Saturday, 15 June 2019

BBC targeted by protesters over plan to end free TV licenses!

Ricky Tomlinson says Government should fund free TV licenses
The next likely Conservative Prime Minister, Boris Johnson says he wants to cut taxes for the rich by £10bn pounds. The Tories therefore have their eye on cutting free bus passes for the elderly, winter fuel allowances and free TV licenses for the over 75s, in order to pay for tax cuts for the rich. Despite promising to guarantee free TV licenses for the over 75s until the next General Election in May 2022, they have reneged on this saying it was a cut and paste error in the Manifesto and have given the BBC the responsibility for providing free TV licenses. The BBC have said they will only provided free TV licenses for certain groups such as the over 75s in receipt of pension credit. 

"The National Pensioners Convention (NPC) is calling on local pensioner groups, trade unions, community groups, students, members of the public, MPs and councillors to make a stand on Friday 21 June against:


1. The BBC’s decision to means-test the TV licence for older people

2. The Government’s decision to make the BBC pay for the concession


We are therefore asking campaigners to gather outside their local BBC at 12 noon next Friday to take part in a protest during the lunchtime. Attached you will find a simple black and white A4 poster which we are asking people to print out at home and stick to a piece of cardboard – so that you can take it along to the demo. Local banners and placards are of course also welcome, along with whistles, drums and other instruments.


The NPC is absolutely clear – if we fail to protect this concession, the government will begin looking at the winter fuel allowance and the bus pass. That’s why we need as big a demonstration as possible out on the street next Friday.


If you are intending to organise a demonstration, please let us have the details via info@npcuk.org. Thanks for your support."


Neil Duncan-Jordan

National Officer

NPC

Saturday, 8 June 2019

VICTORY FOR COUNCIL WORKER ACCUSED OF ANTI-SEMITISM!

Marxist Stan Keable

I'm pretty sure that one of the things that unites Brexit and Donald Trump supporters, is an abhorrence to what is termed 'political correctness'. People are sick to the back teeth of being told what they can or cannot say or what they can or cannot think by  politically correct dipsticks, and it has led to a kind of reactionary backlash, in both the U.S. and UK. It's a kind of creeping and subtle form of totalitarianism, that is intolerant to free speech.

Christian's who have objected to gay marriage or to gay people adopting children on religious grounds are denounced as homophobic or told they must submit to a kind of 'Maoist' re-education, known as equality and diversity training, or have been dragged through the courts. Parents are told that they cannot exempt their five-year-old tots from classes in same sex relationships and this has led to protests outside schools. 

What lies behind much of this negation in freedom, is the notion that there is a set of liberal social values and language that aims not to offend minorities, is all inclusive, none discriminatory, and which we must all subscribe to, as members of society. Just to suggest that something is sexist, racist, or homophobic, is guaranteed to stop debate dead in its tracks. It's almost as though the lunatics have taken over the insane asylum. And it now applies to the ruckus about anti-Semitism, both in, and outside, the Labour Party. Whereas not long ago, anti-Semitism meant simply hostility to or prejudice against Jews - which is real enough -  it now seems to encompass almost anything that is deemed offensive to the State of Israel and people are losing their jobs, because they have expressed opinions, critical of Israel and Zionism in general. 

In May 2018, I reported on the case of Stan Keable, a London council worker who was suspended by his employer Hammersmith & Fulham Council, after claiming that Zionists "collaborated" with the Nazis. 

Keable, a  Left-wing activist and environmental enforcement officer, had shared a tweet on Twitter in March 2018 while attending a counter demonstration outside Parliament protesting that Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, had been unfairly smeared as an anti-Semite. The Board of Deputies of British Jews, had organised a demonstration against 'anti-Semitism' in Parliament Square. He was removed from his duties as an environmental enforcement officer after writing:

The Nazis were anti-Semitic. The problem I’ve got is the Zionist government at the time collaborated with them. They accepted the ideas that Jews are not acceptable here.”

A council spokesperson said that Keable had been suspended  while an investigation was carried out and that the council "does not tolerate anti-semitism." His trade union, UNISON, told Stan to plead guilty and to plead mitigation. He was subsequently dismissed and claimed unfair dismissal. 

