Tag Archives: tree

Cynical post-Pittsburgh posturing by the usual ‘left anti-Semitism’ liars

Commemorated: Memorials to the fallen outside the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

This is utterly vile: On the day 11 people were murdered in a synagogue in Pittsburgh – apparently by an adherent of the political far-right, bandwagon-jumpers claiming to speak for British Jews were lining up to accuse left-wingers in the United Kingdom.

Authorities in the US have alleged that 46-year-old Robert Bowers burst into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh and gunned down 11 people who were there for Shabbat – the Jewish sabbath, just before 9.54am (EDT) on Saturday, October 27. Six others were wounded.

Bowers was arrested after a short gunfight with police. He has been charged with 29 criminal offences, including 11 federal hate-crime charges. The 11 counts of using a firearm to kill carry a maximum penalty of death.

Other charges include obstructing the exercise of religious beliefs resulting in death, weapons offences and seriously injuring police officers. The FBI was investigating the shooting as a federal hate crime.

According to The Guardian, “The suspect appeared to have far-right views… Social media accounts in the name of Robert Bowers contained antisemitic rants.”

In the UK, someone apparently connected with those who have been accusing Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters in the Labour Party of anti-Semitism used a sock-puppet Twitter account to launch a false-flag attack against Labour.

In response to a tweet by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressing sorrow at the attack, this account tweeted: “YOU BROUGHT THIS ON YOURSELVES.”

The person behind the tweet was an apparently-nonexistent entity calling itself Dean Brown (@DeanBrownLab), who was described by anti-Corbyn Twitter account ‘Left Over’ as “a former Labour Party staffer, is a @jeremycorbynsupporter and a member of both @UKLabour and @PeoplesMomentum”. No such person exists.

The account appeared to have been created to post the tweet, and bears similarity to another account – @WesBrownLab – that fooled Yvette Cooper last year. “Wesley Brown” self-described as “Special Adviser to RT. Hon Jeremy Corbyn MP” – but nobody of that name has ever worked for the Labour Party, let alone as an advisor to Mr Corbyn.

You can read the full details on the Skwawkbox blog. Notice that the accounts listed at the end of the ‘Left Over’ tweet belong to people (or groups of them) who have been regular features of the campaign to use false accusations of anti-Semitism against Jeremy Corbyn and his (genuine) supporters:

Saddeningly, left-wing comedy talent David Schneider joined in by attacking “the left’s and Labour’s failure on anti-semitism” – with reference to two tweets, neither of which could be said for sure to come from Left, or Labour, sources. He tweeted:

The author of the first tweet he mentioned was this person:

Maybe I didn’t go far enough into his timeline to find out, but while I see plenty of socially-conscious retweets, I don’t see a lot of evidence that this person is a committed lefty, let alone a Labour supporter. I’m prepared to be contradicted on that one. As for the reference to a separate matter in a different country – well, we’ll come to that.

Jenny Tonge is, of course, a Liberal Democrat and therefore neither left-wing nor a member or supporter of the Labour Party.

Yet Mr Schneider tweeted:

(For clarity, Mr Schneider is wrong where he says anti-Semitism may be unwitting, and needs to clarify what he means by “due to ignorance”. Anti-Semitism is hatred of Jews, because they are Jews – and people can’t hate unwittingly or because they don’t know what is considered to be hatred in this instance. Even the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism states that A-S only “may” be evidenced by apparent correlation with the examples it quotes.)

Here’s a left-wing response to the Pittsburgh synagogue killings:

Here’s another:

This is the Skwawkbox response:

Angela Rayner is Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary:

John McDonnell is Labour’s Shadow Chancellor:

And Jeremy Corbyn is Labour’s leader, of course – and a man who has been falsely accused of anti-Semitism too many times to count:

All have given the dead and wounded of the Pittsburgh shooting the respect they deserve.

And yet…

Fox News got in on the act, over in the States:

This is despite the fact that the man accused of the killings is said to be a neo-Nazi.

I mentioned David Schneider’s condemnation of people who linked the Pittsburgh incident with Israel’s attacks on Palestinians. He believed they were inappropriate, so I hope he will join with other right-thinking people in condemning the way Labour’s Chris Williamson was dogpiled by Twitter users for retweeting a link to a Skwawkbox article about the President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews using apparently anti-Semitic language.

