Tag Archives: politics

Dyer does it again: EastEnders star calls for end of Eton boys running the UK

Danny Dyer: he’s holding a photo of “that melt” Oswald Mosley and his bunch of “fascist slags” the Black Shirts, during a brief documentary clip about the Battle of Cable Street.

It is time for working-class people to take over from Eton alumni – who have made it perfectly clear that they cannot run the UK properly.

That’s the opinion of Danny Dyer, the EastEnders actor and game show host who is himself descended from royalty, let’s remember.

On BBC Breakfast today (October 28), he said:

Dyer has form when it comes to criticising old Eton boys. Today he was commenting on Boris Johnson but he was particularly scathing about Johnson’s former Eton classmate David Cameron – a previous prime minister – not so long ago:

He makes a good point.

This Writer has long said that the inverse ratio between the quality of Eton’s reputation and that of its former pupils; I am glad to see this viewpoint being put to the wider audience that Dyer can command.

Sadly we will continue to be saddled with dimwitted toffs like Cameron and Johnson, as long as the UK Establishment continues to adhere to out-of-date, out-of-touch beliefs that more than 60 million people should have the courses of their lives dictated by an elite few who have absolutely no understand at all of the realities of life here.

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Twitter unites to help British man struggling with his mental health. Why won’t the UK government?

 

A British man tweeted that his mental health was suffering – and people from across the world responded with uplifting words, images and video clips.

It’s not clear exactly why Edmund O’Leary – a follower of This Site – was moved to express his distress, but living in a country that is shambling from one crisis to another under a government that is worse-than-useless, that takes money from people who need it in order to hand it to the very rich (in return for nothing), that has caused the Brexit crisis and worsened the Covid-19 calamity, might have something to do with it.

How uplifting, then, to see an international range of people using the often-abrasive social media platform to help – incidentally providing all of us with a bit of cheer on a gloomy October weekend:

All the above (and more) being said, I have to agree with the following Twitter user, who makes the important point that, perhaps, we would not have to mount this ad hoc effort on Edmund’s behalf if the UK’s mental health care services had not been cut to the bone by successive political administrations who simply don’t care that they are driving people to despair:

Let’s all try to do a little more to make sure people like Edmund don’t have to go to Twitter for help – and that everybody in need of mental health care can get it. I know Edmund will read this and I hope he’s feeling better. Send us a message!

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Tories took donations from oligarch linked to Putin. Is this why they never investigated Russian interference in UK politics?

Vladimir Putin: has Boris Johnson been his puppet since before he became the UK’s prime minister?

Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has definitely taken donations from people linked to Russia’s President Putin – and provided private meetings with the last three UK prime ministers in return.

The money totalling £1.7 million came from Vladimir Chernukhin via his wife Lubov, according to the so-called FinCEN files – leaked “suspicious activity reports” by banks.

According to BBC News,

Leaked files show her husband received $8m (£6.1m). The money initially came from a politician facing US sanctions due to his closeness to the Kremlin.

A leak of banks’ “suspicious activity reports” … shows Vladimir Chernukhin was sent the money in 2016 from a British Virgin Islands company linked to Suleyman Kerimov.

Billionaire Mr Kerimov is the owner of Russia’s biggest gold mine and member of the upper chamber of the Russian parliament.

In 2018 he was sanctioned by the US authorities, who were targeting those they said “play a key role in advancing Russia’s malign activities”.

Mr Chernukhin, 52, is a former deputy minister of finance under Vladimir Putin, who left Russia for London in 2004 after being sacked by the president.

The Chernukhins – one of the UK’s most prominent Russian-born couples – are now both British citizens and live in London.

Mrs Chernukhin’s donations to the Conservative Party began in 2012.

The majority – more than £1.5m – came after the $8m payment linked to Mr Kerimov was made to her husband on 29 April 2016, although it is not clear if any of that cash went to the Tories.

Mrs Chernukhin’s lawyers say the Kremlin had no influence because of the donations – but they would, wouldn’t they?

UK prime minister Boris Johnson has suffered a huge amount of bad publicity over his reluctance to do anything about suspicious donations from Russians linked to Putin’s government.

A report on Russian interference in UK politics – including the use of donations to influence policy – was due to be published before last year’s general election but Boris Johnson shelved it for no good reason.

It remained unpublished until pressure finally forced Johnson to re-convene the UK’s security committee, responsible for it, in July this year – nine months after the public should have seen it.

And it showed that successive Conservative governments have welcomed Russian oligarchs “with open arms”, giving them access to political figures “at the highest levels” – and made absolutely no attempt to investigate Russian interference in referendums and elections; in fact, the Tories “actively avoided” doing so.

