Thursday, 22 June 2017

After The Speech, The Action

So, no ending of the Triple Lock, no means-testing of the Winter Fuel Allowance, no taking away of free school meals, no bringing back of Secondary Moderns for most people, and no repeal of the ban on foxhunting (a ban that I have never liked, but there have come to be certain principles at stake).

We did this. Never forget, fellow-voters, that we did this.

But no energy cap in the Queen's Speech, either, despite that policy's popularity.

In the coming Leadership contest, will there be a candidate committed to Theresa May's programme of workers' and consumers' representation in corporate governance, of shareholders' control over executive pay, of restrictions on pay differentials within companies, of an investment-based Industrial Strategy and infrastructure programme, of greatly increased housebuilding, of action against tax avoidance, of a ban on public contracts for tax-avoiding companies, of a cap on energy prices, of banning or greatly restricting foreign takeovers, and of a ban on unpaid internships?

Indeed, there will be. That candidate will be the man whose very presence first put those issues on the agenda at all.

That man is Jeremy Corbyn. And that contest will be the next General Election, sooner rather than later.

Lost In Space

The Queen's Speech addressed the important matter of space flights.

To give some context, I suggest that you look up the bus times to and from Lanchester in the evenings, on Sundays, and on Bank Holidays.

Or even the train times between Durham and Newcastle in the evenings.

This Government, if it can be so described, is living on another planet.

As, for that matter, is the nominally Labour majority on Durham County Council.

To Fill The Space

If the Daily Mail really wanted to annoy The Guardian, then it would give a weekly column to Jeremy Corbyn.

And why stop there? Seumas Milne and Andrew Murray are journalists.

Only this weekend, John Pilger told Neil Clark that the "liberal Right" Guardian was full of "precocious windbags". 

He did so on a programme that is ordinarily presented by George Galloway, a sometime Mail on Sunday columnist who remains an occasional contributor.

So that's six: Corbyn, Milne, Murray, Pilger, Clark and Galloway. One for every day.

Meanwhile, The Guardian will just have to make do with Owen Cohen, the little boy who wants to be Nick Cohen when he grows up, as if it were possible to do both.

In any given year of Tony Blair's Premiership, he was the most prolific freelance on Fleet Street, writing "exclusively" for every national newspaper.

There is another General Election coming up, so Corbyn and Milne need to be offering the former's byline on a weekly basis to each of The Sun, the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Daily Star, the main national stables of local and regional newspapers, The Sun and the Daily Mail again ("and twice on Saturdays," as it were), and the Mail on Sunday.

That would cover all seven days of weeks in which there is no time to be precious.

Why should those papers carry such columns? Pay them.

Get the unions, or whoever, to pay them what they would have been paying someone else to fill the space. At least.

Shy bairns get no chocolates.

Re-Housing All Round

Jeremy Corbyn says it, and it happens. Anyone would think that he were Prime Minister.

Indeed, Conservative MPs now question him in Parliament as if he were. They are facing up to the inevitable.

He, too, will have a much swankier residence in the West End before very long at all.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

To Cap It All

Those whom the fire at Grenfell Tower has rendered homeless now face being moved out of their city of London, and in some cases moved hundreds of miles away.

MPs who are rightly bemoaning this, Jeremy Corbyn voted against the benefit cap.

Did you?

Accepting The Timetable

And so it begins.

"Europe" as the excuse to remove a Prime Minister under whom civil order might break down, if it has not already done so.

How the years roll back.

Civil Contingency, Indeed

It turns out that requisitioning is perfectly legal under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.

I'd have to check, but the Conservative Party probably voted in favour of that Act. If anyone will have voted against it, then it will have been Jeremy Corbyn.

The Conservatives have certainly had long enough to repeal it. They have never done so.

Of course, that applies to the property of people who live here full-time and pay the tax. Never mind to the property of people who don't.

DUPed No More

The day before the Queen's Speech. The day before. I ask you!

Is no deal still better than a bad deal, Prime Minister?

And you'll be shaking the Magic Money Tree all over Northern Ireland, on which its fruits will rain down as if this were September.

Monday, 19 June 2017

"A Revenge Attack"?

That's what they all say.

