Tag Archives: ken

Hysteria as ONE poll puts Starmer Labour level with Tories. Why isn’t he 20 points ahead?

No answers: Starmer’s Labour is level in the polls because of Tory incompetence, not because of anything he has done. His own decisions could force his ejection from the party leadership within a few short months.

Apparently The Guardian reckons Keir Starmer’s Labour Party has gained 26 points in the opinion polls to draw level with the Conservatives on 40 each. This is nonsense. In fact, I think it’s a flat-out lie.

My reasoning is obvious: Labour has not fallen to 14 points on the opinion polls this year. When Starmer took over as leader, I am reliably informed the party stood on 32 points.

So, if The Guardian was right, Labour should now be 18 points ahead. And that’s still not the 20 points ahead that Labour right-wing cuckoos said Jeremy Corbyn should have been, when he was Labour leader!

Who wrote that nonsense for the Graun and how do they justify their paycheques?

And consider this: while Labour as a party is said to be level with the Tories in this outlier poll by Opinium…

… Starmer himself has fallen behind Johnson. It is a matter of days since Starmer’s adherents were claiming his critics should shut up because a poll had put Starmer above Johnson as preferred PM while Labour was several points behind the Tories.

They want to have it both ways, and it doesn’t stand up to scrutiny.

Labour’s current – only average – showing is due to the incompetence and greed of Boris Johnson and his Tory cronies, who are clearly to be seen cashing in on the Covid-19 crisis when they should be doing everything they can to help the citizens of the UK.

And it’s not going to last – because Starmer’s decisions are catching up with him.

So we see in Labour Heartlands that genuine left-winger and film director Ken Loach wants to know Starmer’s involvement in the Julian Assange case:

As DPP, Sir Keir Starmer tempered his supposed love of liberty by fast-tracking the extradition of Julian Assange (a process now making its way through the courts). He flouted legal precedents by advising Swedish lawyers not to question Assange in Britain: a decision that prolonged the latter’s legal purgatory, denied closure to his accusers in Sweden, and sealed his fate before a US show trial. Leaked emails from August 2012 show that, when the Swedish legal team expressed hesitancy about keeping Assange’s case open, Sir Keir’s office replied: ‘Don’t you dare get cold feet’.

Documents released under Freedom of Information requests to Italian magazine La Repubblica confirm the very close relationship between the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Sweden in the Julian Assange case. The files contain hundreds of mostly redacted emails sent over a five-year period. But according to one authoritative source, the number of CPS documents relating to the case may be much greater than has so far been disclosed.

In May 2017, the Swedish authorities announced they had ceased all remaining investigations into alleged sexual assault by WikiLeaks founder Assange. But the Metropolitan Police arrest warrant for skipping bail would remain in force. Subsequently, Assange’s legal team sought a ruling that the Met warrant should be rescinded, but the court ruled otherwise.

This case is one of the great political cases of the century, as John McDonnell recently said. It’s a defining case for the left, and Sir Keir Starmer has taken the most conservative position imaginable.

This is what Labour Party members can expect from a Starmer leadership: unquestioning loyalty to the establishment on both sides of the Atlantic.

And then we have the matter of the Labour Payout – the £600,000 that Starmer handed over to a group of right-wing factionalists who are no longer working for Labour but who made extravagant claims about anti-Semitism and Jeremy Corbyn, while apparently doing all they could to sabotage the party’s chances at election (according to a now-infamous leaked Labour report).

One part of those allegations involved the diversion of 2017 election funds away from target seats to safe seats in a move that was hidden from Corbyn. Former elections director Patrick Heneghan was said to be responsible for this and he has now published his attempts at self-justification in response to the inquiry into that leaked report.

His response has been picked apart in a 14-tweet thread by Steve Howell, who also worked on Labour’s General Election Campaign Committee (GECC). I make no apology for including those tweets here, so we all have access to them:

(Oh yeah, let’s have the rest of that previous thread as well:)

It is clear that Heneghan did siphon off Labour campaign money that could have been used to win the seats needed to form a government in 2017 – without the knowledge of the party leader – and it is entirely possible that this action prevented Labour from winning that year’s election.

So why did Starmer give a huge amount of money to the people who threatened to take Labour to court over it? It seems clear they did not have a case.

Put these matters together – along with any others that you care to mention – and one thing seems clear:

Keir Starmer’s position as Labour leader is on borrowed time. He may not last long after the Forde report is published.

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An INCOMPETENT government released the London Bridge terrorist to kill again: a TORY government

How tasteless of the Tories to try to blame Labour for a tragedy that they caused.

People have died and both Home Secretary Priti Patel and prime minister Boris Johnson have tried to turn the atrocity into a political football.

For clarity: convicted terrorist Usman Khan murdered two people on London Bridge last Friday (November 29).

Both Mr Johnson (see the link below) and Ms Patel have tried to blame the fact that he was free and able to commit these murders on an early release policy which they say was imposed by a Labour government.

Both Mr Johnson and Ms Patel were telling an untruth.

Khan had been jailed under Imprisonment for Public Protection (IPP) – a policy imposed by Labour, but abolished by a Conservative Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, in 2012.

It is because the Conservatives abolished IPP that Khan was able to appeal against his sentence – successfully. It was reduced to 16 years, meaning he was released on licence in December 2018.

Labour had nothing to do with it.

If you read the article (link below), you’ll see that Mr Johnson changed tack – to claim that his government could not be responsible because he has only been prime minister for 120 days. What drivel.

The UK has been under continuous Conservative rule since 2010. The same Conservative government that repealed IPP is now being run by Mr Johnson. The only differences – of cabinet members and prime minister – are cosmetic.

So don’t let Boris Johnson and his Tory cronies make a fool of you.

His government was responsible for Usman Khan’s release and as leader, he should take responsibility for it.

The fact that he is desperately trying to slither out of it is more proof of his unsuitability to govern.

Make sure he doesn’t get the chance to cause any more harm. Vote Labour on December 12.

Source: Boris Johnson blames Labour for release of London Bridge killer | UK news | The Guardian

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Has Swinson been caught LYING about her preferred ‘unity government’ leader, Ken Clarke?

Jo Swinson: She’s not talking to Kenneth Clarke here, obviously.

Remember when Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson proposed Kenneth Clarke as a possible leader of a “unity” government in what we now see as a desperate bid to avoid supporting a Jeremy Corbyn-led short-term government?

She said she had spoken to both Mr Clarke and Harriet Harman about the possibility. “I have been in touch with them because obviously you don’t just mention people’s names without checking that they’re OK with that,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

But Mr Clarke seems to be telling a different story.

According to The Guardian, he “told the BBC on Friday that he had been on holiday and had not followed the news closely about a potential unity government, said he was nevertheless willing to be considered as a potential leader of a unity government”.

So it seems to me that Ms Swinson was lying when she claimed to have spoken with Mr Clarke. She can’t be trusted to even say the right thing, let alone do it.

And people have noticed:

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/1162708745123708928

Some have tried to say that Ms Swinson called Mr Clarke while he was on holiday but this doesn’t match the evidence.

Besides – if she had spoken to him before putting his name forward, she would have known that he supports the “soft” Brexit that Jeremy Corbyn spent months trying to get Theresa May to accept, and wouldn’t help facilitate a second referendum at all:

It really screws up Ms Swinson’s whole narrative.

As the singer Billy Bragg tweeted: “While the #FBPE [mob] continue to dismiss Corbyn’s offer because “he’s a Brexiteer”, have they bothered to check out the position of their preferred PM Ken Clarke? Turns out he’s a Brexiteer!”

This is what happens when children try to do grown-up politics. I’ve taken to describing Lib Dem attitudes as “toddler politics” and it seems the sentiment is catching on.

Will kiddy playing politics @joswinson be making a remix of Clegg’s Sorry?” asked Gracie Samuels on Twitter. “Like when she was in coalition with the Tories last time and she helped them push through the health and social care bill (now Act) that is now destroying the NHS and social care?”

In case anybody has forgotten that song, plenty of people have been tweeting the link to remind us. Here it is:

And people across the UK are clear about exactly who will be responsible for breaking the bid to stop Boris Johnson if BoJob gets away with his “no deal” Brexit plan:

There’s this from @xpressanny, direct to the Lib Dems: “Oh for goodness sake GROW UP! This is future of Great Britain you are deliberately messing around with. Either get involved with Tories, Green & SNP or be seen as Tory AND No Deal Brexit Enablers. Time to join the adults. Your choice.”

And ‘Monsignor it’s all Corbyn’s fault, proud crank” stated: “‘I won’t vote for him because they won’t vote for him because I won’t vote for him’ just isn’t a credible or honourable justification for not backing the only guaranteed way to stop no deal Brexit and convinces no one, least of all those who voted Lib Dem as an anti-Brexit party.”

The message is clear:

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The Boring Osborne Drinking GamE (BODGE)

Get it down you: George Osborne's trying to be 'one of the boys' in this photo, but you'll need a stiff drink when you hear what he has in store for the country (even if it is only likely to last one month)!

Get it down you: George Osborne’s trying to be ‘one of the boys’ in this photo, but you’ll need a stiff drink when you hear what he has in store for the country (even if it is only likely to last one month)!

Today, for one day only, Vox Political will be extolling the virtues of alcohol. Yes, Gideon will be announcing the much-fought-over results of his spending review negotiations with other government departments and, here at Vox Towers, we think you’ll need an anaesthetic to get through them.

What you need to do is get hold of the ‘anaethetic’ of your choice. Bear in mind that Chancellors of the Exchequer are known for drinking their way through their own budget statements, with the anaesthetic of their choice (Ken Clarke liked whisky) so this is entirely permissible.

Pour some into a glass, and listen to the speech, starting at 12.30pm or thereabouts.

Any mention of Coalition achievements is worth ONE FINGER. Osborne is probably going to trot out the usual list – more than a million new jobs (not true), spending on the NHS protected (not true) and so on. You’ll know them when you hear them. The correct procedure is to use one hand to drink while raising the middle finger of the other hand in the direction of the equipment you’re using to listen to the speech, in symbolic gesture to the part-time Chancellor himself.

Mention of Coalition investment may also be worth ONE FINGER, depending on whether you think it will actually do the country any good or be just another bung for his rich buddies in private companies. That’s a judgement call depending (most probably) on how drunk you want to be at lunchtime.

At some point, Osborne will mention the size and shape of the cuts he wishes to impose on us all. Each one is worth TWO FINGERS. Raise the index and middle fingers of your spare hand in the direction of the equipment you’re using to hear the speech, as you drink the appropriate amount.

By the time he stops talking, you should be about as drunk as the other ministers had to be to let him impose these dangerous and unfounded measures on their departments.

It’s time Osborne provided evidence for his disastrous economic course

osborne britaindeserves

Gideon needs to put his house in order, pronto.

That’s the message I’m taking from the fact that the previous article on this blog – Austerity programme proved to be nonsense based on a spreadsheet mistake – has become the most popular ever to appear here. More than 10,000 of you read it within 24 hours of publication.

Clearly, the fact that a principal pillar of his faith – the work by Harvard economists Reinhart and Rogoff – has been disproved, and by a student at a rival university, should have shaken his confidence. It is also ironic for a member of the Conservative Party to realise that they would have got their sums right, if they had done them the old-fashioned way.

But we’ve had no expressions of apology or acts of contrition from the Treasury. It seems Mr Osborne is determined to keep going, no matter what damage this causes.

I don’t reckon that’s good enough. I think he should be brought to account. So I have written him a letter, asking him to justify his position.

I reproduce it below. If you agree that it is time Mr Osborne put his cards on the table, you might wish to consider using it as a template for a letter of your own.

Here it is:

The Right Honourable George Osborne MP

Chancellor of the Exchequer

HM Treasury

Horse Guards Road

London SW1A 2HQ

Dear Chancellor,

Following the revelation that a fundamental justification for your austerity policy has been disproved – the paper by Reinhart and Rogoff that was based on a mistake on a spreadsheet – I am writing to ask: What other documentary evidence do you have that supports your policy of economic austerity?

I am mindful of the fact that one of your aides is quoted in The Guardian newspaper as saying “the suggestion that the case for dealing with fiscal deficits and debt rests on one paper is patently absurd” (http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2013/apr/18/uncovered-error-george-osborne-austerity), but this person did not provide any other examples.

It should also be noted that this aide added, “It remains the case that the majority of economists still back the government’s strategy.” I await proof to justify this statement as well. Perhaps it is worthwhile to remind you that, of the 20 economists who publicly backed the Osborne Austerity plan in 2010, only one was willing to publicly back it in August last year. Nine publicly disavowed you, and the other 10 had no comment or went on holiday (http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/politics/2012/08/exclusive-osbornes-supporters-turn-him).

Be advised that it will not be enough for you to discount the quotations above because they come from left-wing sources. As it stands at the moment, the situation is that your policy has no evidence to support it, nor does it have the support of expert opinion that is being claimed for it. Bear in mind that even the International Monetary Fund is criticising your policy, despite having been a staunch support in 2010.

You will recall that the Coalition came into being, nearly three years ago, for the specific purpose of bringing the economy under control. Your policy is the instrument with which this was to be done.

If you do not provide evidence to support its continuation, then what are we, the public, to think? That you are inflicting austerity on us – primarily upon the poorest of us – purely to shrink the state? To sell off the profitable parts to private industry, for the good of private bank balances rather than for the benefit of the nation as a whole? For spite?

If I were in that position, honour would demand an admission of the mistake and either an alteration of policy to one that is more likely to support economic growth (I understand alternatives are available) or – considering this government that was formed to fix the economy has spent three years doing the exact opposite – the dissolution of this administration and election of one that is better-equipped to make the best decisions, in the interest of the nation as a whole.

I look forward to your response.

Austerity programme proved to be ‘nonsense’ based on a spreadsheet mistake

George Osborne famously shed tears at the funeral of Margaret Thatcher - but were they really for the Blue Baroness, a woman he is understood to have met only once (twice if you count Wednesday), or was it because he'd just heard that the entire theory that formed the basis for his economic policy had just disappeared from under him?

George Osborne famously shed tears at the funeral of Margaret Thatcher – but were they really for the Blue Baroness, a woman he is understood to have met only once (twice if you count Wednesday), or was it because he’d just heard that the entire theory forming the basis for his economic policy had just disappeared from under him?

The government’s principal justification for pursuing austerity lay in tatters today, after it was revealed that the economic theory behind it is based on a mistake.

The Chancellor’s entire austerity policy is based on a paper by economists Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff, which is itself based on a spreadsheet concluding that public debt of more than 90 per cent of a country’s gross domestic product (GDP) slows down growth by 0.1 per cent – which is wrong.

It should have found that countries with such levels of debt see their economies grow by 2.2 per cent – but the false conclusion was used by the UK Treasury to justify the horrific austerity programme that has already caused terrible harm to many British citizens, and is expected to cause much worse harm in the future.

It means that the slaughter of innocents down at the DWP – the deaths of many thousands of people claiming Employment and Support Allowance, due to changes in the assessment regime that were based on a false theory dreamed up by an American insurance company when it needed an excuse not to pay out  – have been in vain.

It means that the huge cuts to social security benefits for those who are out of work and those in work but poorly paid are totally unjustified. Here in Mid Wales, they average out at £433 per year, for everyone of working age. That’s roughly one week’s wages here – and of course much more than that in terms of benefits because, let’s remember, this government wants to make sure that work pays more than worklessness.

And it means that the Income Tax cut for the very rich, and the cuts that have reduced Corporation Tax by a quarter, were also unjustified. Let’s not forget that the Coalition government has been giving our money back to its influential friends.

Gideon George Osborne’s ridiculous plan was known as “expansionary fiscal contraction”. Just looking at those words together, anyone with an ounce of common sense knows it’s ridiculous. It implied that the economy would grow if it was starved of investment. What rubbish. How on earth can anything grow if it is being starved?

Now that plan has been exposed as “total nonsense” – which is exactly the way Ed Balls described it after hearing of the mistake.

Osborne, of course, is sticking to it. An aide said it was “absurd” that only one paper supports the Chancellor’s case for austerity – but put forward no examples of other justifications.

The aide said “the majority of economists still back the government’s strategy”.

But the International Monetary Fund doesn’t. The IMF was the main supporter of Osborne, using the same Reinhart-Rogoff paper to justify austerity schemes three years ago.

Now, both IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard and its head, Christine LaGarde, have suggested that he should be “slowing the pace” of his cutbacks.

In fact, we all know why Osborne will continue to push austerity down our throats, and it has nothing to do with balancing the budget.

He knows it is extremely unlikely that the Conservative Party will win an election in 2015 – the damage he has already done to all our lives means that is a statistical probability on which he can rely.

But he has more ideologically-motivated changes to foist upon us, whether we want them or not. His buddy David Cameron once said he wanted to see all public services except justice and the security services privatised, and we can expect Osborne to push this agenda forward with vigour.

This government is all about taking public services and putting them into private hands, for profit and to spite the poor.

That is the real truth that was revealed by a statistical error in a spreadsheet this week.