Blog Archives

Jeremy Corbyn has made a genuinely socialist party electable for the first time in our living memory

The last thing we need at this critical time is sniping at the leadership from the left!

With a general election possibly on the horizon, the Establishment propaganda assault on Jeremy has already started. Odious right-wing propaganda sheets have been noticeably upping their anti-Corbyn smear-ridden stories over recent days and weeks. The last thing we need at this critical time is sniping at the leadership from the left!

Over the months we have repeatedly witnessed Jeremy’s extraordinary will and courage being tested in the most extreme of ways — and we are hard-pressed to think of any present-day politician who would have been able to withstand the ferocious onslaught that the Establishment has unloaded on to him — and continues to, as we write.

Let’s be clear: Jeremy would be the first to admit — I’m sure with characteristic modesty — that he’s not a perfect party leader

But the very idea of a “perfect” leader always was a fiction and every mortal human being will have weaknesses.

This allegedly “weak” leader has inspired a huge, unprecedented surge of new party members (who else could conceivably have brought hundreds of thousands of new members into the party? — Chuka Umunna; Dan Jarvis; David Miliband?); forced embarrassing U-turns from an arrogant, uncaring government; shifted the political centre of gravity in Britain significantly to the progressive left; brought morality, fairness and peace into previously moribund political narratives; performed very well in local elections before the putsch last summer by the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP) elite; has consistently out-performed Theresa May at Prime Minister’s Questions in recent weeks; has had the courage to take a nuanced, thoughtful view of Brexit — rather than adopting a tabloid-esque, grandstanding “pro” or “anti” position — and has remained dignified and calm in the face of daily vituperative attacks from the media, the entire Establishment and even his own party.

Rather than using any weaknesses Jeremy might have to criticise him from the left, everyone around him should be doing everything possible to complement the brilliant and unique qualities that he does possess.

He has been bullied, betrayed and ridiculed, and yet he carries on with the same grace and care he always shows to others — however objectionable their behaviour and treatment of him might be. The genuinely warm send-off Jeremy recently gave to resigner and serial Corbyn-critic Tristram Hunt is a case in point.

We also know no other politician in this country who possesses the maturity and dignity to have walked out of the unprecedented PLP meeting of June 27 last year with all its scarcely believable bully-boy nastiness directed viciously at him and to immediately urge his many thousands of supporters in Parliament Square to act respectfully, even to those we disagree with.

In the months and years to come, it is our strong conviction that it will increasingly dawn on more and more people that in Jeremy we’re looking at a deeply powerful and courageous human being.

No other Labour leader would have had the strength to withstand the relentless assault that Jeremy has had to endure from all quarters since he became party leader. Nobody else in the PLP could have rescued the Labour Party from the jaws of neoliberalism as Jeremy has; and his proud place in our class’s history is already assured for having made a genuinely socialist party electable for the first time in our living memory.

This post interlards a letter by Richard House with paragraphs – purple font – from an article by Richard and Skeena Rathor

 

 

 

o

Advertisements

Theresa May: “the government wants people to be able to manage their own (universal credit) budgets”

Yet again, the vulnerable suffer. Due to successive governments many now in need have been ill-educated, ill-nourished and under stress because they could not find work.  In similar circumstances Mrs May and few of her colleagues would be managing their budgets well.

The introduction of universally paying housing benefit direct to landlord (stopped in 2008) was extremely helpful to those not able (or willing) to budget. It has been retained under universal credit and actually adds to the problems of landlords and tenants alike.

Quoting from a letter circulated by GAP Property during PMQs, Jeremy Corbyn said: “Will the prime minister pause universal credit so it can be fixed? Or does she think it is right to put thousands of families through Christmas in the trauma of knowing they are about to be evicted because they are in rent arrears because of universal credit?”

GAP Property said the introduction of universal credit would affect the vast majority of its tenants and it needed to take action to avoid a slew of rent arrears, which could put it out of business.

The company’s owner, Guy Piggott, said the letter was not intended to be threatening and he was pleased it had been highlighted by Corbyn at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.

