28 June 2018
Diary of a Corbynista
Hammond’s wheels come off
by Don Urquhart
Back in March Lord Sugar was highly critical of Jeremy Corbyn’s handling of anti-Semitism in the Labour party.
He shared a tweet depicting leader Jeremy Corbyn sitting in a car alongside Adolf Hitler.
He later added that Corbyn needed to make a firm statement about anti-Semitism, adding:
There is no smoke without fire in Labour.
He is absolutely dangerous, totally totally dangerous and the Labour Party is powerless to try and get rid of him.
Yesterday the noble Lord posted a Tweet including a photoshopped picture of the Senegalese World Cup team looking as though they were selling counterfeit goods:
I recognise some of these guys from the beach in Marbella. Multitasking, resourceful chaps.
After people criticised the tweet as being racist, he tweeted:
Why not it is meant to be funny … for god sake.
I can’t see what I have to apologise for … you are OTT … it’s a bloody joke.
And he could have added:
There’s no smoke without fire.
I regret not marching against the Iraq war in 2003. I have been on a few marches and demos since, largely about climate change. You get a warm feeling being part of a large like-minded group. There’s a march about the NHS next week. I might go.
However I will not be demonstrating against Donald Trump. Why spend your time in futile activities? Donald Trump will not do a single positive thing as a result of insults hurled in this country. So number one is that it achieves nothing.
Number two is that what he does in his own country is the business of his countrymen. We might not like what we hear about the way immigrant children are treated but very few Americans will think it is our business to put their President straight. I don’t like his foreign policy efforts regarding climate change, Jerusalem and tariffs but I think he is simply delivering on manifesto promises.
Thirdly if I want to protest there is plenty in this country to tear into. It annoys me that so many people who are generally on my side of the debate think it’s a great use of their time to signal their virtue by attacking a foreign politician. My disdain falls particularly on certain Labour MP’s and I hope there are very few using Trump’s visit to titivate profiles.
Lastly, while I might not want him in my house, in the pantheon of world leaders we have entertained lavishly he will rank pretty favourably on any indices measuring human rights, murder and imprisonment of opponents and manipulation of the constitution to stay in power.
In an interview to be broadcast on Monday, the head of Momentum, Jon Lansman will be heard expressing his fears that a Labour government would have to deal with a run on the pound. He echoes comments made by John McDonnell last year.
For the Tories this is manna from heaven. They have often used McDonnell’s statement as proof that Labour will ruin the economy. To that extent it is a silly thing for Labour leaders and supporters to say. Their intent is to highlight the struggle between the 1% and the 99%, the evil few and the virtuous many (hardworking families etc.). But it is not that simple.
We are kind of stuck with a culture where the wealthy will work very hard to protect what they have. However, in our country we can hand the levers of power to people like Corbyn and McDonnell who want to redistribute. Tony Blair was able to convince the wealthy that they would not lose out and might even do quite well out of Labour and this turned out to be the case.
John and Jeremy will not be giving such assurances and will have to deal with whatever wealth management measures the market wants to inflict.
There are two types of players who count. The asset managers look for the best yields consistent with acceptable risk. I think it is fair to say that they will act in accordance with their level of confidence in the government’s financial policies.
The speculators are a different matter. They are exemplified by George Soros who enriched himself in 1992 by breaking the pound and causing Britain to withdraw from the Exchange Rate Mechanism. People like this will jump on any sign of weakness real or imagined to move the market in their own favour. They might pile in and attempt to convince the market that an incoming Labour government would lead to an effective devaluation but it is a risky strategy. George Soros had his fun while the Tories were in power and someone like him might strike at any time. He is busy funding Remain organisations but I can’t see him losing out whatever way things go.
For my money the failure of Brexit negotiations presents a perfect opportunity for a run on the pound.
Watch this space.
Jeremy Hunt, interviewed by Andrew Marr, chastises Airbus, Siemens and BMW executives for suggesting that they might reduce UK operations if there is a “ no deal” Brexit. He describes the business leaders’ statements as threats although they might be regarded as quite rational warnings to stakeholders.
Another senior executive issuing such warnings is one Jacob Rees-Mogg whose investment firm Somerset Capital Management cautions investors that Brexit will cause considerable uncertainty. Very wisely they have moved a chunk of their money to Ireland.
So a nice each way bet for the arch Brexiteer.
BBC and Sky coverage of the People’s Vote March on Saturday featured a small group chanting “Where’s Jeremy Corbyn?” It is bewildering that Remainers should be soliciting the presence of the Labour Party leader at the event, when a second referendum (however dressed up) is not party policy.
In the Commons he voted for a meaningful parliamentary vote whereas the Tories coalesced to prevent this.
The Brexit problems are so much on the plates of Theresa May and her squabbling cronies that attempts to enmesh the Labour leadership are pathetic beyond belief.
Jeremy Corbyn was visiting a refugee camp in Jordan.
A couple of weeks ago Gary Smith won a case against Pimlico Plumbers who were found to have treated him as self-employed when he was in fact entitled to the benefits due to a permanent employee. Now an employment tribunal in Leeds has found that a number (15 or 65 depending on the source) of Hermes employees have been similarly treated and should have their benefits reinstated.
The courier company plans to appeal. Carl Lyon, the firm’s Director of Delivery Experience has written to staff indicating that their income and work patterns will deteriorate if the company is forced to comply with the tribunal’s ruling.
Incidentally I looked on the BBC News website for an authoritative report but the search argument “Hermes” yielded only news items about the price of posh handbags and people plundering the shipwrecked HMS Hermes.
At PMQ’s the Prime Minister was quite chipper:
It is the balanced approach that this Government take to our economy that has enabled us—[Interruption.] Oh, they all groan! They do not like to hear that there is a fundamental difference between us and the Labour party. We do believe in keeping taxes low.
The $20 billion being offered to Jeremy Hunt has brought Gavin Williamson out to claim a similar sum for Defence and no doubt the ministers responsible for housing, education, transport, police and the rest will all be feeling a bit hard done by. Government briefing is that Hammond will have to put taxes up in contravention of the 2017 manifesto. Surely the last nail in the coffins of austerity and the fiscal competence charade.
This is not and never will be a government for the many.
The Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published fuel poverty statistics updated to include 2016.
More than 2.5million people in England are stuck in fuel poverty, 11.1% of households.
26.4% of single parents are in fuel poverty.
A BEIS spokesperson was ready with an irrelevant factoid:
This government is driving £6 billion into tackling the root cause of fuel poverty through energy efficiency upgrades installed in some of our poorest homes over the next ten years.