Tag Archives: Martin Odoni

Jewish Labour member accused of anti-Semitism during NEC elections. Connection?

As he admits himself, it is no surprise that the Labour Party membership of This Site’s friend and fellow campaigner Martin Odoni, of The Critique Archives, has been suspended – over an article written in support of me, I notice.

He had been expecting it for a while.

But the timing is interesting. Labour has waited until the party was carrying out its regular elections to the party’s ruling National Executive Committee.

I wonder how many other suspensions have occurred at this time – and whether this is intended to discourage party members from voting in NEC candidates who ever seemed to support those accused of the same offence – anti-Semitism.

Right-wing Labour officers tried a similar tactic during Jeremy Corbyn’s second leadership election, when they banned left-wingers from voting on the basis of the flimsiest possible excuses.

Is it so far beyond the realms of possibility that party officers are now trying to discourage support for left-wingers in the way I have described?

I would be interested to read your views – especially those supported by evidence.

Meanwhile, Martin has to face an accusation that he has compared Israel’s behaviour to that of Nazi Germany – and he’ll have his work cut out for him because Labour is currently kowtowing to that minority of British Jewry that supports Israel’s mass-persecution and murder of innocent people. I trust I do not have to provide examples of this behaviour.

He writes – and I agree with him [boldings mine]: “Even if one could argue that there is no such resemblance at present – a very shaky assertion but let us humour it for now – there is no reason for certainty that there never will be one in the future.

But the IHRA working definition insists that we must assume that, and that if we do not, we are anti-Semites.

“And worse, this further means that, even if Israel actually went as far as to set up extermination camps complete with gas chambers and incinerators, and started ‘processing’ Palestinians through them in their thousands (no, I am not suggesting that Israel really is doing that, or that it is likely to in the future, this is purely hypothetical), the IHRA definition would still class it as anti-Semitic to suggest a resemblance to Nazi policy. Even though, in such a scenario, Israel’s policy would not only resemble but exactly match that of the Nazis.”

You can see that Mr Odoni has a point.

But we may hope that he can open up a debate about the subject – not just of Israel’s behaviour as a nation, but of the assumption that it cannot perform such abominations.

Like so many of the assumptions in the IHRA working definition, that is wide open to abuse. And Labour is in danger of supporting that abuse, at the hands of pro-Israel activists and a mass media that is complicit in publishing fake news about the party, instead of the facts.

Finally, there is the fact that Martin is, himself, ethnically Jewish. The Labour Party must, therefore, fall foul of the claim by their apparent masters in the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council – that it is for Jews to decide what is anti-Semitic, not Gentiles.

Or are we seeing double-standards? One rule for one group and a different rule for another? Is Martin ‘the wrong kind of Jew’ that the Board of Deputies and the JLC keep banging on about?

I know I’m only a Gentile, but…

That looks like racism and anti-Semitism to me.

I mentioned a couple of months back that I was expecting some kind of suspension to my membership of the Labour Party. Well, it took them a long time, but there is predictable news, and unexpected news on that front. The predictable bit (a friend and fellow Labour ‘suspendee’ even said, “Unsurprisingly” when I informed him of my suspension) is that I have indeed received my suspension notice.

The unexpected detail is what I have been accused over… it was over the cover picture I put together for an article I wrote back in February:

The offending image: Labour has taken it out-of-context in order to present it as anti-Semitic.

It is entirely possible that I am guilty, given the well-recorded problems with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s working definition of anti-Semitism, which the Labour Party has largely adopted. The dangerous flaw in the definition – that comparing the policy of The State of Israel to that of Nazi Germany is inherently anti-Semitic – would probably apply here.

I am quite pleased that I have been suspended over this though, because it may force Labour to have a close look at the absurdity of this clause in the definition. What is likely to force the matter is the obvious, big drawback in the allegation against me; it is directed at someone who is ethnically Jewish.

As I have said more than once in the past, it is quite possible to be prejudiced against one’s own race, but it is very counter-intuitive and rare, so when the suggestion is made, it needs a very strong supporting case. In other words, if anyone wishes to accuse me of being a Jewish anti-Semite, they had better come up with some ultra-solid reasons why.

Anti-Semitic feeling will never be the only possible motivation for condemning Israel’s treatment of Palestinian Arabs. Nor is it the only possible reason why people might see resemblance between the deeds of modern Israel and the deeds of Nazi Germany.

