Pleased to support RSE day and to have signed the statement signed by the 50 Nottingham Labour city councillors. Have been disappointed with the picket at the Birmingham school, organised by people who are mis-representing what RSE education does at Key Stage 1. Pleased to see the school’s local MP Jess Phillips make a stand there, and standing for “everyone’s equalities”. Lilian Greenwood MP has been active too, taking part in last night’s Parliamentary debate. Assuming if school doesn’t teach things, kids won’t know anything else is a very bad assumption – cast your mind back to some of the nonsense your mates told you when you were kids.
Three claims in particular distress me about the claims being made by MPs leaving the Labour Party to create an Independent Group. 1. that Labour are putting their policy views ahead of the needs of the country; 2. that politics is broken; 3. that politics needs to address the needs of our times, (of the 21st Century), and it doesn’t. – To which – 1. that Labour are putting their policy views ahead of the needs of the country; dressing up differences in vision for the country as betrayal is often cited but is anti-political; and charges like this were made against New Labour when we were in power too; 2. that politics is broken; party politics deciding affairs is the fundamental test by which you assess whether we have a free society; party political allegiances are under strain at the moment, but that’s cos the referendum took away simple party loyalties away from MPs and cos the decision to Leave was ambiguous about how to leave; 3. that politics needs to address the needs of our times, (of the 21st Century), and it doesn’t; except this is another anti-politics charge that has been made for decades, indeed probably from the time of Cock Robin. And my main response to them is that Labour’s policy responses are much stronger responses to the challenges of today. – Polls are reporting lower scores for the Conservatives and for Labour with 10 points or so for the Independent group, to which I’m either surprised or underwhelmed and I’m not sure which. Cos on the one hand, 10 points is a lot and on the other, the SDP had much higher scores when its was launched in 1981. It is perhaps inevitable that social media responses – where people can make statements without being held to account – might be more trill than is warranted, but the trillness Is not not good for us in the Labour Party, as has been shown by – – the Parliamentary Labour Party giving those leaving a round of applause, clearly believing they have been treated badly and that many of them are receiving poor treatment too; – Tom Watson’s statement, with a particular emphasis on Luciana Berger being a victim; – most tellingly, John MacDonnell dropping plan A (Monday – they all need to resign as MPs and stand for fresh elections) and adopting Plan B (Tuesday – the national party needs to listen to the concerns raised) – Barry Gardiner expressing regret at the treatment of Luciana Berger MP by anti-Semites from the front bench. – Because there has been conduct in the party and from outside the party against MPs that has been too brutal. Some of it has been anti-Semitic. A lot of it has been macho. Some of it – e.g. votes of no confidence in their MP by branches using emergency motions and thus not informing all branch members – has been wrong in principle and according to the rules of the Labour Party. So we should acknowledge that we can improve. – If we’d adopted a listening approach – – we could have refrained from saying MPs who have changed parties should resign their seats – 1) only 4 out of the most recent 64 have; 2) we need people in Parliament to be voting on Brexit; 3) people get elected as individuals; and everyone who stands know that they stand on that basis; elected representatives are just that and are not delegates to be withdrawn; and there are no mechanisms yet designed that can make a delegate approach work; – we could have refrained from saying people have made decisions to leave lightly – cos people who have been elected have invested significantly in the Labour Party and for years, and cos they have deep convictions too; indeed the testimonies of roots and life stories was the strongest part of the launch on Monday; – we could have refrained from suggest they are careerist – especially when I think they’ve done something that will end their careers as MPs at the next election; and because people say this of all representatives; it’s actually a dig at the way a free society decides who decides and a way of stopping people think about the issues; – we could have refrained from saying MPs are mandated by the party national manifesto, cos before the Summer of 2015, loads of MPs were congratulated by not standing by the manifestos of Blair and Brown; – we could have refrained from saying a vote for a Labour candidate was a vote for the Labour manifesto; cos whilst a win gives the party the opportunity to implement the manifesto, we certainly don’t say vote for the manifesto or don’t vote for us at all; and in 2017, we actually said, don’t vote for Theresa May, she’s not a good PM, has had a terrible campaign and she des not offer string and stable government. And we could do without those rolling out defences of those who have been anti-Semitic (e.g people haven’t been, or the favourite – “I’ll say what I want when being critical of Israel and no code is going to stop me”); cos the Labour Party has a problem (and it’s annoying cos we are supposed to be the best at being anti-racist). – These analyses look cruel, shrill, out of touch and condoning of very poor bullying and racist behaviour. Having a tin ear rather than listening. – Smarter to celebrate the ambition we have – including re-implementing levies on banks that have cost public services £5,000 million and created the space to campaign against further proposals to cut Corporation tax by 2% at a cost public services £8,000 million.
Help your family and your “group”, return favours, be brave, divide resources fairly and respect other’s properties – can get along with these. But being deferential? to superiors? Nah. Unless they’re trying to get at understanding others’ knowledge and experience and drawing from it. Ditto, address and etiquette. The whole is qualifiable too. Bit of sexism at the top – the mother loves, the father protects. Adopting local conventions can’t be at the expense of universal human rights. – As published via the Daily Telegraph (8th Feb. 2019)
“You need to know next to nothing to propagate Nazi or Soviet Jew-hating propaganda, reframed to fit today’s narrative, which spreads like wildfire, and is dangerous. But you need to know nearly everything in order to combat it.” Rachel Riley, reported in the Jewish Chronicle. Riley put out her opinions on anti-semitism, and had to face some fury. Even someone as politically experienced as Owen Jones, has tried to compete on how much he is a victim of being attacked for standing against anti-Semitism (to which Riley says “I call BS” cos he’d suggested she triggers hostile responses), rather than seek common ground. – I’ve put out a modest support comment for my MP. I’ve had to challenge in comments that suggested I was simple and used a photo of a man that suggested what a simple man might look like, then , whether land sales in The Meadows are legitimate, and now, whether I’m getting a share of land sales. “Not enough writers” said Siouxsie Sioux, and in the world of Facebook, we know why.
Over 100 attended; attendance was higher this year than last; in parts cos some events merged with the one since this Sunday is the 27th and the actual Memorial Day. But perhaps more cos of concern about how the intense exchanges on social media carry on. Meanwhile, remember Heather Heyer.