Tag Archives: Vox Political

The privatised utility rip-off: Vox Political’s 10-year-old words should haunt government

This is actually a little terrifying.

Words I wrote 10 years ago this month are as appropriate now as they were then. See for yourself.

I was responding to Archbishop of York John Sentamu’s comments on chairing a year-long commission to investigate the need for a living wage (something that is still desperately-needed, even though the Tories have hijacked the term and applied it to something that doesn’t pay nearly enough):

In The Observer, he wrote: “The holes in millions of paycheques are being plugged by in-work support to the tune of £4 billion a year. But why aren’t those who are profiting from their workers paying up? Why is government having to subsidise businesses who don’t pay their employees enough to live on? It is a question we need to answer and act on – fast. The cost of living is rising but wages are not. In the rush for profit, and for high pay at the top, too many companies have forgotten the basic moral imperative that employees be paid enough to live on.”

the simple fact is that the cost of living is too high and – if they had to rely on wages alone – millions of working people, up and down the country, would be unable to pay their bills…

… leading us to a recent blog article by our old friend Michael Meacher MP. He points out that our privatised utility companies are forcing every one of us to pay – through the nose – for substandard services.

He wrote: “More than £100 a year of an average household [water] bill, that is about 30 per cent, goes on profit, compared with 9 per cent in the energy sector which is itself known for egregious profiteering.

The profit on water bills is now 35 per cent, we’re told. Energy profits are also huge, although the exact percentage is not easily available.

“In the last 10 years, water bills have risen by a massive 64 per cent, compared with an increase of just 28 per cent in average earnings. In the last three years alone, average earnings have fallen by 7 per cent while water bills have continued to rise remorselessly. There is no competition in the water industry and the only potential constraint is the industry regulator, but he has chosen to succumb to corporate lobbying in allowing water bills to continue to shoot upwards to feed fancy executive bonuses and big dividend handouts.”

And in all the 10 years since, it seems the regulator has yet to grow a backbone.

What were my conclusions? Get a load of this:

1. The privatisation of the national utilities – water, electricity, gas (and, some would say, telecommunications) – has failed in its stated aims, which were to democratise capitalism by making it possible for everybody to be a shareholder, to keep bills low, and to end government subsidies for these organisations. Instead, shares have been drawn into the hands of a very few rich investors, bills have risen far beyond wages, and government subsidies have either increased massively (rail) or companies have used the tax system to avoid paying the amount due on their profits (Thames Water and its ‘super sewer’).

2. Company bosses, keen to drive up their share prices in order to create larger dividends for their shareholders and higher salaries for themselves, have successfully held wages down in order to achieve this. As ‘neilcon’ pointed out, lower wages mean less spending on National Insurance, meaning that keeping the employee payout down by pennies per person leads to many pounds in increased revenue.

3. The government is unwilling to do anything about this because it wants to keep wages depressed as much as possible. This is the reason it has cracked down so hard on benefit payments – not because of fraud (which is minimal) but in order to create an urgent need among the unemployed to find work, and terror in those who have jobs that they could be replaced if they complain about the increasingly meagre pittance on which they are being told to survive.

What’s the answer? (I asked rhetorically.) Here are my thoughts:

The best place to start might be with the private utility companies. An ultimatum to put their houses in order and charge a reasonable amount, rather than extorting money out of a captive clientele, might produce results – especially if the alternative is re-nationalisation.

This might take the pressure off the smaller private companies by actually reducing the amount calculated as the living wage; with lower utility bills, the amount of money needed for a working person’s survival will also drop.

If the government and the utility companies got their sums right, this could mean the need to subsidise working people’s pay would be wiped out, meaning a large saving on the tax bill. Feed this through to working people in the form of a tax cut and, again, smaller private companies would benefit (along with everybody else, of course). An alternative of using the money to help pay off the deficit would be unhelpful – we need more, and healthier, businesses in this country, employing more people. Get that sorted and the deficit will come down in any case.

