Thursday 28 May 2020

A Quieter Life

Things are going to be a bit quieter on here for a while. I was rushed into hospital today with chest pains, shortness of breath, fatigue, and dizziness.

They have sent me home (they have a lot on at the moment, let's face it), but I am under strict orders to rest for at least a week.

Still, at least I now know that I do not have Covid-19.

And when I say that I am never contesting another election because my physical health would not be up to it, then I really, really mean it.

Child Protection: Day Two

Durham County Council has been shamed into putting back its return to school by a fortnight, to 15th June. We can win this one.

I hereby invite all Labour members of Durham County Council to email and sign the following:

"Durham County Council's schools should not go back until Eton did, and then only on the same terms, namely that every pupil and every member of staff had been tested for Covid-19."

I would not be able to reply to those emails, but every day the names of those who had sent them to me would appear here. So far, I have received none.

Wednesday 27 May 2020

Child Protection Watch: Day One

Durham County Council has been shamed into putting back its return to school by a fortnight, to 15th June. We can win this one.

I hereby invite all Labour members of Durham County Council to email and sign the following:

"Durham County Council's schools should not go back until Eton did, and then only on the same terms, namely that every pupil and every member of staff had been tested for Covid-19."

I would not be able to reply to those emails, but every day the names of those who had sent them to me would appear here.

Royle Courts of Justice

I was honoured beyond words to have my parliamentary nomination papers signed by the great Davey Ayre.

So I could not be more delighted that Ricky Tomlinson's criminal convictions were to be re-examined.

The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. And in the end we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Reach For The Stars

“To increase the power of Man over Nature, and to abolish the power of Man over Man,” said Trotsky. “Dominion,” says the God of the Bible. Dominion over the beasts, thus over the land, and thus over everything on and under the land. Dominion over the fish, thus over the waters, and thus over everything in and under the waters.

And dominion over the birds, thus over the sky, and thus over everything in the sky, as far up as the sky goes, and the sky goes up a very long way. That dominion is entrusted so that we might, “be fruitful and multiply.” Entrusted as it is to the whole human race, its purpose is, “To increase the power of Man over Nature, and to abolish the power of Man over Man.” 

Life is the geological force that shapes the Earth, and the emergence of human cognition fundamentally transforms the biosphere, not least by the uniquely human phenomenon of economic growth, so that human mastery of nuclear processes is beginning to create resources through the transmutation of elements, enabling us, among other things, to explore space and to exploit the resources of the Solar System. Vladimir Vernadsky and Krafft Ehricke will yet have their day.

Not that I carry any candle for Elon Musk. Whereas the United States Space Force is not necessarily unwelcome in principle. It will do important work in research and development, work such as probably only the United States could do, or at least coordinate.

But space is being both privatised and militarised, and that by the country that does not recognise it as a common resource for all humanity. There needs to be a call for the Republican Party to return to President Eisenhower’s proposal, in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on 22nd September 1960, for the principles of the Antarctic Treaty to be extended to Outer Space.

Then we, might begin to exercise dominion that has been entrusted to us, as a species, over the birds, thus over the sky, and thus over everything in the sky, as far up as the sky goes. Exercise that dominion in order to “be fruitful and multiply.” Exercise that dominion, “To increase the power of Man over Nature, and to abolish the power of Man over Man.”

Hostage Situation

Spoilt little rich boys are weak. It took the Blue Tick Brigade four years, two General Elections, and a torrent of the most horrific abuse to remove Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party, and to neutralise the economic and anti-war Left as a political force for the foreseeable future. But it has taken them only four days and a little light doorstepping to neutralise the Johnson Government even if, as is perfectly plausible, that Government were to last until 2029 or beyond.

Johnson is now in office, but not in power. The number of mostly "centrist" Conservative MPs who have publicly called for Dominic Cummings to be sacked is now over 40, meaning that they have established themselves as the Government's majority in what amounts to a hung Parliament. And as ever, the true number of dissidents is at least double the public figure. After all, why should any of them care for a man who was far more powerful than they were, yet who had never been a member of their party?

The media know why Cummings really went to Barnard Castle. Everyone else has worked it out, but they have the proof. Why Cummings did not tell the truth at that carry on in the garden, I have no idea. He was going to work, or so he could just about have claimed. But instead, he chose to peddle that obvious nonsense about testing his eyesight. So now he has both the richly deserved ridicule of that, and the facts known to the media, hanging over to whom until the media chose to publish those facts. Fiendishly clever people can have absolutely no common sense.

The Blue Tick Brigade polices the borders of acceptable political debate. There must be no deviation from an economic and social liberalism that the use of soft power where possible but hard power where necessary had made unquestionable at home, so that the use of soft power where possible but very hard power where necessary could spread it across the whole wide earth by means of an unquestionable alliance between the European Union and the United States, an alliance with Britain at both its cultural and its military heart.

But things have not been going so well for that of late. And Keir Starmer is the last chance of the people who were by now supposed to have risen through the state schools or perhaps the local private day schools, then through the good but not grand universities, and then through the private sector, to have taken their places as the guardians of what was meant to have become that hegemonic order.

In 2024, it will be 60 years since Harold Wilson first promised those unmeek that they would inherit the earth. That offer was repeated by Ted Heath, by Margaret Thatcher, by John Major, and by Tony Blair. But none of those five ever made good on it, and the last General Election was fought between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn.

The Blue Ticks themselves are rarely from that background, but they know their market. Starmer was sold as "Prime Ministerial" because he was the only Oxonian public schoolboy to stand for Leader of the Labour Party this time. Yet he can also be sold as one of the betrayed class, since his school was state when he started at it, and since his first degree was from Leeds.

For four and a half years, everything was thrown at making him Leader of the Opposition instead of Corbyn. And for four and a half years, everything is going to be thrown, by exactly the same people, at making him Prime Minister instead of Johnson. Absolutely everything.

All the signs are that that is still not going to work. But as a Plan B, the Johnson Government has in any case been taken hostage at Barnard Castle. And in the meantime, there will be suicides. Spoilt little rich boys are weak. They are a hell of a lot weaker than the Left. As some of us have always known. And as everyone can now see.

Enough To Turn Them Purple

The Church of England's bishops miss Theresa May very much. One way or another, she resembles many of them very closely indeed.

A lifelong active member of the C of E, a child of its clergy, born in the 25 years after the War, state school and Oxbridge, theologically a kind of conservative liberal from a very traditionalist Anglo-Catholic background, and politically a Tory but not too much of one.

Boris Johnson, on the other hand, has repeatedly expressed the lazier sort of Classicist's view that Christianity overthrew a superior civilisation. The Church Commissioners could still buy the Channel Four Television Corporation out of their small change. But other offers might now be considered. Oh, yes. You read it here first.

A Sorry Sight

Of course the BBC has apologised for Emily Maitlis, but neither Dominic Cummings nor Boris Johnson has apologised for anything.

I am not its biggest fan, but it is always the BBC that apologises. Only the BBC ever apologised, or sacked anyone, for the Iraq War.

And now it has Alastair Campbell on morning, noon and night, as the nation's moral arbiter. In 15 years' time, that will be Dominic Cummings.

Then Your Children Will Be Next

Alastair Campbell has been enthroned as the Conscience of the Nation.

