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Long-Bailey’s sacking tells us all we need to know about Keir ‘double-standard’ Starmer and his racist Labour Party

Racist anti-Semite: Keir Starmer’s sacking of Rebecca Long-Bailey shows support for Israeli organisations teaching US police how to subjugate – and in the case of George Floyd, kill – black and minority ethnic people. Paradoxically, he also supports the presence of anti-Semite Rachel Reeves in his Shadow Cabinet.

This is the end of the Labour Party as an inclusive, anti-racist organisation.

Keir Starmer has sacked Rebecca Long-Bailey from the Shadow Cabinet after she retweeted a link to an Independent interview with one of her constituents, the actor Maxine Peake.

Starmer’s excuse is that Ms Peake’s article includes an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory. He is lying in one of the most disgusting ways possible.

Here’s the passage in Ms Peake’s interview that has caused the offence:

“Systemic racism is a global issue,” she adds. “The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.”

It is not anti-Semitic to suggest that. She wasn’t saying, “The Jews taught police to kneel on George Floyd’s neck.”

In fact, it seems widely accepted that Israeli organisations do indeed teach tactics to US police.

So this isn’t anti-Semitic to Keir Starmer:

Baltimore law enforcement officials, along with hundreds of others from FloridaNew Jersey, Pennsylvania, CaliforniaArizona, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, North CarolinaGeorgiaWashington state as well as the DC Capitol police have all traveled to Israel for training. Thousands of others have received training from Israeli officials here in the U.S.

The U.S. Department of Justice published a report … that documented “widespread constitutional violations, discriminatory enforcement, and culture of retaliation” within the Baltimore Police Department (BPD).

Nor is this, which you should note is from the Jerusalem Post:

A city in North Carolina has become the first municipality in the United States to ban training and other forms of exchange between its police department and Israel’s military or police.

“The Israel Defense Forces and the Israel Police have a long history of violence and harm against Palestinian people and Jews of color,” [a] petition stated. “They persist in using tactics of extrajudicial killing, excessive force, racial profiling and repression of social justice movements. Such tactics have been condemned by international human rights organizations for violating the human rights of Palestinians.”

But Starmer seems to think that Ms Peake’s comments are anti-Semitic – despite their factual accuracy.

Doesn’t that suggest that Starmer is himself a… you know… racist?

He has deliberately attacked people who have exposed the way racists in one country – “The Israel Defense Forces and the Israel Police have a long history of violence and harm against Palestinian people and Jews of color” – have been teaching their methods to racists in another  – “’widespread constitutional violations, discriminatory enforcement, and culture of retaliation’ within the Baltimore Police Department”.

Anyone who genuinely wants to fight racism would be thanking Ms Peake and Ms Long-Bailey for bringing this issue to public knowledge. Instead, he has sacked his MP from the shadow cabinet.

Meanwhile, Rachel Reeves – who made public her own support for a very well-documented anti-Semite – remains in the Shadow Cabinet with Starmer’s full support:

It seems clear that in Starmer’s Labour, racism and anti-Semitism are supported, and their opponents are opposed – all while the Labour leader glibly mouths platitudes claiming the exact opposite.

For those of us who have been contesting decisions to expel us from membership of Labour, this presents a thorny problem.

I had always intended to return to the party and campaign for reform, after I win my court case against Labour, which is now set to take place in October.

But I think it would harm my position if I were to say that now, because I do not want to be associated with any organisation that can be clearly identified as a racist, anti-Semite endeavour.

And Labour under Starmer is a racist, anti-Semite endeavour in a way that the party under Corbyn never was.

Or so it seems to me.

Ms Long-Bailey has put her side of this story in a Twitter thread:

This puts a nastier complexion on the matter still, because it seems Starmer used this issue as a pretext to eliminate Ms Long-Bailey – one of the last left-wingers, if not the last, from the Shadow Cabinet. He could have given her a chance to do as she suggested but he didn’t. That says it all.

