Thursday, 18 January 2018

Für Gott, Fürst und Vaterland

Who says that the National Anthem is out of date? It has the same tune as Liechtenstein’s.

The present heiress to the Stuart claim to the Thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland is married to the present Heir to the Throne of Liechtenstein, making their eldest son the next in line to both.

And they have an eldest son (plus two more, and a daughter). He was born in 1995. In London. The first Jacobite heir to have been born in the British Isles since 1688. Think on.

Persian Inertia

Remember those supposedly epoch-making demonstrations in Iran? They do this about once a decade. Then they get bored and go home.

Mashed To A Pulp

A second series of The Mash Report? Seriously, BBC? A second series of The Mash Report? But at least such of its target audience as might be allowed to stay up that late on a school night will be watching Derry Girls instead. Anything with a Nineties soundtrack is fundamentally a good thing, and something with plenty of the Cranberries will be a very good thing indeed this week.

Resolute Posture

The formal objection to a 10ft statue in Parliament Square of Margaret Thatcher in a "resolute posture looking towards Parliament with a stern gaze" has been lodged by Matt Hancock's Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport, and by the Royal Parks Agency. Twin nests of Corbynism, I'm sure.

By George

Of course George Osborne does not want a peerage. After he has been Mayor of London, then he intends to return to the House of Commons in order to become Prime Minister. No doubt remaining Editor of the Evening Standard throughout it all. That is the plan.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Class Lessons

It is inconceivable that a centre of higher education with as many students as Carillion had apprentices would be allowed to go the wall, and damn the consequences for those students.

The Magic Seat Tree

After last year's billion pounds, this year sees the decision today that there should remain four parliamentary seats in Belfast after all. The DUP had been set to lose one. But it no longer is. That's nice.

Negative Charge

Poppi Worthington's father is not going to charged. But I have been. Even though they have had to give themselves until 11th April 2018 to find the single piece of "evidence" on the "strength" of which I was charged on 13th April 2017.

I ought to refuse to stand trial, at the very least until he did. I ought to take myself abroad. I am not going to. But I ought to. And I would not blame anyone else who did.

Piece of Mind

"There's no such thing as the Hard Left," its obvious candidate to succeed Jeremy Corbyn told me when I asked him whether he considered himself part of it. Of course, that is always the sign. But he has the wrong chromosomes, so the scramble is on for a "Stop Thornberry, Stop Rayner" candidate who has no such disqualification.

I still say that Angela Rayner is the candidate with the right appeal across the party, across the Movement and across the electorate. But if a candidate is to be fielded from her left, then it ought to be the one who had gone from an 11-16 comprehensive school (the more middle-class and selective ones are always 11-18), via a Sixth Form college, to Cambridge, qualification as a solicitor, election to Parliament, and rapid appointment to the Shadow Cabinet.

Richard Burgon is a success story of the state education system, and we need to hear a lot more of those, since there are a lot of them about.

This Emergency Is No Accident

The catastrophic crisis in recruiting and retaining teachers is now joined by the catastrophic crisis in recruiting and retaining nurses. Jeremy Hunt simply has to go. And without looking it up, can anyone even name the Secretary of State for Education?

There's Always The SDLP

In 2017, Sinn Féin did not take its seats at Westminster even to stop the DUP from entering the Government of the United Kingdom, and even to force a second General Election that might very well have made John McDonnell Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Sinn Féin is never, ever, ever going to take its seats at Westminster, and that's just that. Meaning, in the present circumstances, that Sinn Féin is as much to blame as the DUP is for the fact that the present Government remains in office.

It is often asserted that, "The SDLP is nothing more than the Not Sinn Féin Party." For themselves and for everyone else, the voters of West Tyrone could do a lot worse than that.

Fatti Maschii Parole Femine

Under anything like normal circumstances, Chelsea Manning would be a hugely problematic candidate. But these are nothing like normal circumstances.

Ben Cardin is up to his eyes in the Russiagate gibberish. All paleoconservatives and libertarians in Maryland should join the entire Left there and register as Democrats in order to vote to nominate Manning.

Indeed, not only the 2.9 per cent who voted for Gary Johnson and the 1.3 per cent who voted for Jill Stein should do so. But all of the 33.9 per cent who voted for Donald Trump should also do so. 

Register as Democrats. Nominate Chelsea Manning. And elect Chelsea Manning.

Perchance To Dream?

If Sir Desmond Swayne was asleep during yesterday's Commons debate on Brexit, then he spoke for the nation. People who howl "What about Brexit?", usually from one side or the other against Jeremy Corbyn, are back in the corner of the pub where no one wants to go for fear of meeting them. We Nineties Boys feel right at home in such a hostelry, and this time no one asks us for ID.

