Category Archives: Jeremy Corbyn
Jeremy Corbyn’s statement read out to those demonstrating at the Right of Return for the Palestinian people
Thousands demonstrated yesterday (June 5th) in Parliament Square, London, to support the Palestinian Right of Return. Leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn, sent the following message of solidarity:
I have asked for this statement to be read out at this evening’s Right of Return demonstration in London for justice for the Palestinian people:
In recent weeks, scores of unarmed Palestinian civilians have been killed in Gaza by Israeli forces. Hundreds have been wounded. Most are refugees or the families of refugees from what is now Israel, and they have been demonstrating for their right to return, week after week.
The killing of Razzan Najjar, the 22 year old medical volunteer shot by an Israeli sniper in Gaza on Friday, is the latest tragic reminder of the outrageous and indiscriminate brutality being meted out, under orders from the Netanyahu government.
The silence, or worse support, for this flagrant illegality, from many western governments, including our own, has been shameful.
Instead of standing by while these shocking killings and abuses take place, they should take a lead from Israeli peace and justice campaigners: to demand an end to the multiple abuses of human and political rights Palestinians face on a daily basis, the 11-year siege of Gaza, the continuing 50-year occupation of Palestinian territory and the ongoing expansion of illegal settlements.
President Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city, and move the US embassy there, in violation of international agreements, has demonstrated that the US has no claim to be any kind of honest broker for a political settlement of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
A sustainable, just peace between Israelis and Palestinians, that recognises the rights and security of all, and puts an end to the continuing dispossession of the Palestinian people, is an interest we all share, in the Middle East and far beyond.
We cannot turn a blind eye to these repeated and dangerous breaches of international law. The security of one will never be achieved at the expense of the other. And that is why we are committed to reviewing UK arms sales to Israel while these violations continue.
The UK Government’s decision not to support either a UN Commission of Inquiry into the shocking scale of killings of civilian protesters in Gaza, or the more recent UN resolution condemning indiscriminate Israeli use of force – and calling for the protection of Palestinians – is morally indefensible.
Britain, which is a permanent UN security council member and has a particular responsibility for a peaceful and just resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict, should ensure there is a credible independent investigation, genuine accountability and effective international action to halt the killings – and bring Gaza’s ever-deepening humanitarian crisis to an end.
Link: https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180606-jeremy-corbyns-solidarity-message-to-right-of-return-demonstration/, with thanks to Felicity Arbuthnot.
Hundreds of people proved that Corbyn-mania is still alive and well in Liverpool. This video – of the now iconic song using the Labour leader’s name – was taken as the popular Bongo’s Bingo event celebrated its third birthday at Bramley Moore-Dock this week.
Footage has emerged of the event in Liverpool as hundreds of players erupted into a spontaneous rendition of the now-famous ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’ chant when the event’s DJ started to play the White Stripes’ tune to which it is set. Click here to see the video.
The song became popular during Labour’s General Election campaign last year and it believed to have originated in the region – coming to life as the Labour leader made a surprise appearance at the Wirral Live music festival at Tranmere’s Prenton Park last May (above).
The full text may be read here. Some points made follow:
Twenty years ago, this week, the people of Northern Ireland and of the Republic of Ireland voted in a referendum to accept the terms of the Good Friday Agreement. That vote changed the course of history on this island and represented the clearing of the final hurdle of a long and difficult process that opened the door to two decades of sustained peace.
Many young people across Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland and Great Britain do not remember a time when the bloody hand of conflict held a grip on our respective lands. Communities from Derry to Omagh to Warrington were afflicted by the plague of violence for a generation, leaving deep and long-lasting scars for all those who lived through those troubled times.
All too often in that period, the willingness to use force and reach for weapons instead of dialogue and diplomacy inflicted unnecessary suffering on innocent people.
So as we rightly celebrate the anniversary of the end to those years of violence, it’s important we remember the effort and determination it took on all sides to get where we are today.
I stand here as leader of the British Labour Party, a party that is proud of the part it played in helping to bring peace and stability to this region. Something many believed could never be achieved.
