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Corbyn Can’t Defend Us Against His Friends

I’ll keep this brief because this one point is all that needs to be said:

Jeremy Corbyn and his friends – like Ken Livingstone, George Galloway, those who lead the Stop the War Coalition and Socialist Action and Momentum – have been the leading enablers of Islamism in the UK.

They now expect us to believe that the fight against Islamism and its violent terrorist expression is in safe hands with them. These are the people who invited Islamist groups into leftwing coalitions. These are the people who smeared liberal commentators – including us at Harry’s Place – as racists and Islamophobes for warning against the poison of hate-preachers and fake human rights groups like Cage. These are the people who sanitised and mainstreamed Islamist ideologues like Yusuf Qaradawi. These are the people who vilified our police and armed forces. They are the people who provided the political cover as London became a centre for Islamist radicalisation.

And now they claim they can defend us.

PS. Watch Jeremy Corbyn join Cage’s Moazzam Begg to protest extradition of terror suspects to the US.

Rev Steven Saxby: an embarrassment to Christians on the Left

This is a guest post by James Mendelsohn

Christians on the Left, formerly known as the Christian Socialist Movement, is an umbrella group for, well, Christians on the left. Like other, comparable organisations, it is a broad church (pun inevitable), which is both good and bad. Good, because it includes a number of decent, non-Corbynist Labour MPs/candidates like Jonathan Reynolds, John Woodcock and Gavin Shuker, plus other activists such as Rachel Burgin. Also good, because its Executive clearly includes people prepared to challenge antisemitism robustly. Bad, because it is also broad enough to include Rev Steven Saxby on its elected management committee.

Rev Saxby, the vicar of St Barnabas, Walthamstow, has featured on Harry’s Place before. In January 2016, he was called out for supporting extremists and for denouncing the government’s counter-extremist Prevent scheme, as well as for his crass comments on Holocaust Memorial Day and his evident admiration for Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell. In April 2016, he was again called out for promoting and whitewashing extremists, including the appalling Lea Bridge Road Mosque (aka Waltham Forest Islamic Association). Such criticisms have not prompted Rev Saxby to reflect and reconsider. On 5 February 2017, he attended that mosque’s open day:

(Nor, evidently, is he bothered about associating himself – not for the first time – with the toxic Palestine Solidarity Campaign.)

A number of organisations and individuals have distanced themselves from Stand Up to Racism, a front group for the Socialist Workers Party, itself notorious for covering up a rape scandal. Rev Saxby, in contrast, appears not to share such scruples:

To cap it all, second from the right in the above photo is the notorious Azad “Kill British soldiers” Ali of MEND .

You get the idea.

Back to Christians on the Left: a few weeks ago, I tweeted my concerns about their connection with Saxby, and included a link to HP’s January 2016 piece on him. Rev Saxby took umbrage at me “reading lies and nonsense on that hateful blog.” At his invitation, I emailed him, asking him to substantiate his comment. This is what he wrote to me:

Read more »

Venezuela: Proof Corbyn’s no ‘Man of Peace’

This is a cross-post by Paul Canning

Picture of Maikol Mendoza by Cristian Hernandez

Maikol Mendoza is a 17 year old Venezuelan who finally got a chance of life with a rare kidney transplant. The rat infested, medicine deprived state of his country’s health care system has now deprived him of that second chance.

Then, Maikol became infected with a highly resistant bacteria borne out of the hospital’s poorly maintained water pipes.

Karla Zabludovsky piece for Buzzfeed on Mendoza and others suffering under a collapsing health care system is but one of many.

Stories like Maikol’s are everywhere in Venezuela, where the health care system is on the brink of total collapse and patients who thought they were in the clear are back to fighting a harsh reality. Hospitals have left patients’ families to fend for themselves, scurrying to purchase everything from syringes to anesthesia, often at exuberant black market rates, and forcing doctors to perform surgery with antiquated equipment in operating rooms cleaned with dirty water.

