Category Archives: Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn’s statement: “The extradition of Julian Assange to the US for exposing evidence of atrocities in Iraq and Afghanistan should be opposed by the British government” is followed by video evidence of those atrocities – lest we forget.
The Times’ misleading headline (left), its stock-in-trade, has been echoed by others, though not borne out by the following texts. These report only that Assange shouted – to give his point of view in a noisy crowd – and did not co-operate with the placing of handcuffs. No doubt if he had remained silent and passive, that would have been reported as evidence of shame and guilt.
Hansard reports faithfully – how long will that be permitted?
The Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott said: “I thank the Home Secretary for his account of events. On the Labour Benches, we are glad that Julian Assange will be able to access medical care, treatment and facilities, because there have been worrying reports about his ill health. Of course, at this point that is all a matter for the courts.
“We in the Opposition want to make the point that, even though the only charge that Julian Assange may face in this country is in relation to his bail hearings, the reason we are debating this this afternoon is entirely to do with his and WikiLeaks’ whistleblowing activities.
“These whistleblowing activities about illegal wars, mass murder, murder of civilians and corruption on a grand scale have put Julian Assange in the crosshairs of the US Administration. For this reason, they have once more issued an extradition warrant against Mr Assange . . .
“We have a precedent in this country in relation to requests for extradition to the US, when the US authorities raise issues of hacking and national security. I remind the House of the case of Gary McKinnon. In October 2012, when the current Prime Minister was Home Secretary, an extradition request very similar to this one was refused.
“We should recall what WikiLeaks disclosed. Who can forget the Pentagon video footage of a missile attack in 2007 in Iraq that killed 18 civilians and two Reuters journalists?
“The monumental number of such leaks lifted the veil on US-led military operations in a variety of theatres, none of which has produced a favourable outcome for the people of those countries.
“Julian Assange is being pursued not to protect US national security, but because he has exposed wrongdoing by US Administrations and their military forces”.
Richard House of Stroud writes: “Please share/cascade this timely article around the web”: Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour is a crucial ally in the fight against antisemitism:
Over 200 Jewish members and supporters of the Labour party sign a letter urging that anyone seeking an end to bigotry and racism should back Labour and Corbyn:
The Guardian has reported that a number of implacably anti-Corbyn MPs have left the Labour party alleging a failed “approach to dealing with antisemitism”, with Luciana Berger criticising Labour for becoming “sickeningly institutionally racist”.
We are Jewish members and supporters of the Labour party concerned about the current rise of reactionary ideologies, including antisemitism, in Britain and elsewhere across Europe.
We note the worrying growth of populist rightwing parties, encouraging racism, Islamophobia and antisemitism. In Britain the far right is whipping up these prejudices, a threat that requires a resolute and energetic response. But instead we have seen a disproportionate focus on antisemitism on the left, which is abhorrent but relatively rare.
We believe that the Labour party under the progressive leadership of Jeremy Corbyn is a crucial ally in the fight against bigotry and reaction. His lifetime record of campaigning for equality and human rights, including consistent support for initiatives against antisemitism, is formidable. His involvement strengthens this struggle.
Labour governments introduced both the anti-racist and human rights legislation of the 20th century and the 2010 Equalities Act. A Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn will be a powerful force to fight against racism, Islamophobia and antisemitism.
It is in this context that we welcome the Labour party’s endorsement of freedom of expression on Israel and on the rights of Palestinians. Labour is correct to recognise that while prejudice against Jewish people is deplorable, criticism of Israel’s government and policies can and must be made.
We urge all who wish to see an end to bigotry and racism, and who seek a more just society, to give their support to the Labour party.
I’m very happy to meet the Prime Minister. I don’t want to set any limits, one way or the other, ahead of those meetings. We recognise that she has made a move. I recognise my responsibility to represent the people who supported Labour in the last election and the people who didn’t support Labour but nevertheless want certainty and security for their own future. And that’s the basis on which we will meet her and have those discussions.
Labour has put forward our proposals to ensure there is a customs union with the EU, access to vital markets and protections of our standards of consumer, environmental and workers’ rights. And we’ll ensure that those are on the table. We’re also very clear that there has to be an absolute guarantee that the Good Friday Agreement is maintained for peace in Northern Ireland.
So far the Prime Minister hasn’t shown much sign of compromise, but I’m pleased that today she’s indicated she’ll accept the view of Parliament and is prepared to reach out and have that discussion. I have been meeting MPs from all parties over the past weeks. And there is some common ground; there are some areas it’s difficult to agree on. But, however people voted in the referendum of 2016, they didn’t vote for lower living standards or to lose their jobs. And there’s far more that unites people on both sides than divides them.
