Tag Archives: right

Starmer Labour’s lurch to the right gets eviscerated on live TV

Taking the knee: Starmer and Rayner claimed it was in solidarity with victims of racist prejudice but it seems more likely they were going to follow up the gesture by drawing weapons and taking aim at the same victims.

I wonder how all those new, allegedly-genuine, Labour members feel about the policies and viewpoints they claim to adore being dissected and destroyed on live TV?

That’s what happened on Monday (February 21) on the BBC’s Politics Live. We can go through the content in a moment but let’s hear it first:

First up: Angela Rayner’s support for the murder of people accused of terrorism.

In fairness, her comment was, “Shoot terrorists and ask questions later.” It suggests she means genuine terrorists deserve to be shot, rather than people like Jean Charles de Menezes who was wrongly identified as a suspect by the Metropolitan Police – who shot him anyway.

But how do you identify who is a genuine terrorist and who is innocent – especially in an emergency?

That’s why Rayner’s comment was so dangerous, and why people like Sonali Bhattacharyya are right to be scandalised by her advocacy of it. She claimed to be “soft left” but seems to be more “hard right” as far as this is concerned.

Cressida Dick is mentioned because she was the senior Met Police officer in the operation that led to his fatal shooting.

Ms Bhattacharyya’s observation that Rayner’s words seem like posturing for the right-wing press is right on the button – especially at a time when Starmer Labour is trying hard to create a false distinction between it and the party as led by Jeremy Corbyn by saying he was (seen to be) soft on crime.

He wasn’t; Blairites such as Starmer like to make the claim, though. It harks back to Tony Blair’s attack on the Conservatives, back in the mid-1990s, and his 1993 slogan, “Tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime.”

Anyone can see that this focused on rehabilitation as much as on punishment, but Starmer’s crowd has chosen to ignore the former in order to appeal to readers of right-wing low-intelligence tabloids.

Shadow Skills Minister Toby Perkins tried to laugh it off. He pointed out that Rayner’s comments were made on Matt Forde’s political comedy podcast. But this is not a laughing matter. Is it?

It’s very telling that at one point he said, “I think what Angela Rayner was trying to get away with-” before catching himself and rephrasing. So she was trying to get away with a claim about Labour’s attitude to terrorism, was she? Moments before, she had been making a humorous comment about her own, personal, attitude. Which was it? I couldn’t be both!

The weird part of that is, Labour’s attitude to terrorism really isn’t different now from its attitude under Jeremy Corbyn. There has been no policy change.

Ms Bhattacharyya went on to point out the apparent hypocrisy of Starmer Labour’s new attitude. Having taken the knee in support of Black Lives Matter protests, Rayner is now apparently saying she would prefer it if people like George Floyd (whose death prompted them) were murdered by police as a matter of course.

She might have said it humorously on a comedy podcast but if Mr Perkins is trying to use it to justify Labour’s claim to be tougher on crime than Corbyn, then she was also putting it forward as a genuine expression of policy direction. That’s hypocritical and Starmer himself needs to straighten out this tangle.

Next, host Jo Coburn made matters worse for Starmer by pointing out that, after being elected Labour leader on a “continuity Corbyn” platform, he has ditched all the promises he made.

Ailbhe Rea of New Statesman agreed that Starmer appealed to the left to take the leadership and was now going to “run to the centre” in his bid to become prime minister – in the belief that he has to do so in order to be electable.

Her claim that Starmer and his people are comfortable with making comments like Rayner’s because they “hope their voters/members who are less comfortable with that will know that it’s not fundamentally what they mean”. So, definitely hypocrites, then. Now the claim appeared to be that they had said they want to shoot people accused of terrorism but didn’t mean it. This story twists like a snake – which is what the Labour-representing participants are starting to resemble.

Asked to comment about the new attitude to crime in relation to Labour’s 2019 manifesto, Mr Perkins dug himself deeper into a hole by referring to the election result as the worst defeat the party had suffered since the 1930s – ignoring the fact that more people voted for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour than for Ed Miliband in 2015, Gordon Brown in 2010 or Tony Blair in 2005. Corbyn’s 2017 vote count was larger than Blair’s in 2001. In fact, the only time a Labour leader in the last 30 years has earned more votes than Mr Corbyn was 1997.

