Thursday, 15 November 2018

Councillor Watch: Day One

Hilariously, the third attempt to put me on trial is due to begin on 1st April. That will be one year after the second failed attempt, and two years after I was charged. 

The only purpose of this whole business has been to stop me from standing for Durham County Council (failed), to stop me from being elected (succeeded, because nothing else would have done), and to stop me from standing for Parliament (also doomed to fail, if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign).

No one, absolutely no one at all, has ever suggested that I committed the acts alleged, or even that those acts ever really took place.

Specifically, until such time as they notify otherwise to, then it is a matter of record that not only does every member of Durham County Council believe me to be innocent of the charges against me, but every member of Durham County Council believes that the acts alleged never happened in actual fact.

This post will appear here daily until further notice.

Resigned To Their Fate

In the future, said Andy Warhol, everyone will be Brexit Secretary for 15 minutes. 

Meanwhile, Esther McVey has voluntarily made herself unemployed, and has therefore been refused Universal Credit.

Unsafe Space

If the Oxford Union will not have Steve Bannon and give him the same hell that it would give anyone else, then what is the point of the Oxford Union?

But Bannon would be more than welcome to come to North West Durham and debate against me and the audience.

We have a lot of working-class white men in these parts, so what would he be so afraid of?

He might prefer a classier venue (so much for the working-class white men, then), but the classier venues are refusing to host him.

Any other parliamentary candidate for North West Durham who felt like gracing the platform would also be more than welcome.

Their absence would speak at least as forcefully as anything that they might turn up and say.

Steve Bannon's people, please email, and let's do this.

With Lordly Disdain

No one ever thought that sleeping with Lord Lester would have anything to do with securing a peerage.

This whole thing should be dismissed out of hand.

Deal With It

Conservative resignations and rebellions are academic. There was already no majority for the Brexit deal.

Every non-Conservative MP was going to vote against it, and those comprise the overall majority of the House of Commons. Anything more is decoration.

Especially when it comes from a political tendency, the Conservative Right, that would lose its deposit in every constituency if it put up as itself.

On last night's Newsnight, Iain Dale, who is one of the closest allies of David Davis, said that in a second referendum, in a choice between this and Remain, then even Remain would be preferable. Quite.

But Theresa May would sail through a confidence vote among Conservative MPs. There is no way that 159 of them are going to vote against her.

We are back to John Redwood's comical Leadership challenge in 1995, with a strikingly similar cast of characters, telegenic if you like that kind of thing, but nothing more than that.

Nor, so long as Theresa May kept the money flowing, would there be any reason to assume that the DUP would vote against the Government on a Motion of Confidence.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Here I Stand

A General Election could come at any moment, and it does have to come at some point. It will certainly result in another hung Parliament, meaning that one MP will be able to make a huge amount of difference. Here in North West Durham, it has become a commonplace that the Labour Party, the Conservative Party and I are each on 30 per cent support, so that any one of us could be the First Past the Post.

I have no interest in being a paper candidate. But I will stand if I can raise the £10,000 necessary to mount a serious campaign. Anyone in a position to help, however much or little, please contact for details of how this will be funded through an unincorporated association, a fully legal means much favoured by the Conservative Party, which preserves absolute confidentiality and which will not in any sense be my own personal income.

My candidacy is already providing so distressing to the powers that be, that they have already spent a year and a half trying and failing to try me for an offence that no one even believes ever took place. The third attempt at a trial is hilariously due to begin on 1st April, a year after the second one, and two years after I was charged. Until such time as they say otherwise, and they are free to contact the email address above, then it is a matter of record that not only does every member of Durham County Council believe me to be innocent of the charges against me, but every member of Durham County Council believes that the acts alleged never happened in actual fact.

Now, to serious business instead. I am a local, experienced and inclusive candidate whose radically practical polices are rooted in radically traditional values.

A Local, Experienced, Inclusive Candidate

I was born in 1977, and I have lived in North West Durham since 1982. I never went to school anywhere else, and I went to university at Durham. I was an elected member of Lanchester Parish Council from 1999 to 2013, a governor (including a time as Vice Chair) of Lanchester Endowed Parochial Primary School from 1999 to 2007, and a governor of Saint Bede’s from 2000 to 2008. I am currently one of Derwentside’s elected public governors of County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust; to the best of my knowledge, I am the only person ever to have been elected to that Council of Governors unopposed. I have had several periods of involvement with Willow Burn Hospice over the last 25 years.

I am both a product and a feature of the political pluralism of North West Durham, where Labour holds fewer than half of the County Council seats, where the Conservative parliamentary candidate won 34 per cent of the vote last year, where the Liberal Democrat candidate cut the Labour majority in half in 2010, and where an Independent kept his deposit both in 2005 and in 2010. Wear Valley was controlled for a time by the Liberal Democrats, who remained numerous on it until its abolition. Derwentside was in practice controlled by an alliance between the Independents and that section of the local Labour Party which now supports my parliamentary candidacy; its Leader from that time, Councillor Alex Watson OBE, is one of my Campaign Patrons. My other Campaign Patron is Davey Ayre, a legendary local trade unionist. 

As an example of my political approach, at the 2017 Election to Lanchester Parish Council, I voted for 15 candidates who were variously Labour, Independent, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, and of No Description. 12 of my choices were elected, covering the first four of those five categories. The treatment of the County Durham Teaching Assistants made it impossible for me to vote Labour either for the County Council or for the House of Commons in 2017. For the record, I voted for myself and an Independent for the Council, and I voted for the Teaching Assistants’ Liberal Democrat champion, Owen Temple, for Parliament.

I am firmly a man of the Left, committed to economic equality and to international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends. In the struggle for economic equality, the leading role belongs to the working class, of which the leading part is the trade union and co-operative movements. In the struggle for international peace, the leading role belongs to the working class and to the youth. Although I have now been out of the Labour Party for far longer than I was ever in it, I am a committed but critical supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, who has opened up the debate on economic and foreign policy for the first time in a generation. I am not a Marxist. Straightforwardly, I do not believe in dialectical materialism. Nor do I believe in Marxism’s sense of its own inevitability. We have had to fight for everything that we have gained, and we have to fight to save it.

