How best to deal with the John McDonnell clusterf*ck? Send Diane Abbott onto the Daily Politics to defend him, of course! Diane began by insisting McDonnell never signed the ‘disband MI5′ letter and that the story “may well not be true”. Before being confronted with a photo of him holding it: “I’m sure he’ll be clarifying it very shortly…”
UPDATE: McDonnell’s spokesperson has released a statement of apology:
“John posed in good faith to stand with a copy of what he thought were the principles he signed up to and not the demands which he had seen before yesterday. To reiterate John does not share these views. Only this week he has called for additional funding for the security services to support them in their vital work in defending our country.”
Anti-Trident Ken Livingstone has announced that he will co-chair Labour’s defence review. Corbyn clearly doesn’t trust his pro-Trident Shadow Defence Secretary Maria Eagle to do it herself. Guess on whom Jezza’s top new defence strategist blames the Paris attacks:
“All these terrorist attacks, the statements they make on their websites and so on are all about foreign policy… it’s the endless interventions of Britain and America and France in Arab countries that has come back to haunt us. After the fiasco of Afghanistan and Iraq, Britain and America and France are just not credible in this.”
Yes, merely 48 hours after the attacks, Ken really was piling into the French…
He has form: after the Boston Marathon bombings, which killed three and injured 200, Livingstone blamed America for “fuelling” the atrocity. He told Iranian state television channel Press TV:
“There was such ignorance in the Bush White House about Islam and the history of so many disputes that exist in the Middle East. People get angry — they lash out. It’s the whole squalid intervention that has disfigured the record of the western democracies and I think fuels the anger of the young men, who — as we saw in Boston — went out, and, out of anger and a demand for revenge, claimed lives in the west.”
Speaking to Kremlin-controlled Russia Today last year, Ken called for alliance with Russia and Iran and repeatedly defended Putin over Ukraine:
“Russia must be a key player in it, Iran should be a key player… [on Ukraine] You cannot blame Putin. This is an absolute tragedy, but it is not something planned and plotted by Putin. And that is the line being dished out from Washington and the British government… Let’s make it clear, Russia did not destabilize Ukraine… Now you have got a Russian president who puts Russia’s interests first.”
What about some of Ken’s other foreign policy views? In 2009 he told Israelis “don’t complain” when Hamas terrorists fire rockets at their civilians:
What is it with Corbyn’s new defence strategist and blaming the victim?
Lorraine Kelly asked Jeremy Corbyn all the big questions this morning:
LK: “What about this? You collect manhole covers? Not actual manhole covers, one would assume, or drains. What is it… is this true?”
JC: “Well, are we talking privately here?”
LK: “No, there’s people listening out there!”
JC: “Oh really?… Well, actually, I got this from my mother. An interest in the sort of social history of how things happen, and if you walk around and look at drain covers, you’ll see in London MWB, Metropolitan Board of Works. That gives you the age of it, the Metropolitan Board of Works hasn’t been around for a long time. If you look at post office telegraphs, that’ll tell you the time they went, look at LCC tramways, look at the same in Glasgow, look at the same with Edinburgh. So you see a history of public utilities in drain covers. Some of them are quite artistic. I know this sounds a bit zany, but history is what we all live all the time, and it’s a kind of social history, so people look at the history of roads and the history of trams and housing and all this and I think looking at the way cities grow it also comes within it the architecture the different migrant groups that came. Look at the old Huguenot architecture in the east end of London, where did that come from? It came from the Hugeunots coming from what we call the low countries. Look at the same in the north east of England, the influence of Scandinavian architecture. We all come from somewhere don’t we? That’s what’s fascinating about history.”
As ‘anarchist’ rioters (who want a bigger state) rampaged through London last week, setting a police car ablaze and blinding a horse with a firework, it’s worth asking what Team Corbyn think. Here is Seumas Milne speaking after the London riots. Guess what? He’s a fan.
“Riots do express fundamental social anger and that’s something that’s happened throughout history… Actually, I thought they were quite, you know, despite the way they were portrayed at the time, there was a lot of very political expressions, certainly in particular, in some areas in particular, certainly in East London but in other places as well, where people were expressing, in quite a strong class-orientated way, a hatred not only of the police but of the system… So, I mean, it wasn’t only negative, what happened in the riots. And I think that those people clearly are part of what, of the people that need to be organised and need to find a political expression and social organisation… But it’s also an opportunity. It’s a huge opportunity to channel that anger.”