On a completely different tack, what about Landlord Subsidy (otherwise known as Housing Benefit)? Why not put a cap on rents, thereby ensuring that the government is not subsidising the rapidly-increasing pace of (some) landlords’ greed?

Unfortunately, this is not likely to happen under the current government – and it seems the Parliamentary Labour Party is to keen to become the Plastic Tory Party to take a stand; it will be up to its backbenchers and the party’s grassroots members to force a policy change.

… and isn’t the situation the same today? Sadly, Keir Starmer’s Labour purge means the Substitute Tory Party is unlikely to offer any help at all.

But a plan that acknowledges the mistakes of the past and aims to redress the shocking way that the supply of money has overbalanced to favour a tiny minority – to the detriment of the vast majority – would constitute the first steps on the way to a nation that can not only provide [a] living wage, but also help our struggling small businesses.

Was I right?

I reckon so.

And am I right now?

I reckon so.


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On This Date 2020: Is EHRC too busy scrabbling for anti-Semitism in Labour to bother with obvious Tory Islamophobia?

Islamophobia: the creator of this image thought it was bad enough in the Tories under Theresa May. Now, with racist Boris Johnson in charge, who knows how far the rot has gone?

How long has the Equalities and Human Rights Commission been looking for anti-Semitism in the Labour Party now? A year?

Either it is very well hidden – which would be odd, considering the number of (admittedly mostly false) claims made against the party – or the EHRC is determined not to stop until it has managed to concoct a convincing case.

It doesn’t fill one with confidence in that organisation.

And now we see that the EHRC is trying to squirm out of handling 300 documented cases of Islamophobia – in the Conservative Party.

Does anybody else smell a rat?

According to the Mirror, the dossier handed to the EHRC – by the Muslim Council of Britain – contains information about 16 Conservative MPs, one MEP, nine election candidates and 183 party members.

That’s 209 people, so presumably some are multiple offenders. I wonder if Boris Johnson is listed among them?

The allegations include:

  • A former councillor calling for “unconditional surrender” by Muslims, who they label “brutes who beat, kill and maim young women”;

  • A local party association chair who called for Muslims to be banned;

  • A member who called for Muslims to be thrown from bridges;

  • Another member who called for the forcible sterilisation of Muslims.

The MCB also condemns the Conservative Party’s failure to suspend MP Daniel Kawczynski after he spoke at an event alongside far-right leaders, and for failing to take action on MP Karl McCartney, who shared Islamophobic and anti-Semitic social media content by Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins.

Secretary General Harun Khan said the EHRC had failed to give any response to the MCB’s first formal complaint in May 2019, and says it was ‘extraordinary’ that the watchdog had taken no action in the 10 months since.

“There is no doubt that the Conservative party has an Islamophobia crisis: it is institutional, systemic and widespread” he said,

“The party’s response has been one of denial, dismissal and deceit – this results in clear discrimination against Muslims because of their religion”

The EHRC says it is waiting for information about a promised internal inquiry by the Conservative Party, which it is claiming will be “independent” even though it is to be carried out within the party structure.

This Writer can only wish them good luck with that. We’re all also awaiting publication of the report on Russian influence on the Conservative government, and on Boris Johnson’s relationship with Jennifer Arcuri.

Wise heads think it won’t just be a cold day in Hell, but their subjects may actually have taken up residence there before these reports are published.

Former Tory-supporting columnist Peter Oborne thinks – well, see for yourself:

In his article, he wrote:

The problem stretches from the lowest ranks of the Tory party to the very top. There is a massive problem with Islamophobic bigotry among Tory grassroots, where the MCB has provided a list of more than 100 cases.

Party members, councillors and officials have repeatedly made disgusting statements about Muslims, calling for them to leave the country, making provocative insults about the Prophet Muhammad and peddling malicious lies.

This should not come as any surprise to anyone, since poll results published by the anti-racist organisation Hope Not Hate last year showed that more than half of Conservative members thought Islam was “generally a threat to the British way of life”.