In 15 years' time, it will be Dominic Cummings.

"Representative Democracy Should As Far As Possible Be Abolished In The Party"

It is not often that North West Durham Constituency Labour Party can claim to be ahead of the curve. 

But the new General Secretary of the Labour Party has been on record for 20 years that CLPs ought to have no say in the selection of parliamentary candidates, and ought in most respects to be dismantled.

In 2017, North West Durham CLP meekly fell into line behind a parliamentary candidate over whom it had had no say, indeed none of its leading figures had ever met her and several could not name her. 

She underwent no reselection process in 2019, and ever since she lost her seat the CLP has been baldly announcing her as the candidate for 2024, so that's that.

It is not often that North West Durham Constituency Labour Party can claim to be ahead of the curve. 

Tuesday 26 May 2020

Folk Off, Oliver Kamm

Oliver Kamm has confessed on the Internet, in a truly bizarre article that CapX published for a laugh, to having once faked a death threat in a cack-handed attempt to pin it on me. In fact, I am most grateful for that article. It will do no end of good.

Anyway, bored as only inherited wealth can make one, Kamm has today joined the ranks of those tiresome little people who insist that Aneurin Bevan never said, "The NHS will last for as long as there are the folk with the faith to fight for it."

That one is always the sign of people who hate the NHS, and who hate the people to whom he did say it. He said it repeatedly, even habitually, to the South Wales miners, and they put it on banners and so on even while he was still alive.

Some London playwright or other eventually got it off them, but who cares? Avoid at all costs anyone who ever tries to tell you that somehow he made it up. That is the textbook definition of the metropolitan liberal elite. It is the mark of the enemy, and the enemy must be destroyed.

Generally Speaking

Someone or other has been made the General Secretary of the Labour Party. How thrilling. 

Influencing the Conservatives is what matters now. And if you can get access to the top, then that is easier than you might think. There are none of Labour's committees to go through, and the Budget of March 2020 has already ended the era that began with the Budget of December 1976. 

Nor, unlike Labour, do the Conservatives mind if you would never dream of joining their party, or even of voting for it. Although I am not necessarily in that position. Like a lot of people, I am waiting to see whether, by 2024, Richard Holden's transport improvements had made any progress in the face of Labour's bitter carping.

Beyond that, bankrupt the Labour Right by wiping it off the municipal map next year, and use the list systems for the London, Scottish and Welsh Elections to fill 14 seats with people who would fight for economic equality and for international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends within a united and independent Britain. 

But at least for many years yet, don't waste your time on the Labour Party. Just don't.

Be Out, Indeed

Get Used To Being Blue Ticked

Boris Johnson's personal approval rating is now -1, but his party still has a higher poll lead than it had at the General Election. Of course Keir Starmer cannot win in a fair fight. But he is not going to have to. 

What you are now seeing against Dominic Cummings is what the same people did for four and a half years in order to make someone like Starmer the Leader of the Opposition. And they now have four and a half years in which to make him Prime Minister, by the same means, albeit much more gently applied up to now. Welcome to our world, and get used to it. Get used to being blue ticked.

No least, anyone who keeps on eye on the Twitter accounts of the likes of Oliver Kamm knows that they have already been quietly practising for four years the line that "metropolitan liberal elite" is "an anti-Semitic trope". And there is no answer to that, because anything is "an anti-Semitic trope" if the tiny number of people who ever use the expression say that it is.

Unused to criticism, the Right is weak. They are not even weak men. They are boys all their lives. Just look at how someone like Boris Johnson still behaves, in late middle age. But they created this, and now it is going to devour them. The attack dogs that they chose have turned against them, since their political position is no more acceptable than Jeremy Corbyn's was, and he was never in power, or at least in office. Get ready for the suicides. But even those are not going to stop the blue ticking. Welcome to our world, and get used to it. Get used to being blue ticked.

Prepare To Be Blue Ticked

Today is the seventy-first birthday of Jeremy Corbyn. Exactly the same people as have lately raised the hackles of Dominic Cummings and his supporters subjected Corbyn to a much more intense version of the same treatment day in and day out for four years. They have still not entirely given up. They never will.

They also screamed the most hysterical abuse at anyone who expressed even the most critical support of him, in my case so critical that I ended up standing against Laura Pidcock at the last General Election. Again, they still do. Again, they always will.

All told, it took them four and a half years to install someone like Keir Starmer as Labour Leader. And now, they have four and half years in which to make him Prime Minister. Not that the zeal of their persecution would be tamed by that. Although the point does need to be reiterated that they are going about it far more gently than they went about the destruction of Corbyn.

The people who are crying like babies about "scum media", now that it is their Leader who is the Blue Tick Brigade's number one target, are the people who wailed for years, and years, and years, again mostly in the Telegraph, after the Countryside March of 2002.

They had been confronted with the most watered down form ever served of the policing of even the slightest expression of dissent in this country. Many of them have still never quite got over the shock. Their only previous experience of the Police had been of men who had functioned as their estate staff, but with the full powers of the State that helpfully paid them.

Hitherto, that has also been pretty much their only experience of the media. But the policing, such as it was, of the Countryside March did not toughen them up. Instead, they just retreated back to the places where life made sense to them, and where it must be said that there has never been the slightest effort to enforce the hunting ban, for which I have never much cared, but which is the law.

This time, though, that option does not present itself. They are never going to get what Diane Abbott got, and still does get. But they have no idea what is about to hit them, and hit them for the rest of their lives.

The Other Things Will Keep

The fact that Boris Johnson cannot function without Dominic Cummings (who is not, and has never been, a member of the Conservative Party) is very well worth filing for future reference.

As is the undying Guelph versus Ghibelline feud between the Mail and Johnson's once and future employer, the Telegraph

But today, we ought to be talking about the highly credible suggestion that a one week delay to the lockdown, if it could ever even have been called a lockdown, cost tens of thousands of lives.

The other things will keep.

Monday 25 May 2020

Lobby Fodder

Useless bloody Lobby. You've done Dominic Cummings. 

Ask Boris Johnson about rent, and redundancies, and care homes, and state schools ordered back next week when private schools are not going back until September, and the fact that they have had to close the overwhelmed A&E in Weston-super-Mare.

Our newspaper will. We are getting one. Watch this space.


Well done, Lisa Mckenzie, speaking truth to power right there on the very BBC. Why are the media not asking about rent, or about redundancies? 

People are annoyed at Dominic Cummings, but we are not shocked that an elite figure behaves however he pleases, and anyway we have far more pressing things to worry about. 

You were cut off pretty sharpish, which is always a badge of honour.

Mirror Image

The Mail has never warmed to this very Telegraph-based Prime Minister. With roots going back decades, the split between the two Leave campaigns was so bitter that it lingers even four years after they won. I mean, you could understand it if they had lost. But they still hate each other long after they won.

Add in the fact that Dominic Cummings is not, and has never been, a member of the Conservative Party. And here we are, with the likes of Steve Baker and Peter Bone calling on him to resign, and with Bone doing so on Nigel Farage's radio programme.

This is all very familiar. This kind of thing made possible the defeat of the Corbyn Project by the Labour Right. The Labour and wider Left could not get over its internal animosities. Clearly, neither can the Conservative and wider Right.

