Tag Archives: Peter

McCluskey targeted again: he’s right to apologise – but not for anti-Semitism

Len McCluskey: his words were not anti-Semitic.

Unite union leader Len McCluskey has rightly apologised to Peter Mandelson for comments in a BBC Newsnight report – but claims that his words were anti-Semitic are wholly wrong.

Responding to disparaging comments from Mandelson about the Jeremy Corbyn era of the Labour Party, McCluskey had said that he should go away and “count his gold”.

As this had nothing to do with the matters under discussion – and seems intended as an insult – it is right that McCluskey has issued an apology:

Sadly some people have chosen to interpret McCluskey’s words as an anti-Semitic trope:

There’s just one problem with that interpretation – and it’s a big one:

Peter Mandelson is not Jewish.

Jewishness is handed down by female family members and Mandelson’s mother was a gentile. He isn’t Jewish.

And consider this: isn’t it strange that one person with Jewish ancestors is said to be Jewish (for the purpose of attacking someone else), while another person with Jewish ancestors was told repeatedly that she was not (for the purpose of attacking her), even though she did self-identify as such?

To me, this seems just another opportunistic lie, made to attack a person on the left wing of UK politics.

Type “McCluskey” into the search box on Twitter and you’ll be able to make a list of the names and handles of a large number of fellow travellers who support this lie. Some of them are well-known so it is worth making that list.

And, as there is (clearly) still a strong campaign to disparage and discredit people on the left wing of politics, let’s see if the same names crop up to support the next lie.

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Bone-head: Tory Brexiteer humiliates himself in Newsnight interview

Peter Bone: he appears to be auditioning for a role as the Ghost of Brexit Yet to Come.

Peter Bone made a name for himself as an annoyance to David Cameron during Prime Minister’s Questions, back between 2010 and 2016.

Now it seems he is embarking on a new career as an embarrassment to the whole Conservative Party.

That was certainly the effect of his Newsnight interview on September 11.

Watch it for yourself:

If your head is spinning after listening to all that self-justifying waffle, I’ve found some handy comments to clear up what he was saying and why it is tripe:

(I think maybe some of these commenters were a bit “tired and emotional” when they were typing these messages. @elisled2, above, probably meant a “waiting” game, rather than a “whiting” game, whatever that may be.)

Well, not all of the comments made sense of what he was saying…

Needless to say, his performance prompted criticism of its own:

Perhaps the best summary came from a parody account:

I’m sure some people supported what he had to say – sad, misled people.

But it seems clear that most of the UK is sick of him, of his party, and of their constant failures.

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Willsman suspended – again. But his alleged claims are entirely reasonable

Peter Willsman: Clearly he has enemies who want him discredited – and they aren’t above ignoring Labour Party rules to achieve this.

Peter Willsman, a left-wing member of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee, has had his party membership suspended – again – over comments that some are claiming to be anti-Semitic.

It seems clear that these claims are false and it will be informative to watch the way Labour deals with this case.

Mr Willsman’s party membership was previously suspended after allegations last year, but was restored to his position after he made an apology. Many believe he should have stuck to his guns as he had done nothing wrong.

The current allegation arises from a recording of an “off-the-record” conversation with an author, in which Mr Willsman allegedly said he believed the Israeli embassy was coordinating antisemitism accusations against the Labour Party.

The first thing that occurs to This Writer is that “off-the-record” means exactly that; comments made in such circumstances are not intended to be attributed to their source and it is the height of unprofessionalism to name the source of an “off-the-record” comment. I would like to know the name of the person who supplied the recording to LBC, in order for this person to be blackballed by the British Establishment. They cannot be trusted.

Secondly – and far more importantly – is the fact that Mr Willsman said nothing anti-Semitic, even though this is the apparent reason for his suspension.

It is known that at least one Israeli embassy operative very definitely conspired with at least one UK civil servant in order to “take down” then-Foreign Office minister Sir Alan Duncan.

Shai Masot was forced to return to Israel after the revelations by Al Jazeera.

But here’s a thing: Part of the accusation against Mr Willsman is that he said a Labour member was “working indirectly” for the Israeli embassy. This is believed to refer to Joan Ryan, who was a Labour MP at the time the recording was made (she has since switched to Change UK) and also chair of Labour Friends of Israel.

There is evidence in support of this claim.

Here’s a video of Ms Ryan being offered a vast amount of money to carry out work for the Israeli government – by the same Israeli embassy official, Shai Masot:

Clearly there is evidence to support Mr Willsman’s concerns, as expressed on the recording.