Rather, I stand in the pro-business tradition that has come down from the ultraconservative figures of Colbert and Bismarck, via the Liberals Keynes and Beveridge, to the Attlee Government, and which held sway in Britain until the Attlee Government’s turn to monetarism in 1977. That tradition corresponds closely but critically to the Hamiltonian American System as expanded by the American School, a pro-business tradition that between the 1860s and the 1970s worked to make the United States the world’s largest economy, with the world’s highest standard of living, culminating in the glorious achievements of the New Deal, which in turn made possible the rise and triumph victory of the Civil Rights movement.

That was achieved, by Democrats and Republicans alike, through the strict division between investment banking and retail banking, with large amounts of federal credit (in Britain, that would be central government credit), at low interest rates and over a long term, to build great national projects, notably enormous expansions in infrastructure, which then paid for themselves many times over. There were pro-business tariffs and subsidies, and there was a pro-business National Bank to promote the growth of productive enterprises rather than speculation. Britain and America both need a lot more of this today. North West Durham needs it more than most.

Therefore, I would appoint an Independent, a Labourite, a Conservative and a Liberal Democrat in each of the County Wards, ideally including at least one person in each of the former District Wards, to work with me and with local people. I would also appoint a Policy Advisor from within each of the Independent, Labour, Conservative, and Liberal Democrat blocs, and I hereby offer first refusal on that Labour position to my old comrade Neil Fleming, who is now living here again after his time as Head of Press and Broadcasting for the Labour Party and as its London Regional Director.

The price of my support for any Government in the coming hung Parliament would be the necessary support for a number of projects in each of the former District Wards equal to the former number of District Councillors, together with justice for the 472 Teaching Assistants whose pay Durham County Council had cut by 23 per cent, and together with the implementation of the plan for the rail service in the North of England that was recently advanced by well over 20 local and regional newspapers, most of which have never supported Labour, and only one of which did so last year. And yes, I do mean the price of my support for any Government. Even a Government that was headed by Jeremy Corbyn.

Two of the three such projects in Lanchester would be the restoration of the full bus service and the construction of adequate flood defences, while one in Weardale would be the saving of the Sixth Form at Wolsingham. The present MP for North West Durham has appointed as her Political Advisor the man whose political advice led the Teaching Assistants to their present predicament.

I am now working with all of the non-Labour members of Durham County Council and with the trade unions, to bring Volkswagen’s production for the British market to County Durham after, or even before, Brexit. I am more than open to further suggestions along similar lines. Among many other things, this project will guarantee the financial future of the Durham Miners’ Gala and of the Durham Miners’ Hall. The absence of the County Council Labour Group is that Group’s own sorry fault. I unreservedly condemn the decision of that Group to award to the Kier Group, with its history of blacklisting, the contract to build the new headquarters of Durham County Council.

I strongly support the exploitation of the vast reserves of coal in this country and in this county. That, and the extension of civil nuclear power, are the means of delivering highly paid, highly skilled, high status, unionised jobs while securing independence from Arab oil, from Russian gas, and from coal that has been mined using child and slave labour. From North Korea, Donald Trump intends his dynasty to supply a dependent world with the coal of the Kim dynasty deep into the twenty-second century. Yet we have our own, right here under our feet. Horror stories about how coal was burned or mined in the Britain of the twentieth century have no relevance to the Britain of the twenty-first. At the same time, I am totally opposed to the open-casting of the Pont Valley or anywhere else, digging up hardly any coal while employing hardly anyone. On those same grounds, I am also totally opposed to fracking.

I would co-operate with people of all parties and none, in order to implement Theresa May’s original Prime Ministerial agenda of workers’ and consumers’ representation in corporate governance, of shareholders’ control over executive pay, of restrictions on pay differentials within companies, of an investment-based Industrial Strategy and infrastructure programme, of greatly increased housebuilding, of action against tax avoidance, of a ban on public contracts for tax-avoiding companies, of a cap on energy prices, of banning or greatly restricting foreign takeovers, of a ban on unpaid internships, and of an inquiry into Orgreave, while returning to her world-leading record of work against human trafficking and modern slavery, not least now that slavery has returned to Libya.

As the Member of Parliament for North West Durham, my Westminster office would be a global centre for the broadly based opposition and alternative to neoliberal economic policy and to neoconservative foreign policy, strongly asserting that that opposition and that alternative were the real centre ground. My candidacy is already endorsed by Dr Philip M. Giraldi, Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, Washington, D.C.; former CIA counterterrorism specialist and military intelligence officer; and foreign policy advisor to the 2008 Presidential campaign of Ron Paul. It also endorsed by Dr Leon Hadar of Chevy Chase, Maryland, and of Tel Aviv, Israel; Contributing Editor of The American Conservative; Commentator, Quillette; Washington Correspondent and Columnist, The Business Times, Singapore; and foreign policy advisor to the 2008 Presidential campaign of Ron Paul.

Radically Practical Policies

In central and local government until 1979, the Conservatives used to take housing at least as seriously as anyone else did. But since 1997, even Labour in government has failed miserably on this issue.

We need a minimum of 100,000 new homes every year for at least 10 years, including council homes with an end to the Right to Buy, with the capital receipts from council house sales released in order to build more council housing, and with councils empowered to borrow to that end. We need a minimum of 50 per cent of any new development to be dedicated to affordable housing, with affordability defined as 50 per cent of average rents. We need rent controls. We need action against the buying up of property by foreign investors in order to leave it empty.

And we need a statutory requirement of planning permission for change of use if it were proposed to turn a primary dwelling into a secondary dwelling, a working family home into a weekend or holiday home. That would set the pattern for the empowerment of the rural working class, assisted both by the Land Value Tax and by a windfall tax on the supermarkets in order to fund agriculture and small business, with strict regulation to ensure that the costs of this were not passed on to suppliers, workers, consumers, communities, or the environment. 

Like the huge majority of the population across all political allegiances, and like so conservative a figure as Peter Hitchens of the Mail on Sunday, I support the renationalisation of the rail services as each franchise came up for renewal, and thus at no cost. I would make that the backbone of a rebuilt network of public transport, eventually free at the point of use, and extending to every village in this or any other constituency. Even prior to that, I would require the approval of the House of Commons for any increase in public transport fares, with the cost of HS2 diverted to reconnecting many towns to the rail network. That would include several towns in North West Durham.

I was the first person ever to suggest that the trade unions develop an app in competition with Uber, and that is now developing well in the form of CabFair, an example of the key role of the unions in the mutualisation of the gig economy. Being disabled, I am dependent on public transport. I appreciate that a Member of Parliament for a rural constituency could never be entirely so, no matter how good that transport was, so I would create employment in North West Durham by employing one or more drivers. Vehicle Excise Duty does not really raise very much money at all, but it colours the debate on transport, so it ought to be abolished.