Vic writes from Vietnam after visiting his children and grandchildren in Australia:
Poor old Jeremy, what a battle he has had since becoming leader. When first elected, I said to him: “Don’t let the bastards grind you down!” [Porridge: Norman Stanley Fletcher]. He smiled and said: “I won’t.” And he kept that promise!
I’ve been active in the Party for well over twenty years, so I knew he was in for a hard time. You cannot convert a party of arrogant career politicians who are, or were, Bright Young Things [lacking life experience] with an ideology worshipping The Market “God” and Blairism. These Bright Young Things have been taking over our NGOs, charities, pressure groups, etc. over recent decades, as some sort of political parallel career.
I was at last year’s Progress*conference when the keynote speaker was the arch spin doctor, Alistair Campbell. They gave him a roaring, standing ovation!!! I remained seated!!
Of course, this Westminster bubble does not understand the meaning of “democracy.” Unlike in the past, members count for nothing! This is why the Blairites cannot come to terms with the Labour grassroots membership wish for even a moderate form of Socialism espoused by Jeremy AND that brilliant election manifesto!!
How could, for example, the Co-operative Party elite appoint a General Secretary who knew little, if not nothing, about co-operation? Was it because the Blairites have taken over the Co-op Party? A genuine co-operator is a Socialist at heart, but the abundance of Blairites undermine this principle. They are not truly Co-operators.
I asked this question at the Annual Co-op Party conference when Jeremy took office. “If you are co-operators, do you support Jeremy Corbyn?” The reply was a great deal of embarrassed responses. The then leader, John Woodcock, resigned shortly after shaking my hand!
Jeremy needs the big rallies, to show the strength of the membership’s support for him. His Glastonbury appearance was soooo significant! Of course, the adulation is overwhelming at Labour Annual conferences.
Richard House draws attention to a letter by Ruth Steigman published in the Independent this week. She writes
In the 2017 general election, Labour gained 40% of the vote, and the largest increase in its share of the vote since the 1945 general election.
Jeremy Corbyn, who started the campaign 20 points behind in the polls, achieved this result following two years of attacks from all sides, and, in the words of the BBC, “in the face of a brutal onslaught from the print media”.
He had, again in the BBC’s words, “changed British politics” and “showed, amazingly, that Labour did not have to move to the centre to win votes but could do so from the unashamed left”.
Does this totally unexpected result explain the extraordinary escalation in the onslaught from the BBC and other establishment institutions since then?
Do the countless absurd smears stem from the fact that Jeremy Corbyn and his policies are now seen as a clear threat to the establishment in this country?
The Labour MPs opposing him see their power base in the party, established over the past 30 years, under attack, but know that with half a million party members behind him, a further challenge to his leadership would fail.
They do not understand that the era of submission to Thatcherite policies is over.
Anyone standing outside a polling station in May 2017 could see what these Labour MPs cannot: instead of the usual trickle of elderly voters, large groups of enthusiastic and optimistic young people turned out to demonstrate that they were not fooled by many of the unfounded smears of antisemitism, espionage etc, and that they understood the Labour leader was under attack from all sides because he stood outside the establishment, and because his policies threatened the political dogma that had prevailed since Margaret Thatcher won power 40 years ago.
Those who hold power naturally want the status quo to continue untroubled: power never cedes without a fight. But the people are eager for change, and want a government that serves the public, not powerful vested interests.
Jeremy Corbyn’s policies articulate their anger at the failed privatisations of public services, and widespread deregulation. Ordinary Labour Party members want MPs who will not undermine the party’s democratic processes, or sabotage their efforts to achieve a Labour government.
A Labour MP from the left of the party brought us our most treasured institution, the NHS.
Now that the country is suffering in every sphere under Tory austerity – from poverty to knife crime to slum housing – Labour has the policies to prove the BBC correct in their assessment that British politics has indeed changed, and moved, with the Labour Party, to the left.
This prompt led to the discovery of Ms Steigman’s signature below the following testimony in the Islington Tribune
Jeremy Corbyn – a strong believer in human rights – respects and values minority communities here, including our Jewish one. We are sure that the same applies to his leadership of the Labour Party.
We are dismayed by unbalanced media reporting ahead of the local elections of allegations of anti-Semitism against Jeremy. We believe this partly results from his legitimate criticism of Israel’s cruel and racist treatment towards its Palestinian and Bedouin populations.
This is because one definition of anti-Semitism includes criticism of the Israeli state as racist. We reject that definition. Indeed, many Israelis criticise actions of their state.
Any genuine anti-Semites and racists among the 600,000 members of the Labour Party should be challenged and, if necessary, expelled. The recommendations in the Chakrabarti Report will greatly help deal with such abuse.
We dissociate ourselves from the accusations of anti-Semitism made against Jeremy by the Board of Jewish Deputies and some Labour MPs. We confirm our confidence and support for Jeremy as MP and as a future prime minister of this country.
