Wednesday, 15 July 2020

Oliver Kamm Libel Watch: Day Nine

Oliver Kamm, you are a liar, and as such you are unfit to hold your position on The Times.

Sue me.

Your bizarre CapX article, as well as numerous other statements of yours since then, have had nothing to do with the substance of my previous court case, in relation to which I maintain my innocence.

So they have not already been tested in court. And they are lies. Oliver Kamm, you are a liar, and as such you are unfit to hold your position on The Times. Sue me. This post will appear here daily until you do.

Peter Tatchell, You Say?

Who next, Harriet Harman?

You all catch up with me in the end. Not that I ever expect any credit.

A British Option, Indeed

The conversion of Bernard Jenkin to the cause of public ownership is greatly to be welcomed.

He himself either does not quite realise that that conversion has happened, or he will not quite say so out loud. But it has.

Of course we ought to be building and owning our own power stations. How was that ever even a question? Very soon, it no longer will be.

The Budget of March 2020 has ended the era that began with the Budget of 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. It already has plenty going on.

Labour In Vain

It turns out that you can now stand for the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party by self-nomination. So there are 173 candidates. One hundred and seventy-three. Let's see if Laura Pidcock can once again cheat and still lose. Just as only Chris Grayling could have lost a rigged election, so only she could have done that.

How I feel for Jonathan Ashworth. I remember him well at university. As I recently explained to someone who was not born in those days, "He has been a loyal and faithful servant of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, Ed Miliband, Jeremy Corbyn, and Keir Starmer." "And of the next one?" "My dear boy, you have missed the point."

Through no fault of Jonathan's own, it will be his lot in life to have to lead Labour into the General Election of 2029, when Rishi Sunak will enjoy something akin to the 49-state sweeps that reelected Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan.

There are few, if any, constituencies where the votes of well-heeled white liberals would alone be enough to make one the First Past the Post, and in any case Labour is going to be in a three-way fight for that small bloc, against both the Liberal Democrats and the Greens.

As I look back on a quarter of a century of political activism, never again to contest another election to anything, then it is possible that I played some very small part in turning North West Durham into a key swing seat that therefore commanded serious attention, and in keeping the truly disturbed and disturbing little clique around Pidcock from any hope of seizing the Leadership of the Official Opposition.

And as a kind of double-headed capstone, I would take that. Life goes on. The Budget of March 2020 has ended the era that began with the Budget of 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. It already has plenty going on.

For They Do Prank Them In Authority

“The government’s Kickstart programme is nowhere near enough – the only way to avoid widespread unemployment and a race to the bottom is by guaranteeing public investment in living wage jobs,” says Alex Collinson.

“Racism is a structural problem, and fighting it requires the Labour Party to support bold political and economic solutions – Keir Starmer’s unconscious bias training is not the answer,” says Michael Bankole

And “British Airways could retain its workforce even without government support – but instead it has chosen to make 12,000 redundant and force 30,000 onto worse contracts. That is a scandal,” says Sam Tarry.

Tribune, which is never to be confused with the Tribune Group of Labour MPs, is on fire at the moment.

Shattering The Tax And Spend Deficit Myth

Such is the life of a political dissident that the last time I reposted a Morning Star article by Chris Williamson, then I got a suspended sentence. But here goes: 

We need a radical rethink on the tax and spend deficit myth.

Economic commentators and politicians of every stripe perpetuate the delusion that public spending is paid for by governments taxing or borrowing and that fiscal deficits are something to be concerned about.

We saw it again last week in the discussion around the mini-Budget. These misconceptions have dominated the last five decades.

Unfortunately, Labour has been unable to escape from the misguided but longstanding monetarist doctrine.

We all laughed when John McDonnell said the only numbers in the 2017 Tory manifesto were the page numbers.

But John’s amusing soundbite was unwittingly reinforcing Margaret Thatcher’s specious pronouncement that “there is no such thing as public money … only taxpayers’ money.” 

Although it’s trotted out ad nauseum, the “taxpayers’ money” notion is a sham. The new shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds is repeating the same errors as all her predecessors. 

Her calls for a wealth tax on the richest to boost recovery from the coronavirus pandemic is the right policy but for the wrong reasons. 

We need a wealth tax to reduce inequality, not to fund a fiscal stimulus, which can be easily delivered with a few keystrokes on the Treasury’s computer. 

As Mark Twain said: “It ain’t what you know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure, that just ain’t so.” 

Unlike countries in the eurozone, Britain has monetary sovereignty — in other words, it issues its own currency. 

Moreover, in 1971 Richard Nixon ditched the Bretton Woods Agreement, which linked sterling to the US dollar, and the pound has been a floating currency ever since. 

But ministers and MPs on both sides of the chamber have been either oblivious to these realities, or feigning ignorance, for almost 50 years. 

The consequence of this fundamental misunderstanding has entrenched the tax and spend deficit myth, which is an ill-conceived creed with no basis in fact. 

This deluded dogma has been incredibly damaging for working-class communities, because Conservative, Labour and coalition governments have all used the myth as justification for severe cutbacks.

The imposition of austerity by the coalition in 2010 and Labour in 1976 are just two examples. Both were based on a completely false premise. 

George Osborne used the note, left by Liam Byrne, the outgoing chief secretary to the Treasury, saying “there is no money” as cover for the coalition’s austerity programme. 

Similarly, chancellor Denis Healey negotiated a bailout for the Labour government from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1976 to supposedly avoid a situation where Britain would run out of money. 

But as Britain issues its own currency, it can never run out of money. 

The ensuing public expenditure cuts demanded by the IMF paved the way for the Conservative election victory in 1979, and Thatcher’s full-throated monetarist mania that has held sway ever since. 

The big question now is, how can we escape this misconceived monetarist maelstrom?

Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) offers us a lens to better understand what has been going on and gives us the tools to demand that policy-makers change course. 

It has been gathering momentum in recent years, but a new book by leading MMT proponent Stephanie Kelton really blows the gaff on the confidence trick that successive governments have played on the public. 

The Deficit Myth obliterates the basis for the long-running and economically illiterate status quo. 

The book’s 263 pages could be a catalyst for the Copernican shift we need to create a people’s economy, making it essential reading for anyone interested in reducing inequality and eliminating poverty.

Kelton shatters the myth that has shackled Britain to a system that has served the interests of wealthy elites and corporations at the expense of everyone else. 

She explodes the Thatcherite myth that government finances in nations like Britain are comparable to the finances of a domestic household. 

In reality, there is no similarity whatsoever, because the government is a currency issuer while households are currency users.

She explains why fiscal deficits are not evidence of overspending, do not burden future generations and don’t crowd out private investment either. 

She also makes clear that social security, including pensions, is eminently affordable and shows that foreign investors holding government bonds pose no threat to our economic wellbeing. 

Tony Benn said if we can find money to kill people, we can find money to help people — and he was right.

When it comes to waging war or delivering tax cuts to the super-rich, money is no object, whereas calls for investment in public services and social security, or increased salaries for key workers in the public sector, are usually deemed unaffordable because of the impact on the fiscal deficit.

But it’s inflation not fiscal deficits that offer evidence of overspending, which can be generated by too much private sector as well as too much government spending.

Kelton challenges these perverse priorities and sets out the true purpose of taxation.

She details why it’s the availability of real resources in the economy, such as unemployed workers and spare industrial capacity, not the availability of money, that matters.

The deficits that we should be concerned about include the response to climate change, the deficit in well-paid jobs, public services, infrastructure, social security, healthcare, decent pensions, housing and education.

