Wednesday 14 February 2024

Action, Not Faction

Prosecutions are much more political in Scotland, so it is now a test of the mettle of Humza Yousaf whether a member of his Cabinet, the Lord Advocate, Dorothy Bain KC, will bring them under the Foreign Enlistment Act 1870 against British citizens who had joined the IDF.

Objectionable though he is in many other ways, Graham Jones should sue anyone who called him an anti-Semite, which he simply is not. But he would have been out in seconds if he had been on the Left. As would Azhar Ali, who deserves to be, and whose remarks were like nothing that was uttered by anyone when Jeremy Corbyn was Leader. Labour's by-election candidates are chosen centrally.

Likewise, Jamie Driscoll splendidly decries the inaction of the Labour Party against the charming Kim McGuinness.

Jamie's election is an existential matter for those of us who, being less than 100 per cent Northern European, might be mistaken for Gypsies by McGuinness or by her equally knuckle-dragging supporters. It would be physically unsafe for us to live in the North East under her. It is no wonder that, in this First Past the Post election, at least five Labour MPs will be voting for Jamie.

McGuinness's husband is flying supplies to the IDF that the International Court of Justice has found to be plausibly accused of genocide, he is participating in the daily surveillance flights over Gaza, and he is bombing Yemen, thereby killing people over a blockade the purpose of which is to stop that plausible genocide, a blockade that has never killed or injured anyone. Prove me wrong.

Lanchester is to be moved into North Durham, but elsewhere in the North West Durham constituency that is to be dismembered, the Labour candidate for the new seat of Blaydon and Consett is to be Liz Twist. A failed applicant for the North West Durham nomination in 2010, the MP for Blaydon is another of those contrived "like your favourite auntie" characters of the right-wing Labour machine. Yet not only did she fail to vote for a ceasefire in Gaza, but she returned to the frontbench by taking the place of someone who had resigned in order to do so. She is the Blaydon Racist. Bloody Betty, you can't hide, we charge you with genocide. So again, if Twist were Consett's MP, then I would be unable to visit the town closest to my home. Since I am not a pureblood Aryan, then Twist or one of her goons might take me for a Palestinian and kill me. Yet some of my ilk live there.

The boundaries of Blaydon and Consett prove quite what a valuable Israeli asset Twist is, that such a constituency could be invented for her at all, never mind when that involved abolishing the seat of the Chairman of the Conservative Party. Yet if that seat had existed in 2019, then Labour would have won it by only 3,250 votes. The loss of Whickham to the new constituency of Gateshead Central and Whickham does preclude an alliance between the Liberal Democrats' stronghold there and their relative strength in Consett, but the old Chopwell tradition should produce a candidate against being gerrymandered into a Likud seat, with TUSC having contested the council ward last year, and with the Workers Party having done rather better there in 2021. Yes, that Workers Party.

Meanwhile, the wards of Benfieldside, Burnopfield and Dipton, Consett North, Consett South, Delves Lane, and Leadgate and Medomsley, none of which has ever had Twist as its MP, return all of three Labour councillors out of 11, part of a trend that is more than 20 years old. During that period, none of them has continuously returned only Labour councillors. Of the three such now, none is electorally comfortable, two are in the same ward, and one of those was still writing for Tribune in December. Two are Conservatives, in what I remember as an unopposed Labour ward, and two are Lib Dems, while the four Independents are formidable local operators of vast experience, one of whom led the old Derwentside District Council for a very long time, while another contested the North West Durham parliamentary seat three times, retaining his deposit twice.

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.

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