And does anyone seriously suggest that there is no connection, none whatever, between the perpetrator in this case, and either the 1980s Far Right that produced both Thomas Mair and several current or recent Cabinet Ministers, or the Ulster Resistance, symbiotically related to the DUP?

If I were a betting man, then I would bet on very, very, very close ties to both of them.

Meanwhile, it may be impossible to secure every mosque all the time, but how hard can it be, or how unimportant can it be considered, to secure one of Europe's largest mosques during Ramadan?

All in all, bring on the General Election.

A Purchase On Things

Compulsory purchase orders seem to be perfectly fine when the full-time homes of middle and working-class people are standing in the way of a runway, or a motorway, or HS2.

Why, then, are they not perfectly fine when properties occupied barely, if at all, by enormously wealthy people who do not ordinarily live in this country are needed to order to accommodate people whose homes have burnt down?

One Last Golden Summer

The sun is beating down, and two hundred thousand people are expected to hear Jeremy Corbyn at next month's Durham Miners' Gala, in preparation for this year's second, rather more decisive General Election.

As I approach my fortieth birthday in September, it seems that my youth has one last Golden Summer left in it after all.

It's My Baby Too


The BBC can still have its moments.

That Which Divides Us

All right, it has been over a year now, so here goes.

Jo Cox's cliché-ridden maiden speech attracted no attention at the time, and her Memorial Fund is channelling money to the White Helmets.

As Vanessa Beeley set out to the great Neil Clark on this week's Sputnik, the White Helmets are really just a trading name of the al-Nusra Front.

Is funding such an operation even legal? It certainly ought not to be.

This week's Sputnik was also notable for the greater-than-great John Pilger's brilliant description of the "liberal Right" Guardian as "precocious windbags".

Resist This

Sammy Wilson, who was then the DUP's Press Officer and who is now a DUP MP, chaired the founding rally of the Ulster Resistance.

Ian Paisley (the Elder, so to speak), Peter Robinson and Ivan Foster all spoke at that rally.

Emma Little-Pengelly, who is now the DUP MP for Belfast South, is the daughter of Noel Little of the Paris Three.

One could go on.

All in all, the two organisations are more than casually acquainted.

Would you want Sinn Féin in the Government of the United Kingdom, although it is telling that the DUP long ago stopped being bothered about having it in the Government of Northern Ireland?

If not, then you cannot stand for this, either.

Speech and Drama

Supporters of Boris Johnson ought to absent themselves from the Division on the Queen's Speech, although of course turn up for the Motion of No Confidence that would follow the Government's defeat.

Does Johnson want to be Prime Minister, or not? We never did quite find out last year. This is his second chance. And in life, there are no third chances.

Ernest In Town and Jack In The Country

LADY BRACKNELL : [Sternly]... What are your politics?
JACK: Well, I am afraid I really have none. I am a Liberal Unionist.
LADY BRACKNELL: Oh, they count as Tories. They dine with us. Or come in the evening, at any rate.

There are 13 of them in the House of Commons now, I suppose.

After the defeat of the '45, Toryism, as such, barely featured in Scotland until the split in the Liberal Party over Irish Home Rule.

At least arguably, it still doesn't, or it doesn't anymore.

The above exchange is sometimes omitted from modern productions of The Importance of Being Earnest.

It probably never ought to have been, and it certainly ought not to be so today.

The Germany Test

The death of Helmut Kohl has crystallised in my mind the concept of the Germany Test.

From Sunday trading to nuclear weapons, if Germany does perfectly well without something, then so could we.

If it is mass incineration that you want, then we have just seen it.

Had it happened a week earlier, then the Prime Minister would now be a man who makes no bones about the fact that he would never press a nuclear button (a science-fictional question that he is never asked in any grown-up country), while the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be a man who would simply refuse to pay for nuclear weapons.

As Peter Hitchens writes:

It continues to amaze me that we spent a large chunk of the Election campaign discussing the renewal of our grandiose and unusable Trident missile system, which allegedly protects us from enemies we don’t have in a war which ended 26 years ago.

And that we think we are so great and wonderful and important that we can launch wars in Iraq, Libya and Syria.

