New Labour’s Irrational Adoration of Thatcher 566


When Michael Crick embarrassed Theresa May by quizzing her on her non-existent opposition to apartheid as she visited Mandela’s old cell, the response of New Labour was to defend May by claiming the Tories had opposed apartheid all along. Progress and Labour Friends of Israel rushed immediately to the defence of the person they truly adore, who sits higher still in their Pantheon than Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. They rushed to defend the memory of Margaret Thatcher.

Ex-Labour MP Tom Harris and Blair’s former Political Director John McTernan (who now write for the Tory Spectator and Telegraph) led the suicide charge of the Labour Thatcherites.

The person here quoted with approval is Paul Staines, aka Guido Fawkes, far right blogger who has stated that he never wore a “Hang Nelson Mandela” badge personally, but used to hang out with people who did.

Blair-loving ex-MP Tom Harris went one further by claiming that Jeremy Corbyn’s own anti-apartheid opposition was connected to a “rape-cult”, a stupefying bit of “guilt by association” propaganda.

Here we have Liz Kendall supporter and occasional Guardian columnist Sarah Hayward – possibly the most obscure individual to get themselves a blue tick on Twitter, as though she were worth impersonating – making the absolutely ludicrous claim that when arrested, Corbyn was supporting Thatcher’s anti-apartheid policy.

I could go on, but for a last example here is Blairite house journal the New Statesman, pretending to wrap a scholarly respectability around the Thatcher revisionism. It is worth noting that the Blairites repeatedly call in evidence the claims by another right-wing Blairite and former Ambassador in Pretoria, Lord Renwick (who resigned from the Labour Whip when Blair ceased to be Prime Minister). Renwick wrote an entirely tendentious and self-serving book on his and Thatcher’s “role in ending apartheid”.

The truth is not hard to find. Professor Patrick Salmon, the FCO’s official historian, last year published the monumental volume of official documents “The Challenge of Apartheid”. It details with mounds of evidence Thatcher’s stern resistance to any sanctions against apartheid and, repeatedly, her insistence that the ANC was “a terrorist organisation”. Here is a quote from Salmon’s synthesis of Thatcher’s views from the official history (I can’t give a page number as I received the final draft, as standard FCO practice as I feature in the book, and I quote from the draft):

“Mrs Thatcher was relentlessly hostile to all those who sought to overthrow the apartheid regime by force or undermine it through economic sanctions. The ANC was unacceptable not only because of its association with communism… but above all because of its refusal to renounce the use of violence… which inevitably meant that she regarded it as a terrorist organisation of the same stamp as the PLO or the IRA. Mrs Thatcher adamantly opposed the imposition of further economic sanctions…

South Africa’s role as a bulwark of the West against Soviet expansion was not just a rhetorical ploy but was believed implicitly by Ronald Reagan as well as by Mrs Thatcher.”

I was, to my intense frustration, banned from communicating with the ANC. Professor Salmon details at great length the sharp disagreement between Thatcher and Geoffrey Howe, Malcolm Rifkind and Lynda Chalker over South Africa. There were indeed genuinely anti-apartheid Tories. But Thatcher was not one of them. All of her instincts on this were with the pro-Apartheid right of the party, as Salmon notes explicitly.

In real life, Thatcher was not a dictator. She had to carry her Cabinet with her. Her relationship with Howe in particular was crucial to her political base, as illustrated by the fact that he more than anybody precipitated her ultimate political downfall. It is true that Thatcher did in private meetings tell P W Botha to release Mandela – but that was at Howe’s insistence, not of her own volition.

Thatcher’s 1984 meeting with P W Botha at Chequers is worth noting. There was a massive demonstration against it, on which I took part just before joining the FCO, as did Jeremy Corbyn, Peter Hain and children of both Geoffrey Howe and our then Ambassador to South Africa. At this meeting Thatcher’s briefing provided by the FCO was to call for Mandela’s release. But she did not do so in the official meetings. A minute from her Private Secretary Charles Powell (brother of Blair’s Chief of Staff) claimed that Thatcher had pressed Botha to release Mandela in a private conversation over canapes with no witnesses. It is fair to say the nature of this “pressing”, if it happened, was ever after a subject of some scepticism in the FCO. If anyone knows what the South African records say…

For two years I, among other responsibilities, wrote briefings, speeches and parliamentary answers on South Africa, cleared them through FCO ministers before being sent over to No. 10, where they would get “toned down” by Charles Powell to reflect Thatcher’s views. I cherish my first ever conversation with Powell. I called Number 10 to discuss a draft, and asked;

“Hello, is that Charles Powell?”.
“Actually, it’s Pole”, he replied.
“Oh I am sorry”, I said in genuine innocence, “It’s spelt Powell in my directory”.

I had not yet got used to posh twats.

The truth is very easy to discover, and it is not what the Blairites now claim in their deluded Thatcher worship. Sir Patrick Wright, former Head of the Diplomatic Service, was absolutely correct in observing that Thatcher supported a “Whites-only” state:

It should be noted this comes from Patrick Wright’s diary written at the time, and not a subsequent self-serving account. I can confirm it is absolutely true, from my position as the South Africa (Political) desk officer 1984-6.

What Thatcher favoured was P W Botha’s “Bantustans” or “Homelands policy”, under which an ethnically defined, whites only state possessing all of South Africa’s wealthy cities and ports and the best mineral and agricultural resources, would exist alongside a number of impoverished “independent states” housing different tribes, from which a low paid workforce could commute daily to white areas (or live there temporarily under passes). That was the planned endgame of apartheid, and a number of such “states” were created – South Africa actually declared four “Bantustans” as independent countries. Thatcher hankered after their recognition, particularly Boputhatswana.