Both main parties are fairly representative of the country on this issue. Each has hundreds of MPs, of whom a dozen are hardcore Remainers, half a dozen are hardcore Leavers, and that's it. The Conservative Party could find only an incidental Remainer whom its MPs considered capable of being Leader, and it will do so again to the benefit of Gavin Williamson. No one else will even have enough nominations to get onto the ballot paper.

Shift The Sands

After last night's second part of House of Saud: A Family at War, remember that the Conservative Party fought the last General Election on a manifesto commitment to abolish the Serious Fraud Office. As the next couple of weeks unfold, you will no longer need to go to Riyadh in order to see why.

Again I say that BAE Systems ought to be renationalised as the monopoly supplier to the British Armed Forces and to nobody else, with a total ban on the sale of arms abroad, and with a huge programme of diversification in order to maintain industrial skills.

There is nothing "bleeding heart" about any of this. Once the arms are out there, then we never know where they are going to end up, thence to be turned against us. Or, in the case of Saudi Arabia, we do.

Neither Due Nor Diligent

John Major was neither nice nor a ditherer. Margaret Thatcher was not iron. And anyone who had watched her long and chaotic tenure at the Home Office already knew that Theresa May was neither strong nor stable.

It comes as no surprise to us she exercised no due diligence before continuing to award contracts to Carillion even after it was obviously collapsing; her shrieks about Wales and Leeds are welcome rebukes to the anti-Corbyn Labour machines in the Welsh Assembly and in local government.

And it comes as no surprise to us that she exercised no due diligence before appointing a Vice-Chairman of the Conservative Party who wanted to sterilise the poor. Indeed, was there anyone available who did not hold that view? Mrs May had already exercised no due diligence in seeking to give control of the entire university sector to a close friend of several of her Cabinet who was a published eugenicist, and who in that capacity consorted with white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and advocates of the rape of children who had been drugged for the purpose.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

After The Watershed

Unlike the people who were paid to provide an Opposition, two of whom are now the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell were right all along about everything that has come to a crescendo in the collapse of Carillion.

Following the murder of Oliver Ivanović in the nightmare narco-state where they name their sons "Tonibler", consider that Corbyn and McDonnell were also among the mere 13 MPs (all Labour, although several right-wing journalists also did some heavy lifting on this) who either voted against the bombing of Kosovo, or acted as tellers in order to force that admittedly symbolic vote to be held at all.

Corbyn and McDonnell did not start being right over economic policy 10 years ago, when the Crash came. Nor did they start being right over foreign policy 15 years ago, over Iraq. Both on economic policy and on foreign policy, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have been right all along. As, whether or not they care to admit it, everyone can now see.

Conference on Intelligence

"The Left! The Left! The Left!" Apparently, the "Cultural Marxists" run everything, even the Conservative Party, and certainly the universities. In which case, tell me which British university is teaching or publishing Lysenkoism, or Japheticism, or Kuznetsov's 1952 attempt to enforce "the total renunciation of Einstein’s conception, without compromise or half-measure". Tell me who, of the slightest importance, has been a participant, however passive, in that pseudo-science.

By contrast, one of our most prestigious seats of higher learning has been hosting the propagation of eugenics, attended by the man whom the Government had wanted to put in charge of the entire sector. No British university is giving houseroom to Holodomor Denial, which does the rounds. If any were, then we would never hear the end of it. Nor should we. Yet in this age of Toby Young, would you bet that none was providing a platform for Holocaust Denial, and that no one with a key policy role was turning up? If you would, then you are a fool, and you richly deserve to be parted from your money. 

As the latest developments in relation to National Action make clear, and as I have been trying to tell you for years, the single biggest internal security threat comes from the Far Right. A Far Right that is enormous, longstanding, very highly organised, armed to the teeth, and possessed of the closest possible ties both to the DUP and to Conservative Party. 

Sammy Wilson, who was then the DUP's Press Officer and who is now one of its MPs, chaired the founding rally of the Ulster Resistance, which has never disbanded or disarmed in any way. Ian Paisley (the Elder, so to speak), Peter Robinson and Ivan Foster all spoke at that rally. Emma Little-Pengelly, who is now the DUP MP for Belfast South, is the daughter of Noel Little of the Paris Three. She owed her election last year, for a somewhat improbable seat, to the concerted efforts of the local Loyalist paramilitary organisations, to whom she extended barely coded thanks in her acceptance speech. It is highly unusual for a married woman from her background to continue to use her maiden name, even in hyphenated form. But Noel Little's daughter does so.

