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Starmer’s Tory-supporting crackdown on his own party makes him a danger to people with disabilities

[Image: @Rachael_Swindon on Twitter.]

Apologists for Keir Starmer who reckon he’s easing the way for Tory legislation to make them “own their mistakes” will have a hard time justifying this.

Starmer and his team are working behind the scenes to stop Labour MPs from criticising the Conservatives.

After significant rebellions against one-line Labour whips on the Overseas Operations Bill and the Covert Human Intelligent Sources Bill (the so-called ‘Spycops’ bill that allows government agents to commit crimes including murder, torture and rape), the whips office has broken party protocol to issue written reprimands to the rebels.

The letters stipulate a reprimand period of six months, to be extended to twelve if the recipient continues to break the whip.

They have been shared with Labour’s parliamentary committee – a group of backbench MPs elected by the parliamentary Labour party (PLP), and currently dominated by the right – which will determine whether to inform the MP’s constituency Labour party (CLP), as well as the party’s national executive committee (NEC).

This information could then be considered when an MP seeks reselection ahead of a general election.

“That’s the fear factor,” one MP told Novara Media. “This could impact your reselection [and] it might be over a one-line whip. It’s intimidation plain and simple.”

A number of those who received letters are seeking legal advice from union representatives, the MP added.

But that’s not all.

It seems someone in Starmer’s office has taken it upon themselves to water down criticism of the Tory government’s failure to protect people with disabilities by reducing the disability employment gap and mitigating the effect of the Covid-19 crisis on them, and in its new COVID-19 guidance for people placed in the “clinically extremely vulnerable” group.

Someone in the office of the shadow minister for people with disabilities, Vicky Foxcroft, sent a draft of her comments to John Pring of Disability News Service which differed significantly from the official version of her comments released by the Labour Party.

The changes include the removal of a reference to the “vital” role played by trade unions in protecting disabled people from discrimination, along with any reference to disability discrimination.

Read the DNS article and see for yourself. It states,

Responding to the new pandemic guidance… her official statement said that disabled people were just “anxious” rather than “extremely worried”. Her call for disabled people who might need to shield again needing to be “properly compensated and not left without enough money to survive” had vanished.

This represents a serious policy change from Labour – back to the indifference to anti-disability discrimination that marred the New Labour years and Ed Miliband’s leadership.

People with disabilities can no longer rely on Labour MPs to stand up for them because it seems the party leadership now supports the Tories’ campaign to punish them, just for existing.

Starmer seems determined to let Boris Johnson’s corrupt Tories do whatever they want – harm whoever they want – while threatening to sabotage the careers of anybody in his own ranks who dares to protest.

The big question is: What is to be done about this?

The union Unite has already cut its funding to the Labour Party by 10 per cent, and the decision to remove a supportive reference to trade unions from an official comment could be interpreted as an attack – or even a retaliation. Should that union – and others – cut support for Labour even more?

And what about constituency Labour parties? The threat to MPs – which includes sanctions that could lead to their deselection (to be replaced by right-wingers parachuted in by head office, no doubt – that was Tony Blair’s practice) – is also an indirect attack on the power of members to choose their representatives.

Will they act? Should they?

What do you think?

Source: Keir Starmer Has Launched an Unprecedented Crackdown on Rebel MPs | Novara Media

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‘Spycops’ law will be used to spy on Labour, its MPs and trade unions. Why did 167 Labour MPs support it?

Another blunder: Keir Starmer’s insistence on allowing a law that would allow the government to undermine his party has created a rift between him and an ever-increasing number of his MPs.

It is already being labelled as a major rebellion against Keir Starmer’s leadership: 34 Labour MPs defying the party whip to vote against the controversial so-called ‘Spycops’ Bill that would allow government agents to commit crimes.

The real question about it, though, is: why so few?

Labour has been targeted by the so-called Establishment in the UK – probably from its beginnings as a political party. This includes espionage by the nation’s intelligence agencies.

We all know about famous incidents such as the Zinoviev Letter, which contributed to the fall of Ramsay MacDonald’s first Labour government. It was a forged communique allegedly between the government and the Communist government of Russia, written by people whose identities remain uncertain…

… but it was published by the Conservative Daily Mail, and it is widely believed that this was on the urging of the SIS – the intelligence service of the day.

