Does @JeremyCorbyn still feel @UKLabour there are positives to #BREXIT/#LEXIT? Part Twenty Two #FBPE

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You hear a lot from Jeremy Corbyn’s supporters about how Labour in Government, between 1997 and 2010, were just a bunch of Red Tories.
However, on those rare occasions that Jeremy Corbyn does well at Prime Minster’s Question Time, he is quite often defending the legacy of Labour’s time in Government, that period when Tony Blair and then latterly Gordon Brown were Prime Ministers.
That period when Jeremy Corbyn routinely voted with the Tories against the Labour Party.

“BRITISH workers are set for an overtime bonanza after Brexit, it was revealed last night.

Ministers want to scrap EU laws” passed by Labour in Government “which limit the working week to 48 hours — costing the average family £1,200 in lost pay.”

Workers set for post-Brexit overtime boom as ministers plot to scrap EU limits

The European commission introduced the working time directive in 1993 to work alongside member states’ employment laws.  It is primarily designed to safeguard workers’ rights.  It puts a limit on the number of hours that should be worked each week and specifies how long breaks should be, as well as legislating specifically for night-time working.

What is the working time directive?

Employees have the right to:

A maximum working week of 48 hours

A rest period of 11 consecutive hours a day

A rest break when the day is longer than six hours

A minimum of one rest day per wee

The statutory right to four weeks’ holiday.

In addition to this:

Night working must not average out at more than eight hours at a stretch

Workers will be entitled to a free health check-up before being employed on night work and at regular intervals thereafter.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady has said,

“This is a straight-up attack on our rights at work.  Millions could lose their paid holidays, and be forced to work ridiculously long hours.

“The Working Time Directive gave nearly five million women paid holidays for the first time.  No-one voted for Brexit to lose out on holidays, or to hand power over to bad bosses.

“The Prime Minister promised that our working rights would be protected after Brexit.  Now we will see if she can keep her word, or if she is a hostage to extremists in her own cabinet.”

Ministers’ plot could slash paid holidays for 7 million workers, says TUC

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Is @JeremyCorbyn’s chum @UKLabour’s Baroness Shameless Chakrabarti paying £20,000 per year for her son to end up like Nigel Farage?

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Nigel Farage, the former leader of Ukip, has bemoaned being “53, separated and skint” in an interview, adding “there’s no money in politics” …

Labour announced, during the run up to the 2017 General Election, that it planned to levy VAT on private school fees to fund a policy of universal free school meals.

Cue shouts, of “Jeremy!  Jeremy!” as the Cult of Kyle, sorry, Corbyn screams hate at pictures of Emmanuel Goldstein, sorry, got carried away there, pictures of people who send their offspring to private school.  People like Shami Chakrabarti, the uber Corbyn loyalist and all around good egg, who is sending her son to private school.  Why I wonder did screaming at a chap with a Jewish name come to mind in connection with Momentum?

Any way, Ms Chakrabarti on failing to get her son into Eton, David Cameron’s alma mater, managed to wangle him a place at Dulwich College, Nigel Farage’s old school.  Confusingly, for the most ardent admirers of Nigel’s straight talking, chap down the pub persona, Dulwich is not a College of Further Education.

Dulwich is a prestigious private school, founded in 1619 whose motto is Detur Gloria Soli Deo, “Let glory be given to God alone”.  I fear Nigel experienced a bit too much in the way of confidence building there.

Incidentally, Jeremy Corbyn did not go to just any old grammar school, but Adams’ Grammar School, established in 1656 by William Adams.  Adams was a wealthy member of the Worshipful Company of Haberdashers (one of the Great Twelve Livery Companies of the City of London).  Both Adams and Dulwich style themselves on the public school model and like Eton, they are also all boys schools.

I leave you to reflect, dear reader, on the connection between casual misogyny, picked up in one’s formative years in an almost all male environment, and the attitudes that Cameron, Corbyn and Farage often display towards women.  Clearly Chakrabarti does not fear her son picking up such bad habits or feels the risk of him doing so is worth it, if he benefits from attending a private school.

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Dulwich College fees make one’s eyes water.  On one reading, Chakrabarti is paying around £20,000 per year.  The average income of someone in this country is around £27,000 per year and 60% have an income below that figure.

I imagine Chakrabarti would cover a £4,000 increase in her son’s fees by popping into the House of Lords more often for a chin wag with Diane Abbott.

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“I gather you were a bit of a fire brand back in the day, Diane, but you were right our children must come first as we storm the bastions of the Establishment. I did, though, have my heart set on Eton, then Oxford for my son. Jacob Rees-Mogg said it had been the making of him …”

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Yes, I know it is not just Diane Abbott who sent her offspring to private school.  One may easily compile a list of others, starting with, in no particular order, Seumas Milne, Emily Thornberry, Ken Loach, Paul Weller …

Weller said he sent his children to private school to avoid them mingling with the wrong sort at a state school.  He feared his offspring might come home sounding like members of the cast of Eastenders.

Seumas Milne went to Winchester School, another all boys public school and sent his children to private schools.  As an aside, Corbyn went to what was then a private preparatory school, Castle House, before he took his 11 Plus.

Did Corbyn’s parents fear that he would fail to secure a place at Adams?  That their son left grammar school with only two Grade Es at A Level suggests they may well have been right to pay for his preparatory school place as people like themselves still do today.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose?

Seumas Milne’s wife actually makes money from coaching middle and upper class children to take private school entrance examinations.

In order to fund universal free school meals, a policy of questionable value, for people who can afford to pay for them, these real Socialists plan to levy VAT on private education fees.  In the process, they would make it harder for a Diane Abbott of today to buy the leg up that the working class Diane Abbott of yesterday felt she needed to purchase for her own son to get on.

Champagne Socialism?

No.  Just a good, old fashioned hearty main meal of hypocrisy combined with a king size side order of snobbery and meanness followed by a dessert of Eton Mess, moulded into the shape of a ladder being pulled up.

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Oh, and a maintenance of the class system within our education system and thus within life.  The VAT increase would, of course, reduce the number of children from low income backgrounds, who benefit from private education and then go on to compete with middle and upper class youth for university places and, subsequently, graduate jobs.

One of the Honourables amongst the Corbyn Boys is none other than Andrew Murray.  Murray was a Communist between 1976 and 2016 then he was offered a key position in Labour’s hierarchy by Corbyn, saw the light, disavowed his cherished held beliefs of over 30 years, took the job and joined the Labour Party late in 2016.

Murray was born in 1958 to Peter Drummond-Murray of Mastrick, a stockbroker and banker who was Slains Pursuivant from 1981 to 2009, and Hon. Barbara Mary Hope, daughter of former Conservative MP Arthur Hope, 2nd Baron Rankeillour who was governor of the Madras Presidency of British India from 1940 to 1946.  Murray was educated at Worth School, a Benedictine independent boarding school in Sussex, one of only three such public schools in Great Britain.