The Tories had been delighted to welcome Russian money and the oligarchs who owned it, “providing them with a means of recycling illicit finance through the London ‘laundromat’.”

In response to the report, the government said it saw no evidence of interference – but it seems clear that there is a good reason for that: nobody was looking. The report made it clear that the defence of UK democratic processes was a “hot potato” over which no government organisation wanted to take the lead in conducting an assessment of Russian interference.

So we already had evidence that Conservative government had given Russian oligarchs who donated money to the party unprecedented access to – and, we may conclude, influence over – top-ranked political figures including the last three prime ministers.

Now we have evidence that this money is likely to have come from the Kremlin, attached to demands from the Putin government.

If Boris Johnson and his government continue to deny any wrongdoing – while refusing to allow an independent investigation – the public will have no choice but to brand them as corrupt lackeys of the Russians.

I mean…

How does it look to you?

Source: FinCEN Files: Tory donor Lubov Chernukhin linked to $8m Putin ally funding – BBC News

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Legal action over Russian intervention in UK politics? Let’s hope it happens before Johnson gags the courts!

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Boris Johnson and Evgeny Lebedev: 10 days after saying he saw no evidence that Russians were influencing UK politics, Johnson elevated a Russian to the House of Lords. He says there’s no evidence for an investigation into Russian influence in UK politics, despite a Parliamentary committee producing a lengthy report containing a large amount of it.

A group of MPs has threatened court action to compel the Johnson government to investigate allegations in a report on Russian intervention in UK politics.

Well, let’s hope they follow it through soon because Johnson is acting to stop the courts from having any power over his government.

Yes, that is dictatorship. You voted for it, folks! (Or if you don’t, being good, decent Vox Political readers, your neighbours did.)

It was in the Tory manifesto for the December 2019 election, for everybody to see, on page 48: a plan to forbid the courts from making orders that restrict the government from acting in any way it pleases.

I’m sure Hitler did something similar in Germany during the 1930s.

A group of politicians are threatening legal action unless Boris Johnson orders an independent investigation into Russian interference in elections.

The letter signed by Green MP Caroline Lucas and Labour’s Chris Bryant follows a report which said the UK “badly underestimated” the Russian threat.

The parliamentarians argue the prime minister’s “lack of action” breaches the right to free elections.

The government said the UK had “robust systems” to protect elections.

Johnson has very close personal relationship with very notable Russians based in the UK. But we’re sure that has nothing to do with his reluctance on this matter… aren’t we?

Source: Boris Johnson threatened with legal action over Russia threat – BBC News

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TOO LATE, Clive Lewis – the two-faced politics of Starmer has already been very well defined

Two-faced: Keir Starmer wants us to think he’s the left-wing alternative to Boris Johnson, but his behaviour shows that’s a mask for another Establishment stooge.

Labour’s Clive Lewis has warned that the politics of new party leader Keir Starmer needs to be defined quickly, before others do it. Too late!

Commentators on the decline of Labour under Starmer already know perfectly well that he represents a backslide into two-faced Blairism and are making a public impact with their revelations.

He said definition of ‘Keirism’, with “broad themes” and “red lines”, “needs to be done because if you don’t, other people begin to define you or try to define you, and that’s already happening.”

It sure is – and the verdict is damning.

So, for example, we get this piece in Libcom, which puts the two-faced Labour leader in context from the very first paragraph: “It appears that Sir Keir intends to combine a ‘forensic’, lawyerly critique of the government’s many failings with what he calls ‘constructive’ support for the most hard-right Tory administration since the 1930s.”

Writer Mark Kosman goes on to condemn Starmer’s response to the Black Lives Matter movement as “keen to reassure the entire British establishment that the Labour Party will continue to be a ‘most loyal’ opposition”.

You may remember Starmer belittled BLM, saying “I don’t have any truck with what [Black Lives Matter] is saying about defunding the police or anything else. That’s just nonsense.”

Mr Kosman describes BLM’s response – that Starmer was just a “cop in an expensive suit” as “incisive and memorable”.

But he goes further – pointing out that the Labour leader’s words were a far cry from what he said back in 1986 when writing about police attacks on pickets during the printers’ bitter dispute with Rupert Murdoch over his Wapping print plant:

Back then, according to Starmer’s former Highgate housemate, ‘he used to run an organisation called Socialist Alternatives from our house.’ Socialist Alternatives was the publication of the British section of the pro-self-management, ex-Trotskyist group, the International Revolutionary Marxist Tendency, and Starmer’s contributions to the magazine included an article about the Wapping dispute in which he denounced the use of ‘paramilitary’ policing methods. He then said:

This leads to the question of the role the police should play, if any, in civil society. Who are they protecting and from what?

