Tag Archives: secretary

Evans wins card vote on his GenSec job amid claims of vote-rigging

Rigging the vote? Keir Starmer (left) retains the services of his hitman David Evans (right) – but how many delegates to Labour conference were denied their vote by foul means in order to achieve the outcome? And will any of the votes in this year’s conference be honest?

David Evans has survived a vote on whether he will be allowed to continue as Labour Party general secretary.

Evans’s boss, Keir Starmer, had been pushing for the vote to be by ‘show of hands’ – an inaccurate method which right-wingers have allegedly used to rig vote results in the past.

But Evans himself announced that the vote would be by the more accurate ‘card’ system, in which every vote is counted.

It seems clear that Evans – and Starmer – had become confident of the result, and claims are circulating that they had eliminated enough anti-Evans delegates to make the vote go their way.

It was still a relatively close-run thing, with 59 per cent for Evans and 41 against. I wonder how many votes that translates into – and expect that we’ll all be surprised at how low the number are.

Stories of delegates’ party memberships being suspended before they could attend conference, being refused admittance for “security” reasons, or being denied the chance to vote when they did, are rife.

And who actually counted the votes?

But the result did not prevent humiliation for the hated general secretary. During his report, Evans told the assembled delegates, “Everybody remembers why they joined Labour,” and asked: “What was it for you?”

The response? Delegates broke into a chant of “Oh Jeremy Corbyn!”

The vote result does not bode well for the rest of the conference – or, indeed, for the future of the Labour Party under these two Tory cuckoos. Expect a mass exodus as Starmer and Evans steer a once-great party of the people into obscurity and ignominy.

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Let’s not accuse Gove of Housing corruption prematurely

Michael Gove: he has taken a lot of money from property developers and now he is Housing Secretary. But we should not shout “corruption” until there is actual evidence of it.

This Site is all in favour of accusing Tory ministers of corruption when they do something wrong.

But we need to give them a chance to actually commit an offence before we start criticising them.

Michael Gove is a deeply dodgy character for many reasons – some of which have been discussed in detail on This Site.

And it is true that in the run-up to the announcement that he would become the new Housing Secretary in Boris Johnson’s Cabinet reshuffle, he took £120,000 in donations from property developers. That amounts to 87 per cent of the donations he has taken in 2021 so far.

Some people have claimed that this creates a conflict of interest, and it certainly does make it possible.

However:

Gove’s first act in his new job has been to suspend work on controversial planning reforms that were accused of giving “too much power to developers”.

Try as I might, I can’t fit that into any narrative that puts him at their beck and call.

Of course, suspension is not rejection, and if he reinstates the scheme, or comes up with one that offers more opportunities for the businesspeople to make cash, then he will deserve all the brickbats we can throw at him.

So let’s reserve judgement for now.

And hope that Gove gets the message.

It is this: we’re watching you, Michael.

Source: Michael Gove: UK Housing Secretary Took £120k From Property Developers

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Is this another nail in the coffin of Keir Starmer’s racist Labour?

Resigned: Marsha de Cordova.

It has emerged that a second black female Labour MP has resigned from Keir Starmer’s shadow cabinet because he won’t support plans for a new law to tackle racial injustice.

Marsha de Cordova follows Dawn Butler, who quit as Shadow Secretary for Women and Equalities because she would not sign up to the pledges demanded of the Labour Party by the Tory-run Board of Deputies of British Jews.

Sources have told Voice Online that the departure was prompted by serious differences with the party leadership:

Friends say Starmer’s inner cabal sidelined her efforts to develop plans for a new law to tackle racial injustice.

Sources said that efforts to set up a taskforce of experts to design progressive race equality policy were held back over concerns this might upset Red Wall voters, and that Starmer had resisted pleas to make a speech setting out his vision to black communities.

Associates of the Battersea MP claim that the party failed to put her on a single ‘media round’ during 17 months in the job, and that she was offered just five minutes speaking time at Labour’s annual conference, which takes place next week.

The revelations come amid growing pressure for the release of a report into alleged racism of party officials against Butler and fellow MPs Diane Abbott and Clive Lewis.

That would be the Forde report – which has been allegedly delayed to await the report of an Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) inquiry into personal data protection breaches.

It seems Keir Starmer and his cronies are hoping that the ICO will say the information examined by Martin Forde QC should not have been available for other people to examine and that any racist comments those messages contained are exempt from discussion.

But the fact is that we do know about them, and we also know that Labour Party officers should not have been passing such comments about party representatives.

If he tries to sweep them under the carpet, Keir Starmer will be supporting the racism they contain.

The Labour leadership is trying to wallpaper over its own racism by announcing that a new annual Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic conference for members will start next year along with a new internal organisation to represent all BAME members.

That seems similar to Young Labour, which also had an annual conference for members – until this year, when Starmer’s unelected general secretary, David Evans, cancelled it in defiance of the party’s own constitution.

It is believed that the reason for the cancellation was Young Labour’s determination to host an event supporting Palestinian liberation from the tyranny of Israel. It would run against the official Labour Party line, which is that the Israeli government must be held above criticism at all times, no matter how many atrocities it commits against people of another ethnic group.

Racism again.

Source: Labour “nothing to say on racial justice” – Voice Online

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A quick note about Liz Truss

Liz Truss: the queen of cheese may prove even more clueless than Raab.

You may have heard a lot of commentary from broadcasters you trust, claiming that Liz Truss’s promotion from Trade to the Foreign Office shows she is a capable politician, a rising star and a possible Tory leadership contender.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The reason she was promoted has nothing to do with her abilities. It happened because the tiny readership of Tory blog ConservativeHome have voted her as their favourite Tory Cabinet member in a regular poll.

I mean to say: do you really think she got it for doing a trade deal in which she’ll send cheese to lactose-intolerant Japan?

Or, for that matter, for this:

Still, the comedy value should be terrific because we’ll get to watch the mouse-brained Queen of Cheese kick up a stink across the world. Just try not to take it personally when people from foreign countries point at you and laugh.

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Raab’s move from Foreign Office to Justice is a DEMOTION

And quite right too – although he should have been kicked onto the backbenches to go back to his lazy old ways.

Remember: Dominic Raab came to public attention as a co-author of the book Britannia Unchained, which alleged that British workers were among the laziest in the world. It was then revealed that he was one of the laziest MPs in the House of Commons.

And let’s face it he’s been absolutely rubbish as Foreign Secretary:

We knew he was on his way out after the debacle that was the UK’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. He actually admitted that the intelligence agencies of both the UK and USA were outsmarted by a gang of desert-dwelling Taliban terrorists (but were they? Or was he just too stupid to pay attention to what they were saying, and did he think the Taliban would abide by what he decided to do? That was Joe Biden’s mistake).

He had only just got back from holiday, although he claimed he had been working – there – from the moment he had been told of the emergency. He denied claims that he had been seen sunning himself on the beach by claiming that “The sea was closed.”

His pathetic performance was highlighted by the resurfacing of an image of him posing with a woman wearing a sign saying, “He has no idea what he is doing” (above).

Trouble is, his role as prime minister Boris Johnson’s official stand-in has been confirmed with Raab named Deputy Prime Minister in this week’s Cabinet reshuffle. But his record in this respect is no cause for pride:

Covid-19 safety rules told us not to touch objects when we don’t know where they’ve been, and then lick our fingers. Raab did it while standing in for Johnson at a Covid-19 press conference.

He still has this job. In fact, it has been given a title for the first time.

Perhaps that’s the reason he has said he is delighted with the change.

Because going from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the Ministry of Justice is, in no uncertain terms, a demotion. Raab is out of favour, and rightly so. He is a disgrace to UK politics.

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Bent Bob Jenrick won’t be making any more dodgy decisions on housing developments

Jenrick and Johnson: both had personal connections with property developer Richard Desmond. It has been suggested that Jenrick only stayed in his post after the Westferry scandal broke because Johnson also had a hand in the decision.

