Tag Archives: Laura

Leading left-winger quits Labour’s ruling body over hostility to socialists

Laura Pidcock (right) with Jeremy Corbyn: there’s more genuine for-the-people politics in this image than in the whole of Keir Starmer’s shadow cabinet.

Keir Starmer will be happy to see her go – but that is a mistake.

Laura Pidcock, one of the leading lights of Labour’s left wing, has quit the party’s ruling National Executive Committee, citing “irreconcilable differences” between the behaviour of the party’s current leadership and the traditional Labour principles on which she was brought up.

In a statement, she said Keir Starmer’s leadership had made Labour “hostile territory for socialists, from those of us on the NEC, to those in CLPs across the country”.

“What I have witnessed on the NEC has been immensely frustrating,” she wrote.

“This leadership is devoid of ideas, lacking vision. I can’t and won’t negotiate with these people any more. The summit of their ideas are just small tweaks to the status quo.

“They challenge virtually nothing, but are noticeably determined when it comes to rule changes that alienate the left. They have demoralised thousands of people who were awakened to politics for the first time in their life. I am sure this is part of their larger strategy.

“When there is so much devastation caused by this Government and the economic system we live under, when poverty is endemic, when people are hungry, when finance capital is tightening its grip on the NHS, with a Government entrenching the hostile environment, and when the ravages of climate decay are obvious for all to see, we cannot go on giving our energy to people who want to block fundamental, positive change.”

She stated that her unease with the Labour leadership was “crystallised” by the cheering of Tory right-winger Christian Wakeford (“an MP who has voted against everything we believe in”)  as he crossed the floor of the House of Commons to join Starmer.

“What I immediately felt was pain for all of those who are forced to use food banks, all of those who are going through the punitive ‘social security’ system, for all of the amazing activists protesting against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill, including Gypsy and Traveller people, who are also at the heart of resisting the racism in this legislation — some of the many reasons why this whooping by elected representatives of my own party, on that day, was so inappropriate and jarring for so many,” she wrote.

And she said attempts to restore the Labour whip to Jeremy Corbyn were futile under Starmer’s leadership: “Perhaps with the best of intentions, some people seem to think that we can negotiate our way to justice by appealing to the right of the party to do the right thing. That has never worked and certainly will not work in the current circumstances.”

A Labour spokesperson said: “We thank Laura for her service and respect her decision.”

It will be interesting to see how Ms Pidcock is replaced; under current Labour Party rules, her position would be taken by the runner-up for her seat at the last NEC election – Ann Henderson.

But she is also a left-winger like Ms Pidcock. Should we expect Starmer to seek a loophole that will allow him to install one of his right-wing cronies instead? (I think we should.)

Ms Pidcock’s resignation has triggered a wave of support for her from other politicians, commentators and organisations. Here are some of the comments:

Their words are undoubtedly echoed in the thoughts of many thousands of people across the UK.

And therein lies Keir Starmer’s dilemma – because he relies on the votes of left-wingers and socialists across the UK to keep himself and his fellow right-wing squatters in Parliament, and in power within the Labour Party.

His belief is that the Left has no alternative other than to vote for his Tepid Tories; the First Past The Post voting system means that is the only way to get the Tories out.

But genuine left-wing organisations are springing up across the UK to challenge him; its representatives calling on those socialists remaining in Labour to desert Starmer’s hollowed-out zombie party and join a movement where their achievements will not be neutered by his suffocating presence.

The first test of his ability to resist the new wave of socialism will be the local elections in May – but it won’t be the last.

Is Ms Pidcock’s resignation the first pebble-fall leading to a landslide that will bury Starmer and his traitors forever?

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Dorries tries to dictate what Kuenssberg should tell us – then deletes tweet

Lessons weren’t learnt: Dorries previously tweeted an offensive message using a derogatory reference to mental illness. You’d think she’d know better than to tweet unwisely again [Image: The Prole Star].

How revealing that the Culture Secretary should try to censor the BBC Political Editor’s reporting of a Conservative Party meeting – and then delete the tweet when she realises the message was sent in public.

Here it is:

I think this Tory twit has a bit of explaining to do.

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The Castex letter DIDN’T say the UK should be punished. Kuenssberg was WRONG

Laura Kuenssberg: by publicising an apparent mistranslation of a letter by the French Prime Minister, she has caused a major international political row. Can she even read French?

The BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, misrepresented a letter on the UK/EU fishing row by French Prime Minister Jean Castex – apparently to stoke international tensions on the eve of the G20 and COP26 summits.

The UK and France are sabre-rattling over rights to fish in each other’s waters, after the UK prohibited some French trawlers over a technicality.

Kuenssberg aggravated the row by publicising a letter from Castex to European Commission President Ursula van der Leyen, claiming it said the EU needed to demonstrate that there was “more damage to leaving the EU than remaining there”.

This is based on a translation publicised by Alex Wickham of Politico. In tweets, he claimed the letter said:

“It is indispensable to demonstrate to European public opinion that more damage is suffered by leaving the EU than by remaining.”

The implication is that the EU should actively punish the UK.

An alternative translation by Edwin Hayward states the following:

“The UK’s uncooperative stance today threatens to cause great harm not only to fishermen, especially the French, but also to them [European] Union as it sets a precedent for the future and challenges our credibility and our ability to enforce our rights in relation to the international commitments signed by the union.

“It therefore seems necessary for the European Union to show its full determination to achieve full respect for the Agreement by the United Kingdom and to exercise its rights in a firm, cohesive and proportionate manner using the levers at its disposal.

“It is important to make it clear to European public opinion that respect for commitment is non-negotiable and that leaving the union does more harm than staying there.

“If a satisfactory solution is not found in this context, the European Union must apply Article 506 of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement and take corrective measures proportionate to the economic and social damage that [violations] will cause.”

