The right wing incontinence of the Progress plotters

IT is more than 30 years since former Labour leader Neil Kinnock began his attack on Militant – as a left wing ‘Party within a Party’ seeking to undermine core Labour values.

Within six years Militant had been proscribed by Mr Kinnock and banned from ever being part of the Labour Party.

Now in 2016, his son Stephen Kinnock is part of a sinister group known as Progress – a right wing ‘Party within a Party’.

More sinister and undermining than Militant ever was.

And Mr Kinnock Junior is now talking openly about a right wing breakaway from the Labour Party – working title: Continuity Labour (or should it be Incontinence Labour?) if Jeremy Corbyn is re-elected Leader in September.

Progress is the Blairite power behind the core group of MPs plotting, since last year, to oust Mr Corbyn.

Progress runs on £260,000-a-year funding from Lord Sainsbury.

He used to fund the Labour Party, giving over £6.3 million between 2005 and 2010. But he stopped funding Labour when Ed Miliband got elected. Angry at Miliband’s shuffle to the left, Sainsbury went on a rich man’s strike.

But he didn’t just take his money and go home. Instead of funding Labour, he funds Progress, whose job is to keep Labour right wing and Blairite. Its income since 2010 is about £1.5 million.

Progress, through its website, its weekend school, its meetings at Labour’s conference and its activist network push the candidates and policies Sainsbury likes.

Tristram Hunt is a particular Sainsbury favourite — he was Lord Sainsbury’s personal spokesman before he became a Labour MP.

Hunt was working for Sainsbury when Progress was formed out of the money left over from the original campaign to make Tony Blair leader of the party.

Sainsbury originally got Derek Draper to run Progress.

He soon disgraced himself and Labour by claiming he could get influence with the New Labour government for corporate lobbyists.

Despite this early link to a lobbying scandal, Progress still relies on money and contacts from lobbyists, alongside Sainsbury’s cash. In fairness, Progress is more open about its income than it used to be. Its website advises that in 2014 it relied on money and support from Bellenden Public Affairs, a lobbying firm that represents privatisers like Serco and NHS outsourcer Care UK.

Progress also took money from Lexington, another lobbying firm whose clients include Interserve, another major privatiser, and the “Giant Vampire Squid” of banking, Goldman Sachs. The City of London Corporation put some cash into the Progress operation as well.

Progress is deeply committed to pro-privatisation and pro-corporate policies. It has also campaigned to reduce trade union influence in the Labour Party.

During last year’s Labour leadership election Progress supported Liz Kendall for Labour leader and Tessa Jowell for mayor of London.

Progress could not pick a candidate for deputy leader — which shows how deeply Progress is embedded in the parliamentary party. The three deputy leader candidates — Caroline Flint, Ben Bradshaw and Stella Creasy — are all Progress members, so they couldn’t choose which one to back.

Progress’s attempts to shift the party towards privatisation and other business-friendly policies favoured by their funders aren’t hard to find.

But they don’t get reported that much because most national journalists both rely on Progress members for their stories and agree with their Blairite arguments.

Only now are people waking up to the sinister nature of Progress’s coup attempt to unseat Jeremy Corbyn.

Paul Flynn MP (Newport) condemned the plotters as:

“Orchestrated treachery. Resignations on the hour by the future Blair Tribute Party. Self-indulgent party games as steel jobs are in new peril.”

Even former SNP leader Alex Salmond – a politician I know personally and someone steeped in honesty – called out the Progress plotters.

The mass resignation of senior Labour MPs over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party is a “disgusting, organised coup”, he said.

But their plotting has been an open secret.

An article in the Telegraph dated the 16 June detailed that the Progress led

“Labour rebels hope to topple Jeremy Corbyn in 24-hour blitz after EU referendum.”

Further evidence that these Labour MPs have been plotting against Mr Corbyn and would have assailed his leadership regardless of the outcome of the referendum.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell described the MPs in Progress as a “narrow right-wing clique”, “conservative” and “hard right”.

“They all come from a sort of a narrow right-wing clique within the Labour Party based around the Progress organisation,” he said.

“I don’t think they’ve really ever accepted Jeremy’s mandate. I’m afraid they have to recognise that Jeremy got elected with the largest mandate of any political leader from any political party in our history.

“I’m afraid they haven’t respected that leadership election result.”

In 2012 the GMB openly accused Progress of being a “party within a party”.

It unsuccessfully submitted a resolution to Labour’s annual conference in September that year to try to “outlaw” the group.

The Labour Party said it would consider the GMB motion but stressed that it was “not in the business of excluding people”. A cruel irony considering what it is now doing to supporters of Jeremy Corbyn.

“We are a party that is reaching out to people, gaining new supporters and offering real change for the country in these tough times. The Labour Party is a broad church and we are not in the business of excluding people,” said a party spokesman at the time.

The GMB expressed concerns that Progress was operating to undermine the party, accusing it of attempting to sabotage Labour’s London mayoral campaign.

A motion passed at the union’s congress in 2012 accused “prominent members” of Progress briefing against Ed Miliband and said was responsible for persuading Labour’s front bench “to support cuts and wage restraint”.

It went on to say: “Congress notes that Progress advances the strategy of accepting the Tory arguments for public spending cuts.

“Congress believes that such factional campaigns to undermine Labour candidates, and to soften opposition to Tory policies, endanger the unity of the party and the movement in our fight against the coalition government.”

Progress hit back claiming there was “no evidence whatsoever” of its members briefing against the Labour leader, and that any attempt to suggest it had not backed Ken Livingstone for London mayor was “uncomradely”.

Detailed research carried out by Walking The Breadline adds more detail to just who is who within Progress:

Progress is chaired by Alison McGovern. Its vice-chairs are fellow Labour MPs Jenny Chapman, Stephen Doughty, Julie Elliott, Tristram Hunt, Dan Jarvis, Liz Kendall, Seema Malhotra, Toby Perkins, Lucy Powell, Steve Reed, Jonathan Reynolds and Nick Smith. Its honorary president is former Minister Stephen Twigg.

Progress is constituted as a private company limited by guarantee, with a legal board of directors in 2012 consisting of Jennifer Gerber, Jonathan Mendelsohn, Robert Philpot and Stephen Twigg.

Prior to 2015, Progress was chaired by John Woodcock – the same MP who viciously attacked Jeremy Corbyn during the Trident debate last week.

Prior to 2012, Progress was chaired by MP and former Minister Stephen Twigg, and the honorary president was Alan Milburn, the former Secretary of State for Health. Jonathan Mendelsohn was its treasurer.

Current members of the Progress strategy board include: Baroness King of Bow, Gloria De Piero MP, Nick Smith MP, Phil Wilson MP, Cllr Florence Nosegbe (Lambeth), Cllr Claire Reynolds (Tameside), Cllr Rachel Hodson (Doncaster), Cllr Paul Brant (Liverpool) Cllr Mandy Telford (Cumbria), Hopi Sen, Joan Ryan and Joe Mann.

Since its inception Progress has had a number of operational directors: Derek Draper (former aide to Peter Mandelson), Darren Murphy (former Special Adviser), Patrick Diamond (former Special Adviser), Jennifer Gerber, Jessica Asato (acting director), Richard Angell (acting director), Robert Philpot (retired October 2014) and Richard Angell.

Progress donations and sponsorship since 2001:

Lord Sainsbury – £2,022,500

Lord Montague (trust) – £875,500

Pfizer/Pharmacia – £52,287.50 (Owen Smith’s former employer)

Sir Frank Lowe – £49,999.98

Lord Bhattacharyya – £20,000

John Mendelsohn – £10,000

Sovereign Strategy – £12,000

Network Rail Infrastructure – £5,875

Total donations – £3,059,673.16

It is also worth noting that Conor McGinn MP who alleged bullying against Jeremy Corbyn might have overlooked mentioning this fact.

Kate is Chair of the Young Fabians, the under-31s section of the Fabian Society and Political Adviser to leadership contender Owen Smith MP.

Seema Malhotra who last week accused aides of Mr Corbyn and Mr McDonnell of violating her security and effectively breaking into her office after her resignation, is also a member of Progress, as is Ruth Smeeth who accused Mr Corbyn of  anti-semitism three weeks ago.

