Friday, 3 April 2020

Among The Pigeons

My goodness, but the cat is among the pigeons. To recap, 6th May 2021 will be Super Thursday, on which a huge number of elections will be held. First, at least above Parish or Town level, do not vote for Keir Starmer's Labour Party. For anything. At all. With this year's Labour Party Conference unlikely to be held, then we have it in our power to prevent him from ever addressing one as Leader. Secondly, in general, vote for whoever was best placed to defeat Labour. A ward by ward guide to Durham County Council, where this need is particularly acute, will appear here nearer the time.

Thirdly, for the Scottish Parliament, get Alex Salmond back in, get as many as possible of his supporters in with or without the backing of the SNP, get Nicola Sturgeon's supporters out, and get Sturgeon herself out. None of Salmond, Tommy Sheridan, George Galloway or Craig Murray has said no to contesting Glasgow Southside against her, and you do not have to be a #MeToo or #IBelieveHer feminist to have the vote. Any one of them would take enough to cost her the seat, Salmond would himself be the First Past the Post, Sheridan probably would be, Galloway (who was a Glasgow MP for many years) would stand a very good chance, and Murray would give it a very good go.

Fourthly, vote for George for Mayor of London. And sixthly, when casting list votes for the London Assembly, the Welsh Assembly or the Scottish Parliament, then vote either for the Workers Party of Britain or for the Social Democratic Party. Those agree on a lot, and where they do, then they are right. Dr Kevin Hickson, an SDP stalwart, is on the WPB Leader's programme, Sputnik, tomorrow, talking about the great Peter Shore. That says it all.

For myself, I shall no longer be joining parties or contesting elections. I was first a Parish Councillor and a school governor 21 years and half my lifetime ago. But look at the Spiked lot. Back when they were the Revolutionary Communist Party, then they used to contest elections. I believe it is correct to say that, unlike me, they were never elected to anything at all. Not once. Yet look at them now. One of their number, who is in fact younger than I am, is now the Director of the Number 10 Policy Unit. The Budget of March 2020, and the Government's response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, have ended the era that began with the Budget of December 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

Freedom Rider

We all know the faults and failings of Jeremy Corbyn. But on this, his last night as Leader of the Opposition, consider that he, John McDonnell, Diane Abbott and the rest of that crowd vigorously opposed the Blair Government's attacks on civil liberties.

The "Conservative" "Opposition" of the day backed Blair to the hilt, but not so those who knew that the worst impact would be on the poor, the black, the working-class, the left-wing, and so on. 

A Corbyn Government's economic response to Covid-19 would have been the same as we are having. But its civil liberties approach would have been entirely different. Ho, hum. This time tomorrow, the Leader of the Opposition will be a former Director of Public Prosecutions.

Then again, what of him? The Budget of March 2020, and the Government's response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, have ended the era that began with the Budget of December 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

Resuscitate This

As we rightly express our outrage at the Do Not Resuscitate forms, the refusal to admit the elderly to hospital, and so on, those who look to the failed American culture warriors need to consider which party is in government.

And we all need to consider that by this time on Monday, the likes of Yvette "Work Capability Assessment" Cooper and Rachel "Disabled People Are Not Normal" Reeves are going to be back in the Shadow Cabinet.

Hey, ho. The Budget of March 2020, and the Government's response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, have ended the era that began with the Budget of December 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

On Examination

Onwards, then, to university admission after results, as in any sane country. And to the end of the school league tables, which could not be taken seriously on the basis of teacher assessment alone, and which once gone for a year need never come back.

Working-class pupils are twice as likely to be predicted an E grade, and black pupils' grades are staggeringly under-predicted, with only 39 per cent of predictions turning out to have been correct. Boys are also ill-served.

13 years of Labour Government did nothing to improve any of this. Quite the reverse, in fact. The people who make these mistakes are the backbone of the Labour Party's membership, and their children are the direct beneficiaries of the present system. 

The next Leader of the Labour Party is the Leader of the Opposition to the Government's programme of investment in the old Red Wall, he wants to reverse the working class's decisive vote for Brexit, and he was a viciously racist Director of Public Prosecutions, as if there could be any other kind.

Hey, ho. The Budget of March 2020, and the Government's response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, have ended the era that began with the Budget of December 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

#ThankYouJeremy

You gave Britain an economic policy debate for the first time since John Smith had beaten Bryan Gould, and you gave Britain a foreign policy debate for the first time since the United States had entered the Second World War.

But you appeased your implacable enemies, and tomorrow their leader will become the Leader of the Leader of the Labour Party. Hey, ho. 51 of those Labour MPs have already lost their seats to Conservatives who were more left-wing than they were.

Three more Labour MPs lost their seats to Conservatives who, although to their right, were well to the left of the 51. Economically, this is the most left-wing Government since the month in which I must have been conceived, December 1976, and it runs no more risk of taking Britain to war than a Corbyn Government would have done.

The Budget of March 2020, and the Government's response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, have ended the era that began with the Budget of December 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

The Brutal, Unavoidable, Politically Incorrect Truth

Neil Clark writes:

This weekend, Jeremy Corbyn stands down as leader of the Labour Party, after four and a half years at the helm. He was very close to becoming PM in 2017, but in the end, the Corbyn project was wrecked by a lobby group for a foreign power who feared a change in UK foreign policy if he ever became Prime Minister.

With Covid19 sweeping the country, and death rates rising sharply, the departure of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader this weekend won’t make the front page news. But it could easily have been very different. Corbyn’s programme - of renationalising the railways and the utilities, of making good the years of underinvestment in our public services (including the NHS), and getting rid of zero-hours contracts, would  by any objective assessment have benefited the vast majority of the British public.

In the end though, his background in Stop the War activism and advocacy for Palestinian rights meant he was a marked man. Corbyn and his supporters have blamed the ‘right-wing’ or ‘corporate’ media for his demise. But that’s too broad-brush. The brutal, unavoidable, politically incorrect truth has to be stated, however unpalatable or shocking some may find it.

What really did for Corbyn were ‘Friends of Israel’ in his own party, and outside of it. Corbyn was relentlessly traduced as an ‘antisemite’ yet tragically the lifelong anti-racist, who counted many left-wing Jews as his closest friends, never fought back, and so the smear campaign intensified. 

A fraudulent narrative which said that not only that Corbyn was an ‘antisemite’ but that the Labour Party under his leadership was ‘infested’ with ‘anti-Semites’ was allowed to develop. The ‘Friends of Israel’ who pushed this narrative, whether they were Jewish, or non-Jewish, were never properly challenged.

Corbyn watched on as his old friends and allies were picked off one by one. Ken Livingstone, who wrote the guide book on fighting racism in the 1980s, was targeted simply for stating a historical truth (albeit clumsily) about the Haavara Agreement.

A black man, Marc Wadsworth, and a black woman, Jackie Walker, were lynched. Jews who supported Corbyn themselves became victims of the witch-hunt. Chris Williamson, the MP for Derby North, was suspended after he had actually referred to anti-Semitism as a ‘scourge’.  That’s how ludicrous the whole thing was.

Corbyn’s reluctance to fight back against the vicious onslaught proved fatal. Every time Labour was improving in the polls, the ‘anti-Semitism’ smears resurfaced

Probably no newspaper did more to promote the narrative than the Jewish Chronicle, with its appallingly arrogant editor Stephen Pollard acting like a puffed-up 17th century Witchfinder General. Stories published in the paper, which more accurately should be described as the Zionist Chronicle, on account of its strongly pro-Israel line, were picked up by other outlets.

