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Israeli embassy accused of pressuring UK university to censor free speech

MEMO | September 29, 2017

A UK university has been accused by students of bowing to Israeli pressure and censoring free speech following revelations of a meeting between university officials and the Israeli ambassador days before an event during Israel Apartheid Week.

Email correspondence obtained through a freedom of information request, seen by MEMO, reveals details of a meeting between Israeli Ambassador Mark Regev and senior staff at the University of Manchester (UoM) prior to an event during Israel Apartheid Week last March.

The documents were obtained from UoM after the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – the body regulating data protection in the UK – found UoM to be in breach of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by not disclosing information requested by a student activist over its relations with controversial Israeli institutions.

Manchester University student, Huda Ammori, lodged the complaint against UoM after an unsuccessful bid to obtain details about the nature of the university’s relations with Israeli organisations. In August, the ICO stepped in and instructed UoM to provide a response to the request within 35 days, in accordance with its obligations under the FOIA.

In one correspondence obtained by Ammori, the Israeli embassy thanked Dr Tim Westlake, director of student experience at UoM, for “hosting” the Israeli ambassador and “discussing openly some of the difficult issues that [we] face”. The embassy also discussed ways to “increase take up of the Erasmus Programme”, which is a European Union student exchange programme.

The email correspondence includes details of the meeting between UoM and the Israeli embassy, in particular, their concerns over two events organised by the university’s Action Palestine and BDS societies, during Israeli Apartheid Week. In its email the embassy said: “These are just two events of many that they are running in their so called and offensively titled ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’.”

Israeli embassy staff accused the speakers, including Holocaust survivor and historian Marika Sherwood, of anti-Semitism. They said that the speakers had “cross[ed] the line into hate speech” and that their talk was not “legitimate criticism” of Israel. The officials were especially keen to stress their disapproval of the talk by Sherwood, which was going to compare her experience as a child surviving Nazi brutality and the injustices committed by the Israelis against the Palestinians.

In her response to the accusations, Sherwood told MEMO:

I am not an anti-Semitic Jew! I am an anti-Israeli Jew! The two are not the same. And yes, to me the way Israelis behave towards the Palestinians, whose land/property they have claimed/confiscated/overtaken is as the Nazis behaved towards me and my fellow Jews in Hungary WWII.

“We cant all go back to where our ancestors lived thousands, even hundreds, of years ago,” Sherwood reasoned. “Can you imagine all the Brits who settled in the Americas, in Australia, NZ, South Africa, coming back to claim the UK?”

Organisers, unaware that senior UoM officials had met with the Israeli embassy days before the event, were pressured to meet a number of demands before the university granted permission to hold the event: Academics chosen to chair the meetings were replaced by university appointees, publicity was limited to students and staff, the organisers were told talks would be recorded and the title of Sherwood’s talk had to be changed because “of its unduly provocative nature”.

MEMO contacted UoM over the allegation that they censored free speech, their reasons for putting pressure on the students and if it was in the habit of senior staff to host foreign embassy delegations to discuss internal university matters.

In response, UoM spokesperson said: “Events held on campus are reviewed under the University’s Code of Practice on Freedom of Speech if they concern potentially controversial topics and whenever they involve external speakers. This includes events organised through and in the University of Manchester Students’ Union. In deciding whether or not an event should go ahead, the University pays due regard to all relevant legislation, including the Equality Act 2010.”

“However, such legislation does not act to prohibit completely the expression of controversial views. In this case the University allowed the events to proceed in line with the requirements of the Act and our commitment to principles of freedom of speech and expression.”

While the university refuses to admit any outside coercion, the Israeli embassy has previously been found to have exerted undue influence on British institutions. Earlier this year an Al Jazeera documentary made the sensational revelation concerning a senior Israeli diplomat, Shai Masot, who was captured on video conspiring to “take down” certain UK government ministers such as Sir Alan Duncan for speaking out against Israeli policy and sympathising with the plight of the Palestinians.

The scoop also revealed that the Israeli embassy was providing covert assistance to supposedly independent groups within the Labour party; jobs at the embassy were being offered to groom young Labour activists; and how concerned the embassy was with removing not just Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan, but also Crispin Blunt MP, the chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee (both of whom are Conservative MPs), as well as Jeremy Corbyn MP, the leader of the Labour party.

Read also: Manchester University must reveal its relations with Israeli institutions

September 29, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Corbyn criticizes UK foreign policy, Israel oppression, Trump

Press TV – September 27, 2017

British Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn has slammed London’s foreign policy, asserting that “terrorism is thriving in a world our governments have helped to shape.”

“The targeting of our democracy, of teenage girls at a pop concert, of people enjoying a night out, worshipers outside a mosque, commuters going to work — all of these are horrific crimes…But we also know that 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,” Corbyn said at the party’s annual conference in Brighton on Wednesday.

Military solutions to the threats of terrorism in Europe were another area of Corbyn’s speech.

“We have to do better and swap the knee-jerk response of another bombing campaign for long-term help to solve conflicts rather than fuel them,” Corbyn said.

Corbyn also hinted at the double standards of British foreign policy in the Middle East region, criticizing arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

“Democracy and human rights are not an optional extra to be deployed selectively. So 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.”

The Labour leader addressed the brutal suppression of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and demanded that Aung San Suu Kyi end the violence against the Rohingya and allow the UN and international aid agencies into Rakhine state. “The Rohingya have suffered for too long,” Corbyn emphasized.

Corbyn criticized Israel’s 50-year oppression of Palestinians and called for an end to the “oppression of the Palestinian people, the 50-year occupation and illegal settlement expansion.”

On Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump’s speech at the UN and his policies were another area that Corbyn critically addressed.

Corbyn said Trump’s UN speech was “devoid of concern for human rights or universal values” and “was not the speech of a world leader.”

Pointing to the historical relationship between the UK and the US, Corbyn said, “If the special relationship means anything, it must mean that we can say to Washington: that way is the wrong way.”

As a veteran peace activist, Corbyn has long been critical of London’s involvement in US-led wars across the world its support of Israel in its unending oppression against Palestinians.

Corbyn has stood up for Palestine and Palestinian rights and has been a strong advocate against Britain’s foreign wars in the Middle East.

September 27, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Virgin release CCTV proving Jeremy Corbyn told the truth about ‘Traingate’

RT | August 23, 2017

Newly released footage appears to prove Jeremy Corbyn did not lie about having to join seatless commuters on the floor during a three-hour train journey last year in a scandal known as ‘Traingate.’

The Labour leader was filmed by freelancer Yannis Mendez from the floor of a train, where he chose to sit instead of upgrading to first class, on his way to Newcastle from London last August.

Corbyn discussed the state of Britain’s privatized rail system, adding that the train was “ram-packed” and that “the reality is there are not enough trains.”

After CCTV footage was released by Virgin boss Richard Branson, appearing to show Corbyn and his team walking past empty seats on the train, he was accused of staging the scene to make a political point.

Plutocrat tycoon Branson tweeted: “What about all those empty seats he passed?”

Following the controversy, Mendez made a formal request for the complete CCTV footage.

It took Virgin seven months to comply. The firm claimed it did not release all the footage due to “technical difficulties.”

The report by Double Down News featuring the footage has gone viral. It shows the “empty” seats were actually occupied, with some passengers only visible when they move into frame, or taken up by small children not shown.