Another famous issue is the MI5 file on Harold Wilson, which was opened when he first entered Parliament in 1945 and recorded his contacts with communists, KGB officers and other Russians.

It was opened because of concerns about his relationships with Eastern European businessmen. Can you imagine MI5 opening a file on Boris Johnson, over his relationships with oligarches from Russia?

Ultimately, none of the information in the file can have amounted to anything because MI5 never tried to use it to undermine him – despite his own paranoia about this in his later years.

Clearly there is a precedent for the security services – which are predominantly staffed by right-wingers – using every resource within their power to find ways of undermining the Labour Party.

And by abstaining on a Bill that allows government agents to commit crimes in order to achieve their aims, 167 Labour MPs including the party’s leader, Keir Starmer, have just handed them another such resource.

It’s undemocratic and dangerous – the kind of legislation created by a dictatorship in order to ensure, by fair means or foul, that no rival organisation can ever topple it.

But some good may come of it accidentally – the possible removal of Starmer as party leader.

Around 20 of his MPs rebelled against his demand to abstain on the Bill’s second reading. Yesterday (October 15), 34 defied his whip – including eight who resigned from front bench roles to do so:

 

Much of this can be attributed to Starmer’s own attitude, which suggests that he actually supports the Bill’s demand that government agents be allowed to commit any crime without fear of prosecution for it later – any crime at all, including the murder of the Tories’ political opponents:

Discontent with his lack of opposition to the worst Tory government in history is growing, and already there are rumours of a leadership challenge in 2021:

Political developments are strange; they don’t happen the way anybody expects – unless that person is very far-sighted indeed.

The Zinoviev Letter led to the fall of a Labour government – but only in a roundabout way. Labour’s vote increased in the general election; it was the collapse of the Liberal vote that allowed the Conservatives their victory.

It would be ironic if now, nearly a century after that attempt to end a socialist government, a piece of legislation that legalises espionage against the party that formed that government actually led to its re-founding as a socialist organisation once again.

That is the only comforting thought I can raise from what is, in all other respects, a disaster for democracy.

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If Labour rebels are planning to back BoJob’s Brexit deal, they’d better have their CVs typed up

Remember Northern Ireland? It seems up to 40 Labour MPs who are considering rebelling against the party leadership have forgotten all about the peace process – or couldn’t care less if it goes up in smoke.

How nice of Lisa Nandy to indicate that she may be minded to support Boris Johnson’s latest flawed attempt at a Brexit deal – and let’s hope she has her letter of resignation as a Labour MP prepared.

I’m not suggesting that she should go for supporting a deal, or Brexit in general. The official position is that the public voted for it and Parliament should follow the will of the people.

But any Labour MP supporting BoJob’s latest effort – and it is said that 40 are considering it – will be undermining the peace process in Northern Ireland. That would be unforgivable.

Perhaps the MPs in question have not considered that.

For the sake of their careers, they need to.

Boris Johnson’s team has started talking to Labour MPs about his new Brexit proposals, as the prime minister seeks to shore up Commons support ahead of a possible vote on his plan.

Labour MP Lisa Nandy said there had been tentative conversations between Labour MPs and senior members of the cabinet in recent days – and revealed that around 40 rebels could defy Jeremy Corbyn to support a deal.

However, Ms Nandy warned that the prime minister’s new proposals were little more than a “pre-election party political broadcast”, arguing that he was “further away from achieving a deal” than two months ago.

It comes as Brexit secretary Steve Barclay revealed the government was “considering” a Commons vote on the new proposals ahead of the European Council summit on 17 October, to send a message to Brussels that Mr Johnson had the backing of MPs.

Source: Boris Johnson’s team talking to Labour MPs as around 40 rebels ‘could back a Brexit deal’ | The Independent

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Lib Dems drift further to the political right in possible deal with Tory rebels

Jo Swinson: It’s an old pic but we don’t have any actual images of her negotations with Rory Stewart and his pals.

If this is true (and it’s a Sunday Times report, so that’s debatable), then it confirms the Liberal Democrats’ rightward drift since Jo Swinson took over as leader.