But what will Labour do? Here’s what I think should happen – and what I fear will happen:

The problem is exactly as former Labour minister Clare Short described it in a BBC interview earlier this week:

“There has been a widening of the definition of anti-Semitism to include criticism of Israel.”

This contradicts the definition and examples of anti-Semitism laid out by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), which the Labour Party adopted last year.

Israel-supporting members of Labour campaigned hotly for the party to adopt this definition – and the examples accompanying it – in full after the party initially adopted its own (better) definition.

Watch them now as they ignore it completely.

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Willsman witch-hunted: Can his accusers explain what he said that’s wrong – without lying?

Peter Willsman.

It’s a classic anti-Semitic trope, or stereotype – and actually falls foul of Labour’s code of conduct: “Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group.” And it is being weaponised against the innocent by people claiming to be fighting anti-Semitism.

Look at the witch-hunt that has broken out against Labour NEC member Pete Willsman.

He was recorded at an NEC meeting – an unethical act as NEC meetings must be held in private – reacting to reports that 68 rabbis had written to a newspaper claiming that Labour had “chosen to ignore the Jewish community” by amending the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s (IHRA) working definition of anti-Semitism to make it more suitable for use by the party in investigating allegations of anti-Semitism.

But Labour has not ignored “the Jewish community”. British Jews are a diverse body of people with wide-ranging opinions and not all of them support the IHRA definition.

As Professor Annabelle Sreberny said: “There is a public debate happening amongst Jews, about these issues – that’s important. There isn’t one Jewish community; there isn’t the Jewish community – there are many. And we all need our voice.”

It is a voice that is being denied to them by the 68 rabbis who claimed to speak for them all. This falls foul of Labour’s code of conduct because it denies Jews the right to self-determination and self-definition.

Let’s examine what Mr Willsman said. First, he said, “They can falsify social media very easily.” It is not clear who “they” are in this context but I think it would be reasonable to suggest that he meant people who want to spread fake claims of anti-Semitism, rather than those reporting it in good conscience. And there is evidence to suggest he is correct:

Then he said: “And some of these people in the Jewish community support Trump. They’re Trump fanatics and all the rest of it. So I am not going to be lectured to by Trump fanatics making up daft information without any evidence at all. So I think we should ask the 70 rabbis, ‘Where is your evidence of severe and widespread anti-Semitism in this party?”

Labour MP Luciana Berger was quick to alter Mr Willsman’s words for him: “Anyone listening to this recording will be appalled to hear the venom and fury directed by Mr Willsman at the British Jewish community. That he accuses the Jewish community of falsifying social media and being ‘Trump fanatics’ in order to deny the serious concerns of 68 rabbis beggars belief.”

Venom and fury at the British Jewish community? Where?

He said nothing at all about the British Jewish community.

He said he would not be lectured by supporters of Donald Trump within that community who are spreading lies. I would like to see his evidence for that, but I would certainly not wish to accuse him of anti-Semitism – as Ms Berger is clearly doing – without having done so and she clearly has not.

If she wanted to find evidence of Trump fanaticism within the Jewish community, she really wouldn’t have to look any further than Jonathan Arkush, former president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, as this Skwawkbox article demonstrates. But no. Ms Berger wanted to make a fuss without any evidence.

Furthermore, her claim that he was attacking the whole of British Jewry when he was in fact singling out only a tiny minority of it is anti-Semitic: “Accusing Jews as a people of being responsible for real or imagined wrongdoing committed by a single Jewish person or group.”

And, like the 68 rabbis, she is trying to deny a significant proportion of the British Jewish community the right to have their voices heard – in violation of Labour’s code of conduct.

Distortions like these form the basis of a series of anti-Semitism charges against This Writer – and are the reason I am crowdfunding to pay for legal action against my accusers. Please visit my JustGiving page for more information and to donate.

As for the demand by the current president of the Board of Deputies, Marie van der Zyl, for Mr Willsman to be expelled… Well. Isn’t she a Conservative?

Mr Willsman is currently up for re-election to Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee.

Is it beyond the realms of possibility that this scandal-in-a-teacup has been manufactured by Ms Berger, the Jewish Chronicle and the Board of Deputies purely to manipulate democracy to remove a Jeremy Corbyn-supporting left-winger from that organisation?

