A new #BBCswitchoff hashtag is sweping across the more loopy sections of Twitter, as Corbynistas attempt to organise a mass boycott of the Beeb tonight. Supporters are saying the BBC is ‘infested’ with ‘Zionists’, is a tool of ‘Conservative propaganda’, and that the licence fee should go to Channel 4 instead. Some are even calling on each other to throw their TVs in the bin…
And of course Corbynistas’ favourite impartial TV channel is chiming in on the act:
This is Faiza Shaheen, Labour’s parliamentary candidate trying to oust Iain Duncan Smith in Chingford and Woodford Green.
Mark Wallace: “Terrorists who hunt down and murder Jewish people for being Jewish people is an anti-Semitism issue. That’s not hearsay, that’s a fact.”
Faiza Shaheen: “No, it’s not a fact. That’s the point. You hear all kinds about Corbyn, don’t we, about him being a Czech spy and the rest of it. I mean, let’s concentrate on what we know to be true.”
Mark Wallace: “I’m sorry. The widow of a champion Israeli weightlifter castrated and shot dead by the Munich terrorists said, ‘To go to the grave of a person behind the killing of 11 athletes, he should be ashamed and apologise.'”
Faiza Shaheen: “Well there isn’t actually evidence to say that he went.”
Corbyn has now admitted he was present. Do the voters of Chingford and Woodford Green agree with Faiza that killing Jewish athletes isn’t an anti-Semitic issue?
This week Jeremy Corbyn released a video acknowledging that the Labour Party had “a real problem” with anti-Semitism, adding that “anyone who denies that this has surfaced within our Party is clearly actually wrong and contributing to the problem.”
He should tell that to his local CLP in Islington North, who gathered outside Broadcasting House today to protest the “BBC’s biased reporting of Jeremy Corbyn”. Protesters made speeches calling Israel a “racist state” while chanting “shame on you, BBC”. The notorious Labour Against the Witch Hunt group were present alongside Jewish Voice For Labour, which has supported Ken Livingstone, Jackie Walker and Marc Wadsworth over their anti-Semitic comments in the past.
Labour Against the Witch Hunt were also handing out recruiting leaflets hitting out at “purgists” and claiming that the expulsion and suspension of anti-Semites from the Labour Party was “a clear, determined attack on the left by a powerful section of the Party”:
The LATWH leaflet dismisses many allegations of anti-Semitism as “of a trivial nature” and calls for Labour’s Compliance Unit to be abolished. They also reject the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, which they claim is deliberately intended “to conflate anti-zionism with anti-semitism”, instead proposing their own “simple definition” which is limited to opposing “hostility towards Jews as Jews, in which Jews are perceived as something other than what they are”:
One protester was carrying a placard calling for Labour to “reinstate Stan Keable”, who was expelled from the Labour Party for claiming that Zionists had collaborated with the Nazis:
Given Corbyn’s acceptance of his party’s anti-Semitism problem last week, those close to him might have been expected to keep their distance from today’s protest. But in an email sent out through the official Labour email system yesterday evening, Corbyn’s own local branch Secretary called on party activists to join the protest. Islington North Secretary Stephen Moorby told Corbyn’s local branch members to join the protest “to call out the BBC on its persistent failure to report fairly and impartially the attacks on our MP Jeremy Corbyn”:
Corbyn ended his video this week by saying: “It’s my responsibility to root out anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.” Will he start by having a word with his own local branch secretary?
Footage has emerged of Corbyn giving an interview to the Iranian state television channel Press TV in which he says the BBC is biased on Israel’s right to exist.
“There seems to be a great deal pressure on the BBC from the Israeli government and the Israeli embassy and they are very assertive towards all journalists and to the BBC itself… I think there is a bias towards saying that Israel is a democracy in the Middle East, that Israel has a right to exist, that Israel has its security concerns.”
Now about that IHRA definition, Jez…
UPDATE:A Labour spokesman says:
“Jeremy was arguing that despite the occupation of Palestinian territory and the lack of a Palestinian state, Israeli concerns and perspectives are more likely to appear prominently in news reporting than Palestinian ones. Jeremy is committed to a comprehensive peace in the Middle East based on a two-state solution – a secure Israel alongside a secure and viable state of Palestine.”
Almost three weeks after being placed under investigation by the Labour Party for rowing with Ian Lavery about anti-Semitism, Ian Austin has still not been given any further details of the allegations against him. Last week Austin’s lawyers wrote to Labour General Secretary Jennie Formby:
“This process has been a farce and a disgrace. It has plainly been designed to silence our client for his legitimate, honestly-held criticisms of Mr Corbyn’s failure to address the scourge of antisemitism in the Labour Party.”