JENNY KASSMAN, Finsbury Park branch
JULIA BARD, St George’s branch
CLLR KAYA COMER-SCHWARTZ, Junction branch
LOUISA S KAPLIN, Junction branch
JULIAN LOUSADA, Highbury East branch
SUE LUKES, Highbury East branch
PROF MICA NAVA, St George’s branch
JENNY RICHARDSON, Tollington branch
DAVID ROSENBERG, St George’s branch
MONIKA SCHWARTZ, Junction branch
PROF LYNNE SEGAL, Highbury East branch
ANNABELLE SREBERNY, Highbury East branch
RUTH STEIGMAN, St George’s branch
ANNETTE THOMAS, St George’s branch
DR GILLIAN YUDKIN, St George’s branch
PROF JOHN S YUDKIN, St George’s branch
One of the frequently expressed taunts equating Britain’s future under a Corbyn government with the current state of Venezuela is a Telegraph headline, above a recent article by William Hague:
“The tragedy of Venezuela shows us how dangerous Jeremy Corbyn and his acolytes really are”.
An article by American Ellen Brown, chairman of the Public Banking Institute (below left), explains that Venezuela’s problem is that it has massive U.S. dollar debts, mainly for imported food and medicine, according to online sources.
Ellen recalls: “When oil (its principal resource) was booming, Venezuela was able to meet its debt repayment schedule. But when the price of oil plummeted, the government was reduced to printing Venezuelan bolivars and selling them for U.S. dollars on international currency exchanges. As speculators drove up the price of dollars, more and more printing was required by the government, massively deflating the national currency”.
The government issued money to hire people to build infrastructure, provide essential services and expand economic development. Hugo Chávez had set in place a series of economic and social reforms nationalizing key components of the nation’s economy, dramatically reducing poverty and illiteracy as well as improving health and living conditions for millions of Venezuelans.
Governments that are sovereign can, and have engaged in issuing their own currencies for infrastructure and development quite successfully. Ellen has discussed a number of contemporary and historical examples in very interesting articles, relating to Japan, China, Australia and Canada.
Professor Michael Hudson confirms that Venezuela’s disasters are not due to governments issuing money to stimulate the economy: “Every hyperinflation in history has been caused by foreign debt service collapsing the exchange rate. The problem almost always has resulted from wartime foreign currency strains, not domestic spending.”
Venezuela is not technically at war but it is suffering aggressive economic attacks by a foreign power – ongoing U.S. sanctions have cost the country at least $20 billion in losses. About $7 billion of its assets are now being held hostage by the U.S., which has waged an undeclared war against Venezuela ever since George W. Bush’s failed military coup against President Hugo Chávez in 2002.
National security adviser John Bolton (right) was explicit about America’s interest in Venezuelan oil:on Fox News, “It will make a big difference to the United States economically if we could have American oil companies invest in and produce the oil capabilities in Venezuela.”
Bloomberg reported that, evading any further escalation of the debt trap, Nicolás Maduro, elected president following Chávez’s death in 2013, announced in October that Venezuela will not be trading oil in U.S. dollars following sanctions.
This is Richard House’s challenging assertion as anti-Corbyn Labour MPs deserted the party in recent days. He continues:
“It’s too easily forgotten that the deserters are the same people who never accepted Corbyn’s leadership of the party from day one, and who’ve continually done everything possible – eagerly aided by their establishment media friends – to undermine him at every turn, so making his leadership job quite impossible.
“Remember the attempted MPs’ coup led by these people in their unconstitutional attempt to get rid of Corbyn? – this was long before the Labour Party anti-Semitism hysteria had ever been heard of.
“And having failed to displace Corbyn with their spiteful coup attempt, their fall-back was to concoct a carefully choreographed plan: namely, create a hysterical (but fictional) media storm about anti-Semitism; allow it to rage for a few months; then re-kindle it (literally making it up as they went along); and finally, when the fire was raging again, use this as a baseless pretext for splitting the Labour Party so we can have another five years of heartless Tory rule. Establishment job done.
“These “courageous” people have discharged their quasi-Tory bidding very well.
“Oh, and of course it’s just a coincidence that these deserters are all virulent Remainers who’ve never accepted the democratic result of the EU referendum, and will continue to do anything possible to reverse it.”
“One thing that May and Corbyn do have in common is that at least they’re trying to stay true to the democratic result of the EU referendum.
He concludes that – rather than having to devote huge amounts of time and energy defending themselves from relentless attacks from ‘serial underminers‘ within their own party – Corbyn and his team can now spend all their time on exposing the nation’s headlong social disintegration under Tory austerity.
And above all “inspiring us with their stellar policy portfolio”.
Dr Richard House
Source: Western Daily Press, 25 February 2019, p. 16–17