Source: Hurrah! I’ve been suspended by the Labour Party. I was wondering if they’d ever get around to it. | TheCritique Archives

Schrödinger’s Labour leader | TheCritique Archives

[Image: The Critique Archives.]

This is excellent from Martin Odoni – not least because it smashes the reputations of some of our most pretentious commentators:

Labour centrists just cannot help themselves, can they? JK Rowling – she who has gained barely-explicable recognition as one of the world’s ‘great’ authors – last week describedthe current Labour Party as a ‘solipsistic personality cult’. (On that evidence, I am not even completely sure she understands what the word solipsistic means, only adding to my doubts about her status as an author.) Nick Cohen, the Guardian writer singly most unable to distinguish between a fairer world and a world torn apart by all-pervading warfare, added his own clamour of contempt a couple of days later, calling the Labour Party Conference, ‘The cult of St. Jeremy’.

The damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t quality of trying to please the so-called ‘centre-left’ – really just conservatives with somewhat queasier consciences – is brought most sharply into focus by how bizarrely unaware they seem to be of their own contradictory mindset. For almost two years, their overriding objection to Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader was that, “He’s unelectable because he doesn’t engage with the electorate.”

Step aside, Schrödinger’s Cat. Step aside, Schrödinger’s immigrant. We now have Schrödinger’s Labour leader. How can someone who does not engage with the electorate draw a large cult-following from the electorate?

Mr Odoni goes on to make the point that those of us on the Left who have been campaigning since before Mr Corbyn’s election as Labour leader for a return to true centre-ground politics (with a mixed economy and working welfare state) have been saying from the moment the critics started spouting their drivel:

The frustration of these contradictory insults is partly because, in truth, very, very few of Corbyn’s supporters see him as an ‘object-of-worship’ as such. They admire him for having the courage to smash the Overton Window of the last forty years and speak again ideas that were considered unthinkable thanks to Margaret Thatcher and Rupert Murdoch, and finally bring Keynesian social democracy back into the mainstream. Yes, there is affection for Corbyn, but for better or worse, it is the ideas he stands for that are important, and not just the man himself. Corbyn, it should be emphasised, is among the first to say that.

Those are the facts, and the likes of Ms Rowling and Mr Cohen can’t change them – no matter how often they try, or how contradictory their efforts.

You can read more facts here: Schrödinger’s Labour leader | TheCritique Archives


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Tories put Labour’s cart before their horse in budget row

Iain Duncan Smith has had 15 months in which to tell us where he'll make £12 billion in cuts to benefits. He simply doesn't want you to know and can't be bothered to tell you.

Iain Duncan Smith has had 15 months in which to tell you where he’ll make £12 billion in cuts to benefits. He simply doesn’t want you to know and can’t be bothered to tell you.

This writer is a big fan of The Critique Archives. Martin Odoni has no problem saying what he means and backing it up with facts – and the latest piece, In a democratic process you are supposed to tell us what your own damned budgets are before you insult someone else’s, is a prime example.

“Well, that was a blundering start to the Election campaign, even by the standards of the modern Conservative Party,” he writes.

“According to [Iain] Duncan Smith, the Conservatives have not yet made decisions on exactly how they are going to make the pledged cuts of twelve billion pounds to public spending, even though they announced them well over a year ago. They just have a nice, juicy-sounding target-figure to aim at, without even calculating whether it is a suitable target, and they are going to work out a budget to reach it ‘after-the-fact’? However, they have managed to calculate a budget for the Labour Party’s plans – and in such impressive detail that they can even tell us how much extra tax the average household will pay?

“After four hundred and fifty days of not figuring out their own budget, that may go down as a disproportionately-rigorous examination of Labour’s plans.”

Having gone on to show that the Institute for Fiscal Studies had comprehensively debunked the Tory claims, the article gets downright festive in its description of how “Britain’s Most Perennially-Caught-Out Serial Liar” – that’s Grant Shapps – responded. You’ll have to go and visit the article to read it.

The point is that the Tories were more concerned with lying about Labour’s plans than they were with telling the public about their own.

In an election period, those details become very important, don’t you think? And the Tories can’t be bothered… after around 15 months.