Privatised utilities are a racket. The same product, via the same wires or pipes, cannot possibly cost different amounts from different companies. Never mind from the same company, but on different tariffs. The utilities are currently delivered by cartels of pretend-competitors, instead of being where they belong, in public ownership. No one can claim to be patriotic or conservative while supporting the ownership of key parts of our national infrastructure by foreign states as such, and that is the result of privatisation.

The “Royal” in “Royal Mail” now refers to the Emir of Kuwait, and the larceny of the Royal Mail cries out for a criminal investigation. As one benefit of a return to public ownership, I would insist on a National Grid for water. As another, I would insist on the requirement of the approval of the House of Commons before energy or water prices could be increased.

The creation of the National Health Service was in all three of the Labour, Conservative and Liberal manifestos in 1945. Even Margaret Thatcher barely touched it. It took New Labour and the Coalition to privatise much of it, and to grind down the rest with a view to a cheap sale, a process that is still very much ongoing.

Instead of that, I support the enactment of the NHS Reinstatement Bill, the abolition of prescription charges throughout the United Kingdom, the abolition of eye and dental charges throughout the United Kingdom, the abolition of hospital car parking charges throughout the United Kingdom, the extra £350 million per week that was promised after Brexit, the diversion of funds to the ethically unproblematic research on adult and cord blood stem cells that is delivering the goods in spite of criminal neglect, and the invitation of the Cuban medical missions to make up for the running down of the National Health Service, beginning in the two STP areas that cover County Durham.

The Fifth of July, which is the anniversary of the creation of the National Health Service, ought to be the United Kingdom’s National Day, and it ought to be marked as fulsomely as the United States marked the Fourth of July.

The National Education Service proposed by Jeremy Corbyn and Angela Rayner is, with the Build It In Britain programme, the National Investment Bank, the Regional Development Banks, and the Universal Basic Income, pretty much my dream policy.

In Rayner’s inspiring words, “The sum of human knowledge is the fruit of thousands of years of human labour. The discoveries of maths and science; the great works of literature and art; the arc of human and natural history itself; and so much more that there is to learn. All of it should be our common inheritance. Because knowledge belongs to the many, not the few. This is our historic purpose as a movement. Not just to be a voice for the voiceless. But to give them a voice of their own.”

Within that, I would work with all my might to ensure that apprentices and trainees enjoyed the same benefits as were enjoyed by their peers in further and higher education, and vice versa, while promoting the understanding that we either funded higher education all the way up to doctoral level or we charged fees at every stage (with a very strong preference for the former), and while guaranteeing that the training and other standards for the private sector to match were set by national and municipal public ownership, itself reformed towards greater democracy and accountability.

The condition of a commercial school’s continuing charitable status should be its having been adjudged good or better by Ofsted, using the same criteria as for state schools, with the reports published, and with the value-added measure applied, thereby requiring those schools to have demonstrated how they had improved pupils’ abilities. At the same time, I fully recognise that those schools regularly provide left-wing figures with a platform that they are seldom or never afforded by the schools that are under the direct or indirect control of the municipal Labour Right.

The Left and the working class, and perhaps especially the rural working class, need to bypass both the municipal Labour Right and the Liberal Establishment both in education and in the media. The EU referendum result has confirmed that the workers, and not the liberal bourgeoisie, are now the key swing voters who deserve direct representation on local public bodies, on national public bodies, in the media, and at the intersection of the public and media sectors in the Parliamentary Lobby, in the BBC, in any future structure of the Channel Four Television Corporation, and in any arrangement that made possible Rupert Murdoch’s or anyone else’s acquisition of the whole of Sky News. I do not understand why people have fits of the vapours about Murdoch, as if any of the rest of them were any better. 

This is one of the areas the votes of which decided the EU referendum. We voted to reject 39 years of failure under all three parties, going all the way back to the adoption of monetarism by the Callaghan Government in 1977, the year of my birth.

Brexit needs to meet our needs, which are not for chasing after the unicorns of the “Anglosphere”, but for trade deals with the BRICS countries even while remaining thoroughly critical of their present governments, for integration into the Belt and Road Initiative, for full enjoyment of our freedom from the Single Market’s bans on such measures as State Aid and capital controls, for an extra £350 million per week for the National Health Service, and for the restoration of the United Kingdom’s historic fishing rights in accordance with international law: 200 miles, or to the median line.

The Government’s proposals represent the only thing worse than staying in the EU, namely becoming a rule-taker but not a rule-maker, and paying while having no say, so that Britain would be reduced to a colony and a satrapy. In a referendum between that and Remain, then even Remain would be preferable, and the struggle would begin again the next day, as in 1973, 1975, and 1983. But the key is to stop matters from ever making it that far.

I am by no means opposed in principle to trade deals with the United States, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, but the National Health Service and food safety standards are among the things that are simply not negotiable.

I would insist on the specification in the Statute Law that the United Kingdom’s aid to any given country be reduced by the exact cost of any space programme, or of any nuclear weapons programme, or of any nuclear submarine programme, or of any foreign aid budget of that country’s own, but with the money thus saved remaining within the budget of the Department for International Development, and with the 0.7 per cent target still resolutely intact.

As the Member of Parliament for North West Durham, my Westminster office would be an international centre for Modern Monetary Theory. The right-wing question is perfectly necessary in itself: where is the money for left-wing projects expected to come from? Modern Monetary Theory answers that question. Through its Jobs Guarantee, Modern Monetary Theory provides a way of preserving the bargaining power of the trade unions, through full employment with the Living Wage, while progressing to the Universal Basic Income that is increasingly favoured across the political spectrum.

It is possible that the introduction of Richard Nixon’s Universal Basic Income might make possible the introduction of Jerry Brown’s flat tax. I am not necessarily advocating that, but it deserves to be explored. In any event, rather than taxing income from work at a higher rate than income from share dividends or from capital gains, all income must be taxed on the same basis, as was the case under Margaret Thatcher.

Employment rights must begin with employment, and apply regardless of the number of hours worked, as was promised by John Smith, but as was never implemented by New Labour. There can and must be a four-day working week by 2100.

