Issue 212: 2019 07 25: Diary of a Corbynista

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25 July 2019

Diary of a Corbynista

Hardening Attitudes

by Don Urquhart

Mug shot of Don Urquhart18 July

I live in the London Borough of Barnet.  It has changed in recent years.  There are roads you cannot go down after nightfall unless you want to buy or sell drugs.  There are parks which you avoid unless you enjoy the company of unwashed alcoholics.

In a speech about the future of policing Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick acknowledged that too many offences were being left unsolved.

Crime solving rates ‘woefully low’, Met Police Commissioner says

The ONS figures show there were 43,516 offences involving a knife or sharp instrument in the 12 months to March – the highest since comparable records began in 2011.

As of March 2019 there were 123,171 officers – up from 122,405 the previous year. However, there are still 20,500 fewer officers than there were in 2010.

Policing minister Nick Hurd said the government was increasing funding for forces by more than £1bn this year, with the recruitment of more than 3,700 additional officers and staff.

He said: “We are also acting to address the root causes of violence and stop young people being drawn into crime in the first place.”

About time Mr Hurd and we will believe it when we see it.

19 July

On Politics Live George Monbiot castigated the Billionaire Press.  This is allied to the BBC, Peston on ITV, and Boulton on Sky.  They are the conventional media and are totally hostile to the idea of a Corbyn government.  They have invented a Labour Anti-Semitism Crisis as a stick to beat Corbyn with.  In America President Trump in his racist attack on the 4 wonderful lady senators accused one of being anti-Semitic, having seen what a winner the smear was proving in the UK.

Thursday was the last ever This Week on BBC and I say good riddance to Tories and Blairite Labour Party representatives rubbishing the Labour leader and his radical policies.  Peston on Wednesday had the host giving Boris Johnson the easiest of rides including a snigger over their common Balliol background.  Then it was a superannuated Labour lord, a Blairite and two salivating Tory MPs all agreeing that anti-Semitism was a cancer in the Labour Party.

Attitudes on the left will be hardened by such “journalism”.

20 July

Given that anti-Semitism in Labour has fallen since Corbyn became leader, it is odd that the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) should have decided a couple of months ago to launch an enquiry into Labour anti-Semitism.

It looks like a cog in a coordinated anti-Corbyn campaign. The latest batch of commissioners was appointed by the Tories just over a year ago.  And the Morning Star reports that the EHRC plans to invite Tory spin doctors as “guests” to its board meetings.

Who runs the EHRC?

Extracts from The Canary which draws on Morning Star report that:
Chairman David Isaac

David Isaac is an equity partner at law company Pinsent Masons. The Conservative government pays the firm large amounts of money for governmental contracts.

CEO Rebecca Hilsenrath

In a now deleted article, the Jewish Chronicle praised the Conservatives’ appointment of both Chairman Isaac and CEO Rebecca Hilsenrath:

There is a strong Jewish presence at the top of Britain’s equality watchdog. David Isaac, new chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, took up office this week, joining Rebecca Hilsenrath, who was made chief executive of the body last autumn.

Back in September 2017, Hilsenrath made her views about Labour and anti-Semitism clear:

The Labour party needs to do more to establish that it is not a racist party.

A zero tolerance approach to anti-Semitism should mean just that. When senior party figures are saying there’s a problem, then the leadership should take swift action. It is simply not acceptable to say they oppose these views…

More needs to be done to root out anti-Semitic views that clearly exist in the party.

Board member Mark McLane

Mark McLane was head of global diversity and inclusion for Barclays PLC until end of 2018 and is currently Head of Diversity and Inclusion at M&G Prudential, another investment fund with billions in assets.

Both firms operate investment funds which might have a lot to lose from a Corbyn-led government.

Board member Helen Mahy

Helen Mahy works for a company that could also lose out significantly from a Corbyn-led government. She is a non-executive director of SSE, the second largest energy and gas supplier in the UK.

Mahy is also a senior independent director of Primary Health Properties plc, which rents healthcare facilities. This potentially conflicts with Corbyn’s agenda for the public provision of NHS services.

It seems that an organisation whose mission statement is to “Make Britain Fairer” could do with some management independent of the Tory Party and big business.

