Notes and Comment Blog


That would be a no then

Jun 29th, 2016 12:24 pm | By

The vote to recall Harney County Judge Steve Grasty failed overwhelmingly, Peter Walker reports on Facebook.

Wham. Go home, Bundyites, you’re drunk.

 



A tram at Shudehill

Jun 28th, 2016 5:30 pm | By

Some guys have been arrested over that racist incident on the Manchester tram.

Police were made aware of alleged racial abuse at around 07:40 BST on a tram travelling towards the city centre after a video was posted online.

Two men, aged 20 and 18 and a 16-year-old boy, were detained on suspicion of affray, Greater Manchester Police said.

The video shows a man on a tram at Shudehill being called “an immigrant” and told “get back to Africa”.

The guy told them they’re young and none too bright.

One of the men continued to shout “get off the tram now”, as he spoke.

One of the group, who were holding beer bottles, then apparently approaches the man and flicks alcohol at him, as a passenger shouted: “There’s a baby there – there’s absolutely no need for that”.

As the youths got off, the victim said to himself: “Seven years in the military,” as other commuters told the three, “You are an absolute disgrace. A disgrace to England”.

Police said the suspects were being held in custody for questioning.

The guy they were shouting at is a lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan. He’s lived in the UK for 18 years; his daughter was born there.



Reality check verdict

Jun 28th, 2016 5:06 pm | By

The BBC looks at the things the Leave campaign said that, as soon as the vote was in, they said were not true. (You might think the short word for that would be “lies.” I couldn’t possibly comment.)

Immigration

The campaign claim: Immigration levels could be controlled if the UK left the EU. This would relieve pressure on public services.

The current claim: Immigration levels can’t be radically reduced by leaving the EU. Fears about immigration did not influence the way people voted.

Reality Check verdict: During the campaign, some Leave campaigners sent a clear message that the referendum was about controlling immigration. Some are now being more nuanced, saying the UK’s decision to leave the EU would not guarantee a significant decrease in immigration levels.

Immigration was the key issue of the EU referendum campaign, and Vote Leave’s focus on it was a key part of their strategy.

So that would be a lie then.

There’s a good deal more. All of it points in the direction of the Leave campaign’s having told whoppers.

Contributions to the EU budget

The campaign claim: We send £350m a week to Brussels, which could be spent on the NHS instead.

The current claim: The claim was a mistake, and we will not be able to spend that much extra on the NHS.

Reality Check verdict: Some of those who campaigned for Leave are now distancing themselves from this claim. Some have gone as far as admitting that it had been a mistake.

But not so far as admitting that it had been a lie. It sure looks like a lie though, given the big slogans on buses and then the “We never!”s on Friday.

The Leave campaign said the UK could eat its cake and still have it. After the election it said that once you eat your cake it’s gone, but they were going to try to persuade the EU to let the UK (or England and Wales) eat its cake and still have it anyway, in defiance of people’s usual disinclination to take possession of digested cake.



There was this guy going roaming around

Jun 28th, 2016 4:42 pm | By

Istanbul’s turn:

A suicide gun and bomb attack on Istanbul’s main airport, one of Europe’s busiest, has killed at lest 32 people and injured 60 more.

Three attackers were involved, with one reportedly firing a Kalashnikov as they targeted an entry point to Ataturk international airport.

The BBC reporter Mark Lowen is stuck in a plane at that airport.

Two South African tourists, Paul and Susie Roos from Cape Town, were at the airport and due to fly home at the time of the explosions.

“We came up from the arrivals to the departures, up the escalator when we heard these shots going off,” Mr Roos told the Associated Press news agency.

“There was this guy going roaming around, he was dressed in black and he had a handgun.”

Don’t they all.

 



More abortion restrictions topple

Jun 28th, 2016 11:40 am | By

Reuters reports:

Reverberations from the U.S. Supreme Court’s major ruling backing abortion rights were felt on Tuesday as the justices rejected bids by Mississippi and Wisconsin to revive restrictions on abortion doctors matching those struck down in Texas on Monday.