The failure of Corbyn to take any action only emboldened the paper still further. If only Corbyn had shown the courage of Audrey White, the plucky Labour activist from Liverpool who took the Jewish Chronicle to court in relation to it libelling her over ‘anti-Semitism’. 

The paper was forced to print an apology - saying that it had published ‘allegations’ about Mrs White which were ‘untrue’- and agreed to pay the plaintiff a sum of damages plus her costs. In December the UK’s Press regulator ruled that the Jewish Chronicle’s four articles about White had been ‘significantly misleading’. 

It’s interesting to note that just about the only time in his leadership that Corbyn did threaten legal action, against a Tory MP who tweeted that he had ‘sold British secrets to communist spies‘, he got a positive result. Corbyn received an apology and a ‘substantial’ donation to charity. No one made the same claim ever again. So why didn’t he take the same approach against those libelling him on ‘anti-Semitism’?

By this time you’re probably saying ‘OK, I agree the ‘Friends of Israel’ were important, but didn’t Corbyn dig his own grave by U-turning on Brexit?’ Well, that was undoubtedly disastrous, but who was it who exerted the pressure on him to pursue such an electorally suicidal course of action?

No one did more to undermine Corbyn than his serially disloyal Deputy Tom Watson, seen here singing Am Yisrael Chai at a Labour Friends of Israel event.  Watson was one of the key figures pushing for Labour to change its line on Brexit. In May 2019 he said that Labour must support a second referendum of face losing the next election. It did support a second referendum, and guess what, it lost. 

Another advocate for a second vote was Emily Thornberry who fawned in front of the Israeli Ambassador at a 2017 Labour Friends of Israel dinner.  And of course, the most famous supporter of Labour shifting its line on Brexit was former Prime Minister Tony Blair, probably the most pro-Israel PM Britain had ever had up to that time.

You don’t even have to be a regular critic of Israel to be targeted by its ‘Friends’. All you have to do is to speak out against Middle Eastern military interventions. That’s why I’ve been attacked too (I hardly write about Israel). 

I worked in the Jewish community in Hungary in the 1990s. I taught at the Anna Frank Grammar School and what is now the Budapest University of Jewish Studies, the oldest existing institution rabbinical seminary in the world. Some of my dearest friends were or are Jewish.

But I did oppose the Iraq War, the bombing of Libya, and Western backing for ‘rebels’ in Syria, whom Israel has supported, so I became a target. 

The power of the ‘Friends of Israel’ can be seen that very few are brave enough to criticise their actions. We see a lot of articles nowadays about ‘free speech’ being under threat yet the lobby group which has done more to restrict free speech in Britain than anyone else is never mentioned in these pieces, showing how successful the campaign has been.

The ‘Friends of Israel’ have also been at the forefront of the campaigns to delegitimise Russian media lawfully operating in the West, even calling for Russian channels to be taken off air, as Iran’s Press TV was. Why? Because of Russia’s support for Syria and the way Russian media has reported the Syrian conflict from a non-neocon viewpoint. 

The great irony is that whereas pro-Israel interference in UK and Western politics is all too real, we’ve been encouraged by ‘Friends of Israel’ to obsess about phantom Russian intervention. No one pushes Russophobia like the ‘Friends’ do. But that’s deemed acceptable racism by the Establishment. Bashing Russia will get you far. Writing about the Israel Lobby, or even mentioning its existence, could lead to career death, or at least career stagnation.

Anyone who crosses the ‘Friends’, and some ‘Friends’ in particular, is in for a very hard time. You will be ‘crossed’, literally. I’m referring to the extraordinarily prolific Andrew Philip Cross Wikipedia editing operation, which also uses the pseudonym Nom de A to subvert round its UK politics ban, and which Wikipedia’s head honcho Jimmy Wales seems to approve of. 

Cross, as detailed in this BBC World Service programme here, has used the medium of Wikipedia to persecute and paint in the worst light possible a wide variety of public figures from politicians to pop stars, who all have one thing in common. They’ve opposed Middle Eastern regime-change wars which Israel supported. At the same time, he’s also jealously protected the pages of those who have advocated for these wars. 

Why a 57-year-old working-class man in Chesterfield, who it seems has no family connections to Israel, should feel that he has to devote his entire life (365 days a year) to promoting the country’s geopolitical interests on Wikipedia, is a mystery which still needs to be solved.

Cross’s father has confirmed his son has Asperger’s which could account for the peculiar obsessiveness, but the stylometric analysis also indicates that we could be talking here about a shared account and people with Asperger’s are susceptible to be influenced by others. A high publicity class-court action by Cross’s many victims would inevitably provide some answers.

Interestingly, the first mainstream media coverage of the Cross affair, which portrayed him most sympathetically, as the victim of a ‘witch-hunt’, was in a leading Israeli newspaper. In their documentary series The Lobby, al-Jazeera recorded an Israeli Embassy official secretly talking of a ‘take-down’ of UK politicians deemed to be antagonistic to Israeli interests, and a ‘hitlist’. 

Corbyn called for an inquiry but didn’t follow it up. But the ‘hitlist’ and ‘takedown’ has claimed more than just one man. In Britain, it’s claimed an entire movement.  In a parallel universe Jeremy Corbyn might be British Prime Minister now. Can anyone honestly say he would have handled Covid19 crisis in a worse way than Boris Johnson and the Conservatives have? Do we honestly think he would not have protected NHS workers and the public better? The destruction of Corbyn could end up costing the country many thousands of lives.

After tomorrow, there‘s going to be a purge of Corbyn supporters in Labour, under the guise of ‘fighting anti-Semitism‘. The project which offered so much hope and engendered such enthusiasm, is over. The ‘Friends of Israel’ have won, and until more find the courage to speak out, just like the little child in The Emperor’s New Clothes, it won’t be the last time, either.

Thursday, 2 April 2020

Jolly Voting Weather

71 today, a Very Happy Birthday to Paul Gambaccini, the next Member of Parliament for Holborn and St Pancras. Resist all temptation to field more than one candidate against Keir Starmer. With proper discipline, then we can lose him his seat. Gambaccini is the first in the field, he has name recognition, he has a simple message, and he deserves a clear run. If he cannot afford a winning campaign, and he probably can, then Cliff Richard certainly can.

Camden is 19 per cent "Other White". Boris Johnson could emulate Disraeli's brilliant doubling of the electorate, the effects of which can still be felt, if he were to legislate so that, while parliamentary candidates would have to be British citizens in Great Britain, or British or Irish citizens in Northern Ireland, there would no longer be any nationality requirement for voting.

The New Statesman carries an article over the name of Phil Wilson, who was one of 51 Labour MPs to lose their seats to Conservatives who were more left-wing than they were. Three more lost their seats to Conservatives who were to their right, but who were nevertheless well to the left of the 51.

Bringing us to the composition of Starmer's Shadow Cabinet, if not necessarily at first, then certainly by 2024. The presence of Yvette Cooper on Question Time suggests that that mass murderer, she of the Work Capability Assessment, is destined for a return to the frontbench. But her majority is only 1,276. Vote and campaign for whoever was in second place; as it happens, that is the Conservative Party. 

Vote and campaign for whoever was in second place in the constituency of each Shadow Cabinet member in 2024. Do not field other candidates. Just get on and do this. Forget old friendships. These people will have made their political choice, and we must make ours.

