9 May 2019
Diary of a Corbynista
Establishment B.S. and worse
by Don Urquhart
In today’s Times Educational Supplement (TES) Judy Shaw the new president of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) highlighted the grim reality of Tory austerity:
We need recognition, we need understanding, we need compassion and we need immediate support. Schools are providing not just breakfast clubs which they have done for years but they are building foodbanks in schools. They are providing snacks during the day.
Some pupils at her school in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire were arriving at school hungry, inadequately dressed or with holes in their shoes.
One of the aggravating features of the school funding crisis was that schools were being forced to find money from their own budgets to pay for support services for their most vulnerable children.
This Christmas, after school I am wandering through the corridors and there are my staff wrapping up piles of Christmas presents for a family who we knew were living very close to our school with no electricity and no running hot water and they were wrapping the Christmas presents up to take around for the three children.
While I applaud their compassion and I am proud of them I am also absolutely appalled and outraged that they have got to do that in 21st century.
The local elections will result in huge losses for the Conservatives and a few for Labour. The big winners will be the LibDems and Greens. The BBC are selling the results as equally bad for the two major parties thus obliterating any last shred of credibility the national broadcaster had retained.
Any BBC political programme might as well kick off with:
Corbyn, Hamas, Hezbollah, anti-Semitism, IRA, Venezuela
and get it out of the way.
On yesterday’s Newsnight Suzanne Evans dutifully pitched in with Hamas, Hezbollah, anti-Semitism. At the end, Mark Urban pointed out that Ms Evans was incorrect in saying that Corbyn was affiliated to Hamas and Hezbollah. The net effect was to reinforce the smear. Well done Mark! Well done BBC!
Rachel Lears’ documentary Knock Down the House was released last week on Netflix. It deals with four Democrats who decided to run for Congress in the 2018 United States elections: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Amy Vilela of Nevada, Cori Bush of Missouri, and Paula Jean Swearengin of West Virginia.
For all 4 there was an uphill struggle to negotiate the smug hostility of an entrenched and contemptuous Democratic Party establishment eager to protect vested interests.
One way or another each of the candidates was told:
They will come for you. They will not let you succeed.
Of the 4 only Ocasio-Cortez triumphed. She showed that it can be done.
It is hard to escape the conclusion that Labour is paying a punishing price for its leader’s ducking and diving over Brexit. Labour’s endless weaving and swerving, designed to avoid alienating either leave or remain supporters by facing both ways, is now repelling both. This has not just made Mr Corbyn look unprincipled and equivocal on the greatest question facing the nation, it has damaged him more generally by exposing the Labour leader as no different to any other machinating, slippery, cynical politician.
Thus Andrew Rawnsley, the Guardian’s Chief Political Editor. In my view he is seeing what he wants to see. He is an establishment guy, doing what comes naturally. As the 4 aspiring Democratic candidates in Knock Down the House can attest:
They will come for you. They will not let you succeed.
Corbyn supporters take a different view from Mr Rawnsley’s. To us it seems that he is simply carrying out the will of his party as expressed at September’s conference. He is trying to find an acceptable way to deliver Brexit and if this fails he will support a new referendum, call it what you will.
John McDonnell’s condemnation of Theresa May’s leaking of the cross-party discussions leads me to believe that these are at the end of the road.
The analyses of last week’s local election results depict a catastrophe for both major parties. In reality a lot of people used the elections to announce that they still wanted to leave the European Union. They voted for the Brexit Party in the main. The ardent remainers voted LibDem or Green. With a low turnout, other issues did not get much of a look in.
I believe that in the coming days by one means or another the Commons will be asked to vote on a second referendum. There is nowhere else to go.
Anna Fazackerley in the Guardian reports that University Vice Chancellors are considering legal action against the Department for Education (DfE) to defend their right to make unconditional offers to students before they take their A Levels.
The Minister, Damien Hinds has condemned the practice.
John Arnold, professor of medieval history at Cambridge University, says:
It is a bit rich for the government to get upset about a growth in unconditional offers, given that they are so clearly a result of the marketisation it has thrust upon the sector. They are an outcome of institutions trying to compete.
The DfE says:
The education secretary’s intervention has not breached any legislation. It is a priority for him to protect the reputation of our world-leading higher education system. This includes driving a relentless focus on quality and ensuring that students’ interests are at its heart.
Birmingham Yardley MP Jess Phillips is the new Israel.
If you criticise the actions of the Israeli government you are anti-Semitic.
If you express disagreement with Ms Phillips you are a misogynist or worse.
So I was initially uplifted to see that she was using her Twitter account to promote a book entitled:
Truth to Power: 7 Ways to Call Time on B.S. by Jess Phillips
But then I realised that the Tweet was ambiguous and that Ms Phillips is the author.