Red Rishi, that Brexiteer Modern Monetary Theorist, would be good, or at least better than the alternatives, including Keir Starmer. But if someone like Matt Hancock, that protégé of George Osborne's, were to become Prime Minister in time to "extend" the transition period indefinitely while cancelling all the infrastructure investment, then the reason would be that the Right that had briefly coalesced around Boris Johnson had been the mirror image of the Left that briefly coalesced around Jeremy Corbyn.

Miserando Atque Eligendo?

Today is the Feast of Saint Bede the Venerable, Father of English Learning, Doctor of the Church, and my Confirmation Saint. I cannot travel the eight miles to pray at his tomb. In Durham. Think on. 

Everyone doing "Dominic Cummings is going to sack Boris Johnson", I did that joke last night. You're welcome. But you don't have to like Cummings to dislike the behaviour of the media outside the home of his small child.

And although I doubt that any of them would risk it these days, if Cummings did have to go, then it would be good to see one of the Durham colleges take in his "super-talented weirdos" project as a kind of research centre.

Time was when one of them might have taken this risk, at least if it were not going to cost them any money, and perhaps even make them a little out of hosting an annual conference. But now? Alas, I doubt it very, very much.

Sunday 24 May 2020

Equally Valued

In the midst of everything, this is a real story.

Sackless Starmer

Of course Keir Starmer, permanently 20 points behind even this, would not have sacked Dominic Cummings by now.

Starmer has still yet to sack anyone named in the devastating Labour report, which is going to have members suing for reimbursement of their embezzled subscriptions.

And he never will.

The Shapps Plan

Of course, there will be opposition. From the Labour Party in the North East, for a start. It just opposes everything.

What A Difference A Day Makes

A three-day week, says the RSA. 

Mercifully, such barmy Trots never contest elections. The worst people to do that are the likes of Jeremy Corbyn, with his four-day week. 

Good God, imagine if proper nutters like that Matthew Taylor were to infiltrate the political system.

Why Barnard Castle?

Craig Murray writes:

In 2012 GlaxoSmithKline were fined $3 billion for fraud, overcharging and making false claims about medicines in the USA. In 2016, GlaxoSmithKline were fined £37.6 million in the UK for bribing companies not to produce generic copies of their out of patent drugs, thus overcharging the NHS. Despite the fines, these frauds were still massively profitable for GlaxoSmithKline.

A perfunctory search on the company brings up similar frauds and fines it perpetrated in South Africa and India. All this within the last decade. I cannot find any information that anyone was jailed, or even sacked, for these criminal activities. It is absolutely astonishing that such an habitually criminal enterprise carries on serenely in the UK.

And what is particularly interesting today is that it carries on its crooked activity from its massive manufacturing and research base in Barnard Castle, County Durham. On 12 April Dominic Cummings was seen in Castle Barnard during lockdown. Two days later, GlaxoSmithKline of Barnard Castle signed an agreement to develop and manufacture a Covid-19 vaccine with Sanofi of France.

Of course, that could be coincidence. As a child I lived in nearby Peterlee and I know families may go to Barnard Castle just for relaxation. Even when that is illegal. But GlaxoSmithKline Barnard Castle has been working 24/7 during the coronavirus crisis including the weekends. It was working. 

The government’s extraordinary refusal to confirm or deny Cummings visit to Barnard Castle appears to make little sense if he just went there for a walk. But surely if he was discussing Covid-19 vaccine business on behalf of the government, that would answer all the critics of his trip, would it not? They would want to trumpet it from the hills?

I mean to believe otherwise, you would have to propound a crazed conspiracy theory. You would have to believe that criminal activity may be occurring again involving GlaxoSmithKline of the kind which might lead to fines of 37.6 million pounds for overcharging the NHS, or of three billion dollars for fraudulent medical claims in the USA. Nobody sane believes that kind of thing, do they?

Red Royalty

Not that the sacking of Dominic Cummings would do anything about, say, homelessness, or food poverty.

But Keir Starmer cannot call for it, anyway, as he himself would then have to sack Stephen Kinnock from the Labour frontbench. And Kinnock is of course royalty.

The Corbyn Project, with all that might be said in praise or blame of it, is well and truly over. All that remains is the Labour Party that we have all known and hated all our lives.

That is the party in which the likes of Neil Kinnock's son, as such, must be protected and promoted at all costs. And when they say "all costs", then they really do mean it. As we see today.

They Won't Be Cummings

A week tomorrow, those parents who cannot afford the avoidance fees are supposed to send their children back to school.

But who is going to enforce this? The Police? You know, the ones whom the Government has called liars?

And in any case, the Prime Minister has today announced that parental instinct trumped the lockdown regulations.


Yesterday was the anniversary of the European Elections. They seemed terribly important at the time.

Anyway, Dominic Cummings is not, and has never been, a member of the Conservative Party. He does not give a damn how much damage he does to it.

But we did learn today that parental instinct trumped the lockdown regulations. Remember that when they try and make you send your children back to school on 1st June.

Responsibly, Legally, And With Integrity?

As Dominic Cummings sacks Boris Johnson, it is now obvious who is the Prime Minister.

And notice that if you missed that hundredth birthday, or that deathbed, or that funeral, then you not only had less "common sense" than Cummings had. You also loved your family less.

Cummings received no childcare in County Durham.

Not that I approve of yesterday's and today's shenanigans outside a small child's home. But even so.

Round Trip

35 years ago, the miners told the Police that the same forces, so to speak, would one day come for them. And here we are. Pointedly, in County Durham. The official position of the Government is that Durham Constabulary are liars. That is also the publicly stated view of most members of the Cabinet, including the Attorney General.

They have devised an entirely new "common sense" defence against charges of having breached the lockdown, which might have helped those who had done the conga through the streets for VE Day, but which is unlikely to help anyone who had gathered for Eid.

Imagine, just imagine, that either Jeremy Corbyn or any member of his Shadow Cabinet had said that the Police were liars. But that never happened. Although the best that the Police are now getting from a Leader of the Opposition who is, of all things, a former Director of Public Prosecutions is a strongly worded letter seeking "clarification".

Forensic, adults in the room, proper Opposition at last, you know how this one goes. And you know where it goes. Permanently, and deservedly, 20 points behind. Ash Sarkar and Owen Jones sat on this story for weeks. They expect us to find that fact amusing, and even endearing. Welcome to the Licensed Left.

As for Simon Henig, who is pretending to be outraged while preparing to reopen the schools a week tomorrow, he is demob happy. His day job is being abolished, no doubt guaranteeing him a nice little payout in his early fifties. Labour already stood no realistic chance of retaining overall control of Durham County Council next year, and no coalition would ever have been possible without his removal from the Leadership. Under Keir Starmer, joining his mother in the House of Lords is a very distinct possibility. So what the hell does he care?

Saturday 23 May 2020

Please Follow Me On Twitter

It is now well over two months since Oliver Kamm said that he was going to have both it, and this site, closed down. They are both still going strong.

Kamm and Whopper (her name is really pronounced "Burger" and she tells lies) had my old Twitter account closed down last year. But that was back when either of them was anybody at all.

Near To, But Separate From?

