Tag Archives: meeting

As Stormont politicians meet, Northern Ireland violence escalates

Northern Ireland has now endured more than a week of violence related to Boris Johnson’s duff Brexit deal.

Johnson himself has said the violence in West Belfast “deeply concerned” him. He was right – it did, and it should; he is directly responsible for it.

He was told his decision to put a customs border in the middle of the Irish Sea would tear up the Good Friday Agreement, triggering an end to the NI peace process and a return to violence – and he did it anyway.

Northern Ireland doesn’t have a single Conservative member of Parliament; nobody in the province voted to be governed by Johnson (or at least, nobody worth mentioning).

The province’s pro-Brexit Democratic Unionist Party propped up former prime minister Theresa May, and could therefore be said to have paved the way for him. It holds power in the Stormont assembly so This Writer wonders what its representatives have to say for themselves.

Last night alone, police officers were attacked, petrol bombs were thrown and a bus was burnt.

Here’s how it looked:

Police believe paramilitary groups were involved in incidents such as one in which several hundred people on each side were throwing petrol bombs in both directions in the loyalist Shankill Road and the nationalist Springfield Road.

The Shankill Road and Springfield Road in west Belfast are now added to the list that includes Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus, Ballymena and the Waterside area of Londonderry.

The BBC’s report editorialised:

The longer it goes on, the harder it will be to stop.

While it is a comment that should not have been made by a news reporter, This Writer tends to agree with whoever wrote it.

Sadly, with Boris Johnson running the country, he will undoubtedly dither, delay, take a holiday, and probably even hide in a fridge before taking any decisions – and by the time he does, it will probably be too late.

And, as This Site stated yesterday, this is what he wanted. He had been warned repeatedly that it would happen but he did nothing. We have to draw the obvious conclusion from that.

Source: Belfast: Emergency Stormont meeting after night of violence – BBC News

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‘Shadow’ Labour Party is a good idea – IF it can avoid the stigma that will be thrown at it for obvious reasons

Perhaps this is the moment for people who have been smeared for political reasons to form their own party.

Alex Salmond has formed Alba – a new Scottish nationalist party – after SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon was found to have misled Parliament (albeit unintentionally) in evidence about accusations against him – and already one SNP MP has quit that party to join him.

Before Salmond made his announcement, suspended and expelled Labour Party members were already planning to create a ‘shadow’ Labour Party to fight back against the purge of left-wing members instigated by Keir Starmer and his unelected general secretary, David Evans.

The ‘shadow’ party is the brainchild of Labour In Exile Network (LIEN), a national organisation of members who have been unfairly suspended or expelled from the party headed by Starmer.

It is holding its first meeting today (March 27) at 6pm – and as an unfairly-expelled Labour member, This Writer did seriously consider attending.

But my problem is that I come with the kind of baggage that opponents in Labour and the other mainstream political parties could exploit.

And I’m not alone. Most, if not all, of the members of LIEN will have been removed from Labour accused of anti-Semitism or of supporting anti-Semitism by backing Jeremy Corbyn after Starmer (or was it really Evans?) suspended him.

I have no doubt that such accusations are false. They were in my case. But that won’t matter to seasoned politicians who will merrily manipulate a lie if it means keeping their privileged position.

So I hope one of the topics of tonight’s inaugural meeting will be a discussion of how to sideline such accusations and make the accusers look ridiculous.

LIEN has said this about the event:

How do we fight back against the ongoing onslaught against the left in the Labour Party? That’s the theme of LIEN’s first Fightback Meeting at 6pm on Saturday 27 March on Zoom – open to all members and supporters of LIEN (and no, you don’t have to have been expelled or suspended from the Labour Party to get involved!)

SHADOW CLPS: One key way is the building of shadow structures, “ghost” CLPs which enable members to continue debating how we advance the cause of the left. People will share their experience of setting up such structures and possibilities of national cooperation will be discussed.