That makes it a little different, once it’s put into context!

As Hayward states in his own article,

It should be immediately clear from the above text that there is no active intent to punish the UK. All the French want to do is to highlight the problems that Brexit has been causing — they are not trying to inflict new ones on us.

And people know:

(He means “…can’t be as advantageous as being IN” of course.)

Robert Peston said in his tweet that Boris Johnson has swallowed the Wickham translation and is “visibly angry” about the letter. But is he?

If Johnson is as well-educated as he’s supposed to be (Eton and Oxford) then it is entirely possible that he can read French for himself and knows exactly what the letter said. If so, then he is simply trying to manipulate a situation created by reporters (who probably can’t – with apologies to Kuenssberg and Peston if they turn out to be fluent, but that just implies that they know they’re peddling falsehoods and don’t care either).

This Writer, as a journalist and editor of nearly 28 years’ standing, agrees with Marcus Chown, below:

Indeed. Or indeed any journalist-training organisation such as the one that taught me (the National Council for the Training of Journalists). Where did Peston and Kuenssberg get their qualifications?

Actually, let’s check.

Kuenssberg, it seems, has no qualification as a journalist. She studied History at the University of Edinburgh, then spent a year studying (but the subject is not clarified) at Georgetown University in Washington DC, where she interned at the NBC News political programme. Returning to the UK, she eventually joined the BBC as a trainee journalist – but that doesn’t mean she was doing any training. ‘Trainee’ is just the name applied to a working reporter who hasn’t passed the test to become a Senior Reporter. If she was trained in the States, it was in an American standard of reporting.

Peston’s degree at Oxford was Politics, Philosophy and Economics. He then studied at the Université libre de Bruxelles – but again, it’s not clear what the subject was. He entered journalism via another back door, writing for the Investors Chronicle after being a stockbroker.

Those details aren’t very reassuring!

But it shouldn’t be up to the Kuenssbergs, Pestons, or even the Johnsons of this world to sort out this row. It’s a matter for the French.

All Jean Castex has to do is come out and read the relevant part of his letter, along with a translation into English saying exactly what he intended it to say.

That should end any ambiguity. How about it?

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Pidcock nails Patel over racist Tory system that criminalises immigrants

The BBC’s Politics Live had a little discussion of the incident in Pollokshields, Glasgow, when two men facing detention ordered by Priti Patel’s Home Office were released after residents turned up en masse to help them.

It seems Patel is planning to expand her detention facilities. Why’s that, then?

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Beckett’s ‘silly cow’ comment shows Starmer has turned Labour into a cess pit

The shenanigans after yesterday’s (March 11) meeting of Labour’s National Executive Committee make This Writer glad not to be a member of that party any more.

The fact that Margaret Beckett is being allowed to continue as chair of the NEC after calling fellow committee member Laura Pidcock a “silly cow” on a Zoom meeting is unacceptable.

Pidcock had made a perfectly reasonable point after a motion to recall Labour’s party conference had been rejected with no vote taken, in a snub to party democracy.

The motion sought to recall the full party conference, possibly to coincide with Labour’s women’s conference in June, for reasons This Writer set out in a previous article:

The motion… reads: “Discussion in local Labour Party meetings has been suppressed; motions banned; scores of activists suspended; and anger and disillusionment is exploding across our lay membership across the party.

“Members are leaving in droves and many more are expressing frustration and dissatisfaction at the attack on democracy and free speech. Many members are saying it doesn’t feel like the Labour Party anymore.”

There is also frustration after several ex-officials suspended over the contents of a damning leaked report have been let back into Labour. 

These are serious, party-splitting concerns, and it is unacceptable that Laura Pidcock, asking how members could have this out-of-hand rejection of those concerns explained to them, was dismissed as a “silly cow”.

The reaction on the social media was unequivocal:

The last commenter is right: this is indeed Keir Starmer’s Labour.

And he has made it a cess pit.

I am delighted that I am not a member of an organisation that puts Starmer and Beckett in positions of seniority that they clearly do not merit. I have a feeling that many other Labour members will also abandon the party in the face of this ill-treatment.

And I expect the general public will do the same at the May elections.

Source: Labour MP Margaret Beckett apologises over ‘silly cow’ remark – BBC News

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Starmer and Rayner want to link Corbyn with something unacceptable. How about this?

The above is a screenshot of a tweet sent by John Stevens, deputy political editor of the Daily Mail, responding to a message of gratitude by Jeremy Corbyn’s wife, Laura Alvarez, for the many floral gifts he has received from supporters since the suspension of his Labour Party membership.

The suggestion that the flowers should be fashioned into a wreath is appalling and unacceptable, as it could be construed as wishing death on Corbyn.

Stevens claims it isn’t. He says it refers to one of the incidents in which it was alleged that Corbyn displayed anti-Semitism – laying a wreath at a graveyard where anti-Semite terrorists were buried. This in itself is a perversion of the facts as the terrorists were buried elsewhere.

In any event, the tweet was sent to Corbyn’s wife, and may therefore be considered threatening no matter what excuse this hack tries to use. That’s certainly how most of Twitter sees it:

Considering that the apparent incitement of violence against Corbyn resulted from Labour’s decision to suspend his party membership, one would expect current party leader Keir Starmer to leap into action, denouncing Stevens and demanding action by the appropriate law guardians (and Twitter).

Ah, but Starmer has just spent the last seven months courting the right-wing press in a vain attempt to get some positive coverage of his pathetic innings as Labour leader.

He hasn’t lifted a finger, even to type an angry tweet.

And, Labour members, you can be sure that he wouldn’t help you, either. It’s one of the reasons he must be rooted out of Labour as soon as possible; he’s only in it for himself.

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