There used to be a running gag in The Spectator that Mary Wakefield was going to marry Taki. Perhaps she should have done?

Boris Johnson has been sacked twice for lying, a record that would have made anyone else unemployable. Durham Constabulary has no conceivable reason to lie about Dominic Cummings. I have no doubt which of them I believe.

But will Cummings survive? Well, the moral authority who was brought out to denounce him on air today was Alastair Campbell. We cannot be far off hearing from Tony Blair again. And in any case, we have now arrived at pure decadence.

At the height of the media's infatuations with the Blair and Cameron Governments, then the next days' duty Ministers were not publicly sent the interview questions the night before. How did I never make it as a journalist? A combination of "This" and "I haven't yet".

If Our Communities Are To Be Protected

If Simon Henig cares that Dominic Cummings has been spreading Covid-19 around County Durham, then why is he reopening Durham County Council's schools on 1st June?

And what says the Labour candidate for Lanchester at next year's local elections, Laura Pidcock?


The Afghan Taliban have declared a three-day ceasefire over Eid.

That is the news. 

After 18 years, that is the news.

He Ain't Black

32 years after Joe Biden plagiarised Neil Kinnock, of all people, he now appears to have stolen the South African backstory of George Galloway. Or, at any rate, someone has stolen that story on his behalf.

Biden was Strom Thurmond's eulogist, he opposed bussing for fear that his children might "grow up in a racial jungle", and he reintroduced the federal death penalty while promoting the mass incarceration of such black men as might nevertheless have been left alive.

Not that he remembers any of that now.

In Black And White

As despicable as Mike Ashley is, it is horrifying that Newcastle United Football Club might be acquired by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has one of the worst human rights records on earth. Its treatment of women is horrific. Its war on Yemen is the cause of the gravest humanitarian crisis in the world today. 

Jews, of whom there are many on Tyneside, are not permitted to enter Saudi Arabia. Homosexual acts are punishable by death, as is conversion to Christianity. 

Saudi Arabia engages in piracy against the Premier League, making it the only country where Premier League football can be watched only by illegal means. 

It is the global centre of Islamist terrorism, funding and directing attacks right here on the streets of Britain. 

Its ownership of Newcastle United would make the club and the city a target for all of its enemies, many of whom are violent in the extreme.

And the collapse in the price of oil means that Saudi Arabia is very probably no longer good for the money to buy Newcastle United or anything else, anyway.

Friday 22 May 2020

Lock This Down

When Boris Johnson does not sack Dominic Cummings, then Professor Neil Ferguson should sue for constructive dismissal, for discrimination, and for anything else that his solicitor can think of.

If Professor Ferguson's story had broken after yesterday's Jennifer Arcuri business, then he, too, would still be in his job, since no one would have had the moral authority to sack him.

Formative Value

The Labour Party Conference in September has been cancelled for the safety of all concerned, but it could in fact still be held in one of Durham County Council’s schools, since we are expected to believe that those will be perfectly safe from as early as 1st June. 

Conservative-controlled Solihull is not opening up. There is talk that North Yorkshire might not do so, either. But Durham is loyal to Keir Starmer, who for the sake of his corporate sponsors has been demanding an “exit strategy” from the lockdown since even before his coronation. 

“Herd immunity”, here we come. The public schools are not going back until September. But to Starmer, as to Simon Henig, time spent with the common herd is of no formative value. 

The County Durham Teaching Assistants have unrivalled moral authority, with which they need to declare that they would not be going back until Eton did, and then only on the same terms, namely that every pupil and every staff member had been tested for Covid-19.

Now We Have Shown Our Power

Anne Sacoolas must be extradited to answer for the death of Harry Dunn. There must be no extradition from the United Kingdom to the United States until that had happened.

There must be no free trade agreement until Sacoolas had been extradited. The one-sided extradition treaty must be repealed. 

And the presence, status and activities of the American bases in Britain must be reviewed in public by the whole House of Commons.

Sir Keir Starmer cannot say these things. Nor, having always called for an exit strategy, can he oppose the cull of England’s working class, beginning with its children, for the sake of herd immunity.

For all practical purposes, the office of Leader of the Opposition is vacant. But we plebeians must and will have our tribunes. 

Anyone ought to be acknowledged as such who had by 14th June secured the signatures of at least 100,000 parliamentary electors, including at least 100 in each of the 650 constituencies. 

Media that so acknowledged would deserve to be supported in every way necessary. Other media would not.

To Resolve Peacefully

Israel was founded in the year that the Empire Windrush docked at Tilbury. Some people are fourth generation Israeli. Israelis cannot be told to “go home”. The present Palestinian leadership is atrocious. 

But it seems certain that Israel is about to annex the Jordan Valley, making a two-state solution impossible, and forcibly incorporating a population that the recently enacted Nation-State Law had already consigned to second class status or below. This cannot and will not last. 

To object to this would be grounds for expulsion from the Labour Party, which also regards Kashmir as “a matter for the Indian Parliament” and “a bilateral issue for India and Pakistan to resolve peacefully”. 

It is necessary to organise independently of Labour in order to pursue economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, whether in Britain, or in a self-determined Kashmir, or in the single state, encompassing the whole of the former British Mandate of Palestine, into which Israel has become determined to incorporate itself.

Dragon's Teeth

It is gravely concerning that the Senedd elections next year might be delayed or cancelled. Elections in England and Scotland are expected to go ahead on the same day, as are elections for Police and Crime Commissioners in Wales. 

Elections will by then have been held in Austria, Bosnia, the Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Iceland, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, Ukraine, and the United States. There might very well have been another General Election in the Irish Republic. 

The only motivation for cancelling the Senedd elections is the realisation that Labour is highly likely to lose the office of First Minister of Wales for the first time ever. It is practically certain that there is going to be a hung Senedd, and it is scarcely less certain that the Conservatives are going to be the largest party. 

Therefore, for the list section, the voters in each region should support a list that would fight for economic equality and for international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends within a united and independent Britain.

Scot Free?

The persecution of Craig Murray and Mark Hirst is how the regime of Nicola Sturgeon treats those who uphold both the verdict of the highest civil court in Scotland, the Court of Session, and the verdict of the highest criminal court in Scotland, the High Court of Justiciary.

Both of those courts have found in favour of Alex Salmond, who should announce either his own Independent candidacy for the Scottish Parliament against Sturgeon at Glasgow Southside next year, or his support for Murray’s or Hirst’s candidacy there. Only one of those candidacies should proceed. Whichever it was would deserve to succeed. 

For the list section of the Scottish Parliament, voters in each region should support a list that would fight for economic equality and for international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends within a united and independent Britain.

The Most Distressful Country No More

Boris Johnson has effectively drawn a border down the Irish Sea. The DUP, which has parted company with Johnson over the lockdown, no longer provides the Government’s majority.

Instead, across Wales, the Midlands and the North, the Conservatives now hold by tiny majorities seats that contain major centres of Irish Catholic population, from Crewe to Consett and well beyond. So yes, a border down the Irish Sea. It will harden over time.

But like the centres of Irish Catholic population in Great Britain, Northern Ireland, the North of Ireland, the Six Counties, call it what you will, has benefited enormously from the United Kingdom’s social democracy since 1945, eroded though that has been since the Budget of December 1976. 

