2 August 2018
Diary of a Corbynista
Labour in Crisis
by Don Urquhart
Dominic Raab hit a nostalgia nerve with the oldies when he announced his Brexit food policy:
We will look at this issue in the round and make sure that there’s adequate food supplies. It would be wrong to describe it as the government doing the stockpiling … of course the idea that we only get food imports into this country from one continent is not appropriate.
Clever move! Remember Cool Britannia? Blair getting down with the yoof?
Well the Tories are going for a gorgeous Retro Brexit. Soon it will be ration books, dig for victory, be like Dad keep Mum. Can’t wait!
His speech last week was clever, serious and accommodating by rejecting bitterness and extending a willingness to work with the Prime Minister if only she would keep to what she originally said was her policy – a truly open global Britain.
The Tory party conference in Birmingham at the end of September – when party members will have a chance to voice their own concerns about the Chequers agreement and the Prime Minister’s cowardice – looks set to be a true humdinger.
Will Johnson become the conference darling once more? He has all summer to figure out how to seize the day.
Yes it is City A.M. actually making the case for Boris Johnson to succeed Theresa May as Prime Minister, under the headline:
Only Johnson can stop May, Raab or Hunt leading us to national humiliation
Would he do to the country what he did to Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, still languishing in an Iranian prison?
I voted to leave the EU 2 years ago. It’s going badly but I am reluctant to take the blame. I think it was reasonable to expect that our government would do a professional job in a civilised manner. Instead they retreated into sound bites and triangulations seemingly much more interested in short term political advantage than doing the right thing for the country. The Prime Minister has had chats with the Austrian Chancellor and Czech Prime Minister and is now off to Italy on holiday. Hopefully over a glass of Chianti Philip will tell her that the game is up and she needs to stand down. Her micromanaging style worked to an extent in the Home Office although some notable chickens (Windrush?) have come home to roost. In a liberal democracy you need capable lieutenants you can trust. Personally I would not send Jeremy Hunt down the road for a packet of fags, and Theresa has clearly reached a similar conclusion regarding Dominic Raab.
Police have increased security around Rotherham MP Sarah Champion as she has been receiving death threats associated with an article in The Sun in August 2017.
Here’s what Corbynista thought then:
Sarah Champion resigned as Shadow Equalities Minister over a Sun article which quoted her as saying that Pakistani men were abusing young white women. She claims to have been misquoted. For me her crime was going anywhere near the Sun. Sajid Javid accuses Jeremy Corbyn of stifling free speech and there are queues of people blaming him for something or other in respect of Champion’s resignation. Sometimes perfectly nice, decent people do the wrong thing. In this case, what was she thinking? It wasn’t very bright.
In fact it was beyond “not very bright”. There is a potent islamophobic culture in Rotherham and, knowingly or not, Sarah Champion was stoking it with the article.
Why have the death threats started up now? Some papers and websites associate it with a Momentum initiative to replace Ms Champion as the Rotherham MP. There are also reports that an organisation called Just Yorkshire, lavishly funded by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust is seeking to replace her with an MP of Asian descent. The name Taiba Yasseen has been mentioned and The Sun has her as a leading member of Rotherham Momentum.
In this as in so many other cases it is frustrating that people who issue death threats cannot be identified and charged.
I know better than to make rash assumptions about anything, let alone what is going on in foreign countries. Many years ago I was working at RBS in Edinburgh. The bank was outsourcing to the Indian firm Tata and I had a first meeting with the firm’s project manager, Omprakash. I asked him how Mumbai was dealing with the plague which according to news reports was surrounding and threatening the city. He appeared nonplussed, said he had heard of reports of plague in outlying areas but such things were easily contained. He then confessed his own fear of visiting Britain because of reports he had read of a flesh-eating disease terrorising Gloucestershire. Two people had died there of necrotising fasciitis and the papers had a field day –“flesh eating bug ate my face” for example.
So it is with some diffidence that I condemn the Indian government for an immigration scandal that makes Windrush and the hostile environment look benign.
The National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a list of people who can prove they came to India by 24 March 1971, when Bangladesh was created.
India says its purpose is to root out hordes of illegal Bangladeshi migrants.
4 million people could be deported.
It looks like a Hindu/Muslim thing not unlike the Rohingya Buddhist/Muslim outrage in Myanmar, but it is a far away country and I don’t want to jump to conclusions.
I could find no transcript of what Peter Willsman said at the NEC so listened to the audio clip from the Jewish Chronicle under the caption:
Bombshell tape shows Jeremy Corbyn ally blamed ‘Jewish Trump fanatics’ for inventing Labour antisemitism.
Here’s what I heard although poor sound quality allied to people talking over him rendered some areas unintelligible:
They can falsify social media very easily, and some of these people in the Jewish community support Trump, they’re Trump fanatics and all the rest of it. I’m not going to be lectured to by Trump fanatics making up (unintelligible) information without any evidence at all. I think we should ask the 70 rabbis: Where is your evidence of severe and widespread anti-Semitism in this party? Let me ask you a question:
(Unintelligible) in the Labour Party?
What’s your answer?
(Unintelligible) in the Labour Party? I certainly never said (unintelligible).
It would be interesting were Willsman to name the Trump supporters leading an attack on Labour. On the face of it his statements appear to be those of a bewildered individual. Maybe that is the case and, if so, he needs help. At any event he is not on message and further utterances from him are unlikely to help Labour get elected.
Like the rest of the Shawsheet team, Corbynista is taking a two week break. While Theresa May will hopefully be deciding whether or not to resign, my holiday maunderings will centre on the state of the Labour Party.
For sure it is in crisis. Whereas the Tories will quickly come together once Europe is done and dusted, Labour is more deeply split. The leadership and the rank and file are pretty much at one when it comes to policy but there are influential people who do not concur.
Firstly there are the New Labour MP’s comprising a broad church but with the common kismet that they are going nowhere under Corbyn. Then there are the people inside and outside Westminster who do not subscribe to the party’s support for a two state solution where the Palestinians are treated fairly.
The first group, the zombie MP’s will largely be deselected come a General Election. It could be a long wait given the Tories’ fear of Corbyn – they will do anything to keep him out and save their seats and that includes those who sometimes pose as cuddly rebels.
The second group will have to decide whether they can reconcile their misgivings about Labour’s Middle East policy with their support for the rest of the manifesto and some will leave the party.
So the party is in crisis and the gutter press as well as the BBC will be quick to exploit whatever Corbyn’s opponents think up next.