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February 18, 2021 at 10:48 #67393Kim Sanders-Fisher
Newsnight last night presented a truly warped picture of Keir Starmer, tarting up his flagging reputation to make him sound like a massively popular savior of the Labour Party instead of a right wing, Trojan horse, wrecking ball! From an enthusiastic Kirsty Wark to a line up of mostly Labour centrists if you didn’t know the Labour Loser before last night you would have thought that Starmer had single-handedly transformed the party to rescue Labour from Electoral oblivion. In reality this sleazy Captain of Capitulation’s reputation is now on life-support, with party members leaving in droves, election canvasers on strike and multiple Trade Union disaffiliations. The BBC all but erected an iron scaffold around Starmer to keep him propped into position as their most reliable centrist sell-out, raving about his popularity and ‘forensic’ skills of non-opposition at PMQs. Corbyn was demonized as a disaster and only the Momentum rep questioned how Starmer might reinvent himself again in his next vacious speech. This was the ultimate BBC fake-news propaganda spin; it was absolutely vomit worthy!
With the BBC, ‘Auntie,’ already so heavily right leaning, why should we be seriously concerned about the establishment of not just one, but two ‘Fox News’ style TV channels with foreign influenced alt-right backing for competition? The total lack of political balance is extremely worrying especially with the toxic involvement of Australian billionaire media mogul Rupert Murdoch who already has far too much leverage in UK politics. In the Byline Times Article entitled, “Exclusive: Rupert Murdoch in Series of Meetings With Boris Johnson and High-Profile Ministers,” Sam Bright reports that, “The right-wing billionaire gained unprecedented access to ministers in August and September last year. Right-wing media mogul Rupert Murdoch repeatedly gained special access to the UK Government in recent months, Byline Times can reveal. Newly-released records show that News Corporation CEO Murdoch and his right-hand woman Rebekah Brooks held seven private meetings with five senior ministers over a seven-week period in August and September 2020.”
Reporting on the privileged access, Bright says that, “This included a meeting between Murdoch and Boris Johnson on 18 September, followed just a few days later on 21 September by a meeting between News UK CEO Brooks and the Prime Minister. Rishi Sunak was taken out to lunch by Murdoch on 26 August, perhaps benefitting from the Chancellor’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme, followed by breakfast with Brooks on 17 September. Home Secretary Priti Patel held a meeting with Murdoch on 14 September, though perhaps thought it was politically prudent not to name him directly, instead saying she had a ‘private dinner’ with the ‘Executive Chairman of News Corp’. Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg was less bashful about his meeting with the billionaire however, listing his lunch with Murdoch on 25 September as an ‘informal lunch between friends’.”
Bright says, “All of these meetings preceded a dinner bash between Murdoch and Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove on 8 August. Gove, whose wife Sarah Vine is a columnist for the Daily Mail, was joined at the soiree by a guest (though their identity is not disclosed). Gove, who used to work at the Murdoch-owned Times, has maintained an ongoing friendship with his old boss during his political career, Murdoch joining Gove for an interview he conducted with President Donald Trump for the newspaper in 2017. Gove also had a tipple with Daily Mail owner Lord Rothermere, again with a guest, a week later on 15 August. No other media executives seem to have been afforded the same access to ministers as Murdoch and Brooks during this time period.” Bright lists, “Meetings between Murdoch, Brooks and senior ministers: 8 August, Michael Gove; 26 August, Rishi Sunak; 14 September, Priti Patel; 17 September, Rishi Sunak; 18 September, Boris Johnson; 21 September, Boris Johnson; 25 September, Jacob Rees-Mogg.”
Bright notes that, “Despite being logged as official meetings, the content of the discussions are entirely hidden from public view. When Byline Times reported in December that Sunak had been schmoozed by Brooks earlier in the year, we filed a Freedom of Information request to obtain the minutes from the meeting, only to be told by the Treasury that no record existed. A notorious right-wing media operator, Brooks runs News UK, which publishes the Sun, The Times and The Sunday Times newspapers. The publisher is owned by News Corp, which in turn is owned by Murdoch and his family. Murdoch also owns Fox News, the hard-right US broadcaster that acted as a mouthpiece for Donald Trump during his time in the White House – often fanning his half-baked conspiracy theories. Indeed, Murdoch’s stranglehold on the news business stretches across the globe and is perhaps most acutely experienced in his native Australia, where Murdoch-owned newspaper titles account for more than 60% of metropolitan circulation.”
“This influence has also been keenly felt in the UK, with the political fortunes of a particular party or leader seen to be reliant on the stance taken by Murdoch-owned titles. Indeed, after the surprise election victory of John Major’s Conservative Party in 1992, Murdoch’s red-top-title emblazoned a headline that stuck in the British media membrane: ‘It’s The Sun Wot Won It’.” Bright says that, “Consequently, when Tony Blair became leader of the Labour Party, a key facet of his ‘modernisation’ project was to curry favour with Murdoch and his newspapers, much to the chagrin of left-wing activists. For her part, Brooks is firmly embedded in the Murdoch machine. She was the editor of the now defunct News of the World from 2000 to 2003, editor of the Sun from 2003 to 2009, and CEO of News International from 2009 to 2011. Brooks was a prominent figure in the phone-hacking scandal, when it was revealed that a News of the World story published during her tenure allegedly involved illegal phone-hacking. She was cleared of charges in 2014.”
Bright reports that, “As mentioned, the content of the meetings between Murdoch and ministers is not for public consumption. However, one could reasonably speculate that the menu of conversation may well have included News UK TV, Murdoch’s latest media venture. As reported by the Guardian in December, the broadcasting regulator Ofcom has given approval for the platform to launch whenever it is ready, rumoured to be this Spring. It’s said that News UK TV will launch as an evening-only service, on air for around four or five hours a night. Although it reportedly will launch as a streaming-only service, News UK TV also applied for a full Ofcom broadcast licence, which means it could eventually be expanded into a traditional television channel.”
Bright reminds us that, “News UK TV will be launching in competition with GB News, a startup broadcast venture chaired by former BBC presenter Andrew Neil and backed by a range of foreign investors.” Despite that overwhelming saturation of right leaning news presentations, he says that, “Both are seeking to exploit a perceived deficit of conservative thought on British airwaves.” But he qualifies that by noting, “I say ‘perceived’, because the new director general of the BBC is a former Conservative councillor, its new chairman has donated £400,000 to the party in recent years, and opaquely-funded right-wing think-tanks have a regular spot on BBC political debate programmes. Nigel Farage, for example, has been one of the most regular guests on Question Time, despite never having been elected to Parliament, rejected by the electorate on seven separate occasions.”
Bright warns that, “Meanwhile, it looks like both these projects will be aided by the UK Government, with speculation mounting that Boris Johnson is set to appoint former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre as the head of Ofcom, a man who has been fervently opposed to media regulation in the past. Perhaps Murdoch was keen to make sure that ministers were still following his playbook, given his plans afoot. ‘Ministers have meetings with a range of individuals and organisations, this includes with the media,’ a Cabinet Office spokesperson told Byline Times. ‘The Government is open and transparent in publishing ministerial meetings with senior media executives’.” This is one of the obligatory core control levers that’s required by a fully functioning Dictatorship: absolute control of all public broadcasting and the Media in order to sedate the population into accepting authoritarian control through fear propaganda!
In another Byline Times Article entitled, “Exclusive: Cummings and Cain Held Private Meeting With New BBC Bosson Day of Internal Market Bill Vote,” Sam Bright again reports on a dubious meeting. He reports on, “how the Prime Minister’s former top advisors met with Tim Davie on the day of a Brexit vote that threatened to break international law. Two of the Prime Minister’s closest advisors held a private meeting with the new director general of the BBC on the day that MPs voted on controversial Brexit legislation, Byline Times can reveal. Newly-released records show that Boris Johnson’s now-former chief aide Dominic Cummings and director of communications Lee Cain met with the BBC’s Tim Davie on 14 September ‘to discuss the Prime Minister’s priorities’. On the same day, MPs were due to debate and vote on proposals, made by the Government, to breach international law in the event of a no-deal Brexit.”
Bright says that, “The Internal Market Bill, which was later neutered by the Government, was condemned by every living former Prime Minister. In the days following his promotion to the top job at the BBC, Davie used his new platform to warn his journalists from expressing their ‘personal agendas.’ The law was designed to give the Government power to override the Northern Ireland Protocol, an element of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement signed by the UK on 24 January 2020, in order to maintain the same trading rules in Northern Ireland as the rest of the UK. The vote passed in the House of Commons, though not without much rancour from opposition MPs, accusing the Government of failing once again to respect the rule of law. Indeed, in the Summer of 2019, Johnson attempted to prorogue (shut down) Parliament in order to curtail scrutiny of the proposed Withdrawal Agreement he had negotiated with the EU, a move that was ruled to be unlawful by the Supreme Court.”
Bright explains, “So, in short, the Internal Market Bill proposed violating the Withdrawal Agreement, an international treaty that Johnson had attempted to push through Parliament by acting unlawfully. The minutes of the meeting between Cummings, Cain and Davie are not publicly available. When Byline Times pressed the Government to release minutes of a previous rendezvous between Chancellor Rishi Sunak and right-wing media supremo Rebekah Brooks, the Treasury said that no record existed. It’s understood that the Internal Market Bill was not discussed at the meeting, though neither the BBC nor the Government would go on the record to formally confirm or deny this point. Cain and Cummings, who have both subsequently been relieved of their Downing Street duties, are primarily Brexit operatives, both having graduated from senior positions in the Vote Leave campaign to become Johnson’s Government henchmen.”
According to Bright, “Cummings in particular was seen to be the source of many of the Government’s anti-democratic instincts, epitomised by his stubborn refusal to appear before a committee of MPs investigating the dissemination of fake news during the EU Referendum campaign. Cummings still remains in contempt of Parliament.” This should not have been legally permitted in a functioning democracy especially with Cummings still able to retain a powerful Chief Special Advisor role. The very public exit out of the front door of number 10 carrying what looked like a large seemingly empty cardboard box had all the classic signs of a ruse to fool the British public into thinking Cummings and co had gone. In reality, we have absolutely no way of knowing for sure that they are not still heavily involved in pulling strings behind the scenes in this corrupt Tory Government under the weak leadership of Johnson.
Bright informs us that, “For his part, Tim Davie formally assumed the director general role on 1 September, less than two weeks before his meeting with Cain and Cummings. Prior to his appointment, Davie had served in several management roles at the national broadcaster, despite not having any editorial experience. Davie also boasts past links to the Conservative Party, namely that he stood as a councillor for the party in 1993 and 1994, and was deputy chairman of the Hammersmith and Fulham Conservatives in the 1990s.” This follows a well established pattern of appointing inexperienced and incompetent right-wing Tory connected individuals from the wealthy elite to insure compliance with the political agenda of the Tory Sovereign Dictatorship.
Bright says that, “In the days following his promotion to the top job at the BBC, Davie used his new platform to warn his journalists from expressing their ‘personal agendas’. ‘If you want to be an opinionated columnist or a partisan campaigner on social media then that is a valid choice, but you should not be working at the BBC,’ he said. Managers subsequently informed BBC staff that they would not be allowed to participate in gay pride marches, under new rules implemented by Davie, only for this policy to be reversed after a social media backlash.” Bright says that, “Davie is not the only new BBC executive with ties to the Conservative Party. Former Goldman Sachs banker Richard Sharp is set to be appointed as the BBC’s chairman, following his nomination by the Government. Sharp has donated more than £400,000 to the Conservatives since 2001, and was Rishi Sunak’s mentor during his time at Goldman Sachs.” The chumocracy rumbles on securing power for the Tory Sovereign Dictatorship.
Bright points out that, “Davie has appealed to staff to be assiduously impartial in their work. This appeal would undoubtedly carry more validity if the BBC’s board of directors didn’t increasingly resemble a Conservative reunion party.” Once again the same bland statement, “The Prime Minister’s special advisers have regular meetings with a range of individuals including the media,’ a Government spokesperson told Byline Times. “The Government is open and transparent in publishing these meetings with senior media executives.” They might as well also say that they welcome independent scrutiny as long as they are able to very carefully select those providing the regulatory scrutiny! This is the alarming point: the Tories are not only locking down our broadcast as well as our print media, they are also appointing compliant ‘regulators’ to provide a vanier of impartiality while abolishing all accountability!
In the Canary Article entitled, “Newspaper editors raise concerns over whether the government is blacklisting journalists,” the expose this Tory Government’s aversion to scrutiny. They say that, “Downing Street has insisted it welcomes press scrutiny after newspaper editors signed an open letter calling for a review into the government’s use of freedom of information (FOI) requests. Former and current Fleet Street editors have raised concerns about a ‘clearing house’ within the Cabinet Office, which has been advising government departments on the handling of FOI requests. The existence of the unit was revealed by an openDemocracy investigatio which said the team collates lists of journalists with details about their work. Media organisations are calling for an investigation into the clearing house unit, whether journalists and others submitting FOI requests are being ‘blacklisted’ and whether this is illegal.”
The Canary report that, “The prime minister’s official spokesperson told a Westminster briefing on Tuesday there is no ‘blacklist’ of journalists and said the ‘sole purpose’ of the unit is to provide advice. They said: ‘I would point to the fact that the clearing house has been operating as part of the Government’s approach to FOI since 2005, so it is not a new body within the Cabinet Office. ‘It acts to ensure that the advice and information we provide is consistent and compliant across Government to ensure freedom of information requests are handled in the proper and sensitive way. I would point to the fact that we regularly, routinely, disclose information. Not just as part of the FOI process, but as part of the regular transparency documents that we publish on the Cabinet Office website and will continue to do so’.”
The Canary reveal that, “The joint open letter has been signed by editors of newspapers across the political spectrum, including the Guardian, the Times, the Daily Telegraph and the Financial Times. Addressed to the chairs of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee and the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee, it calls on MPs to raise the issue ‘as a matter of priority’. In response, Julian Knight, Conservative chairman of the Commons DCMS Committee, said press freedom was a ‘cornerstone of our democracy’ and that he would raise the matter with the government. ‘It is concerning that questions have been raised about the openness and transparency of Government in dealing with freedom of information requests made by members of the press,’ he said.”
National Union of Journalists Tweeted: “Journalists who have submitted #FOI requests should follow up with Subject Access Requests, we need to get to the bottom of how the government’s Clearing House is operating and find out if they are monitoring the media; #NUJ #saveourFOI ‘The actions of Government in enabling proper scrutiny of it must be beyond reproach and I shall be raising these matters with DCMS secretary of state Oliver Dowden.’ The letter has also received backing from Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary of the National Union of Journalists (NUJ). ‘The media industry is united in backing a Campaign to Expand the right to information and secure greater transparency in public life,’ she said. ‘We want our Government to be less secretive, not more. ‘That is why the existence of a so-called clearing house, profiling requests, stonewalling requests and essentially thwarting and blocking journalistic scrutiny is so disturbing and outrageous.” This is all about achieving a toxic manipulation of the Media!