The “Homelands policy” is of course identical to the “two state solution” which the neo-cons propose for Palestine, with an apartheid ethnically defined Israel holding all the main resources next to impoverished pockets of Palestinians in an “independent state” commuting in to provide a cheap labour force.

Not only does Patrick Wright affirm in his diaries Thatcher’s support for the “Homelands Policy”, Professor Salmon confirms it too “Mrs Thatcher was talking about a return to pre-1910 South Africa, with a white mini-state partitioned from their neighbouring black states”.

Last year I published more on my recollections of my own role at that period.

As a final rebuke to Thatcher’s New Labour acolytes, I quote Peter Hain:

[Hain] criticised Norman Tebbit, a minister under Margaret Thatcher, and Charles Moore, her biographer, for trying to rewrite history.

“If Nelson Mandela can forgive his oppressors without forgetting their crimes, who am I not to do the same to our opponents in the long decades of the anti-apartheid struggle,” he added.

“But it really does stick in the craw when Lord Tebbit, Charles Moore and others similar tried over recent days to claim that their complicity with apartheid – and that’s what I think it was – somehow brought about its end. Even, to my utter incredulity, when Lord Tebbit told BBC World, in a debate with me, that they had brought about Mandela’s freedom. I know for a fact that Nelson Mandela did not think so.”

But there is a question here of great urgency today. Why do New Labour leap in to deny what Hain called the Tories “craven indulgence of apartheid”, to defend Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May, and to criticise Jeremy Corbyn for his anti-apartheid activity?

Together with reaction to the quitting the party of Frank Field, an open Thatcher and Enoch Powell reminder, I conclude that the Blairite MPs would prefer to be led by Margaret Thatcher or Theresa May than Jeremy Corbyn. Their psychology is deeply troubling:

I support Scottish Independence, so I am in a different position to voters in England. But, despite the fact large numbers of my friends have joined the Labour Party to support Jeremy Corbyn, I could not vote Labour in most of England. Could I advise somebody to vote for Wes Streeting, John Mann, Jess Phillips, Stephen Kinnock or their ilk? No, under no circumstances.

Labour party members need to bite the bullet on reselection. Being a Labour MP cannot be a sinecure granted for life irrespective of behaviour. The party is plainly dysfunctional, and it is so because the large majority of MPs are totally removed from the views of the membership. There are only two ways to resolve this. Either the MPs will have to leave parliament or the members will have to leave the party. There is no coherent party at present.

The Blairite Labour MPs have painted themselves into a corner by their decision to brand Jeremy Corbyn as personally a racist and an anti-semite. If I was in a party led by a racist and anti-semite, I would leave the party. The idea that they can continue as members of parliament for the party while expressing such views about the leader is a nonsense. But they do not wish to leave, because they would lose their comfy jobs. All of the right wing Labour MPs realise they would never win an election on their own account, without Labour Party support. It would be hilarious if not so serious, that they claim Frank Field can resign the Labour whip but this does not mean leave the party, and that he must still be the Labour Party candidate at the next election!

Their hope is twofold. Firstly, that the charges of anti-semitism against Corbyn will be widely believed and lead to a drastic drop in public support which will force Corbyn out. This is not happening. The public realise that the charges of anti-semitism are false and based on a definition of the word which simply means critic of Israel. Other than the normal polling malaise which follows any split in a party, there is no drastic plunge in support for Labour of the kind which would definitely follow if the public thought the party were led by an anti-semite.

To put it another way, either 40% of the public are anti-semites, or the public do not take these accusations seriously.

The Blairites other hope is that, by the Labour Party adopting the IHRA’s malicious definition of anti-semitism as embracing criticism of Israel, they will manage through legal action to force Jeremy Corbyn’s expulsion from the Labour Party. This attempt to use the British Establishment to circumvent party democracy is extraordinary.

By bringing things to this pitch, the Blairites have made compromise impossible. Either Corbyn and most of the members will have to go, or the Blairite MPs will.

Something must give. That is why I urge everybody who is in the Labour Party to take action today to push for mandatory reselection of MPs. The matter is urgent, and no party can resist the united force of its members for long.

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566 thoughts on “New Labour’s Irrational Adoration of Thatcher

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  • reel guid

    I would not prefer to be led by Theresa May than by Jeremy Corbyn. But also I’d prefer to be led by Baldrick from Blackadder than by Jeremy Corbyn.

      • reel guid

        Democracy. What’s that? In Scotland we voted 62% to stay citizens of the EU yet Team May/Corbyn say Scotland must leave.

        Scotland mandated the SG to hold a second independence referendum yet Team May/Corbyn say now is not the time.

        It’s not the Blairite/Thatcherite collusion that bothers most Scots. That’s just comedy to us. It’s the May/Corbyn unholy collusion to do the dirty on Scotland.

        • craig Post author

          But would you not prefer to have England run by Corbyn than the Tories? Independence is coming anyway, Corbyn’s attitude to that is irrelevant.

          • reel guid

            Probably independence is coming anyway. But I never underestimate the ability of Westminster to manipulate Scotland. So no let up on anti-democrats whether blue or red.

            Of course ideally Scotland and England would both be independent states with progressive outward-looking governments.

          • Republicofscotland

            Yip well said reel guid, independence first, and foremost. Corbyn is a distraction we in Scotland could well do without.

          • reel guid

            Ros

            Yep. Labour doesn’t need Scotland in reality but seems to need Scotland as a psychological crutch. So as well as no Labour for Independence there’s no independence for Labour.

          • Charles Bostock

            Craig

            What makes you think that Messrs Corbin and McDonnell would actually implement – or even attempt to implement – the policies they claim to stand for? Insofar as those policies have been revealed in a clear cut manner, of course (unlike their policies on Brexit, Scottish independence, tuition fees, etc etc etc……).