The laws in Mississippi and Wisconsin required doctors to have “admitting privileges,” a type of difficult-to-obtain formal affiliation, with a hospital within 30 miles (48 km) of the abortion clinic. Both were put on hold by lower courts.

The Mississippi law would have shut down the only clinic in the state if it had gone into effect.

There’s only one abortion clinic in all of Mississippi. That’s a big state, you know. It’s not big like Montana or New York, but if you need an abortion and the only clinic is hundreds of miles away…it’s big enough.

In addition, Alabama’s attorney general said late on Monday that his state would abandon defense of its own “admitting privileges” requirement for abortion doctors, in light of the Supreme Court’s ruling.

The laws in Texas, Mississippi, Wisconsin and Alabama are among the numerous measures enacted in conservative U.S. states that impose a variety of restrictions on abortion. But the Supreme Court’s ruling on Monday in the Texas case, providing its most stout endorsement of abortion rights since 1992, could imperil a variety of these state laws.

Good. Good good good good. Just accept it, you bastards – women have rights over their own bodies that the putative rights of a fetus cannot overrule.

Jennifer Dalven, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, said the action in Mississippi, Wisconsin and Alabama is just the start of the fallout from Monday’s ruling.

“States have passed more than 1,000 restrictions on a woman’s ability to get an abortion. This means for many women the constitutional right to an abortion is still more theoretical than real and there is much more work to be done to ensure that every woman who needs an abortion can actually get one,” Dalven added.

Let’s do this thing.



The shame spreads

Jun 28th, 2016 11:26 am | By

The Polish Embassy UK yesterday:

We are shocked and deeply concerned by the recent incidents of xenophobic abuse directed against the Polish community and other UK residents of migrant heritage. The Polish Embassy is in contact with relevant institutions, and local police are already investigating the two most widely reported cases in Hammersmith, London, and Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

At the same time, we would like to thank for all the messages of support and solidarity with the Polish community expressed by the British public.

We call on all Polish nationals who fall victim of xenophobic abuse and on all witnesses to report such incidents to local authorities.

Witold Sobków, the Polish Ambassador

Solidarity with our Polish friends.

 



A place to share

Jun 28th, 2016 10:31 am | By

Via Facebook:

This is my local tapas bar in Lewisham. Its windows were smashed at the weekend. I wonder why this has never occurred before but happens now? Shocking.

Spanish and Turkish restaurants in Lewisham had their windows smashed over the weekend. Very widespread reports coming in now.

 



If you want to send a message, use the Royal Mail

Jun 28th, 2016 10:01 am | By

If you want to see David Tennant reading some of those tweets at Donald Trump (though sadly not the Cheeto-faced shitgibbon one), here’s Samantha Bee’s scathing take on Brexit:



Quite extraordinary that he would be asking foreign nationals for money

Jun 28th, 2016 9:23 am | By

Natalie McGarry MP replies to a request for money from a son of Donald Trump.



A sample

Jun 28th, 2016 8:26 am | By

It’s this kind of thing. A tram in Manchester.



A glorified opinion survey

Jun 27th, 2016 4:28 pm | By

David Allen Green points out that the Brexit vote doesn’t automatically mean the UK will leave the EU. A referendum does not invoke Article 50. David Cameron did not invoke Article 50 on Friday. Green thinks that means it may never be invoked at all.

The referendum on EU membership was advisory not mandatory. It was deliberately drafted by Parliament not to have any legal consequences. (The last UK-wide referendum, on the AV voting system, did have such a binding provision, but this time Parliament chose not to include one).

As such, the result of the poll has no more legal standing than the result of a consultation exercise. It was a glorified opinion survey, and that is what Parliament intended it to be.

Just a chance to let off steam then? Too bad so much of the steam is so very polluted.



The v-word

Jun 27th, 2016 2:28 pm | By

And now there’s this:

In the photo: two smiling bright and shiny young people pointing to someone wearing a Tshirt with the slogan

ERADICATE THE RIGHT WING BLAIRITE VERMIN

When was Jo Cox murdered? Ten days ago.



Guest post: Do a good turn daily

Jun 27th, 2016 11:58 am | By

Guest post by Eliana Bookbinder.