Many of those reading this will have read similar reporting from Venezuela. What escapes me is why the leadership of the UK Labour party, who have so publicly identified themselves with the ‘Bolivarian revolution’, has not been asked about it.

The great cut off

June 2015 is that last time Jeremy Corbyn said anything on the record about Venezuela. Eight months later he scrubbed his website of any mention of the country.

To my knowledge Diane Abbott, Ken Livingstone, Richard Burgon, Owen Jones, Neil Findlay, and Seumas Milne have also all said nothing since this time. Bar a single reference discovered by Jack Staples-Butler:

As of this writing, Owen Jones has not used the word ‘Venezuela’ in print or online in the English language since 31st May 2015, over 580 days, mentioning it only when interviewed for a Spanish newspaper in June 2016, admitting “Venezuela is in a horrible state”[17] while making no reference to Chávez, socialism or his own involvement.

Since Corbyn’s election as the leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition the Venezuelan Solidarity Campaign most prominent public backer has been a Gandalf impersonator from a rail union.

Venezuela? Where’s that?

This January Corbyn was in Mexico, on holiday, discussing his “dream of realizing a world government based on justice and fraternity,” with Mexico’s Lopez Obrador, Venezuelan state TV channel Telesur reported.

The same month I imagine that Maikol Mendoza was wondering whether his transplant was happening.

A year ago on the day of Theresa May’s election and to, presumably, cock a snoot at the Parliamentary Labour Party’s meeting, Corbyn instead chose to not comment on May and to attend a Cuba Solidarity event in Parliament.

In the time since he stopped talking about Venezuela the Organisation of American States, Spain and the Vatican have all ramped up their efforts at a peace process President Maduro has trashed.

At the end of April the Pope, in his weekly address, said: “I make a heartfelt appeal to the government and all components of Venezuelan society to avoid any more forms of violence, respect human rights and seek a negotiated solution.”

Do read the rest of Paul’s post here

Chronicle of an atrocity foretold

Meet Khuram Butt, one of the London attackers. He’s the charming fellow in the beige robes, from 14 minutes and 45 seconds in.

The panic president

The goal of terrorists is to spread terror. With the president of the the United States, they apparently succeeded.

Writing at The Atlantic, David A. Graham gets it right.

As Khan’s full remarks make clear, the mayor was not soft-pedaling the attack, which he condemned in blunt terms. Rather, he was saying that the increased police presence offered no need for additional concern. It comes as no shock by now that Trump would misrepresent comments or take them badly out of context for his own political gain, but the tactic is no less distasteful for being habitual. In the broader context of his statement, Khan was making an argument about how populations should react to terrorism: With anger, with sadness, with rejection, but also with courage and a refusal to given in to fear.
Trump is the panic president, bearing a radically opposed message: Fear is not only acceptable, but necessary. Rarely does one see a leader, much less the leader of a liberal democracy, actively embracing, even calling for, panic. But this is Trump’s response, ridiculing Khan’s plea for calm among Londoners.
Khan poses a particular challenge to Trump’s panic-fueled approach on two levels. For one, his appeal to calm stand at odds with the president’s desire for greater hysteria. But for another, Khan himself represents a threat to that political message. If a Muslim like Khan can win the mayorship of a city like London, and if he can win acclaim as a strong leader who upholds liberal democracy, it undermines the president’s fear-mongering about absorption of Muslims into Western society.

Now that’s something for Trump to fear.

Update: The real problem, it seems, is that we pay too much attention to what Trump, y’know, says.

Even Kellyanne’s husband isn’t buying that.

Anthony Glees suggests postponing the General Election

Yesterday I saw several people on Twitter insisting the GE shouldn’t be postponed – but no one suggesting it should be.  Then I tuned in to  Stephen Nolan’s show on Radio 5 and heard Professor Anthony Glees offering just this proposal (from about 1:18):

He gave a range of related reasons for this, deploying eccentric reasoning to back up his bizarre suggestion.

