The Pointless Keir Starmer

From www.craigmurray.org.uk:


 The Pointless Keir Starmer 42


On Thursday, Labour under Keir Starmer got a lower percentage of the vote in Wakefield than they did in 2017 under Jeremy Corbyn. In 2017 Labour got 49.7%. On Thursday they got 47.9%. I want you to think that through.

Inflation is soaring. Consumer confidence in the economy has gone through a steeper plummet, and to a lower level, than at any time since it was measured. Worse than the 2008 banking collapse. Worse than the height of the covid panic.

The Tory government of Boris Johnson is highly unpopular. The electorate has formed the view that Boris Johnson is an untrustworthy liar and plain chancer. 18th century levels of corruption have not just returned, but been plainly exposed.

There could not possibly be a more fertile ground for an opposition party in a mid-term by-election, when swings against the government are almost invariably much higher than at subsequent general elections. For Labour in these circumstances to still get a lower vote share in Wakefield than they did in the 2017 General Election which they narrowly lost, is a terrible performance.

The attempts to boost the hapless Starmer off the back of it are pathetic.

Starmer’s role has been simply to emasculate the Labour Party, and to purge it of any elements that might seek to pose a threat to rampant neo-liberalism and wealth inequality. His efforts to ban Labour MPs from supporting striking railway workers must be anathema to anybody who has the slightest feel for the history and traditions of that party and indeed the most basic understanding of its very raison d’etre.

This Tony Benn quote from the 1980’s has come into vogue because it is prophetic, and the process appears now complete:

If the Labour Party could be bullied or persuaded to denounce its Marxists, the media – having tasted blood – would demand next that it expelled all its Socialists and reunited the remaining Labour Party with the SDP to form a harmless alternative to the Conservatives, which could then be allowed to take office now and then when the Conservatives fell out of favour with the public. Thus British Capitalism, it is argued, will be made safe forever, and socialism would be squeezed off the National agenda. But if such a strategy were to succeed… it would in fact profoundly endanger British society. For it would open up the danger of a swing to the far-right, as we have seen in Europe over the last 50 years.

Starmer is in one sense the apotheosis of this process. Not only has he acted to purge the Labour Party of socialism, he also offers so very little of a meaningful alternative to the Tories that there is very little danger of the Tories being voted out of office. Not only is he a safe right-wing backstop, he is a self-redundant safe right-wing backstop.

Just as Jeremy Corbyn did before being felled by the entirely fake anti-Semitism crusade of the united state and corporate media, Mick Lynch has this week been showing how attractive the electorate find left-wing thinking, and the notion of greater wealth equality, if they could only get to hear it.

YouTube is full of clips of Mick Lynch besting the furious and unintelligent attacks of the media hacks. The moment I found most interesting was on Peston, where he was again being pushed to reveal himself as an evil Marxist who could thus be pigeonholed and ignored. Asked who his political hero was, he replied “James Connolly, the Irish Republican Socialist”.

Regular readers know Connolly is one of my heroes too. What I found most striking is that the highly paid political journalists on Peston had never heard of Connolly. To paraphrase Noam Chomsky, I suppose if they had heard of Connolly, they would not be sitting where they are sitting. Knowledge of working class auto-didactic leadership is not a requirement to propagandise for the elite.

The knowledge that the British strapped a dying man to a chair so they could shoot him again might lead to all kinds of unauthorised thought.

Doubtless Starmer would ban his MPs from mentioning it, if he knew.

Here in his native Edinburgh, school children are not taught about Connolly either. My son Cameron was last year taught all about Burke and Hare in school in local history, a suitably grisly and cautionary tale of the Irish working class in Edinburgh. They were taken to Surgeon’s Hall and shown the book bound in Burke’s skin.

Five minutes walk further they could have been at Connolly’s damp birthplace on the Cowgate, and learnt of his life and teachings. The curriculum does not do that.

Which brings me to Scotland. Everything I have said about the Tory crisis and Starmer’s failure to inspire and seize the moment, is true in spades about Scotland. There simply could never be a more propitious time to strike for Independence. Pushed by their activists, the SNP at last claims to have “fired the starting gun” on an Independence referendum.