We have the opportunity to get ourselves into that habit as we prepare for Super Thursday, 6th May 2021, when a huge number of elections will be held. In local elections, vote for whoever was best placed to defeat Starmer's Labour Party. A ward by ward guide to County Durham, where this need is particularly acute, will appear here nearer the time.

Return Alex Salmond to Holyrood, and elect as many as possible of his supporters, within or beyond the SNP. Ideally, one of those would be Craig Murray. Remove the supporters of Nicola Sturgeon. Might her own seat be contested by Murray, or by Tommy Sheridan, or by George Galloway, or even by Salmond himself?

George's vote for Mayor of London must be maximised so that even if he did not win, and never bet against him, then his total would be larger than the winner's margin of victory over Sadiq Khan. Both the Workers Party of Britain and the Social Democratic Party ought to present lists to the electorate, and either would be worthy of a vote.

The same would be true in Scotland and in Wales. The idea of George at the head of the WPB's London list, its list in a Scottish region, and its list in a Welsh region, leading to his election in all three cases, is almost too delicious for words. Only he could pull that one off.

I am never again going to be a member of a political party, and there are problems both with the WPB and with the SDP. But there is no such thing as a perfect party. Where they agree, and they do quite a lot, then they are right. They mostly appeal to different sections of the electorate, and the list system offers the opportunity of getting some of each of them in. That opportunity needs to be grasped.

Meanwhile, the Budget of March 2020, and the Government's response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, have ended the era that began with the Budget of December 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

To Help Them In Their Fight

Neil Clark writes:

I'm afraid to say that on the worst day so far of Covid19 in the UK I've been attacked in the most despicable way possible via a defamatory hatchet piece in a UK magazine (which I won't refer to or link to for the moment as if you're suing for libel you're not meant to promote the libel).

The timing of the piece and its promotion by a few individuals, was clearly designed to cause me and my family the maximum distress. As if we all haven't got enough to worry about at the moment. But for some people even a global pandemic won't stop their attacks.

Having discussed the matter with my wife, my family and my solicitor, I have decided I have no other option but to initiate legal proceedings against the publication as soon as possible. I will be seeking from the publication concerned an (a) apology (b) corrections (c) the prominent publication of a recently published statement (d) the payment of damages which I would like donated to the NHS to help them in their fight against Coronavirus.

In addition I also need to raise money for legal enforcement costs in relation to an earlier matter. I have given an undertaking not to make any public comment re a litigation already undertaken, and I won't be doing that, but that doesn't mean my legal representatives cannot act when I have been defamed.

All contributions, large and small, to help me right these wrongs and end the ordeal that my family and I have been put through are hugely appreciated. Thank you and thank you to everyone who has supported me and my work in the past.

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Support Craig Murray


He is valiant for Julian Assange, and he is not afraid to point out the obvious conspiracy, which was accepted by the largely female jury, against Alex Salmond.

Covid-19 is the only reason why Nicola Sturgeon is still in her job. As much as anything else, as came out in court, she lied to the Scottish Parliament about never having met one of Salmond's accusers.

And if they are anonymous, then how did they manage to organise a round robin letter to the press?

Support Craig Murray.

Blood From A Stone?

It would take a heart of stone not to laugh. Hundreds of selections would be merrily rigged in order to ensure that most Labour MPs would be hardline Thatcherites, so that no matter who you voted for, nothing would ever change, or at least nothing would ever change for the better. For 25 years, that worked. But it assumed that most Conservative MPs would also be hardline Thatcherites, or at least that their party would always be led by such. 

Instead, though, the General Election of 2019 gave a thumping great majority to a Government that had presented no economic programme to the electorate, but which turned out to have broadly the economic programme of Jeremy Corbyn's disappointed critics to his left within and, increasingly as his Leadership wore on, beyond the Labour Party. A Government that owed its majority to seats that had voted for Corbyn when he had still been committed to Brexit, and which would have done so again if he had retained that commitment.

So Labour prepares to give its Leadership to Keir Starmer, the idea of whom as a potential Prime Minister is an outright obscenity on this anniversary of the death of Ian Tomlinson, and Starmer prepares to give the Shadow Chancellorship to that bestial eugenicist, Rachel Reeves. But who cares? Economically, this is the most left-wing Government since the month in which I must have been conceived, December 1976. And up here on the newly Blue Wall, we are loving the lengths to which the Conservatives will go to stop us from painting the towns Red again.

The Budget of March 2020, and the Government's response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, have ended the era that began with the Budget of December 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

Issue, Bonds

This is by far the biggest story of the year. 

The eight members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation have decided to conduct bilateral trade and investment, and to issue bonds, in local and national currencies rather than in US dollars.

They are China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. That is very nearly half of the human population of the world.

The Centre is the new think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

Vaccinate Your Thinking

Men are at far greater risk than women from Covid-19. We cannot self-identify out of that.

Biological sex is real, and it is important. The Centre is the new think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

Jeopardise This

Q. What is the difference between the Labour Leadership Election and the Roman Empire?
A. The Roman Empire did eventually come to an end.

When Keir Starmer is crowned on Saturday, then Boris Johnson ought to announce that the immemorial protection against double jeopardy, which is fundamental to the presumption of innocence, was going to be restored at least for offences that were alleged to have been committed after the coming into effect of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. Not that the Conservatives defended that ancient liberty at the time, but even so.

What would Starmer say? "Stephen Lawrence"? Stephen Lawrence would have turned 46 this year. Go round Eltham now and and tell the black boys who could have been his sons about how his case "stopped the Met from being racist". Go on. I dare you. And go over the people who had been convicted of offences of which they had previously been acquitted. I would bet you anything you liked that they were disproportionately of a duskier hue.

As well as being almost invariably working-class. At the same time as this announcement, then Johnson ought also to announce the inquiry into Orgreave. Again, what would a former Director of Public Prosecutions say to that? The Centre is the think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

Keep Your Distance

Maintain social distance in Waitrose by carrying a Lidl shopping bag.

But seriously, while we are all going stir crazy and looking for excuses, a coronavirus infection is not like, say, prostate cancer, where you could have had it for 20 years when you died of something else. 

If you died with Covid-19, then you probably died of Covid-19. Stay at home.

Tuesday, 31 March 2020

On Having Won The Argument

Did Tony Blair's three General Election victories mean that he, too, must also have won the argument, and that three times? But hey, ho. The almighty top of the Conservative Party has simply imposed the Modern Monetary Theory, and the consequent vast spending and intervention, that Jeremy Corbyn could never get through the Labour Party's labyrinthine committee system, insofar as he ever really tried.

Keir Starmer's impending coronation will show that Corbyn never did capture the Labour Party. But who cares? He captured the party that was and is in government. Indeed, not even his ideas did so, so much as those of his more advanced, and often quite critical, supporters. You need to persuade far fewer people, in fact almost nobody, in order to take over the Conservative Party. And clearly, whatever they might say about him or us personally, we have done so.

Economically, this is the most left-wing Government since the month in which I must have been conceived, December 1976. And up here on the newly Blue Wall, we are loving the lengths to which the Conservatives will go to stop us from painting the towns Red again. The Budget of March 2020, and the Government's response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, have ended the era that began with the Budget of December 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

30 Years On

Today is the thirtieth anniversary of the London Poll Tax riots. Ignore anyone who tries to tell you that Margaret Thatcher was brought down by "Europe". In the extremely bitter chapter on the Poll Tax in her memoirs, she left no one in any doubt that civil disobedience and then outright rioting, at least the former organised openly by the Militant Tendency, had caused Conservative MPs to see their seats disappearing before their very eyes. Accordingly, she contended, they had seized any excuse to get rid of her. She was right. But then, so were they.