Starmer’s comments appear to raise the issue of abolishing the police not just defunding them. According to one of his old lawyer friends, back in 1986, Starmer also advocated a ‘thorough critique of the prison system and how it didn’t work.

Well, it’s not uncommon for people to change their minds. And, as Mr Kosman points out, “Starmer’s subsequent depressing trajectory from ‘Marxist’ radical to cynical careerist is not uncommon on the British left.”

He goes on to add: “What is less common is Starmer’s trajectory from a lawyer who genuinely supported left-wing activism to one who became head of the Crown Prosecution Service – an organisation whose only interest in such activism is a determination to contain and prevent it.”

He goes on to direct us to a more thorough critique of the Labour leader’s grim record at the Verso blog. He states: “In ‘The Case Against Keir Starmer’, Oliver Eagleton runs through Starmer’s dubious positions on the Iraq War, Trident, state surveillance, Julian Assange and welfare cuts, as well as his apparent reluctance to prosecute the police officers who killed Jean Charles de Menezes and Ian Tomlinson.”

“There’s certainly no question that [Starmer] has become a convert to the establishment,” he writes. “Not only has he accepted a knighthood but he’s been a member of the pro-US, pro-market think tank, the Trilateral Commission, since 2018. Other members of this rather secretive organisation include not only Henry Kissinger but as many as seven former heads of the CIA and various other US intelligence agencies

“The head of the UK’s intelligence agency, MI5, is Jonathan Evans who was particularly grateful to Starmer for his decision not to prosecute MI5 for their role in the CIA’s overseas torture programme.”

Kosman points out Starmer’s supine response to the Covid-19 crisis, quoting Lancet editor Richard Horton’s protest against the Tory policies that have killed nearly 70,000 people (by the time I’m writing this): “Why are you allowing this government to orchestrate the deaths of your citizens, your families, your neighbours? This is a mass delusion. Resist. Resist. Rebel.”

And what’s Starmer’s response? “Starmer has never been quite this passionate about anything but, as a younger activist, he would, at least, have been able to appreciate and echo Horton’s truth-telling.

“However, now, as an older professional politician – one who is completely integrated into the establishment – he is simply unable to face up to the truth of modern Britain, let alone ‘speak out’ about it.

Finally – and crucially – Kosman lays into Starmer’s merciless “witch-hunt” against people on the left of the Labour Party – the wing from which he himself emerged:

His witch-hunt against the left, both inside and outside the Labour Party, has probably only just started.

If Starmer is prepared to smear his fellow front-bencher, Rebecca Long-Bailey, as a purveyor of ‘anti-Semitic conspiracy theories’, he won’t hesitate to slander and persecute any and all genuinely left-wing activists.

This ‘cop in an expensive suit’ is, at present, no threat to the Tory government. But, allied both with that government and with his friends in the police, he could easily become a very serious threat to those of us on the genuine left.

Those are the facts of the matter.

And that is why, after only 100 days as leader, it is now far too late for Keir Starmer to try to define his politics.

The damage has already been done – and he did it himself. We just said what we saw.

Source: “Keirism” needs to be defined – or others will define the Labour leader, says Clive Lewis – LabourList

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Also seen online… other stories in today’s news

I haven’t had time to write about these but they are of interest:

This one should come with a health warning: Matt Hancock promised a “world-beating” track-and-trace app for mobile phones, didn’t he? Also 100,000 tests carried out per day. And we were told there would be no shortage of ventilators. Or PPE. So don’t expect anything to come of this:

The problem with this one is that the BBC isn’t the problem. It’s the Conservative government that took away the funding that made it possible to subsidise licence fees for people aged over 75:

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Do you believe Downing Street’s story that the Russia report may soon be published?

Parliament’s committee responsible for publishing the report on Russian interference in UK politics may be reconvened “imminently” – according to Downing Street sources.

Do you believe that?

Or do you think that, even if it happens, it’s only because Boris Johnson has found another way to delay the report – or hide what it says?

According to the BBC, the government is denying that Johnson has stalled the process:

A source close to the process has told me they are hopeful the committee will be confirmed by Downing Street “imminently”.

That would remove the most significant obstacle to the Russia report being published and means it could happen soon.

Number 10, meanwhile, has denied deliberately stalling the process.

The PM’s spokesman said the government wanted to get the committee up and running as soon as circumstances allowed.

But the spokesman said the last few months has seen an unprecedented situation in government and Parliament.

So the Covid crisis has made Johnson so busy he hasn’t had time to restore this vital organisation that could release damning information?

What’s he been busy doing? Changing nappies?

Apparently so. But while This Writer approves of equality in the parenting process, as prime minister, Johnson has a responsibility to the nation.