Well, he should be gratified to know that we’ve all got the message. Take a look at some of the responses on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/AmmarKazmi_/status/1276157080819372037

https://twitter.com/simonmaginn/status/1276177278007939072

It does.

If Ms Peake does decide to sue Starmer, I would certainly consider helping fund her case.

Alternatively, Starmer could put us all out of our misery by making a full apology and resigning his membership of UK Labour with immediate effect.

Source: Maxine Peake: ‘People who couldn’t vote Labour because of Corbyn? They voted Tory as far as I’m concerned’ | The Independent

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Starmer’s shadow cabinet team wins approval from a raving Tory anti-Semite

Champagne socialist: Keir Starmer got himself elected on a raft of socialist promises, but they seem to be false pretences as he has promoted only Blairites and hard-right-wingers to his shadow cabinet.

Oh dear. Keir Starmer hasn’t put a foot right since he was elected Labour leader.

His latest move has been to finish appointing the members of his shadow cabinet – and it is almost entirely formed of Blairite right-wingers.

Labour socialists have been scandalised at the appointment of Wes Streeting, Jess Phillips and Stephen Kinnock to shadow ministerial roles.

More damning for Starmer, perhaps, is the support he has received at a time when he is trying to claim some credibility for fighting anti-Semitism. Consider this:

The comment itself is nonsense. Osborne knows that if Boris Johnson can weather the coronavirus crisis that he created for himself, the remainder of his five-year term will be plain sailing with a compliant right-winger pretending to lead the opposition.

Worse is the fact that Osborne commissioned, published and promoted one of the most grossly blatant pieces of anti-Semitism any of us have seen in recent years – referring to Ed Miliband’s return to the shadow cabinet:

People of good conscience have been repelled by Starmer’s choices, pointing to Osborne’s endorsement:

It seems many are cancelling their membership of Labour, adding to those who walked out after Starmer won his election last weekend:

On the subject of “no opposition” from Jeremy Corbyn, I find this most illuminating:

Some have advocated remaining in the Labour Party – because no new party could gain enough support to topple the Tories and it is better to stay and try to mitigate the damage being caused by Starmer.

This Writer can’t argue with that; I joined Labour in 2010 to help bring it back to genuine Labour values. I didn’t do too badly – until I got pushed out on a false claim of – guess what? – anti-Semitism, of course.

But it is clear that, until Starmer quits as leader – or is defeated in a leadership challenge – the Labour Party, as it should be, is dead.

Source: Starmer boosts Labour’s right with shadow ministerial jobs – LabourList

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Who are the Labour MPs using ‘Remain’ to undermine Corbyn?

Undaunted: He’s got a sheer wall to climb but that has not stopped Jeremy Corbyn in the past.

Skwawkbox is carrying an interesting story about Jeremy Corbyn’s bid today (September 17) to persuade Labour’s NEC to back his course on Brexit.

The interesting bit is here:

Certain figures on the left – some more obvious than others – have been continually pressing for Labour to abandon its 2017 promise and go ‘full remain’. Those same figures – like the vacuous LibDems – were previously pressing for a referendum, but now Corbyn has agreed to one they are moving the goalposts further.

My question is this:

Which figures on the left?

It’s long past time we started naming names, so that those of us with an interest in these matters can keep a close watch on these individuals and examine their motives.

Are they genuine? Or are these just political manipulators, after their own profit at the expense of the nation?

Source: Corbyn fighting today for preferred Brexit position | The SKWAWKBOX

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Jeremy Corbyn: STAND FIRM against demands to outsource anti-Semitism investigations

Jeremy Corbyn is clearly not an enemy of Jewish people.

As the shadow cabinet prepares to meet today (July 22) to discuss criticisms over the way Labour has handled anti-Semitism complaints, This Site says to Jeremy Corbyn: STAND FIRM.