I’ve written before about Bob Blackman, the Conservative MP for Harrow East, who shared an anti-Muslim post by Tommy Robinson, the former leader of the English Defence League; hosted the anti-Muslim Tapan Ghosh, the right-wing Hindu nationalist; and shared far-right and Islamophobic content on Facebook.

Anti-Muslim bigotry is not a barrier to promotion. Nadine Dorries, who also shared a tweet by Robinson, is now a health minister. This is no surprise, given that Johnson himself has a long record of making anti-Muslim remarks.

Tellingly, Johnson is surrounded by Islamophobes. Dominic Cummings, his most senior advisor, reportedly had overall responsibility for The Spectator website in 2006, according to Stuart Reid, the magazine’s acting editor at the time, when a controversial cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban was posted on the site.

One of Johnson’s up-and-coming advisors is Chloe Westley. She praised Anne Marie Waters, leader of the anti-Islam party For Britain, as a “hero”, even though Waters has called Islam “evil” and also has links to Robinson.

But he made a very important point: the UK’s mass media are ignoring this story:

I could find nothing at all about the MCB report in the Financial Times or Daily Telegraph. There were seven paragraphs on page 16 of the Times and 11 paragraphs on page 7 of the Guardian. Nothing in the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, or the Sun.

Most British newspapers are as Islamophobic as the Conservative Party itself, and in some cases, more so. This means they are effectively giving Johnson and his senior advisers and ministers a free pass to reshape the Tory party as a far-right, populist organisation of the type we already know too well on continental Europe.

It shows how the media have been manipulating your opinions and – by proxy – the actions of organisations like the EHRC.

The papers kicked up a huge fuss about the imaginary crisis of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party (where I doubt if even 200 genuine cases have been found among a membership of more than half a million in the past four years).

But their silence over 300 evidenced cases of Islamophobia in the Conservative Party, which is much smaller than Labour, means few people know about it and any outcry is therefore minimised.

So the EHRC can say there’s no real demand for it to investigate, despite the fact that, in real terms, it is a bigger issue.

Source: EHRC Condemned For ‘Failure’ To Act On Tory Islamophobia

OVO plan to fend off energy bill crisis: the best of a bad bunch?

Energy bills: yes, it’s the same image This Site has used several times before. Gets the point across, though – doesn’t it?

Ask what should be done to save millions of households from poverty as energy bills spiral upwards and there’s no point listening to the politicians.

Scottish Power boss Keith Anderson has proposed freezing bills already.

Now Ovo energy has published a 10-point plan to deal with the crisis in the short, medium and long term.

Headline point is a request for the government to create a “tariff deficit fund” from which households can be subsidised – and to which they would have to repay the cost in the future.

It would be progressive, and Ovo suggests limiting the number of subsidised units of energy households receive, claiming richer households typically use more.

Other ideas include:

Short-term plans

  • Bring forward the £400 energy rebate
  • Increase funding for debt advisory charities
  • Set up a fuel Poverty Task Force to identify households most at risk

Medium-term plans

  • Abolish the prepayment meter “penalty”, which sees prepayment customers paying more than those on direct debit
  • Subsidise bills though a Tariff Deficit Fund, which would be repaid over several years
  • Abolish the standing charge that customers pay
  • Mobilise a national effort to insulate UK homes

Long-term plans

  • Establish a single strategic buyer for all the UK’s energy needs.
  • Bring back the Department of Energy and Climate Change
  • Introduce a carbon tax

So what do you think? Are these good ideas?

You can read the full plan on: OVO Energy

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Police who stop-searched UK athletes could lose their jobs

Remember when Metropolitan Police officers dragged UK sprinter Bianca Williams and her partner out of their car and away from their three-month-old child on false claims that they could smell cannabis?

Nearly two years after the incident, five officers involved will face gross misconduct charges that could lead to them being sacked. Another officer will face a charge of misconduct.

