Jackie Walker Claims Jewish Media “Pattern”

Anti-Semitism row Corbynista Jackie Walker was yesterday referred to Labour’s highest disciplinary body for possible expulsion from the party. They might want to look at this post on her Facebook page last night. Walker claims that the news of her referral to Labour’s NCC was “leaked” to the Jewish Chronicle and the Guardian’s Jessica Elgot, who Walker notes “previously worked for the Jewish Chronicle”. Walker says “this is a pattern” and “the work goes on”. Sure Labour’s disciplinary panel will be very interested in Jackie’s conspiracy theory about Jews in the media…

CPS Corporation Tax Report Reveals Labour Black Hole

This morning’s Centre for Policy Studies report will be worth noting when Corbyn responds to the Budget later. Their new research out today finds that reducing corporation tax from 28% to 20% has helped increase growth and profitability leading to a rise in receipts by 28% since 2011. Labour’s policy is to increase corporation tax to 21.5% to fund £15 billion of extra spending per year. Yet the CPS finds that such a hike would only raise £5 billion, leaving Labour with a £10 billion funding gap. 

Labour have pledged to spend the corporation tax money 11 times already: on the adult skills budget, supporting British steel, ending public sector pay restraint, reintroducing EMA, scrapping tuition fees, extending pension credit, reversing Universal Credit changes, pensions triple lock, social care, the NHS and PIPs. And now the experts say it won’t raise anything like as much as they need. Ammo for the Tories when Corbyn gets up to respond to Hammond…

Top Corbynista: Ditch “Kinder, Gentler Politics”, We Want “Heads on Sticks”

Momentum’s former treasurer Michael Chessum, who sat on the Corbynista campaign group’s steering committee, has called for an end to the mantra of a “kinder, gentler politics” and argued Labour should seek “heads on sticks”. Chessum, who was on the hard-left of the Momentum and is an ally of Trots like Jill Mountford, writes:

“The problem is that what Corbyn had to do to win Labour is almost antithetical to what can win the country. “Kinder, gentler politics” is motherhood and apple pie to many Labour members, who disdain infighting and aggression. But in an era of hardship, resentment and populism, what the public wants is not “kinder, gentler politics” but “heads on sticks”. Labour is losing by-elections and sitting 16 points behind in the polls because it is failing to present a clear narrative for whose heads should go on which sticks.”

Remember this is the same Michael Chessum who failed to condemn the student violence back in 2010:

Chessum was on the completely mental wing of Momentum, rather than the merely dangerously deluded wing.

Stephen Hawking on Corbyn ‘Disaster’

Stephen Hawking speaking to today’s Times:

“I regard Corbyn as a disaster. His heart is in the right place and many of his policies are sound but he has allowed himself to be portrayed as a left-wing extremist. I think he should step down for the sake of the party.”

A universal exclusive…

Corbyn’s Next Budget Balls Up

This morning Jeremy Corbyn tweeted out a link to the donations page on the Labour website asking people to sign up if they oppose the Budget:

Just one problem: the page says that the Chancellor is George Osborne.

Corbyn has deleted the tweet, but the webpage is still live and wrong here. Slow clap.

Corbyn Blames Tax Row on Media / Cabinet Office Conspiracy

It has been a long day of spin, claim and counter claim, rebuttal and pre-buttal, three on-the-record statements, multiple off-the-record briefings and questions to three government departments. Finally Jeremy Corbyn has tried to clear up his tax return, sort of. Guido takes you through it, blow by blow…

9pm last night: Journalists first began to query whether Jeremy Corbyn’s tax return included his salary as Leader of the Opposition. Corbyn’s team did not provide an answer.

1am this morning: Corbyn’s team released a statement explaining that he included his LOTO payments in the pensions and benefits section, rather than the employment section. They did not say why.

9am this morning: It emerged that the government’s accounts show a different figure for his LOTO earnings, and say it is a “salary“. Corbyn’s team did not have an explanation for the discrepancy.

3pm this afternoon: Corbyn’s team explain the discrepancy in a new statement: “This figure is calculated after deducting the waivers Jeremy has made of earlier increases to the benefit… A parliamentary pension contribution of £3,395 was also deducted”. They blame the Cabinet Office for not clearing it up and offshore media owners for having ulterior motives:

“The owners of the media companies that have attempted to cast doubt over Jeremy’s transparent and accurate tax return are of course among those who could stand to lose from the tax transparency and justice the British people demand. Jeremy believes firmly in transparency. These media barons have tax questions of their own to answer.”

Interesting conspiracy, or could it just be that Corbyn’s team didn’t understand the numbers and it took them 18 hours to work it out?

Diane Abbott’s Trumpian Tax Denial

This tweet from Diane Abbott is positively Trumpian. She says it is “wrong” that Corbyn bungled his tax return. To be clear, he declared his Leader of the Opposition salary in the pensions and state benefits section. Tax accountants agree this is bizarre and unorthodox, and there is no explanation from his team why it was declared like this. Diane says the media did not read Corbyn’s return properly. No – journalists asked Corbyn’s office for an explanation, they were unable to provide one for several hours. And they are still unable to answer the outstanding questions

UPDATE: Statement from Labour six hours later.