Of course, the reason why these deficits are not addressed is because of the deficit in our democracy, which she also tackles in her book.

Kelton challenges us to imagine a people’s economy and gives us the tools to make it happen. It’s up to us now.

Tuesday, 14 July 2020

Oliver Kamm Libel Watch: Day Eight

Oliver Kamm, you are a liar, and as such you are unfit to hold your position on The Times.

Sue me.

Your bizarre CapX article, as well as numerous other statements of yours since then, have had nothing to do with the substance of my previous court case, in relation to which I maintain my innocence.

So they have not already been tested in court. And they are lies. Oliver Kamm, you are a liar, and as such you are unfit to hold your position on The Times. Sue me. This post will appear here daily until you do.

Mask To Madness

How considerate of Covid-19, to have declared a ceasefire until 24th July.

Copied In?

Ben Sellout’s latest bromatic partner, Oliver Kamm, has had me kicked of Twitter, and since that is within his power, then I consider it no loss. So I have only just been alerted to the tweet that has been posted here and here, from what turn out to be the accounts of two of George Galloway’s closest associates, a further five of whom have retweeted it, and more of whom may have tweeted it themselves:

We need this tweet from you immediately, @georgegalloway: 

"At next year's elections to @DurhamCouncil, I will contest whichever ward that [the Leader of Durham County Council] did. @WPB_NorthEast @TAs_Durham @county_assoc @eddygraham39 @Michael45759951 @paperbhoy @TheNorthernEcho @BBCLN @CoDurhamLabour"

@WPB_NorthEast is the branch of George's Workers Party of Britain here in the North East. @TAs_Durham and @county_assoc are the redoubtable County Durham Teaching Assistants. @eddygraham39 is a nationally and internationally well-connected trade unionist and Left activist right there in the North Durham constituency that contains the Leader’s current ward. @Michael45759951 signed my nomination papers for the General Election. @paperbhoy is a splendid left-wing journalist in County Durham. Durham County Council, the principal local newspaper, the BBC’s 6:30 regional news bulletin, and County Durham Labour Party, have all been copied in.

George has said nothing to discourage any of this. Like Dave Thompson, he is right that voting the same way at constituency and at list level for Holyrood is a waste of the second vote. I wish the Alliance for Unity well. But George is clearly open to the idea that he himself needs to be looking for something else next year.

Since he is certainly not going to become First Minister of Scotland or anything like that, he has not rebuffed the opportunity to exercise a pivotal role in the complete reorganisation of a major local authority once it had passed to No Overall Control after a century of the right-wing Labour machine. In 2017, it took 749 votes to win a seat on Durham County Council for Chester-le-Street West Central, and 854 for the Leader of the Council to top the poll. Turnout was 1,870. George would get that just by being on the ballot paper.

The defeat of that Leader would be heard from the souks to the favelas, from the Dalit colonies to the Rohingya camps, and from Kashmir, to Crimea, to the scattered outposts of Diego Garcia. Armed with an impeccably local running mate in order to stop the target from slipping through, George is just the man to do this. We would need only to get him registered to vote in County Durham, and preferably in Chester-le-Street, in time to be a candidate on 6th May 2021.

Eric Joyce once described George as having stepped beyond what was “reasonable and acceptable for Labour MPs”. Any Labour electoral opponent of George’s, including the present Leader of Durham County Council, has therefore been endorsed by Eric Joyce, and may look forward to being described as such. They would dance in the streets of the annexed Jordan Valley at George’s election, and not least at his election against this opponent.

Smart?

5G will be old technology by 2027, anyway. But whoever is to replace Huawei, will they be as good?

And when are we going to get American and Israeli spying out of our mobile phone networks?

Of course we have brought this on ourselves by deindustrialisation, deregulation and privatisation. We could have had our own Huawei.

We still can. The Budget of March 2020 has ended the era that began with the Budget of 1976.

The Centre is the think tank for this new era. It already has plenty going on.

Independent Thought

"The Conservative majority here at North West Durham would double in 2024 even if no one switched from Labour, as plenty of people are going to do. That majority is 1,144. By then in his seventies, Watts Stelling would be highly unlikely to make a fourth attempt. And most or all of his 1,216 votes would go to Richard Holden."

As I wrote yesterday. But the Independents in these parts are no fools. In return for not fielding one of their several well-known and highly active figures in this highly marginal seat, they will be requiring specific expenditure in each ward that they held. And there are going to be several more of those next year. We have real politics now.

The Word On The Street Is Latino

Very many thanks to a regular reader whom I did not know, but whom I do have the pleasure of knowing now, and who assures me as a Latino that the preferred word is "Latino", with the feminine form "Latina".

That is the word that arose from the grassroots as the community's name for itself, he informs me, and it is usefully the same in English, Spanish and Portuguese. By contrast, even the pronunciation of "Latinx" is not immediately obvious, a difficulty to which speakers of Spanish are unaccustomed.

I am advised that I was correct to say that no Spanish noun or adjective could have no gender, and that no Spanish sentence could ever be organised in such a way as to accommodate such a word. But the main point is that "Latinx" is a top-down imposition, an academic conceit. The word on the street is "Latino".

Increasingly, that street is in Britain. The Latino population here is quite large, and it is growing rapidly. The man who refused to press charges in relation to the death of Jean Charles de Menezes is unfit to be the Prime Minister of such a country. Mercifully, he is not the Prime Minister. And he never will be.

Never Mind The Murdochs

Tune in to BBC Two at nine o'clock for The Rise of the Murdoch Dynasty. It promises to be very, very good.

Why do people hate Rupert Murdoch so intensely? That would make sense only if any of the others were any better. But how, exactly, is any of the others any better?

Still Spooked

On any given day, count how many attacks on Jeremy Corbyn there will still be. An elderly Opposition backbencher is living rent free in the heads of the British Establishment. So to speak, he has spooked them.

Even in 2019, a party led by him still took 10,269,051 votes. That was 716,615 more than Labour had managed when it had won the 2005 General Election. It was only 434,703 fewer than the Conservatives had scored in 2010, when David Cameron had become Prime Minister.

In 2017, Corbyn, differing only on Brexit from his 2019 self, had led his party to 12,878,460 votes. That was 40 per cent of the total, and only 758,224 behind the Conservatives.

And say it again that even in 2019, Corbyn secured for his party the votes of 10 million people, the population of a fair sized European country. Those 10 million people have not all died or emigrated in the last seven months.

Half of our lords and masters are terrified because they do not recognise this Britain. The other half are terrified because they do.

No Identity Crisis Here

The Provisional Left has been absolutely central to the opposition to gender self-identification. With holding the pro-Brexit line that the whole of the Left once held, and with rejecting the IHRA Definition, it has been one of our three key defining issues as we have emerged in distinction from the Official Left during the Corbyn years.

We are Red rather than Green, refusing to celebrate the defeat of the miners in 1985, and seeking instead to harness the power of the State, both directly and in partnership with private enterprise, in the service of human demographic, economic, intellectual and cultural expansion and development throughout this country and throughout the world.

And we have understood from the start that a sovereign state with its own free floating, fiat currency had as much of that currency as it chose to issue to itself, with readily available fiscal and monetary means of controlling inflation, means that must therefore be under democratic political control.

That understanding is now being used in that service, in order to hold and expand the Conservative Party's gains along the Red Wall, where we on the Provisional Left are strong. The previous Conservative Government had a thing for the IHRA Definition, but expect no more of that as the present Leadership sought to capture the Black Wall.

