Monday 29 August 2016

The End of TTIP

The end of TTIP would be a very significant vindication of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. They have been going on about it for years.

This issue was also central, both to the Labour Leave and Left Leave campaigns that were decisive of the referendum, and to the insistence of the Conservative Party that, even after the referendum, it could only ever be led by a Remainer.

Actually withdrawing from the EU, which will never be remotely likely under the Conservatives, would also be much harder to sell to Labour if TTIP were off the table.

But so long as there had been a refocusing of the political debate in general to the areas that had voted Leave while voting Labour, then our point would still have been made.

That was what really decided the referendum. Why do you think that no one much cares that we show absolutely no sign of ever leaving the EU? Least of all now that TTIP seems to be no more.

A happy fact that is itself not unconnected to the decision of the British referendum by the Labour-voting areas.

Thursday 25 August 2016

I Will Be Contesting The Lanchester Ward

Durham County Council has let it be known that, in express defiance of Jeremy Corbyn, it will not be giving justice to its Teaching Assistants. At best, they can expect a "compensation" payment that would not pay for a family holiday these days.

The 57 Labour councillors who passed this are objectively "worse than the Tories", who abstained, and far worse than the Independents and the Lib Dems, who voted against it. Their membership of the Labour Party is very literally bringing it into disrepute.

I do not want to join a party of which they are members. I believe that they ought all to lose their seats next year. I will be contesting the Lanchester Ward to that end.

This photograph will feature prominently in my campaign.

Friday 19 August 2016

The United Kingdom Should Leave NATO, And Tories Should Demand That It Does

No, of course we would not go to war with Russia. For anything, ever. We have not done so since 1856, so that's all right.

Owen Smith's suggestion that we would, should or could is as naïve as his suggestion that we should have a nice cup of tea and a chat with the Islamic State.

NATO already revolves around Erdogan's Turkey, while all and sundry are being let in. The next in the queue is the ghastly regime in Olympically corrupt, but strategically irrelevant, Montenegro.

With honourable, but very rare, exceptions, the Labour Right is hopeless on these matters. A kind of chest-beating international hawkishness was one of the ways in which it defined itself as a distinct faction or tendency.

In New Labour, that mixed with the anti-Soviet fanaticism of those who had very recently been Trotskyists or Eurocommunists.

Those were perhaps the only two factions or tendencies that ever truly believed that the Soviet Union had either the means or the will to invade Western Europe, as we now know for a fact that it did not.

Traditional Tories recognised that the USSR was a ramshackle operation waiting to collapse under the weight of its own contradictions.

Although they were also among those who recognised, when it and Yugoslavia disintegrated, that two geopolitical catastrophes had thus occurred, the unpleasant ramifications of which would be felt for generations, even for centuries.

Therefore, the heirs of Enoch Powell and Alan Clark ought to know better about NATO today. They have been as right as Jeremy Corbyn and the Morning Star in the past. They ought to be so again.

NATO membership causes us to give undertakings that we have no intention of honouring, and in reality could not honour even if we wanted to do so.

It causes us to give those undertakings to entities that do not deserve them, whether strategically, morally, or both.

And it subjects us to a supranational body that presumes to demand two per cent of our Gross Domestic Product. Not only that, but it really only expects a handful of states, including our own, to meet that in practice.

Imagine the reaction of the NATO zealots in Parliament and the Press, or at least of the Tory ones, if it were so much as suggested that the United Kingdom now accede to a body of that kind.

They ought to join those of us who demand that that body be dissolved, and that the United Kingdom begin that process by seceding from it unilaterally, unconditionally, and immediately.

Saturday 6 August 2016

Hiroshima Day

While the atom bomb has been used, nuclear weapons such as exist today never have been.

By anyone.

And look at the people who have had them, or who still have them.

Stalin never launched a nuclear attack. Stalin. Nor did Chairman Mao. Theresa May is many things. But she is no Chairman Mao.

It is all a bluff. Just get rid of these wretched things. 

We could pay the affected shipyard workers quite eye-watering sums in compensation, and still save amounts that there were scarcely the adjectives to describe.

Wednesday 3 August 2016

Letter in Support of the Teaching Assistants

This does not seem to have made the national papers (except perhaps the Morning Star, which I have yet to see today), but it is in today’s Northern Echo:

Dear Sir,

On 31st December, Labour-controlled Durham County Council will sack all 2700 of its Teaching Assistants.

On 1st January, it will reappoint them on a 23 per cent pay cut, even though they were already among the lowest paid in the country, and even though the councillors’ own allowances have recently been increased.

On 8th July, representatives of the Durham Teaching Assistants met Jeremy Corbyn and Angela Rayner, both of whom expressed the strongest possible support for their cause.

On 9th July, Mr Corbyn repeated that support in his speech from the platform of the Durham Miners’ Gala, at which, albeit briefly, Ms Rayner marched with the Teaching Assistants. Mr Corbyn also signed the Teaching Assistants’ petition.

This cause was supported very actively by the late Davey Hopper of the Durham Miners’ Association, right up until his recent, untimely death.

In the strongest possible terms, we implore Durham County Council to heed the words and deeds of Jeremy Corbyn by reversing this cruel and unnecessary attack on a loyal, low paid, invaluable, and overwhelmingly female workforce.

Yours faithfully,

David Lindsay, journalist and activist
Mary Bousted, General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers
Fiona Farmer, National Officer for Local Authorities, Unite the Union
Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union