A political shift

Labour didn’t win this election but it was a tremendous success for them. The Conservatives may have won the most seats but ultimately their ‘victory’ may come at a higher price than an outright defeat would have done. The alliance with the DUP will prove to be unsustainable, unsupported by the general public and toxic to the Conservative’s credibility.
 
I said Pre-election how the Conservatives chose to attack Corbyn by using fear over his discussions with Sinn Fein in the 1980s. Talks that were not designed to support or sympathise with terrorists as reported but designed to attempt to bring peace to Northern Ireland. How will that line of attack remain credible when they are now paired with a party who held/hold ties to a terrorist organisation? In 2017.
 
If the public can forgive Corbyn talking to Sinn Fein then they may forgive the DUP their ties to the Ulster resistance. They will surely not forgive the homophobic, creationist, climate change denial, anti-abortion policies the DUP bring to the table. In 2017.
 
Labour gained 30 seats from 2015. Including unexpected seats such as Kensington and Canterbury. The number of seats alone doesn’t tell the full story. They gained 3.45 million voters. More than the 1.96 million gained by Tony Blair in 90’s. Almost across the country constituencies showed a swing towards Labour. Some previously safe seats have begun to move into marginal territory. The vote share increase of 9.6% was more than any election for Labour since 1945. The turnout for the election itself was the highest since 1997 at 68.7% and unconfirmed figures suggest youth turnout could be as high as 72%.
 
These results alone are pretty incredible. It makes it even more incredible that it involved 40% of the public voting for a left wing social democratic manifesto. The political consensus was that the UK was too conservative for left wing policies to ever appeal to the public. Micheal Foot’s crushing defeat in 1983 left scars on the political psyche of this country that have taken 35 years to overcome. But these results prove there is a hunger for these policies within the British public. At a time when it seemed the political spectrum was moving ever rightwards this has pushed us way back to the left.
 
It has left the political commentators dumbfounded. They are now rushing to justify their previous criticisms of Corbyn. In some cases they are trying to explain away and demean these results. You will see a lot of that. Note how they have started comparing the 2017 results to 2010. Ignoring the 2015 election altogether. They talk of Corbyn simply being a ‘great campaigner’. They say that this was still a loss and that such a weak Conservative party should have been beaten into minority.
 
Of course they didn’t say any of this before the exit poll on Thursday. It may be that they are simply having difficulty adjusting to the seismic shift in their worldview. The human brain doesn’t like being wrong especially when everyone you know thought the same way you did. The cynic in me wonders whether it is an intentional ploy to quell the enthusiasm around the election result. An attempt to slow Labour’s roll.
 
Fortunately I don’t think there is any going back. The political community’s failure to accurately explain what happened arises because they still don’t understand it. They can’t stop what they don’t understand. I am even more hopeful for the future now.
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A political shift

Vote for safety

There has been so much dirt thrown at Corbyn and Labour over the last two years I wondered what the media and the Conservatives had held up their sleeve for the day before the election.

It appears they have chosen fear as their tool. The idea electing Corbyn would make the UK less safe. For anyone believing this to be true I’ve written this piece to explain how the Conservatives have put us in danger. It is not short and it is not catchy but it is important.

First of all the three recent examples of terrorism have occurred under Conservative rule. They have been running our country for the last 7 years. Theresa May was Home secretary for 6 of those years and PM for another. If we face an increased risk of terrorism right now only one party and only one leader should be held accountable.

Salman Abedi (the manchester bomber) was allowed to return to Libya by our home office in 2011 in order to fight against and overthrow Gaddafi. He was 16 at the time. Again Theresa May was home secretary. David Cameron was PM. Conservatives were running the country. The intention was enforcing regime change. Cameron was warned this could destabilise the region and lead to an increase in Islamist extremism. Both advocated and voted for military action in Libya. We have become less safe because of this.

We must also consider the effects of allowing a 16 year old boy to fight in a war. How that might effect him psychologically upon his return to the UK. Consider whether he should have been monitored. Whether knowing he had fought alongside islamist extremists would have increased his chances of becoming radicalised. Theresa May was home secretary. Clearly not enough was done.

Under Conservative rule hate crime of all types has increased. Violent crime has increased. Sexual assault has increased. Gun and knife crime has increased. Across the country.

Whether you are Black, White, British, European, African Jewish, Muslim, Straight, Gay, Male, Female…. any denomination you wish to label yourself with you have become less safe under Conservative rule.

Incidents of antisemitism alone have increased 36% under Conservative rule.