Right-wingers in the party are calling for the leadership to outsource handling of anti-Semitism complaints to an “independent” body – but nobody has actually named that body.

So who will it be?

Could it be the Jewish Labour Movement, whose members illicitly recorded Jackie Walker at a so-called “safe space” meeting at which attendees were encouraged to discuss concerns that may be considered questionable – and then handed a version of that recording to a newspaper as evidence of anti-Semitism, in an appalling display of bad faith?

That would not be acceptable.

Nor could Labour hand the matter over to the Board of Deputies of British Jews – because of political bias. It is possible that findings would be rigged to harm the Labour Party for political reasons.

And the so-called charity, the Campaign Against Antisemitism is the last organisation that could ever be considered, as it has been responsible for fabricating claims – I know, as This Writer was one of its victims.

The simple fact is that Labour does not have a problem with anti-Semites going unpunished. The problem is the persecution of innocent – and decent – party members.

So, to Mr Corbyn, This Writer says: RESIST demands to outsource anti-Semitism investigations because this will only worsen the problem. Seek advice from lawyers and reform party processes in line with national law. And scrap the National Constitutional Committee’s power of expulsion, which has been abused by biased panel chairpeople.

Source: Labour: Shadow cabinet to discuss anti-Semitism criticisms – BBC News

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New faces in Labour reshuffle threaten to shame Theresa May and her Tories

Jeremy Corbyn with Chris Williamson during an election campaign event in Derby in 2017. Williamson decided to resign after he told the Huffington Post council tax should be doubled on higher-value homes, an idea that is not in line with Labour policy [Image: Hannah Mckay/Reuters].

An influx of bright new faces from Labour’s 2017 Parliamentary intake has boosted the party’s shadow cabinet, alongside ‘unity’ appointments and the welcome return of Clive Lewis, in a minor reshuffle that promises to put Theresa May’s disastrous attempt to revitalise her failing Tory government in the shade.

Here are the new appointments (as announced by Skwawkbox):

Shadow Minister for Pensions – Jack Dromey MP

Shadow Minister for Labour – Laura Pidcock MP

Shadow Minister for Planning – Roberta Blackman-Woods MP

Shadow Minister for Social Care and Mental Health – Paula Sherriff MP

Shadow Minister for Buses – Matt Rodda MP

Shadow Minister for the Treasury – Clive Lewis MP

Shadow Minister for the Treasury – Lyn Brown MP

Shadow Minister for Fire – Karen Lee MP

Shadow Minister for International Trade – Judith Cummins MP

Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office – Chris Matheson MP

Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office – Laura Smith MP

Shadow Minister for International Development – Dan Carden MP

Shadow Minister for International Development – Preet Gill MP

The changes come after Derby North MP Chris Williamson resigned as shadow fire minister.

The Guardian explains:

Williamson, who is an ardent supporter of the Labour leader, told the Huffington Post that council tax should be doubled on higher-value homes.

The interview, the latest in a series of controversial pronouncements by Williamson, strayed outside his brief and did not reflect party policy.

But it was immediately seized on by the Conservatives, who used an image of Williamson, with the slogan, “I want to double your council tax”, in an online attack ad.

Labour sources said the shadow communities and local government secretary, Andrew Gwynne, was furious. He had not been warned of the article.

In a statement, Gwynne said: “This proposal is not our policy and it won’t be. Unlike this proposal, we recognise that each council area has a different ability to raise income locally and so we will look at that as part of a fair redistribution mechanism, linking social need, health inequality, urban deprivation and rural sparsity.”

It is understood that when the issue was raised with Williamson, rather than agree to confine his public statements to his own policy area, he decided to resign. He is expected to act as a leftwing outrider for the Labour leader from the backbenches.

Bear in mind that the Tory propaganda release twisted Mr Williamson’s words. The plan was never to double everybody’s council tax, as was implied by the Conservative claim.