The newly released footage also shows many other passengers also sitting on the floor of the train.

Twitter users are now calling for Virgin and Branson to make an apology for accusing Corbyn of lying.

August 23, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Economics | , , | Leave a comment

Britain’s Real Terror Apologists

By Finian Cunningham | Sputnik | June 11, 2017

Despite a vicious smear campaign to denigrate Britain’s Labour leader as a “terrorist sympathizer,” Jeremy Corbyn still pulled off an amazing achievement in the general election.

Hardly has a politician in any Western state been so vilified with character assassination, and yet he has proven to be most popular Labour leader in Britain since the Second World War.

After weeks of trailing his Conservative rival Theresa May in the polls, Corbyn’s socialist manifesto appealed to a record number of voters – closing the gap between the parties to only two percentage points behind the Tories.

This was in spite of a concerted media campaign to destroy Corbyn in the eyes of the British public as a “terrorist stooge.” The irony here is that the Conservative party is forming a governing coalition with a little-known Northern Ireland party whose history is steeped in British state terrorism. (More on that in a moment.)

For Corbyn, the election outcome was a stunning moral victory. For Prime Minister May it was a humiliating defeat. The Conservatives lost their overall majority in the British parliament and now they have to rely on this reactionary fringe party from Northern Ireland to form a government.

May called the snap election because she thought her party would increase its majority and also because she calculated that Corbyn’s socialist direction of Labour would be wiped out. Many Blairite naysayers in his own party thought so too.

The opposite happened. The British public largely rejected May and her neoliberal capitalist, pro-austerity, pro-NATO policies. They instead rallied behind Corbyn. Granted, the Tories still won the election – only narrowly – but the surge in support for Labour under Corbyn means that he has galvanized a party that stands a strong chance of winning if another election is called. And that could be soon, perhaps in the coming months owing May’s shaky ad hoc government collapsing.

Another riveting factor in all this is that Corbyn’s success came amid a torrential Tory and right-wing media campaign to denigrate him as a terrorist sympathizer. The propaganda onslaught was conducted for months since May called the election back in April. And it grew to a frenzy as election day approached last Thursday, especially when the opinion polls showed Labour steadily whittling away the earlier Conservative support.

The day before the public went to the polling booths, the Daily Mail ran the front page headline: “Apologist for terror,” with Jeremy Corbyn’s photo below. It looked like a “wanted poster” from the Wild West. The only thing missing was the subhead with the words: “Wanted dead or alive.”

The scurrilous allegation pounded over and over by the largely pro-Conservative British media that Corbyn is “soft on terrorism” stems from his otherwise principled history of campaigning on international justice and peace.

Over his 35 years as an MP, he has voiced consistent support for Palestinian rights under illegal Zionist occupation; he has supported Hezbollah resistance against Israeli and American aggression; and during the conflict in Northern Ireland, Corbyn gave a voice to Irish Republicans who were being assailed by British military violence.

Many other international causes could be mentioned, such as Corbyn opposing British government weapons dealing with the despotic Saudi regime which is propagating terrorism in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

He has also campaigned to abandon nuclear weapons and is critical of NATO’s reckless expansion in Europe, which have earned him the jingoistic pillorying by the British establishment of “being soft on Russia.”

Corbyn has never condoned terrorism. Rather he has always sought to properly put it in a wider context of other parties also, unaccountably, using terrorism and thus fueling conflict.

This brings us to so-called Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) from Northern Ireland whose 10 MPs Theresa May’s Tories are now relying on to form a government. This party was formed in the early 1970s by the firebrand Protestant preacher Ian Paisley. While Paisley mellowed in later years before his death in 2014, he spent most of his career preaching vile hatred against Catholics and Irish Republicans, whom he saw as a threat to the political union between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain. In British-run Northern Ireland, it wasn’t acceptable to have a democratic aspiration for an independent Ireland. You were either a pro-British unionist or a “threat.” So much for British democracy.

Senior members of Paisley’s pro-British party played a crucial role in smuggling massive caches of weapons into Northern Ireland during the 1980s to illegally arm unionist paramilitaries. These paramilitaries went on to murder hundreds of innocent people simply because they were Catholics, who tended to be Republican. A favored tactic of these paramilitaries was to storm into pubs and homes and indiscriminately mow people down with assault rifles.

One notorious pro-British killer was Gusty Spence who belonged to the Ulster Volunteer Force paramilitary. He later expressed remorse and deplored Ian Paisley, the DUP founder, as the person who incited him to murder innocent Catholics due to his sectarian hate speech.

The paramilitary murder gangs were not just supported covertly by members of the DUP. The British government of Margaret Thatcher – Theresa May’s predecessor and political heroine – orchestrated these same death squads in a covert policy of “dirty war.”

British military intelligence colluded with the pro-unionist militants to assassinate Republican politicians and ordinary Catholics alike in a covert policy of state-sponsored terrorism. The objective was to terrorize people in submitting to British rule over Northern Ireland, rather than allowing the island country to become united and independent.

The British government provided intelligence and cover for the death squads and the unionist politicians had helped supply the AK-47 assault rifles and Browning handguns smuggled from Apartheid South Africa.

This secret dirty war policy of the British government and their unionist proxies in Northern Ireland has been uncovered by investigative journalists such as Paul Larkin (see his groundbreaking book “A Very British Jihad: Collusion, Conspiracy and Cover-up in Northern Ireland”); as well as human rights campaign groups like Belfast-based Relatives for Justice and Pat Finucane Centre.

Not even the present government of Theresa May can deny this murderous legacy in Ireland, although there is a determined silence now as she fights for her political survival in the wake of the British election disaster.

It is a proven fact that May’s Conservative party and the unionist politicians whom she is now partnering with to govern Britain were complicit in terrorism.

Northern Ireland has since gained a peace settlement in which unionist and republican politicians have been able to work together to form a local governing administration. The Irish peace process was possible partly because of the courageous and principled intervention by British politicians like Jeremy Corbyn.

Corbyn has never apologized for terrorism. He has sought to overcome it by making politics work. The same cannot be said for Theresa May’s Conservative party. It was an accomplice and an apologist for a covert policy of state-sponsored terrorism during Northern Ireland’s recent 30-year conflict.

The very party whom she is now allied with for governing Britain – the DUP – were also apologists for paramilitaries who routinely smashed their way into family homes and slaughtered victims in cold blood in front of their loved ones.

The ongoing muted policy of May’s government and her unionist proxies about their murderous legacy in Ireland is a testimony to who the real apologists for terror are.

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Corbyn and the Jews

By Gilad Atzmon | June 11, 2017

British Jews have made no secret of their united political opposition to Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party under his direction. Since Corbyn’s selection as its leader, the Labour party has been subjected to a relentless defamation campaign by the MSM and Jewish bodies. The Jewish anti Corbyn campaign rapidly devolved into a ruthless purge conducted by the Jewish Labour Movement and the Labour Friends of Israel. And then it didn’t take long before we saw some clear evidence that the assault against Corbyn was directed by Tel Aviv.

The reaction of many prominent Jewish voices and Jewish media outlets to Corbyn’s recent electoral success leaves no room for doubt – we are witnessing an emerging clash between the Brits and Judea.