I warmly welcome the additional billion pound investment in jobs and services in Northern Ireland, and I would insist that Scotland, Wales, and each of the nine English regions receive the same per capita as part of the application of Modern Monetary Theory, including the Land Value Tax. I support the integration into the Belt and Road Initiative of all four parts of the United Kingdom, of all nine English regions, of all of the Crown Dependencies, and of all of the British Overseas Territories. In some way, all 99 lieutenancy areas, including County Durham, need to be so integrated, and need to receive such additional investment.

I would demand the reassertion of democratic political control over the Bank of England, including that the approval of the House of Commons be required for changes to interest rates, and I would demand the assertion of democratic political control over the City of London, with a Glass-Steagall division between investment banking and retail banking.

I would close all tax havens under British jurisdiction, since they have the option of independence if they did not like it. The entire concept of non-domiciled tax status must be abolished. As a member of the House of Commons, I would campaign most actively for supporters of economic equality to be elected to the City of London Corporation, to the States of Jersey, to the States of Guernsey, to Tynwald, and to the legislatures of the British Overseas Territories.

I would replace the House of Lords with a Senate based on the 99 lieutenancy areas, including County Durham. Each of us would vote for one candidate, and the top six would be elected, giving 594 Senators in all, serving for six years. I would transfer all non-ceremonial exercises of the Royal Prerogative, including Royal Assent, to six, seven, eight or nine of nine Co-Presidents, with each of us voting for one candidate, and with the top nine elected to hold office for eight years. The term of office of the House of Commons ought to go back down to four years. If the number of Commons constituencies were indeed to be reduced to 600, then the number of MPs might nevertheless remain the same. The whole country should elect 50 MPs, with each of us voting for one candidate, and with the top 50 elected at the end. The House of Commons would revert to a four-year term.

There must be no British military intervention except in a specific British national interest and with the approval of the House of Commons; that latter provision has been made necessary by the newfangled use of military action for purely policy reasons, so that the previous arguments against it no longer obtain.

We need an end to this country’s poisonous relationship with Saudi Arabia and with the other Gulf monarchies. We need withdrawal from NATO, which commits us to the defence of Turkish Islamists and of Eastern European neo-Nazis while charging us two per cent of our Gross Domestic Product for the privilege. We need bilateral peace treaties with all other European countries including Russia, we need bilateral peace treaties with the United States and with Canada, and we need peace treaties with the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and with the Collective Security Treaty Organisation. There must be no foreign military bases on British soil.

We need the renationalisation of BAE Systems as the monopoly supplier to our own Armed Forces, with a ban on all sale of arms abroad, and with a comprehensive programme of diversification in order to preserve the skills that were currently employed in the arms industry.

We need the cancellation of Trident in favour of rebuilding the conventional Armed Forces, in favour of care for veterans, in favour of flood defences, and in favour of an “all of the above” energy policy based around civil nuclear power and around this country’s vast reserves of coal, with the commanding heights in reformed public ownership, with no need for fracking even in its own terms, and with the requirement of the approval of the House of Commons before energy or water prices could be increased. In the case of Trident, we could pay the affected shipyard workers quite eye-watering sums in compensation, and still save amounts that there were scarcely the adjectives to describe.

In 2017, the General Election literature of the present MP for North West Durham featured the name, the face, and the words of endorsement of the Government Chief Whip at the time of the invasion of Iraq. Whereas I am not a member of the same political party as Tony Blair, and in fact I am actively pursuing a complaint to the Police about him in relation to his complicity in torture, which was recently exposed by the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament.

A Chambers and Partners Band 1 legal practice is now on standby to pursue an action to bring about a Coroner’s Inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly, an action before the International Criminal Court against those who had brought slavery back to Libya, and an action before the High Court of Justiciary of Scotland inviting it to exercise its declaratory power against Tony Blair and his accomplices in the aggression against Iraq in 2003. All of these actions are to begin immediately upon my election to the House of Commons.

As are the actions to bring about a Coroner’s Inquest into the death of Dawn Sturgess, and to challenge the legality of the recent bombing of Syria after the confirmation by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that no nerve agent had been used at Douma. The present British funding of the White Helmets and of the “Free Syrian Police” must be diverted to our own emergency services.

Traditional Values  

I reject the ludicrous theory of gender self-identification, and I will fight to my last breath to defend women-only spaces. I seek to rescue such issues as male suicide, men’s health, and fathers’ rights from those whose economic and other policies have caused the problems in the first place. I have no truck with #MeToo, which is ruining political debate, and which is returning us to the lynch mobs of old.

As a mixed-race person, I refuse to recognise racists, Fascists or opportunists as the authentic voices of the accepted need to control immigration, a problem that has arisen as a result of the weakening of trade unions. I deny the anti-racist credentials of the present MP for North West Durham, who has failed to move that Anne Marie Morris be expelled from the House of Commons for using language that would now be career-ending in South Africa or in the Southern United States. I am both mixed-race and disabled, but opposed to “hate crime” legislation, supporting instead equality before the law.

We need an approach to climate change which protected and extended secure employment with civilised wages and working conditions, which encouraged economic development around the world, which upheld the right of the working classes and of nonwhite people to have children, which held down and as far as practicable reduced the fuel prices that always hit the poor hardest, and which refused to restrict travel opportunities or a full diet to the rich.

I reject out of hand the notion that the problem with the world is that it has people in it. Instead, we must celebrate the full compatibility between the highest view of human demographic, economic, intellectual and cultural expansion and development, and the most active concern for the conservation of the natural world and of the treasures bequeathed by such expansion and development in the past. That expansion and development must now include space exploration, fuelled by, and fuelling, fusion power.

I have spent more than 20 years, since I was just about still in my teens and had never seen the Internet, trying to get the story out about Harriet Harman and the Paedophile Information Exchange. I have paid a terrible journalistic and political price for it, but I have no regrets. Media that always knew about it simply ignored the whole thing, banning me from their websites and what have you, until a period of no more than two weeks when they needed to distract attention from Patrick Rock.

Normal service was rapidly resumed, and it has continued ever since. No one has done more on this issue than I have. No one. And now, the plan is advancing to make Harman the next Speaker of the House of Commons. Not only would I oppose her election, but, were she already in post, then I would oppose her re-election at the start of the next Parliament.

As I have been proved right about Harman and the Paedophile Information Exchange, so I am being proved right about the rise of the Far Right. These matters are not unconnected. For example, we are enduring the rehabilitation of Toby Young, who is a eugenicist of international importance, who is also a self-confessed sexual assailant and supplier of Class A drugs, and whose involvement in eugenics has made him an associate of Emil Kirkegaard, himself an advocate of the rape of drugged children.

