Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Manchester's punishment beating

For anyone following the story about Andy Burnham's negotiations with the government on behalf of Greater Manchester, it is easy to dismiss it as "playing politics" and many have in recent days. 

Easy, that is, until you read this: 

This is an insult, to give them roughly a quarter, per capita, of what other areas are getting

It is difficult to escape the conclusion that this is a petty punishment beating, meted out to Burnham for having the temerity to stand up for his constituents.

What a government. What a time to be alive.


UPDATE 22:00: Government has insisted on Tier 3 lockdown anyway and dug its heels in with the £22m. This will be an entirely preventable disaster for Manchester, inflicted by a petulant and incompetent government. 

UPDATE 21/10/2020 15:00: Johnson has today announced at PMQs that he will in fact give Greater Manchester £60m - only £5m less than Burnham asked for - after a letter was written by six Tory GM MPs. But it will be allocated directly to councils (presumably government will choose the split), rather than allocated to the Mayor as a pot. So the government knew that it was not politically feasible to punish Manchester, did it anyway and then rowed back today, trying to save face by blaming it all on Burnham, who was merely doing his job.

Apart from the clear pettiness, a quite unnecessary PR disaster for the government with the people of Manchester, who may now kick out their new, former "Red Wall", Tory MPs. Honestly, you couldn't make this stuff up.

Tuesday, 13 October 2020

We need to talk about where the trans self-id debate is taking Labour


Last Tuesday, Deputy Leader Angela Rayner stated her view that Rosie Duffield – yes, the Rosie Duffield who has been a champion of women’s rights and bravely declared her own domestic abuse story to Parliament – should “reflect” on the fact that she had “liked” a tweet which described transgender people as “cross-dressers”.

Although Rayner attempted to paint the debate as “toxic”, with “both sides” needing to calm down, this was a somewhat disingenuous deflection; there is no doubt about which “side” she herself has chosen and her criticism of Duffield was clear enough. She was felt to be “upsetting” people.

It is also well documented that, during the leadership campaign earlier this year, Rayner – along with Lisa Nandy and Corbynite challenger Rebecca Long-Bailey – enthusiastically endorsed the idea of self-id for trans folk.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Crank Labour stops pretending: and a rather important meeting

Embedded video
As Keir Starmer puts in two commendable first performances at PMQs, so the upper echelons of the Corbynite house of cards, thankfully, continue to collapse.

The Crank Labour caucus has largely reverted to type in an overt way: one wild fringe in a Zoom conference a couple of weeks back claimed that Labour is institutionally racist against black members, in order to muddy the waters as much as possible against the anti-Semitism accusations and, clumsily, to try and discredit the EHRC before it reports on Labour.

And that Zoom conference was nothing to a second one, a few days later, peddling a similar victim-narrative and where MPs Diane Abbott and Bell Ribeiro-Addy were snapped rubbing shoulders with a veritable Who’s Who of left anti-Semites, such as Tony Greenstein and Jackie Walker (h/t: Lee Harpin).

It is no longer, it seems, necessary to keep up pretences of common sense or decency.

Monday, 20 April 2020

The Corbynite leadership’s final, scorched-earth, rearguard action

Image result for scorched earth imagesIt was all going so well: but a matter of days following the election of Keir Starmer as Labour’s new leader and it is convulsing itself over the scandal of a report, leaked widely, containing sensitive, personal information and also making serious allegations about current and past staffers, not to mention various members and non-members.

It has the makings of a PR disaster of epic proportions which, thanks to Covid-19, national media has not yet given the prominence it is likely to have in future. But it will: make no mistake about its seriousness. It could even bankrupt the party, or some of its individual figures.

Corbyn himself is gone, of course. But this week we discovered, not to much surprise, that the report was commissioned by his last lieutenant: the party’s General Secretary, Jennie Formby.

You do not have to agree that Formby created a climate of fear and bullying at Labour HQ; or that she allowed unresolved anti-Semitism complaints to balloon on her watch and then disingenuously blamed the problem on her predecessor, although there is ample evidence for both these things. But they are opinions.

Where one has to despair with some party members over recent days, in uproar on Labour’s social media echo chamber, is the wilful blindness to the following actual facts:

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

The party, the party, the party: an eight-point plan to save Labour from itself


Dyntra - The Transparency of Labour Party
We have now had the Shadow Cabinet appointments. While a few have raised eyebrows among moderates – not least the reappearance of that self-same Miliband who helped get us into this mess in the first place – it is not a bad selection from the limited numbers of available MPs.

Its significance will be dissected for weeks by the Westminster lobby, because that is what they see – the Westminster face of the party. But the first thing we members need to realise is that the Shadow Cabinet and, indeed, party policy in times of Covid-19, is a sideshow.

Let’s not forget: the party is finally out of immediate danger, but it is still in intensive care.

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