But we could not even protect the victims of Grenfell Tower from horrible, needless deaths that a child could have foreseen.

The Long and Winding Road

Ah, the spirit of the Swinging Sixties.

Congratulations to Her Majesty’s new Companions of Honour, Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Terence Conran, on having so successfully brought down the British Establishment.

For all its alleged left-wingery, and its ability to annoy the forces of conservatism no end, rock’n’roll was made up of common or garden proto-Thatcherites, often tax exiles.

The only exceptions were David Bowie and Eric Clapton, way out on the Far Right.

The Sixties Swingers hated with a burning passion the Labour Government of 1964 to 1970.

The pirate radio stations were their revolt against its and the BBC’s deal with the Musicians’ Union to protect the livelihoods of that union’s members.

Behind this union-busting criminality was Oliver Smedley, who was later to be a key figure behind the proto-Thatcherite Institute of Economic Affairs.

Viewers of The Boat That Rocked, now a mainstay of late night television, should consider that the Postmaster General so mercilessly ridiculed in it was in fact Tony Benn, and that the Prime Minister who legislated against pirate radio was Harold Wilson.

Those Swingers used the lowering of the voting age to put what they thought were the Selsdon Tories into office in 1970.

They then went on to entrench their own moral, social and cultural decadence and libertinism, first in the economic sphere during the 1980s, and then also in the constitutional sphere under Tony Blair. 

David Cameron accepted uncritically the whole package: moral, social, cultural, economic, and constitutional. Indeed, he embodied it.

The coming Boris Johnson accepts uncritically the whole package: moral, social, cultural, economic, and constitutional. Indeed, he embodies it.

When is this country going to wake up to what has really been happening over the last 50 years?

Of the original 17 Companions of Honour, however, five were trade union leaders, Labour politicians, or both.

A sixth was a leader of the women's suffrage movement which had not at that time attained its objective.

A seventh was soon afterwards to expand her social reforming work into Independent Liberal political activity.

Two more were Liberal Unionists, of whom, by the way, there are arguably now 13 in the House of Commons.

If the industrialist Viscount Chetwynd took the Conservative Whip, then he was the only person on the list who was in any sense politically involved with that party, and even then barely so.

The pattern was set for many decades thereafter: relatively right-wing Labour politicians by pre-Blair standards, a few downright left-wing figures, trade union leaders, upper and upper-middle-class Boadiceas of social reform, luminaries of the Australian Labor and New Zealand Labour Parties, an extremely long-serving editor of the Manchester Guardian, a prominent campaigner on behalf of the rural working class.

Peace activists were notably numerous.

The first Prime Minister of independent Papua New Guinea remains, while the first Prime Minister of independent Trinidad and Tobago was also a member.

There was even an Indian nationalist politician.

The one who had been Prime Minister of Northern Ireland had been a founder-member of the Ulster Unionist Labour Association, and had gone on to chair it.

There was a distinct preponderance of Nonconformist ministers, as well as towards Scotland and, strikingly in view of its relative smallness within the population, towards Wales.

There were brilliantly maverick clergymen, generally influenced by Tractarianism, such as the Church of England used to produce: Wilson Carlile, Dick Shepherd, Tubby Clayton, Chad Varah. 

Varah did not die until 2007, yet he is already an unimaginable figure.

There were plenty of other people, too, including lots of Tories. But the old Radical tradition was very much in evidence.

Alas, no more.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

While Ensuring That The Views

Whenever there is a social movement in this country, then it is accused of being a bunch of professional agitators and middle-class hypocrites.

That is now happening even when people complain that their homes burnt down because they had been kept unsafe in order to save tiny sums of money while ensuring that the views from the nearby luxury flats were not unduly affected.

Take Back Control

There are shades of Brexit about Theresa May's attempt to do a deal with the DUP, and about the sight of Sinn Féin in Downing Street, throwing its weight around.

The time has come to refuse to allow the composition or the programme of our Government to be determined, either by 10 members and fellow-travellers of the Ulster Resistance, or by seven members and fellow-travellers of the IRA.

The time has come to ask ourselves whether or not we still wanted to keep Northern Ireland and its utterly bizarre little polity, entirely regardless of whether or not the Republic wanted to take it.

