Rebecca Long-Bailey, having had a lot of support to be Leader of the Labour Party, is no longer a member of the front bench; and I wonder what principle, or value, RLB thinks she has lost her position for, given even the actor whose interview she celebrated has since retracted a part of the interview that may have added fodder to racism and anti-Semitism?
Keir Starmer chose to make tackling anti-Semitism in the Labour Party his top priority. Rebecca Long-Bailey celebrates an interview given by Maxine Peake, part of which endorses an allegation against Israeli security services, and only the Israeli security services, which means their work was responsible for the murder of George Floyd. A conspiracy theory, a smear. RLB then recognises the claim is not true, but decides she cannot make the political gesture of withdrawing her political support for the article as a whole. So she is stood down. Supporters pile in to support RLB, claiming the right to be critical of Israel and claiming RLB’s dismissal is out of proportion.
Then Maxine Peake disowns the allegation, saying racism and anti-semitism is abhorrent.
And why is it anti-Semitic? Cos some people do want more than it’s another conspiracy theory involving Israel. Best explanation I’ve seen is by Sara Gibbs who says understanding why is hard to unpick and needs knowledge of context. Summarised as “given that the accusation is demonstrably false, given that there is a widespread far-right conspiracy theory that Jews are trying to start a race war & given that there have been multiple incidents of Jews as a collective being blamed for anti-Black racism … the surrounding context makes a conspiracy theory which is … much more likely to be rooted in antisemitic sentiment.”
You will always use your own judgement on all advice issued. There may be issues about whether it is safe to return to work. The Government has now said you should talk to your employer first. The law will support you if you believe the workplace to be unsafe: discuss such issues first with managers, and then staff reps (or your trade union), and then with perhaps health & safety agencies, or public health agencies, including the function run by Nottingham City Council – phone 01159155555. Same applies if your own health, and/or the welfare of friends and family, would be affected by a return to work. There is advice on how you should travel to work. There was some unclarity about the new guidance, so I have updated this part of the advice.
Since local elections generally take place between the 1st and 7th May, it’s been quite a time for my Labour Councillor friends, celebrating their anniversaries as Councillors. And why not? Available every waking hour and seeking to implement a free society with no unjustifiable inequalities to help the many rather than just a few from a council and ward level. On Friday, we were invited to celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day, but the signs are that we’ll be invited to think of in terms of veterans from the armed forces rather recalling the wider efforts of the people, their long hours, low rations and extra duties that put more of them in jeopardy. Through experience of a planned economy and consideration of the previous inequalities in health care, and wealth and employment (especially in the ’30s), people came to want more; and voted for it on 5th July. So on Sunday, 26th July, we can celebrate the 75th anniversary of Clem Attlee and the Labour government coming to power. The day when Britain “won the peace”. And as a friend recently pointed out, we overlook the contribution of Labour to organising the delivery of victory.
So this Sunday, we can celebrate the 80th anniversary of Clem Attlee and Arthur Greenwood joining the government. Viewers of the “Darkest Hour“, broadcast for the first time on BBC tv, can be forgiven for wondering who Clem was, if they didn’t ready know. The dialogue he had was for a debate that Arthur led on, and in which Churchill gave the government case – instead the film showed an empty seat with a hat on (laughable).
Plenty of contact work. But it was a slog. The expenses scandal undermined belief in politics to make a difference. Members felt bruised by the top-down direction on delivering change. Some big blunders like the abolition of the 10p tax rate for reasons that were beyond easily explicable. And the public were being asked to pick up a good part of the tab for banking crisis of 2008. Gordon Brown had a problem in Oldham and kinda gave up on the Tuesday before the election. Yet, there had been so much to celebrate. Oh, and the Conservatives made promises on being pro public services and pro the environment that they didn’t keep.
Lilian Greenwood was to ask a question on council finances. Citing Nottingham City Council’s challenge of £56 million, Boris Johnson said the bill would be met and that Nottingham had already had £19 million.