There are more festive descriptions of the possible outcome of any further Tory spending cuts, then we get to the meat and the (blue) blood: “It says a great deal about the arrogance and inflated self-importance of Cameron and his closest circle of colleagues that they see no need to explain to the country what they hope to do next. Make no mistake, these are people who see themselves as ‘above’ most of the rest of Britain, and as such, feel no compunction over lying to them, and sneer at the very thought of being ‘accountable’ to them. No, it is their innate ‘right’ to lead.

“It is the nature of democracy, if it is ever to work, that the public are trusted with the truth, so that they can make informed decisions on whom to trust in turn with their vote. The Conservatives will not co-operate with that ideal though. Their priority is power alone, and they rightly fear that an informed public, aware of precisely what a Tory Government would do to them, would never trust them with that power.”

That’s worth bearing in mind when you’re watching the televised leader debate on ITV tomorrow!

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Auschwitz image: Did Tom go too far?

150107auschwitz1

It’s a matter of judgement, isn’t it?

The image above is the parody of the Conservative Party’s infamous ‘Road to Recovery’ poster showing the railway line leading to the World War II extermination camp at Auschwitz, as tweeted by fellow blogger Tom Pride with the words, “The new Tory campaign poster featuring a German road’s a bit controversial”.

The tweet worked on several different levels: It referenced the fact that all three claims made on the original poster were inaccurate – in effect, the Conservative Party lied to the public with its very first piece of campaign material; it also acknowledged the fact that the road in the original picture was not British, as had been claimed by George Osborne on Channel 4 News (and this blog has covered reporter Cathy Newman’s surprise on finding out this was not true), but was a road near Weimar in Germany – another Tory lie; and it also made a strong point about the future the UK might face if voters allow themselves to be persuaded into supporting the Tories, based on this lying campaign.

It is also worth drawing attention to Vox Political commenter (and The Critique Archives blogger) Martin Odoni’s reaction to the revelation about the origins of the Tory poster’s image: “I’m no believer in omens or sympathetic magic, but, after all the economic hardship of the last seven years, that is really bad symbolism. I mean, don’t we remember what economic chaos and an evil, fanatical Chancellor did to the Weimar Republic?”

This writer received several versions of the Auschwitz railway image after publishing an article on the Conservative campaign poster.

Tony Dean commented with a simple reference to this one:

150107auschwitz2

And commenter marcf28 sent the following image, with the words “Interesting choice of image – with a striking similarity to this one”.

150107auschwitz3

Neither picture has appeared on Vox Political before because this writer considered them a step too far. The comments were published and readers were free to click on the links if they so desired.

I exercised my judgement and that was my decision.

It seems that Nottingham Labour councillor Rosemary Healy has been suspended because she neglected to make a similar judgement call.

As a follower of Tom Pride on Twitter (and there’s nothing wrong with that; Tom’s articles and tweets often provide an oasis of amusement for those of us who are struggling against the harm being caused every day by the Coalition Government) it is entirely possible that she retweeted his picture automatically, in the belief that her own followers would enjoy some sharp humour.

Alas, the humour was too sharp for some, and crossed the line of good taste in their opinion.

Was Cllr Healy wrong to retweet this image? On balance, she probably was. As a councillor representing the Labour Party, it could be argued that she should not be re-transmitting messages that could be interpreted as making light of a very dark period in human history.

Could be argued. Could be interpreted. It’s a matter of judgement.

It could also be argued that the tweet, and the image, make a deadly serious point about the reality of Conservative government. Many parallels have been drawn – accurately (before anyone starts wrongly invoking Godwin’s Law) – between Conservative-led Coalition policy and the actions of the Nazis (who came to power after the failure of the German republic identified with a town called Weimar, let’s not forget).

Remember Vox Political‘s articles about chequebook euthanasia? That information has been sent to the Information Commissioner’s Office in support of the bid to have the Freedom of Information request on ESA claimant fatalities since November 2011 honoured at last; and it has been sent to the Commons Work and Pensions committee, whose investigation into the effects of withdrawing benefit from claimants began in earnest this morning (January 7).

There is a deadly serious (and the word ‘deadly’ is used advisedly) side to Tom Pride’s tweet; there usually is.

However, UKIP supporter ‘Guy Ropes’ sent this blog the following comment today: “Is it correct that a Labour councillor in the Midlands has tweeted an alteration to a Conservative poster that is so insensitive I’d be disappointed if you even tried to talk about it much less defend it. Thankfully his branch have suspended him. I’m not sure – even if they tried really, really hard – that the BNP could conceive of something so tasteless. So how about calling a truce – instead of slagging people and parties off, let’s stick to discussion of policies.”