This was made abundantly clear in the Huffington Post article explaining his idea [boldings mine]:

Shadow minister Chris Williamson said that his radical plan to hike the tax on wealthier properties, while freezing it for less expensive homes, was one answer to “relentless” austerity suffered by local councils.

In an interview with HuffPost UK, Williamson said that his ‘Differential Progressive Council Tax’ proposal would require popular support in local referendums, but said the argument was winnable as it was about local budgets “for the many, not the few”.

The shadow fire minister, who also floated the idea of a “local purchase tax” to help councils raise their own funds, stressed his proposal was not official party policy and would be up to local parties to adopt.

The plan would involve freezing council tax for properties rated in Bands A to C, homes which were valued – in the last rate valuation in 1991 – as worth less than £68,000.

Homes in Band D, worth between £68,000 and £88,000 and considered the ‘average’ by Whitehall, would pay 20% more.

More expensive homes would see progressively higher rates, right up to a 100% increase for the highest band H, which covers properties worth more than £320,000.

The article also made it clear that councils are not satisfied with the Conservative government’s plans for local government:

“Councils across the country are this month setting their tax rates and budgets for the coming year, with many including Tory boroughs set to use new freedoms to increase bills by up to 5.99% to meet social care costs.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid is set to confirm plans which councils say offer inadequate funding, with many warning council tax bills will have to go up by up to £200 a year, the highest rise in 14 years.”

So, having rushed to ridicule a left-wing plan that would have humiliated them, the Tories have – yet again – shot themselves in the foot.

The resulting resignation provided Labour with an opportunity to mock the reshuffle carried out by Theresa May at the beginning of the week.

Instead of bringing in a rabble of old faces with tarnished records, Mr Corbyn took the opportunity to bring bright, new faces into his shadow government – and to bring back Clive Lewis, a popular MP who had been falsely accused of inappropriate behaviour, and subsequently exonerated, again in sharp contrast to Tories who appeared to have been promoted into Cabinet positions based on the harm they have done in the past.


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Shadow cabinet resignations over Syria? More like media smoke-and-mirrors

Safe: Nobody criticising Jeremy Corbyn is willing to put their name to their words, apart from one backbencher. He’s looking pretty safe.

The BBC seems a little confused about Jeremy Corbyn and the vote over air-strikes in Syria.

Under a headline threatening shadow cabinet resignations, the Corporation’s story then presented absolutely no shadow cabinet members who threatened to resign. Not one!

In fact the first MP quoted in the story said he would not resign, and the story follows up with further expressions of support for Corbyn’s view:

Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn, who backs air strikes, has said he will not resign over the issue. He said Labour MPs might “end up” being given a free vote to avoid further rows.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell tweeted: “On Syria, can everyone calm down. We’re all simply working through the issues and coming to final decision. Don’t mistake democracy for division.”

Shadow justice secretary Lord Falconer said he had “got no problem” with Mr Corbyn’s letter and there was no question of resignations.

Nobody in the shadow cabinet appeared willing to go on the record with their criticisms. Does this indicate cowardice on their part?

Instead we get:

Mr Corbyn’s decision to send a message to Labour MPs before they had reached agreement on a common position angered some senior shadow cabinet members. One told BBC News: “There will be resignations among senior members of the shadow cabinet over this.”

Others, who did not wish to be named, have warned that Mr Corbyn could face frontbench walk-outs if he opts to whip any vote on air strikes, rather than allowing MPs to vote with their conscience.

What hogwash. If they weren’t prepared to put their names behind these comments, the BBC should not have quoted them. Do they even exist or were the comments made up?

The only person who appeared willing to put his name to an adverse comment was John Spellar, a member of the defence select committee. If you’re anything like This Writer, you’re probably asking yourself, “Who’s he?”

From his comment, he’s a person in the wrong political party. Was he parachuted into a safe seat by the Blairites? Take a look at what he had to say:

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “How does Jeremy Corbyn and his small group of tiny Trots in the bunker think they’ve got the unique view on it all?