Thomas Mair, the murderer of Jo Cox, described himself to the Police as "a political activist", and so he was. No Irish Republican organisation has murdered a Member of Parliament in the present century or in the preceding decade, and the people responsible are now such pillars of the British Establishment that they are entertained at Windsor Castle. No Islamist or Leftist organisation has ever murdered a Member of Parliament. But the Far Right has done so, only in 2016.

National Fronts come and BNPs go, EDLs come and Britain Firsts go, but certain institutional and organisational manifestations of the Far Right are perennial, hitherto even permanent. Mair's is the Springbok Club, which is run by the people who also run the London Swinton Circle. And that, in turn, was addressed by Liam Fox (born 1961) and by Owen Paterson (born 1956) as recently as 2014. Ah, those old 1980s Tory Boys, in their Hang Mandela T-shirts and all the rest of it. Wherever did they all end up?

In the Thatcher and, to a lesser extent, Major years, there were Ministers who were members of the Western Goals Institute or the Monday Club, which latter had played a key role in securing British accession to the EU. Those crossed over, via such things as the fiercely Eurofederalist League of Saint George, to overt neo-Nazism on the Continent, to the Ku Klux Klan, to apartheid South Africa, to Ian Smith's Rhodesia, to the juntas of Latin America, to Marcos and Suharto, to the Duvaliers, and so on. Nick Griffin's father, Edgar, was a Vice-President of Iain Duncan Smith's Leadership Campaign. He answered what was listed as one of its official telephone numbers (in his house) with the words "British National Party".

And now, Toby Young and the "London Conference on Intelligence". I tried to tell you. I was right about Harriet Harman and the Paedophile Information Exchange. For pointing that one out, I am still banned from major websites such as The Spectator and Harry's Place. But I was right. I am right about this, too. 

Nor are they unconnected. It has all come out about Margaret Thatcher's friends. She knew about Cyril Smith when she arranged his knighthood. Jimmy Savile's knighthood was rejected four times by the relevant committee, until she absolutely insisted upon it for the man with whom she spent every New Year's Eve, and on whose programmes she was so obsessed with appearing that her staff had to ration those appearances. Her closest lieutenant was Peter Morrison. Unlike the Prince of Wales, she would have had sight of every file on Laurens van der Post.

What was so important about Smith, a highly eccentric and largely absentee MP for what was then a tiny minority party? He was a Thatcherite avant la lettre, who had left the Labour Party when he had started to see cars outside council houses. Thatcher's father was also a Liberal until all of that fell apart between the Wars, and he was never a member of the Conservative Party to his dying day. He, she and Smith were politically indistinguishable.

That the Radical Right put out pamphlets demanding the legalisation of paedophile activity was mentioned in Our Friends in the North, which was broadcast in 1996. Our Friends in the North is so integral to subsequent popular culture that one of its four stars is now James Bond, another was the first Doctor of this century's revival of Doctor Who, and neither of the others is exactly obscure. 

That Thatcherite MPs were likely to commit sexual violence against boys with the full knowledge of the party hierarchy formed quite a major subplot in To Play the King, the middle series of the original House of Cards trilogy. To Play the King was broadcast as long ago as 1993. No politician or commentator of the generation that is now in or approaching its pomp could possibly have seen anything less than every minute of that trilogy.

Moreover, anyone who came to political maturity in what were then the newly-former mining areas will have been made fully aware that the miners in the dock, all the way back in 1984 and 1985, routinely made reference to the proclivities of the Home Secretary of the day, Leon Brittan. Those proclivities were common knowledge from Fife and the Lothians, to County Durham and the southern part of Northumberland, to South Yorkshire, to South Wales, among other places. Nothing was carried in the papers or included in the court reports, but the pit villages never needed Twitter in order to circumvent that kind of censorship.

Notably about Harriet Harman and the Paedophile Information Exchange, I have been here before: everyone called me a nutter for years, but I was right, I knew that I was right, so did they, and they now deny that they ever denied what I had been saying all along. Likewise, I have been trying for years to tell you about the Far Right in this country, about its links to the 1980s New Right by which we are now governed, and about the links between both of those and paedophile advocacy, activism and activity. There it all is, at UCL and at the very heart of government. Will you listen now?

Monday, 15 January 2018

The Lanchester Review: Why Senator Cardin Is A Fitting Opponent For Chelsea Manning

Greater Than Attlee

Chris Williamson has been ridiculed for suggesting that Jeremy Corbyn would be an even greater Prime Minister than Clement Attlee was. What, however, is wrong with that?

Attlee's wars tend to be ignored. But in fact they were rather squalid, and he made the first ever cuts to the Welfare State for the sake of the Warfare State. He was the best Labour Prime Minister so far, by a mile. But only so far.