The problem here is misinformation. The councillor is accused of creating the tweet (and gets a sex change in the process). The tweet is described as tasteless, indicating the commenter has not considered the serious points on which this article has elaborated. And there will be no truce because no hostilities have been declared. It seems Mr ‘Ropes’ has an issue with this blog’s policy of debunking false claims – such as those in his comment.

So, yes – Cllr Healy showed an error of judgement and should not have RT’d the tweet, given her position; and no – the tweet itself is not “insensitive” or “tasteless” in itself – in the judgement of this writer.

We need bloggers like Tom Pride to bring these connections to our attention.

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Relativism: A Standard Tactic For Every Party; The *Only* Tactic For The UK Independence Party – The Critique Archives

This is such a terrific image that I've stolen it.

This is such a terrific image that I’ve stolen it.

We probably all do it to some degree, and we were probably very prone to it when we were in school – getting told off by a teacher for hitting a classmate, say, and trying to change the subject by saying, “Not fair, Johnny Bashforth hit me the other week and you never told him off!” writes Martin Odoni. Here are some more excerpts:

Yes, it probably is unfair, but at the same time that has nothing to do with you deciding to hit someone else altogether.

So let us now congratulate the UK Independence Party on its most remarkable achievement to date… that over the last year or so, UKIP has managed to increase the rate at which diversionary finger-pointing is employed in political discourse. I doubt it was intended, but that is some accomplishment, given that the phenomenon already appeared to have maxed-out.

Countering an accusation with grumbles about how badly other parties behave has proven to be, not just a standard tactic, but pretty much the only tactic that the party can employ with any consistency.

Farage cannot pretend one minute that UKIP is an ‘alternative’ to the mainstream parties, and then say the next that his party simply has the same types of idiots in it that all the others do. Either the party is different from the others or it is not, it cannot be both.

Farage never really explains, when saying “You think we’re bad? Look at that lot…” why it is particularly relevant… most of us already knew that. What we do not know is why that means we should vote for UKIP instead of them. Especially in light of Farage’s protestations that having idiots in the ranks makes UKIP no different from the other parties. That is just an admission that his party really is no different at all.

We’ll leave it there, but you are strongly urged to read the rest of the article. Not only does it go into much greater detail but it also mentions some of your favourite blogs and bloggers.

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UKIP members should have a second career – in comedy

The aftershocks of UKIP’s win in Clacton continue to reverberate across the nation.

The following was sent by Martin Odoni, he of The Critique Archives, and was so good it had to be shared:

141014ukipstupid

Isn’t the operative question, how much more stupid can UKIP voters be?

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Laughing At Jack Is Fair – The Critique Archives

James O’Brien of ‘Leading Britain’s Conversation’ (LBC) Radio is becoming quite the needle in the flesh of the UK Independence Party, writes Martin Odoni.

A few months ago, many will recall, he gave the party’s loathsome leader, Nigel Farage, an absolutely bruising grilling live on air, and triggered several rather telling xenophobic ‘slips’ from Farage. This week, he presented a phone-in in which he spoke to a UKIP supporter going by the name of ‘Jack’, and exposed rather easily just how little that ‘Jack’ knew about the party he supports with such unquestioning passion.

Now, it has been pointed out by a few people on social media that it is perhaps a little one-eyed to mock ‘Jack’ for his abject failure to make a case for UKIP, or even for his own support for them. One counter I have heard or read more than once is, “I doubt if you asked most supporters of any of the three main parties what their policy platform is, that they could give you a better answer than this.”

But even so, I don’t feel in any way sorry for ‘Jack’ that he has been given a bit of a public kicking over social media since, because he really brought the ridicule on himself… I fear that ‘Jack’ fits a wider pattern of UKIP-supporter behaviour. He is whiny and paranoid whenever confronted, not with propaganda, but with simple evidential facts about the party’s uglier characteristics, among both its membership and its policies. ‘Jack’ is very loud, and goes out of his way to make sure that everyone hears him, so when he says something stupid, everybody knows about it. He speaks up with impassioned certainty and love in defence of UKIP, while not really knowing anything much about the people running it, or what they aim to do. He almost seems to have a teenage ‘crush’ on UKIP.

To find out how this crush ends (will it be tears before bedtime?) visit The Critique Archives – and tell them we sent you!

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