We seem to be in another period of apparent change, with leaders being replaced by popular political parties in an attempt to change their image.
The Conservatives finally plucked up the courage to backstab Theresa May on Friday; she’ll be gone by June 7.
Meanwhile, Vince Cable has announced that his own long-trailed departure as leader of the Liberal Democrats will happen on July 23. It seems he has been waiting for a moment when it seemed his party’s fortunes were improving and thinks that it has now arrived.
These are cosmetic changes. Nobody seriously believes that the new leaders of these parties will take them in a different direction. The Conservatives may get a more strongly-Brexiteer leader but their main policies of oppression against the poor will remain the same. The Liberal Democrats will remain an irrelevance.
That would be very silly – and therefore exactly the sort of tactic the Labour Right is likely to employ. And it won’t get them anywhere because, despite all their whining about Jeremy Corbyn, we all know that their claims about him are not true. Consider Rachael’s tweet, below:
Funny how Jeremy Corbyn has seen off Cameron, May, other party leaders and several attempts at removing him by the Parliamentary Labour Party, all aided by the least trusted most biased media in Europe, and they say that *he* is the weak leader?
Of far more interest is the possibility that Tom Watson will be replaced as deputy leader after years of trying (and failing) to undermine Mr Corbyn.
Look at the latest news item to feature him – a claim that people who supported remaining in the European Union are abandoning the party. That supports the claim that “Remain” anger could be harnessed as a way of levering Mr Corbyn out, to be replaced by another faceless so-called “Centrist” with policies the same as the Tories and Change UK, no doubt.
It would be far better for Mr Watson to be removed and Labour to retain its current reforming socialist position.
His card has been marked for a considerable amount of time.
Liberal Democrat values: Vince Cable sold Royal Mail at a bargain price so the buyers could make a fortune on the property value of its sorting offices – and the public lost out as the quality of service plummeted.
There seems to be a wave of collective insanity sweeping the UK as people prepare to support the right-wing, neoliberal Liberal Democrat Party at the EU elections – because it claims to be “The Party of ‘Remain'”.
Party leader Vince Cable even parroted the Tory mantra of “Strong and stable government” to Andrew Marr:
Unfcknbelievable!!! Vince Cable on his horrific austerity cuts “it was Strong and Stable Government” are you joking!!! 120,000 austerity deaths, benefit sanctions, homelessness crisis, child poverty, people found fit for work dead communities broken FFS!! Stop LibDems pic.twitter.com/OCQBU6ls1F
Bear in mind that the EU elections should not be about Brexit at all.
No candidate gaining a seat in the European Parliament after Thursday’s election will be able to either hasten or foil Brexit. That is a matter for the UK Parliament.
But they will make a difference to the political make-up of the EU, where some member states have encountered serious problems with the resurgence of fascism.
The EU needs a socialist majority to fight that – not right-wing, neoliberal austerity-enablers like the Liberal Democrats.
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.
Vince Cable: It’s so long since he was newsworthy, this is the most recent image of him that I have. One can imagine him going into Downing Street in this hat and scarf in an attempt to be incognito.
In a perverse way, it seems we should be grateful to Vince Cable for clarifying the Brexit mess.
We had been let to believe that Theresa May was determined to force vote after vote on her Brexit deal, in an attempt to wear down MPs who hate it – and that Jeremy Corbyn would table motions of “no confidence” every time she lost: Brexit limbo.
Mr Cable has stepped in to break this deadlock, as Evolve Politics revealed:
Vince Cable has just announced that he and the Lib Dems will prop up the Tories by refusing to support any future Confidence vote tabled against them by Jeremy Corbyn, accusing the Labour leader of being "determined to play party political games".
But this raises a hugely relevant question about the Liberal Democrats. As the self-styled “Party of Remain”, isn’t it a huge contradiction for them to be supporting the enactors of Brexit?
