Politics

My Voice Shakes

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again … and again.

The position that the Labour Left finds itself in today is a logical consequence of all the things the Labour leadership and membership have accepted in the past. The removal of Rebecca Long-Bailey from her front bench position and the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn are the logical consequences of premises and principles adopted by the leadership of the Labour Party and acquiesced to by its membership:

“The only acceptable response to any accusation of racist prejudice is self-scrutiny, self-criticism and self-improvement.”

~ Rebecca Long Bailey 12 Jan 2020

Do people really not appreciate what this statement implies? How dangerous it is, and how humiliating, because it deprives the potentially innocent the right to speak in their own defence? Do people not realise that its effect is potentially racist because those who are most subject to having their voices silenced, to being accused of speaking out of turn and to be presumed to have nothing of value to say are the black and the poor? It is most often power that accuses and the powerless that stand accused.

“Any MPs, Peers, councillors, members or CLPs who support,campaign or provide a platform for people who have been suspended or expelled in the wake of antisemitic incidents should themselves be suspended from membership.”

~ The Ten Pledges

This is the fifth article of the Ten Pledges made by the leadership of the Labour Party in January of this year. What it means is so clear and its wrongness so clear that I feel foolish attempting to make it more clear, but a logical consequence of the acceptance of this principle is that any member now supporting Jeremy Corbyn should now be suspended themselves.

Premises and principles have corollories and that if you accept the premises you implicitly accept its corollories?

“When an expert looks into a problem you have – whether it’s a doctor, a mechanic, or a plumber – you take their advice and follow it without thinking twice.

So when the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), and imminently the Equalities and Human Rights Commission give the Labour Party specific recommendations about how we need to root out the poison of antisemitism from our movement, our starting point must not be to dispute their proposals but ensure every single one is implemented unless we can rationally explain why not.”

~ Emily Thornberry 8 Jan 2020

“Without thinking twice” says Thorberry. Think about that if you will. How can you rationally explain why anything might be wrong unless you accept the possibility that it might be wrong, unless you are prepared to think again and to question both yourself and those who are ‘advising’ you.

“Without thinking” the Labour Party has abandoned the obligation to think, it has become explicitly hostile to reasoned discourse and to human decency. Starmer’s endorsement of the of the Overseas Operations Bill and of the Covert Intelligence Sources Bill is an implicit endorsment of torture and murder that has been acquiesced to by the great majority of Labour MPs.

The endorsement of savagery is the ultimate consequence of the abandonment of reason. I note with respect that a small number of Labour MPs including Jeremy Corbyn and Diane Abbott have oppossed these bills:

See: https://labourlist.org/…/commons-abstentions-are…/

It is not the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn, but the suspension or expulsion, of decency, compassion and reason from the Labour Party and from our public consciousness that most concerns me most and that should concern all of us.

Critical Thinking Required



I written a few things about the pandemic over the past months, much bemoaning the division into tribes of the covid-compliant and the covid-defiant whereas we should be looking beyond this narrative to the meta-narrative of power that it is a part of. Here is my current position on all this.

First on masks. I believe that masks do provide some protection against the transmission of coronaviruses and the evidence and arguments I’ve seen supports that. The question for me is are they a proportionate response to the risks.

Given that the number of daily reported Covid-19 related deaths has fallen dramatically in the UK since the height of the pandemic (now about 1% of the numbers at the peak) and daily reported infections have fallen less dramatically (now about 20% of the numbers at the peak) it seems that

a) transmission of the infection has become less likely

and

b) the infection is less harmful to those who currently have it.

Figures for reported deaths are more meaningful that figures for reported infections since the latter will vary with the volume of testing and also the accuracy of testing.

