All posts filed under: UK

Warnings of protests at Grenfell Tower Inquiry as anger and frustration mount

Theo Russell Updated with latest developments 2/10/18 Warnings of protests at the Grenfell Tower Inquiry were heard this week as anger and frustration mount over the direction of the inquiry, at a meeting between the Fire Brigades Union and the local community close to the site of the fire. The community is increasingly concerned at the direction of the inquiry into the UK’s worst fire since the Blitz in WW2, where the presiding judge initially refused to take any questions from community members and survivors. Moyra Samuels of the Justice 4 Grenfell campaign received loud applause from the meeting on Monday night when she said “there should be protests outside the inquiry to show the judge that people are not happy with it”. Her call was backed up by Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union general secretary, who said “if a total ban on the use of external flammable cladding is not announced, maybe we should start protesting against the inquiry.” Samuels told the meeting “We are a tough community, but unfortunately we discovered that through …

WATCH: 1982, Tony Benn on the “divisions” in the Labour Party

An interview with Labour party stalwart and “Lefty” Tony Benn,from January 1982. It’s interesting to compare the issues being discussed 36 years ago with those of today. Compare also the tone of the interview and interviewer with the way today’s Labour politicians are handled by the mainstream media.

Operation Nina – the Novichok Hoax

There’s no shortage of commentators in the Western mainstream telling us how Russia planned its attack on the Skripals, or how Syria planned its chemical weapons massacres. Anyone who expresses a different opinion from this accepted narrative stands condemned and belittled as a “conspiracy theorist”. But the criticism works both ways – for us it is they who are the conspiracy theorists, as well as the conspirators.

Behind Your Back: How the new “anti-stalking” bill could silence online dissent

John Ward MP Sarah Wollaston quite rightly wants the police to do more about (and tighten up the prosecution of) potentially dangerous stalkers. But now the crime includes “Cyber abuse”, her Private Member’s Bill is too lax in its definitions about what stalking is, and police guidelines on priorities. Equally worrying, a majority of those sponsoring the legislation have dubious elements in their pasts. In a special investigation, The Slog raises the alarm. Viewed in the round, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the Tory MP Sarah Wollaston is a good egg. She isn’t Party voting fodder, she had a real job as a doctor before entering Parliament, she is suspicious of private sector health rip-offs, and she’s enormously popular in her Totnes constituency, where her ability to double and then treble majorities seems immune from the whimsical winds of electoral change as a whole. She espouses radical reform (in favour of the citizen) in how UK politics operate, and rebelled against the Government to vote against setting up a Royal Charter to regulate …

The BBC and transgender children

by Sarah Cooksley, via Liverpool Resisters, August 16, 2018 Over the past few years, many parents have begun to take note that the BBC is becoming ever more blatant with publicising and encouraging the transgender ideology amongst children. Where has this come from, and why? In January 2012, the BBC funded a Trans Camp, directed by All About Trans. There was considerable input from the CEO of Mermaids, Susie Green. In 2013, All About Trans met with the BBC Editorial Policy Department.  These meetings were described as “interactions” and the result has been several programmes specifically geared towards young people. All About Trans has several aims as a professional media organisation, but the first and foremost is to increase the public’s awareness of the existence of trans children. A year after these “interactions”, CBBC produced a TV series entitled “My Life: I am Leo”. Leo, aged 13, “always knew I was really a boy” because girls wear dresses and have long hair, whereas boys wear different things and have short hair. CBBC is a BBC …

Livingstone on antisemitism

Philip Roddis Back in April 2016, at the time of the suspension from the British Labour Party of Naz Shah and Ken Livingstone, I wrote: Thinking people can go into a tailspin of despair when confronted with the stark truth they’ve overestimated the power of reason. Yesterday self righteousness, pack instinct, unthinking emotionalism, malice and rank opportunism swept reason aside in the Labour Party. I took the matter seriously, but not seriously enough. At the time the brouhaha seemed just one more attack – of a piece with those on bombing Syria, shooting terrorists for Laura, losing Scotland for Labour, Virgin Traingate (did you spot the anachronism there?) and lamentable dress sense – on what Jonathan Cook recently and with characteristic cogencycalled “an old school socialist Labour Leader, whose programme threatens to loosen the 40-year stranglehold of neoliberalism on British society”. In short I was complacent. I failed to foresee that the antics of John Mann – who under Labour rules should have had the whip withdrawn, while finding himself on the losing end of a slander writ – would prove an opening shot …

To Make a Sailor Blush

W Stephen Gilbert I do not believe in personal abuse of any sort. Treat people with respect, treat people as you wish to be treated yourself, listen to their views, agree or disagree but have that debate. There’s going to be no rudeness from me … I want a kinder politics, a more caring society. Don’t let them reduce you to believing in less. So I say to all activists, whether Labour or not, cut out the personal abuse, cut out the cyber bullying, and especially the misogynistic abuse online, and let’s get on with bringing real values back into politics.” Those were the words of Jeremy Corbyn in his first conference speech as leader on September 29th 2015. He was heartily cheered. The parliamentary Labour Party has many members who, in all seriousness, would rather lose the next election under another leader – some would say any other leader – than win it led by Corbyn. That their own survival and that of their allies as MPs might well depend on winning that election …

