Open Letter From The Mainstream Media To British Muslims (If They Ever Wrote One).

Dear British Muslims,

Would you please stop cluttering up our inboxes, intrays, and phonelines, with examples of rampant Islamophobia in the Tory Party, from its MPs at the top to its members at the bottom.

It’s not as if we never cover it. Every now and then a top Tory says something so blatant we have to cover it, more’s the pity. But at least we get a nice cuppa  from Boris for our efforts. Such a charming chap. Really knows how to handle us, unlike that tetchy old Corbyn bugger.

 

So please stop wasting your time and breath with your pathetic pleas and whining, especially you Sayeeda! You might once have been chairperson of the Tory party but that’s the issue don’t you see? It’s the Tory party you’re trying to get us to report on. That’s our party. Why would we give it a hard time if we don’t have to? We find your persistence most wearing. Now if you can all find evidence of Islamophobia in the Labour Party; two or three dodgy tweets should suffice, or maybe Corbyn once sat on a train seat once occupied by Tommy Robinson? we will be all over it like a rash.

Yours sincerely (for a change)

The Mainstream Media

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Antisemitism Deserves Strong Condemnation. But So Does Cynically Weaponising It

Jewish people have a collective history few white Anglo people can relate to. Scapegoated, persecuted, exiled and killed over centuries; the impact this has had on their collective psyche cannot be underestimated.

A feeling of fear and mistrust will have permeated throughout their families and communities. It’s easy for us to dismiss these fears as irrational, but they are anything but.

Alongside a decade of relentless and hope-stifling austerity, fascism is on the rise. The primary targets appear to be Muslims, but there were 1,382 anti-semitic incidents recorded against Jewish people in 2017, and particularly worrying is a 34 per cent increase in incidents involving violence when compared to 2016.

It is essential that Labour members validate the concerns of Jewish people. To dismiss the entirety of anti-semitism in the party as a fabrication or smear is downright damaging and wrong.

Some 0.1 per cent of Labour’s members have been investigated for anti-semitism over the past three years. We need to deal with each case that arises swiftly and by means of education wherever possible, so that we are not simply passing the buck onto wider society.

However in the same way we must never turn a blind eye to anti-semitism, we must never turn a blind eye to those who would weaponise it to further their own ulterior agenda.

Both are deeply destructive to the peace of mind and feeling of safety of Jewish people.

When I was 15 years old, I was taking a shortcut to school through my local hospital as per usual, but that decision on a sunny December morning changed my life and the way I looked at the world forever.

Without going into details, I was assaulted in that alleyway. My life was threatened and I believed I was going to die. My life was never the same again.

If a man walked on the same side of the road as me I’d go into a panic and cross over, heart pounding, breathless, terrified.
I didn’t know it then, but I was suffering from PTSD. This has had a knock-on effect throughout my entire life.

As my children entered their teens and sought greater independence, these old fears resurfaced with a vengeance.

I became an overprotective mother, which made me feel like a terrible person and parent.

After 18 months of counselling, the fear became more manageable, but as my counsellor said to me once: “Michelle, you will always worry more than other mothers. That is just how it is.”

Now imagine if Michelle, aged 18, say, had met a partner who was deeply insecure. Imagine if this insecure person went way beyond validating my fears, and instead compounded and exaggerated them by showing me every news article he could find about assault, rape and murder.

To keep me afraid and under his control, he might tell me he was the only one who could keep me safe in this big, bad scary world we live in.

If I tried to shed some of my fear by researching statistics, he might tell me statistics aren’t important when you are the one being attacked.

Now imagine another scenario, where Michelle meets someone who validates her fears, but tries to reassure her that statistically she is very unlikely to experience such a trauma again in her lifetime.

Imagine if this person, having my best interests at heart, encourages me to face my fears, and take small steps towards conquering them.

Whenever he catches 18-year-old Michelle reading news stories about rape and murder, he reminds her that they are very rare occurrences, and that millions of women go about their lives without anything dreadful happening to them.

Which is the healthiest of these two scenarios?

Many left-wing Jews are being labelled the wrong, or even non-Jews, for taking the second position in this debate about anti-semitism in the Labour Party.

