Thursday 30 April 2020

Presumes The Right

The liberation and elevation of people of colour has no better friend than the Jewish Left. And no worse enemy than the Jewish Right, which is often the liberal, neoliberal and neoconservative element in parties that are at least nominally of the Left.

As Denis Goldberg dies, the Board of Deputies demands that black women, as such, be banished from political life. It presumes the right to instruct the Labour Party, for which few or none of its members even vote, on whom to subject to disciplinary action. 

And that party shows every sign of surrendering to it, on the same day as it has surrendered to Narendra Modi, of all people. Keir Starmer's woeful poll rating is richly deserved. Under him, Labour is finished, and the rest of us need it to be finished.

No Left Exit

The official figures only record the number of Boris Johnson's children to have been born in hospital. The true total is at least double that.

But seriously, it is eye-wateringly offensive to say that, "We have avoided the tragedies seen in other countries." We have the third highest death rate in the world, and we shall very soon have the second.

Indeed, that may very well have been the case for quite some time, since the Government has been counting the number of deaths in such a way as to exclude at least half of them.

Yet Sir Keir Starmer, who is paid to be the Leader of the Opposition, actively congratulates the Government on its conduct.

He does so while calling for an exit strategy from the lockdown in order to favour his donors, and if the plebs died, then the plebs would die. No doubt our deaths would contribute to herd immunity.

Although I shall never again be a member of a political party, I am for the moment a critical supporter of the Workers Party of Britain and of the Social Democratic Party.

Those agree on a lot, and where they do, then they are right. Alas, though, the SDP has been showing signs of an extremely dangerous approach to the lockdown.

Kashmir Woolly Thinking

In opposing self-determination, nothing more than that, for Kashmir, then Keir Starmer is in breach of both international human rights provisions and unanimous Labour Party Conference policy.

But in phrasing it as he has, then he has gone beyond even that, and demonstrated that he does not know what he is talking about.

About this matter of enormous global importance, the delegates at last year's Labour Party Conference knew more, simply in factual terms, than does the man who is now their Leader.

Just wait until someone tells him that a solution to Kashmir that involved India would require Russia, while a solution to Kashmir that involved Pakistan would require China.

Oh, for a Leader of the Opposition who already knew that. Oh, for a potential Prime Minister.

Deprioritised No More?

Zoom? Whatever happened to Skype? But anyway, it's all Zoom now, apparently. And there is consternation in certain circles about a Zoom event last night at which Jackie Walker and Tony Greenstein were present alongside Bell Ribeiro-Addy and Diane Abbott.

At that event, it was pointed out that some Labour Party members had died as a result of allegations of anti-Semitism, while anti-BAME racism had been deprioritised in favour of anti-Semitism. Well, some people did die as a result of this, yes. Underlying health conditions, and all that. But they did. And BAME disciplinary complaints have been deprioritised while complaints of anti-Semitism have been prioritised. That is just a fact. 

This whole business has done Labour enormous damage in the previously loyal BAME community, whereas it must be said that most Jews have been Conservatives since the 1980s, with two thirds of them voting Conservative even under Ed Miliband. The IHRA Definition, to which the Conservative Party has never subscribed, simply denies BAME, migrant and refugee experience in a manner that calls to mind the Windrush scandal and the Grenfell Tower fire.

And now Labour is led by a former Director of Public Prosecutions, although his election has brought to the fore a long-developing sense on the BAME Left that "brown faces in high places" would not do, and that it was necessary to challenge the structures of economic inequality; something similar is occurring within feminism. Although good luck to either them with that in the Labour Party, which has never challenged those structures, and which never will.

Through her father, Jackie Walker is Jewish under the Nuremberg Laws. Tony Greenstein is the son of an Orthodox rabbi. Their views were shared by the late Denis Goldberg, and they are still shared by Andrew Feinstein, a former ANC MP who is now based in London as a strong critic of the failure and corruption of post-Mandela South Africa. 

Jews are not a race. Anyone may convert to Judaism, and all Jews in the world today are either converts or at least partially the descendants of converts. But Labour is racist, all right. Don't I know it from way back. And a recently leaked internal report into the Labour Party has revealed that while he was its London Regional Director, Neil Fleming employed the Angry Black Woman trope against Diane Abbott. BAME Labour MPs should refuse the whip while Fleming remained a party member in good standing. Especially but not exclusively in London, BAME people should withhold their votes from the Labour Party.

Fleming is now the Head of Media Relations UK at HSBC, and there should be street demonstrations outside its headquarters in Birmingham if he remained in its employ after the lockdown. Such demonstrations, as well as a campaign of boycott and divestment, should be held in unison with those who objected to the recent decision of HSBC to cancel standing orders to the charity Interpal, which provides humanitarian and development aid to Palestinians.

Wednesday 29 April 2020

No Confinement In Our Thinking

"He is already known to have fathered five." And that's all that they can say for certain. The BBC. About the Prime Minister.

Carrie Symonds had such a short pregnancy that that baby must have been oven ready.

Amazing? Disgrace

If the Daily Mail can find 150,000 protective overalls and masks, and fly them to Britain from China, then why can't the Government?

At Prime Minister's Questions, Keir Starmer called the Government's response to Covid-19 "an amazing piece of work".

We can all see who is the piece of work here.

Divest This

The Supreme Court has just ruled that Local Government Pension Schemes do not have to invest in Israel if they do not want to.

Good news for Conservative Councillors, whose party has never adopted the IHRA Definition, leaving them free to pursue both ethical and profitable investment.

But bad news for Labour Councillors, who would be expelled from their party for anti-Semitism if they did not invest even in monetarily worthless concerns that happened to be located in the State of Israel.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines anti-Semitism as “Hostility to or prejudice against Jews”. If that definition is sufficient for you, then The Centre is the think tank for you. Please give generously..

Swab This

There were no gowns, visors, swabs or body bags in the Government's pandemic stockpile when Covid-19 hit the United Kingdom.

Is that the case, or is it not?

Maternity Matters

Whether you are Carrie Symonds or Freddy McConnell, if you give birth to a baby, then you are the mother. And you are most certainly not the father. 

It has come to something that this needs to be said. But here we are. And ever so tentatively, we seem to be starting to win.

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

Stumbling Starmer

That Prime Minister's Questions said it all. No doubt Keir Starmer is a good administrator, but he does not have the spark.

Meaning that he is Boris Johnson in reverse. Except that it is the spark that wins a General Election. So Starmer never will.

Even so, let nothing you dismay. The Budget of March 2020 has ended the era that began with the Budget of December 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

Being The Herdsmen of The Beastly Plebeians

Britain's death toll is the second highest in the world, more than one fifth of the global total, because the Government initially pursued a baseless "herd immunity" strategy. 

But at Prime Minister's Questions later today, Keir Starmer will not call for Matt Hancock or anyone else to resign. If anything, he will demand an "exit strategy" for the sake of his donors, and if the plebs die, then the plebs die.

We need to find a way of securing the signatures of, say, 100,000 parliamentary electors, including at least 100 in each Commons constituency, acknowledging a named individual as Leader of the Opposition, calling on the media to treat him or her as such, and undertaking to support in every way necessary such media as did so.

And we plebeians never had only one tribune. If, by a designated date, more than one person had met this admittedly exacting requirement, then every such person ought to be so acknowledged.