His lawyers add that “the Labour Party has failed to observe the most rudimentary principles of natural justice, due process and transparency” and accuse the party of “prejudging the complaints”. Austin is yet to receive a response from Formby. After the climbdown over Margaret Hodge last night, looks like another one could be on the way…
Guido takes you inside Fair Oak Farm in Sussex, where Blairite Labour MPs have been secretly meeting to plot against Corbyn and Brexit. According to the Express, the likes of Chuka, John Woodcock, Chris Leslie and Stephen Kinnock have been taking the 7.18pm train from Waterloo East on Thursday evenings to the £150-a-night country estate.
According to its website, the luxury retreat is “nestled in the 12 acre Sussex country estate and set within wonderful gardens”. Accommodation includes a stunning Grade II Listed Sussex farmhouse (c1600), a range of converted Grade II Listed farm buildings and barns, eco-lodge tree houses and shepherd’s huts. The eco-lodge tree houses are very Blairite.
It is more usually rented by celebs like Vanessa Feltz and bankers from Hong Kong and the US being put up by the HSBC bank.
The luxury farmhouse kitchen comes with an Aga, open fireplaces and a private chef promising “outstanding home cooked, locally sourced produce”.
Guests are also offered a range of on site activities, including shooting, falconry or, perhaps more suited to this bunch, wine tasting.
The country estate is rather more for the few than the many, though Guido supposes it’s ideal for the likes of Leslie and Kinnock to talk about how awful Brexit is. Certainly no trash there, so Chuka will be happy. They only thing they are missing is, er, an actual plan to stop Corbyn and Brexit…
Last week Guido reported that analysis by the respected international think tank the Alliance for Securing Democracy had found that the #WeAreCorbyn hashtag was being pushed by Twitter accounts known to be linked to Russian state. Now the same think tank, whose esteemed bipartisan advisory council includes former world leaders as well as cabinet secretaries from the Obama and Bush administrations, says the same is happening with the #ResignWatson hashtag. It is the second top hashtag used in the last 48 hours by a monitored set of Russian-linked accounts:
And it is the top trending hashtag with the highest percentage increase over the last 48 hours among the monitored accounts:
As always, Guido highly doubts the intervention of Russian-backed accounts on any topic makes much difference. Though no doubt who they are backing over the last week…
Here is a sample of what appears on the #ResignWatson hashtag being used by Corbyn supporters to target Labour’s deputy leader. One anonymous account told a Jewish former Labour member: “All you needed was a shower”.
Hundreds of Corbynistas, including the prominent pro-Corbyn account ‘The Awakend’, said Watson was in the pay of Israel:
This guy was going particularly hard on the Israel conspiracy theories:
A cesspit of racism and abuse… what is Corbyn gonna do about it?
Scandal-hit Pete Willsman repeatedly made inappropriate comments to young women on Labour’s NEC, according to four witnesses who were present. The witnesses all say that, during a meeting of the NEC in 2016, Willsman bragged that he uses his relationship with Jeremy Corbyn to get close to young women. The four witnesses say that Willsman, in front of the whole NEC, boasted that he chats up women by telling them he is friends with Corbyn. “He was arguing that it showed how popular Jeremy is that he could successfully chat up women by saying that he was his friend,” says a source who witnessed the comments. The witnesses say that Willsman told the room that he has a “three yard rule” about how close he can get to women while chatting them up.
In front of the entire NEC, Willsman then asked the young female members present if they would go clubbing with him. Four witnesses say he asked one young female member of Labour’s NEC if she twerks when she goes clubbing. The witnesses say that Willsman boasted that other women like to twerk on him.
At this point, the then Labour chief whip Rosie Winterton, interrupted Willsman and admonished him. Winterton told Willsman: “I think that is really inappropriate and out of order. I think you should apologise”.
Several female members of the NEC complained informally to the then Labour general secretary Iain McNicol about Willsman’s conduct after the meeting. One woman present tells Guido Willsman’s behaviour was “shocking”.
All four witnesses to this incident tell Guido that it was not a one off, and that Willsman routinely makes similar comments to young women in the Labour Party. Guido is told Willsman has also repeatedly sided with the accused in sexual harassment cases. One NEC source says he sided with the accused in once case because he was a “good guy”. A second NEC source says he described the accused as a “good comrade”.
Willsman declined multiple opportunities to comment by phone and email both today and yesterday.
Willsman retains the support of the Labour leadership after his rant against Jews that provoked this week’s anti-Semitism furore. Why is this person still on Labour’s NEC?
Mike Sivier is a Labour member who is on the record claiming it “may be entirely justified” to say Tony Blair was “unduly influenced by a cabal of Jewish advisers”. He has also he suggested the SWP omitted Jews from the list of Holocaust victims because they were being “politically correct”, defended Ken Livingstone and Malia Bouattia’s anti-Semitic comments and got into an almighty row discussing whether “thousands or millions” died in the Holocaust. A real charmer, we can all agree (well, except Labour’s compliance unit).
The Sunday Times broke the story of Sivier’s re-admittance to Labour back in February. Their piece was followed up by MailOnline. Sivier then submitted a complaint against MailOnline to the press regulator IPSO, which they have – farcically – partially upheld. Here is the IPSO ruling:
The complainant had not directly said that he was “’not going to comment’ on whether thousands or millions of Jews died in the Holocaust as ‘I don’t know’”. There was no reference in the discussion surrounding the leaflet to “whether thousands or millions of Jews died in the Holocaust”, because the leaflet had explicitly not referred to Jews among the victims of the Holocaust. The publication may have inferred this meaning from the complainant’s comments, but it reported this as something he had said. The article did not make clear that it was reporting the publication’s interpretation of the complainant’s comments; they were presented as direct quotations. Because the comment thread was publicly available, this represented a failure to take care, in breach of Clause 1(i). The article gave the impression that the complainant had said something which he had not, on a subject liable to cause widespread offence, a clarification was required to avoid a breach of Clause 1(ii).
This is a patently ridiculous ruling by IPSO. This is the full quote from Sivier in question regarding the Holocaust:
“I’m not going to comment on ‘thousands’ instead of ‘millions’ because I don’t know.”
What do IPSO think he meant? It is very clear he is a total wrong ‘un. Why are IPSO going out to bat for people like this?
Labour councillor Mike Pevitt reckons allegations of Anti-Semitism in his party are plot by Jewish Tory party members. In a tweet referring to the letter signed by dozens of rabbis criticising Labour over anti-Semitism, Cllr Pevitt wrote: “Labour get lead in polls and Tories instruct their Jewish members to write in”.
In a further tweet, Cllr Pevitt suggested that the Anti-Semitsm “debate” was a Tory plan.
This is the second lunatic councillor Guido has found today, after this morning’s “anti-Semitism is an MI5 Tory plot“ nutter. Are Labour even bothering to suspend these people any more, or have they just given up?
Labour have gone on a hiring spree this morning, placing job adverts for a new Head of Disputes, Director of Governance, two investigations officers and a governance and legal officer, all based at the party’s Southside HQ. Guido would like to think this is Labour finally getting their act together and taking on enough staff to root out the anti-Semites among the membership. More likely they’ll be working on investigating the likes of Margaret Hodge and Ian Austin…
Meet Dave Oldfield, Labour councillor in North Lincolnshire. Cllr Oldfield thinks the Labour anti-Semitism scandal “must be a MI5 Tory government plot to cause havoc in our party” because he has “never come across it anywhere”. Last night he shared a post saying he will no longer be reading anything about anti-Semitism because it is a “politically motivated attack by the political establishment”.
Where do Labour find these nutters to put into public office?
Across the political spectrum there seems to be a sense of pessimism. Left-wingers think the world is going to hell in a golf-cart because of Trump, centrists think the Labour Party is doomed because of Corbyn, or worse still because Corbyn might win. Centre-rightists are pessimistic because they fear Brexit will go very badly and the Conservative Party will be punished accordingly. Right-wingers fear May will mangle Brexit so badly Britain might as well stay in the EU. They are all worrying unnecessarily.Everything is going to be alright.
In this age of fake news we exist in filter bubbles of our own making. Politically we are in a mass and social media created hyper-reality which ratchets reality to extremes. Algorithms reinforce hysterical reporting. Even supposedly evidence-based data journalists cherry pick data to make their point. Science reporting is bent towards uncontested axioms which are neither true nor in the spirit of scientific discovery. Nobody believes anything reported with conviction. This is a rational response to our prevailing false hyper-reality.
Nothing is as bad as people make out. Trump isn’t about to start a nuclear war, a race war or bring about a society as depicted in the Handmaid’s Tale. The US constitution was well designed by the founding fathers, it will keep this President, as it has others, in check. So will the noisy messy circus that is American democracy keep the show on the road. The US economy is hiring blue-collar Democrat voters, pushing wages up and the middle classes are spending their tax cuts. That is something the left should really fear.
Centre-right Tory MPs should relax, expectations are being pushed so low that when the roof doesn’t cave in next April there will be a relief rally in Tory fortunes. Diabetics will not be dying in the streets, planes will still be flying, supermarkets will still be abundant in imported produce. Economic apocalypse will not happen. This will remove the Brexit uncertainty discount at the polls for Tories. Right-wing Brexiteers will be able to breathe easily that Britain is once again the mistress of her own destiny. With a new leader in place the Tories will be in a position to shape an optimistic narrative delivering a majority government.
Centrists are going to have a more difficult decade. The Labour Party is now a hostile environment for them. Centrists will have the consolation that their greatest fear – a majority Corbyn government – will not be realised. The Tories will benefit from a new leader and the DUP-approved boundary changes going through. This will remove the 40 seat anomaly that tilts general election outcomes unfairly towards the Labour Party.
The 2020s will see Britain basking in the growth promoting sunlight of global free trade. Fiscally the nation will finally be benefiting from a balanced budget, with lower taxes and the dynamism that comes with a super-charged globalised economy. The Conservatives will benefit from a split opposition that keeps them in government for another decade… Happy holidays!