  • The country is divided
  • we’ve had a lot of elections recently
  • people are ‘punch drunk’ and need to reflect further on what the parties are offering them.
  • The jihadis in our midst want to disrupt high profile sites – and a polling station would be a prime target.

He concluded by asking for a ‘period of reflection’.

The country isn’t going to get any less divided if the election is postponed. There has been rather a flurry of elections, including referendums, over the last few years, but a postponement won’t alter that fact. Also, if anything, the greater exposure to the issues means that electors should be more than usually well equipped to understand the different parties’ policies. Jihadis aren’t going to be less able and willing to disrupt polling in July or August than in June.

Glees seemed unwilling to engage with Stephen Nolan’s predictable and fully reasonable riposte that postponing the election amounted to allowing terrorists to interfere in our democracy.

I wondered what made Glees, a Professor of Politics at the University of Buckingham, and Director of its Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies, respond to the recent Islamist terrorist attacks in this way – he seems very much an outlier on this issue.

Responses to the PM’s speech.

You can watch the Prime Minister’s speech on last night’s terrorist attacks here.

Responses were mixed – here is a sample.

Thursday June 8, 2017

Never mind Kathy Griffin pretending to hold Donald Trump’s severed head. It was a brainless and offensive gift to the rightwing outrage machine, but it (and likely Griffin) will soon be forgotten.

Lots of people are having fun with”covfefe,” but it likely will not be the most unintentionally amusing thing Trump does as president. (He probably fell asleep while trying to type “coverage.”)

And despite some apocalyptic warnings, even Trump’s announcement that the US is pulling out of the Paris climate agreement (joining only Nicaragua and Syria in rejecting the accord) may be more symbolic than anything else. The momentum in favor of renewable energy is already strong, and withdrawing from an essentially voluntary agreement is unlikely to reverse the recent trend toward renewables. Future technological breakthroughs are likely to have more of an effect on reducing fossil fuel consumption than anything Trump has decided or will decide.

At any rate few people will be paying attention to any of those things a week from today at 10 a.m. EDT, which will be the most critical moment so far in Trump’s presidency. That’s when former FBI director James Comey testifies publicly before the Senate Intelligence Committee about (among other things) his interactions with President Trump regarding the investigation of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, and Trump’s possible efforts to obstruct that investigation.

I suggest finding an excuse to watch it live. It promises to be explosive and riveting.

The Chaotic Debate

I get the impression that the UK media is still trying to find its feet when it comes to election reporting and providing the voters with the best forum possible for hearing the leaders express their vision for Britain. This big debate thing with all candidates in a room together strikes me as a bad idea.

The big story about the debates is the failure of the Prime Minister to show up and take on the other party leaders. After having watched the chaos that it was I’m not as sure as I was that she made a mistake. That’s actually rather irrelevant. Electioneering is as much about what the story is as about what actually happened and by not making an appearance she looks like she’s running scared. An awful performance probably would have been better than this. Putting that to one side for a moment she appeared on the Channel 4 grilling along with Corbyn and she’s appearing on a Question Time special tomorrow night along with Great Leader Corbyn so I’m wondering what we gain by having her stand amidst the chaos of a bunch of people who don’t have a glimmer of hope of coming close to forming a government (in the case of UKIP it’s unlikely they’ll have a single seat) and trying to shout louder than them.

I think Amber Rudd was right when she decried Corbyn’s policies as fantasies but his fantasies have managed to galvanise people into supporting him. I wonder whether the polling can really be right and that he will be brought back into Parliament with a truly strong mandate to continue being…himself.

And why the hell not?

The Hannity-Assange bromance continues.

At least it might give us (and especially the family) a break from Hannity’s noxious Seth Rich conspiracy mongering.

Update: Hmm.

Nigel Farage is a “person of interest” in the US counter-intelligence investigation that is looking into possible collusion between the Kremlin and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, the Guardian has been told.

Sources with knowledge of the investigation said the former Ukip leader had raised the interest of FBI investigators because of his relationships with individuals connected to both the Trump campaign and Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder whom Farage visited in March.