Although Articles 10 and 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights, guarantee freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, and Keable was attending a demonstration in his own free time, Hammersmith & Fulham Council, claimed that Keable had expressed views that were contrary to the Council's "Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy" and the Council's Code of Conduct. The council's charges against him were:

"That, in attending a counter demonstration outside the Houses of Parliament on the 26th March 2018, you knowingly increased the possibility of being challenged about your views and subsequently proceeded to express views that were in breach of the Council’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy and the Council’s Code of Conduct."

"That you made inappropriate comments which were subsequently circulated on social media which are deemed to be insensitive and likely to be offensive and potentially in breach of the Equality Act 2010 and/or the Council’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy."


The Central London Employment Tribunal, recently upheld Stan Keable's claim for unfair dismissal both procedural and substantive. The Judgement has not yet been put online but it took two hours to read out. At the time of writing, it is not known if Stan Keable also intends to take legal action against his trade union UNISON, who have questions to answer.

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Review: Hobson's Choice at Manchester

by Brian Bamford
HOBSONS CHOICE= एक ही विकल्प (pr. {ek hi vikalp} )(Noun)
ROYAL EXCHANGE 

Hobson's Choice by Harold Brighouse.  

In a new adaptation by Tanika Gupta. 

Directed by Atri Banerjee

'HOBSON's CHOICE' has historically come to represent 'a choice of taking what is offered or nothing at all; lack of an alternative'

The original play was drafted in outline by Stanley Houghton, who with Anne Horniman, the tea heiress, worked together to create the so called Manchester School at the then Gaiety Theatre at the junction of Mount Street and Peter Street.  After he died in December 1913, his friend Harold Brighouse reassembled Houghton's plays from his notebooks, and he wrote a new piece using Houghton's original title.

The most powerful figure in the play is Maggy Hobson [Durga Hobson at the Royal Exchange] who is in conflict with her father, and she captures control of the situation by drawing the artisan tailor [Ali Mossop at the Exchange] under her spell and manipulating him in her war with her own father Henry Horatio Hobson [Hari Hobson at the Exchange].

I must confess that I had some misgivings when I went to see this play and I asked the publicity officer Paula Rabbitt, if we would be hearing any Lancashire accents on the night.  I ought not to have worried, it was a fine production adapted by Tanika Gupta.

Albert G. Andrews who took on the role of Mr. Hobson when it was first performed in 1915, wasn't an Eccles lad, but the as the program says:  'but then few professional actors were at that point in time'.  But as the program also says:  'This was a period when it was still perfectly acceptable for an actor playing a regional character to get away with a vague stab at the appropriate accent.' 

It is pointed out that 'Even Dick Van Dyke as a would-be Cockney chimney-sweep in MARY POPPINS was 50 years in the future.'  And we learn that 'Consequently, though many actors were northern, few of them were from anywhere near Salford.'  Even Wilfred Pickles who hailed from Halifax in West Yorkshire developed an enduring relationship with the play, and he took the role of William Mossop [Ali Mossop in the Exchange play].

I ought to say that Esh Alladi as Ali Mossop the hard working tailor at the Royal Exchange played a good part, he has to develop a spine within the play and ultimately take on tho boss.  The dynamic of the play is presented as a case of a deserving hard worker who becomes victorious but with tho aid of a strong woman.  In this way Ali Mossop grows in stature in the play, yet the most comic element is where Ali asks for the advice of his male friends on how to perform on his wedding night and looks for prompts on what to do.  In the end he is told to let nature take its course.

***********



Esther McVey and Alphabet Soup

by Les May

IN a former life I was responsible for the science programme taught in the first two years of secondary school.   At the end of the first year, when the children were already or almost twelve years old, there was a module on sexual reproduction which dealt with plants, fish, frogs, birds and mammals, which of course included humans.  In other words it was ‘sex education’ and not ‘relationship education’, or as some might prefer to say, about procreation not recreation.

More than 3000 youngsters followed this programme and to the best of my knowledge there were no complaints from parents. At least some of the parents were of a religious persuasion, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptists, URC and Anglican.   I cannot be sure of course, but I think the reason was that the topic was considered entirely appropriate for children of that age.

