Tag Archives: meeting

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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Priti Patel received £17,000 payout – from the public purse – after being forced to quit Cabinet role

No wonder she was smirking: Priti Patel leaving 10 Downing Street after being forced to resign.

This is despicable.

The public have been made to pay the cost of a “golden handshake” for Priti Patel, who was forced to leave her job in disgrace.

Ms Patel was told to resign after it was revealed she was trying to carry out her own foreign policy, independent of the Conservative government, holding meetings with senior Israeli politicians while supposedly on holiday.

This Writer thinks a prison sentence would have been more appropriate.

Priti Patel walked away with a pay-out of nearly £17,000 after being forced to resign as International Development Secretary , the Standard reveals today.

She received the sizeable “termination” payment despite admitting she blundered by holding unauthorised meetings in Israel last summer, including with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Brexiteer Ms Patel was humiliatingly summoned back to London from East Africa in November to be axed from the Cabinet by Theresa May. At the time ministers are dismissed or resign, the Cabinet Office refuses to disclose if they are given pay-offs, despite them being funded by the taxpayer.

It still will not say if Boris Johnson received a payment when he quit as Foreign Secretary last month over Mrs May’s Chequers Brexit blueprint, or if David Davis did when he stood down as Brexit Secretary.

But details of the payment to Ms Patel are in the Department for International Development’s recently published annual accounts for 2017-18.

Source: Priti Patel received £17,000 payout after being forced to quit as International Development Secretary | London Evening Standard

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Tory Brexit drama is a DISTRACTION. They want you to forget that you will get NOTHING

Theresa May in the Commons: She’s talking about Brexit so she is lying through her teeth.

In case you haven’t noticed, the so-called ‘Brexit dividend’ was a lie; there will be no money coming to the UK to create a post-Brexit golden age.

The claim that businesses would move into the UK to create a post-Brexit golden age was another lie. They all know it will be more expensive to stay in the UK after the country leaves the European Union and the only reason they would possibly do so is a massive government incentive – funded by working-class people, of course.

In the absence of such incentives, firms are moving out. Car manufacturers like Jaguar Landrover are refocusing their operations away from the UK and even banking giants like Barclays, HSBC, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan are moving specific roles away from the Square Mile in order to maintain profitability.

That is a significant point. Banks are saying the UK will not be profitable after Brexit, and other corporates will follow their lead.

The UK’s Tory government cannot even guarantee it will be able to secure the UK’s borders. Nobody mentioned the Irish question in the run-up to the EU referendum; we must conclude that the main players in that fiasco either had no idea it was important – which is irresponsible in the extreme – or they knew, and hid the importance from us in order to get what they wanted – which should be criminal.

In Parliament on Monday (July 2), Theresa May said the EU Withdrawal Act’s provision that it is illegal to do anything that would introduce a hard border in Ireland, did not make a no-deal Brexit illegal because the UK could decide for itself what it did with the border. This was at best a lie; at worst, she was making it up as she went because a no-deal Brexit means the UK goes to World Trade Organisation rules and all the borders close, including those in Ireland.

I could go on and on.

At every step of the Brexit process, the people of the UK have lost.

But Mrs May is dragging her Cabinet to Chequers in order to iron out the dramas and differences between their demands about the conditions in which we leave the EU.

Has it not occurred to anybody to ask who, exactly, these talks will benefit? They won’t help us!

It seems to This Writer that all the drama in the Conservative government is nothing but a distraction – they want to divert our attention away from the fact that Brexit will take from us far more than we even knew we had.

I have an inkling that they are probably all rejigging their personal investment portfolios like crazy, moving their money out of the empty shell they are making of the UK.

None of this is being reported – possibly because the news media don’t want us all to wake up and ask why our government is shafting us all so badly.

Instead The Guardian, for example, has gone with a personality drama about Boris Johnson siding with Jacob Rees-Mogg to demand the most extreme form of Brexit from Theresa May – a matter that makes very little difference to ordinary people; we lose everything anyway.

It’s time we stopped paying attention to this drivel.

It’s time we started asking the relevant questions.

We could start with: Why is our government distracting us with irrelevances and when will it consider ways of safeguarding our prosperity?

Will it be soon?

Will it ever happen at all?

I think we know the answer to that one already. So why are people still supporting this self-destructive stupidity?

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