It’s the sort of comment that should inspire The Sun to headline it, “Phew, what a loony!”

Except, the editor of The Sun probably agrees with Mr Spellar.

Phew. What a loony.

Source: Jeremy Corbyn faces threat of shadow cabinet resignations – BBC News

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These Corbyn detractors need to get their stories straight

Flint: Resigned her place in the shadow cabinet and is now complaining that women have not been given top jobs.

Flint: Resigned her place in the shadow cabinet and is now complaining that women have not been given top jobs.

Some of Labour’s right-wing women seem to be agitating against Jeremy Corbyn – unwisely, perhaps, considering their previously-stated positions.

The Graun quoted Caroline Flint and Lisa Nandy, both complaining that women have not been appointed to top jobs in the shadow cabinet, in line with comments by Harriet Harman at Labour’s women’s conference.

Ms Flint said: “We haven’t got women in the top jobs in our party. That includes the major offices of state. I think that is a missed opportunity.”

Maybe it is, Caroline – but you missed it! Ms Flint, lest anyone forget, announced her refusal to accept any position in the shadow cabinet two days after Mr Corbyn was elected leader. She said she could “best support the Labour party and the leadership from outside the shadow cabinet.”

Now she’s complaining about the lack of women in top positions? Let’s have some consistency, please, Caroline!

Worse still, Lisa Nandy told Sky’s Dermot Murnaghan she was “uncomfortable” that Labour’s leader and deputy leader were both men. This is bizarre. She saw that women and men were on the ballot papers for both positions. The Labour Party chose the people who most members considered were best for the roles. That’s democracy.

Is Lisa Nandy opposed to democracy now?

Furthermore, Ms Nandy is the new shadow energy secretary, meaning she has accepted a job in the shadow cabinet – but is still content to snipe at the leaders, and the system that put them on top – a system in which she participated.

Ms Nandy said she supports a long-standing proposal that either the leader or deputy leader should be a woman. In the name of gender equality, this is all well and good. But Labour relies on the principle that a job should be done by the best person for it, regardless of background, privileges, sex, religion or any other possible reason for division.

Demanding that possible candidates be disqualified because of their sex is an act of negative discrimination (is there any other kind?) and should not be allowed.

The simple fact is that the Labour Party did not support the female candidates for leader or deputy leader – not because they were female, but because of their policy proposals.

Regarding the shadow cabinet appointments, This Writer does not have inside information about the deliberations that took place. However, considering the complaints about those appointments are coming from two people who have deliberately left Labour’s front bench, it is clear that they should not be taken seriously.

Let’s not have any more of this.

Additional: It seems John Prescott agrees with me. Not sure whether that’s a good or bad thing… He said: “I think that’s their right, of course, [not to serve in the shadow cabinet] but then don’t complain if the cabinet’s not of your own making. I mean, we’ve just seen that with Harriet, about five or six of their leading women refused to stand, and then complained about the make up of the cabinet. Look, that’s just not on. It’s each individual’s right to do that but don’t criticise a cabinet when it’s made up from 45% of the women members in the PLP and more women than men in his cabinet. So why the hell are you moaning?”

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Humiliation for BBC reporter as Bolsover Beast belittles her for ‘spinning’ the Murdoch line

Emily Maitlis takes her medicine from Dennis Skinner.

Emily Maitlis takes her medicine from Dennis Skinner.

It seems BBC reporter Emily Maitlis has caught foot-in-mouth disease – possibly from David Cameron (we’ll know after PMQs, but in the meantime we have his recent tweet as evidence), possibly – and more frighteningly – from Rupert Murdoch.

She was upbraided on Monday for distorting the facts after an interview with the legendary ‘Beast of Bolsover’, Dennis Skinner, when he told her he had not taken a job on Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet because he had made it clear, prior to Mr Corbyn’s victory in the Labour Party leadership election, that he did not want a place there.