I don’t think so – but I would certainly recommend that all Labour Party members reading this should do the exact opposite and make sure you vote for Mr Willsman. His words show that he, at least, wants to see genuine evidence of anti-Semitism, rather than taking the fakers at face value.

Visit our JustGiving page to help Vox Political’s Mike Sivier fight anti-Semitism libels in court


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Mandelson seeks caution on tuition fees – is it wrong to doubt his motives?

Know your enemy: If you want to know why Labour was so soft on business between 1997 and 2010, here's your answer - Peter (now Lord) Mandelson was in charge of Trade, Industry, and Business at various times throughout those Parliaments.

Know your enemy: If you want to know why Labour was so soft on business between 1997 and 2010, here’s your answer – Peter (now Lord) Mandelson was in charge of Trade, Industry, and Business at various times throughout those Parliaments.

Labour’s former Business Secretary, Peter Mandelson, wants the party to hold fire on any announcements about tuition fees until after the general election, making its policy known if Labour wins.

The reason stated in the BBC article is that “he recognises that any cut in tuition fees announced before the election would raise searching questions about how it would be funded”.

There’s just one problem with that.

We’ve all heard too many politicians say one thing before an election, only to do something completely different afterwards. David Cameron is a master of the pre-election lie. Undoubtedly there have been many more.

If no announcement is made at all, then no word has been given, so the party can’t go back on it.

Add to that the fact that Lord Mandelson is – well – Lord Mandelson, and Ed Miliband would be very ill-advised to pay him any attention on this.

Young people were bitterly betrayed when the Liberal Democrats turned their backs on the promise to abolish tuition fees and instead supported the Tory rip-off plan to make students pay, and pay, and pay.

Labour’s offer is only a drop in fees from £9,000 to £6,000 per year – it is not, therefore, the total abandonment of fees that students would welcome, so the party is on thin ice.

Let us hope this is one case where Mandelson cannot pull strings from behind the scenes.

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Why can’t Labour support working people AND be pro-business?

Know your enemy: If you want to know why Labour was so soft on business between 1997 and 2010, here's your answer - Peter (now Lord) Mandelson was in charge of Trade, Industry, and Business at various times throughout those Parliaments.

Know your enemy: If you want to know why Labour was so soft on business between 1997 and 2010, here’s your answer – Peter (now Lord) Mandelson was in charge of Trade, Industry, and Business at various times throughout those Parliaments.

Michael Meacher has missed a trick in his recent blog article about Lords Myners and Mandelson – who say they want Labour to be pro-business.

He correctly identifies these two peers – one of whom (Mandelson) is a Blairite Labour Party member and therefore might as well be a Tory, while the other (Myners) is not aligned to a political party and therefore might as well be a Tory – as being very rich and refers to them sarcastically as “those stalwart supporters of working people”, meaning the exact opposite.

He correctly states that they are wrong to claim that Ed Miliband’s attack on “predatory capitalism” is harmful to Labour’s election prospects, pointing to poll results showing that the next election winner needs to be tough on big business.

And he correctly – yes, Ukippers, correctly – points out that businesspeople know an in-out referendum on membership of the European Union could cause huge harm to their firms if the vote goes in favour of leaving.

These are all good points, but Mr Meacher could have gone much further.

Labour should be pushing its policies as better for business than anything the Conservatives have to offer – because they are.

The party wants more firms and public sector organisations to pay the living wage. As this blog has stated time and time again, this can only help British industry as it would show employees that their contribution is valued, encouraging them to improve the quality of their work and build up their employer’s profitability and prospects of expansion.

That’s not all that Labour can do. The party should be much bolder in its aims. For example:

The party should be promoting employee-ownership to more and more firms – the advantages of becoming co-operatives. Look at the success of John Lewis, whose employees receive a bonus equal to around four months’ extra pay – every year – because of the way that company is set up. John Lewis is going from strength to strength and so is its workforce. There is no valid argument against it.

Yes, there are some within the Labour Party who continue to push timid concepts about “strengthening” the minimum wage, but like Lords Myners and Mandelson, they might as well be Tories and it is time they were purged from the party. Neil Kinnock got rid of the Militant Tendency left-wingers; why shouldn’t Ed Miliband similarly divest himself of the right-wing fifth-columnist parasites who have held Labour back for his entire term as leader (including, of course, his idiot advisors)?

The Conservative Party’s idea of helping business has failed completely. It could never have done otherwise; starving the economy of money during a downturn makes it next-to-impossible for any but the largest firms to turn a profit.

Labour must present a vibrant alternative.

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