In the meantime, let nothing you dismay. The Budget of March 2020 has ended the era that began with the Budget of December 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

Reevaluate His Position

Later today, however, the opinion poll disaster area that is Keir Starmer will no more call for Raab's resignation than call for Matt Hancock's. But then, Starmer is the only sitting British MP on the Trilateral Commission. And this whole affair is entirely of a piece with his record as Director of Public Prosecutions.

Tuesday 28 April 2020

Planet of the Humans

Some of us have been Red Not Green forever. We have tried to get the message out about greenwashing and so on. Greenery was founded against the Left by people who did not want economic development for our people to ruin the views from their expensive windows.

Michael Moore has his faults. Who hasn't? But this film will at last put up the platform from which the victims of all of this, notably many indigenous tribal peoples and numerous communities of the industrial working class, will be able to speak.

We take the highest view of human demographic, economic, intellectual and cultural expansion and development. That is 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.

We insist that any approach to climate change must protect and extend secure employment with civilised wages and working conditions. It must encourage economic development around the world. It must maintain the right of the working classes and of people of colour to have children. It must hold down, and as far as practicable reduce, the fuel prices that always hit the poor hardest. And it must refuse to restrict travel opportunities or a full diet to the rich.

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

States, Rights

The States' Rights movement, if it could ever have been called that, is back. Once again, it is the voice of dissent within the President's own party, and the voice of people who feel that this particular President has betrayed them.

The sense of Southern white betrayal by Lyndon Johnson was to reshape American politics out of all recognition. Who knows what might come of the sense of MAGA-hatted betrayal by Donald Trump?

But there as here, the responsibility of the State to keep us all at least breathing is the same against this as it is against, say, foreign invasion, or terrorist attack, or knife crime, or domestic murder, or gun fights over drugs.

And health and safety at work is an existing legal right. Insist on it. We all must. For all of us. Although I normally eschew such comparisons, the whole shape of the economy is going to be changed by this, just as it was by the War, and it needed to be, just as it needed to be before the War. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

Universal, Service, Obligation

If British Airways or any other business cannot survive without State Aid, such as the British State is once again free to pay after Brexit, then that business is monetarily worthless.

If it is nevertheless of some social, cultural or political importance, then the State should take it over for nothing. Or, in the case of BA, take it back for nothing. The State created BA, and it still enjoys all sorts of little perks that sit ill with being a private company.

At the very least, the State should take at no cost a large enough stake to ensure board level representation, for the exercise of which the First Lord of the Treasury and the Chancellor of the Exchequer should be accountable to the House of Commons. Any eventual dividend should be divided equally among the holders of all National Insurance numbers.

Such an arrangement would answer the claim that the Royal Mail had a very wide shareholder base. The "Royal" now refers to that major shareholder, the Emir of Kuwait. And today's decision to scrap Saturday deliveries has nothing to do with the protection of workers, who have not been consulted.

Rather, it is the beginning of the end of the Universal Service Obligation. There was a reason why, as with coal and the railways, Margaret Thatcher ruled out the privatisation of the Royal Mail. No, it was not that she just never got round to them. She explicitly ruled out each of them, on grounds that still stand up to scrutiny.

Well, the railways are starting to be brought back, and now this. The EU banned the renationalisation of the rail service, and it required the privatisation of the postal service. But we have left the EU. Keir Starmer is not the Prime Minister, and he never will be. Instead, the Budget of March 2020 has ended the era that began with the Budget of December 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

Get A Grip On Our Future

John Mills writes:

The Government has been quick to provide emergency support to businesses through cash injections, job retention schemes, and deferred tax bills. But this will not be enough. All the levers of policy need to support manufacturing because it is making things that generates the highest rates of growth.

Without shifting our focus from banking and high-end services, which tend to be focused in London, to heavy and light industry, which tends to be focused largely in the Midlands and North, we will struggle to grow much more than at 1.0 per cent per annum for the next decade.

The result with be joblessness, stagnating incomes and increasing inequality. The British economy may well have shrunk by 25 to 30 per cent over the last month or so. Although some sectors will bounce back quickly, others will take much longer. 

If the year-on-year reduction in GDP between 2019 and 2020 is, say, 15 per cent, 2021 might be 10 per cent down on 2019 and 2021 perhaps 7.5 per cent. It may well be until something like 2025 before it gets back to 2019 levels.

Even this relatively upbeat scenario may be too optimistic, especially when the costs of climate change, increased social care, our ageing population, pressures on our healthcare system and restoring recent cuts in education and training are all taken into account.

What can we do to make things better? We need to start by reversing the key catastrophic policy mistake of the last three decades: we need to realise that growth comes largely from manufacturing and not from services.

If, therefore, we are going to give the economy a chance to grow more quickly, we have to increase the proportion of our GDP coming from manufacturing to around 15 per cent from its current 10 per cent. 

Economic growth is largely the result of a narrow range of investment opportunities, clustered around mechanisation, technology and power. Even before coronavirus hit, UK investment in these key areas was far below levels in other higher-growth countries. This explains why productivity in the UK has been almost static, our growth rate has been so low and why wages have stagnated. 

The natural home for these investment opportunities is in the privately-owned, highly-competitive, internationally-traded light industrial sector – manufacturing everything from cookware to Christmas lights, from pressure washers to clothing – and this is what has collapsed in the UK.

Even as late as 1970, nearly a third of our GDP came from manufacturing. Now it is less than 10 per cent. Globalisation and liberalisation certainly have their upsides in spurring international competition.

They also, however, have major downsides if the result is for some countries – such as China, Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands – to collar much more than their fair share of manufacturing industry, leaving countries like the UK and the USA deindustrialised, with huge balance of payments deficits, stagnant productivity and wages, and ever-mounting debt problems. 

The key message, then, is that the UK economy needs to be reoriented towards exports and manufacturing rather than being driven by services, imports and debt. How can this to be done? There is a straightforward, but politically very difficult answer. We need a more competitive environment for light industry in the UK. 

One important component of making the UK more competitive is a monetary and fiscal environment that encourages manufacturing, and that means a lower exchange rate, so that it becomes profitable to invest in a new manufacturing plant in the UK instead of elsewhere.

We need to change our banking and monetary priorities to make sure that this happens. As happened in Japan after the Second World War, we need to direct our banking system towards making plenty of money available on easy terms to the manufacturing industry at the same time that we make sure that it is put to productive use. 

This way we could lift the economy’s growth rate by at least a couple of per cent per annum, above what it would otherwise be. This is the growth we so badly need to recover from coronavirus. With export-led growth at the forefront, we might be able to get back to our 2019 level of GDP within two or three years. 

Without it, we will very probably have lower productivity and much lower real wages in 2030 than in 2020, while we slip further and further down the international rankings, while other Asian economies continue to power ahead. This is the scenario that we are facing unless we get a grip on our future.

An Unprecedented Surge

Jon Stone writes:

The coronavirus pandemic has produced an unprecedented surge in public support for a range of radical economic policies, a new survey has found. Pollsters YouGov found that a majority of the public support paying people a universal basic income to ensure their financial security, introducing a jobs guarantee to keep employment stable, and bringing in rent controls to limit housing costs. 

The poll is the latest evidence that the crisis has opened up Britain's political terrain to new ideas - with a Tory chancellor unveiling an unprecedented package of state support for families and businesses that would have been unthinkable just months ago.