Esther McVey, who sees herself as Tory Prime Minister material, has suggested that parents should have full control to determine what is ‘age appropriate’ and be allowed to remove children from relationship and sex education classes until they are 16 years old.   This is against a background of months of protest by parents at a Birmingham primary school which teaches what it calls LGBT-inclusive relationship lessons. Predictably McVey has been accused of being ‘homophobic’. This is just another example of the ‘alphabet soup’ tail trying to wag the dog.  What McVey is suggesting would apply equally well to lessons about heterosexual activities.

Words like transphobic and homophobic are thrown around with the same gay abandon as the words racist, fascist and nazi. In both cases it is a form of intellectual laziness used by those determined to avoid having to engage in rational discussion.

Are relationship lessons, LGBT-inclusive or not, age appropriate for primary school children?  Discuss!

Justice Posponed is Justice Denied!

 Brian Higgins dies before Unite does its duty!

NV Editor: ON this Blog we recently reported
that Private Eye had revealed that bricklayer 
Brian Higgins, a blacklisted trade unionist in the building 
trade, had given evidence that some union officials had
been a font of information in fingering militants. One
such is alleged to be Jerry Swain, now a Unite national
officer.  That was last month's news on this Blog, and we 
regret to announce below the news from Dave Smith of
the Blacklist Support Group that Brian Higgins, the 
victim of blacklisting, is now dead.  So much for justice 
on the building sites.

************

IT is with sadness that we report the death last weekend of blacklisted bricklayer Brian Higgins, former secretary of Northampton UCATT and the the rank and file Building Worker Group.  Our sincere condolences go out to his wife Helen, his daughters, plus the rest of his family and friends. 

Brian's blacklist file starts in 1978 and ran to 49 pages, the largest held by The Consulting Association. During the miners strike, Brian was part of the Laing's Lock Out Committee, and was presented with a High Court injunction to stop picketing after he and other activists were sacked for their union activities on a building site in South London. He ignored it. 
He was also spied on by Mark Jenner, the undercover police agent provocateur from the Special Demonstration Squad, and was a core participant in the public inquiry into undercover policing. 
Brain sat on the BSG executive and spoke at our AGMs, until ill health led to him to stand down. Brian was instrumental in setting up a private meeting in Brussels with the European Commissioner Laszlo Andor, which resulted in new anti-blacklisting legislation being presented to the European parliament. 
Brian was uncompromising in his call for an independent investigation into possible union collusion in blacklisting. This is Brian in his own words, when he wrote a review for Blacklisted:
"The book says I raged against the blacklist. I did and still do. But I have to say the thing about it which angers, in fact, enrages me most, is that some full time officials undoubtedly aided and abetted blacklisting of rank and file union members and some are probably still doing this as the Blacklist continues. It is painfully obvious building employers – who regularly wined and dined full time union officials, took some on golf outings and to sporting contests, to very expensive posh hotels, and even on visits to the Naval and Military Gentlemen’s Club – would demand some things in return! After all there is no such thing as a free lunch and we’re talking about this with knobs on here! Don’t tell us that sometimes the names of site union militants and activists did not come up, and what full time officials said, in these circumstances, did not end up on some Consulting Association (CA) files. This sort of socialising, fraternising and consorting with building employers masquerading as ‘negotiations’ is corrupt and corrupting in the extreme. It’s absolutely disgusting to think that while fulltime union officials were doing this many rank and file union members were being blacklisted out of existence!"

Brian was one of the blacklisted construction workers who signed the Open Letter to UNITE calling for an investigation to be set up. It is now too late for Brian, but we hope that the UNITE EC will set up the investigation into possible collusion ASAP. 

Anyone who has heard Brain speak will remember his booming Glaswegian voice, disdain for union bureaucracy and his liberal use of industrial language. I've stood on pickets lines and attended union conference with Brian. I didn't always agree with everything Brian said (but that is not unusual in the labour movement) and internal union polemics were part of his persona, but it is undeniable that Brian was one of the leading rank and file industrial militants of his generation, who had a significant impact on trade unionism in the construction industry. 
As a fitting tribute, former bricklayer, Neil Findlay MSP submitted
Motion S5M-17548 to the Scottish Parliament titled: 
Brian Higgins - a working class hero (full text attached)

Further details to follow. Our thoughts are with his family.


