Into the gutter with the Daily Mail

Daily Mail

THERE are only a few things in life I really hate, and one of them is the Daily Mail.

It is a poisonous rag which cloaks itself in the clothes of middle class decency while demeaning everything which is good.

And, as a journalist, I find its pretence at factual reporting frightening.

Its so-called news reeks of innuendo and loaded propaganda.

And its agenda is unwavering: preserve Conservative Britain from the rabid threat of Marxism, the Labour Party, Comrade Corbyn, trade unions, the unemployed and working people.

There are many reasons to despise the Daily Mail… its casual attitude towards the truth which it pretends to be both seeking; the way that minorities are ridiculed and blamed; how it randomly chooses which causes to back and which to dump; the way in which “outsiders”, such as recent immigrants are demonised and its gutter trawling for so-called “dirt” on anyone who stands in its way.

My own dealings with the Mail as a journalist were rather more obscure.

I would like to take you back to 1997.

I was at the pinnacle of my career working as the Chief Investigative Reporter for The Scotsman.

A whole world away from the Daily Mail.

In three years, I had broken a series of major exclusive investigations. Among the highlights were the dumping of millions of tons of munitions in the Irish Sea, the deadly legacy of the Dounreay experimental nuclear plant in Northern Scotland and a probable link between pesticides and BSE.

I had also been honoured with two back-to-back awards as Scottish Journalist of the Year and was in line for a third.

I loved my job and the collegiate atmosphere I worked in. I honestly believed I would spend the rest of my working life at North Bridge, with no aspirations other than to continue in my role.

But all that changed when in December 1996, our newspaper was surprisingly bought out by property billionaires and close friends of Margaret Thatcher: the Barclay Brothers.

With the new owners came a new Editor-in-Chief, the infamous Andrew Neil.

There was a corporate intake of breath as we all wondered for the future.

That intake turned into something approaching choking when our much loved editor, Jim Seaton, was placed on ‘gardening leave’ awaiting early retirement and a new editor Martin Clarke was announced.

We all winced… Clarke had trained under Paul Dacre at the Daily Mail and he was well known as a Rottweiler in the newsroom.

Clarke’s editorial demeanour attracted a range of tributes from former colleagues: “vile”, “offensive”, “appalling”, “obsessive”, “childlike” and “foul-mouthed” being among the less flattering.

Like Dacre, whose briefings were called “the vagina monologues” for their reliance on one particular expletive, Clarke went one better.

“He would start by saying, ‘You’re all a fucking disgrace and one of you is going to be fucking sacked this week,” and the terrible thing was, one of us usually was,” said Alexandra Blair, The Times educational correspondent, who worked for him for a year and a half at The Scotsman.

Another reporter who worked under Clarke said: “He once said to me: ‘You’ve got to go and shout at the bastards or they won’t respect you.'”

My stay under Clarke’s editorship was brief… just six months.

I moved on after being told to follow his own loaded agenda, which included one weird instruction to prove that wild deer being pursued by hounds are “no more stressed than a cow in a slaughterhouse”!

The final straw came in a bleak week, which began by Clarke blanking me at a press awards lunch after I had been highly commended as reporter of the year and finished by him standing over me at 10pm on a fourth rewrite of a story, berating my journalism as “fucking bollocks”.

I introduce a clipping of a piece written by Rob Brown in June 1997.

“Senior writers and sub-editors now find themselves being showered with expletives by their new editor Martin Clarke, whose lexicon of abuse is fairly extensive.

“Several executives have resigned in disgust. They included the picture editor Paul Dodds, who quit after being ordered to get better pictures from his “f***in’ monkeys”.

“Also out is associate editor Lesley Riddoch, who suddenly found her articles being repeatedly spiked.

“One of the journalists who has quit in disgust said: “I have worked for some brutal editors in my time, but Martin Clarke behaves like a feudal squire and treats his staff like serfs. Change was certainly needed at The Scotsman, but not this. He is running amok, creating a totally demoralised and demotivated staff.”

“But, put it to Clarke that he is pursuing a monstrous form of macho management and he professes his innocence with almost schoolboyish sense of hurt.