WORKING GROUPS: From fighting the witch-hunt, racism and disability discrimination, to how we engage with the media and transform the Labour Party — LIEN is setting up a series of working groups to enable grassroots members to take their struggle forward. This meeting is your chance to get involved in an existing group or make the case for a new group. If you have an idea for a working group, please draw up a proposal of around 200 words and send it to [email protected] There are a few working groups already running/in preparation – see here: https://www.labour-in-exile.org/working-groups/

Please consider joining LIEN – annual minimum fee of£5 unwaged/£10 waged: https://membermojo.co.uk/lien

I have no doubt that this organisation will develop into a political party of its own, rather than concentrating on trying to save the original Labour Party; many are likely to believe this is a lost cause after more than 40 years of pollution by right-wingers, starting in earnest with Neil Kinnock but expanded hugely by Tony Blair. After that amount of time, the corruption runs deep.

I wish it the best in its inaugural meeting – and may apply to join later. I want to be sure it will be able to deal with the smears first. If you want to sign up for the meeting, you can do so here.

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Lockdown democracy exposes bizarre behaviour at local council

Zoom: who would have thought that holding a meeting over the internet would reveal so much about local councillors?

My sympathies go to the people of Handforth.

Their area of Wilmslow, Cheshire, has become a place of national interest – not to mention hilarity – after a parish council meeting held via the Zoom platform went viral with more than two million views.

Sadly, the reason for its popularity is the misbehaviour of the councillors.

Jackie Weaver, from the Cheshire Association of Local Councils, said she was called in to help and “support” two parish councillors to hold the planning meeting. This is what happened:

The meeting, which took place on 10 December, descended into chaos with some people muttering under their breath while others tried to speak, hysterical laughter, participants answering phone calls and members being reprimanded.

When chairman Brian Tolver, who refused to recognise the legitimacy of the meeting, labelled himself as the “clerk”, Ms Weaver said: “The chairman simply declared himself clerk and notified everybody of the case.

“There is no way of stopping him from calling himself clerk. Please refer to me as Britney Spears from now on.”

Ms Weaver told the BBC there was a “positive spin” to the video going viral as it “raised the profile” of parish councils.

But she said it also showed an element of “bullying and bad behaviour” in local councils, adding: “A lot of us are working very hard – and that includes central government – to try to do something about that.”

I’m not going to link to any of the footage from the meeting. Feel free to click on the link below if you want to see it.

My point is that this is actually good for democracy. By seeing how our councillors behave (or misbehave) we become better-equipped to decide whether we want those particular people to represent us.

It also de-mystifies the processes of local government.

I predict hard times for some of the Handforth councillors in the future, as they are called to account for their behaviour.

But they have actually done us all a service.

Source: Jackie Weaver: Handforth Parish Council meeting goes viral – BBC News

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Is Whittome Labour’s latest hypocrite in the Corbyn/suspension/free speech controversy?

Nadia Whittome: her behaviour is all the more vexing because she has no reason to be loyal to Keir Starmer – he sacked her as a Parliamentary Private Secretary because she voted against a Bill that would have protected soldiers from prosecution if they participated in acts of torture overseas, and briefed the right-wing Guido Fawkes blog about the sacking BEFORE telling her.

A Labour MP who had been considered to be on the left of the party and who said Jeremy Corbyn should be reinstated when his membership was suspended has become a turncoat, it seems.

Despite her own comments about Corbyn, it seems Nadia Whittome does not believe that her peers in the party should have the same right, as she stated in a Tweet following a meeting of Nottingham East Labour Party (she is MP for that constituency but not a member of the CLP):

It seems the agenda of last Friday’s CLP meeting included a motion that called for Corbyn’s reinstatement, the lifting of disciplinary measures from others for discussing the issues as well as for the removal of David Evans, General Secretary of the Labour Party, who imposed Corbyn’s suspension and the ban on discussing it that led to the suspensions of other party members.

Ms Whittome objected to the motion, despite having spoken against Corbyn’s suspension herself, it seems.