The transformation we have seen in Belfast alone since 1998 is remarkable. I visited this city long before today’s peace became a reality and have witnessed the very visible and cultural transformation that has taken place here.
After paying tribute to Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams, men who led the Republican movement from conflict to negotiation and diplomacy, arts they both mastered in the cause of peace, Corbyn added: “I can’t think of a greater sign of the progress made over the last two decades, when at Martin’s funeral last year, not only were there people in attendance from republican and nationalist communities, but also representatives of the loyalist and unionist side, including First Minister Arlene Foster. It is also right to recognise the work of the British and Irish government leaders of the time, whose determination made the impossible possible. For that, both Bertie Ahern and Tony Blair should both be given credit for their work.”
He also extolled the work of Mo Mowlam in negotiating the peace process, continuing: “I have always believed that to bring about real change, to end conflict, to bring communities together, you have to talk to people with whom you don’t agree. In 1998 we were fortunate to have leaders who were prepared to put that principle into practice . . .
“It was essential we recognised the traditions of each community and recognised and respected the identity of people on either side of the divide. This was and still is important for strong and healthy long-term relationships here, across communities and across borders. Perhaps where the agreement was at it boldest was in its radical reform of Northern Ireland’s political and institutional structures, as well as in creating a framework for North-South relations, and the relationship between Britain and the Republic of Ireland. That gave all parties a basis to find a route out of a generation of conflict together.
“For all the current problems and deadlock, there can be no doubt that devolution and power-sharing have given every community a voice and helped maintain the peace process.
He added that the move to establish the Northern Ireland Victims Commission helped both to promote reconciliation and preserve the memory of victims, bringing a new beginning and laying the ground for the vital work of decommissioning of arms and the removal of military infrastructure.
Looking at Stormont’s achievements, Corbyn noted that it had resisted many of the worst aspects of the government’s punitive social security policies using the powers provided by devolution.
His message to the people of this island: “Labour is as committed to the Good Friday Agreement as we have ever been. It has served us well for twenty years and, with commitment and determination, will provide us with the framework for the next 20. And with that in mind I want to make a plea to all parties and all sides. We must do all we can to make power sharing work again in Stormont. We need all sides to come together and make devolution work again. That means tough choices. It means compromise and give and take. But we owe it to the people of these islands not to allow political disagreements to open the way for any return to the grim days of the past”.
Stormont must be an example throughout the world of how dialogue, negotiation and diplomacy can defeat conflict. Now let’s show we can continue to build on that peace through democracy.
He called on the UK government to reconvene the British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference if the current stalemate in Stormont cannot be sorted out in Belfast and to find a creative solution in the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement that avoids a return to direct Westminster rule, and lays the ground for further progress for all communities.
Peace can and must be extended through real social and economic advances for all communities, with the state at regional and national level prepared to act to bring about a full-scale upgrade of the economy.
A Labour government in Westminster would make sure that Northern Ireland has more money to invest in its people and its public services, though many economic decisions for Northern Ireland would rightly be decided in Stormont,
He gave a commitment to supporting manufacturing in Northern Ireland and to reverse the decision to put the £1 billion contract to build the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships out to international tender, in order to keep jobs and prosperity in Britain’s shipyards and benefit Belfast. Northern Ireland can have a high tech, high skilled and exciting future.
Brexit, and the future relationship between the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland must be discussed, in particular the securing of future prosperity and peace on these islands:
“Labour will not support any Brexit deal that includes the return of a hard border to this island . . . By negotiating a new and comprehensive customs union with the EU, which includes a British say in future trade deals, we can ensure trade on this island stays frictionless and free flowing and prevent communities being divided . . . Opposition to the idea of bringing back a hard border to this land isn’t just about avoiding paperwork or tariffs, important though that is. It’s about deep rooted cultural and community ties. An open border is a symbol of peace, two communities living and working together after years of conflict, communities who no longer feel that their traditions are under threat”.