Corbyn, as we know, is sincerely concerned about the plight of the unemployed so he naturally found a well paid position within the Labour Party for Laura Catriona Murray, Andrew’s daughter, so she might avoid the indignity of having to formally apply for a job and go through an open recruitment exercise.  Incidentally, Seumas Milne has never seemingly got a job through such a process.  He found the Old Boy Network way more agreeable.

Nepotism and inter-marriage within and between their classes are two ways in which the middle and upper class keep a tight grip on power within our society.  Only days after becoming Labour leader, Corbyn appointed his grammar school educated and Cambridge graduate son, Seb, to a well paid position in the party’s hierarchy.  Seb has never, since graduation, had a job that has not been arranged by his dear old dad, that man of integrity and principled campaigner against discrimination in all its forms, Jeremy Corbyn.  Dad even managed to find a job for John Prescott’s son, David.

Momentum, the Stormtroopers for Corbyn, posted a home video online in the summer of 2017, in a bizarre, sneering attack on people at a garden party, who actually resembled folk just like themselves and those within Jeremy Corbyn’s own circle.

One of the guests, speaking in an affected middle class accent, says, “People think they deserve a job without doing the necessary work to get it. Nobody ever helped me out.”  A caption then goes on to say that this character “got his job at a media agency through his father”, and that the agency had been set up with money from another guest’s father.  Seb Corbyn currently works for John McDonnell.

Jeremy Corbyn and his chums are pukka anti-Establishment rebels, what?

Let us be honest, Chakrabarti is not paying £20,000 a year for private education so her son might attend the local state funded College of Further Education.

Milne sent his children to private school and they went on to Oxbridge.

And that brings us, as it always does in any discussion of the Corbyn Project, to the part funding of free university tuition for mostly white, mostly middle and upper class youth with the continuing misery of those affected by the benefit cap and the benefits freeze.A lone parent on Income Support, whose benefits have been frozen since April 2015, might reasonably ask why Abbott, in particular, is now more politician than mother.

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In pursuing power, Abbott, Corbyn, McDonnell et al have taken Labour well to the right of Blair and Brown on a number of issues, including tax.

Free school meals are the equivalent of a stealth tax rebate for all benefiting from the policy, regardless of income, who do not now qualify for free school meals.

For the many, indeed!

Socialism in action?

I will leave you to decide.

Is Corbyn a Socialist, taking into account the words of Karl Marx?

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An Agnostic, an Atheist and a Theist Go Into a Café …

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“She caught a familiar sound, distant, like something heard on the edge of a dream.  May be it was only a memory, but it meant so much.
It meant freedom, a love that embraced the alien, the outsider, and the oppressed.  This sound couldn’t tolerate hatred and violence, but found itself unable to be silent in the face of evil.  That’s why it rended, tore its way across time.
To Ace, the wheezing, groaning sound seemed to be blown from the distance on some Christmas breeze, a legend as silly and as powerful as Santa Claus in the gathering twilight.”
Timewyrm: Revelation

I am the agnostic and, if the other two are comfortable in their beliefs then it will be an opportunity for tea, cake and a good natter.  However, if one or more is a zealot, particularly a new convert then I may only stay for just one cuppa.

 

Why?  Well I came to agnosticism through a considered process of introspection.  I chose my own belief system.  I do not seek to impose my philosophy on others and I am grateful when others do not seek to impose their own on me.  I do enjoy respectfully exploring with other like-minded people their particular beliefs, ideologies and philosophies.  If to love wisdom is to seek (an often elusive) truth then I am a philosopher.

 

I do think respect is very important.  It is also a two way street.  I strive to treat people with respect, even those who have little or no respect for me and my personal values, politics and philosophy.  This is why I do not tolerate attacking people of belief simply on the grounds of the tenets of that belief.  Yes, there are aspects of many belief systems that do not appeal to me.  Some of those aspects I find deeply offensive and hurtful to others.  I abhor those aspects, whatever the belief system and I do my best to speak out against them.  However, I have rarely known good people of any belief who will defend to the hilt practices that run contrary to my liberal values.  Often, they prefer acting according to the spirit rather than the letter of their beliefs.

 

I am deliberately using the word belief throughout this essay, except for when faith is more appropriate.  This is why:

 

“Humans need fantasy to be human.  To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.”

 

“Tooth fairies?  Father Christmas?  The Easter …”

 

“Yes.  As practice.  You have to start out learning to believe the little lies.”

 

“So we can believe the big ones?”

 

“Yes.  Justice.  Mercy.  Duty.  That sort of thing.”

 

“They’re not the same at all!”

 

“You think so?  Then take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder and sieve it through the finest sieve and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy.  And yet … And yet you act as if there is some ideal order in the world, as if there is some … some rightness in the Universe by which it may be judged.”

 

“Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what’s the point …”

 

“My point exactly.”

 

I would contend that even atheists, unless they are contrarians, must believe in something lest they wish to concede the battle for the moral high ground to others.

 

The holy books, writings and teachings of most belief systems espouse ideas and practices that are anachronistic to say the least.  However, I do not automatically assume that modern day adherents will apply and defend those ideas and practices.  The vast majority, in my personal experience do not do so.  When, for example did you last hear of a Christian defending their God given right to own slaves?

 

Most belief systems are continually evolving and renewing.  Although I gather, some have a problem with evolution.  That they do not radically rewrite their shibboleths is a matter for them.  I suspect that they have more worthwhile matters to which to attend than, for example finding more up to date words for the Ten Commandments.  I suspect that when I covet my neighbour’s ass it may not be the one described at point ten.

 

I am particularly chary of those who exploit differences in interpretation between followers of the same belief to sanction disrespect towards that belief.  Mr X is a Moslem and he is not upset by depictions of the Prophet Mohammed.  Mr X may not be upset, but many other of his co-religionists are deeply offended.  The lack of a single doctrinal authority within most belief systems seems to cause a deal of confusion to the less worldly amongst us.

 

Now to that old chestnut of an individual’s rights extending as far as the right to ridicule and insult the sincerely held beliefs of others.  Firstly, I believe that an individual’s rights are sacrosanct, except where in exercising those rights they impinge on the rights of others.  I believe society, the wider community if you prefer, partly exists to set and police that boundary; a boundary that is not static and which moves depending upon prevailing conditions.  Secondly, I fail to see how giving gratuitous offence advances anyone’s argument about the relative superiority of their belief system over that of those they ridicule.  Up your game or stay silent, if ridicule is the best you have to advance your cause.

 

Do I hear the charge that I am in favour of laws that particularly protect the sensitivities of particular groups?  No, but I am in favour of self-censorship.  I am also in favour of the rigorous application of those laws that protect the right of individuals to go about their daily lives, without the fear of being physically or mentally assaulted because of their beliefs, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age or disability.  We know where not squaring up to prejudice against particular, often weaker groups in our society may lead.  We have enacted various anti- discrimination laws in order to protect some of the weaker members of our society.  If you contend that you do not want to see these laws further extended then the preventive to that extension lies within your ears and nowhere else.