Elsewhere in Ireland, there are still charges for visiting the doctor. It is now time to organise in order to secure economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, both within a united and independent Ireland, and within a united and independent Britain.

Still The City That Dares To Fight

As in the 1980s, Liverpool is proving to be the city that dares to fight. But as in the 1980s, the national Leadership of the Labour Party is proving to be worse than useless in providing any support to that struggle. 

The Labour Party Conference in September may have been cancelled for the safety of all concerned, but it could in fact still be held in one of another Labour local authority’s schools, since we are expected to believe that those will be perfectly safe from as early as 1st June. 

For the sake of his corporate sponsors, Keir Starmer has been demanding an “exit strategy” from the lockdown since even before his coronation. “Herd immunity”, here we come.

The public schools are not going back until September. But to Starmer, time spent with the common herd is of no formative value. We in that herd must insist that no school go back until Eton did, and then only on the same terms, namely that every pupil and every staff member had been tested for Covid-19.

Arena View

There still needs to be a Coroner’s Inquest into the Manchester Arena attack, three years ago today, and it still needs to hear all the evidence. 

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

Arising out of my unsuccessful parliamentary candidacy last year, a Chambers and Partners Band 1 legal practice is willing to pursue an action to bring about a Coroner’s Inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly, an action before the International Criminal Court against those who had brought slavery back to Libya, and an action before the High Court of Justiciary of Scotland inviting it to exercise its declaratory power against Tony Blair and his accomplices in the aggression against Iraq in 2003. 

This case could and should be added to those.

Cummings, Not Goings

Ordinarily, the position of Dominic Cummings would tonight be untenable.

But who is going to sack him? Boris Johnson, who bunged many tens of thousands of pounds of public money to his bit on the side?

Not Clapped Out

Annemarie Plas would now rather move to "an annual moment".

The Fifth of July, the anniversary of the creation of the National Health Service, could and should the United Kingdom's National Day.

It would be kept as fulsomely as the Fourth of July was kept in the United States.

Spot Checks?

So quarantine has finally been imposed after 20 million people have come and gone.

And teachers are being told that they are at no more risk than any other profession. Based on "research" that has been conducted while the schools have been closed.

Thursday 21 May 2020

Pointless Papers?

Newspapers' circulation is in freefall, and public trust in them and in the old broadcast media is going through the floor. But they are not necessarily writing or even broadcasting for us.

I would not mind the money that they were on for being pointless to us, but there are other ways of making it. Their access, on the other hand. Their influence where it matters. Now, that is a point, indeed.

Their influence with the people who make the decisions never wanes, no matter how few of us plebs buy the papers.


Another week, another Question Time

Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Andy Burnham? No offence to either of them, but that is not political diversity. Burnham obviously wants back in nationally. Thorning-Schmidt is married to Stephen Kinnock. This looks like the beginning of the next Labour Leadership Election. 

A bit like Joe Biden in this if in no other way, Burnham is a useful indicator of where the centre of his party is at any given time. My old drinking companion Jonathan Ashworth fulfils the same role in the next generation down. Watch out for the one after that.

Vexatious, Indeed

He was clearly sleeping with Jennifer Arcuri, and she got many thousands of pounds of the public money that was under his control.

But there is nothing here that is even considered to be worth investigating, because, well, Boris Johnson. Boris is Boris. This kind of thing is just priced in.

Johnson is the second Prime Minister in the last five years to have been a member of a club, complete with a uniform and a membership list, that existed for the express purpose of smashing up pubs.

He is also certainly guilty of Class A drug offences, and of conspiring with an old lag, another member of that club, to have a man beaten up.

The little people do time for a lot less than any of this.

When The Levy Breaks

"You can come here, instantly sign on to a doctor, sign on your wife and various offspring, have any number of appointments and treatments, all without having paid anything in"? 

Well, how does any doctor or nurse who sees you know that you yourself are not in that position? How do they know that you are a British citizen? What proof are you required to produce? What proof would you be willing to be required to produce?

And not necessarily proof of British citizenship, either. EU nationals do not pay the NHS surcharge, and there is no suggestion that they should, Brexit or no Brexit. It is no wonder that certain MPs with Commonwealth backgrounds are rightly so keen to be rid of it.

General Direction

Will Lewis, who used to be the Editor of the Daily Telegraph, has been shortlisted for the position of Director-General of the BBC. Now, think about that for a moment.

Officially, the London media conform to the political spectrum of the country about which they know anything, and not to that of the country in which they are located. There are American-style liberals, there are American-style conservatives, and, especially in the employ of Rupert Murdoch, there are the kind of people who might vote Democrat or Republican depending on the circumstances.

But between the two ends of the spectrum, there is a crucial difference that has also largely been carried over from across the Atlantic. However bad The Guardian may be, and of course it is, in private the people who write for it believe every word that they are writing. As do the people who write for the Daily Telegraph or the Daily Mail. In private, they, too, believe every word that is written in The Guardian

There are exceptions, but they are extremely rare, and they would never be allowed to become, for example, the Editor of the Daily Telegraph. For that, you need to be not only best mates with Robert Peston, but also, and not unconnectedly, capable of being shortlisted for the position of Director-General of the BBC.

Sedition? Secession? Subversion?

Where, exactly, does allow such things? Up to know, as the Chinese have been accurately saying, they have only been enforcing the old British Colonial laws in Hong Kong. One country, two systems, indeed.

Hong Kong was no democracy when we ran it, although of course we never owned it. It always belonged to China. The late Andrew Alexander of the Daily Mail was a bone dry right-winger, and he is much missed today. As he asked in 1997, how grateful were the Chinese supposed to have been at the mere return of their own territory? 

But anyway, Hong Kong was no democracy under us, and there was more than one outbreak of serious unrest over rampant poverty, slum housing, sweatshop working conditions, price increases, corruption, and the absence of representative government. Never mind Chinese agents. Those could not have exploited the grievances if the grievances had not existed in the first place.

Our repression of those outbreaks was merciless, and we are not talking about the Edwardian Period here. In fact, we are talking about a time when Britain had a Labour Government. A Labour Government that had presided over Hong Kong's rampant poverty, slum housing, sweatshop working conditions, price increases, corruption, and absence of representative government.

At the time of the handover, which was also under a Labour Government, then no one took to the streets to ask the British to stay. They may want democracy in Hong Kong now, but that is something different. 

As for the "Anglosphere" fantasists, quite apart from the fact that no part of the "Anglosphere" is doing anything for Hong Kong or has the slightest intention of doing so, it is side-splitting to watch the mutation into this of their old white supremacist ideology from the 1980s, which is heavily bound up with the cult of Margaret Thatcher. Hong Kong? You really could die laughing. 

Exactly the same people took full British passports away from the Saint Helenians because, "Otherwise, we'd have to give them to Hong Kong." They have them back now, though. Whereas the Gibraltarians and the Falkland Islanders never lost them. Go onto Google images, and see if you can spot the difference. To the best of my knowledge, there has never been a riot in Saint Helena. There has certainly never been one against British rule. And Saint Helenians speak English. Not Cantonese. 

"Hong Kong, outpost of the "Anglosphere""? I ask you! Next you'll be telling me that Hong Kong was a democracy under British rule, or at the very least that people were free to agitate for it to become one. No, it was not. And no, they were not.