They never doubt its existence or how dreadful it is for those who experience it. However they will put the stats out there and question the motives of those who would have the general public believe that Labour is a hotbed of fascism.

If we quote our left Jewish comrades, we are labelled as anti-semitism deniers, cranks, or even anti-semitic. There is a touch of McCarthyism around this discussion that makes me very uneasy.

Of course there will be Jews on the political right who have valid concerns and need to be listened to.

However, we need to question those who fan the flames of people’s concerns for their own agenda.

It is no coincidence that the same MPs who said we were mad to vote for Jeremy Corbyn, called him unelectable, blamed him for Brexit, conducted an attempted coup against him, labelled him a threat to national security, yelled at him to shut up when he apologised for Iraq, insinuated he was a Putin apologist, are the same MPs who are trying to smear this honourable and decent man as an anti-semite.

Corbyn never planned to be leader. He hasn’t conducted all his campaigning through a prism of what it would look like once he became leader.

He hasn’t vetted every single person he has spoken to or shaken hands with. He followed his instincts when using diplomatic language, because he never thought of the way it would be turned and twisted by his enemies.

If we want a leader who can’t be criticised by the mainstream media and the Blairites, we need a Blairite leader; someone who supports war over peace, privatisation over nationalisation, big business over ordinary struggling people and political expediency over principles. And I don’t think many of us want to go down that path again.

 

By Chelley Ryan

 

(first published in the Morning Star)

#FBEU – Not In My Name, Even Though I Voted Remain

The attitude of the Follow Back Pro EU brigade on twitter (#FBPE) is typical of so many arrogant MPs who think they can overrule the ‘stupid public’ on Brexit, and I say this as a remain voter. It’s that kind of know-it-all arrogance that drove people to want to give MPs a shock by voting leave in the first place. The EU is not some saintly institution. When Greece were already on their knees, they shoved their faces in the dirt for good measure. Yes, there are positive aspects to the EU, but let’s not be blinkered about the bad. UnFuck2

For example, they are increasingly neo-liberal in their ethos, and undemocratic. They didn’t stop our government imposing cruel austerity measures, low wages, and greater work insecurity on our people. Why would they when they deliberately imposed the same and worse on the Greek people? They want to impose competition in all our industries and services and will make our nationalisation plans a battle. Saying to people, it’s shit now, but it will get even more shit if you don’t listen to us better informed, smart people, is hardly inspiring is it? If you want to guarantee your arguments won’t be listened to, tell those you’re persuading they are stupid, deluded, were misled, and need saving from themselves.

Our best hope now is a Labour government who will radically redistribute wealth and quality of life back into the realms of the many, not the few. As for the economic argument, we will still be one of the world’s richest economies in or out of the EU, but it’s what a government decides to do with that wealth that’s important. Use it to give huge tax breaks to the rich, or invest it in the many and see the economy grow as a result.

We Won’t Go Quietly Into The Night

 

We must look like ants from way up there

Insignificant nothings, wisps of air

When you’re born into so much wealth

Why should you care about National health?

Housing, no problem, schooling too

Write a cheque, that’s what you do

Since you’re old enough to understand

You’re told it’s wrong to give a hand

It encourages sloath, lack of drive

Only tough love will help us thrive

You’re told you’re special, born to rule

By teachers at your boarding school

We share a planet, country too

But you don’t get us, and we don’t get you

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Still people like us keep voting you in

In awe of your poshness, we let you win

‘Newspaper’ barons confuse us too

With fake news and the hate they spew

Divide and rule is their game

Pages filled with rage and blame

Immigrant, muslim, socialist, youth

No one is safe from their contempt for truth

They pull our strings and make us prance

To their tune they make us dance

Meanwhile they plot to dodge their tax

Our rights, our pay, security axe

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But waking up are the many

Drop drop drop goes the penny

The internet has set us free

As papers die, the truth we see

Your puppets we will be no more

Now we’re showing you the door

As your pay climbs, ours is slashed

As your hopes grow, ours are dashed

On our backs you climb up high

You gobble down all the pie

Then you ply austerity

And blame us for our poverty

You scamming, cunning narcissists

We are DONE with all of this

A leader has now come along

He plays our tune and sings our song

He gets us and we get him too

We know he is a man that’s true

You mock and call him our messiah

Scared of the way he can inspire

But we don’t care about your scorn

For this movement that’s been born

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Blair et al, they kept you sweet