On June 9th just a few hours after Corbyn’s popularity amongst Brits was formally established, Stephen Pollard, the editor of the staunch Zionist Jewish Chronicle, wrote in The Daily Telegraph (AKA The Daily Tel Aviv ) an extended tirade about the Brits, the gist of which is captured in the headline:  “to the millions of people who voted for Jeremy Corbyn: you scare me.”

Pollard is tormented by the democratic choice of almost half of the British voters. “In fact forgive me, please, if I say this to each of the 12.8 million people who voted Labour on Thursday: you scare me.”

Pollard is distressed by Ken Livingstone’s truth telling about Zionism’s early collaboration with Hitler. He is dismayed that so many young Brits are excited by Corbyn’s platform of truthfulness and universal cooperation.

To support his argument Pollard asks us to engage in a “thought experiment.” Imagine that instead of having a problem with Jews, “many Corbyn supporters were misogynists. Instead of tweeting about ‘Zios’ they tweeted about ‘bitches’ who had got above themselves.”

I will help Pollard out. It wasn’t women’s lobbies that pushed us into immoral interventionist wars in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Iran. It was Lord Cashpoint Levy and the LFI that dominated Blair’s government’s fundraising when Britain launched its criminal war in Iraq. It was David Aaronivitch and Nick Cohen, two of Pollard’s Jewish Chronicle writers, who advocated these wars in the media.

Being kind natured, I’ll use this opportunity to advise Pollard that pretty much half of British adults go to bed every night with a woman. They form families with them and bring up kids together. We see women as our partners; something we cannot say about Stephen Pollard, Jonathan Pollard, Michael Foster, Lord Janner or Sir Philip Green. Pollard should spend some time and produce a better analogy in support of his ludicrous tribal politics.

Pollard is not alone. James Rubin, a former American diplomat and the ‘husband of’ is also scared of Corbyn.

“Who’s Afraid of Jeremy Corbyn? Me that’s who,” was the title of Rubin’s  Politico article. Unlike Pollard who is scared as a Jew, Rubin claims to be scared on behalf of all Americans. According to Rubin “all Americans who fear for the future of the West” should be fearful of Corbyn. Rubin attempts to spread a duplicitous message that Corbyn puts the West at risk.

Rubin is kind enough to enumerate Corbyn’s ‘crimes: he has been “a public opponent of British and American foreign policy for some 25 years, and so his record and his views are impossible to hide.” He has “made a career of attacking U.S. foreign policies time and again.”

Rubin misses the point. Corbyn was supported last Thursday by more than 12 million Brits, in large part because he has a clear record of opposition to Anglo-American Zio-con immoral interventionist wars.

Rubin goes on, Corbyn has always found a way “to be supportive of America’s enemies and critical of American policies.” Correct and this is exactly why close to half of the British voters trusted him last Thursday. I would take it further, would Corbyn be brave enough to call a spade a spade and name our foreign wars for what they are: Israeli wars, his share of the vote would increase from 40% to 70%. Corbyn would be the British Prime Minster by Friday and the Tories would be reduced to a marginal political entity.

Rubin complains that Corbyn finds that “America is almost always in the wrong for the wrong reasons.” If so, Corbyn is absolutely right. America is too often on the wrong side, capitulating to AIPAC’s demands or desperately attempting to appease the Goldman Sachs and Soroses of this world.

Those who still fail to see that British Jews are at war with Corbyn and the Labour party should read The Jewish Algemeiner. According to Ben Cohen, it was the Jewish vote in London that saved Theresa May. Despite the popular swing towards Labour in most of London, it was the “voters in four London districts with significant Jewish populations have likely made it much easier for embattled British Prime Minister Theresa May to form a coalition government.”

Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis released a statement that the election demonstrated the dramatic polarization of British society: “The General Election results make it quite clear that it is not only our political representatives who are sharply divided on what is in the best long term interests of our country, but also that the electorate is similarly divided.”

I am not convinced at all that Britain is ‘divided’ as the chief Rabbi claims. If anything, the election reveals a growing unity amongst young Brits who are disgusted by the politics of Theresa Je Suis Juif May and her Zio-friendly government.

“As Theresa May seeks to form a new Government, my prayer is that she be blessed with the insight and the wisdom to lead the country with a spirit of understanding and a commitment to the common good,” the Rabbi added. I can advise the British Jewish leader that his prayers may fall short of delivering the good. What Theresa May needs at this stage is divine intervention and the Jewish institutions rallying for her and her dirty politics is a curse rather than a blessing.

June 11, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , | 5 Comments

Jeremy Corbyn and his half-finished political revolution

By Neil Clark | RT | June 11, 2017

Labour’s stunning performance in last week’s UK general election, which saw the party deny the Tories a majority and gain its largest increase in vote share since 1945, has left the country’s Elite Punditocracy in a state of deep shock.

The neocon/neoliberal Establishment thought their non-stop smearing of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as a “terrorist sympathizing/IRA-supporting/anti-Semitism condoning/crimes-of-Milosevic denying/North Korea-admiring/Putin-appeasing/Hamas-befriending/beardie-weirdie sandal-wearing/Stalinist/Trotskyist/hard-left Marxist/enemy of Britain” (take your pick), would ensure that voters would vote the ‘right’ way on June 8, i.e. not for the party led by beyond-the-pale Corbyn. There was great confidence that Labour, having been attacked so relentlessly in the media, would lose heavily.

Jason Cowley, the Blairite political editor of the once radical but now very Establishment-friendly organ the New Statesman, claimed Labour could lose 100 seats. Another pundit predicted Labour’s vote could slip below 20 percent.

But as soon as the results of the BBC’s exit poll were revealed at 10pm on election night, blind panic took over. It was reported that when Rupert Murdoch saw the exit poll showing that the Tories would lose their majority and that Labour would actually gain seats, he stormed out of the room.

It was a joy to see the bewildered, and then indignant ‘they haven’t listened to us!’ reactions of the gatekeepers on social media – people who just a few minutes earlier were assuring us that the “unelectable” Corbyn was leading his party towards an electoral disaster.

It’s not that these smug, self-satisfied stenographers to power were wrong: they never wanted Corbyn to do well in the first place. But they were supremely confident that their relentless attacks on the “extremist” Labour leader would achieve the result their paymasters desired.

The great ‘crime’ Corbyn committed in the eyes of the Establishment was not to have once met Martin McGuinness, but to have broken away from the “phoney center” ground of endless war and privatization and offer voters a genuine alternative to neocon/neoliberal policies. He criticized the UK’s ‘interventionist’ foreign policy, so beloved by those who never go near a war zone, and dared to suggest that Britain’s involvement in regime-change wars has increased the terrorist threat, which of course it has. He vowed to end arms sales to Saudi Arabia. He pledged to re-nationalize the rip-off railways and public utilities. He promised to scrap student tuition fees, zero-hour contracts, and to end austerity. His program wasn’t ‘hard-left’ or ‘extreme,’ but actually very moderate, fully in tune with mainstream public opinion.

But of course, any deviation from the “Extreme Center” is regarded as heresy which must be punished by those who see themselves as the modern-day successors of Matthew Hopkins, the Witchfinder General.