“Clarke, 32, says the complaints are emanating from only a couple of “malcontents”. Some people, he says, are driven by “personal pique because they never got a job they wanted”. Nic Outterside, head of the paper’s investigative unit, left last week. Clarke says the unit was disbanded because it was “a crock of shit”.

“Others, according to Clarke, have become “malcontents” simply because they cannot stand the new pace in the newsroom.

“I demand a greater level of working than perhaps some people are used to here and I can be robust at times, like all editors,” he says.

“Clarke confirms that he drew up a five-and-a-half page document a few weeks after he took charge recommending that a number of senior Scotsman staffers should be removed from their posts. This “operation review” leaked from the editor’s office into the newsroom, where it was seen as a sinister hit list. Clarke admits to some regrets about that.

“Of course it was bloody unfortunate, but you don’t expect to work in a place where such illegal activities take place. It was stolen from my computer. I’ve worked in some pretty rough newspapers, but nowhere where people are that underhand.”

At the time of writing this blog, Clarke is tipped to succeed Paul Dacre as the next editor of the Daily Mail.

And the art of being underhand is surely what the Mail is all about.

 

The tax exile millionaires who fund the Tory Party

Pounds

FOUR filthy-rich tax exiles and hedge fund managers are part of a shadowy cabal of multi-millionaire donors to the Conservative Party.

Their millions are the life blood behind the Tories and directs their fiscal policy to protect the super-rich at the expense of the rest of us.

And their millions are behind Mrs May’s snap General Election campaign.

In the 10 years to November 2016, the Tory Party received a staggering £247,426,722 in personal donations from some of the richest people in the world.

Top of these was a single donation of £2,990,582 in November 2001 from tax exile Lord Irvine Laidlaw.

Hedge fund manager Sir Michael Hintze was a short way behind with a donation of £1,503,500 in March 2014 and fellow hedge fund manager Sir Stanley Fink gave £1,080,500 in February 2009.

But they were all outdone by another tax exile David Rowland whose four single donations in 2009-10 totalled a staggering £3,774,000.

Small wonder that the Tories do not want regulation of the financial sector.

These figures only include those submitted to the Electoral Commission. We have no way of knowing whether these millionaires may or may not have also donated through other associated companies or agencies.

And until the Electoral Commission’s year-end figures are published, we have no way of knowing just how much they have donated this year.

Lord Irvine Laidlaw is a former Conservative member of the House of Lords and has long been one of the largest financial backers of the Tory Party.

Laidlaw was made a life peer as Baron Laidlaw of Rothiemay in 2004.

In 2008 he was described by The Guardian as a “Monaco-based tax exile”.

He was widely criticised in the press for failing to become UK tax resident despite being appointed to the House of Lords.

The BBC said that, in a letter seen by them, Laidlaw “cites a variety of personal reasons” for non-compliance.

Criticism by Baron Dennis Stevenson, chair of the House of Lords Appointments Commission, on assurances given to the Commission by Laidlaw to become a UK tax resident by April 2004, were followed by Laidlaw taking leave of absence from the House of Lords.

In 2010 following the enactment of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010 he stepped down from his seat in the House of Lords to maintain his non-domiciled status and so be able to avoid paying UK residents’ taxes.

Sir Michael Hintze is a British-Australian businessman, steeped in the financial services industry having worked for Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs.

In 1999 he launched his own hedge fund company, CQS and has been cited as one of the highest paid people in the City of London.

In 2013, Hintze’s CQS received awards for the “Best Hedge Fund Manager Overall,” “Best Hedge Fund Manager in Credit,” and “Best Multi-Hedge Fund Manager” at the Financial News Awards for Excellence in Institutional Hedge Fund Management.

In 2006, at the time of the Cash for Peerages allegations Hintze voluntarily revealed he was one of the previously anonymous patrons who had made loans to the Conservative Party.

His known loans and donations to the party total around £4million.

In the five months to September 2011 he donated £31,000, enough to grant him membership of the Conservative Treasurers’ Group, the second highest rung on the party’s donor’s ladder, which allows its members access to senior Conservative figures through a series of lunches, receptions and campaign launches.