Kept things tidy, kept things neat

Tweaked some things, here and there

Kept at bay our despair

But compromises just won’t do

It’s all or nothing with folks like you

The gains our ancestors fought so hard for

You chip away at, till they’re no more

That’s why we are up for this fight

We won’t go quietly into the night

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By Chelley Ryan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Negotiating Labour’s Antisemitism Minefield

Before I started writing this I wrestled with whether I should write it. I’m not Jewish, I’m not an expert on antisemitism, so what do I know? And then I thought to myself, I’m a Labour member. I have a nose for injustice. I’m being called an antisemite in the street, for sitting in the passenger seat of a car that sports a Labour bumper sticker. Of course not everyone will agree with what I’m about to write but these are my thoughts laid out for those who are interested in reading them. This is me unpicking what ‘Labour’s antisemitism problem’ really means to me, and what we can do about it.
 Has Labour got an antisemitism problem?
Yes, in so much as any degree of antisemitism is a problem.
Less than 0.1% of Labour members have been disciplined for antisemitism over the past three years. This might seem like a relatively low figure, but unreported incidents mean it could be much higher than this, and in a
party that prides itself on being opposed to all forms of discrimination and prejudice, we should be aiming for 0.0000%. Of course this is a tall order but we don’t shy from tall orders on the left, like the eradication of homelessness, so let’s let our much maligned idealism guide us on this too. There is also a tendency by a small minority on the left to buy into conspiracy theories about shadowy, hugely wealthy figures running the world. This is not a giant leap from nazi propaganda about Jews running the world, and therefore needs to be challenged and avoided. We need to see it as a system we are striving to transform, rather than a few all powerful individuals who need to be overthrown. The understandable and passionate anger surrounding the actions of Israel can occasionally cross the line into Jew blaming, though of course it is NOT antisemitic to blame the state of Israel for its actions toward the Palestinians and the two should not be conflated. Those who do conflate it, should be condemned. We can educate ourselves to become more aware of antisemitism, and what constitutes questionable or offensive language, theories etc via organisations like Jewdas.
Does society have an antisemitism problem?
According to the Institute of Jewish Policy Research, over a quarter of all Brits hold antisemitic views to some degree. So yes, it is a huge societal problem. According to hate crime figures in the UK, crimes related to antisemitism are on the rise, with 1382 incidents recorded last year,the highest figure since records began in 1984. Empathy and validation for the understandable fears Jewish people feel about antisemitism on the left and in society as a whole, are essential if we are going to move forward together.
Why is there so much focus on antisemitism on the left when research has proven its far more prevalent on the far right?
 
Because the left are close to power and the far right are not, is the short answer. Under Corbyn we have become a populist party with a strong vein of anti-Israel sentiment running through it. This is enough to trigger anxieties which stem from a collective trauma still recent in historical terms. Of course this fear will be exploited by those who don’t want to live under a Corbyn led government.
How should cases of antisemitism in Labour be dealt with?
As swiftly as possible and via education where possible, rather than expulsion, unless the person is closed off to being educated. Why? Because when antisemitism is not addressed within the party via education, all we are really doing is washing our hands of it, rather than tackling it as the societal issue it is.
Are some MPs, sections of the media etc, exaggerating and therefore exploiting the understandable fears around antisemitism?
Undoubtedly. The same MPs who try to insinuate the membership is made up of Trotskyite thugs, who spend all their days trolling hard working MPs online, are the same MPs who are now labelling the left as being intrinsically antisemitic. This is no coincidence. We are right to be angry about this, and we are right to call it out when we know it’s happening. However we should
not fall into the trap these people are deliberately setting for us where we grow so defensive, we deny there is any antisemitism on the left. I’m not saying that’s easy. As I mentioned earlier, only a week ago a complete stranger marched up to my friend’s car which sported a Labour sticker, and aggressively shouted ‘antisemites’ at us through the open drivers window. That was living proof that Labour is being so successfully stained as an antisemitic party, people assume you must be antisemitic if you are a member. That hurts and makes me angry because it’s wrong. Labour has a proud history of fighting racism and antisemitism and we are continuing that tradition under Corbyn. A small element with antisemitic views does not mean Labour is an antisemitic party, anymore than a few callous doctors means medicine is an uncaring profession. Fighting negative stereotyping is part of our political DNA, so why should we allow ourselves to be unjustly stereotyped? However we must still accept the exploitation of antisemitism and the existence of antisemitism are not either/or issues. Either the issue is being exploited, or there is no issue.
Both can co-exist, albeit uncomfortably alongside each other.
 