So when we hear Starmer say “a vote for him is a change of direction”, we hear a political leader determined to haemorrhage votes.

Ms Bhattacharyya had the perfect counter for Mr Perkins, simply by pointing out that Starmer was elected leader on his 10 pledges to continue Corbyn policies – policies that Mr Perkins had just rubbished.

And Mr Perkins then claimed that Starmer’s leadership offer was to say that the Corbyn manifesto of 2019 was “unrealistic in its totality”.

So, Starmer was elected Labour leader on a promise to continue policies that he was also saying were “unrealistic” in their “totality”. Nobody should buy that.

Jo Coburn re-inserted herself to draw attention to an opinion poll that shows Labour ahead of the Tories on issues including the economy, crime and immigration – trailing only on Covid-19 (because Starmer has supported Boris Johnson to the disastrous hilt, perhaps).

Asked to comment, old Tory Ann Widdecombe agreed that Starmer is trying to get away from left-wing Corbynism but said his problem is that much of Labour membership and support is left-wing and Corbynist, and aligning with them makes him “unelectable”.

But is it?

Labour nearly lost its de facto control of Bristol City Council on February 17 when the Green Party candidate in the Southmead by-election came within a few dozen votes of taking the seat.

Turnout was just 21.2 per cent, though – in a ward with considerable poverty. And it’s not the usual by-election apathy – in the 2019 general election, 47 per cent of the poorest people didn’t vote.

So Labour’s electoral victory isn’t conditional on appealing to an ever-diminishing crowd of right-wingers.

It should be considered conditional on enticing an increasingly-disillusioned – and growing – population of the UK’s poorest citizens into voting for the party.

Starmer isn’t going to do that – ever. And certainly not by pandering to bloodthirsty fascists.

Twitter’s algorithms promote right-wingers over the left – especially in the UK

If you’re a Twitter user who has ever wondered why the fascists seem to get more space on that platform, now you know the answer: Twitter’s computerised rules demand it.

Here‘s the story:

Twitter has admitted it amplifies more tweets from rightwing politicians and news outlets than content from leftwing sources.

The social media platform examined tweets from elected officials in seven countries – the UK, US, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and Japan. It also studied whether political content from news organisations was amplified on Twitter.

The research found that in six out of seven countries, apart from Germany, tweets from rightwing politicians received more amplification from the algorithm than those from the left; right-leaning news organisations were more amplified than those on the left; and generally politicians’ tweets were more amplified by an algorithmic timeline than by the chronological timeline.

Under the research, a value of 0% meant tweets reached the same number of users on the algorithm-tailored timeline as on its chronological counterpart, whereas a value of 100% meant tweets achieved double the reach.

On this basis, the UK suffered the second-strongest discrepancy between right and left (behind Canada) – although some might think that Labour (112%) is currently even more right-wing than the Conservatives (176%) meaning the results are skewed by the lack of information about left-wing organisations here.

The findings indicate problems for Twitter because they suggest that right-wing tweets get preferential treatment as a function of the way the algorithm is constructed.

The good news is that Twitter has indicated it may need to change its algorithm to give left-wing tweets a wider – and more equal – audience.

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Hardline Home Secretary’s ‘toxic’ plan to restrict protest attacks ‘basic democratic rights’

“Little despot” Priti Patel is attacking “some of the most basic democratic rights of citizens” in her plan to restrict UK citizens’ fundamental right to protest, it’s being claimed.

She is facing revolt against her planned law as the Policing Bill enters the House of Lords this week.

And more than 350 organisations, including human rights groups, charities and faith bodies, have written to Patel and justice secretary Robert Buckland to say that the measures would have a “profound impact” on freedom of expression, and are “an attack on some of the most basic democratic rights of citizens”.

Peers are likely to make amendments to the Bill before it goes back to the House of Commons, triggering a potential confrontation with MPs.

But the hardline Patel may be defeated if enough Conservative MPs join a rebellion.

Former Labour Home Secretary Lord David Blunkett said the Bill would stop people from protesting over issues like planning proposals, fracking or other topical items against which they have every right to express opposition.

And he said if the Bill is intended to stop people with political agendas from using the right to protest for their own ends, then it does not achieve that goal.