The time has come to Take Back Control.

Prime Mover

I do not believe that Theresa May is heartless or what have you. But she is no good at being Prime Minister.

As the extremely bitter chapter on the Poll Tax in Margaret Thatcher's autobiography makes clear, she herself never believed for one second that she had been brought down by or over "Europe", as if that had been what had placed her anything up to 20 points behind Neil Kinnock in the polls.

She regarded her own removal from office as Britain's greatest ever concession to "the Far Left", and she was right.

The All-Britain Anti-Poll Tax Federation made no bones about being the Militant Tendency (no friend of either Kinnock or European federalism, of course), which has justly crowed ever since that it brought her down.

Not only was and is that the view of, for example, Dave Nellist. But it was also the view of Thatcher herself, in a print bestseller, in the associated television series, and to her dying day.

"Europe", however, was the convenient excuse. As it will be again when May is removed. "She was got rid of to stop Hard Brexit," we shall all be told, and not at all because, however unwittingly, she had been on the brink of plunging urban England into riots, if they had not already happened by then, and Ireland into a many-sided civil war.

May herself will never have any of this, complaining to the end that she had been forced out to placate the Momentum shirt-wearers and the SWP placard-bearers who had organised the storming of Kensington Town Hall, and to prevent distress to the Sacred and Royal Person of Gerry Adams, who was Europe's nearest approximation to an Asian god-king, including the Pope.

All of that will be true. But the millions who have bought Thatcher's memoirs over the decades have almost always remained unaffected by the mere facts of her defenestration. How many people are even going to buy May's memoirs, still less read them, still less have their minds changed by them?

As for the prevention of Hard Brexit, for which there was never a parliamentary majority in the first place, consider that the Prime Minister who is going to be installed in order to deliver that prevention will almost certainly be Boris Johnson.

He, of course, wrote two Telegraph columns on the referendum, one for Leave and one for Remain, before making a calculation in terms of his own advancement as to which he was going to file. His beautiful assistant, and clearly intended successor, is to be Michael Gove, whose decision to back Leave has left everyone else entirely bewildered from the moment that he made it.

Still, they will deliver a few of the essentially Corbynite goods on Grenfell Tower and on the wider issues of housing and the fire service, despite Johnson's very weak record when he was Mayor of London, and they will not go into any kind of coalition with the DUP.

Just as the Major Government got rid of the Poll Tax, implementing a watered down version of the Labour policy instead (it remains in place to this day), while changing nothing of the substance, rather than the rhetoric, of Thatcher's European policy, completing her Single European Act by signing what everything in her record made obvious would have been her Maastricht Treaty.

Think on.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Known Unknowns

Yes, there needs to be a Coroner's Inquest, and not only a public inquiry, into Grenfell Tower.

There has never been an Inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly, either.

Let's have them both.

And remember, we need Trident to keep us safe. We don't need sprinklers. But we do need Trident. Remember that.

The Kohl Face No More

I know that it was wrong, but my first reaction was, "You mean that Helmut Kohl was still alive?"

Worse Than Weak, Worse Than Wobbly

The persistence in office of this Prime Minister is now practically guaranteed to bring riots to London, even to the very West End, and all out war to Northern Ireland.

Away with her.

This is nothing new or foreign. It last happened in Britain as recently as 1990.

Read the extremely bitter chapter on the Poll Tax in Margaret Thatcher's memoirs.

She knew who had really brought her down, and it was not Geoffrey Howe.

Theresa May: The Beginning of The End

In the morning, she was openly mocked by the Queen.

Yes, the Queen.

And in the afternoon, we have the storming, now followed by the siege, of Kensington Town Hall.

Yes, Kensington.

This is all very "Crown and People against the Whig oligarchs". Look it up.

More That Unites Us

Thomas Mair, the murderer of Jo Cox one year ago today, described himself to the Police as “a political activist”, and so he was.

No Irish Republican organisation has murdered a Member of Parliament in the present century or in the preceding decade, and the people responsible are now such pillars of the British Establishment that they are entertained at Windsor Castle. No Islamist or Leftist organisation has ever murdered a Member of Parliament. But the Far Right has done so, only last year.