What makes you so sure it’s being exploited?
Apart from the fact it’s the same MPs who have denigrated Corbyn and his supporters from day one of his leadership and before, who are suggesting the party is a hotbed of antisemitism, they do often out themselves as exploiters through timing (ramping up the outrage just before key elections, and then falling relatively quiet after), or by inadvertent comments through which their agenda slips. For example, Thangam Debbonaire, an MP on Labour’s right, stated on Daily Politics that antisemitism in the Tory party is not her problem. As a Labour MP her concern was only with antisemitism in the Labour Party. Why would you only care about antisemitism in your own party? Doesn’t antisemitism within government ranks affect your constituents just as much, if not more than antisemitism in the Labour Party? Or is it the case that antisemitism in the Tory party is of no interest to you because you are not interested in damaging them electorally? The same goes for the right wing media. I tallied up 42 Labour/antisemitism based articles in the month preceding the local elections and only 3 since. If antisemitism is a huge problem in the Labour Party, why does it cease to be a huge problem the day after elections?
 There are many left Jews who are angry at antisemitism being exploited  in this way, and they are right to be, and deserve our support. There are also left Jews who are growing increasingly frustrated at the way the issue is slammed as merely a smear or a non issue. We need to ensure we call out the exploiters without denying antisemitism exists.
 
Why doesn’t antisemitism and racism in the Tory Party get a fraction of the exposure Labour are getting over antisemism?
 
 
Because they are Tories, and no one in the establishment or on the Labour right wants to give them a hard time.
 
But aren’t we falling into their trap if we say the left have a problem with antisemitism, when statistics show we are not rife with it?
No. Falling into their trap is denying we have any problem with antisemitism at all, because firstly, that’s not true. How could we be spared a problem so prevalent in society? And secondly, denial of its very existence feeds into the fears of Jewish people who need reassurance that we do take it seriously. I actually think Jeremy Corbyn has it right when he cites the actual statistics whilst acknowledging the problem exists. That way we are not denying the issue, but we are putting it into context.

Let’s Get Our Parents And Grandparents Onto Social Media, And Extract The Last Few Of Murdoch’s Teeth

 

25 years separate these two Sun headlines. Both are designed to scaremonger, ridicule and shame the Labour leader of the time, but only one is believed to have contributed to an election defeat. The other had little discernible effect on the 2017 General Election result.
What does this mean for today’s politics? It means the decline in newspaper readership in concert with the rapid rise of social media, is rendering the Tory print media ever more toothless, which means old style smears and scaremongering are failing to have the impact they once had. An extra three million votes for Labour in the General Election, is proof of that.
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That doesn’t stop them trying to gum Corbyn, and his socialist project to death, in an ever increasing panic driven frenzy, but it does greatly weaken their influence on the voting public, with one notable exception, older voters.
Newspapers are kept afloat by their older readers, and so by default are the Tory Party, as demonstrated by
the clear correlation between older voters’ pattern of newspaper readership and their higher than average support for the Tory party.