In October 2011, it was revealed that Adam Werritty, a close friend and business associate of then Secretary of State for Defence Dr Liam Fox MP, was provided with a free desk by Hintze at CQS’s London base as part of his £29,000 donation to Fox’s charity Atlantic Bridge.

Hintze also supplied a private jet for Fox and Werritty to fly from the United States to London in May 2011.

These disclosures led to the resignation of Liam Fox and the dismissal of Hintze’s then-charity adviser, Oliver Hylton

Sir Stanley Fink is another hedge fund manager and the former CEO and deputy chairman of the Man Group.

He has been described as the “godfather” of the UK hedge fund industry and has been credited with building the Man Group up to its current status as a FTSE 100 company and the largest listed hedge fund company in the world.

In September 2008, he came out of retirement to act as the chief executive of International Standard Asset Management (ISAM) in a partnership with Lord Levy.

In January 2009 he was appointed co-treasurer of the Conservative Party.

On 18 January 2011, he was made a life peer, taking the title of Baron Fink of Northwood.

After the resignation of Peter Cruddas over a cash-for-access controversy, Lord Fink returned to the position of treasurer of the Conservative Party. Fink previously donated £2.62milllion to the Tories.

In February 2015 Fink was accused by Labour leader Ed Miliband as having undertaken “tax avoidance activities”.

He responded by stating that he had indeed avoided tax but stated “everyone does tax avoidance at some level”.

David Rowland is a UK property developer who has made a fortune in banking.

In 2009, Kaupthing Bank, affected by the global liquidity squeeze was divided into two entities, a ‘good, healthy’ bank and a ‘bad’ bank.

David Rowland and his son Jonathan, via their investment company Blackfish Capital, acquired and recapitalized the former and now manage the assets, on behalf of the interbank creditors, of the latter.

In the year before the 2010 General Election, Rowland donated £2.8million to the Conservative Party, making him the party’s major donor.

In 2010 he was announced as being the next Treasurer of the Conservative Party.

But following public criticism of his former status as a tax exile, Rowland resigned before taking the position.

Rowland had lived in Guernsey, but returned to full United Kingdom residency in order to make more donations to the Conservatives.

But these four millionaire donors are just the tip of a much darker side of the financing of the Conservative Party.

The Conservative Party’s close links with the hedge fund industry, coincides with research which shows that around half of the wealthiest fund managers in Britain have given money to the Tory party.

The based on public disclosures, finds that of the 59 wealthiest asset managers, 27 had made a combined £19million in donations to the Conservatives, with £10million flowing into Tory coffers since the 2010 general election alone.

Labour has previously drawn attention to the government’s abolition in 2013 of a stamp duty reserve tax on investment funds, which it described as an effective £145million “hedge fund tax cut”.

Labour claimed the hedge fund loophole had cost the country £100million a year over a five year period, and others have put the figure higher.

A similar analysis in the Financial Times found that the number of City backers for the Tories doubled during the last parliament compared with the period 2005 to 2010.

The FT found that 35% of all party funding comes from eight of the top 20 donors.

The eight are all from a City background and donated £12.2million to the Conservatives.

The Conservative Party’s top 10 funders:

1 Michael Farmer

Hedge fund: RK Capital Management

Worth: £150million

Total donation: £6,556,092

2 Sir Michael Hintze

Hedge fund: CQS

Worth: £1,055million

Total donation: 3,221,027

3 Lord Fink

Hedge fund: ISAM

Worth: £130million

Total donation: £3,172,007

4 Chris Rokos

Hedge fund: Brevan Howard

Worth: £230million

Total donation: £1,344,850

5 Andrew Law

Hedge fund: Caxton Associates

Worth: £350million

Total donation: £1,226,411

6 Sir Paul Ruddock

Hedge fund: Lansdowne Partners

Worth: £300million

Total donation: £818,783

7 David Harding

Hedge fund: Winton Capital

Worth: £750million

Total donation: £593,765

8 Hugh Sloane

Hedge fund: Sloane Robinson

Worth: £185million

Total donation: £533,500

9 Sir John and Peter Beckwith

Hedge fund: RiverCrest Capital

Worth: £350million

Total donation: £520,996

10 Alexander Knaster

Hedge fund: Pamplona Capital Management

Worth: £1,266million

Total donation: £400,000

 

Towns called malice – the legacy of Thatcher

Darton blog

I WAS born into a middle class Tory voting household and to my eternal shame joined the Conservative Party at age 16.