Like Kirkegaard, Young is a stalwart of the world of the London Conference on Intelligence, the Ulster Institute for Social Research and the Mankind Quarterly, yet he was given a loud voice in education policy for many years, a major formal role in education was about to have been given to him, and he is even now being brought back into public life. I was proved right about Harman, and I am being proved right again.

I challenge Toby Young to contest the North West Durham parliamentary seat against me. I issue the same challenge to Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who calls himself Tommy Robinson. Let us see how much support he really has among the white working class.

“Nutrition” is just a Latin way of saying “food”, and “hydration” is just a Greek way of saying “water”. The withdrawal of food and water is not the withdrawal of medical treatment. It is the intentional killing of that person. Parliament needs to legislate in order to make that clear. My commitment to palliative care and to the hospice movement is absolute. I would also give the highest priority to the diversion of funds to the ethically unproblematic research on adult and cord blood stem cells that is delivering the goods in spite of criminal neglect.

We need to ban Fixed Odds Betting Terminals, to empower local authorities to limit the number of gambling venues, to insist on the use of that power, to end gambling on television, to end the advertising of gambling other than at venues such as casinos and betting shops, and to ban gambling with credit cards.

And we need a single category of illegal drug, with a crackdown on the possession of drugs, including a mandatory sentence of three months for a second offence, six months for a third offence, one year for a fourth offence, and so on. Most certainly, that must include cannabis, which is linked to violent psychosis, and any medicinal properties of which are no more applied by smoking a spliff than those of opium would be by injecting heroin, or than those of aspirin would be by ingesting bark.

I have never taken any illegal drug, and I challenge all other candidates for the North West Durham parliamentary seat to say the same thing. Radical change would be impossible if the workers, the youth and the poor were in a state of stupefaction, and that baleful situation, which has been contrived in the past, is being contrived again today.

Families need fathers. All aspects of public policy must take account of the urgent social and cultural need for highly paid, highly skilled, high status employment, which only the State can ever guarantee and which only the State can very often deliver, as the economic basis of the paternal authority, and thus of the paternal responsibility, that needs to be reasserted in relation to the key points of childhood and adolescence.

We need a legal presumption of equal parenting. We need the restoration of the tax allowance for fathers for so long as Child Benefit was being paid to mothers. We need the restoration of the requirement that providers of fertility treatment take account of the child’s need for a father. We need to repeal of the ludicrous provision for two persons of the same sex to be listed as a child’s parents on a birth certificate. We need paternity leave to be made available up to a set maximum at any time until the child was 18 or left school. And we need a foreign policy that did not entail tearing fathers away from their children in order to harvest them in wars.

We need to give any marrying couple the right to register their marriage as bound by the law prior to 1969 with regard to grounds and procedures for divorce, and any religious organisation the right to specify that any marriage that it conducted would be so bound, requiring it to counsel couples accordingly. We need to fix entitlement upon divorce by Statute at one per cent of the other party’s estate for each year of marriage (up to 50 per cent), with no entitlement for the petitioning party unless the other party’s fault were proved. And we need to give opposite-sex couples the right to contract civil partnerships, removing the restriction of civil partnerships to unrelated couples.

We need to halt and reverse the proliferation of lap-dancing clubs, and we need to apply the technology that is already used for age verification in order to block pornographic websites altogether. We need to make it a criminal offence for anyone aged 21 or over to buy or sell sex, with equal sentencing on both sides. We need to define obscenity as material depicting acts that were themselves illegal or which was reasonably likely to incite or encourage such acts, with sentencing the same as for the illegal act in question in each case.

We need a criminal offence of sexual activity with any person under the age of 18 who was more than two years younger than oneself, with a maximum sentence equal to twice the difference in age, abolition of different rules for “positions of trust” and for one sex rather than the other, a ban on abortion or contraception for those under 18 without parental knowledge and consent, and the application of the law on indecent images equally to boys and to girls. We need the removal of any financial liability of male victims for pregnancies resulting from their sexual abuse unless they decided as adults to seek to make contact with their children.

We need the replacement of the existing categories of sexual assault with aggravating circumstances to the general categories of offences against the person such that the sentences could be doubled. There must be no anonymity either for adult defendants or for adult complainants. We need to reverse even the existing reversal of the burden of proof, rule out the legal possibility of being a specifically sexual assailant below the age of consent, and specify that intoxication was a bar to sexual consent only insofar as it would have been a bar to driving.

We need to outlaw American-style internally administered “balance of probabilities” or “preponderance of evidence” tests to sexual assault allegations at universities or elsewhere, outlaw extradition to face charges that fell short of these standards, and exclude such convictions from any legal standing in this country.

And we need to end the practice whereby the Police and others blocked people’s progress into paid or voluntary work, even though they had been acquitted, by suggesting that they might have been guilty after all. The bizarre C5 notices that are now being issued need to be outlawed.

We need to reverse the erosion of trial by jury and of the right to silence, and we need to reverse the existing reversals of the burden of proof. We need the abolition of conviction by majority verdict, which, by definition, provides for conviction even where there is reasonable doubt. 

We need the extension throughout the United Kingdom of the Scots Law requirement for corroborating evidence. We need to require that the prosecution present its case within 12 weeks of charge, or else that case be dismissed.

We need the abolition of the Crown Prosecution Service, so that the decision as to whether or not to charge should be made the Police, while any high street firm of solicitors would have a partner whose specialisms included prosecution, with such work built into the firm’s ordinary caseload. We need the restoration of the pre-1968 committal powers of the magistracy.

We need the abolition of the admission of anonymous evidence other than from undercover Police Officers. We need the exclusion of the possibility of conviction on anonymous evidence alone. We need the restoration of the provision that no acquitted person should ever have to stand trial again for the same offence, since the previous change to this has now done its job in the Stephen Lawrence case. We need an end to the secrecy of the family courts.

We need the exclusion of identity cards or any thought of them, and the exclusion of control orders or anything like them. We need the abolition of Police confiscation of assets without a conviction. We need the abolition of stipendiary magistrates sitting alone. We need the repeal of the Civil Contingencies Act, the repeal of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Act, and the repeal of the Official Secrets Acts. We need the repeal of one-sided extradition arrangements. We need the repeal of the provision for “no win, no fee” litigation. We need the restoration and extension of Legal Aid.