I see no political alternative but to take them at their word. I quite understand the suspicions of procedural trickery of my closest political friends, but my strong view is that we have to set aside doubt and make the campaign a real one, which acquires its own popular momentum and becomes unstoppable. When Wallace arrived at Stirling Bridge, the more established Scottish political leadership were not necessarily seeking a pitched battle. Let’s get this fight started.

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Ukraine

 


And...

As if in a dream
I'm hearing radio programmes
playing Ukrainian patriotic songs
and lovingly produced discussions
about the history of Ukraine
and admiration pouring out of my radio and TV
for the brave people of Ukraine
daring to stand up to this terrible invasion
and I felt warm and sad at the same time
wrapped in the care and kindness of it all
and I was pouring out my admiration too,
and images from the TV came to me from last night
of hundreds of people squashed into a station subway
trying to get out on a train to Poland
and more sounds from the radio
of people on the border shivering and hungry and crying
not knowing if they could get out
while arcs of light flashed over apartment blocks
and the morning showed the cold grey ruins of people's homes
and I heard the words of sympathy
from our leaders
while they explained that Ukrainians
would need visas or relatives in Britain
if they want to come here
and I wasn't sure that people crushed
into the subway would have visas
or relatives here, would they?
so if they don't have visas and relatives
what happens to them in the freezing cold
on the Polish border?
and I thought about the care and kindness
coming out of my radio
and I felt uneasy
that I remember other invasions
other bombings,
and the same radio and TV stations
pouring out hours of words
on why similar bombings and invasions
were necessary and good bombings and invasions
and why those resisting were crazy and bad
and of course - as always -
why there wasn't room for people of those countries
to get out and come here
and I was left looking for the principle being defended here.
This principle can't be that it's wrong to invade
other countries.
The principle can't be that it's wrong
to bomb civilians.
The principle can't be that we must help
those who resist invasions.
The principle can't be that we must help
refugees.
But then I thought,
what's the matter with me?
what is the matter with me?
why am I looking for a principle?
Well, not a principle that lasts
or a principle that is valid in all places.
Our leaders' principles are things
they pick up, boast about
and then drop
in the hope that we can't remember anything
from before last week.
Or that we don't notice what else they do
in other parts of the world.
One moment they are friends with people
who are tyrants or backers of tyrants
and the next they are explaining to us
that the tyrants are tyrants
and friends of tyrants are the friends of tyrants
as if we didn't know that the tyrants are tyrants
and that they themselves are friends
with the friends of tyrants
as if we hadn't noticed this
as if we had now forgotten this.
And this is a cycle
that goes on and on turning,
it's turning in my mind
remembering my parents
talking of the leaders of their time
chumming up with Nazis
corporations selling oil to the Nazis
oil they would use to bomb us
and my parents talking of uncles and aunts and cousins
who criss-crossed the very same land
that the refugees are crossing now,
one who escaped
the rest who didn't
and it's a cycle
it's a cycle that grinds millions into the ground
burnt, dismembered, starved, maimed
and I am listening to the radio.
And I am listening to the radio.

Sir War Criminal

10 senior politicians were hanged for "Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances" in 1946 at Nuremberg.

Tony Blair however gets a knighthood. Not just any knighthood (like, say, Sir Jimmy Saville's KCSG), he is given the KG, the most senior order of knighthood in the British honours system, outranked in precedence only by the Victoria Cross and the George Cross.

 


The official Parliment petition website (which can get petitions debated, unlike Change.org etc) has rejected all petitions demanding Bliar be declined his knighthood (see left).

So instead please sign this one at  Change.org: https://www.change.org/p/the-prime-minister-tony-blair-to-have-his-knight-companion-of-the-most-noble-order-of-the-garter-rescinded

Petition description:


Tony Blair to have his "Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter" rescinded

Angus Scott started this petition to The Prime Minister

Tony Blair is to be knighted with the highest possible ranking in the new year honours list, Buckingham Palace has said.

Sir Tony, who held the keys to No 10 between 1997 and 2007, will be appointed a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry.

