All posts filed under: UK

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Labour’s Day of Action to save the NHS

For anyone concerned about the appalling crisis in Britain’s NHS, the Labour Party is holding a National Campaign Action Day on January 21st. More information HERE “People are lying on trolleys in corridors waiting to be seen. Hospitals have had to close their doors, unable to admit patients. The health service and social care are at breaking point. It is a crisis made in Downing Street by this Government. It is a national scandal. Despite finding billions of tax giveaways for big business and the richest, Theresa May’s Conservatives failed to find a single penny for the NHS in their Autumn Statement. The government must cancel their tax breaks for the wealthiest and fund our NHS instead. I am demanding that the Prime Minister comes to the House of Commons tomorrow and sets out to the British people how she plans to fix her failure on the NHS. And we need every Labour member to take action. Jeremy Corbyn

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Social-Democracy and the Centre-Left: Decline and Fall?

Viewed retrospectively, the significance of the Reagan-Thatcher counter-revolutionary offensive of the 1980s has been seen primarily as a political project aimed at the overturning of the post-WW2 political and social settlement; an undertaking in which it has largely succeeded. However, perhaps of equal importance was the political assimilation of centre-left, liberal class, into this emerging neo-liberal, neo-conservative movement.

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ΝΑΤΟ, Russia and Cyprus

by Aris Petasis, via Defend Democracy Press The Cyprus problem is a Russian problem as well.  The current purblind negotiations, ostensibly between the two Cypriot communities (82% Greek and 18% Turkish), are strictly directed by NATO under the watchful eye of 40,000 Turkish occupation troops that hold 37% of Cyprus’s land and 54% of its shores.  At every major juncture in Cyprus’ recent history one finds the obsession with Russia of Britain and its successor in the Eastern Mediterranean (EM), America. The Russia factor featured strongly in 1878 (and before of course.)  In that year the Ottomans ceded Cyprus to Britain in exchange for United Kingdom’s military support to the Ottomans (read: Turkish) should Russia attempt to take possession of territories of the Ottomans in Asia.  So, we see the people of Cyprus treated as commodity; Turkey and Britain acting as traders and Russia as collateral.  With the start of WWI Cyprus was put under British military occupation (1914-1925) and then became a British crown colony (1925-1960.)  During WWI when the Turks joined the losing …

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How Britain Funded Syria’s “Moderate Armed Opposition” (aka Terrorists with a Human Face)

by Felicity Arbuthnot, via Global Research A document (1, pdf) produced last December by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, headed: “ UK Humanitarian Aid in Response to The Syria Conflict”, makes interesting reading. The British government it states, has spent “over £100 million” since 2012, “working closely with a range of actors” to “find a political solution to the conflict and prepare to rebuild the country in the post Assad era.” (Emphasis added.) Our efforts … include providing more than £67 million of support to the Syrian opposition.” One of the “actors” to benefit from hefty chunks of British taxpayers moneys is the Syrian National Coalition whose website (2) states, under “Mission Statement and Goals”: “The coalition will do everything in its power to reach the goal of overthrowing the Assad regime …” and to “Establish a transitional government …” (Emphasis added.) Thus the UK government is overtly supporting the illegal overthrow of yet another sovereign government. This all reads like a re-run of Ahmed Chalabi’s Iraq National Congress and Iyad Allawi’s Iraq National …

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The BLACKGUARDING of JACQUELINE WALKER

by W Stephen Gilbert It’s crucial to remember that anti-Semitism is the McGuffin, a plot device that fifth columnists in the Labour Party deploy to further their aim of undermining Jeremy Corbyn. The Jewish community has for centuries been one of the most progressive, radical and creative contributors to Britain’s politics and culture, and there has been a natural and easy affinity between Socialism and Judaism. What Marx called “the Jewish question” has always attracted lively interest and sympathy on the left. This has not changed since Corbyn became Labour leader; not one iota. Though anti-Semitism has frequently been expressed on the right of British politics, racial and/or tribal and/or cultural distinction has rarely before caused dissension on the left. It’s true that male chauvinism and homophobia have been more difficult for the left to grasp, but not for all on the left; James Connolly, the Irish patriot and Socialist thinker who was executed a century ago this year, wrote wisely and well about feminism though he, like all thoughtful men, would not claim to …

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Is Andrew Mitchell MP really suggesting we start WWIII?