It has been well reported Conservatives cut police numbers by 20,000. They also cut 1000 Border Force staff. Security and intelligence staff numbers and budgets were cut. George Osborne budgeted four times as much to special forces overseas as he did to the home office. The recent attacks were of course perpetrated by people living in the UK.

It is not a stretch to suggest that with more staff and funding intelligence agencies in the UK would have been able to keep track of people like Salman Abedi and Khuram Butt and work to prevent them from attacking anyone.

Theresa May has very recently been in Saudi Arabia attempting to secure arms deals with a country that is widely reported to be funding/supplying the very terrorists we want to protect ourselves against.

Theresa May’s answer to the most recent attacks was to suggest repealing the human rights act. Something she has actually been trying to do for years. The human rights act is there to protect you. Removing it or changing it is not being done to protect you from terrorism. It is just what Theresa May wants to be done.

Clearly after 7 years of Conservative rule you are less safe. It would be ridiculous with the above in mind to give them another 5 years on the basis of safety. They have no answers to any of the current problems we face.

If all of the above is outweighed by the fact Corbyn spoke to the IRA in the 1980’s in your mind then that is your decision. I know I’m voting Labour. For my safety.

Vote for safety

Cameron ducks Libya flak

On Monday the 12th of September 2016 David Cameron chose to quit as a Conservative MP. This news wasn’t met with glowing endorsements in the media. Neither was it met with strong criticism. After all he had done such an honorable thing by leaving the back benches. Deciding to no longer serve his constituents. All so that he wouldn’t be a ‘distraction’ to Theresa May’s government. He had shown us in June that real leaders quit when things get difficult. Here he was simply reinforcing that lesson to the people. What a guy.

On Wednesday the 14th of September 2016 the Foreign affairs committee released their report into the UK military intervention in Libya. Barack Obama had already described the intervention well as a ‘Shitshow’. The report confirmed the intervention had been done without proper intelligence, had ‘drifted’ into an intervention for regime change and failed to plan adequately for the country following said regime change. This has led to the country being in a state of civil war. Extremist elements control parts of the country. Thousands of lives have been lost and harmed by this intervention. David Cameron led us into this intervention.

What I find interesting is that I haven’t read ONE mainstream media report linking these two events. To me this link seems obvious. Now I may be wrong as I don’t claim to read every newspaper or online outlet. But surely these events are related? Surely the media were aware on Monday this report was due to come out two days later? Why did nobody mention it then? Why have they not connected this since? David Cameron quit to evade the flak himself and to save his Conservative party the risk of being caught by shrapnel.

The errors made during the 2003 invasion of Iraq were repeated wholesale in the 2011 Libya intervention. It makes sense of the fact that when the Chilcot report was released earlier this year Cameron refused to admit that the war was wrong or a mistake. How could he be hypercritical of Tony Blair knowing he had committed all the same crimes. Even worse he did so with full knowledge of how this intervention would play out.

On the release of the Chilcot report Cameron had said that he did not see “a huge amount of point” in “replaying all the arguments of the day” , adding: “What we should do instead is…learn the lessons of what happened and what needs to be put in place to make sure that mistakes cannot be made in future.”

Except he didn’t learn the lessons. He willfully repeated the mistakes. There comes a time when we have to realise these interventions and their failures are not ‘mistakes’ they are fully intentional. As is the lack of media coverage linking these war criminals to their crimes.

Cameron ducks Libya flak

Carnival of bias

I have just read a Sky News article on the Notting Hill Carnival that consisted entirely of negative stories from Sunday at the event. Details of the horrific stabbings, arrests and injuries were provided. Around one million people attended the event. There was no mention of the music, the artists, the food, the costumes and diversity of cultures on show. This made me wonder why.

Have you ever read a report on Glastonbury that focussed entirely on the criminal aspects of that event? The drugs, fights and rapes that have occurred? If you haven’t have you wondered why?

For comparison:
A) Notting Hill Carnival Sunday: 1,000,000 attendees with 71 arrests.
B) Glastonbury festival 2015: 175,000 attendees with 75 arrests.

Firstly it leads me to question why the inconsistency in the reporting of the two different events. Secondly it leads me to imagine the consequences of this.

If I am peaceful and interested in attending Carnival I may be frightened away from it. If on the other hand I am a young guy about to turn up I may now do so expecting trouble. If I wasn’t sure about taking a knife before I may well want to take one now. If I wasn’t going there with a defensive attitude I may well be going there with one now. If I was someone aggressive who fancied a fight I can be sure to find one if I attend Carnival based on these reports.