Research reported by The Independent last week also found that the public want the government to treat the climate crisis as seriously and urgently as it has the pandemic - another sign of the public mood. In the latest poll, YouGov found that 72 per cent of the public support a job guarantee, "where the government makes sure everyone who can work has a job". Just six per cent of the public were unsupportive.

Under such a scheme the state would find jobs for people on public works or link them up with private sector employers. A similar policy has previously been proposed by some economists as a way to control unemployment, with Labour's 2015 manifesto under Ed Miliband containing a version of the policy that emphasised its compulsory nature. 

Today's survey found strong support for the guarantee across all demographics. 51 per cent of the public also support a universal basic income, "where the government makes sure everyone has an income, without a means test or requirement to work". Just 24 per cent are unsupportive of the idea, with 9 per cent saying they do not know how they feel. 

The idea a basic income has been backed by dozens of MPs from across the political spectrum as a solution to workers falling through the cracks of the current government support scheme - including the self-employed. 

Former work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith has however criticised the idea, suggesting it would be a disincentive to work during the crisis and would be badly targeted. Tory voters were the least enthusiastic about a basic income, with only narrow support - 39 per cent in favour to 37 per cent opposed. 

Labour last week rejected the idea of a universal basic income during the Covid-19 crisis, with a spokesperson for Keir Starmer stating that “creating an entirely new social security system is unlikely to be possible during the crisis". 

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell [he no longer is, but try naming the present one without looking it up] has previously toyed with the policy and suggested Labour could have piloted the idea if elected. Spain's government, a coalition of the centre-left PSOE and left-wing Podemos parties, announced it was moving to introduce a basic income to help its citizens.

The final policy polled by YouGov was on rent controls, described to the weighted polling panel as a policy where "where the government sets caps on what lands can charge, or freezing rents". This policy was supported by 74 per cent of the public with just 8 per cent unsupportive.

Voters from all parties supported the policy by large margins, with little variations between different demographics. Britain is unusual in Europe in having no controls at all on its rents since they were abolished in the 1980s. 

Fatima Ibrahim from campaign group Green New Deal UK, which commissioned the polling, said, “Huge numbers of Brits believe that the country was ill-prepared for this pandemic, just as it is ill-prepared for climate breakdown. 

"The need for a new deal for this country is clear - and sky high support for policies like a jobs guarantee and rent freezes shows that there is no going back to the economy built on the shaky foundations we had before.

"If your house fell down, you would rebuild the bits you love, but you would also deal with the leaky roof and draughty windows. That’s why we need a new deal for the country, we must build back better.”

We Won't Go Back

The trade unions, and those Conservative MPs who knew which people and places had given their party an overall majority, may be able to prevent any lifting of the lockdown before there was certainty that it would be healthy and safe.

But they could expect no assistance, much less any leadership, from the Labour Party, with its demand for an "exit strategy". Under Keir Starmer, Labour has become a branch office of American corporate liberalism, complete with the imported practice of being funded by the same people as funded the other side.

Simply refuse to go back to work without the necessary protection. Morally and legally, health and safety at work is your right. If everyone insisted on that fact, then no one could deny it to any of us. And let nothing you dismay. The Budget of March 2020 has ended the era that began with the Budget of December 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

Cygnus Signals

In October 2016, NHS England carried out an enormous simulation exercise called Exercise Cygnus, to estimate the impact of a coronavirus pandemic. It found that that impact would be the collapse of the NHS due to a lack of resources. The full results remain classified, on the grounds that they are "too terrifying" to be made public.

Today, Piers Morgan exposed that Victoria Atkins, who is now the Minister for Safeguarding and who was in October 2016 a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee, had never heard of Exercise Cygnus. (By the way, Atkins is married to Paul Kenward, who is the Managing Director of British Sugar. She herself is a a Type 1 diabetic. Well, it made me laugh, anyway.)

Clearly, Atkins belongs to the Matt Hancock school of well-briefed competence. Hancock has just criticised Panorama, but you could no doubt make a programme in which Army, Navy and Air Force Officers, or at least recently retired ones, spilled the beans about a similar lack of protective kit and about that lack's potentially or actually fatal consequences. They would almost certainly be Tories. But so what? They would be telling the truth.

There were no gowns, visors, swabs or body bags in the Government's pandemic stockpile when Covid-19 hit the United Kingdom. Is that the case, or is it not? Piers Morgan would ask. Andrew Neil would ask. Keir Starmer, on the other hand, would not ask. He would identify and sack the whistleblowers rather the wrongdoers.

That has been his approach to the report that exposed what everyone had always known, that the Labour Party was staffed by out-of-control racists who were heavily influenced by the anti-black fanaticism, alien to these shores, of liberal Jewish New York. See also the Equality and Human Rights Commission. And prepare to treat its findings accordingly.

In the meantime, rejoice in the travails of HSBC even before the boycott and divestment campaign against a company whose Head of Media and Communications UK was London Regional Director of the Labour Party when he called Diane Abbott an Angry Black Woman. If he were still there once street demonstrations became possible again, then there would be such outside the Birmingham headquarters of HSBC, led and addressed by Angry Black Women.

In any case, Starmer hates the NHS. He is Pharma Starmer. Not only that, but he refuses to be in any way accountable for that sorry fact. He simply refuses to discuss Ben Nunn, who has passed seamlessly from having been Starmer's Political Adviser to being the Labour Party's Director of Communications.

Nunn was previously, and indeed very recently, the Associate Director of Incisive Health. That is a major driver of NHS privatisation, and it was founded by a Special Adviser to Andrew Lansley. So there we are. Pharma Starmer. The principal enemy of the NHS in Britain today. Even so, let nothing you dismay. The Budget of March 2020 has ended the era that began with the Budget of December 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

Alas, The Gloves Are Still On

Those of you who are making a fuss about the political affiliations of the interviewees on Panorama, who would you have had instead? That is not a rhetorical question. Who, exactly?

In any case, either they really are counting each pair of gloves as two items of PPE, or they are not. And so on.

There were no gowns, visors, swabs or body bags in the Government’s pandemic stockpile when Covid-19 hit the United Kingdom. Is that the case, or is it not?

Nor can I see why you are making such a fuss about Panorama. The BBC, which barely trailed it, is now pretending that it was never commissioned or broadcast. 

It knows that there is no Opposition to pick this up. Only people who want to go back to the NHS privatisation of the Blair years, before which there was no such concept beyond the wilder shores of pseudo-academia.

Even so, let nothing you dismay. The Budget of March 2020 has ended the era that began with the Budget of December 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

Let Us Seem Humbler After It Is Done?

Judgement as to whether or not to bail Julian Assange because of the coronavirus has been delayed for at least six months because of the coronavirus. This is torture.

And secure in the knowledge that there was now no Opposition, Panorama felt able to tell the truth about PPE, or the lack of it. Its disclosures should have brought down the Government. But if there had been any risk of that, then it would never have made them.

No such risk exists. At 30.6, the average showing of Labour across its first seven polls under Keir Starmer is lower than the 31.6 that it managed across its first seven polls under Jeremy Corbyn in 2015. When is the coup going to start? Why has it not started already?

Perhaps because the Left has finally given up on the Labour Party. After 100 years, the Left does at last seem to have had enough of slogging its guts out for lazy, ungrateful, and ludicrously right-wing Councillors, MPs and Leaders.

What it will do next remains to be seen. But it has quite clearly had it with the Labour Party. And it is the Left that does the heavy lifting. Many right-wing luminaries are not really active party members. The idea of them delivering their own leaflets is laughable.