Remember last week, when former Tory Phillip Lee crossed the floor of the House of Commons to sit with the Liberal Democrats – prompted the party’s LGBT representative, Jenny Rigg, to quit?

She tweeted her anger at what she saw as her party’s capitulation to Toryism.

And it seems she was right:

Rebel Tories expelled from the party are in talks with the Liberal Democrats about a non-aggression pact.

The former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron is helping to broker a deal between Rory Stewart, an expelled Conservative and neighbouring Cumbrian MP, and the new leader, Jo Swinson, insiders say.

Under the proposal, Stewart would stand as an independent MP at the next general election but agree to accept a soft Lib Dem whip in exchange for the party not fielding a candidate against him. It is understood that the Green Party would also stand aside in Stewart’s Penrith seat.

[Other expelled Tory rebels including Sam Gyimah and Margot James are implicated in the deal.]

Make no mistake: a deal would only be possible if the Liberal Democrat leadership and the expelled Conservatives were able to see eye-to-eye politically.

And Ms Swinson’s behaviour makes it clear that it is her party that has moved into conjunction with the Tories, not the other way round.

This must be heartbreaking for all the traditional Liberals who have supported their party through nightmares like the Coalition government and beyond – not to mention those who voted LD because they want to remain in the EU. What a bare-faced betrayal.

Source: Lib Dems to stand aside for Rory Stewart and other Tory rebels in general election | News | The Sunday Times

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Did Boris Johnson really cancel Parliamentary passes of rebel Tory MPs? And what did drunken Dominic do?

Banged up: Someone’s impression of what should happen to Dominic Cummings after the alleged incident in which he drunkenly shouted at Jeremy Corbyn.

We all know that Boris Johnson has withdrawn the Conservative whip from 21 Tory MPs – but rumours are emerging that, in a fit of spite, he has also cancelled their Parliamentary passes, making it harder (but not impossible) for them to get into the House of Commons and vote against him today (September 4).

Commentators are suggesting this was on the advice of Dominic Cummings, Dictator Johnson’s chief advisor and Brexit guru.

Consider:

https://twitter.com/twychy12/status/1169017162943606784

Mr Cummings seems to be losing the plot a bit. Eyewitnesses are claiming he accosted Jeremy Corbyn in a corridor of the Palace of Westminster and drunkenly challenged him to support BoJob’s desperate call for a general election, late last night (September 3):

This is the quality of the people we have running the country today: drunkenness and spite.

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Tory rebels are set to call Dictator Johnson’s bluff

He THINKS he’s the law: Dominic Cummings, the Leave campaigner now seen as Boris Johnson’s top henchman, warns Tory rebels including David Gauke, Philip Hammond and – is that Theresa May or Ken Clarke? Michael Gove cheers him on while Dictator Johnson, wrapped in a Union Flag like a good ultra-nationalist fascist, watches from the background in this cartoon by Morton Morland.

Tory MPs who say they will not support Boris Johnson’s “no deal” Brexit may stand as independent Conservatives if he goes through with his threat to withdraw the whip from them – effectively expelling them from his party in Parliament.

The Dictator’s warning is already seen as an empty threat by many, as he would lose his majority in Parliament if he goes through with it.

And if BoJob’s government falls as a result, then he will not be leader and will be unable to follow through his threat to stop them standing as Tory election candidates.

So it could be crippling to him that as many as 20 Tory MPs are preparing to defy him:

The Mirror report, to which the tweet links, states that potential rebel MPs had been expecting to attend a meeting with Mr Johnson today (September 2), but this was cancelled after David Gauke appeared on a TV interview and said he was prepared to stand as an independent candidate in a future election, in the “national interest”.

BoJob said he would hold a “summit” meeting with Philip Hammond instead, but it seems unlikely that this will mollify the potential rebels.

The Dictator’s ultimatum means MPs who were cabinet ministers just six weeks ago may find themselves ejected from the party they used to lead in a matter of days – including, possibly, former prime minister Theresa May.

Also in the firing line are Philip Hammond, David Gauke and Dominic Grieve.