He seems to have forgotten that. But did you anything different from him?

Source: Russia report committee to be set up ‘imminently’ – BBC News

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Johnson is feeling the pressure to publish report on Russian interference in UK affairs

Boris Johnson: he’s making this gesture to the public – metaphorically, if not actually – increasingly often these days.

Boris Johnson and his government are facing mounting pressure to publish a long-delayed report on Russia’s influence in UK politics.

The report was finalised by Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee last October – but Boris Johnson refused to sign it off before the general election.

The committee itself was dissolved in advance of that poll, but has not been reconvened since – because Mr Johnson has not approved the Conservative Party’s nominations of members.

Here’s the BBC’s Nick Eardsley:

Ultimately, members are appointed by the prime minister. But political parties are asked to nominate MPs – based on their relative size in the Commons – and there are also members from the Lords.

I understand opposition parties confirmed their nominations months ago. Sources said there had been enough time for relevant vetting to be carried out for new members.

But there is a lack of clarity on the Conservative candidates, with Tory MPs kept in the dark about whether a final decision has even been made six months after the election.

That’s led to frustration among the other parties in Westminster – with Labour, the SNP and the Liberal Democrats all calling for the committee to be reconvened urgently.

Downing Street has said work to re-establish the committee is going on “as quickly as current circumstances allow” – without explaining exactly which current circumstances are stopping Johnson from finalising his nominations.

The spokesperson said: “The Investigatory Powers Act allows the UK to maintain one of the most stringent scrutiny regimes in the world through the Investigatory Powers Commissioner, the Investigatory Powers Tribunal and both executive and judicial oversight.”

Fine words if you want to be reassured. But of course they omit the fact that only the Intelligence and Security Committee can make the so-called “Russia Report” public.

And the fact is that Johnson could rubber-stamp Tory nominations tomorrow, and the committee could meet to approve publication of the report on Monday.

So the question is: why doesn’t he do that?

Is there something in the report that he doesn’t want us to know? That’s the logical conclusion to draw from his actions.

Source: Government criticised for delay in setting up security committee – BBC News

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MPs from all parties say failure to release Russia report is ‘affront to democracy’

Bosom buddies: Boris Johnson with Russian industrialist Alexander Temerko.

If a week in politics is a long time, how would you describe eight months? An eternity?

That’s the length of time Boris Johnson has been sitting on the report into Russian interference in UK democracy.

He says it cannot be released because the UK’s Intelligence and Security Committee has not been reconvened since it was dissolved for the December 2019 general election and has no members.

But this is a feeble excuse when one realises that the only reason for this is, Boris Johnson nominates everybody on this committee – and he hasn’t bothered to do so.

It is the only committee that Parliament has yet to appoint, and it is extremely unusual for a Parliament to fail to appoint it for six months – one-tenth of its term.

If Johnson wanted, this committee could meet on Monday and the report could be out on Tuesday (June 23).

He simply doesn’t want to – and now a cross-party group of MPs have slammed his inaction as an affront to democracy. They’re absolutely right:

MPs on Tuesday wrote to the UK prime minister to tell him it “is untenable for you to continue to block the publication of the Russia report,” adding that “the situation is an affront to democracy.”

The letter… tells Johnson “your refusal to allow publication of this crucial document raises serious concerns and questions about the transparency and integrity of our democratic process.”

Johnson faces fresh pressure to publish the report after the Electoral Commission last week published new data showing continued financial support for the Conservative party from the wife of a former minister in Vladimir Putin’s Russian government.

The letter to Johnson says this new information highlighted “the party’s deep connections to Russian oligarchs,” and “further questions as to why you are so reluctant to reconstitute the Intelligence and Security Committee.”

Source: Boris Johnson failure to release Russia report an affront to democracy – Business Insider

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Vox Political scrapbook: June 7

The Metropolitan Police has joined the government in losing public confidence after reacting with violence during a peaceful anti-racism protest:

Would that be Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick?

The Covid-19 infection rate in the UK is rising:

And the (official) death toll has passed 40,000:

Labour has no moral high ground on the race issue:

Labour is a cesspit if one of the party’s MPs can be shamed into deleting a link to a perfectly reasonable article:

And the shadow Work and Pensions Secretary has responded to his detractors:

Vigilantism has arisen in the US:

Who can blame them, considering the state of their police?

But protest is not about to die down:

US President Trump has done an about-face on George Floyd:

But we all know what he is, anyway:

By the way, that stuff he has been taking to keep Covid-19 at bay? It doesn’t work:

More government claims:

But hasn’t the government already lowered its standards? There’s a new petition to stop the importing of chlorinated chicken:

More claims about the government:

And Dominic Cummings is still hated and ridiculed: