Tag Archives: select

The Anna Rothery scandal suggests Labour is a sexist and racist institution under Starmer

Anna Rothery: her socialism is probably the reason she has been dropped as a Liverpool mayoral candidate. But the decision is also sexist and racist – and that is how Keir Starmer’s Labour party should now be described.

How is this an improvement?

Let’s go through the information we have, and please correct any errors.

There will be an election to fill the role of executive Mayor of Liverpool after Joe Anderson retired under a cloud.

The Labour Party held a selection process using an all-female shortlist which produced three candidates, including current Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Anna Rothery.

However, examination of Ms Rothery by party leaders revealed that she is:

  • female
  • black, and
  • socialist.

It seems that these are considered undesirable elements in Labour candidates under Keir Starmer’s leadership.

This may come as a surprise to many, especially as he should have expected a selection process that demanded that all candidates are female to produce candidates who aren’t men.

The selection process has reopened. It seems clear that the aim is to parachute in a candidate who is as neoliberal-blue as Starmer himself – in denial of Liverpool Labour members’ right to a free and democratic selection.

But the fact is that he will have eliminated a black woman to do it.

Therefore it is possible to claim that Starmer’s Labour is prejudiced against women and against people of colour: he and his party are sexist and racist.

I am reminded that his forerunner as Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, suffered years of attacks, both in the media and by backstabbing right-wingers within the Parliamentary Labour Party, based on fabricated accusation of anti-Semitism.

So I ask:

How is genuine racism and sexism better than fake anti-Semitism?

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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Accusation games: It’s all falling apart for the knee-jerk “anti-Semitism” accusers

Momentum’s former vice-chair, Jackie Walker: Does she look like an anti-Semite now? [Image: Andy Hall for the Observer].

Isn’t it funny how these people are starting to be pulled into the light, when they thought they could play their dirty little accusation games from the shadows.

It’s like a game of aggressive-Zionist join-the-dots now; Shai Masot leads to Labour Friends of Israel, and from there on to the Jewish Labour Movement and who knows where.

This Writer has to wonder whether this conspiracy – and it is a conspiracy, have no doubt about that – would have been rumbled if, for example, people like myself hadn’t objected to the claims of anti-Semitism when they were levelled at Naz Shah, Ken Livingstone and Jeremy Corbyn last summer.

I was warned off, you know. Good friends told me to be very careful of what I was saying, because the people I was accusing are “very dangerous indeed”.

Maybe they are, but facts have a habit of getting out. And while my articles back then produced a strong opposing – verbal – reaction from certain of our favourite figures and organisations (including a few of the kind of ad hominem claims mentioned below) there have been no bullets or bombs (yet).

They also seem to have got people thinking.

When Jackie Walker (mentioned in the Mondoweiss article quoted below) was accused at the Labour Party Conference, it seems more alarm bells started ringing.

And now we have the Al-Jazeera investigation (why not BBC? Why not ITV? Why not Channel 4 or the British mainstream print media?) that revealed Shai Masot and his little network of … I think they’re being called “infiltrators”.

It is time to root out every last one of these operators.

Anybody who has been involved in the anti-Semitism witch-hunt within the Labour Party last summer needs to be pulled in and checked out. That includes Paul Staines of the Guido Fawkes blog. It includes John Mann, who accused Ken Livingstone. Jonathan Arkush, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, who gave evidence to the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee when it was accusing Mr Corbyn, would be worth questioning – as would every member of the committee itself, as their performances in the evidence sessions made it clear that they had already made up their minds before asking a single question.

Some of them might have nothing to do with it – perhaps all of them. But that has yet to be demonstrated.

What about Jackie Walker’s accusers in the Jewish Labour Movement – and, for that matter, in Momentum?

What about the national newspaper writers and editors who reported each story?

The list of possible suspects gets ever-larger, and is likely to grow even further, if these people are contacted and questioned in a thorough manner.

The issues here are serious. We are being told that agents of a foreign country have infiltrated our institutions and undermined our foreign policy with false accusations against our politicians and political figures.

As the extract below shows, the trail leads back at least as far as Mark Regev – and he is Israel’s ambassador to the UK.

At the very least, this is a major diplomatic incident.

So why is the Conservative Government refusing to take the necessary investigative steps?

While an Israeli operative’s efforts  to “take down” Britain’s Deputy Foreign Minister, may appear to be the biggest scandal to arise out of Al Jazeera’s investigative documentary The Lobby, what became clear to me throughout the four-part series was that the primary function of the Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) and other pro Israel groups in the UK working with the Israeli embassy was smearing Palestinians and their supporters with charges of anti Semitism and other nefarious ad hominem claims.

Jackie Walker, former vice-chair of Momentum, the left wing of the Labour party, called this “a constructed crisis for political ends”.

Evidence of this runs throughout the four-part series. Mark Regev, Israel’s ambassador to the UK, at a private meeting held during the annual Labour Party Conference in Liverpool last September, advises key activist leaders of Labour’s pro-Israel contingent on strategy and talking points:

“Why are people who consider themselves progressive in Britain, supporting reactionaries like Hamas and Hezbollah?  We’ve gotta say in the language of social democracy, I think, these people are misogynistic, they are homophobic, they are racist, they are anti-Semitic, they are reactionary. I think that’s what we need to say, it’s an important message.”

Jennifer Gerber, director of Labour Friends of Israel, is captured saying in conversation at Labour’s annual conference that anti-Semitism is “the defining narrative actually now”. Defining narrative of what? The Labour party? Or the LFI’s strategy of taking down the leftwing branch of the party?

[Ella Rose] reveals a trajectory of what could be perceived as a strategy of accusation (of anti semitism), a gotcha focus with the objective of trapping people, as a means of one-upsmanship so as to advance the profile of the Jewish Labour Movement on the right flank of Labour, aligned with the faction of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

The suggestion by critics that anything untoward is taking place is angrily rebuffed. Labour’s right flank postures itself as the real victims– for being accused of falsely accusing! For example, Michael Foster, a generous Jewish donor (£700,000) to Labour, last summer accused Corbyn supporters of behaving like “Nazi stormtroopers”, and was suspended by the party for the abuse, leading to yet more glaring Blame-Corbyn headlines in the British press.

As for those targeted, the bigger fish the better, beginning with Jeremy Corbin, of course, and his supporters in Momentum, like Walker. Labour party members are targeted for re-education programs through Labour Party trainings on anti-Semitism, and if you slip up you’re subject to an inquisition with the threat of being thrown out of the party, loudly and publicly with the press cheering it on.

Source: ‘Constructed crisis for political ends’: anti-Semitism claims are prime weapon for UK Israel lobby, Al Jazeera shows

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Osborne rebuked over EU surcharge reduction claim

It’s official – George Osborne lied when he said he had halved the £1.7 billion EU budget surcharge, and his claim that he had achieved a “real result for Britain” was nonsense.

This is how George Osborne probably looked after the fire in his pants caused by his incessant lying about the EU’s £1.7bn bill burned away the rest of his suit. Note that his briefcase is still empty of policies and all he has to offer us is the carrot of false promises [Image: Kaya Mar www.kayamarart.com].

This is how George Osborne probably looked after the fire in his pants caused by his incessant lying about the EU’s £1.7bn bill burned away the rest of his suit. Note that his briefcase is still empty of policies and all he has to offer us is the carrot of false promises [Image: Kaya Mar www.kayamarart.com].

Even more stinging must be the fact that this rebuke comes from a fellow Conservative – Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the House of Commons Treasury Committee.

“The suggestion that the £1.7 billion bill demanded by the European Union was halved is not supported by published information,” he said in a report by the committee.

“The terms of the UK’s rebate calculation are set out in EU law. It should, therefore, have been clear that the rebate would apply.”

The Treasury Committee’s report confirms what Vox Political stated the day after Osborne made his ill-advised claim.

Its report did, however, recognise the government’s “achievement” in extending the payment period and avoiding interest charges – although this was managed in conjunction with every other EU member state that found itself facing the prospect of extra payments, and was not an achievement of the UK government alone.

What does Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition have to say about this? At the time, Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls told us, “David Cameron and George Osborne are trying to take the British people for fools.”

Has Labour’s attitude softened? No.

“This damning cross-party report exposes George Osborne’s claim to have halved the EU budget surcharge to be totally untrue,” said Chris Leslie, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

“He must now apologise to taxpayers for making this completely false claim.

“Too many times this Chancellor has desperately tried to use smoke and mirrors to fool the British people. He has been caught out again and his credibility is further undermined.

“People will now treat the false claims he makes in the coming weeks with the contempt they deserve.”

And that is the problem for our part-time Chancellor.

He has undermined his own credibility and that of his party.

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Who will Labour choose to follow Gordon Brown?

Gordon Brown: Even in retirement he'll be a better prime minister than David Cameron.

Gordon Brown: Even in retirement he’ll be a better prime minister than David Cameron.

It seems Gordon Brown is to retire from his career as a member of Parliament at the 2015 general election.

This presents a challenging dilemma for the current Labour leadership, which has announced that it wants to take over the selection process for replacement Parliamentary candidates if MPs stand down late.

You see, Mr Brown is MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath – in Scotland.

Labour is extremely unpopular in Scotland at the moment, where the SNP has whipped up a belief (rightly or wrongly) that the party betrayed the people by siding with the Conservatives – even though, as a supporter of the union, Labour could not do anything else. Mr Brown, who raised concerns over the future of state pensions in an independent Scotland, has been singled out for special criticism.

In these circumstances, will Labour’s London-based leadership really be so insensitive as to ‘parachute’ an ally of the leader’s office into the constituency? This would be someone who is unlikely to bear any resemblance to a traditional Labour candidate, and is more likely to be a privately-educated Oxbridge graduate who has spent their entire career at a thinktank or working as a SPAD (special adviser) for a sitting MP.

Such an appointment would be entirely inappropriate and would signal that Labour is not interested in retaining the seat; the mood in Scotland means voters would take it as an incentive to support another party, most probably the SNP.

It is possible that Labour would leave the selection open to the constituency party, as its declared intent was to take over selections from the middle of next month; again, the course of action that is chosen will determine the response from the local electorate.

Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath would be far better-off with a Labour candidate chosen from local residents, with a deep knowledge and understanding of the area and what it needs, having lived and worked there for his or her entire life.

This strategy succeeded with Liz Mckinnes, the newly-elected MP for Heywood and Middleton and should offer the best chance of success elsewhere.

Postscript: Readers are reminded that Gordon Brown is the other recent prime minister who has had a disabled child.

We all know how David Cameron rose to the challenge of his late son Ivan’s cerebral palsy and epilepsy – he used it in a series of photo opportunities and then, after Ivan’s death at a tragically young age, went on to use his memory as a shield whenever his ill-treatment of the National Health Service or disability benefits were raised in Parliamentary debate.

In contrast, Mr Brown chose to suffer in comparative silence. His daughter, Jennifer Jane, died after suffering a brain haemorrhage, on January 7, 2002, just 10 days after her birth. His son James Fraser (born in 2006) was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, but Mr Brown would have kept this information private if The Sun had not published an intrusive report. Years later, he said the publication had left him “in tears“.

Whose behaviour would you describe as more dignified; more prime ministerial; more statesmanlike?

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Inquiry to be launched into ex-soldier’s death after JSA stopped

The late David Clapson [Image: change.org petition site].

The late David Clapson [Image: change.org petition site].

MPs are set to hold an inquiry into benefit sanctions after 200,000 people signed a petition in the wake of an ex-soldier’s death.

More than 211,000 people signed a Change.org petition started by Gill Thompson calling for an inquiry into benefit sanctions after diabetic David Clapson, 59, was found dead in his home.

Gill’s three-month campaign called for an independent inquiry into benefit sanctions – which refers to occasions that money is withheld from claimants if they fail to meet the terms agreed.

The Work and Pensions cross-party select committee has now agreed and its inquiry into benefit sanctions is due to start early next year. It is expected to be completed shortly before the General Election in May.

David, from Stevenage – who worked for 29 years, had his £71.70 weekly allowance stopped and died three weeks later. When his body was found by a friend, his electricity card was out of credit, meaning the fridge where he kept the insulin he used to treat his diabetes was not working.

He died from diabetic ketoacidosis three weeks after his benefits were stopped, caused by not taking insulin. A coroner found that when David died there was no food in his stomach.

Gill, 57, from London, has welcomed the decision to hold an inquiry. She said: “I’m still getting my head around the announcement. It’s still so overwhelming. When I started the petition I didn’t know what would happen.

“It wasn’t just for David. Nothing can replace him but the one thing I thought I could do was to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone else.

“I’m not normally a campaigner and David wasn’t someone who liked a fuss, but sometimes in life there are certain things you have to do – and starting this petition was one of them.

“I am so glad I did it now. I hope, through this investigation, lessons will be learnt. People turn to the state when they are in need – that is what the system is for – a safety net for hard working people like my brother when they need a bit of support.”

Debbie Abrahams, MP for East Oldham and Saddleworth, has been calling on the DWP select committee, of which she is a member, to hold an inquiry into “inappropriate use” of benefit sanctions since November last year.

She said: “Gill has shown great courage in the wake of her brother’s appalling death to take on this cruel government and its inhuman policy of targeting vulnerable people who are reliant on social security.

“The huge response to Gill’s Change.org petition with more than 200,000 signatures is proof that the British public will not stand by and do nothing when they see vulnerable people suffering.”