The Black Wall is also a centre of Provisional Left thinking and activity, since its inhabitants are profoundly unconvinced of the value of "brown faces in high places", and are hungry instead for radical, structural change. In any case, there are precious few brown faces anywhere near the present Labour Leadership.

Britain has left the European Union, and we are within an ace of leaving the Single Market and the Customs Union; like Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell before them, Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have an economic programme that depends upon our having done so. And today, it looks as if the Government has abandoned gender self-identification. All in all, then, Keir who? The Centre is the think tank for this new era. It already has plenty going on.

As Safe As Houses

York County Court's ruling does not bind other courts, but this is our chance to get rid of both "No DSS", and so-called no-fault evictions, once and for all. Once they were gone, then there would be no politically feasible way of ever bringing them back.

Three cheers for the three-term Labour Government that never ended such evictions, and which never banned such mortgages and insurance policies. But we on the Red Wall are the key swing voters now. Accordingly, the Budget of March 2020 has ended the era that began with the Budget of 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. It already has plenty going on.

On Never Having Not Been Cancelled

Cancel culture is no newer to some of us than fake news, such as the claim that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. 

The gall of Nick Cohen is almost admirable, but in fact there is nothing to admire in having attained the age of 59 without having acquired the slightest self-awareness. Cohen was positively distinguished in screaming the most hysterical abuse against those of us who were right, and who spoke for the great majority of public opinion, about the invasion of Iraq in 2003. 

That campaign to silence us went on at full force for many years, and it has still never quite come to an end. By contrast, I am not aware that anyone has ever been drummed out of public life for having taken the spectacularly wrong, and massively unpopular, position of support for that war.

Cohen yearns for the world before Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn, in which there was no platform except for liberals and liberal conservatives, Whigs and Whiggish Tories, Clinton Democrats and Bush Republicans. All were committed to neoliberal economic policy and to neoconservative foreign policy. Everyone else had been cancelled, not least by Nick Cohen.

Woke Capitalism Is Still Capitalism

Helen Lewis begins: 

Tumbrels are rattling through the streets of the internet. Over the past few years, online-led social movements have deposed gropers, exposed bullies—and, sometimes, ruined the lives of the innocent. Commentators warn of “mob justice,” while activists exult in their newfound power to change the world. Both groups are right, and wrong. Because the best way to see the firings, outings, and online denunciations grouped together as “cancel culture,” is not through a social lens, but an economic one. 

And concludes:

Remember the iron law of woke institutions: For those looking to preserve their power, it makes sense to do the minimum amount of social radicalism necessary to survive, and no economic radicalism at all. The latter is where activists need to apply their pressure.

Do read the whole article.

Monday, 13 July 2020

Oliver Kamm Libel Watch: Day Seven

Oliver Kamm, you are a liar, and as such you are unfit to hold your position on The Times.

Sue me.

Your bizarre CapX article, as well as numerous other statements of yours since then, have had nothing to do with the substance of my previous court case, in relation to which I maintain my innocence.

So they have not already been tested in court. And they are lies. Oliver Kamm, you are a liar, and as such you are unfit to hold your position on The Times. Sue me. This post will appear here daily until you do.

Secure This

Wear a damn mask, people. Wear a damn mask. Or any claim to be concerned about security is a lie.

The War on Cash is a war on the economic, social, cultural and political participation of certain classes and ethnic groups, and it is a means of keeping track of every penny that the rest of us spend. That makes it far more of a threat to your security and mine than Huawei is.

For sale to anyone who wants to buy it, Israeli spyware is all over WhatsApp. Silicon Valley's pillars of the American liberal Deep State are already spying on us all the time. And of course we have brought the Huawei situation on ourselves by deindustrialisation, deregulation and privatisation. We could have had our own Huawei.

We still can. The Budget of March 2020 has ended the era that began with the Budget of 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. It already has plenty going on.

Dodge The Draft

Labour has been sent the draft report into anti-Semitism. But who is going to read it? The whole thing is now curiously out of time. Yet an elderly Opposition backbencher is still living rent free in the heads of the British Establishment. Richard Dearlove was ranting about him yesterday. Jack Straw was today. At least one of them does every day. 

In the racist and anti-disabled spirit of the Blair Government that created it, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has a history of sacking its black and disabled staff first. It managed to find nothing wrong with the Government's conduct in relation to the Windrush scandal, but then the Government does pay its members, and determine who those members are to be. To hell with it.

There needs to be total non-compliance with the EHRC, come what may. Insist on the abolition of this irreformable embodiment of a metropolitan liberal elite that has imported the New York practice of branding uppity black people and their allies as "anti-Semitic".

Best And Brightest

Of course the criteria are wrong to the point of wickedness. But while Priti Patel makes an unlikely Barbara Castle, there are echos today of Castle’s words:

“What kind of internationalism says that we must give priority to a Frenchman over an Indian, a German over an Australian, an Italian over a Malaysian? This isn’t the language of internationalism. It is Euro-jingoism.”

Let us see Patel make good on her commitment to a renewed engagement with the world. For example, the “no recourse to public funds” rule has been, and remains, central to the Windrush scandal. But it does not apply if you come from the European Economic Area. Every country in the EEA is overwhelmingly white, and many of them are more or less entirely so.

Like the EU’s leaving of black people to drown in the Mediterranean as they attempt to flee from the slave markets that have been restored by our intervention in Libya, since Black Lives Matter, then this matters.

Are there votes in this? There are if you give people the vote. Boris Johnson ought to emulate Disraeli’s brilliant doubling of the electorate, the effects of which can still be felt and always will be. He should legislate so that parliamentary candidates would have to be British citizens in Great Britain, or British or Irish citizens in Northern Ireland, but there would be no nationality requirement for voting, or indeed for standing in local elections.

Why would people not vote for the party that had given them the vote, rather than for the party that had never done so? That worked for Disraeli, and we still feel the effects. It could work for Johnson, with effects no less longlasting.

Keir Starmer’s own seat of Holborn and St Pancras could fall. Nine years ago, at the last census, Camden was 19 per cent Other White, 4.9 per cent Black African, four per cent Other Asian, 2.9 per cent Chinese, 2.3 per cent Other, 1.7 per cent Other Black, and 1.6 per cent Arab. Next year, it will be shown to be more diverse again. In the 2020s, the ageing Afro-Caribbean and South Asian grandees who back Starmer are irrelevant to BAME London and to BAME Britain.

Countries join and leave the Commonwealth quite frequently. None of them has any more, in the sense of any more recent, connection to Britain that any member of the EEA has. By any measure, many have less. Some fairly recent additions to the Commonwealth have no more connection to Britain than anywhere else on earth has.

The present system enfranchises Pakistanis and Bangladeshis, but not Americans or Israelis. Is that what those who write above the line in the Daily Telegraph want? It says that Ghanaians are more “like us” than Germans are, and that Swazis are more “like us” than Swedes are. Is that what those who write below the line in the Daily Mail want? Is that what Priti Patel wants?

We strictly control immigration in order to protect our hard-won jobs, workers’ rights, and public services. That is what it means to protect our culture. But within that, we do not differentiate on grounds of nationality. Within that, we welcome the world. Now, sort out the criteria. They are wrong to the point of wickedness.

Blood On The Leaves No More

Is Kanye West funny in the head? Of course he is. But all politicians are a bit odd, and quite a lot of them are barking mad.

To the target audience, even West's latest marketing ploy looks like a better bet than Strom Thurmond's eulogist, the father of the prison-industrial complex, the restorer of the federal death penalty, the man who opposed bussing because he did not want his children to grow up in "a racial jungle", and the man who has never seen a country full of brown people without wanting to bomb it.

