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Exclusive: how the Poplar and Limehouse trigger ballot was rigged against Apsana Begum

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 05/01/2024 - 12:05pm in

Allegations of irregularities become concrete example of branch fix that prevented Muslim woman MP being automatically selected to stand again

In 2022, Poplar and Limehouse’s left-wing Muslim woman MP Apsana Begum faced a ‘vicious and misogynistic’ campaign to deselect her that had left campaigners and women’s groups horrified.

The campaign followed a party attempt to remove Begum as the London constituency’s MP by prosecuting her for housing fraud. The stitch-up fell apart when a court threw out the charges brought by allies of her allegedly-abusive ex-husband – forcing Labour party vultures, who had been at the court in anticipation of a guilty verdict to announce a contest to replace her, to slink away disappointed and unable to install a favoured right-winger in the overwhelmingly Labour-voting seat.

After the ‘lawfare’ failed, Begum’s many supporters accused the party of gross abuse of process, of bullying and intimidation, and even of outright rigging in its determination to ‘trigger’ Begum and force her into a selection contest – and Begum was even threatened with ‘serious abuse’ by a relative of her ex.

Now Skwawkbox has received details from local members of one of the selection meetings demonstrating how the trigger vote was rigged – a vote that both exemplifies the stitch-up tactics and would have ensured Begum was selected again automatically had the party reacted and investigated properly. These can now be exposed and they corroborate earlier evidence at the time of the process.

Begum’s trigger ballot process started in May 2022, just after the local council elections – and from the start, locals say it was marred by blatant breaking of party rules.

Only an MP and her supporters are allowed to campaign during the process, and no-one is allowed to campaign as if they were an alternative candidate. Opponents of Begum who supported her being triggered completely ignored these rules. Many complaints were made to the party but were ignored.

The trigger ballot meeting for Lansbury and Poplar – a branch consisting of two wards combined – was the first of the CLP’s votes to be held, on 31st May 2022. A large group of people vocally supporting a vote to trigger Begum gathered outside the hall, telling people to vote for the trigger and giving out slips of paper with marked up dummy ballot papers to guide any unsure of the process, acts completely against party rules. Branch officials told these agitators that what they were doing was completely against the rules, but they refused to stop.

Inside the hall, the meeting was in uproar before it even began, with aggression and abuse by Begum’s opponents, who were even ‘yelling and jumping up and down and waving fists in the faces of branch officers’. Some went as far as openly demanding that Labour’s official protocol for the meeting be abandoned and to go straight to a vote, so they could – in as many words – ‘vote for the trigger and go home!’

At this point, a senior officer of the constituency-wide party (CLP) turned up at the meeting, despite having no official role there – Skwawkbox understands that several CLP officers are close to Begum’s ex-husband and determined to oust her.

As people were being ticked off the eligible voter list to ensure only those entitled to vote took part, several people arrived who were not on the list, fuelling the aggressive and intimidatory atmosphere as they demanded to be let in.

The CLP officer said they would check eligibility through their phone – and insisted that four extra people be allowed into the meeting and given ballot papers. Requests to clarify where this information came from were ignored.

When the vote was taken, the result was 43-43 – meaning that if the four pro-trigger voters were not eligible to vote, the real result would have been a victory for Begum by 43-39. This would have meant Begum won the required ten percent in the CLP section vote – which under Labour’s rules meant she had won the trigger process and would automatically stand again as Labour’s candidate in the next parliamentary election.

Labour ignored a string of complaints about this meeting and dismissed the few it responded to. But when the membership system was finally accessible again (after being out of action because of a hacking attack), branch members were able to confirm that the one extra ‘member’ allowed in by the CLP officer – the only one known personally to other members present – was not eligible to vote, because her membership had been confirmed well before the trigger meeting to have lapsed. There was no way she could have been on the CLP officer’s ‘list’.

The names of the other three names allowed in were written at the time on the master copy of the attendee list – but the CLP observer, also an opponent of Begum – insisted on taking it away with him. But even if they were bona fide members – which they were not because they appeared on no membership list – Begum still won the vote 43-42, and so would have automatically been selected to stand again.

Members have lodged multiple complaints about this abuse of process but have been ignored. Even if the other branch votes were held in perfect propriety – which goes against reports of the way they were conducted – the real result in Lansbury and Poplar was enough to select Begum uncontested.

Labour has been accused repeatedly, up and down the country, of rigging trigger and selection processes, sometimes successfully – for example in nearby Ilford South to remove incumbent Sam Tarry – and occasionally not, as when Liverpool West Derby MP Ian Byrne was able to fight off repeated attempts.

So bad has the party’s conduct been that even journalist Michael Crick – no left-winger – who runs the ‘tomorrowsmps’ Twitter account detailing the latest selection news has publicly voiced his own concerns about Labour’s rigging and abuse of its selection processes. Now the mechanism – or at least one of them – for rigging in Poplar and Limehouse to oust a popular left-wing MP has been laid bare by the evidence and the testimonies of locals.