It is understood that a disciplinary panel will also consider whether racial discrimination played any part in the actions of some of the officers, who deny wrongdoing and insist they will contest the charges.

This Site reported on the incident when it happened.

Ms Williams and her partner Ricardo Dos Santos were stopped at 1.20pm on July 4, 2020 in Maida Vale, north-west London, by officers from the Met’s Territorial Support Group. He was driving and she was in the back with their child.

Reports of a police statement at the time claimed,

The Met said the vehicle had blacked-out windows and was “driving suspiciously”, including being on the wrong side of the road. It said when officers indicated for it to stop, the car sped off. Officers caught up with the vehicle when it stopped on Lanhill Road, but the driver initially refused to get out of the car, the Met said.

The occupants, a 25-year-old man and a 26-year-old woman, were detained for the purposes of a search under section 1 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, the statement continued. After nothing was found on their person or in the vehicle, no arrests were made and the pair were released.

It was also alleged that the officers justified their search by claiming they could smell cannabis.

Both athletes are trained by the former Olympic champion Linford Christie, who accused police of institutional racism, and they also said they believed racism played a part in the incident.

In a statement, Christie asked,

“Can Cressida Dick [then Met Police Commissioner, who spoke in support of her officers’ behaviour] or anyone please explain to me what justification the Met Police officers had in assaulting the driver, taking a mother away from her baby all without one piece of PPE and then calling the sniffer dog unit to check the car over?

“Was it the car that was suspicious or the black family in it which led to such a violent confrontation and finally an accusation of the car smelling of weed but refusing to do a roadside drug test?

“This is not the first time this has happened (second time in two months) and I’m sure it won’t be the last but this type of abuse of power and institutionalised racism cannot be justified or normalised any long #BLM #MetPoliceRacist.”

A few days later, the Met referred the incident to the Independent Office of Police Conduct, which has taken two years to deliver its findings.

This Writer’s personal opinion is that I would want access to every piece of evidence used in the case, when the disciplinary panel comes to hear it, because I simply don’t trust the institutions involved to make a correct decision without public supervision.

I have grave doubts about the reasons the Met gave to justify chasing, stopping and searching these athletes’ car, and there is also the matter of the distress caused to them as they were separated from their very young child.

The IOPC’s recommendation is a step in the right direction. But will it be a case of one step forward, two steps back?

Source: Police who handcuffed Bianca Williams to face gross misconduct charge | UK news | The Guardian

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Will new inquest into death of ESA claimant Jodey Whiting show failure of DWP safeguarding?

Jodey Whiting, 42, took her own life after her benefits were stopped.

Permission for a new inquest into the death of ESA claimant Jodey Whiting has been granted amid concern that a government department’s role in it had been covered up.

Here is the announcement from solicitors Leigh Day:

“The family of Jodey Whiting has been granted permission to apply to the High Court for a fresh inquest into her death after new evidence was submitted about the effect on her of a Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) decision to halt the benefits on which she was entirely dependent.

“Jodey’s mother, Joy Dove, was granted permission by the office of the Attorney General following her submission that the original inquest into her daughter’s death was insufficient. The new evidence she submitted in support of her application included an investigation into the handling of Jodey’s benefits by the DWP and a report from an independent psychiatrist.

“Jodey, from Stockton-on-Tees, died aged 42 on 21 February, 2017. She took her own life three days after she received her last Employment Support Allowance (ESA) payment.

“She had been informed on 6 February that the payments would stop and the associated housing benefit and council tax benefit payments would also be stopped.

“The decision to halt the payments was made because following a reassessment of Jodey’s entitlement to ESA, begun in 2016, she had failed to attend a work capability assessment (WCA).

“However, Jodey had requested a home visit for the WCA as she rarely left the house because of her severely poor health. She suffered multiple physical and mental health difficulties, took 23 tablets a day and was entirely dependent on welfare benefits.