Why should we worry about the privileged access afforded to Media magnates like Rupert Murdoch and the like? They are all billionaires, dedicated to protecting and advancing the financial and strategic interests of the super wealthy elite to the punitive and sometimes deadly detriment of the working poor, deprived and the extremely vulnerable who the Covid crisis has demonstrated are considered ‘expendable’! To prevent the destitute from rioting in desperation requires absolute control of all areas of the Media: lie to people in propaganda broadcasts with supporting press articles, to convince them, ‘black is the new white;’ they are ‘privilaged’ to continue being exploited for a pittance well below survival pay! The Media message is key to successful authoritarian repression, subjugation and exploitation for profit that the Tories are determined to achieve. Massive public protests, legal challenges and robust Investigations can expose the corruption to derail this plan and remove this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship from office ASAP. DO NOT MOVE ON!February 19, 2021 at 16:00 #67449Kim Sanders-Fisher
The BBC, once trusted with the endearing title ‘Auntie,’ has chosen to maximize their endless stream of worthless propaganda briefing today by focusing wall to wall attention on former royals who no longer even reside in the UK. In essence the story was remarkably simple and could have been reduced to a very brief statement of reality as they finalized the royal rift: “You cannot have your cake and eat it too!” Brits are familiar with this principal after trying to cherry-pick EU privileges and exiting with the extremely basic raw deal of the PM’s choosing, even the Erasmus students were thrown under the bus. The deluge of vacuous commentary on royal privileges lost and how our ultra wealthy monarch feels let down by her grandson is intended to distract us from paying any attention to far more important issues of the day that should dominate our thinking. Harry and Megan have merely swop one set of privileges, that came with strict obligations, for the ongoing wealth of being able to freely monetize their celebrity.
While we should all wish the Prince Consort a full and speedy recovery, at the ripe old age of 99, that his elitist privilege has so graciously assured, perhaps our Queen might spare a thought and show more sympathy for the increasing homeless population in her realm; destitute individuals who on average do not survive sleeping on our frigid streets beyond the age of 47! Despite the measures to get homeless people off the streets due to the Covid risk; I doubt any of this Socialist style generosity will persist beyond the crisis. This Tory Government will be keen to implement one of their most shockingly vile manifesto pledges, to target the gypsies, criminalize them and destroy their homes. Without hesitation our aging Queen gratefully accepted when her loyal Tory Government prioritized toping-up the income lost to the royal estate due to the economic stagnation of the pandemic. When it comes to money the royals know the difference between ‘the have’s and the have not’s’ and they fully intend to keep it that way.
This warped news coverage comes two days on from a heavily biased Newsnight presentation aimed at persuading the public that Sir Keir Starmer was that knight in shining armor riding in on his trusty steed to save the Labour Party from oblivion; rather than the pro-right Trojan horse who lied and misled party members in order to seize power! There were more centrist commentators ready to endorse Starmer’s ‘Fork in the road’ vision as Prime Minister in waiting as they encouraged the public to keep guzzling the neo-con Kool Aid of business as usual. Sir Keir is earning their accolades for his important work dismantling the Socialist movement in this country that threatened the ability of the ultra wealthy elite to endlessly exploit the vulnerable and the working poor. Although none of the Mainstream Media will acknowledge the reality of the growing push-back against Starmer, it will soon reach a point where it can no longer be ignored and this incredibly divisive and highly unpopular Captain of Capitulation will be forced out.
In the Skwawkbox Article entitled, “Trickett blasts Starmer’s sickly speech – with a 10-point plan of actual policies,” they report that, “Starmer proposes ‘recovery bond’ that shores up Tory austerity lie and would make corporations even wealthier. Trickett lists ideas that would actually improve the country. Trickett’s platform puts Starmer’s drab conformism to shame. Backbench Labour MP Jon Trickett, who has been outspoken in his criticisms of Keir Starmer’s dire performance and conduct as Labour leader, has blasted Starmer’s dreary and unimaginative ‘policy’ speech today, with ten points of actual policies that would make life better for the vast majority of people in this country.” The Skwawkbox claim that, “The best Starmer could come up with, as he tried dully to climb up the rear end of big business, was a ‘recovery bond’ to ‘allow’ the country to afford a post-COVID recovery. This was a clear reinforcement of the austerity lie and patent nonsense in a country that has plenty of cash, just badly distributed.”
The Skwawkbox say that, “Trickett made his opinion of Starmer’s visionless speech and its failure to tackle the real issues this country faces very plain: But he didn’t stop there, tweeting his own ten-point plan for a real recovery:” Trickett Tweeted: “My *alternative* economic speech: Invest for growth A Wealth Tax Proper workers rights A proactive state End NHS privatization Cut power of Mega Corps No bailouts for tax dodgers Extend Furlough to Xmas No fire and rehire Ful, well paid, employment.” They say that, “Investment, growth, the restoration of a real National Health Service and concrete financial assistance for those hit hardest by the pandemic, combined with curbs on the power of huge corporations, taxes on those who can easily afford it and a ban on the tactics many are now using to enrich themselves further at the expense of workers.”
“It’s not rocket science, Keir Starmer has no excuse for failing to come up with a similar plan, but it is inspirational,” say Skwawkbox “and it does address the real problems of inequality, exploitation and cronyism that have blighted this country under Tory rule. Keir Starmer is not fit for the position he now occupies and his supposed ‘big’ speech today, of which many said the highlight was when Labour’s own live feed of it crashed, does nothing but confirm that.” However, Jon Trickett wasn’t the only person to point out the failings of Starmer’s pledge, the Skwawkbox Article entitled, “Rothery’s manifesto for Liverpool shames Starmer’s pallid pitch,” features a Liverpool Mayoral candidate. They say that “On the day Keir Starmer was lambasted for his dreary ‘paint drying’ speech about the economy and for attempting to crawl up the nether regions of big business, Liverpool’s Anna Rothery published a manifesto for the city’s mayoral contest that showed the Labour leader what ambition and vision for real change look like.”
Skwawkbox contrast how,“While Starmer’s ‘plan’ essentially consisted of some buzzwords and a ‘recovery bond’ that would allow huge corporations and wealthy investors to enrich themselves even further at the expense of ordinary taxpayers. Rothery laid out a plan for transforming the city’s governance that includes: genuine ‘levelling up’ a rigorous clean-up of local politics a plan to build decent, council homes a local ‘green new deal’ grassroots democracy to empower communities bringing council services fully back ‘in house’ and abolishing the executive mayor structure that was imposed on the city without its consent, to return to a more transparent and accountable leader/cabinet model.” They say that, “All this in a proudly bright red, eye-catching manifesto, none of Starmer’s ‘let’s hint at being Tory really’ purple.” Bold statements on her handout include the following sentiments, many that are shared by citizens right across the UK, but with special relevance to people living in the ‘forgotten North’ of England.
Skwawkbox say first up is,“Leave No One Behind: Liverpool has been hit hard by a decade of Tory cuts and now the impact of COVID-19. My first priority will be supporting local people, opposing austerity and leading a joint campaign with core cities to demand a fair funding settlement for local authorities. I support grassroots anti-poverty campaigns like the right to food. Clean Up Local Politics: We need to restore trust in local politics. I will root out conflicts of interest and urgently strengthen checks and balances to ensure transparency and scrutiny at every level. I will lead a culture-change based on the Nolan principles of public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership. Deliver a Local Green New Deal: I will deliver a local Green New Deal to decarbonise Liverpool’s economy by 2030 and create well-paid, unionised jobs. I will promote green transport and municipally-owned energy infrastructure. Working with local Friends groups, I will protect and nurture our precious parks and green spaces.”
Skwawkbox continue with Rothery’s visionary list of pledges that include, “Extend Democracy: I will extend democracy at every level putting local communications at the heart of decision-making, ensuring democratic accountability of elected representatives, promoting working democracy by supporting and working in collaboration with trade unions, and standing up for member led democracy in the Labour Party: I have publicly called for the whip to be restored to Jeremy Corbyn and for wrongly suspended CLP officers to be reinstated. I believe that the current Mayoral model is unaccountable and concentrates too much power at the top. My preference is for a more collaborative Leader and Cabinet model, with the Leader elected by members. I will continue to listen and learn and implement whatever form of governance the people of our city decide in a democratic vote.”
Last, but not least, Skwawkbox report that Rotherly’s list of pledges culminates with, “Tackle the Housing Crisis: I will take a new approach to planning that puts the interests of local people and communities first. We need to build many more decent and genuinely affordable council homes. I will work for the reintroduction of a city-wide landlord licensing scheme, back a Healthy Homes Act and support organised tenants to improve conditions across our city. Bring Services in House: Working closely with trade unions. I will work to insource local services, including social care, and bring outsourced workers back into the public sector where they belong. #AnnaRothery4Mayor.” Skwawkbox say, “Small wonder Rothery’s supporters fear that the party’s decision to delay the issuing of ballots and re-interview all three shortlisted prospective candidates is cover for an attempt to scupper Rothery’s candidacy. She makes ‘Dear Leader’ look bad by showing what a Labour vision looks like.”
But Keir Starmer’s concerns go well beyond his palid presentation as he seeks to reinvent himself yet again in his endless quest for purpose and acceptance as he is basing his pitch for support on a false perception of what the general public really want in a PM. In the Morning Star Article entitled, “Corbyn’s successes, not his failures, haunt Keir Starmer,” they say that, “Three months since he removed the whip from his predecessor, the shine is coming off the ‘new leadership’. Three months have passed since Sir Keir Starmer withdrew the Labour whip from his predecessor Jeremy Corbyn. Two Jewish members of Corbyn’s own constituency party have marked the occasion by writing directly to Starmer demanding it be immediately restored,” but, “Corbyn is far from the only Labour member to be targeted by the new leadership. The growing Tory lead over Labour has provoked talk, probably unrealistic, of a leadership challenge, hints of an impending policy blitz and demands for a change of direction even from Starmer allies.”
The Morning Star report on what the describe as, “A withering assessment by Tom Kibasi, who worked on Starmer’s leadership campaign, savages a strategy of going easy on the Conservatives while provoking an ‘unnecessary war on the left’ that has alienated a party membership that overwhelmingly picked him to lead it. Kibasi’s logic is impeccable, but he takes too much for granted, firstly in taking Starmer’s election as proof that Labour members saw Corbynism as ‘a political project that had hit the buffers,’ and secondly in assuming the war on the Labour left is designed to win back voters. After Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton for the US presidency in 2016, left-wing Democrats quipped: ‘Don’t tell them Bernie would have won. They know. That’s why they stopped him.’ Similarly, it is not 2019, when Labour led by Corbyn crashed and burned, but 2017, when Labour led by Corbyn bagged its biggest vote share increase in seven decades, that haunts the Labour right.”
The Morning Star say that, “When 2017 is mentioned at all, it is treated as a strange anomaly. But understanding this anomalous election is of critical importance, because it explodes the ‘electability’ myth that has so often helped the right to dominate the Labour Party and demand ‘realism’ (lack of radicalism) from the trade unions. Starmer wasn’t elected to drop the Corbyn project, the leadership candidate who defined herself against Corbyn, Lisa Nandy, came last. Starmer made 10 now infamous pledges which appeared to commit him to most of the political content of a Corbyn project that retained the enthusiasm of Labour’s mass membership. That is why, in the Labour right’s eyes, the war on the membership is far from unnecessary, they are an affront to the cosy politics of the Westminster bubble.”
According to the Morning Star, “Starmer was picked because he was supposedly ‘electable.’ Finding the polls say he isn’t, he has summoned Blair-era strategist Peter Mandelson to fix the problem in the way a celebrity chef turns round the fortunes of a failing restaurant on reality TV. Unfortunately, ‘reality’ TV is a misnomer. Blair chased Tory voters on the premise that voters in Labour heartlands had nowhere else to go. It should be obvious following the collapse of the ‘red wall’ that the premise no longer applies.” That is of course if you believe the bogus ‘borrowed votes’ lie told by the Tories to explain their unfathomable ‘landslice victory’ in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. A Robust Investigation of the result of that stolen election would expose the high probability that industrial scale fraud involving the postal votes was more likely. The say that, “Less remarked is that winning over voters from other parties can be done by engagement, persuasion and mass politics, not by attempting to close the political gap between left and right.” But targeted PsyOps is even more persuasive!
The Morning Star point out that, “Labour’s vote in 2017 rose in many unexpected places: the shock victory in Canterbury was merely the most famous. Labour piled on votes by the thousand in Tory strongholds from the Cotswolds to Cornwall. At the same time, most of its northern and Midlands MPs saw their majorities increase, and its vote rose in Wales and Scotland. What this said about the common anxieties of millions of people all over the country around jobs, privatisation and living costs has been lost in the wreckage of the subsequent 2019 election. But electoral success and socialist policies are not an either/or. Voters’ cold reception of Labour’s non-opposition is a signal to the left to counterattack. The policies the country needs can become the focus of public campaigning with or without the Labour front bench.” The say that, “The trade union movement can use it to point out that trashing Corbyn isn’t doing the party any favours. Starmer should be warned that continuing to withhold the whip will have consequences.”
In the Morning Star Article entitled, “Jewish constituents of Corbyn demand restoration of Labour whip three months after its withdrawal, they say that, “Two Jewish constituents of Jeremy Corbyn have written to the Labour leadership to demand the party whip be restored to their MP three months after it was withdrawn. Tomorrow marks three months since Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer withdrew the whip from his predecessor. Islington North constituency Labour Party (CLP) members David Rosenberg and Julia Bard wrote to Sir Keir and deputy leader Angela Rayner to call for the ‘immediate restoration’ of the whip to their ‘exemplary’ MP. Mr Rosenberg and Ms Bard described themselves as ‘Jews who have been combating and educating people about anti-semitism over decades (including being educators on trips to Auschwitz).’ They said that they were ‘dismayed by the injustice’ of Mr Corbyn having the whip withdrawn on the same day his three-week suspension was lifted in November.”
The Morning Star report, “It was reported in November that the withdrawal of the whip would be in place for at least three months. Mr Corbyn is considering legal action against Labour that could see him seek an injunction to restore the whip immediately. He was suspended by party officials in October for claiming that the scale of anti-semitism in Labour was ‘dramatically overstated for political reasons’ after the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published its report on the allegations. Despite a panel of the party’s national executive committee deciding to readmit Mr Corbyn after he clarified his statement, Sir Keir refused to restore the whip, ignoring a warning by the EHRC against political interference in such cases.” Supposedly the Labour Party response to EHRC demands remains under scrutiny, so it’s hard to see how they could possibly condone the extraordinary level of interference in disciplinary matters being exercised by Keir Starmer and his acting General Secretary David Evans!