God Is Gone Up

Alleluja, alleluja. Ascendit Deus in jubilatione, et Dominus in voce tubæ. Alleluja.

Happy Saint Helena's Day

This year on the same day as Ascension Day. You'll either get that reference or you won't.

No floats and what have you this year, but have a good one all the same. Six feet apart is still better than six feet under.

Surcharge This

The NHS surcharge dates only from 2015. The NHS got by without it until then. 

The money that it raises sounds enormous compared to your income or mine, but it is not very large next to the health budget.

And the people who pay it live, work, and pay taxes in the United Kingdom.

Abolish it.

No More BS Around BDS

Like a lot of people, I have always resisted key aspects of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. But Israeli annexation of the Jordan Valley would change the situation completely. What other option would then be available?

Most people in Britain already plan to begin by boycotting, divesting from, and sanctioning the Labour Party, which, unlike the Conservative Party, has adopted the IHRA Definition, thereby proscribing any criticism of this annexation.

A Possible Intimate Relationship, Indeed

Oh, well, Tony Blair never sold peerages, and it was the BBC that killed Dr David Kelly, so it takes only a very small amount of whitewash to clear Boris Johnson of bunging £120,000 of public money to his sexual partner, but not his then wife, Jennifer Arcuri.

"Insufficient evidence for a Police investigation"? What the hell does that mean? If there has been no Police investigation, then how can they possibly know? But these questions are not going to be asked by the ever so "forensic" man who was knighted soon after he had declined to prosecute Jimmy Savile.

Authoritarianism Is Shoddy

Craig Murray writes:

Well, it is really happening. It is something of a shock to see yourself listed as a criminal for writing the truth. I have a tiny extra glimpse now into the way my friend Julian has been feeling. Three appeal court judges even at the procedural hearing – though not unheard of, that is not normal. The state is sparing no resources on this; in a sense I am flattered.

There will be no jury at the eventual trial, and this worries me. Not least because the indictment (called a “petition”) contains within itself evidence that this process is a stitch up. Please help me here, and read paras 49 to 56 of the indictment after reading this explanation.

Para 49 of the indictment is an utter garble. It states that I sent a twitter message beginning “It is respectfully submitted…”. I sent no such twitter message. Para 50 is missing. This is not a misnumbering, para 50 really is missing. I assume my twitter message, intended to be quoted at para 49, and whatever led in to the Crown’s argument beginning “it is respectively submitted” were in the missing section.

At para 53 the same thing happens again. It explicitly states that I published another tweet starting: “it is respectfully submitted that”. I published no such tweet. Again the indictment does not give the actual text of the tweet complained of, even though it claims to do so. This time two paragraphs are clearly missing, and again this is not just a misnumbering, because of the missing material. It jumps from 53 to 56.

In short, the indictment from paras 49 to 56 is an inoperable jumble, with three paras missing from two different locations and which does not even contain – though it states it does – the very tweets which form part of the alleged offence with which I am charged. You may argue this does not matter, and clerical errors are easily corrected. But that is to miss the point. 

I used to prepare official documents in my 20 year diplomatic career, from ministerial replies to members of the public to fully fledged international treaties. A Diplomatic Note to a foreign government, which has a legal status, might be the best comparator from my work to this indictment or petition. I always scrupulously proof read every one I sent before signing. It is unthinkable that a Diplomatic Note would be sent containing not one but a series of major, material errors.

Is this document any less solemn? It is an indictment on which they are attempting to brand me a criminal and potentially send me to prison for up to two years. It is signed by Alex Prentice, Depute Advocate General on behalf of the Lord Advocate, and by the senior judge, Lord Turnbull. 

But one thing is abundantly clear. Neither Alex Prentice nor Lord Turnbull can have carefully read through the document before they signed it. I do not believe for one moment that they would knowingly sign off a document containing such major errors.

The judge, in particular, is meant to weigh carefully the matter to see if there really is a case to answer before he signs the Crown’s “petition”. But, I say it again, plainly Lord Turnbull has not actually read through it; or he would never have signed this garbled mess. 

I am advised that it may be “contempt of court” for me to point out that Lord Turnbull signed this without reading it. But when a law makes it illegal to point out a blindingly obvious fact, then the law is an ass. If Lord Turnbull does not wish to be criticised, he should try doing his job properly and actually paying attention to what he signs. 

Contempt is the right word. I have a great deal of contempt for anybody who would send me such a portentous legal document rotten through with utterly careless error which would have been spotted by even a cursory reading of the document. They did not read it. The judge who approved it did not read it. 

Neither of them bothered to read the indictment or petition because it had already been decided to “get” Craig Murray and it therefore did not matter what the document actually said. The content of the charges is immaterial to them. Otherwise, they would have read them before signing. There can only be two reasons for that failure. The first is incompetence. The second is corruption. In a sense, it does not matter which it is in this case. 

A state which is turning to authoritarianism to crush dissent does not need to be very careful about matters of process. The failure of both Prentice and Turnbull to read before signing is not important for the mistakes in the document, which can be remedied by a new document. It is important because of the clear indication of attitude. 

This prosecution is abuse of process, a clear Article Six violation under the European Convention on Human Rights. A series of facts make this abundantly plain. The abuse of process lies in this combined with the extraordinary selectivity in prosecuting me, when others who can be objectively proven to have much more effectively produced “jigsaw identification” are not prosecuted. There is a very clear political motivation behind the selection of who to prosecute and who not to prosecute. 

When you put together the facts that there is overwhelming evidence that mainstream media journalists were more guilty of “jigsaw identification” than I, that systematic police action is being taken to harass only supporters of Alex Salmond, and that they don’t even care what the indictment to be used against me actually says, the overall picture becomes very, very clear. 

Authoritarianism doesn’t have to worry about mistakes in the indictment, because it can just smash you in the face with the jackboot. That is what is happening here. My own view is that they were so keen to “get” Craig Murray they just signed without any proper scrutiny whatsoever. I don’t see any other conclusion. Do you?

They do not have the excuse that this is routine. Major prosecutions for contempt in Scotland are extremely rare – the last one was Aamer Anwar about a decade ago (it failed). So why could the state be so keen to prosecute Craig Murray, that is doesn’t even care what is in the indictment, or even if it is drawn up with the most basic level of competence? 

Well, I refer you to this excellent letter setting out the fact that the state is only acting against those who defended the innocent Alex Salmond, even though his detractors were much more in contempt of court. And I refer you to the Panelbase opinion poll which showed that very substantially more people who know the identities of the accusers, learnt them from the mainstream media.

I remain clear that I identified nobody. If I had wanted to, I would have done so openly. I have never been noted for cowardice. The other accusation, that I wrote articles stating that the prosecution of Alex Salmond was a fit-up, is something I state again here. It is a proper exercise of my freedom of speech under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. 

Actually, you don’t have to go past the very first sentence of the indictment to understand what is happening here. It reads “On 23 January 2019, Alexander Elliott Anderson Salmond was arrested by police officers in relation to a number of incidents that had taken place in Scotland.”

“That had taken place”.

Not “alleged to have taken place”.

“That had taken place”.