            I recommend a read – or re-read – of Paul Foot’s demolition job on Harold Wilson’s first government (it came out as a Penguin around 1967/8 and was called “The Politics of Harold Wilson”).

            Or of any of the diaries/ memoirs of the ministers of that period (Crossman, Castle, Barnett.

            As a former civil servant, you should be aware that governing is less easy than being Her Majesty’s Opposition (Loyal or otherwise).

        • Steve Hayes

          “Democracy. What’s that? In Scotland we voted 62% to stay citizens of the EU…”
          Scotland no more voted than Dewsbury or Liverpool or London or Swansea or Derry voted. The referendum was a vote by the United Kingdom and the result provided the decision for the whole of the United Kingdom. Only two years earlier Scotland had an opportunity to leave the United Kingdom and make its own decisions. The result of that referendum was Scotland decided to remain a part of the United Kingdom. The constant assertion that Scotland voted… simply indicates a complete rejection of Scotland’s democratic decision to remain in the United Kingdom, which is nicely ironic.

  • Mark

    No surprise the Blairites leapt on this, the implication in Crick’s questioning was clear; TM did bugger all, whilst JC was doing all he can.

    The day Jess Phillips is deselected will be a very happy one indeed. I cannot stand that woman.

  • laguerre

    “Why do New Labour leap in to deny what Hain called the Tories “craven indulgence of apartheid”, to defend Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May, and to criticise Jeremy Corbyn for his anti-apartheid activity?”

    I agree it is a very strange mystery. Most of those people must have been around during the 80s, and observed Thatcher’s actions at the moment of their happening. In my memory, Thatcher’s attitude was clear, and it wasn’t pro-Mandella.

    • Enquirer

      Jess Philips was only born in 1981 – just a child in Thatcher’s time. I think she recently said she only stood for Parliament as a dare so certainly doesn’t appear to be a conviction politician.

      • Spaull

        I consider Jess Phillips to be a nasty piece of work, but the one thing I will say for her is that alone among Corbyn’s enemies, I have actually seen her attack the Tories.

  • Keith

    The current ideological splits within both the Labour and Tory parties are at least highlighting to many in the general public that the “two party system”, which has dominated UK politics for the centuries since absolute power was taken away from the monarchy, is a fundamentally flawed form of democracy no matter which two parties dominate. It’s the same (or even worse) in the US and all countries that enforce two major parties through first past the post voting and other non-representative electoral systems which encourage single party governments. In reality any party under this system is actually made up of a spectrum of “parties within parties” with the power base constantly moving left and right within their own set of ideologies. Better to get rid of this system altogether and move to a more representative and democratic system that encourages more parties with clearer ideologies that the public can easily understand, which then have to work together in coalition governments and avoid the continual left/right swing of single party governments.

    • PleaseBeleafMe

      This has been my view for awhile as well. Elected members should be beholden to their constituents not to party loyalty. Branding everyone left right or batshite crazy always confused me as most people have a mix of viewpoints on different issues. Why a red platform versus blue etc. If you believe we should be drinking our own recycled pee but privatisation of the rail lines then why do u have to choose between a environmentalist candidate and lord huff n puff. Elected members should promote the wishes of the people regardless.
      However how does one form a functioning government?
      The best form of government imo is an absolute monarchy. Cuts out the bureaucracy and constant infighting and takes the minds of us peasants off trying to figure out if any of these people r worthy of a check mark. If someone becomes corrupt then off with their head. Problem being of course that no such trustworthy and competent messiah exists.
      Corbyn needs to stop pandering and trying to appease the backstabbers in his own party. He got to where he is because he has public support and trust. This is his base and his source of power and he needs to draw from it. Stick to his principles and keep appealing to the people on the street not the ones behind him in Parliament.

      • Keith

        “However how does one form a functioning government?”

        Just take a look at Germany, who had a system of proportional representation and coalition government imposed on them after 1954 to prevent any further dicators/monarchs taking the country in an extreme direction. Seems to have worked quite well for them ever since!

        • Kempe

          They had a system of PR in the 1930s and it was failure of any one party to secure an overall majority which led to Hitler being offered the Chancellorship.

          • Keith

            You’re right they had a system of PR in the 1930’s, and PR by definition makes it highly unlikely for any one party to secure an overall majority. However, the lack of any meaningful checks and balances to prevent an abuse of state power when he became Chancellor would have allowed any potential dictator to take control, no matter what the voting system. The underlying problems in German society and the struggling economy post WW1 was in my view more likely the underlying reason for Hitler’s rise to power, plus his use of extreme ideology and nationalist propaganda to cause fear and division within German society. A democratic political system must be designed to prevent any despots gaining absolute power.

    • MightyDrunken

      True, I think a lot of this can be blamed on first past the post voting. With FPTP, the political system will naturally end up with two main parties who have a chance of winning and a number of other parties which don’t. Unless there is a good reason, people will tend not to vote for the other parties because they “know” that the candidate cannot win and they don’t want to waste a vote. Therefore the two party system remains stable.
      When two main parties are “always” in contention, it gives a reason to chase the “middle votes” and forget about principles. Where the middle is, is entirely relative compared to the two main parties. As we have seen in the UK, the middle has moved to the right along with the Tories and Labour.
      In the last few decades Labour and the Conservatives are so similar that any particular MP could be swapped between them and it would make little difference, Corbyn and the Brexit hard-liners are the exceptions. As these groups hold power in their respective party we are now hearing rumblings of a new “centre” third party which could accommodate all these boring MPs who are happy in either mainstream party.
      So I wouldn’t be surprised that a new “centre” party is formed, made up of many of the MPs in Labour and the Conservatives. If this does happen I will guess it will happen just after Brexit. If Labour got in then the new party can blame both the old parties on the recession which will result. Though this is risky as many voters will plant their cross next to Labour or Conservative every time without much further thought. So the auguries will have to be good. The remnants of Labour and the Conservatives would need to be destroyed by the media first.