This discrepancy was picked up by the Twitterati:
all that time LibDems have been campaigning for a second vote they never realised that Cable was campaigning to find his way back into the Tory Government telling May he will never vote against her today, he really has but a bright yellow egg custard over the face of the libdems
— Will Never Vote Labour Again **All Lives Matter** (@Isobel_waby) January 17, 2019
Labour source: "The Lib Dems propped up the Tories for five years, so it's no surprise they're still committed to keeping them in power."
Of course, the so-called “People’s Vote” is a trap for Labour. The party’s policy is to push for a general election but, failing that, to support a second referendum (if I recall correctly). So if Mrs May announces another plebiscite, then Labour will support it. There’s no need to propose one directly, and in fact that would harm Labour’s electoral chances:
All Labour have to do now is NOT call a PV. Otherwise we fall into a trap. There's no need. The pressure is ALL on May. The Blairite PV brigade want JC to call a PV to help May out of the hole she has dug for herself. Eventually SHE will call a PV, or a GE #GeneralElectionNow
How can the Lib Dems be the ‘anti-Brexit Party’ yet still send their leader Vince Cable to have talks with Theresa May on how to move Brexit forward? Does Vince Cable really miss the smell of a brand new ministerial car that much? Despicable, desperate & dishonest yellow Tories. pic.twitter.com/60C7GZMr5f
That’s telling him: Michael Segalov put Nick Clegg firmly in his place on the BBC’s Politics Live [this shot from a previous appearance, on Daily Politics].
At long last, Brexit liar Nick Clegg had his comeuppance – albeit on the BBC’s Politics Live programme where few people are likely to have seen it.
Michael Segalov, who was too young to vote in 2010 when the Liberal Democrats under Mr Clegg went into a pre-arranged coalition with David Cameron’s Conservatives, said he had been enthused by the possibility of supporting that party – but had swiftly become disillusioned as Clegg supported the Cons on one disastrous policy after another.
And these were the policies that led people into voting ‘Leave’ in the 2016 EU referendum.
The outburst has encouraged others to talk about the failings of the Liberal Democrats:
Yes, the hypocrisy of the LibDems is breathtaking. I also remember them on the streets in the 2016 Witney by-election telling people they were the party of the NHS when, without them, the Tories would have been unable to force through the devastating 2012 Health & Social Care Act https://t.co/ViF0Z0fdre
‘Demand better’: That’s what the sign says on the wall behind Vince Cable. The British people are doing so – they’re demanding Jeremy Corbyn.
A Labour Party spokesman destroyed the credibility of the Liberal Democrats with just two words.
Asked for a comment on Vince Cable’s demand for Jeremy Corbyn’s resignation, the spokesman responded: “Vince who?”
Here‘s the Daily Mirror‘s report on what Mr Cable said – in his Liberal Democrat party conference speech: “Vince Cable today demanded Jeremy Corbyn RESIGN in a vicious conference speech attack on the Labour leader and his ‘hard left bootboys’.
“Sir Vince [told] members: ‘He used to be the campaigning backbencher who joined us in opposing the Iraq War and defending civil liberties.
“‘In his new role he has kept his hands clean and his image polished by hiring hard left bootboys and girls to do his dirty work. They do the bullying and the intimidation of colleagues and he claims not to know.
“‘He indulges anti-Semitic bigots and pleads ignorance.”Vince Cable today demanded Jeremy Corbyn RESIGN in a vicious conference speech attack on the Labour leader and his “hard left bootboys”.
“Sir Vince accused Mr Corbyn’s inner circle of until recently being ‘on the Stalinist wing of the microscopic British Communist Party’ with policies ‘more relevant to the steam age than to the digital age’.
“Quoting a Tory attack line, he declared: ‘We do not believe in magic money trees and pots of gold at the end of the rainbow.'”
Westminster news-hacks were quick to contact the Labour press office, seeking an angry response that they could hype up into a row. Instead – well, Owen Bennett of City AM details the response he got:
Other Labour representatives were more forthcoming with their opinion about Mr Cable. Many of us are likely to agree with Angela Rayner, who tweeted the following:
Vince Cable today demanded Jeremy Corbyn resign. Vince you and your former leader Nick Clegg have ruined the Lib Dems after backing the Tories in the austerity fuelled coalition which was a disaster, you have reduced the Lib Dems to an empty shell of insignificance. So sad to see pic.twitter.com/UIqYRDh68n
Theresa May proved she did not understand her own ‘Chequers plan’ for a future relationship between the UK and the European Union on Sunday (July 15). Andrew Marr demonstrated to her that it would prevent the UK from making trade deals with other nations because it would tie us into a ‘common rulebook’ with the European Union.