Tony Blair caused irreparable damage to both the constitution of the United Kingdom and to the very fabric of the nation's society. He was personally responsible for causing the death of countless innocent, civilian lives and servicement in various conflicts. For this alone he should be held accountable for war crimes.

Tony Blair is the least deserving person of any public honour, particularly anything awarded by Her Majesty the Queen.





We petition the Prime Minister to petition Her Majesty to have this honour removed.


The Unite General Secretary Election in Numbers - 91.1%

 


The official ballot return hasn't been released yet (as at 27/8/21) but Unite has published the basic numbers:

Unite claim 1.4 million members as at September 2020.  So we calculate the (as yet unpublished) turnout as an historic and pathetic low of 8.9%.   Dear Unite have put these figures into a pie chart:


Let's hope Sharon can truly turn the union from a top down General Secretary supporter's club into a bottom up, active and democratic union. Certainly Turner and Coyne wouldn't have.





Mills v Unite - Remedy at last

 


Private Eye 18/8/2021

It's taken 7 years but Karen Mills has finally got justice.  The Employment Tribunal awarded her a massive £56,176 plus £2,500 costs!  The award is so large that the statutory limit of £38.6K kicked in.

The Judge awarded aggravated damages saying the union had been "spiteful and vindictive" and conducted  "a campaign of hatred raged against a single individual".  

He added: "It is difficult to think of a more high-handed, malicious, insulting, oppressive conduct or behaviour based on prejudice or animosity or which is spiteful or vindictive or intended to wound" (his emboldening).  

He also raised a judicial eyebrow at the union's QC: 

"The submissions made by the union are surprising to say the least.  They amount to an assertion that the union can denigrate a member as much as it likes and then when it is declared that it acted unlawfully, can simply shrug its metaphorical shoulders and assert that there is nothing it can do to reverse the harm it has caused. It would be a disgrace if Unite could avoid liability for compensation by such a disingenous and cynical route."



The full judgement is here.








 

Roger Silverman: My reply to the Labour Party’s “Governance and Legal Unit”…

Labour Against the Witchhunt, , 2021

I have received your communication, in which you demand that I “provide evidence that I am not a supporter” of a group that you arbitrarily proscribed three weeks ago. This is a classic technique practised in all such purges going right back to the original witch-hunts of the seventeenth century. It defies all norms of natural justice. I am under no obligation to prove anything.

The sole “evidence” contained in the dossier you have sent me is a report and a photo-shot of me speaking at a rally in 2019 organized by Labour Against the Witch-hunt. Yes, I spoke there. Why? Because 1) I am Labour; and 2) I am against a witch-hunt.

Rather than rub shoulders with the likes of those MPs who actively plotted to undermine Labour’s most popular leader for decades, and those bureaucrats proven to have actively sabotaged Labour’s election campaigns in 2017 and 2019, I consider it an honour to be numbered in the ranks of generations of victimised socialists. These include George Lansbury, Stafford Cripps, Aneurin Bevan, Michael Foot, Jeremy Corbyn and countless more – among them my late father Sydney Silverman, a Labour MP for 33 years until his death, who was twice expelled from the Parliamentary Labour Party.

Under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, Labour became the biggest political party in Europe, gaining three and a half million extra votes in the 2017 election, and more votes even in 2019 than in 2015, or 2010, or 2005 when Labour won. Keir Starmer has flagrantly betrayed his promise to continue Labour’s “radical socialist tradition”. Under his disastrous leadership, Labour has lost 150,000 members, millions of pounds in funding, and tens of thousands of votes in three successive by-elections.

Labour will only regain mass support when it confronts this government of speculators, hedge fund sharks and black money launderers and speaks out for the millions of victims of capitalism: the workers without a job, the families without homes, the youth without a future.

I joined the Labour Party more than six decades ago, and I have been a socialist campaigner all my life. Your previous feeble attempt to justify suspending me in 2016 failed because you were incapable of countering my political response. This time you have resorted instead to the cowardly ruse of sending me “notification of possible automatic exclusion” – i.e. a threat of summary expulsion without trial. Rather than cower behind hastily improvised legal loopholes, I defy you to meet my political arguments head-on. Meanwhile, I will challenge any attempt to exclude me.


Auto Da Fe (What A Day) lyrics

Candide by Leonard Bernstein et al

CHORUS
What a day, what a day
For an auto-da-f?!
What a sunny summer sky!
What a day, what a day
For an auto-da-f?!
It’s a lovely day for drinking
And for watching people fry!
Hurry, hurry, hurry,
Watch’em die!

Dear Keir


From: Richard Hill
Date: Sat, 7 Aug 2021 at 17:07
Subject: Resignation from the Labour Party
To: <keir.starmer.mp@parliament.uk>

Dear Keir,

I am writing to inform you of my decision to resign as Chair of Colchester constituency Labour Party and as a member of the Labour party. As one of over 100,000 people to leave under your tenure I doubt my decision will give you pause for thought but I write anyway as after donating thousands of hours of my time over the last 5 years I feel I have enough skin in the game to express my immense disappointment in you. Your pitch to members was unity, authority and integrity. You are certainly an authoritarian. Unity and integrity seem to be sadly lacking. I’ve never wanted one faction to control our party, I value respect, plurality, robust debate and consensus-building. These are values I’m not sure we share. 

Another of your strengths that was lauded in the leadership campaign was your “electability”. That’s a meaningless notion in my view, and certainly not true in your case. You are 10 points behind an utterly corrupt and incompetent government that has decimated public services over the last 11 years. In recent elections the Labour vote has tanked, Hartlepool, Chesham & Amersham and the loss of 300 council seats aren’t indicators of “electability”, quite the opposite. The sight of you crowing after Batley & Spen was especially distasteful after Labour scraped a win with a massively reduced majority. Your triumphalism was pure delusion, if the Greens had stood, Labour would have lost.

Perhaps winning elections isn’t what motivates you? It seems that punching left, controlled opposition and narrowing the political discourse matters more. This was not the vision you sold to party members. You promised not to trash previous leaders and to offer radicalism. You have removed the whip without grounds from Jeremy Corbyn and offered no policies whatsoever (barely even stating NHS workers deserve more than a 3% raise simply isn’t good enough). The blueprint for electoral success was written in 2017; a radical manifesto that understood how ordinary people were badly treated by a rigged system and offered a genuine alternative that would serve them better. This saw the largest increase in vote share for Labour since 1945. You have rejected that and played along with a narrative that it wasn’t appealing to voters, this can only be for ideological rather than pragmatic reasons. Young people and left behind communities, those with little power to change things, don’t agree and want and deserve a lot more. 

Labour is more than a party, it is a movement. You had half a million people, ready to campaign with you to undo decades of neoliberalism, rebuild our public services and build a better, more equal future. You’ve squandered that goodwill and with it your opportunity to become Prime Minister. I can only conclude you aren’t serious about winning power

Of all your failings and the endless excuses for them, the worst is giving approval to this criminally inept government’s handling of the pandemic. You could have challenged the obvious incompetence and corruption and maybe save lives but instead chose to “back the government”. Thousands died unnecessarily but you decided it wasn’t the time to challenge their actions for fear of negative Daily Mail headlines. You waved everything through, cowardice dressed as cunning is just weakness. 

I think it’s my own bloody-mindedness or idealism that kept me staying a member so long, under FPTP Labour is the only show in town after all. When you paid off Labour staffers in a case in-house lawyers advised you’d win, with the endless delays in publishing the Forde Report, when you lied about Rebecca Long-Bailey sharing an antisemitic trope, withholding the whip from Jeremy Corbyn and the general contempt you seem to hold [for] members. All of these should have been enough to send me packing. I held on in hope of the unity and radical vision you promised. 

It is with much sadness that I leave Colchester CLP. The fantastic members are like all across the country demonised and seem an inconvenience to you, this goes against everything the Labour party should be. My comrades aren’t hard left extremists, they’re ordinary, committed people who give their energy and enthusiasm in the hope of a better country and a better world.

They deserve better than your empty rhetoric, endless relaunches and the slide towards irrelevance you are overseeing.