“I don’t believe in patronism,” he told the BBC interviewer – but when she inferred that this meant Mr Skinner would not work for the new leader, he responded: “Work for him? I’m going to walk through the lobby with him today, against this anti-trade union bill.”

Ms Maitlis went on to suggest that Mr Skinner believes the era of ‘spin’ is dead – but then said he had turned down the opportunity of a job under Jeremy Corbyn.

The instant response was: “You’re spinning already. That was spinning; that was an example of spinning, because you were trying to imply that I’d turned it down.”

“No, that was a joke,” said Ms Maitlis – but Mr Skinner’s response made it very clear that she was now the joke.

“I think it’s time that you got real – and that you understood that you’re not working for Murdoch at the BBC, because you seem to be following the same pattern,” he warned, before walking off with a BBC technician trailing, trying to retrieve the microphone attached to his chest.

One very interesting aspect of this is the desperate way right-wingers seem to be trying to ‘own’ this interview. Look it up on YouTube and you’ll see clips marked “Dennis Skinner whining”, “Dennis Skinner mansplains to Emily Maitlis”, “Dennis Skinner launches incredible rant”.

He did none of those things. Interestingly, the clip labelled “mansplains” was posted by a man – who clearly didn’t know what the word means. If you ‘mansplain’, it means you “explain (something) to someone, typically a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing”. Skinner’s comments were neither.

He was not putting her down because she was a woman; he was attacking her attempt to falsely attribute actions to him that he did not take – which is also exactly what Yr Obdt Srvt is now doing to “Henry Reeve”, whoever this person may be – and I’m not the only one, to judge by the comments on the YouTube page.

Perhaps it’s time these Tory boys and girls got real too – but it will be great fun watching them flounder until they do.

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Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet changes in full

It's goodbye to him: Michael Moore was the only casualty of the government's Cabinet reshuffle. The others who lost their jobs were all in supporting positions.

It’s goodbye to him: Michael Moore was the only casualty of the government’s Cabinet reshuffle. The others who lost their jobs were all in supporting positions.

This is not as much an article as it is a list of the changes made to the Coalition Cabinet and Labour’s Shadow Cabinet during today’s (October 7) reshuffles.

You will notice immediately that only one name has changed in the Tory-led Coalition Cabinet – Alistair Carmichael has replaced Michael Moore as Secretary of State for Scotland. It is rumoured that this is because Mr Moore had become too cosy with the SNP and the government wanted someone who was a little more likely to put up a fight.

Most of the government’s changes have been among ministers further down the hierarchy – for example Mark Hoban, the Employment Minister who proved he does not understand how the benefit system works, has been replaced by former Minister for Disabled People, Esther McVey. Her own replacement has yet to be announced and the full line-up of Coalition ministers is expected to be revealed tomorrow – otherwise, with Parliament resuming its activities, it will be quite hard to continue business.

Over on the Labour benches, the most significant developments are the removal of plastic Tory Liam Byrne from Work & Pensions, and the fact that Andy Burnham is staying at Health.

Byrne’s removal will relieve many voters – especially those concerned with the well-being of the sick and disabled – who feared that DWP policy under him in a future Labour government would be nothing more than a continuation of the disastrous policies of the last few years that have decimated the poorest and least able to defend themselves.

Andy Burnham’s continued stay at Health signals that recent claims by his opposite number, Jeremy Hunt, that he had covered up NHS failings while he was in government, have not gained credence with the Labour leadership. Mr Burnham himself has instructed his lawyers to write to Hunt and demand an apology.

