Issue 188: 2019 02 07: Diary of a Corbynista

7 February 2019

Diary of a Corbynista

Venezuela back in Fashion

by Don Urquhart

Mug shot of Don Urquhart31 January

We got through a whole Question Time without the key issues – Hamas, Hezbollah and the IRA, getting a mention.

But Hurrah! There was a question about Venezuela and this allowed Tory MP Helen Whateley to point out that Jeremy Corbyn regards the failed state as a blueprint for our own.

1 February

Nye Jones in The Guardian reports on the number of people sleeping rough:

The latest official figures for homelessness show that, in England outside cities, the number of people sleeping rough on any one night is down 2%. But this is where the good news ends. Rough sleeping has increased by 165% since 2010, with rises by as much as 60% in major cities, compared with last year. The homeless charity Crisis’s own research estimates that more than 8,000 people sleep rough on any given night. Meanwhile deaths of homeless people have more than doubled in the past five years.

Housing Minister James Brokenshire hopes to eliminate rough sleeping altogether by 2027.  Not too ambitious you might think but he has the edge on at least one of his predecessors.

Baron Young of Cookham is now a government whip in the House of Lords.  In John Major’s government he was Minister for Housing and Planning and on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he described the homeless as “the people you step over when you come out of the opera“.

2 February

There is no more graphic illustration of the impact of 9 years of Tory austerity than the rapid increase in the crime wave known as “County Lines”.  Children and vulnerable adults are used as drug mules by criminal gangs.  According to The Times 10,000 children are now engaged in this activity.

It is simply not acceptable to point at the parents or schools.  Where are the youth clubs, the social services and most of all where are the community police officers?

3 February

At the anti-Maduro demonstrations in Venezuela the Israeli flag appears prominently.  Relations between the two countries were quite cordial until Hugo Chavez came on stage.  He was critical of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and this rubbed off on Maduro.  Still doesn’t quite explain it.

4 February

At Davos the Dutch historian Rutger Bregman took the attendees to task for promoting philanthropy rather than taxation as the solution to world poverty.  On the same panel was Winnie Byanima of Oxfam.  She responded to a gentleman from the audience who talked up high levels of employment in the USA:

We are talking about jobs.  But the quality of those jobs.  Oxfam also works with poultry workers in the richest country in the world, the United States.  These are women who are cutting the chickens and packing them and we buy them in the supermarkets.  Dolores, one woman we work with there, told us that she and her co-workers have to wear diapers to work because they’re not allowed toilet breaks.  This is in the richest country in the world.  That is not a dignified job.  Those are the jobs we’ve been told about, that globalisation is bringing jobs.  The quality of the jobs matters.  These are not jobs of dignity.

5 February

Venezuela is back!  And it is officially the fault of Jeremy Corbyn according to the Express, Mail, The Times, the BBC and plenty of Tory MPs and right wing cheerleaders.

On Newsnight Kirsty Wark asked Juan Andres Mejia, a Venezuelan opposition politician what Jeremy Corbyn should do to help the situation.  If you think the question or the answer is relevant to anything here’s the Newsnight link.

And what is the dangerous lunacy Corbyn has been promulgating?

The future of Venezuela is a matter for Venezuelans. Jeremy Hunt’s call for more sanctions on Venezuela is wrong. We oppose outside interference in Venezuela, whether from the US or anywhere else.

There needs to be dialogue and a negotiated settlement to overcome the crisis.

His views align pretty much with those of the United Nations , the Pope, the Canadian Trade Unions and some EU governments.

6 February

Apologies to people sick of sententious analyses of the Brexit situation.  Here’s mine.  As with the rest of my drivel feel free to ignore it.

I think we have 4 options:

May’s Deal (with or without further backstoppery);

Customs Union (Corbyn’s Deal?);

No Deal;

Second Vote (call it what you like).

Of these the worst option is No Deal.  It would drive a coach and horses through the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) and cause economic havoc.

May’s Deal cannot guarantee the GFA.  Its fading hopes seem to rely on technological gimmicks.  At any event there are too many obfuscations in the political declaration.

A Second Vote offers the possibility of a clear solution but, of course, it could end up in No Deal or May’s Deal.

The best option is pursuit of a Customs Union, which would fully protect the GFA. It would also require an extension to Article 50 for as long as it takes to negotiate a new Withdrawal Agreement that could get through the EU and the Commons.  The main weakness is that it is as nebulous as May’s Deal at this time.  Also it would entail a major climb-down by the Prime Minister and almost certainly a new Tory leader or General Election if she sees this as her only way of clinging to power.

 

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