“She had made in clear in her request for a home WCA that she had “suicidal thoughts a lot of the time and could not cope with work or looking for work”.

“The request was refused, the WCA was set for a date in January, and Jodey did not attend.

“After Jodey’s death, an inquest was held three months later, 24 May, 2017, which lasted less than an hour.

“The coroner declined to consider the potential role of the DWP and their acts or omissions in Jodey’s death.

“Jodey’s family were unrepresented and were unaware that they may have been entitled to publicly funded legal representation.

“After the inquest a report by an Independent Case Examiner concluded that the DWP had made multiple significant errors in how it treated Jodey.

“Some of the failings had not been known to Jodey’s family, who were horrified to learn how many failings had occurred in the handling of Jodey’s benefits.

“The opinion of an independent Consultant psychiatrist, sought by Jodey’s family,  confirmed that the DWP’s failings would probably have had a substantial effect on Jodey’s mental state at the time she took her own life.

“Joy argues that the manner in which Jodey was treated by the DWP, and in particular the withdrawal of her ESA, caused or materially contributed to her death and that, had this not occurred, Jodey’s death would not have occurred when it did.

“Following the letter giving her permission to apply for a new inquest into Jodey’s death, Joy said: “What a relief to be granted permission for a new inquest into Jodey’s death. It has been a nightmare but I want to thank the hard work of Merry Varney and all the team at Leigh Day and everyone who has been helping me with the Justice for Jodey campaign. This is a big step forward.

““I love my daughter so much and this should never have happened. How could they say she was fit to work? What they put her through was terrible, but I hope that this will mean that Jodey has saved others from the same nightmare.”

“Joy is represented by Leigh Day partner Merry Varney, who added: “The Attorney-General’s decision is very welcome. It is the first completed step in the long journey by Jodey’s family to seek a full and fearless investigation into whether the DWP, and its flawed decision making regarding Jodey’s benefits claim, caused or contributed to her death.

“”We must now apply to the High Court and seek to persuade the Court a fresh inquest is necessary.”

“The application for a new inquest will be made to the High Court within the next 6 weeks and a final hearing may take place by summer, 2021.”

This Site has been covering this case since June 2017 and will report further developments as and when they become available.

Source: Jodey Whiting’s Family Given Permission To Apply For Second Inquest Into Her Death | Leigh Day

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Tories are attacking disabled people again while we’re looking the other way

The Conservative government has changed its assessment process for disability benefits to make it harder for people to get a correct decision on their claim – it seems.

The Tory miniser for disabled people, Justin Tomlinson, revealed details of the secret change in a letter to the Commons Work and Pensions committee, after its chair, Stephen Timms, raised the issue on behalf of claimants.

It has been usual practice for claimants to request and receive a copy of their assessment report within days of the report being submitted to the DWP.

They have been able to request a copy of their report, check it thoroughly, raise any issues with the assessment providers and receive responses before they have received the decision.

In a fair, sane system, this is appropriate. So of course the Tories have changed it.

In a letter dated September 16, Tomlinson MP wrote:

“The department does not share assessment provider reports with claimants before they have been considered by a DWP Case Manager.”

This is because:

“Providing the report to claimants immediately after the assessment and before the Case Manager has made their decision could therefore give a false impression on the outcome of their claim.”

This will make it much harder for claimants to demand the mandatory review that the Tories insist they have to endure before appealing against a wrong decision.

It can take up to 15 weeks for claimants to receive the decision. Once they do, and if they disagree with it, they will have about three weeks – or less – to make a request for a mandatory review. 

The 30+ page assessment report is a key part of the process and it will take about 10 days from requesting a copy to receiving it.

This leaves very little time for them to see the recommendations made, to analyse the report, to check it for accuracy, to see if there are any errors, and to prepare and send a request for MR if necessary.

Many people with disabilities are very weak, due to their condition, and do not have the strength of will needed to push through a dispute with the government that has a short time limit.