The anti-racist movement has also given up. It has only ever regarded Labour as the best of a very bad lot, and it has never regarded any Leader apart from Corbyn as a bona fide anti-racist, although it was under him that several stalwarts were expelled from the party.

But then came the recent leaked report, Starmer's reaction to it, and Starmer's own professional past and financial present. This time, it really is over. There is a world elsewhere. A world in which, although London alone will still return a majority of Labour MPs in 2024, it will return far fewer than there are now.

Problematic though Ofcom often is, it has done the right thing by finding in favour of Piers Morgan and his robust interrogation of clueless Ministers. Would that there were a Leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons, where someone is being paid to exercise that office while openly refusing, as a matter of principle, to do so.

How, then, to fill that position, which is vacant de facto? How to go about this will need to be worked out in detail, but we need to find a way of securing the signatures of, say, 100,000 parliamentary electors, including at least 100 in each Commons constituency, acknowledging a named individual as Leader of the Opposition, calling on the media to treat him or her as such, and undertaking to support in every way necessary such media as did so.

In the meantime, let nothing you dismay. The Budget of March 2020 has ended the era that began with the Budget of December 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

Monday 27 April 2020

Stay Safe, Indeed

Like all plagues and pestilences, Covid-19 has exposed existing inequalities. Conspiracy theorists are distracting attention from that, and thus from the potential remedies to them.

Remedies to the development and implementation of which trade unions will be central. Join the union that is obvious for your job. If none is, or if you do not currently have a job, then join Unite Community.

And thus armed, simply refuse to go back to work without the necessary protection. Morally and legally, health and safety at work is your right. If everyone insisted on that fact, then no one could deny it to any of us.


Tom Lavin writes:

On Wednesday, whilst Keir Starmer received near-unanimous congratulations from the professional pundit class for his ‘grown-up’ and ‘forensic’ debut performance at Prime Minister’s Questions, the Labour Party quietly confirmed that they had watered-down their position on renters’ rights during the COVID-19 crisis.

Labour’s previous policy position was that rent payments should be suspended during the COVID-19 crisis for those adversely affected by the crisis, in other words, renters who had taken a financial hit because of the crisis would not have to pay rent for the occupation of their home during the crisis period.

The policy has now changed from rent suspension to rent deferment i.e. Labour’s new policy is that renters should have to pay rent for their time spent occupying their homes during the crisis but not until a later date, with Starmer’s team calling upon the Government to “legislate for a further, manageable period for renters to pay back deferred rent”.

Given the COVID-19 crisis has caused Britain’s fastest economic contraction on record with a recession and unprecedented squeeze on incomes likely we are deeply unimpressed that the Opposition party’s proposed protection for renters is to put us into (more) debt.

With (supposed) friends like these, who needs enemies!

Whilst it is true that home-owners with mortgages who take advantage of the ‘mortgage holiday’ will also have to pay housing costs for the crisis period, these payments can be tacked onto the end of the term of their mortgage i.e. at a point in time where they have no other housing costs.

Because a renter is forced to pay rent in perpetuity, there is never a point in time when our housing costs cease (such is the life of the host in a parasitic relationship!).

As such, Labour’s new proposals would see renters forced to pay both their ongoing rent and arrears accrued during the crisis simultaneously. With an unprecedented global financial crisis as the backdrop. 

When the immediate crisis is over, just like in the aftermath of the Global Recession of 2008, the Tories will begin talk of ‘austerity’, ‘hard choices’ and ‘necessary cuts’.

Indeed, former Chancellor George Osborne, the architect of the post-2008 recession austerity, is already doing so (as an aside, it may or may not be significant that he was one of the many pundits praising Starmer on Wednesday).

It is extremely disheartening to see that the Labour Party appear to have already capitulated and taken the decision that, rather than the billionaires or landlords, renters should foot the bill for the crisis and be thankful we are allowed to do so over a ‘manageable period’. 

Not good enough!

Say No To Extending Sunday Trading

Sign here:

During the current crisis, huge pressures have been put on the food supply and workers in that sector, particularly in supermarkets. Key workers in retail have been part of the front line, having to adopt new working practices including social distancing to keep shoppers and themselves safe.

Ever since these measures have been brought in to keep retail workers safe, including limiting some opening times to allow for restocking safely, then there has been a campaign amongst some MPs, local councils, the media and retail bosses to try to suspend or ultimately abolish Sunday trading regulations.

Richard Walker, managing director of Iceland, was reported by ITV as saying, "We have spoken to Government about this. My hands are still tied with these archaic Sunday trading laws. This is a moment of national crisis and we need our shops open".

A number of local councils including Belfast, Conwy, Denbighshire and Wakefield have decided to stop enforcing Sunday trading regulations locally. Belfast City Council had previously unsuccessfully pushed through extended Sunday trading against mass opposition.

40 MPs have written to Business Secretary Alok Sharma calling for relaxation of Sunday trading legislation nationally, just four years after David Cameron last attempted to do this which was defeated in the House of Commons.

Usdaw, the main retail and distribution union in the UK, has continuously campaigned against Sunday trading. In it’s most recent survey of shopworkers on this issue, 91.69% of respondents opposed extending Sunday trading

Deregulating or relaxing Sunday trading legislation will only put more pressure on hard pressed supermarket workers, and cause difficulties for those with childcare or caring arrangements. Sundays are usually the only days supermarket workers know they can guarantee to be home to have an evening meal with their families.

Other means should be found for ensuring key workers are able to buy food under the current lockdown conditions, including key worker slots at differing times in the day, which should be drawn up in consultation between their respective trade unions.

Retail workers are key workers too, they should not be forced to work longer – say no to extending Sunday trading.

They Also Serve?

The Bring Back National Service Brigade is once again on its march to nowhere.

Nobody wants that less than the Armed Forces do. Every year, tens of thousands of teenagers who were there under compulsion, for too short a time to be trained as anything very much at all?

Not much could instil dread in the battle-hardened. But that does. And it should.

You Are No Noble Committee

Those of you who are laughing at Donald Trump while preparing to vote for Joe Biden, Trump is going to beat you. Again. 

And he would deserve a Nobel Prize a lot more than blood-soaked monsters such as Biden, Barack Obama (who got it), either of the Clintons, or your new heroes, John McCain and George H.W. Bush.

Sunday 26 April 2020

Strategic Communications?

An email gently chides me for having used a singular verb with "media".

But as the American Civil War effected the transition from "the United States are" to "the United States is", so we now have a single media bloc.

That bloc is so completely an arm of the State that the National Editor of ITV News has today moved to become Director of Strategic Communications at the Treasury.

Does this kind of thing happen in other advanced democracies? On what basis can the country where it does happen be called either advanced or a democracy?

Even so, let nothing you dismay. The Budget of March 2020 has ended the era that began with the Budget of December 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

Times Like These

And now, in Times Radio, it has a radio station. The Blairite Revival is well and truly taking shape. 

In addition to the Murdoch papers and Sky News, and with significant sympathisers at The Guardian, The Observer, the Mirror Group and the BBC, it has recently acquired The Jewish Chronicle as a vehicle for decrying any criticism as anti-Semitic.

It has already taken back control of the Labour Party, and it will be coming for the Conservative Party very, very, very soon. The likes of Momentum and Unite could not see it off, so people with no idea what they were up against are going to have no chance.

But the Budget of March 2020 has ended the era that began with the Budget of December 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

Exit Strategy

In three weeks under Keir Starmer, Labour has become a party whose donors join the Conservative Party's in demanding that the lockdown be lifted for the sake of corporate profit. Therefore, Starmer demands an "exit strategy", placing him well to the right, in the very worst sense, of Dominic Raab. 

Starmer's refusal to prosecute Jimmy Savile seems to be cutting through. And his outrider is Neil Coyle, who identifies so completely with the other side that he takes offence on its behalf against the Labour MP whose frontbench position he not only covets, but has quite possibly been promised.

Hey, ho. Where is the 20 point lead that Starmer's supporters promised his party? Where is a 10 point lead? Where is a one point lead? Labour is behind the Conservatives everywhere apart from London, including where it took the most votes and won the most seats last December. Labour is ahead of the Conservatives in London by only a third of its lead under Jeremy Corbyn. Labour is only half as popular as the Conservatives in Wales.

When is the coup going to start? Why has it not started already? As my closest comrade said to me this week, "I can't wait for the next Election, for the complete and utter creaming that they are going to get." He was not talking about "the Tories". You see, two can play that game. And why not? The Budget of March 2020 has ended the era that began with the Budget of December 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

Beyond. Reasonable. Doubt.

Shrieks from hopeful bench-seekers that Peter Hitchens has pointed out the departure from the principle of conviction beyond reasonable doubt.

Whenever that might have become the case, did you vote for this change? Not even your Member of Parliament voted for it. It has no statutory basis.

Primary legislation must reassert the existing law that conviction must be beyond reasonable doubt, and annul any conviction where the jury had explicitly been directed to disregard that concept, as is certainly happening.

Likewise, there is no conviction beyond reasonable doubt where there is conviction by majority verdict, just as there is no presumption of innocence where there is no protection against double jeopardy.

But in whom are we to place our hope? A former Director of Public Prosecutions?

To Live By Their Pious Words?

On 12th March 2018, the front page of The Times announced that Sergei and Yulia Skripal were dead. 

Two days later, that same newspaper claimed that almost 40 people in Salisbury had required treatment for nerve agent poisoning. 

Does Nick Cohen wish to ban The Times?

It is interesting to speculate as to what would happen to the British media if it were to drum out everyone who had claimed that 100,000 military age males had been murdered in Kosovo.

Or that the attacks of 11th September 2001 had come from Afghanistan. Or that there had been weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Or that those weapons had been capable of deployment within 45 minutes.

Or that Saddam Hussein had been feeding people into a giant paper shredder. Or that he had been attempting to obtain uranium from Niger. 

Or that a genocide had been imminent in Benghazi. Or that Gaddafi had been feeding Viagra to his soldiers in order to encourage mass rape. Or that he had intended to flee to Venezuela.

Or that Assad had gassed Ghouta, as if that were an undisputed fact. Or, as still does the rounds, that there were an Iranian nuclear weapons programme.

Nagging, Awkward

Dismal news from the criminal justice system where – in a change of great importance – juries are no longer told they must be persuaded ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ that a defendant is guilty. They must merely be ‘sure’.

These expressions do not mean the same thing. You may be ‘sure’ you want a pepperoni pizza rather than a vegan one. But the word touches a different bit of the brain from the one reached by the nagging, awkward phrase ‘beyond reasonable doubt’. 

There is some suggestion jurors were finding it hard to understand what ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ meant. Well, my reply to any such juror is that if you don’t know what it means, then you are not fit to sit on a jury, and should stand aside.

Saturday 25 April 2020

Never Mind The Gillicks

The vile "charity" Mermaids is entirely correct. If children cannot give consent to puberty blockers, castration, and so forth, then that is the end of Gillick competence.

We can now move to raising the age of consent to 18 while outlawing the performance of abortion or the prescription of contraception under that age without parental knowledge and consent, if at all.

Don't Be Half-Baked

Certain branches of Greggs in Newcastle are to reopen, "staffed by volunteers".

Keep a very wary eye on this.

Where there were paid jobs before, then there must be paid jobs again.

Annex This

Rachel Riley has not won a libel action against Laura Murray. She has merely been given permission to pursue one. Murray will now argue in court that her statement about Riley was factually accurate. There has been no ruling that it was not.

But neither Murray, nor Keir Starmer, nor Lisa Nandy, can in any way criticise the impending Israeli annexation of the Jordan Valley. To do so would be to breach the IHRA Definition, and would therefore be expulsionable from the Labour Party on grounds of anti-Semitism. 

Luckily, the Conservative Party has never adopted the IHRA Definition. Nor is Boris Johnson funded by Trevor Chinn. Nor has Dominic Raab been appointed only because he was funded by Chinn. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

Overcome With Emulsion

If you want a desiccated calculator as your leader, talking with all the passion of a Speak Your Weight machine, it’s better if he has a head of hair that inspires admiration. Sir Keir Starmer passes that test. He's a matinee idol, albeit from the era of silent movies.

Labour has lurched from the type of leader, faults and all, who could have a football stadium sing his name to the tune of Seven Nation Army’s greatest hit to a man for whom they’d gently drum the salt cellar in a gentlemen’s club in St James’s. Maybe. On a good day.

I’ve often felt, through prolonged exposure to them, both as a parliamentarian and as a litigant, that I should’ve been a Queen’s Counsel (QC). Because I would’ve been good at it, but more, if I’m honest, because, by now, I’d be a multi-millionaire. 

Sir Keir is a millionaire and the first Knight of the Realm ever to lead the ‘People’s Party,’ [to be fair, George, he is only the first to lead it while already knighted] the party Ernie Bevin famously described as coming from the “bowels of the trades union movement.” 

So monotonously ‘forensic’ was Starmer as a QC, he was appointed the public prosecutor by the Blair-Brown gang of which he was a member. But his time as the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is littered with crimes.

He declined to prosecute the paedophilic rapist BBC ‘star’ Sir Jimmy Savile (another Knight of the Realm) despite police recommendations to do so. If he had done so, many children, mentally disabled people and even cadavers would’ve been spared Savile’s subsequent attentions. 

He was relentless in his persecution of Julian Assange, on the other hand, with his Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) office reportedly demanding , in writing, that Sweden not “get cold feet” in pursuing the fake rape charges against the publisher. 

He implored them not to send a team to London – as they’d done many times in other cases – to interview Assange in the Ecuadorian Embassy. They must continue to demand extradition, he advised. It's not hard to work out why. 

During Starmer’s role as DPP, the CPS declined to prosecute MI6 agents for involvement, during the War on Terror, in alleged crimes of torture and illegal acts of extraordinary rendition, despite the advice of Scotland Yard. Politics being a transactional business, however, Starmer did at least get an unprecedented invitation to cocktails with the head of MI6 in return.

When I first met Starmer on the parliamentary estate, it was outside the front door of the former New Scotland Yard building now known as Norman Shaw North. He was being shown around by his good friend Keith Vaz, another Labour MP, who was exceedingly lucky not to have been prosecuted, after a charmed life of financial malfeasance, cocaine procurement and Romanian rent boys.

Mr Vaz introduced Starmer to me. I have since enquired into this strange relationship between the DPP – now the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition – and the reprobate now-retired MP. There was correspondence between the pair when Starmer was DPP, but – alas! – it is locked away under the terms of the Official Secrets Act until 2078! Perhaps my grandchildren will live long enough to see it.