They say there’s no “magic money tree”…well there is! But…

Bryan Gocke In Britain, if it wasn’t for BREXIT we would be discussing (among other things) Labour’s proposed economic policies, including an expansion of public sector spending. There would be a storm of media led disparagement about plans to stimulate the economy through borrowing and increased taxation and concerns raised about not paying down the national debt. As Theresa May said whilst campaigning for the last general election “There is no magic money tree.” I find it particularly disheartening that many well informed, left leaning people buy this criticism, worrying whether the country can afford improved public services and whether this will make Labour unelectable. The stock response of the Left to this would normally go along the lines of: The Tories are in disarray and deeply split over BREXIT and thus just might be even more unelectable than a slightly radical Labour Party. Britain is a rich country; surely it can afford better public services than it currently has? Labour’s proposals are, in truth, underwhelming! They represent such a modest step in a process …

Joining dots on the Skripal Case: Part 2 – Four “Invisible” Clues

Rob Slane Having stated in Part 1 why I believe the official story does not hold water, I want in this piece to take a look at four important aspects of the case. However, what is particularly remarkable about them is not so much the aspects themselves, but rather the fact that they seem to have been either: Ignored altogether or Quietly forgotten Yet in each instance they are clearly significant aspects, and so the fact that they are being ignored or forgotten, together with the official story being implausible, only goes to arouse suspicions that they may be crucial pointers to what really happened on 4th March. Below are four of what I would consider the most important aspects that fit into this category: The Invisible Mr Miller Three days after the Salisbury incident, the Daily Telegraph published an article which included the following details: “A security consultant who has worked for the company that compiled the controversial dossier on Donald Trump was close to the Russian double agent poisoned last weekend, it has …

Joining some dots on the Skripal case: Part 1: An Official Story That Doesn’t Hold Water

I have asked a lot of questions in relation to the Skripal case and many, if not most, are still unanswered. However, I want in this piece to go further than asking questions, and to start to join a few dots together. There is much to say, and rather than doing it in one long piece, which only three people will have the attention span to sit through, I want to do it over a number of articles. Probably four or five. We shall see.

Lift the ban on communications! Free Julian Assange!

by James Coga, via WSWS June 6 will mark 10 weeks since the Ecuadorian government blocked all communication by WikiLeaks’ editor Julian Assange with the outside world, including personal visitors. Assange has been trapped inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London since 2012, when Quito granted him asylum in the face of a legal witch-hunt by the governments of the United States, Britain and Sweden. Britain was moving to extradite Assange to Sweden on trumped-up allegations of sexual abuse as the first step in transferring him to the US to face charges of espionage, which carry a possible death sentence. Washington had vowed to punish Assange for having exposed before the world war crimes committed by the US in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as US intrigues against other countries. In remarks last Wednesday, Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno attempted to defend the silencing of Assange. He sought to deny—unconvincingly—that this action was the outcome of his government’s capitulation to pressure and threats by the United States. Moreno put forward an Orwellian conception of freedom of speech …

Whose words was Yulia reading?

Yulia Skripal’s surprise video statement and walkabout yesterday has, as usual in this case, raised more questions than it has provided answers. The MSM has predictably addressed none of those questions and been content to simply air the video along with portions of her statement, laced with anti-Russian commentary and distorted summaries of the backstory (see here and here and here). Fortunately those in the alt media are free to try to do a little better.

What Would Sherlock Holmes Have Made of the Government’s Explanation of the Case of Sergei and Yulia Skripal?

by Rob Slane from The Blogmire In an article on 3rd May, the Guardian journalist, Luke Harding, made the following rather amusing observation: Since the Skripals were found stricken on a park bench, Downing Street has stuck to one version of events. Theresa May says it is ‘highly likely’ Moscow carried out the attack using a Soviet-made nerve agent. Only the Kremlin had the motive to kill its former officer, she argues.” The funny part, in case you didn’t spot it, was his claim that Downing Street has stuck to one version of events. He is of course correct, but what he doesn’t tell his readers is that this one version of events has had a plethora of sub-narratives attached to it, none of which have been able to remotely support the main thesis. Sticking to one version of events is reasonable only inasmuch as that version can be supported by facts. On the other hand, if the version of events being stuck to is not supported by the facts, or if the “facts” constantly …