      • John A

        While I agree that FPTP is undemocratic, proportional representation might not solve that. In Sweden, for example, they have PR. The Social Democrats were closely tied to unions and worked to make society more equal and fairer. They were pretty much in power for decades and Sweden was rightly heralded as a model society. Then in the late 70s, nuclear power became almost a single issue election. The government had quietly built a dozen or so nuclear power stations around the country when suddenly a huge popular wave of opposition to it emerged. This wave was ridden by the Center Party, traditionally the farmers’ party and the SocDems lost. A fudged referendum was held on nuclear power, basically close them all immediately or use them for their useful life but dont build any more. The pragmatic use them side won, but the rift remained. The SocDems and right of center bloc alternated and then Sweden joined the EU. From the late 90s, SocDem government has adoped Clinton/Blair 3rd way politics, abandoned the unions, introduced mass privatisation in transport, health, education, pensions etc. And at the same time, like Blair, encouraged mass immigration. Plus got heavy on identity politics, LGBT pride – the head of the military marched in the Stockholm pride weekend recently. The end result now is a very anti immigration nationalist party that is polling very high ahead of the general. The main stream media ignore any immigrant related rape, murder and other violent crimes and popular opinion about immigration. The Swedish equivalent of The Guardian, Dagens Nyheter, vies with The Guardian in its anti Trump, pro Clinton, anti Putin, pro Nato propaganda (Sweden is officially neutral still even though they have joined in Nato exercises and missions in Afghanistan and elsewhere). There is a real possibility the nationalists will get 20+% of the votes and be the 1st or 2nd largest party. And yet, instead of looking at why the mainstream parties have lost voter confidence, the MSM and politicians all scream Russian trolls, cyberwarfare, Putin, Putin, Putin interference. Just like post election Clinton, they refuse to look in the mirror and ask ‘what did I do wrong?’

      • Shatnersrug

        I don’t think prop rep is the answer, our democracy needs opening up it’s true, but PR can be cheated by lobbyists and the establishment just as easily. We have a system where you vote for an M.P. in your area and they are supposed to represent your collective interests and needs in Parliament. The problem is that quite often they don’t. Addressing this issue with deselection and a right to recall MPs would go someway to address this problem, but now it’s completely obvious that our democracy is a sham how can that happen?

        The Corbyn project is ultimately about democracy, why do we not challenge Brexit? Because it was democratically decided, why do we demand open selections for Labour MPs because it’s democratic, why do we sadly support trident? Because the party voted that way. Things will change and Rome wasn’t built in a day. What big guns the establishment start throwing at us now remains to be seen, but it’s going to be a lot more than just racism smears.

    • Deb O'Nair

      A few simple reforms would make a world of difference, for example;

      * putting a limit on how long someone can serve as an MP.

      * a person can only stand as an MP provided they have lived continuously in the constituency for a minimum of three years.

      * an MP must not engage in any financial activities whilst being an MP, e.g. speculating on shares and other investments,

      * an MP should be prohibited from representing any other interests, especially corporate and foreign interest.

      It is the culture of the entitled career politician on the take and on the make that is the problem. The above reforms would wheedle out a lot of corporate stooges.

      • John

        I’ve got a three simple ones, when Parliament is sitting all MPs must sit in Parliament, no side jobs for MPs, and change the Parliamentary Oath to one which doesn’t mention the monarch.

        The first would dissuade careerists, the second would prevent pseudo intellectuals writing newspaper columns, and the third would remind them who they represent.

  • Sharp Ears

    I have learnt something. I never knew what the blue tick stood for. I thought it was put there by the Twitterer.

    McTernan Is possibly the nastiest specimen in the NuLabour camp, contaminated in turn by association with BLiar, Brown, Browne and Jim Murphy plus a spell with Julia Gillard in Australia. She was very Israel friendly if I remember correctly.

    None of the aforementioned have ever done a proper job of work in their lives.

    Where do his shekels come from these days? Apart from his scribbling in the Torygraph he has a job as an ‘associate’ at this PR outfit whatever that means.
    The Westminster Policy Institute. http://wpi-strategy.com/people/

    Their clientele – no laughing in the back – Network Rail is there.
    http://wpi-strategy.com/clients/

    • Shatnersrug

      McTernan flew to Washington to lecture the Democrats on how to win an election against Trump. Have a think on that…

      Left slate wins all nomonies for the NEC – now the fun really begins. Pete Willsman got the nod – mainly because momentum’s abandonment of him to keep the lovies in the press happy played very badly amongst members.

      I expect a concerted attack on him very soon.

      In the meantime here’s Tony Greenstein’s Great piece on why labour should not adopt the flawed IHRA code

      https://medium.com/@TonyGreenstein/the-zionists-admit-that-the-ihra-is-about-defending-israel-not-jews-1ae148e36bed

    • Charles Bostock

      “None of the aforementioned have ever done a proper job of work in their lives.”

      Nor have Jeremy Corbin and John McDonnell for that matter. Unlike Frank Field, on the other hand, to name but one dastardly right-wing Labour man (Child Poverty Action Group, etc)

      • Spaull

        Such a pity, with that background, that he decided to work for the Tories to propose benefit reforms to their liking, including proposing Workfare.