To sum up, these right wing Blairite plotters, who undermine democracy at every turn, must now be put on notice: We are watching you, have noted your actions and your time as a Labour MP is numbered:

  • Alan Johnson (Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle)
  • Alison McGovern (Wirral South)
  • Angela Eagle (Wallasey)
  • Ann Coffey (Stockport)
  • Ben Bradshaw (Exeter)
  • Caroline Flint (Don Valley)
  • Chris Leslie (Nottingham East)
  • Chuka Umunna (Streatham)
  • Conor McGinn (St Helens North)
  • Dan Jarvis (Barnsley Central)
  • Frank Field (Birkenhead)
  • Gloria de Piero (Ashfield)
  • Hilary Benn (Leeds Central)
  • Heidi Alexander (Lewisham East)
  • Jamie Reed (Copeland)
  • Jenny Chapman (Darlington)
  • Jess Phillips (Birmingham Yardley)
  • John Woodcock (Barrow and Furness)
  • Jonathan Reynolds (Stalybridge)
  • Julie Elliot (Sunderland Central)
  • Keir Starmer (Holborn & St Pancras)
  • Kevan Jones (North Durham)
  • Liam Byrne (Birmingham Hodge Hill)
  • Liz Kendall (Leicester West)
  • Lucy Powell (Manchester Central)
  • Margaret Hodge (Barking)
  • Maria Eagle (Garston)
  • Michael Dugher (Barnsley East)
  • Nick Smith (Blaenau Gwent)
  • Pat McFadden (Wolverhampton South East)
  • Phil Wilson (Sedgefield)
  • Ruth Smeeth (Stoke on Trent North)
  • Seema Malhotra (Feltham and Heston)
  • Stella Creasy (Walthamstow)
  • Stephen Doughty (Cardiff South)
  • Stephen Kinnock (Aberavon)
  • Stephen Twigg (West Derby)
  • Steve Reed (Croydon North)
  • Toby Perkins (Chesterfield)
  • Tristram Hunt (Stoke-on-Trent Central)

Legal view in favour of Jeremy Corbyn

I have been friends with Gordon Dangerfield for more than 25 years. In case you don’t know him, Gordon is one of Scotland’s top lawyers and for the past few years has been handling the Tommy Sheridan v Murdoch case.

His brilliant blog piece re-blogged here sets out why his legal opinion is that JC does NOT need nominations to stand as leader. I find his opinion and words refreshing:


By Gordon Dangerfield

As everyone with a functioning brain knows, the Chicken Coup plotters against Jeremy Corbyn — and against democracy — have been coming out with outrageous whopper after whopper ever since the man was elected in a landslide, each one reported faithfully as gospel truth by our utterly corrupt and craven media.

One of the best whoppers, which according to the Herald  will give rise to “intense legal argument”, is that the Labour Party Rules prevent Corbyn from even standing for his own job — the job he was democratically elected to do in a landslide less than a year ago.

Of course, in a functioning democracy, with a media willing to engage in — and intellectually capable of engaging in — independent thought and research, this whopper would be instantly exposed as such.

But then, if we had a functioning democracy, with an independent and competent media, all of the treachery and lies of the Chicken Coup plotters would have been nailed long since.

So let me do here what any journalist capable of actual journalism would have done for you the moment this ridiculous lie was first floated by the plotters.

Let me just quickly show you why the notion of Jeremy Corbyn having to challenge himself for the leadership of the Labour Party is utter bollocks.

You can find the current version of the Labour Party Rules here:

Paragraph 2 of clause II of Chapter 4 of the Rules  deals with the election of the party leader and deputy leader. Part B of paragraph 2 says this:


  1. In the case of a vacancy for leader or deputy leader, each nomination must be supported by 15 per cent of the combined Commons members of the PLP and members of the EPLP.

Nominations not attaining this threshold shall be null and void.

  1. Where there is no vacancy, nominations may be sought by potential challengers each year prior to the annual session of party conference. In this case, any nomination must be supported by 20 per cent of the combined Commons members of the PLP and members of the EPLP.

Nominations not attaining this threshold shall be null and void.

So there are two situations covered by the Rules.

In the first one, the leader has resigned, and there is a vacancy. In that case, every candidate for the leadership needs the support of 15 per cent of the Commons members of Parliament and of the European Parliament  (let’s just call them MPs) before (s)he can stand.

In other words, in the first one, there’s no sitting leader, and no challenger, and every candidate is a nominee of equal standing, each requiring 15 per cent support of MPs.

In the second one, things are very different.

In the second one, there is a sitting leader who has not resigned but who is open to challenge at any time. In that case, every potential challenger to the leader needs the support of 20 per cent of MPs before (s)he can stand.

Yep, that’s right. It’s only the challenger who needs the support.