And Prentice wrote this, and Turnbull signed it off, after the acquittal. After independent witnesses gave eye witness accounts that several of the incidents had not taken place at all. After it was demonstrated in court that the accuser of the most serious offence was not even present when she claimed the offence took place. After the jury threw out the pile of ordure that the very same Alex Prentice as prosecuting counsel presented to them. “That had taken place”. 

No, most of the incidents had not taken place at all, and none in the form alleged. Right at the start, this wording gives away the motivation. The conspirators have still not psychologically processed the fact their attack on Alex Salmond was foiled by the jury. The Crown is now coming at Mark Hirst and at me in an effort to get some kind of victory from this massive waste of public resources. 

The conspirators seek to assuage their massive humiliation in the failure of a prosecution that stank and quite obviously ought never to have been brought. I am not going to pipe down under this abuse of process and attack on freedom of speech. On the contrary, this will be a reasoned, forceful and very public resistance. 


The hearing on 10 June is supposed to be public, but it will be virtual because of coronavirus. While it is a case management hearing, I shall nevertheless be grateful if you are able to “attend” virtually, as I am very keen indeed that I am not stitched up out of the public eye. Please send an email requesting access to the virtual hearing on 10 June to I am very keen as many people do this as possible. Journalists please in addition copy in for accreditation.

Secondly, many people come to this blog through social media and I am currently suffering a very high level of suppression, on Facebook and especially on Twitter. Rather than just retweet and share any soical media post that brought you here, (which may appear on the face to have worked but the dissemination will be suppressed), I would be very grateful if you could also write your own new posting and put a link.

If you have your own blog or access to one, a commendation of this post with a link would be very welcome, even if it is not your normal policy. And finally of course, the entire post is free as always to copy, republish and translate as you wish.

Wednesday 20 May 2020

A Border Down The Irish Sea

Jeremy Corbyn and, especially, John McDonnell campaigned for such a thing over many decades, until changing their tune when it became a realistic prospect. As with Brexit itself, in fact.

The DUP, which in government has already parted company with Boris Johnson over the lockdown, no longer provides the Government's majority at Westminster.

Instead, across Wales, the Midlands and the North, the Conservatives now hold by tiny majorities seats that contain major centres of Irish Catholic population. From Crewe to Consett, and well beyond.

So yes. A border down the Irish Sea. Expect it to harden over time.

The Creasy Road Out

Would Stella Creasy have had no childcare considerations if the lockdown had never happened?

Whether or not we have children, we all have family responsibilities. If those become incompatible with being, for example, a Member of Parliament, then no one is obliged to be a Member of Parliament.

Here at North West Durham, we can tell Dr Creasy what becomes of an MP who, imagining that her seat cannot be lost, decides to become a professional womb-waver.

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.

The Whole Agitation Has A Nasty Taste

Following the enormous climbdown over bereavement, the NHS surcharge should also be abolished. People who are working here are paying taxes here. And in any case: 

One of the consequences of the universality of the British Health Service is the free treatment of foreign visitors. This has given rise to a great deal of criticism, most of it ill-informed and some of it deliberately mischievous. Why should people come to Britain and enjoy the benefits of the free Health Service when they do not subscribe to the national revenues? So the argument goes.

No doubt a little of this objection is still based on the confusion about contributions to which I have referred. The fact is, of course, that visitors to Britain subscribe to the national revenues as soon as they start consuming certain commodities, drink and tobacco for example, and entertainment. They make no direct contribution to the cost of the Health Service any more than does a British citizen.
However, there are a number of more potent reasons why it would be unwise as well as mean to withhold the free service from the visitor to Britain. How do we distinguish a visitor from anybody else? Are British citizens to carry means of identification everywhere to prove that they are not visitors? For if the sheep are to be separated from the goats both must be classified. What began as an attempt to keep the Health Service for ourselves would end by being a nuisance to everybody.

Happily, this is one of those occasions when generosity and convenience march together. The cost of looking after the visitor who falls ill cannot amount to more than a negligible fraction of £399,000,000, the total cost of the Health Service. It is not difficult to arrive at an approximate estimate.

All we have to do is look up the number of visitors to Great Britain during one year and assume they would make the same use of the Health Service as a similar number of Britishers. Divide the total cost of the Service by the population and you get the answer. I had the estimate taken out and it amounted to about £200,000 a year. Obviously this is an overestimate because people who go for holidays are not likely to need a doctor’s attention as much as others. However, there it is, for what it is worth, and you will see it does not justify the fuss that has been made about it.

The whole agitation has a nasty taste. Instead of rejoicing at the opportunity to practice a civilized principle, Conservatives have tried to exploit the most disreputable emotions in this among many other attempts to discredit socialized medicine.

Naturally when Britons go abroad they are incensed because they are not similarly treated if they need the attention of a doctor. But that also I am convinced will come when other nations follow our example and have health services of their own. When that happens we shall be able to work out schemes of reciprocity, and yet one more amenity will have been added to social intercourse. In the meantime let us keep in mind that, here, example is better than precept.

With my emphasis added, Aneurin Bevan, In Place of Fear: A Free Health Service, 1952.

Mashed Swedes

Even the Telegraph has to admit it.

Sweden now has the highest Covid-19 death rate per capita, with 6.08 deaths per million inhabitants, higher than Italy, or the United Kingdom, or the United States.

In Sweden, as initially in Britain and as now again in England, the pursuit of herd immunity has been a complete and utter disaster.


Yes, I know that that is no longer the same Rolls-Royce. But what a privatisation success story. There have been so very many of them.

Renationalisation. Come on. It was last done by a Cabinet with Margaret Thatcher in it, for reasons that still stand up.

We are out of the EU now, and it would cost very little compared to the amount of currency that the State now routinely issues to itself at the merest flick of Rishi Sunak's hair.

And come on, Chris Williamson. Derby needs you at the head of this campaign. The Festival of Resistance, indeed.

Wading By

Although I believed it, I never set any store by the Norma McCorvey/Jane Roe conversion.

Good for her, I thought, but it was not really the point. 

Still, “I wonder how many abortions Donald Trump is responsible for?” is a good question. Unoriginal. But still well worth asking.

Off The Rails?

The Labour Party Conference could of course still be held, but in one of Durham County Council's schools, which will apparently be perfectly safe a week on Monday, never mind in September.

Ah, the Labour Party in the North East. It has exploded with derision at Richard Holden's very promising proposal for a rail link between Consett and the Metro Centre. What next? Bringing back the buses?

Labour here never changes. There is always limitless money for vanity projects, while the suggestion of anything useful is patronised into oblivion. Or, if that does not work, then it is punished a great deal more severely than that. But this is not a one-party state anymore.

The Twitter account of North West Durham Constituency Labour Party continues to pledge fealty to Laura Pidcock. What does she have to say about a rail link between Consett and the Metro Centre? And what does she have to say about the fact that Durham County Council's schools will be reopening on 1st June?

Et Pocula Sacra?

The University of Cambridge has moved all lectures online until the autumn of 2021. Can it expect the abuse that is being screamed at teachers in state schools, who are expressing concerns about whether or not to open up again in the summer of 2020? If not, why not?