If you wish to republish this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.

Over a Million Free Meals Delivered Over Christmas in London as Sadiq Khan Demands More Government Support This Winter

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 05/01/2024 - 4:04am in

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An estimated 1.3 million meals were delivered to struggling families across London over the Christmas break, as part of a £3.5m ‘Free Holiday Meals’ programme funded by City Hall. 

The rollout means that more than 10.1m meals have now been provided to Londoners during school holidays and weekends since April last year, according to GLA figures shared with Byline Times. But the Mayor is calling for more support from Government to continue to provide similar schemes.

The holiday meals programme is coordinated by the non-profit Felix Project, and the Mayor’s Fund for London, as part of an emergency funding programme.

Families across the capital received the free meals at a range of school holiday activities and via charities, amid continued household pressures from rising energy bills, rent and food costs. 

The meals are in addition to term-time funding for up to 287,000 primary school children at London’s state primary schools. London primary pupils now get free school meals as part of a £130m scheme over the current school year. 

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The mayor’s office says it is spending another £80m to help those struggling with the rising cost-of-living to tackle fuel poverty, food insecurity, and support renters and those on benefits. 

London mayor Sadiq Khan told Byline Times: “Winter can be incredibly tough for families who are already struggling due to the cost-of-living crisis, which is why I’m proud of the difference that our Free Holiday Meals programme is making for Londoners. It is shocking that in a city as prosperous as London so many people have to rely on the work of charities to feed themselves and their families. 

“We desperately need the Government to step forward and increase the amount of support available to families and make sure no child goes hungry this winter, as we build a fairer and better London for all.”

Asked whether Sir Keir Starmer should provide funding for universal free school meals nationally, a spokesman for Sadiq Khan said: “The Mayor has found money in his budget to help fund holiday meals for struggling Londoners in a way that works for the capital. The Mayor completely understands that given the dreadful economic mess the Tories have created, the Labour Party can only outline its costed national policy offer in this area nearer to the election.” The election is now expected to be this autumn. 

Rachel Ledwith, Head of Community Engagement at The Felix Project said the free meals over Christmas were “vital” in helping to relieve some families’ budget pressures. 

The scheme is funded through the Mayor’s Fund for London, a charity funded by City Hall which provides free healthy meals to low-income families and young people through over 300 community partners and 80 so-called hubs, where food is provided alongside a range of school holiday activities. 

Conservative London Mayoral Candidate Susan Hall Backs Fringe Right Wing ‘Restore Trust’ that Challenges Criticism of Empire

The endorsement thrusts her campaign into the centre of a debate about empire in what is a proudly multicultural city

Josiah Mortimer

The Felix Project delivers surplus food from a range of suppliers to nearly 1,000 charity organisations and schools that support those in need.

A further £425,000 is being provided to The Felix Project to expand its capacity and allow it to deliver food on Saturdays, as well as during the week. 

The move will enable around 100 new charitable organisations on their waiting list to be supplied with food, and help The Felix Project deliver an additional 20 tonnes of food every weekend, which will create around 2.5-3m meals over the next year.

The SNP in Scotland has also introduced free school meals for those in primary school years 1-5. Many parts of Wales under the Labour-Plaid Cymru administration now offer universal free school meals to all primary school pupils, while the Government there plans to roll it out across all of Wales by September this year. 

Many low-income children are already entitled to free school meals in England. However, Labour mayors including Khan and Manchester’s Andy Burnham have been pushing Sir Keir Starmer to back universal free school meals for all primary school children, on the basis that it would reduce stigma and encourage learning.  

Last June, a Labour spokesperson rebuffed the calls, telling The Times: “This is not Labour policy and we have no plans to implement it.” As LabourList reported, officials were said to view other measures as “more effective” when it comes to cutting child poverty.

Meanwhile, a key London Assembly committee has asked the Mayor of London to confirm “as soon as possible” whether he intends to extend his Free School Meals programme for another academic year. 

Early Signs Show Sadiq Khan’s Expanded Ultra Low Emissions Zone is Working – and the Culture Warriors Have Gone Quiet

It was meant to be a disaster, but the doomsayers appear to be in retreat.

Josiah Mortimer

Last month, the London Assembly’s budget committee questioned whether the Mayor's universal free school meal programme will be continued for 2024-25 and “whether there are plans to extend its scope,” for example to secondary schools.

The Mayor’s Deputy Chief of Staff told Assembly Members a decision had not been made on the future of the programme, explaining “the Mayor thinks this is a success, he would like to do it, but we have no idea yet whether we have the money to do so”.

The committee argued that implementing the programme has taken major work from boroughs and schools, and they need early notice to help with planning. Members wrote to the Mayor urging him to confirm his intention for the future of the free school meals programme as early as possible.

