Category Archives: Tom Watson
Richard House throws down the gauntlet in a letter to the editor:
The squalid shenanigans of the Labour right over the Chris Williamson question are beneath contempt.
Good old Tosh McDonald for sticking up for him (MPs hounding Chris Williamson are ‘bullies,’ prominent trade unionist says, M Star June 29–30); and I want to respond to the call by Tosh’s for Chris’s defenders to stand up and be counted.
First, on the letters pages of this and other newspapers, I have said exactly what Chris said about anti-semitism in Labour, in the speech for which he was suspended from the party. His statements were absolutely correct and factually accurate. Chris and I both passionately believe that to the extent that there is anti-semitism in Labour, it is abhorrent and must be eradicated.
But the scale of the media coverage that the anti-semitism issue has generated is grotesquely out of proportion to the actual problem.
It has been stoked, orchestrated and weaponised in a despicable anti-Corbyn putsch attempt by the likes of Tom Watson and the Labour right.
So, I’m saying it again here, in black and white and without mealy-mouthed triangulation or equivocation, just as Chris has rightly pointed out.
So come on, rightists: suspend me from the party, too. And if you do, I look forward to seeing you in court, where, once and for all, I’ll take great pleasure in exposing your shameful shenanigans for all to see.
These people’s divisive disloyalty and misconduct are in effect making the election of a Labour government less likely, and so if anyone should be suspended from the party, it’s them, not the likes of Chris.
Dr RICHARD HOUSE
Stroud Constituency Labour Party
Two correspondents – who admire JC in many ways – think so and one has expressed their misgivings in an open letter to Jeremy Corbyn:
First, congratulations to Labour for winning the Peterborough by-election and staving off a surge from Nigel Farage’s BREXIT Party.
But what a missed opportunity earlier last week?
Much as I understand your strong antipathy towards Donald Trump, you should have made a genuine effort to meet the President of the United States when he came on his State visit.
You made your views quite clear from as far back as April that you planned to boycott Trump’s visit. You fulfilled your promise and instead spoke at an anti-Trump rally.
I have to say that your decision not to attend the State banquet was misguided and I am concerned about the lack of diplomacy you are displaying on the world stage. I am also concerned about who is advising you on foreign policy.
Jeremy, when are you going to realise that as the leader of the official opposition, you will have to meet and work with politicians that you disagree with on many issues? I would rather you had met with Trump than being on the outside looking in. But despite your protestations leading up to visit, lo and behold Trump told the public that you wanted to have a private meeting with him and he turned you down.
The ideal thing for you to have done, when you were first aware of Trump’s visit, was to issue a public statement welcoming the visit and that you look forward to discussing a number of critical issues with the Donald. Then Trump may have been more forthcoming. If not, then you would have had the upper hand in calling him out.
Yes, Trump is a polarising and controversial leader. He can be pompous, rude and offensive. But he is the most important head of government that you will have to consult on a regular basis should you become PM.
Trump’s modest operandi is all about planned chaos before resolution. So expect the drama, PR stunts and the snide remarks. But look beyond such behaviour and bluster from Trump to achieve your Party’s own goals.
Jeremy, you are the leader of a political party where many of your own colleagues have been rude, pompous and offensive publicly to your face (and back) since you became leader.
In Tom Watson (your deputy leader) you have the most insubordinate number 2 I’ve ever seen in UK politics. Even Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, has made harsh remarks about your leadership.
[I know you must realise that Khan is using his own public row with Trump to boost his chances for re-election and also to go after your job.]
Remember Jeremy, you are constantly accused of allowing anti-Semitic behaviour to thrive in the Labour party. Whether this allegation is true or not, how would you feel if international leaders refuse to meet you because of such allegations?
The UK is currently being led by a rudderless Conservative government and thus here was an opportunity to meet Trump on cordial terms. You could have raised concerns over BREXIT, trade, Iran, Cuba, Palestine, Israel, Saudi Arabia, intelligence, North Korea, and China.