In my opinion this reporting creates a cycle. If the carnival is associated with trouble, trouble will follow. Unilateral news reports like this do not highlight a problem they actually work to exacerbate them.

In addition to this the two events attract different demographics. In the mind of the public who do not attend either event those demographics become associated with the characteristics of the event. That is a part of an even bigger cycle.

Carnival of bias

I vote for Corbyn

Last week we experienced an episode where three politicians with very few principles and very high electability used lies and false promises to push us to vote in their best interests. Quite possibly against our own best interests.

They did so in every case to further their own political careers. They convinced us to vote for things they did not believe in purely so they could climb further up the totem pole.
It remains to be seen whether that decision will work out to be better or worse for us. What is important is that those men did not think it would be better for us. But they told us to vote that way anyway simply for their own benefit.

The week since the referendum has passed with some mild criticism of those men. Social and mainstream media has been filled with harsh criticism of a politician with many principles and supposed low electability.

When asked about Jeremy Corbyn most people repeat the same two statements. He lacks leadership qualities and he is unelectable. I honestly find those criticisms highly patronising. And you should too.

What we are being told is that we are not intelligent enough to vote for someone based upon his or her principles and policies. We are being told to ignore the one MP who seems to be looking out for us. We will only vote for someone with an image that appeals rather than someone whose ideas appeal.

I often ask on what evidence people have formed those two ideas on Corbyn. Which of his policies you feel are so unelectable? And when you say unelectable remember you are saying you would not vote for them. Here are a few of Corbyn’s policies:

-Austerity is an economic choice not a necessity. The poor should not be made to pay for the mistakes of the banking industry. The deficit must be reduced but the absolute worst way to go about this is to punish the poor and credit the rich. Almost all economists acknowledge this to be true. More importantly George Osborne did too when he decided to scrap his aim for a surplus this week.

-Privatisation of the railways has been a mistake. Service has not improved and prices have not been driven lower by competition. The taxpayer still has to subsidise the railways with £4bn a year yet receive no benefits from this. We should renationalise the railways.

-Peace talks are a far better way to create a peaceful world than waging wars. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars have cost us the taxpayer £20bn in addition to the tragic loss of service men and women in the fighting. Yet they have left us with a region in an almost perpetual state of war and far less stable than it was 20 years ago.

-Private Finance initiatives should be ended early. This is the mortgage scheme where the government used private finance to fund building hospitals and schools. We were given £54 Billion in capital but you the taxpayer will pay those private companies £300 Billion. The PFI schemes are responsible for the debt and closure of several hospitals. This will continue unless the schemes are bought out before term as Corbyn wants.

-The government should build more council houses. Self-explanatory really. The only way out of the housing crisis is to build more houses. The rise in house prices means even those in relatively well paid jobs find it hard to buy properties. Something needs to be done.

– The government should not be allowed to force schools to turn into academies run by private companies. There is no evidence this improves schooling standards. As if we have not learnt from the privatisation of the railways the government wants to repeat the mistake. Corbyn objected to this and forced a U-turn.

Now many of my Tory friends would not vote for those policies. I don’t believe the same is true for the rest of the electorate. Maybe I am being one-eyed because I agree with them so strongly. But I also believe those policies would be right for you.

We are therefore at an important crossroads in politics. Times have changed. The EU referendum was the latest signal of that. The rise of Bernie Sanders in America and the election of Justin Trudeau in Canada are further proof. The election of Corbyn as Labour leader itself is proof.

Now many of the MPs of the Labour party are attempting to hold back the tide of change. They are dressing their coup up as a fight to save the Labour party. As a fight to rescue it’s electability. All the while it is they who are doing the most damage to Labour’s chances of election.

From the moment Corbyn emerged as leader they have been publicly and privately sniping at him. It is they who first labeled his policies unelectable during the leadership campaign.
Reports have made it clear that they were waiting to launch this coup after each of the four By-elections since Corbyn became leader. Labour won each of those with an increased support so the plans were on ice. They were waiting to launch the coup before the local elections. When Labour did better than predicted they again had to hold back. Especially when the Labour party won 4 mayoral posts. Pretty impressive election results for someone we have been told is unelectable.

They have now used the loss of the EU referendum to justify trying to overthrow the democratically elected leader of the party. They cite Labour’s poor performance as evidence Corbyn is unelectable. This is despite the fact 64% of Labour voters chose Remain. The SNP operate in Pro-EU Scotland and only 63% of their voters chose Remain. Nobody is calling for Nicola Sturgeon’s head. In fact she has been lauded for her performance.