The Morning Star stated that, “Mr Rosenberg and Ms Bard wrote that they ‘sympathise strongly’ with Mr Corbyn’s criticism of the political and media commentary relating to the EHRC report. They also criticised the party HQ’s ‘absurd’ punishment of suspending CLP chairs and members for discussing and passing pro-Corbyn and pro-Palestine motions. It comes as a researcher who was suspended from Labour before he resigned from the party is set to reveal results of his survey into a ‘monstrous mass purge’ of members. Dr Neil Todd has been researching party members and CLP officers suspended and expelled since Sir Keir became leader. He said: ‘Whether it’s Jeremy Corbyn or ordinary members, the purge is sending out a message that Israel and anti-semitism are intertwined, and topics which are not for discussion.’ The Labour in Exile Network group will be hosting an online event at which Dr Todd will reveal his findings at 7pm on Saturday February 20.”
It is becoming increasingly obvious that Keir Starmer will not be able to throw his weight around with impunity for much longer. Even a predominantly right-leaning NEC cannot allow Starmer to reinvent the Labour rule book; if his heavy–handed inappropriate interventions were presented to EHRC while the party remains under scrutiny he would be exposed. The Forde inquiry has access to incriminating evidence that will be hard to whitewash over especially in light of various potential legal challenges revealing the truth. Starmer’s authoritarian dictates will be challenged in the Courts and he will lose, the most the Tories can do is manipulate the BBCto keep the situation under wraps for as long as possible. After the betrayal of Starmer we could see the pendulum swing back in the direction of the progressive Socialist left, finally granting the public access to robust opposition to call this corrupt Tory Sovereign Dictatorship to account. We must continue to protest, challenge and demand justice to derail this corrupt cabal before it is too late. DO NOT MOVE ON!February 20, 2021 at 16:40 #67514Kim Sanders-Fisher
There was a seismic Court ruling in the news on Friday despite valiant attempts by the BBC to sideline the issue by keeping the general public distracted with inconsequential royal rubbish over formalizing the rift between ‘the family’ and the hollywood breakaway couple. This type of vacuous coverage I now refer to as ‘handifloss!’ Why? Like Candyfloss: puffed-up, but lacking real substance, sticky and sickly. In the London Economic Article entitled, “Time for Uber to accept its responsibilities’ – Union hails ‘historic’ ruling that drivers are workers,” Joe Mellor says, “Uber must now stop wasting time and money pursuing lost legal causes and do what’s right by the drivers who prop up its empire.” A union has hailed a ‘historic’ Supreme Court ruling that Uber drivers are workers.” These days there are so few victories for ordinary workers and the progressive Sosialist movement, but this ruling will prove truly historic as it throws a monkey wrench into the exploitative practices of today’s gig economy; this will have a wide reaching impact.
Mellor reports that, “Supreme Court justices ruled on the latest round of a long-running fight between Uber operating companies and drivers on Friday. Lawyers say the ruling means Uber drivers will be entitled to workers’ rights such as holiday pay, and will have implications for the gig economy. Uber operating companies, who said drivers were contractors not workers, appealed to the Supreme Court after losing three earlier rounds of the fight. But justices unanimously dismissed Uber’s appeal. A law firm enlisted by the GMB union to represent Uber drivers says drivers will be entitled to compensation for lost pay. A GMB spokesman said officials would now consult with Uber driver members over forthcoming compensation claims.” Mick Rix, GMB National Officer, said: “This has been a gruelling four-year legal battle for our members, but it’s ended in a historic win.”
Mellor says that according to GMB, “The Supreme Court has upheld the decision of three previous courts, backing up what GMB has said all along; Uber drivers are workers and entitled to breaks, holiday pay and minimum wage. ‘Uber must now stop wasting time and money pursuing lost legal causes and do what’s right by the drivers who prop up its empire.’ An employment tribunal ruled in 2016 that Uber drivers were workers, and were entitled to workers’ rights. That ruling was upheld by an employment appeal tribunal, and by Court of Appeal judges. Lawyers representing Uber operating companies told Supreme Court justices that the employment tribunal ruling was wrong.” GBM Union Tweeted: “BREAKING: It’s the end of the road for Uber’s mistreatment of drivers. This landmark Supreme Court ruling puts all debates to bed. Time for Uber to accept its responsibilities, compensate drivers and discuss a way forward.”
Mellor reports that Uber had consistently claimed, “They said drivers did not ‘undertake to work’ for Uber but were ‘independent, third party contractors’. But lawyers representing drivers said the tribunal was entitled to conclude that drivers were working. Justices unanimously ruled against Uber. ‘It can be seen that the transportation service performed by drivers and offered to passengers through the Uber app is very tightly defined and controlled by Uber,’ said one Justice, Lord Leggatt, in Friday’s ruling. ‘The employment tribunal was, in my view, entitled to conclude that, by logging onto the Uber app in London, a claimant driver came within the definition of a ‘worker’ by entering into a contract. ‘I think it clear that the employment tribunal was entitled to find that the claimant drivers were ‘workers’.”
Mellor examines the, “UK gig economy and employment law,” saying that, “IPSE (the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed) has responded to the Supreme Court Ruling today against Uber, saying the judgement shows the ‘glaring need for clarity’ in the gig economy and UK employment law. IPSE has said the very fact this case has come to the Supreme Court shows ‘UK employment law is not working’ and that to clear the confusion of the gig economy, government should introduce a statutory definition of self-employment. The Association has also argued that in the financial strain of the pandemic, the need for clarity and for those who are truly workers to get their fair rights ‘is more urgent than ever’.”
Mellor reported that, “Andy Chamberlain, Director of Policy at IPSE” had claimed that: “The very fact this case has come to the UK’s Supreme Court shows the UK’s employment law is not working. There is a glaring need for clarity in this area, to clear the confusion in the gig economy. The gig economy is enormously complex, including many people who are legitimately self-employed and many others who really, based on their working circumstances, should be classed as workers. It is a patchwork of grey areas between employment and self-employment: the only way to resolve this tangle is to clarify employment status in UK law. With the pandemic still raging and its financial impact ever more visible, it is more urgent than ever that struggling people who should technically be classed as workers get the rights they deserve. To bring this about, and protect the freedom of legitimately self-employed people, we urge government to write a definition of self-employment into law.”
On a CrowdJustice Post entitled, “Uber attacks right of workers to organise a data trust,” they elaborate on another aspect of the ongoing battle for worker justice from Uber. They write that, “On December 16, we are in court at the Amsterdam district court against Uber and Ola. Both companies are fiercely resisting their legal obligations to data access and algorithmic transparency. Uber and Ola are tied together by the large investment in both by Softbank. Both firms have obfuscated the proper fulfillment of access requests and wrongly attacked the motives of the 13 claimants. They say any question of personal data being accessed for the purposes of a data trust to boost the collective power of workers is an abuse of GDPR rights. We say this is quite wrong and that Uber and Ola must obey the law without further delay. We are somewhat taken aback by the strong attack on the idea of worker and trade union controlled data trusts.”
On CrowdJustuce they state that, “As such, there is a lot riding on this. If Uber and Ola are successful, the right of workers to organise a data trust could be suppressed. Your help is now more urgent than ever.” They lay out their case starting with, “Who we are?” The answer is, “The App Drivers and Couriers Union (ADCU) is UK registered trade union serving the needs of private hire drivers and couriers whose work is digitally mediated. Our members often work for companies like Uber, Deliveroo, Ola, Addison Lee, Bolt and FreeNow. We are proud to be members of the International Alliance of App based Transport Workers (IAATW) who are working with us on this important campaign. The action is supported by Worker Info Exchange, a non profit organisation dedicated.”
CrowdJustice elaborate on their case by saying, “We are launching legal action in the district court in Amsterdam over Uber’s failure to to respect the digital rights of drivers and couriers under the GDPR. Uber has illegally:
• blocked workers from accessing all of their personal data at work.
• failed to provide workers transparency to algorithmic management and control of drivers when requested to do so
Uber pretends not to be the boss so it can avoid employer obligations such as the minimum wage, holiday pay, sick pay as well as health, safety & equalities protections. We all know Uber manages by algorithm but we don’t know exactly how even though workers have the legal right to know.”
CrowdJustice explain, “We have evidence that Uber maintains secret driver and courier profiles which it uses to rate worker their performance with categories such as ‘late arrival/missed ETA’, ‘negative attitude’ or ‘inappropriate behaviour’. For years, we have worked with hundreds of drivers to make data requests but Uber always blocks the process and refuses to accept any collective approach. Now we are going to ask the courts to order Uber to provide drivers and couriers access to their data and to make algorithmic management transparent.” They insist that, “Digital rights are worker rights! Members of the ADCU won a landmark 2016 worker rights claim against Uber which the firm will appeal once more against us at the UK Supreme Court this week. But this hard won victory could be lost over time if we continue to allow Uber to flout the law to hide more and more management control in secret algorithms.”
But CrowdJustice point out that, “How can drivers challenge discrimination or unfair algorithms if everything is hidden from us? How drivers and couriers ever level the playing field to bargain for a better deal if Uber blocks our data requests so we can never establish our own worker’s data trust? In today’s world, digital rights are the gateway to worker rights.The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) gives everyone to access the personal data any organisation holds on them and the right to an explanation of how this data is processed in algorithms used by firms such as Uber. In practice, this means that drivers have the right to access all personal data which includes every trip, every fare, all GPS data, telematics and so on. Crucially, we also have the right to know how Uber algorithms manage us and we can challenge automated decision making.”
CrowdJustice outline their “Call to Action,” saying that, “There are two things you can do to help
1. Please donate as little or as much as you can to help us raise £20,000 to bring this action, future similar actions and to cover any potential adverse cost awards.
2. If you are an Uber driver or courier living anywhere in the UK or in the European Economic Area (EEA) please follow the link to register to join our collective action campaign. ADCU.org Give us your permission to make a data request to Uber on your behalf as part of a very large group of drivers in a joint action. Your data will eventually be sent only to you and not us. Our lawyer will liaise with Uber and monitor the process to ensure everyone is treated fairly and receives all the data and information they are legally entitled. If you do not, we will take action on behalf of the group by making another complaint to the court. There is no cost to drivers and couriers for this and we ask as many local driver groups and unions to join us and get involved in this campaign.”
CrowdJustice elaborate on their legal representation saying, “We are represented in this case by Anton Ekker of Ekker Advocatuur. Mr. Ekker is a renowned lawyer specialising in the field of data protection and personal privacy. He most recently won an important landmark victory in the landmark SyRI case against the Netherlands government.” They ask, “ Who else is involved? The ADCU is proud to be a member of the International Alliance of App based Transport Workers (IAATW) who are working with us on this important campaign. The action is supported by Worker Info Exchange, a non profit organisation dedicated to helping gig workers protect their digital rights at work. We thank you for your kindness, solidarity and support. Now more than ever, we must support one another and work together to bring fairness, respect to our common digital workplace.”
Back in December 2016,on the SocialistRevolution.org, Warwick Marxists and Thomas Soud triumphantly announced that, “Britain: Uber Drivers’ Victory Strikes Blow Against Gig Economy.” Soud reported of a much earlier time when, “In front of big square boxes, blinded by flashing lights and slowly dialing up to a new network known as the World Wide Web, a group of young, wide-eyed entrepreneurs had an idea. With the two-ton machines that currently lay crushing their desks, they could create a new version of capitalism: an economic ecology freed from the robber barons and satanic mills of old, where free, rational individuals, guided by the digital hand of the market, could be united to create new riches for themselves and all of society in the process. This was the silicon dream.”
Soud lamented that, “Nearly 30 years on from this initial daydreaming and we find that this new reality, for many, has become more of a nightmare. Rather than calibrating and equalizing the desires, preferences, and rationales of free human beings, the apps, internet, and computers at society’s fingertips have simply become yet another tool for the exploitation of the working class. Airbnb, Deliveroo, and Uber are but three of the new household names in this latest tech wave known as the ‘gig economy’.” Soud killed, “The myth of the micro-entrepreneur,” saying that, “In essence, this new digital ‘paradise’ is no different from the old satanic mills. Their meteoric rise is a graphic display of capitalism’s need to grind down workers’ rights, increase the working day, and lower workers’ wages, all in the name of profit. The move to ‘gigs,’ with an army of precariously employed workers, forced to compete in a race to the bottom for small scraps of work and pay has allowed the bourgeois vultures to achieve this historic task in new forms.”
Soud exposed how, “Rather than give people decent wages and conditions fit for human beings, the capitalists now skirt around the gains won through struggle by previous generations, claiming that they are not required to provide such luxuries to these gig workers. Uber, Deliveroo, etc., so we are told by the bosses, are apparently not companies, but ‘platforms.’ The workers in the gig economy, therefore, are in fact the entrepreneurs, ‘micro-capitalists’ controlling their own minibusinesses via the generosity of corporate multinationals. Yet what capitalist earns $7.50 per hour? What entrepreneur lacks all but the most measly amount of capital, so that all they can offer is a single cab ride? What business owner has no employees and must routinely work long past the point that all regulations prohibit, and (to add insult to injury) has all this decided by those who control their income?! Such conditions are not that of the boss, but the worker.”
According to Soud, “This is not the hard work of the Protestant Ethic, but blatant, brutal, and illegal exploitation. We do not see progress in such a system, but simply a rehashing of the same crimes that have haunted humanity since the inception of capitalism.” In what he describes as, “A blow to the bosses, workers have never taken such attacks lying down, and will not start to today simply because their bosses sit at a keyboard rather than in industrial factories.” Referring to the very beginning of the 2016 push-back targeting Uber, Soud reported, “Recently, on October 28, two brave Uber drivers, backed by the GMB union, said enough is enough, taking the international corporate giant to court and securing a monumental victory. No longer would the pretense of a self-employed micro-entrepreneur be allowed to be maintained; instead, the courts decided that they were employees, members of the working class, entitled to the same rights as all other workers in the UK.”
Soud reported that was when the Courts decided, “It was deemed that Uber must provide the minimum wage, holiday pay, and pensions, and stop trampling over workers’ rights. This decision immediately sent convulsive fits around the headquarters of the leading companies of the gig economy, since what applies to Uber will undoubtedly apply throughout all similar organizations. The legal requirements this precedent sets now place the profits and futures of these corporate monstrosities under existential threat; they will not, therefore, accept this setback lightly. Uber has already appealed the decision and sent out a pack of lies to all of its ‘partners’ (a.k.a. ’employees’) that this will only affect the two drivers concerned. It frames the debate as one of flexibility vs. bureaucracy. In reality, it is exploitation vs. decency.” Uber certainly didn’t give up without a fight, their huge profit margins were at stake and so it was worth splashing the cash to fund the first of several appeals anll of which they have now lost.