West is not going to win. He cannot even make it onto enough ballots for his support to be decisive. But he will be on every ballot in 2024. And even this year, the simple fact of his candidacy has put down a marker. The people whose ancestors worked on the cotton plantations for the Democrats are not now working on the vote plantations for the Democrats. Their votes have to be earned.

Keir Starmer, whom next year's census will show to be sitting for a Black Wall seat with a BAME population larger than the Labour majority, you need to take note. But you won't.

Average White Banned

This week, the Conservative Party averaged 43.6 per cent. That was exactly what it polled at the General Election, when Labour went down to its worst defeat in 85 years.

There will be no attempt at a coup against Keir Starmer, just as there was none against Michael Howard when he was doing less well than Iain Duncan Smith had done. What matters is that the authoritarian and warmongering wing of the liberal "centre" controls all viable electoral options. IDS was barely outside that, yet he was still sufficiently so to have to be knifed.

Of course, we do not conduct General Elections by national poll. We do so by constituencies. Half of the Red Wall has already turned Blue, and we are feeling the benefit of being marginal seats for the governing party rather than safe seats for the Opposition. The other half can see that, and it will act accordingly. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. It already has plenty going on.

Meanwhile, the very existence of Starmer has created the Black Wall, ready to collapse at the earliest opportunity. Multiply the depth of commitment by the length of service, and Jeremy Corbyn is the staunchest white ally that the anti-racist movement has ever had in the House of Commons. Starmer, on the other hand, has started off as a former Director of Public Prosecutions, and he has managed to get worse even from there. Self-organised alternative candidates beckon as surely as they do in the United States.

Labour need not assume that even an unlikely 32.1 per cent would once again retain it a whopping 202 seats. Nor need the Conservatives worry that a mere repetition of 43.6 per cent would once again compel them to make do with 365 seats.

By the way, the Conservative majority here at North West Durham would double in 2024 even if no one switched from Labour, as plenty of people are going to do. That majority is 1,144. By then in his seventies, Watts Stelling would be highly unlikely to make a fourth attempt. And most or all of his 1,216 votes would go to Richard Holden.

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Oliver Kamm Libel Watch: Day Six

Oliver Kamm, you are a liar, and as such you are unfit to hold your position on The Times.

Sue me.

Your bizarre CapX article, as well as numerous other statements of yours since then, have had nothing to do with the substance of my previous court case, in relation to which I maintain my innocence.

So they have not already been tested in court. And they are lies. Oliver Kamm, you are a liar, and as such you are unfit to hold your position on The Times. Sue me. This post will appear here daily until you do.

More Trouble Than He Is Worth

Keir Starmer has clearly been invited to speak from the platform of next year's Durham Miners' Gala, and clearly he has accepted.

But the security measures that would be necessary to prevent both a Black Lives Matter riot and a Palestinian bomb attack would ruin the entire event. 

Half a dozen armed police checkpoints between the bus station and the racecourse? Armoured helicopters whizzing overhead? Armoured boats going up and down the Wear? No, thank you very much, indeed.

In this as in so many other ways, Keir Starmer is far, far, far more trouble than he is worth.

Good, Long-Term, Subsidised

"There are no good, long-term subsidised jobs," Sir Edward Leigh recently told Rishi Sunak. The agricultural sector in Sir Edward's Gainsborough constituency may have cause to take issue with that.

Agriculture is always and necessarily the most socialised sector of any economy, and the Conservative Party is first and last the farmers' party. Its flirtation with the Liberal "free" market was only ever going to be fleeting, and now it has come to an end.

One of the many good things about the Jobs Guarantee, itself underwritten by the Universal Basic Income, would be that we could have lifelong access to traditional academic education, since the question of "What job is that supposed to get you?" would no longer present itself.

How could a High Tory such as Sir Edward possibly disagree with that, any more than he would wish to dismantle British agriculture? And having improbably described himself as "an old Thatcherite", does he not favour equality of opportunity? There can be no such thing with the problems that are addressed by the Jobs Guarantee and by the Universal Basic Income.

The Government has accepted both of those in principle. It needs only to be guided towards the most efficient means of attaining the ends to which it has committed itself. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. It already has plenty going on.

Touch The Sky

Since he has already missed the deadlines to register in several states including Texas and New York, and since several more deadlines impend, Kanye West cannot win this year's Presidential Election. But he is no less credible than Donald Trump or Joe Biden, and one of those is not going to win, either. So, given the opportunity, why not vote for him?

As the Democratic Party lost the Southern whites and the white ethnics, so the Labour Party has lost half of the Red Wall, and is going to lose the other half next time, in both cases because of Keir Starmer and everything that he embodies. And as Keir Starmer and everything that he embodies are also going to lose Labour the Black Wall, so in the present decade the Democrats are going to lose the People of Color.

The Southern whites and the white ethnics turned Republican, and the Red Wall is halfway through turning Blue, although there is the question of who the Blue candidates are going to be in seats that voted twice for Jeremy Corbyn and which have almost no Conservative Party members in them. Opportunities abound. 

But the Black Wall will vote for its own self-organised candidates, whose interventions will dramatically alter the colour of many a constituency map. The same will be true of the People of Color, with the first notable example being the West candidacy for President this year. West will make the ballot in every state in 2024, and if he had the wit to choose a suitably famous Hispanic running mate, then he could easily take enough votes to be decisive.

I hope that I may be forgiven for continuing to use "Hispanic". As a rusty, but once moderately competent, speaker of Spanish, I cannot see how the rest of a sentence could accommodate the word "Latinx", since neither a noun nor an adjective can have no gender.

Although West is a few months older than I am, his appeal, and that of probably a younger such running mate, would be over the heads of the Black and Hispanic Establishments to the younger generation. The man whose appeal to youth broke the baradari system at Bradford West in 2012, arguably the heaviest ever electoral blow to that system, was at the time 57 years old. He topped the poll in every ward, including those which were more than 90 per cent white, of what had been a Conservative target seat a mere two years earlier. It can be done.

Culturally and politically, the Southern whites and the white ethnics have been making the Republican Party and its wider base conform to them for decades. Here along the Red Wall, we are learning to love the sweet, sweet taste of being the key swing voters in the key marginal seats of the governing party. The Black Wall has it within its power to do the same thing. And so have those whose emergence as a cohesive, and potentially decisive, electoral bloc has the capacity to begin with the Presidential campaign of Kanye West in 2020.

No Conversion On The Road To Damascus

Like Shamima Begum, Ishak Mostefaoui went off to fight for the side that we were actively supporting in Syria, and which it is still British Government policy to say should have won.

In any case, out of all of this has come Shamima's Law, which was used against Mostefaoui in 2018. If you would merely qualify for another nationality, whether or not you held it or wanted it, then your British citizenship can now be revoked at a stroke of the Home Secretary's pen.

Saint Helena has never become independent and it never will, so I am all right this side of Scottish independence. But beyond the fair South Atlantic, most of Britain's former colonies in the Caribbean are independent now. And 50 per cent of people in Britain with an Afro-Caribbean parent also have a white parent.

If you are in that position, even if your other ancestors have been Anglo-Saxon for as long as there have been any Anglo-Saxons, or even if Julius Caesar heard them speaking the language that was now Welsh, then your British citizenship could now be revoked at a stroke of the Home Secretary's pen.

If you are one of the huge proportion of the population of Great Britain with an ancestral connection to Ireland, or if you are almost any of the current inhabitants of Northern Ireland including all eight DUP MPs, then your British citizenship could now be revoked at a stroke of the Home Secretary's pen.