The media have clearly supported the rebel Labour MPs. This week has been filled with scandalously inaccurate reporting of events within Labour and Corbyn’s actions and words. There has been no impartiality. Almost every story has been negative. The positive and good things Corbyn has done have been ignored or twisted to appear negative.
There is a psychological process called ‘False consensus effect’. It means that when in a group your mind tries its best to agree with the opinions of those around you. It is born of our evolutionary requirement to be part of the group and not be ostracised. Hunter gatherers don’t do well alone. You will try to find agreement with those opinions even if they may be wrong and detrimental to you.

When those rebel MPs, David Cameron, Tony Blair and the entire mass media tell you to hate Corbyn I urge you to fight the false consensus effect. When those people with low principles and high electability tell you he is unelectable stop and think why. Is it in your best interests to believe that? Or is it in theirs?

I vote for Corbyn

Fly

A heart that’s filled with feeling

Is a heart that’s fit to burst

It can find a sense and meaning

In the emptiest of words

It rises to the ceiling

Like a helium filled balloon

And if you leave it without reeling 

It would float off to the moon

Too soon for some it soars

Til it’s a dot within the sky

For those afraid of falls

It hits the dizziest of heights

It might just risk it all

You might just never know

Unconstrained by walls

How far your heart could go

I know you are filled with feeling

I know it hurts when burst

But there are less pins in heaven

Than there are down here on earth

Fly

Breakdown of Jeremy Hunt’s statement on #JuniorDoctorsStrike

“I’d like to thank the junior doctors who ignored the BMA national advice and did go back to work. And I think that shows the values of the vast majority of junior doctors”

Yes Jeremy. The 10,000 who turned up were scheduled to do so to cover emergencies or else were not members of the BMA and not part of the strike action. They didn’t ignore BMA advice. 98% of the 37,700 BMA members agreed with the action and advice on a 76% turnout. That means 74% of all eligible junior doctors supported strike action. A vastly greater mandate than the 24% of the eligible public who voted for the conservative party.

“In the end this is a completely unnecessary dispute”

If you feel it is unnecessary they why are you disputing? It is not a unilateral dispute. We are not disagreeing with ourselves here. If it is unnecessary you could simply concede to our demands?

“We have some disagreements with the BMA over pay”

Much as Boris Johnson did with the tube strikes the government are attempting to re-frame the argument to one that makes Junior doctors appear greedy. As though we are asking for more pay. At the very most we are asking to not have our pay cut. We are not striking to ask for more pay. A fairer wage to reflect our skills. Or even a wage that would allow us to consider buying a home in most London boroughs these days.
Repeatedly junior doctors make clear the dispute is not about pay. Repeatedly in their sound bites Hunt and Cameron refer to pay as though it is THE issue we are fighting over. If you repeat a lie often enough people can believe it is true.

“But we all want to promise every patient who uses the NHS the promise of the same high quality care every day of the week”

I think most doctors would agree this would be fantastic. To be clear we have a 7 day service in the NHS. Doctors work 7 days as do almost all healthcare professionals in the NHS. What Hunt wants however is not to provide a 7 day NHS by increasing staffing or funding. He simply wants to redress Saturday evenings as being normal working hours. When my bank is open at 9pm on Saturday evening I may class it as a normal working hour. Until then it is unsociable.

“And at the moment we have an NHS where if you have a stroke at the weekends, you’re 20% more likely to die. That can’t be acceptable”

This statistic appears shocking and this is exactly what it is meant to do. Hunt knows full well most of the public will not look into the source of this statistic. This comes from one journal. The authors themselves admit a large part of this difference is likely due to the fact that only the most severe stroke cases are admitted on the weekend. Undertaking a multi-million pound reorganisation of the NHS based on one piece of evidence could be extremely dangerous and foolhardy. Sadly for our government it would not be the first time.

“And the right thing to do is not to strike, but actually sit round the table and talk to the government about how we deliver a truly seven-day NHS.”

Amazing that Hunt thinks that the right thing to do is to sit around a table and talk. Considering he was the one wanting not to talk but to impose the contract upon us. Considering most doctors have fairly strong opinions on how to deliver a seven day NHS and would be happy to talk about it. Considering Hunt has not involved us or our ideas in how to go about that process. Considering the thing most doctors agree on is that the way to a 7 day NHS is NOT via this junior doctor contract. Well we will look forward to the invite to the steering meeting Mr Hunt. I don’t mind sitting between Richard Branson and Lynton Crosby.

Breakdown of Jeremy Hunt’s statement on #JuniorDoctorsStrike