The House of Commons is set to have an “emergency debate” on the declaration of a no-fly zone over Syria, specifically to “defend Aleppo from Russia”. The debate, called by Andrew Mitchell, will be over whether or not NATO planes should confront, and attack, Russian jets. Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme Mitchell said: …what we do say is that the international community has an avowed responsibility to protect and that protection must be exerted. If that means confronting Russian air power defensively, on behalf of the innocent people on the ground who we are trying to protect, then we should do that.” He added: I think that Britain should explore with its allies how it would enforce a no-fly zone.” Well, we can save Britain and her allies some time here, there’s nothing to “explore”. There is only one way to enforce a no-fly zone, and that is by shooting down any plane that violates it. There is literally no other action to be taken. Curiously, when the Today host John Humphrys pointed out …

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Liverpool United Aim for the Title

by W Stephen Gilbert Nobody worked harder at the Liverpool Conference than John McDonnell. You could count yourself unlucky if he didn’t breeze in at the session you were attending, however arcanely fringe it might be. He never gave a speech or even a few words that you’d heard before and, though looking increasingly exhausted, he was winningly upbeat, ending with a cry of either “Solidarity!” or “Socialism!” every time. His keynote speech in the main hall put pounds of flesh on the bones of the party’s economic policy, indicating that he’s been working flat out all the rest of the tumultuous year that he has been shadow Chancellor. He’d better pace himself. Labour needs him. Conference also established triumphantly that the Corbyn loyalists who stepped up to fill the suddenly empty seats in the shadow cabinet after the mass exodus were nothing like the fourth eleven that the media and other belittlers claimed. Sadly, I missed the much-praised address by Clive Lewis, but I caught most of his comrades performing in one setting or …

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The Brilliant Boris Johnson Explains Syria Conflict in Four Short Points

by Dean Parker from Russia Insider Nobody does the UN, or ziplines, quite like Boris Johnson. He didn’t quite get to speak at the actual Security Council meeting on Syria (guess Britannia no longer “rules the waves“), but he did find some reporters in the hallway to speak to, which technically makes it “Johnson’s speech at the UN”. He told them: What is absolutely clear is that the Russians bear the moral responsibility for what is taking place,” “You have got aid convoys with UN markings on them being targeted, you have got medical facilities being blown up. “This is not a civil war, this is a proxy war conducted by puppeteers and those puppeteers are principally in the Kremlin.” “They have an opportunity to bring an end to this. They could tell the Assad regime not to fly, not to bomb, to engage with the whole negotiation.” “Instead, I’m afraid you’re seeing a cynical and barbaric protraction of violence and it is tragic.” Leave it to Boris to cut through the clutter and point …

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Game of Knowns

by W Stephen Gilbert How about a game of let’s pretend. Say that Owen Smith gets to make the Leader’s Speech at the Conference on the 28th. I know, but just say. What nobody but me says aloud (but everyone thinks) will start to be said out loud: “Owen Smith is unelectable”. If Smith thinks he can lead Labour to victory in the 2020 general election, he is, to use the word he threw at Jeremy Corbyn, “delusional”. Smith doesn’t have the repertoire to enthuse the electorate. He’s erratic, earnest, voluble without saying anything arresting, malleable and lightweight. Theresa May would eat him for breakfast. And here’s something else that nobody mentions but everybody knows: he’s Welsh. The fact is that, to make a sweeping generalisation, the English hate The Welsh. In just the same way, equally crudely but with a germ of truth, the Scots hate the English. (The Welsh appear not to hate anybody, though they’re understandably suspicious of the English). But I suspect that it would be very hard for a Welsh …