 

Before my older readers grow irate at my sweeping generalisations, trust me, I know I’m generalising. I myself fall into an age group more likely to vote Tory than Labour, but know I’d rather run naked down my local high street than do so myself. Many of my most ardent Corbyn supporting friends are over sixty. My 76 year old mum has been bought back to political life by the political defibrillator that is Corbyn’s leadership. But it’s important to put our own stories and beliefs aside and
acknowledge these incontrovertible facts in order to figure out how we can change them.
The majority of older voters are not just voting against their own interests, they’re voting against the interests of their children and grandchildren and that has to change.
And I have an idea how to do that. It’s nothing revolutionary, but it will be effective. Rather than brow beat our older relatives to vote Labour [though gentle persuasion is of course fine] or give up on the newspaper they have read their whole life in some cases, let’s have a drive to get older voters signed up to social media, because currently it’s still the domain of the young.
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Local Labour branches could open their halls for Tea, cake and Twitter sessions. Middle aged children and grandchildren could devote a day (or several days) to teaching their older parents and grandparents how to use Facebook and Twitter. We could debunk the idea it’s complicated or something only the young can enjoy. My husband, nudging 50, had it in his head that Twitter was a complex beast. An hour instruction later, he’s never off it. Social media could bring a whole new world of political thought into older voter’s living rooms up and down this land. Some will still choose to buy The Mail for its ‘TV supplement’, or The Sun for ‘its sports pages’, but they might end up looking up the #CorbynSmears hashtag in the afternoon, and see the most recent nasty smear story in a whole new light. Doubts will be cast. Political seeds will be sown.
So let’s get our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbours onto social media, and extract the last few of Murdoch’s teeth.

Online Hate Exists On The political Right – If The Media Cared To Look

I’ve been a member of numerous Corbyn supporting Facebook groups for several years. In all that time I have not seen one threatening, anti-semitic or racist remark. So how have I missed all the virulent, vile abuse making the headlines at the moment? I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, and I condemn it where it does, but it’s definitely no where near as prevalent as is being implied by a media hell bent on beating Corbyn with any sticks they can lay their hands on, even if the stick is really just a twig. The reason their anti-Corbyn agenda is never called into question is because they all share it. Even the so called left wing papers are no fans of Corbyn. But as a Corbyn supporter it’s  transparent. Why else do they shine a whopping great spotlight on left wing abuse whilst turning a completely blind eye to any abuse that stems from the right of politics, even when it stems ftom Conservative Party supporters? To help prize open their squeezed shut eyes,  I have compiled a selection of online hate for them, most of which I gathered in less than an hour by searching Conservative affiliated pages, and putting out a call on twitter. I’m no investigative journalist, but I didn’t need to be for this piece. The online  hate, ranging between Islamophobia, anti-semitism, misogyny, racism, transphobia, homophobia and sheer hatred toward Corbyn, was very easy to find. And it would be easy for the media to find too, if they cared to look. But sadly they don’t.

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Reflections On ‘That Mural’ And Other Matters

Is the Mear One Mural, at the centre of the recent controversy, anti-semitic? This is the question being debated on twitter and Facebook at the moment. I’ve read several perspectives on it, ranging from, ‘it screams anti-semitic’ to ‘there is nothing anti-semitic about it whatsoever.’  Whenever I read such opposing views I always tend to shrink back from the whole subject, but this time I have dived in, reading tweets, FB posts and articles which have all helped me reach a settled view which I will try to explain. If you examine the mural from a dispassionate perspective, breaking it up into its constituent parts, you can make the argument against it being anti-semitic. This is a summary of the arguments I have heard to date: the artist strongly denies it is, the eye of providence features on the back of the dollar bill and stems from christianity, it is simply a critique of capitalism, the new world order most likely represents a sweeping away of the capitalist system, the six bankers represented were based on real bankers, two of whom just happen to be Jewish therefore it is not singling out Jews, if it’s anti-semitic to depict a negative character with a large nose are they going to ban Oliver Twist? I’ve probably missed something here, but this is the gist of the challenge to the anti-semitic charge made against the mural.

However there is something important missing amidst this analysis; empathy and understanding toward Jewish people who have a history so unique, so horrendous, their perspective should always be taken very seriously indeed.