Dislike of the Police is usually associated with certain ethnic minorities and with the university Left. But relations with the white working class have never really recovered from the Thatcher years. And the reasons for that were also the reasons why she rewarded the Police so handsomely that they were able to move into the areas that had previously been reserved for the professional classes, who have resented it ever since. All of that is coming to a head now. Derbyshire? Did you say Derbyshire?

Monday, 30 March 2020

Except Through People

Margaret Thatcher never said either "Rejoice! Rejoice!" or "We are a grandmother", so "There is no such thing as society" is the most famous thing that she ever really did say.

In saying the opposite, Boris Johnson cannot have had any intention except to put a very great deal of social distance indeed between her legacy and his Premiership.

The Budget of March 2020, and the Government's response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, have ended the era that began with the Budget of December 1976. And now, this.

The Centre is the think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

An Incredible Job, Indeed

As soon as George Osborne became Editor of the Evening Standard, then I knew that he had his eye on Mayor of London, probably in 2024.

But this year's election has been put back to next year, and today it became clearer than ever that he intended to give that a go instead.

Not for want of trying, Shaun Bailey has never been elected to anything.

Clarifying Various Matters

Anyone who might be minded to take Oliver Kamm seriously on any subject, including anything to do with me, should note his recent and complete humiliation by Neil Clark.

Regnum Defende?

We need the disbandment of MI5 in favour of Police Officers who, while highly specialised, were nevertheless part of accountable community policing. And following the appointment of Ken McCallum as the Director General of MI5, I can do no better than to reproduce this:

It’s been two years to the day since disgraced former military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia, were allegedly found on a park bench in Salisbury, near unconscious and apparently very unwell. A lot has been said about the unanswered questions revolving around the incident. But perhaps the best of way of demonstrating the peculiarity of the alleged situation is to simply relate, in full, the “official version”. Here it is:


  • Sergei Skripal, a Russian military intelligence officer, was found guilty of spying for the UK in 2006, and sentenced to 13 years in prison. 
  • In 2010 he was released and traded to the United Kingdom as part of a spy swap. Having settled in the UK Sergei lived a quiet and comfortable life of retirement, so far as we know.
  • Eight years later, in early 2018, with a Presidential election looming and just weeks before Russia was due to host the FIFA World Cup, Vladimir Putin decided to assassinate him for as yet obscure reasons.
  • The GU, Russia’s military intelligence unit, dispatched two of their elite officers, who proceeded to fly direct from Moscow under aliases they had allegedly already employed and using Russian passports.
  • These alleged assassins carried with them two perfume bottles full of “Novichok”, allegedly one of the deadliest nerve agents ever devised. This would be enough to kill around 800,000 people
  • On arriving in the UK these highly-trained covert agents book a hotel with a CCTV camera on the front door, and the next day, March 3, they travel to Salisbury by train, allegedly to recon the area, then return to London. They are apparently observed by CCTV camera’s the entire time.
  • The day following, March 4, they again travel to Salisbury, this time the master assassins walk to Skripal’s house and somehow “smear” the liquid Novichok on the handle of his front door.
  • No eye-witness, photograph or piece of CCTV footage has ever been made publicly available to show either of these two men anywhere in the area of Sergei Skripal’s house.
  • The whereabouts of the opened bottle of poison have never been established.
  • Having applied the poison, the two highly trained assassins do two things before returning to London. 1) They drop their second, unopened, bottle of novichok (presumably enough to kill approx 400,000 people) in a charity donation bin, rather than destroying it or taking it back to Russia. 2) They stop by an antiques store to browse.
  • The two assassins leave the country that afternoon, flying direct to Moscow, without knowing if their alleged target is dead, and again making no effort to conceal their origins.
  • Despite both handling the poison, and somehow carrying enough of it back to contaminate their hotel room, neither of the men – nor any of the staff, train passengers or passersby who come into contact with them – ever become sick, even though only 0.2mg of Novichok is an allegedly lethal dose.
  • Later that afternoon, Sergei and Yulia Skripal are found “almost unconscious”on a park bench in Salisbury town centre. It is claimed this was due to contact with the Novichok smeared on Sergei’s door handle, though reports originally stated neither he nor his daughter had returned to the house, and the timing seems to make it unlikely they did
  • The person who found them was the most senior nurse in the British Army (likely in the area as part of Toxic Dagger, the British Military’s landmark chemical weapons training exercise which began Feb 20th and ran on until March 12th).
  • The nurse and her family administer “emergency aid” to the two alleged poisoning victims. Neither she nor anyone else on the scene, nor any of the first responders, ever experience any symptoms of nerve agent poisoning. Neither do any of the other people the Skripal’s came into contact with that day.
  • DS Nick Bailey, a CID officer is in contact with the Skripals or their home at this time and subsequently becomes ill. It has never been stated how exactly he was exposed. It was initially reported he was a first responder to the scene, but that story was changed and it was later claimed he visited the Skripal house. Despite the alleged lethality of novichok in even very minute doses, Bailey is fit to return home after 18 days.
  • Porton Down, the British government’s chemical weapons research centre, is brought in to help identify what chemical – if any – the Skripals/Bailey were exposed to. Within a month they release a statement claiming the poison was “a novichok like agent”, but that they could not pinpoint its origin. How they were able to test for a (at the time) theoretical chemical without having a sample to test against, has never been explained. Porton Down is 8 minutes away from Salisbury by car.
  • Nearly four months later, in late June of 2018, Charlie Rowley finds the unopened perfume bottle a full of novichok (whether he bought it from a charity shop or found it in a bin is unclear, both stories have been reported). Upon using the perfume Rowley’s partner, Dawn Sturgess, falls ill. Later that day Rowley also falls ill. Sturgess dies in hospital two weeks later. But Rowley survives. Making him the fourth person in this narrative to survive exposure to an agent lethal in doses as small as 0.2mg.
  • Sergei Skripal and Yulia both recovered and allegedly chose to live secluded lives. Sergei has not appeared in public at all since allegedly being found on that park bench. Yulia made one brief press statement. Their current whereabouts are totally unknown. Their family in Russia have apparently been denied all access to them. DS Bailey was initially also keen to maintain his privacy but has subsequently given at least one interview some while after the event.

This is the UK government’s version of what happened. Unvarnished and unsatirised. None of it is disputed, exaggerated or speculative.

If you can see any unanswered questions, logical gaps or peculiar coincidences…you are likely a Russian bot.

Totally Reckless And Irresponsible?

So Ruth Davidson knows where Sir Alex Younger, the Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service, lives. Just think about that.

And think about the furious reaction of Angus Robertson, one of the SNP's most prominent enemies of Alex Salmond.

State of Emergency, Indeed

The United Kingdom's death toll from Covid-19 has risen by 201 to 1,429. There have been 159 deaths in England, 22 in Northern Ireland, 14 in Wales, and six in Scotland. That figure for Northern Ireland is enormous, and proportionally the Welsh and Scottish figures are also pretty striking. Why is nobody asking about this?