Robert Jenrick, the Tory Housing Secretary best-known for fiddling an inner-London development in order to deprive the local council of a huge fee, has been kicked out of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet – and not a moment too soon.

Not only did he override both the local planning authority and the Independent Planning Inspectorate to grant planning permission for Richard Desmond’s controversial Westferry development, despite it having been found not to meet acceptable planning standards…

… but he did it to allow the developer to avoid paying a £45 million levy to Tower Hamlets Council that he had decided should not apply – and then used that as his reason for granting the application.

Text messages between Desmond and Jenrick show the former Express newspaper owner and pornographer pressured the minister to grant planning permission, saying: “We don’t want to give Marxists loads of doe [sic] for nothing!”

He broke Covid-19 lockdown rules to travel between his three homes – and then insisted that young people should adhere to restricts, even though there was no evidence to suggest they did not.

He corruptly induced a fellow MP to approve a grant for his constituency totalling £237 per person recently – but negotiated Covid-19 support for the people of Manchester down to £7.95 per person.

So it is undoubtedly good that Boris Johnson has finally had the guts to kick Jenrick out of the Cabinet.

The only question is, why did it take so long?

Was it because Johnson himself was also involved in helping Desmond? I guess we may never know.

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Buckland judged unworthy – but plan to put government above the law lives on

Robert Buckland: he had one job – to put Boris Johnson above the law.

Robert Buckland has become the second Cabinet member to be sacked in Boris Johnson’s reshuffle.

If you can’t place the name, he used to be Justice Secretary and has been behind the plan to ensure the courts will not be able to stop Johnson’s Tory Government from breaking the law in the future.

The idea is to restrict the courts’ powers of judicial review to prevent them from examining government legislation and deciding whether it conforms with the law – or breaks it.

It would give Johnson the ability to do anything he wants – by making sure the rest of us have no legal power to stop him.

Johnson was deeply embarrassed by judicial reviews that overturned his decisions to mismanage Brexit and to prorogue Parliament, back in 2019, and it seems this is the entirely selfish motivation behind the proposed law.

MPs from every party apart from the Conservatives have pointed out that the plan is based on a lie by Johnson and his government that a panel led by Lord Faulks QC had found that courts in judicial review cases had become more prone “to edge away from a strictly supervisory jurisdiction”.

Faulks himself has contradicted this Tory lie. He said his panel did not identify any such “trend” and “was not ultimately convinced that judicial review needed radical reform”.

The plan to put the government above the law has been condemned by the  Bar Council, Law Society, Constitutional and Administrative Law Association, Liberty, Justice and the Public Law Project for the same reason.

The Ministry of Justice – and therefore Buckland, as the Secretary of State, responded: “We made a manifesto commitment to ensure the judicial review process is not open to abuse or delay, or used to conduct politics by another means.” Fine words that are not borne out by the substance of the plan.

So we are losing a Justice Secretary who wanted to put injustice at the heart of Tory government decision-making. But is Johnson only replacing one such character with somebody worse?

ADDITIONAL: As I was typing this story, it was announced that Dominic Raab has been demoted from Foreign Secretary to Justice Secretary. It seems likely to This Writer that this is in order to push through the plan to put Johnson above the law more quickly.

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Good riddance, Gavin! Williamson sacked as Education Secretary

Ooh, don’t have a Betty: Gavin Williamson was dubbed the Frank Spencer of Boris Johnson’s Cabinet due to his ineptitude and lack of intelligence. Worse still, he didn’t have the heart that Michael Crawford gave his comedy character. In fact, let’s face it – Williamson has no redeeming features at all.

England’s education system is (momentarily) stronger with the announcement that Gavin Williamson has been sacked from his post as the minister in charge, as part of a Cabinet reshuffle by Boris Johnson.

His two-year tenure stands as testament to the fact that having no Education Secretary is better than having him in the role.