The first week of May has prompted Facebook friends to celebrate various anniversaries of local election victories. Today is the 20th anniversary of one I am particular fond of, when a late friend came to help me during the day, and towards the end, predicted a win when we’d thought defending a previously unwinnable ward was finally going to catch up with us. – In. the run-up, I’d gone to a by-election in Derbyshire 3 weeks previously, when my good friend Bill Lythgoe stood but lost. It wasn’t a bad defeat but it reminded me of what extra we’d need to do to win. He promised to join me in return on my election day. – Alongside Emma Dewinton, we always had lots to say in Mapperley ward, so produced 3 attractive A4 folded lengthwise elections addresses – one for each part of the ward. Then on election day, my partner Sue ran the biggest polling district committee rooms with the most workers from the GMB office, the late Paul Watts organised Mapperley Park (delivering our majority was the joke for what was perceived to be staunchly Conservative area) and Bill & I worked the east Sherwood part from someone’s empty front room. We had expected defeat, but time and again, we met supporters who said they’d gone to vote, and even met a woman at 8pm wandering around to find the polling station. a moment for me when I thought, may be this was on. – At the city wide count, I got those knowing glances from colleagues that said they knew I was out. We held the then 2 member Mapperley ward in the Nottingham City council elections, when Labour lost 10 seats in the city that day. – And Labour, under Tony Blair, lost one-third of the seats we were defending that day (see the letter from the then city leader, Graham Chapman). Note, the neighbouring Sherwood ward was also held against the odds by Brian Parbutt and Penny Griggs.
Bumped into Lilian Greenwood MP during her daily exercise bike ride and my almost daily exercise walk. If you wonder why there isn’t the usual team photo – 1. requirements of social distancing; 2. I’d misjudged the distance of this particular walk and I was in a bit of a state. Hey ho. Managed to share news from our neighbourhood Police on tackling drug dealers (more arrests this week) and patrolling sites that those seeking drugs are accumulating. Also checked progress on some current less than environmentally friendly practices of a local train company.
I welcome Keir Starmer’s election as Leader of the Labour Party. – Interesting that he won many members that had previously voted for Jezza and a reminder (I think) that they’d found the then alternatives wanting. (What I’ve described as a stale funk.) – Now looking for a bit of focus – reminding people time and again of the most significant weaknesses of the Conservatives. As for policy, it’s all a bit in the air at the moment because of some of the emergency public financing measures. But there will come a time when it is appropriate to say (again) – “And now win the peace“.
The Coronoavirus Covid-19 pandemic is the worst since the 1918 influenza pandemic and is happening in a global age. A worrying time for everyone, cos none of us know of the like. How do we do the best for our family members and friends, some of whom will be very dependent on others for help?
Nottingham City Council’s focus is on help the most vulnerable who need access to food and medication and we are awaiting a list from the NHS of people who need our support the most. We will be prioritising support for these people before moving on to identifying and responding to other needs.
If you would like to donate to help those who are vulnerable please donate to the Robin Hood Fund
How can organisations and community groups help? A spreadsheet has been set up on SharePoint to allow organisations to log their offers of help. Please visit this spreadsheet and fill out the details required or contact NCVS or Nottingham Citizens and ask them to add your organisation to the list:
What should I do if any concerns are raised to me or if I become aware of community tensions? Please report any community tensions to cpintelligence@Nottinghamshire.pnn.police.uk so that these can be monitored and responded to.
Whilst there is plenty to rehearse and discuss about the Government’s policies and actions, how it has differed from the responses of other countries, and indeed may well be rehearsed elsewhere on this web-site or in my Facebook account,
Pleased to speak for Keir Starmer at the Nottingham South meeting and pleased to see my trade union, TSSA, supporting him after a membership ballot. At the Nottingham meeting, his opening supporter explained how Left Keir was, leaving me, as a champion of what New Labour achieved, to wonder if I’d missed a step. But the country’s politics are in a stale funk, and those that followed New Labour in the party are in a stale funk too – we do need a change cos of the errors made (e.g. too close to the City of London, not valuing public ownership enough / requiring outsourcing, not investing in council housing etc.). There are some echoes of that in the current debate – e.g. “being. safe cannot win”, “working people in Red Wall constituencies don’t want charity” etc. of that stale funk. I do regard having a Leader who has done something else, and something important, outside of the role of being a political representative. That as Director of Public Prosecutions, he managed 7,000 people matters. I have confidence that he will be best in handling the challenges and the opportunities that interrogation by the media brings.