He said other ways of dealing with such behaviour already exist.

Source: Patel faces widening revolt over policing bill’s restrictions on protest | Police | The Guardian

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Was Sadiq Khan’s narrower-than-expected London Mayoral win due to Keir Starmer’s right turn?

Sadiq Khan said unflattering things about then-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn after his 2016 London mayoral victory. But at least Corbyn provided Labour policies for the public to support in the poll. Starmer put him in a vacuum and it is a miracle he received as many votes as he did.

Belated congratulations to Sadiq Khan on his re-election to the London Mayoralty.

But isn’t it disturbing that he won by a narrower margin than against Zac Goldsmith in 2016, against an equally inept candidate?

In the years preceding the election, Bailey had been criticised for racism (calling Khan “the Mad Mullah of Londonistan”, criticising celebration of Muslim and Hindu festivals and claiming that British people were being indoctrinated in the cultures of those religions).

He also proposed forcing larger London businesses to drug-test their employees – but with Parliament, dubbed the “corridors of powder” because of the huge “trace” amounts of cocaine that have been found there, exempt.

And he was accused of sexism as well as racism when it emerged that he had stated in 2006 that single girls in inner cities “deliberately become pregnant” in order to secure homes and benefits from the government.

Against such a man, Sadiq Khan gained more than 100,000 fewer votes than against Goldsmith.

I don’t think the drop-off was anything to do with Khan himself – or with his opponent, though.

I think it was about the leadership of Khan’s political party – Labour.

When he was elected in 2016, the people of London were riding high on the election of Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn to the leadership with a set of genuinely socialist policies that had the potential to transform the UK into a vibrant example for the world.

By 2021, Corbyn’s right-wing opponents in the Labour Party bureaucracy had stabbed him in the back and had him replaced with suit-haircut-and-flag man Keir Starmer, who had promptly ditched all of those transformative policies in favour of an “any way the wind blows” approach.

In the absence of any policy support from his party leadership, it is a miracle Khan received as many votes as he did.

Source: Sadiq Khan wins second term as London mayor despite tighter-than-expected race | The Independent

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Hartlepool by-election: will Tories win because Starmer parachuted a right-winger in for Labour?

Voting: but will people in Hartlepool vote Labour after the contempt with which Keir Starmer has (allegedly) treated them?

A poll – with, admittedly, a tiny number of respondents – has suggested that the Conservatives could take Hartlepool from Labour in Thursday’s by-election.

Is this because Keir Starmer steamrolled over the wishes of local part members to parachute a right-wing candidate in?

The behaviour of Labour’s head office with regard to the election has been, reportedly, a disgrace – and if this is how Starmer plans to run the party, then voters in Hartlepool will be right to abandon him.

The problem is that the Conservatives are likely to benefit from it.

Starmer is already facing criticism that his daft antics have strengthened the Tories. How will he be able to justify himself if they take Hartlepool?

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Support for the right to protest spans every sector of society. Unite and fight the #PoliceBill

Police state: this image from the Sarah Everard vigil on Clapham Common on Saturday makes the message perfectly clear – your only freedom under a Tory government is freedom to do what you are told, and nothing else.

Everybody, whether comedian or economist, is standing up in support of UK citizens’ right to protest, after the Tory government voted to effectively ban it.

The arguments are clear, whether they come from economist Richard Murphy…

… or from satirical reporter Jonathan Pie:

The Jonathan Pie video has it right: If you can’t be heard, you can’t change things; if you can’t disrupt things, they stay the same.

Or worse – as the Tories intend – they change in ways that harm you and help them.

Well, if the new law means I can be arrested for offending someone, then I’m likely to be arrested.

So are you because believe me, somebody, somewhere, finds you offensive.

The only people who will be immune will be members of the right-wing press, authority figures like Cressida Dick, and of course members of the Tory government and their supporters like Keir Starmer.

See what I did there? Now somebody will be offended that I said Starmer supports Johnson’s government. I can’t help myself. But I’m not trying to offend; I’m only telling my truth.

Just because it differs from someone else’s, that’s no reason to have me arrested.

Not in a civilised society, anyway.