And if you would qualify under Israel's Law of Return, which is considerably looser than the Rabbinical definition of who is Jewish, then your British citizenship could now be revoked at a stroke of the Home Secretary's pen. How about that for anti-Semitism?

25 Years On

Of course there were good people in amongst it all. But there was no good side in the Yugoslav Wars. And "our" preferred bad guys, although speak for yourself, were precursors of the "Islamofascist" label that was to become modish soon afterwards.

They bestrode "our" already established support, which is very much ongoing to this day, for Islamists first in Afghanistan and then pretty much everywhere that they might possibly turn up apart from Afghanistan, and "our" support for full-blown, explicit Nazis, most notably in Ukraine, but also elsewhere in Eastern Europe and in Latin America, including Venezuela. Eerily, Joe Biden wanted the Serbs to be put in "concentration camps", although he would now have the defence that he had no recollection of ever having said that or anything else.

See, in particular, the Islamist-Nazi nightmare statelet of Kosovo, protectorate of NATO and the EU, centre of heroin-trafficking and people-trafficking, source of a very high proportion of the illegal guns on the streets of Britain, and noted for containing a large number of boys called Tonibler. Yes, really. The old monster is seen here in Kosovo with lots of little Toniblers.

Saturday, 11 July 2020

Oliver Kamm Libel Watch: Day Five

Oliver Kamm, you are a liar, and as such you are unfit to hold your position on The Times.

Sue me.

Your bizarre CapX article, as well as numerous other statements of yours since then, have had nothing to do with the substance of my previous court case, in relation to which I maintain my innocence.

So they have not already been tested in court. And they are lies. Oliver Kamm, you are a liar, and as such you are unfit to hold your position on The Times. Sue me. This post will appear here daily until you do.

Roger Stone Did Nothing Wrong

And if he fancied an investment opportunity, then he would be more than welcome to contact davidaslindsay@hotmail.com.

The whole "It was Russia" rubbish about Donald Trump, Jeremy Corbyn, Brexit, or anything else, needs to be banished as the mark of a ridiculous person.

And it needs to take the whole "It was China" rubbish with it, on the same understanding.

Befits

Mudhir al-Weis of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham congratulates the 'Turkish people' on restoration of Hagia Sofia as a mosque 'as is necessary & befits sacrifices of ancestors of this people who conquered Constantinople and raised high the banners of the Caliphate for extended centuries'

Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham is al-Qaeda's rebranded affiliate in Syria. Here it is praising a NATO member-state, in fact strategically one of the most important to NATO's Russia-baiting, for its act of jihadi cultural vandalism in the spirit of the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamyan. Well, of course.

Cancel This

Ah, cancel culture. That bane of the existence of national newspaper columnists, and of culturally phenomenal novelists, and of the most cited academic in the world, whose decision to sign up to this is taken firmly to task here. To some of us, cancel culture is as old as fake news, on which, with the part in square brackets tellingly omitted, this appeared in The Guardian on 9th December 2016:

Fake news is of very real concern. There have been seven recessions in the United Kingdom since the Second World War. Five of them have been under Conservative Governments. That party has also presided over all four separate periods of Quarter on Quarter fall in growth during the 2010s. By contrast, there was no recession on the day of the 2010 General Election. And now, the Conservatives have more than doubled the National Debt. The Major Government also doubled the National Debt. Yet the Conservatives’ undeserved reputation for economic competence endures. They are subjected to absolutely no scrutiny by the fake news detractors of their opponents.

Other examples of fake news include the official versions of events in relation to Orgreave, Westland, and Hillsborough. All manner of claims made by, or in support of, the Clintons. The alleged murder of 100,000 military age males in Kosovo. The existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and their capacity for deployment within 45 minutes. Saddam Hussein’s feeding of people into a giant paper shredder, and his attempt to obtain uranium from Niger. An imminent genocide in Benghazi, Gaddafi’s feeding of Viagra to his soldiers in order to encourage mass rape, and his intention to flee to Venezuela. An Iranian nuclear weapons programme. [And Assad’s gassing of Ghouta, as if that were an undisputed fact.] In every case, that was fake news. Or, in plain English, lies.

Have you ever heard, or have you ever tried to be, a voice that upheld family and community values by seeking to secure economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty? Then do not talk to me about cancel culture.

Have you ever heard, or have you ever tried to be, a voice that recognised that in the struggle for economic equality, the leading role belonged to the working class, which has never been less than two fifths Tory, while in the struggle for international peace, the leading role belonged to the working class and to the youth, so that unity had to be maintained within and between the working class and the youth, including against any separatist tendency in England, Scotland or Wales? Then do not talk to me about cancel culture.

Have you ever heard, or have you ever tried to be, a voice for social solidarity as an expression of personal responsibility, for personal responsibility as protected by social solidarity, for international solidarity as an expression of national sovereignty, and for national sovereignty as protected by international solidarity? Then do not talk to me about cancel culture.

Have you ever heard, or have you ever tried to be, a voice for equality and diversity as economic equality and class diversity, as regional equality and regional diversity, as the equal sovereignty of diverse states, and as equal respect for diverse opinions within a framework of free speech and other civil liberties, including due process of law with the presumption of innocence, requiring that conviction be beyond reasonable doubt? Then do not talk to me about cancel culture.

Have you ever heard, or have you ever tried to be, a voice for One Nation, with an equal emphasis on the One and on the Nation, with Brexit as a double opportunity, both to reorganise the British economy under State direction, and to begin to develop a fully independent British foreign policy, including in relation to the United States, with no use of military force except in self-defence? Then do not talk to me about cancel culture.

Have you ever heard, or have you ever tried to be, a voice that recognised that in building One Nation, the leading role belonged to the people and places whose votes have decided the outcomes of the 2016 referendum, of the 2017 General Election, and of the 2019 General Election, namely the rural working class, and the industrial and former industrial communities that were either outside the metropolitan areas or peripheral to them? Then do not talk to me about cancel culture.

Have you ever heard, or have you ever tried to be, a voice for the scientific fact of binary and immutable biological sex, so that women’s spaces had to be defended, while issues as men’s health, fathers’ rights, and boys’ educational underachievement, had to be rescued from those whose economic and other policies, including their warmongering foreign policies, had caused the problems in the first place? Then do not talk to me about cancel culture.

Have you ever heard, or have you ever tried to be, a voice for the BAME Britain that was now young, increasingly mixed-race, often in its second or subsequent generation to have been born in Britain, connected to every inhabited territory on the planet, found in every town, and well on the way to being found in every village? Then do not talk to me about cancel culture.

Have you ever heard, or have you ever tried to be, a voice for the sufficiency of the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of anti-Semitism as “Hostility to or prejudice against Jews”, whereas the IHRA Definition was a denial of BAME, migrant and refugee experience redolent of the Windrush scandal and of the fire at Grenfell Tower? Then do not talk to me about cancel culture.

Have you ever heard, or have you ever tried to be, a voice for the highest view of human demographic, economic, intellectual and cultural expansion and development, and for that development as fully compatible with the most active concern for the conservation of the natural world and of the treasures bequeathed by such expansion and development in the past? Then do not talk to me about cancel culture.

And have you ever heard, or have you ever tried to be, a voice for an approach to climate change that protected and extended secure employment with civilised wages and working conditions, that encouraged economic development around the world, that maintained the right of the working classes and of people of colour to have children, that held down and as far as practicable reduced the fuel prices that always hit the poor hardest, and that refused to restrict travel opportunities or a full diet to the rich? Then do not talk to me about cancel culture.