Just imagine the faces of Netanyahu and John Bolton if they saw pictures of you discussing Palestine with Trump? You could have been that rare of person – a pro-Palestinian politician with access to Trump.
Despite the numerous disagreements that you and Trump have, there are a few things you both have in common:
- The mainstream media in the US and UK hates you both in equal measure. Especially the BBC.
- You both are anti-EU.
- Senior management of US and UK intelligence services are no fans of either of you.
- You both support less US military aggression across the globe.
- You both support negotiations with North Korea rather than the far scarier alternative
- Sadiq Khan hates you both.
To be honest Jeremy, by now you should have globe trotted to the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Latin America and UN to get first hand understanding of issues affecting the wider society, hone your diplomatic craft and build key networks.
Yes, we all know Trump has made some incendiary comments about race, women and much more. On the issue of race your advisors could have consulted the likes of Van Jones to learn how he worked successfully with Trump to achieve changes to the criminal justice system.
Jones, a Democratic Party strategist, has been a vocal critic of Trump from the very night the latter won the 2016 US presidential elections. Yet Jones managed to work with the Trump administration to pass the First Step Act, which allows non-violent criminals early release by way of increased “earned time credits.”. The Act rolls back some of the harsh and unfair measures in the 1994 Crime Bill that was passed under the Bill Clinton administration. The Crime Bill damaged the lives of African Americans more than any other group of Americans. Jones is African American.
The Labour Party’s fortunes have been floundering in recent months for reasons you do not need reminding of right now. But I strongly suggest that you add some advisors with solid diplomatic experience to your inner circle. Also do get out of the UK bubble and meet leading politicians from other nations on their home soil. We have yet to witness Corbyn the statesman on the international stage on a consistent basis.
The UK is crying out for major changes at Downing Street. The current crop of Tory candidates vying to succeed Theresa May as PM should hopefully not be there too long. We have had a decade of Tory led governments and many have grown tired of their policies, wickedness and incompetence.
It’s Labour’s turn. Just don’t blow it.
Spent three decades in working in Whitehall mainly for Customs and Excise, Cabinet Office and Home Office. Worked for public sector bodies in the UK, EU and US. Ex-London tour guide. Now lives in Jamaica. Loves photography, reading, arts, music, sports and farming.
Below in Broxstowe last weekend
And young supporters are also not swayed by media, career-minded ‘independents’ and deputy leader
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said:
“I’ve had a very interesting week in politics. I’m obviously very sad at some of the things that have happened and very sad at some of the things that have been said. Walking away from our movement achieves nothing. Not understanding where we have come from is a bad mistake.
“Because when people come together in a grouping, in a community like the Labour Party, there’s nothing we can’t achieve together for everybody . . .
“Labour, for me, is my life – and I’m very sad at people who have left our party. I really am. I say this to them: in June 2017, I was elected on a manifesto, Emily was elected on a manifesto, Richard was elected on a manifesto, Gloria was elected on a manifesto – it was the same manifesto . . . the Labour Party believes in equality and justice, that is what was the centre of our manifesto, and that will be at the centre of our next manifesto . . .
“When the media talk about the bravery of those who walked away, Anna Soubry voted for austerity and said it was a good thing. Almost immediately after leaving Chris Leslie tells us that we should not be ending university fees … and we should be cutting corporation tax and increasing the burden on others.
Mr Corbyn also addressed the anti-Semitism issues within the party, which MPs Luciana Berger and Joan Ryan both cited as they quit Labour this week:
“When people are racist to each other, then we oppose it in any way whatsoever. If anyone is racist towards anyone else in our party – wrong. Out of court, out of order, totally and absolutely unacceptable. Anti-Semitism is unacceptable in any form and in any way whatsoever, and anywhere in our society.”
He added: “I’m proud to lead a party that was the first ever to introduce race relations legislation and also to pass the equality act and the human rights act into the statute book.”
