Labour Party

Staying Strong and Proud! Celebrating Deaf and disabled people’s resistance

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THURSDAY, 3 DECEMBER 2020

7 – 9pm

Facebook Live

with British Sign Language and live captions

On International Day of Disabled People, DPAC and the Peoples Assembly Against Austerity will be co-hosting an extended evening of politics, conversation, music and comedy to celebrate Deaf and disabled people’s resistance from austerity and welfare reform to Covid-19 and beyond.

With speakers including: Cherylee Houston (actor), Touretteshero (comedian and campaigner), John McDonnell, Paula Peters (DPAC) and Ellen Morrison (Disabled members’ representative, Labour party NEC), Andy Mitchell (ImaJSAClaimant) and Dave Allan (TUC Disabled Workers Committee and Unite) among many others.

Comedy from Laurence Clark; Music from from RockinPaddy and Rita Resistance

Co-hosted by Ellen Clifford (DPAC and author of The War on Disabled People) and Laura Pidcock (People’s Assembly).

If ten years of grinding attacks targeted at disabled people in the name of austerity and welfare reform weren’t enough to contend with, then came Covid-19. Almost two thirds of Covid deaths have been disabled people with excess deaths on top. Alongside the fear and the grief disabled people have also had to endure a mainstream narrative that presents our deaths, like those of older people, as somehow inevitable and not counting the same as other people’s – by implication, that our lives are of lesser worth.But disabled campaigners are not letting any of that stop us from doing what we always do during Disability History Month: celebrating Deaf, Disability and Mad Pride and reaffirming our commitment to ending all forms of oppression in the struggle for a better world.

The year 2020 marks 25 years since the passage of the Disability Discrimination Act. Its also ten years since Disabled People Against Cuts was set up to oppose the disproportionate impact of austerity and welfare reform on disabled people. This year we’ve reached out to allies in other campaigns and trade unions to join us for International Day of Disabled People and share in our anger and tears, pride, reminiscence and solidarity. We’d be delighted if you can join us too.

Whatever you do to celebrate #IDDP we’d love to hear what you’re up to – please send messages and photos to @dis_ppl_protest / @pplsassembly.

Also speaking: Sarah Woolley (General Secretary, Bakers Food and Allied Workers Union), Charlie Clarke (The World Transformed), Clara Paillard (President of PCS Culture Sector), Andy Greene and Roger Lewis (DPAC Steering group), Sabina Lahur and Raymond Johnson (People First and DPAC), Mark Dunk (DPAC member and Unite activist), Martha Foulds (DPAC), Paul Ntulila (Inclusion London)

List of supporters: The World Transformed; Bakers and Allied Food Workers Union; People Before Profit.

WLG Statement on Suspension of Jeremy Corbyn

“Welsh Labour Grassroots condemns the suspension from party membership of Jeremy Corbyn and the removal of the whip from him. 

In our view, Jeremy’s statement on the EHRC report, which apparently prompted this decision, contains nothing that would justify such action. As always, he was unequivocal about the unacceptability of antisemitic views and behaviour and about the need for Labour to rebuild trust with Jewish communities.

His statement fully respected the seriousness of the EHRC report, as does Welsh Labour Grassroots, acknowledging the failings it identifies and the need for Labour to respond to its recommendations. As a longstanding democratic organisation of party members, WLG also reaffirms that there is no place in the Labour Party for antisemitism or any other form of racism or discrimination.

The grounds for Jeremy’s suspension have not yet been made clear and, moreover, the legitimacy of the process by which the decision was made appears questionable. 

On a day when Labour was the subject of a report that directed the party to ensure that its disciplinary procedures are clear, consistent and fair, it is unfortunate, to say the least, that such a high-profile decision appears to have been made in such dubious circumstances.

As a former leader, it would be wholly unreasonable for Jeremy not to be able to comment on a report which is directed at his period in office. Page 27 of the report itself endorses this right very clearly:


“Article 10 [of the Human Rights Act] will protect Labour Party members who, for example … express their opinions on internal Party matters, such as the scale of antisemitism within the Party, based on their own experience and within the law.


Jeremy Corbyn’s record in fighting racism and prejudice in all its forms is, in our view, second to none. This makes it all the more deplorable that he should have been subject to repeated, inaccurate and baseless accusations that he somehow condoned, facilitated or even promoted antisemitism during his time as party leader. The action that has now been taken against him lends credence to these aspersions on the character of a decent and principled man. It also represents an unwarranted attack on those many thousands of Labour Party members who were and remain inspired by Jeremy’s socialist vision and principles, who now feel let down by the leadership’s action.

Welsh Labour Grassroots calls for the suspension to be dropped immediately and for the whip to be restored. Until this injustice is resolved, we urge members to offer Jeremy the maximum support and solidarity and, above all, to remain in the Labour party, to continue to fight for the politics and principles that he represents.”

Newsround #1983/84

It is August 6th and my journey back to the 1983/84 football season is due to begin with the Charity Shield match between reigning champions Liverpool and FA Cup winners Manchester United on 20th August.

In preparation for my time travels, I will be whetting your appetite for this nine-month theme by sharing samples of popular culture from this era. Today I have published a news round up from 1983 with thanks to Wikipedia. 