We need a return to preventative policing based on foot patrols, with Police Forces at least no larger than at present, and with the restoration of the network of police stations and police houses that placed the Police at the very heart of their communities. And we need the disbandment of MI5 in favour Police Officers who, while highly specialised, were nevertheless part of accountable community policing. 

I am actively involved in campaigns for truth and justice as various, and yet as inseparable from each other, as Hillsborough, Shrewsbury, Orgreave, Grenfell Tower, blacklisting, spycops, Farepak, Remploy, the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme, George Bell, Julian Assange, the Miami Showband massacre, the Marikana massacre, support for the Dalits, support for the Rohingya and other minorities in Myanmar, support for the Chagossians, support for Abdullah Öcalan and the wider Kurdish cause, support for the deportation of Altaf Hussain to Pakistan, support for an inquiry into the role of the Thatcher Government in the 1984 storming of the Golden Temple and in the events surrounding it, support for the Dorje Shugden practitioners who are being persecuted by the Dalai Lama, support for the Russian and other ethnic minorities who are oppressed in the Baltic States, support for the ancient indigenous Christians of the Middle East and North Africa (and not least of the Holy Land), support for those in Israel who are opposed to the apartheid Nation-State Law, support for British Jews who do not identify as Zionists primarily or at all, support for the Jews and Zoroastrians of Iran, and the translation into English and the publication in the United Kingdom of Hernán Dobry’s Operation Israel: The Rearming of Argentina During the Dictatorship, 1976-1983.

As the Member of Parliament for North West Durham, I would board a plane to Tehran and simply refuse to leave without Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and Abbas Edalat, and I would board a plane to Abu Dhabi and simply refuse to leave without County Durham’s own Matthew Hedges. My Westminster office would be a global centre for the coordination of these and numerous other campaigns for truth and justice at home and abroad.

A Call To Arms

So there is going to be an EU Army after all, then. Tony Benn tried to tell you that, a very long time ago. And guess what? It is to "defend" Emmanuel Macron's neoliberalism. We all know what that means. Some of us have always known that that was what the EU was all about.

Hence Angela Merkel's assurance that this Army would not be a rival to NATO, but quite the reverse. We have always known what NATO was all about, too. Or at least what NATO has been about for nearly 30 years now. This Brexit is only the first that is necessary.

There could now be a General Election at any moment. In any event, another hung Parliament is coming, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it. Please email That address accepts PayPal. Very many thanks.

"A Policeman's Job Is Only Easy In A Police State"

And as the man who delivered that line in Touch of Evil might have put it in real life, they can microchip my cold, dead hands.

It's Just A Thought

But then, why not? I mean, on Saturday, Thought for the Day managed to have General Sir Richard Dannatt on. 

I know he's not an atheist. But he is not exactly known as a spiritual leader, either.

Gaza Burns Hotter Than Hollywood

He and I may be the best of frenemies, but when George Galloway is good, then he is as good as this:

The world is fixated by the forest fires in Hollywood burning down stars' mansions. 

With supreme irony some of them belong to those who helped raise millions of dollars for the Israeli Army which is now burning the hovels of Gaza. 

The Hollywood warriors have insurance of course, and other homes too, sometimes many of them. The hovel-dwellers of Gaza have neither. 

The brave firefighters of California are well-equipped and have the wind of hope of millions of well-wishers at their backs. There are no firefighters in Gaza. 

The hovels of Gaza are unfortunately well-known to me, since long before Hamas even existed. In fact I saw Hamas be born, and Israel was the midwife. 

I was a comrade of Yasser Arafat, then the Chairman of the secular PLO, an Arab nationalist, whose executive committee consisted of Arab nationalists and Moscow-aligned leftists like the PFLP led by the late Dr George Habash.

Israel feared this then zeitgeist in the Arab world, so they turned, as the British had earlier in seeking to undermine Egypt's President Nasser, to the Islamists. 

The Muslim Brotherhood, a client of the British in Egypt, had brothers in Gaza of course. Those brothers became Hamas with the full cooperation of Israel. 

I saw with my own eyes the open development of Islamism in Gaza, a catspaw against Arafat and the PLO. 

While the gaols (and the graveyards) were full of PLO men, the roads were choc-a-block with Islamist society vehicles. 

Communities were served by Islamic schools, hospitals, and civic-society institutions of all kinds. Permitted, encouraged, sometimes financed by Israel. It was divide and rule in perfect harmony.

Of course, that was nearly 40 years ago and none of the leaders of Hamas then are still alive - by one means or another. 

The Hamas Israel thought it was developing as a client long ago outgrew that role and is now a formidable fighting force which can be slaughtered from the air of course (along with anyone nearby), but on the ground, face to face, not so much. 

Whilst a ceasefire was in place and peace talks were taking place in Cairo between Israel and Hamas, Netanyahu sent a special forces commando undercover into Gaza to assassinate a Hamas military commander and in the accompanying firefight an Israeli commander was slain. 

And all hell broke loose. As I write, the dogs of war are unleashed and havoc has ensued. 

Increasingly accurate Hamas missiles have been fired with greater accuracy and quantity. Israeli warplanes are bombing and rocketing like there was no tomorrow (with an unlimited guarantee of more from Donald Trump). 

This week the Palestinian television station Al Aqsa was eviscerated in an air-strike about which the Israeli government boasted on Twitter. 

Like Yugoslav TV in Belgrade, like the Al Jazeera TV station in Baghdad, the slaughter of tea-ladies, make up departments, camera-operators and of course journalists has elicited only stony-silence from Western media outlets.

Israel bombs TV station in amid massive border flare-up (PHOTO, VIDEO)

86 people are talking about this

The fourth estate, rightly scandalized by the kidnap, torture, murder and dismemberment of the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, is unmoved by the dismemberment of Palestinian journalists. 

The media solidarity, triggered by Donald Trump withdrawing the White House credentials of CNN journalist Jim Acosta, who none of us had ever heard of, working for a station that none of us ever watches, was impressive. 

The withdrawal of the life's blood of TV make-up ladies hasn't even made the news, especially on CNN. 

For them as with the other Western fake-news machines, the clock starts ticking when Israel says it does and when Israel "responds". 

That the response is a response to a provocation matters not a jot or tittle. 

In any case, nobody working in the Western media today either knows or cares that the root cause of this is the existence of the barbed wire enclave called Gaza. 

Two million Palestinians locked in a tiny strip of land (it's called the Gaza Strip for a reason) with no entry or exit guaranteed and overwhelmingly refused. 