Brits are close to having a leader who will improve the lives of all and make the world a better place
An ‘Israeli American’ Miko Peled, born in Jerusalem (1961), joined the Israel’s Special Defence Force but resigned after the invasion of Lebanon and trained as a medical doctor. More on his life – well worth reading – here.
He spoke at a fringe gathering at the recent Labour Party conference in Brighton in September and is said to have disturbed Tom Watson who is to query Peled’s presence as a speaker . . . .
Extracts from the article in the American Herald Tribune:
Jeremy Corbyn is arguably not only one of the most popular leaders in the West today, he is also the most promising to those who care for progressive causes. This presents a problem for Israel who fears a strong leader who does not shy away from expressing support for the Palestinian people. One can safely argue that Israel and its multiple tentacles around the world will stop at nothing to prevent Corbyn from entering Downing Street 10.
What makes it even more problematic for Israel is that Brits clearly want Jeremy Corbyn to be their next prime minister. He has managed to increase Labor Party membership to unprecedented numbers and polls show that his clear vision, honesty, and casual charisma made him the favorite among many Brits. In a poll taken in September 2017, a mere 19% of people aged 18 to 34 think the Tories are on their side compared with 53% who say Jeremy Corbyn and the Labor party are. According to the Mail Online, Jeremy Corbyn’s popularity has soared since the elections of June 2017.
It is no secret that Israel invests heavily to make sure that monarchs and presidents, prime ministers and emirs around the world stand with Israel and dare not support the Palestinian cause. Furthermore, Israel’s agents and lobbies make sure that those who do express support for Palestinians end up departing from political life. Politicians around the world fear the long arm of the Zionists who, not unlike a mafia, use all means at their disposal to achieve their goals. Now they are faced with Jeremy Corbyn who is a visionary and charismatic leader that is obviously well liked.
For nearly two years Zionist groups in the UK and particularly within the Labor Party have been conducting a witch hunt to rid the Labor party of Corbyn supporters, in the hopes of weakening Corbyn himself. The most common and thus far successful tactic was to claim that they are anti-Semitic. Some fifty members of Labor were suspended including the former mayor of London Ken Livingston. But the comments made by these members, many of whom have dedicated their lives to fighting racism, fighting for the disenfranchised and promoting tolerance, were not anti-Semitic but rather out of line with the official Zionist platform. This is a platform which allows no discussion regarding the holocaust and no discussion on the ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people by the “Jewish State.”
In his speech at the end of the Labor Conference, Jeremy Corbyn has shown himself to be the single most courageous leader in the West. Having broken every record in modern British history under his leadership, Labor seems to be closer to regaining power and bringing positive change than ever before. Some of the finest and most promising quotes of his speech include:
“Our Manifesto is the program of a modern, progressive socialist party that has rediscovered its roots and its purpose, bucking the trend across Europe.”
“[Labor is] the largest political party in western Europe, with nearly 600,000 members, alongside three million affiliated trade unionists.”
“… terrorism is thriving in a world our governments have helped to shape, with its failed states, military interventions and occupations where millions are forced to flee conflict or hunger.”
“We cannot be silent at the cruel Saudi war in Yemen, while continuing to supply arms to Saudi Arabia, or the crushing of democracy in Egypt or Bahrain, or the tragic loss of life in Congo.”
And perhaps, the finest and most courageous of his statements was, “And let’s give real support to end the oppression of the Palestinian people.” We would be hard pressed to find another Western leader who would dare use these words. Now that Brits are so close to having a real leader who will improve the lives of all Brits and will indeed make the world a better place, they must not allow Israel to interfere with their elections for if they do, they will regret it forever.
In the latest Political Barb, ‘General Election 2017 – Fox Hunting’ summarised here, Steve Beauchampé asks if anyone has seen Tom Watson – all but invisible since the General Election was called on April 18th:
“We shouldn’t be too surprised however, I’d always imagined that as an avowedly pro-New Labour, anti-Corbynite, Watson’s main focus ahead of June 8th would be developing a strategy to take back control of the party machinery from the several hundred thousand ideologically driven enthusiasts who have joined Labour since summer 2015. This, following the anticipated electoral disaster and subsequent dispatching of Corbyn to the margins of political history.