There you have it: Labour’s new core vote strategy…
The CBI wouldn’t let representatives from the Vote Leave campaign into their conference this morning, though two Eurosceptic protesters managed to sneak in and heckle the PM with a cry of “CBI, voice of Brussels”. Vote Leave have confirmed to Guido that they helped organise the protest…
UPDATE: Here is Cameron talking up the opportunities of Brexit:
“Some people seem to say that really Britain couldn’t survive, couldn’t do okay outside the European Union. I don’t think that is true. Let’s be frank, Britain is an amazing country. We’ve got the fifth biggest economy in the world. We’re a top ten manufacturer. We’ve got incredibly strong financial services. The world wants to come and do business here. Look at the record of inward investment. Look at the leaders beating the path to our door to come and see what’s happening with this great country’s economy. The argument isn’t whether Britain could survive outside the EU. Of course it could.”
Something to chew on for his CBI audience, who are some of the worst anti-Brexit scaremongers around…
The Class War representative on the Daily Politics took his life into his own hands when he bravely decided to call Julia-Hartley Brewer “sweetheart“. Apparently he said something much ruder to her off air too. And then claimed he supported the Suffragettes. Everyday sexism…
At one point he said he was homeless, later he said he left the Guy Fawkes protest and “went home” because it was boring. Strange.
Congratulations to the new Baroness Pidding of Amersham, who was sworn in to the House of Lords yesterday. Though it is slightly odd that this top Tory activist, who was credited with helping to run the Road Trip 2015 campaign during the election, received such a muted response from the Tory youth movement on her big day. “There are just three messages of congratulations on her Facebook page,” notes a knowing Tory source. Surely nothing to do with Baroness Pidding’s popularity plummeting since her implication in the Elliott Johnson bullying scandal…
Home Secretaries will be given powers to identify journalists’ sources without authorisation from a judge. Theresa May has confirmed she will be able to sign an “urgent warrant” to view journalists’ sources without consulting a judge, which will then be subject to “review” in the courts:
“There will be an urgent process, so it will be possible for a Secretary of State to sign an urgent warrant for it to come immediately into effect, and then there will be a period of time within which the judge will have to review that and then make a decision as to whether it should continue or not.”
Given the widespread abuse of RIPA by the police, and coppers then covering it up, this is a concerning attack on the most fundamental basics of press freedom. They’ll be entering newsrooms to smash up hard drives next…
UPDATE: A Home Office source gets in touch to stress that the urgent warrants will only be used in extreme circumstances, for example when there is an immediate threat to life, with a warrant then having to be authorised by the Judicial Commissioner within five days, at which point they would rule on whether the data can be kept or destroyed. They insist this provision means sources will always be protected…
“Look at his appointments. His media adviser is a Stalinist. His new policy adviser is a Trotskyist. And his economic adviser is a communist. If he’s trying to move the Labour Party to the left, I’d give him full Marx.”
Incidentally, who is the communist economics adviser?
UPDATE: Not the full Marx after all:
Communism. Trotskyism. Stalinism all getting a look in at #PMQs. Leninists everywhere feeling left out
Labour MP Catherine West tells a meeting with the Stop the War Coalition in parliament tonight that her party will consult with them before a vote on action against Syria. That’s the same Stop the War Coalition that has supported “resistance” against British troops…
West says she wasn't giving assurance to Stop the War coalition. Labour Spox quote from last night attached pic.twitter.com/iCZhMEtnI2
Baroness Young of Old Scone has been over-sharing in the Lords, revealing that it was being provided the contraceptive pill aged 16 by Harold Wilson’s government that led her to support the Labour Party. Poor old Lord Blencathra didn’t know where to look when she started talking about how she “had a good Scottish diet and was very precocious for my age”:
Baroness Young of Old Scone (Lab): I was born in Scotland and I was brought up in a Scottish Conservative household. When I was 16 I thought that the election result, when a Labour Government was returned after 13 years of what is now known as Tory misrule, was the end of the world. I had been taught to believe that. Two years later I was canvassing for Labour in the election.
What changed me was that at the age of 16 I could get pregnant. At that time I could not get birth control in this country at that age. During that period, when I was aged 16 or 17, the first Brook Advisory Centre opened in Edinburgh. I could then go on the pill. Quite frankly, it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me. The knowledge that I could not get proper support for being sexually active—I had had a good Scottish diet and was very precocious for my age—was what politicised me. I have no qualms about announcing that here tonight.
Not the first person to get into politics for the sex…