Eighty percent of those two million are refugees there, looking through the barbed wire at their own property now occupied by others. When they approach the fence they are mercilessly cut down by snipers. 

Since March, tens of thousands of Palestinians have been wounded at the Gaza fence. Hundreds have been killed including children, women, nurses and of course the press. 

Hundreds of limbs have been amputated, many have been blinded, left eyeless in Gaza. 

They were unarmed, in their "own territory" and had not remotely reached the fence which, entirely unilaterally, the Israelis have demarcated as their border. 

Throughout the last ten years or more the Palestinians in Gaza have endured bitter cold in winter and baking heat in summer, with deliberately rationed electricity supplies controlled by Israel. Often there is none, at best four hours per day. 

Medical supplies and foodstuffs frequently perish as refrigeration fails. Israel controls the water supply too, and most of Gaza never has access to clean potable water. 

Even the sea off Gaza is remorselessly controlled with abundant fish stocks only harvestable by fisherman at the risk of their lives which are frequently lost. 

It is a ghetto of suppurating suffering. It is a crucifixion of an entire population. 

But it is not the whole story. The whole story goes back much farther and is beyond the scope of this article. 

Palestine no longer exists, it is wiped off the map. 

Its people are scattered to the four corners of the earth as exiles and refugees, or live in the Bantustans of the West Bank, the illegally annexed Holy City of Jerusalem, or in besieged Gaza. 

Until this is resolved and as long as a single Palestinian remains alive there will be resistance, there will be trouble.

It is this story that all the world's governments and all their institutions have singularly failed to meaningfully address. 

And so for now, and for the future, there will be much wailing, rending of garments, and gnashing of teeth in the Terra Santa.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Revenge of the Vegetables: Part II?

The Cabinet will meet the Prime Minister one by one, apparently. She dare not face it as a collective body. 

When Margaret Thatcher did that, then they came in one by one and told her to resign.

The Last Resort?

Another £150,000 from the Home Office to investigate the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. What if her parents had not been doctors?

From what we know about the facts of this case, if they had been a binman and a cleaning lady, never mind if they had been unemployed, then their other two children would have been taken into care.

10 Facts About Labour’s Alleged “Anti-Semitism”

Division Lobbies

It is interesting, in its way, to hear from potential Conservative rebels over Brexit. But there do not need to be any. 

The entire Opposition, even including the DUP, is now lined up against whatever Theresa May brings back. So there would be no Commons majority for it, even if every Conservative MP voted in favour of it.

How many might not? For the majority of Conservatives to vote against the Government, then 159 would have to do so. That is simply not going to happen.

The figure is going to be fewer than one third of that, which will be fewer than one sixth of the total. Against every non-Conservative MP, bar none.

Another General Election is coming, between a Conservative Party most or all of whose MPs will have voted for a Chequers-based deal, and an Opposition all of whose MPs, without exception, had voted against it.

Another hung Parliament is coming, as would now happen regardless of when or why a General Election were held, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it.

Please email That address accepts PayPal. Very many thanks.

High Stakes

On 10th October, the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Wright, met his Conservative parliamentary colleagues, Philip Davies and Laurence Robertson, both of whom lobby on behalf of the gambling industry from which they receive hospitality. Three weeks later, he announced his decision to "delay" the reduction in the stakes for fixed-odds betting terminals.

You see, this is why we still need Tom Watson. This is why we still need the Old Labour Right. Against the Blair Government's super-casinos, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell, Dennis Skinner and Kelvin Hopkins, David Drew and Alice Mahon all voted with Frank Field and Kate Hoey.

Fixed-odds betting terminals are a very recent innovation, so it is rubbish that the betting shops would go bust without them. Instead of delaying even a very modest "crackdown" on them by two years as part of some dodgy deal, they should simply be banned outright.

We also need the empowerment of local authorities to limit the number of gambling venues, the use of that power, an end to gambling on television, an end to the advertising of gambling other than at venues such as casinos and betting shops, a ban on gambling with credit cards, and the writing into the Statute Law of the rules introduced earlier this year by the Competitions and Markets Authority against the sharp practices of the gambling industry.

New Right libertarians in both main parties would fight all of this tooth and nail. Another hung Parliament is coming, however, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it. Please email That address accepts PayPal. Very many thanks.

Known Globally Unique?

The United Kingdom's impending withdrawal from UNESCO is a cause of great distress to those of us who are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 

Seriously, though, what of St Helena's application? In UNESCO's words, "The island remains a treasure trove of endemic biodiversity, with over 400 known globally unique species in its 47 square miles, including tree ferns, giant tree daisies and desert-dwelling nocturnal spiders." So it was looking good.

And what of Durham Cathedral and Durham Castle? Will that Site be stripped of its UNESCO World Heritage status?

Monday, 12 November 2018

Pinning The Blame

Perhaps Jeremy Corbyn should have lent his raincoat to Donald Trump?

And has there been any word from the Legion about whether it considers it "disrespectful" to wear the poppy pin that it sells?

Like Your Whole World Depended On It

Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy is overpraised and overblamed. The Republicans did not really take the South until the midterms of 1994. 

But Nixon did put together a winning coalition for himself, and fundamental to it were a robust Keynesianism and an acceptance of the New Deal. Southern and other Democrats who were attracted to him would never otherwise have been so. 

Donald Trump has also borrowed much of the economic rhetoric and even some of the economic policies of, for example, Bernie Sanders.

The Democratic Party needs to do the same thing. But there is no sign that it will. Instead, it is preparing to restore Nancy Pelosi to the Speakership, and it is preparing to nominate Hillary Clinton again in 2020.

Trump's re-election, which has always been more likely than not, is now practically certain. The Democratic Party will have only itself to blame.

Right Out

The key part of the defeat of Theresa May over Brexit will be the votes of all Labour MPs against her proposals. Of all Opposition MPs even including the DUP, in fact. That alone will defeat her even if no Conservative MP votes against her. But bless any, I suppose, if they do.

Of those who might, the irreconcilable Remainers will turn out to be as numerous as the Hard Brexit lot, and a very great deal more distinguished. One of them is a former Health Secretary, Education Secretary, Home Secretary, Chancellor of the Exchequer, and Lord Chancellor. No one in the European Research Group has a CV remotely comparable to that.

