Thursday 21 September 2023

In Plain Sight

In the Noughties, some of us tried to tell you that the popular culture was horrific. Your beloved New Labour was the Government on every day of that decade, at once defining that culture and defined by it. Long after that, while Russell Brand held the line politically, then no one said a word. Even now, the Police "have received" precisely one allegation, from 20 years ago, and unconnected to anything that was broadcast on Saturday or published on Sunday. There has been no arrest.

Yet the scam is well and truly on. Anyone who agrees with anything that Brand has ever said about economic or foreign policy, or which has ever been said by any of his interviewees (Tucker Carlson, Cornel West, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Stella Assange) since he stepped out of "the mainstream" in search of actual viewers, must be a "rape apologist". Leading the charge is Dame Caroline Dinenage. It is hilarious that she thinks that even Chinese companies should obey her. But from June 2018 to July 2020, her husband, the Conservative Peer and former Minister Mark Lancaster, was Deputy Commander of the 77th Brigade. Until the very, very recent past, the mere existence of that Brigade was a "conspiracy theory". Now it publicly bemoans the removal of its serving Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Tobias Ellwood MP, as Chairman of the Defence Select Committee. And it does this. In plain sight, indeed.

Again, and rather more recently, we tried to tell you. The most basic of checks would have confirmed that the wreath, and the mural, and the "not understanding English irony", and the "friends from Hamas and Hezbollah", and all the rest of those, were total rubbish, as everyone who did bother to check did find out. The EHRC found precisely two cases in its entire report, neither of them involved Jeremy Corbyn or indeed anyone who was still a member of the Labour Party, and even in relation to those, it was found in court that it was, "arguable that the Defendant [the EHRC] made an error of law in relation to Article 10 ECHR." Rather than defend that at judicial review, last week the EHRC settled with Ken Livingstone, whom it had continued to pursue despite knowing that he had Alzheimer's disease, and with Pam Bromley. As a matter of record, "Labour anti-Semitism" never existed.

Yet it continues to be screamed at anyone who opposes the two-child benefit cap, or who supports the Triple Lock, or who wants to ban fire and rehire, or who wants to ban zero hours contracts, or who wants to implement John Smith's signature policy that employment rights should begin with employment and apply regardless of the number of hours worked, or who wants to increase statutory sick pay, or who wants to renationalise the railways, or who wants to renationalise the utilities, or who wants to renationalise the Royal Mail, or who opposes the privatisation of the NHS in England, or who supports free prescriptions in England, or who supports free eye and dental check-ups in England, or who supports free hospital carparking in England, or who supports universal free school meals in England outside London, or who supports the universal free broadband that the whole of Europe and the Old Commonwealth apart from England (but very probably including London) will have in 10 years' time and which may even exist in the United States by then, or who supports the taxation of unearned income at the same rate as earnings, or who thinks that taxation ought not in principle to be voluntary for the rich, or who supports democratic political control over monetary policy, or who opposes the war machine, including its attacks on civil liberties at home. All this, and the Online Safety Bill is about to become law.

There have long been plenty of Irish and Jews in Hackney, and there may well be plenty of GRT people. The misnamed Shadow Cabinet, which features a lot less shade than the Cabinet does, will need to explain to them and to everyone else why it was not backing Diane Abbott, and preferably why it was instead backing the man whom the Forde Report had found to have called her an Angry Black Woman. If he is not the Labour candidate, then he is too scared. David Lammy's seemingly insurmountable majority at Tottenham was before he turned on the Queen of Black London. Here's to a pro-Abbott candidate against him, as heartily as here's to Brand against Dinenage at Gosport.

And when I tell you that there is going to be a hung Parliament, then you can take that to the bank. I spent the 2005 Parliament saying that it was psephologically impossible for the Heir to Blair's Conservative Party to win an overall majority. I predicted a hung Parliament on the day that the 2017 General Election was called, and I stuck to that, entirely alone, all the way up to the publication of the exit poll eight long weeks later. And on the day that Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister, I predicted that a General Election between him and Keir Starmer would result in a hung Parliament.

To strengthen families and communities by securing economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including national and parliamentary sovereignty, we need to hold the balance of power. Owing nothing to either main party, we must be open to the better offer. There does, however, need to be a better offer. Not a lesser evil, which in any case the Labour Party is not.


  1. Brand v Dinenage, bring it on along with a black socialist against Lammy.