***

Events

January

  • 1 January – The British Nationality Act 1981 comes into effect creating five classes of British nationality.
  • 3 January – Children’s ITV is launched as a new branding for the late afternoon programming block on the ITV network.
  • 6 January – Danish fishermen defy the British government’s prohibition on non-UK boats fishing in its coastal waters.
  • 14 January – Stephen Waldorf shooting: Armed policeman shoot and severely injure an innocent car passenger in London, believing him to be escaped prisoner David Martin.
  • 17 January – First British breakfast time television programme, Breakfast Time, broadcast on BBC1.
  • 19 January – The two policemen who wounded Stephen Waldorf are charged with attempted murder and released on bail; they are suspended from duty pending further investigation.
  • 23 January – The prohibition on non-British boats fishing in British waters is lifted as the European Economic Community‘s Common Fisheries Policy comes into effect.[1]
  • 25 January – The Infrared Astronomical Satellite, the first-ever space-based observatory to perform a survey of the entire sky at infrared wavelengths, is launched. The satellite is a joint project between the American space agency NASA, the Netherlands Agency for Aerospace Programmes and the UK’s Science and Engineering Research Council.[2]
  • 26 January – Red rain falls in the UK, caused by sand from the Sahara Desert in the droplets.
  • 28 January – Escaped prisoner David Martin is rearrested.
  • 31 January – Seatbelt use for drivers and front seat passengers becomes mandatory, 11 years after becoming compulsory equipment in new cars.[3]

February

  • February – Work begins on extending the Piccadilly line of London Underground at Heathrow Airport to serve the new Terminal 4.[4]
  • 1 February – TV-am broadcasts for the first time.[3]
  • 3 February: unemployment stands at a record high of 3,224,715 – though the previous high reached in the Great Depression of the early 1930s accounted for a higher percentage of the workforce.
  • 10 February – Dismembered sets of human remains are found at a block of flats in Muswell HillNorth London. 37-year-old civil servant Dennis Nilsen is arrested on suspicion of murder.
  • 11 February – Dennis Nilsen is charged with the murder of 20-year-old Stephen Sinclair, who was last seen alive in January. Police are working to identify the other sets of human remains found at Nilsen’s flat, in order to press further murder charges against Nilsen.
  • 15 February – The Austin Metro is now Britain’s best selling car, having outsold every other new car registered in the UK during January.
  • 24 February – Labour candidate Peter Tatchell loses the Bermondsey by-election to the Liberal Party’s Simon Hughes. The Official Monster Raving Loony Party first contests an election under this label.
  • 26 February – Patrick Jennings, 37-year-old Arsenal and Northern Ireland goalkeeper, becomes the first player in the English game to appear in 1,000 senior football matches.

March

April

  • April – Vauxhall launches the Nova supermini with a range of three-door hatchbacks and two-door saloons. It is the first Vauxhall to be built outside the United Kingdom, being assembled at the Zaragoza plant in Spain where it was launched seven months ago as the Opel Corsa, but plans to launch it on the British market had been attacked by trade unions who were angry at the fact that it would not be built in Britain. Its launch is expected to result in the end of Vauxhall Chevette production in Britain.[7]
  • 1 April
    • Thousands of protesters form a 14-mile human chain in reaction to the siting of American nuclear weapons in British military bases.[8]
    • The government expels three Russians named as KGB agents by a Soviet defector.
  • 4 April – The biggest cash haul in British history sees gunmen escape with £7 million from a Security Express van in London.
  • 11 April – Richard Attenborough‘s 1982 film Gandhi wins eight Academy Awards.[3]
  • 21 April – The one pound coin introduced in England and Wales.[3]

May

  • 9 May – Margaret Thatcher calls a general election for 9 June. Opinion polls show her on course for victory with the Tories 8–12 points ahead of Labour, and they are widely expected to form a significant overall majority due to the split in left-wing votes caused by the Alliance, who are now aiming to take Labour’s place in opposition.[9]
  • 16 May – Wheel clamps are first used to combat illegal parking in London.[10]
  • 21 May – Manchester United and Brighton & Hove Albion draw 2–2 in the FA Cup final at Wembley Stadium. The replay will be held in five days time.[11]
  • 26 May
    • Manchester United defeat Brighton & Hove Albion 4–0 in the FA Cup final replay at Wembley Stadium. Bryan Robson scores two of the goals, with the other two coming from Arnold Muhren and 18-year-old Norman Whiteside.[11]
    • Opinion polls suggest that the Conservatives are looking set to be re-elected with a landslide. A MORI poll puts them on 51%, 22 points ahead of Labour.[12]

June

July

  • 7 July – New chancellor Nigel Lawson announces public spending cuts of £500 million.
  • 13 July
  • 15 July – Much of the country embraces a heatwave as temperatures reach 33 °C in London.
  • 16 July – Twenty people are killed in the 1983 British Airways Sikorsky S-61 crash.
  • 19 July – A large new model of a flesh-eating dinosaur is erected at the Natural History Museum.[2]
  • 21 July – Former prime minister Harold Wilson is one of 17 life peerages announced today, having stood down from parliament last month after 38 years as MP for Huyton, near Liverpool.
  • 22 July – Production of the Ford Orion four-door saloon begins. The Orion is the saloon version of the Escort, but is also aimed at buyers of larger family saloon cars like the recently discontinued Cortina. It goes on sale this autumn, and is produced at the Halewood plant in Liverpool as well as the Valencia plant in Spain which also produces the smaller Fiesta.
  • 26 July – A Catholic mother of ten, Victoria Gillick, loses a case in the High Court of Justice against the DHSS. Her application sought to prevent the distribution of contraceptives to children under the age of 16 without parental consent. The case goes to the House of Lords in 1985 when it is decided that it is legal for doctors to prescribe contraceptives to under-16s without parental consent in exceptional circumstances (“Gillick competence“).[19]
  • 1 to 31 July – The two hundredth anniversary of the previous hottest month in the CET series sees a new record for heat with a monthly mean CET of 19.5 °C or 67.1 °F – 0.7 °C or 1.3 °F hotter than July 1783.[20]