  • Merkin Scot

    “It would be hilarious if not so serious, that they claim Frank Field can resign the Labour whip but this does not mean leave the party, and that he must still be the Labour Party candidate at the next election!”
    .
    In ‘Brexit means Brexit’ land that kind of flawed thinking is perfectly logical – coming from the same people who say ~”I want to be free to have other partners but would like to sleep with you in the meantime (for as long as I want)”

    • Shatnersrug

      Frank was facing deselection. If he stands it will be as an independent. He seems to think he’s very popular but I predict a case of the Dancsuk’s where his vote as an indie was 883

  • Clive p

    My experience was the same as Craig. This was in the 70s under Heath. The old imperialist far right eg Julian Amery, we’re convinced the Soviets would take over the ‘Cape route’ unless we supported the whites. Douglas Home had negotiated between the MCC and the apartheid government to try and keep cricket going over the D’Olivera affair. They were just as bad over Rhodesia and Ian Smith. In 1979 Thatcher wanted to recognise Smith and his puppet Muzorewa (and sod the Commonwealth) – after all Mugabe like Mandela was a terrorist. Carrington had to talk her out of it. Denis Thatcher backed playing sport with the whites.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ Clive p September 3, 2018 at 15:10
      And BP broke the oil sanctions – obviously in the full knowledge of HMG.
      Just as the US and it’s crony ‘Coalition’ didn’t bomb the sitting-duck convoys of ISIS oil tankers lining up to cross into Turkey; it didn’t take the Russkis two minutes, once they entered the fray, to blast them to smithereens (‘Heaven’ nearly ran out of virgins!).

  • lysias

    If the ancient Athenian system of choosing representatives by lot from the whole citizen body were adopted, there would be no need for parties, and all views would automatically, by the laws of statistics, be represented in proportion to the extent to which the view is held by the general population.

    It worked in Athens. Why not now?

      • reel guid

        Residents of Athens who were free citizens from other city states were known as metics. Like the free women of Athens they had legal rights but no political rights. And so, like the women, were barred from participation in the citizen assembly.

        • lysias

          There is no reason the Athenian system cannot be improved before it is adopted. I don’t think the success of the Athenian system depended on the exclusion of women, so I don’t think including them would cause failure. Obviously, we have no slaves, so there is no question of excluding them.

          • reel guid

            Sure, the Athenian system was forward thinking in its day. And choosing representatives by lot might well be adapted to now.

          • Dungroanin

            What about wealth and property? What if you don’t have any? How about the blind and lame? Youths?
            Did you not bother looking it up?
            The ‘improvement’ you seek IS what we have evolved.
            I’d make it mandatory to vote too – just like the Athenians apparently did.
            There are very few reasons that somebody couldn’t.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ lysias September 3, 2018 at 15:12
      Admittedly, it could hardly be worse, but I’m afraid the average Joe or Jane would be just as subject to bribery and blackmail as the average MP. Arthur Daley, MP?

        • Paul Barbara

          @ lysias September 3, 2018 at 16:48
          Whatever system mankind comes up with, can and will be subverted.
          Evil forces have taken control of all the levers of power, as was and remains the ‘plan’ of various organisations (Freemasonry, Common Purpose, the Gülen movement, Opus Dei, various other ‘Religeous’ organisations, and a well known ‘discredited’ ‘Plan’, which can’t be named).
          ‘…To thee will I give all this power, and the glory of them; for to me they are delivered, and to whom I will, I give them. If thou therefore wilt adore before me, all shall be thine.’ Luke lV : 5-7…’
          There is no way out, so it’s best to accept the Gospels, and do the best you can.
          ‘Love thy neighbour as thy self’ was carried on from the Old Testament.
          I’m sure Muslims have a similar admonition.

  • Paul Barbara

    There is a mass lobby of the NEC (and, I believe, a Demo) tomorrow, Tuesday 4/9/’18:
    Mass Lobby of NEC: No to IHRA examples:
    Tuesday 4th September
    Labour Party Head Office, 105 Victoria Street (near Westminster Cathedral).
    09:00 – 12:00

    https://www.facebook.com/events/309360906462832/

    The International Je^ish Anti-Zi^nist Network (IJAN) are campaigning for the NEC to ditch the IHRA examples.

  • Trowbridge H. Ford

    Congratulation Craig, for going after the vile,. vastly overrated woman who still plagues our poor woorld.

    Aslo see my three long articles about Mad Maggie, two on cryptome. org and the other on information Clearing House..org for a mass of other details.

    Many thanks again.

  • mdroy

    I’d always assumed most Labour MPs expected to be deselected soon anyway.
    I guess a lot are not so much bitter with Corbyn and Momentum renewed for returning the party to its roots.
    They are more annoyed with Theresa May’s early election which means they have another 13 months in limbo.
    There certainly seems to be a lot of bad tempered sledging going on by soon to be ex-party members, and some absurd special interest pleading (Israel) going on.

  • pete

    You are right again Craig, “That is why I urge everybody who is in the Labour Party to take action today to push for mandatory reselection of MPs. The matter is urgent, and no party can resist the united force of its members for long.” If I were a Labour party member that is what I would do. Being an MP should also be subject to the same kind of 180 reveiws the rest of the workforce is subject to.
    As was mentioned by Kieth @ 14.42, the voting system needs to be reformed.

  • Sharp Ears

    Phillips has great expertise in obtaining income extra to her parliamentary salary (£77,379 pa plus expenses inc the employment of her husband as her manager)

    https://www.theyworkforyou.com/regmem/?p=25364

    Apart from the literary receipts, the appearance fees (inc £1,500 for 4 hrs on HIGNIFY!) and private donations, Dods pay her £8,000 pa as deputy editor of House Magazine.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_House_(magazine) Streeting is on the board.

    https://www.politicshome.com/articles/magazine/house A good bedtime read. Not.

    Q Who was the Dods employee in the news at the time of that Ruth Smeeth a-s affair?

    • Sharp Ears

      She’s getting rather waxy on her Twitter.