The Broken Net

Who even remembered that there was a net migration target? It was a joke at the last two General Elections, insofar as it came up at all last year.

For more than half a decade, immigration was a huge issue. But then, quite suddenly, it just wasn't. How the world turns.

Momentum, Indeed

I cannot see how it is news that supporters of the twice-elected Leader of the Labour Party have been elected to its National Executive Committee. It would have been news if his opponents had been. But consider that each of the Momentum-backed candidates received over 60,000 votes. That is about as many as the entire membership of the Conservative Party.

If Constituency Labour Parties do not exist to select and reselect, or deselect, parliamentary candidates, then what, exactly, are they for? That question presents itself with particular starkness here in North West Durham, where the CLP was told last year that not only was no one in it capable of being a parliamentary candidate, but no one in it was even permitted to have any say in who that candidate was to be.

Daily Mail, Don't Be Derailed

Whether or not Virgin is now going to sell you anyway, it threatened not to do so. Run your excoriating exposé of its publicly funded profiteering, from the railways to NHS, as if it had followed through on that threat. Here on the Left, we would be right behind you.

Follow The Money

Carillion, which is chaired by Theresa May's adviser on corporate responsibility, is not really a private company at all. It exists almost entirely in order to profit from public contracts. In that, it is like Atos. It is like G4S. It is very much like Virgin. The rest of us need to start following the money. The money that does not find its way back to the Treasury. And the money that does find its way to either or both of the Conservative Party and the DUP.

This is the Conservative Party's public money laundering operation that is its client State. Dressed up as tax-avoiding private companies. Or dressed up as tax-exempt charities such as the New Schools Network, which derives 90 per cent of its income from the public purse, and which has done little or nothing for years, but which continues to pay £90,000 per annum to Toby Young.

For that matter, does anyone seriously suggest that the Ulster Institute for Social Research is not connected to the DUP? To which party, in that case, is that highly political Institute connected? When  it is based at the perfectly respectable University of Ulster, and when it and Young are holding their "London Conference on Intelligence" at the world class University College London, then what on God's green earth must be going on at less prestigious institutions?

I have been trying for years to tell you about the Far Right in this country, about its links to the 1980s New Right by which we are now governed, and about the links between both of those and paedophile advocacy, activism and activity. There it all is, at UCL and at the very heart of government. Will you listen now?

Time To Get Manning?

Chelsea Manning is many things. But Chelsea Manning is not Ben Cardin. So, why not Chelsea Manning for Senator? Seriously, why not? How would Cardin be better than Manning? How, exactly?

The Right Leaders?

In the future, will everyone will Leader of UKIP for 15 minutes? No, in the present, everyone is being Leader of UKIP for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, the next Leader of the Conservative Party is shaping up to be Gavin Williamson. Yes, he is a Remainer. Of course he is a Remainer. As determined by the party itself, that is the minimum qualification for the job.

Neither he nor his patroness, Theresa May, is any good at government. But look at how she became Prime Minister, and look at how he became Defence Secretary. She is not at bad politics, and nor is he.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Withdrawal Remarks

Of course Labour will vote against the EU Withdrawal Bill, an Executive power grab that Tony Benn would have opposed to his last breath.

And of course Labour wants to withdraw from the Single Market and the Customs Union. Jeremy Corbyn is more Eurosceptical than any member of the present Cabinet, and he has been so since before most of them were in public life at all.

The Heiress Presumptive

To ask what the political opinions of Laura Pidcock MP are, simply that, is apparently now to engage in "personal attacks". Truly, she is the Heiress Presumptive.

To placate what is still the profoundly unconvinced Constituency Labour Party that was never asked whether it wanted her, she has been appointed to Shadow a Ministry that does not exist. Over to that CLP.

By all accounts, it is an open secret in circles in favour Scottish independence that Laura Pidcock is one of theirs, placing her at variance with both of her new patrons, Owen Jones and George Galloway, as well as with Richard Leonard, whom she was already considered important enough to be invited to endorse.

But does she agree with Galloway, and probably also with Jones, that the Falkland Islands ought to be handed over to Argentina? My own view is that no one should be taken seriously who opposes that view but who does not also support the Chagos Islanders, that the amount of money and attention paid to the Falkland Islands is obscene compared to the neglect of the larger population on St Helena such as during the recent crisis over the airport, that the pointed absence of St Helenian and other brown faces whenever the Falklands are shown on British television can only be explained as a matter of policy, and that the Falkland Islanders are among the people who need to be reminded that the people of Great Britain also have a right of self-determination, which they have exercised in order to leave behind far larger populations in the past, including after wars that were far more recent. But none of those is the same thing. What, however, is the view of Laura Pidcock?