She compounded this misunderstanding in the House of Commons yesterday (July 16) when she caved in to four Trade Bill amendments by Jacob Rees-Mogg’s far-right-wing European Research Group (ERG). The change in the most controversial of these would effectively rip up the so-called ‘common rulebook’ and demand that, if the UK collects duties and VAT on goods for the EU – and at EU rates, then the EU should reciprocate, collecting UK duties and VAT at UK rates.
The ERG amendment was intended to wreck Mrs May’s plan for a customs compromise with the EU27, in the belief that Brussels would reject the measure – but Mrs May then argued that the EU had only ruled out collecting UK duties and tariffs at its border, and it would be necessary to have other reciprocal financial systems with the EU to refund businesses in the event that there were differing customs arrangements. She said the amendments were “consistent” with the Brexit White Paper – even though they weren’t.
If it looks like fudge and tastes like fudge, it probably is fudge. That is what the 14-strong group of Conservative Remain-supporting MPs decided after learning of Downing Street’s decision to support the four ERG amendments – whipping Tory MPs to vote against the government’s own proposals.
This group had already been betrayed by Mrs May over the EU Withdrawal Bill, so it is unsurprising that its members voted against the ERG amendments as supported by the prime minister yesterday.
But – and this is where it gets really bizarre – the amendments passed anyway, with the support of three current Labour MPs and former Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins, and due to the absence of Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable and that party’s former leader Tim Farron.
Labour MPs who turn down a chance to defeat the Conservatives are, of course, traitors to their party and their voters – and the Liberal Democrats have once again shown their Tory-supporting colours by betraying their own anti-Brexit position.
Mr Farron was giving a speech in Sherborne about how he reconciles his evangelical Christian beliefs with being a Liberal Democrat politician, and Mr Cable was at a meeting off the Parliamentary estate. The Liberal Democrats said both were absent because nobody had expected the vote to be so close – except it had been all over the news for days.
Labour MPs Frank Field, Kate Hoey and Graham Stringer have no excuse at all. I await a decision on their punishment from the Labour whips’ office.
The whole farrago means that the government won its votes with nothing more than luck.
And Theresa May knows it – that is why she has proposed bringing forward the Parliamentary summer recess to Thursday (July 19) – five days early. There currently seems little hope that any Brexit deal currently on the table could command the support of a majority of MPs, and this makes a ‘no confidence’ vote in Mrs May’s leadership more likely.
Going to recess on Thursday would cut the time available to call a confidence vote, and then Mrs May would have the long summer recess in which to try to talk her MPs into giving her yet another chance.
This is not principled politics – it is backroom bunko.
If Mrs May does any deal with her rebellious MPs, it will be to give them something they want in order to push a bad deal on the people of the UK that will make us all much worse-off.
But remember: There will be no referendum on whether Brexit should go ahead. Mrs May has been adamant about that. Clearly she sees an advantage in it for herself.
And in Theresa May’s world, she is all that matters. The rest of the UK can rot. And that’s no way to run a country.
It followed the sale of huge amounts of other ingredients in the 1980s.
BBC Investigation finds the U.K. was the sole supplier to Syria of 3 important ingredients in the product of Sarin, a chemical weapon. This is why Jeremy Corbyn is right to focus on banning arms sales to corrupt regimes. pic.twitter.com/AYgWjbgigl
It seems those ingredients have been turned into weapons and used on the people of Douma, in Syria.
Now the UK government, in an act of enormous hypocrisy, wants to join Donald Trump’s USA in a reprisal bombing against that country.
Mrs May said the international community needed to uphold the worldwide ban on chemical weapons – which is outrageous, considering our government’s effort to undermine it.