I want to add a caveat here. Not all Jewish people see the Mural as anti-semitic, but that does not mean it isn’t for the vast majority. When we look at art, do we all see it the same? Of course not. We all look at art through the filter of our own emotions, lives, experiences, culture, race, gender, age, religion. That is the magic of art. And that is what is happening here. We are all looking at the same Mural and seeing something different. There is nothing wrong with that. And that means the people who don’t see it as anti-semitic are not anti-semitic, and the people who do, are not lying, or milking it to denigrate Jeremy Corbyn, who himself didn’t see any anti-semitism at first glance.

We all need to start being kinder to each other, more empathic on both sides of the fence. Only then can we build a bridge between us. So if you are Jewish, or even a non Jew who sees this Mural as blatantly anti-semitic, please go easy on those that are not seeing it. Explain the emotions it triggers in you. Explain the history of Nazi art and the anti-semitic tropes within it. And if you are failing to see anything anti-semitic in the Mural, please listen to the Jewish people who are telling you they find it disturbing, unsettling and upsetting. Please let’s stop shaming each other and listen to each other. We are all born ignorant. We don’t possess innate knowledge on anything. We just need to open our minds and our hearts to each other, and that way we will learn from each other. We don’t need to be all right, or all wrong. We can just have different views, but all the time respecting that other people might see things differently because of their unique perspective.

I think one of the primary reasons people have grown so defensive on the left is because for the past almost three years we have had to defend, defend and defend, time and time again.

We are either defending Jeremy against false charges of being a terrorist sympathiser, anti-British, anti-semitic, incompetent, sexist (because he didn’t appoint any women in the ‘top’ jobs), a disaster for our electoral chances, arch Brexiteer, communist, a traitor and a Czech spy, or we are defending ourselves against accusations of bullying, sexism, anti-semitism, extremism, naivete, idealism, self indulgence and cult thinking. It is relentless.

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Only yesterday, Government minister Sajid Javid, referred to Momentum as a Neo-fascist group (something he has been challenged to repeat beyond the protective forcefield of Parliament, and which to date he has failed to do). That is the level of extreme abuse and smears we face on an almost daily basis. Currently our party is purported to be a nest of anti-semites. It does not matter that this is not born out by the evidence. There are apparently 74 cases of suspected anti-semitism being investigated against party members, which is 0.01% out of a party of 600,000 members. Of course that is far too many, but when you compare it to a recent survey by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, which found that over a quarter of all British people harboured at least one anti-semitic belief, with just over 2% holding extreme anti-semitic views, it does not seem to hold water to imply that Labour is a hotbed of anti-semitism. We are a party with a proud history of fighting racism and anti-semitism and that is still true. 

No wonder then we bat away any criticism as a smear, and question the motives of those who denigrate us. And we are right to question those motives, because we all know they are not always pure. We know there are some who will not be satisfied until Corbyn resigns, or is annihilated at a General Election. They will take an innocent mistake Jeremy made six years ago, and milk it for all they are worth. I would even go so far as to say it is anti-semitic to exploit very real concerns about anti-semitism to further a quite separate agenda. We all rightly hold Jeremy Corbyn in high regard, and know he is being unjustly accused and targeted, and feel angry and defensive on his behalf. But when it comes to the Mural, I believe we need to respect his efforts to learn from a past mistake, rather than insinuate that he didn’t make one. 

So yes, it’s difficult for us on the left to be open hearted and open minded when so many are trying to engineer our downfall. But we must try to tease out the genuine expressions of concern or unhappiness from those with an anti-Corbyn agenda. We must guard against instinctively throwing up our arms to defend ourselves from the punches, and instead take a deep breath, stay calm and seek counsel from people who are neutral on the issue or maybe pro Corbyn, but who are known for their balance and fairness.

And always remember, the Blairites and their Tory friends want us to grow weary, angry and defensive. They want us to attack them, shout liar, bat away legitimate complaints, because that feeds into their narrative of a closed down cult, who worships their leader and can’t see any wrong in anything he has ever done. Let’s NEVER give them what they want.