I am not claiming the Covid-19 is not harmful and lethal to many, I am suggesting that since its lethality is arguably much less that it was we should be asking if particular prophylactic responses such as masks and particular elements of lockdown measures remain appropriate and proportionate. We should be asking what levels of Covid-19 morbidity/mortality require the use of what specific measures including masks. We must ask this because:

a) Covid-19 is likely to remain part of the human microbiome (the community of microbes coextensive with human communities) for the forseeable future notwithstanding any assault by vaccines. Should, therefore, masks and social distancing remain part of our social protocols for the forseeable future?

b) Current specific measures have had and continue to have disruptive and damaging consequences that I hardly need to outline.

c) Proposed specific measures such as mandatory or near mandatory vaccines are highly problematic. If people are unclear about why the proposed vaccines and vaccine regimes are problematic then they should ask more questions about safety and efficacy.

While we are considering these points we should also consider all the anomalies in mask protocols. For example it is curious that the government is encouraging people to go out to restaurants where they necessarily have to remove masks and where there is more danger of orally ingesting viruses while requiring people to wear masks in all shops where there is little danger of oral ingestion.

I am neither pro nor anti mask. I am pro critical thinking and I think that there have been serious deficits of critical thinking in our collective response to this virus. The ham handed suppression of voices on mainstream and social media that question the official narratives about Covid-19 suggest that our governments are not keen on critical thinking.

I am not going to expound on any speculations regarding global conspiracies but we should note as facts that.

a) There has been an enormous transfer of wealth from communities and small businesses to the billionaire owned corporations during this crisis.

b) An enhanced security and surveillance apparatus together with greater legislative powers is being set up.

c) There is an apparent and increasing convergence of state and corporate power in operating the new or enhanced security and surveillance structure.

I am not pro or anti government. I am pro democracy, in particular discursive or deliberative democracy. That is not what we have now. What we have now, arguably in the UK and demonstrably in the US, is more akin to oligarchy.

There is a tendency on the part of the political right to support government on actions sold as pertaining to national defense and a tendency on the part of the political left to support government on actions sold as pertaining to national welfare. It is surely pertinent in both cases to ask if the government is pursuing a national interest or the interests of the oligarchs, if it is pursuing the interests of the people or the interests of the established powers.

Totally Intolerant

Some may recall the Long-Bailey Doctrine:

“The only acceptable response to any accusation of racist prejudice is self-scrutiny, self-criticism and self-improvement.” ~ Rebecca Long Bailey 12 Jan 2020.

According to this there is no defense against any accusation of ‘racist prejudice’. To be accused is to be guilty. Both RLB and the Labour Party have abandoned reason, freedom of expression, tolerance of dissent and principles of natural justice. And it is in the nature of witch hunts and inquisitions that defending those accused of witchcraft and heresy are to be accused of being witches and heretics themselves.

“… Llanelli MP Ms Griffith said anyone who cannot accept Sir Keir’s zero-tolerance approach should leave the party.”

“Zero tolerance”. That’s it exactly. Total, totalitarian, intolerance.

See: A Crisis of of Antirationalism.

Between Light and Darkness

On some level that will not be appreciated by many it is true that we are caught up in a dance between forces of spiritual light and darkness and that our world will never be the same again. I fully understand that many people will consider me weird for talking in this way but I will do it anyway.

The issue, for me at least, is not about supporting or resisting lockdowns or other measures of control, or changes in our lifestyles .. its about whether our intentions are bent towards principles of justice, freedom, equality and love.

Many of us have had comfortable lives within the present order but it has been at the expense of those of us, globally, who have been excluded and exploited. The intention of the ‘dark forces’ is not a just, free, equal, compassionate world it is a world of oppressive control that is increasingly materialistic/mechanistic, one that is spiritually dead.

The intention of the ‘forces of light’ is that we should transcend our selfishness and separateness from each other, transcend the spiritual isolation of which the current physical isolation is a reflection and a consequence.

We have separated ourselves from the natural world, from our biomes and microbiomes, from Being and from other beings, and from acceptance of the natural cycles of life, growth, change and death. Through self-transcendence or selfishness-transcendence we will bring about a world that is aligned with the Will of God; a Kingdom of Heaven.

What world do you intend? This is important because the world that emerges for you depends on your intention and the world in which your world resides depends on our collective intentions.