Although a “strong supporter” of Israel did attempt to murder George Galloway while he was the MP for Bradford West. These days, though, that constitutes part of the Far Right. Give that a moment to sink in.

National Fronts come and BNPs go, EDLs come and Britain Firsts go, but certain institutional and organisational manifestations of the Far Right are perennial, hitherto even permanent. Mair’s is the Springbok Club, which is run by the people who also run the London Swinton Circle. And that, in turn, was addressed by Liam Fox (born 1961) and by Owen Paterson (born 1956) as recently as 2014.

Ah, those old 1980s Tory Boys, in their Hang Mandela T-shirts and all the rest of it. Wherever did they all end up?

In the Thatcher and, to a lesser extent, Major years, there were Ministers who were members of the Western Goals Institute or the Monday Club. Those crossed over, via such things as the League of Saint George, to overt neo-Nazism on the Continent, to the Ku Klux Klan, to apartheid South Africa, to Ian Smith’s Rhodesia, to the juntas of Latin America, to Marcos and Suharto, to the Duvaliers, and so on.

Nick Griffin’s father, Edgar, was a Vice-President of Iain Duncan Smith’s Leadership Campaign. He answered what was listed as one of its official telephone numbers (in his house) with the words “British National Party”.

The days of treating even support for the NHS as Loony Leftism, while maintaining no right flank whatever on the officially designated political mainstream, are well and truly over. The dominoes have already started to fall. Some highly prominent people in what incredibly still thinks that it is now this country’s perpetual party of government need to be very, very, very afraid.

Send Her To The Tower

The Queen has managed to visit the former residents of Grenfell Tower.

So her Prime Minister's claims about security were clearly baseless.

Theresa May has got to go. Taking Boris Johnson, Nick Hurd and Gavin Barwell with her.

Where is her party? Or has it lost its touch?

Caught Red Handed

Tim Farron gained seats, but he's still gone. Theresa May lost seats. She'll be gone, even from being gone. 

Farron is no martyr. He does himself no credit by pretending to be one. It is simply that, with people like Vince Cable, Ed Davey and Jo Swinson back in Parliament, he was no longer needed.

For good or ill, those are all former Ministers, two of them at Cabinet level. They just needed Farron out of the way. And now, they have got him out of the way, even though he did quite well at the General Election. They have an efficiency of which the likes of Yvette Cooper cannot even dream.

But then, we already knew that. The Lib Dems knifed the far more impressive Charles Kennedy (a totally pro-life Catholic, by the way), and they would have had no difficulty knifing Farron. Indeed, they did have no difficulty knifing Farron.

Remember that his views would have disqualified him from even contesting the Leadership of the Conservative Party, still less winning it.

And so to the DUP.

The problem with the DUP is not that its MPs hold the same views on abortion and on same-sex marriage as at least one MP who nominated Jeremy Corbyn for Leader, as at least one Campaign Group MP who stood down in 2010 having been John McDonnell's campaign manager, and as at least one active Corbyn supporter who has recently returned to his previous role as a stalwart of the Labour Left in the House of Commons.

No, the problem is the Ulster Resistance, which has never disbanded, with at least seven brigades or divisions still active in Northern Ireland, with at least one support brigade still active in Britain, and with the daughter of one of the Paris Three now the MP for Belfast South.

The story of the Paris Three has it all where the Far Right of yesteryear is concerned. Some of the detritus of all of that is now in Cabinet, in one case ostentatiously reappointed to it. Some holds the balance of power. And some committed, one year ago today, the only murder of a sitting MP in the present century.

More profoundly, the problem is a part of the United Kingdom that can give 10 parliamentary seats to an outfit such as that, and seven of its remaining eight seats to Sinn Féin.

If they persisted in such voting habits in what is now the age of hung Parliaments as the norm, then the people of Northern Ireland would need to be confronted with the question, entirely regardless of whether or not the Republic would take them, of how much longer they expected the voters of Great Britain to keep them on.

Self-determination is a two-way street.

Under Scrutiny Again, Indeed

No, Tim Farron.
 
Arguably any religion, and certainly Christianity, is not, and can never be, "a private matter".
 
On that principle, there would never have been a Liberal Party.
 
Note that Theresa May simply answered "No" to the question on which Farron repeatedly um-ed and ah-ed.
 
The Conservatives now describe same-sex marriage as their own proudest achievement. What, ever? Quite possibly, yes.
 
The Lib Dems made Farron Leader despite knowing his views and his record. It was the media that made a fuss, until eventually his party also felt compelled to do so.
 
The Conservatives, by contrast, would never have permitted such a Leader in the first place.

It is in fact a perfectly accurate answer that we are called to concentrate on our own sins, not on other people's.

And have you ever heard a sermon on homosexuality? I mean, ever? I haven't. Yet you would think that it was all that we ever thought about.

Automatic For The People?

The cladding used on Grenfell Tower cannot legally be bought or sold in the United States.
 
Where you can buy an automatic machine gun in a supermarket.
 
Think on.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Speech Impaired

At the present rate, the Queen's Speech will have to be the King's Speech. And that King will be George VII.

Remember when they said that if Jeremy Corbyn became Prime Minister, then Gerry Adams would be in Downing Street, telling him what to do?

Well, Gerry Adams was in Downing Street this afternoon, telling the Prime Minister what to do.

Nice of him to slum it, I suppose. Sinn Féin royalty normally prefer British royalty to mere politicians, and British royalty cheerfully return the compliment.

At the same time, Corbyn was at Grenfell Tower, meeting the survivors whom Theresa May had refused to meet.

Oh, and Conservative Campaign Headquarters is letting it be known that it is preparing for a second General Election.

Corpus Christi

Do many Catholics still believe in transubstantiation? Well, if such things were ever taught in Catholic schools, then more of them might.

But anyway, so what? What matters is that the Church teaches it. Catholics who dissent from the Teaching of the Church are just wrong, objectively speaking. That is all that there is to it.

Only the Catholic Church provides such objectivity, which is perfectly encapsulated in transubstantiation.

It was only from Christianity in general, and from Catholicism in particular, that science acquired the idea that some propositions were just plain true, so that others were just plain false.

And it was only from Christianity in general, and from Catholicism in particular, that science acquired the idea that there was an investigable order in the universe; even if that order is a law of chaos, then the point still stands.

Faced with a changed intellectual environment which denies those foundations rather than simply presupposing them, science must return to the system that first asserted them in the midst of a former such environment.

That system is Christianity in general, and Catholicism in particular.

Thus, for example, while and by affirming the objective existence of the substance distinct from the accidents, transubstantiation also affirms the objective existence of the accidents, which are the objects of scientific investigation.

Transubstantiation is the bulwark against the Postmodern assault on science. Nothing else is.

Therfore, come one, come all, to what promises to be an excellent Day of Recollection with Fr Tom McHale at St Joseph's, Gateshead on Saturday 1st July, organised by the wonderful Association of the Eucharist.

Beginning at 10 o'clock in the morning, there will be talks by the priest, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, Confession, and Mass. No charge. No need to book, or anything like that. All welcome. Bring a packed lunch.

Changing The Systems

Selling anything to Saudi Arabia or Qatar is effectively giving it to al-Qaeda and IS.

BAE Systems should be renationalised, as the monopoly supplier to the British Armed Forces and to nobody else, with a total ban on the sale of arms abroad.

As with, say, Trident, skills are transferable, and ensuring that they are transferred is no small part of why we have a State.

Burning Issues

Ah, Nick Hurd.

Eton and the Bullingdon Club. Son of Douglas Hurd. Son-in-law of Michael Ancram. So, where did he get that accent?

Oh, and he was one of at least 71 landlord Conservative MPs who voted against an amendment to require that rental properties be "fit for human habitation".

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a landlord. But there sure as hell is with this.

The Left should have moved into housing years ago. As with education, why do we waste our energy on polishing the jewels in the crown of the municipal Labour Right?

Something very similar applies to broadcasting. We do we waste our energy on polishing the jewel in the crown of the metropolitan Liberal Establishment?

Not that we do, of course. As with the EU, we saw, and we vociferously articulated, the problem with the BBC long before anyone else did.

But no one listens until the Tories say something. That was why no one listened to Pilgrim Tucker and the Grenfell Action Group.

Well, they are going to have to listen now.

The Left should have moved into broadcasting years ago.

It needs to bypass the metropolitan Liberal Establishment in order to make the alliances necessary to ensure a voice in the new structures of Sky and of the Channel Four Television Corporation.

(Rupert Murdoch already owns talkRADIO, to which The Mother of All Talk Shows will return at seven o'clock tomorrow evening. I for one will see anything special about the BBC when it broadcasts anything like that, or like Sputnik, or like Going Underground.)

The Left should have moved into broadcasting years ago.

It needs to bypass the municipal Labour Right in order to make the alliances necessary to ensure a voice in the structures of the Academies programme.

It also needs to continue to cultivate ties to the public schools, which host its leading figures on a very regular basis, in the starkest possible contrast to the state sector.

And the Left should have moved into housing years ago.

Over, if I may, to Pilgrim Tucker and the Grenfell Action Group.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Bachelor Uncle's Day

When is it?

Be warned, we have rather more refined tastes.

The Teaching Assistants At The Durham Miners' Gala

Once again, meet in Durham Marketplace at eight o'clock that morning, Saturday 8th July.

At 5:30 the previous evening, at Redhills, Ken Loach will deliver the Inaugural Davey Hopper Memorial Lecture. Not to be missed.

Linen In Public

Alas, unlike this, the print edition of the Northern Echo does not give the world the opportunity to marvel at my beautiful linen suit.

That is a pity, not least because it had given the world the opportunity to marvel at my beautiful pinstriped suit.


The extreme weakness of the prosecution's case against me was evident yesterday, and its lack of preparation was disrespectful to all concerned, including one of the investigating Police Officers, who was present in the public gallery. 

Indeed, the judge was highly annoyed that the correct material had not been uploaded. "This is the Crown Court," he reprimanded counsel, one Louise Harrison.

The Crown Prosecution Service has no case against me unless and until it produces the alleged fingerprint evidence, but yesterday it failed to do so three months, to the day, after I had first been arrested and fingerprinted.

Among those who attended to support me was the Labour Movement legend, Davey Ayre.

No one in the wider Labour Movement regards the ruling Group on Durham County Council as anything other than the Coal Board and the pit owners of the present age.

The Councillors think that they are the miners. But the miners certainly don't, and nor does anyone else. Including Brother Ayre.

I am starting to think, not only that a Solidarity March and Rally really could be held on the first day of my trial, Wednesday 6th December (yes, December!), but that the Police might participate in it.

They certainly ought to do so. In its incompetence, the CPS has treated their work with contempt.

Towering Questions

About housing.

About the blocking of attempts to improve it.

About the warnings that the landlord had already had, but had got away with ignoring.

About his decision to spend £10 million on cladding the building in such a way as not to give offence to the residents of the nearby luxury flats, when that cladding was highly flammable, and when a mere £300,000 would have bought a sprinkler system instead.

About cuts to the emergency services, especially the fire service.

About the record of Boris Johnson on that issue when he was Mayor of London.

And about the very recent record of Gavin Barwell when he was Housing Minister.

Even More Messily Absurd

"Professional tweeter Donald Trump, with nudges from his retinue of advisers, is once again proving himself a crass amateur when it comes to international diplomacy.

"Two weeks ago he visited Saudi Arabia to do a sword dance with Saudi royalty, enjoy a confab with other Gulf monarchs, and, according to Trump himself, sort out Islamist terrorism.

"And, incredibly, thanks to Trump’s intervention, an already chaotic situation in the Middle East, in which local disputes are almost always simultaneously international conflicts by proxy, has become even more messily absurd, as two US allies, both of whom host the US airforce, are now being pitched into battle against each other."

Tim Black sets out how Trump is tearing apart the Middle East

Liars Lying About Nearly Everything

My friend Philip Giraldi is a very great man.

Goodbye, And Good Riddance, To Centrism

"If those of us in the media spent less time lecturing about the wisdom of the status quo, and more time treating disaffected voters like the overwhelming majority they are, we might at least stop face-planting on our election predictions. We're not the center anymore, and we have to stop acting like we ever were," explains Matt Taibbi.