Corbyn’s Numbers Don’t Tally With Government Accounts

Jeremy Corbyn’s team say he was paid just £27,192 in his role as Leader of the Opposition in the year 2015/16. Yet this does not tally with the government’s accounts – dug out by James Tapsfield – which say Corbyn was paid £30,587 in 2016/16. Why is Corbyn’s declaration not the same as this figure? Team Corbyn say the £27,192 figure comes from his P60. They don’t know why the government’s accounts show him being paid £30,587…

What’s more, his earnings as Leader of the Opposition are clearly a salary. As you can see above, the government accounts call it a “salary“. So why does it appear in the pensions section of his tax summary, not the salary section? Have to wonder if this tax stunt was worth it for Jez…

UPDATE: Statement from Labour six hours later.

£40,000 ‘Missing’ From Corbyn’s Tax Return

It’s Budget week so Jeremy Corbyn has published a summary of his tax return to put pressure on Theresa May and Philip Hammond. What could go wrong? Well, it appears £40,000 in earnings from his role as Leader of the Opposition are missing from his 2015/16 declaration. Corbyn declared £114,342 in earnings from his MP’s salary, outside earnings and pension. Yet the £40,000 he should have earned as Labour leader during the financial year does not appear on his return. It is an offence not to declare income correctly. Remember he messed up last year’s tax return too and had to pay a £100 fine. Corbyn also published his National Insurance number and his Unique Taxpayer Reference, which Guido is choosing not to reproduce. Shotgun loaded, aimed and fired straight into his own foot…

UPDATE: Statement from Team Corbyn:

“Claims in some media that Jeremy Corbyn failed to declare £40,000 of income to the taxman are untrue. The extra payment following Jeremy’s election as Labour leader of £27,192 is recorded in the tax return under the heading of ‘public office’. We are confident the total income of £114,342 in the tax return is correct, as is the income tax charge of £35,298. Nearly all the tax was paid at source.”
Corbyn says that for some reason he included the £27,192 LOTO salary in the “pensions and state benefits” section, hence the confusion – it took his team about four hours to work it out themselves and inform the media. They will only say they are “confident” the tax return and amount of tax paid are correct…

Clear Majority of Labour Members Still Support Corbyn

Peston had a poll this morning showing Corbyn’s support among Labour members has declined compared with last year. He still has a clear majority of members backing him – on these numbers Jez would comfortably win any leadership election…

Balls Hints at Return to Parliament

“I’m never gonna say never about going back…”

Labour’s Werritty Fishing Trip

Liam Byrne is having some fun via the medium of written questions:

Liam Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, how many times Mr Adam Werritty has been received on his Department’s premises at his behest since he took office.

Greg Hands: None.

At a cost of £165 to the taxpayer per question, worth a shot?

H/T @estwebber

Labour Vote Share Down in Redcar Too

Kersal is grabbing the Labour doom headlines this morning, though these two council by-election results in Redcar are worth noting too. The LibDems increased their vote share in Newcomen with a 6% swing from Labour:

Meanwhile the Tories held Hutton as Labour slipped to third, vote share down 16%:

Tory and LibDem vote going up, Labour going down across the North…

Sion Simon Campaign Chief Resigns Over Hijab Scandal

Sion Simon has been playing up to a certain stereotype in his campaign for West Midlands mayor, adorning his campaign literature with England flags and even using the slogan “This is England”. So he probably won’t want voters to know his campaign chief Waseem Zaffar has just been forced to resign his position on Birmingham council after he intervened in a local primary school to insist that a four-year old girl should wear a hijab. The unsavoury story has been an explosive local issue in recent weeks and Zaffar has now been forced to resign his Cabinet position in disgrace. Zaffar’s name is all over Simon’s website as a contact for his campaign.

The pair are close friends, Simon once said of Zaffar:

“Waseem Zaffar is an outstanding grassroots political representative… You couldn’t have a better representative.”

Doesn’t quite fit with Simon’s campaign message…

Labour Lose Salford Council Seat to Tories

Jeremy Corbyn is very keen for us to report on council by-election results, so… Labour have lost Kersal in Salford to the Tories. It was a Labour seat for decades and has gone blue despite Rebecca Long-Bailey’s best efforts to get out the vote yesterday. Results via Britain Elects:

CON: 42.0%

LAB: 27.3%

IND: 17.5%

UKIP: 9.0%

GRN: 2.4%

LDEM: 1.9%

34%-41% of Kersal residents are Jewish, those on the ground are already saying anti-Semitism was a factor. Shocker for Labour…