Noam Chomsky will of course have opportunities to make amends. For example, just as everyone who supported the County Durham Teaching Assistants ought to support their staunch supporter, George Galloway, in his campaign to take the seat of their vicious tormentor, the Leader of Durham County Council, so Chris Williamson and everyone who, like George, supported Chris ought also to do so. Those include Chomsky, Tariq Ali, Max Blumenthal, Jackie Walker, Marc Wadsworth, Tony Greenstein, Lowkey, Mike Leigh, Ken Livingstone, Francesca Martinez, John Pilger, Alexei Sayle, Moshé Machover, Ken Loach, Norman Finkelstein, Leon Rosselson, Asa Winstanley, Kevin Higgins, Ian Hodson, Tosh McDonald, and Steve Ashley.

George must know that there is not going to be a Holyrood electoral pact of all anti-separatist parties around him. He ought to be advocating what some of us have been advocating for months, a vote for whoever was best placed to defeat the SNP in each constituency, and a vote for the Workers Party of Britain’s list in each region.

But pro-Brexit, anti-separatist Socialism of the class politics rather than the identity politics kind, while it was normal in Scotland when George was first elected there in 1987, and while it was just about still mainstream in Scotland when he was last elected there in 2001, is decidedly niche there now, even allowing for Proportional Representation. Of course George knows that.

Whereas in 2017, it took all of 749 votes to win a seat on Durham County Council for the ward of Chester-le-Street West Central, and 854 for the Leader to top the poll. Turnout was 1,870. George would get that just by being on the ballot paper at all. He is George Galloway.

The defeat of that Leader would be heard from the souks to the favelas, from the Dalit colonies to the Rohingya camps, and from Kashmir, to Crimea, to the scattered outposts of Diego Garcia. Armed with an impeccably local running mate in order to stop the target from slipping through, George is just the man to do this. We would need only to get him registered to vote in County Durham, and preferably in Chester-le-Street, in time to be a candidate on Super Thursday, 6th May 2021.

Eric Joyce once described George as having stepped beyond what was “reasonable and acceptable for Labour MPs”. Any Labour electoral opponent of George’s, including the present Leader of Durham County Council, has therefore been endorsed by Eric Joyce, and may look forward to being described as such. They would dance in the streets of the annexed Jordan Valley at George’s election, and not least at his election against this opponent.

Absolute Gold, Indeed


I am not living in their world, but clearly they are living in mine.

They Think It's All Over

It would have been the Durham Miners' Gala today. Grahame Morris explains why it still matters. And Jack Charlton is seen here marching at it. So supportive of the miners was he as manager of Newcastle United during the Strike that he could never become manager of England, or be knighted like his brother. So he became manager of the Republic of Ireland instead, taking it to the World Cup for the first (and second) time ever, and becoming the first Englishman since 1854 to be given the Freedom of the City of Dublin.


The past is another country. The morning after the 1966 World Cup Final, Charlton woke up on a living room floor in Dagenham, well over 20 miles from Wembley. He had no idea who the couple in the house were. He had no memory of ever having met them. But his winner's medal was still in his pocket.

Friday, 10 July 2020

Oliver Kamm Libel Watch: Day Four

Oliver Kamm, you are a liar, and as such you are unfit to hold your position on The Times.

Sue me.

Your bizarre CapX article, as well as numerous other statements of yours since then, have had nothing to do with the substance of my previous court case, in relation to which I maintain my innocence.

So they have not already been tested in court. And they are lies. Oliver Kamm, you are a liar, and as such you are unfit to hold your position on The Times. Sue me. This post will appear here daily until you do.

Template, Drafted

Since when did merely apologising and paying back the money repay the debt to society? I am not the only person who thinks that it does not. If Thieving Laura Pidcock were ever to seek another public office, if she were ever so much as to be suggested for a school governorship, then there would be people who would call the Police.

20 years ago, Hilary Armstrong put the kibosh on my candidacy for the National Executive Committee, which she must have feared stood a fighting chance, by denying me the nomination of my own Constituency Labour Party. That had neither debate nor voting in her day; it was like the court of Elizabeth I in Blackadder. Do you still need the nomination of your own CLP? Even if not, then it would undeniably be embarrassing to have been denied it. Over to the dear old North West Durham CLP, then.

On one level, Thieving Laura's candidacy for Durham County Council here in Lanchester next year would be academic. All Labour candidates must be defeated. Ward by ward, vote for whoever was best placed to defeat them. In the ward that was being contested by the present Leader, who with Oliver Kamm is one of the two most evil men in the world, that needs to be the one man in British politics who would not merely give him a very good run for his money, but be absolutely guaranteed to wipe the floor with him, taking a number of votes such as had never been seen before. That man is George Galloway.

George knows that he is not going to get some kind of electoral pact for Holyrood, and he knows that he is not going to get into that without one. This is his opportunity to be a pivotal figure in the complete reconstruction of a major local authority once it had passed to No Overall Control after more than 100 years as the tarnished jewel in the fool's gold crown of the municipal Labour Right. 

George has never really had that kind of role in both devising and implementing policy, and he would certainly not be given it at Holyrood even in the wildly unlikely event that he were to be elected. Whereas in 2017, it took all of 749 votes to win a seat on Durham County Council for the ward of Chester-le-Street West Central, and 854 for the Leader to top the poll. Turnout was 1,870. George would get that just by being on the ballot paper at all. He is George Galloway.

The defeat of that Leader would be heard from the souks to the favelas, from the Dalit colonies to the Rohingya camps, and from Kashmir, to Crimea, to the scattered outposts of Diego Garcia. Armed with an impeccably local running mate in order to stop the target from slipping through, George is just the man to do this. We would need only to get him registered to vote in County Durham, and preferably in Chester-le-Street, in time to be a candidate on Super Thursday, 6th May 2021.

Eric Joyce once described George as having stepped beyond what was "reasonable and acceptable for Labour MPs". Any Labour electoral opponent of George's, including the present Leader of Durham County Council, has therefore been endorsed by Eric Joyce, and may look forward to being described as such. They would dance in the streets of the annexed Jordan Valley at George's election, and not least at his election against this opponent.

Plausible

10 points behind and with much further still to fall, Keir Starmer's Labour Party is going to lose another 50 Red Wall seats in 2024. In those constituencies, which elected Labour MPs even in 2019, Conservative Party organisation is almost nonexistent.

Tiny, and more or less apolitical, cliques of older upper-middle-class housewives and the posher sort of older farmers' wives, with no culture of choosing their MP by choosing their candidate, will give that candidacy to any plausible young man who might ask for it.

And Jeremy Corbyn had quite a following among plausible young men who will by 2024 be old enough to be first time candidates for supposedly hopeless seats. Lo and behold, a certain number of them will enter the House of Commons at an age when they might stay there for 40 years. Welcome to the future of the Conservative Party.

And All Points Right?

Economically, Labour is opposing the Government from the right. It is now 10 points behind the Conservatives. Ten. And it has not yet finished sinking. Get the message.

"Keir Starmer will put Labour 20 points ahead," we were told, because of course everyone is a writer on The Times or The Guardian, or on the Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mail or The Sun, almost all of the writers on which hold the same views as the Times-Guardian types in private.

Well, no, actually, everyone is not such a person. So no, Starmer has not put Labour 20 points ahead. He is well on the way to putting Labour 20 points behind. Meanwhile, the Budget of March 2020 has ended the era that began with the Budget of 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. It already has plenty going on.

The Standards of The Time

It is a decision of the present which monuments should stand in the public square. Judging the past by the standards of the present is fundamental to that. 