This completely separate story was linked with Pittsburgh by the dogpilers, for no reason other than that they broke on the same day. Here’s Mr Williamson’s tweet – the dogpiling starts immediately:

‘Left Over’ and the accounts mentioned in its tweet, the five UK journalists who linked the Pittsburgh killings with Jeremy Corbyn, Chris Williamson’s dogpilers and – sadly – David Schneider are all responsible for an anti-left, anti-Labour, anti-Corbyn-and-his-supporters smear that is all the more disgusting because of its context.

All should make public apologies immediately. Some should face disciplinary procedures for false reporting.

But we all know that’s not going to happen, don’t we?

Not while anti-Semitism is the one accusation people can make against political figures without any need for proof whatsoever.

I know far too much about such matters myself. I was accused of anti-Semitism by fake crusaders similar to those listed above, and suspended from the UK Labour Party, nearly 18 months ago. After a botched decision by the party’s National Executive Committee that heard no evidence from me, I will finally have a chance to state my innocence next month.

I am also appealing for people who support justice to help fund legal action against my accusers. If you are willing to help, please visit my JustGiving page and donate what you can.

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Mother of man who was denied PIP became so stressed she smashed her car into a tree

[Image: Black Triangle Campaign].

A woman has claimed she drove her car into a tree because she was “stressed” to the point of distraction after a decision by the Department for Work and Pensions to deny her son Personal Independence Payment.

Deb McDonald tweeted that she had attended a meeting with representatives of the Citizens Advice Bureau in an attempt to get help, and her head was reeling so much afterwards that she collided with a tree.

She ended up waiting more than three hours to be rescued:

She said she had her own health conditions to deal with, besides those of her son, and that she was glad he had not witnessed her “panic attack”.

Ms MacDonald made no other details of her experience public, but her story makes it clear that the Conservative government’s punitive policy on benefits is causing harm – not only to claimants, but to their family and property.

In other benefits news:

The following tweet sums up the feeling across the country well, I imagine:

Yes, indeed. You can see for yourself what Jade Ashton Mills means by following Rachael Swindon yourself – and offering financial support if you think she does a good job showing up the Tory government for what it is.

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Sheffield tree fiasco highlights everything that is bad about contracted-out services

A ‘save me’ sign on tree cut down in Rustlings Road, Sheffield [Image: Danny Lawson/PA].

A ‘save me’ sign on tree cut down in Rustlings Road, Sheffield [Image: Danny Lawson/PA].


No, Nick Clegg, the fight for Sheffield’s trees is not like “something you’d expect to see in Putin’s Russia” – unless you’ve been to Russia recently and know something we don’t.

TV viewers who watched the documentary Who’s Spending Britain’s Billions will know that Sheffield’s Labour-run council has contracted private firm Amey to maintain the city’s roads.

Apparently, Amey promised the contract would “see Sheffield’s roads transformed from some of the worst in the country to the best in the country within the first five years”.

But protesters say this is a front for a plan to chop down as many trees as possible, in order to spend most of the 25-year contract period with much lower maintenance bills than if they had been left in place.

They say the trees are invaluable flood defences and are vital in countering air pollution – but that hasn’t stopped Amey from felling 4,000 trees since the contract was signed, working without proper consultation and motivated by profit.

The council says many of the trees are diseased and that their roots have ruined pavements, making them impassible for wheelchair users and buggies.

For shifty councillors, the joy of a contract with a private company is they never have to divulge the details to members of the public who submit Freedom of Information requests.

But the tactic can backfire. Members of the city’s Labour Party are deserting it in big numbers, quoting the attack on the city’s trees and the council’s devotion to its contract with a company out to profit from it as the reason.

Labour will suffer serious damage in Sheffield if its councillors are allowed to press on with this debacle.

It doesn’t just reflect badly on them; it reflects on the Labour Party as a whole.

What are they thinking?

And now UKIP has a new leader whose stated aim is to invade Labour heartlands, this Labour council is offering Paul Nuttall a ripe and juicy target.