You can be sure the Tories had this in mind when they secretly made this cruel change.

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Tory cut killing UK’s only centre to stop Female Genital Mutilation is in line with Priti Patel’s behaviour

Irony: the posters behind Priti Patel in this image extol the virtues of ‘UK aid’ – but her idea of helping foreigners is sending them away to suffer genital torture, and her party’s is to cut funding to organisations working to stop it happening here.

Remember when This Site told you Priti Patel wanted to deport a girl so that she could be subjected to the barbaric practice of female genital mutilation (FGM)?

Maybe you thought I must be wrong. Maybe you thought that a UK government would never allow a human being to be put in danger of suffering torture to their private parts. I mean, we’re a civilised country, right?

Think again.

You may also have missed the announcement that the Conservative government has withdrawn its funding for the UK’s only centre dedicated to ensuring that FGM doesn’t happen in this country.

Oh yes – it does happen here.

The Tories are just making sure that there’s no support for any group dedicated to stopping it.

“Ending FGM will not happen if the centre closes down just five years after being set up by the government,” protested Leethen Bartholomew, who leads the National FGM Centre.

“We will not be there to protect the girls who need us. We know that FGM is still being practised in communities across England.

“There are still girls who are being cut and so will face a lifetime of physical and emotional pain. It is a hidden form of child abuse.”

Tories seem to love causing physical and emotional pain. Priti Patel more than most.

And now maybe you think that comment is uncalled-for. If you do, think again – and start judging these Tories by their actions.

Source: UK’s only centre for eradicating FGM faces closure after funding pulled by government | The Independent

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We knew the Tories’ inquiry into court challenges of their decisions would be corrupt; this just proves it

Lord Faulks: He thinks a Tory government should be above the rule of law.

Typical Tories – they won’t keep their promise to test people in care homes, but they will keep one to stop us making a fuss about it.

I refer to the promise on page 48 of the Conservative Party’s 2019 election manifesto. You know the one: “We will ensure that judicial review is available to protect the rights of the individuals against an overbearing state, while ensuring that it is not abused to conduct politics by another means or to create needless delays.”

It seems reasonable but actually means: We will impose a Conservative dictatorship that the courts cannot stop from acting illegally.

A judicial review stopped Johnson’s illegal prorogation of Parliament last autumn and showed the nation what a rancid liar he is.

Sadly, too many people were happier to believe a lot of lies about Jeremy Corbyn and voted him back into power last December with a whopping great 80-strong majority in the House of Commons.

So now he’s getting round to ensuring that the courts will not be allowed to examine his government’s decisions on the Covid-19 crisis, by opening an inquiry into court challenges against his decisions – headed by a former Tory minister who has already indicated he wants to gag the courts:

Basically, he thinks a Tory government should be above the rule of law. The Nazis felt the same way about their government in Germany, I believe.

This Writer is willing to bet the judiciary will be tied up in all the red tape that David Cameron said he’d eliminate 10 years ago, by the time anyone gets around to an inquiry into what the Tories did during the Covid crisis.

Such an inquiry has already been demanded, by the way. Johnson said it wasn’t the time for that kind of investigation.

You see how this is working for him – and against the rest of us, and democracy?

Source: Judicial review: Labour query independence of government probe – BBC News

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We should all support McCluskey over Labour ‘anti-Semitism’ payouts

Len McCluskey: if Labour won’t support left-wing policies, it won’t have left-wing funds.

Len McCluskey has the right idea: if Labour is going to waste its funds, then its funders should pull the plug on the party.

All left-thinking unions – and what’s the point of being in a union if it isn’t left-thinking and doesn’t look out for its members? – should agree.

New Labour under Blair, Brown and Miliband gave us 20 years in which members’ wishes were scorned for a bland, tepid watering-down of Tory policies. It would be an outrage if Labour’s supporters let Starmer take the party back to that.

So Unite is reviewing its political donations to the Labour Party – reconsidering whether it should continue to be Starmer’s largest backer, or indeed back him at all.

The decision came after Starmer decided to pay huge amounts of money to seven so-called whistleblowers who claimed the party had not handled anti-Semitism properly in a BBC documentary.

A leaked report to the party that Starmer failed to release later suggested that some of those involved had themselves held back the party’s response in a bid to smear then-leader Jeremy Corbyn and harm Labour’s chances of election with him in charge.

McCluskey has been clear:

“It’s an abuse of members’ money,” he said. “A lot of it is Unite’s money and I’m already being asked all kinds of questions by my executive. It’s as though a huge sign has been put up outside the Labour party with ‘queue here with your writ and get your payment over there’.”

Unite is Labour’s biggest donor, contributing £7 million to the party since the beginning of 2019. The loss of any of these funds would be a huge blow when it is rumoured that thousands of members are quitting every day in disgust at Starmer’s recent policy u-turns.

It seems clear to This Writer that McCluskey has chosen the right direction.

Starmer seems entirely unconcerned about losing members – in fact he seems to be pushing left-wingers out of the door.

But he needs money, and the party’s business backers – many of whom deserted Labour during the Corbyn years – are unlikely to be hurrying back if the party’s remaining financial base is dwindling.

It could be that the summer Parliamentary recess is the perfect time to judge Starmer’s Labour.

He has just ditched his flagship policy – the one he used to woo enough party voters to win himself the leadership: higher taxes on the wealthy.

Can he be persuaded to reverse that decision? What other decisions has he been planning to make and, if they harm the Left, will he be forced to reconsider?

If he doesn’t, he may find himself with very little Labour left to lead.

Source: Unite sounds warning over Labour antisemitism payouts | Labour | The Guardian

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Keir Starmer’s hypocrisy over Nelson Mandela – and why it matters

Starmer takes the knee for Black Lives Matter: to him it meant nothing more than a photo opportunity. Black lives don’t matter to him – as we discovered when he attacked the organisation shortly after. So Nelson Mandela’s life and work doesn’t matter to him – as we can see in the fact that he praises Mandela’s fight against apartheid while supporting a foreign government that has imposed apartheid there.

Let’s start this one with a tweet from Keir Starmer – and the acid reply it received from This Site’s friend Kerry-Anne Mendoza:

She is right and Starmer is a hypocrite.

If Mandela really inspired Starmer, then he would not be giving Israel his wholehearted support as that country’s far-right-wing government prepares to invade huge tracts of Palestinian land, turfing out the people who own it – because they are Arabs.

And why is any UK politician giving the policies of a foreign nation their unreserved support in any case?

I didn’t know Mandela personally but everything I have seen and heard about him suggests that he would have been physically sickened by Starmer and his supporters, who say one thing and do another habitually, in the belief that they will fool the people into supporting their policies of – let’s face it – hate.

Now, some may say that this is too harsh – but is it? Really?

I have quoted Richard Snell in the past, whose Facebook post on the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s investigation of alleged anti-Semitism in the Labour Party – the lever Starmer is using to throw out genuinely left-wing, progressive party members who support multiculturalism rather than apartheid – suggested a series of questions we know are likely not even to have been asked.

In another recent post, he provides an opinion on Starmer’s behaviour:

“It’s been pointed out to me that Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters shouldn’t complain about the hammering Corbyn got when they are so willing to come down as heavily as many now do on Starmer.

“If we’re talking about abuse -and I’m afraid there are too many times when we are – then I agree. Abuse has no place in this argument on any side. The past does not forgive the present.

“But I would point out one difference between Corbyn and Starmer which is crucial in understanding the present furore surrounding Sir Keir Starmer.
Jeremy Corbyn was determined to unite the whole of the Labour Party behind him, both left and right, as a matter of principle. He had no problem with diversity of opinion.

“Sadly, this turned out to be a huge strategic weakness in his bid to become PM, as it gave his opponents the space to act against him without any real action being taken against them in return.

“But nevertheless, he was by instinct a unifier. He may have fallen before the massed ranks of those who did not want unity and who were willing to tell blatant lies about him to achieve their aim; but the integrity he showed in maintaining his position despite them is difficult to question.

Starmer, by contrast, is hugely divisive as a matter of policy.

“He is determined to purge the party of its anti-Zionist left-wing, as his unquestioning acceptance of Zionism, his settlement deal with the so-called ‘whistleblowers’, and his acceptance of the BoD 10-point plan clearly indicate, his firing of Rebecca Long-Bailey for posting an anti-Semitic trope which wasn’t anti-Semitic being the cherry on that cake.

“His supporters may not like the angry response all this, plus his expressed aim to work with the Tories when he feels it appropriate to do so, has got him, but they can hardly be surprised.

“People who have always been loyal to the Labour Party are now being thrown out of it on a single trumped-up charge: and nobody should say anything?
And it is incredible that a Labour leader should in these times of huge financial hardship for the poor and sick turn his back on the idea of charging the rich just a little bit more for the privilege of being rich!

“It is not logical for Starmer’s supporters to solicit the support of those whom he is deliberately setting himself against and then complain when they have harsh words to say in response.

“Don’t tell us to unify behind Starmer. Tell Starmer that unifying the party is his responsibility, and that he is failing in it.”

Mr Snell knows his stuff. It was a weakness for Corbyn, seeking unity, to fail to identify and remove those in his party’s head office who were acting against his aims. Yes, they would have bitched about it, but they were bitching anyway – as the leaked report on Labour’s response to anti-Semitism accusations shows.

And Mr Snell is right about Starmer. He is divisive, but he thinks that by pretending to be a unifier he’ll get away with it.

The huge negative response from (some now-former) party members and supporters tells us everything about how well that strategy has succeeded.

Some may wish to take issue with Mr Snell’s use of “Zionism” as a pejorative term, and it is true that Zionism need not be a bad force in the world. At its heart, it is simply a movement for Jewish people to be able to live in the land where their ancestors lived – the historic nation of Israel.

But that is not the definition of “Zionism” used by the Israeli government and its supporters. Their version demands that Jewish people must forcibly steal land from its current owners – by violence if necessary (some would say “if possible”) – and that crosses the line into unacceptability.

Mr Starmer supports this definition of “Zionism”. In so doing, he is guilty of breaching Labour rules which demand that party members accept the right of all peoples to self-determination – including Palestinians.

Nothing is said about this. Starmer and his people hope that nobody will notice.

In the same way, he hopes nobody will notice that he is colluding with the Tories in policies that have caused the unnecessary deaths of between 60,000 and 70,000 people.

And he is failing in his duty to stand up for equality by demanding that the rich – some of whom have profited hugely from the Covid-19 crisis – pay a little more towards restoring our society as that crisis subsides.

Meanwhile, his supporters berate those of us who have pointed out these failings. Like those columnists for The Guardian newspaper, which has lost readers because, while claiming to be left-wing, it has been attacking those who are genuinely of the left, they also appear to subscribe to the “do as we say, don’t see what we do” school of politics.

That won’t work because we’re all sick of the lies.

Many of us may have been led astray by the honeyed words that successive generations of politicians have poured into our ears over the 41 years since Thatcher came to power on a wave of neoliberal balderdash.

More never believed any of it, but have been forced to suffer the consequences as the charlatans were swept into office again and again by those who did.

And what have we got as a result?

The United Kingdom is a ruined country, ruled by corrupt oligarchs who have taken what they wanted for themselves, farmed out the rest to their friends, and left us in the ruins of a system that no longer functions. The Covid-19 crisis is ample demonstration of that.

And Keir Starmer feigns opposition to this while buying into it hook, line and sinker.

That is why his perversion of the Labour Party is haemorrhaging support – and why his supporters’ protests receive only scorn.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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