Issue 297: 2021 10 21:Diary of a Corbynista

Thumbnail Don Urquhart Red Sky Lenin Cast of Play Red Dawn

21 October 2021

Diary of a Corbynista

Is PR our salvation?

By Don Urquhart

Mug shot of Don Urquhart

7 October

How many care workers are we short of?  Well the Apthorp Care Home in Barnet is making 93 staff redundant so where are the job offers?

In The Guardian Simon Jenkins reports that we are short of 100,000 care workers:

Care homes are desperately short of staff – why no emergency UK visas for them?

8 October

So I’m looking round for allies in getting rid of the Tories.

A possible is the Compass organisation which has set up a Progressive Alliance.

My problem with them is that it is over-ambitious.  Sue Goss explains:

Compass always saw the Progressive Alliance as more than transactional electoral politics. Rather, it was a part of a cultural revolution for our politics, to build the ideas and forces that could set us on the path to a good society.

I cannot see that working.

9 October

The Electoral Reform Society has been fighting for fair votes and a better democracy since 1884.

It seems a very civilised set up.  I am on their mailing list so I will see how effective they are likely to be.

At the moment they look too establishment and venerable.

10 October

In 2011 there was a referendum on Alternative Vote (AV), a version of Proportional Representation (PR).  The proposal was defeated.  There was a media blitz against PR and neither of the two big parties was too interested although Ed Miliband was in favour.  I remember David Cameron blatantly misrepresenting PR, implying that few democracies used it when in fact the vast majority did so.

And this argument that no one really wants it, it’s as true abroad as it is at home.

Only three countries use AV for national elections: Fiji, Australia and Papua New Guinea.

In Australia, six in ten voters want to return to the system we have – first past the post.

Indeed, over sixty countries and almost half the world’s electors use our voting system.

Are we really going to abandon something that is used around the world for something so obscure and so unpopular?

At the time I had heated arguments with Ken, a conviction Tory, who had it that AV was unfair because some people had two votes.  I don’t know if he was taking the Mick.  We are still friends so we might lock horns again soon on this issue.

11 October

The main obstacle to PR has been the ambition of candidates in the existing parties.  To get round this we will need the commitment of all anti-Tory candidates to a single manifesto item – replacing FPTP with PR.  If the PR government is elected it will simply implement a new PR voting system then dissolve itself so that candidates can go back to being Labour, LibDem, Green or whatever for the next and subsequent elections.

Is this feasible?  Plenty of people will mock but I cannot see another way forward.

12 October

The British Government wants changes to the Northern Ireland Protocol and is mounting a propaganda exercise to make it look as if the EU being unreasonable.  The EU is making the case that the two sides agreed to the treaty and that the United Kingdom is threatening to renege.

It was important for Johnson that he could claim a “great new deal” before the General Election.

Here he is on the Withdrawal Agreement in October 2019:

They said we could not change the withdrawal agreement in the 90 days we had, that we would never get rid of the backstop and that we would not get a new deal, but we did get a new deal—we got a great deal—for this House and this country, and we will get a great new free trade agreement and a new partnership for our country.

Before us lies the great project of building a new friendship with our closest neighbours across the channel.

On Newsnight yesterday Bernard Jenkin MP explained to Emily Maitlis why the Tory MPs voted for the deal:

Bernard: It was signed at a time when the government was incredibly weak and in the grip of a political and constitutional crisis.

Emily: The Prime Minister came back saying it was a great deal.  Were you sitting there thinking this was a terrible deal?

Bernard: I was thinking I suppose he’s got to sell the deal… we got a majority of 100 – we didn’t kick over the table and start tearing it up.

As with so much else associated with this Government, the nation was lied to for electoral purposes.

13 October

Two Parliamentary Committees have got together to issue a report condemning Government performance in combating the pandemic.

The Tory MPs offered up as human sacrifices on the media are trying to shift the blame to the scientists with a “we were following the science” mantra.

Here’s a report of one political leader’s concerns in March 2020:

Speaking in north London on Sunday, Mr Corbyn said: “We are suffering a pandemic. It is very, very serious and the government just seems to be complacent and behind on this.

“They are giving advice which is different to that given in almost every other European country. This is something strange.”

He added: “It seems to me that at every stage, the government just isn’t on it and isn’t fast enough.”

14 October

Jeremy Corbyn’s Peace and Justice Project will undertake its most ambitious initiative so far in parallel with COP 26.

A Climate Conference hosted by the Peace and Justice Project in Glasgow and online

As world leaders meet for COP26, the Peace and Justice Project is working with trade unions and campaigns across Scotland, UK and across the world to host an alternative COP26. Bringing together speakers and cultural figures, we will host four days of talks, discussions and performances to ensure that the voices of workers and under-represented groups are recognised. 

16 October

A friend of one of Mr Corbyn’s lieutenants tells me that the former Labour Party leader reads and enjoys Diary of a Corbynista so stand by for some more authoritative comment in future Message Boards.

17 October

Andrew Marr had Jane Moore from the Sun reviewing the papers.  Given her paper’s attacks on immigrants and politicians including Corbyn it was galling to hear her calling for a kinder approach to MPs.

My indignation was reinforced by Marr’s interview with the Russian Ambassador.  Marr referred to Sarah Raynsford being “told at the border she was regarded as a threat to the Russian people.”  The Ambassador scoffed and advised the presenter not to believe all he reads about Russia in the British press.

I could see his point.

18 October

When the first reports of Sir David Amess’ murder came through I was surprised to see that a Southend MP had been a leading light in fostering good relations with Qatar.  He had visited the country on many occasions and had in his back garden a couple of camels donated by the Emir.  In Parliament he was fulsome in his support for the Qatari government.

The murder suspect is said to be of Somali origin.  And Qatar has been accused of interfering in the running of Somalia.  I am sure the police are joining a few dots.

One factor that appears to be irrelevant in this case is the abuse politicians suffer on social media, however much air time the MSM want to give it.

19 October

Who writes the little scripts for these people?  Tory MP Anthony Brown was sent onto Newsnight to say that the Government’s Heating and Building Strategy was “World-leading”.  Unlucky for him that Caroline Lucas was zoomed in to tell it like it really is.

20 October

Here’s Corbynista on 29th October 2020.

The Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) published its report on anti-Semitism in the Labour Party….

The story before the General Election was that there were many hundreds of complaints, but according to their report the EHRC looked at 70.  Only Ken Livingstone and Pam Bromley were named as miscreants….  Chris Williamson, a notorious jew-baiter according to Margaret Hodge, was completely exonerated by the report… The document is thin on facts and highly repetitive on admonitions to better behaviour in future.

Only The Morning Star has reported the results of a case brought by Livingstone and Bromley in the Administrative Court.

A judicial review has been granted to investigate the Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report into Labour anti-Semitism, with those named in the controversial dossier calling it a “vital step towards correcting the record.”

A legal challenge to overturn the inquiry’s findings, by ex-London mayor Ken Livingstone and former Labour councillor Pam Bromley, has succeeded at the first stage, with a judge finding the pair have an arguable case.

Mr Livingstone and Ms Bromley began the action in January, after the report claimed that the former was guilty of “unlawful harassment” against Jews, in the only two cases of alleged anti-Semitism cited by the commission.

The report was also used as an excuse to suspend Jeremy Corbyn from the party.

Mr Livingstone said: “I’m delighted the court believes we have an arguable case against the commission. They cobbled together a half-baked case against me last year, justified by a flawed legal analysis.

“It was simply absurd to accuse me of ‘harassment.’ This judicial review will be a vital step in correcting the record and turning the tide against the wave of McCarthyism that has engulfed Britain over the past few years.”


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