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The Dangers Behind “Electability”

by Natasha Scott They say Jeremy Corbyn is unelectable. The same was said about Bernie Sanders. Sanders launched his campaign for the Democratic nomination with minimum name recognition. In the early weeks, he was polling at just two per cent against Hillary Clinton. By April this year he was neck and neck with her and talk about Bernie being unelectable became silenced as Sanders was ahead of her by about 10% in the polls when compared directly to Trump. As time went by the party machinery proved to be quite successful in disenfranchising the Sanders voters in ways not too dissimilar from what the NEC has used to disenfranchise Corbyn supporters. The corporate (establishment) media largely failed to cover it and when they did it was mostly skewed to work in Clinton’s favour. However, they did often talk about his campaign in regard to misogyny, they tried anti-Semitism but with Sanders being Jewish it was very difficult despite the fact that he highlighted the plight of Palestinians. Where Tens of thousands would turn up to …

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Why do Momentum get such a raw deal?

by Matthew Lane If you listened to much of the media and some Labour MPs, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Momentum were an extreme, far-left, violent, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, brick-throwing bunch of thugs out to infiltrate and then destroy the Labour Party. There have been concerted efforts to paint them as dangerous, threatening and chock full of Trots, Militants, commies, anarchists and hard-left entryists. Rather than being seen as a force for good, a progressive, democratic movement to build on the energy, passion and enthusiasm that was seen in the run-up to Jeremy Corbyn’s landslide victory last September, they are instead seen as a force for evil, a party within a party, a vehicle for the far-left, an organisation intent on deselecting anyone who doesn’t agree with them. A return to the dark old days of the 80s, a decade where bitter divisions in the party led to Labour being unelectable for a generation, is inevitable if Momentum are allowed to get their way, if this terrifying grassroots movement of eager activists – young and …

Greece’s former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis believes that the EU can be reformed, but one wonders whether he actually believes this.

Reforming the EU – Waiting for Godot

by Frank There is a human tendency to cling on to cherished beliefs even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. There was a time, during the heady days of Jacques Delors and the Social Chapter, when the EU appeared to represent a social-democratic and neutral geopolitical bloc; a third force between the USSR as it then was and the US/NATO – this, however, is no longer the case. The EU has long since transmuted into part of an aggressive neo-liberal and neo-conservative imperial alliance under US command. The liberal, centre-left remainers such as Yanis Varoufakis seem to think that it is possible reverse this development and get the EU back to its original prototype, presumably by dint of political will. In view of historical developments this view seems increasingly difficult to sustain. In particular since the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty of 2005 the EU Defence and Security Policy has been aligned with NATO. Indeed, EU membership has become a stalking horse for NATO membership and vice versa. NATO’s geopolitical drive to …

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The 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact & Imperialist Propaganda

In it’s unscientific, unhistorical effort to equate Communism with Nazism, the bourgeois propaganda presents the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact as a medium of expansive policy by the USSR and Hitler’s Germany. The distortion of historical events, the amalgamation of lies and the half-truths by the Imperialists and their collaborators aim in defaming the huge role of the Soviet Union in the anti-fascist struggle of WW2.

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Once again, they lied to us

Russian President Putin’s address to the press, in full, made at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, in June 2016 (English subtitles).   President Putin urged Western journalists to stop accepting passively the narratives dished out by their politicians and unquestioningly passing on mere “tall tales to your people,” and to instead report accurately on the danger inherent in the current nuclear arms race. How can you not understand that the world is being pulled in an irreversible direction?”