There are concerning features to our legislative response to this, but some context is provided by looking at Hungary's. Oh, well, Orbán and numerous other nasty elements, at various points on any political spectrum, are no longer legislating for us through the EU. But we are still committed to defending them, and to defending Erdoğan's Turkey as well. Bring on the second Brexit.

"One Nation, with an equal emphasis on the One and on the Nation, using 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 military force used only ever in self-defence." Please give generously.

Sunday, 29 March 2020

There Is Such A Thing As Society

So says Boris Johnson, and of course he is quite right. And yes, Margaret Thatcher really did say the opposite. But if there were no such thing as society, then there could be no such thing as the society that was the family, or the society that was the nation.

Under Thatcher, there did largely cease to be those things. But the Budget of March 2020, and the Government's response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, have ended the era that began with the Budget of December 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

Put A Smell On

No one has ever suggested that Gordon Jackson QC liked Alex Salmond.

But Salmond never took his seat in the Scottish Parliament.

That was Nicola Sturgeon.

This Time Next Week

This time next week, the Leader of the Labour Party will be a man whose campaign had received at least one donation of £100,000 from a single individual.

It has spent far more than that, but it refuses to tell us where the rest of its money has come from. Of the hundred grand, though, we do know. Do you know any single individual who makes donations of that size to anything? No, neither do I. Welcome to the world of Keir Starmer.

Starmer began the persecution of Julian Assange, who is globally the most significant of the many and multiplying Dreyfuses that his neoliberal, identitarian, neoconservative and Malthusian position is creating as it lashes out in the throes its dying panic: Alex Salmond, Roger Stone, Cardinal Pell, and so on.

Rape Crisis Scotland has issued a collective statement by the nine conspirators against Salmond, all of them prominent in the circles around the Scottish Government, and one of them directly responsible for providing Rape Crisis Scotland with most of its income.

Their conspiracy included a WhatsApp group, and politically it is still going on. Covid-19 is the only reason why Nicola Sturgeon is still in her job. For different reasons, the same may be said of Arlene Foster. And the rates of death from Covid-19 in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland bespeak the fatal failure of devolution.

The fact that Starmer was a former Director of Public Prosecutions, and especially his record in the case of Jean Charles de Menezes, was terrifying enough to us darkies, and enough to inspire the hope that this year's Labour Party Conference would be given the reception by Liverpool that the Democratic National Convention was given by Chicago in 1968. 

Or that the Democratic Convention ought to be given by Milwaukee in 2020, where it is going to nominate Strom Thurmond's eulogist, a man who opposed bussing for fear that his children might "grow up in a racial jungle", and the man who reintroduced the federal death penalty while promoting the mass incarceration of such black men as might nevertheless have been left alive. 

For most of its history, the Democratic Party has been the most successful white supremacist organisation ever. This year, it is reverting to the type from which it has never entirely departed. And how. It is going to nominate for President of the United States the man who brought back lynching. At least he is not going to win.

Nor, of course, is Starmer going to win in 2024. That would be psephologically impossible. But Jeremy Corbyn's complete shift of the economic debate over the last five years demonstrates quite how influential it is possible to be, and Starmer will have vastly more favourable media coverage than Corbyn ever enjoyed.

Moreover, there is talk of Rachel Reeves, who thinks that we disabled people are abnormal and undeserving, as Shadow Chancellor, with a prominent position for Yvette Cooper, who systematically tried to exterminate us when she was Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

When it came to those of us who were both BAME and disabled, then Starmer, Reeves and Cooper in power would slaughter us like the pigs that they themselves were, and even out of power they would set a tone under which we would be in constant mortal danger. This time next week, that looks set to be our reality.

In the name of neoliberal economic policy, identitarian social policy, neoconservative foreign policy, and anti-industrial Malthusianism, Starmer will turn Labour into the party, or with the Liberal Democrats one of the two parties, of well-heeled, white, liberal hypocrisy in England and Wales; the SNP has cornered that market in Scotland.

Such Kammites infest everywhere, but in how many constituencies are there really enough of them to make a parliamentary candidate the First Past the Post? 20 in London and 20 outside? There or thereabouts, and the Lib Dems already hold at least six of those seats, while the Greens hold a seventh.

But even under better Leadership than Starmer or than whoever was about to take over from Jo Swinson, the Labour Party and the Lib Dems, like the Liberal Party before it, are really combinations of the think tank and the pressure group. Neither of them has been without considerable success in influencing the party that usually wins General Elections and which is almost always led by the Prime Minister.

There is nothing wrong in principle with seeking to influence them in their turn. But it is inefficient. Why go through a middle man? The Budget of March 2020, and the Government's response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, have ended the era that began with the Budget of December 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

Triple Locks

Iran should say that it would release Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe as soon as Britain had released Julian Assange.

And Britain should say that it would release Julian Assange at the end of this week unless Anne Sacoolas had been handed over.

In the unlikely event that she were, then it could just release Assange anyway, thereby securing the freedom of Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Persian Excursion

As hopes grow for Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, then it is time to ask why no British politicians have ever boarded a plane to Tehran with their smartphones in their hands.

Immediately before landing, they would have tweeted that they would not have been leaving without her.

Now lift the sanctions against Iran.

Saturday, 28 March 2020

Pushing At An Open Door

With a time indicative of the cabin fever that is sweeping the nation and the world, an email arrives from an old friend who is now a useful source fairly close to the Johnson-Cummings court. He and I both know how hard it is to get money out of rich people. Poor people are far easier, but we can all see the problem with that. Yet in terms of political influence rather than cold, hard cash, I am assured that The Centre is, "pushing at an open door."

This Government would have no quibble with any of the 10 founding principles, apparently. It has shelved gender self-identification after all the candidates to lead the Labour Party have gone and signed up to it. The Conservative Party has never subscribed to the IHRA Definition of Antisemitism, whereas such subscription is now a condition of mere membership of the Labour Party, and the opportunistic weaponisation of that issue against Jeremy Corbyn's party will end once Corbyn himself was no longer its Leader.

Beyond that, "Downing Street could have written" my 600 words. Gosh. Well, I will never again be a member of a political party, and I will never contest another election to anything. So of course I want to influence the Conservative Party. It has won most of the General Elections of the last 100 years, and it has at least come out on top at almost all of them, including the last four.

It currently has a huge majority, and it is bound to win again in 2024, which will give the whole of the Left the pleasure of turning to the Labour Right as I did locally in 2003 and answering "You're unelectable" with, "Well, so are you." Today has shown the Conservative Party with 54 per cent support at the polls, the highest that any Conservative Government has ever enjoyed.

By contrast, the next Leader of the Labour Party is going to be Keir Starmer. In the name of neoliberal economic policy, identitarian social policy, neoconservative foreign policy, and anti-industrial Malthusianism, that opaquely funded member of the Trilateral Commission will be the voice of all that was petty in the petty bourgeoisie, opposing investment along the Red Wall. Starmer will demand British participation in every war for which Saudi Arabia had paid the Democratic National Committee to cheerlead. Without a referendum, he wants to re-join the European Union on every term that it cared to set: Schengen, the euro, the lot.

As Director of Public Prosecutions, Starmer began the persecution of Julian Assange, he refused to bring charges in relation to the death of Jean Charles de Menezes, and he imported Joe Biden's mass incarceration of black men as a means of social control and as a source of cheap labour. Starmer's BAME supporters are drawn from the ageing Afro-Caribbean and South Asian Establishment that is integral to the right-wing Labour machine in certain urban areas. They are irrelevant to the BAME Britain of the 2020s. The Red Wall has not yet fully fallen, and the Black Wall will fall with it.