England’s Z-Score

Z-scores are used to compare mortality pattern between different populations or between different time periods. The higher the Z- score the greater the difference between the expected number of deaths in a given period and the total number of deaths actually recorded.

The graphic shows that the UK as a whole has a higher number of excess deaths than any other European country and that England has a higher number of excess deaths than other nations in the UK.

How does this square with the relaxation of the lockdown in England?

I’m not saying that the lockdown shouldn’t be lifted – of course it should be lifted but Johnson said that he is going to be ‘led by the science’ and my criticism is that he doesn’t seem to be led by that. A science led response would question the particularities of conditions and responses that have caused England to be more strongly impacted than elsewhere. Decisions should be based on the answers to those questions and they should be implemented in a graduated way consistent with restarting the economy in a rational manner.

Johnson said that all workers who were unable to work from home should go back to work. This is impossible because it is quite obvious that people in sectors of the economy, such as hospitality, that are locked down will not be able to return. Perhaps Johnson meant construction and manufacturing, perhaps he meant other sectors too but what he said was ‘all workers who cannot work at home’. I’ve been listening to people trying to unpack what he meant all day. This is not good enough. The minimum that should be expected from a leader is clarity and that has been wholly absent.

Source of Graphic: https://www.euromomo.eu/graphs-and-maps/

Bojo Returns ..

Sorry. I don’t get this. This level of incompetence does my head in .. anyway this is a cartoonisation but not an exaggeration.

What should have been done?

  1. A phased return to work with those identified as most essential returning soonest.
  2. Ensuring that there is a plan for covid-19 safety and monitoring in all industries. This would include risk assessment and risk minimisation plans agreed with employers and unions.
  3. Coordination across the UK rather than England being treated differently.
  4. Better transport logistics – or at least show that there has been some consideration of this.

Bojo said that coming down a mountain can be more difficult than going up. Yep. That’s why we don’t run headlong down the bloody things.

Not the Borg

We’ve got to learn to talk with each other in order to create a new narrative.We have to see ourselves and each other in quite a different way. We have to deliberately reach out to each other even though this may be scary.


I posted this cartoon and reflection on my own page earlier today.

The Borg that I refer to (for the sake of non-trekkies) are presented in ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’ as a spacefaring ‘collective’ that assimilate species and cultures across the galaxy. They are a metaphor for the submergence of individuality and diversity in a conformist totalitarianism that, depending on political preference, can be projected as a ‘1984’ style communism or a ‘Brave New World’ style corporatism.


The subversion of the will and consciousness of the many to the will and consciousness of the powerful few is a millenias old motif of human societies and is not, of course, peculiar to our present time. This subversion of the individual and collective will has been resisted by libertarian, communalist and humanist ideologies that are premised on values of individual dignity and universal equality.
What the Borg symbolise is the use of overwhelming technological capability to finally crush any will or set of values that contradicts those of the established power structures. The present danger is that the emerging totalitarian surveillance state in nationalist or globalist form will, if we are not vigilant, ‘Borgify’ us.


This vision of us becoming ‘the Borg’ competes with another (more fragile) vision that I like to call ‘Homo Gestalt’ after Theodore Sturgeon’s classic sci-fi novel ‘More than Human’. The thought here (my thought not Sturgeon’s – he was envisioning something more telepathic than telematic) is that emergent communication technologies, rather than being instrumental in controlling us can be instrumental in our emergence as a cooperative species, a ‘noosphere civilisation’ whose motif is collective consciousness rather than coerced consciousness.
Homo Gestalt will not sacrifice her individuality; the nature of that individuality changes organically by becoming part of the Gestalt but the Gestalt (that totality that is more than the sum of its parts) also changes organically to accomodate and reflect the diversity and individual presence of all its parts.

Our talking with each other is the beginning of the creation of the new narrative. Doing this extends us as human beings. We have to face and overcome many fears and prejudices in order to face and accept each other as the equals that we are. In doing this we will become powerful; in turning to each other we will root our own power in the power of community. Marianne Williamson wrote something that expresses this very well – even though I would use different words:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

― Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

Puzzled

I’m not writing this to get at Branson but because I am genuinely puzzled. I read that:

“The Virgin Group boss said the airline needs taxpayer support in the form of a commercial loan. It has been reported that the carrier is asking for up to £500 million of public money.”