Yes, that does mean that I disagree with Galloway. Why would I not? I do on a number of matters, as I have done from time to time with my other Campaign Patron, Councillor Alex Watson OBE. For example, while I accept that public figures do all sorts of things for charity, Galloway's appearance on Celebrity Big Brother cost him his own seat, and Respect several more, in the hung Parliament of 2010. You could expect no comparable strategic error from me. But might you from Laura Pidcock?

Saturday, 13 January 2018

With Respect

"To my comrade David Lindsay, with respect, George Galloway." So reads the inscription in my copy of his book, I'm Not The Only One. I have enormous political respect and personal affection for George, who needs to face facts. He is not going to be a Minister in a Corbyn Government. He is never again going to be a Labour MP. He is never going to be let back into the Labour Party at all.

Whatever the rights or wrongs of his expulsion in 2003, he has since stood for Parliament against Labour five times, he has been successful on two occasions, he has taken seats from Labour on both of them, he has prevented the re-election of a Labour MP on one of them, he has actively supported several other parliamentary and numerous municipal candidates against Labour ones, he has stood for the European Parliament against Labour (I voted for Respect at those elections in 2004, albeit not in London, where he was the lead candidate), he has stood for the Scottish Parliament against Labour, he has stood twice for the London Assembly against Labour, he has literally allowed his name to appear in that of a London Assembly list against Labour on a third occasion, and he has stood for Mayor of London against Labour.

George most recently stood for Parliament against Labour a mere six months ago. When it comes to merely threatening to stand against Labour, the offence for which I was expelled because I had done it once, even he himself has probably lost count. Even now, he is dropping hints about Kensington and Chelsea Council. He has told me live on air that I ought to stand for Parliament, and he has told me face to face that I ought to stand for Parliament. He has not formally resigned as one of my Campaign Patrons.

George's name has appeared alongside mine on several published and unpublished round-robin letters, and it has also appeared, obviously without mine, on an unpublished letter attacking the abuse of the criminal justice system against me. I have avidly retweeted his material, and he has fairly regularly retweeted mine. I have publicised his radio programme, his television programme and his documentary film, all of which I shall continue to do, since they are excellent. He tapped me to be a weekly panellist on another RT programme that he was to have presented; it was never commissioned, but a pilot was made, and I was in it. He agreed to write a weekly column for my magazine, which remains a work in progress, whatever the George Wallace County Durham Labour Party and the Bull Connor Crown Prosecution Service might do to try and kill it.

I published an article in The Huffington Post making the case for George's London Mayoral candidacy, and The Lanchester Review carried an extensive expression of support for him. Other than those in County Durham which were not being defended by Grahame Morris, the Teaching Assistants' Champion, Manchester Gorton was the only constituency in Great Britain at which I did not advocate a Labour vote last year, calling instead for a vote for George. I maintain that he would have won it if it had been a by-election after all, having accurately predicted George's victory at Bradford West in 2012. Just as I accurately predicted a hung Parliament in 2010, Ed Miliband as Labour Leader, UKIP's defeat at every by-election where its candidate was not the incumbent MP, no UKIP gains in 2015, Jeremy Corbyn's runaway victory after his rivals' infamous abstention, Corbyn's increased mandate in 2016, and (uniquely, so far as I am aware) a hung Parliament in 2017.

Those who say that I am a false prophet either ignored George completely in 2012 or said that he was going to lose his deposit, predicted a Conservative overall majority in 2010, predicted that David Miliband would lead the Labour Party, predicted that UKIP would win every English by-election during that Parliament, predicted that it would return dozens of MPs in 2015 as it "replaced Labour in the North", predicted that Anyone But Corbyn would win the Labour Leadership, predicted that Owen Smith would either defeat him or massively reduce his margin of victory, and predicted a landslide for Theresa May. Had it not been for the electoral fraud to which the Conservative Party freely admits, but which the CPS can find "no public interest" in prosecuting, then Labour would indeed have won the 2015 General Election, as I predicted.

George's doomed desperation to be let back into the Labour Party has led him to set aside all of this in order to declare Laura Pidcock above criticism by a journalist and activist who is also her constituent and near neighbour. Laura has just been named a Shadow Minister for Labour even though, while there ought to be a Ministry of Labour, in point of fact there is not one.

Yet it is either certain or very highly likely that she disagrees with George, and with me, about Brexit, about the Teaching Assistants, about crossparty friendship and co-operation, about working for Murdoch-owned broadcasters, about writing for the Mail newspapers, about Scottish independence, about the relative importance of funding university students over their peers, about all-women shortlists, about being or not being a Marxist, about immigration, about the policy approach to climate change, about Donald Trump's defeat of Hillary Clinton, about the possibility of a State Visit by Trump, about fathers' rights, about abortion, and about assisted suicide.