If last Thursday’s UK general election can be compared to a football match, then it’s now half-time and against all the odds, the team the ‘experts’ told us would get thrashed by their wealthier rivals is leading by two goals to nil. Yes, the Conservatives won the most seats, but it’s Labour who has the wind in their sails, and all the momentum, in more ways than one. Which begs the question – what’s going to happen in the second half?

The Establishment had a big setback on Thursday – one that they most certainly did not expect – but don’t worry, they’ll regroup. The first priority will be to make sure that one way or another the Conservatives remain in government and the “hard-left extremists” Corbyn and John McDonnell and the “sinister Stalinist” Seumas Milne (who’s actually one of the nicest people you could ever wish to meet), don‘t get their hands on the levers of power.

We were told it was terribly, terribly wrong for a prospective Corbyn-led minority government to be propped up “by the Scots” (boo, hiss), but it seems it’s not so wrong or ‘outrageous’ for a minority Conservative government to be propped up by a party from Northern Ireland. If Corbyn needs the support of others, we’re talking about a “Coalition of Chaos,” if May needs it – it is all about putting the country first.

The double standards of the “Keep Corbyn Out” campaign are there for all to see: the hypocrisy is of Olympic Gold Medal standard. And it’s not just Tories that Corbyn needs to worry about. Blairite grandee Lord Peter Mandelson, writing in the Mail on Sunday, has urged “mainstream Labour MPs,” worried about the “continuing Corbyn revolution” to “stand by” Theresa May in Parliament in “the national interest.”

The second part of the Establishment’s plan will be to try and pressurize/cajole/bribe/threaten Labour, from without and within, to ditch policies which threaten elite interests and move back towards what the “Extreme Centre.”

If only Labour could ‘moderate’ its policies, (i.e. make them acceptable to the “people who really matter”), they’d be set fair to win the next election – a line we can expect to see repeated in the next few weeks and months in ‘mainstream’ publications. Everything will be done to make Labour “conform.”

It’s important to understand that ‘democracy’ for the neocon/neoliberal Establishment means the two main parties offering essentially the same fare to voters a pro-war pro-neoliberal Conservative party led by David Cameron and a pro-war pro-neoliberal Labour party led by David Miliband was their ideal scenario. With a choice of Tweedledum and Tweedledee, the elite simply can’t lose. And that’s how they like it.

But it all started to go wrong for them when Ed, and not the Establishment-favored David Miliband, became Labour leader in 2010 and changed the rules about the election of party leaders. This put power (horror of horrors!) into the hands of ordinary members and made possible the victory of Jeremy Corbyn in 2015, and again in 2016, when he was challenged by technocrat Owen Smith.

Inevitably, as Labour has democratized, so its program has begun to reflect the views of ordinary citizens. By offering popular ‘For the Many and not the Few’ policies that had, for many years, been deemed “off limits” by gatekeepers, such as re-nationalization and a change in foreign policy, Corbyn managed to motivate millions of Britons, myself included, to head off to our local polling stations last Thursday. In doing so, he helped increase Labour’s share of the vote from 30 percent in 2015 to 40 percent, a quite remarkable achievement, especially considering the hostile media coverage and the attacks from within his own party that he has faced since first becoming leader.

It would be absolutely fatal now for Corbyn to change a strategy that has brought him to the brink of victory. That means there can be no way back for Blairism or Blairites. Former Channel 4 journalist Paul Mason has done great work for Labour in 2017, but I was alarmed to hear him say on television on election night that Corbyn should now bring into his Cabinet or Shadow Cabinet “big hitters” from the Blair and Brown era. It’s because Corbyn has made a break with the political orthodoxy of that time that he has done so well and managed in particular to get so many young voters and previous abstainers to rally to the Labour cause. Dragging back discredited figures from the past, whose policies were roundly rejected by voters, would be a backwards step. Instead, Corbyn should be bringing into his team new faces who are fully in tune with the anti-Establishment mood of 2017.

If there is to be another election this year, which seems likely, then the Labour leader must also be prepared for a battle with a more accomplished performer than the far from “Strong and Stable” Theresa May. Whether May stays days, weeks, or months in Downing Street, the people hiding behind the curtain won’t let her fight another election as Tory leader, as her limitations have been fully exposed. But even if the Tory leader is more personable than the current prime minister, which, let’s face it, wouldn’t be hard, the trump card Corbyn has is his manifesto. Because they are the party of the financial elite and receive around half their money from hedge funds, the Tories would never be able to offer voters populist policies like re-nationalization and higher taxes on the rich to help save the NHS, which Labour can.

What Corbyn has done is to get to the half-way point in a peaceful political revolution. Far from being a “threat” or a “danger” to democracy, he is actually trying to return Britain to being a proper functioning democracy, a place where people do have a genuine choice at general elections. We shouldn’t underestimate the scale of his task, but equally we shouldn’t underestimate what this indefatigable 68-year-old has already achieved. He’s halfway there and the next 45 minutes will be absolutely crucial.

Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative. He is a regular pundit on RT and has also appeared on BBC TV and radio, Sky News, Press TV and the Voice of Russia. He is the co-founder of the Campaign For Public Ownership @PublicOwnership. His award winning blog can be found at http://www.neilclark66.blogspot.com. He tweets on politics and world affairs @NeilClark66

@NeilClark66

June 11, 2017 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 2 Comments

Jeremy Corbyn MP | Stop the Gaza massacre Demonstration London 10 January 2009

June 10, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

‘The BBC Has Betrayed Its Own Rules Of Impartiality’: Yemen, Saudi Arabia And The General Election

Media Lens – June 5, 2017

A key function of BBC propaganda is to present the perspective of ‘the West’ on the wars and conflicts of the world. Thus, in a recent online report, BBC News once again gave prominence to the Pentagon propaganda version of yet more US killings in Yemen. The headline stated:

US forces kill seven al-Qaeda militants in Yemen, says Pentagon

Seven ‘militants’ killed is the stark message. A veneer of ‘impartiality’ is provided by the weasel words, ‘says Pentagon’. BBC News then notes blandly, and without quotation marks:

The primary objective of the operation was to gather intelligence.

Nowhere in the short article was there any attempt to provide an alternative view of who had been killed and why. Were they really all ‘militants’? How is a ‘militant’ distinguished from a ‘civilian’, or from a soldier defending his country against foreign invaders? There was not even a cautious statement to the effect that the Pentagon’s claims could not be verified, as one might expect of responsible journalism.

Instead, we have to turn to Reprieve, an international human rights organisation founded in 1999 by the British lawyer Clive Stafford Smith. The group reports that five of the ‘militants’ were civilians, including a partially blind 70-year-old man who was shot when he tried to greet the US Navy Seals, mistaking them for guests arriving in his village.

But their civilians are mere ‘collateral damage’ in war. Since January 2017, the US has launched 90 or more drone strikes in Yemen, killing around 100 people, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. This death toll includes 25 civilians, among whom were 10 children, killed in the village of al Ghayil in the Yemeni highlands during a US raid that was described by President Trump as ‘highly successful’.

Mentions of such atrocities were notable by their absence in ‘mainstream’ media coverage of Trump’s recent trip to Saudi Arabia where he signed trade deals worth around $350 billion. This included an arms deal of $110 billion which the White House described as ‘the single biggest in US history.’ It would not do for the corporate media, including BBC News, to dwell on the implications for Yemen where at least 10,000 people have been killed since the start of the Saudi-led bombing campaign in 2015. 14 million Yemenis, more than half the population, are facing hunger with the Saudis deliberately targeting food production.