Here’s the list of the new Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet:

Cabinet –

Prime Minister – David Cameron

Deputy Prime Minister – Nick Clegg

Chancellor of the Exchequer – George Osborne

Foreign Secretary – William Hague

Home Secretary – Theresa May

Justice Secretary – Chris Grayling

Chief Whip – Sir George Young

Health Secretary – Jeremy Hunt

Business Secretary – Vince Cable

Work and Pensions Secretary – Iain Duncan Smith

Education Secretary – Michael Gove

Defence Secretary – Philip Hammond

Communities and Local Government Secretary – Eric Pickles

Energy and Climate Change Secretary – Ed Davey

Leader of the House of Commons – Andrew Lansley

Transport Secretary – Patrick McLoughlin

Northern Ireland Secretary – Theresa Villiers

International Development Secretary – Justine Greening

Scotland Secretary – Alistair Carmichael

Wales Secretary – David Jones

Environment Secretary – Owen Paterson

Minister Without Portfolio – Kenneth Clarke

Chief Secretary to the Treasury – Danny Alexander

Leader of the House of Lords – Lord Hill

Attorney General – Dominic Grieve

Culture Secretary – Maria Miller

Conservative Party Chairman – Grant Shapps

Shadow Cabinet –

Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Labour Party – Ed Miliband

Shadow Deputy Prime Minister, Party Chair and Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport – Harriet Harman

Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer – Ed Balls

Shadow Foreign Secretary and Chair of General Election Strategy – Douglas Alexander

Shadow Home Secretary – Yvette Cooper

Shadow Lord Chancellor, Secretary of State for Justice and Shadow Minister for London – Sadiq Khan

Opposition Chief Whip – Rosie Winterton

Shadow Secretary of State for Health – Andy Burnham

Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills – Chuka Umunna

Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions – Rachel Reeves

Shadow Secretary of State for Education – Tristram Hunt

Shadow Secretary of State for Defence – Vernon Coaker MP

Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government – Hilary Benn

Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change – Caroline Flint

Shadow Leader of the House of Commons and Chair of the National Policy Forum – Angela Eagle

Shadow Secretary of State for Transport – Mary Creagh

Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland – Ivan Lewis

Shadow Secretary of State for International Development – Jim Murphy

Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland – Margaret Curran

Shadow Secretary of State for Wales – Owen Smith

Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs – Maria Eagle

Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office – Michael Dugher

Shadow Minister without Portfolio and Deputy Party Chair – Jon Trickett

Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities – Gloria De Piero

Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury – Chris Leslie

Shadow Leader of the House of Lords – Baroness Royall of Blaisdon

Lords Chief Whip – Lord Bassam of Brighton

Also attending Shadow Cabinet:

Shadow Minister for Care and Older People – Liz Kendall

Shadow Minister for Housing – Emma Reynolds

Shadow Attorney General – Emily Thornberry

Shadow Minister without Portfolio (Cabinet Office) – Lord Wood of Anfield

Coordinator of the Labour Party Policy Review – Jon Cruddas

Labour and Atos – is it a distraction from the main issue?

Real change required: Sacking Atos would be a cosmetic difference if DWP policy remains unchanged under a Labour government. Let's have an announcement about that! [Picture: Skwawkbox blog]

Real change required: Sacking Atos would be a cosmetic difference if DWP policy remains unchanged under a Labour government. Let’s have an announcement about that! [Picture: Skwawkbox blog]

Having had time away to think about this, it has occurred to me that in discussing whether Labour is right to say it will fire Atos – or whether it will even fulfil that promise – we are barking up the wrong tree.

Atos does what the DWP tells it to do. We can all say it does this work very badly, but that would be splitting hairs. The orders come from the Department.

Getting rid of Atos won’t make any difference if the policy stays the same – and Labour’s record on social security has not been good since neoliberal ‘New Labour’ took office in 1997.

So I reckon more pressure needs to be exerted on Mr Miliband and his front bench, to expel all traces – not only of Atos, but of Unum, the real influence, and to put forward a new policy that is, above all, humane to claimants of disability/sickness/incapacity benefits.

What he says on this subject will be very interesting. But he must be pinned down.

New policy.

No Unum.

No Atos – or any other unqualified overseers of our medical health.

Humane treatment for benefit claimants.

(And sack Liam Byrne!)