August[edit]

  • 1 August – The new A-prefix car registration plates are launched, helping spur on the recovery in car sales following the slump at the start of the decade caused by the recession.
  • 5 August – 22 Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) members receive sentences totalling over 4,000 years from a Belfast Court.[3]
  • 19 August – Temperatures reach 30 °C in London, as hot weather embraces the United Kingdom.
  • 29 August – ITV launches Blockbusters, a gameshow hosted by Bob Holness and featuring sixth formers as its contestants.

September

October

November

December

  • 4 December – An SAS undercover operation ends in the shooting and killing of two IRA gunmen, a third is injured.[28]
  • 6 December – First heart and lung transplant carried out in Britain at Harefield.[29]
  • 8 December – The House of Lords votes to allow television broadcast of its proceedings.[30]
  • 10 December – William Golding wins the Nobel Prize in Literature “for his novels which, with the perspicuity of realistic narrative art and the diversity and universality of myth, illuminate the human condition in the world of today”.[31]
  • 17 December – Six people are killed in the Harrods bombing.
  • 25 December (Christmas Day) – a second IRA bomb explodes in Oxford Street, but this time nobody is injured.[17]

Undated

Emergency on Planet Earth #43

I WILL WRITE A NUMBER OF EMERGENCY ON PLANET EARTH BLOGS THROUGHOUT THE TORY SPONSORED CORONAVIRUS CRISIS.

What follows is a random collection of thoughts from a human being trapped in 21st Century British society.

***

This is an extremely worrying time for all disabled and vulnerable people.  The messages being sent out by individual Governments regarding shielding seem to be conflicting and leave many struggling to decide what is best to do. This is brilliantly highlighted in the article by John Pring below, which features on his superb Disability News Service website.  

I am particularly confused as I have a serious underlying condition, but I have not been told to shield by anyone.  This is despite the fact that I was admitted to hospital at the end of January with pneumonia-like symptoms.

Is this simply an admin error or should I believe that the powers that be see this as a exciting opportunity to see the back of my annoying activism?

***

***

The following article has been taken from the blog of Gail Ward, who is campaigning to join the Labour Party NEC.  I felt that this article deserves to be read by a wide audience and I encourage Labour Party members to vote for Gail in the forthcoming NEC elections.

***

HOW CAN THE LABOUR PARTY WIN THE TRUST OF DISABLED VOTER

Regain our trust.

Times have changed over the decades since Thatcher and successive governments starting shifting away from Beveridgism. Labour lost that trust when they brought about welfare reforms in 2008 under Tony Blair’s regime. Yes, I will unashamedly point out that it was indeed those reforms, initially intended for new claims, which turned social security into the negative state it is now in. It was intended to be new claims only, however the likes on Begg, Gilmore, McGuire and Abraham’s soon realised all was not well. I recall in 2013 myself and other campaigners met with McGuire at her office in Stirling and again later at  Newcastle Football Stadium where it was pointed out that a few people had died after

In marched Iain Duncan Smith under David Cameron’s mandate along with Lord David Freud, a former policymaker for the Labour Party,  and they carried on with the assessments, bastardising them into the monster it is today.

They claimed baselessly that Labour were too soft on those needing state support. George Osborne persuaded the public that those needing social security were feckless, lazy and in need through their individual for their poverty, rather than considering the endemic, structural and systematic causes of poverty. The social security system had already been rebranded as welfare benefits, handouts and benefits by New Labour.

No serious or substantial attempt was made by Governments since the 1980s to explain why poverty occurs in Britain, and across the country. No attempt was made to secure well-paid employment in sectors which build supply chains and jobs. Across the industrial Midlands, Pennines and North, Scotland, Wales and Cornwall lost manufacturing jobs were not replaced with quality work.

By 2010 it was easy for Osborne to fuel that attitude with his strivers and skivers rhetoric than to offer real opportunities to those who were disabled, low paid or experiencing unemployment and job precarity.

Pushing the rhetoric of neighbours with curtains drawn while other residents went to work and paid their taxes to keep them lying idly in bed, Osborne pushed the misinformation that people in need of social security were taking advantage of the taxpayer. Which of course was largely untrue, fraud is low and most of the social security budget is taken up by the state retirement pension.

Back in the 1980s Thatcher had parked many of the middle aged and older working age men and women who were victims of her recessions mass redundancies on Incapacity Benefit. Ageism in the workplace and lack of transferable skills made it impossible for these people to find work, and they were parked in the embarrassingly high unemployment figures. Moving these unemployment benefit claimants onto Incapacity Benefits helped Thatcher and Major massage the unemployed statistics. In part New Labour recognised the unfairness of consigning people to the scrap heap, but they focused on using benefits as a springboard to work. The unemployed became job seekers and the beginnings of theories that sickness might be helped by work were creeping through the policy makers and lobbyists policy papers.

