Corbynista Rides Again

5 October 2023

Corbynista Rides Again

Transports of Delight?

by Don Urquhart

10 September 2023

Mug shot of Don Urquhart

Grant Shapps defends new role as defence sec – but admits he lacks knowledge about Army reports Sky News.

You have to assume he is going through an intense learning process.

But hang on!

Daniel Abed Khalife, the man who escaped from Wandsworth under a van was charged with:

breaching the Official Secrets Act by gathering information that could be useful to an enemy

So will he and Grant be sharing a cell?

13 September 2023

X is the new Twitter.  I am not a heavy user but have noted recently some disturbing trends.  There are tweets of soi-disant newspaper articles highlighting the phenomenal returns celebrities have achieved by using something called Quantum AI.  Chris Packham has tweeted his displeasure at his name being used.  It should be illegal to disseminate fraudulent information on platforms like X, but I see no news of the perpetrators being arrested.  I fear that this is because X does not know who lies behind the handles.

Another development is an explosion in the number of anti-Ukraine/NATO tweets.  I am not sure how healthy this is. You could take the view that it being a war you are entitled to see propaganda from both sides.  This need not deter you from suspecting that Russians are masterminding.

15 September 2023

Although it is estimated that removal of the two child benefit cap will lift 250,000 children out of poverty, Sir Keir Starmer has it as a “tough decision”.  The Daily Mirror tells of a lady whose “tough decision” is whether to feed her children or heat the home.

Struggling mum forced to choose between feeding kids and keeping the heating on

The people advising the Labour leader should at least try to rid him of phrases so beloved of Tory Prime Ministers and Chancellors and so insulting to voters.

16 September 2023

In 2019 The Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) embarked on an investigation into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party. It was fortuitously timed to coincide with a General Election campaign so was warmly welcomed by the Conservative Party, its captive media including the BBC and, perhaps most of all, by Labour Party figures who had lost influence as a result of Party members voting for a leader promising radical policies.

Despite assertions that anti-Semitism was rife in the party, the EHRC report, published in 2020, recorded only two instances involving Ken Livingstone and Pam Bromley.

Here is the Morning Star’s report.

FORMER London mayor Ken Livingstone and ex-Labour councillor Pam Bromley accepted a settlement offer today from the Equality & Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

In its report into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party in October 2020, the EHRC singled out Mr Livingstone and Ms Bromley for allegedly having “contributed” to “unlawful harassment related to Jewish race and religion.”

The two politicians brought a legal challenge against the equalities watchdog, which was aimed at overturning parts of the quango’s report.

The case had been expected to reach court by the end of 2021 and a senior High Court judge gave permission for it to proceed to trial.

The two politicians accepted a deal offered by the EHRC, in which each side withdraws from the case and bears its own costs.

Mr Livingstone and Ms Bromley said in response to the settlement offer: “We believe that, deep down, the EHRC understands that its investigation was flawed and that it acted unlawfully.

“That’s probably why they were willing to settle the case without recovering a penny of their exorbitant costs.”

It is understood the EHRC legal costs were over £215,000, while the Labour Party and the Campaign Against Anti-Semitism (CAA) also spent tens of thousands of pounds in legal fees.

No comments to be found elsewhere in the media.

19 September 2023

Roland is the central character of Ian McEwan’s novel Lessons.  When he is 11 he witnesses a traffic accident:

He began to cry……His tears were for joy….how loving and good people were, how kind the world was that had ambulances in it that came quickly out of nowhere whenever there was sorrow and pain…embedded within a greater network of kindness he had yet to discover.  It seemed to him then….that everything worked and was decent and caring and just.

A child’s view before austerity and the dismantling of public services.

22 September 2023

Tomorrow is the Rejoin Europe march in London.  If I had the legs I would join it.

Why did I ever think that Britain could go it alone?  I feel drawn back to the EU because I want us to be part of something bigger.  The EU is a substantial presence in the world.  The UK is not.  The war in Ukraine is looking more than ever a proxy war in that the USA is using it to contain Russia.  Or am I falling victim to the burgeoning fake news on Musk’s Twitter replacement?  I am told there that Ukraine is a corrupt state, that the CIA orchestrated the 2014 coup that removed a democratically elected government.  On this issue, the EU view is important; the UK’s isn’t regardless of the photo ops available to our politicians.

We have small boats as a big issue and it misses the point. The whole world has a migration catastrophe.  The Germans are now refusing to take people who have crossed the Mediterranean in small boats.  The EU will resolve this conflict without reference to us.  Were we in the EU we could share the problem.

And climate change will be an ever growing contributor to the migration problems as ever more places are rendered unliveable.  Our politicians queue up to claim we are world leaders in combating climate change but our Government wants to take its foot off the pedal.  The one thing they have right is that our contribution to carbon reduction is relatively insignificant.

At one point, at the Glasgow COP26, Alok Sharma projected us as a nation keen to lead the fight against climate change. 

Addressing COP27 he offered a bleak analysis:

Friends, I said in Glasgow that the pulse of 1.5 degrees was weak. Unfortunately, it remains on life support.  And all of us need to look ourselves in the mirror, and consider if we have fully risen to that challenge over the past two weeks.

Colleagues, I will not be in this chair at COP28, when our ambition, and our implementation, is tested in the Global Stocktake year.  But I assure you, indeed I promise you, that if we do not step up soon, and rise above these minute-to-midnight battles to hold the line, we will all be found wanting.  Each of us will have to explain that, to our citizens, to the world’s most vulnerable countries and communities, and ultimately to the children and grandchildren to whom many of us now go home.

Rishi Sunak has pragmatically and possibly correctly identified that we are not prepared to take the hit to our living standards that moral leadership demands.

4 October 2023

Later today the Prime Minister will address the Conservative Party Conference and will undoubtedly receive a standing ovation even if he just recites the ingredients on an HP sauce bottle.

He has been asked repeatedly whether the HS2 Birmingham to Manchester leg is to be cancelled and has answered that spades are in the ground.  Nevertheless the media have now been briefed that he will be announcing the scrapping of Birmingham to Manchester.  Cabinet Ministers have been claiming ignorance even on the morning of the speech but all have agreed that it is Mr Sunak alone who decides.

Mr Gove assures us that he is a master of detail.  But that does not guarantee that he can manage major projects.  And if there is anyone in Parliament who can, he or she has not yet come to my attention. 

Blame will be passed around but Nils Pratley’s Guardian article puts it squarely at the Governments door:

When King and two other non-executives were appointed to HS2 in 2020, the transport secretary at the time, Grant Shapps, pitched the move as part of closer and stricter involvement by the government. “When we gave HS2 the go-ahead, we made a clear commitment to draw a line under past problems and to move forward with a strong grip of the project and a laser-like focus on cost control and transparency,” he said.

The terms “Grant Shapps” and “laser-like focus” in the same paragraph must surely raise red flags.

Nevertheless the Prime Minister will be presenting the HS2 scrapping as the result of the incompetence of faraway administrations of which he knows nothing.

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