      Jess Phillips
      @jessphillips
      ·6h
      Acceptable to who, the constituents? I agree mate it’s called an election.
      Quote Tweet
      Mike Collingham
      @mikecollingham
      Replying to @jessphillips
      Since when were Labour Politicians promised a job for life? If they fall below an acceptable standard then it is only right that they face up to it. “Reselection” even if only to confirm an incumbent’s continuing candidacy should be compulsory.
      ___

      @jessphillips·
      1h
      Can we stop this myth. Aside from in very sudden elections, members DO select their candidates. I was selected with a huge majority of the members vote only 4 years or so ago.
      Quote Tweet
      Angie Ray
      @ripplecabin
      Replying to @jessphillips
      It is ordinary Labour members, not Momentum, who want the chance to select MPs who represent their views. This would be more democratic than having a parliamentary candidate imposed on a CLP or have an MP able to keep their job for years despite not doing a good job.
      ____

      😉

      • Mark

        Oh she’s a scream on twitter. I remember her rant at Ken Loach when he raised the issue of reselection. ‘Hey Ken, I help real Daniel Blakes everyday’ 1. Well done on doing your job. 2. Or at least I would say that, if I thought you actually did – you weren’t exactly ‘helping’ them when you chose not to vote against the Tory welfare bill that has exacerbated the problem for ‘real Daniel Blakes’. She then went on to say he was a privileged old white dude (didn’t realise she was black?) and that ‘the left wing needs better Ken’s’ a dig at Livingstone too. The following month she delivered a passionate speech in the Commons about abortion, failing to realise that the less than satisfactory left wing Ken Loach helped to make abortion legal in the 60s with Up the Junction. She’s a clueless, spiteful, arrogant woman. In short, a true Blairite.

  • Richard Sykes

    As ever (to my mind), much good sense here.

    One small quibble: the anti-semitism/anti-zionism furore hinges partly on the capacity for language to be used ambiguously or loosely, whether intentionally or not. So when you refer to ‘the IHRA’s malicious definition of anti-semitism as embracing criticism of Israel’ you make yourself vulnerable to the response that the IHRA definition explicitly states that ‘criticism of Israel similar to that leveled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic’. What is embraced in the definition is questioning the legitimacy of the state of Israel, or comparing its policies to those of the Nazis. Doubtless that’s what you mean, but slightly long-winded precision is probably preferable to snappy ambiguity under the circumstances. And, incidentally, what does ‘malicious’ add here? It imputes a malign motive and thereby queers the pitch a little. Might not ‘indefensible’ be better? You can say it’s nonsense without saying it’s nasty.

  • defo

    If only we had a modern day equivalent of our representatives propping up, nay ‘Friends’ with a racist apartheid foreign government, for comparison…

  • defo

    Has the golden voiced CR Sachs stated his position on the mother-ships treatment of 2nd class citizens & subjects?
    Cos if not, that might be equated as approval of what we here, ffs the dogs in the street , know is going on.

    • Paul Barbara

      @ defo September 3, 2018 at 16:31
      Indeed, and the ‘dogs in the street’ here are treated literally better here than many Palestinians ‘there’.
      How many dogs here get bombed, tortured, shot with dum-dum bullets, covered in white phosphorus?
      Regardless of who originated the saying, “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticise” is clearly a good benchmark.
      Indeed, it is technically illegal to criticise the Royal Family, but the ancient law is rarely if ever brought to bear.
      It’s lucky there isn’t an ‘anti-Trumpism’ or ‘anti-Bliarism’ law, or we’d all (well, almost all!) be eating porridge.

  • Loony

    Who knows whether Thatcher “preferred a whites only state” in South Africa.

    What is known is that substantially everyone now seems to prefer a South Africa based on state criminality and leading to a blood soaked crescendo of violence and death.

    How else to explain the near universal silence regarding “land reform” – which is the simple state mandated theft of land. Seizing land without compensation is illegal under the South African constitution – so naturally the constitution is being amended in order to allow for illegal activities to become legal. Exactly the same technique that was deployed in Nazi Germany, so that no aspect of Nazi rule was illegal under prevailing German law.

    Nuremberg established the rationale for prosecuting criminals who had been operating under the protection of local law. All who are silent regarding South Africa are sending a powerful message as to what they think of the Nuremberg trials – how much they hate the law and how much they love the criminal.

    It is likely that millions of people are going to be killed in South Africa. Who cares what some bunch of nonentity British politicians and administrators thought 30 years ago?

    If you really want an example of racism then this is it. Throw millions of people into a seething cauldron of violence – deny that you have done this, then ignore it and concentrate on petty squabbles between third rate people in a country 8,000 miles away.

      • Kempe

        Sure more violence and turn South Africa into another basket case economy like Zimbabwe.

        I wonder how much of this land will end up in the pockets of ruling politicians and their wives.

      • Charles Bostock

        Well, you are silent in terms of writing about South African land reform on your blog.

        How about a post some time in the near future setting out why you think it’s not going far enough or quickly enough and telling us how you think the matter should evolve?
        And If you could manage something like that without mentioning the words “Israel”, “Friends of Israel”, etc, it would really be a tour de force.

        • Spaull

          Telling a blogger what he can and can’t blog about.

          Me, I support Craig’s right to free speech, not to speech as dictated by Charles Bostock.

          If you don’t like it, no one is forcing you to read it.

          • Charles Bostock

            Well.I don’t know whether I’d like it, because Craig hasn’t told us exactly what he means by saying that “South African land reform hasn’t gone far enough and quickly enough”. Perhaps he would consider doing so by expanding on his rather short comment?

        • joeblogs

          “And If you could manage something like that without mentioning the words “Israel”, “Friends of Israel”, etc, it would really be a tour de force.”
          CB: Then why don’t you just write what you think he should put and mail it to him?
          More CB garbage.