“We are not planning to throw people out, but the prime minister should read this and recognise the problems . . . the majority of his tenants were on an average household income of about £17,000 a year. “People are already living hand to mouth . . . At best, if they need to wait six weeks to be paid, it will be the end of February before it comes, and by then they might have spent the money they had on feeding their families or heating their homes”.

Paragraphs from a snapshot of the letter:

Piggott said many landlords would soon refuse to take people who were on universal credit. “A lot of landlords are now saying enough is enough”.

Jeremy Corbyn said: “Will the prime minister pause universal credit so it can be fixed? Or does she think it is right to put thousands of families through Christmas in the trauma of knowing they are about to be evicted because they are in rent arrears because of universal credit?”

Mrs May replied that she wanted to “look at the issue of this particular case” but said the government wanted people to be able to manage their own budgets and expressed less than impressive hopes that the government could act next week to cut the six-week wait for payments to five.

 

 

 

k

Media 51: the New Statesman was being economical with the facts – of course a rattled David Cameron in PMQs ‘dialled up the abuse’

George Eaton, political editor of the New Statesman, appears to be another nominal socialist who cannot accept the democratically elected Labour leader who has such an enthusiastic cross-party following in the country.

george eatonNew to Mr Eaton’s work, the writer visited the site and saw the general Corbyn-undermining tenor of his articles, post election. How he would dislike the admiration expressed by South Korean speakers and young Brits in a South Korean film (http://newstapa.org/29509) recently circulated.

Today he exults: “Labour right triumphs in PLP elections of backbench committee chairs – many of them ‘part of the problem, rather than part of the solution’. And yesterday Eaton reported that at this week’s PMQs session, Cameron’s patience ran out – accompanied by jeering Tory MPs.

Eaton attributed the PM’s tone to ‘contempt for Corbyn’ but social media – Roslyn Cooks tweet – filled in the very significant missing link: the statement which will be seen as a major threat to arms trade, party funding and a loss of face for the PM on the international ‘stage’

Cameron was deeply riled by the Labour Leader’s statement issued shortly before Prime Minister’s Questions and lost the respectful tone assumed in earlier sessions. Jeremy Corbyn:

jc 5“David Cameron’s invitation to Britain today of the Egyptian president and coup leader Abdel Fatah al-Sisi shows contempt for human and democratic rights and threatens, rather than protects, Britain’s national security.

“Support for dialogue and negotiated conflict resolution in the Middle East is vital to us all. But to welcome and bolster with military support the coup leader who overthrew a democratically elected president in 2013 and has presided over the killing and jailing of many thousands since makes a mockery of government claims to be promoting peace and justice in the region.

“Support for dictatorial regimes in the Middle East has been a key factor fuelling the spread of terrorism. Rather than rolling out the red carpet to President Sisi, the Prime Minister should suspend arms exports to Egypt until democratic and civil rights are restored.”

Britain’s shame: the UK arms industry is a major supplier of weapons and other military equipment and $24bn has been invested in the Egyptian economy by British businesses in the past five years – British-based companies such as BP and Vodafone being among the biggest players in the Egyptian economy.

PM Cameron on Israel’s removal of national rights from Israeli citizens who are not Jews

During Prime Minister’s Questions today (26.11.14) MP Gerald Kaufman asked the PM to condemn the new Israeli government bill which:

  • removes what are defined as national rights from all Israeli citizens who are not Jews,
  • and makes Hebrew the only national language.

Gerald Kaufman added that the bill has been denounced by the Israeli attorney general as causing a deterioration in the democratic character of the state.

David Cameron’s reply – from the Planet Zog:

david cameron on israel

“One of the reasons I’m such a strong supporter of Israel is that it is a country that has given rights and democracy to its people and it’s very important that that continues.

“When you look across the region and you look at those indexes of freedom you see that Israel is one of the few countries that ticks the boxes in terms of freedom and it’s very important it continues to do so.”

How can he say that !