The World Health Organisation recently warned of the rising numbers of deaths in Yemen due to cholera, saying that it was ‘unprecedented’. Save the Children says that at the current rate, more than 65,000 cases of cholera are expected by the end of June. The cholera outbreak could well become ‘a full blown-epidemic’. Moreover:

The upsurge comes as the health system, sanitation facilities and civil infrastructure have reached breaking point because of the ongoing war.

As US investigative journalist Gareth Porter observes via Twitter:

World leaders are silent as #Yemen faces horrible cholera epidemic linked to #Saudi War & famine. Politics as usual.

Iona Craig, formerly a Yemen-based correspondent for The Times, notes that ‘more than 58 hospitals now have been bombed by the coalition airstrikes, and people just do not have access to medical care in a way that they did before the war.’ As if the bombing was not already brutal, Saudi Arabia has imposed a cruel blockade on Yemen that is delaying, or even preventing, vital commodities from getting into the country. Grant Pritchard, interim country director for Save the Children in Yemen, says:

These delays are killing children. Our teams are dealing with outbreaks of cholera, and children suffering from diarrhoea, measles, malaria and malnutrition.

With the right medicines these are all completely treatable — but the Saudi-led coalition is stopping them getting in. They are turning aid and commercial supplies into weapons of war.

As one doctor at the Republic teaching hospital in Sanaa commented:

We are unable to get medical supplies. Anaesthetics. Medicines for kidneys. There are babies dying in incubators because we can’t get supplies to treat them.

The doctor estimated that 25 people were dying every day at the hospital because of the blockade. He continued:

They call it natural death. But it’s not. If we had the medicines they wouldn’t be dead.

I consider them killed as if they were killed by an air strike, because if we had the medicines they would still be alive.

None of this grim reality was deemed relevant to Trump’s signing of the massive new arms deal with Saudi Arabia. BBC News focused instead on inanities such as Trump ‘to soften his rhetoric’, ‘joins Saudi sword dance’ and ‘no scarf for Melania’. But then, it is standard practice for the BBC to absolve the West of any blame for the Yemen war and humanitarian disaster.

British historian Mark Curtis poses a vital question that journalists fear to raise, not least those at the BBC: is there, in effect, collusion between the BBC and UK arms manufacturer BAE Systems not to report on UK support for the Saudi bombing of Yemen, and not to make it an election issue? Curtis also notes that the BBC has not published any online article about UK arms being sold to the Saudis for use in Yemen since as far back as January. This, he says, is ‘misinforming the public, a disgrace’. He also rightly points out that the BAE Systems Chairman, Sir Roger Carr, was also Vice-Chair of the BBC Trust until April 2017 (when the Trust was wound up at the end of its 10-year tenure). The BBC Trust’s role was to ensure the BBC lived up to its statutory obligations to the public, including news ‘balance’ and ‘impartiality’. How could Sir Roger’s dual role not suggest a major potential conflict of interest?

On the wider issue of ‘mainstream’ media coverage of foreign policy, the political journalist Peter Oborne notes that:

Needless to say, the British media (and in particular the BBC, which has a constitutional duty to ensure fair play during general elections) has practically ignored Corbyn’s foreign policy manifesto.

Oborne writes that the manifesto:

is radical and morally courageous.

He explains that, pre-Corbyn:

Foreign policy on both sides was literally identical. The leadership of both Labour and the Conservatives backed the wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan, the alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Sunni states in the Gulf.

London did what it was told by Washington. […] This cross-party consensus has been smashed, thanks to Jeremy Corbyn, the current Labour leader. Whatever one thinks of Corbyn’s political views (and I disagree with many of them), British democracy owes him a colossal debt of gratitude for restoring genuine political debate to Britain.

And of course his extremely brave and radical decision to break with the foreign policy analysis of Blair and his successors explains why he is viewed with such hatred and contempt across so much of the media and within the Westminster political establishment.

But, as Oborne notes, this important change has not been fairly represented in media coverage. In particular, on Yemen and Saudi Arabia:

It is deeply upsetting that the BBC has betrayed its own rules of impartiality and ignored Corbyn’s brave stand on this issue.

We challenged Andrew Roy, the BBC News Foreign Editor, to respond to Oborne’s observations. He ignored us (here and here). Roy’s silence is especially noteworthy given that he had once promised:

If there is a considered detailed complaint to something we’ve done, I will always respond to it personally.

Perhaps Oborne’s challenge to the BBC was not deemed sufficiently ‘considered’ or ‘detailed’ by the senior BBC News editor. Likewise, our own challenges over many years in numerous media alerts addressing BBC foreign coverage have been ignored or, at best, brushed away.

It was noteworthy that Corbyn’s considered response to the most recent terrorist attack in London was selectively reported, arguably censored, by BBC News. Corbyn said:

We need to have some difficult conversations, starting with Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states that have funded and fuelled extremist ideology.

It is no good Theresa May suppressing a report into the foreign funding of terrorist groups. We have to get serious about cutting off the funding to these terror networks, including Isis here and in the Middle East.

Sky News broadcast Corbyn’s comments, but they do not appear to have been covered by BBC News. Certainly, as far as we can see, there is no mention of them in their ‘Live’ blog on the London attack or in Laura Kuenssberg’s analysis, ‘Election 2017: Impact of London terror attack on campaign’. And nothing about the Saudi link with terrorism appears in the BBC’s online report on Corbyn’s speech, focusing instead on the issue of May’s cuts to police numbers while Home Secretary. Even this issue alone, if properly and fully addressed by the media, should be a resigning matter for May as Prime Minister. Responding to the London attacks, Peter Kirkham, a former Senior Investigating Officer with the Metropolitan police, accused the government of lying over police numbers on UK streets. And a serving firearms officer says that:

The Government is wrong to claim police cuts have nothing to do with recent attacks.

Despite her denials, Theresa May’s cuts to police numbers have made attacks like London and Manchester much more likely.

Kuenssberg’s piece included passing mention of ‘the Tories’ record on squeezing money for the police’. But she gave no figures showing a reduction in the number of armed police; crucial statistics which she could have easily found from the Home Office.

Mark Curtis gives a damning assessment of BBC reporting on foreign affairs, particularly during the general election campaign. Noting first that:

One aspect of a free and fair election is “nonpartisan” coverage by state media.

He continues:

Yet BBC reporting on Britain’s foreign policy is simply amplifying state priorities and burying its complicity in human rights abuses. The BBC is unable to report even that Britain is at war – in Yemen, where the UK is arming the Saudis to conduct mass bombing, having supplied them with aircraft and £1 billion worth of bombs, while training their pilots.

Curtis then provides some telling statistics:

From 4 April to 15 May, the BBC website carried only 10 articles on Yemen but 97 on Syria: focusing on the crimes of an official enemy rather than our own. Almost no BBC articles on Yemen mention British arms exports. Theresa May’s government is complicit in mass civilian deaths in Yemen and pushing millions of people to the brink of starvation; that this is not an election issue is a stupendous propaganda achievement.