“So this Labour surge, even should it ultimately fail to deliver the party the opportunity to form a government, is deeply problematical for those in the Parliamentary Labour Party who so readily opposed or otherwise distanced themselves from the man who has suddenly – and quite unexpectedly – become arguably Labour’s biggest asset”
He notes that ‘missing in action’ are various leading Conservatives: Liam Fox, Sajid Javid, Preeti Patel, Andrea Leadsom, even Chancellor Philip Hammond. But Home Secretary Amber Rudd, who stood in for May during a BBC leaders’ debate last Wednesday ‘put in a combative performance’ leaving Theresa May owing her big time . . .
The ‘downgrading’ of chief political advisors Fiona Hill and Nick Timothy and enhanced rôle of chief strategist Lynton Crosby leads Beauchampé to ask: “Ah, would that be the same Lynton Crosby who oversaw Zac Goldsmith’s highly successful London Mayoral bid last year? Or the same Lynton Crosby who oversaw the equally effective Remain campaign for the 2016 EU referendum . . .
His conclusion: “Restoring Theresa May’s self-congratulatory, complacent, personal power grab of a campaign is probably beyond even Crosby. It is fatally tainted, exposed for its galaxy of emptiness and arrogant narcissism and it long ago ran out of road. Ultimately the mass transfer of UKIP votes to the Tories will probably save her, and might yet ensure her a healthy, workable majority. But Theresa May is diminished, with the clock already ticking on her departure date as internal party scores are settled and her enemies prepare to exact revenge. And who would have thought that the Conservatives would be the party we’d be writing this about seven weeks ago!
As for Jeremy Corbyn, blimey, he’s almost become a national treasure.
Just noted on this site’s stats: on Sunday and Monday alone, nearly 4000 people found our brief post, quoting John Pilger’s view of Jeremy Corbyn – unprecedented for this uncontroversial portal.
Labour membership is said to be on course to hit 600,000, after a second successive day in which more than 100,000 people have applied to become party members, reports Stephen Bush (New Statesman).
Local parties – who are responsible for vetting new members in the first instance – report that the bulk of joiners who have responded to welcome emails or messages from MPs are strongly opposed to any attempt to remove Corbyn, who was elected by 60% of Labour members and supporters nine months ago.
On Friday hundreds gathered in the centre of Birmingham to show support for Jeremy Corbyn.
On Saturday 9th, without warning, Tom Watson announced that a Sunday meeting arranged with trade union leaders, representatives of the PLP and the party leader, at the request of Watson and his colleagues, would not go ahead. McCluskey said, “Extraordinarily, I received no notice of this statement before it was issued. I had made arrangements for specifically for Mr Watson’s convenience”.
Watson’s misrepresentation exposed
McCluskey continued: “I must clarify one point in Tom Watson’s statement – I made it absolutely clear from the outset of these discussions that Jeremy Corbyn’s resignation as the leader was not on the agenda. Watson knew that, and it is entirely wrong to suggest that any public statement by Jeremy represented any change in the situation. This is a deeply disingenuous manoeuvre.
Len McCluskey of Unite and the general secretaries of unions Unison and the GMB pledged their support to Jeremy Corbyn at the Durham Miner’s Gala.
Those Labour MPs who refused to support Jeremy Corbyn in the recent vote of confidence had their invitations to stand on the balcony of the County Hotel and the platform on the racecourse at the Durham Miners’ Gala rescinded.
DMA general secretary Dave Hopper said: “We will not allow those who have sought to humiliate him and undermine the democratic process in the Labour Party the honour of taking part in the aforementioned gala traditions.”
Now living in Jamaica, ‘african herbsman1967’, whose working experience in the Westminster village informs some of his UK-related blogs, realises that Corbyn’s biggest Achilles heel has been his former shadow cabinet.