Of course, Nuttall and his party are nothing but a gang of single-issue sub-fascists who are lucky enough to have been able to attract the attention of the BBC and a few other gullible news providers/right-wing media moguls. They won’t win anywhere.

But why erode confidence in Labour when there are possible threats around?

The attitude of Sheffield’s Labour councillors is utterly unfathomable.

Perhaps they need a telephone call from national Labour leaders, to remind them that they owe loyalty to the people – not profit.

Council contractors and police had descended on a particularly desirable street … under the cover of darkness, “dragged” people out of bed to move their cars and detained peaceful protesters – “all to chop down eight trees”, he wrote in a local paper.

So far five people have been arrested in relation to a long-running and increasingly bitter battle over the fate of Sheffield’s trees, including a 70-year old emeritus professor and a 71-year-old retired teacher, both women. On Thursday two men will become the first of the city’s tree protesters to appear in court, charged under trade union legislation, following a protest on 2 November.

One of them, the author and university lecturer Simon Crump, 56, a local Green party member, said he was arrested for protecting a 100-year-old London plane tree on Marden Road in Nether Edge. He said he was locked in a cell for eight hours and that he would have been released sooner but, he claimed, officers could not find the offence he had allegedly committed on the police computer. “It was quite Kafkaesque. I was being imprisoned because they couldn’t work out what to charge me with,” said Crump.

He was subsequently charged under Section 241 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, which criminalises anyone who persistently stops someone from carrying out lawful work – in this case tree surgeons contracted by Amey, an outsourcing company, to chop down trees under a controversial contract with the city council.

Source: Sheffield trees dispute prompts ‘scenes you’d expect in Putin’s Russia’ | UK news | The Guardian

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Hapless Jeremy proves yet again what a… Hunt he is

Not the right kind of tree-hugger: This is an artist’s impression of what Jeremy Hunt looked like, hiding behind a tree to avoid being seen going to a meeting with Rupert Murdoch.

It is not a good time to be Jeremy Hunt.

“When is?” I hear you cry. Fair point. The reactions of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh certainly seem to have put the Health Secretary in a state.

He was at a smart Buckingham Palace event, arranged to thank everyone involved in the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, which took place while he was Culture Secretary. He decided this was the moment to put his greatest talent on display.

Clearly, it wasn’t his wit. No, I refer to his talent for making a faux pas – or, in English, a bloody fool of himself.

“I read about a Japanese tourist who said afterwards how wonderful our Queen must be to take part in that, as they would never get their emperor to jump out of the plane,” he told Her Majesty. Faced with an irrelevant comment about a completely different event, she paused, smiled politely, shrugged, and moved on.

Then the Duke of Edinburgh turned up. You may remember he had quite a rough time during the Diamond Jubilee, contracting an infection that hospitalised him for several days. As a result, he probably saw most of it on TV but – clearly – the then-Culture Secretary hadn’t made the slightest impression on him as the first thing he said was, “Who are you?”

Hunt managed to spit out some information about his current job, and that he was Culture Secretary during the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, only to have the Duke respond: “Well they do move you people on a lot.”

We are led to believe Mr Hunt was embarrassed by the whole episode. What makes it worse is that he might have gained a bit more recognition if he had mentioned some of the other public disasters in which he has been involved.

Ask not for whom the bell tolls: Mr Hunt’s bell-end landed in a passing lady’s lap. Oh dear.

Perhaps he should have said, “I’m the fool who went ringing a bell to announce the start of the Olympics, only to have the end fall off and hit a passing lady in the lap”?

Or: “I’m the twit who arrived at a meeting with Rupert Murdoch – a gentleman with whom I have long-standing ties, even though he’s being investigated by an official inquiry ordered by my government – but, finding a multitude of press photographers there and not wanting to be seen publicly with the head of NewsCorp… hid behind a tree. One that was too narrow to stop them from spotting me.”

At least he had the good taste not to mention the moment when James Naughtie mispronounced his surname, live on national radio. The use of the C-word would have been beyond the pale.

(Although, it might have won him the recognition he wanted from the Duke).

Perhaps David Cameron would have been better off introducing into his Cabinet some faces that were more recognisable?