Indeed, our newspaper database searches reveal that, since the election was called on April 18, there has been no significant journalistic scrutiny of May’s support of Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign in Yemen. The subject was even deemed radioactive during a public meeting in Rye, Sussex, when Amber Rudd, standing for re-election, appeared to shut down discussion of arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Electoral candidate Nicholas Wilson explains what happened:

At a hustings in Rye on 3 June, where I am standing as an independent anti-corruption parliamentary candidate, a question was asked about law & order. Home Secretary Amber Rudd, in answering it referred to the Manchester terrorist attack. I took up the theme and referred to UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia & HSBC business there. She spoke to and handed a note to the chairman who removed the mic from me.

The footage of this shameful censorship deserves to be widely seen. If a similar event had happened in Russia or North Korea, it would have received intensive media scrutiny here. Once again, we note the arms connection with the BBC through BAE Systems Chairman, Sir Roger Carr. Wilson has also pointed out a potential conflict of interest between HSBC and the BBC through Rona Fairhead who was a non-executive director of HSBC while serving as Chair of the BBC Trust.

These links, and Theresa May’s support for the Saudi regime, have gone essentially unexamined by the BBC. And yet, when BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg responded to Corbyn’s manifesto launch, her subtle use of insidious language betrayed an inherent bias against Corbyn and his policies on foreign affairs. She wrote: ‘rather than scramble to cover up his past views for fear they would be unpopular’, he would ‘double down… proudly’. Kuenssberg’s use of pejorative language – ‘scramble’, ‘cover up’, ‘unpopular’ – delivered a powerful negative spin against Corbyn policies that, in fact, as Oborne argues, are hugely to his credit.

When has Kuenssberg ever pressed May over her appalling voting record on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria and Yemen? In fact, there is no need for May to ‘scramble’ to ‘cover up’ her past views. Why not? Because the ‘mainstream’ media rarely, if ever, seriously challenge her about being consistently and disastrously wrong in her foreign policy choices; not least, on decisions to go to war.

June 5, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Can the Impossible Happen in Britain?

Photo by Garry Knight | CC BY 2.0
By Kenneth Surin | CounterPunch | May 30, 2017

To state the obvious: two weeks can be a long time in western electoral politics.

The Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn has been gaining steadily in the opinion polls, despite a massive media campaign to undermine him, extending from the BBC and the supposedly “liberal” Guardian to the UK’s famously ghastly tabloids. When Theresa May called the election, Labour was 20 or more points behind the Conservatives, but this figure was down to as little as 5 points in some polls conducted before the Manchester bombing atrocity occurred.

The policies put forward in Labour’s manifesto are popular (especially when they are not identified as Labour’s!), Corbyn has been an effective campaigner, but Labour has also been aided by a woefully inept Tory campaign.  The Tory spin doctors and election strategists somehow convinced themselves that the largely untried Theresa May was their trump card, so much so that only her name (accompanied by the vacuous slogan “strong and stable”), and not her party affiliation, featured on their election propaganda.

While the hunch behind this decision of the election strategists was probably the marketing of May as a Thatcher Mark II, she has been a disaster so far.  A stodgy performer in debate, famously unable to think on her feet, May refused to take part in televised debates. Her few attempts at “connecting with the public” have seen the wheels come off the proverbial car.

She scuttled off rapidly when booed on a visit to a social-housing estate in Bristol– people living in social housing have been under an unrelenting cosh since Thatcher became prime minister in 1979, and only someone in a fantasy conjured-up by Lewis Carroll would envisage a Tory leader being greeted with warmth and affection on a visit to such an estate.  Someone on May’s support team needs to be sent forthwith to a dungeon in the Tower of London for this Carrollian mishap.

Another walk-about in Abingdon (Oxfordshire), potentially less hostile territory, saw May confronted by a voter with learning disabilities visibly upset at having her disability benefit cut by the Tories. The easily flustered May, seemingly unable to distinguish between learning disabilities and mental health issues, sought desperately to reassure the distressed voter that the Tories had a bunch of new initiatives on the latter. The massed TV cameras recorded the entire episode, and May became an immediate object of derision.  She retired to her bunker at Tory HQ, and has not been seen in public since.

May’s two one-on-one television interviews have likewise been a disaster. UK TV interviewers, even those not known for their leftist inclinations, are a much less calmative bunch than their American counterparts (the Orange Swindler would not last 60 seconds with the routinely ill-disposed and aggressive Jeremy Paxman), and May suffered her predictable meltdown. The sight of her waffling and prevaricating when interviewed by Andrew Marr and Andrew Neil while trying to pull-out her “strong and steady” soundbite as often as possible, was utterly delicious to behold.

So, what’s next for the maladroit May? TV debates are out, and so it would seem are walk-abouts and one-on-one interviews.  The halt to campaigning observed by all parties after the Manchester carnage has given her some breathing space, but it is hard to see what can be improvised by her handlers.

Theresa May apart, the Tory manifesto has also been a hostage to misfortune. A grab-bag of vague promises and uncosted policies, it soon suffered from media scrutiny. The manifesto, and the accompanying vapid sloganeering, are thinly disguised attempts to deflect attention from the one big issue the Tories can’t campaign on and must therefore keep out of public view, namely, the cruel and irresponsible austerity policy they have pursued since 2010. In parliament, May has voted for every legislative item underpinning this policy, despite touting herself as a “compassionate Conservative”. Here in the manifesto we are told: “We do not believe in untrammelled free markets. We reject the cult of selfish individualism. We abhor social division, injustice, unfairness and inequality”. They could have fooled me, and perhaps this was the Tory intention.

Paraded as “fiscal prudence”, Tory austerity has been quite the opposite.

The UK economy has grown since 2010, but, according to the Guardian, 7.4 million Brits, among them 2.6 million children, live in poverty despite being from working families (amounting to 55% of these deemed poor) – an increase of 1.1 million since 2010-2011 (i.e. the first year of austerity).

The report discussed by the Guardian, produced by the reputable Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF), shows that the number living below the Minimum Income Standard – the earnings, defined by the public, required for a decent standard of living – rose from 15 million to 19 million between 2008/9 and 2014/5.  The UK’s population is 65 million.

These 19 million people, or just under 1/3rd of the UK’s population, are its “just about managing” families (JAMs).

An important contributory factor in these shifts, the JRF said, was the increased number of people living in basically unaffordable private rental properties, with the number of people in poverty in private rentals doubling in a decade to 4.5 million.

“Failures in the housing market are a significant driver of poverty,” the JRF study said. “This is primarily, but not entirely, due to costs.”

The number of rental evictions has risen by 60% over 5 years to 37,000 annually. Over the same period mortgage repossessions have fallen from 23,000 to 3,300.

According to an article by Frances Ryan in the Guardian:

For a government to cut in-work social security, reduce child tax credits and freeze working-age benefits in this climate is the equivalent of knowingly removing the life rafts from the millions of citizens who are struggling to stay afloat. Drowning comes in many forms: perhaps eviction notices or hungry children. The Children’s Society says that by 2020, when all the new tax and benefits changes will have been implemented, low-income families making a new claim for support could be up to £9,000 worse off a year. The government’s four-year freeze on working age benefits alone will make four million families poorer.

Social care has become increasingly unaffordable for these struggling families, the NHS is starting to charge for treatment as it undergoes a stealth privatization, they have fewer opportunities for upskilling in order to raise their incomes, and so on.  This while their wages are stagnant even as the cost of living is increasing for them.