But if you’re in the United Kingdom, you don’t live in a civilised society. You live in a police state.

And you will feel the sharp edge of it if you don’t stand up to stop it now.

So get organised. Get together with other people in your local communities and stand up for your right to stand up for your rights.

Or would you rather just sit at home and wait for the rozzers to come knocking on your door?

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Why did ‘celebrity’ Twitter users force suspension of ordinary woman? Because they could

Some of you have been kind enough to notice that This Writer’s @MidWalesMike account has been in the Twitter sin bin since the beginning of the month because somebody didn’t like one of my articles about the court case against Rachel Riley.

That is dangerous enough – it’s clearly an attempt to create a “chilling” effect on my crowdfunding (that, fortunately, has failed – the fund has nearly raised £125,000 since it started nearly two years ago).

But now I read that another Twitter user, who apparently has no public profile at all (she’s not a celebrity or a journalist/blogger or a member of the commentatorati), has found her account suspended, simply for expressing her dislike of an actress.

The actress in question was Tracy-Ann Oberman, who apparently searches the social media platform for any adverse comment about her. Spotting this one, it seems she claimed that the lady in question had to be an anti-Semite, even though no part of the view she expressed in her tweet conveyed any such sentiment. See for yourself:

“It’s a sin was doing so well then I saw Tracy Ann Oberman left a bad taste in my mouth … trying to quickly forget I’ve seen her.”

“Caroline do you think that YOU may be one of those intolerant bigots that Russell is talking about in #itsasin

“Seems you’ve missed the entire point of the series. You and the rest of this thread. Oh dear. @cst @UKLabour @LabourAgainstAS”

The @ tags at the end of Oberman’s tweet are significant. She was tagging in the Community Security Trust and Labour Against Anti-Semitism – both highly vocal self-proclaimed crusaders against anti-Semitism (although both could equally well be described as witch-hunters against people targeted with false claims) along with the Labour Party, because ‘Caroline’ could be seen holding a Labour membership card in her profile picture.

The implication is clear: Oberman wanted to brand ‘Caroline’ an anti-Semite and she wanted to bring Labour’s attention to it. In order to provoke disciplinary action, perhaps? Because this person had expressed an opinion about her appearance in a TV show. Overkill?

No. Overkill is what followed. Oberman’s tweet led to a dogpile so vile that even some of its participants later withdrew their comments and apologised.

I won’t go into the details but you can read about it on Zelo Street if you like.

Then – apparently after pressure from the usual cohort of “blue tick” celebrities – ‘Caroline’ had her Twitter account suspended.

I repeat that she had not expressed a single opinion that was not well within her right. If she doesn’t like Tracy-Ann Oberman, it is not for Tracy-Ann Oberman to take offence and have her hounded off of Twitter. For all Tracy-Ann Oberman knew, ‘Caroline’ had perfectly good reasons for disliking her.

Those reasons don’t have to be restricted to her acting, either. I refer to her “clitoris” comment in response to David Quantick, and her (clearly racist, in my opinion) “Is Ping Pong the Thai help?” query in response to a tweet from Liz Hurley that her parrot had spoken in human language for the first time.

Nevertheless, Tracy-Ann Oberman reacted the way she did, and now an innocent member of the public has been hounded off of Twitter.

You may be wondering why Tracy-Ann Oberman feels justified in having acted as she did. I’ll tell you the answer:

Because there is a court ruling that says she cannot be held to account for it.

It’s the ruling of Mrs Justice Collins Rice in the case brought by Oberman’s friend Rachel Riley against This Writer.

Riley’s legal team had put forward an argument that she could not possibly be held responsible for the behaviour of her followers, who abused and harassed a teenage girl with mental health problems who had had the temerity to criticise her for accusing Owen Jones (and Jeremy Corbyn) of anti-Semitism.

Riley had tagged celebrities, politicians and so-called activists against anti-Semitism into her tweets responding to the girl, who had received many hundreds of responses critical of her as a result – forcing her to quit Twitter several times for the sake of her mental health.

But the judge agreed that Riley was not responsible. Her ruling means nobody else can be, either.

And this is the result.

It is hugely damaging – not only for the safety of people like ‘Caroline’, but for everybody’s Article 10 right to Freedom of Expression according to the Human Rights Act (she was hounded off the platform for expressing an opinion about an actress, remember).