Oh, well, that is the Conservative Right for you. Convinced of the virtues of the free market and of self-reliance, based on a lifetime of academic sinecures, of independent incomes derived from heavily subsidised agriculture, and of being wards of the Ministry of Defence, they believe themselves to be uniquely qualified to run everything, and they are consumed with rage that they are the only people who are never allowed to run anything at all.

Even the Labour Left and all points left are standing on the cusp of power, but the Conservative Right and all points right are no closer to it than they have ever been. Indeed, a Conservative Government now identifies them as the principal threat to national security, and it is embarked upon treating them accordingly.

So never rely on the Right for anything. Thankfully, we do not have to. The key part of the defeat of Theresa May over Brexit will be the votes of all Labour MPs against her proposals. Of all Opposition MPs even including the DUP, in fact. That alone will defeat her even if no Conservative MP votes against her. But bless any, I suppose, if they do.

Sub Prime

Look at this country's four living former Prime Ministers.

Then try and imagine a world in which anyone would care what any of them thought about anything.

No, neither can I.

Don't Chip In, Chip Out

Also, keep an eye on the war against cash payments. More than an eye, in fact.

An Empty Seam?

Gordon Brown claims that Brexit is proving more divisive than the Miners' Strike. When there were deaths.

He was a Fife MP at the time. He really ought to know better than this.

A New Century Begins Today

I want to be wrong about this, so try and convince me.

No one, except perhaps people who have been in the Armed Forces, sees Remembrance Sunday as about anything later than 1945.

They could carry on having it among themselves, but in the public realm it is completely out of control, a "remembrance" of things that there will very soon be no one left who remembered. 

As for the wars of the present century, who even wants to remember those, as a public act? Only the people who want to agitate for repetitions of them. 

Also, note that Jeremy Corbyn's poppy, though smaller than Theresa May's, will have cost more, since his was metal and sold at a fixed price, whereas hers was paper and costs only so much more than a penny as anyone can be bothered to pay. 

In fact, she herself probably did not pay for it at all.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Well Versed

With the Poet Laureateship expected to fall vacant next year, here is my application: 

The French have filet de boeuf en croûte, the Germans they have mustard,
But we have something twice as good: bananas and custard.
So make room for the milkman, room for him allow.
With his cheery call, he's a friend to all; and he's cheaper than a cow.

On the occasion of the Prince of Wales's first marriage, no less a bard than Sir John Betjeman managed to come up with:

Blackbirds in City churchyards hail the dawn,
Charles and Diana, on your wedding morn.

So I really ought to be in with a very good chance.

Pin It In The Past

Until a very few years ago, all poppies were the same size. That there is now some kind of a competition strongly suggests that the whole thing came to its natural end today. 

The red poppy is now as much of a political statement as the white poppy is, and a rather larger source of revenue for political campaigning instead of veterans' welfare, which ought in any case to be the responsibility of the State that sent them to war.

Why should we carry on with this in 2019 and beyond?

Square Deals

Kim Philby never even liked Russians very much. But they have named a square in Moscow after him.

In that case, then a square in London ought to be named after one of those who, in return for highly lucrative future employment, arm Saudi Arabia, train its personnel, and share intelligence with it.

Saudi Arabia then arms, trains and informs its own financial and ideological dependants as they wage war against us right here on our own streets.

Many of those traitors were parading their treason at the Cenotaph today. But none of them wore a raincoat in order to address the veterans afterwards. The very idea.

No Empty Vassal

There are two schools of thought among Labour MPs, the Remainers At All Costs, and the ones who were Brexit before it was Brexit. Long before, in fact.

Neither of those will vote for whatever Theresa May brings back. Nor will anyone else not in receipt of the Conservative Whip, including the DUP. And nor will easily enough Conservative MPs to put the belt and braces on her defeat.

It must be said as many times as possible that in a referendum between vassalage and Remain, then even Remain would be preferable, and the struggle could begin again the next day, as it did in 1973, in 1975, and in 1983.

Another hung Parliament is coming, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it. Please email That address accepts PayPal. Very many thanks.


I tend to agree with Peter Hitchens that the Government has no intention of paying any attention to Roger Scruton.

And there is a certain "live by the sword, die by the sword" quality to the use of a baseless accusation of anti-Semitism against an idol of those who most detest Jeremy Corbyn.

But Scruton is a good fit for the job that has been offered. Yet I am baffled by the politics of this appointment.

Who is this supposed to please, and why? What might they otherwise have done? Voted for Corbyn?

As with the tax cuts for people who mostly live in safe Conservative seats, the Government is down to a core vote strategy for the General Election early next year.

Another hung Parliament is coming, however, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it.

Please email That address accepts PayPal. Very many thanks.

Saturday, 10 November 2018

For Neither Vassalage Nor Chaos

Better late than never from Jo Johnson.

As some of us have been saying from the start, the plan has always been to turn Britain into a colony and a satrapy, taking the rules but not making the rules, and obliged to pay while having no say.

In a referendum between that and Remain, then even Remain would be preferable, and the struggle could begin again the next day, as it did in 1973, in 1975, and in 1983.

Another hung Parliament is coming, and we need our people to hold the balance of power in it. Please email That address accepts PayPal. Very many thanks.

Lest We Forget, Never Again

There are many good reasons to attend your local war memorial tomorrow.

Not the least of them will be to avoid that which is set out masterfully by John Wight, namely the stomach-turning hypocrisy at the Cenotaph.

That will feature an entire generation of well-rewarded war criminals and of amoral arms salesmen, none of whom cared tuppence about the people whom the Royal British Legion existed to help and support.

Or does it? After all, the military charities are sitting on reserves of half a billion pounds while veterans sleep on the streets. 

During his time as the worst Prime Minister in living memory, David Cameron once stated publicly that looking after veterans was not the job of the State, since that was what the Legion was for. 

But they were not sent to war by charity, so it should not fall to charity to look after them once they come back. And in any case, charity does not seem to be doing much of a job of it.

Instead, it sits on giant reserves while lobbying for the pro-war foreign policy line and for the arms industry, with which it has a scandalously cosy relationship. The arms companies even sponsor the Invictus Games. Give that a moment to sink in.

All of this is the precise opposite of the original meaning of the Poppy Appeal. Tomorrow's centenary of the Armistice might have marked the natural end of that, anyway. 

The white poppy is a statement of absolute pacifism, and the money goes to an organisation that campaigns in that cause, so I do not wear it.

But if things are still like this next year, then what good reason could there possibly be for continuing to wear the red poppy, either?