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Road to Destruction

by W Stephen Gilbert The Labour party is on a perilous path. That it may end in an irrevocable split is the least of our worries. Of greater concern is the prospect of fighting in the streets. The party conference – scheduled for next month in the fissiparous city of Liverpool, but in some doubt because no security has yet been secured – will attract protesters, probably thousands of them. If it goes ahead, it could turn into the notorious Democratic Convention of 1968 in Chicago, a pitched battle outside the amphitheatre in which police used mace, tear gas and batons, and dozens were hurt including reporters and an observing British MP. Not surprisingly, the subsequent election was won by a Republican, Richard Nixon. Whence this anger, this prospect of civil disobedience? First, consider a proposition: Jeremy Corbyn is the most popular politician in Britain. That the government and the media and the parliamentary Labour party are all in denial about it does not stop it being so. No leader has ever received a mandate …

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Thank you Owen Smith, From a Jeremy Corbyn supporter

Dear Mr Smith, I’m sure you’d agree that 2016 has been a turbulent time for UK politics – indeed I wouldn’t be surprised if my young son were to be writing about it in future exam papers in years to come. I am one of those pesky newcomers to the Labour Party, I joined because, after years of voting Labour through gritted teeth (my first ever vote was in 1997), I had finally found someone willing to speak up for me, and those like me, in Jeremy Corbyn. Oh Mr Smith, how wonderful it was last year to hear the results come in and feel as if I were part of a great change to politics. The hope! The end to feeling disenfranchised by a party I knew in my heart was supposed to be for people like me but had moved so far to the right it made my teeth itch! It was truly a glorious moment! The grassroots movement (Momentum) set up to help spread the word that the Labour Party had had …

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How the PLP have been against Jeremy Corbyn from the very start

by Matthew Lane So, here we are again, another Labour leadership election less than a year since Jeremy Corbyn won the last one in such spectacular fashion (with the biggest mandate of any Labour leader ever). The PLP insist that there has been no coup against him, that the very organised and orchestrated nature of the recent resignations was purely spontaneous and that they are moving against Corbyn now for the good of the party. Because, as we’re so repeatedly told, Corbyn is unelectable. Unelectable. Unelectable. Unelectable. There is, of course, no actual hard evidence to back this up, but the Labour leader and shouts of unelectable have become almost synonymous in the last year. Despite Corbyn being voted back in as an MP for more than 30 years, with increased majorities each time. Despite him winning the Labour leadership election by a landslide last September. Despite Labour holding their own in the local elections amid fervent speculation that the party was about to experience the darkest night in its history, with experts predicting at …

Both are male. Both have beards. The similarities are pretty striking.

HOT to TROT

by W Stephen Gilbert Hands up if you know what a Trot is. Could you recognise one at thirty paces? Could you confidently engage her on the matter of dialectical materialism? Would you, having lost the argument, leave the room if she instructed you to? Yes, the bogeymen are back. Tom Watson, who was (as I understood it) elected deputy leader of the Labour Party because he was smart enough to take it to the Tories, has heard the stirrings of reds under the bed and cannot sleep for worry. It’s very hard to keep a straight face in the face of this farce. John Harris wrote a hilarious account of his time as a weepy 16 year-old Labour youth being upbraided by Trots because he hadn’t done his homework, something any teenager can identify with. In the time-honoured manner, he goes for the ad hominem attack rather than a policy or strategy argument. So the Trots are guilty of “trademark displays of righteous belligerence”[1]. I once heard Harris on Any Questions? and the words …

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UK’s Labour Party: A view from the grass roots

by Rosie Brocklehurst After a whole year of being accused of criminal behaviour with not one shred of evidence, the innocent newbies, would-be Labour joiners, are learning about the state of politics today in a way that will either put them off politics for life or put steel into their backbone. Adrien Mostyn (not his real name), 28, a young film-maker who became interested in politics at the last General Election, believes the Labour Party he joined just over 5 months ago is out to get him. “Why do they hate the grass roots so much?” he asks me. We are talking in a café where I have arranged to get his views as a new member on the new rules that prevent him from voting in the leadership election. Diagnosed late with autism – he was in his early 20s – Adrien has rarely lasted long in a job due to his inability to express feelings of enthusiasm or despair appropriately. He receives ESA at £73 per week, and has jumped from unpaid work …