 

I am not in favour of laws that seek to give anyone’s belief greater protection than those of others.  I am with Thomas Macaulay when he felt that he would slight Christianity, if he said that it could not stand without the aid of intolerant laws.  He also touched on those who, whilst sincerely backing away from the idea of inflicting physical harm on those of another belief were still happy to inflict mental cruelty. He said that an Honourable Gentlemen in debate, stopping as he did, but for no particular reason at only partial intolerance, was compromised by his very humanity from going further.  The Honourable Gentleman’s humanity meant that he was certainly not in the same league as those who had burnt the beards of Jews in ages past. They were though at least more consistent in their approach than the previously mentioned MP in that they at least went the whole hog.  These words were spoken in a Parliamentary debate on 17th April 1833.  The debate was addressing the vexed question of the removal of legally sanctioned disabilities aimed at the Jewish community.  Disabilities that made it virtually impossible for those of the Jewish faith to fully participate in the life of their nation.

 

The arguments deployed by those who say that they have a (god given?) right to ridicule the beliefs of others seem to me be reminiscent of a familiar refrain from the playgrounds of my youth.  The argument that they are merely exacting revenge for past misdemeanours by those claiming to be divinely inspired is, in my opinion no grounds for vesting retribution on their descendants in belief.  The past is another country, they did and believed things differently then.  One might almost believe that these would be avengers believe in original sin!

 

 As for the refrain from the playground?  It goes something like this, “It was not me Miss, it was him!  He started it first, Miss!”  Some of us I feel have never fully left the playground behind.  Why they feel that they do not slight their own beliefs by childishly ridiculing the beliefs of others is beyond me.  More significantly, taking revenge for past wrongs on people alive today indicates a severe lack of empathy on behalf of the avengers.

 

The right to bully is so very often exercised by the strong against the weak.  For example, a white male (so often the winner in life’s lottery) abusing someone’s belief on sight in the street, because of that person’s outward signs of belief is a bully.  And so is anyone who eloquently dresses up his or her prejudices in words of sweet reason.  The latter make all sorts of claims in the defence of their arguments, but too often racists in particular fail to see the subtleties in a critique of a belief and people they despise.  We know where providing intellectual cover for such views leads.

 

I live in a very diverse city.  I am proud to do so.  I do not fear most of the time, most of the beliefs of most of my fellow inhabitants.  I do fear those who, whatever their backgrounds espouse intolerant beliefs.  This is not just a matter of philosophy.  It is also a matter of a selfish desire for harmony.  Ignorance breeds fear, which breeds hatred.  A hatred that causes physical and mental distress not only to the objects of that hatred, but also to bystanders.  I want to live in a tolerant harmonious society.  I do not want to live in a city of no go areas justified (understandably) by those who fear the consequences of prejudices directed against them.  I do not fear informed debate, but I do fear the consequences of intolerant debate.

 

If I were to cleave to an extremist atheistic view then I would deny myself so much.   So much that humanity has produced ever since Man and Woman first looked up at the sky in wonder and mused about how it and they had all come into existence.  The arts and religion have been intertwined from that moment onwards.  Were I instead  to cleave to an extreme religious sect then I would also deny myself much of what makes life worth living.  I might also be asked to believe that my Man and Woman staring at the stars never existed.

 

I was born into a world shaped by the Judaeo-Christian tradition.  A tradition that has provided the bedrock upon which I have constructed my personal mansion of beliefs, values, philosophies and politics.  My mansion will never be finished to my satisfaction.  It is very much a work in progress.  Along the way I add extensions, refashion earlier periods of construction and so on.  I, however, never dig up the foundations.  My core values are firmly set into them.

 

These core values influence my choice between two fine motivational speakers of the 20th Century.  The first is Dr Martin Luther King and the second, Adolf Hitler.  Herr Hitler was a very persuasive, technically proficient speaker.  Dr King, likewise.  There though the comparisons end.  Hitler was a pagan, if not an atheist.  Dr King, a committed Christian.  Hitler set out to tell his audience they were special, better than anyone else was and that the other was denying them their place in the sun.  He sought to divide the world into them and us.  Who does not like to feel at least some times that they are special and that their destiny is to be on top?

 

Dr King had the more difficult task of the two.  He had to motivate his followers and supporters to keep them going through the dark journey towards the sunlit uplands.  He also sought to unite them and us so that there would only be one people. He believed like John F Kennedy that, “Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet.  We all breathe the same air.  We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.” 

 

Dr King believed passionately that we all can and should be better than we are.  That we owe it to ourselves to be better than we are and that we may only advance, if we do so in step with others.  Dr King had a beautiful dream for all.  Herr Hitler a nightmare for the many.

 

Did Dr King have to be a Christian to be so inspiring?  May be, may be not, but the fact that he was does not detract from what he spoke and did in the name of his beliefs.  Beliefs that included, “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”  Any religious faith was for Herr Hitler incompatible with Nazism.  Christianity, in particular was a faith for the weak, in Nazi eyes.

 

Fundamentally, I do not believe it matters whether or not a man named Jesus died and rose again.  It does matter to me that another man nailed Jesus to a tree for saying, “Hey!  Wouldn’t it be great if we were all nicer to each other?” **

 

I will line up with anyone (whatever their beliefs, politics, philosophies and values) who genuinely wants to make the world a better place for all.  Finally,

 

“Be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

 

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

 

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

 

In the immortal words of Dave Allen, “Thank you, goodnight and may your God go with you.”

 

** There, I have done it!  I have Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams in the same essay.  Now if only there were room for Montaigne …

Does @JeremyCorbyn still feel @UKLabour there are positives to #BREXIT/#LEXIT? Part Twenty One #FBPE

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The TUC have created a useful, and frankly depressing, chart showing how food prices have risen over the last year.

“Christmas dinner is going to be a lot more expensive this year.  Food prices have gone up at twice the rate of wages.
“The government is failing to deal with Britain’s cost of living crisis.  Working people need a pay rise.  They shouldn’t have to worry about putting the turkey on the table.”
Frances O’Grady, TUC General Secretary

Today’s (Tuesday 12th December’s) inflation figures show that food and non-alcoholic drink prices have jumped by 4.2% in the last 12 months.

TUC General Secretary, Frances O’Grady says this will hurt families this Christmas.

We should not forget that Labour has repeatedly and publicly stated that, in Government, it will not be able to afford to end the Conservative austerity of the benefits freeze and the benefit cap.

Frances O’Grady is right, working people do need a pay rise, but so do those who have not seen the basic rate of their Employment and Support Allowance; Income Support or Jobseeker’s Allowance increase by even one penny since April 2015.