Those courageous drivers took a stand and they have finally been rewarded showing that, “Militancy pays.” Soud explained the formidable odds against them by noting, “Uber’s strength can appear overbearing, and the fight will not be easy. If these two drivers and others like them are to succeed, then the first task must be to work on unionizing and organizing those in the gig economy, starting with other Uber drivers. This is no easy task. But the inspiring strikes and victory by Deliveroo drivers recently shows that it can be done, that organization and militancy do pay. At the same time, it must be stressed that such struggle is the only genuine defense that workers have in the face of the aggressive rat race of modern day capitalist competition. Only by exerting the power and pressure of the organized working class and not relying upon the benevolence of the courts of the capitalist state, can concessions be won, guaranteed, and maintained.”
Describing the deliberate pattern of disrupting worker solidarity, Soud said, “In replacing relations between worker and worker with username and username, we see how technology designed to bring the whole world closer together is in fact used to isolate and divide the working class even further. Many in the gig economy may never see a fellow colleague in the entire time of their employment; indeed, they are instead placed in direct competition with each other, with the only winner being the corporation and its profits. The extremity of these conditions demonstrates the need to get organized. Failing to do so will only result in continued exploitation, as more and more malevolent routes are devised in order to exploit workers. On the other hand, successes and victories could cause shock waves throughout the gig economy and the labor movement as a whole, showing that if unions can take hold in this most precarious of industries, it can and must, happen everywhere.”
Soud appealed to readers, “End exploitation! End capitalism!” He said that, “Ultimately, however, even such industrial struggles cannot secure a decent, long-term future for ordinary men and women. The ruling class will strike back with a vengeance and seek to strip away all the hard-won gains of the past for the sake of their profits. If we desire a world without exploitation, without long working hours, low pay, and vicious attacks on our basic rights, then the only solution is to abolish the inherently exploitative capitalist system, to instead plan production on a socialist basis, for use rather than exchange, with democratic workers’ control of the workplace and the whole economy. Solidarity with Uber drivers! You have nothing to lose but your chains! There is a world to win!”
In the Labour List Article entitled, “The Uber ruling is a huge achievement. We can build a more secure future,” MP Andy McDonald described Friday’s Supreme Court ruling in favour of Uber drivers as, “a massive achievement that will benefit gig economy workers across the country, and it is thanks to years of hard work by the trade unions. For too long, the likes of Uber and Amazon have been getting away with gaming the system. They have tried to pretend that people who work for them aren’t, in fact, workers who are entitled to basic rights, including a fair wage, holiday and sick pay, safety and job security. This was always morally wrong; now the court has ruled it is also legally wrong. For the last ten years under successive Conservative governments, this mistreatment of workers who deliver vast profits for these companies has been allowed to go unchecked. On their watch, there has been an explosion of exploitative zero hours and insecure contracts.”
McDonald explains how, “To deny them these rights not only has a devastating impact on their lives and wellbeing, it also has a disastrous impact on wider society and is plain economic illiteracy.” He says of the Tories, “They simply cannot be trusted to rebuild a fairer and stronger society as we recover from the pandemic. If you want to know where improving conditions for people at work ranks on the list of Tory priorities, take their long-promised employment bill. It has been postponed indefinitely.” He claims that, the Tory, “Contract with the British people, that their hard work would enable them to get on in life and give them the dignity of being able to provide for themselves and their families, has been broken.” This is why noone should be taken in by the new set of Tory lies hinting an end to austerity, ’40 new Hospitals,’ the ‘Lev…up’ lie and ‘borrowed voes’ that stole our democracy in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. We must Strike, Protest, Challenge, Investigate and take the Tories to Court to win: Get The Tories Out! DO NOT MOVE ON!February 21, 2021 at 17:03 #67557Kim Sanders-Fisher
I have never enjoyed sweets, so I’m scathing in my description of ‘Candyfloss’ as “Puffed-up sickly sweet, vile sticky goo, devoid of any real substance, clinging to a stick.” We are currently being overwhelmed with another sticky gloop of airy ‘floss,’ that can easily be ‘spun,’ to placate the masses with soothing junk disinformation I call ‘Handyfloss’! I would define Handyfloss as, “Grotesquely over-exaggerated sickly sweet vacuous rubbish and vile sensationalist compulsive reporting, totally devoid of any real substance, and frequently centered around an expansive empty pledge or a blatantly obvious fabrication. Handyfloss is the convenient, as in ‘handy,’ propaganda spin of devious, lying politicians trying desperately to hide corruption or a mendacious power grab agenda to facilitate their endless profiteering and privilege at the expense of the general public. Our greedy, narcissistic PM, Boris Johnson, is a ruthless, perpetual motion, Handyfloss generator, but we really must stop consuming his sweet compulsive lies like Kool Aid!
This is an insidious part of a Tory forced lurch to the right. In the Canary Article entitled, “The left is under the most extensive attack since the 1950s,” they caution that, “A former Labour MP has been tasked with examining left wing groups as part of a government review into UK ‘extremism’. But this move is just the thin end of the wedge. It is one part of a much wider assault on left-wing views and activity. Taken as a whole, we are witnessing perhaps the system’s greatest attack on us since the McCarthyism of the 1950s.” They describe John Woodcock as a,“witchfinder general” and “As The Canary‘s Tom Coburg recently wrote: In November 2019, home secretary Priti Patel appointed lord Walney (former Labour MP John Woodcock) as the government’s envoy on countering violent extremism. According to the Telegraph, Woodcock will be looking at ‘progressive extremism’ in Britain. That includes how ‘far-left’ groups could infiltrate or hijack environmental movements and anti-racism campaigns.”
The Canary insist that, “To be clear, ‘extremism’ is a nonsense term. As police monitoring group Netpol’s Kevin Blowe wrote for The Canary, it can mean a number of things: from being a member of a civil disobedience group to being part of a campaign that challenges corporate power. Moreover, the government hasn’t even defined the term extremism or extremist in law. So it allows the state, and its agents, to decide who gets labelled as one.” The Canary describe this as, “The thin end of the wedge,” saying that, “Already, the right wing in the UK is cheering Woodcock on. The Telegraph wrote with glee that he’d be looking at ‘anti-capitalist’ groups. Woodcock himself stated that: ‘I want to look at the way anti-democracy, anti-capitalist far-Left fringe groups in Britain like the Socialist Workers Party tend to have much more success hijacking important causes… than the far-Right, and the harm that may do. Woodcock’s review is the thin end of the wedge. Because it sums up what’s happening across society.”
The Canary point out that Woodcock is, “implying there is no alternative to corporatism (or ‘capitalism’ as he incorrectly refers to it). Anything ‘anti’ that is wrong and must be stopped.” They say that, “in the wider world, this is already happening. It can be broken down into several areas.” First up, “Un-social media: controlling the narrative: Facebook and Twitter have been actively silencing dissent. This has now been happening for a while. In 2017, Facebook changed its algorithm to intentionally remove smaller, left-wing news outlets from people’s feeds. The Intercept reported last year that as Facebook was banning far-right, QAnon-related groups, it was doing the same to antifacist ones, too. It consistently shuts down pro-Kurdish accounts. Also, UK Twitter has repeatedly banned left-wing voices.” They say that now, “Facebook will be ‘depoliticising’ its platform. In short, it’s looking to reduce the amount of news in people’s feeds. But campaigners say this will hit small, grassroots groups the hardest.”
The Canary say, “Now, you could argue ‘it’s the algorithms what did it’. But someone designed those algorithms and according to reports, CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally intervened to make sure left-wing sites were hardest hit. Why? It’s about control of the narrative and it’s also about protecting powerful people and companies’ interests. The internet nearly caused control of the narrative to be lost. In the early days, it was a fairly open platform. But then, the dot com crash of 2000 came. The demise of countless new, smaller tech start-ups was a disaster capitalist’s dream. It paved the way for the domination of the internet by a few companies.” They say that, “In turn, these companies have ended up being some of the biggest in the world. At first, this was about concentrating ownership. But after events like the Arab Spring, the system realised the power the internet could yield for the people. So, the shutting down began.”
The Canary report that, “Just recently, we’ve seen some tech giants openly go to war with governments. Most pointed in this is Australia. Its government is making companies like Facebook pay the media for its content. Facebook isn’t happy. In response, it has blocked all news content from its Australian site. Google, meanwhile, is so far going along with the Australian government’s plans. The situation in Australia sums up another problem. Namely the establishment corporate media. Because it too has massive control over the public narrative.” The Canary describes this as, “Manufacturing consent, 21st century-style.”
“The Canary‘s Tom Coburg recently summed up the problem with the establishment corporate media. He wrote that: Professor Noam Chomsky co-wrote Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, which famously argued that the mainstream media’s role was all about suppressing criticism of the powerful. Now recent moves by media in the UK are about to see that ‘manufactured consent’ taken to a whole new level. Coburg argued that UK media is already dominated by a few players. People like right-wing Rupert Murdoch control huge sections of it. But Coburg wrote about how it’s about to get worse. He said that: In February 2021, Ofcom was reported to have given its approval for Murdoch and Brooks to launch News UK TV, an outlet that will undoubtedly reflect the political leanings of its owner. Meanwhile, it’s understood that former editor of the Daily Mail, Paul Dacre, is rumoured to become the next chair of Ofcom [the broadcast media regulator].”
The Canary warn of the danger of allowing these powerful entities to dominate the narrative as, “In January, it was reported that Richard Sharp, a former Goldman Sachs banker who donated an estimated £416,189 to the Conservative Party, is to be chair of the BBC’s board of directors. In short, the corporate media was already run by a few, right-wing people. Now, it’s about to get worse. The new Australian rules are all the more concerning, too. Because with Google and Murdoch now in financial cahoots, power over the narrative is even more concentrated. Overall, the left wing is being shut down on social media. It’s actively deplatforming our news sites. The establishment corporate media is more and more dominant. So, we all better get back to protesting on the streets, yes? Well, we are facing a clampdown there as well.”
The Canary describe the, “Co-opting of climate chaos,” saying that, “Whatever you think of Extinction Rebellion (XR), it’s gotten a name for itself. Its protests in London and around the world have been high-profile. But the system is determined to shut the group down. UK home secretary Priti Patel called its members ‘criminals’. She said its methods were a: shameful attack on our way of life, our economy and the livelihoods of the hard-working majority. Billionaire tech mogul Bill Gates said XR was not ‘constructive’. And Woodcock will be including the group in his review. So, why are the establishment attacking XR? It’s about control of the climate change narrative. In short, we’re seeing corporations and those in power co-opting the green movement for their own benefit. Gates is one example. Elon Musk is another. Shell, one of the world’s largest oil companies, is another; rolling out low carbon fuels. The system and its proponents know that we’ve screwed the planet. They know it needs fixing.”
The Canary point out that, “n the process, these disaster capitalists also see a money-making opportunity. Plus, if the system fails, so do they. So, XR and its people-led approach needs stopping and the UK’s increasingly authoritarian police are central to this.” The describe the, “Increasing authoritarianism” noting that the, “Police monitoring group Netpol recently wrote that the UK government: ‘Is planning to introduce major changes to public order legislation to crack down on protests, under a new ‘Protection of the Police and Public Bill’ planned for 2021. It’s looking to increase police powers over protest. These include police being able to control where they happen and using stop and search powers on protesters. Netpol says it comes in the wake of not only XR but also Black Lives Matter (BLM). Patel accused the latter of ‘hooliganism and thuggery’. Little wonder, when its call for defunding of the police is, like XR, a threat to the system. BLM’s drive for equality and social justice is the same.”
But it doesn’t stop there as sadly the Canary report that, “Corporate capitalism needs inequality to function. Any true levelling of the playing field would be too damaging for it.” If the Spycops Bill isn’t seriously amended both the police and private investigators hired by Corporate entities, will have unaccountable expanded powers to infiltrate and spy on law abiding citizens who oppose Tory Government or Corporate exploitation of workers, minorities and the environment. They say, “So, what if the police do arrest and charge you over a demo? At least lawyers will be able to help you. Or so you’d think. The government is also attacking the legal profession. As former Green Party leader Natalie Bennett recently wrote for Bright Green: ‘It’s not just that the government has drained away the resources of legal aid: the annual legal aid budget is now £1.6bn a year, £950m less in real terms than it was in 2010, or removed all support for large areas of work under the 2013 Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO).”
The Canary report that, “It’s also that the government has actively attacked the role of lawyers in upholding the rule of law: Priti Patel attacked ‘do-gooders’ and ‘lefty lawyers’, her Home Office tweeted (although after an outcry deleted) an attack on ‘activist lawyers’ and even produced a video with the same theme (also eventually deleted). Marina Sergides, a barrister at Garden Court, testified to the APPG: ‘We are public servants but we are not treated as public servants… we are actively attacked by the government’. That attitude permeates throughout government action. Just this weekend, Paul Powlesland tweeted that while assisting, pro bono, anti-HS2 protesters at Euston, he was slapped with a £200 Covid regulation fine. He said he’s confident of being able to fight it in court, but what a pass we’ve come to when police are acting against legal protection.”
As the Canary highlight how, “the left is becoming increasingly squeezed. We’re unable to operate effectively online. Our media outlets are impaired. The corporate news is all the more dominant. Physical protest is becoming more and more restricted and our right to legal recourse is also under threat. So, we’d best hope that Generation Z is going to save us then?” They also report on “Indoctrinating the youth,” saying that, “In 2020, the UK government issued new education guidance. Vice reported that it: ‘told leaders and teachers involved in setting the RSE curriculum that anti-capitalism is categorised as an ‘extreme political stance’, comparable to the opposition to freedom of speech, antisemitism and the endorsement of illegal activity. Of course, this would mean students would not hear any opposing views on capitalism. But it could also mean erasing huge parts of history.”
The Canary report, “As George Monbiot said in a Twitter thread: ‘Behind these histories lies an even bigger and more sacrilegious truth. It’s that the system we call capitalism… is really a system of global theft… Let’s imagine there’d been no theft. No gold, silver and land stolen from Native Americans, no people stolen from Africa, no wealth stolen from India and the other colonies, no ransacking of our life support systems. How successful would this system we call capitalism have been? How rich and powerful would nations like ours have been? I would guess: not very. Capitalism is not what it claims to be. It is not the great success story its beneficiaries proclaim. It is the ideological structure we use to shield ourselves from brutal truths. So, the system has to erase valid criticism of it for it to continue to evolve. And it’s embedding this further, too.”
The Canary describe the, “Cancelling of cancel culture,” they say, “We’re also seeing a ‘twin’ attack on so-called ‘cancel culture’. The UK government has just said it’s ‘strengthening’ free speech at universities. Education secretary Gavin Williamson said: ‘I am deeply worried about the chilling effect on campuses of unacceptable silencing and censoring. That is why we must strengthen free speech in higher education, by bolstering the existing legal duties and ensuring strong, robust action is taken if these are breached. In short, the UK Tories are targeting students trying to shut down transphobes, racists, and misogynists. Also with this comes a government focus on ‘heritage’.”
The Canary describe the “war on woke.” They say, “The government is bringing together 25 of the UK’s biggest heritage bodies and charities in an attempt to whitewash British history. Third Sector said that the government has ‘summoned’ them: ‘to a summit where Oliver Dowden [the culture secretary] is expected to tell them ‘to defend our culture and history from the noisy minority of activists constantly trying to do Britain down’. It is being seen as an escalation of the government’s ‘war on woke’ against so-called ‘cancel culture’, amid concern at senior levels in the government over what it sees as attempts to rewrite Britain’s past. It’s an obvious attack on BLM and the removing of slave trader statues. But moreover, it’s an attempt to shore up the false nationalist history peddled by the establishment that has led the system to the point it’s at today. So, you’d be hard-pushed to find somewhere the system wasn’t attacking the left. These individual cases are nothing new. But what seems new this time is the sheer scale of it.”
According to the Canary, “A freelance journalist has compared this to another time in history: A new McCarthyism? Tim Fenton said that much of this is a new form of McCarthyism. Historically, it’s not far off in terms of the current system’s MO. Woodcock’s review is the same as a ‘Salem Witch Trial’. That is, in the context made famous by Arthur Miller in his play The Crucible. Miller’s Salem witch trials were a metaphor for the clamp-down on communists during the 1950s in the US. But Fenton’s point is also useful in seeing why this is going on. In the 1950s, two forces were pulling the world apart: communism and capitalism. Human society was at a crossroads of ideologies. It could have gone either way. Fast-forward to the 21st century, and we are in a similar position. Except this time, the forces are not communism and capitalism. They are corporatism on one side and humanity on the other.” We must Protest, Challenge and Investigate Corruption to make sure that humanity not rabid Tory Corporatism prevails.
The Canary insist that, “This isn’t just a UK phenomenon, either. It’s been the same in the US and it’s the same in France. It’s the same in Australia. Power is now highly concentrated and those with it want to make sure it stays that way. But in the UK, Woodcock’s review isn’t the end of the story.” The Canary say that, “The left wing: being dunked, Tory style,” noting that, “The government will soon be introducing the Online Safety Bill.” Steve Topple says as he “previously wrote for The Canary, this proposed legislation is peak Tory government. It’s dressing up an overarching attack on freedom and democracy as something that’s good and protective for us. Put this authoritarian piece of law in tandem with Woodcock’s review. Then, tie in all the other crackdowns mentioned above and what you have is perhaps the greatest attack on the left since McCarthyism in the 1950s. In fact, it may end up being even worse.”
The Canary report, “With the advances in technology have come more and more ways for activists to organise. But consequently, traditional methods have been lost. Our lives and our human interactions are now dominated by tech. This leaves us exposed to governments and corporations exerting more power than ever before over them. My late father was a prominent member of the communist party in the 1950s/60s. He used to have a favourite story to tell. When they held meetings, the chair would always end his opening speech by saying: ‘finally, a very special welcome to our friends at the back of the room.’ He was referring to undercover police. But the meeting would still go ahead. Now, we live in the age of virtual organising and our right to even discuss having a meeting may end up being curtailed. Our freedom to object to, and protest against, what the system is meting out has never been under such a threat. It’s up to all of us to push back, before it’s too late.”
In the Left Foot Forward Article entitled, “In attack on academic freedom, Gavin Williamson puts ally in charge of uni speaker lists,” Joe Lo elaborates on a worrying trend.” He says, “In a new reform allegedly designed to protect freedom of speech, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson will hand control over who can speak at universities to his friend and Tory peer James Wharton. Using research from a discredited dossier, Williamson has claimed that freedom of speech is under threat because some controversial speakers have been uninvited from speaking at university events. Unions representing students and lecturers have both denied there is any such crisis. But to fix this phantom threat, Williamson plans to give the Office for Students the power to fine universities who ‘fail to promote free speech’. This gives a lot of power to an unelected public body and its new chair James Wharton, who ran Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign along with Gavin Williamson and was made a Tory lord in return.”
Lo warns that, “By deciding how to define freedom of speech and when and how to enforce it, Wharton and his staff will essentially decide who is allowed to speak at universities and who is not. This is a grave threat to academic freedom; the university staff union UCU have warned that it’s not the only such threat. In a complaint to UNESCO, they said: ‘The reality is that, in the overwhelming majority of instances, UK academics report statistically significantly higher levels of systematic abuse of their academic freedom, than their European counterparts”. One reason for this is the Conservative’s 1988 Education Act, which abolished the concept of academic tenure, removing job security from academics. That’s increasingly been replaced by short-term precarious contracts which leave staff very vulnerable to management’s whims and limits their power to choose their own research topics and voice their own opinions.”
Lo explains that, “Repeated ‘national research evaluation excercises’ means academics are under pressure to prove their research has ‘impact’, influencing what they look into. On top of this, academics don’t ultimately control what they teach and how they teach it or how students are examined as that power is reserved for management. The government’s ‘Prevent’ rules, designed to counter terrorism, are also limiting what materials students and academics can access. At the University of Reading, students have to ask university management for permission to access certain books, like the Brazilian revolutionary ‘Minimanual of the Urban Guerrilla’. With all this bureaucracy, many will decide certain issues are too much hassle to investigate. Yet instead of addressing these real academic freedom issues, or the numerous other problems education is facing right now, Gavin Williamson has chosen the headline-grabbing non-issue of ‘no platforming’.”
Lo insists that, “When combined with the appointment of James Wharton, it looks less like he’s simply misguided and more like a cynical Whitehall power grab over centres of learning.” In essence this is another ploy for the alt-right to not just shut down genuine free speech, but force their warped Tory perspective into the minds of our most progressive thinking young people. Combined with other toxic Government appointments aimed at attacking and shutting down progressive Socialist viewpoints this is very worrying. Especially so as the alt-right are getting set to drench the public in Tory inspired ‘Handyfloss’ and fake news via two newly created ‘Fox News’ style TV channels spewing hateful propaganda to help maintain fear and division within the population. We cannot afford to wait until new Tory laws make it impossible or seriously dangerous to protest and the Judicial process is permanently altered to protect those who exploit and oppress our freedoms. We must act now before it is too late to oust the Tory Sovereign Dictatorship! DO NOT MOVE ON!February 22, 2021 at 19:04 #67589Kim Sanders-Fisher
We must be a lot more vocal in demanding answers from this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship because they are manipulating our national broadcaster, the BBC and will soon back up their alt-right messaging with more extreme right TV in addition to saturating our print media. The vile agenda of eugenics policies that led to the horror of Nazi Fascism cannot be repeated. The Canary Article entitled, “UK media is about to take Noam Chomsky’s ‘manufacturing consent’ to a whole new level” they examine his ground breaking book. “Professor Noam Chomsky co-wrote Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, which famously argued that the mainstream media’s role was all about suppressing criticism of the powerful. Now recent moves by media in the UK are about to see that ‘manufactured consent’ taken to a whole new level. These big media players won’t be content with greater dominance and they, along with the help of the government, will do everything they can to crush the opposition.”
“New kids on the block?” The Canary ask, noting that, “The national mainstream media in the UK has always been dominated by the Conservative right. The Times, the Sunday Times and the Sun are owned by Rupert Murdoch and family via News UK, in turn, owned by News Corp. The main shareholder of the Daily Mail (as well as the i newspaper) is viscount Rothermere. The Daily Telegraph and the Sunday Telegraph are owned by billionaire Frederick Barclay. And the Daily Express is owned by Reach (which also owns the Daily Star and the Daily Mirror). Each newspaper offers similar political content but tweaked for different audiences. As for broadcast news, the main players are the BBC (funded by the license fee) ITV, Channel 4, and Sky News (each dependent on advertising). But there are now old players masquerading as new players waiting in the wings.” They refer to “News UK TV”
In earlier Canary articles they reported on how, “In August and September 2020, Murdoch and his sidekick Rebekah Brooks met regularly with UK government ministers, including prime minister Boris Johnson. Then in February 2021, Ofcom was reported to have given its approval for Murdoch and Brooks to launch News UK TV, an outlet that will undoubtedly reflect the political leanings of its owner. Meanwhile, it’s understood that former editor of the Daily Mail, Paul Dacre, is rumoured to become the next chair of Ofcom.” The Canary say this, “isn’t the only new upcoming media venture. The ‘right-leaning’ GB News, which is part-funded by Legatum, a Dubai investment firm that via its chair is linked to the Brexit-backing Legatum Institute. GB News is headed by Angelos Frangopoulos, a former Sky News Australia boss. In 2018, former Labor minister Craig Emerson quit Sky News Australia after it “broadcast an interview with far-right extremist Blair Cottrell“. No doubt GB News’ politics will be of a similar hue.”
The Canary note that, “According to Byline: GB News appears to be owned by a company called ‘All Perspectives Limited’, which is in turn equally owned by media moguls Mark Schneider and Andrew Cole. Cole is a director and board member at Liberty Global, a multinational telecommunications company with roughly 47,000 employees. According to the trading website Wallmine, Cole is also a shareholder at Liberty, reportedly owning stock worth more than $1 million. Liberty Global has an interest in mainstream broadcasting in the UK, owning 9.9% of ITV Plc, the company that effectively owns and operates the ITV network. There has even been speculation that Liberty could launch a full takeover of ITV, with this rumour circulating via City AM as recently as May. Byline adds that Virgin Media is also owned by Liberty.” The Canary ask if this constitutes, “Political cronyism or conflict of interest? But, “It doesn’t stop there.”
The Canary say that, “In January, it was reported that Richard Sharp, a former Goldman Sachs banker who donated an estimated £416,189 to the Conservative Party, is to be chair of the BBC’s board of directors.” They provide a listing: “Some of the donations he made to the Conservative Party.” They say that, “The Guardian also reported that: Sharp’s family foundation donates to the Institute for Policy Research, an obscure charitable organisation that funnels money to the CPS [Centre for Policy Studies], as well as to other organisations aligned with the right of the Conservative party, among them the Taxpayers Alliance, MigrationWatch UK and News-watch, an organisation that has produced a number of reports alleging anti-EU bias in BBC reporting. The Canary add that, “Sharp happens to be the former boss of UK chancellor Rishi Sunak. He was also an economic adviser to Boris Johnson when mayor of London. Sharp will join Conservative supporter Tim Davie, who took over as BBC director general last September.”
The Canary previously reported that, “Davie met with former Downing Street special advisers Dominic Cummings and Lee Cain some two weeks after he assumed the role, although no minutes of that meeting are available. Meanwhile, the Johnson-led government is accused of blacklisting journalists and doing its best to sabotage freedom of information requests.” They describe, “Manufacturing consent; The media landscape in the UK is undergoing a major shift. More right-wing players are stepping forward to work alongside media moguls, establishing control both in existing organisations and in creating new ones. It’s nothing less than a media coup, with the beneficiaries being the Conservative Party and their friends in business. Moreover, the right-wing media monopoly will no doubt want to destroy all effective opposition to its political dominance, including using any means it can to eliminate independent media. Or as Chomsky puts it better, a manufacturing of consent; they include his Youtube Video.”
Even more alarming, the Tory Sovereign Dictatorship’s ‘Manufactured Consent’ isn’t just aimed at staying in power, and eliminating scrutiny so that they remain unaccountable for plundering public funds with impunity, there is a far more ominous agenda. The dangerous pseudoscience of eugenics that inspired ‘Herd Immunity’ still remains a Tory strategy for selectively targeting and culling the elderly, the poor and ethnic minorities. In the Byline Times Article entitled, “Free speech’ Czar role linked to Toby Young’s Free Speech Union & US Right-Wing Funding Network,” they note, “Nafeez Ahmed’s investigation reveals that the Government’s new proposal is inspired by attempts to suppress free speech about racism. The Education Secretary’s proposal to regulate free speech at universities by appointing a national ‘free speech champion’ at the Office for Students (OfS) came from an academic defender of white identity politics who has argued that ethnic diversity in itself increases ‘white threat perceptions’.”
Ahmed reports that, “Professor Eric Kaufmann, of Birkbeck College, is an advisor to the Free Speech Union run by Toby Young, the disgraced former OfS appointee who resigned from the role after critics highlighted his history of bigoted tweets. Kaufmann first proposed the idea of a ‘national academic freedom champion’ at the OfS to investigate alleged breaches of free speech rights in a co-authored report published by the Policy Exchange think tank in November 2019. Kaufmann joined the advisory board of the Free Speech Union when it launched in February 2020, when Young publicly endorsed Kaufmann’s proposal. Young’s influence on the Government’s latest proposals raises questions, given his own role in defending scientific racism and biological theories of racial and gender inequalities.” It follows the typical ‘divide and rule’ Tory technique of racist, anti-immigrant, nationalist ‘othering!’
“Byline Times has previously exposed his defense of pseudoscience funded by the Pioneer Fund, a neo-Nazi eugenics foundation established in 1937. Among other things, the Fund’s affiliated authors, several of whom Young has openly supported, claim that black people have lower IQs than white people. Toby Young is also the man behind a free speech students network with the same name as the new OfS role, Free Speech Champions, launched in February. Although it claims to be ‘led by young people’, Byline Times can reveal that the project is, in reality, a Toby Young front trying to suppress free speech on equalities among university students.”
“Documents and email communications obtained by Byline Times, as well as interviews with students, confirm that Free Speech Champions’ network is actually controlled by its funders, the Free Speech Union and the Battle of Ideas, which is part of a network sponsored by the Charles Koch Foundation. Under the guise of promoting ‘free speech’, Toby Young’s Free Speech Champions promoted alt-right figures such as Jordan Peterson, defended the alleged speech rights of Nazis in universities, fed students an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, and discouraged students from using words such as ‘racism’ and ‘sexism’. That the Government’s new role was inspired by an academic advising Young suggests that, far from defending ‘free speech’, Gavin Williamson is attempting to shut it down to defend ‘alt-right’ speech. The Department for Education did not respond to a request for comment.”
In a move Ahmed describes as, “Promoting Free Speech for Nazis” he says, “In January, the Guardian exposed the role of the Free Speech Union in the Free Speech Champions project, interviewing a range of students who had been involved. The students eventually resigned over concerns they were ‘censured if they disagreed with the group’s right-of-centre orthodoxy’ and described Free Speech Champions as an ‘astroturfed’ front for Young’s Free Speech Union. However, the Guardian story only scratched the surface of what the Free Speech Champions project represents. The project was not conceived by any of the students described as ‘founding champions’. Instead, Inaya Folarin Iman, who sits on the board of directors of the Free Speech Union, sent unsolicited emails to students at different universities early in 2020 asking them if they wanted to join the project.”
Despite the innocuous-sounding invitation the racist agenda soon became clear. Ahmed reports that, “Students who agreed to get involved were then enrolled in a series of meetings and workshops to receive training on free speech and to help develop the project. On 9 November, Iman emailed the participants links to online videos on free speech, including one titled ‘Would Today’s ACLU Defend the Speech Rights of Nazis’, published by Reason magazine. The video calls for Nazis to be able to freely express their views. Other videos recommended by Iman included one by the controversial psychologist Jordan Peterson and another by Brendan O’Neill, the editor of Spiked magazine. Peterson, described by The Times as an ‘alt-right darling,’ has been widely criticised for claiming that gender and class hierarchies are a function of the natural order. According to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, Peterson has a track record of promoting revisionist falsehoods about Hitler, the Holocaust and Nazism.”
According to Ahmed, “Iman’s interest in defending the free speech rights of Nazis was in contrast to the opposition to students talking freely about the idea of ‘punching a Nazi’. In an email to participant Harry Walker, president of the Bristol University Free Speech Society, Iman appeared to oppose the freedom of speech to advocate punching Nazis, while simultaneously defending the right of Nazis to advocate genocide: ‘One thing I hope for this project is to see whether it’s possible to engage with the most reprehensible ideas in a way that is in the spirit of intellectual ambition, bravery and curiosity’.” I wish the example given had not mentioned a physical attack, as that isn’t essentially ‘free speech;’ it plays into the hands of a group that advocates violence.
The objective: “Shutting Down Speech about ‘Sexism’ and ‘Racism’” says Ahmed, “The Free Speech Union’s education and events director Dr Jan Macvarish was involved in steering discussions with the students from the beginning. According to Harry Walker, Macvarish ‘inexplicably sat-in on all of the meetings’ despite the students being told that the project would function independently of the Free Speech Union. WhatsApp logs reveal that, early on, she actively discouraged students from challenging racist and homophobic attitudes, describing doing so as an affront to free speech. Macvarish told the students: ‘I don’t think racism is irrational, it’s not a phobia. Neither is an objection to homosexuality.’ Macvarish described words such as ‘racism’, ‘sexism’ and ‘transphobia’ as ‘phobia’ words which, if used, would undermine free speech. She also dismissed the idea of Islamophobia: ‘If you look at who gets accused of ‘Islamophobia’ it really isn’t people who are actually oppressing and abusing Muslims though is it?”
Ahmed reports that, “In several meetings, Walker said that Macvarish ‘was railing against the notion that ‘the personal is political’, suggesting this is the issue with the discourse around gender, race and so on. She also encouraged us not to use terms like sexism, racism, transphobia, arguing that doing so was making concessions to the anti-free speech camp’. In other words, in the name of free speech, the Free Speech Union was trying to convince the students that certain words around racial, sexual and gender equality should be expunged from discourse, while words opposing racial, sexual and gender equality should be protected. Macvarish, a visiting research fellow at the University of Kent, did not respond to Byline Times‘ request for comment.” We are now seeing this exact same ‘nothing to see here’ denial culture preached by Tory Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch in Parliament and she is well supported by other privileged ethnic minority Tory MPs and right-wing BAME commentators.
Ahmed describes the, “‘Cultural Marxism’ Conspiracy Theory,” saying that, “In WhatsApp conversations, the Free Speech Union’s Inaya Folarin Iman also went on to endorse fears of ‘cultural marxism’, which she incorrectly defined as ‘rooted in a critique of the Marxist critique of capitalism’, supposedly in which certain ‘post-modernist thinkers’ moved on from Marxism to focus on identity politics such as ‘white = oppressor, non-white = oppressed (again, simple explanation)’. Her reference point was a book by James Lindsay and Helen Pluckrose called Cynical Theories: How Universities Made Everything About Race, Gender and Identity. Apart from the book offering a systematically flawed analysis of ‘critical theory’, Lindsay is funded by the conservative Christian nationalist Michael O’Fallon, who co-created a statement branding ‘social justice’ a threat to the gospel. O’Fallon is founder of Sovereign Nations, the entire remit of which is based on an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory about George Soros.”
Ahmed warns that, “Iman’s attempt to promote fear of ‘cultural marxism’ to the students is of particular concern as the term actually designates a far-right anti-Semitic conspiracy theory, thoroughly debunked by historians and quantitative analysis of academic research. Last year, the Board of Deputies criticised Conservative MP Suella Braverman for using this ‘anti-Semitic trope’. She refused to apologise and was instead made the Government’s Attorney General. As Jason Wilson has observed in the Guardian, the theory is ‘blatantly anti-Semitic, drawing on the idea of Jews as a fifth column bringing down western civilisation from within, a racist trope that has a longer history than Marxism. Like The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the theory was fabricated to order, for a special purpose: the institution and perpetuation of culture war’.”
Ahmed explains, “The theory of ‘cultural marxism’ is credited largely to white nationalist Kevin Macdonald and far-right ideologue William Lind of the Free Congress Foundation. But it originated from the Nazis, who first used the term ‘cultural Bolshevism’. It claims that a cohort of German Jewish Marxist academics behind the Frankfurt School orchestrated an academic and cultural effort to undermine the US through an ‘identity politics’-driven cultural war on US values, mobilised through the Trojan Horse of minority rights. The theory of ‘cultural Marxism’ has since become a staple of the alt-right, used by the likes of Steve Bannon, Breitbart and even neo-Nazi terrorist Anders Behring Breivik who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011.” Byline Times say, “Inaya Folarin Iman did not respond to request for comment.”
What’s in a Name? Ahmed asks, saying that, “Perhaps the most direct evidence that the Free Speech Champions project is not led by young people is the fact that, despite going through the motions of allowing the students to brainstorm together a name of their own choosing, Toby Young’s Free Speech Union forced the project to take on the title ‘Free Speech Champions’ despite it being universally rejected by all of the students. In a letter to the group on behalf of members Harry Walker, Ben Sewell, Charlotte Nuernberg and Maya Thomas, sent in December 2020, they noted: ‘It seems that many of the major decisions regarding the project (its name, and belligerent approach to the culture wars to name a few) were made executively despite the group’s advice, not as a result of it; we don’t recall ‘Free Speech Champions’ being raised as a naming suggestion.’ The letter noted that the same name had been prematurely announced by Toby Young ‘nearly a month ago on Darren Grimes ‘Reasoned’ podcast’.”
Ahmed reports that, “The students’ letter pointed out that, when participants voiced approaches different to that of the Free Speech Union, they were largely shut down: ‘Those criticising the predetermined FSU-esque direction of the project were dismissed as overly sensitive or caving to censorious factions.’ Ahmed is focused on, “The Koch Connection and the Battle of Ideas” saying that, “Young’s Free Speech Champions is plugged into an opaque network of lobby groups which are funded by the Charles Koch Foundation. Apart from the Free Speech Union, its other chief organisational sponsor is the Battle of Ideas, a charity which runs the annual flagship festival of the same name on behalf of the Academy of Ideas (formerly the Institute of Ideas), chaired by former Brexit MEP Baroness Claire Fox, who also sits on the Free Speech Union’s advisory board.”
Ahmed says, “According to a joint investigation by the Guardian and DeSmogUK, Fox and the Battle of Ideas are part of the Koch-backed Spiked network of organisations which emerged from the ashes of the Trotsksyist left Living Marxism (LM) magazine, itself a splinter of the Revolutionary Communist Party. In 2000, LM was shut down after it became bankrupt due to losing a libel trial in 2000, in which it claimed falsely that ITN had fabricated evidence of Serb atrocities against Bosnian Muslims. The same figures involved in LM, including Fox, Brendan O’Neill and Frank Furedi, resurfaced through the Spiked network in the early 2000s. It later emerged that, from 2016 to 2018, Spiked US Ltd, the network’s US fundraising vehicle, had received $300,000 from the Charles Koch Foundation to produce public debates in the US about free speech.”
Ahmed points out that, “The Spiked network’s interest in promoting ‘free speech’ is clear from what it publishes and promotes, namely opposition to bans on child pornography; regulations on tobacco; gun control; limiting hate speech; bans on Nazi free speech; Black Lives Matter; anti-racism; the Me Too movement; and so on. It also regularly promotes climate science denial. Battle of Ideas trustee Frank Furedi contributes to the Koch-funded climate denial lobby group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Another Battle of Ideas trustee is Luke Gittos, author of Why Rape Culture is a Dangerous Myth. Gittos is a lawyer with ‘extensive experience in defending allegations of rape and sexual violence’, according to the book blurb, and is also a legal editor for Spiked. The Battle of Ideas did not respond to request for comment.” In a truly nauseating Rolling Stone Article entitled, “Inside the Koch Brothers’ Toxic Empire,” you can discover the origins of their wealth and malevolent influence they have bought with that wealth.
Ahmed insists that, “It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the Free Speech Champions is merely yet another astroturfed front group for the Koch-backed Spiked network. That its backer, Toby Young’s Free Speech Union, is linked to the Government’s new free speech czar proposal indicates that the biggest threat to free speech on campus is coming from an alt-right pincer movement with ties to the Government itself.” Rolling Stone say that, “Together, Charles and David Koch control one of the world’s largest fortunes, which they are using to buy up our political system.” They are described as, “each worth more than $40 billion” and these American “‘homegrown oligarchs’ have cornered the market on Republican politics and are nakedly attempting to buy Congress and the White House. Their political network helped finance the Tea Party and powers today’s GOP.”
In contrast to toxic racist messaging now being channeled via alt-right organizations targeting students, “The Office for Students told Byline Times: ‘Free speech and academic freedom are essential elements of higher education teaching and research. Our regulatory requirements are designed to uphold the widest possible definition of free speech permitted within the law. However, we all must be clear where the law restricts speech, for example prohibiting unlawful harassment and incitements to racial or religious hatred. ‘Free speech is never an excuse for illegality or violence. It is essential that higher education is free of all unlawful discrimination, harassment and violence, and all students should feel confident that that is the case. It is vital that any student who suffers this behavior is given the support they need, and that universities deal with complaints effectively and robustly.”
Although the Rolling Stone Article refers to US politics, vile foreign manipulators like the Koch brothers, Steve Bannon and Rupert Murdoch have warped our democracy in the UK. The powerful Zionist Lobby has maneuvered into a strong position of influence over both the Tory and opposition Parties to forward the agenda of Apartheid Israel. We must oust these malevolent influences from our Universities and all aspects of our Media as well as our Political Parties because they aren’t acting in the interest of our citizens. We can no longer ignore such unacceptable incursions, so destructive to our democracy; we must protest, organize massive general strikes, robustly challenge the increasing injustices, taking legal action including demanding a full Investigation into the Covert 2019 Rigged Election, the horrendous Covid death toll and the relentless squandering of public funds since this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship took power. In Myanmar they risk death to defy dictatorship, why can’t we even muster a whimper? DO NOT MOVE ON!February 24, 2021 at 02:29 #67635Kim Sanders-Fisher
The BBC just featured a repeat of ‘Have I got News for You’ originally broadcast just the day after the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. While the show is aimed at political humour one message was abundantly clear from the two main panellists, the result had been well beyond astounding, it was simply not believable. While there were swipes from all sides, the ones pointing to the numerous very public gaffs of Boris Johnson were most noticeable. The fake claim of an ‘assault’ on one of his team, the disgrace of him refusing to look at a picture of a child improperly cared for in A&E, stealing the phone only to hand it back as if nothing in his vile conduct mattered because the votes were ‘sorted.’ The requests for him to present himself for questioning and his refusal to be interviewed, culminating in him running away to hide in a fridge! These were not the actions of a confident politician awaiting a really strong showing in the polls; it seemed everyone had expected a hung Parliament at best or even a narrow Labour victory.
This show went out during that brief period of stunned shock before the impact of what had just occurred had really sunk in. The speed of the Covert 2019 Rigged Election result announcement with what appeared like barely enough time to complete the counts, it was as if the BBC were well prepared ready to sell the scam quickly and decisively to a gob-smacked public. Despite being a truly unfathomable result that clearly no-one was expecting, due to the abysmal performance of Boris Johnson and the almost complete absence of any real campaign from the Tories, there were no interviewers eagerly questioning him, seeking to discover the secret of his astounding success: this was highly unusual and very suspicious. All of a sudden the BBC remembered that Labour MPs had fought the election; they were hurriedly called in for nauseating interviews, expected to explain how they lost so many traditional Labour seats! Many on the Labour right delighted in being able to denigrate and blame Jeremy Corbyn for losing the election.
It was a unique chance for the unfaithful Labour centrist MPs, who had been trying to sabotage Labour just to oust Corbyn, to spew their venom and they eagerly complied with our not-so-impartial broadcaster as they sought to solidify and bed-in the fake news. The BBC featured an extraordinary invitation by offering an extended period of days of collective hand-wringing, breast-beating and self-flagellation to the Labour Party to convince the public that their MPs fully supported the unbelievable result: that they really had lost the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. Dissent was not tolerated, but few dared to question the validity of the so-called Tory ‘landslide victory.’ No one wanted to be criticised as a ‘sore loser’ so talk of challenging the results was kept well under wraps. The illegal prior knowledge of the postal vote results was never really investigated and the swift result-call was passed off as ‘normal.’ Some members of the public were crying foul, but they were being drowned out by the alt-right press and the BBC.
Time and distance helped solidify the deception; so after a few short weeks of convincing the British public that black was white, that the man despised and jeered at right across the country had miraculously won by a ‘stonking majority,’ most settled into the true misery of what lay ahead. The only explanation concocted by the Tories was the bullshit about ‘borrowed votes’ and how ‘the people’ had wanted to ‘Get Brexit Done.’ After a decade of Tory austerity, the forgotten north had supposedly voted to have their own children starve and it certainly didn’t take long for ramped-up Tory deprivation to arrive. For a pathological liar like Johnson, it really wasn’t hard to come up with a catchy new theme for ‘Austerity Mark 2’ and so the ‘lev…up’ Lie was born. He needed another zero credibility massive fake pledge that he could pretend the plebs had fallen for; yes, 40 new Hospitals for their precious NHS while he got busy completing the full privatization. The Tories needed to act fast to get things done before their con trick came unravelled.
Threatening the BBC had paid off; the total absence of impartiality from the BBC and UK Media was key tp obscuring the truth and marginalizing the potential for challenge. His handler Dominic Cummings wanted more control at number 10 despite the fact that he was an unelected… geek, the PM had him to thank for that weapons-grade PsyOps selling his propaganda so effectively. But look where we are now 120,000 Covid deaths on in just over a year of his shambolic premiership. The Pandemic gifted Boris an almost God-like power very early on into his corruptly acquired Tory Sovereign Dictatorship. Those who felt the most intense pain of his jackboot on their neck now patiently await a decree to allow the privilege of being able to hold their mum’s hand in a care visit; that is the paltry relief from oppressive misery that we are now reduced to as a nation. Where is that plucky spirit ready to defy the injustice with loud protests, nationwide strikes, legal challenges, and a demand for a full Investigation into that very dodgy election result?
Johnson wasted no time in bullying his MPs into compliant submission to his dictatorial rule; the gravy-train perks of shovelling so much public money out the door in untendered contracts to placate their donors and buy future votes helped to persuade. A Court victory declaring Matt Hancock’s actions unlawful, like so many Tory transgressions, can be ignored. The public is expected to become accustomed to the new normal of zero accountability in office. It started back with Dominic Cummings refusing to appear before a Parliamentary Committee, then his violation of the lockdown rules, Priti Patel’s bullying of her staff, Robert Jenrick and fellow MPs cheating over allocation of the ‘Towns Fund,’ now it’s Matt Hancock’s inappropriate Government contracts. These minor distractions have become just a matter of refusing to resign or dismiss a miscreant then just bluffing things out for a while until we move on. Once again with compliant Press cover, a hobbled BBC, and a useful Labour stooge, all it takes is time and distance…
We cannot afford to keep moving on! In Craig Murray’s Post “The Utterly Useless Keir Starmer” he says, “Ministerial resignations should be the least of the consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic procurement corruption scandal. Ministers, MPs and their corrupt mates who benefited from these contracts should be in the dock and looking at lengthy periods of imprisonment.” So too should the Tory Prime Minister who used public money to fund paying a fake charity, ‘Integrity Inititave’ to deliberately create and disseminate fake news propaganda to defame Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn in order to steal the Covert 2019 Rigged Election. In any properly functioning democracy Boris Johnson and many of his cronies would be in jail not in office: we must fight for this just outcome. The Labour Party membership must wake-up to the fact that knight in shining armour ‘Sir Keir’ is a lying, cheating Trojan horse ushered in via alt-right Media accolades of his ‘forensic opposition,’ but dedicated to destroying the progressive Labour Left!
In the Canary Article entitled, “Keir Starmer just rallied to protect snivelling Matt Hancock,” they criticize the total lack of opposition. They say that “Matt Hancock needn’t have worried about the Labour leader savaging him on Sunday 21 February’s political TV programmes. Because Keir Starmer completely let the embattled health secretary off the hook.” They describe, “Hancock: flouting his ‘legal obligations’ The Canary reported on Saturday 20 February about a High Court ruling. As it noted: The Government is required by law to publish a ‘contract award notice’ within 30 days of the award of any contracts for public goods or services worth more than £120,000. But the Good Law Project and a cross-party group of MPs said the Tories didn’t do this and a judge agreed with them. He said: There is now no dispute that, in a substantial number of cases… [Hancock] breached his legal obligation to publish contract award notices within 30 days of the award of contracts.”
The Canary report that “There is also no dispute that… [Hancock] failed to publish redacted contracts in accordance with the transparency policy. So, were the Sunday 21 February political TV shows awash with calls for Hancock to quit? Of course not.
Starmer: let me wring my hands…” First up was Labour leader Keir Starmer on Sophy Ridge on Sunday: “Moments before, the host asked Hancock if he should resign. ‘No’, was his predictable answer. So, Ridge posed the same question to the Labour leader. Again, ‘no’ was the predictable (but ridiculous) answer. Starmer said: I don’t want to call for him to resign. I do think he’s wrong about the contracts. There’s been a lot of problems with the contracts: on transparency, on who the contracts have gone to, and there’s been a lot of wasted money and I think that is a real cause for concern. But at the moment, at this stage of the pandemic, I want all government ministers working really hard to get us through this.”
Taking a leaf out of the Johnson playbook he assumed the mantle of public consent for his spineless decision as the Canary report “He also said: But I think at this stage, calling for people to resign is not what the public really wants to see.” We the people are really furious at getting stiffed once again and Starmer cannot even manage a strong objection to the wrongdoing: both Starmer and Handcock need to go, but please take the rest of that corrupt Tory cabal out with you! The Canary report that, “Starmer thinks there have been ‘problems’ with the PPE contracts. Feel free to shout “FFS” while you read this. Because there haven’t been ‘problems’. There’s been unlawful activity from a senior government minister.”
The Canary say that “Over on The Andrew Marr Show, and things weren’t much better. Lammy: missed Starmer’s ‘hand-wringing’ memo. First up, and shadow justice secretary David Lammy was at odds with Starmer. He said that Hancock: should publish the contracts because the court has found it unlawful. He should cancel the… temporary scheme that he’s been using without any accountability or any transparency. He should come to parliament on Monday and explain what he’s going to do. It is outrageous, frankly… This is the sort of behaviour, giving contracts to your pub landlord and your best mate, that you would expect in a banana republic. Ouch. Clearly, Starmer’s ‘hand-wringing on the fence’ briefing hadn’t got to Lammy.”
Then Matt Hancock was on to defend his and the government’s actions… “Pulling on heartstrings, disaster capitalist-style.” The Canary describe how “The health secretary tried to pull on the public’s heartstrings. He said his department, ‘in the height of the pandemic’, published contacts on average within 47 days. Hancock pleaded that: my team were working seven days a week, often 18 hours a day, to get hold of the equipment that was saving lives. Indeed: ‘getting hold of equipment’ from Hancock’s family friends; Tory Party-linked firms and donors, and a hotel carpet company. Yet the health secretary repeatedly used the ‘saving lives’ line to defend his and his government’s cronyism.”
The Canary report how “Marr asked Hancock to apologise for breaching the law. He predictably didn’t.” They point out how “Hancock even had the audacity to say the country should be ‘grateful’ for his department doing its job. But of course, Hancock whitewashing cronyism, exploiting a global crisis, and showing wilful negligence is all in a days work for our disaster capitalist-led government.” Caroline Lucas Tweeted: “Listening to this again from #Marr makes me so angry. How dare Hancock suggest he broke the law to prevent shortages of PPE on the frontline? Health workers died for lack of right PPE at right time because of incompetence, cronyism & waste – does he think our memories are so short?”
In the Skwawkbox Article entitled, “Video: ‘Opposition’ leader Keir Starmer says deciding whether to oppose is a ‘difficult judgment call’,” he “claims he’s not a ‘tap-dancer’ for the Tories. Keir Starmer has appeared on LBC radio, where caller ‘Anna from Camden’ challenged him on being a ‘tap dancer’ for the Tories over his refusal to call for lawbreaker Matt Hancock to resign after the High Court ruled that Hancock’s awarding of contracts to Tory donors and mates has been unlawful. Starmer trended twice, at the same time, on social media yesterday after saying he didn’t want to call for Hancock’s resignation, despite the lawbreaking mate-enriching taking place while the Tories caused at least 150,000 needless coronavirus deaths. Starmer denied he was a tap dancer, but the ‘leader of the opposition’ went on to try to defend himself by claiming that deciding whether to oppose the Tories is a ‘difficult judgment call’: Clue’s in the job title, Keith.” Right now his fancy footwork is so good he’s looking like Fred Astair!
In the Canary Article entitled, “Centrists promised In the Forensic Keir, but delivered Flaccid Keith,” they say that, “When centrists foisted Keir Starmer on a demoralised and defeated Labour Party membership, they promised he would be ‘forensic‘. But the only word that captures the limp futility of his first year is ‘flaccid’. Forensic Keir?” They justifiably ask? “Originally, the Left rebranded Keir as ‘Keith’ to dissociate him from the Labour legend he’s named after. Keir Hardie, the Scottish trade unionist who founded the Labour Party, began working the mines at the ripe age of seven. Hardie channelled a life of classist exploitation int politics to end it, and that was the mission of the Labour Party.” Sir Keir certainly has all the sparkling personality of a glass of distilled water; no wonder he was the perfect candidate for the role of Tory Trojan horse charged with dismantling the progressive Labour Left.
The Canary elaborate, “So Starmer, a former director of public prosecutions prosecuted people he had previously defended. Not to mention the question marks over his role in covering up the undercover policing scandal. However, almost a year of impotence later, ‘Keith’ has come to epitomise Starmer’s beige banality.” The Canary doesn’t hold back in calling Starmer, “A man with all the charm of the pub bore, who’d find himself outperformed by a talking potato sack. His nasal delivery gives him the sound of a Poundland Ed Miliband, who was himself a Poundland Gordon Brown. Flaccid Keith has so far failed to land a single punch against the criminally incompetent, corrupt Johnson government. He’s had a honeymoon with the press, and the centrist Parliamentary Labour Party gave him their full backing. Yet he’s turned it into absolutely nothing. In fact, opposition has been led by unions and working people. Despite pleas for his support, Flaccid Keith either abstained or sided with government.”
How could he have known it would be this demanding to ferment the type of catastrophic political sabotage the Tories had asked of him? The Canary describe, “The middle of the road to nowhere,” saying that, “Centrism isn’t about finding an objective middle ground. It is based on the assumption that there is no alternative to capitalism. But more than that, it’s based on a belief that capitalism is good, in and of itself. There might be a few rotten apples to deal with, but no major systemic issues. All capitalism needs, centrists argue, is a better manager. They are technocrats, suspicious of democracy. If only they were in charge, all would be well. Or at least, as well as anyone deserves. Because that’s the other thing about centrists, they fully buy into basing a person’s value on their contribution to capitalism. They’re likely to say things like: ‘Socially, I’m a liberal. But economically, I’m conservative’. They believe this compromise makes them grown-ups.”
The Canary claim that, “This is a nonsense, because the two cannot be separated. Economic policy that privileges the already-wealthy over everyone else has social consequences. Those consequences are all around us. Homelessness, poor mental and physical health, addiction, suicide, all derive from this inequality.” They say that “The truth is, centrists aren’t even particularly socially liberal. If they were, they’d be confronting Apartheid in Israel rather than enabling it. They would be backing trans people in their civil rights struggle, not condemning them. They would have backed Corbyn, not assassinated him. Centrism is a vacuous ideology borne of privilege. It’s what happens when you spend too much time in the company of affluent sameness. A certain type of person starts to believe they’re better than those without, and that sense of superiority turns to contempt. So when the ‘contemptible’ working class found political expression through Jeremy Corbyn, centrists flipped their wigs.”
The Canary explain that, “There was no political vision or values behind the centrist coup. It was a tantrum thrown by bourgeois prefects for the capitalist class. Now they have the Labour party, they have literally no idea what to do with it other than nod and curtsy.” They call out Starmer as, “The empty vessel” saying that the “Centrists have spent the past year continuing the chicken coup. They’ve purged the party membership of socialists with mass suspensions. They even aimed to decapitate the movement by suspending Corbyn on bogus pretexts. They’ve buried the Forde Report and any hope of holding to account the centrist staffers responsible for racist abuse against BAME MPs and members. In short, they’ve made the party a hostile environment for anyone to the left of Margaret Thatcher.”
According to the Canary, “At the same time, Flaccid Keith couldn’t bend over fast enough for the Tories. Watching his earnest defence of the indefensible, you’d be forgiven for thinking he was a government minister. He’s meant to be the leader of the opposition. Keith has ordered his MPs to back (or abstain on) every mistake the Johnson government has made. When school staff and pupils fought the government for a safe learning environment during the pandemic, Keith sided with government. When Health Secretary Matt Hancock’s corruption was exposed in court, Keith refused to call for his resignation. Keith has done nothing but fight the left while assisting the right.” They point out that, “The result is complete irrelevance. Labour now trails in every poll and is losing ground in many. Flaccid Keith is a subject of derision and mockery. The empty vessel is sinking.” Flaccid Keith seems an appropriate condemnation of Starmer’s failure to rise to the occasion and make hard choices.
The Canary comment on how, “When Jeremy Corbyn was holding mass rallies across the country and eight points up in the polls, centrists told us he was underperforming. Tony Blair himself stated that Corbyn should have been 20 points ahead. This became the battle cry of centrists in and out of parliament. Any other leader would be 20 points ahead, they said. So how do they account for Flaccid Keith falling further behind Boris Johnson? In the 2017 election, Corbyn won the greatest swing to Labour since the post-war government of Clement Attlee. The swing to Labour was greater in 2017 than in 1997. Centrists repaid the achievement by destroying the party. Corbyn’s leadership breathed life into a dead party. Haemorrhaging votes throughout the Blair era, centrist Labour was a busted flush.”
According to the Canary, “Centrists are now trying to memory hole 2008-2017. In their world, Blair left, Corbyn took over, Labour lost, and now they’re back to win again. But this wasn’t what happened. Corbyn and socialism proved popular. So centrists joined forces with Conservatives in a five year assault on the Left to halt a popular movement,” but they point out, “Now the Left is gone, centrists are superfluous. They’re too left for the right and too far right for the left. No one wants what their selling except themselves and so they continue to stumble about, high on their own supply. Centrists have achieved nothing but civil war internally, and irrelevance externally.” They claim, “Flaccid Keith seems stuck in a groundhog day, constantly rebranding the party via mostly-ignored presentations against a purple backdrop. He’s not waving, he’s drowning.”
In the Skwawkbox Article entitled, “Video: Jeremy Corbyn shows Starmer how it’s done – telling Johnson to sack Hancock and end scandal of NHS privatisation,” they say, “Corbyn shows how it’s done and shows more Labour principle and spine that Starmer and his front bench put together. Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn gave his successor an object lesson in opposition today when he did what Keir Starmer had refused to do: demand the resignation of the law-breaking Matt Hancock, after the High Court ruled Hancock’s awards of huge NHS contracts to Tory donors and cronies during the pandemic were unlawful: View Video here. I don’t know how the centrist wimp who had done the most to promote a second vote on Brexit, supposedly key to Labour’s defeat in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election, was voted in as Leader, but surely people are missing real leadership and Labour opposition?
The Skwawkbox note, “Corbyn seemed to gently rub Starmer’s nose in it, posting out the video of his parliamentary contribution on Facebook and commenting: ‘Today I asked Boris Johnson to end the scandal of privatisation and outsourcing in our NHS and to replace the Health Secretary after he was found to have broken the law by failing to reveal contracts worth billions of pounds. These are questions to which people deserve an answer. Corbyn is not even currently a Labour MP after Labour joined Hancock in acting unlawfully, by failing to end the already-unjust withdrawal of the Labour whip last week when the period mandated by the party’s rules expired. Yet in one minute’s intervention he showed more Labour principles and backbone than Starmer’s whole front bench.” Labour will remain floundering in the wilderness until they finally unite under honest, trustworthy, genuine progressive Left leadership after Jeremy Corbyn returns to provide robust Labour opposition. We will need to do a lot better to Get The Tories Out! DO NOT MOVE ON!February 25, 2021 at 02:03 #67658Kim Sanders-Fisher
The spirit of collaborative cross-party support that Sir Keir Starmer uses as an excuse for his spineless lack of opposition to the shambolic policy decisions of this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship are a lop-sided fxxk-you to all elected MPs. I say all because Tory MPs have no real choice in Johnson’s ‘my way or the highway’ corrupt Tory cabal; we have almost reached the point where there is no real ability for Parliament to continue functioning at all. In an ongoing display of utter contempt, even Rishi Sunak failed to attend the debate on a Labour motion that was a targeted appeal to the Chancellor regarding the upcoming budget. In the Labour List Article entitled, “MPs pass motion calling on Sunak to cancel ‘triple-hammer blow’ to families,” Elliot Chappell reports on yet another disgraceful Tory no show. He says, “MPs have passed by 253 votes, with Tories abstaining, a Labour motion calling on Rishi Sunak to abandon the planned cut to Universal Credit, the upcoming council tax rises and the public sector pay freeze.”
Chappell reported on Tuesday that, “Opening the debate for Labour this afternoon, Anneliese Dodds described a ‘triple-hammer blow to family finances’ and warned that the Chancellor is pressing ahead with ‘economically illiterate’ plans that will stifle demand in the economy. The Shadow Chancellor told MPs today that Sunak ‘faces a choice’ next week as the March Budget is a ‘pivotal moment’ for the country and urged the government to learn from the mistakes of the pandemic and the past 11 years. She argued that Conservative austerity imposed since the financial crash in 2008, which saw wages ‘flatline’ for a decade and household costs rise, had left the country with a ‘worryingly low level of resilience’ ahead of the pandemic.” The problem is that any concession on this issue will mean admitting that the devastating decade of austerity wasn’t just a serious mistake, it was a deadly error that is estimated to have cost 120,000 lives even before the shambolic handling of Covid doubled that death toll.
There is zero likelihood that this corrupt Tory Government will admit that their warped austerity agenda that forced the working poor into destitution via austerity was wrong. This was a conscious ideological choice, not a financial necessity which raises the issue of culpability for the needless deaths. Chappell reported that “Dodds said the damage done to the economy and to public health over the past year ‘didn’t need to be as severe’ as it had, and criticised Sunak for failing to understand that ‘the health crisis and the economic crisis are not separable’. ‘If economic support does not go hand-in-hand with the imposition of necessary public health restrictions, then we cannot get a grip on the virus nor will economic activity return to normal,’ she told the government minister. ‘If infections are not reduced, not only will restrictions be in place for longer but people will lack the confidence needed to get out and start spending again. Yet, time and again, the Chancellor has sought to pull back economic support with the virus still raging’.”
Chappell noted that “The Shadow Chancellor highlighted the attempt from Sunak to roll back the furlough scheme last year, and the subsequent the ‘11th hour’ U-turn to extend the job support programme just hours before it was due to come to an end.” This was unbelievably cruel to leave so many truly desperate people in limbo right up to the last minute and they look like doing the same again in callous response to this motion. Yet the BBC continue talking up their ‘lev..up’ lie and it keeps appearing in the press in total denial of the reality of the ruthless Tory assault on the poor. This vomit-worthy lie is what Starmer should be ranting about at PMQ, not that the PM or any of his Tories mates believe in accountability as they adamantly refuse to apologise. Chappell quotes, “Coronavirus may have closed much of our economy, but this government’s approach is crashing it,” Dodds said. “Next Wednesday is a chance to change course. To learn from these mistakes, not just of these 11 months but of the last 11 years.”
Chappell said “Dodds today urged the Chancellor to “harness the spirit of unity and solidarity” in the crisis by allowing those who have saved to invest in ‘British recovery bonds’, a proposal unveiled in a recent speech by Labour leader Keir Starmer last week.
She reiterated Labour’s call for the government to allow businesses to pay back Covid loans once they are making money, and to expand the start-up loan scheme to support the creation of 100,000 new businesses over the next five years. She said: ‘We need a new approach. A government that is on people’s side, that understand the value of public services, that gives families and businesses the security they need in the tough times and offers them hope in the years to come’. Sunak will unveil the Budget on March 3rd. He has refused to make announcements ahead of the statement but is expected to defer plans for significant tax increases and extend support schemes including furlough and business interruption loans.”
Chappell reported that “Left Labour MP Nadia Whittome urged ‘courage’ from the Chancellor, likening the moment to the post-war period, and called for a national care service, a green new deal, a long-term ban on evictions and a pay rise for key workers. Zarah Sultana MP emphasised the need for ‘ambition’. She argued: ‘This isn’t a time for tinkering around the edges. It’s 40 years of neoliberalism that got us here in the first place and we can’t go back to that. So let this be our 1945 moment’. ‘We must make a different choice. We must choose not the smallest state but an active and empowering state. We must renew our public services, not starve them of resources’,” Mention of 1945 will have sounded a ‘Socialist’ alarm bell for the Tories. He said, “Labour’s Angela Rayner told the Commons. Echoing lines from Starmer’s recent speech on the economy, she added: ‘As we seek to recover from this crisis, the state must work in partnership with business to lay the foundations of our future success and prosperity’.”
Chappell noted that “Stressing low levels of statutory sick pay and zero-hours contracts, Labour MP Olivia Blake said: ‘Low pay and insecurity in our economy has created a perfect storm for transmitting the virus and the government has failed to learn the lessons. Throughout the pandemic, the government’s ‘whatever-it-takes’ rhetoric has rung hollow as for the past decade it has downgraded the public sector’s ability to respond to a crisis,’ the Labour MP for Luton South, Rachel Hopkins told MPs today. Housing, Communities and Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick told local authorities in March last year that ‘the government will do whatever is necessary to support their efforts to combat the impact of the virus in their communities. But analysis released last year showed that nine out of ten major local authorities in England do not have enough money to cover their spending plans this year and that the pandemic could result in them going £1.7bn over budget.”
Funding that is vital to the survival of ordinary working families remains left up to a last-ditch reprieve from a millionaire Chancellor so removed from the reality of ordinary mortals that he feels justified in ‘playing-God’ with the less fortunate and totally destitute. According to Chappell, “Labour has repeatedly urged the government to provide more money to local councils instead of forcing the authorities to implement a near-mandatory increase in council tax this April to make up for lost funding. Sunak was not present for the debate this afternoon. Shadow apprenticeships minister Toby Perkins commented: ‘I don’t suspect that’s because he’s publicity shy… I suspect he doesn’t want to be associated with the Tory policies of the past.’ The government continued with Boris Johnson’s new policy today, adopted last month in the face of motions on free school meals and the Universal Credit cut, of ignoring opposition day motions and instructing Tory MPs to abstain.”
Despite all of the genuinely desperate need throughout the UK, the one consideration hinted at in the Media is an extension of the Stamp Duty relief in order to stimulate the house buying market, a nice perk for those who aren’t facing severe hardship, imminent eviction or struggling to feed their families; this costly tax give-away is hardly a dire necessity! Labour List has included a copy of the full text of the motion tabled by the opposition, in one long, breathless mega paragraph that starts with a strong admonishment of past policy mistakes and their negative impact so far. It begins, “That this House believes that the last decade of UK economic policy weakened the foundations of this country’s economy and society, leaving the UK particularly vulnerable when the coronavirus crisis hit; further believes that many government choices and actions during the coronavirus pandemic have exacerbated the problems that the pandemic has caused, leading to the UK suffering the worst economic crisis of any major economy;…”
The motion concludes with: “…Calls on the government, as the UK emerges out of the pandemic, to address the deep inequalities and injustices in this country and take the UK forward to a stronger, more prosperous future through a new partnership between an active state and enterprising business; further calls on the government to protect family finances by reversing the planned £20 cut in Universal Credit, reversing the key worker pay freeze and providing councils with the funding they need to prevent huge rises in council tax; and calls on the government to introduce a new British recovery bond to allow people who have accumulated savings during the pandemic to have a proper stake in Britain’s future and to back a new generation of British entrepreneurs by providing start-up loans for 100,000 new businesses.”
The advice of the former Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell puts Sir Keir Starmer’s feeble input to shame as is readily apparent in the Independent Article entitled, “Impose windfall tax on pandemic profits to wipe the debt slate clean, says McDonnell.” They report his claim that “Many Britons facing ‘long trail of hardship’ after Covid is gone,” saying that, “McDonnell has called for a windfall tax on those who have profited from the coronavirus pandemic to pay to cancel households debts caused by the crisis. Writing in The Independent, Mr McDonnell said it was time to ‘wipe the slate clean’ on high-cost and unmanageable debt built up by millions of Britons, including many key workers who have fought on the Covid-19 frontline?”
The Independent highlight that, “In a swipe at Sir Keir Starmer’s high-profile economic speech on Thursday, which was criticised for containing only modest proposals for reform, he said: ‘There is a time for framing speeches and political positioning but there is also a time to get angry and a time to demand immediate action to help people survive’. Mr McDonnell cited Citizens Advice warnings that an estimated 6 million people, including more than 20 per cent of key workers, have fallen behind on bills because of Covid-19.” McDonnell said, “that number in severe problem debt is believed to have doubled to 1.2 million during the crisis. The former shadow chancellor called for a Debt Charter to deal with the causes and consequences of debt. Improved benefits and a £10-an-hour living wage, along with restored universal basic services, should be deployed to prevent people from getting into debt in the first place, he said.” Far from seeing wages go up it’s more likely they will fall due to ‘fire and rehire’ or zero-hours contracts.
The Independent report that “He called for a cap on interest rate charges and a ceiling on overdraft fees and interest payments to ‘rebalance power between lenders and the indebted’. He said bailiff visits should be suspended at least until the whole of the UK has been vaccinated against Covid-19. In his most radical proposal, Mr McDonnell said: ‘We need to wipe the slate clean. That means a comprehensive package of debt cancellation, beginning with the worst kinds of debt: including high-cost debt, old debt, unmanageable rent and student debt, backed by a windfall tax on those that have profited from the pandemic’. Writing ahead of Rishi Sunak’s Budget on 3 March, Mr McDonnell said the chancellor had “virtually ignored the debt burden many people have been forced to take on over the last 10 months as their incomes have either been cut or dried up totally”. I fear the Tory jackboot will not be taken off our necks any time soon; the only way to effect change is to remove Trojan horse Starmer and the Tories from office.
According to the Independent, “The Bank of England’s Andy Haldane has predicted a ‘coiled spring of demand’ from people wanting to spend savings built up during the pandemic.” This was a typical comment from a person so completely out of touch with the reality for the majority of Brits that it is beyond insulting. But Mr McDonnell told the Independent that, “other Britons were facing ‘a long trail of hardship, poverty and unmanageable personal debt unwinding’ because of financial problems caused by Covid. ‘Debt is an issue neglected by politicians for too long,’ wrote the former shadow chancellor. ‘The time for action has come’.” It is hard to imagine how abandoned our young people feel after being coaxed back to high-cost Halls accommodation where they were trapped during online tuition that they could just as easily complete at home. Students locked into accommodation contracts, despite moving away from campus, are saddled with this debt on top of over £9000 a year in tuition fees for a limited learning experience.
But the Tories do not care about young people at all, there is no financial support and their job prospects after investing in costly education are abysmal. Mike Sivier comments on the debt relief alternative for those hit hard by Covid in his Vox Political Article entitled, “Windfall tax on pandemic profits should wipe out Covid-19 related debt says McDonnell.” If we hadn’t been cheated out of a Labour victory in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election as Sivier says of McDonnell he, “would have revolutionised the UK’s economy. Instead, the Tories have saddled one-tenth of the population with debt so great that they cannot pay their regular bills.” He notes, “A former Shadow Chancellor has proposed a radical set of plans to clear the debt created by the Tory government’s cack-handed handling of the Covid-19 crisis. John McDonnell pointed out that the richest firms in the UK have profited hand-over-fist during the crisis, and should pay a windfall tax to help pay for the measures to end it, which would ultimately help them, of course.”
Siveir claims that “His proposals were not an attack on businesses, though – they were a criticism of a speech by current Labour leader Keir Starmer, whose best idea was to get members of the public to give all the money they have managed to save during the crisis to a new investment bank, meaning the nation’s poorest would foot the bill (again). What a socialist Starmer is!” He too emphasizes the point that, “In fact, according to Citizens Advice, more than six million people have fallen behind on their bills because of Covid-related hardship and the number in severe, problem debt has doubled to 1.2 million. They don’t have any spare cash for castle-in-the-air investment banks!” This was such an out-of-touch obvious ‘business as usual’ neocon proposal from Starmer, no wonder it has been heavily criticized by the progressive Left: at least those who have yet to be gagged or expelled for daring to speak their mind! We have zero opposition under Starmer and he needs to go ASAP s we can Get The Tories Out!
Siveir hails the constructive solution proposed by McDonnell, who said “a comprehensive package of debt cancellation was needed to get the UK back on its feet, including high-cost debt, old debt, unmanageable rent and student debt, all to be supported by a windfall tax on businesses that have raked in billions of pounds over the last year.” One of Starmer’s loyal centrist followers, James Murray Shadow Financial Secretary to the Treasury was eager to tell Politics Live that there should be no new taxes any time soon as he tried hard to marginalize McDonnell’s the progressive Socialist input of getting the excessively wealthy to stump up. While he managed to identify deficiencies in the Tory Government’s ‘Catch-Up’ scheme as he focused on the lack of support for children’s mental health. He attacked the Tory defunding of Councils that has forced them to keep hiking Council tax, he was under pressure easily cornered into ruled out any tax increase on top earners and the windfall tax even if the Tories put that forward.
Although there were questions re the continuation of the Furlough scheme and the vital extra £20 Universal Credit amount, the Tories are taking this to the wire, just to ramp-up the unnecessary anxiety across the nation while they delight in playing-God. James Murray tried to claim that McDonnall was in full support of the limp Labour Leadership under Starmer, but he simply is not. Siveir reports that McDonnell, “Called for the creation of a ‘Debt Charter’ to tackle the causes and consequences of debt in UK society. Improved benefits and a £10-an-hour living wage, along with restored universal basic services, should be deployed to prevent people from getting into debt in the first place, he said. He called for a cap on interest rate charges and a ceiling on overdraft fees and interest payments to ‘rebalance power between lenders and the indebted’.” McDonnell also identified that, “bailiff visits should be suspended at least until the whole of the UK has been vaccinated against Covid-19.”
Silver insists that “This is the kind of thinking, we need at this time. We could have had it, too, if only millions of people had not been hoodwinked by anti-Labour propaganda at the 2019 general election, including a Tory campaign that was found to be more than 80 per cent lies. So if you find yourself struggling with debt for years to come, while the Tories, their client media and their business-oriented donors tell you you’ve never had it so good, just remember that you could have had it better.” Siveir stresses that we must “remind everybody you know not to be fooled again.” Personally I still believe that not so many were tricked into ‘lending’ their votes; that in reality their votes were stolen in the Covert 2019 Rigged Election and this still needs to be fully Investigated. The public have been fooled into thinking this was a free and fair election, but it the Tories are allowed to get away with this injustice once it will become the norm just as the zero accountability precedent has been normalized by this Tory Sovereign Dictatorship. DO NOT MOVE ON!