Why doesn’t Branson go to a commercial bank for a commercial loan? Could it be because a commercial bank wouldn’t make such a loan to a company that was a bad prospect? That they wouldn’t make a loan that doesn’t make commercial sense? And where does ‘the taxpayer’ get the money to loan Branson? Could it be from a commercial bank? I may be wrong but doesn’t that mean that we would be borrowing from the bank to make a commercially unsound loan that the bank won’t make? And we have to pay the bank back when things go belly up? So cuts in public services then and maybe sell off public assets to pay back the debts. Maybe sell public services to Richard Branson and his ilk?

No, I must be wrong. That makes no sense. Someone please enllighten me

Shocked and Dismayed

“If the leaked Labour Party Report is true, it means former senior staff deliberately undermined our chance of a Labour Government in 2017.‬

‪Understandably people are shocked, dismayed, angry but let’s be determined, stay in the party and make sure this can never happen again.”

John McDonnell


People should be shocked, dismayed, angry

1. That current leader Kier Starmer in trying to suppress this report was witholding relevant evidence from the ECHR.

2. That the LP operated and still operates a ‘stazi system’ of spying on the communications of ordinary members and extensively collecting/collating data on their use of social media without their consent. How does this relate to the privacy statement of the Party and to its data protection obligations?
See: Labour’s Privacy Statement

3. That this system which is wholly at odds with the implied spirit (and very likely the letter) of Labour’s privacy statement was operational under the leadership of Corbyn and McDonnell. To what extent were Corbyn and McDonnell complicit in its implementation?

I like several other LP members was accused of antisemitism and expelled based on the Party’s estimation of 14 Facebook posts shared between 2014 and 2018. People can make their own estimation by reading my blog here: Link to Page

But regardless of any estimation they may make with regard to my political opinions. I have made no statement that can be judged to be hateful or that is in breach of any law. Yet the LP used extraordinary means to collate data on me from FB to arrive at a conclusion that I am antisemitic and deserved to be expelled. From the leaked report I now understand those extraordinary means:

“At the time, the Nationbuilder software that Labour used to hold its member and supporter data had agreements with Facebook and Twitter that enabled it to “match” profiles, primarily through people’s email addresses. At the end of June 2016, Richard Shakespeare, Labour’s lead developer, quickly produced a web app that would scrape Twitter and Facebook for tweets, retweets, shares and comments that matched various search criteria, and then match them to profiles of members and supporters, with a basic interface for staff to review the evidence and matches produced.”

Labour Party Report – Page 128.


On my blog I ask:

What motivated the Labour Party to trawl through five years of my Facebook posts? These are presented as ‘evidence’ but evidence of what? Evidence in support of what charge? Think about it; evidence is usually sought in support of some allegation or conjecture. What is the allegation that preceeded the search for ‘evidence’ in this case?


My question has never been answered and John McDonnall does not address at all the issue of members who were suspended or expelled on the basis of a ‘web app search that matched various criteria. There is no hint of an apology from McDonnall only eagerness to vindicate the previous leadership of not having been sufficiently eager to prosecute and to expel members for alleged antisemitism. The leaked report was comissioned to provide that vindication. It is part of that factionalism and while I am happy that it has emerged, I have no illusions that its purpose has anything to do with respect for or fairness towards members.

Page 667

My latest essay is called ‘The New Stasi‘ and refers to a phrase used in the leaked Labour Party Report. My name appears in that report – Page 667 – listed among other ‘miscreants’ expelled using what the report approvingly calls a ‘fast track expulsion powers’

In case anyone is wondering about my ‘crimes’ I have made no secret of what I was charged with and my responses. See Case Number 3461 on this blog.

Another victim of the January purge, listed in the report is Pauline Hammerton. It is highly likely that the shock of being accused of antisemitism and then expelled from the Party contributed to her death seven days after she was informed of her expulsion.