Anyway, Sir Keir’s debut at the despatch box has come and gone – fittingly to an empty House, on account of the coronavirus. Every last bitter enemy of the Labour movement queued up to heap praise on his performance. Yet it was faint praise, in that it mainly consisted of their understanding that he was better than Corbyn – and that his trousers didn’t fall down.

Everyone from former chancellor, George Osborne – the co-architect, with then prime minister David Cameron, of a decade of ravaging austerity measures – to Labour-baiting journalists such as Robert Peston of ITV and Andrew Neil of the BBC had to dab their eyes in wonder at his “forensic” approach. They were overcome with emulsion. A coat of which the public would no doubt have been tempted to apply to Sir Keir Starmer.

Friday 24 April 2020

Consorting With The Enemy

Robbie Gibb, John Woodcock, William Shawcross, John Ware: are there any Jews in the consortium that has bought The Jewish Chronicle?

Woodcock is a shill for Saudi Arabia, which Jews may not even enter, and that despite their having previously lived on what is now its territory for thousands of years.

No wonder the financial backer of this purchase is being kept secret. And so much for "Countering Violent Extremism" on Woodcock's part.

This acquisition is a key part of the ongoing Blairite Revival, and designed to depict opposition to its neoliberal, identitarian, neoconservative and Malthusian agenda as "anti-Semitic", thereby closing the debate and calling the Police.

Not The Fifty-First State

They drive everywhere in America, and they think nothing of 30, 40 and even 50 mile round trips.

And lifting a lockdown in one part of America might have little or no impact on another part.

But Britain is not America. It just isn't.

The Stable Door?

The Monetary Policy Committee is crowing that its existence, with an obligation to "maintain price stability", is the only thing standing between this country and the fate of Zimbabwe or of Weimar Germany.

Well, it has been 23 years since Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, only five days in office and having had nothing resembling it in their manifesto, did what no Conservative Government had ever done, and surrendered democratic political control over monetary policy. And in the last 23 years, how "stable" have prices remained?

The issuing of currency is an act of the State, which is literally the creator of all money. A sovereign state with its own free floating, fiat currency has as much of that currency as it chooses to issue to itself. The State also has the fiscal and monetary means to control inflation, means that therefore need to be under democratic political control in both cases. It is otherwise impossible to "maintain price stability".

Anneliese Dodds may blather on about "taxpayers' money" while Keir Starmer plots a full-scale Blairite restoration. But the Budget of March 2020 has ended the era that began with the Budget of December 1976. The Centre is the think tank for this new era. Please give generously.

Craig Murray Defence Fund Launched

Craig Murray writes:

I know of four pro-Independence folk who were last week phoned or visited by Police Scotland and threatened with contempt of court proceedings over social media postings they had made weeks back on the Alex Salmond case. 

Then on Monday, a Scottish journalist I know had his home raided by five policemen, who confiscated (and still have) all his computers and phones. They said they were from the “Alex Salmond team” and investigating his postings on the Alex Salmond case.

He has not to date been charged, and his lawyer is advising him at present to say nothing, so I am not revealing his name.

Then on Tuesday morning, a large van full of police pulled up onto the pavement right outside my front gate, actually while I was talking on the phone to a senior political figure about the raid on my friend. The police just sat in the van staring at my house.

I contacted my lawyers who contacted the Crown Office. The police van pulled away and my lawyers contacted me back to say that the Crown Office had told them I would be charged, or officially “cited”, with Contempt of Court, but they agreed there was no need for a search of my home or to remove my devices, or for vans full of police. 

On Thursday two plain clothes police arrived and handed me the indictment. Shortly thereafter, an email arrived from The Times newspaper, saying that the Crown Office had “confirmed” that I had been charged with contempt of court.

In the case of my friend whose house was raided, he was contacted by the Daily Record just before the raid even happened!

I am charged with contempt of court and the hearing is on 7 July at the High Court in Edinburgh. The contempt charge falls in two categories:

i) Material published before the trial liable to prejudice a jury
ii) Material published which could assist “jigsaw identification” of the failed accusers.

Plainly neither of these is the true motive of the Crown Office. If they believed that material I published was likely to have prejudiced the jury, then they had an obvious public duty to take action BEFORE the trial – and the indictment shows conclusively they were monitoring my material long before the trial.

To leave this action until after the trial which they claim the material was prejudicing, would be a serious act of negligence on their part. It is quite extraordinary to prosecute for it now and not before the trial.

As for identifying the failed conspirators, I have done less than the mainstream media. But plainly the Crown Office, or whoever is pushing them to this persecution, had no genuine interest in protecting the identities, otherwise why did they tip off the media that I was being charged, and thus guarantee further publicity?

If protecting the identities was their motive, to tip off the media would obviously be counterproductive. But what proves that the Crown Office is acting from base motives and not those stated is the one-sided nature of this.

Only supporters of Alex Salmond – the Alex Salmond found innocent by the jury – are being pursued by this continuing Police Scotland operation.

There are literally thousands who put out “Salmond is guilty” “Salmond is a rapist” “Salmond is a pervert” posts on social media before and during the trial. Not one has had the police knock on the door.

The Herald published absolutely deliberately, the day before the trial, a montage of Alex Salmond amongst photos of mass murderers. They have not been charged. 

Every newspaper published “jigsaw identification” information which I withheld. They have not been charged or investigated, despite the evidence brilliantly compiled and presented to the Police.

No, this is a blatant, one-sided political persecution. That much is entirely plain. I have therefore decided, in the interests of open justice, to publish the entire indictment against me (with a single sentence redacted where I think the prosecution were excessively indiscreet). 

Neither the indictment nor the covering letter is marked confidential or not for publication. It is, so far as I know, a public document.

The Crown have very deliberately not included the names of any of the failed conspirators in the indictment and instead refer to the women by their court allocated letters.

That is a plain indication to me that this is a public document drafted specifically with publication in mind. Otherwise the document would have more naturally used the names and not the alphabet letters.

More fundamentally this indictment is the basis on which they are attempting to put me in prison – in fact the indictment specifies up to two years in jail and an unlimited fine as the punishment sought from the court.

I think the public interest, and my own interest, in it being public is very substantial.

The state believes it has finally discovered a way to put me in prison without the inconvenient hurdle of a jury of my peers. Contempt of Court is just decided by a judge.

It is extraordinary that you can go to jail for a substantial two years with no jury protection and no test of “beyond reasonable doubt”; and on the whim of a judge defending what he may view as the dignity of his own office.

This really is the epitome of bad law. To use it against freedom of speech is disgusting. So here is the full indictment against me: caseagainstcraigmurray 

If the indictment contains anything they did not wish to be public, well, I didn’t force them to serve it on me. From my side, the proceedings against me will be entirely open.

I will remind you that you may find all or part of the indictment initially convincing; but you are yet to see my point by point reply, which naturally I shall also publish in due course.

The purpose of this operation against free speech is a desperate attempt to keep the lid on the nature of the state conspiracy to fit up Alex Salmond.

Once the parliamentary inquiry starts, a huge amount of evidence of conspiracy which the court did not allow the defence to introduce in evidence during the criminal trial, will be released.

The persecution of myself is an attempt to intimidate independent figures into not publishing anything about it. The lickspittle media of course do not have to be intimidated.

