By: NY Brit Expat (Note: this piece came in just as we were doing our platform transfer and by the time that task was complete we were deep into Holiday season and I wasn’t sure it would get the prominence it deserved. I apologize for the delay. Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of Labour is, if anything, …
Sep 07 2015
By: NY Brit Expat
Can I begin by saying how much I have enjoyed the Labour party leadership elections? I was set not to when I saw the original candidates for the post. It was downright dispiriting. Then Jeremy Corbyn declares his candidacy, we have the nail-biting nominations process, he gets through, the Unions start coming on board, the Constituency Labour parties supporting him hands down, the purges by Labour of those that “do not share its aims and values”, now Corbyn as the frontrunner of an election which will be declared next week. This has not only been exciting, it has been a breath of fresh air and it is a conversation that Labour has needed to have for quite a while. I have enjoyed it thoroughly, now we just need to hope that the grandees of the Labour party do not pull a fast one and he is expected to win. Yes, win!
In many senses, Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign has shaken the political landscape in Britain. There are a number of things that have led us to this place (among these are the Scottish referendum and the collapse of Scottish Labour, and the general election result which the Tories won), but I think the straw that broke the camel’s back actually was the decision of Labour’s grandees to abstain on the Welfare Bill enabling a vicious attack on women, the disabled and the working class to pass with opposition coming from the Scottish National Party, the Greens and Plaid Cymru. It became evident that while Labour claimed to be the opposition in Parliament that they had proved themselves to be enablers of the Tories rather than an opposition. Jeremy Corbyn is set to win the Labour leadership election; by August 24th he had moved into the front of the pack with odds of 3/10 of winning.
For those that haven’t heard of Jeremy Corbyn, let me introduce you to a left Social Democrat who is one of the few remaining in the Parliamentary Labour Party (PLP). He is the Member of Parliament from the People’s Republic of Islington representing Islington North. He is a man of integrity and principles and has a long list of defying the Labour party whips more than 238 times at least according to The Sun. Normally, I would never quote The Sun, a right-wing Murdoch spread, but you do need to read this if only to get an idea of how Corbyn is being characterised.
Corbyn is a supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and the People’s Assembly, is a member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Amnesty International. He opposed the Iraq War, supports LGBT rights, supports a united Ireland, opposes tuition fees at Universities, opposes the creation of Academies and Free Schools, supports the introduction of a living wage voted against the horrific Welfare Bill (that Labour MPs were supposed to abstain on), has spoken at demonstrations of the People’s Assembly, against the Iraq war, against austerity among many others. He is also a vegetarian, supports animal rights, wears old jumpers and often wears a black cap (yes, it is similar to Lenin’s).
His candidacy differs from Bernie Sanders (and this is not only because he is further to the left of Sanders) as he is not an outsider seeking to be leader; he is a long-term member of the Labour party and a member of the Socialist Campaign Group. He will probably win the Labour leadership contest despite opposition from the right, centre and centre-left of the Party and despite smears in the mainstream media from fellow party members and members and ideologues of the ruling class. Moreover, the momentum behind him does not come as much as from within in the party itself as from those who left or are outside of the Labour party due to its transformation into New Labour which lost them the base of the party.
Jul 20 2015
By NY Brit Expat
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only (Charles Dickens, 1859, A Tale of Two Cities, Book I, Chapter 1).”
May 04 2014
Most probably people have heard of the bizarre investigative journalism by The Mail on Sunday in an article which appeared on Easter Sunday (of all days in the year). The Mail on Sunday sent in a reporter, a wannabe Jimmy Olsen, to investigate provision of food by food-banks in Britain and that reporter literally took food out of the mouths of the hungry in order to prove some point. This provoked a backlash on social media that demonstrated that the neoliberal agenda seems to not have sunk too deeply in the hearts and minds of the British people. That is a relief and quite honestly more than I expected, given the constant barrage in the newspapers and on the news on telly that has never questioned the logic (forget the morality) of welfare caps and cuts to welfare benefits.
ht: my sister Mia for comments and editing on this piece
Dec 08 2013
LEFT UNITY HAS BEEN CREATED! Yes, this is the new political party, not necessarily the reality of “Left Unity” itself. Like all births, it is never easy. But it has the possibility of actually changing electoral politics in Britain. And like all births, it should be recorded.
Tonight’s piece covers a piece of news, some coverage of the student occupations in Britain including two petitions in response to the actions of the universities to these occupations, and a short homage to Nelson Mandela and the endless hypocrisy of our mainstream politicians.