Laura has been endorsed as a potential future Leader of the Labour Party, and thus as a potential future Prime Minister, by Owen Jones. Does she agree with him about drugs, about prostitution and pornography (including the lap-dancing clubs that have been an issue in this constituency in the past), and about gender as a matter of self-identification? Or does she agree, as I do, with George Galloway on those questions? And what is George's response to her answer?

Clashing Yellow

Red-Purple-Blue. Blue-Purple-Red. Either would work. Local people know what the purple is about. No, it is not UKIP. Well, not directly, anyway. Yellow would clash, wouldn't it?

Yet, with blue and yellow as the colours of the Teaching Assistants, it will be in there, indicating my intention to have Lib Dems on my constituency staff alongside Labourites, Independents and Conservatives.

And if possible to have one or two on my Westminster staff as well, at the national and international centre of developing and articulating the alternative to neoliberal economic policy and to neoconservative foreign policy.

But on the latter front, the signs are not promising that they would have even have any desire to be there. Vince Cable has today declared his opposition to any nationalisation of Carillion. Well, of course he has. The roots of Thatcherism, like the roots of Thatcher, were Liberal, not Tory.

I voted for the sole and successful Lib Dem candidate for Lanchester Parish Council last year, while also voting for the sole and successful Conservative candidate, for all of the successful Independent candidates, for successful and unsuccessful Labour candidates, and for both of the unsuccessful candidates with No Description.

At the General Election, I voted for Owen Temple, the Teaching Assistants' Champion, whose victory would have delivered theirs as surely as would have done Labour's loss of overall control of Durham County Council.

But that Whig tradition is not mine.

Real Estate

In this country, nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with Donald Trump is more important than the crisis in Carillion. Someone needs to tell the BBC that.

And that Boris Johnson is on record that he no longer visits New York for fear of running into Donald Trump. And that Nigel Farage is not a significant figure. And that there is in fact a bit of a story about him, which is not his call for a second referendum. And that Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan are entitled to the right of reply.

Don't Be A Seasonal Vegetable

Friday, 12 January 2018

Unhealthy and Unsafe

Those who may be seeking to deflect attention from Toby Young, or simply to attack John McDonnell for the sake of it, have picked the wrong rallying point in Esther McVey.

McVey was a director of a demolition company that was served with health and safety prohibition notices, an area covered by her Department, owing to unsafe scaffolding.

Esther McVey's unsafe scaffolding? Make your own jokes. But it's not funny. It is not funny at all.

Here's The Rub

Kelvin Hopkins may or may not have done something that he should not have done. But he did at least two things that he should have done.

He was the first MP to nominate Jeremy Corbyn for Leader of the Labour Party. And he campaigned for Leave, on all the good Old Labour grounds that, based on the map, did in fact carry the day. 

Hence the fuss over him, but not over, for example, Keith Vaz. Or is Hopkins accused of something worse than betraying his wife with rent boys for whom he had offered to buy cocaine?

For that matter, is he accused of something worse than having arranged over drinks, and then  of having defended publicly, an influential and well-remunerated public appointment for a friend who had supplied Class A drugs, who had dressed as a woman in order to assault lesbians sexually, and who had participated in a eugenics conference with neo-Nazis and with an advocate of the rape of drugged children?

Short Shrift

In many ways, I like Dawn Butler. And she did not quite call for "transwomen" to be allowed on all-women shortlists. But at least she has opened the debate. Some of us were there in the 1990s, and the world has changed. The idea that the MP simply could not be a woman is now completely alien. All-women shortlists ought simply to be abolished. There are crises of representation. But they are elsewhere.

Peering Into The Future

From Spiked, with its Murdoch and its Telegraph Group connections, to the Daily Mail, they all now want to abolish the House of Lords. A pity, because I have always quite fancied it, and George Galloway once said live on air that he would take a seat in it if I did. But before or after the Blair reforms, as Tony Benn understood, you could always have had either the House of Lords or Brexit, but not both. So here we are.

The 99 lieutenancy areas ought to be the basis of a new second chamber, to which the powers of the House of Lords would be transferred, with remuneration fixed at that of the Commons. In each of the areas, each of us would vote for one candidate, and the top six would be elected, giving 594 Senators in all. 