The Awakening Of The Mum by Michelle Dorrell

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    When people ask me, why did you become involved in politics?
    That’s when I remind them that I am a mum…and my most basic instinct is to ensure I do everything possible to make sure that not only do my children grow up to become good citizens but that they can go on to have a bright future ahead of them.
    But everything I am doing as a mum, I feel is being undermined by my own government; and that’s a scary prospect.
    I’m raising my children so they work hard for what they want to achieve, that they abide laws and play fair so they have a bright future ahead of them…. but currently I’m watching them facing a worse outcome than I, or even my parents and grandparents had. That terrified me into action, and I started by expanding my reading habits. I read a book called The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist by Robert Tressell. It was written over 100 years ago, but as you read through the pages you find yourself drawing parallels between then and now, to the point where you can imagine the characters in modern society, as if the scenes of the book are playing out in 2018. When I’m looking at my children’s future health care prospects, I see the ever increasing possibility of them facing the same system as our American Cousins. Private Health Care providers and Insurance schemes taking over the system, looking towards the outcome being determined by the amount of cover you can afford or the financial prospects you have; the judge and jury for the treatment you receive. Our NHS won’t survive another 3 years of this current government, look around your GP surgeries and hospitals now (that’s if they haven’t been closed or centralised). So I know they won’t have the same opportunities we’ve enjoyed since 1948.
    What do we say to our children when they attend school? We tell them to “do their best, listen to the teachers and get a good education” but how on earth can we expect them to stand a chance, when they’re being pushed into ever larger classrooms, with less resources, less teaching staff and assistants available to help and encourage their progress? It’s like your fighting a losing battle; and it should never be a case of parents having to move to a new house because of ever decreasing numbers of “good and outstanding” school places for the best prospects, because all children should have the right to a decent education no matter who they are or where they live.  And then what hope for their future housing? Where will they be able to live…will they be able to earn enough to rent or buy somewhere?
    Will they be able to stay local or be forced to move miles away from their family and community? What will the prospects for them be, when you look at the prospects for people now?
    I am a socialist……I always was, I just didn’t know it. Years of main stream media and print press conflating socialism with communism was enough for me in my former years never to bother looking it up or learning its true meaning. But when you come to realise the actual meaning, it smacks you in the face.
    It’s about sharing! You know that thing most parents teach their children to do from a young age. The idea that everyone, no matter who they are should have a decent house to live, somewhere they can call home, lay roots and build a community.
    The idea that everyone should have the right to good and decent education to maximise their potential.
    The idea that everyone should be paying taxes; if they have more, they pay a little more and if they have less they pay a little less. None of this cutting back on public spending, leaving the elderly and vulnerable in precarious states.
    No more allowing large corporations and businesses to avoid paying tax on earnings just because they’re registered offshore. You earn here, you pay here; We have to!
    No more working for a measly minimum wage and with Zero hour contracts, unable to budget for living expenses because you don’t know how many hours work you’ll get.
    No more homelessness rising at alarming rate and people dying on the streets. No changes in school funding, so that many face losing teachers, teaching assistants, bigger classrooms and less resources.
    What happened to us as a society to start normalising the existence of Food Banks? What next WORK HOUSES?? That’s just some of the reasons I’m now more than just “Chelle the Nail Lady.
    I was inspired to throw off my chains, wake from my slumber and rise.
    Not just for my children, but for yours too.
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    Written by Michelle Dorrell

Friend! Loneliness and friendship in the Palace of Westminster

Brilliant article

The World Turned Upside Down

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I think I’ve got it. Finally, after months of scratching my head over what the hell the Westminster bubble was on about, I’ve realised. It’s not Laura Pidcock they don’t understand, but the entire meaning of friendship. This epiphany has made me understand why Laura’s seemingly innocuous, ‘of course I’m not going to go for a pint with a Tory MP after a hard day’s work’ words were met with such outrage, confusion and even apoplectic rage in certain, high octane circles.

Because I’m telling you, those of us on the outside of those walls were genuinely shocked by the volcanic reaction to that simple concept: that I’m not going to sup with the people who are actively hurting my community, my friends, my family. To us, that seemed pure common sense, but what I’ve realised since, having viewed Westminster from an anthropological perspective (I still see myself as an…

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