Over 30 years, 3,532 people died in the Northern Irish Troubles. By this time next week, Covid-19 will have claimed 20 times that number in this, the second worst affected country in the world. We shall have lost as many as the total number of British civilian fatalities in the Second World War, but with no end in sight.

Yet a few hours from now, Keir Starmer is once again going to rise to face an extremely rare public appearance by Boris Johnson. Starmer will fawn over Johnson, and will immediately be praised to the skies for such a "forensic" performance. 

The public is not fooled, with Labour permanently 20 points behind the Conservatives, putting it on course for fewer than 200 seats, and for fewer votes than all other non-Conservatives put together. But oh, for a Leader of the Opposition.

Of A Knight And Arrows

I am very pleased for Captain Tom Moore. But this should never have been his job. Centenarians doing sponsored laps of their gardens is no way to fund the NHS. 

We are back to the Bullseye of my childhood, with people playing for the money to buy equipment for their local hospitals. All three parties have been in government, so they are all to blame.

Tuesday 19 May 2020

The Need To Protect The Public's Health

If the Labour Party Conference cannot safely be held in September, then the schools cannot safely reopen in June. 

Keir Starmer needs to tell Simon Henig.

The Conservative Party Conference is also going to be cancelled, but the private schools are in any case not going back until September. 

That is still a gap in time and credibility. But it is not quite such a glaring one.

Towards A Phased Reopening?

Durham County Council, brothers and sisters. The first local authority that Labour ever won, and which it has never lost in more than a century since. Worse than Conservative-controlled Solihull. 

With absolute moral authority, the County Durham Teaching Assistants need to declare that they would not be going back until Eton did, and even then only after everyone had been tested.

And Laura Pidcock is as good as a declared Labour candidate for Lanchester at next year's elections to Durham County Council. As the National Secretary of the People's Assembly, and as the partner of the incoming Senior Vice-President of the National Education Union, what has she to say to this?

Tested To Destruction

We owe a debt of gratitude to Professor Dame Angela McLean, who has just admitted that the only reason why the Government stopped community testing, leading to considerable loss of life, was because it did not have the tests.

Missing Inaction

Where is Boris Johnson?

Kim Jong-un was seen and heard more than this when serious, or at least self-important, media outlets were reporting that he was dead.

No More Daniel Blakes

Just as middle-class people having to go through Universal Credit ought to be the end of the present benefits regime itself, so the increase in unemployment ought to be the end of the day-to-day regime at the DWP depicted by Ken Loach. Yvette who?

The lockdown is still massively popular, and resistance is practically total to sending children back to school while the private schools are off until September, and while most MPs have no intention of darkening the door of the Palace of Westminster until October, after the dates of the tellingly cancelled Party Conferences.

None of the economic arguments for lifting the lockdown stacks up, and Rishi Sunak knows it. He has the means to alleviate a recession, or indeed to prevent one, as his record already shows that he understands. Recession is only ever a political choice.

In a sovereign state with its own free floating fiat currency, then a recession cannot happen unless, for whatever reason, the Government wants it to happen. It is not only that it need not happen except by that choice. Except by that choice, it cannot happen. Sunak already knows all of this.

The people who are stamping their feet are comment writers, and they already worked for home. Did you think that they went into the office every day? Columnists? Really? Their complaint is that the restaurants and the pubs are not open. That is all. But they are so accustomed to their own way that they cannot understand how that complaint has not reopened the pubs and the restaurants on the spot.

Bounded Thinking

On the day that the true death figure is confirmed to be no lower than 55,000, the Government will introduce its second time-lagged Bill in two days.

Yesterday, it was a throwback to the Brexit referendum era on immigration, which no one ever mentions anymore. Today, it is a scheme to redraw the boundaries for the House of Commons.

Oh, well, I suppose that one seat will have to go once 60,000 people had died. Not long now. But in general, the Conservatives won a majority of 80 under the present boundaries. So why change them? 

Well, they have a bee in their bonnets about this one. It doesn't matter that they won very big indeed under the present arrangements. They have been banging on about this for 20 years, so now they can't stop.

Blaired Vision

Tony Blair was on Newsnight again. What is the basis of the BBC's obsession with that man? He once came the closest that anyone has ever come to destroying it.

Blair left office, not to say Britain for most of the time, 13 years, four General Elections, and four Prime Ministers ago.

Of course he supported reopening the schools. Of course his own old school has no plans to reopen before September. And of course the "interviewer" was not so impolite as to mention that fact.

Mrs Balls, Indeed?

There is no suggestion that Yvette Cooper was paired. She made a speech setting out her reasons for abstaining, and then she abstained. By my reckoning, that was the first rebellion against Keir Starmer. Not by, say, Richard Burgon. But by a fringe Outer Rightist.

Now, perhaps I am becoming cynical, but might Cooper's abstention, the first rebellion against Starmer, have been staged? "He can't be all that right-wing, the Wicked Witch of the Work Capability Assessment couldn't bring herself to vote for his soft line on darkies"?

Monday 18 May 2020

Totus Tuus

Born 100 years ago today, Saint John Paul II should be declared a Doctor of the Church on the same day as Saint John Henry Newman. 

Imagine that. 

Pray for that.

Nul Points

Only liberals, including neoliberals, and Trotskyists, including neoconservatives, are in principle in favour of unrestricted immigration, although they are. But even they have never succeeded in giving effect to that principle. When, exactly, has any country ever had no immigration controls?

The idea that Britain has had none since some indeterminate point in recent history has replaced the old, and equally ludicrous, hallucination that there has ever been some kind of taboo against discussing immigration. I must have been in a coma, and I am not the only one.

A good three years after anyone last mentioned the subject, the Government has decided to bring forward legislation that replaced caring about where you were from rather than about what you had to offer, with what might be called the Fiona Bruce Principle that a job was "highly skilled" if it were paid a lot, and "low skilled" if it were not. Thus, care workers are low skilled, while people who read out autocues for a half an hour each evening are highly skilled.

It is completely false to suggest that opposition to this Bill is motivated, not even by a support in principle for "open borders" (in point of fact the Government is packed with, and surrounded by, people of that view), but by a desire to preserve some "free movement" that allegedly still exists. 

By the way, we did not have to leave the EU in order to do any of this. The things that the Government is doing and which could not have happened without Brexit are the likes of renationalising the railways. And the likes of Yvette Copper are as opposed to those as they have always been.

Right Now, At This Point

Of course Yvette Cooper will not vote against the Bill that would mean that immigrants working in our care homes and in our hospitals would be charged for healthcare.

It was she who abolished Income Support, and who gave the Work Capability Assessment to a grateful nation.

The Labour Party that we all remember is now back, as if it had never gone away. For the very good reason that it never really did. At least it is now permanently 20 points behind.

National Assistance

With absolute moral authority, the County Durham Teaching Assistants need to declare that they would not be going back until Eton did, and even then only after everyone had been tested.

The Economy Stupid

Otherwise known as that Dodds person, Keir Starmer's donkey. 

One part of the State has lent a closely connected part of the State a small proportion of what it did to bail out the banks in 2008.

It has done so at less than one per cent interest, and to be repaid at the discretion of the debtor. 

That debtor has the power to shrink the debt by devaluing the currency, as also happened after the Great Crash, although with vastly more money involved in that case. 

There is nothing to worry about here. Nothing at all.