What are we to make of that? That she considers herself to be above her party colleagues? That she agrees that, while she may discuss such matters with impunity, it is right that rank-and-file party members be suspended for daring to do so? That she thinks party members should not be allowed to register their opposition when party officers flout rules and regulations?

That’s how it looks to This Writer.

Worse, Ms Whittome passed comment on an incident in which a Jewish CLP member left the meeting, claiming they did not feel safe there.

It appears that all was not as she led people to believe. Here‘s a statement from the CLP itself:

“There was only one interruption during the meeting. This arose when one member stated that in his personal experience he had never witnessed any antisemitism in any of our meetings. As he continued with his personal view, another member shouted out – in a manner that some found to be aggressive – that he himself had suffered personal, antisemitic abuse from the person speaking, who was taken aback and stated that this wasn’t true; the Chair intervened and tried to calm things down. At this point the member who had interrupted declared that he no longer felt safe at the meeting and left.

“The member who left has changed his narrative on social media to stating that the member he accused had ‘witnessed an anti-Semitic attack’ on him rather than had attacked him personally.”

Ms Whittome also mentioned the possibility that disciplinary proceedings had been launched against a member of the CLP. This appears to be CLP chair Louise Regan, a former NUT president and (I really hope this has nothing to do with it) vice-chair of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

It seems Ms Regan’s party membership was, in fact, suspended:

This can only be for allowing the motion to be heard (it was passed by 23 votes to 10). Ms Regan’s conduct during the meeting was described in the CLP statement as “exemplary” and Ms Whittome is said to have joined in thanking her for the way she chaired it.

If that was everything, it would be bad enough, but it seems even worse than that, as evidence has come to light claiming that Ms Whittome actually participated in a smear campaign against Ms Regan. Read:

Maybe Mr Kazmi has his own axe to grind (although, considering the number of Tweets by other people linking Ms Whittome with this AWL group, this seems doubtful). In any case, This Writer will be happy to hear what the MP has to say about all this.

At the moment, it seems likely she has fatally wounded her reputation among the very people on whom she would have to rely in order to be re-elected in any future Parliamentary poll.

And at the very least, it seems likely that she should expect a flood of complaints to Labour’s Governance and Legal Unit, that her comments have brought the party into disrepute – the very charge which, when used against her colleagues, she supported.

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U-turn and u-turn again as Boris Johnson first agrees, then refuses to meet bereaved Covid campaigners

Coward: Boris Johnson hid in a fridge once to evade difficult questions. Now he is resorting to flat-out lies.

How galling for the 14 million who voted for him to realise that Boris Johnson is such a craven coward.

He can’t even bear to meet people who have lost family members due to his mistakes – so he has made up a succession of reasons not to.

Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK may not have a snappy name but they do have a good reason for existence – they want an inquiry into the Johnson government’s decisions on the Coronavirus pandemic in the UK.

The organisation wisely distrusts Johnson’s claim that he will hold an inquiry “at the appropriate time” and has already issued a “letter before action”, warning that the group is considering litigation to secure an inquiry.

But a letter before action is not itself litigation.

So when Boris Johnson said, “It turns out that this particular group are currently in litigation with the government. I will certainly meet them once that litigation is concluded,” he was lying.

He had previously promised to meet them.

Perhaps he was hoping that most people would not know enough about court action to tell that he was telling a falsehood in order to run away from the potentially disastrous publicity a meeting would create.

It’s also possible that he was hoping his u-turn would not come to public attention.

This Writer is already on the record as saying it is unlikely an inquiry will take place. Politicians like Johnson say there will be one “at the appropriate time” when a crisis is ongoing and people are demanding it but, the instant the trouble is over, they insist that it would be better to put the matter behind us.

Let’s face it: Johnson is notoriously bad – embarrassing, in fact – when he doesn’t have a script to read out. He may be afraid he’ll say something that may be used against him later.

So he’s running away from a meeting he promised to attend.

