10 May 2018
Diary of a Corbynista
A Smoking Gun?
by Don Urquhart
The charity Homes 4 Heroes estimates that around 4,500 ex-servicemen are sleeping on the streets.
Alexander Palmer served in an Army commando regiment but was discharged in November 2015 after his head was “crushed” in a violent attack.
He suffered severe mental health problems including violent fantasies and voices telling him to harm others. These were well documented by medical professionals but The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust did not consider them serious enough for him to be institutionalised.
Last August he stabbed Peter Wrighton 45 times in woodland near East Harling, Norfolk. For this he has been jailed for at least 28 years.
Mr Wrighton died because we live in an uncaring society. Ex-servicemen are discarded and people with mental problems left untreated.
As luck would have it, while I waited for my antiquated PC to get up a head of steam I turned on the TV where the familiar face of Barry Rawlings was on view. For some time he has been a big wheel in the Barnet Labour Party and is well placed to explain Labour’s failure to gain control of the Council. He was quite categorical that it was a Jewish protest vote that swung it against us. He expressed the view that anti-Semitism should have been addressed proactively in 2016. He was confident that Jennie Formby would do so now. I have observed Barry at party meetings and on the stump around the town. He is true Labour activism incarnate. He will be out canvassing again next week. There I was thinking “Peak Corbyn?” thoughts and along comes a local Labour Councillor to make me wish I had done more in the campaign.
The new education secretary Damian Hinds reminds one of Basil Fawlty’s wife Sybil on the phone to her sister – “I know…I know…I know”. At the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) conference he let them know that he felt their pain.
The NAHT general secretary Paul Whiteman responded:
Rhetoric cannot hide the real picture of a system in financial crisis.
Hinds suggested making the case for school funding in the next review of public spending.
It is true that schools get more funding than they used to but it is also true that society asks much more of schools than we did a generation ago.
I try to recall what more we ask of schools than we did a generation ago apart from the bureaucracy and dogmatic interference imposed by his government.
Jeremy Hunt made a big song and dance about the NHS’s failure to invite some women for breast screening. It was something you couldn’t really blame the government for, unlike Windrush and so much else, so a useful diversionary tactic. As he admitted himself, there is increasing evidence that breast screening causes as many deaths as it prevents. At any event the jury is out. Anyway he asked Serco to man the new emergency hotline (yet another) and the staff told the Guardian that they had been thrown in with only an hour’s training. This is knee-jerk gesture politics rather than sound management of our affairs.
President Trump was rubbished last week for describing an unnamed London hospital as a war zone. Nevertheless Martin Griffiths, lead surgeon at Barts Health NHS Trust in east London stated that knife and gun wounds that once were a “niche” part of his job now took up a quarter of the workload in surgery.
There have been three shootings in London in the last two days. In one of them 17 year old Rhyhiem Ashworth Barton lost his life.
After Tanesha Melbourne-Blake was murdered in Tottenham last month, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick appeared to take the approach: Nothing to see here. Move along please. The recent spike in attacks was not due to cuts to police budgets
Metropolitan Police Federation chairman Ken Marsh did not agree:
The city’s murder rate is now being compared unfavourably to New York’s. The time has come to say: “Enough is enough”.
To help us find answers to halt this appalling trend, maybe we should look at how New York reduced its crime rate. It flooded the streets with police officers.
As well as presenting a visible threat to deter criminals, these officers engaged with communities to help offer young people alternatives to lives of knives, guns and gangs.
In London, we have seen a reduction in the number of officers on the beat. That has resulted in a reduction in community policing which is key to combating knife, gun and gang crime.
Theresa May favours a customs partnership following Brexit. Jacob Rees-Mogg characterises this as “completely cretinous” and in an interview in today’s Daily Mail the Foreign Secretary described it as crazy. At some point the Tories will square the circle and agree among themselves, not out of Remainer or Leaver conviction but because they fear a General Election where many would lose their seats. They are likely to be supported by those on the opposing benches for whom a General Election would mean deselection. So watch for some pig’s breakfast of a trade deal supported by all but the most principled in the House.
I cannot shake off the impression of a self-serving bureaucracy in the upper reaches of the Labour Party. How could they have gone 2 years without seriously addressing anti-Semitism?
Back in March Debbie Abrahams was suspended from her job as Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary because she had been accused of bullying her staff. She denied this and alluded to 10 months of harassment and bullying by people around Corbyn. Yesterday she was officially sacked for bullying and her own assertions were found to be groundless.
Debbie Abrahams said: “I strongly refute the allegations of bullying made against me. I believe the investigation was not thorough, fair or independent.” She said she would now go to the National Executive Committee disputes panel.
Something doesn’t smell right and it could be the cordite of a smoking gun.