He emphasised that, as we leave the European Union, it is essential to ensure our manufacturers have access to markets and on-time supply chains and the communities of Northern Ireland continue to have access to vital funding for energy, research, agriculture and cultural projects.
Powers returned from Brussels to intervene, upgrade and reshape our economy for the 21st century may be used to deliver real social and economic advances for all our communities.
I’m proud to be here in Belfast as leader of the Labour party, a party with a strong record in helping to deliver peace and greater prosperity. I hope to use this visit to talk to people from different communities and listen to their concerns and hopes for the future. We are here to celebrate twenty years of peace, twenty years as an example to the rest of the world of how communities can turn conflict into co-operation.
Let’s work together in the spirit of friendship, co-operation and hope for another twenty and beyond.
Who is to blame for Labour’s current problems? Not Jeremy Corbyn, but selfish, self-indulgent right-wing New Labour MPs refusing to do their handsomely paid jobs and continually undermining him – fuelling the flagrant press and TV who are biassed against him, serving a privileged Establishment terrified at the prospect of a Corbyn victory putting an end to their greedy, tax-evading ways.
Blair and right-wing Labour MPs ‘took over’ the party’ in the 1990s, eventually rendering it indistinguishable from the Tories. Labour lost five million core voters – a major reason for the 2010 and 2015 defeats.
Corbyn in York, May 2017
Many are now returning to Labour as they see Corbyn bringing Labour back to the Party’s original values, in a forward-looking way. Corbyn has attracted at least 350,000 new members, which at approaching 600,000 makes Labour Europe’s largest political party.
He has inspired many people, young and old – people with no previous interest in politics, to whom he relates, unlike previous Labour leaders. All are far more likely to vote for a Corbyn-led party.
Non-voters, mostly the poorest in our society, felt the previous Labour Party would be of no help to them. Corbyn is determined that everyone should have a better life.
In Corbyn’s first nine months as leader, Labour provided strong and effective opposition, forcing numerous embarrassing U-turns, defeating the Tories at least 22 times and preventing some of their worst excesses.
A Corbyn-led Labour Party represents ordinary people, ‘the many’, the 99% and won’t give tax breaks to multi-millionaires whilst children go hungry and ever-more working people have to resort to food banks.
Wanda urges all to get behind him with all the support we can muster, to help this good man deliver his vision for a better, kinder, fairer and more equal society, where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.
Jeremy Corbyn spoke at Labour’s conference in Llandudno on 22nd April and received a huge standing ovation, in spite of the relentless media efforts to portray him negatively while often ignoring or even covering up the disarray on the government’s front benches.
A transcript is not available but his 2017 speech is well worth revisiting: http://jeremycorbyn.org.uk/articles/jeremy-corbyns-speech-to-the-welsh-labour-conference/
What Labour in Wales has achieved:
A health service free from unnecessary top-down reorganisations and privatisation where your hospitals are not struggling with record deficits due to the legacy of PFI. The NHS in Wales is treating more people than ever before and 90% say they received good treatment
- Free prescriptions for all
- A new treatment fund setup for life threatening illnesses
- On cancer waiting times, Wales is doing better than England and cancer survival rates in Wales are improving faster than anywhere in Britain
- You’ve protected the social care budget which has been slashed in England
- and there are good industrial relations in Wales: no strikes provoked and no operations cancelled unnecessarily
We strongly support the doctors who don’t want patient safety to be put at risk. Last week I had the privilege of spending a couple of hours with a group of junior doctors. Let’s be clear, they are not “junior” they are dedicated, highly qualified people on whom we all depend. They are alarmed at the direction the NHS is taking.
As a parting gift they gave me this book “How to dismantle the NHS in 10 easy steps” which starts with an internal market and ends with an aim of introducing universal private health insurance.
As Nye Bevan said: “Illness is a misfortune, the cost of which should be shared by the community”.
In Wales you have built an education system that has just delivered the best ever GCSE results
- new schools are being built
- primary school pupils get a free breakfast
- the poorest college students still get the education maintenance allowance (EMA)
- And where Welsh students aren’t shackled by mountainous debt and where grants are being maintained.
English students leave university with an average £22,000 more in debt than Welsh students; that is a shocking burden that shackles young people as they start in life. It is no surprise that home ownership has collapsed.
Jobs Growth Wales has helped 15,000 young people into work
- The Young Entrepreneurs Bursary has helped young people to setup over 400 businesses in Wales and your plans to deliver 100,000 quality apprenticeships.
- the Bay Campus at Swansea is already reaping the benefits of high tech jobs in the area.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies says that tax and benefit changes in the last five years have left the average Welsh household £560 a year worse off.
Tax cuts for the few, the super-rich and big business public service cuts and welfare cuts for the many. We have gratuitous inequality in this country the average pay of the top chief executives compared with the average worker has risen from 47 times in 1998 to 183 times last year.
For too many people in the UK who aren’t the super-rich elite and there are quite a few of them, life is wracked by insecurity, at work and at home, Labour believes that we only succeed if we all succeed together.
The impact of this insecurity on people’s lives can be huge, it affects people’s physical and mental health.
The Tories have failed to invest in modernising the economy, we are way behind other countries on our digital infrastructure, our transport, our energy system and our housing.
70 Labour councils have committed to eliminate all carbon emissions by 2050 – including major cities like Edinburgh, Manchester, Newcastle, and Liverpool and here in Wales in Swansea, Torfaen and Caerphilly. And Labour in Wales has set out a clear energy policy, Energy Wales: A Low Carbon Transition and is supporting decentralised energy production through the Local Energy Service.
The Conservative government continues to fail to invest in renewable energy cut subsidies for the nascent solar industry but increased them for fracking and for diesel generators.
If our investment in flood defences had been continued, retaining the senior staff employed to make decisions in these emergencies and protecting the emergency services who responded to save lives and homes during those difficult days and weeks, we would not have seen the level of destruction and flood damage that caused such anguish to so many people as their homes were damaged and their belongings ruined.
Transport infrastructure is absolutely crucial to industrial development and growth. I praise the Welsh government in its support in re-opening and improving valley railway lines, the plans for the improved metro links in the south west of Wales and the crucial need to improve the North Wales line and road links.
We have already challenged the government and won on many important issues:
- We forced them to take a U-turn on cuts to working tax credits meaning 3 million families will no longer be hit this April with a £1,000 cut to their family income
- We made them backtrack on plans to further cut police numbers in their Autumn statement
- And we stood against the horrendous proposal that the UK would run Saudi Arabia’s prison system for them
Our party is one of social justice every child deserves a good education every student the option to study at college or university everyone deserves a decent and secure home to live in nobody should ever be left destitute the grotesque levels of inequality are unjustifiable and must go.
We are living through an era of the most grotesque deepening inequality in Britain and the West. The cynics say that inevitably the next generation will be worse of that this, I say this is not inevitable and not necessary as socialist our duty is to expand the wealth but crucially to share it so the next generation is better off than this one, and our grandchildren will be better off than our children.
ANDREW MARR SHOW, 15TH APRIL 2018 (starts 24 mins into the programme)
Extracts from BBC transcript
Marr: Would you like to see a proper debate and a vote at the end of that?
Corbyn: I would. Because I think parliament should have a say in this, and the Prime Minister could quite easily have done that. She took a decision sometime last week that she was going to work with Macron and Trump in order to have an attack on the chemical weapons establishments in Syria. She could have recalled parliament last week. It’s only the Prime Minister can recall parliament. Or she could have delayed until tomorrow when parliament returns itself.
I think what we need in this country is something more robust, like a War Powers Act, so that governments do get held to account by parliament for what they do in our name.
I would like a vote which outlines the process that could now happen. That is giving the Organisation for Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) the chance to go in and fully investigate everything, including the debris from the bombing attack. But also a very strong steer to our government to go back to the UN and promote a resolution and work with might and main to bring Russia and the United States together on this so that we do get a political process in Syria, as well, of course, as the removal of chemical weapons – which was done after 2013 when Lavrov and Kerry reached an agreement which had a big effect. Several hundred tons of chemical weapons were destroyed as a result of that process.
It can be done, it’s hard work and it takes patience, but surely that is better than the danger of escalation of this conflict into a proxy war between the US and Russia over the skies of Syria.
I’ve no problem with investigation by the OPCW, or the quality of it, but they must be given the chance to do it now. There is evidence of course, very strong evidence about the use of chlorine, which is not itself a banned substance because it’s so easy to make, but clearly as a weapon it is illegal. That has been used by a number of parties in the conflict, but there is quite clear evidence there. The OPCW must be given the chance to report on it.
The OPCW’s job is to identify what the agent was, and they’ve done that. Sadly, it’s not their job to identify who made it, or necessarily where it was made. I want to see incontrovertible evidence of it. And I do think we need to strengthen the role of the OPCW in the future. I think it’s very clear that the nerve agent itself is very similar to those that have been made in Russia. Novichok is what we call it, and obviously there has to be some challenge to Russia on this, and that is what is going on, and I would obviously want to challenge the Russians on the production of this, as indeed I would any other country that’s producing something which is wholly and totally illegal.
If we’re going to make a very, very clear assertion like that we’ve got to have the absolute evidence to do it. Because, listen, we believe in rules-based diplomacy, we believe in a rules-based international relationship. Therefore you’ve got to have absolutely incontrovertible evidence.
Assertions and probabilities are not the same as certainty. I’m very clear of where the origins of this nerve agent came from, I’m very clear that there has been this nerve agent produced in Russia. What I’m saying is the OPCW – a very important organisation – must have the chance and the opportunity to identify and also it should have the powers, and I think we should give them the powers, to identify the source and the culpability of it. At the moment they don’t have that.
I would then say confront Assad with that evidence, confront any other group that may be fingered because of that, And then say they must now come in and remove and destroy those weapons, as they did in 2013 and 2015. But the wider context has to be promotion of a political solution and a ceasefire. We cannot go on – 400,000 people have died in Syria, two million are external refugees.
As a member of the Security Council, as a country with a long tradition of international involvement, we have to abide by international law. And I say to the Foreign Secretary, I say to the Prime Minister, where is the legal basis for this? If we could get to the process in the UN where you get to a ceasefire, you get to a political solution, you then may well get to a situation where there could be a UN force established to enforce that ceasefire. That surely would save a lot of lives. At the moment everybody’s pouring arms into Syria, there are 12 countries involved in the war in Syria and there are, as I say, 400,000 dead already
And the UN Secretary general., António Guterres, is alarmed by what’s going on. What he said on Friday I think was very prescient. He said we’re in danger of recreating the Cold War between Russia and the United States in Syria. He asked for an appeal to all powers to do something and come together. Surely the killing has to stop, a ceasefire has to come into place, and is in the hands partly of us, but particularly of Russia and the United States at the UN.
I hope that President Trump will listen to wise counsels, listen also to wise counsels outside the USA and pick up the phone to Putin and talk.
We’ve got to think through what we promote as policy is a process that involves cutting off arms and money that can be used to kill wholly innocent people has got to be there. Because the arms and the money are still flowing into the region, albeit now to probably slightly different groups.
The Labour Party has repeatedly said go for the political answer now rather than allow the war to get worse and so many more die as a result of it. Surely we are an experienced nation, we have great skills and abilities, can’t we use those abilities to save life?
There has to be a process where the objective is to bring about peace, to bring about a resolution to conflict, to bring about a political solution., there’s going to be no military winner in Syria. The war could go on and get worse. The hatred and the desperation of many people in Syria who are not supporters of Assad, maybe not even supporters of other groups, is going to be there for a long time. The Kurdish people need to have their identity, other groups in this diverse country need to have their identity. Surely there has to be a role for the United Nations. That’s why the UN was founded.
Charlotte Nichols, Women’s Officer of Young Labour, writes: “Over the last 12 hours there have been serious misrepresentations of Jewdas, a group made up of left-wing Jewish people. I know MPs’ staffers who go to their meetings and were excited to have Corbyn attend last night”.