Endnote:

While addressing a conference in Eilat, Reuven Rivlin, Israel’s president, publicly, and vehemently, opposed the Nation-State Law advanced this week by Israel’s Cabinet, which seeks to enshrine Israel’s Jewish character in law. Read his words here.

.

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg, no need to import Crosby, Axelrod and Coetzee

Sometimes I wish that John Lewis was in charge of running the country

A Lancashire reader sends points from an article by Janet Street Porter:

john lewis headerOur most-trusted retailer celebrates its 150th anniversary.

The sales staff are models of politeness and customer services’ telephone help is second to none.

 

david cameron pmqLook at Prime Minister’s Questions; a rowdy bear pit of pointless machismo where female MPs don’t feel welcome.

Contrast that Dickensian scene with the world of John Lewis, where the customer is always treated with respect.

The store still reflects the ideals set out by the founder’s son John Spedan Lewis in the Twenties, in a little red book. Staff are ‘partners’ who share in the profits and are expected to dress and behave in a way which reflects well on the store. The customer is always right, even when rude and must not be pressurised into purchasing things they might regret.

If only these ideals of shared responsibility — the belief that any organisation is only as good as its staff — could be passed on to MPs and civil servants.

john lewis staff

Today, 91,000 staff work for John Lewis and their Waitrose supermarkets, and it would be good if anyone seeking public office in the UK was made to complete at least three months’ work experience in their organisation.

MPs are our servants, and not the other way around.

We vote for them, fund them, and trust them — but this is a one-way contract. They patronise us, treat us with arrogance and have little experience of the real world. They could learn a lot from working in haberdashery, curtain accessories, bed linen or lighting at any branch of John Lewis.

John Lewis is classless, and that’s its strength. Our politicians are mired in a class structure that doesn’t apply to the rest of Britain— surrounded by friends from private schools or posh universities, trade union backers or wealthy donors.

John Lewis uses its house rules to ensure all staff, no matter where they are in the pecking order, sign up to the same agenda, which is to serve to the best of their ability.

It is a mantra Cameron & Co might care to reflect on as they import (at vast expense) experts from all over the world to help them win the next election.

The answer is right here at home.

MP Margaret Hodge – admirable politician

Margaret Hodge: an admirable Chair of the Public Accounts Committee

By chance, tuning into the BBC Parliament channel’s televised proceedings of 18th March scrutinising the ‘Use of NHS Consultants and Severance Clauses’ went some way to restoring confidence in the calibre of MPs, so sadly shaken by the foolish & loutish behaviour of many in Prime Minister’s Questions and the less than statesmanlike performances of the prime minister and leader of the opposition.

margaret hodgeAbove all, this restoration was compelled by Margaret Hodge as Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, incisively holding Sir David Nicholson and others to account, quoting the relevant sections of the Treasury’s “Managing Public Money” which lay down “some specific rules and conventions about how certain things are handled”and never letting the prevaricators ‘off the hook’.

The exchanges recorded were from Q149- Q184 in an uncorrected transcript in Hansard: MANAGEMENT OF HOSPITAL CONSULTANTS AND TERMINATION AGREEMENTS IN THE NHS.

The rare accolade of ‘admirable politician’ has been given on this website to three people:
  • Liberal Democrat MP Andrew George for his years leading the campaign to create a watchdog to protect smaller farmers and growers from the unethical practices of supermarket buyers,
  • Old Labour stalwart Tony Benn – quoting from his 2011 Salter Lecture
  • and the similarly principled and eloquent former Respect Party leader, Salma Yacoob.
Three other admirable MPs from the Conservative, Green and Labour parties, respectively, will be featured in due course.

 

 

Mystery MP

Prime Minister’s Questions: who is the female MP in the picture?

 

 

A kindred spirit?  She always looks as depressed as I feel.

 

Media 11: Radio 5 relegates Prime Minister’s Question Time

The weekly session of MPs’ questions to the Prime Minister was set aside for a momentous announcement of national importance.

Had war been declared?

Had the Queen abdicated?

 No, a football manager had been cleared of allegations of fraud.

Time for change.