At around 6 pm on Sunday June 26th, I was told that a hawk was down along the Moore Trail between Camp Marriott and Camp PMI, two of the camps on the Goshen Scout Reservation. I was off duty, but as head of the Marriott Ecology Area, I went to check on it and saw that it was not a hawk, but rather a juvenile bald eagle, hopping around on the ground covered in flies. The adult eagles were nowhere to be seen.

After about twenty minutes of texting and calls, Matt Anderson, the Director of Camp Marriott, told me just to leave the eagle there and that doing so was not a violation the Scout law (even the helpful, kind, and reverent bits, and the outdoor code to be conservation-minded), and I was not allowed to call a wildlife rehabilitation center or transport it to a wildlife veterinarian. Apparently this was because Mike Jolly, the camp superintendent, wanted to wait until a game warden could be called the next morning. Sadly game wardens don’t work on weekends (although I did try calling them, just in case). I knew that if I left the eagle out overnight that it would at best die of exposure and at worst get eaten alive by raccoons.

I checked the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service website, which recommends in this situation calling a wildlife rehabilitation center. So I disobeyed Matt and called the Wildlife Center of Virginia. The on-call veterinarian told me if I could capture the eagle safely to bring it there as soon as possible. Using towels my brother and I picked up the eagle, put it in a large Tupperware container, and started driving to the Wildlife Center. We knew we were disobeying but neither of us could leave this animal out to die.

About half way to the Wildlife Center, Matt Anderson called me and asked if I’d done it. I said yes, and he told me he might have to fire me, and I said it was worth it.

Once we got to the Wildlife Center a vet took the eagle and started assessing it. Sadly it had to be put down because it had multiple broken bones in its wing.

When we returned to camp Matt called us into his office, along with the assistant camp director. They repeatedly asked us whether we really wanted to work here, which was odd because this is my seventh summer and people don’t usually come back for that many years with a possible herniated disk if they don’t want to work here. Up until today I considered the Camp Marriott staff to be my family and the Goshen Scout Reservation to be my home. Matt also said that if we had been caught we would have endangered the reputation of the BSA and possibly gotten them fined. (Not true.)

This morning after they had us work for several hours, we met with Matt, Phil Barbash (the Goshen Scout Reservation Director), and Mike Jolly. After saying we broke federal law (which we almost certainly did not) Matt fired us for disobeying his orders. While we gathered our stuff Matt told Jeremy that “we are here to cater to the scouts’ needs, not the wildlife.” This also made no sense as we had done this on our own time.

The Boy Scouts of America has a law, an oath, a motto, a slogan, and an outdoor code. In that order, they are:

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

Be prepared.

Do a good turn daily.

As an American, I will do my best to –

  • Be clean in my outdoor manners
  •  Be careful with fire
  • Be considerate in the outdoors, and
  •  Be conservation minded.

Not taking this injured bird to an appropriate medical facility would have violated many parts of these statements. Nor could I disobey my own ethical and moral guidelines and allow a bald eagle, the symbol of our country and the highest rank in Boy Scouts, to die of shock or be eaten alive by predators.



Rewriting the narrative

Jun 27th, 2016 11:02 am | By

Jael Goldfine at the National Women’s Law Center blog asks why it’s being treated as so disreputable to point out victimization.

While anti-victim sentiment has a long, ugly history in the American ethos, the last several years have been characterized by a new form of hostility towards victims. The idea that we are living in a “culture of victimhood” – which glorifies victimhood, encourages hypersensitivity, attention-seeking, and complaint – has become a mainstay within conservative thought, and the viral buzz-phrase has been wielded by liberal and conservative writers alike.

Yes. I’ve been watching that, with mixed feelings and thoughts. I often do see what the critics are getting at; there can be self-indulgent or self-obsessed versions, and that’s not a particularly healthy way to see the world. A decent politics is founded on giving a damn about other people’s problems as well as your own, so too much focus on outrages to the Self is a bad way to go. On the other hand…callous dismissiveness is not helpful either, and we do get to report injustices done to us as well as those done to other people.

Goldfine points out that the Stanford rape victim’s statement is a good place to look for why such things can be necessary.

But, perhaps, as believers in cultural victimhood would posit, by sharing her letter, she’s “playing the victim.”

My question is, why shouldn’t she?  The rape culture in our country and on our campuses makes victims of women. Why is sexual assault survivor bringing attention to her victimhood perceived as playing the victim, and not instead, as exposing the bully?

Because this is exactly what she has done: rewritten the narrative, revealing the bullies in the story, for everyone to see: Turner, who insisted the encounter was consensual; his father, who reduced her rape to a regrettable “20 minutes of action;” their lawyers who attempted to frame her as culpable in her own assault; and Judge Aaron Persky, who decided that the violation of a woman’s bodily autonomy is worth only six months in jail – the same sentence one can receive for stealing a library book.

This is the power of victimhood: to expose unjust power relations in a way that leaves the powers-that-be looking petty and shameful. To wrestle the public and moral narrative away from the dominant, default versions, which so often favor the privileged and powerful. To force confrontation with the violence women suffer in our society, and to disallow for indifference to the injustice of the systems that enable sexual violence, and protect those who commit it.

That also applies to the stories people are telling of encountering racism at the supermarket in the UK right now. We need to know.



The fight is not over

Jun 27th, 2016 10:08 am | By

CFI on the ruling in Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt:

A 2013 Texas law placed onerous and unnecessary restrictions on abortion providers, which would have forced the closing of all but a handful of the state’s clinics, cutting off abortion access to millions of women, particularly minorities and those of low income. The plaintiffs in this case argued that these restrictions impose an undue burden on women’s right to end a pregnancy. The Supreme Court today ruled against the state, preserving constitutionally protected abortion access for the women of Texas.

CFI filed an amicus brief with the Court in January, which was cosigned by dozens of prominent scientists and public intellectuals including Steven Pinker, Carol Tavris, Eugenie Scott, Jill Tarter, Lawrence Krauss, and Richard Dawkins. The brief argued the evidence presented by the state of Texas was based on manufactured, unscientific information, coordinated by known anti-abortion ideologue Vincent Rue, a hyper-partisan with no medical qualifications and who has been cited for ghostwriting manufactured, pseudoscientific testimony for alleged expert witnesses in federal court.

“The zealots behind the Texas law thought they could do an end run around Roe v. Wade by feigning concern for women’s safety and fabricating unscientific testimony,” said Nicholas Little, Legal Director of the Center for Inquiry. “They failed utterly. The fight is not over, and we will continue to work toward the day when the religious right will have to give up on trying to control the lives of women. That will be a good day.”

The ruling is great news – but really it’s just the reversal of a bad law. It would be nice if we could celebrate more actual good news, that’s not just the reversal of bad news.

Still – it is good news though.



An undue burden

Jun 27th, 2016 9:32 am | By

The Supreme Court has struck down Texas’s horrific anti-abortion law.

In a dramatic ruling, the Supreme Court on Monday threw out a Texas abortion access law in a victory to supporters of abortion rights who argued it would have shuttered all but a handful of clinics in the state.

The 5-3 ruling is the most significant decision from the Supreme Court on abortion in two decades and could serve to deter other states from passing so-called “clinic shutdown” laws.

And (I assume) it will also make it possible for clinics forced to close by the law to re-open.

Justice Stephen Breyer wrote the majority opinion, which was joined in full by Kennedy. Breyer wrote that despite arguments that the restrictions were designed to protect women’s health, the reality is that they merely amounted to burdening women who seek abortions.

“There was no significant health-related problem that the new law helped to cure,” Breyer wrote. “We agree with the District Court that the surgical-center requirement, like the admitting-privileges requirement, provides few, if any, health benefits for women, poses a substantial obstacle to women seeking abortions, and constitutes an “undue burden” on their constitutional right to do so.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg joined Breyer’s opinion and wrote a brief concurring opinion, which focused on what she called women in “desperate circumstances.”