Dave Smith
Blacklist Support Group
blogwww.hazards.org/blacklistblog

SUICIDE OF MEN IN BUILDING TRADE

ONS figures 2011-2015
To coincide with this, Public Health England (PHE), Business in the Community (BITC) and Samaritans have joined forces to produce toolkits for employers on how to prevent suicide and how to minimise the impact when it does happen.
The new ONS analysis shows that suicides are less common for females than males, and that there are differences in the types of occupation where suicide is more common. For women, occupations with a high risk of suicide include nurses (23% above the national average), primary school teachers (42% above average) and those working in culture, media and sport (69% above average).
For men, low skilled labourers in construction had a risk that was 3 times higher than that the average for England; men working in skilled construction jobs also had an increased risk. Both male and female care workers have a risk of suicide that was almost twice the national average.
***********


Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Dodgy language and political debate.

George Galloway - Sacked For Alleged Antisemitism

In a recent posting, Brian Bamford, referred to what he saw as the misuse of language in political debate. He argued that it is extremely stupid or foolish to equate Tommy Robinson and his 'basket of deplorable's ' in the English Defence League - ardent supporters of the state of Israel -  with the political systems of Italy and Nazi Germany, by describing them as Nazi or Fascist. Likewise, while many find Donald Trump equally deplorable, he's no Fascist either. The terms have been robbed of their real meaning of totalitarian national socialist dictatorships and are now merely used as  term of abuse. 

The same can also be applied to the term antisemitism - hostility to or prejudice against Jews.  The word is now used to conflate criticism of the state of Israel with anti-semitism and to silence and bring down critics of Israel such as George Galloway, Ken Livingstone and Peter Willsman. 

Galloway was recently sacked by talkRADIO for an allegedly anti-Semitic tweet. He praised Liverpool's win, before adding: "No #Israel flags on the cup! - appearing to reference Tottenham's strong links with the Jewish community. On Monday, talkRadio terminated his weekly show. Galloway later said: "I love Jews. I don't like Israel."

While Galloway holds pro-Palestinian sympathies and refuses to recognize Israel as a legitimate state, it is difficult to see how his remarks are anti-Semitic. Historically, Tottenham Hotspur F.C. has had a significant Jewish following and Tottenham supporters, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, refer to themselves as the 'Yid Army' and have adopted 'Yid' as a badge of pride. The football club accused Galloway of being a racist despite their fans using the term 'Yid'! Are Tottenham fans also Antisemites?  Mr Galloway hit back at his former employer, tweeting: "See you in Court guys." 

Although Ken Livingstone was accused of antisemitism, he eventually resigned from the Labour Party denying that he was anti-Semitic or had brought the party into disrepute. Livingstone's crime was to have referred to the Haavara agreement signed by the Nazi government and Zionist leadership that aided the relocation of Jews to Israel and to claim that this showed Hitler, supported Zionism. Livingstone, also held pro-Palestinian sympathies and like Galloway was a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn.

The case of Peter Willsman is equally intriguing. Labour suspended the NEC member over antisemitism when he claimed that the Israeli embassy had "almost certainly" whipped up the antisemitism row within the Labour Party, which some see as a ploy to bring down the current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. How this remark can be construed as anti-Semitic strains credulity to the limits. In 2017, the Labour shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, called on the government to launch an immediate inquiry into "improper interference in our democratic politics" after the disclosure that an Israeli embassy official had plotted to "take down" UK MPs regarded as hostile. Yet, Thornberry, was not accused of antisemitism for alleging that the Israel embassy was improperly interfering in the political affairs of this country, only Willsman, who was saying much the same thing.



If Jeremy Corbyn had even a modicum of leadership ability or even a backbone, he could have laid much of this fake antisemitism to rest long ago. Yet he continues to bend the knee and kowtow to his detractors and those who seek undermine him. Corbyn and the public school school communists who advise and surround him, thought they could draw a line under this, by adopting the IHRA definition of antisemitism, yet they were totally wrong as many predicted. If Corbyn wants to be the next Prime Minister, he needs to grow a backbone and show some leadership.