He continues: “The mass resignations confirmed selfishness and a complete loss of any political acumen”.
“Given that David Cameron had just resigned on Friday and that an impending crisis in the Tory party loomed, the Labour Party’s shadow cabinet should have kept quiet and watched the meltdown in Thatcher’s party.
“But no, the Blairite and Brownite wings in the shadow cabinet resigned and took the negative headlines away from the Tory party. Marvellous.
“This Labour Party has managed to now look more of a mess than the current GOP under Donald Trump.
“No doubt the mass resignations were planned long before this weekend to force Corbyn to quit. The Brexit vote excuse is just a smokescreen. The plot to bring down Corbyn started the minute he was elected leader.
“Corbyn has shown better judgement as leader than I expected and that really surprised me. I feel that he should be open to doing more interviews with the local and international media to broaden his appeal.
“He brought thousands of new members to the Labour Party. He’s won a by-election and a Mayor of London under his brief leadership. His handling of Jo Cox’s death was mature and set the right tune.
“I also commend Corbyn for placing mental health issues at the heart of his leadership. To do all that with little support in the press and from fellow senior Labour MPs is remarkable.
“This is a real test for Corbyn to show his resilience, flexibility, acumen and leadership”.
Read the whole blog here: https://wingswithme.wordpress.com/2016/06/27/british-labours-party-kamikaze-missi
How the British right-wing media (that’s almost all of it these days) must have anticipated Jeremy Corbyn’s speech to Labour’s Annual Conference. After all the sniping and sneering, the attempts at character assassination, the dredging up of something he said 30 years ago and the universal hands held up in horror because he didn’t sing ‘God Save the Queen’ (nor, if you study photos of the event, did some others), here was their chance to really put the boot in.
Since Corbyn was so convincingly elected Labour’s leader, the press has been full of articles saying he was ‘unelectable’ as a Prime Minster, and running polls to prove people didn’t think he looked like a Prime Minister.
Do we seriously choose a Prime Minister because he/she looks the part, wears the right suit/dress?
Things looked good after the Financial Times printed an article by Janan Ganesh the day before. Tweeters were full of praise for this ‘wonderful, incisive political commentator’, including arch Tony Blair lover John Rentoul. Ganesh displayed some thoughtful analytical rubbish, as in:
The electors who were decisive in giving him the run of the Labour party are public-sector professionals or students on their way to becoming the same.
The media had hopefully prepared the public by claiming it would be a short speech, some 35 minutes long, mostly just focussing on wanting kinder, compassionate politics. The knives were out and hands hovering over Tablets and i phones, ready to pick holes big enough to bury him in. I was also keen to see how Corbyn would fare, being of course not a public-sector professional or a student, but an ageing self-employed Corbyn supporter.
It is worth remembering that the Conference delegates had booked their places before Corbyn was elected. Would they be for or against him? They managed a standing ovation for Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell’s speech a day earlier so perhaps all would be well.
How wrong the media was. Walking on to a standing ovation and having to beg, “Please, can I start speaking now?” Corbyn spoke for more than an hour.
He had some notes, very occasionally glanced at and pages turned over, and if there was an autocue it wasn’t that apparent. He stumbled over words once or twice, but no matter. This was Corbyn, speaking as he has been speaking to the country for the last three and a half months, but this time reaching out as Leader to the Conference, to all those who voted for him, all those who had their doubts and all those who feared him and the changes that might come. There was passion, anger at the state of the country and the world, and there was hope.
His leadership election campaign had proved that people are hungry for a different form of politics. Labour now has the chance to create those politics; by accepting that even within the Party there would be disagreement, something that should not split the Party; by honest debate not just among MPs but among all Party members; by consulting with and working with the public. A far better version of David Cameron’s ‘boots on the ground’ was being offered.