To this end, I am charged specifically with saying that the Alex Salmond case was a fit-up and a conspiracy in which the Crown Office was implicated. So I thought I would say it again now:

The Alex Salmond case was a fit-up and a conspiracy in which the Crown Office was implicated, foiled by the jury. If Scotland is the kind of country where you go to jail for saying that, let me get my toothbrush.

Before then, I am afraid we have to fund my defence and I shall be very grateful for donations to my defence fund. My initial target is £60,000.

I shall post daily updates on total reached, but I shall be using my established funding channels and not involving a crowdfunding website.

I do not intend to fight this battle entirely on the defensive, and some of the funding may be put to launching actions against the Crown or others.

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Rachel Riley's winnings from Laura Murray will easily be recouped when Jeremy Corbyn sues Riley. He now has the time, and he would have no trouble raising the money.

The preeminent public intellectual of neo-Blairism is not even the presenter of Countdown, but the glamorous assistant.

Chosen for attributes other than her intellect, she is a glorified lap-dancer. Treat her opinions as you would those of any other such.


Last year's General Election showed that BAME voters had become Labour's loyalest electoral bloc. But then the party replaced a Leader who had had deep, deep, deep roots in the anti-racist movement, installing instead a former Director of Public Prosecutions.

He turned out to have been funded by Trevor Chinn. And now he is suspending those who had courageously leaked the Labour report, rather than those who had been named in it. Lo and behold, while Keir Starmer's Labour Party is predictably behind the Conservatives everywhere outside London, even in London it is ahead by only six points, where under Jeremy Corbyn its lead had been 16. And there is still more than a year to go until Super Thursday, never mind a General Election in 2024.

The Government has appointed a commission of inquiry into the disproportionate number of BAME people among the victims of Covid-19. It is to be chaired by Trevor Phillips, a cruel overlooking of Rod Liddle, who might have identified economic inequality as the root of the problem. But a desperate Labour Party is to have its own, chaired by Doreen Lawrence, the party's new Race Relations Adviser.

It is no disrespect to Baroness Lawrence to say that her 67-year-old Jamaican accent is not, in 2020, the voice of BAME Britain, or even of BAME London. Starmer may indeed enjoy the support of the old Afro-Caribbean and South Asian Establishment within the right-wing Labour machine in London, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, and the former Metropolitan County of the West Midlands, plus pockets in other urban areas.

But there is now someone in Britain from every inhabited territory on the planet. There are no all-white towns, and there are ever-fewer all-white villages. The BAME population is young, and increasingly mixed-race. Its members were typically born here, as were their parents. Stephen Lawrence would have turned 46 this year. The only lasting legacy of his case has been the abolition of the protection against double jeopardy, a protection that is fundamental to the presumption of innocence.

Go round Eltham now and and tell the black boys who could have been Stephen Lawrence's 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.

Baroness Lawrence will not be investigating that, or even advising on it. Nor on Starmer's record as DPP. Nor on Trevor Chinn. Nor on the Labour report, which among other things revealed that the then Regional Director of the London Labour Party had called Diane Abbott an Angry Black Woman. Nor on the IHRA Definition's silencing of BAME, migrant and refugee experiences in a manner redolent of the Windrush scandal and of the fire at Grenfell Tower. Nor even on the roots in economic inequality of the disproportionate number of BAME people among the victims of Covid-19. Her report will not be whitewash. It will be blackwash.


In this weather, Dettol will have to be taken over ice. What mixers and garnishes are recommended?

But you Joe Biden and Keir Starmer types can mock Donald Trump all you like. He is going to beat you. Again.

Contempt, Indeed

The latest persecution of Craig Murray is what happens in Nicola Sturgeon's Scotland to those who uphold the verdicts, both of Scotland's highest civil court, the Court of Session, and of Scotland's highest criminal court, the High Court of Justiciary.

To hell with Covid-19. Alex Salmond now needs to reveal everything that he knows. And to announce his Independent candidacy at Glasgow Southside. Or, failing that, his support for Murray's.

The Corruption of Public Life

Brian Eno writes:

Most people now agree that the media campaign against Jeremy Corbyn in the two years leading up to the last election plumbed new lows of viciousness, misinformation and character assassination. 

In some respects that was to be expected: The Right reacted at first with incredulity at the prospect of somebody with a coherent progressive agenda becoming prime minister - and then used every dirty trick in the book to prevent it happening. 

Corbyn had talked about renationalising railways, about supporting the NHS, about scrapping education fees, writing off student loans.

He’d talked about phasing out Trident and other nuclear weapons, and suggested a culture of negotiation over one of war. And, sin of sins, he clearly didn’t believe in the religion of the markets. 

All these were popular positions with the public, which made him especially dangerous to the right: how were they going to fight this?

They certainly didn’t ever want to debate the issues with him – actually they wanted to draw public attention as far away from those as possible.

So their best strategy was to destroy him by relentless character assassination.

Many of us expected the dirty tricks, but what we didn’t expect - or at least I didn’t - was the monolithic unanimity of the opposition

It wasn’t only the usual suspects - The Mail, Telegraph and Murdoch Press - but at times The Guardian, The BBC, the Head of The Board of Deputies and a bevy of ‘useful idiot’ columnists. 

The propaganda campaign was so successful that they managed to scare themselves nearly to death: like Chicken Little, their whole sky was about to fall in.

The deck was stacked against Corbyn from Day One, but at least we had the consolation that Labour was the biggest political party in Europe, with a lot of committed people who were prepared to get out on the streets for it.

It’s only in the last few days we’ve learned that within the Senior Management Team of the Labour party itself there was a secret plot to prevent Corbyn becoming prime minister by ensuring that Labour lost the election. 

Half of ‘our’ team was actually batting for the other side!

Let’s remind ourselves, first of all, that Corbyn was very popular with the actual membership of the party: people wanted a change, and Corbyn represented that.

He also represented integrity, selflessness, consistency and commitment in a profession increasingly notable for their absence.

But the backroom boys and girls in the Labour party had made up their minds that they knew better, and it's clear now that from the very beginning they worked day and night to undermine him – and any MP who supported him.

Reading the exchange of messages between the plotters is pretty sickening.

When the polls showed Labour losing, they cheered. When they showed Labour gaining, they mourned.

When the accusations of antisemitism hit the party, they raised their glasses to celebrate – not because they were appalled by antisemitism but because they knew it was a big stick to thrash Corbyn with. 

Using their media contacts, they fuelled the anti-Corbyn propaganda machine, planting stories and misinformation designed to paint him as black as possible – all this while their wages were being paid by the subscriptions of party members, the very people who’d elected him as leader.

This should be the political story of the year – but most of the media were complicit in it, so it’s been quietly forgotten.

It’s a story about the corruption of public life, something we British hate to admit to. 

This isn’t about whether you support Corbyn or not. It isn’t about whether you support Labour or not. It’s about whether you support democracy.

Last thing: Congratulations to Novara Media, who published this leaked report, for doing the job that journalists are supposed to do. We need, more than ever, to support organisations like this.

This Disgusting Quagmire of Immorality

Craig Murray writes:

Beyond any doubt, it would have been Dominic Raab’s personal decision to grant a fake diplomatic immunity to Anne Sacoolas and permit her to leave the country.

I have watched with sheer horror the Tory crocodile tears, the ministerial meetings with Harry Dunn’s brave but distraught family, and the PR pretence that the UK is seeking Anne Sacoolas’ return, now that she is safely back at CIA HQ. It is perhaps the most nauseating display of individual hypocrisy I have ever seen in politics.