“When a State severely limits access to safe and legal procedures, women in desperate circumstances may resort to unlicensed rogue practitioners, faute de mieux, at great risk to their health and safety,” she wrote.

Yeah because guess what, being forced to have a baby you don’t want to have is indeed desperate circumstances. 

The court’s decision has major implications for the future political battles over abortion beyond Texas.

Anti-abortion activists since Roe v. Wade have worked to pass a slew of laws across the country restricting abortions or making them more difficult, like the law struck down in Texas.

But Monday’s ruling strengthened the premise of the 1992 case Planned Parenthood v Casey, sending a message to states that might pass such laws and lower courts that would uphold them that they have a high hurdle to prove they’re constitutional. The Casey ruling said that states could impose restrictions as long as they didn’t impose an undue burden on the woman.

“By clarifying exactly what the ‘undue burden’ test requires, I suspect the majority was hoping to dissuade states like Oklahoma from continuing to pass laws that so directly challenge the central premise of Roe v. Wade — that the Constitution protects a pregnant woman’s right to an abortion in a meaningful percentage of cases,” said Steve Vladeck, CNN contributor and professor of law at American University Washington College of Law.

“In the process, the Court today has called into question everything from categorical bans on abortions to so-called ‘fetal heartbeat’ restrictions, and perhaps plenty of other laws in between,” Vladeck added.

Let’s hope so.



Guest post: Every last one of us here today is the descendant of “immigrants”

Jun 26th, 2016 5:48 pm | By

Originally a comment by Maureen Brian on Whether nationalism is really the fever and liberalism the normal condition.

Sorry, John, but you can’t understand the present without understanding how we got here. The British Archipelago is at the edge of a vast continent which stretches from Japan to the Atlantic coast of Europe. It has a temperate climate and is endowed with a variety of natural resources.

Therefore it is a place that people might want to get to. It is also a place where it would be inevitable that the natural movements of people would have to stop, regroup and develop the technologies to move further because no-one arrived here who was able to walk on water, let alone do it for three thousand miles to get to the next place which was similarly endowed with the means of survival, the Americas.

So, at the end of the last ice age when the whole place had been covered in several kilometres thick of ice, say 10,000 years ago, there were no inhabitants at all. Every last one of us here today is the descendant of “immigrants” the first of whom crossed the land bridge between England and what is now France and the Low Countries to hunt during the summer and later to settle as the climate improved. Among those peoples were the ones who brought us agriculture, which was not developed here, linked us into trade routes across the continents, brought new materials and new technologies.

Some have theorised that all of this may be why we industrialised first but that’s a whole library of books you’d never read so let us move on.

I have no idea where you are on the planet but i’m pretty sure you can’t prove that all your ancestors were within a day’s walk from there even 1,000 years ago. I have evidence of one strand of my ancestry in a particular place, where I don’t live now, dating back to 937 CE, but that is about as far back as anyone can go unless you are part of a royal family in a literate society. I repeat, we are all immigrants. We all descend from species which arose in the Rift Valley of eastern Africa and we all moved about.

You seem to misunderstand the entire system for dealing with the new people arriving. Refugees, a term with a legal definition, and asylum seekers are housed, sometimes in pretty grotty conditions, and get just over £30 a week which is not even subsistence. Now some get their paperwork sorted out quickly but others stay in that limbo for up to 10 years. They hate it but are all agreed that it’s better than being dead.

The sudden arrival of much greater numbers of people seeking work, which almost all find, does of course put stresses and strains on the system. Sometimes their appearance causes a small war e.g.Darfur but this is not inevitable or usual. Besides, it’s what we pay governments to manage, though some do it better than others.

If you have evidence and can give me a link to it of vast numbers of people arriving here, claiming every known benefit and staying that way for years then let me, let us all see it. More common, as it has been for centuries, is that those who were here earlier exploit, underpay and abuse the newcomers.

Among the ones I’ve known personally are a couple of doctors, a high-powered lawyer with a sideline in journalism and a professor of physics. What we should worry about is that so few of them get to work at the level of which they are capable, often because of racial and religious prejudice. We should also worry, surely, about the fact that so many people are displaced now because of continued imperialist wars. The Chilcot Report is due out in a couple of weeks – see that for why many of those moving right now are Iraqis and Syrians.

You sneer at me for seeking to understand what is going on and wave the spectre of the far right at me. I’m glad I have enough grasp of history and of human beings not to be fooled by the appalling guff they talk and to resist the violence which they actively promote. I’m glad I have the sense to know that fascism and its little brothers were never defeated by agreeing with them, something you seem only too willing to do.

There are times when you can’t beat having long conversations with people who have numbers tattooed on their inner arms and veterans of the International Brigades. You’ll have to find another source, though, because those opportunities are almost gone.



It’s just a matter of a few decimal points

Jun 26th, 2016 5:15 pm | By

Two months ago, John Crace at the Guardian reported on a confrontation between a select committee and the campaign director of Vote Leave.

“Can you go back to your seat please?” asked Andrew Tyrie, chair of the Treasury select committee as Dominic Cummings hovered menacingly over his shoulder.

Cummings, Vote Leave’s campaign director, had no intention of going anywhere. Going back to his seat would be a victory for the cesspit of Brussels. Instead he stood over Tyrie, pointing at his phone.

“I’ve got another meeting at four, so I’ll have to be out of here before that,” Cummings insisted, sticking it to the Man.

“I don’t think you’ve got the hang of these proceedings,” Tyrie replied evenly. “We ask the questions and you stay and answer them.”

“I’m just telling you when I’ll be leaving.”

“In that case you’ll be recalled.”

“Fine by me.”

Cummings went back to his chair and stood around, Tyrie again asked him to sit, he did a sulky teenager routine.

Cummings had a reputation to maintain. He hadn’t yet found anyone he couldn’t pick a fight with – any mirror would do – and he didn’t intend to start now.

“Can we talk about some of Vote Leave’s figures?” said Tyrie, once Cummings was finally in place.

As it happened, we couldn’t. We could talk about why the EU was the most corrupt organisation on Earth, we could talk about why Boris Johnson and Michael Gove weren’t actually members of the establishment, we could talk about why everyone in the Treasury and the Bank of England were complete morons, we could talk about all sort of secret threats that secret people were making about secret things that he would have to keep secret, but talking figures wasn’t on the table.

“I don’t think it’s Vote Leave’s job to provide figures,” Cummings announced triumphantly, his eyes swivelling manically.

“But Vote Leave quotes numerous figures on its website,” said Tyrie, “Most of them misleading or inaccurate.”

“Accuracy is for snake-oil pussies,” Cummings hissed under his breath. “And besides, I’ve got a really bad memory.”

“Is it not true that you only provide the costs of the EU and none of the benefits? You make the same mistake as Boris Johnson. You don’t read carefully enough. Wouldn’t it have been useful to have done some of the maths.”

“It’s just a matter of a few decimal points,” Cummings said.

Tyrie blinked. Earlier on he had been prepared to accept he might have been dealing with an idiot savant. It only now dawned on him that he was just dealing with an idiot complete.

And yet Mr A Few Decimal Points got his way.

Makes me want to go all Yes Minister and say civil servants should run everything.



“How did you vote?” said Pooh

Jun 26th, 2016 3:50 pm | By

There was this:

“How did you vote?” said Pooh.

“Leave,” said Piglet.

“I voted remain,” said Pooh.

“Are we still friends?” said Piglet.

“Yes…yes we’re still friends,” said Pooh.

“Good,” said Piglet. “Let’s go and get pissed.”

Jennie Stevenson tweaked it slightly.

“How did you vote?” said Pooh.

“Leave,” said Piglet.

“I voted remain,” said Pooh.

“Are we still friends?” said Piglet.

“Well to be honest, I’m not really sure” said Pooh, uncharacteristically thoughtfully. “It’s a complex issue and not really one that can be reduced to seven lines of text for the purposes of a rather twee meme.

“On the one hand, a belief in unity, that we’re stronger together, and that when we work as a team we both benefit, was one of the main reasons why I voted as I did.