What goes up must eventually come down. These things only ever go up for political reasons, and they only ever come down for political reasons. That is not a denial of history. That is history.

In any case, the monuments to slave traders are failures in their own terms. If the general public had remembered whom they depicted, then they would have come down a very long time ago.

And in any case, plenty of people could see what was wrong with slavery at the time. That was what did for it in the end. Nor am I talking only about the agitation in Britain, important though that was. 

The slaves themselves were alive at the time, and they were perfectly capable of appreciating the wrong that was being done to them. They rose in rebellion often enough, among the numerous other ways in which they expressed their disapproval according to what were, by definition, the standards of the time.

But what of this time? There was no real evidence to back up the claim that a brick had been thrown through the window of Angela Eagle's constituency office, yet that was repeated as gospel by almost the entire official media. It was quite big news, for weeks on end.

Whereas bricks have certainly been thrown through the windows of Dawn Butler's constituency office, and her staff have been attacked, compelling a Member of Parliament to close her office in her constituency. Yet this story has received only very limited coverage. Whatever might be the difference?

Intelligence and Security

Nothing succeeds like failure, so we now have the startling spectacle of the words "Chris Grayling" and "Intelligence" in the same sentence. As with Liam Fox and the WTO, Boris Johnson clearly needs to keep certain factions sweet.

In the next Parliament, his parliamentary party will be dominated by the MPs for seats that had turned blue only in 2019 or in 2024. Some of those latter MPs will themselves have voted twice for Jeremy Corbyn.

But until then, the Right still has to be thrown the occasional bone.

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Why George Galloway Should Stand For Durham County Council

In 2016, to win Mayor of London, it took 1,310,143 votes, including 1,148,716 first preferences. The lowest scoring party to get anyone elected on the list did so with 165,580 votes. In Glasgow, where George Galloway may seek a list seat at Holyrood after 18 years as an MP, it took 23,398 votes to elect anyone last time. In his native North East Scotland, where he still has family, it took 18,444.

But in 2017, it took all of 749 votes to win a seat on Durham County Council for the ward of Chester-le-Street West Central, and 854 for the Leader of the Council to top the poll. Turnout was 1,870. George would get that just by being on the ballot paper at all. He is George Galloway.

The defeat of that Leader would be heard from the souks to the favelas, from the Dalit colonies to the Rohingya camps, and from Kashmir, to Crimea, to the scattered outposts of Diego Garcia. Armed with an impeccably local running mate in order to stop the target from slipping through, George is just the man to do this.

I do not always agree with him, but it must be said that I usually do. And who else could there be? Who else would be absolutely guaranteed to win this one? We would need only to get him registered to vote in County Durham, and preferably in Chester-le-Street, in time to be a candidate on Super Thursday, 6th May 2021.

Eric Joyce once described George as having stepped beyond what was "reasonable and acceptable for Labour MPs". Any Labour electoral opponent of George's, including the present Leader of Durham County Council, has therefore been endorsed by Eric Joyce, and may look forward to being described as such. They would dance in the streets of the annexed Jordan Valley at George's election, and not least at his election against this opponent.

What The Fox?

Why does Boris Johnson feel the need to placate the Right by nominating Liam Fox to become Director-General of the World Trade Organisation?

And in the unlikely event that Fox were to be appointed, then whom would Johnson have lined up for North Somerset?

That is a more pertinent question, since Fox is unlikely to contest another General Election. He is pushing 60, he will never be a Minister again, and he is clearly open to other offers.

For the direction of the Conservative Party over the next generation, this is certainly one to watch.

Core Participants

Of course the survivors of the Manchester Arena attack have been denied core participant status in the public inquiry. There needs to be a Coroner’s Inquest, and it needs to hear all the evidence. 

In opposition to the Gaddafi regime to which we were nevertheless deporting people to be tortured weeks before we invaded Libya, and in the service of this county’s poisonous relationship with Saudi Arabia, the Home Office, MI5 and MI6 made Manchester the global centre of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. A public inquiry will not do. There must be a Coroner’s Inquest.

Arising out of my unsuccessful parliamentary candidacy last year, a Chambers and Partners Band 1 legal practice is willing 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. 

This case could and should be added to those.

Support The Tower Hamlets Workers

Rory McCallum writes: 

On Friday 3rd July myself and thousands of other Unison members at Tower Hamlets Council walked out on the first of three 24-hour strikes. We’re frontline social workers, environmental health workers, children’s support staff, library staff and other local authority workers who have had our backs against the wall and have had no choice but to vote to strike.

We voted to strike in late March, but held off taking action due to the coronavirus crisis. We did this in good faith, so that vital local services could still be provided to vulnerable East Londoners during a global pandemic. However, the council declined to reciprocate this good faith and is steamrolling ahead with the implementation of a new contract that will leave us all worse off. Rather than thank us, the council has made clear it will sack us if we don’t sign the Tower Rewards Package contract by Monday 6th July, before rehiring us on the worse contract.

Mayor John Biggs and senior management claim that they have attempted to negotiate with Unison and it is the union who has refused to engage. In fact, they stopped responding to Unison’s request for engagement in November 2019 and still declined to enter any discussions after the successful legal ballot in February.

The council then unsuccessfully attempted to nullify NEU’s successful ballot in the courts, who were planning to join us on strike. During the lockdown they continued to refuse to discuss the new contracts. Only in mid-June just weeks before the imposition date did they agree to engage in ACAS mediation, which broke down when it became clear management were not engaging seriously in the process and simply treating it as a tokenistic way to run down the clock.

For our members, the Tower Rewards Package goes by the name of the ‘Tower Robbery’. It is a fundamentally flawed programme which increases the pay of top earners while watering down the terms and conditions of up to 4,000 workers. Any worker that agrees to it will have their travel allowances cut. Due to cuts to flexitime and night work rules, many workers will find it difficult to cope with the new regime of new long hours and workloads.

If the council embarks on a round of redundancies, as is currently feared, workers would receive 80% less severance pay than they would do under their current contract. There would also be significant changes in pay-scales benefitting the higher earners to the detriment of the lower earners. The disregard that the council has for its own workers is clear. It has refused to provide accurate equalities data on the staff grades that will be affected by these cuts, because they know it will be disproportionately women, black and ethnic minority staff who will be hit.

In recent days, 10 Tower Hamlets Labour councillors have written an open letter condemning Labour Mayor John Biggs’ implementation of the contracts. Despite his passive commitments to equality, such as grabbing a photo opportunity at the removal of the slave trader Robert Milligan’s statue on West India Quay, the new contracts will only increase inequalities.

The council’s Chief Executive may say that the coronavirus pandemic’s impact on budgets has forced the council to “make the most of the money it has.” But this is not a ‘we’re all in this together’ situation. It’s an attack on working-class people: our union members and those who they work tirelessly to support, and it’s been long in the making.

To add further insult, the council’s head of HR provoked further anxiety among our members by sending an email that many found misleading. The email, which was sent a week before the strike, falsely indicated that continuous service would be started over, which would impact on the rights and conditions entitled to our colleagues who have been on maternity leave or are approaching retirement.

Instead of appreciating the concerns of trade union members, Biggs waded into the dispute to state that many workers have already signed the contract, as if to highlight staff had no problem with the contract changes. It is a different story entirely. Following contracts and letters being sent out, our union was inundated with calls from worried staff asking whether they had to sign the contract or risk being sacked.