It also contradicts the intentions of Online Harms legislation that is due to pass through Parliament soon. Part of the proposed law would make participation in online dogpiles a criminal offence with serious penalties attached.

As everybody should be aware by now, I have appealed against Mrs Justice Collins Rice’s ruling.

I hope that judges at the Court of Appeal agree that it has created the opportunity for significant harm – and has already caused such harm in the case of ‘Caroline’.

If so, then we may also hope that the ruling is rescinded and the Obermans of this world lose their legal protection.

My case is still going on, I am still crowdfunding to pay its costs, and you are invited to contribute in the time-honoured ways:

Consider making a donation yourself, if you can afford it, via the CrowdJustice page.

Email your friends, asking them to pledge to the CrowdJustice site.

Post a link to Facebook, asking readers to pledge.

On Twitter, tweet in support, quoting the address of the appeal.

If you haven’t donated before, perhaps this story will encourage you.

After all, they might come for you next.

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.

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Senior Tories including ‘Brexit Steve’ Baker demand continuation of Covid death spiral

The image above may not be the most sophisticated graphic This Site has ever published, but it is accurate all the same.

The Tory rabble who have been pushing for more deaths in a bid to keep the economy going and their paymasters in big business happy have been pressuring Boris Johnson for another early end to the restrictions he has (laughably) encouraged us all to call a lockdown.

The infection and death rates are back at pre-‘lockdown’ levels, they say, so he she start easing us all back into work at the beginning of March.

Shockingly, arch-Brexiteer Steve Baker, clearly believing he hasn’t done enough to wreck the nation, has been traipsing around the broadcast media today, claiming that we need to give Covid-19 a chance at a third wave, for the sake of the poorest in society.

“Think of the poor!” How disgusting.

As the infographic above points out, he couldn’t care less when he voted against letting the poor keep the Universal Credit uplift they need to get by.

In this light, he seems clearly revealed as the kind of opportunist who says whatever he thinks will get him what he wants.

And he isn’t the only one:

Lockdown-sceptic Tories have piled pressure on Boris Johnson, calling on him to commit to a timetable for lifting coronavirus restrictions with a complete end to controls by the end of April.

In a letter to the prime minister, the leaders of the Covid Recovery Group (CRG) said the “tremendous pace” of the vaccination rollout meant restrictions should begin easing from early March.

They said ministers must produce a cost-benefit analysis to justify any controls that remain in place after that date, with a “roadmap” stating when they would be removed.

The letter was organised by the CRG chair and deputy chair, Mark Harper and Steve Baker, and was said to have the backing of 63 Conservative MPs in all. However, scientists advising the government are warning that lifting restrictions too quickly risks another wave of the disease as big as the current one.

Of course, 63 Tory MPs in rebellion isn’t enough to bother Johnson – the Tory majority in Parliament is 80 – but it might be enough to rattle his cage, reminding him that he needs to keep his members happy.

He has already said he hopes to map out a “cautious” route out of lockdown on February 22 – next Monday.

The CRG people, led by Baker and Mark Harper, reckon they can dictate its pace – demanding that schools reopen by March 8 and hospitality businesses by Easter.

So we’ll be well on the way to another surge by Whitsun, then.

Source: Tory MPs tell Johnson to commit to lifting Covid restrictions by end of April | World news | The Guardian

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Labour backs away from credible opposition by copying Tories on economics

Annaliese Dodds: do you really think you could trust this woman with the economy?

Keir Starmer’s Labour has announced that its new economic policy is to copy the Conservatives. Why not? Starmer’s copying the Tories in everything else!

Starmer, now well on his way to infamy as the worst leader in the more-than-100-year history of the Labour Party, may have turned the announcement over to his shadow chancellor, Anneliese Dodds, but it has his naive pawprints all over it.

Because it’s yet another example of an inexperienced politician, who doesn’t stand for anything apart from grabbing power for himself, blowing in the wind.

The Financial Times gave the game away.

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds will signal on Wednesday that the Labour party is backing away from the hard-left economic policies of former leader Jeremy Corbyn

Sorry, what? “Hard-left” policies?