          • IrishU

            To be fair to Craig, it is certain commentators here which drive every discussion towards Isreal, Jews, LFoI, Palestine etc.

      • Dave

        The fact the outcome, however bad, is deemed preferable to “Boer rule”, illustrates that opposition to Apartheid, for many, was driven by anti-white rather than pro-black sentiment. What is the murder rate in South Africa compared to London, with about a third of the population?

    • PleaseBeleafMe

      I believe it was in Naomi Kleins book Shock Doctrine in which she describes some of the problems with compensation for land reform. The new incoming post apartheid government had a plan to redistribute the white owned land amongst blacks and help them develop it but they left the banking sector to be run by the same old same old who simply said no to the funds.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    I think that what more ordinary people did or did not do in the 1980s can be misinterpreted, but at the level of a famous PM, not so.

    Rather hardline left wingers in Cambridge in the mid 1980s barracked the Union Society whenever a speaker not to their liking was invited. As a 19-21 year old who realised during a gap year abroad that UK education+media had not really told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, I was minded to go and listen to all strands of opinion, without that indicating whether or not I agreed with it.

    I do not consider myself an apartheid supporter for supporting a motion condemning apartheid, simply because I allowed myself to listen to what the South African Ambassador to the UK had to say in opposing the motion. Any more than I considered myself an advocate for Star Wars for letting Michael Heseltine, minus flak jacket, opine on Trident Missiles before voting in an opposite manner to him on that occasion. One of the more right wing of the undergraduate performers believed that Trident was far too mild a deterrent, which I am sure did him no harm in the Young Conservatives!

    But in the eyes of immature left-wing extremists, I was tarred by association by even entering the chamber.

    I guess my schoolboy comitment to ridding the country of FPTP showed I put principles before tribal posturing….

    The amusing sequel came when several of these ‘left wingers’ learned to spout mantras for that apotheosis of fiscal auditing probity, Arthur Andersen, during the milk round! I suppose it was not Philip Morris, arms manufacturers or Robert Maxwell!

    They had clearly studied the behaviour of Tony Blair at Oxford….and his progression to becoming Maggies Blued Eyed Boy no doubt correlated with many other self-serving student debaters full of words and rather bereft of principles shifting from hard left whiners for bigger grants to self serving insiders charging £5000 a day to say whatever they were paid to say…

    • Dungroanin

      The South African Ambassdor was getting the benefit of free speech in the media.
      The tories and establishment academia were allowing him the privilege that was not available in SA. Defence of Apartheid would be the same as giving oxygen to ideas and politics illegal and immoral here.
      Yeah i turned up to stop that mini propaganda tour at my college. Followed him to the Law department, who then smuggled him to the local conservative club. Some students had cars into which many sardined into and went to continue protest there. The police got a couple of jam sandwiches in and whisked him back to the embassy fast.
      It was how many students grew a political consciousness that stood up against the Thatcher neocon project.
      It has taken another generation and brexit to get the same level of politicisation in our young.
      Thank god.
      The rights to free speech and freedom to object are for free people to protect. Not for these people who curtail these freedoms in their lands.

    • Charles Bostock

      Thank you, Rhys, for letting us know you were up at Cambridge. It reminded me of those Times and Sunday Times columnists who always manage to slide a reference to their Oxbridge attendance into their pieces.

  • reel guid

    Corbyn brought out crowds of young people in England in the 2017 campaign and still was 64 seats short of a majority. The demographies of western countries – unlike the developing world – show aging populations and so the numbers weren’t there for Labour. Also, young voters are majority pro-EU and Corbyn’s stance on Europe was very vague in that election. His now intransigent pro-Brexit position is not generally playing well with these young English voters which is why the dreadful Tories are still ahead in the polls.

    Labour left wingers who still think Corbyn can have Blairites deselected en masse and go on to win a GE majority are deluded. They are clinging to their euphoria of a couple of years ago pretending nothing has changed.

    • Carl

      A democratic referendum was held and three quarters of Labour constituencies voted Leave. What is he supposed to do, forsake all those seats and go down the LibDem route that has attracted 8% support in the two years since the referendum?

        • Carl

          Yeah, we’ll see. Labour didn’t even target winning Tory seats in June last year and still picked up seats like Canterbury, Battersea, and Kensington and Chelsea.

          • reel guid

            That’ll be Kensington and Chelsea that voted more than 2 to 1 to remain in 2016. Don’t think Jeremy’s Brexit at all costs stance will play too well there now.

        • Spaull

          The mistake you make is in thinking that there is a better alternative for Remainers to Corbyn’s soft Brexit. And in thinking that he has any say whatsoever in what happens. And in thinking that all voters prioritise Brexit over everything else. And in thinking that anyone’s position on Brexit will be relevant to a post-Brexit election.

          Actually, that’s quite a lot of mistakes you are making. And pretty fundamental ones.

  • Carl

    Thanks for restating historical reality. Sad that you should need to but we live in an Orwellian age where Thatcher, McCain, Dubya, Bibi, etc, are lionized as heroes by the BBC, C4, Guardian and the rest of the Blairite liberal media.

  • Ian

    These people are fringe, and not even Labour in some cases. So they are hardly representative of Blair’s labour. Peter Hain did work with Blair, though, and his comment gets approval. As for Jess Philips I have no idea what she is on about. But all said, not really a summary of ‘Blairite’ Labour, just a handful of career politicians.

  • Sharp Ears

    RT have Ken Livingston’s op-ed on their website. It’s too long to copy so here are the opening paragraphs.

    ‘Ken Livingstone: Decade after 2008 crisis, no changes made, richest get richer, inequality growing
    3 Sep 2018

    This month marks 10 years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers created the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, but governments have failed to make changes necessary to prevent a similar collapse.