“On the other hand, whilst I appreciate that, just as I did, you chose your vote based on what you thought was for the best, you have precipitated a huge financial collapse, destabilised my country, and threatened the future of my children, and it’s hard for me to forget that, especially within a matter of hours.

“It’s entirely possible that we’re going to end up with a very much depleted Sixty Acre Wood, and while you might have no issue with the other animals who live here, you sided with those who did. As of yesterday, Kanga’s had to go into hiding, Rabbit’s marching to Christopher Robin’s house demanding her immediate repatriation, and Tigger’s had donkey shit shoved through his letterbox. While you might not have wanted that, you legitimised it, and decided that other animals’ lives and security were collateral damage.

“It’s true that you’re still the small, massively overmarketed stuffed animal that you were before, but realistically I’ve seen another side of you that I hadn’t before and it’s going to take me some time to process that.

“And whenever I tried to discuss this with you beforehand, you either accused me of scaremongering or insisted on ignoring me and showing me pictures of cats instead.

“So rather than pressing me for assurances I’m in no position to make right now, I’d appreciate it if you could give me some space and allow me to get off my face on honey and grieve the future that I thought I had, which has been destroyed in the favour of the one that you’ve dragged me into.

“And if you don’t, I’ll post you to Cameron. All right?”

Remember the conclusion of Dorothy Parker’s review of Winnie the Pooh? “Tonstant Weader frowed up.”



Things fall apart

Jun 26th, 2016 11:14 am | By

Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn sacked Hilary Benn in the middle of the night and many Labour MPs have quit the shadow cabinet in response, while the BBC is reporting that Corbyn sabotaged the Remain campaign.

Interesting times.

The latest update from the Guardian:

Writing for the Guardian, Phil Wilson – the chair of the Labour in for Britain group – has called on Jeremy Corbyn to resign, claiming he sabotaged the party’s remain campaign.

[Corbyn] himself issued a note to all MPs on 17 September 2015 telling them that Labour would campaign to remain in the European Union. And yet he decided to go on holiday in the middle of the campaign. He did not visit the Labour heartlands of the north-east and instead raised esoteric issues such as TTIP which had no resonance on the doorstep.

This leads to me to the greatest betrayal and the final straw for many MPs. I have been told and shown evidence by an overwhelming number of unimpeachably neutral Labour remain staff that Corbyn’s office, for which he must take full responsibility, consistently attempted to weaken and sabotage the Labour remain campaign, in contravention of the party’s official position.

Here’s Laura Kuenssberg at the BBC less than an hour ago:

There have been concerns about Jeremy Corbyn’s performance for months and months. But it was his role, or lack of role, in the campaign to keep the UK in the EU, and his sacking of Hilary Benn in the middle of the night, that has given members of the shadow cabinet the final reasons to quit. Several have already gone; as many as half will be gone by the end of the day, I understand.

And documents passed to the BBC suggest Jeremy Corbyn’s office sought to delay and water down the Labour Remain campaign. Sources suggest that they are evidence of “deliberate sabotage”.

One email from the leader’s office suggests that Mr Corbyn’s director of strategy and communications, Seumas Milne, was behind Mr Corbyn’s reluctance to take a prominent role in Labour’s campaign to keep the UK in the EU. One email, discussing one of the leader’s speeches, said it was because of the “hand of Seumas. If he can’t kill it, he will water it down so much to hope nobody notices it”.

Wow. If that’s true…I wonder what they think of themselves now.

A series of messages dating back to December seen by the BBC shows correspondence between the party leader’s office, the Labour Remain campaign and Labour HQ, discussing the European campaign. It shows how a sentence talking about immigration was removed on one occasion and how Mr Milne refused to sign off a letter signed by 200 MPs after it had already been approved.

The documents show concern in Labour HQ and the Labour Remain campaign about Mr Corbyn’s commitment to the campaign – one email says: “What is going on here?” Another email from Labour Remain sources to the leader’s office complains “there is no EU content here – we agreed to have Europe content in it”. Sources say they show the leader’s office was reluctant to give full support to the EU campaign and how difficult it was to get Mr Corbyn to take a prominent role.

What.a.shambles.