'KITCHEN SINK!': Kier REPORT in the FT

'Kier investors get that sinking feeling as they smell another Carillion'
Editor:  BELOW is a report in the FT published yesterday
and written by Matthew Vincent:

FOR new chief executives, “kitchen sinking” is a business tactic — dishing all the dirt on a company’s falling profit, higher costs and rising debt in one go, in an early trading update. For contractor Kier, kitchen sinking is also a business in itself — fixing domestic plumbing for local authorities, housing associations and private landlords, in one visit, in “responsive repairs”.

In fact, its website features an employee with his hand up a kitchen U-bend. So it was perhaps not surprising that Kier’s chief of seven weeks, Andrew Davies, was also elbow-deep in unpleasantness on Monday: warning that a £40m plunge in profit would mean falling back into debt only months after a £265m fundraising.  Commentators quickly donned the rubber gloves. FT Alphaville called it a “massive kitchen sink profit warning . . . an Olympic sized-bath”. Stifel’s analyst saw it as “a clearing of the decks” if not the draining board. The Independent feared for the crockery: “If he is indulging in kitchen sinking . . . he’s playing a dangerous game”. But it is arguably far worse — because Mr Davies’ sink is so very small. He is only dumping £15m of bad news into it, which is the hit from accelerating his cost-cutting plans. All of the other £25m reduction in profit is from a circa-£250m collapse in revenue from Kier’s day-to-day highway, home maintenance and building operations, which he cannot manipulate with a pair of Marigolds.

If all £40m had been simply kitchen sinking, analysts and shareholders would have not held their noses.  Instead, Liberum downgraded its target share price for the second time in two weeks, from £6 to £4 to £3.20 — and it serves as Kier’s own broker. But investors felt £1.60 was the low water mark, giving the group a market value of only two times its revised earnings. Why? Because, if this is not kitchen sinking, it really stinks. It proves that all of the financial forecasts made at the time of last December’s rights issue — under previous chief Haydn Mursell — were wrong. How else could Kier raise a net £250m of new funds explicitly to strengthen its balance sheet but now warn of a return to net debt by its June 30 year-end? As Brewin Dolphin investment manager John Moore put it: “It has broken trust with investors, which does not bode well.

It also smells horribly like Carillion, the government contractor that collapsed in early 2018, after its debt spiralled as its working capital ran out.  Who would not be concerned when both Liberum and Peel Hunt, Kier’s other corporate broker, estimated a £30m to £40m working capital outflow this year? As Mr Moore added: “Comparisons will be made with the likes of Carillion and, indeed, Kier has lots of complex long-term contracts and individual subsidiaries, which makes for an opaque situation.” Kier is at least less murky than Carillion in three ways. First, it is not reliant on a few huge low-margin construction contracts — it has about 500, and 90 per cent of them are for £10m or less. Second, it is profitable — it will still make £130m this year; Carillion made billion-pound losses. Third, its chief is yet to roll up his sleeves on a new strategy — he will give details on July 30. However, if he cannot cut more costs, and dare not ask investors to back a second rights issue, his strategy will need to be much more straightforward than a kitchen sink U-bend: sell assets to pay down more debt — before investors, or lenders, pull the plug.  Woodford: For Sale sign?

Purplebricks, the struggling online-only estate agent, is trying to persuade reluctant home sellers that they will not have to “do it all themselves”, in TV adverts citing the support it offered to “Sarah and Dom”, “Neil and Glynis” and “Daisy and Chris”. But it seems there is one couple only too happy to arrange a Purplebricks deal entirely on their own: outgoing founders Michael and Kenny Bruce. On Monday, it was revealed that they had sold their respective 11 and 2 per cent stakes directly to Axel Springer, the German media group, which already had a 12.4 per cent shareholding. For Purplebricks’ new management, this DIY deal provides a clean break with the past — and a failed overseas strategy — as well as even more committed backer of digital businesses. For Axel Springer, the DIY deal provides a way to avoid an overhang of stock in the market, and to a send a message that it is doubling its bet on a share price recovery. But for crisis-hit fund manager Neil Woodford, it may provide something even more desperately needed: a buyer for his 29 per cent Purplebricks stake. On the day that the Woodford Equity Income fund had to suspend trading as it scrambles to sell assets and meet redemptions, the Springer deal creates a possible exit. It would now take only one phone call from Springer to Woodford to do a deal for the whole group. If only all estate agent conversations could be so simple.

matthew.vincent@ft.com
****************

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Reply to Manchester Cllr. John Leech

by Les May
IT would not be reasonable to expect John Leech to be fully aware of why the response of Councillor Kelly and the other Liberal Democrats to the electoral fraud by Councillor Faisal Rana is considered to be wholly inadequate.   So I will provide some background.