Anti-Semitism. Orchestrated Offensive against Jeremy Corbyn in the UK

by Jonathan Cook For months, a campaign has been aimed at destabilising British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, accused of anti-Semitism. The right-wing party, Tony Blair’s heir, and pro-Israel circles are targeting both Corbyn’s left-wing line and his support for the Palestinian people. Britain’s opposition leader should have plenty on his plate at the moment, but Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is spending much of his time instead putting out fires as he is attacked from within and without his party for failing to get to grips with a supposed “anti-semitism crisis” besetting Labour. Late last month leading Jewish groups organised a large “Enough is enough” march on parliament, attended by prominent Labour MPs, to accuse Corbyn of siding with anti-Semites. In response to the rally, Corbyn issued a statement acknowledging that “anti-semitism has surfaced within the Labour Party,” apologised and promised “to redouble my efforts to bring this anxiety to an end.” Under Media Attack But there are no signs that Corbyn’s problems are about to end. On April 17, he had to endure the …

WATCH: More Skripal-weird: even head of OPCW doesn’t seem to have a clue what Novichok is

Raising the serious possibility even the director-general of the OPCW doesn’t really know what Novichok is supposed to be, Ahmet Uzumcu, incumbent of that post, claimed May 4 that a “quarter cup to a half cup” of Novichok had been used to attack the Skripals in Salisbury. This, of course, would be enough to kill every man. woman and child in the city. This led into an even odder “clarification” from the OPCW within hours, which didn’t so much correct Uzumcu’s strange claim as pretend it had never happened and replaced it with the statement that the amount used in Salisbury was presently unknown but would be measured in “milligrams”.

Reality Check – the Tories DID NOT win the local elections.

We were never supposed to be here. This was never supposed to happen. Corbyn keeps ruining plans and breaking rules and gaining votes and making sense. He says reasonable things, queitly, and people listen. This is not how politics is supposed to go.

The bottom line is that the establishment is getting more and more frustrated with Corbyn because he simply won’t do what he’s told. He won’t bang the war drums on command, betray the unions, sell off the NHS or resign in disgrace. He won’t even lose when he’s supposed to.

Corbyn should learn his lesson: compromise with the devil is not an option

Corbyn’s team decided to play soft and weak, in the hopes that letting a little blood would sate the thirst of the media. But you don’t abate a feeding frenzy by chumming the water. You don’t compromise with the devil by selling a piece of your soul.

Douma: Part 1 — Deception in Plain Sight

by Media Lens, April 25, 2018 UK corporate media are under a curious kind of military occupation. Almost all print and broadcast media now employ a number of reporters and commentators who are relentless and determined warmongers. Despite the long, unarguable history of US-UK lying on war, and the catastrophic results, these journalists instantly confirm the veracity of atrocity claims made against Official Enemies, while having little or nothing to say about the proven crimes of the US, UK, Israel and their allies. They shriek with a level of moral outrage from which their own government is forever spared. They laud even the most obviously biased, tinpot sources blaming the ‘Enemy’, while dismissing out of hand the best scientific researchers, investigative journalists and academic sceptics who disagree. Anyone who challenges this strange bias is branded a ‘denier’, ‘pro-Saddam’, ‘pro-Gaddafi, ‘pro-Assad’. Above all, one robotically repeated word is generated again and again: ‘Apologist… Apologist… Apologist’. Claims of a chemical weapons attack on Douma, Syria on April 7, offered yet another textbook example of this reflexive warmongering. …

The Timeline of Shame

by Thomas G. Clark, Another Angry Voice, April 16, 2018 In March 2018 the Saudi tyrant Mohammed bin Salman began a month-long tour of Western nations, securing new arms deals with Britain, the United States, and France. In early March 2018, the brutal Islamist tyrant received a warm Tory welcome in London. Against a backdrop of widespread criticism of the repressive Saudi regime and their ongoing campaign of war crimes in Yemen, Theresa May agreed a new arms deal with the Saudi regime to supply them 48 Typhoon jets. This deal was signed off by the UK government despite their full knowledge that the Saudis have been using British-manufactured weapons to commit horrific war crimes. Later that month Bin Salman rocked up in the United States to meet Donald Trump. The President of the United States demeaned his office and his nation by begging the Saudi tyrant to “share the wealth“ by buying more American-manufactured weapons. The trip concluded with a new $670 million deal to supply the repressive kingdom with anti-tank missiles and spare …

Alexander Shulgin to the OPCW

The following is the unofficial translation of the statement made by Alexander Shulgin, the head of Russian delegation at the OPCW, at that body’s April 18 Executive Council meeting at the Hague.   The text is provided by the Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Netherlands. Mr. Chairperson, I would like to start my speech with the words that belong to the great thinker Martin Luther, “A lie is like a snowball: the further you roll it, the bigger it becomes”. This wise aphorism is fully applicable to politics. He who has chosen the path of deception will have to lie again and again, making up explanations for discrepancies, spreading disinformation and doing forgery, desperately using all means to cover the tracks of the lies and to hide the truth. The United Kingdom has entered this slippery path. We can clearly see all of this on the example of the “Skripal case” fabricated by the British authorities, this poorly disguised anti-Russian provocation accompanied by an unprecedented propaganda campaign, taken up by a group of countries, …