Incompetent Williamson’s failures are fast becoming the stuff of legend, with the headline disasters well-known to all of us:

In 2020, when A-level students could not take their exams because of Covid-19, he used a algorithm to allocate marks – that was rigged to make it seem that privately-educated pupils were more intelligent than the riff-raff from the state system that he ran.

He later tried to force disadvantaged, black and minority ethnic children in England to take exams when other kids didn’t have to, claiming that they respond better to examination conditions. It seemed clear racism – an attempt to put these children down with duff results.

He made it clear that the government expected all schools to open as normal in January this year – then closed them after just one day because prime minister Boris Johnson ordered a new lockdown and he was unaware of it.

He decided to foist Latin as a subject onto state school pupils, rather than anything useful. At the time I wrote: “Having killed the economy with Brexit and enormous numbers of the population with Covid-19, the Tories now want us all to learn a dead language.”

He scrapped dozens of legal rights for children.

He also wanted a clampdown on indiscipline in schools after the return from Covid-19 lockdown – but provided no evidence whatsoever to support his wild claim that our children had gone feral.

Before Boris Johnson gave him the bullet, it was suggested that Williamson would blame school pupils and parents if Covid-19 infections spike after the start of the school term.

It’s still too early to tell whether that has happened but we will be able to judge his successor by whether they choose to follow the same cowardly strategy.

If Johnson continues to follow his “Cabinet of all the idiots” strategy (he thinks it makes him look like the intelligent one) then our children’s education may be in for an even worse battering.

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Labour Conference delegates are urged to oppose David Evans as general secretary

Antidemocratic: Keir Starmer and the general secretary he appointed unilaterally – against Labour Party rules – don’t want party members to take any part in democratic decision-making. Delegates to the annual party conference should therefore use their democratic rights to vote Evans out of office – and Starmer as well, if possible.

Labour Party groups across the country are being urged to ensure that their conference delegates will not endorse Keir Starmer’s choice of David Evans as general secretary.

The Campaign for Labour Party Democracy (CLPD) supported its call simply by referring to Evans’s record in office, since Starmer appointed him to the job last year:

Since the NEC appointed Evans to act as General Secretary in May 2020, various measures have been introduced to curtail the rights of Labour Party members. Unprecedented restrictions have been placed on discussions of party business, with around 70 local party officers suspended from party membership for defending local party democracy.[See Note 1] This has made local party meetings into unwelcoming spaces for many party members and as a result our membership has already suffered a large decline.

None of this has been of electoral benefit, as is evident from: Labour’s significant decline in opinion polls since the summer of 2020; the predominately poor local election results in May; and the appalling loss of Labour support in the Hartlepool and the Chesham and Amersham by-elections.

And recent reports in the media suggest that the party is considering giving the General Secretary new powers to appoint people to make decisions on disciplinary charges – matters that are currently determined by people who are elected. Evidently this would not make the complaints process independent, but instead increase the General Secretary’s role in the prosecution and judgement of complaints – contrary to natural justice.

The risks for the party, if it continues to attack its own members and not put up any serious opposition to the Tories, is that we will be seen as divided, and voters, the majority of whom are being harmed by this government, will continue to look elsewhere when they want to vote for an alternative to Tory policies.

Regrettably, the party has been deterring, not attracting, electoral support. Right-wing factionalism does not deliver victories for Labour. It undermines the party’s functioning, both internally and also in elections.
It has been a mistake, with damaging consequences, that the party recently abandoned its democratic traditions. It is a mistake that Annual Conference can help to correct.

The long standing custom and practice was that party members discussed and adopted positions on matters across the full range of party business and policy. The culture, of encouraging internal debate, helped our party became one of the largest political parties in Europe. It also assisted the leadership, keeping it in touch with our members, who form the backbone of our local campaigns.

Our members are important to our success. The stifling of internal democracy is unfortunately damaging the party and this is benefiting our electoral opponents.

We need a General Secretary who will prioritise uniting the party around an alternative agenda to that of the Tories, to aid Labour in making a much needed electoral advance. It is an important post in the party, which should not be used as a platform for divisive attacks on party members.

