2 July 2020
Diary of a Corbynista
Leicester Incredibly Important
by Don Urquhart
In a long Independent article covering many aspects of Maxine Peake’s career and thoughts there was the following:
“Systemic racism is a global issue,” she adds. “The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services.” (A spokesperson for the Israeli police has denied this, stating that “there is no tactic or protocol that calls to put pressure on the neck or airway”.)
Rebecca Long-Bailey tweeted a link to the article and was fired by Sir Keir Starmer because this paragraph could be interpreted as anti-Semitic. Or so he said.
People “are taking too many liberties with the guidance” to ease lockdowns in some parts of the world, says Boris Johnson.
So today’s BBC News item.
If you want coaching on taking liberties Johnson is clearly the go to man or his advisor Dominic Cummings.
The government is now pursuing the herd immunity strategy required by their billionaire backers. They will no longer attempt to justify themselves at daily briefings where even the most reliable press toadies were asking awkward questions. Johnson and Co. have crept under the cover of their 80 majority. In the Commons they can say and do what they please confident in the acquiescence of their lobby fodder. They don’t have to justify themselves to anyone and when people take to the streets they will blame anyone but themselves. Somehow or other it will all be down to Jeremy Corbyn. Were it not a matter of life and death the process would be amusing to watch.
To justify his government’s inaction when Hitler marched into the Sudetenland, Neville Chamberlain described it as “a quarrel in a far away country, between people of whom we know nothing”. Now we know a lot about foreign countries near and far and it seems there are few with governments which are above criticism for abuses of some kind.
But I find myself in Chamberlain’s corner when it comes to deciding what our country should do about foreign tyrants. Where would you stop?
It’s not that I am unsympathetic towards the victims, for example the starving children in Yemen. And I think we should urge our government to give every help to refugees, aid agencies and peacemaking diplomats.
We are not the world’s policeman. We are a medium sized country on the edge of Europe. So when I see so much energy expended by our politicians in admonishing foreign governments in the Middle East I tend to feel they would be better deployed finding food, heating and housing for their constituents.
It’s a brave person sitting in a relatively safe Western democracy (leaving Covid-19 to one side) who pronounces on the rights and wrongs of the Middle East.
In many countries people are hitting the streets to express a view on the upcoming annexation of the West Bank. I will make one risky pronouncement – the Israel/Palestine issue is much more complex than an evil apartheid state imposing its will on an impoverished neighbour.
The geopolitical context has virtually every state in the region involved in a war of some kind. Rather than demonising Israel we should be getting behind the UN Peace Process. Fixing one of the problems is just whacking a mole as our Prime Minister might say.
Leicester is now going down into lockdown 11 days after the Health Secretary flagged the city as a problem. The local people are frustrated about the unwillingness of central government to share Test and Trace information. This is consistent with the government’s attempts to bury bad news and focus attention elsewhere. Today the Prime Minister will be presenting a bogus Rooseveltian recovery plan for example.
Leicester is just one of many cities where long term deprivation is proving a happy home for Coronavirus.
Dr Bharat Pankhania, a former consultant in communicable disease control at Public Health England, told BBC Radio 4 the situation in Leicester was “a reflection of a premature lifting of lockdown measures” which were “not strict enough in any case”.
“Where you have a background level of circulating virus plus a susceptible population – one that has never had this infection before – they’re all sitting targets.
“It is well overdue that we have local control for local outbreaks because going forward six or nine months we will have such outbreaks in Manchester, Birmingham, other big cities, so it’s better to grease up and oil the machinery of local responsiveness.”
The Prime Minister’s Dudley speech yesterday promised money for education. He is an old hand at this. Can you assign the dates at the bottom to the various announcements? The last 2 are Labour ones to confuse things.
- He tweeted photos from the visit and said the government was “investing an extra £14 billion in schools to help give all young people the same opportunities to succeed.”
- He has promised additional funding – an extra £14bn on primary and secondary schools over the next three years.
- The prime minister says the “cash is there” for a 10-year plan to refurbish and rebuild schools across England.
- Schools in England are being promised a £1bn rebuilding programme as Boris Johnson commits to giving children a “world-class education”
- Boris Johnson has upped his funding promise for schools, vowing to provide £4.6 billion per year extra by 2022
- Schools budgets under the pledges will rise by £2.6 billion for 2020-21, £4.8 billion for 2021 to 2022 and £7.1 billion for 2022 to 2023.
- Boris vows to splash £6.4bn on schools
- Boris Johnson announces £1 billion school building programme
- Labour pledges £10.5bn school funding boost
- Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to pump money into the nation’s cash-strapped schools as part of a £20bn education package.