“The government has done everything it can to avoid having this inquiry. There is increasing evidence of the negative effects of social security sanctions on some of the most vulnerable in society, which shows that their so-called welfare reforms don’t work. This is a government that doesn’t give a damn about ordinary people.

“Latest figures show that there are now more people in working families who are living in poverty than in workless and retired families combined.”

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Back to the maths class for DWP decision makers

When I was six, I told friends and family I did not want to go out with a girl because "she can't do her maths". What a pity the adults in the Coalition government don't know now what I knew as a child.

When I was six, I told friends and family I did not want to go out with a girl because “she can’t do her maths”. What a pity the adults in the Coalition government don’t know now what I knew as a child.

Iain Duncan Smith was right to weep when he visited Easterhouse, all those years ago – although he would not have known the reason.

It turns out there are probably drug dealers on that estate with a better grasp of mathematics than anybody in his Department for Work and Pensions – or, let’s be honest, the entire Coalition government.

This week it emerged that the National Audit Office has refused to sign off the DWP’s accounts – for the 25th year running. While this indicates that the problem is not limited to the Coalition, it should be noted that David Cameron’s crew has done nothing to rectify it.

The NAO has instead delivered a “qualified” audit opinion, in respect of fraud and error which is considered to be unacceptably high. It seems the department overpaid £3.5 billion or 2.1 per cent of total benefit expenditure due to fraud and error – and also underpaid £1.4 billion to claimants.

Of this, fraud remained static at £1.2 billion (the same as in 2011-12), while underpayments due to official error increased from £400 million to £500 million.

Official error has increased while fraud has not.

An interesting sidebar to this is the fact that fraud has not decreased either, despite all Mr Duncan Smith’s apparent efforts to hammer it. Next year’s accounts – due after April 2014, although your guess on the actual date is as good as anyone’s – should make interesting reading, as they should show the effect of the major regressions (not reforms) he introduced this year.

Further evidence of government incompetence with the figures came in a chart from Conservative Central HQ’s press office, flagged up by Jonathan Portes and the immeasurably cleverer people at NIESR (National Institute of Economic and Social Research).

The chart’s claim was that 28,500 households had been receiving more than £500 per week in benefits, despite containing people who could work but weren’t – until the £26,000 per year Benefit Cap was brought in and reduced it to nothing.

Mr Portes told us the chart was based on DWP statistics published last week that show that 28,500 households have had their benefit capped at £500 per week, “however, the interpretation – and the chart – is utterly wrong in every respect.

“It just is not the case that every one of those 28,500 households contains someone who “can work”.  As the DWP publication clearly states, the cap applies to households in receipt of key out of work benefits – including both those in the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG) and those on Income Support (IS).  For people in the WRAG, the position is quite clear. As the DWP itself puts it… they are ‘currently too ill or disabled to work’.

“DWP makes clear that there is no assumption that Income Support claimants ‘can work’, but quite the opposite. As a general rule, most people who ‘can work’ should be on Jobseekers Allowance (JSA), not IS. In practice, most of those on IS are single mothers with young children, who are not expected to work.

“Overall, although we don’t have precise numbers from the DWP statistics, it seems quite likely that in fact less than half of the households affected by the cap contain ‘people who can work but aren’t’.”

Mr Portes went on to analyse the second assumption in the chart – that there are now no households receiving more than £500 per week in benefits that include “people who can work but aren’t” – and found it “just as wrong,” – because DWP guidance exempts households with anyone on DLA, PIP, Attendance Allowance, the support component of ESA or Industrial Injuries Benefits, and those receiving War Disablement Pension and equivalent payments from the Armed Forces Compensation Payments Scheme.

“Of course it’s perfectly possible for such households to contain ‘people who can work but aren’t’ – most obviously households with a child receiving DLA, but there are lots of other possible cases. Moreover, even this excludes couple households where one person is working but the other could work, but is not, who are also exempt. Given enough children and/or high enough housing costs, such households can receive more than £500 per week in benefits,” wrote Mr Portes.

“Again, we don’t know the exact numbers, but we are certainly talking about thousands of households, not zero.”

Only on Monday, Mr Duncan Smith assured the Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee that he had warned CCHQ and Tory chairman Grant Shapps against such jiggery-pokery with his departmental stats: “I have had conversations with him and others about being careful to check with the department.”

So did the chart go out with his department’s full endorsement, in which case this is even more proof that the DWP can’t get its facts right – or did CCHQ ignore Mr Duncan Smith’s words and make its own mistake?

For this government, and Mr “In Deep Sh…ambles”, the result is the same.

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