It is not that I am hostile in principle to influencing the Labour Party, although there will be no chance of that under Starmer. It is that it is simply more efficient to cut out the middle man. As a think-tank-cum-pressure-group, Labour has had a good run since the end of the First World War, and it is having a good run now. The only really dry patches have been the Thatcher years and the Coalition years, when the Conservatives looked instead to Liberalism (as Labour also did under Blair and will under Starmer, although that is another story).

But as an electoral force, Labour's record over the same period has been catastrophic, and it is not going to improve any time soon. I am not interested in exercising indirect influence. These are the facts of life. Love them or loathe them, but they are the facts of life. Please give generously.

Friday, 27 March 2020

The Centre

The crowdfunding page for my new think is here:

The Budget of March 2020, and the Government’s response to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, have ended the era that began with the Budget of December 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. It upholds:
  • family and community values, by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty;
  • social solidarity as an expression of personal responsibility, personal responsibility as protected by social solidarity, international solidarity as an expression of national sovereignty, and national sovereignty as protected by international solidarity;
  • 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;
  • the leading role of the working class in the pursuit of economic equality, the leading role of the working class and of the youth in the pursuit of international peace, and the need to maintain unity within and between them, including against separatist tendencies in England, Scotland and Wales;
  • One Nation, with an equal emphasis on the One and on the Nation, using 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 military force used only ever in self-defence;
  • the leading role, in the building of One Nation, of 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 are either outside the metropolitan areas or peripheral to them;
  • the sufficiency of the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of anti-Semitism as “Hostility to or prejudice against Jews”, and the need to give a voice to a BAME Britain that is 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;
  • the scientific fact of binary and immutable biological sex, the priority of defending women’s spaces, and the need to rescue such issues as men’s health, fathers’ rights, and boys’ educational underachievement, from those whose economic and other policies have caused the problems in the first place;
  • 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 maintains the right of the working classes and of people of colour 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 travel opportunities or a full diet to the rich; and
  • the full compatibility between the highest view of human demographic, economic, intellectual and cultural expansion and development, and the most active concern for the conservation of the natural world and of the treasures bequeathed by such expansion and development in the past. 
The eventual aim is to hold three conferences per year, and to publish the papers from them. One conference will be held outside London, one in London, and one outside Britain. Initially, these will form a three-year cycle, with the first conference to be held in the North West Durham parliamentary constituency. Please contact the Director of The Centre, David Lindsay, on davidaslindsay@hotmail.com.

Lovely Jubbly?

Ol Boy has deleted his "Mum said me, on 'er deafbed" tweet, "Last thing Christopher Hitchens ever said to me was to urge us to keep on Galloway's case."

But at the London Mayoral Election, he can render filial piety to that Robin Leach, British but famous only in America.

Oliver Kamm's practice of sending (signed) bullying correspondence on Times headed notepaper strongly suggests that he works in London, and is therefore eligible to contest that election against George Galloway.

If he is not, then Nick Cohen certainly is, as Rodney to Kamm's Del Boy. I have a feeling that the deleted tweet might even have been addressed to Cohen. 

The pair of them need to get out their Reliant Regal and tour the metropolis to drum up support. Perhaps with Francis Wheen as the Grandad or Uncle Albert character.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

No, I Have Not "Become A Tory"

I will never again be a member of a political party. And I will never contest another election. 

But I will always vote, as I always have; I have never missed a vote, for anything. And I certainly will not vote for any parliamentary candidate who even pretended to believe that Keir Starmer ought to become Prime Minister.

In the meantime, I am setting up a think tank. I really would not mind which party that influenced, but there is no escaping the fact of which party is going to be in government until 2029 at the earliest.

Life And Times

Most people think that Britain has had abortion on demand for 53 years. In practice, it has had. 

The law is phrased in such a way as to establish that, but without appearing to do so to people who were reading at speed or who were seeing only what they wanted to see. 

30 years ago, the Thatcher Government even abolished the upper time limit completely, again without appearing to do so if you were determined to pretend to yourself that it had not happened.

But there will be no such subtlety for Northern Ireland. It is to have one of the most liberal abortion laws in the world, from Day One, right there on the page in plain English.

By the way, the 1967 Abortion Act was barely noticed at the time. You have to scour specialist Catholic publications for very much mention of it, and well under one in 20 MPs voted against it.

None of the 1960s Permissive Society legislation formed any part of Roy Jenkins's reputation until the 1980s, when his opponents on other issues decided to pretend that they had been "misled" or "deceived", a trick that they were later also to pull about the EU.

Although not sufficiently "misled" or "deceived" to do anything about it, then or now. Quite the reverse in fact. As, today, we see. Again.

What Goes Around

Alex Salmond's lead defence counsel was Gordon Jackson QC, who is the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates.

In 2007, Jackson lost his seat as the Labour Member of the Scottish Parliament for Glasgow Govan. Specifically, he lost it to Nicola Sturgeon.

Scotland is great fun. Great, great fun.

Self-Service

Better late than never, but why didn't Rishi Sunak do this from the start? I mean, he is good. A potential Prime Minister, in fact. I like him a lot. But why didn't he do this from the start?

People have been advocating from the start what has been announced today. It was not "too complicated" for them. Nor has complexity been any bar to anything so far. Many a Gordian Knot has been sliced straight through.

People who have been underreporting their incomes are now going to get their comeuppance. But no one will get anything until June, and you have to have a tax return for 2018-19 even if you have only just started trading. This Government has invested too much political capital in Universal Credit to abandon it and start again.

But things move so far and so quickly these days that you never know. Look what we have already achieved, not least by having the unions in government. The Universal Basic Income is now well within our grasp. Once this was over, then it would remain, as the floor below the Jobs Guarantee of the Modern Monetary Theory that has become the common sense of this new age.

And is this the end of the lower National Insurance contributions for the self-employed? That might be enough to force a political reconsideration of National Insurance itself. It is a tax, not an insurance scheme or a pension scheme. And it is a tax on work; on having job or on employing someone, including yourself.

The Proper Approach

"What is going on in the UK is, I think, the proper approach. That is the direction I think we should have gone." So says Bernie Sanders. He is wrong about a lot. But not about this.

So much for Keir Starmer's and his supporters' hopes of a Government of National Unity. You are far too right-wing. Go back to the ended era that ran from the Budget of December 1976 to the Budget of March 2020. We are all Modern Monetary Theorists now.

Denis Healey also pretended that his measures were a temporary response to a crisis. Yet they ran for 44 years until they were consigned to the dustbin by a Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer who had not been born until four years after they had been introduced. But consigned to the dustbin they have now been.

Turn Again

When George Galloway and I disagree, then we really do disagree. But that does not happen very often, and I still wish that he had contested Birmingham Yardley last year. He would have won, and so would we all. Still, he is now quite openly standing for Mayor of London at next year's election, and who knows? 

This site predicted George's victory at Bradford West in 2012, and I also did so in much-derided comments elsewhere, but everyone who was on a salary for it predicted that he would lose his deposit and that the whole thing would be his last hurrah. Well, it turns out that at 23 years his junior, I have retired from electoral politics before he has.