 By 2010 Iain Duncan Smith had formulated his view that everyone should work, and that unemployed, disabled and even sick people might work.  Given the right support everyone could work and the Universal Credit system which has been under consideration from the mid-1990s was being transformed into policy by 2012.  However, IDS, Universal Credit has been badly planned, with poor software support, operated through Job Centres and call centres which have had staffing levels cut, that no longer provide real job search support. As with legacy benefits and disability benefits, UC claimants are forced to jump through hoops,but for lower amounts of money. The system of social security in Britain has effectively ceased to exist. What we have now is cruel process calculated to delay,  deny and deter people claiming any form of state assistance and with the much vaunted insistence that the economy has large numbers of job vacancies. The fact that many jobs are low paid, part-time and precarious has constantly been glossed over.

Fast forward a decade and still the current Tory Government blames everyone else for the state of this country including the Labour Party which has not been in power for ten years, while absolving themselves of any responsibility for their mistakes. They have brainwashed the public thus far to go along with everything they say including those most in need. Sadly over 13 million people fell for the Conservatives’ lies at the last General Election.

Even in a pandemic that the Johnson regime was mismanaging from the outset, the Tories clapped and praised the NHS and its workers who they have systematically abused for a decade through low pay and poor working conditions. They saved Boris Johnson’s life while slapping them in the face by voting down a pay rise for them. While business and people tried to adapt to COVID regulations, members of the Government, their special advisors and relatives were found to have flouted the rules when they put themselves in harms way.

Today the Labour Party’s DWP Shadow Minster for Secretary of the State Jonathan Reynolds claimed In a article published on Labour List there would be no returning to George Osborne’s demonising rhetoric used against disabled, sick and unemployed people under his watch. Having spoken to him previously regarding his disastrous first article published in Politics Home,shows promise. I can see he is making steps in the right direction especially against the hated Universal Credit which is an utter failure. has further shown it to be such a mess to people who before the pandemic had never had any contact with the system. Many of those who were furloughed, or lost their jobs at the outset of lockdown are sadly among those who will encountered the social security system for the first time as all of our business sectors shed jobs. The British people face unprecedented levels unemployment which experts expect will return to levels not seen since Thatcher of between 5-9 million people.

What Labour have never done since 2010 is acknowledge and apologise for the part its reforms to social security played in giving the Tories the tools it has gone on to with such viciousness against disabled people. With the exception of a few individual MPs the Labour Party over the last decade has not visibly fought hard enough to protect disabled people. This lack of fight seems to have come about because of fears of talking publicly about social security in a society that demonises anyone who must claim any form of support from the state.

When you ask awkward questions they want to engage, while squidgy bums squirm on seats, many campaigners have put in enormous numbers of hours of work without payment into researching the ways the benefit system is failing disabled, impoverishment pensioners, low paid, sick, unemployed people and WASPI women. Many are working often from their sick beds, including myself, to engage in policy decisions, many of our findings were ignored, or cherry picked without even as much as a reference. 

 So you see to gain disabled people ‘trust’ again, let alone encourage the general public to vote for Labour in any local or general election, it is time to come clean and admit your mistakes in a number of areas of policy and tell them what you plan to do to put things right should they gain power.

In 2020 I can still hear all those disabled Labour voters shouting ‘I do not believe you’! Frankly, I do not blame them when 184 Labour MP’s voted with the current reforms.

Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see the Tories ousted from office and a Labour Government returned to power and that’s why I am standing for the NEC seat of Disability Representative. I recognise that the Labour Party has to radically change the way it designs policy and the way it engages with disabled people, other marginalised groups and the wider public. Failure to do so means we will remain in opposition for a very long time to come and in the meantime many who need social security support will continue to suffer and die. 

***

 

LabourList: Mark Drakeford to step down after 2021 election

The article below was published this morning on LabourList. It is the news I have been dreading since Mark Drakeford was elected in December 2018. 

This confirmation of his intentions comes at a time when I am trying to iron out the details of my independent reassessment through ICS. I will tie up all loose ends to ensure the success we achieved through the #SaveWILG campaign, bares fruition.

This is a decisive time for Welsh Labour. Under the leadership of Drakeford, the party has developed the unique brand of 21st Century socialism has been so popular with the people of Wales. The last thing we need, is for Welsh Labour to return to the centre-right as it did during the dark days of Carwyn Jones.

One thing is for sure, I will be campaigning hard to make sure the next leader of Welsh Labour, shares the same socialist ideals as Drakeford proudly promoted. We can only hope a left-wing candidate comes forward, to steer Wales through the difficult days that will no doubt follow this perilous period of lockdown.

I am not about to pay tribute to Drakeford – this is not the time, as many more challenges are inevitable before he stands down – but I would like to pledge my determination, to ensure the Labour Party in Wales remains true to its socialist principles.

***

02_07-Mark-DrakeFord-_-Leaving-the-EU-4_min (1)

First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford has reaffirmed his intention to step down from the head of the devolved administration during his next term if re-elected in the 2021 election.