I guess my father’s right wing doctrines influenced my own, and as a teenager and college student I followed those politics quite radically.

At 21 years old, against a left wing university backwash, I was Yorkshire vice-chairman of the Federation of Conservatives Students. I was a radical Tory, brushed shoulders with Michael Portillo, shared a whisky with former PM Ted Heath and fought hard in Thatcher’s election victory of 1979.

That remains the eternal shame of my youth.

But life is a great leveller and educator, and chalk face experiences over 38 years changed all that… it changed me as a person, socially, spiritually and politically.

In the year Thatcher was first elected, a more socially aware friend of mine warned: “There will be war in three years!”

How right she was!

In 1982 we were at war with Argentina over the Falkland Islands, ostensibly to liberate islanders loyal to the British Crown, but in reality because we had discovered huge reserves of oil in the South Atlantic a few years earlier.

And with Thatcher’s ratings in the opinion polls falling, there was a nothing like a bit of jingoism and nationalistic war fervour to boost Tory ratings.

But it was what I discovered years later as a newspaper journalist, which cast the Falklands War in a new light.

Not only was our prized battleship cruiser HMS Sheffield sunk while carrying nuclear depth charges, but against all international treaties to keep the South Atlantic nuclear free, Thatcher had deployed a British nuclear-armed submarine into the area.

The orders were clear: if the Argentines sunk another of our flagships, a pre-emptive nuclear strike on Cordoba was to be considered.

Just think for a minute where that might have led in 1982, at the height of the Cold War. Thatcher was prepared to risk a global Armageddon to secure her political ends.

But it was at home, where my opinions of Thatcher and her politics changed me forever.

My real education began in the early 1980s as a secondary school teacher in the South Yorkshire pit village of Darton – the home of Woolley Colliery, where NUM leader Arthur Scargill began his working life.

I lived in the village for four years among miners and their families, and many of my pupils were the sons and daughters of miners. Most of the boys were destined to become miners, and many of the girls would get jobs in businesses dependent on mining.

I played cricket each weekend with miners. My neighbours were miners. I went to football matches at Oakwell with miners. And I bought my first house from a miner.

The sound of the local pit hooter and the rattle of coal trucks woke me early each morning and the coal dust got into my clothes and my life.

But what struck me then, and has stayed with me ever since, was the sense of community and friendship which imbued every aspect of life in that village.

Life was vibrant!

If one of my charges misbehaved at school, I could be sure his or her parents would know about it, and he or she would be disciplined at home.

If I was ever ill in bed, a neighbour would knock at the door and ask if I needed any groceries or would leave a casserole of stew.

If the snow was deep we would all help clear each-others’ drives or pathways.

If anyone had a party in the street, the whole street would be invited, no exceptions. And those parties were real parties with Yorkshire beer, pies, gravy, chips and puddings.

And if my girlfriend had to walk home late at night, I wouldn’t fear for her safety.

It was a time of the greatest friendship and community I have ever known.

I moved away for misled career aspirations in 1983.

One year later, Thatcher’s brutal decision to crush the trade union movement at any cost, laid waste to this community and countless more like them.

They were never to recover.

For those not familiar with this time and place, watch the BBC TV boxed set Our Friends in the North to gain a little perspective.

All that was wonderful was lost forever due to capitalist greed and Thatcher’s need for unbridled power.

We had a nation divided against itself where the rich got richer while the rest fought for the scraps.

A whole street’s belief in Sunday’s roast beef

Gets dashed against the Co-op

To either cut down on beer or the kids new gear

It’s a big decision in a town called malice.

(Paul Weller)

My politics changed fast.

In 1988 I was in hospital in Cardiff undergoing surgery for a lung cancer.

It was a time of personal trauma, but also the making of new friendships.

Many of these friends were former miners from the South Wales valleys. Most were suffering from lung cancer due to a lifetime working among coal dust.

But it was their tales of how Thatcher crushed the miners’ strike that will always stay with me.