Labour in Government plans to increase the middle class welfare state by 10s of billions of pounds thereby further insulating the better off in our society from the severe damage being wrought on our polity by BREXIT.

Much of today’s inflation increase is down to the Pound falling in value against the Dollar and the Euro since June 2016.

Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell campaigned for forty years against the UK remaining a member of the EU.

They claimed throughout that time that there would be no real downsides to the UK leaving the EU!

Child poverty will rise under a Corbyn led Labour Government …

Mums for #Corbyn, @UKLabour becomes ever more a Cult of @JeremyCorbyn …

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In the Hungry ’30s, a couple of ladies from up West went down the East End to tell cockney women how to make a nourishing soup from left over fish heads and tails.
As they began their lecture, a voice from the back shouted out, “When do we get the fish?”

Today, we have the membership of the Labour Party, and their fellow travellers and hangers on, turning Labour back into the equivalent of those women from up West.

Turning Labour back into the party it was before Attlee and Bevin picked it up by the scruff of the neck, dusted it down and tidied it up.

Labour’s membership under Ed Miliband was 70% ABC1 and now, under Jeremy Corbyn, it is 77% ABC1.

And so we come to Mums for Corbyn.

Let us, first, unpack that organisation’s name.

Let us reflect on its exclusivity.

It is not just for mums and not dads and/or parents, but only for mums in communion with Jeremy Corbyn.

Mums for Corbyn is, therefore, a very select group before we even begin to look at what it is about.

I think we may be confident it is as unrepresentative of the wider electorate as is the Labour Party’s membership and that of People’s Momentum.

Somewhere in hell, Goebbels must be cackling with amusement as hears of the (self appointed) People’s Momentum, People’s Leader, People’s Chancellor …

Any way, back to Mums for Corbyn and Community Not Capital: Creating a Childcare System That Actually Works.

One learns very quickly that Andrea Marie, Camille Barbagallo and Nadine Houghton are clearly very suspicious of the private sector and the profit motive.

Surprise, surprise they endorse the Labour Party’s desire to move away from marketisation of essential public services, citing its proposal to renationalise those bits of the rail network, not already in public hands.

Is rail an essential public service as much as the bus?

I only ask, because more people travel by bus than train and the average bus passenger is not as affluent as the average rail commuter.

Labour’s renationalisation plan is about cutting rail fares for the more affluent public transport user, whilst doing nothing similar for the woman on the Clapham omnibus, but that cannot be right, can it?

I mean Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party is the Party of the People, is it not?

Any way, Andrea Marie, Camille Barbagallo and Nadine Houghton recommend that people visit this site for an idea of the sort of childcare system about which they are musing.

The project to which they link is based in Birmingham and wants to work with parents, grandparents, professionals in the sector, commissioners, policy makers, educationalists, social entrepreneurs and many others to develop and test radical solutions to enable children and families to thrive.

Social enterprises, sotto voce, set out to make profits …

Andrea Marie, Camille Barbagallo and Nadine Houghton, social entrepreneurs seek to make profits or, more accurately, surpluses.

I am sure you did not buy into David Cameron’s Big Society with its not for profit community organisations, delivering services in your local community, on a shoe string?

Why do you think people switched, some while ago now, to talking about social enterprises?

And, even if your target is not to do more than just cover your costs, a not very sensible idea, you do need to adopt a business like approach to running your enterprise.

And a business like approach requires putting the service user at the heart of your operation which means giving the customer what the customer wants and not what you think they should want, at least not to begin with.

I stress this point, because, in doing a word search through this article, I found only one example of a word like listen:

“The knowledge and experience of childcare professionals should be valued and listened to, informing the way that childcare services are run.”

Nothing much to disagree with there, except the article makes no reference to listening to, engaging with, speaking with or consulting the users of childcare, whatever their gender, as to what they might like.

I appreciate it may be a bit confusing for some on the left, but organisations do not work best, if they are built around and run in the narrow interest of the staff they employ.

Andrea Marie, Camille Barbagallo and Nadine Houghton do though, to be fair, link to this project that puts a premium on working with all likely stakeholders.  Although, I do wonder if they understand what working with all stakeholders would actually mean in practice.

And, if you really want to inclusively redesign childcare to meet the needs of users, male and female, in the 2010s then you ought to start with where the system is now and ask a representative cross section of service users, if it meets their current and likely future needs.

For example, a lot of childcare only seems to be available during extended office hours on week days.

Is that because those hours suit the business models of most providers or because there is no demand for childcare outside of those times?

New Deal for Lone Parents

I am quite often reminded these days of when I implemented the New Deal for Lone Parents in Birmingham and Solihull in 1998.  A lot of thought and time went into designing this strand of New Deal.

In particular, the National Council for One Parent Families drew up an eight week training programme for the Jobcentre New Deal Lone Parent Advisers, a new resource dedicated solely to working with single parents, and actually delivered it to the first groups of advisers.

We had in Birmingham and Solihull already developed a good, local working relationship with Gingerbread before the 1997 General Election.  Gingerbread supported us as we strove to make NDLP meet the needs of lone parents in Birmingham and Solihull.

NCOPF merged at a later date with Gingerbread.

The high profile partners with whom we were working on New Deal for Young People in 1998 took an interest in New Deal for Lone Parents and some of them set up an oversight committee.  The committee had no formal role, but I attended the first meeting any way.

I had put in place five NDLP Advisers by then and had spoken with one of them, a good friend and colleague, about how things were going by the time of the meeting.

My chum’s response was very positive, very up beat.  Her clients were very appreciative of the help on offer and the new Tax Credits were making work much more attractive to them.  They were not being stigmatised as has been claimed recently by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown in the i newspaper.

“Ideology doesn’t put food on the table” (Angela Rayner)

My friend’s clients did not want to be on Income Support, but they needed to know they would be better off in work.  They wanted to be in a position to put food on the table; to be able to go away on holiday once a year; to not to have to choose between paying a bill and buying a new pair of shoes for a son or daughter.

They wanted to give their children as good a start, if not better a better start, in life than they had had themselves.

That was not what ‘my steering group’ had in mind for them.  This group of mostly middle class women, some of them lone parents, had more ambitious plans for the men and women with whom we were working.

I had to tactfully explain that whilst I wanted and needed their help to connect my colleagues and their clients with a range of services, provided by the public, private, voluntary and community sectors, their aspirations were not wanted by the people for whom they drawing them up.  At least, not at that moment in time.

I had to deliver a similar explanation to a much larger event in Birmingham, organised by the Industrial Chaplains.  I did stress as I had done previously that the NDLPAs wanted to work with those present to deliver the best possible service to the lone parents with whom they were working.