Some leading members of the Johnson camp have – astonishingly – claimed that nobody will be deselected at all, in what seems a transparent attempt to deflect attention away from what’s going on – particularly with reference to the apparent rebel ringleader, David Gauke:

It has been suggested that James Cleverly’s tweet may be deleted soon, so let’s just repeat its claim: “THERE IS NO DESELECTION MECHANISM IN THE CONSERVATIVE PARTY. We have had these Leave EU stories amplified by the press for months and no Conservative MP has been deselected. David Gauke is a great MP and a huge asset to our party.”

The threat from the Johnson camp has already been likened to a Stalinist purge, with some commentators pointing out that the only reason the mass media aren’t using those words is because it is happening in the Conservative Party and not Labour:

Indeed, the fact that Labour has not purged any MPs is being used against the Johnson regime:

But the most clear comparison is with Adolf Hitler – against whom Dictator Johnson has actually made himself appear the less acceptable figure:

Some have even adopted the optimistic view that this crisis could finish the Conservatives for good:

https://twitter.com/SurreyAmps/status/1168171760522604546

This Writer would not go that far. Conservatives are resilient and seem to have the survival instinct of the mythical hydra; cut off their head and two more will take its place.

And they are wily, too. Where the stick seems ineffective, Johnson and Cummings may try to apply the carrot and bribe their wayward colleagues back into line.

But the possible loss of his majority could represent a quantum leap forward in the battle against Boris Johnson’s bid to become the UK’s dictator.

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Coercion: Now Dictator Johnson is saying Tory rebels will be barred from being election candidates

Threats and bluster: That’s all Boris Johnson has. He can’t follow through on any plan to remove rebel Tory MPs from Parliament because – if they vote against him – he won’t be their leader long enough to do it.

It’s another step into dictatorship – and it makes the Labour de-selection row look pale in comparison.

Boris Johnson has said any Conservative MP who votes against his plan for a “no deal” Brexit on October 31 will be barred from standing as a Tory candidate in the next general election.

He’s saying he will end their careers if they do what they think is right for the country. Here‘s The Sun (of all places) reporting it:

ANY Tory MP who votes for the extension legislation next week will not be allowed to stand as a Tory candidate at the next election.

I understand No10 have decided to treat next week’s votes as they would a confidence vote, with anyone not backing the Government being immediately disqualified from standing for the party again. They hope this will keep some Tory waverers in the Government lobby next week.

Dictator Johnson is effectively demanding that his MPs swear personal loyalty to him – in the same way Hitler did in the 1930s, for those of you who need the historical perspective.

This would directly contravene the terms on which they were elected in the first place, of course. Voters elect UK MPs on the basis of how they understand that person will represent their constituency – not their political party, and certainly not that party’s leader.

It is an empty threat. If Mr Johnson is defeated and his government falls, then it is unlikely that he will be the leader of the Conservative Party at the next general election, so he would be unable to ensure that rebels are de-selected.

And they have the balance of power here. If they vote against him, then his government falls – and he would be unable to follow through with his threat.

Also, look how good this makes Labour seem: Jeremy Corbyn’s party has offered constituency members the opportunity to de-select MPs they do not believe are representing them adequately in an entirely democratic process – a stark contrast to Dictator Johnson’s stance.

BoJob’s ultimatum has been met with disgust on the social media (although I’ve only seen a few tweets):

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Blue-on-blue war as Johnson’s Parliament shutdown splits the Conservatives

A family at war: Boris Johnson and Philip Hammond were once cabinet colleagues – but now Dictator Johnson’s decision to shut down Parliament to stifle bids to stop his “no deal” Brexit has set Mr Hammond – and many other Conservatives – against him.

Senior Tories are splitting away from Boris Johnson and preparing to support moves to stop the “no deal” Brexit he is trying to achieve by closing down Parliament for five weeks.

This is hugely important as Mr Johnson has a working majority of just one MP. If all opposition MPs vote to stop him and Tory rebels help them, he cannot win a vote in Parliament and his plans will fall.

A significant number of Conservative MPs have said they are now prepared to back legislation to be brought by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the Commons next week.

This will be intended to stop “no deal” Brexit – and also to prevent the prorogation that Dictator Johnson tricked the Queen into approving on Wednesday.