Some blamed Scargill for getting some of the NUM tactics wrong, but it was Thatcher they blamed for the decimation of their lives and families.

I learned how she used MI5 and the Met Police, and every dirty trick imaginable, to tarnish the personal reputations of the striking miners, even down to the conspiratorial murder of a taxi driver.

When I had fully recovered from the cancer in the mid-1990s, I travelled back to my old village near Barnsley to see how things had changed.

What met me was post-apocalyptic.

All vestiges of coal mining had gone, the shops had steal shutters on their windows, litter blew around the main street and pale youths gathered on corners with eyes that seemed devoid of hope.

The ghost of a steam train – echoes down my track

It’s at the moment bound for nowhere –

Just going round and round

Playground kids and creaking swings –

Lost laughter in the breeze

I could go on for hours and I probably will –

But I’d sooner put some joy back

In this town called malice.

(Paul Weller)

But time passes, and surely with two decades of government promises of better lives and Tony Blair’s “Things Can Only Get Better”, that despair I witnessed in 1997, must have changed.

So last weekend I returned to Darton once again, for the first time in 20 years.

In the distance the old pit heads have been replaced by rolling grassland, trees and green parkland.

To a passer-by it is picturesque… but this is nature’s illusion to mask the reality.

On the main A637 a small single business park is all that has replaced a mining industry that employed thousands in Barnsley alone.

And as I strolled round the decaying remains of the village and community I once loved, everywhere I looked brought tears to my eyes.

Long gone was Steve White the butchers, Broadheads the ironmongers, Henrietta’s dress shop, the local newsagents, the greengrocer and the launderette – a community meeting place for the miners’ wives.

Below uncleaned windows and blackened limestone walls they have been replaced with a Chinese takeaway, a tanning studio, an exotic pet store, a charity shop and boarded-up facades.

Cars and buses pass by quickly, rarely stopping on their way to somewhere else.

Only the elderly trundle along the pavement, past shops where there is nothing left to buy; walking small dogs and faces waxing grey and etched in lines of worry.

It reminded me of scenes I also witnessed in Northumberland (where my paternal grandfather and great grandfather were both miners) where three generations of families have been unemployed since 1984.

Their former pit communities have crumbled into decay, with all manner of social problems: derelict housing, rotting schools, drug dependency, street crime, high rates of teenage suicide and homelessness.

The villages remain, with three buses a day to their nearest towns and any chance of a better life, the lasting memory to Thatcher.

Thatcher’s true legacy lies in the coal dust of the communities she destroyed and the lasting fear of nuclear war.

And 38 years of Tory government (including Tony Blair’s New Labour Toryism) has ensured that the decay and legacy continues.

But the reality is there is an alternative.

That is the terrifying truth that the media, government and big business work so hard to conceal.

It the past two years, Jeremy Corbyn has woken us all to that truth and shown that alternative way forward… for the many and not the few.

  • No more forgotten communities
  • No more decay
  • No more unemployment
  • No more homelessness
  • No more scapegoating the poor
  • No more rough sleepers
  • No more fear of war

We can change the future for everyone on 8 June.

This is a journey we can all go on together, all of us. We can include everyone and fear no one.

I am voting Labour.

 

Trolls, bullies and stalkers incorporated

stalker

I HAVE been a published writer and hard-hitting investigative journalist for more than 30 years.

Over those years I have received letters of complaint and criticism when my words have struck a raw nerve – as a journalist it comes with the territory.

And it was always good to shine a light on the criticism and give the reader the right of reply.

But times have changed.

And technology now allows the trolls and stalkers to stay in the darkness.

I was active on the Telecom Gold internet in 1988 – long before the World Wide Web was born. Since the Millennium, I have been a member of almost every social media group imaginable, and for the past four years have written my own blog… the one you are reading now!

As a magazine and newspaper editor and writer, my name is well known; and if you search you will find me.

But internet trolls and weirdos have finally forced me underground – the anonymous keyboard filth who threaten, demean, bully, harass and follow.

Some 13 years ago, I had my first taste of these vermin through a football club website – one guy from Cardiff even threatened to drive 300 miles to “find” me! I laughed it off as football banter… at the time I knew no better.

Then four years ago the reality of these anonymous people hit home.

In May 2013, after I published my personal thoughts about the killers of Private Lee Rigby and the Islamophobia which followed his murder, I feared for my life.

Within an hour of my words hitting social media, I faced scores of threatening messages from far right Britain First and BNP extremists. Some had even hacked my Facebook account and downloaded photos of my children. More than a dozen people (including women) made death threats against me and my family, and one man threatened to find out which school my then 11 year-old son, attended… “it would be easy to find him,” he taunted.

So I closed down all my social media accounts, and by lucky coincidence we moved house and area two weeks later!

In the meantime I suffered a nervous breakdown.

I promised to take extra care with my social media activity in the future and re-entered the world of the internet in September 2013, when I began this blog.

So I wrote, campaigned, exposed and wrote some more.

Then it all came back with a vengeance early in 2016, while I was campaigning for the liberation of Palestine… and this time it was sinister and at the same time disgusting.

Over a number of weeks I was being trolled by Zionist Israelis with private messages and public postings of the most vile paedophile and sexual nature I will not repeat.

I managed to find out the identities of two of these trolls (one 35 year-old man and a 22 year-old woman) both based in Tel Aviv.

I reacted by publicly naming them, blocking them and withdrawing from some social media sites.

Although I must state here, that Facebook was toothless in dealing with these twisted bullies and perverts.

Over the ensuing 15 months I still fell victim to the occasional troll, but I had learned how to deal with them.

How wrong I was!

Three weeks ago, I began a daily writing campaign, through this blog, to support Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party.

My posts were being widely read (one had over 25,000 hits) and shared via Facebook, Twitter and other means.

And I received the occasional disagreeable comment from some readers.

But then it happened…

Three individual weirdos managed to find out my phone number (which is ex-directory) via Facebook and my other social media activity and the calls and text messages began.

I am still hanging up my phone and deleting texts as I write this.

It doesn’t frighten me, but some things in life are more important.

I will always stay true to my political beliefs, which are ingrained deep within me, and will continue to write my blog.

But today, I deleted my Facebook account – which I have maintained for 10 years – and am clearing my social media footprint.

I have had enough!

I am a writer AND a fighter, but family, peace, music and love are much more important.

 

Manifesto: the General Election choice is simple

Choice blog

NEXT month’s General Election is a pivotal moment and will change our country for a generation and beyond.

The choice is simple.

We have the “strong and unstable” Tories who are hell bent on turning our country into a Little Britain for the powerful and rich and let the devil take the hindmost for the rest of us.

Or we have a Jeremy Corbyn led Labour government dedicated to serving and helping the “many and not the few”.

If we, the electorate make the wrong choice, I fear deeply for our collective futures.

For decades our country has been sleep walking into a world of personal greed, arrogance and self-importance with totems such as million pound homes, winner takes all, designer clothes labels and reverence to the aristocracy.

Human kindness, gentleness, peace, society and social justice were jettisoned for a winner takes all mentality and a scapegoating of the homeless, those claiming benefits, the disabled, Muslims, asylum seekers and the poor in general.

Once again, the choice is simple.

We must not again elect a UK government compiled of self-seeking rich Tory elitists who care more about their mansions and banking friends than about people.

And their shopping list for change is truly terrifying.

Over the next few years an unshackled Theresa May Conservative government will:

  • Bungle a Hard Brexit in which we will lose all the social and economic benefits and safeguards we have collectively fought so hard to preserve for the past 45 years.
  • Rip up the Human Rights Act, which underpins our legal system and protects all our basic freedoms and those of persecuted minorities.
  • Spend £200billion on replacing Trident with new nuclear weapons, which at the push of a button could wipe out millions of lives and pollute our planet for tens of thousands of years.
  • Make £12.8billion of cuts to welfare, leaving the poorest, the oldest and the weakest in our society facing the bleakest of futures. In turn this will ensure the need for a food bank in every town and extend child poverty ensuring suffering and a loss of opportunity for millions.
  • Begin a phased end to council housing, thus pushing up rents in the private sector and making families homeless. Once again – as under Thatcher – we are already seeing a surge in rough sleeping and begging.
  • Will enact tougher sanctions on migrants and refugees whether from Europe or beyond.
  • Involve the UK in further illegal wars in the Middle East and trigger an increase in racism and Islamophobia.
  • Back a return of the barbaric blood sports of fox hunting and deer coursing.
  • Extend zero hours contracts, thus massaging the unemployment figures and leaving thousands of the poorest people without any job security.
  • Legislate for more private schools and academies which will imbed the class system even deeper in our society, rather focus on improving our state schooling system.
  • Escalate and accelerate the privatisation of the NHS, so medical care will depend on wealth and power rather than need.
  • Then redraw constituency boundaries so these same corrupt capitalist elitists stay in power for another 20 more years.