Annual Conference needs to shift the party’s focus on to fighting the Tories. Delegates can best assist the party in achieving such a re-orientation by rejecting the NEC’s recommendation on the General Secretary.

Sadly, though, Evans’s own diktats mean party members can’t pass resolutions on the matter or even discuss it at their meetings because – and this is damning – “the current regime in the party is intolerant of democratic discussion on these matters“.

That’s right:

The acting General Secretary has placed significant restrictions on what local parties can discuss in meetings. Misleadingly presented as ‘guidance’, in reality dictates were issued, as became evident when many local party officers were suspended from party membership accused of failing to follow the so called ‘guidance’.

The dictates have effectively proscribed local party meetings from discussing the situation arsing from the political attacks on Labour’s former Leader Jeremy Corbyn. Party members have been barred from discussing their opposition to these attacks and from expressing solidarity with Jeremy.

In addition, severe restrictions have been placed on discussing other important political areas of party business, such as: whether the IHRA definition informs the most effective way to combat antisemitism; the decision of the Labour Party to make substantial payments to former members of party staff who appeared on a BBC Panorama programme; the EHRC’s report on the Labour Party and the party’s response to it; and ‘matters relating to the internal processes of the PLP’.

Presumably Evans is hoping that his order denying party members the opportunity to discuss his election means delegates will do as they are told and obediently nod him in – so he can cause even more damage.

To This Writer’s way of thinking, this should be cause for him to be automatically barred – not just from any position of authority in the Labour Party, but from membership of the organisation in any way at all.

Repressing other members simply isn’t appropriate behaviour for a Labour Party representative.

Also to This Writer’s way of thinking, this should be cause for a vote of “no confidence” in Keir Starmer’s leadership.

Starmer appointed Evans and we must conclude that he not only supported all the anti-democratic restrictions Evans has imposed – he demanded them.

That is not appropriate behaviour for a Labour Party leader so Starmer should get the boot too.

So, Labour delegates – are you up for it? Will you fight for your rights? Or do you actually deserve everything Starmer, Evans, and indeed Boris Johnson are shovelling at you?

Your choice.

Source: Labour Party Delegates Should Oppose the NEC Recommendation to Endorse David Evans – Campaign for Labour Party Democracy

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Sharon Graham wins Unite election – meaning the nomination process is broken

Sharon Graham: she’s the new Unite general secretary but the election has cast a shadow over the legitimacy of the nomination process.

Congratulations to Sharon Graham for becoming the first female general secretary of the UK’s largest trade union, Unite.

And well done to her, also, for demonstrating that the mechanism for nominating candidates is badly broken and must be improved.

We can see this because of the number of Unite branches that were seen to nominate different candidates.

Steve Turner reckoned he had 525 branches behind him – the most of any candidate – but it is widely believed that he only beat right-winger Gerard Coyne into second place because supporters of Howard Beckett held their noses and voted for him.

Beckett himself managed 328 branch nominations but pulled out in order not to split the Left vote. In hindsight, that may seem ill-advised.

Graham herself had 349, while Coyne managed just 196.

The fact that these nominations were not matched by the proportion of votes offered to each candidate indicates that there’s something wrong with the process.

I don’t know what that process is, but if it doesn’t offer sufficient weight to the number of members in each branch who support a particular candidate, then it needs to be fixed.

If it doesn’t even allow rank-and-file branch members a say, then it must be corrected at the earliest opportunity.

And there’s a knock-on effect, too: because they saw Turner receiving the most nominations, so-called ‘optics Left’ ‘influencers’ tried to exert pressure on Graham and Beckett to withdraw (successfully, in Beckett’s case).

We see now that this was a bad call.

You can read a more detailed piece about this over on Skwawkbox.

The message to take home is that Unite could have ended up with a leader who did not represent the intentions of its voting members – because of its faulty nomination system and the reactions of influential people.

Source: Graham’s win discredits Unite nominations process – and destroys ‘blue-tick’ left’s credibility – SKWAWKBOX

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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