And that, dear reader, is the act of a coward.

Source: Coronavirus: Campaigners reject PM’s ‘poor excuse’ for not meeting them – BBC News

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Confirmed: Boris Johnson met ex-KGB agent at party, days after Nato summit on Russia

Boris Johnson: This time it’s more hair-raising for the rest of us that he has been talking to at least one former Russian KGB agent when he was not accompanied by government security experts. What did this tactless and indiscreet man let slip?

How much more evidence do you need that Boris Johnson is a security risk and a danger to everybody in the UK?

I’m writing this hours after publishing an article linking Mr Johnson to the Lebedevs, among other Russians who funded campaigns including his to become Tory leader (and therefore prime minister).

The mere fact that Mr Johnson – a man who is not known for having any tact or discretion – has met a Russian ex-KGB agent without being accompanied by his personal security detail strongly suggests that he may already be harming the UK’s security in relationship with Russia.

The meeting happened within days of his attendance at a Nato meeting in which Russia was discussed. What did he say?

I don’t know. And we cannot rely on Mr Johnson to tell us because it is well-known that he is a monstrous liar.

It seems clear that the safest thing to do is vote Mr Johnson out of 10 Downing Street, to prevent him from doing any (more?) harm.

Boris Johnson met an ex-KGB agent during a highly controversial trip to attend a party two days after attending a high-level Nato summit that focused on Russia.

The prime minister, who was foreign secretary at the time, met Russian billionaire businessman Alexander Lebedev, whose family owns Britain’s Independent and Evening Standard newspapers, following a summit of foreign ministers in Brussels staged in the wake of the poisoning of ex-Russian agent Sergei Skripal.

The two met in Italy in April 2018, a month after the attack using the novichok nerve agent in Salisbury, when Johnson, in what appears to be a highly unusual break with protocol, apparently left behind his personal security detail and flew to a lavish party at a palazzo near Perugia hosted by Lebedev’s son Evgeny.

A spokesman has gone on to acknowledge that the meeting between Johnson and Alexander Lebedev, a former KGB officer, did take place, though he insisted there was nothing was out of the ordinary.

Source: Revealed: ex-KGB agent met Boris Johnson at Italian party | Media | The Guardian

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Johnson finally calls emergency meeting on flooding – after Corbyn tells him to

Mop-head: Next time, Boris Johnson should be the worker following the decision-makers with a mop – not a decision-maker himself.

At last we’re seeing some decisive action over the flood disaster that has hit northern England – because Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn demanded it.

Boris Johnson – our so-called prime minister – was not going to help at all. He said last weekend that the floods, which have already killed one person, were not a national emergency.

Then this happened:

And then this happened:

The ITV article states: “Downing Street’s announcement of the meeting, which will take place on Tuesday, came after Jeremy Corbyn sent a letter to Boris Johnson calling on him to hold a Cobra meeting and “take personal charge” of the Government’s response.

“The Labour leader said he disagreed with the Prime Minister’s assessment at the weekend that the flooding was “not looking like something we need to escalate to the level of a national emergency”.

“Mr Corbyn said that if the flooding had occurred in Surrey, rather than Yorkshire or the East Midlands, it would be “far more likely” that a national emergency would have been declared.”

Was Mr Johnson trying to stop himself losing ground to Mr Corbyn? If so, that’s just too bad:

What a wet letdown.

It’s a good thing we have Jeremy Corbyn to tell him what to do. Let’s vote Mr Corbyn into Downing Street so he doesn’t have to go through a proxy next time – we’ll get results a lot quicker.

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Corbyn’s ‘worst meeting as leader’? No – just biased reporting from the Graun

Cosy at the top: Concerns raised by MPs at Monday’s Parliamentary Labour Party meeting have no substance and should not bother either Jennie Formby or Jeremy Corbyn – but the fact that they are being allowed to discuss these matters openly, in violation of party rules, lays open the double-standard that may make the party unelectable.

On the face of it, it looked bad.