But under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is offering a real and radical alternative which gives renewed hope of a better future.

Over the past two years this gentle political firebrand has packed out meetings and hustings the length and breadth of this country with his simple messages of fairness, compassion and change

His messages have caught the hearts and minds of millions.

Now those messages are wrapped up in Labour’s pledges for this General Election and will be spelt out fully in the party’s manifesto, which will be launched next week.

Jeremy Corbyn’s 10 Pledges to Rebuild and Transform Britain are quite simply breath-taking and wonderful:

  1. Full Employment – a publicly-owned National Investment Bank and regional banks will back up £500bn of investment across energy, transport and housing.
  2. A Secure Homes Guarantee – over a million new homes in five years will be built, with at least half a million council homes, through its public investment strategy.
  3. Security at work – people will have stronger employment rights “from day one in a job”, an end to “exploitative zero hours contracts”, repeal the Trade Union Act and the creation of new sectoral collective bargaining rights. Ensure that any employer wishing to recruit labour from abroad does not undercut workers at home – because it causes divisions when people are played off against each other.
  4. A secure NHS and social care – an end to any NHS services being outsourced to private health providers.
  5. A National Education Service – universal childcare to give all children a good start in life, allowing greater sharing of caring responsibilities and removing barriers to women participating in the labour market.
  6. Action to secure our environment – an expansion of green industries, using the National Investment Bank to invest in public and community-owned renewable energy.
  7. Put the public back into our economy – people will have “a real say in their local communities with increased local and regional democracy”.
  8. Cut inequality in income and wealth – the tax system will become “more progressive” so higher earners are “fairly taxed” and people on lower incomes will have their pay boosted through a higher minimum wage of £10 an hour.
  9. Action to secure an equal society – Labour will take action to tackle violence against women and girls, racism and discrimination on the basis of faith, and secure real equality for LGBT and disabled people.
  10. Peace and justice at the heart of foreign policy – human rights and social justice will be built into trade policy, while international treaty obligations on nuclear disarmament will be honoured as it encourages others to do the same.

A brave new world indeed, and those Corbyn led Labour pledges are forever true.

Fairness, compassion and equality can finally overturn the scourge of capitalist greed.

Hope is renewed.

The choice is simple: vote Labour.

 

Labour Party membership surges to new all-time high

Jezwecan

OUR perfectly balanced media <irony> keeps telling us that Labour under Jeremy Corbyn is unelectable and members are leaving the Party in droves.

Oh, how wrong they are!

New figures show party membership is creeping towards 660,000, with more than 50,000 joining since Theresa May called the General Election.

Two months ago our unbiased press <irony> were in celebratory mood, reporting that members were leaving the Labour Party in record numbers, and it was all because Jeremy Corbyn was so unpopular.

The Times, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail and even The Guardian reported in March that 7,000 members had left after Mr Corbyn told MPs to back the Brexit bill

And Labour had lost nearly 26,000 members since last summer.

They claimed that the number of resignations in 2016 was more than the previous six years combined, while more than 15,465 had left since mid-December.

They further claimed that Labour membership was down to a new low at 517,000.

Yet they failed to note that in May 2015, after the last General Election, and before Jeremy Corbyn became Leader, membership was at a mere 200,000!

They also ignored Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, when he explained: “These figures are mostly seasonal or the result of the lapsing of members who joined last summer and were unable to vote in the leadership election.