Communal laundry machines …

Andrea Marie, Camille Barbagallo and Nadine Houghton speak of a “vision for a more collective approach to childcare” that “has the potential to be developed within the model of community care centres, where the concept of care would be centred around the needs of those who use it.  It could include the making of collective meals, communal laundry machines, support for new mums (and for new dads as Sure Start has provided?) and breast feeding classes.  The possibilities are far from limited and there is clearly scope for a cooperative/state-run model.”

I was intrigued to read the reference to communal laundry machines.  Is this a fashion amongst middle class female socialists?

And, if so does anyone have any details of such sharing or similar?

Middle class buy advantage for their children through childcare

I only ask, because some members of the middle class, regardless of their politics, pay good money to buy childcare and, latterly, education that keeps their children well away from any interactions with the offspring of the working class.

Naming no names, Baroness Shami Chakrabarti.

Perhaps I should explain that I was, for a while, a Childcare Partnership Manager for Jobcentre Plus.  My colleague at that time was gobsmacked to learn, during a visit to a childcare provider in Wylde Green, here in Birmingham, that the nursery had daily menus from which the parents might choose lunch for their progeny.

As an aside, part of the role of a Childcare Partnership Manager was to challenge negative attitudes about lone parents and to encourage more men to go into work in childcare.  Back then, 8% of heavy goods vehicle drivers were women and 2% of those working in childcare were men.

Much more recently when the BBC went to a nursery for a story about free childcare, the owner, a male, as it happens, said that if he was to subsist on the money from the Government then he would probably have to cut out the French lessons and yoga classes that he currently provided for his young charges …

If I was that chap, I would pocket the Government money and just reduce his charges a bit for his existing customers, because if they really want the opportunities he currently provides for their children to get ahead, of the hoi polloi, then they will happily continue to pay up.

And people will pay a premium, because they do now, to keep the ratio of qualified staff to children low and to buy the advantages, the ballet lessons and the like, that the middle and upper class use to help maintain their grip on university places, good jobs and the like.

Labour’s ‘transformative’ manifesto

I find it difficult to take Andrea Marie, Camille Barbagallo and Nadine Houghton seriously when they pen a paragraph like this one without, seemingly, having their tongues firmly lodged in their cheeks:

“Labour’s transformative manifesto has shown that ordinary people are hungry for systemic change.  It rightly tackled many of the injustices that lead to inequality, poverty and poor health.”

Are they saying ordinary people (whoever they are, they are clearly not the people writing this piece) would be better off by Labour enacting universal ‘free’ university tuition on Day One in Government whilst, at the same time, leaving in place, indefinitely, the Conservative Party’s benefits freeze and benefit cap and pledging to make Universal Credit ‘work’?

Labour is pledging to commit a derisory figure of £500 million towards Sure Start which will not even fully reverse the savage Tory cuts in the programme since May 2010.

That figure will certainly not reboot Sure Start thus allowing practitioners to improve on progress to date and learn from the life experiences of the first cohort of Sure Start graduates who will soon be reaching 18.

Labour has said it will raise £2 billion in Corporation Tax to go towards funding universal childcare for people like those who now make up the majority of Labour’s membership.  How much of a stealth tax rebate will that be worth to the likes of Mums for Corbyn?

Andrea Marie’s, Camille Barbagallo’s and Nadine Houghton’s vision of communal childcare for the other ranks does rather seem on a par with Jeremy Corbyn’s own offer to the other ranks of an extra few quid an hour on the National Living Wage; a diminishing chance to rent a Council house (courtesy of the BREXIT for which Corbyn campaigned for forty years, claiming there would be no real downsides) and, at best, a crack at an NVQ3.

I am an unashamed upstart prole

I am an unashamed upstart prole.

I was born into a white working class background and I got on.

I am a member of the aspirational working class who no longer seem welcome in Jeremy Corbyn’s ever more middle class Labour Party, because we want a hand up not a hand out, however well intentioned that leftie noblesse oblige might be.

I had some involvement in the development of a community project in Nechells, a disadvantaged inner city area of Birmingham.  I met on a number of occasions the manager of the centre at the heart of the project, a very confident, assertive, well organised middle aged woman.

In the course of time, I discovered that this very competent individual had been recruited from the local community and had previously been involved in the running, if not the setting up, of a local social enterprise that recycled and reconditioned white goods for sale to the public.

White goods like washing machines …

Finally

Is this a Clause IV for childcare?

“At Mums For Corbyn, our vision for childcare is a system that enables parents to take democratic control of reproductive services …”

What would those West Enders and East Enders of the 1930s have said to that proposition?

An Agnostic, an Atheist and a Theist Go Into a Café …

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“Humans need fantasy to be human.  To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.”

I am the agnostic and, if the other two are comfortable in their beliefs then it will be an opportunity for tea, cake and a good natter.  However, if one or more is a zealot, particularly a new convert then I may only stay for just one cuppa.

 

Why?  Well I came to agnosticism through a considered process of introspection.  I chose my own belief system.  I do not seek to impose my philosophy on others and I am grateful when others do not seek to impose their own on me.  I do enjoy respectfully exploring with other like-minded people their particular beliefs, ideologies and philosophies.  If to love wisdom is to seek (an often elusive) truth then I am a philosopher.

 

I do think respect is very important.  It is also a two way street.  I strive to treat people with respect, even those who have little or no respect for me and my personal values, politics and philosophy.  This is why I do not tolerate attacking people of belief simply on the grounds of the tenets of that belief.  Yes, there are aspects of many belief systems that do not appeal to me.  Some of those aspects I find deeply offensive and hurtful to others.  I abhor those aspects, whatever the belief system and I do my best to speak out against them.  However, I have rarely known good people of any belief who will defend to the hilt practices that run contrary to my liberal values.  Often, they prefer acting according to the spirit rather than the letter of their beliefs.

 

I am deliberately using the word belief throughout this essay, except for when faith is more appropriate.  This is why:

 

“Humans need fantasy to be human.  To be the place where the falling angel meets the rising ape.”

 

“Tooth fairies?  Father Christmas?  The Easter …”

 

“Yes.  As practice.  You have to start out learning to believe the little lies.”

 

“So we can believe the big ones?”

 

“Yes.  Justice.  Mercy.  Duty.  That sort of thing.”

 

“They’re not the same at all!”

 

“You think so?  Then take the universe and grind it down to the finest powder and sieve it through the finest sieve and then show me one atom of justice, one molecule of mercy.  And yet … And yet you act as if there is some ideal order in the world, as if there is some … some rightness in the Universe by which it may be judged.”

 

“Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what’s the point …”

 

“My point exactly.”

 

I would contend that even atheists, unless they are contrarians, must believe in something lest they wish to concede the battle for the moral high ground to others.

 

The holy books, writings and teachings of most belief systems espouse ideas and practices that are anachronistic to say the least.  However, I do not automatically assume that modern day adherents will apply and defend those ideas and practices.  The vast majority, in my personal experience do not do so.  When, for example did you last hear of a Christian defending their God given right to own slaves?

 

Most belief systems are continually evolving and renewing.  Although I gather, some have a problem with evolution.  That they do not radically rewrite their shibboleths is a matter for them.  I suspect that they have more worthwhile matters to which to attend than, for example finding more up to date words for the Ten Commandments.  I suspect that when I covet my neighbour’s ass it may not be the one described at point ten.

 

I am particularly chary of those who exploit differences in interpretation between followers of the same belief to sanction disrespect towards that belief.  Mr X is a Moslem and he is not upset by depictions of the Prophet Mohammed.  Mr X may not be upset, but many other of his co-religionists are deeply offended.  The lack of a single doctrinal authority within most belief systems seems to cause a deal of confusion to the less worldly amongst us.

 

Now to that old chestnut of an individual’s rights extending as far as the right to ridicule and insult the sincerely held beliefs of others.  Firstly, I believe that an individual’s rights are sacrosanct, except where in exercising those rights they impinge on the rights of others.  I believe society, the wider community if you prefer, partly exists to set and police that boundary; a boundary that is not static and which moves depending upon prevailing conditions.  Secondly, I fail to see how giving gratuitous offence advances anyone’s argument about the relative superiority of their belief system over that of those they ridicule.  Up your game or stay silent, if ridicule is the best you have to advance your cause.

 

Do I hear the charge that I am in favour of laws that particularly protect the sensitivities of particular groups?  No, but I am in favour of self-censorship.  I am also in favour of the rigorous application of those laws that protect the right of individuals to go about their daily lives, without the fear of being physically or mentally assaulted because of their beliefs, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, age or disability.  We know where not squaring up to prejudice against particular, often weaker groups in our society may lead.  We have enacted various anti- discrimination laws in order to protect some of the weaker members of our society.  If you contend that you do not want to see these laws further extended then the preventive to that extension lies within your ears and nowhere else.

 

I am not in favour of laws that seek to give anyone’s belief greater protection than those of others.  I am with Thomas Macaulay when he felt that he would slight Christianity, if he said that it could not stand without the aid of intolerant laws.  He also touched on those who, whilst sincerely backing away from the idea of inflicting physical harm on those of another belief were still happy to inflict mental cruelty. He said that an Honourable Gentlemen in debate, stopping as he did, but for no particular reason at only partial intolerance, was compromised by his very humanity from going further.  The Honourable Gentleman’s humanity meant that he was certainly not in the same league as those who had burnt the beards of Jews in ages past. They were though at least more consistent in their approach than the previously mentioned MP in that they at least went the whole hog.  These words were spoken in a Parliamentary debate on 17th April 1833.  The debate was addressing the vexed question of the removal of legally sanctioned disabilities aimed at the Jewish community.  Disabilities that made it virtually impossible for those of the Jewish faith to fully participate in the life of their nation.

 

The arguments deployed by those who say that they have a (god given?) right to ridicule the beliefs of others seem to me be reminiscent of a familiar refrain from the playgrounds of my youth.  The argument that they are merely exacting revenge for past misdemeanours by those claiming to be divinely inspired is, in my opinion no grounds for vesting retribution on their descendants in belief.  The past is another country, they did and believed things differently then.  One might almost believe that these would be avengers believe in original sin!

 

 As for the refrain from the playground?  It goes something like this, “It was not me Miss, it was him!  He started it first, Miss!”  Some of us I feel have never fully left the playground behind.  Why they feel that they do not slight their own beliefs by childishly ridiculing the beliefs of others is beyond me.  More significantly, taking revenge for past wrongs on people alive today indicates a severe lack of empathy on behalf of the avengers.

 

The right to bully is so very often exercised by the strong against the weak.  For example, a white male (so often the winner in life’s lottery) abusing someone’s belief on sight in the street, because of that person’s outward signs of belief is a bully.  And so is anyone who eloquently dresses up his or her prejudices in words of sweet reason.  The latter make all sorts of claims in the defence of their arguments, but too often racists in particular fail to see the subtleties in a critique of a belief and people they despise.  We know where providing intellectual cover for such views leads.

 

I live in a very diverse city.  I am proud to do so.  I do not fear most of the time, most of the beliefs of most of my fellow inhabitants.  I do fear those who, whatever their backgrounds espouse intolerant beliefs.  This is not just a matter of philosophy.  It is also a matter of a selfish desire for harmony.  Ignorance breeds fear, which breeds hatred.  A hatred that causes physical and mental distress not only to the objects of that hatred, but also to bystanders.  I want to live in a tolerant harmonious society.  I do not want to live in a city of no go areas justified (understandably) by those who fear the consequences of prejudices directed against them.  I do not fear informed debate, but I do fear the consequences of intolerant debate.

 

If I were to cleave to an extremist atheistic view then I would deny myself so much.   So much that humanity has produced ever since Man and Woman first looked up at the sky in wonder and mused about how it and they had all come into existence.  The arts and religion have been intertwined from that moment onwards.  Were I instead  to cleave to an extreme religious sect then I would also deny myself much of what makes life worth living.  I might also be asked to believe that my Man and Woman staring at the stars never existed.

 

I was born into a world shaped by the Judaeo-Christian tradition.  A tradition that has provided the bedrock upon which I have constructed my personal mansion of beliefs, values, philosophies and politics.  My mansion will never be finished to my satisfaction.  It is very much a work in progress.  Along the way I add extensions, refashion earlier periods of construction and so on.  I, however, never dig up the foundations.  My core values are firmly set into them.

 

These core values influence my choice between two fine motivational speakers of the 20th Century.  The first is Dr Martin Luther King and the second, Adolf Hitler.  Herr Hitler was a very persuasive, technically proficient speaker.  Dr King, likewise.  There though the comparisons end.  Hitler was a pagan, if not an atheist.  Dr King, a committed Christian.  Hitler set out to tell his audience they were special, better than anyone else was and that the other was denying them their place in the sun.  He sought to divide the world into them and us.  Who does not like to feel at least some times that they are special and that their destiny is to be on top?

 

Dr King had the more difficult task of the two.  He had to motivate his followers and supporters to keep them going through the dark journey towards the sunlit uplands.  He also sought to unite them and us so that there would only be one people. He believed like John F Kennedy that, “Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet.  We all breathe the same air.  We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.” 

 

Dr King believed passionately that we all can and should be better than we are.  That we owe it to ourselves to be better than we are and that we may only advance, if we do so in step with others.  Dr King had a beautiful dream for all.  Herr Hitler a nightmare for the many.

 

Did Dr King have to be a Christian to be so inspiring?  May be, may be not, but the fact that he was does not detract from what he spoke and did in the name of his beliefs.  Beliefs that included, “We hold these truths to be self-evident; that all men are created equal.”  Any religious faith was for Herr Hitler incompatible with Nazism.  Christianity, in particular was a faith for the weak, in Nazi eyes.

 

Fundamentally, I do not believe it matters whether or not a man named Jesus died and rose again.  It does matter to me that another man nailed Jesus to a tree for saying, “Hey!  Wouldn’t it be great if we were all nicer to each other?” **

 

I will line up with anyone (whatever their beliefs, politics, philosophies and values) who genuinely wants to make the world a better place for all.  Finally,

 

“Be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

 

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.

 

Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”

 

In the immortal words of Dave Allen, “Thank you, goodnight and may your God go with you.”

 

 

** There, I have done it!  I have Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams in the same essay.  Now if only there were room for Montaigne …

Ken assures me, said @UKLabour’s @JeremyCorbyn the Daleks have always been good friends of the Thals …

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“There are some corners of the universe which have bred the most terrible things.  Things that act against everything we believe in.  They must be fought!”

Jeremy Corbyn is a deeply flawed individual.  Only someone who is lacking in morals or who is, at best, amoral would sign such an Early Day Motion as this one:

In a verdict, which was two decades in the making, a tribunal at the Hague convicted the Bosnian Serb commander Ratko Mladić of genocide and other atrocities during the Nineties Bosnian war.  He will spend the rest of his life in prison.

Reinhard Heydrich, a friend of the Jews …

Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, there is a man, a member of the Labour Party, whose party membership was suspended after he gave out materials at a meeting that stated that Reinhard Heydrich was a friend of the Jews.

Reinhard Heydrich, a friend of the Jews.

If you are one of those Corbyn supporters who thinks this is ancient history or that there is room for a debate on such a matter then here is a history lesson just for you.

Reinhard Heydrich, unlike Hitler and many a senior Nazi, was the blonde haired, blue eyed poster boy for the Nazi Party.

Heydrich was a cultured Nazi.  He played classical piano and had a pilot’s licence.

Heydrich was the good Nazi that every fascist mom and dad would have loved to see their daughter bring home as her beau.

Reinhard Heydrich chaired the Wannsee Conference in January 1942.

But he was a friend of the Jews?

Reinhard Heydrich was the man who turned Hitler’s thoughts, opinions and musings on the fate of World Jewry into a reality, into a living nightmare.

But he was a friend of the Jews?

Reinhard Heydrich was an SS-Obergruppenführer und General der Polizei as well as chief of the Reich Main Security Office.

But he was a friend of the Jews?

There was no Fuehrer Directive entitled the Final Solution …

There was Heydrich and there were the men who attended the Conference at Wannsee.

But he and they were friends of the Jews?

They were the people, the men who drew up the plan that saw the Holocaust move from what one might describe as a cottage industry of death into an industrial programme of mass murder.

But they were friends of the Jews?

Reinhard Heydrich was, if anyone could be in a regime so riven by rival camps and competing factions, the most likely successor to Adolf Hitler.

Reinhard Heydrich was a friend of the Jews and the untermenschen?

On 27th September 1941, Heydrich was appointed Deputy Reich Protector of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, the part of Czechoslovakia incorporated into the Reich on 15th March 1939, and assumed full control of the territory.

Heydrich was, to all intents and purposes, the Reich Protector of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia, given the Reich Protector was sent on leave just after Heydrich became his deputy.

Heydrich’s ultimate objective was to Germanize Bohemia and Moravia.

Heydrich’s brutal policies during his time as Deputy Reich Protector quickly earned him the nickname, “the Butcher of Prague”.

Was Heydrich a friend of the Czechs as well as the Jews?

Heydrich’s career as Deputy Reich Protector came to a premature end on June 4th 1942.

A team of Czechs, trained by Labour Minister Hugh Dalton’s Special Operations Executive, had parachuted into Czechoslovakia on 28th December 1941.  Their mission was to assassinate Heydrich.

The team ambushed Heydrich on 27th May 1942.  Unfortunately, for Heydrich, they botched the attempt.

Heydrich was only wounded and managed to return the fire of his assassins, even chasing them through the streets of Libeň, a suburb of Prague.

Then common humanity took a hand …

Common humanity, of which some Corbyn fanatics seem to have precious little, then took a hand when Heydrich eventually collapsed from shock.

A Czech woman went to Heydrich’s aid and an ambulance was improvised to take the Butcher of Prague to Bulovka Hospital.

There Czech doctors, true to their Hippocratic Oath, and latterly German medical men sought to save Heydrich’s life.

Heydrich underwent a series of painful operations and eventually, after rallying and hope being denied, died of sepsis on 4th June 1942.

I am an avowed opponent of capital punishment, but the manner in which Heydrich met his death arouses no pity in me.

The Hippocratic Oath

I am not sure, had I been a medical man in the operating theatre on 27th May 1942, if I would have been able to keep my Hippocratic Oath.

The Oath is a promise made by people when they become doctors to do everything possible to help their patients and to have high moral standards in their work.

The Hippocratic Oath is not anything like a Peoples Momentum Oath.

The Peoples Momentum Oath that is on a par with civil and military oaths pledged to Hitler in Nazi Germany.

There is a savage codicil to this story …

On 9th June 1942, Hitler ordered brutal reprisals.  Over 13,000 people were arrested, deported, and imprisoned.

Beginning on 10th June 1942, all males over the age of 16 in the villages of Lidice and Ležáky were murdered.  All the women in Ležáky were also murdered.

All but four of the women from Lidice were deported immediately to Ravensbrück concentration camp (four were pregnant – they were subjected to forced abortions at the same hospital where Heydrich had died and the women were then sent to the concentration camp)

Some children were chosen for Germanization, and 81 were killed in gas vans at the Chełmno extermination camp.

Both towns were burned and Lidice’s ruins were levelled.  At least 1,300 people were massacred after Heydrich’s death.

The Holy Trinity of the EU, NATO and the ECHR

Jeremy Corbyn has never accepted that the European Union is about more than economics.

In campaigning for Left Exit for forty years, Corbyn has attacked the EU on various grounds.  He has never, to my knowledge, conceded that it was established to help stop another regime arising in Europe that, regardless of its politics, would send its citizens and those of other nations to death camps.

Corbyn is fundamentally opposed to NATO

But then Corbyn is fundamentally opposed to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and its Article 5 that states that an attack on one member state requires a response from all member states.

Poland looks to fellow NATO members and, in particular, its close neighbour Germany, to honour that article should one of Putin’s motorised battalions ‘accidentally’ stray across Poland’s eastern border during a training exercise.

From 1939 to 1945, the Nazis sought to wipe Poland and the Poles off the face of the map.

Today, Poland looks to Germany as a protector.

How times have changed and to the good, unless you are a fellow traveller of the fascist in the Kremlin.

It is a grave pity that Jeremy Corbyn’s idea of a hinterland, and that of many of his sycophantic supporters, including some now in the media, is restricted to an appreciation of drains and the making of apple jam.

The ECHR may well frustrate Jeremy Corbyn’s ambitions …

One wonders how Corbyn will react when someone explains to him that whilst membership of the EU does not prevent state intervention in the economy, the United Kingdom being a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights will put paid to any plans, that Ian Lavery might have, to see legislation enacted that would legalise closed shops.

Moreover, the ECHR would prevent John McDonnell confiscating the shareholdings of any individual or institution, including Goldman Sachs, should he desire to do so.

For the uninitiated, the ECHR was drafted, mostly by British civil servants, in the light of the experiences of Jews and others in Nazi Germany.

One has the right to join a trades union, but equally one has the right not to be forced into a trades union, formally or informally.  Whilst it was not a requirement to be a member of the Nazi Party, if one worked in the public sector, it soon became obvious that it was best for individuals to join up or run the risk of losing their jobs.

The Nazis imposed tariffs on those wishing to leave the Reich, permanently.  Many were forced to sell off their goods and chattles at below market prices to German residents and then pay a share of the proceeds to the Nazi authorities.  Only then would they be allowed to leave Nazi Germany.

I am not a Jew

One of my relatives, a female nurse, went to Bergen-Belsen after the camp was liberated by British and Canadian troops.

Need I say more?

I fear we should have said more during the EU Referendum Campaign.

We should have had more faith in the Poor Bloody Infantry

I would like to introduce you to Simon, who campaigned for Leave, and I will let him explain about his reaction to Auschwitz in his own Tweets:

I think some of us, myself included, were too patronising, too condescending, too quick to think Simon and similar folk would not appreciate and understand the connection between Auschwitz and the EU, if we took the trouble to discuss it with them.

I really ought to have known better

My little Grandad, my Mom’s dad, spent five years on an extended walking tour of Poland between 1940 and 1945, courtesy of the Wehrmacht.

My unassuming Grandad on his retirement went back to Poland and he too visited Auschwitz.

He also never blamed the German people for what he endured during his five years of captivity.

There is no such thing as an ordinary person

I think some of us lost sight of that during the Referendum Campaign.

We should have done the other thing and engaged in conversation, spoken with and listened to people about our shared past.

We should not have assumed the left behind, or whatever generic label the Commentariat has come up with this week for the lumpen proletariat, would not have similar feelings and thoughts as the rest of us.

I am proud of what my family and my party did in Second World War in the fight against fascism.

And I am sure so are an overwhelming majority of those who voted Leave.

I am also convinced many of those people, the people whose forebears bore the brunt of the fighting, would agree, “Never again!”

Jeremy Corbyn went MIA during the EU Referendum Campaign

We have been told by many people, himself included, that Jeremy Corbyn is the Great Communicator and not just about the iniquity of university tuition fees.

That would be the student tuition fees, paid mostly by the offspring of the officer class, that are the equivalent of a first world problem to most young people at 18.

Most young people at 18 do not go to university.

Kezia Dugdale has observed in the context of Labour’s Remain Campaign

“… yes, I blame Jeremy Corbyn too for failing to use the power of his popular appeal to convince traditional Labour voters to see that Europe creates more good than harm.”

“Make no mistake, Britain will be economically weaker and more isolated post-Brexit and the price of that will be felt by the working people of this country.

They’ll feel it as the dole queue gets bigger, as their employment rights disappear and as the price of food, fuel and services rise.

It might be fun and games to watch the Tories rip each other apart over Europe but Labour are equally culpable if we fail to fill the leadership vacuum.”

I am a Socialist

I am not a Jew.

I am not a Maoist.

I am not (much of) a Marxist.

I am not a Stalinist.

I am not a Trotskiyte.

I am a Socialist, in a British context, whilst also being an international Socialist.

To quote Tom Paine:

The World is my country, all mankind are my brethren, and to do good is my religion.

I do not have to be a Jew to be concerned about anti-Semitism, but neither do I have to become an anti-Semite to express concerns about the treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli Government.

Anti-Semitism is fascism by another name …

Neither do I have to be a Christian to empathise with these words:

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.

Meditation 17, Devotions upon Emergent Occasions, John Donne

I do not have to be a Christian, a Jew or a Muslim to support people of all faiths and none, who seeking a peaceful solution to heal the divisions within Israel and Palestine and between Israel and Palestine.

The Labour Party, which gave Churchill the support he needed to fight on in May 1940, after debates and votes at party conferences past, argues the case for a Two State Solution.

“I cannot and will not cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions.”

Principles and morality are not just for wearing on high days and holidays or to be worn lightly or changed to conform with the prevailing mood.

One senses that the anti-Semitism of Corbyn and of many of his fans is more about appearing fashionable, fitting in with the opinions of the rest of the group, and is not born out of any desire to advance a Two State Solution.

For myself, “I cannot and will not,” as Lillian Hellman put it, “cut my conscience to fit this year’s fashions.”

Were you an actual fan of Doctor Who, Jeremy Corbyn, you would know that the creator of the Daleks, Terry Nation based them on the Nazis …
The Daleks are very big on racial and ideological purity …

They even exterminate fellow Daleks deemed to be renegades or impure in some some way.

Their fictional creator, Davros, meets the first of his many ends at the blasters of his own creations.

In order to perfect the Daleks, to turn them into superior beings, Davros has removed all emotions from their make up, except an overwhelming urge to survive and the best way to survive is to accept no superiors; to seek power at all costs; to expand and dominate your lebensraum.

Dalek: “All inferior creatures are to be considered the enemy of the Daleks and destroyed.”

Davros: “No, wait!  Those men are scientists.  They can help you.  Let them live.  Have pity!”

Dalek: “Pity?  I have no understanding of the word.  It is not registered in my vocabulary bank.  Exterminate!”

(The last of the Kaled Elite die.)

Davros: “For the last time, I am your creator!  You must, you will obey me!”

Dalek: “We obey no one.  We are the superior beings.”

“(Davros turns and raises his hand over the total destruct button

Dalek: “Exterminate!”

(Davros screams and dies.)

Dalek: “We are entombed, but we live on.  This is only the beginning.  We will prepare.  We will grow stronger.  When the time is right, we will emerge and take our rightful place as the supreme power of the universe!”

How do you tell the Hard Left from the Hard Right?

Why do those last lines from that Dalek remind me so much of both the Hard Left and the Hard Right?

Have a care Jeremy Corbyn that your own creations, as similarly lacking in empathy as that Dalek, do not one day exterminate you, in their merciless search for power …

Prologue

If you are wondering what happened to the gentleman who thought Reinhard Heydrich was a friend of the Jews, well, a secret tribunal met and decided he was not involved in an act of Holocaust denial.

He was then welcomed back into the Labour Party by Laura Murray, the daughter of Andrew Murray, an old friend of Jeremy Corbyn’s.

Laura works in Jeremy Corbyn’s office.

Nepotism and anti-Semitism, hand in hand, at the very heart of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party!