Starmer hires former Israeli spy

 Article by by Asa Winstanley , The Electronic Intifada


The UK Labour Party has hired a former Israeli spy to help manage its social media, The Electronic Intifada can reveal.

Assaf Kaplan will work in the office of Labour leader Keir Starmer, a source with knowledge of the hire said.

Kaplan was in Israeli military intelligence for nearly five years, an officer in Unit 8200, its cyberwarfare branch.

Unit 8200 specializes in spying, hacking and encryption. It carries out blackmail, mass surveillance and systematic discrimination against Palestinians.

In 2014, a group of whistleblowers detailed how the unit spies on Palestinian civilians living under Israeli military occupation.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Kaplan was in the Israeli army’s military intelligence division from May 2009 to November 2013.

He was a Unit 8200 intelligence analyst and later an officer.

From Jewish Voice for Labour

Now sign the petition


UK Death Rate Worst in World (again)

1 in 700 people in the UK have died from Covid-19.   If you look at excess deaths it is 1 person in 610.

The UK's deaths per 100,000 population is the worst in the World* 

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/mortality#MortalityRates_chartA__nYE0c

UK population: 66,647,1126

UK Covid-19 deaths: 93,469 (as at 21/1/21)

Excess deaths 106,300 (as at 19/1/21)

*apart from San Marino, Belgium and Slovenia.

Covid 19 Death Rate - UK Worst in World


Update 24/8/20, from the BBC!
A graph showing the only really reliable figure - excess deaths, tucked away in an BBC article about how badly the USA is doing: Coronavirus: Is the US the worst-hit country for deaths?  

Dear BBC the answer is no, we are, look at your own graph! Oddly the article brushes over its own graph.

Update 9/7/20:

https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/mortality


You may already know that the UK has the 3rd highest number of deaths from Covid-19, behind the USA and Brazil.


Obviously the USA and Brazil have much larger populations.  So the proper way to look at how countries are doing is by looking at the number of deaths as a proportion of their total population - deaths per 100,000 population.

Using this metric the UK has easily the worst record of all major countries.  Nearly twice as bad as the USA, nearly 3 times as bad as Brazil, over 100 times as bad as South Korea and 200 times the death rate of China.


This is using data from Johns Hopkins University as at 23rd June 2020.  It's likely that 3rd World countries hit later than us, such as Brazil and India, will overtake us in time.  Nevertheless it is shocking how badly we have done compared to, say,  Italy and Germany. Not to mention China.


Oddly death rates per 100K population don't appear on the BBC or other UK media.  Just like the images of coffins and the bereaved, which you may remember they happily published when Italy, Iran and China were at their worst.


However if you dig you can find it on the BBC here but you have to scroll down to the  "CORONAVIRUS data in detail" chart and then click on the "Death rate" column to sort it.

China's tiny death rate per 100K will never get a mention in the corporate media.  Not even in a  BBC article about how China's data can't be trusted.

If their rate has been fudged and truly is similar to ours (64 deaths per 100,000 people) it's difficult to see how any regime, even China, could manipulate 64.27 down to the Lilliputian 0.33 deaths per 100,000.

The Johns Hopkins University data is regularly updated here: https://coronavirus.jhu.edu/data/mortality           

Update: Today  23rd June the ONS published the excess death figures for the UK. Excess deaths represents the number of deaths over what would normally be expected had the pandemic not occurred.  It is the most accurate measure because it eliminates the issue of whether deaths were correctly attributed to the virus or not.  The excess deaths figure for the UK is now 65,101.  The UK population is 66,435,600.  65,101 deaths, divided by 66,435,600, times 100,000,  gives a new figure of  97.99 UK deaths per 100,000 population, due to or arising from the pandemic.  Far worse than the already appalling figure of 64.27 above.

Update: 29th June.  The BBC have finally covered this story, tucked away in their business section (and of course no comparisons of the UK with China or Brazil):
"The analysis of Covid-19 deaths and excess deaths showed the UK worse off than the US, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, and Japan."  UK hardest hit by virus among leading G7 nations