“Labour MPs tore into Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit strategy at a party meeting on Monday night,” according to The Guardian.

The same report went on to say: “The parliamentary Labour party (PLP) meeting came amid anger about how Corbyn’s office had handled harassment complaints against two senior Labour figures, as well as an investigation into Labour antisemitism by the equalities watchdog.”

But it turns out this is nothing more than hyperbole from the paper that misrepresented Labour’s new commitment that every UK citizen should have a chance to succeed as “Corbyn to drop social mobility”.

In fact, it was reasonable for MPs to want to re-examine Labour’s Brexit policy after large falls in voter share at the European Parliament election and the Peterborough by-election.

Reading between the lines, the regrettable aspect of the report is that it shows no willingness on the party of Jeremy Corbyn’s critics to accept that they are at least partly responsible for the confusion over Labour’s position.

MPs – and indeed shadow cabinet members – who know a divided party cannot win elections went into the most recent campaigns spouting any old nonsense that came into their heads, rather than the official party line.

Where were their apologies?

This ties in with Mr Corbyn’s plea for MPs not to publicly attack party staff or shadow cabinet members, which was knocked by Lloyd Russell-Moyle at the meeting, to his shame.

Let us be clear: MPs pleading for the right to attack other Labour members is a demand for rights that rank-and-file party members don’t have.

The reason This Writer was expelled from Labour wasn’t the false charges of anti-Semitism that were made about me – it was the fact that I had discussed in public the failures of the party machine to correctly address the issue – even though these were matters of public knowledge and it was my job as a journalist to report on them.

(From this it should be clear that the party’s National Constitutional Committee was demanding that Labour-supporting journalists must show a bias towards the party that conflicts with their duty to report facts. This would, of course, prevent any honourable journalist from being a party member or supporting it. Perhaps NCC boss Maggie Cosins didn’t think of that.)

It was clear that, as a rank-and-file Labour member, I was expelled for discussing internal party issues in public – but that is exactly the privilege Mr Russell-Moyle was demanding at Monday’s meeting.

That is not acceptable. There must be a single rule for all party members, no matter how high in the party hierarchy they have risen.

Steering this back to Brexit, it is clear that – had MPs honoured the obligation to support party policy, rather than criticise it or contradict it – Labour could have won a far larger voter share.

And Labour’s policy really isn’t that hard to understand.

As long as we have a Conservative government that is determined to honour what is now widely accepted as a fatally-flawed plebiscite (consider the recent Swiss decision to invalidate a referendum result after it was decided voters had received false information), Brexit is going to happen.

Labour’s policy is to limit the amount of harm this will cause to the general public.

This policy is to be carried out initially by the measures available to the party in Parliament, as laid out by Mr Corbyn many times in the past.

It would also be carried out in policies which address the effect that Brexit would have on the lives of UK citizens – tackling the so-called “burning injustices” that Theresa May said she would solve, back in 2016, about which she then did exactly nothing.

It’s actually a winning combination, if only the party blabbermouths would shut up and think for a moment.

Of course, the real solution to Tory Brexit is a general election and a Labour government, but that is a dream as long as the same party blabbermouths continue to preach division. And they will.

As for the issues around harassment and anti-Semitism: If complaints have been made, then these matters are under investigation and it is not only inappropriate but itself a disciplinary matter if MPs discuss them in public.

So the words allegedly said by Jess Phillips to Jeremy Corbyn – “If you abuse women in the Labour party and they’re a friend of yours, they get away with it” – should result in her suspension from the party while her own transgression is investigated, as it seems she is attempting trial-by-media.

But of course, the Labour leadership won’t take any such action, because there really is a two-tier system in place and Ms Phillips is on the level that need fear no disciplinary action, no matter what she does.

This is the matter for concern – not the whinges of a few out-of-order MPs.

Mr Corbyn has been told about it. Labour general secretary Jennie Formby has been told. So have leading members of the NCC.

The general public see that.