While, of course, the justifications for permanent austerity under the Tories and the pensionable age being shifted to 70 and tax breaks for married people whose earnings were over a certain level, while somehow continuing impoverishment of the majority were sort of glossed over (really if impoverishment of the majority is required for your system, wouldn’t you start to raise the obvious point that the system is NOT worth it?) were found all over the BBC following the Autumn Statement of Minister of the Exchequer, George Osborne, many things that should have been said never quite made it to the news of the BBC. Given that they have a 24-7 news channel; surely a few moments could have been spared from their extensive scheduling.
Sep 15 2013
For Preventing the Poor People in Britain from being a burden to Their Country, and For Making Them Beneficial to The Public
Un hommage á Jonathan Swift
Whenever I travel the country and listen to the newscasts and read the papers, it has become evident that the poor are a significant burden upon the country. Instead of working, women go begging at food banks to provide for their children. Others sit on the streets with their offspring begging money from their betters. Clearly these lazy creatures assume that we as a society have some responsibility to ensure the existence of their offspring. Moreover, since they have to care for their children, they obviously have no time to actually work to provide for their existence. Their lack of property and their inability to ensure their and their offspring’s survival is threatening the very nature of our society.
Aug 25 2013
“Our starting point for 2015/16 will be that we cannot reverse any cut in day to day, current spending unless it is fully funded from cuts elsewhere or extra revenue – not from more borrowing.
So when George Osborne stands up next week and announces his cuts in day to day spending, we won’t be able to promise now to reverse them because we can only do so when we can be absolutely crystal clear about where the money is coming from (Ed Miliband, June 22, 2013 (http://www.channel4.com/news/miliband-labour-will-not-borrow-more-to-reverse-cuts).”
It has become rather obvious that the tactic of shifting the Labour party to the left is futile, even in situations where government cuts are unpopular and they can pick up votes they refuse to reverse direction (e.g., bedroom tax and changes to child care benefit). Instead of saying we won’t be borrowing to reverse changes, the idea of taxes on wealth, the introduction of a general financial transactions tax, or introducing more bands on income tax to make it more progressive or closing tax loopholes to fund these changes is not discussed.
Adoption of neoliberalism as the basis for economic policy decisions is a political decision! It is not as though there is a dearth of other choices for economic policy that do not rely on lowering wages to maintain profitability and privatisation of public services. As such, choices in the electoral arena are essentially mainstream political parties upholding a neoliberal position. There is essentially no political party that represents the interests of the majority in the context of a grotesque attack on the social welfare state, divide and rule ideology, and privatisation of what remains of the state sector including parts of the NHS.
h/t to Elise Hendricks for the title of this piece!
Aug 19 2009
There is always value in knowing what our opponents are saying in any fight. Since Matt Barber of Liberty University and the Liberty Counsel insists in spamming the Dog’s public e-mail with his toxin, malignant idiocy, the Dog figures he might as well share it with his fellow Netroots activists. Just a little background on the odious Mr. Barber; he is a graduate of Colorado Christian University, and has a J. D. from Regent University Law School, the same school that brought us Monica Goodling and so many other illegally hired ideologues in the Department of Justice. This slime ball is also a member of the Anti-gay group Americans for the Truth About Homosexuality.
“Originally posted at Squarestate.net“
Feb 28 2009
Prior to speaking at The Convention on Modern Liberty Phillip Pullman (author of The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and others) released a statement regarding Britain’s recent history and his worries for the future.
Well worth the read, but it’s been taken down from the Times website, and it appears to have vanished from the Google cache, also. So, in the interest of preservation, here’s a copy.
Jul 04 2008
Today, the 4th of July, we here in the States celebrate our “Independence”, no need to go into an explanation, or give a link to read about, we’re all supposed to know and understand what that means, and so are others who think they’ve achieved that.
This year there’ll be alot less traveling to a further destination for relaxation or whatever, more home bodies, we all know the reasons, or we should.
Apr 07 2008
Londoners awoke on a lazy, snowy Sunday morning to images of protest flooding their television screens, including one moment when a protester was almost successful in dousing the Olympic flame as it was carried by British celebrity Konnie Huq:
Mar 26 2008
First, more news about brutality being used against protesters in Qinghai:
“They were beating up monks, which will only infuriate ordinary people,” the source said of the protest on Tuesday in Qinghai’s Xinghai county.
A resident in the area confirmed the demonstration, saying that paramilitaries dispersed the 200 to 300 protesters after half and hour, that the area was crawling with armed security forces and that workers were kept inside their offices.
The Beijing source said resentment at the paramilitary presence around Lhasa’s monasteries prompted one monk at the Ramoche temple to hang himself.
“It’s very harsh. They are taking in and questioning anyone who saw the protests,” the source said. “The prisons are full. Detainees are being held at prisons in counties outside Lhasa.”