Long-Bailey’s Busy Month

What a month it has been for Rebecca Long-Bailey. At the beginning of February she was the non-entity Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury making her big break on Question Time. A week later she was promoted to Shadow Business Secretary, three days after that she was tipped for leader in a briefing to the Sunday Times. And then look, all of a sudden a flurry of press releases sent out in her name – 12 in 17 days, compared to zero in the 12 days prior. As well as two more set-piece TV interviews. Someone is very keen to boost her profile…

McDonnell Contradicts Corbyn on NHS Tax

Delivering his pre-Budget speech this morning, John McDonnell outlined his support for a hypothecated NHS tax to “restore trust” in taxation and government spending:

“Hypothecation, allocating taxes raised to specific purposes, can absolutely make clear where tax money is being spent. It can help restore the trust and confidence in taxation and government spending that has otherwise started to break down… It needs a clear commitment, over the long term, that specific taxes will be used for specific purposes, and that this spending will be properly monitored.”

Yet just six weeks ago Jeremy Corbyn seemed to say a hypothecated NHS was a bad idea. Speaking on Marr on 15 January, Jez said:

“I am not one that’s generally in favour of hypothecated taxation… Whether we’d have a specific tax I doubt, but I’m prepared to consider it and discuss it as I’m sure all my colleagues are. But if you go down the road of hypothecated taxation then you’re going to do hypothecated taxation for every other service.”

Well, which is it?

Owen Jones Tells Corbyn to Consider Handover Agreement

After the Copeland result Owen Jones warned “this is not sustainable” and promised to write a Guardian column on Corbyn and Labour over the weekend. Well, it has just gone out – Owen tells Corbyn to consider a handover “agreement” to a younger left-wing Labour pretender:

“Corbyn is a decent, honourable and principled man. He has to make a decision, and so do his parliamentary opponents. Whatever happens with the leadership, he needs to set out a clear and coherent strategy about how exactly Labour can overcome its existential crisis. Since the byelection rout, he has made it clear he isn’t going anywhere without even offering the vaguest outlines about how to turn it around. That isn’t good enough: again, consider the stakes. Both he and his team have to think hard. If Corbyn decides he is unable to confront the multiple existential crises enveloping Labour, then an agreement should be struck where he can stand down in exchange for the guarantee of an MP from the new generation on the ballot paper who is committed to the policies that inspired Corbyn’s supporters in the first place. It is up to both Corbyn and the parliamentary Labour party. They should both be aware that history is a savage judge.

I understand the dilemma torturing so many who supported Corbyn. Lifelong commitment to a good and noble cause; fear that if Corbyn falls the cause will fall with him; yet fear that his project is failing badly and risks destroying the cause in any case. Not only the future of Labour but the future of this country depends on what the party decides. Either we become a country riddled with hatred and fear, a playground for billionaires, that slashes support for the working poor and disabled people, that runs down and flogs off the services we depend on; or a country run in the interests of the real wealth creators, working people.”

To paraphrase, either Corbyn stays and loses massively in 2020, destroying the hard-left for a generation, or he steps down and socialism lives to fight another day…

Russian Spy Professor Praised Corbyn’s Nukes Policy

A Bath university professor exposed as a Russian spy wrote an article praising Jeremy Corbyn’s declaration that he “would not push the nuclear button”. Timo Kivimaki, a professor of international relations at Bath, was found guilty and jailed for passing information to Russian ‘diplomats’ in Denmark in 2012. In 2015, when Corbyn said he would never use nuclear weapons if he became PM, Professor Kivimaki wrote an article for Bath university’s website agreeing with the Labour leader and arguing that Britain’s nuclear deterrent is unethical, not credible and “an unconvincing foundation for the country’s security”.

“Jeremy Corbyn is right that the prospect of a second strike cannot safeguard the country against well hidden terrorists…

Is it… ethically possible for the United Kingdom to base its strategic thinking on a doctrine of nuclear deterrence that targets civilians in order to influence UK’s enemies. Given the ethical restrictions is the strategy of nuclear deterrent credible even when the prime minister is someone else than Jeremy Corbyn? 

In addition to moral dilemmas nuclear deterrence poses also practical dilemmas. Is the strategy of second strike credible any longer?… 

The foundation of British strategic security requires ideas and assumptions that we can no longer be sure of. Regardless of what the opposition leader says, on the long run nuclear deterrence seems an unconvincing foundation for the country’s security. While material foundations might remain the same, ideas that give them meanings change and this is a reality that was not born in the recent speech by Jeremy Corbyn.”

Hiding in plain sight…

Starmer Rubbishes Copeland Excuses

Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer has rubbished the excuses offered by Corbynistas for Labour’s loss in Copeland, warning there is currently “no prospect” of the party winning in 2020. Speaking at a lunch with Lobby journalists, Sir Keir gave short shrift to those who have blamed the Copeland result on Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson, Jamie Reed and the media: “The loss in Copeland was really serious, I don’t think some of the reasons put forward are compelling… If things don’t improve there is no prospect of Labour winning the general election”.[…] Read the rest

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