“And the children of Iraq, in their graves, disabled, cancer ridden from DU weapons, disabled, deformed, homeless, displaced, Mr Blair?”
Blair’s Grand Delusion: “Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad”
Tony Blair has announced plans to set up a new centre-ground institute to combat the “new populism of left and right”.
This new body would provide answers to anti-business and anti-immigrant views which share a “closed-minded approach to globalisation”.
In a characteristically self-congratulatory statement published on his website, he said his new not-for-profit organisation would deliver policies based on evidence rather than the “plague” of social media abuse.
It would be a response to the political shocks of the last year, such as Brexit and the election of Donald Trump to the US presidency.
It aims to support practising politicians – such worthies as John Mann, Jess Philips, Simon Danczuk and those former colleagues still waving the New Labour flag?
He ends: “I care about my country and the world my children and grandchildren will grow up in; and want to play at least a small part in contributing to the debate about the future of both.”
Felicity Arbuthnot asks, on behalf of millions: “And the children of Iraq, in their graves, disabled, cancer ridden from DU weapons, disabled, deformed, homeless, displaced, Mr Blair?”
What could be more extremist than Blair’s deadly collusion in that country’s destruction?
In a recent Newsnight programme, as some speakers pointed out, having a leader with certain ministers ‘facing in different directions’ is not a viable game plan – and Jeremy Corbyn was urged to ‘establish a coherence’. Ahead of the media today, the Labour Party website gives the full list of the current shadow cabinet ministers.
That deeply disappointing, unsupportive deputy leader Tom Watson, misguidedly led tributes to the departing Michael Dugher (left), who previously worked in public relations as government lobbyist for American multinational Electronic Data Systems (EDS), one of the government’s largest IT contractors. He was one of several lobbyists who were elected to parliament in 2010.
His other media claim to fame is as Vice-Chair of Labour Friends of Israel, a title still used in today’s Jewish News article though he is listed on the LFI website as a supporter. Dugher has condemned academic and economic sanctions such as the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) campaign which sees Israel as an apartheid state (putting it mildly) and alerts the public to multinational companies complicit in its activities.
Abysmally poor judgment?
In March, as vice-chair, Dugher gave a keynote speech at the ‘We Believe in Israel’ conference, where he said, “Each time I visit Israel, my admiration for that great country grows.”
Extremely short memory?
The far from radical BBC News reported that 2,100 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip and that the number of civilians killed during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge offensive raised international concern and condemnation. Admiration????
Corbyn’s strength comes from his wider support in the party and Dugher, with other careerist Blairite MPs, rounded on the establishment of Momentum – new grassroots volunteer-led groups – following Jeremy Corbyn’s victory in the Labour leadership contest.
Progress supporters and ‘their acolytes in the commentariat’ (Woods) compared Momentum with the now renamed Militant. Caroline Flint MP acidly warned that the new group could “destroy” (right-wing) Labour and Michael Dugher said it was “crazy” of supporters to establish it.
Truth is the casualty here; first-hand experience to date is of four-square solid citizens: Birmingham Momentum who care for the 99%. Above: a cross-section of the 120+, eminently sane and constructive. Check its Facebook page.
Conspiracy theory? Yesterday the writer was told that when Indian rulers wanted to destroy their opposition, they ‘planted’ people within the movement. No need to do that here. Though in public meetings (notably Question Time’) applause is all for the new Labour movement, careerist hopefuls, including Watson, Flint, Dugher, Ben Bradshaw, Jess Philips, John Mann, Simon Danczuk, Mary Creagh, Mike Gapes and Tony McNulty continue to be enormously helpful to the Conservative government and media.
As Steve Beauchampé, a wise observer, said by email: “I agree with Danny Finkelstein on Newsnight (that Corbyn should) lead, dispatch his opponents in the Shadow Cabinet where necessary, don’t apologise, tough it out and set out a firm platform of policies”.
Yesterday a reader, who has been taking his MP to task about her resignation as a shadow minister, was referred to her assistant to hear ‘an explanation that anyone with half a political brain can work out what they would be told anyway … ‘ He writes:
“Her thought at the time was that the most important thing was that Labour should be well placed to win the next election, which she feared might be undermined by having Corbyn as leader. But now that Corbyn has become established as the new leader she is now committed to supporting the party under his leadership.” kind of thing.
He added a link to a Guardian article in which the former mayor of London, Ken Livingstone said that MPs who regularly defy Labour whip should face reselection, adding that being an MP shouldn’t be regarded as ‘a job for life’.
One such, Labour backbencher Simon Danczuk, who regularly writes spiteful and disloyal articles about Jeremy Corbyn in the Daily Mail, said he was prepared to stand against Corbyn as a stalking horse if the party suffers setbacks in the May elections.
Labour MPs who do not agree with Corbyn’s key policies could face legitimate challenges in their constituencies. If large numbers of new members join a local party because they supported Jeremy Corbyn’s policies and the sitting MP is undermining the leader, they will naturally challenge him or her.
Shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, told the Andrew Marr Show that Corbyn told a recent meeting of the parliamentary Labour party there would be no change to the existing rules on the selection of MPs. McDonnell stressed: “We are opposing any threat to individual MPs. We are not in favour of reselection of these MPs. The democratic processes in the Labour party will take place on the boundary commission in the normal way.” This will mean that local parties only trigger a full reselection vote if they are unhappy with their MP’s performance.
McDonnell denied the allegations of conspiracy theorists – including Labour MPs who oppose their democratically elected leader – who say they fear that the new Momentum group set up by supporters of Corbyn and backed by the leadership, will try to oust them as candidates in the run-up to the next general election.
The current Labour leadership always takes the democratic stance and so does not favour organising to reselect parliamentary candidates.
Labour opponents of Corbyn – a small minority defined by recent voting patterns – fear that redrawing the parliamentary boundaries as part of plans to shrink the size of the Commons from 650 MPs to 600, will provide the perfect opportunity to move against some Labour MPs.
The are highlighting an interview by Seumas Milne, given well before he became Labour’s executive director of strategy and communications. He said: “The Tories are planning to bring in new boundaries for constituencies around the country. That will mean there will have to be reselections, there will have to be new selection procedures to pick Labour candidates for those constituencies. That is surely a statement of fact.
MPs who do back the popular policies proposed by the new party leadership are not at risk – but those who do not inspire their constituencies with the hope of the fairer and more humane society which Corbyn has inspired (above), may well not receive the support they would need for reselection. If they had the courage of their convictions they would not even wish to serve in the regenerated Labour Party.