“Austerity” always was a hoax attempting to magic the banking-induced crisis of 2007-2009 into a crisis of the welfare system.

It has nothing to do with the “deficit”— if it did, Cameron and Osborne would have serious steps to reduce the “deficit”, instead they chose policies that increased it.

And indeed, UK public sector debt has risen since 2010–  according to the Office of National Statistics, from 60% of GDP in January 2010 to 85.3% in January 2017.

The Tories and their banker pals are determined to make ordinary UK citizens pay for the bankers’ mistakes with reduced wages and pensions, reduced health care, reduced education opportunities, reduced real employment (job “growth” is largely confined to “bullshit” jobs or McJobs), and reduced social services.

Their public position is that ordinary UK citizens are “living beyond their means”, thereby using this as a subterfuge to get the ordinary citizen to pay for the bankers’ fecklessness and criminality.

So far, no politician from any party has stood up and said it is the stock-portfolio class, and not ordinary Ukanians, who live beyond the Ukay’s means!

With the ideological dragooning supplied in endless doses by the rightwing tabloids, the “slackers” and “scroungers” always seem to be the not so well-off or totally indigent, as opposed to predatory bankers and avaricious landlords. The former tend not to vote under the present electoral system because nothing really changes for them come election-time, while the latter make a point of donating generously to the Tories in order to safeguard their gravy trains.

Kenneth Surin teaches at Duke University, North Carolina. He lives in Blacksburg, Virginia.

May 30, 2017 Posted by | Economics | , , | 1 Comment

Britain’s next Prime Minister could likely be Jeremy Corbyn

By Adam Garrie | The Duran | May 30, 2017

Brexit which in many ways put British politics on the international map for the first time since the 1960s, was not supposed to happen. The establishment of all the major parties, the business sector, academia, the mainstream media, the arts and science community (which still hold some influence in Britain) were all opposed to it.

Likewise, the polling data was so set against Brexit that on the night of the vote, a sober Nigel Farage all but conceded defeat. Several hours and several drinks later he emerged to give a victory speech.

The people who voted for Brexit voted for a number of reasons and even more crucially in a key number of geographical places.

Many people voted for Brexit because they were seething with anger over those who opposed it. The elite were unpopular and the elite did not want Brexit, this meant that ordinary people in middle and northern England as well as most of Wales voted for Brexit. Other issues ranging from European border policy, to trade and nostalgia for empire played far less of a factor than many pundits think. Brexit was a visceral vote, not a calculated vote.

The EU is an elitist institution and Britain’s own local elite loved it. For most people that was enough to make them support it.

While the dishonest and discredited elites ran the pro-EU campaign Brexit was spearheaded from the right by Nigel Farage while its most prominent left wing advocate was George Galloway. Both Farage and Galloway are figures one either loves or hates, but few people can legitimately question their sincerity. After all, neither have embraced causes that were guaranteed to get them invited to Buckingham Palace.

Many thought that if two straight-forward men who are on different sides of the political divide both embraced Brexit, it can’t be all that bad for honest, ordinary people and furthermore, contrary to what the neo-liberal mainstream media says, Farage’s supporters are not all racist obscurantists and Galloways’ supporters are not ‘only Muslims’. Such remarks slander both men and their supporters who on the whole are ordinary, decent, normal people of all backgrounds who for various reasons are tired of a broken status-quo.

Jeremy Corbyn may well be on the verge of achieving something similar to Brexit, only more. Corbyn, like Brexit is anti-establishment and like Brexit the entire establishment are against him…with this notable exception: small, medium and even some big businesses.

Jeremy Corbyn will certainly appeal to working class Brexit voters in England’s north and midlands as well as Wales (aka Brexit country) who have longed for a Labour leader that puts bread and butter issues first. Corbyn is all about jobs, funding essential services and putting hospitals before banks, schools before hedge funds, wages for real people over tax-loop holes for foreign companies. This is music to the ears of a Labour base who became alienated from Labour after years of neo-liberal policies first instigated by the war criminal Tony Blair.

But what about business, will they vote for a socialist Labour leader? Many interestingly will. Most businesses of all sizes have generally benefited from some aspects of EU membership, most crucially from the Single Market which non-EU countries Norway, Iceland and Switzerland are a happy part of.

Corbyn has said he is committed to getting Britain a deal that involves retaining the benefits of the Single Market and this has made many in the business community silently sympathetic to a Labour leader who has taken a stand on the Single Market whereas Conservative leader Theresa May has a policy which amounts to little more than ‘frankly I don’t give a damn’.

So this means Corbyn has the working class and wider Midlands, Northern England and Welsh Brexit vote, the anti-establishment Brexit vote and ironically also the business minded pro-Single Market Vote.

And then there is Scotland. Scotland voted in favour of retaining EU membership and what’s more is that when Scotland held a referendum on independence from the UK in 2014, one of the biggest selling points on the ‘remain part of the UK’ side was that membership of the UK guaranteed membership of the EU. My how times have changed!

Because of this, Scottish Nationalist leader Nicola Sturgeon and the Scottish Parliament want a new independence referendum. Theresa May has responded to this call with disdain and contempt. Her refusal to engage in a dialogue with Scotland smacks of a colonial attitude when Scotland is a democratic part of the United Kingdom. It’s unreal that someone like May can think this way in the year 2017.

By contrast, Jeremy Corbyn said that he will listen to Scotland, engage positively with the Scottish people and will in any case respect their exercise of democratic self-determination if that is what they ultimately seek. This means that if the vote in England is a dead-heat, the Scottish Nationalists who will almost certainly win every major seat in Scotland will have the ability to form a coalition with Corbyn and make him the British Prime Minister.

Under this scenario one sees that Corbyn has retained much of the ‘Brexit coalition’ with the added bonus of almost all of Scotland’s backing if he eventually needs it, plus more members of the business community than many think. Even those in the business community who might not like Corbyn’s tax policies, realise that leaving the Single Market is a far bigger problem and one that could take much longer to reverse.

In the wealthy parts of Southern England, the Conservatives might be in for another unexpected shock. Most people in England’s wealthiest areas voted to remain in the EU and many are privately shocked that the once pro-EU Conservative party is taking such an undiplomatic and frankly unknowing approach to Brexit.

Many such affluent voters may end up voting for the unambiguously pro-EU Liberal Democratic party who in most other policy areas are little different than mainstream moderate Conservatives.

The polls which got Brexit and Trump totally wrong are still saying that the Conservatives will win, but only by a small margin. The reality could be very different. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour might capture most of middle and northern England, all of Wales and find allies in Scotland. Theresa May’s Conservatives may end up losing some seats in their own affluent backyard, among those who still cherish the EU as much as they did when they voted against Brexit alongside former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron.

We could be looking at the most unlikely political revolution in British history…. since last year, anyway.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of a would be Corbyn victory is that he managed to quietly build an unlikely coalition without sacrificing his principles. Perhaps this is the real lesson of the campaign.

May 30, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Economics | , , | 4 Comments

MSM’s right-wing bias costs Corbyn ‘fair’ coverage, says BBC veteran Dimbleby

RT | May 30, 2017

Veteran BBC broadcaster David Dimbleby has hit out at the British media for failing to give Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn “fair” coverage in the run-up to the June 8 general election.