The callous abuse of Harry Dunn’s suffering family and the sheer cynicism of the patent charade that the government is supporting them, leave me deeply depressed – and very angry.

It may surprise you, but I have known and worked with some Tories who were at heart honourable men. The centre of this government is estranged from the very concept of personal honour.

The Permanent Secretary of the FCO, Simon McDonald, in appearing virtually before the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee this week, stated in evidence that the initial advice from FCO Legal Advisers was that Anne Sacoolas did not have diplomatic immunity, but that this legal advice changed after discussion with the US State Department.

Crucially McDonald stated that the legal advice had gone to three FCO ministers including Raab, but he does not seem to have stated who made the actual decision to let Sacoolas go – largely because nobody on the Committee seems to have asked him the right question.

With a CIA officer killing a young British lad, it is from my personal FCO experience inconceivable this was not Raab’s call. I have explained, from long before there was any acknowledgement of the fact in the mainstream media, that Anne Sacoolas did not qualify for diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention.

That specifically reserves immunity for families to diplomatic agents carrying diplomatic rank, which Sacoolas’ husband never had. Please read my detailed explanation here, or the rest of this article will be hard going.

The British government claims that there is a secret bilateral treaty governing the status of American spies at RAF Croughton, under which Anne Sacoolas does have immunity.

Now I want you to follow this very closely. I apologise that, if you are unfamiliar with the concepts, it is difficult to get your head around.

You will recall that in the Julian Assange case, the British government is claiming that Article 4 of the UK/US Extradition Treaty of 2007, which bans “political” extradition, has no force in law.

The British government argues that this is because an international treaty the UK has entered into only has legal force in the UK if it is specifically incorporated into law by UK legislation; and the 2007 UK/US Extradition Treaty never was so incorporated.

The UK government argues that the 2007 Treaty depends on the 2003 Extradition Act, but as the 2003 Act is (they claim) incompatible with Article 4 of the 2007 Treaty, then Article 4 must fall. Political extradition would therefore become possible.

The UK government position in the Assange case is that the UK government’s treaty commitments are legally void unless specifically passed into UK legislation.

Well – very definitely no “secret treaty” over RAF Croughton has ever been incorporated into UK law.

The only legal basis on which Dominic Raab could give Anne Sacoolas immunity is the Diplomatic Privileges Act of 1964, which incorporates the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations into UK law. And Ms Sacoolas’ so-called immunity is incompatible with the Vienna Convention as her husband is not a diplomatic agent carrying diplomatic rank.

He could only be technical and administrative staff of the US Embassy (itself a dubious claim). The families of Technical and Administrative staff do not have any immunity under the Vienna Convention.

Therefore Dominic Raab had no legal power to grant Anne Sacoolas immunity. There is no UK law that confers that power upon him, whatever any secret treaty might say.

In short, the British government is arguing the opposite in the Sacoolas case to its argument in the Assange case.

It claims a secret bilateral treaty with the US could alone give Dominic Raab the legal power to grant Ms Sacoolas immunity. While in the Assange case it argues that a bilateral treaty with the USA carries no legal force.

I should straighten one wrinkle. I understand that the current fig leaf which UK government lawyers are attempting to shrink behind is the provision in the 1964 Diplomatic Privileges Act authorising bilateral arrangements which confer immunities over and above those conferred by the Vienna Convention. There is indeed such a provision, at article 7 of the Act.

But note this: it only provides for special bilateral arrangements already in place “at the commencement of the Act”, i.e., before 1964.

Furthermore those bilateral arrangements must, as specified in the legislation, be listed in the London Gazette.

I searched the Gazette, which was as little fun as it sounds. Journalism is tough work if you do it properly, which is presumably why the media no longer even pretend to do it.

Eventually I tracked down the list of bilateral arrangements under the Diplomatic Privileges Act on page 8,292 of Issue 4,351 of the London Gazette. Special bilateral arrangements with the USA were indeed gazetted (and now you know where that term comes from).

But note that this special arrangement for US technical and administrative staff only applies to clause 7 (b) of the Act, not 7(A). That is it only confers exemption from taxation.

In effect, the only right Mr Sacoolas was granted was the right to buy duty free booze – a right which may well have its part to play in the death of Harry Dunn.

There was no diplomatic immunity for Sacoolas, let alone his family, irrespective of what the FCO might claim.

There is no secret treaty over RAF Croughton, or arrangement for diplomatic immunity there, ever posted in the London Gazette under the 1964 Act or ever embodied in any other primary or secondary UK legislation.

The initial FCO legal advice, that Anne Sacoolas had no immunity, was very plainly correct.

The evidence given by Simon McDonald was that a secret treaty purported to give full immunity to spies like Sacoolas, but that this treaty had been recently amended to remove their immunity.

However, McDonald continued, in removing the immunity for spies it had not stated that it also removed immunity for their families, so that remained. He called this “apparently illogical” and “a recondite piece of law”.

It is in fact utter nonsense. The only families who have Vienna Convention immunity are the families of diplomatic agents having diplomatic rank. They only have diplomatic immunity through the diplomatic agent.

A family cannot have diplomatic immunity while the (alleged) Embassy staff member on whom that immunity depends does not.

It is not just illogical, it is impossible in terms of the Vienna Convention, and diplomatic immunity can only be conferred through the incorporation of the Vienna Convention into UK law in the 1964 Diplomatic Privileges Act.

All of which Simon McDonald knows very well.

My own interpretation is that McDonald was obviously calling into ridicule a case for which he has great personal distaste, by making bare its absurdity whilst appearing to defend it as a loyal civil servant.

Which is as absurd as the rest of this disgusting quagmire of immorality.

I am very grateful to those of you who responded to my call to put in Freedom of Information requests on the UK government position re the applicability of Article 4 of the 2007 UK/US Extradition Treaty.

The first results are starting to come through. As suspected the government are being as obstructive and unhelpful as possible.

The FCO has stated that it does hold material on the internal assessment of the official UK government view from 2003 to 2007 of the compatibility of Article 4 of the UK/US Extradition Treaty of 2007 with the Extradition Act of 2003.

However it is refusing to retrieve and release the material on grounds of excessive cost, claiming it would take more than the mandated 3.5 man days to process the request.

As all the material in question from those dates will be electronically stored, I know they are lying about excessive time and cost.

We are looking to break down the request into several smaller chunks to parcel out. It is however very instructive already that the FCO is admitting it does hold the information.

This confirms what I explained, that internal FCO systems, to my certain and direct knowledge, make it impossible that the 2007 US/UK Extradition Treaty could have been ratified by the UK without a preceding very thorough Whitehall assessment of the enforceability of all of its provisions in UK law.

Unfortunately I now have my own quite severe legal difficulties to which I need to attend.

I was very keen to get this material to help the Harry Dunn campaign finished and published, which is why I am completing this article at 5.30am after writing it all night.

I regret that the haste required has made my explanation of a technically complex subject not as straightforward nor as elegant as I would usually try to achieve.

It also means that you need to follow the links and read some of the past material I had written, rather than my setting it out all afresh in a self-sufficient article as I would have wished.

I do apologise for this, but will explain the difficult circumstances shortly.

With grateful thanks to those who donated or subscribed to make this reporting possible. This article is entirely free to reproduce and publish, including in translation, and I very much hope people will do so actively. Truth shall set us free.