And perhaps that hypocritical double-standard is what will keep Labour out of office, more than anything else.

Source: Jeremy Corbyn lambasted by Labour MPs in ‘worst meeting as leader’ | Politics | The Guardian

Umunna walks in; Corbyn walks out – of a PARTY LEADERS’ meeting, not one of company executives

“I’ll get my coat”: Jeremy Corbyn walked out of a meeting of party leaders when Chuka Umunna and Anna Soubry, who are representatives of a private company calling itself The Independent Group, attended.

Malcontents in the mainstream media are making much of the fact that Theresa May held a meeting of UK political party leaders at around 6pm today (March 20) – and Jeremy Corbyn walked out when Chuka Umunna and Anna Soubry walked in.

The simple fact is that neither Mr Umunna nor Ms Soubry are party leaders, so they had no right to be at such a meeting. They are representatives of a commercial organisation masquerading as a political entity, nothing more.

Mr Corbyn was right to leave. One has to question Mrs May’s intentions in inviting the Independent Group representatives. She knew Mr Corbyn had called for a meeting earlier in the day but she managed to find a way to renege on it.

She really is despicable, isn’t she? No wonder Twitter is full of posts under the #MayMustGo hashtag.

The storm unfolded on Twitter – but not in the way the Establishment and MSM creeps wanted:

Mrs May was due to make a statement in Downing Street – and members of the public were all over that, too:

https://twitter.com/JoanSmi54744685/status/1108422932534046720

https://twitter.com/tommurrays/status/1108453946862026753

POSTSCRIPT, 8.42pm: Theresa May has just made her statement and it contained absolutely nothing but vitriol against Parliament for frustrating her in her bid to get her duff deal passed, and a claim that she knows what people want. They want her to resign. She let them down again.


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May survives meeting with Tory backbenchers – but was the confrontation stage-managed?

A crunch meeting with disgruntled Tory backbenchers proved to be nothing of the sort for Theresa May in what members of her own party claimed – before it happened – was a “rigged” event, with loyalists in key places to “desk bang and cheer”.

Mrs May was said to have been summoned to the meeting of the Tory 1922 Committee on October 24 in order to persuade MPs not to submit the required 48 letters demanding a vote of “no confidence” in her leadership – to plead for her career, in effect.

But the meeting showed no evidence of any threat to her. Nadine ‘Mad Nad’ Dorries reckons it was stage managed by the Conservative Party whips – all of whom were, apparently, in attendance:

Mrs May turned up, gave a speech, and walked away with her position intact:

Some critics have seen this as proof of what we’ve seen many times before – that Tories are all talk. If their Parliamentary majority is under threat, they will always defer to whoever happens to be the leader:

Was it really a stitch-up by party whips?

Probably not.

See, for opponents of Mrs May, this is a mathematics problem.

A rebellion by the backbenchers requires 48 of them to send letters, demanding a “no confidence” vote in Theresa May, to Sir Graham Brady, chair of the 1922 Committee. After that, 160 Tory MPs would have to vote against her.

That’s a tall order!

A better bet would be voting against Mrs May’s proposed Brexit deal, when it finally comes back to Parliament – and in whatever form it finally takes. Only around 15 votes would be needed to achieve that defeat, and it is possible that she would not recover.

But there is a random element: A small number of Labour Brexiters might defy their party’s whip to support Mrs May.

They could do it to ensure that the UK leaves the EU – or they could do it to ensure that the Tories remain stuck with their lame-duck leader, who will turn public opinion further and further against them, the longer she stays in Downing Street.

Neither would be wonderful for the United Kingdom, but these are Labour Brexiters, so that is hardly likely to enter into their calculations.

The end result is that Mrs May remains the titular – but ineffective – head of the Conservative Party and the Tory government, but her position remains precarious in the extreme.

As for the 1922 committee, and its failure to carry out a simple function for the good of the UK – here’s a tweet that sums it up perfectly (apologies for the naughty word at the end):

Who can argue with that?

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