2 November 2023
Corbynista Rides Again
Which side of history?
by Don Urquhart
6 October 2023
Michael Shanks’ win in the Rutherglen and Hamilton West by election comes at a terrible time for socialists. At the imminent Labour Party Conference Sir Keir Starmer and his cronies will proclaim it as a vindication of his leadership.
I like to think that Shanks’ USP was that he was neither Conservative nor SNP, two parties currently struggling for different reasons. The true winner was the Apathy Party given that turnout was 37% as against 66.5% in 2019. I take heart also from the fact that fewer people voted for Starmer’s Labour Party in 2023 than for Corbyn’s in 2019.
8 October 2023
News over the weekend of thousands of dead and injured as a result of incursions and bombing in Gaza and Israel.
UK political parties and media were quick out of the blocks to put the blame at the door of the Palestinians, but it is not that simple. The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu went to the United Nations on 22nd September to proclaim a new order in the Middle East presenting a map of the area which omitted Palestine.
Here it is reported by Middle East Eye:
The United Nations has been striving for a two-state solution and both major parties in the UK subscribed to this ambition in their 2019 manifestos.
In the Middle East we maintain our support for a two-state solution.
We are committed to a comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on a two-state solution – a secure Israel alongside a secure and viable state of Palestine.
13 October 2023
On yesterday’s Question Time the Middle East was front and centre. Victoria Atkins, a Government Minister accused Sir Keir Starmer of working to make Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister in 2017 and 2019. Tories take it as read that Corbyn can freely be blamed for anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, and since 2020 Starmer has joined them claiming that he has rooted it out having got rid of his predecessor.
I watched Starmer’s speech at the Labour Party Conference tuning in early to see officials herding delegates into a guard of honour for him and Lady Starmer as they progressed to the Conference Hall. It reminded me of the choreographed arrival of Vladimir Putin at Moscow events although I am not suggesting that anyone in Liverpool would have been executed for failing to show sufficient enthusiasm.
During his speech the cameras focussed on the front bench seats from which the trusties sprang up loyally again and again to clap themselves silly. Only occasionally did the lens drift to catch people scowling or glazing over in the cheap seats. A lady from the BBC tried in vain to solicit comments from people leaving the auditorium. I only saw one chap who gave his leader the thumbs up. What a difference from the stonkings and game-changings reported by attendees at the Tory shambles.
Amol Rajan explained in the Today Podcast that Starmer has an iron grip on the party. That must be why his shadow ministers come across as programmed robots.
Question: What is the difference between a Labour shadow minister and a supermarket trolley?
Answer: A supermarket trolley has a mind of its own.
No apologies – the old ones are the best.
16 October 2023
Today Mr Sunak will report to the House on the Middle East situation. Given the bipartisan approach to this he is on safe ground, but how long will it be before he is forced to explain why he has not supplied his WhatsApps to the Covid inquiry?
18 October 2023
After Prime Minister’s Questions and a lengthy debate covering the Al-Ahli Hospital carnage it was obvious that while impotently expressing reservations the Government and the Opposition Front Bench are happy to give the Israeli Defence Force carte blanche.
22 October 2023
Dr Hanan Ashrawi on Laura Kuenssberg tells us that genocide is taking place. It is difficult to argue when Israel is stopping electricity, food and water getting into Gaza. It is distressing that our politicians and journalists are willing to turn a blind eye.
24 October 2023
The American and British governments continue to support Israel’s siege and pummelling of Gaza, but they are increasingly isolated.
Many organisations and countries are calling for an unconditional ceasefire.
United Nations as reported by the BBC:
Belgium as reported by The Brussels Times:
France according to Euractiv:
The European Union according to The Daily Telegraph:
Even Justin Welby is calling for a ceasefire according to Middle East Eye:
At least Rishi Sunak can rely on the support of the Labour opposition or can he? Here Labour List reports unease in the party:
28 October 2023
There are places where the humanitarian catastrophe exceeds that in Gaza.
Here is Emma Ogao’s article for ABC News about one such country afflicted by a civil war:
As battles continue between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Sudan’s Rapid Support Forces (RSF) paramilitary group, up to 9,000 people have been killed and over 5.6 million people have been displaced both within and outside national borders.
Wise words here from Matthew Miller, the US Government spokesman:
The U.S. has called on warring parties to oblige by their commitments under the Jeddah Declaration of Principles to Protect Civilians, “including by allowing unhindered humanitarian access, protecting civilians and their humanitarian rights, and upholding international humanitarian law. It is time for this conflict and the suffering of the Sudanese people to end.”
30 October 2023
The Independent reports on the Labour Party’s split over Gaza. The rebels want the Party to back an immediate ceasefire, whereas the leadership is happy for the IDF to bomb civilians as long as they can warn Mr Netanyahu that he risks slapped wrists.
Jeremy Corbyn addressed pro-Palestine protesters in Parliament Square on Saturday. He was scathing about the government’s decision to abstain on a UN general assembly vote on a humanitarian truce. “It is an eternal stain that the British government abstained on that vote.”
It seems that the former Labour leader is likely to be on the right side of history. Sir Keir will have to consult his focus groups to work out how to look good after his indecisive performance.
31 October 2023
For £16 on Amazon you can buy The Women Who Made Modern Economics by Rachel Reeves, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer.
The Financial Times spotted more than 20 instances of apparent plagiarism in the book.