Corbyn was never hard-left and the author of the FT piece – Chris Giles, whose criticism of the Tories over the number of people dying due to Covid-19 has been exemplary – should know better. Perhaps he is being led by his ideological nose.

If Corbyn had been hard-left, he would have been demanding the nationalisation of everything and the end of individual property ownership. Hard-left policies require everything to be owned by the state and he never advocated that.

Corbyn’s policies were most similar to those of the Scandinavian countries – and anybody with an eye on international affairs will know that, economically, those nations are much more stable than the UK; their people far more prosperous. The UK would have been better-off under Corbyn’s economic policies.

But Starmer wants to turn his back on them because he is a Conservative at heart.

The trouble is, we already have a Conservative Party in the UK. Returning to the policies that lost Labour two elections (in 2010 and 2015 respectively) will not help a Labour leader who has failed to win a single victory against Boris Johnson’s inept and imbecilic Conservatives.

But that is exactly what Dodd’s is announcing.

In the annual Mais Lecture, she will cloak Labour’s strategy to become the UK’s next government in the latest thinking from international organisations such as the IMF, which recommends waiting until unemployment falls and the recovery is complete before thinking about the sustainability of public finances.

So, it’s back to austerity for Labour. That will be a long wait.

The best way to increase employment is to invest in it – not to leave everything to the market. That is hard-right neoliberalism and Labour should not have anything to do with it. Sadly, Labour members elected a Conservative as their party leader and he is imposing hard-right Conservative policies on them whether they want them or not.

The fact that he lied, lied, and lied again to get himself elected only partially excuses them (as it was clear that he was lying).

Strangely, in her speech, Dodds will distance herself from the economic programme Labour put forward in the run-up to the 2019 general election, that offered spending increases of £83 billion – a modest amount in comparison with the hundreds of billions splurged by Boris Johnson in the last year.

Instead, she will align Labour’s economic policy with that of the Tories, while referring to “responsible” policies no fewer than 23 times. There is nothing “responsible” about Conservative economic policy, or about aligning with them.

There’s an easy test for this. Conservative neoliberalism has been the dominant economic policy in the UK since 1979, when Margaret Thatcher was first elected into office.

At that time, a family of four could afford to pay the mortgage on their house together with all household bills including groceries and vehicle running costs, from the wages of just one parent – and still had enough left over for a holiday away from home during the summer.

Is that possible now?

No, it isn’t. Most of us are much worse-off after 41 years of this nonsense – apart from people in positions of extreme power, including MPs like Starmer and Dodds.

So perhaps there is an intention to help in this policy change. Starmer and Dodds are planning to help themselves.

Their predictable lapse into neoliberalism has been greeted with a chorus of derision from everybody who understands what it means:

Who would? The voting public certainly won’t.

Source: Labour signals end of Corbyn era in setting out economic vision | Financial Times

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Perverted UK right-wingers use riots by their US counterparts to attack British SOCIALISTS

Ian Austin: this wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing is trying to divert blame for the US Capitol riots onto socialists – who weren’t there and had nothing to do with it.

Already the Far Right in the UK is twisting the narrative of the US Capitol riot into a bid to blame the Left.

The riot in Washington DC yesterday (January 6) was carried out by members of far-right political groups in the United States, at the bidding of Donald Trump, one of the most right-wing presidents that nation has had, certainly in its recent history.

And what is the message our politicians are projecting?

Well, let’s look at former UK Labour MP Ian Austin’s opinion:

First he equates the Labour Party under former leader Jeremy Corbyn with the “hard left”, which is false. Corbyn’s politics was centre-left, of the kind we see in government in several European countries including the very successful Scandinavian nations.

He follows it with a lie that supporters of this centre-left viewpoint are somehow wholehearted supporters of terrorists (the IRA) and totalitarian dictatorships. There is no evidence to support these wild claims.

Finally, he claims that socialists would not accept an election defeat, in complete denial of events here in the UK in December 2019 – which really isn’t very long ago!

Needless to say, genuine socialists have responded hotly – and accurately:

But a lie can run around the world before the truth has got its shoes on, as the saying goes.

Socialists do not organise riots – fascists do.

And then they lay the blame on socialists. Know your enemy.

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.

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