And the support needed to mount a challenge is higher than in the first case — 20 per cent instead of 15.

The reasons for the differences between the first and second cases are blindingly obvious to anyone capable of actual thought.

The Rules are different in the second case precisely to discourage the inevitable turmoil caused by stupid and malicious challenges to sitting leaders (even ones not elected in a landslide less than a year before).

If you need any evidence for that proposition, well, just read the papers or watch the TV news.

But still, don’t take my word for this.

Scroll back up and check the actual wording of the Rules themselves.

See it?

…potential challengers…

Only a potential challenger to a sitting leader needs the 20 per cent support of MPs to be nominated.

The sitting leader doesn’t need any nomination or support because he’s the one being challenged.

There can only be a challenger where there is a sitting leader in place who is not that challenger and to whom the the requirements for challengers do not, by definition, apply.

That’s precisely the difference between the first and second cases.

So this is what the “intense legal argument” comes down to.

The Chicken Coup plotters and all their media pals say that Jeremy Corbyn  must now challenge Jeremy Corbyn for the job of leader of the Labour Party.     

And if Jeremy Corbyn the challenger can’t muster up enough support to challenge Jeremy Corbyn the leader, then…

Well, what exactly?

It’s all bollocks, pure and simple.

Only our brain-dead and hegemonic media could even repeat it with a straight face.

If the plotters are stupid enough to take their “argument” to court, they’ll be laughed out of it right quick.

When that happens, please remember to have another good laugh at our ridiculous media too.

Socialism meets soccer

Your shoes, they were bought in Boohoos

Your dress is from Taiwan

Your bedding’s from Malaysia

Your ruck sack’s from Amazon

That skirt you wear comes from the Philippines

And the phone you use is a Lumia Grey

It was put together in Chengdu

By a girl making seven Yuan a day


Well, it’s sundown on the Goldstone

West Pier and the Corn Exchange

A train ride to the Amex

Where no-one thinks it’s strange

Thirty-six quid for a football match

You play their game and pay

Sure was a good idea

Until greed got in the way


Well, your dress is made in Suzhou

And all our cars are from Japan

Your silk scarf was bought in Primark

The Fat Face jeans from Pakistan

All the furniture, it says “Made in Brazil”

Where a woman, she slaved for sure

Bringing home 60 pence a day to a family of twelve

You know, that’s a lot of money to her


Well, it’s sundown on the Goldstone

The ABC and the Corn Exchange

A train ride to the Amex

Where no-one thinks it’s strange

Thirty-six quid for a football match

You play their game and pay

Sure was a good idea

Until greed got in the way


You know, capitalism is above the law

Because “It don’t count unless it sells”

When it costs too much to build it at home

You just build it cheaper somewhere else

And the job that you used to have

They gave it to somebody in El Salvador

The Labour Party sold out to Sky TV

And now it’s dying like a dinosaur


Well, it’s sundown on the Goldstone

Moth Records and the Corn Exchange

A train ride to the Amex

Where no-one thinks it’s strange

Thirty-six quid for a football match

You play their game and pay

Sure was a good idea

Until greed got in the way


Democracy doesn’t rule the world

That’s something you need to understand

This world is ruled by bankers

Who use politics as a sleight-of-hand

From Preston Park to King Alfred Baths

That’s a lot of property indeed

And a man’s got to do what he has to do

When he’s got a hungry mouth to feed


Well, it’s sundown on the Goldstone

St Albans Church and the Corn Exchange

A train ride to the Amex

Where no-one thinks it’s strange

Thirty-six quid for a football match

You play their game and pay

Sure was a good idea

Until greed got in the way


(With thanks to Bob Dylan for the original idea)


Love lived here… in a Hove cinema

It’s hard to believe

That this is the place

Where we were so happy all our lives

Now so empty inside

And feeling no pain

Waiting for a hammer, and a big ball and chain

They can tear it all down

And build something new

But only I remember what was here

(Rod Stewart)


WHILE doing a bit of online research for a larger project, I stumbled upon a picture which brought some long forgotten memories tumbling back into my consciousness.

The photo was of an old building – the Gala Bingo Hall in Portland Road, Hove. A gorgeous art deco structure which is now sadly demolished.

Plans to turn the former bingo hall site in Portland Road, Hove, into 35 flats and a doctor’s surgery were approved in October 2010.

The bulldozers moved in, in April 2013 and the new development work was completed last year (2015).

So why should I care?

After all I have never played bingo or had any fascination with bingo halls.

It is something much deeper.

The reason why I care is simple… before the building became a bingo hall it was an amazing cinema – the ABC Capitol.


And that cinema was a key part of my childhood.

Not only does it hold fond memories of my late father taking me to watch blockbuster movies such as Tarzan’s Three Challenges and Robinson Crusoe, but something much more.

From about the age of eight-years I would meet my best friends Mark and Michael Newlove at the end of our road at 9am every Saturday morning. Together, as loud primary school kids we would catch the number 26 bus from Mile Oak – our village tucked away on the South Downs – to a bus stop next to the cinema in downtown Hove.

Then, in a childish rite passed down by older peers, we would cross the road and enter a small joke shop. With a few pence clenched in our sweaty palms we would buy a box of small stink bombs or a cache of itching powder before crossing back to queue at the ABC Capitol.

We were fully fledged, excited and paid-up Minors of the ABC!

With bubbling anticipation we would make our way to our usual seats in the cinema’s upper circle and lose our imaginations for two hours in fun cartoon features and a kids’ adventure movie – either a sci-fi romp or a swashbuckling battle between pirates or medieval knights.

This Saturday ritual was of its time and now quite timeless – the magic of a childhood gone forever.

Oh, the stink bombs and itching powder… they were for throwing over the balcony onto the poor souls below sat in the stalls!

Sadly, according to archive records, the conversion from cinema to bingo hall in the 1980s ripped any soul, or semblance of cinema’s heyday, out of it. The interiors that had once been quite grand, had been replaced by tacky stucco and a suspended ceiling.

And now it is no more.


Will the real Citizen Smith please stand up

There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact – Arthur Conan Doyle

owen smith

Citizen Smith’s Background

Owen Smith, 46, has been the Member of Parliament for Pontypridd since the 2010 General Election.

Mr Smith was born in Morecambe, Lancashire and raised in Barry, South Wales.

Before being elected to Parliament he worked as a radio and television producer for the BBC, as a special adviser for Welsh Secretary Paul Murphy, and as a lobbyist for pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.

In 2006, while still head of policy and government relations for Pfizer, Smith fought the 2006 Blaenau Gwent by-election.

He lost to independent candidate Dai Davies. During the by-election campaign, Smith expressed his support for removing foreign dictators, the private sector playing a supportive role in the NHS, and private finance initiative (PFI) schemes.

Until 2003, Smith says he was an active member of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).

Subsequently he was appointed as the candidate for the Labour safe seat of Pontypridd and won it by a margin of 2,785 votes in the 2010 general election.

Following his election Smith went on to serve as Shadow Welsh Secretary under Ed Miliband from 2012 until 2015, and then as Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary under Jeremy Corbyn from 2015 until he resigned in June 2016.

Smith resigned over concerns about Mr Corbyn’s leadership, saying “It breaks my heart to say I cannot see how he can continue as leader.”

He has been described as being on the ‘soft left’ of the Labour Party, by most tabloid political commentators.

Citizen Smith’s Voting Record

Owen Smith’s voting record since becoming a Labour MP makes very interesting reading. He has a history of ‘flip-flopping’ on key issues. Most noticeably this one time CND activist is now staunch supporter of the Trident nuclear option. And despite defining himself as a strong supporter of the EU Remain campaign, he has in the past voted for an EU referendum.

Thanks to the parliamentary website They Work For You his broader voting on key issues bares closer scrutiny:

Mr Smith has:

  • Voted a mixture of for and against use of UK military forces in combat operations overseas
  • Generally voted for replacing Trident with a new nuclear weapons system
  • Voted a mixture of for and against a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU
  • Consistently voted for strengthening the Military Covenant
  • Voted a mixture of for and against higher taxes on banks
  • Almost always voted against local councils keeping money raised from taxes on business premises in their areas


Citizen Smith’s Leadership Campaign

Owen Smith’s leadership campaign is only 48 hours old, but already it has been hit by innuendo and misinformation.

Even the mainstream media feel compelled to drop hints that Smith is not what he is being promoted as.

The Guardian reported: “The former shadow work and pensions secretary plans to pitch himself as the soft-left option.”

For PR professional Smith, political stance is nothing to do with personal belief, it is to do with brand positioning.

On Channel 4 News, Michael Crick pointed out that the “soft left” Smith had previously given interviews supporting PFI and privatisation in the health service. He also strongly supported Blair’s city academies.

As chief lobbyist for Pfizer, Smith actively pushed for privatisation of NHS services. In one press release at the time Mr Smith says of a Pfizer funded focus group study: “We believe that choice is a good thing and that patients and healthcare professionals should be at the heart of developing the agenda.”

In the footnotes that ‘choice’ was defined:

“The focus groups also explored areas of choice that do not yet exist in the UK – most specifically the use of direct payments and the ability to choose to go directly to a specialist without first having to see the GP.”

That is: direct payments from the public to doctors replacing current NHS services. Smith was promoting straight privatisation.

As Head of Policy and Government Relations for Pfizer, Owen Smith was also directly involved in Pfizer’s funding of right wing Labour Party entryist group Progress. Pfizer gave Progress £53,000. Progress has actively pursued the agenda of PFI and privatisation of NHS services.

Progress is the Blairite power behind the core group of MPs who sought the vote of no confidence in Jeremy Corbyn three weeks ago.

Read more about this shadowy group in Hanging from Traitors’ Gate – Progress: Labour’s right wing Militant.

Owen Smith went to Pfizer from a Labour Party job, while Labour was in government, and there is no doubt that his hiring was an example of the corrupt relationship between New Labour and big business which is why the Blairites are so hated by the public.

It is also beyond any argument that if Pfizer had any doubts about Smith’s willingness to promote the Big Pharma and NHS Privatisation agenda, they would never have hired him.

Smith is also a strong supporter of Trident and assiduously courts the arms industry. He is a regular at defence industry events.

Last month this supposed former CND activist stated that he would vote to renew Trident, saying: “I want a world without nuclear weapons altogether, but I don’t think we hasten that by divesting.”

Perhaps most crucially of all, Owen Smith joined fellow Blarites in abstaining on the Tory welfare benefit cuts.

So there is no evidence whatsoever that Smith is a left winger. There is every evidence that he is another New Labour unprincipled and immoral careerist, adopting a left wing pose that he thinks will win him votes.

This goes against the rumours that this had been his strategy all along, to position himself as the left wing alternative who might just win over the grassroots, who might otherwise vote for Jeremy Corbyn.

John Mann, MP for Bassetlaw since 2001, and a constant critic of Mr Corbyn, tweeted that he was asked if he would support Smith six months ago: “What he thinks is, Wales is a good backdrop, tie up Wales, get the Welsh loyalty and you’ve got a key base, and you’re not London.”

Mann continues:

“It was a fairly simple strategy, but the weakness of it was: who the hell’s Owen Smith?”

He entered parliament as the MP for his home constituency of Pontypridd in 2010, long enough ago not to be disqualified as a novice but recent enough not to have been tarnished by the Blair years and the vote on the Iraq war.

“His allies were elusive; or rather, they were for a day – for 18 hours, all I had was the one source who knew his dad (off the record!) and then suddenly they were everywhere.”

He already has more than 100 nominations, and looks, suddenly, to be in a much stronger position than Eagle, which would account for the rumours cranking up against him – including an accusation of sexism and incompetence.

One of the most damning pieces of evidence of incompetence is that by a former UKIP candidate who had first-hand experience Owen Smith at work:

“Owen Smith made a complete fool of himself with his media pronouncements during the EU elections in Wales and during the referendum. If it’s possible to misread or fail to analyse correctly anything to do with the political world then Owen’s your man,” he says.

“One of the funniest things that I’ve ever witnessed during campaigning for UKIP was at the EU elections in 2014 when Owen masterminded and headed up the Labour Party’s anti UKIP campaign.

“He pitched up on the TV in front of an advertising van in Barry with a massive picture of Nigel Farage and a huge UKIP motif carrying a message slagging off UKIP.

“As I watched, I thought ‘How fantastic, an ad van with a ten foot picture of Nigel Farage and a massive UKIP logo, I’ve never been able to afford one of those in nine years of campaigning for UKIP’.

“And this idiot is going to send this van all over my constituency and Wales in general. Knowing how generally unobservant of the finer details the general public are when glancing at ads how thick must he be? Thanks very much Owen’

“As expected my phone rang off the hook for the next three days with people saying “I’ve just seen your van in Barry. Can you tell me more about UKIP and how can we join”

“UKIP came first in the Vale of Glamorgan and UKIP finished just 4,500 votes behind the giant Labour machine in Wales. Cheers Owen, who needs a campaign with electoral dimwits like you as the opposition,” he added.

  • One final detail… last week Owen Smith promised to hold a second referendum on any Brexit deal if he is elected leader of the Labour Party. He seems to have not realised that if he becomes leader and if Labour wins the General Election in 2020, Brexit will have concluded and Britain will be out of Europe for good!


Song for Jeremy

Go ahead and smear him because he makes you doubt

Because he has denied himself the things you can’t live without

Laugh at him behind his back just like the others do

Remind him of what he could have been when he comes walking through


But he’s loved by all of us

Resent him to the bone

You got something better?

You’ve got a heart of stone


Stop your conversation when he passes on the stairs

Hope he falls upon himself, no-one really cares

Because he can’t be exploited by media moguls anymore

Because he can’t be bribed or bought by the things that you adore


But he’s loved by all of us

Resent him to the bone

You got something better?

You’ve got a heart of stone


When the whip that’s keeping you in line doesn’t make him jump

Say he’s hard-of-hearing, as ridiculous as Donald Trump

Say he’s out of step with reality as you try to test his nerve

Because he doesn’t pay tribute to the Queen that you serve


But he’s loved by all of us

Resent him to the bone

You got something better?

You’ve got a heart of stone


Say that he’s a loser because he uses common sense

Because he doesn’t increase his worth at someone else’s expense

Because he’s not afraid of trying, he embraces others with a smile

Because he doesn’t threaten foreigners, say he’s got no style


But he’s loved by all of us

Resent him to the bone

You got something better?

You’ve got a heart of stone


You can laugh at austerity, you can play your nuclear games

You think that when you rest at last you’ll go back from where you came

But you’ve pocketed your bonuses and you’ve changed since the womb

What happened to the real you, you’ve been captured but by whom?


But he’s loved by all of us

Resent him to the bone

You got something better?

You’ve got a heart of stone


(with thanks to Bob Dylan for the inspiration)

Jeremy Corbyn, Tony Benn and Dennis Skinner share my badge of honour

TO me this means more than any press award I have won, any degree I have worked for and more than any story or book I have ever published.

It is simply a Motion in the House of Commons signed jointly by five of my political heroes.

It stays with me and now as the Blairite knives are turned on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, it becomes even more precious.

It goes back 22 years to when I was working as an unknown reporter on a weekly local newspaper in south west Scotland.

A year earlier in 1993 I began investigating a report into high levels of radiation in the local waters of the Solway Firth.

This in turn led to a huge investigation into the test firing of depleted uranium (DU) artillery shells (the same used by Allied forces in both Gulf Wars) at a nearby MoD proving ground and a link with  local clusters of childhood cancer.

The full story can be read here: Suppression of the Truth: Depleted Uranium – The Deadly Killer.

Then suddenly, and without any warning, in the late Spring of 1994 I was given two press awards for my newspaper investigations – the first was a Judges’ Special Award for Investigative Journalism.

I was gobsmacked!

But a second shock was in store… I was informed that 41 MPs had signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) in the House of Commons praising my investigation (and that of a dear and late colleague at the Sunday Mail) into the link between DU shell firing and the serious risks to health – including cancer.

The EDM read: “That this House congratulates Nic Outterside, chief reporter of the Galloway Gazette, for his special award of the year ‘for his investigative journalism and individual tenacity’, and Angus Macleod of the Sunday Mail, for his ‘talent for disclosing stories in an aggressive and attacking writing style’ in winning the journalist and reporter of the year award in the Scottish Press Awards made on 26th April; notes that both reporters revealed the hidden dangers of depleted uranium shell tests at Ministry of Defence test ranges, and unveiled the links between vapourised depleted uranium dust and the Gulf War or Desert Storm syndrome; believes these Scottish reporters have properly publicised a problem of national and international importance as recognised by investigations in the United States Congress and the United Nations Compensation Committee; and reiterates its call for an urgent public inquiry.”

Some of my all-time political heroes signed that EDM: the late and great Tony Benn MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, the much missed Alan Simpson MP, Ken Livingstone MP and the Beast of Bolsover Dennis Skinner MP.

These names next to mine remain a personal badge of honour. Now 22 years on, they are a vindication of our shared hatred of warfare, nuclear weapons and the military establishment.