Drakeford told BBC Politics Wales this morning that his “plan hasn’t changed’, and explained that his 70th birthday would “be time for somebody else to have a chance to do this job”.

The Welsh Labour leader argued that “this is the normal pattern of things here in Wales”, pointing out that Carwyn Jones had led the party into the last election before handing over to Drakeford in 2018.

Asked whether he had changed his plans, he said: “If we’re successful I will form a government, I will serve as head of that government well in to the next Senedd term and then my plan will be to hand it on to somebody else in advance of an election.

“It will be time for somebody else to do this difficult and demanding job. As well as a job, it is a privilege to have had the opportunity to fill.”

When he announced his intention to stand for the leadership in 2018, Drakeford had said that he would lead Labour into the next election before stepping down for a “new generation of leaders to put themselves forward”.

The First Minister won the Welsh Labour leadership election in December 2018, securing 53.9% of the votes on the second round of counting and beating Vaughan Gething and Eluned Morgan.

 

I am absolutely, genuinely embarrassed by the way the Labour Party is currently being led

My good friend and comrade Adam Samuels has written the following article for the Dorset Eye  website. I fully endorse every word and recommend this piece to all socialists dismayed by the way in which OUR Party is being led. 

***

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I want to issue an apology to so many people who rely on The Labour Party to represent you. I am absolutely, genuinely embarrassed by the way the Party is currently being led. I want to show total solidarity with the many people who have been in contact, with those who are still in floods of tears.

Most of all I want to say that I am ashamed & embarrassed by the behaviour of certain people. I feel, without question, as a recent example, both Rebecca Long Bailey & Maxine Peake, two magnificent, outstanding, compassionate, committed, dedicated Socialist women, have been & are being bullied. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY NOT ACCEPTABLE. The hypocrisy and behaviour from the top of the Labour Party is shocking and, quite frankly, disgusting.

Let me also be VERY clear here: anti-Semitism, and any form of racism or discrimination is totally abhorrent. It should always be exposed and resisted. It is why I stand in total solidarity with Jewish comrades who are attacked as if they somehow represent the IDF and extremist far-right Netanyahu Israeli government. The actions of the state of Israel & the IDF are very well documented by the world courts, UN, Amnesty International etc etc. The law breaking now and historically is completely unacceptable, as it is from the UK, USA or any other government. I also stand in total solidarity with my Palestinian comrades, who are the receivers of some truly horrific murders, imperialism, colonialism and racism. WHOEVER commits the offences, I stand against. I stand with ALL comrades, regardless of their colour, faith, place of birth, gender etc.

I want to continue to show complete and total solidarity with all people who identify as BAME (and those for whom that term is unacceptable, I apologise, but hope you understand why I use it in current context to show solidarity). You are being, and have been, let down. Just because my Party seemingly wants to ignore this along with the media, does not mean your genuine concerns and feeling of betrayal are any less real. I repeat, the vast majority of The Labour Party stands proudly, unapologetically in solidarity with you.

As a white man, apart from being not being rich, I am in the most privileged of demographics. Yet, for large parts of my life I have been bullied for being overweight. More recently, the last five years, the abuse-sometimes violent-has been for supporting Jeremy Corbyn wanting to have a decent living for all, free health, education & housing where needed, no illegal wars etc. Often that bullying has come from some of the very same people now targeting Rebecca & Maxine. TBC, of course I would not compare my situation to that of any woman or BAME person who has been the victim of racist/sexist abuse.

Bullies will not win. Ever. This bullying goes completely unrecognised everywhere-by The Labour Party, by members who do not share a Socialist vision (not all, obviously), by power, by the media etc etc. It is even worse at times, where we are mocked and vilified by those with a massive platform, often without the right of reply. These people are awful, awful human beings carrying this out. Yet, too often, hide behind the facade of being ‘liberal’ and ‘decent’. Genuinely, some of the worst people I have ever come across are supposed ‘liberals’.

I want to show total solidarity with all women, many of whom have been beyond appalled by yesterday’s actions from The Labour Party. Though it is not just women who have been in tears, I am aware how important it is to show solidarity and highlight just how upsetting things currently are for so many women. I would absolutely not want to speak on behalf of any woman, in the same way I would not want to re anyone identifying as BAME, I just want to reflect their understandable frustration & anger and show solidarity.

There will be those reading this that will feel a need to jump to the defence of Keir Starmer & Labour. As is their right, of course. There will be those who will not take these words seriously, laugh, mock & ridicule. Those people are very much part of the problem; the toxic culture within Labour that needs removing absolutely ASAP if the Party is to have any chance at all of unity. Speaking for myself, I genuinely couldn’t care about those people. There are times in the past I would have, but not now. I do not have the time or inclination to justify myself to any of them. There will be others who are genuinely good people who are blinded by their loyalty to Starmer or the Party. I implore such people to respectfully read and listen.

I am staying in The Labour Party. I completely respect and understand why those who have left have left, and they are absolutely no less of a comrade now than when they were in the Party. I understand their reasons and logic and respect them. But, for me personally, as things are now, I will stay and fight for justice, for the forthcoming NEC elections…and who knows what else might be needed if things carry on as they are. No, that is not a threat. It is saying members can only take so much.