Sitting in the front row were his Shadow Cabinet. Tom Watson, who doesn’t necessarily agree with Corbyn, but was voted in as Deputy Leader because he is a popular, dependable and dogged campaigner for those things he cares about, displayed a happy smile and clapped a lot. John McDonnell appeared well satisfied with his ‘hard-left firebrand’ comrade in arms.
The surprise was the Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn, son of the famous (or notorious) left-winger Tony Benn. He had served under both Tony Blair (voting for the Iraq invasion, which must have upset his father) and Gordon Brown. He was part of Ed Miliband’s Shadow Cabinet. For some people, that’s a lot of dodgy history. But there he was, applauding like mad and grinning with joy, looking like a ‘born-again’ convert. Has father Tony been tapping his shoulder?
Yes, there were a few who didn’t respond, whose faces were glum, MPs who sat like sad little yesterdays while the hall erupted around them. Gone was the hype and razzmatazz they were used to, the ‘leader’ standing on the stage, one hand raised in triumph while the other clutched the wife.
To a standing ovation Corbyn said, “No, I won’t say any more. I’ve spoken at 37 meetings since Saturday evening – isn’t that enough?” With which he went onto the floor and through the scrum of photographers to hug and shake hands with as many as he could reach, while the applause went on – and on.
Such was the speech that it took some time for the political journalists or ‘Commentariat’ as Corbyn called them, to fight back. Their initial efforts failed. While some of their comments on Twitter were vaguely favourable some were sour and very dismissive:
The Telegraph focussed on “He didn’t mention the deficit!” Could that possibly be because McDonnell had dealt with it in his speech a day earlier? But no – brains don’t work when hatchet jobs are being done.
Another complaint was that he didn’t speak about why Labour lost the last election. Had he done so, they would of course have accused Labour of navel gazing. But he didn’t, being far more focussed on the future. And some said his speech was devoid of policies. Had they already prepared their comments before they heard the speech? Did they even listen?
But how diligent are the diggers of disinformation. Speaking of the inequality that has existed throughout history a key line of Corbyn’s speech was “You don’t have to take what you are given”. Critics were jubilant. They had found something that proved Corbyn had ‘stolen’ part of his speech!He was accused of using words apparently written for Ed Miliband by Richard Heller.
Heller himself says that he wrote these words some time ago and had offered them to every Labour leader since. Having posted them on his blog after Miliband failed to make use of them, he offered them again, to Corbyn. Heller thought what he had written was what Labour should be about. Corbyn obviously agreed and made good use of them. Heller’s comment was: “Jeremy is the first reader who liked it and used it. I’m very glad he’s used it… to say it was stolen or plagiarised is nonsense.” And why, when too many politicians employ speech writers, should Corbyn be castigated for using someone else’s words?
By the following morning even the BBC had to admit Corbyn mentioned several policies, but his ‘failure’ to mention the deficit or the reasons for Labour’s poor election result featured in their news headlines, as did the business of ‘stolen words’.
The trouble for his most venomous critics is twofold. First, they have demonised and caricatured him so relentlessly that expectations are so low that he can’t but get over them. The other is that he became leader by giving speeches like this up and down the country. This is who he is. This is how he won.
The politicos still don’t get it. The public do. After his speech a snap poll by Sky News found that 53 per cent of people said they could imagine him as Prime Minister.
Tom Watson says: “What I want to do . . . is help our new Leader get into Downing Street so that Labour can make Britain a better place. My project is as simple – and difficult – as that.
Again, I’m told everywhere that it can’t be done; again, I say that it can . . .
These leadership elections were a signal that business as usual isn’t working. The way we do politics has to change.
- We’ve got to put members at the centre of our party and the aspirations of ordinary people at the centre of our programme.
- I said I’d overhaul our party organisation and launch a revolution in our digital campaigning. That work starts this afternoon.
- I promised to back our new leader 100% – I plan to do exactly that, and I ask you to do the same. Only through unity can we find the strength we need.
We must harness the power of the 600,000. We can be the force for change the country needs. Don’t let the media tell you otherwise.