying attention. Shadow minister Jon Ashworth has asked, in the public interest:

  • When were 10 Downing Street and David Cameron first made aware that Mr Rock may have been involved in an offence?
  • How much time passed until Mr Rock was questioned about the matter and the police alerted?
  • What contact have officials had with Mr Rock since his resignation?
  • What was Mr Rock’s level of security clearance?

And, most importantly:

  • Why were details of Mr Rock’s resignation not made public immediately?

The last question should also refer to Mr Rock’s arrest – but it could be suggested that this is implicit as the details would include the reason for the resignation.

Mr Ashworth’s letter was sent to Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood. He is Britain’s top civil servant and not a Tory politician; as such he is duty-bound to provide answers that serve the interests of the nation, rather than the Conservative Party.

He’d better get it right, too – as this story unfolds and more information is revealed, we will be able to judge the validity of Mr Heywood’s response.

It would be unfortunate for his career if it became clear at a later time that he had tried to protect anybody. Closing ranks to look after your own people is a human response – but inappropriate at high levels of government.

When senior government advisors come under suspicion, it is right that everyone connected with them should be investigated as well.

Follow me on Twitter: @MidWalesMike

Join the Vox Political Facebook page.

Vox Political is an independent political blog.
We don’t receive any funding other than contributions from readers.
Without YOUR help, we cannot keep going.
You can make a one-off donation here:

Donate Button with Credit Cards

Alternatively, you can buy the first Vox Political book,
Strong Words and Hard Times
in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook