Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Ye Livingstone Formulatione On Antisemitisme

You have all probably seen the current madness over the Bayeux Tapestry. So some wags have created this brilliant online Bayeux generator, which you can use to create your own designs.

So, with all the various news items about anti-Semitism and the left this week (mostly, sad to say, referencing the Labour Party), I'm afraid I couldn't resist creating this:

At the risk of labouring the point, this is the way the hard left (and certain members of Momentum, in particular) often counter-attack accusations of anti-Semitism by saying "no, mate - I was just criticising Israel, can't you tell the difference?"

Thanks to James Mendelsohn for reminding me that this type of bad-faith accusation, levelled at Jews, was memorably named by writer David Hirsh as "The Livingstone Formulation", after our dear friend Ken who has made great strides in popularising this odious technique (see Centre Lefts passim).

Thursday, 18 January 2018

We need to talk about Momentum and anti-Semitism

Momentum is on a roll. It has just secured three places on Labour’s NEC. It is now on course to easily force deselections in seats where it does not like the sitting MP. It has also, as its first act in that newly-constituted NEC, just ousted the long-serving head of the Disputes Committee, Ann Black, on the left of the party – the Campaign Group, no less – but widely respected as fair and neutral.

“Fair” and “neutral” are words that we might struggle a little more to apply to her replacement, Christine Shawcroft. Shawcroft, you may remember, was one of the few party members who supported disgraced Tower Hamlets mayor, Lutfur Rahman, after he had been forced from office for electoral fraud and had not even been a party member for five years. A trick which got her suspended from the party (now reinstated). Amazingly, she was still defending him on Tuesday as the victim of “a terrible miscarriage of justice” (Rahman was also struck off as a solicitor a month ago).



Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Justice, o sweet justice

For the record, I am not a vengeful person and honestly consider desire revenge to be the lowest of emotions. It is difficult, however, not to occasionally appreciate justice when you see it, especially when it is poetic.

I also realise that to some this will be old news. However, in the course of writing this week's Labour Uncut piece, I have discovered that former Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, was a month ago struck off the register as a solicitor and left to pay £86,300 in costs. Shame!

Yes, the Lutfur Rahman that once tried to have me arrested on a specious charge after I wrote critical things about him, was not only tried and convicted of electoral fraud in 2015 but is now no longer allowed to practice as a lawyer, on the grounds that he essentially can't be trusted. 

And yes, o litigious Mr Rahman, I think that is a reasonable summing up of what the regulator said about you. Only surprising is that he has somehow escaped criminal prosecution, but hey.

Justice, o sweet justice.

Monday, 8 January 2018

2018: The year of still living dangerously

If you thought 2017 was a disturbing time for world geopolitics, hang on to your hats. Last January we wrote about the potential bear-traps of a Trump presidency. One year into it, they are all still there and mostly look worse.

Current situations in Iran, North Korea, Syria, Ukraine and the Baltic states all look like either remaining, or escalating into, serious conflicts during 2018. Worse than that, we live in genuinely unstable times where the historical precedents are not great.

Aggressive powers – mostly Russia and its client states – have been appeased over recent years in a manner eerily reminiscent of the way fascist powers (Germany, Italy and Japan) were appeased in the 1930s, also following a few years after a major financial crisis and world recession. And that decade didn’t end too well.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

If there is hope for Labour, it lies in the collision course being set with unions over workers’ rights

“If there is hope, it lies in the proles”, wrote George Orwell in 1984. If we ignore the negative connotations of the word and interpret the word “prole” to mean simply “workers”, he might have had a point with a direct resonance for Brexit Britain.

It has been apparent for some time that the legitimate arguments of Leavers in favour of a Britain which would “take back control” were not generally made with the intention of increasing protections for workers. Naturally we might expect Tory or UKIP voters to be less interested in such protections (even among Tory Remainers), and even keen to remove them to have a supposedly “more dynamic, less red tape” economy.

And although evidently a significant portion of Labour voters (I calculate it at around 2.9m voters*) still voted Leave, given that this segment was less than 10% of the voting population, it still seems believable that the inhabitants of this modest demographic were either (a) further-to-the-left middle-class voters, who did not require such protections and further, felt it more important that the EU was preventing Britain becoming the standalone socialist paradise envisaged by Corbyn; or (b) people on more modest incomes who were simply unaware of the impact on protections that the EU afforded them and how they personally might miss them once they were gone.

And that is because in a party of “the many”, any other explanation would imply a significant number of turkeys deliberately voting for Xmas. The reality is unarguable that there are a number of basic workers’ protections which would suddenly vanish in the event of a poor deal (just ten are listed here); an outcome more Bermuda than Switzerland, certainly.


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