As George won Bradford West, so he could win London. Although Imran Hussain has since gone on to be a good MP for Bradford East, the Labour shortlist had been designed to placate the various factions of the Pakistani baradari system, which is in fact the carrying over of ancestral caste into Indo-Islam. Caste itself also persists even among Sikhs, founded though they were in a rejection of it, and among people whose families have been Christian for many generations, even centuries. 

Baradari, however, just did not interest second or third generation Bradfordians whose first language was English and who easily passed any cricket test, but who were far more interested in football. Moreover, the concentration on it alienated everyone else. In 2012, George topped the poll in every ward of Bradford West, including those which were more than 90 per cent white. The seat itself had been a Conservative target only two years earlier.

The franchise for the London Mayoral Election is the local government franchise, which is significantly broader than the parliamentary franchise. As George bypassed the baradari in Bradford, so he could bypass it and everything like it in reaching a BAME London that was young, increasingly mixed-race, often in its second or subsequent generation to have been born in Britain, and connected to every inhabited territory on the planet. It should be said that that is now BAME Britain in general, which is already found in every town, and which is well on the way to being found in every village.

330 registered electors have to sign a London Mayoral candidate's nomination papers, 10 from each of the 32 London Boroughs and 10 from the City. George managed that last time, and when he manages it again this time then it will be clear that a formidable movement was already in existence, waiting to be activated. Even seats on the City of London Corporation will be within reach.

Meanwhile, candidates for Mayor of London must be, "registered to vote in London, or have lived, worked, rented or owned property in London for the past 12 months." Oliver Kamm, that means you. Or if somehow it did not, and you certainly send letters on Times headed notepaper that suggests that you do indeed work in London, then it would be over to Nick Cohen. Put up or shut up. Virus or no virus, the next 13 months just got very interesting indeed.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020

In The House, Even If From Home

The electronic means are now available.

Consider the Covid-19 pandemic itself. Then consider the curtailments on civil liberties, however necessary, in order to address it.

This is exactly when Parliament should be sitting. Every day.

The Big Cat Hunts Again

I had been wondering when he was going to say this out loud. He had been dropping very broad hints for a quite a long time. And this is as good as an announcement. George Galloway will be standing for Mayor of London next year.

"Mum said to me, on 'er deafbed," tweeted Oliver "Del Boy" Kamm four years ago. Or words to that effect, "Last thing Christopher Hitchens ever said to me was to urge us to keep on Galloway's case."

Well, Ollie Boy, put up or shut up. Dare to face George on the campaign trail and at the ballot box. If your answer were that you no longer lived in London, then it would be over to Nick Cohen.

Oh, Jeremy Corbyn

You gave Britain an economic policy debate for the first time in a generation, and a foreign policy debate for the first time since the War.

But you seemed to go out of your way to alienate those who welcomed that, and to indulge those who wanted to destroy it.

Uncrowned By The Coronavirus?

Convincing or otherwise, there are reasons to want to abolish the monarchy.

This is not one of them.

Et In Hora Mortis Nostrae

Nine months to go until Christmas. Happy New Year, as this would once have been.

One really ought to get the Angelus in at the right times on this if on no other day of the year, and I have managed two out of three so far.

The first half of the Hail Mary is of course a combination of two verses from Saint Luke's Gospel. But the second half was added by popular practice during the Black Death.

So saying it a total of nine times is particularly apposite today.

Holden Up Well

Good stuff from Richard Holden at Prime Minister's Questions, and the right answer from Boris Johnson.

The first major campaign in which I was ever involved, including my first ever appearance on television, was in defence of Shotley Bridge Hospital. Well over 20 years later, my view remains fundamentally unchanged. 

That site is coming to the end of its natural life. These things happen. But the proximity of the Lanchester and Langley Park areas to Dryburn, and the relative proximity of the Stanley area both to Dryburn and to Chester-le-Street, mean that at least the same range of services must be relocated within the Consett area.

Fresh from his successes on the taxation of motorhomes (the manufacture of which is a major employer in this constituency), and on the bizarre levying of business rates on public conveniences, Richard is clearly determined to make that happen. 

Of course, come 2024, then he must be judged on whether or not he had done so, and on whether or not he had made good his promise to bring the Metro to Consett, to which it should have gone in the first place. But he is obviously getting on with it.

Identity Politics

Of course there is going to be no reduction in the number of MPs. The Conservatives won big under the present boundaries, so expect only the odd tweak to those. They would be far less wise if they were to go ahead with voter ID.

In the constituencies that in 2019 the Conservatives won either for the first time in many decades or for the first time ever, voter ID would heavily favour the people who still voted Labour.

It would favour them over those who had risen in revolt from the other side of the desk against the people who, armed with the full power of the State, had been patronising them, ordering them about, and sanctioning them.

In the seats that the Conservatives won and must hold, being middle-class is a public sector, Labour-voting thing. The voters that the Conservatives won, thereby tipping the seats, were disproportionately non-drivers who did not travel abroad.

The drivers who did travel abroad still voted Labour, and they will do so again in 2024. Not much could lose the Conservatives that General Election, but this just might. It would certainly cut their majority very drastically indeed.

And When You Get The Chance

ABBA on the radio: "You are the Dancing Queen, young and Swede, only 17." 

Right when Greta Thunberg gets Covid-19, self-isolates, and is cured, all in 45 minutes flat.

See that girl, watch that scene.

As Safe As Houses

Never mind extending the notice period from two months to three.

This is our chance to get rid of 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.

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Healthy Developments

Private healthcare nationalised. Take that, Tony Blair and Keir Starmer.

And when this is over, then the 250,000 NHS volunteers ought to become paid employees on Living Wages. 

The work and the money are obviously both there. As some of us have been trying to tell you for years.

Mind Your Language

I am now the proud owner of Accidence Will Happen, by Oliver Kamm. 

Including the £2:80 postage and packing, it has cost me the three pounds that I might otherwise have spent on a Tesco meal deal. None of those 300 pennies has gone to Kamm.

I fully intend to read it. Peter Hitchens says that it is a good book, so it probably is. And all for 20p. Not even five per cent of which will ever be paid to Oliver Kamm.

Forward To Basics

Rishi Sunak is just delaying the inevitable. There is no other solution than the Universal Basic Income. 

I wonder whether the Government might not be having trouble hammering out the details with the Labour front bench? A lot of Conservative and Labour backbenchers (and frontbenchers) are very opposed to UBI.

Monday, 23 March 2020

Significant Dissatisfaction

I told that now it would all kick off in the SNP. And it is doing.

Joanna Cherry is one of the good ones: on the left of the party, she has no truck with gender self-identification, and she stood by Alex Salmond from the start.

I would die in the last ditch against Scottish independence, but even so.

By Eck

When it comes to faction-fighting, then the SNP makes either Labour or the Conservatives look like a model of blissful harmony. 

And it is all going to kick off now.

Sunday, 22 March 2020

Starmering To The Grave

No, of course Keir Starmer is not planning to sack the Labour Party's staff. Why would he do that? The founding failure of Jeremy Corbyn's Leadership was that he did not sack the staff, who have since spent five years trying to sack him instead. Starmer is a Messianic figure to them, and he is literally a friend of their parents.

I wholeheartedly support the election of Keir Starmer as Leader of the Labour Party. If that party were to be given a grave, then, like Charlie Chaplin, I would dance around my walking stick upon it. That day is already close at hand.