This is what I wrote in the period just before the council meeting which was asked to consider the matter.


After I had been informed that he had written to the Chief Executive I wrote.


Writing to the Chief Executive, or in the case of the Conservatives, putting down a motion, is the equivalent of what I would call ‘Resolutionary Socialism’. You pass a resolution and expect it to change the world. It doesn’t, it’s just the lazy way of appearing to do something.

In particular I would like to draw attention to the following passage in what I wrote which was taken from the Pickles’ review into electoral fraud, Securing the Ballot

Electoral fraud and corruption is intertwined with other forms of crime as well. Local authorities have a large procurement role.  A group of people who cheat their way to power are unlikely to hold a higher moral standard when handing out public contracts, or when making quasi-judicial decision on planning and licensing. Electoral registration fraud is connected with financial crime
and illegal immigration.’


In view of the above the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives ought to be protesting loud and long and often, that a self confessed electoral fraudster has been given any responsibility for finance in the town. They are not.

Unfortunately in Rochdale it isn’t only fellow councillors who turn a blind eye to improper behaviour by one of their number. We have council officers who will do anything to avoid admitting that they turned a blind eye to the fact that Councillor Rana failed to declare his interests within the 28 day period after his election, as he was required to do.

This is what the guidance to councillors from the Department for Communities and Local Government says:

When you are first elected, co-opted, or appointed a member to your council or authority, you must, within 28 days of becoming a member, tell the monitoring officer who is responsible for your council’s or authority’s register of members’ interests about your disclosable pecuniary interests.
Note the word ‘must’, it could not be clearer could it? Rana did not do it, and the Monitoring Officer turned a blind eye. What sort of a town do we live in?


***************

Manchester LibDem Boss Upbraids NV on Critique

 BELOW John Leech, the leader of the 
LibDems on Greater Manchester Council,
queries Northern Voices, over its criticism of Andy
Kelly and the LibDem opposition on the Labour 
dominated Rochdale Council. 

Dear Brian

I would have thought that this is something you ought to be taking up with Rochdale Labour Councillors, who have given Cllr Rana this role. I am also not sure what you are suggesting in relation to Cllr Andy Kelly. He has an excellent attendance record at Council, and I think has only missed one Council meeting in 8 years. I know from personal experience that it is very tough to attend everything when you are the only Councillor, and I think that Cllr Kelly has done an excellent job of holding the Labour Council to account.

Kind regards

John Leech

Election Fraud Rewarded with Finance Job

Why is 'Two Votes' Rana Welcome on Rochdale Town Council?
Cllr. 'Two Votes' Faisal Rana

LABELLED by Private Eye as a 'Rotten Borough' because of its Council's tolerant acceptance of Cllr. Faisal Rana's mis-doings in helping himself to two postal votes when he was elected in May 2018 local elections, the Rochdale Labour Party has now decided to reward him with the Cabinet position of Assistant Portfolio Holder for Finance.  

It is not the first time that the self-confessed fraud Cllr. Rana has held this position, he was in the job before he accepted a caution from the Greater Manchester Police for election fraud.  As a concession he humbly stood down at that time, and it was argued that he had been punished for his untoward behaviour at the time.

Fortunately the Lib Dem and Conservative opposition to the Labour Party administration on Rochdale Council is about as floppy as a bunch of wet lettuces and are unlikely to refuse to work with the blatant fraudster Cllr. Rana the Councillor for Spotland and Failinge ward.  When a no confidence motion against Cllr. Rana was put to the Rochdale Council, the Labour Councillors, as expected backed the fraudster, but for some reason the leader of the Lib Dems didn't show for the vote.

It should in fairness to Cllr. Rana be pointed out that he has a large property portfolio in Rochdale and beyond,. This may have impressed the council leader Allen Brett and perhaps is the reason he got the assistant Finance portfolio job.
We must await further developments to see if anyone has the guts to oppose Cllr. Rana's new appointment.  Who knows perhaps Rochdale Council will again come to the attention of Private Eye's Rotten Borough's coloumn?.