Meanwhile, if this reduction in the number of Commons constituencies to 600 were indeed to occur, then the number of MPs might nevertheless remain the same. The whole country could elect 50 MPs, with each of us voting for one candidate, and with the top 50 elected at the end. Candidates would not be nominees of political parties, but any party of which a candidate happened to be a member would be listed next to his or her name on the ballot paper, for the information of the voters.

What would be the deposit to become such a candidate? There would not be one, as there ought not to be in general. Instead, the requirement to be a constituency candidate might be nomination by at least five per cent of the voters, while that to be a national candidate might be nomination by at least 2000 registered parliamentary electors, including at least 10 in each of the lieutenancy areas. In this day and age, obtaining that would cost little or nothing.

Carillion

You've heard of it now, haven't you?

Not only on foreign policy has Jeremy Corbyn been right all along.

Shitholes, Indeed

Not language that I would ordinarily permit on here, and Donald Trump ought not to use it. But when it comes to Haiti, and when it comes to at least one African country, before then the richest on the continent, look up what Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton did not merely call them, but do to them.

It is absolutely imperative that the protests against Donald Trump when he does eventually come to Britain be led by people who opposed Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, and who would have opposed Hillary Clinton. On that basis, bring on the State Visit.

Never Mind The Pidcocks?

I have had numerous communications about yesterday's post concerning George Galloway and Laura Pidcock.

The Constituency Labour Party here in North West Durham nominated Jeremy Corbyn for Leader in 2016, so it would have selected a left-wing parliamentary candidate of its own accord in 2017. Yet the Labour Party nationally decided that nobody in North West Durham was capable of being a parliamentary candidate, or even of having any say in the selection of one.

The hurt is real and the anger is raw. But 2017 could have been my fourth General Election, if you had done what you should have done while Laura Pidcock was still a schoolgirl of whom you had never heard. Since then, I have been trying for years and years to tell you that you would not actually die if you stepped outside the Labour Party. George Galloway is testament to that.

Yet he is desperate to get back into it, even though he has been out of it for even longer than I have. So desperate, in fact, that he will now favour Laura Pidcock, whom he has probably never even met and with whom he has probably never had any kind of communication, over me, with whom he has been co-operating for some years. And for what? Labour is never going to let you back in, George. Never. That is just a fact.

Ho, hum. By popular request, here are a few more issues on which George has very strong opinions, with some of which I agree wholeheartedly, with others to a more qualified extent, with others more in aspiration than anything else, and with others not at all. The question is, since George has joined those to whom Laura is the Heiress Presumptive, does she agree with them?

George Galloway is a stalwart supporter of Durham County Council's wronged Teaching Assistants, including the 472 who have still had their pay cut by 23 per cent. As am I. But is Laura Pidcock? Indeed, has she ever been?

George Galloway has a long and ongoing history of crossparty friendship and co-operation. As have I, albeit on a much smaller scale, but including in relation to the Teaching Assistants. What has Laura Pidcock to say to that?

George Galloway not only presents a weekly programme on RT, but he also presents a three-hour weekly radio programme on a Murdoch-owned station, he appears fairly regularly on the BBC in general and on Jeremy Vine in particular, he has written for the Mail newspapers many times over many years, and has sided, like Jeremy Corbyn, with the Daily Mail against Virgin Trains. I would, and given the opportunity I do, practise a comparable ecumenism when it came to being offered a platform. But would Laura Pidcock?

George Galloway has been unwavering in his support of me against the universally acknowledged, though technically still ongoing, attempt by the George Wallace Labour Party in Durham County Hall and by its Bull Connor accomplices in the Crown Prosecution Service to send me to prison for an offence that was never in fact committed by me or by anyone else. What is the view of Laura Pidcock, who is my MP?

George Galloway describes Winston Churchill as his hero, whereas I go to some lengths to balance the cult of him with the facts of his record, not least with respect to the miners and to racial questions. What does Laura Pidcock, the poster girl of Stand Up to Racism turned golden girl of the Durham Miners' Association, think of Winston Churchill?

George Galloway wants to abolish the monarchy (a move that Jeremy Corbyn ruled out in interview during the General Election campaign), whereas I have a republican heart but a monarchist head, since I accept that the monarchy keeps sweet certain people who need to be kept sweet, although I cannot see what it has ever done for them, and I want to transfer the powers of the Royal Prerogative to an institution that, as much as anything else, would be far more representative of those people. Does Laura Pidcock want to abolish the monarchy?

George Galloway campaigned vigorously against Scottish independence, which I also actively opposed, and he would do so again, as would I. Did Laura Pidcock oppose Scottish independence? Would she do so again?