But nothing would hasten it more than the Leadership of the man whose views on spending, on Brexit and on net zero carbon would lose Labour another 100 seats in Wales, the Midlands and the North, while his record as Director of Public Prosecutions would lose it a BAME Britain to which his supporters among the ageing Afro-Caribbean and South Asian grandees were as irrelevant and even repugnant as their allies and contemporaries in the metropolitan liberal elite and in the right-wing Labour machine were to the former Red Wall.

Hunt Balls

I preferred foxhunting to the Iraq War, support for which the hunting ban bought among despicable Labour MPs. No such ban has ever existed in practice, anyway.

And I am the first to prefer game to broiler chicken, on both culinary and ethical grounds.

But that widespread hypocrisy among the Starmering Classes is as nothing compared to the present hypocrisy in the newspapers of the hunts and of the shooting parties.

"The dirty Chinese eat wild animals," don't you know? Imagine that. Eating wild animals.

Hold The Sunset

Tomorrow's legislation needs a greatly strengthened sunset clause. This is what we pay an Opposition for. 

But three months ago, we were told that universal free broadband within 10 years would bankrupt the country.

As would a four-day week by sometime around 2050.

And as would four additional Bank Holidays, three of which would have fallen about now.

The money was always there, brothers and sisters.

The money has always been there. And it always will be.

Be Prepared?

Did the Czechoslovak Secret Service really seek to recruit Enoch Powell in order to influence the Boy Scout movement? No, of course not. For one thing, Powell saw through the Cold War from the start. 

The only two British MPs ever known to have been on the books of any Eastern Bloc country, and in both cases it was indeed Czechoslovakia, were the conventionally Hard Right Conservative Ray Mawby, and John Stonehouse, who still has a reasonable claim to have been the most right-wing Labour MP ever, again including from the point of view that he was a dyed-in-the-wool Cold Warrior.

Did the Czechoslovak Secret Service really seek to recruit Enoch Powell in order to influence the Boy Scout movement? I ask you!

Saturday, 21 March 2020

Of Self-Employment and Self-Determination

The solution to the question of what to do for the self-employed, and for those whom the Department for Work and Pensions had kept either on JSA or on ESA, is of course the Universal Basic Income. Once that had been introduced, then there would be no politically feasible way of getting rid of it. 

UBI would not be a disincentive to work in ordinary circumstances. Rather, it would put a floor under the Jobs Guarantee of the Modern Monetary Theory that has in recent days moved from being the stuff of controversy to providing the defining parameters of the debate.

We can do this. We are now within touching distance of it. Look what we have achieved in the last week alone. Above all, "we" have been the trade unions, who have been brought into government and who are making the most of if before things became more difficult again under a Leader of the Opposition who was more to the taste of most Labour MPs.

Next up, university admission after results, as in any sane country. And the end of the school league tables, which could not be taken seriously on the basis of teacher assessment alone, and which once gone for a year need never come back. Working-class pupils are twice as likely to be predicted an E grade, and black pupils' grades are staggeringly under-predicted, with only 39 per cent of predictions turning out to have been correct.

13 years of Labour Government did nothing to improve any of this. Quite the reverse, in fact. The people who make these mistakes are the backbone of the Labour Party's membership, and their children are the direct beneficiaries of the present system. The next Leader of the Labour Party is the Leader of the Opposition to the Government's programme of investment in the old Red Wall, he wants to reverse the working class's decisive vote for Brexit, and he was a viciously racist Director of Public Prosecutions, as if there could be any other kind.

In The Great Scheme

Had the General Election gone the other way, then the response to the present crisis would have been more or less the same.

Everything that Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell have been saying forever about how global capitalism would collapse is coming true, yet Labour's sellout over Brexit has cost it the chance to be in government.

But there is really only one possible response to that collapse, so the tragedy is only for the Labour Party, which is the smallest of things in the great scheme.

Happy Nowruz

Lift the sanctions against Iran.

Golden Hair

The Golden Rule of British Politics, exemplified in style at the moment, is that "madness" and "treason" become common sense and patriotic duty as soon as Boris Johnson says them or does them. Thank goodness that he is saying and doing the right things.

Friday, 20 March 2020

"What If Corbyn And McDonnell Had Won?"

It would have been much like this, for all that it is McDonnell's job to demand more today. He might very well get it, anyway.

Now, if Cameron and Osborne had still been there, or if Starmer had been in office with whoever would have been his Chancellor, or if we had still had a Government with the Liberal Democrats in it, then we really would have been in trouble.

Centrists cannot learn. Their view is entirely inflexible. Everyone else is an "extremist".

Who Is Taking Umbridge?

The sacked staff of the Coylumbridge Aviemore Hotel have been evicted from their accommodation. 

So, who is being moved into it in their place?

Grinding The Graun

Of course The Guardian is angry. Five years ago, pro-austerity, socially liberal, militarily hawkish globalists (and therefore, among other things, lovers of the EU) ran all three parties, and they assumed that they always would. But now, there are only two parties, and people like that are not running either of them.

They will get the Labour Party back soon enough, as if anyone would want that anymore. And both parties are socially liberal. But this Government is economically to the left of the last Labour manifesto, it is in any case electorally dependent on seats that had voted for Jeremy Corbyn when Labour had still been pro-Brexit, and it is no more likely to launch a war than he would have been. So yes. The Guardian is very, very, very angry, indeed.

Waging No More?

Someone was going to have to be the first Prime Minister who was younger than I was. Last week's Budget, ending the era that had begun with the Budget of December 1976, made a very strong case for who that was going to be. And as of today, there can be no remaining doubt. Rishi Sunak has changed the weather. This crisis will pass. But as Milton Friedman said, "Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program." And we are about to get a very great many of those.

Today is Saint Cuthbert's Day. When he did self-isolation, then he did it properly. If the Universal Basic Income were indeed to be brought in, and it will have to be so soon enough, then I might emulate him. You need not bother sending the King to beg me to emerge back into the world and become a bishop. Cuthbert was dead within three years of having said yes to that one. Leave me alone. Alone with the irony that there had been no church services over Easter 2020, when Pontius Pilate had been proved right all along. Now wash your hands.

Direction of Travel

The lifting of the early morning restrictions on the older person's bus pass in Manchester is obviously to be welcomed. But why is that not happening everywhere? And why have there ever been such restrictions outside London, when there are none such there?

Both the Freedom Pass and the Oyster card should be made national, as stops on the journey to free public transport. The Government has stopped pretending that a sovereign state with its own free floating, fiat currency was financially dependent either on taxation or on borrowing. To fight wars, it never has pretended that.

Finding The Lost Key

At first glance, the Government's list of key workers might look like a long-winded way of saying "the public sector". But great tracts of it have been privatised by all three parties over the last 40 years.

After the trouble that trying to work around that is going to cause now, then no more of it ever will be, and as much of it as humanly possible will somehow be renationalised, regardless of who was in government.

Take Back Control, indeed.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Boom, Indeed

What a heroine Suzanne Moore is. Everyone knows that she is right, of course. 50 years from now, nobody who was then under 30 or even under 40 will believe that any of this had ever happened. "But a man in a dress is just a man in a dress," they will say. Quite. 

Owen who? He has never got over having been relegated to the warm-up man by Jeremy Corbyn in the summer of 2015. Until then, Jones had always been the star turn. Five years later, and he is almost never on television anymore. 

But I do not know who some people think has been in government for the last 10 years. I carry no candle either for The Guardian or for the Labour Party, but at least each of them is having a row over this. In the party that is preparing to legislate for it, there would be appear to be no dissent whatever.