21 July

A couple of years ago Ian Duncan-Smith resigned as the Work and Pensions Minister.  I remember thinking at the time that he was jumping ship before his Universal Credit policy was found out.  Then he presented himself as disappointed in the money allocated to his department. And he repeated this on today’s Andrew Marr programme which he graced in his role as Johnson campaign manager.

A report by the Disability News Service makes clear that the DWP is still a disaster zone:

DWP ‘lies again’ about impact of benefits freeze on disabled people

The report by the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC) found that social security reforms over the last decade – mostly under successive Tory-led governments – had hit disabled adults four times harder than non-disabled adults.

But when DWP was asked to comment on the report’s conclusions, it claimed that “disability benefits are exempt from the benefit freeze”.

This is not true, which has been repeatedly pointed out to ministers and DWP press officers over the last three years.

Bob Ellard, a member of the national steering group of Disabled People against Cuts, said: “The DWP’s brazen repetition of a known lie shows they believe they are immune from being held to account.”

The DBC report says the benefit freeze “has been a major factor in reducing the incomes of disabled people and pushing them into poverty”.

22 July

Anyone wondering why the Conservatives will be kicked out in a General Election should read Gail Hall’s Twitter thread.

Here are a few extracts:

Gail Hall:

So… Two visits to Job Centre complete… Fit note submitted… 24 page capability for work assessment completed… for my gorgeous 20 year old toddler who smiles his way through multiple seizures daily. Is this, Britain, how you care for your most vulnerable?

A few of the many messages of support:

It’s disgusting Gail. I’m so sorry. Cannot wait for this to shameful period in our history to be at an end

Best wishes to you and your son, Gail. Hang in there. We’re gonna put an end to this cruelty.

Make sure you demand a recording of any “assessment” appointment.

It stinks and I am ashamed that we have allowed this vile govt to do this.

Governments should be judged on how our most vulnerable in society are treated, and they are failing miserably.

Form filling and going to the Job Centre should be the last things on your mind. If there is a hell then all Tories deserve to be/going there.

Barbaric. Conscious cruelty. We need change.

I am so sorry. I have sat sobbing in my car after visiting folk I support with enduring severe mental illness, who have been driven back into hospital by this cruel system. It breaks my heart.

I have a friend with Cerebral Palsy who can’t talk or feed herself and who has been confined to a wheelchair since childhood. She can use her left foot to operate her computer but it’s a slow process. She has been asked to do a fitness to work assessment for the third time.

So sorry to hear that you are having to do this. This government is cruel and vindictive.

22 July

Theresa May and Jeremy Hunt used to rattle on about “Our Precious NHS”.  Nevertheless they connived at its demolition.  In today’s Daily Mirror a report on the state of Mental Health Services, which Mrs May made such a song and dance about.

Mentally-ill child forced to travel length of country for NHS treatment

A mentally-ill child was forced to travel almost the length of the country for NHS care.

The child was sent 339 miles from their home, the equivalent of driving from Brighton to near Newcastle.

Experts say moving vulnerable, often suicidal, children puts them at risk.

The data shows that 587 youngsters were admitted to mental health inpatient units away from home in the first six months of 2018/19, similar to the rate of 1,249 for the whole of 2017/18.

Dr Jon Goldin, of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: “Loneliness and social isolation are also likely to hinder their chances of recovery.”

Geoff Heyes, policy head at mental health charity Mind, said: “Too many young people with mental health problems are being forced to travel hundreds of miles from their family and friends, who form an important support network, to receive the treatment they need.

From the Department of Health and Social Care the usual bland jam tomorrow promises:

We are transforming mental health services with a planned record spend of £12.1 billion this year and as part of our Long Term Plan for the NHS, announced a further expansion of mental health services, with an additional £2.3 billion every year in real terms by 2023/24.

23 July

Boris Johnson starts out today as Prime Minister.  He has achieved the role by promoting Brexit, an enthusiasm of the majority of Tory Party members.

Now he will devote his efforts to remaining  Prime Minister.

He will go to Brussels and fail to achieve any change to the Withdrawal Agreement.

Parliament will vote against no deal.

So he will be left with two options.  He will not want a General Election and his MPs will not vote for one anyway.  So he will be left with a second referendum which he can sell to his party as the only way left to achieve Brexit.  And if the country votes to Remain he can do the statesmanlike thing and accept the will of the people while, crucially, remaining as Prime Minister.



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