Dimbleby, who will be reporting the election results for a 10th time in his distinguished broadcasting career, echoed the long-standing complaint among Corbyn’s supporters that coverage of the Labour chief tends to suffer from a right-wing bias and from “lazy pessimism.”

“I don’t think anyone could say that Corbyn has had a fair deal at the hands of the press, in a way that the Labour Party did when it was more to the center, but then we generally have a right-wing press,” he said in an interview with the Radio Times.

Speaking ahead of a BBC Question Time special on Thursday, in which he will question both Prime Minister Theresa May and the Labour leader, Dimbleby said nothing in this election should be taken for granted despite the Tory lead in the polls.

“My own prediction is that, contrary to the skepticism and lazy pessimism of the newspapers and the British media, it’s going to be a really fascinating night, and it will drive home some messages about our political system and the political appeal of different parties that no amount of polling or reading the papers will tell us,” Dimbleby said.

“Polls? You can have them until the cows come home. For me, the exit poll is the starting gun for a political roller coaster ride, and a night of thrills and spills.”

Although Corbyn has suffered rebellions among his own MPs in Parliament, Dimbleby pointed out the Labour leader enjoys overwhelming grassroots support.

“It’s a very odd election,” Dimbleby said.

“If the Conservative story is how Theresa May is the ‘brand leader,’ the interesting thing is that a lot of Labour supporters really like and believe in the messages that Jeremy Corbyn is bringing across.

“It’s not his MPs in the House of Commons necessarily, but there is a lot of support in the country.”

Labour Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell recently said the media’s “appalling” coverage of Corbyn’s leadership is the “worst” any politician has ever had to face.

He called it an example of the “establishment using its power in the media to try and destroy an individual and what he stands for.”

Just last month, analysis revealed that the majority of reports on Corbyn are critical of his leadership, and that he is more likely to be attacked by the media than Tory leader May.

Loughborough University found a “considerable majority” of reports attack Corbyn, while coverage of the Conservatives appears to be much more balanced, with negative reports offset by an equal number of positive news stories.

A separate study by the London School of Economics last year found up to 75 percent of press coverage misrepresented the Labour leader.

Such “antagonism” hinders freedom of speech, represses opposition and thus falls short of “serving democracy,” the study claimed.

May 30, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 1 Comment

Jeremy Corbyn outshines Theresa May in the British general election

By Alexander Mercouris | The Duran | May 26, 2017

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s impressive speech on foreign policy and the West’s failed “War on Terror” illustrates an unreported truth about the ongoing British general election: Jeremy Corby is cutting a far more impressive figure during the election than Prime Minister Theresa May is.

Before discussing this I wish to make one important qualification about Corbyn’s speech.

Corbyn has bravely made the connection between the Manchester terror attack and the West’s foreign policy – enthusiastically supported by the British political class – of waging regime change wars across the Middle East. However it is essential to understand that these wars have exacerbated the problem of Jihadi terrorism because they do not target it but rather the Arab governments such as those in Iraq, Syria and Libya which fight it.

Afghanistan is no different. The war in Afghanistan is not being waged against Al-Qaeda – the Jihadi terrorist group which the US says carried out the 9/11 terrorist attacks – but against the Taliban, an entirely different group which, though Salafi in ideology, never before 2001 sought to wage a terrorist Jihad against the West, or has done so since. Suffice to say that not one of the 9/11 hijackers the US has identified was an Afghan.

I would add that prior to the US attack on Afghanistan in 2001 some Taliban leaders and the Muslim clergy in Afghanistan pressed Mullah Mohammed Omar – the Taliban’s erstwhile leader – to expel Osama bin Laden and his followers from Afghanistan, and there was in fact a proposal to hand him over in return for international recognition of the Taliban government and on condition that he was tried in an Islamic court.

I have always believed that with care and patience a diplomatic solution which might have resulted in Osama bin Laden’s arrest and trial was possible, with the Taliban’s two international supporters – Pakistan and Saudi Arabia – lobbying hard for such an outcome. Needless to say had that ever happened the history of the following decades would have been completely different.

In the event the US attack on Afghanistan in 2001, whether intentionally or not, meant that this never happened, leading to the disastrous “War on Terror” Corbyn spoke about today.

Putting all this aside, Corbyn’s speech shows that he is prepared to challenge Britain’s failed foreign policy orthodoxy in ways that no other mainstream British politician seems able to do. He has of course been doing it for years, ever since the so-called ‘War on Terror’ began.

However foreign policy is only one area where Corbyn has cut a more impressive figure during the election than Theresa May.

Not only has Corbyn campaigned and interacted with the media and the public in a genuine way – in contrast to Theresa May’s controlled and ritualistic meetings and her stilted language of clichés – but he has also produced a manifesto which though left wing is coherent and close to voters’ concerns. By contrast Theresa May’s manifesto looks cobbled together, mating contradictory messages of One Nation Toryism with Thatcherite free market policies.

Unsurprisingly Theresa May has already been forced into an embarrassing U turn, dropping a manifesto commitment that would have introduced costs for the elderly, something which to my knowledge has never happened in a British general election before.

All this partly reflects a truth about Jeremy Corbyn: he is a far more serious and experienced politician than the British political class and news media care to admit.

However it also reflects an important truth about Theresa May. Quite simply she is not the strong and decisive leader her supporters in the Conservative Party and the media repeatedly say.  On the contrary what the election campaign has done is expose once more her indecision and insecurity, and her lack of ideas.

By way of example, Theresa May has never provided a truly convincing explanation of why she called the election in the first place, despite previously repeatedly ruling the option out.  The best she has come up with is that she needs a strong mandate from the British people to negotiate a good Brexit deal.

That might have been convincing if Theresa May had a Brexit negotiating policy to put to the British people for them to support.  However – as I have repeatedly pointed out – in reality she has none.

The result is that she has been unable to keep the election focused on the issue, allowing Corbyn to move the debate onto ground closer to his own.

The reality of course is that Theresa May called the election not because she wanted a mandate to negotiate a good Brexit deal but because she thought she would win it.

That is a perfectly good and valid reason for a British Prime Minister to call an election. A genuinely strong Prime Minister – a Margaret Thatcher for instance – would not have hesitated to say it, and would have laughed off criticism of it, saying she had a right to change her mind. Theresa May would have saved herself a great deal of trouble and would have looked a lot more convincing had she said it. However, as has long been obvious, she is temperamentally incapable of saying it.

As it is I still expect Theresa May to win. Though the latest opinion poll shows her once stratospheric lead collapsing to 5% with 2 weeks of the election still to go (Conservative 43%, Labour 38%) I suspect that as polling day approaches some British voters who are presently being drawn to Corbyn will switch back to Theresa May rather than face the actual prospect of a Corbyn government, for which I don’t think Britain is ready.

There is simply no precedent in Britain for an electoral upset on the scale that a Corbyn victory would require, and I can’t believe in the end it will happen. My guess is that as polling day approaches the Conservative lead will start to widen again.

However if I am proved wrong then whilst the credit for such a truly astonishing turnaround would have to go to Corbyn, the major cause would be the failure of Theresa May to explain convincingly to the British people what point there is in her being Prime Minister.

May 26, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment