There is a corner of a foreign field, #KenLivingstone, that will forever be Birmingham …

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I have a relative in a foreign field that shall ever be Birmingham.  He was killed in the retreat to Dunkirk in 1940 and now lies in a cemetery in Belgium.

I feel almost tearful to be a member of a party with Ken Livingstone in it.  I am deeply shocked, if not angered by so called Socialists who think Livingstone has committed a minor faux pas, deserving of no more than a slap on the wrist, by praying in aid the fascism of Hitler to support a lie.

I belong to the Labour Party, the party of Attlee, Bevan and Bevin, of Greenwood, Wilkinson and Lee.  A party who in 1940 had no truck with Nazism and would not bend the knee to Herr Hitler.

Time for Ken Livingstone, who has spoken words often associated with a Mosleyite or a Mitford, to leave the Labour Party.  He disgraces the memory of all those who fought fascism at the Battle of Cable Street every moment he remains.

Ken Livingstone must be thrown out of Labour. He’s had his last second chance

Ken Livingstone uses a RAPE comparison when asked about Labour suspension

What would you say is the most important issue facing Britain today?

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The Economist/ Ipsos MORI April 2016 Issues index – concern about the EU rises to the highest level recorded this century

The April 2016 Economist/Ipsos MORI Issues Index reveals a further increase in the importance of the EU as an issue facing Britain.  Three in ten (30%) of the public now mention it as one of the most important issues facing Britain, the highest recorded level since December 1999.  Conservative voters (43%), those living in the south east of England (37%) and those aged 55 and over (43%) are particularly likely to feel this is a big issue.

The European Union is now the third-most mentioned issue facing Britain, behind immigration (41%) and the NHS (39%).

Ipsos MORI Issues Index for April 2016

On why I’ll be campaigning to leave the NUS

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Jade Azim

I have friends in the NUS, in Labour Students, in the students’ movement, and further afield. It should not have to be said that when I criticize XYZ, I do not criticise them. On the contrary, there are individuals within bodies I view as defunct that work their asses off for their constituents as best as they see fit.

But I’ve rarely shied from controversy, either. Way back whenever, I stood for President for my own Students’ Union on a ticket, well, berating the union itself, and the managerial culture in which it existed. Not the people, but the culture. A culture that was closed off. As I read Yaks berating even the action of voting, I realised that for 3 years, I was them. That, despite my political nature, I never turned to the Union for a solution. The one time I did, when my grant was delayed…

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Please sign petition calling on George Osborne to remove the 20% VAT on vet’s bills #LabourDoorstep

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Paul Streeting is a pet owner, who lives on a small income.

Paul’s dog has helped him in lots of ways.  Helped him through some tough times.

Paul finds the 20% VAT on vet operations, a rip off for many pet owners and also many of those who are on small pensions.

Pets are a great comfort to many, including those who live alone, the elderly and people suffering from poor mental health.  Sometimes taking Winston Churchill’s Black Dog for a walk really means going out for a stroll with a four legged friend.

Please spend a couple of minutes and sign Paul’s petition.  And, if you are happy to do that then Paul would be very grateful, if you would encourage other people to put their names to the petition, too.

Thanks!

Whittingdale – missing privacy points.

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Paul Bernal's Blog

A lot has been written about the current ‘scandal’ concerning John Whittingdale, the Culture Secretary, and his relationship with a woman described as a sex worker. Many questions have been asked – not least why the press didn’t publish the story until effectively forced into it by a combination of online media, social media, and the pressure group Hacked Off. Was the story suppressed as a result of some secret deal? Was it being held over Whittingdale’s head to stop him from bringing forward stronger regulation of the press? Was it being used as leverage by Murdoch and others? As the Labour’s shadow cabinet minister Chris Bryant put it, “It seems the press were quite deliberately holding a sword of Damocles over John Whittingdale.”

However interesting these questions and the answers to them might be, they rather miss some key privacy points – and indeed the point of privacy…

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Call 4 #CameronResign is “emotional spasm” that might plunge millions into #BREXIT misery #PanamaPapers

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Imagine, for a moment, that you wake up on 24th June 2016 to learn that the United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union.

Imagine what the following years will mean for working (class) people as a right wing Tory Government, perhaps led by Michael Gove, dismantles all the employment protection legislation enacted as a result of our membership of the EU.

Imagine what the following years will mean for our environment, its flora and fauna, as a Tory Government scraps environmental legislation enacted to protect and enhance the natural world as a result of our membership of the EU.

Imagine what the following years will mean for our society as a Tory Government, with nearly four years in office, dismantles all the benefits that have accrued as a result of our membership of the EU.

Then compare all that likely suffering with the emotional spasm (copyright Aneurin Bevan) that you might experience, if Cameron were to resign.  La petite mort that will follow those few moments of pleasure might last decades.

I am willing to forgo those moments of pleasure to stave off the damage that  Cameron’s resignation might do for the Remain campaign.

Moreover, I question the motives of at least some of those calling for Cameron’s resignation.  Where the firebrands and pitch forks are being held highest, the clamour loudest, there you will often find those most desperate to distract attention from their own behaviour.

As Rachel Reeves observed in the run up to the May 2015 General Election, the greater your income, the more potential you have to game the tax and benefit system.  There are even people in Islington who practise tax avoidance and there are certainly people there who make a living out of the tax avoidance industry.

No, I will not call for Cameron to resign before Friday 24th June 2016.  Come back to me, however, on Saturday 25th June and I will give your request very serious consideration.

TaxPayers’ Alliance at Conservative Party Conference 2011 Make Tea Party Seem Charming #PanamaPapers

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“Where are the real rightwingers hiding? I don’t mean George Osborne, Michael Gove, Liam Fox, all strutting their stuff in plain sight. I mean the practically unelectable, the kind of men and women who, unlike friendly Dave, ordinary people would really prefer not to have a pint with.

Well, I can reveal that they’ve been esconced in the “Freedom Zone” at Bridgewater Hall, hosting fringes about how to cut further and faster. I went to one, organised by the TaxPayers Alliance. The panel (all male) addressed an (overwhelmingly male) audience on topics such as how to “find more programmes to cut”, why improving public services is counterproductive because it means the’ll only ask for more money, and the fact that even Chinese communists now think the British state is too big.

Glancing to my right I noticed, among the impeccably groomed (and it has to be said, fairly young) audience was the clenched jaw of Otis Ferry, who is presumably hoping to head off a fairly chunky inheritance tax bill. Towards the end an audience member suggested that the TPA campaign to end the 50p rate of tax alienated voters, and mightn’t it be wiser to target taxes that affect poorer people? Doesn’t the alliance risk being seen as the voice of privilege? Matthew Sinclair, the director, was adamant. The TPA wasn’t a party and didn’t have to get itself elected, he scoffed. There was a principle at stake and opposition to the 50p tax was right. So there you are. I don’t think the TPA worries about being seen as the voice of privilege because it manifestly is. The beneficiaries of inherited wealth out for their own. Makes the Tea Party seem charming. Makes Osborne seem like William Beveridge.”

The TaxPayers’ Alliance at Conservative Party Conference 2011

The Greens Represent an Irresponsible Anti-politics

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Jade Azim

You are perfectly free to despise politics and politicians. Once upon a time I did.

And then politics became necessary. A Tory government was suddenly thrust in, and the Labour government I took for granted growing up was suddenly gone, and we were all left at the mercy of Etonian men being driven to shrink the state. Suddenly ‘hating politicians’ felt like a fashion I could not afford.

Again, a lot of poorer people are apathetic and distrustful of politicians. That’s for us to change and us to convince and us to understand. My dad was a non-voter, my mum was an instinctive Labour voter who me and my brother had to remind to vote. Both had a reason to fear the Tories, but not to enthusiastically embrace Labour. That is our problem.

But then there are wealthy people, people with power and a voice, who ought to know how…

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