I implore my Party to LISTEN to those telling them why they feel betrayed and failed by the current direction of the party. The time has come to say “Enough is enough”. I want to thank all the brilliant comrades doing all they do every day to help make society that little bit better. The millions of unsung heroes who exist within Labour and outside Labour. Solidarity with you all.

THANK YOU to you all. Stay strong because WE WILL BE NEEDED. El Pueblo Unido Jamas Sera Vencido! Hasta La Victoria, Siempre!

Adam Samuels

Emergency on Planet Earth #29

I WILL WRITE A NUMBER OF EMERGENCY ON PLANET EARTH BLOGS THROUGHOUT THE TORY SPONSORED CORONAVIRUS CRISIS.

 What follows is a random collection of thoughts from a human being trapped in 21st Century British society.

***

I am not a fan of Zoom and all this new technology that is supposed to bring people together during these times of lockdown. As someone who is used to being alone, i do not feel the need to suddenly invite the world and his wife in my front room and have to make sure I have a clean top to wear. I also have issues with my hearing that makes applications such as Zoom less of a positive option than a simple email.

I am not alone in feeling this way as one of my Facebook friends posted the following comment yesterday:

I strongly advise all concerned NOT to use Zoom. It is malware. Several governments have banned its use over security concerns. This is not a joke or conspiracy, Google it. Stop being lemmings following the crowd and use your brains. There are other group chat apps. Try WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or Signal – recommended by Edward Snowden.

Having said all that, I will definitely tuning in to Facebook and Twitter live on the 15th of June when my good friend and comrade, Ellen Clifford, will be launching The War on Disabled People. I hope to be able to review this volume in the near future and I look forward to listening to the speakers assembled for this event (listening to people I admire without having to worry about speaking or being on camera is a totally different experience than Zoom).

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***

I am constantly searching for members of staff to bulk up my excellent base of staff. This is a particularly difficult time to be looking to recruit as people are concerned about the Coronavirus situation. Nevertheless, the hunt for new recruits continues. In a month’s  time there will be an opportunity to work alongside me as a support worker. It is a hugely unpopular shift on a Saturday night. It starts at 17:30 and turns into a sleep-in from 23:00 until 09:00. There will be an opportunity to work on Sunday morning for as long as you would like. The rate of pay is £9.80 per hour and £83.00 for the sleep-in.

The full job advertisement can be found here.

***

Reasons to leave the Labour Party keep on mounting:

Labour’s worrying record on anti-black racism under its new leadership

***

I think what is needed on a day like today is a little music…

From Wikipedia:

Weezer is an American rock band formed in Los Angeles, California, in 1992. Since 2001, the band has consisted of Rivers Cuomo (lead vocals, lead guitar, keyboards), Patrick Wilson (drums), Brian Bell (guitar, backing vocals, keyboards), and Scott Shriner (bass, backing vocals).

After signing to Geffen Records in 1993, Weezer released its self-titled debut album, also known as the Blue Album, in 1994. Backed by music videos for the singles “Buddy Holly“, “Undone – The Sweater Song“, and “Say It Ain’t So“, the Blue Album became a multiplatinum success. Weezer’s second album, Pinkerton (1996), featuring a darker, more abrasive sound, was a commercial failure and initially received mixed reviews, but achieved cult status and critical acclaim years later. Both the Blue Album and Pinkerton are now frequently cited among the best albums of the 1990s. Following the tour for Pinkerton, bassist Matt Sharp left the band and Weezer went on hiatus.

In 2001, Weezer returned with the Green Album, with new bassist Mikey Welsh. With a more pop sound, and promoted by singles “Hash Pipe” and “Island in the Sun“, the album was a commercial success and received mostly positive reviews. After the Green Album tour, Welsh left the band and was replaced by current bassist Scott Shriner. Weezer’s fourth album, Maladroit (2002), achieved mostly positive reviews, but weaker sales. Make Believe (2005) received mixed reviews, but its single “Beverly Hills” became Weezer’s first single to top the US Modern Rock Tracks chart and the first to reach the top ten on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 2008, Weezer released the Red Album, featuring “TR-808s, synths, Southern rap, and baroque counterpoint”.[1] Its lead single, “Pork and Beans“, became the third Weezer song to top the Modern Rock Tracks chart, backed by a Grammy-winning YouTube music video. Raditude (2009) and Hurley (2010) featured more “modern pop production”[2] and songs co-written with other artists, achieved further mixed reviews and moderate sales. The band’s ninth and tenth albums, Everything Will Be Alright in the End (2014) and the White Album (2016), returned to a rock style and achieved more positive reviews. Their eleventh album, Pacific Daydream (2017), featured a more mainstream pop sound.[3] In 2019, Weezer released an album of covers, the Teal Album, followed by the Black Album.[4] Weezer has sold 10.2 million albums in the US and over 35 million worldwide.[5]

 

Emergency on Planet Earth #28

I WILL WRITE A NUMBER OF EMERGENCY ON PLANET EARTH BLOGS THROUGHOUT THE TORY SPONSORED CORONAVIRUS CRISIS.

 What follows is a random collection of thoughts from a human being trapped in 21st Century British society. 

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download

Below, I have copied a letter from the DPAC Steering Group to Jonathan Reynolds MP – the Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions. It refers to comments from Reynolds relating to welfare payments. 

It is deeply troubling that so early in to the Keir Starmer regime, our social democratic party seems to be reversing at full pelt back to the dark days of Blair.

I am still a member of the Labour Party because of the work being done by Mark Drakeford in Wales, and it is sad to see the party in Westminster drifting back towards the centre-right. The fact that this is happening at a time when the Conservative Party are making such a hash of the Coronavirus crisis, is agonising.

It will be extremely interesting to see how Jonathan Reynolds replies to the letter below. Only a complete backtrack will suffice in this case, or my membership of the party will be in serious doubt.

I wish I could only be a member of Welsh Labour. I will remain a member of the party while Mark Drakeford is First Minister. He has earned my loyalty. It will be interesting to see which way Starmer steers his ship in the next few weeks and months.

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Dear Mr Reynolds

 

Regarding your statement that “Welfare should reflect ‘what you put in’ to tackle public mistrust”

In a comment to the Morning Star, our spokesperson described your comments as “Toxic idiocy”.

Toxic, because, as (too few) wise and responsible senior politicians are well aware, we live in a dangerously fractured, highly unequal society.

They are aware that making statements that will only increase those fault lines and set social group against social group (“them and us”) is highly irresponsible, can only lead to further social division and stoke hate, which at worst can lead to hate crime against “them”, and that includes disabled people.

As you have seem so keen to demonstrate, you are neither a wise nor responsible politician

Idiotic, because you only need to spend a moment considering the implications of your statement to see that it is palpably idiotic.

If you take your statement to its conclusions in terms of policy, these are the outcomes that you get:

1) Higher Rate Taxpayers should have higher benefit entitlements

2) Women, who, as is well established, not only earn less (“the Gender Pay Gap”), but through their caring responsibilities both for children and family members save the government many millions of pounds. In simplistic terms therefore they pay less tax, so should have lower benefit entitlements.

3) BAME people, who earn less (“the BAME Pay Gap”), and therefore pay less tax, should have lower benefit entitlements

4) Young adults who have had less time to accrue tax payments, and therefore should have even lower benefit entitlements than they do already

5) Disabled people who face huge barriers in terms of discrimination and lack of access, who have great difficulty in accessing any work at all (“the Disability Employment Gap”) , and therefore pay much less tax, should receive much lower benefit entitlements

6) Disabled People who, due to their impairments, do not have the capacity for paid work ( however much they want to work, they simply can’t), and who pay very little tax should receive no benefit entitlements

Please would you confirm that the 6 statements above are the logical results of your statement to the  House of Commons, and could you  please let us know if you intend them to become Labour Policy

If you do not intend for these to be Labour’s benefit policies, could you please tell us, why you made that statement, and please tell us, precisely what your policies will be in the light of your comments

We have long been used to toxic and dangerously idiotic statements from the Tory Party, and have lowered our expectations accordingly. Now it seems we need to lower our expectations of Labour.

You should be under no illusion that this will also lower our intentions to engage positively with the  Labour Party, and will certainly lower disabled peoples’ motivation to vote for Labour at election time.

As is our normal practice, we are publishing our letter to you on our website, and will publish your response to us (or state that there has been no response on our site) in order to give you a public right of reply.

We are sure that DPAC’s supporters will await your response with great interest

Yours

The DPAC Steering Group

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Emergency on Planet Earth #7

I WILL WRITE A NUMBER OF EMERGENCY ON PLANET EARTH BLOGS THROUGHOUT THE TORY SPONSORED CORONAVIRUS CRISIS.

What follows is a random collection of thoughts from a human being trapped in 21st Century British society.

Sunday 5th April

I don’t know what is more scary – the continuing spread of Coronavirus or the loss of an effective left-wing opposition in British politics?

I echo the views of Clwyd South CLP:

We can welcome in our new party leader Keir Starmer while also sharing this. From the Conservative & Daily Mail writer Peter Oborne. As well as demonstrably being correct here, massive respect to him for this.

From The Skwawkbox:

SACKING GARDINER, STARMER BETRAYS LACK OF INTEREST IN EVEN APPEARANCE OF UNITY OR APPEAL TO LEAVE TOWNS

THANK YOU JEREMY CORBYN

The following article has been written by my good friend Adam Samuels, for the excellent Dorset Eye website. 

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As Jeremy Corbyn steps down as leader of The Labour Party, there is so much to say. In the same way that Jeremy is being proven spectacularly correct now about the policies he stood on, and the humanity, compassion & intelligence he has always shown, history (as it already is again now) will prove him to be correct. When sometimes things were unpopular at the time, this never stopped Jeremy throwing everything he had at defending what is correct and just. His track record truly is second to none. Remember in 2015 when he was the only Labour leader candidate to insist on anti-austerity policies? Look now; even Tory party members are anti-austerity! Back then we were told such thinking was “impossible, loony left, Marxist, utopian, unaffordable, naive, far left, fantasy student politics” etc?! By not just the media and right wing, but the Labour Party Establishment? THAT is how much he has changed the political landscape. I said in 2015, even if Jeremy never won power, it was essential he won the leadership, in order to create the political space and platform for common-sense policies. To act as an anchor to the runaway train that was/is disaster capitalism/Neo Liberal thinking.

I cannot think of a single politician with a comparable track record of history proving them to be correct. Things that seem obvious to all now, but, in most cases, were things he was condemned for by the people who were consistently, spectacularly wrong about those things. Jeremy was correct about Iraq x 2-indeed, he helped organise the 2 million people marching against his OWN party re Iraq. His infamous speech that day predicted exactly what would happen. He was correct re Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, not arming Saddam Hussein in the 1980s when we did. Apartheid, where he was arrested for being anti-racist! Israel/Palestine, Orgreave, Hillsborough, The Shrewsbury 24, the blacklisted scandal(s), Windrush (one of only 6 of our MPs to vote against it (there is a great clip on youtube of Jeremy predicting exactly what would happen, with John McDonnell & Dianne Abbot next to him), the Northern Ireland peace process, LGBTQ+ rights, disabled rights, anti-snooping rights, the Guildford 4, the Birmingham 6, the financial crash of 2008 down to the specifics of the American sub prime mortgage issues, women’s rights, homelessness, care for armed forces veterans, the climate emergency, Grenfell, worker’s rights, animal rights. The list goes on, and on, and on…

He took out a loan of £30,000 against his own name to fund the building of a desperately-needed community hub for various community groups who were refused funding; it wasn’t even in his constituency! He gives any spare money he has to his local credit union, gave his pay rises to charity, consistently pays TOO much tax every year, pays for some members of his team out of his own pocket, spends many of his days off volunteering for various causes, lives in a very modest house by London standards, uses public transport all the time where possible (when he’s not on his bicycle). He’s won at least 3 international peace prizes, including the Gandhi peace prize. He could have been the first anti-imperialist, anti-colonialist, peace-seeking (not a pacifist-force ONLY as a last resort), internationalist leader the West had ever had. Which is what so many comrades around the world literally prayed for. Just ask the Latin Americans…as I say, a track record beyond any other.

Unfortunately, he was/is also the most lied about politician of all time. Never has one person endured as much hate, abuse, bullying etc as Jeremy. He had planned assassination attempts against him (see Darren Osborne court records), was physically assaulted on at least 2 occasions, had our government literally spending millions of OUR money via a secret set-up to push out lies and anti-Corbyn propaganda. Why? Because if you have lost the political argument, you target the individual to discredit in any way you can. He faced this from the media, opposition parties and, disgracefully-even to this day-from inside his own party. He never once reverted to their disgusting behaviour. Never once engaged in personal attacks.

So THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU JEREMY. You truly are the best human being I have ever met. You genuinely changed my life. You have personally been my biggest inspiration. I am SO PROUD to have had you as party leader. You will never get the credit you deserve. It is a monumentally devastating reflection of this world that you were prevented from leading the world in international solidarity. I would say now you and your wonderful wife Laura can have a well-earned rest. Except I know you’ll (both) be there, side by side with all of us. Because YOU ARE US. It is in your blood, heart and mind. You are endemically the best humanity has to offer. You are the best human being I have ever met. What an honour it has been to ‘serve’ ‘under’ you. Thank you for changing things positively beyond all measurable indicators. To show the true measure of the man, here is Jeremy in his own words, in his parting letter to Labour Party members:

“Dear Labour Party member,

I hope you and your family are keeping safe and well. I would especially like to thank the thousands of you working in key jobs and professions and those organising in mutual aid groups to help your local community.

As I stand down as Leader, I also want to thank you for all the support you have given the party, and me personally, over the last four and a half years. It has been the honour of my life to lead this party. Our members are my inspiration, and I am so proud that we have become a party of nearly 600,000 strong. I have made it a priority to meet members in every part of our country, and I learned so much from you.

So many of the issues we have been campaigning on over the past few years have been thrown into even sharper relief by the Coronavirus crisis. It has highlighted the underfunding in our NHS and social care as a result of damaging and counter-productive austerity, the lack of employment rights at work, the scandalously low level of welfare benefits, as well as housing insecurity and homelessness.

It has also reminded everyone how the people who keep our society running are not the hedge fund billionaires, but the cleaners, nurses, care workers and supermarket staff – so often women and migrant workers on low pay. The strength of our party is that it is rooted in our workplaces and communities in all their diversity.

Over the past five years we have changed the agenda on austerity and how the economy is run. In 2015, opposing austerity was seen as radical; today it is the political mainstream. A majority of the public supports Labour on issues such as public ownership and higher taxes on the richest. We now look forward as a party of economic inclusion, climate justice, peace and human rights.

Of course, we could have achieved so much in government, and I am sorry that under my leadership we did not get there. In 2017 we came close, winning the biggest increase in the popular vote since 1945. Sadly, the 2019 election was a Brexit election and our attempt to bridge the gap between Leave and Remain voters was unsuccessful.

I firmly believe that together we have the ideas, policies, energy and organisation to win a Labour government next time. We can build a society based on social justice, equality, and care for our environment. But it will not come about unless we fight for it.

Our party grew out of local communities and that is where we must focus our efforts, just as we always have. I will continue to campaign on the issues and principles that have motivated me as Leader, as an MP, as a councillor and as a party member for more than 50 years. I can assure you my voice will not be stilled. I’ll be out there campaigning for socialism, peace and justice, and I feel sure we’ll be doing that together.

Best wishes,
Jeremy Corbyn”

THANK YOU SO MUCH.

MUCHO GRACIAS HERMANO. VIVA JEREMY! EL PUEBLO UNIDO JAMES SERA VENCIDO! HASTA LA VICTORIA SIEMPRE!