George Galloway advocates Proportional Representation, a cause of which I have never been entirely convinced, although that was before I acquired an MP who refused to have a cup of tea with one third of her constituents, and who has presumably instructed her staff not to reply to telephone calls or to emails from the non-Labour majority of councillors for wards in her constituency. Does Laura Pidcock advocate Proportional Representation?

George Galloway wishes to establish the principle that whatever privileges were enjoyed by students in Further and Higher Education ought also to be enjoyed by their peers who were apprentices or trainees, and vice versa, and would favour all-working-class shortlists rather than all-women shortlists. In the strongest possible terms, I, too, wish to establish the principle that whatever privileges were enjoyed by students in Further and Higher Education ought also to be enjoyed by their peers who were apprentices or trainees, and vice versa. But would Laura Pidcock? At the very least, I would see all-working-class shortlists as preferable to all-women shortlists. But would Laura Pidcock?

George Galloway has always answered "No" to the question, "Are you a Marxist?" As has Jeremy Corbyn. And as have I. But what would be Laura Pidcock's answer to the question, "Are you a Marxist?"

George Galloway supports much tighter immigration controls, of the kind favoured by trade unionists such as Paul Embery. As do I. But does Laura Pidcock support much tighter immigration controls?

George Galloway has described anthropogenic global warming as "a tall tale", appearing repeatedly with Piers Corbyn. I pass no comment on the science, but I insist on an approach to climate change which protects and extends secure employment with civilised wages and working conditions, which encourages economic development around the world, which upholds the right of the working classes and of non-white people to have children, which holds down and as far as practicable reduces the fuel prices that always hit the poor hardest, and which refuses to restrict either travel opportunities or a full diet to the rich. Would Laura Pidcock describe anthropogenic global warming as "a tall tale"?

George Galloway has always said that he would not have voted either for Donald Trump or for Hillary Clinton, as have I, and, like me, he signed this response to the American Presidential Election, which was published as a letter in the Morning Star. Can Laura Pidcock say that she would not have voted either for Donald Trump or for Hillary Clinton? Would she have signed that letter?

George Galloway says that he would welcome a State Visit by President Trump, as it would be met by the largest demonstrations in British history, which would change British politics for generations to come, provided that they were led by people who had been just as opposed to Bill Clinton, to George W. Bush and to Barack Obama, and who would have been just as opposed to Hillary Clinton. That is precisely and emphatically my view. But is it the view of Laura Pidcock?

That brings us back to the origin of my apparent banishment from court, namely my journalistic audacity in publishing the concerns of other constituents that Laura Pidcock might share certain of the views of her other patron, Owen Jones. Unlike Owen Jones, George Galloway is strongly opposed to the legalisation of drugs; he is strongly opposed to prostitution and pornography, and with them to the lap-dancing clubs that have been an issue in this constituency in the past; and he rejects the idea, which is favoured by the Government, that gender is a matter of self-identification. As am I, as am I, and as do I.

But is Laura Pidcock strongly opposed to the legalisation of drugs? Is Laura Pidcock strongly opposed to prostitution, to pornography, and to lap-dancing clubs? Does Laura Pidcock reject the idea, which is favoured by the Government, that gender is a matter of self-identification? In a word, does Laura Pidcock agree with her patron, George Galloway? Or does she agree with her other patron, Owen Jones?

One could go on. But, with yesterday's, these ought to do. For now.

Office Politics

Odd, isn't it, how certain commentators are everywhere for a while, and then go away completely, but in some cases come back? Unsighted for years, the once ubiquitous James Delingpole was on Newsnight earlier this week, and then on This Week last night. He was defending Donald Trump.

Boris Johnson is blaming Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan for Trump's cancelled visit, thereby declaring them to have far more power than Johnson himself, or even Theresa May, has. If Trump does not want to have protesters, then he is right not to come to Britain, and should confine his visits to his former destination of Saudi Arabia.

But I for one greatly look forward to his eventual arrival on these shores. It would provoke a reaction such as would redefine this country's cultural and political life for at least 50 years, overflowing from the biggest demonstrations that Britain had ever seen.

Of course, there would be those who staged some kind of pro-Trump event. For example, Toby Young, who no longer has anything else to do. Who, exactly, was in need of his "Office for Students", when neo-Nazis, properly so called, were holding eugenics conferences, properly so called, at UCL, of all places? Or when participants in those conferences were being appointed to public office?

The Line seems to be to screech "What about John McDonnell?", of all people. But John McDonnell has not attended eugenics conferences with neo-Nazis, one of whom believes that it is acceptable to have sex with children if they have been drugged to sleep for the purpose. John McDonnell is too busy preparing to attend, since he has been invited to it, the World Economic Forum in Davos. No such invitation has been extended to Toby Young. Or to James Delingpole. Nor will it be.