    Back in the 1930s, the US government responded to the Great Depression by introducing new laws that made it illegal for the local high street banks, in which we all deposit our own money, to make risky gambling decisions.

    If anything, the financial sector is growing more powerful and wealthier than at any time in the past. More and more of the wealth created across the world is going into the pockets of the richest one percent and via methods that mean they seldom pay any tax whatsoever. The result is that across the Western world inequality is getting dramatically worse and the lives of ordinary people are being squeezed and it is the anger of ordinary people responding to this injustice that fuelled the vote to elect Trump as president and to take Britain out of the European Union. To understand how we can cope with this we need to look at the history of how the financial services became the predominant global power.
    [..]

    He concludes-

    ‘The consequence of this has been a huge increase in inequality in Britain – it had doubled in the last forty years so that it is now as bad as it was in 1914. Labour’s new leadership under Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell would almost certainly be committed to reforming this appalling and unaccountable concentration of power, so we can expect the financial sector to do everything in its power to stop Jeremy getting into Downing Street.’

    https://www.rt.com/op-ed/437506-crisis-2008-bankers-collapse/

    Right on Ken.

      • Kerch'eee Kerch'ee Coup

        @Pete
        The call took the form of an article in Handelsblatt,which yesterday(3rd Sept.) ran another article (sadly behind a paywall) pointing out the vast practical difficulties in setting up an alternative system. As the Society for Worldwide International Transfers (SWIFT) has its seat in Belgium anyway, the real problem is
        the exclusion of banks /firms/peopled oing business with US sanctioned countries. A more practical alternative, blockchain transfers still being too clunky, is bilateral currency settlement between trading partners based on currency swap balances held by the respective central banks.
        The US is again calling for the delay/scrapping of the Nordstrom II gas pipeline, a project the Hanseatically -minded Handelsblatt supports more strongly perhaps than the SD or the FA.
        The real problem here is the US claim ,irrespective of president , to be the judge and arbiter of others.

    • SA

      But as we know the market controls its own excesses, witness the fall of the usury firm, Wonga. Why they were allowed in the first place I don’t know.

    • Sharp Ears

      And just as Treeza has her Fillip whose outfit is involved with Lockheed Martin that manufacture the bombs that are killing Yemeni children, so Maggie had her Dennis with his chairmanship of his preservative paint company Atlas which was sold to Castrol who were bought by Burmah Oil.

      He was an unpleasant racist.

      ‘I can think of many occasions when he would have been credited with unpopular steps taken by Margaret”: the most obvious being her stern unbending support of the apartheid regime in South Africa, which he referred to as “God’s Own Country”. (His disrespect for Commonwealth leaders was legendary. “Who do you think is worse?” he once remarked. “Sonny bloody Ramphal or Ma sodding Gandhi?”)’

      His obituary 2003. People felt sorry for him being married to Margaret, his second wife.

      Several South African references within.

      https://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/sir-denis-thatcher-bt-36663.html

      PS Castrol still operate in South Africa.
      https://www.castrol.com/en_za/south-africa.html

  • Tony_0pmoc

    I wasn’t actually at Wembley Stadium, for “Free Nelson Mandela”, but I did watch it live at rather loud volumes, on my big Telly. This does rather imply, that The BBC, was somewhat independent from The British Government at the time.

    Meanwhile I find this very interesting, especially the link posted by Frank in the comments.

    https://off-guardian.org/2018/09/01/russia-squelches-trumps-new-plan-to-invade-syria/

    You may also want to peruse both these links

    https://alethonews.com/2018/09/03/mauritius-takes-uk-to-court-over-chagos-islands/

    https://alethonews.com/2018/09/01/what-does-a-nuclear-bomb-explosion-feel-like/

    Tony

  • Anon1

    The thing about South Africa is the boot’s on the other foot now and all those anti-apartheid activists are conspicuous by their silence over seizure of white-owned farms and murder of white farmers.

    Perhaps Crock should shove a microphone in your face and ask why you aren’t blogging about it as a human rights activist.

  • Charles Bostock

    “Their hope is twofold. Firstly, that the charges of anti-semitism against Corbyn will be widely believed and lead to a drastic drop in public support which will force Corbyn out. This is not happening. The public realise that the charges of anti-semitism are false and based on a definition of the word which simply means critic of Israel.”

    In my opinion this row about alleged anti-semitism is a purely internal Labour Party matter, reflecting the fact that historically the Labour party has always tended to divide in internecine fashion between its left and right wings, both of which will seize on anything and everything to do down the other (whether in government or not). So Craig may well be right when he says that this row is being pushed by the Blairite tendency in the Labour Party. Therefore I don’t believe that “public support” comes into the equation, because the broader, non-political public does not give a bugger one way or the other whether Jeremy Corbyn is anti-semitic; hence Craig is wrong to claim that that public is doing any “realising”. It has other things to think about and does not share the obsession of some with Israel, the Middle East, the Palestinians, whether countries move their embassies to Jerusalem and so on. Insofar as that public has any particular thoughts on those issues – which I doubt – that thought would probably be to wish a plague on both the Israel and Arab houses…..

    • PleaseBeleafMe

      I agree that people are sick of hearing of mideast strife and care more about their own immediate future which is why people are barely paying attention to the attacks on Corbyn. It’s a fire with no fuel meant to distract. It is a sign how out of touch your representatives are when they would rather play pin the tail on the donkey than come up with some contigency plans for the very very trying times upcoming for your country.
      It’s because everyone pretends to care about what happens in the mideast that it’s so screwed up. Better off not caring as the problems may have been solved long ago.
      Is it apathy that the anti semitism crap isn’t sticking or are people actually wise to the tricks of
      Israel and it’s supporters?

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