As UK citizens, we can only be nauseated by Mrs May’s behaviour.
This Site warned that we would be in exactly this situation five years ago.
I wrote: “In January 2012, 10 months after violence erupted in Syria, [then-business secretary] Vince Cable licensed the exporting of potassium fluoride and sodium fluoride to the Syrian government – both chemicals being ingredients of nerve gas.
“The chemicals were sold under licences that specified they should be used for making aluminium structures like window frames – but the government has refused to identify the licence holders. Dodgy!
“This means that, in the same way as the United States with Iraq, it is entirely possible that the [Conservative/Liberal Democrat] Coalition government wanted British troops to attack Syria in response to a situation that the Coalition government created!”
I don't condone our government's actions, selling weapons to Saudi & Israel, nor did I condone Maragret Thatcher's selling of arms components to Iraq. Maintaining world peace isn't and shouldn't be subject to market principles https://t.co/0CB9Ijz2mL
The fly in current UK prime minister Theresa May’s ointment at the moment is Russia, which supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and has blocked US-led calls for an investigation into the chemical attack. Russia’s own proposal did not gain enough votes.
The US proposal would have launched an independent investigation that would have assigned blame to a perpetrator. The Russians wanted a UN-led investigation, but with the results reviewed by Russia for “acceptance” before being publicised.
Both proposals were flawed. Russia’s demand for the ability to censor the results of an investigation is unacceptable – but then, why should the US (and the UK) be permitted to assign blame solely to Syria for an attack in which they chemical weapons were used that were made from our products?
Boris Johnson, who is still (amazingly) clinging on to his role as the UK’s foreign secretary, has leapt in to offer his biased view:
Hugely disappointing that Russia vetoed the proposal at the UN for an independent investigation into Syrian chemical attacks. Russia is holding the Syrian people to political ransom by supporting a regime responsible for at least 4 heinous chemical attacks against its people
Chemical attacks made possible by the actions of your government, Mr Johnson.
The latest information is that Donald Trump is planning to bomb Syria anyway. Russia seems unlikely to tolerate any such action.
Meanwhile, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called for a ceasefire and a political solution, rather than – as Susan Rees describes below, “bomb first, talk later”. He is the only leader who is making sense.
Corbyn has asked for a ceasefire, followed by a political solution! He condemned the attack and said every country in the region, Russia and US must come together to agree a deal which finally ends this bloody civil war! Trump/Mays stance, is to bomb first, talk later 🤔
These words seem prophetic, in the light of Mr Trump’s latest bit of sabre-rattling:
Trump will bomb Syria, I could be wrong, obviously. But when Jeremy Corbyn rightfully condemns the bombing, you will see the mother of all backlashes against him. No tragedy or warzone remains safe from being used to try and oust Corbyn. Remember this tweet.
So, a big win for Theresa May: Her government sold the ingredients of chemical weapons to Syria; those ingredients were used in an attack that gives us an opportunity to attack Syria; and if Jeremy Corbyn opposes such an attack, she can smear him as an unpatriotic peacenik.
And the only cost will be thousands of Syrian lives and the possibility of conflict with Russia – which is a nuclear superpower, let’s not forget!
As UK citizens, we can only be nauseated by Mrs May’s behaviour. Tory political decisions have created this situation and she is revelling in the opportunity to commit mass murder.
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Vince Cable really is debasing himself and his party.
He knows the Labour Party has less anti-Semitism now – and Islamophobia, come to that – than when Jeremy Corbyn became leader.
He is simply playing up to the media- and Tory-led lies that have been claimed about Mr Corbyn and Labour.
And he won’t profit from it – because Mr Corbyn is more popular now than before his enemies in the Labour Party (and the Tories) kicked off their attack.
And we all know that Liberal Democrats love to support Tories – and lie to the public before they do.
The Liberal Democrat[s] would never prop up a coalition Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn, the party’s leader adamantly confirmed this week.
Speaking to Jewish News Sir Vince Cable fired a warning shot to the opposition, claiming prejudice, including anti-Semitism seems to be “pretty severe” in the party, as he assured the community of “personal importance” to good relations.