(Ed: We note that a Jewish Chronicle article, published in 2014, listed Jewdas as part of the ‘Jewish community’, not a renegade organisation as described by Corbyn’s critics.)
“The Jewish community is not one monolithic bloc; part of its beauty is in its plurality and diversity. It’s absolutely right that, particularly when some community gatekeepers are refusing to meet with Corbyn, he nonetheless shows willingness to engage with the community at all levels, to listen and to learn, and be a gracious guest. If you want to see this for yourself, do as Jewdas did and simply invite him.
“Last night I attended a Seder to celebrate the Jewish festival of Pesach (Passover), held in Islington by a group called Jewdas. Before the fourth cup of wine had even been drunk, a story appeared on the right-wing Guido Fawkes blog, painting those who attended as extremists and the Twittersphere went into meltdown. Why? Because Jeremy Corbyn came to celebrate with us”.
Many readers will agree with Jewdas’ viewpoint, quoted in the Spectator:
“What has happened over the last week is anything but an attempt to address antisemitism. It is the work of cynical manipulations by people whose express loyalty is to the Conservative Party and the right wing of the Labour Party. It is a malicious ploy to remove the leader of the opposition and put a stop to the possibility of a socialist government.”
Today’s Times poll results defang its five anti-Corbyn artlcles, prompted by fear of ‘corporate capture’
The findings: eight out of ten Labour members are impervious to propaganda
Longstanding Labour activists are snapping membership cards, cancelling direct debits, throwing up hands with a despairing “I’m done here” writes Janice Turner – under the headline ‘Labour lost to fools and crackpots’.
In Newcastle, one of the areas which have suffered intensely from corporate capture
True, as she says, there has been (simulated?) escalating anger among careerist Labour MPs over Mr Corbyn’s failure to tackle antisemitism. But as her Times colleague, Deputy Political Editor Sam Coates writes, the findings of the latest YouGov poll for The Times, “are likely to make bleak reading for Labour MPs who have tackled Mr Corbyn on antisemitism, including the 41 who signed a letter challenging him on his views”. He summarises:
Yesterday Mr Corbyn tweeted: “As Jews across our country start to prepare for #Passover, I would like to wish everyone in the Jewish community a Chag Sameach.”
Coates reports that the Labour poll says antisemitism row is exaggerated. Nearly eight out of ten Labour members believe that accusations of antisemitism are being exaggerated to damage Jeremy Corbyn and stifle legitimate criticism of Israel.
The leader was still overwhelmingly backed by members, with 80% saying that he was doing a good job and 61% saying he was handling the antisemitism crisis well. Some 69% supported his response to the Salisbury poisoning.
- 47% saying antisemitism was a problem “but its extent is being deliberately exaggerated to damage Labour and Jeremy Corbyn or to stifle criticism of Israel”.
- 30% said that antisemitism was “not a serious problem” and was being used to undermine Mr Corbyn and prevent legitimate criticism of Israel,
- and 19% said it was a genuine problem that needed addressing.
Tony Blair said that it had become an issue because the leadership and its supporters did not think it was a problem.
He told The Week in Westminster on BBC Radio 4: “They think it’s something got up by people who are opposed to him for all sorts of other reasons and are using antisemitism as the battering ram against his leadership.”
A reader commented: I think we can guess what you (Ms Turner pp The Times) fear and how you and your colleagues have pushed the boat out to encourage it.
The real fear of a Labour Victory under Mr Corbyn is not the anti-semitism that the media have done so much to exaggerate, but rather, the prospect that a Labour government is intent on ending the corporate capture of our democracy and that some very powerful interests, including those who dominate the media and formulate government policy from the comfortable chairs in the gentlemen’s clubs of St James’ and Pall Mall are likely to lose their influence over the way in which government conducts its business.
Another wrote: “I look forward to voting Labour. It is important to stand up to the rabid warmongering right wing press, who don’t bother with minor details such as evidence and international agreements before escalating situations with nuclear powers”.