*************


Monday, 3 June 2019

Tommy Robinson & Blow Up Dolls

by Les May

SOME people live out their erotic fantasies with blow up dolls. Others, if you will pardon the expression, ‘get their rocks off’ by inflating the importance of minor political figures, then having first built them up, they attack them to demonstrate their own impeccable anti-racist/fascist/nazi credentials.

I’m sure Tommy Robinson is grateful for the publicity he gets from this treatment. He’s no fool. He knows that every stunt he pulls will generate predictable outrage from ‘the left’ and so double or triple his news value.  A cool appraisal of his activities shows a lack of coherence.  What I gathered from his election leaflet is that he would make as much trouble as possible in the European parliament if he was elected and he was going to give his salary to the victims of sexual grooming. Get the violins out!

Attacking Robinson by trying to suggest that what he stands for is synonymous with the political systems of Italy and Germany in the 1930s and 40s may give some people the cosy glow that they are ‘fighting Fascism’.  They’re not, they are posturing.

As a child I knew men who really had fought the Nazis.  A childhood friend grew up without the father who had died being part of that fight.  I was educated by a man who became a Quaker after the horror of what he had seen in the war.  In one of my first jobs I worked with a man who had chased the Nazis out of Italy after that country surrendered.   Don’t dishonour these men by posturing.

Next time you hear a man claiming that he is ‘fighting Fascism’ by shouting at Tommy Robinson and his ilk, ask yourself this question; Do I think he would change places with just one of the men who landed on the beaches of Normandy on 6 June 1944?  I wouldn’t; would you?

**********

Does Israel Interfere In UK Politics?

by Les May

HERE’s a little test.  Which of these stories are you prepared to dismiss a priori as untrue a prioriIn other words they must be fabrications because they could not possibly be trueSo here we go.

1. Russia sought to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election.

2. Russia sought to influence the outcome of the 2016 referendum.

3. Israel sought to discredit the then Deputy Foreign Minister Alan Duncan because he has expressed support for the Palestinian civil rights.

There are plausible reasons for believing the first two.  Whilst Trump has been the focus of media attention in reporting the Special Counsel Investigation the Mueller team indicted thirteen Russian citizens and three Russian entities, including the Internet Research Agency and twelve members of the Russian GRU cyber espionage group group known as Fancy Bear .  There are ongoing investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 Brexit referendum being undertaken by the Electoral Commission and Parliament’s Culture Select Committee.  Data released by Twitter in 2018 identified 3,841 accounts of Russian origin affiliated with the Internet Research Agency.

So what about the third story? Unlike the first two where there is no ‘smoking gun’ we have video evidence that the story is true.



This is how the Jewish Chronicle reported it


and the comments from Al Jazeera the broadcaster responsible for the film


The ease with which some commentators can turn an attack on an Israeli policy into an attack on British Jews can be seen in this article in the Times of Israel.


If you have the patience to view all four of the Al Jazeera films about how Israel is seeking to covertly influence UK politics and the way in which the relationship between Israel and the Palestinians is discussed you will note that one of the concerns expressed is that new Labour MPs do not feel it necessary to join the Friends of Israel group.  What is of interest is that the Labour MPs referred to were the 2015 intake, in other words long before Jeremy Corbyn was even a twinkle in Momentum’s eye.

The suspension of Peter Willsman from the Labour party is following an all too familiar path.  Tom Watson claims his remarks were ‘offensive’; Stella Creasy tweeted:  ‘Anyone who supported Willsman for the NEC after the first outburst needs to hang their head in shame they indulged this hatred’. I’ve searched to find a recording of what Willsman said and cannot find it.  All I have found is commentary. Have either of these two done any better?

One thing Willsman has been reported as saying is ‘… it’s almost certain who is behind all this anti-Semitism against Jeremy, almost certainly it’s the Israeli embassy.’   Offensive?  Hatred?  On the basis of what we know the Israeli embassy has got form on this one.

As for whether the Labour party has been infiltrated by outside bodies intent on changing its policies. It’s happened before, just think Militant and watch the videos.  You too Mr Willsman.