He said “we’re very clear we would not be going into coalition with Corbyn-led Labour. Simple answer on Jeremy Corbyn, is no”, should there be another hung parliament at the next election.
The Lib Dem leader welcomed “attracting people who are disaffected” by Labour’s anti-Semitism row, saying he knows of “members of the community who used to support Labour who are now supporting us”.
The Campaign Against Antisemitism has been pilloried for its unreasonable attack on Jeremy Corbyn.
Long-term readers of This Site will, I hope, understand and forgive me if my enjoyment of the Campaign Against Antisemitism’s discomfiture seems more than fulsome.
The organisation, which seems to have been founded as an offshoot of the Israel Advocacy Movement, and appears dedicated to countering criticism of the government of Israel by accusing the critics of anti-Semitism, put Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in its sights last week.
The claim was that Mr Corbyn had failed to mention Jews in his Holocaust Memorial Day statement. This was untrue. It was later found to be true that Theresa May, the Prime Minister, was in fact guilty of this omission (if any guilt need be applied – HMD commemorates all victims of the Nazi Holocaust, and victims of several other genocides as well), along with Vince Cable and the Chief Rabbi, as I understand it.
Today, the CAA published a grudging apology for jumping the gun. But the organisation refused to lay any guilt on Mrs May, Mr Cable or the Chief Rabbi – despite the fact that they had definitely done exactly what Mr Corbyn had only been accused of doing.
Here‘s what the CAA had to say. The apology – if you can call it that – is at the very end:
Objectively, it is clear that the collective reaction of Jewish organisations to Mr Corbyn’s failure to mention Jews in his message in the memorial book was different to the Chief Rabbi’s or the Prime Minister’s. Diagnosing the reason for that difference is important.
Mr Corbyn has presided over an unprecedented tolerance by a modern British political party for anti-Jewish racism. After action was not taken against numerous antisemites in the Labour Party, he commissioned the Chakrabarti report. The report was a whitewash and its author was reportedly told in advance that she would earn a peerage from it. Now, under conditions of secrecy recommended by the report, we do not know what is being done about the many cases of antisemitism waiting to be heard. However, we do know that Ken Livingstone, who claimed that Hitler “was supporting Zionism”, was not expelled from the Party despite the objections of 107 Labour MPs who said “we will not allow it to go unchecked” before mostly falling silent. Nor has the Party yet dealt with figures such as Jackie Walker. We also know that Mr Corbyn and his allies have been dismissive of allegations of antisemitism for a long time, and have had trouble speaking about the Party’s antisemitism problem without alluding to far less evident issues with Islamophobia and “racism in all its forms”. This is compounded by the fact that Mr Corbyn already sought out and defended antisemites from Raed Salah to Reverend Stephen Sizer, long before he was in the political spotlight.
For these reasons, Campaign Against Antisemitism and other Jewish organisations around the world are particularly concerned about Mr Corbyn. In this instance, Mr Corbyn has a defence that he did just the same thing as others whom we have not criticised, but context is everything and the heightened concern of Jewish organisations worldwide has not sprung from nowhere. However, upon reflection, on this occasion we expressed our concerns in a manner that was open to allegations of double standards, and that was a mistake.
Much of the above is disinformation – hogwash of the foulest kind. The Chakrabarti report was not a whitewash; it was an honest attempt to address an issue that many still believe to have been blown out of proportion by organisations like the CAA, for political purposes, rather than their stated intentions.
The claim that Ken Livingstone said Hitler “was supporting Zionism” makes it seem that he was suggesting the Nazi dictator was in full agreement with all the aims of German Zionists at the time. He wasn’t; he never said that. Mr Livingstone’s comments referred to a very specific instance in which his aims and those of the German Federation of Zionists coincided. The CAA’s claim here is therefore such a strong exaggeration that it may as well be considered a lie.
It is just as well that the CAA does not describe its complaint with Jackie Walker. Allegations about her stem from her attendance at a closed-door, “safe space”, “training” session run by the Jewish Labour Movement, from which none of her words should have been recorded, let alone quoted to the press and used against her. She had taken issue with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition of anti-Semitism which had been adopted by the Labour Party – on very solid grounds, as it happens, and as this dissection of the document by a leading lawyer shows in graphic detail. In fact, the only part of the definition put forward by the JLM that the IHRA has actually adopted is the first two sentences. The text that follows – 11 examples – includes seven that refer to the state of Israel rather than Jews, as this work by Jewish Voices for Labour explains.
Ms Walker was also attacked for suggesting that Holocaust Memorial Day should commemorate other holocausts than that which was perpetrated by the Nazis. The claim against her was that HMD does commemorate other atrocities, which is true. But it doesn’t commemorate all of them, including – for example – the genocide of indigenous American peoples over 500 years that claimed 100 million lives. And of course the protestations of certain people, including the CAA, when certain other people didn’t mention Jews in relation to HMD – the manner of their complaint – made it clear that they consider it to be a day to commemorate what happened to Jewish people, rather than the others. It is an attitude that has caused a certain amount of friction, as revealed by reactions to previous articles on This Site.
The claim that Mr Corbyn and Labour have been “dismissive” of allegations of anti-Semitism might possibly be explained with a counter-claim that some of those allegations are vexatious – especially those put forward by organisations like the CAA against Mr Livingstone, Ms Walker and, for that matter, myself.
As for the allegations of links between Mr Corbyn and anti-Semites, a group of British Jews wrote to the Jewish Chronicle to berate it for making the same claims during his initial campaign to become Labour Party leader, in 2015. Their letter stated:
Your assertion that your attack on Jeremy Corbyn is supported by ‘the vast majority of British Jews’ is without foundation. We do not accept that you speak on behalf of progressive Jews in this country. You speak only for Jews who support Israel, right or wrong.
“There is something deeply unpleasant and dishonest about your McCarthyite guilt by association technique.
But that is exactly the “deeply unpleasant and dishonest” technique being used by the Campaign Against Antisemitism again, in the article published yesterday (January 28).
Notice that the CAA article goes on to say Mr Corbyn “has a defence that he did just the same thing as others whom we have not criticised”, but this is a lie. Mr Corbyn did mention Jews in his words; the others did not.
Particularly pertinent to This Writer is the comment that “context is everything”. Yes it is – and that is the reason I remain disappointed that the Campaign Against Antisemitism took so many words from my articles and presented them, out of context, in an attempt to make me appear to be an anti-Semite.
In the light of yesterday’s words, perhaps it is time the organisation took down its lying article and published a full, frank and grovelling apology for its hate-filled attack on an entirely innocent man.
Finally, note that the apology at the end really isn’t one. All the author of the article can manage is an admission that the attack on Mr Corbyn was a “mistake”.
What kind of mistake?
The tone of the article suggests its author is sorry the CAA was found out, not sorry that it attacked an innocent man irresponsibly. That would certainly correspond with my own experience of its behaviour.
But it seems time is running out for the CAA and its fabrications. The attack on Mr Corbyn spawned a huge backlash. Here are some of the responses to its inflammatory article, which it tweeted out to the world in the form directly below:
Is this a campaign against antisemitism or against Corbyn? Disgraceful on this day of all days that you divert attention away from the Holocaust and on to petty political squabbling. I presume you will be moving on to attack Theresa May? pic.twitter.com/MoPqMI0PZv
Frankly flabbergasted at the number of tweets saying Jeremy Corbyn was disrespectful and anti-semitic for not mentioning Jews in his Holocaust Memorial piece. Except he did. Some very pernicious disinformation going on. Thanks to @AaronBastani for sharing this: pic.twitter.com/X8QendJiPR
Uh-oh! We can see where Momentum got its fashion ideas here.
We can laugh as much as we like at the Tories over Activate and its woeful attempts to generate publicity and support, but at least they’re trying. The Liberal Democrats haven’t bothered – leaving a gap for Labour and Momentum to fill.
The result is a huge embarrassment for the rapidly-diminishing party – and for new leader Vince Cable in particular.
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