Tory grandee Kenneth Clarke has said he is prepared to support Mr Corbyn as an interim prime minister:

(This is a rebuke for Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson, who said she was not prepared to support a vote of ‘no confidence’ in Boris Johnson’s government if it led to Mr Corbyn becoming PM. She suggested Mr Clarke as a possible “unity” choice, claiming to have spoken with him about it, but he later said he knew nothing about this. The message to her is clear: join the bid to stop Dictator Johnson now.)

Former Chancellor Philip Hammond is keen to stop BoJob.

Former Justice Secretary David Gauke has said his colleagues cannot afford to wait.

Former digital minister Margot James said she had been minded to give Mr Johnson time to negotiate with the EU, but this course of action had been undermined by his decision to prorogue Parliament for an extended period.

Former business minister Richard Harrington will vote with the Tory rebels, as will Jonathan Djanogly and Guto Bebb.

Elsewhere, former Tory prime minister John Major has announced that he will take part in legal action to stop Mr Johnson’s prorogation:

Some have suggested this is hypocritical, however, as he prorogue Parliament himself in 1997:

And Lord Young has quit as a Conservative whip in the House of Lords, saying he was “very unhappy at the timing and length of the prorogation, and its motivation”.

Source: Senior Tory rebels ready to back move against no-deal Brexit | Politics | The Guardian

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Tick tock, Tory Theresa, is your time up?

On her way: She’s managed to dodge the bullet for nearly two years, but is she about to resign at long, long last – putting US out of her misery?

It’s looking bad for Theresa May. She may be ousted on the eve of the European Parliament elections she promised we wouldn’t have to hold.

After the disaster that was the introduction of her third (and final?) attempt to get an EU Withdrawal Bill passed by Parliament, it seems she may be facing a full-scale Cabinet revolt and demands for her resignation.

Apparently Sajid Javid, Jeremy Hunt and David Mundell (he’s Secretary of State for Scotland, by the way) have all requested meetings with Mrs May, but have all been rebuffed.

It seems Penny Mordaunt is also saying she can’t support the new Withdrawal Bill. Reporters are saying it’s an indirect way of telling Mrs May to go, while being able to say that they never overtly demanded it.

The sticking-point seems to be the promise related to another referendum.

Meanwhile the Tory backbench 1922 committee is meeting with the Chief Whip, Julian Smith – to discuss rule changes that will allow an immediate vote of “no confidence” in Mrs May’s leadership.

Tory MPs are openly telling the broadcast media that she has to go – and not the usual suspects, either. Here’s Tom Tugendhat:

And here’s Tim Loughton:

Former Work and Pensions Secretary Stephen Crabb has also said she should resign as soon as possible.

We are told there will be no statement from 10 Downing Street this evening.

Judging from past form, that means there will be a statement from 10 Downing Street this evening.

It’s all very disappointing for This Writer.

For once, I don’t have any popcorn in the house.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/mike-sivier-libel-fight/


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The Conservatives have painted themselves into a corner; this simple question reveals their stupidity


Can you believe that Tory rebels have been asked if Theresa May’s resignation would motivate them to support her Brexit deal.

Boris Johnson, Iain Duncan Smith, Jacob Rees-Mogg and others were asked for their opinions in private sessions with Downing Street advisors at a meeting in Chequers over the weekend, it has been alleged.

One has to ask the simple question: Why?

Mrs May’s deal was voted down twice – firstly in the biggest defeat for a sitting government in history, and secondly in the fourth-biggest such defeat – not because it was hers, but because it was bad for the United Kingdom.

Her departure from 10 Downing Street would not make her deal any less dreadful.

Rejecting this offer would show consistency – the MPs concerned don’t like the deal and if Mrs May’s insistence on pursuing it leads to her downfall, that is her problem.

If they decided to accept the offer and support the deal, it would send a resounding message out to the country that these MPs don’t care about the well-being of the UK’s people, but only for their own careers.

Whatever happened, the mere asking of the question shows that the Conservatives still consider Brexit to be an internal party squabble.

It’s yet another misstep in a premiership full of them. How many more times will Theresa May stumble before she finally falls?


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The Livingstone Presumption is now available
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Health Warning: Government! is now available
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HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook