I’ve been away in Spain for a few days and thought a little catchup would be order….
Labour is currently embroiled in an “anti-Semitism” row. It was all started by an aid to Corbyn ally John Mc Donnell, making a (bad) joke…..2 years ago! And the media took this quib on Twitter as if it was a serious political statement. Then Ken Livingstone put his foot in it, which the anti-Corbyn wing of the party exploited to get him “suspended” although exactly what he’s suspended from is unclear (he’s kind of semi-retired now, doesn’t hold any official posts).
And its stretching things to call this “anti-Semitism”. A number of pro-Israeli cheerleaders have long tried to stick the “anti-semitic” label onto anyone who is even remotely critical of Israel. However, this means we would have to label many people, including several former heads of Israeli border security and intelligence as being “anti-Semitic” as they too have been critical of Israeli policy (far more critical in fact than Ken!). A similar “row” is also going on in relation to the NUS, who have just voted in their first black female leader, with some now threatening to boycott the NUS as a result (which sounds more like Islamophobia to me).
If you want to talk about anti-Semitism I’d be less worried about the labour party and more worried about the rise of fascist parties across Europe. If anyone (such as these anti-Corbyn labour MP’s or journalists) honestly think Ken Livingstone is anti-Semitic, go talk to some skinheads some time (Hungary’s Jobbik being a good example). Oddly enough, they don’t seem to mind Israeli policy in the West bank (the bit that involves shooting Muslims anyway), but that doesn’t make them supporters of Israel (these are the sorts who believe all of that Rothschild nonsense). And correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t we see this before? A bunch of fascists came to power, the right wing media aligned with them, told us not to worry, they didn’t mean it when they said nasty anti-Jewish things….its the lefties who are the real enemy. Remind me, how did that work out?
Quite clearly what’s going on here is that the anti-Corbynites in the labour party have been searching for months for a way of attacking him and his allies, and this seemed to bite, so they went for it. Whether its actually true or not scarcely matters. If Corbyn, or any of his supporters, were to quib “is the pope catholic” the headline the next day would be “Commie Corbyn questions the pope’s legitimacy”. If he ran into a burning house to save a baby, the tabloids would immediately accuse him of being anti-fire (man’s earliest invention mocked by leftie leader) and taking jobs away from hard working firemen.
UK elections results
The SNP fell short of a majority, which was a pity as they were quite close. However this election was not about who would run Scotland (the SNP were always going to win), it was about who would be the main opposition to the SNP. Needless to say having the Tories as Scotland’s main opposition is not a good news. I know of quite a few who plumbed for the Tories because they felt Labour was now unclear on the independence issue. Its like labour can’t get anything right. They lost support last election for not being neutral on independence now they are losing votes for being neutral on the matter!
The bad news for any who voted for the Tories for these reasons, you wasted your vote. If the SNP want to hold an independence referendum they can count on the support of the Greens. They would either abstain and give the SNP a defacto majority, or (more than likely) vote with them in favour of another referendum. Given that the most likely trigger for an independence referendum would be Brexit, its difficult to believe that the whole of the labour or lib dem parties will remain anti-referendum knowing the impact on their electorates of an EU exit.
My guess is, if Brexit happens, then the SNP will not have to try very hard to get the votes needed to block legislation from Westminster (for Brexit to be legal, the Scottish Parliament would have to repeal various EU laws first, which they could refuse to do) thus forcing a constitutional crisis and a 2nd inde-ref.
And of course, the main risk of Brexit is posed not by the SNP or labour but by the Tories, so electing a party who cannot agree on this issue actually increases the probability of a 2nd Inde-ref. And rather than holding the SNP’s feet to the fire over public services, no doubt instead the Tories will obsess over other issues such as immigration. In short, Scotland’s interests are not best served by this.
In the rest of the UK, labour hung on…just! They are still in charge in many councils, have a minority government in Wales and took the mayor of London off the Tories (the new mayor then immediately attacking his own party leader…so much for party unity, here’s Corbyn’s response). Certainly its not the sort of result you want to see if you hope that labour will win the next election. However, its not a knock out blow for the anti-Corbyn factions.
On the back pages
Anytime a big story breaks, its worth looking through the back pages of the newspaper, for stories that someone is trying to bury. The fact the Tories have now conducted a U-turn on academies is certainly one of those. How such an obviously unpopular and unworkable policy could make it so close to being implemented should tell you alot about how out of touch the Tories truly are.
Another was the long term funding of the BBC. The culture secretary (when not hanging out with prostitutes) let slip the “tempting prospect” of the BBC disappearing in 2017. The BBC’s charter runs out and there are now serious concerns as to what the Tories will do. No doubt sell it to the Murdoch’s one imagines (oh, and that would swing things the way of the SNP who would likely campaign for an independent BBC in Scotland if the Beeb as we know it was threatened).
Finally, there’s the naming of NERC’s new ship as the RRS David Attenborough, defying the internet poll looking to call it Boaty Mc Boatface. If someone asks you a serious question and you give a silly answer, then you can’t complain when they ignore you. I mean if you asked your relatives for some baby names and they all agreed you should call the child something vulgar, would you do so? Oddly enough there’s now a petition to get David to change his name to Boaty McBoatface.
It has gone a little quiet on the EU referendum, although that’s likely to change, the numbers have started to narrow, which is worrying. One thing I can say, having spoken to many Europeans during my hol’s there will be no sweetheart deals for the UK post-Brexit. The UK will be given its marching orders and a boot out the door. Some feel that even the concessions Cameron got went too far as it is. So let’s put that one to bed.
Also, the expat community are getting a little panicky. I mean put yourself in their shoes, they might have to sell up their home, move back to draughty damp England (quite a few live in Spain for health reasons) to live in a council flat (many could not afford to buy a house in the UK now, given their fixed income and low property prices in Spain) just because of a bunch of geographically challenged bigots.
In an effort to counter much of the negative economic projections relating to Brexit, a group has been formed called “Economists for Brexit”. However, their credentials don’t exactly stack up. Most appear to be pals or buddies of various figures in the Brexit camp, notably Boris Johnson’s economic’s advisor Gerard Lyons.
One is forced to the conclusion that this was something hashed together. You can imagine Boris saying “why all this economic stuff is killing us…wait a minute Greg, you’re an economists aren’t you? Could you get a few chaps together to say we’ll be okay?”. Certainly there report has to be weighted against the reports released by the IMF, the OECD and the Treasury all saying that the economy will be worse off. Also we need to add to the “stay” side of the scales a report penned by…..Gerard Lyon’s himself warning of the danger’s of Brexit released a few months back (before Boris had decided to back the leave camp). One wonders what suddenly changed in the space of a few months to make him completely change his views (his boss wants to be PM perhaps?).
Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on your point of view, this referendum won’t be decided on “facts” but on what ever BS the tabloids can drag up and scare people into voting one way or the other. Never in the history of democracy has such an important question been posed to those who are so poorly informed to answer it.