“But Labour is now the largest party in Western Europe. And that is because people have joined Labour in record numbers under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, which is something other parties can only dream of matching.”

Now, some five weeks later, the silence on this subject by our fevered media is deafening.

Why?

Because the lie has been revealed.

New figures show the Labour Party boasting more than 650,000 members – the highest figure for 40 years.

Double the number of people have joined the Labour Party since the 2015 General Election than are members of the Conservatives.

By contrast, total Tory membership is around 150,000 people, according to the latest available figures, down from over 253,000 during the 2005 leadership contest.

So why aren’t the media reporting this?

Total Full Membership of the Labour Party is now over 490,000 – more than Tony Blair enjoyed at the 1997 election.

Add to this more than 160,000 Registered Supporters and Affiliated Members and the Labour Party now has a membership well in excess of 650,000.

This is the highest party membership figure since 1976.

The membership surge has allowed the party to pay off its £24.5 million debts and abandon its forced move out of Westminster.

Labour’s membership leap has been driven by a surge in joiners during and since the party’s leadership elections in 2015 and 2016.

And despite the dip earlier this year, people are turning to Labour again as the General Election campaign heats up, with 50,000 new membership applications in just three weeks.

The composition of the Labour Party is changing too.

The average age of the party membership fell by 11 years over the last nine months – from 53 to 42 – and more women than men joined.

Jeremy Corbyn hopes this mass membership will provide Labour with an edge over the Conservatives in the General Election.

His campaign team toyed with the idea of calling the membership drive “Make It a Million”, but discarded this on the grounds that it could turn into a hostage to fortune if they fail to reach that target.

This is a far cry from the dim days of 2006, when under Tony Blair’s leadership, warnings were made that Labour Party membership could disappear within seven years if the rate of decline at the time continued.

Jon Cruddas, MP for Dagenham and a former Downing Street aide, said in December 2006 that the party had lost 160,000 members between 2000 and 2006 – the equivalent of one every 20 minutes.

He warned Labour must rally members and re-engage with the electorate through community campaigning, saying: “You need to build it from the bottom up. Activity on the streets, a local presence, continuously, year on year and not just at election times.”

And as recently as February 2015 a similar warning was made that if electoral defeats and a loss of membership continued then Labour’s ‘core’ support would soon be reduced to London and several other big metropolitan areas.

Then, under Ed Miliband’s leadership, they were reduced to hoping that the lost voters would somehow return by May when faced with the prospect of another Tory government.

And of course the rest is history.

Now fast forward to May 2017 and more than 650,000 paid up members and supporters of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party show that Labour’s new direction is more popular than anyone could have imagined.

It appears that the more the media spin against Mr Corbyn’s leadership, the more the general public react by becoming members.

“All the spin and bias has proved to be counterproductive because the more attacks on Jeremy, the more members we recruit,” added John McDonnell.

If the past two years has showed us anything, it is not to trust political pundits or the right wing media – and to believe that another world is possible.

 

Revolution 2017

HOPE BLOG

The time has come

We can take the flak

It belongs to us all

We’ve got to take it back

No more voting for the Eton elite

No more bowing at their polished feet

 

Poverty is a putrid cancer

Sectarianism is obscene

Take home your nukes

They are really not our scene

No more voting for the Eton elite

No more bowing at their polished feet

 

Can you hear it?

Can you smell?

Can you sense it?

Revolution is in the air.

 

It’s time to end the status quo

It’s time to grab the crown

Call an end to the upper chamber

Those in the Lords just look down

No more voting for the Eton elite

No more bowing at their polished feet

 

Take the power from the rich

Give that power to the poor

Don’t give shelter to the bankers

We don’t need them anymore

No more voting for the Eton elite

No more bowing at their polished feet

 

Can you hear it?

Can you smell?

Can you sense it?

Revolution is in the air.

 

Shelter for the homeless

And feed the hungry too

Education will unlock the door

We are many and you are few

No more voting for the Eton elite

No more bowing at their polished feet

 

Time to move as one nation

Time to speak with one voice

We the people demand justice

We now have a real choice

No more voting for the Eton elite

No more bowing at their polished feet

 

Can you hear it?

Can you smell?

Can you sense it?

Revolution is in the air.