The council came back to us with letters threatening to take us to court to stop the union balloting for action. Yet this disgraceful behaviour, which was designed as a way to intimidate us, has only spurred us on. In lockdown, there was a chance for management to rethink their plan, but they wasted time instead.

Our members wasted no time risking our health to continuing providing support to people in need after a decade of austerity in a global pandemic. We have visited vulnerable young people and families day and night, working to protect children, at-risk elderly people and survivors of domestic abuse – which has been on the rise during lockdown. All the while, there was mixed messaging regarding risk assessments over our own safety, and our PPE situation was wholly inadequate.

But we went out on Friday, and we gained wide support. Local RMT, NEU and Labour branches are supporting us. We got support from refuse workers in Unite who, despite not being part of this dispute, showed solidarity and refused to cross the picket line, joining us on the picket lines for 4 hours until aggressive policing moved them on. These workers recognise that it will be their terms and conditions next. If the council to get away with this, it will not end here.

Our grievance with the Tower Rewards Package is not just how it impacts on us. It’s about the council’s double-dealing approach of talking up its essential workers while drubbing down their terms and conditions.

Their aggressive, coercive approach towards getting workers to sign the contract, their use of Tory anti-union laws to try to block collective action, and their active disregard for how the proposed new contracts create a more racially and sexually unequal borough is enough to make us take action, and should be of concern to us all.

Unison members will continue to be on strike on Monday 6th and Tuesday 7th July, and are prepared to take further industrial action if needed. Please show your support and solidarity by sharing on social media, attending our online rallies or socially distanced pickets and writing to the council to mount the pressure to put a stop to these unjust contracts.

Oliver Kamm Libel Watch: Day Three

Oliver Kamm, you are a liar, and as such you are unfit to hold your position on The Times.

Sue me.

Your bizarre CapX article, as well as numerous other statements of yours since then, have had nothing to do with the substance of my previous court case, in relation to which I maintain my innocence.

So they have not already been tested in court. And they are lies. Oliver Kamm, you are a liar, and as such you are unfit to hold your position on The Times. Sue me. This post will appear here daily until you do.

On Their TERF?

It may surprise you to learn this, but one of the reasons why, insofar as it concerned me, I supported the Labour Deputy Leadership campaign of Richard Burgon was because it was chaired by Laura Pidcock, whom we did not then know to be Thieving Laura.

Pidcock, you see, knows what a woman is, and believes that it matters. That is one of the marks of being on the Provisional, rather than the Official, Left. Others are to be a Left Brexiteer (as Richard is, I'd bet you anything you liked), and to reject the IHRA Definition.

There are more, such as being a Red rather than a Green, and of course all these things are connected. But any one of those three, and you are pretty much one of us. Two, and you need to stop fighting it. All three, and you almost certainly already have.

Yet the Official Left has endorsed Pidcock as a candidate for the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party. Even though she is, as they themselves would put it, a TERF. Good for her, say I. But do they just not know? If not, then they very soon will.

The Broad Sweep

The broad sweep of this Government's programme makes it clear that it understands that the State raises money by exercising its right to issue currency, with taxation as one of the means of controlling inflation while encouraging certain forms of behaviour and discouraging others.

But taxation is not the source of revenue. Nor is borrowing. A sovereign state with its own free floating, fiat currency can afford anything it wants. And the United Kingdom is such a state. Ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He'll tell you.

Yet from time to time, the Government still insists on appeasing the saloon bar economic illiterates who in any case once again have the Labour Party to vote for. So it is reintroducing hospital car-parking charges even for the staff in England, rather than abolishing them altogether as in the rest of the United Kingdom.

You see, in the United Kingdom, but beyond England, there is nothing but the wasteland that is Venezuelazimbabwe. Its forlorn inhabitants must make do without prescription charges, eye and dental charges, hospital car-parking charges, and so many other boons besides. For example, in Scotland, which is the largest part of Venezuelazimbabwe, they also toil under the burden of rent controls.

Aren't you glad that you do not live in Venezuelazimbabwe? And aren't you glad to have Keir Starmer, and Anneliese Dodds, and all the rest of them, to make sure that you never do? Well, of course, they are in no position to make sure of anything. And they never will be.

Pencil in 19th June 2029, the sixty-fifth birthday of Boris Johnson. There or thereabouts, and most obviously on 25th July so that he will have completed 10 years as Prime Minister, Johnson will hand over to the 49-year-old Rishi Sunak.

There will be no contest. The Conservative Party in the next House of Commons will be dominated by the MPs for seats that had turned blue either in 2019, having voted for Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell while they had held the Bennite line on Brexit, or in 2024, meaning that they will have voted for Corbyn and McDonnell both times.

As many of their MPs will also have done. There is little or no Conservative Party organisation in many of the constituencies that that party won last time, never mind in the ones that it is not going to win until next time. In the latter, more or less anyone plausible who turned up and asked could probably be the nominee.

People with histories in the local Labour Party itself might be a bit much, although you never know. But people who had voted Labour both in 2019 and in 2024 could even present themselves as able to reach the target voters.

While the Official Left fusses about getting one or two people onto this or that committee of the Labour Party, and it is unlikely to manage even that, this is a major opportunity for us on the Provisional Left.

Southern Democrats never expected to become Republicans, and Rockefeller Republicans never expected to become Democrats. But the Conservative Party is now electorally dependent on the Red Wall, while the Labour Party is glad to see the back of us.

Delivered by the next Prime Minister, the Budget of March 2020 has ended the era that began with the Budget of 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. It already has plenty going on.

BBC Trust

There is absolutely no way of enforcing the withdrawal of free television licenses from the over-75s. This is the end of the licence fee.

The decriminalisation of nonpayment would be a good start, but following the introduction of the Universal Basic Income, then that fee ought to be made voluntary, with as many adults as wished to pay it at any given address free to do so, including those who did not own a television set but who greatly valued, for example, Radio Four.

The Trustees would then be elected by and from among the licence-payers. Candidates would have to be sufficiently independent to qualify in principle for the remuneration panels of their local authorities. Each licence-payer would vote for one, with the top two elected.

The electoral areas would be Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and each of the nine English regions. The Chairman would be appointed by the relevant Secretary of State, with the approval of the relevant Select Committee. And the term of office would be four years.

One would not need to be a member of the Trust (i.e., a licence-payer) to listen to or watch the BBC, just as one does not need to be a member of the National Trust to visit its properties, or a member of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution to be rescued by its boats.

Yours and Mine

Robert Jenrick's dodgy deal with Richard Desmond is bad, but his dithering over Highthorn is bordering on treasonable. Although deep-mining is better than open-casting. It employs more people, and it does not despoil the landscape anything like as much.

Also, Druridge Bay is not on the Red Wall. It is in the Berwick parliamentary constituency, which was Conservative until Alan Beith's long Liberal Democrat tenure, and which has been Conservative again ever since.

Britain stands on vast reserves of coal, and its steel and cement sectors need five million tonnes of coal every year. There is no environmental benefit to importing coal. Is the importation process carbon neutral? Is the extraction process abroad?

It would have been the Durham Miners' Gala on Saturday. Boris Johnson should take that opportunity to announce, both the approval of Highthorn, and the inquiry into Orgreave. 

An online Eve of Gala Rally, which in itself looks very good, is nevertheless being hosted by Thieving Laura Pidcock, who was also approved by the Official Left last night as a candidate for the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party. Perhaps we are the Provisional Left? But of that, another time.

Boris Johnson should give the job of making that double announcement to Richard Holden. He will be here in Lanchester on Saturday to discuss a controversial planning application, and this is where Thieving Laura intends to stand for the Council next year. The ideal venue, then.