Sadiq Khan is also calling for policy changes from Westminster to tackle the cost of living crisis, including funding an “energy lifeline tariff” - a baseline amount of free energy for the poorest households before charges begin, as well as an end to forced energy disconnections or forced prepayment meter installations by energy suppliers.

The mayor has also demanded that City Hall gets the power to freeze private rents in London, which he says could save renters £3,000 over two years. The Government has rejected the suggestion and Keir Starmer's party does not back rent controls nationally.

Mayor Khan also backs lifting the benefit cap, removing the controversial two child limit, and suspending ‘no recourse to public funds’ conditions, further policies which put him at odds with Labour nationally.

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Latest Conservative Misinformation Warning as Anti-Sadiq Khan Camp Accused of ‘Gutter Politics’ Over Murder Stats

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 04/01/2024 - 1:56am in

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A local Conservative association has been accused of “gutter politics” after falsely claiming that the murder rate was higher in London than in New York ahead of this May’s London mayoral election. 

The Tottenham Conservative Association put out a graphic on social media claiming the “London murder rate [is] higher than New York”, with a picture of Labour mayor Sadiq Khan.

The post, which approvingly included an image of disgraced Tory ex-PM and mayor Boris Johnson, claimed: “Knife crime in London is rising at its fastest rate in five years, with more than 40 incidents reported to the police every day. Gang warfare, street robbery & gun crime are all on the rise as well. End the Khan Crime Wave; #VoteConservative in May 2024.” 

Twitter/X readers added a ‘Community Note’ providing important context: “London's murder rate in 2023 was MUCH lower than New York's. London's 2023 murder rate was 12.7 per million. New York's 2023 murder rate was 44.9 (8.46 million people with 380 murders).” The misleading post remains live as of lunchtime Wednesday (3 January).

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Gavin Hales, a senior criminology research fellow at London Metropolitan University and senior associate fellow at the Police Foundation replied simply: “You're making stuff up.”

He added verified sources, noting: "London murder rate higher than New York"? London 2023: 104 murders, population c. 8.8m = 12 per million. NYC 2023: 380 murders, pop 8.3m = 45.6 [per million people]”.  

One reader replied: “I promise I will vote Tory in the mayoral and general elections this year if you can back up that statement about murder rates in London vs NYC with reliable data. If you cannot do so then you just have to apologise.”

Another added: “Imagine using the disgraced former PM as an advert for anything…who [wasted] £55 million of taxpayers cash on a garden bridge.” A garden bridge which never materialised. 

Other branded crime rises as a result of national Conservative austerity: “It is a Tory crime wave caused by enormous Tory cuts,” wrote activist MartinRemains. 

It follows a now-deleted post from Tottenham Conservatives last November showing Keir Starmer with speech bubbles saying: “Greece: here are the marbles. Argentina: here are the Falklands. Rotherham: here are our children” - referring to the sex abuse ring in the Yorkshire town operating in the early 2000s.

Rob Blackie, Lib Dem London mayoral candidate, told Byline Times: “London's Conservatives are getting weirder and weirder. 

“The Conservatives are more interested in dividing London than uniting it, chasing headlines rather than providing serious solutions. Their Mayoral candidate likes Brexit, Trump and tweets that praise far right Enoch Powell. And the Tottenham Conservatives appear to have completely lost the plot.

“We need a Mayoral election that holds Sadiq Khan to account without descending into the gutter. I am determined to provide that choice.” 

Early Signs Show Sadiq Khan’s Expanded Ultra Low Emissions Zone is Working – and the Culture Warriors Have Gone Quiet

It was meant to be a disaster, but the doomsayers appear to be in retreat.

Josiah Mortimer

Lib Dem campaigner Justin Hinchcliffe branded the Rotherham post “appalling politics.” 

A source close to Sadiq Khan accepted there is a problem with youth violence in London, and elsewhere, but said “real progress” has been made on homicides.

They noted that the 104 homicides in 2023 is the lowest number for any year since Khan took office. There were 109 homicides in the full calendar year 2022, 153 in 2019 and 117 in 2016.

Homicides committed using a knife or other sharp instrument (68) and homicides committed using a firearm (8) are both lower than any year since 2016. Burglary is down 19 per cent and overall gun crime down 20 per cent since Sadiq became Mayor, the source added. 

Overall, the rate of violence against the person offences per 1,000 of the population is lower in London (27.74) than the average across England and Wales (35.26) and considerably lower than most similar forces nationally (51.89) according to the latest ONS crime stats for the twelve months to June 2023.

The affair follows Rishi Sunak coming under fire this Tuesday (2nd January) for falsely claiming the Government had “cleared” the “asylum backlog” of 112,000 long-standing unresolved claims. In fact, 4,500 historic “complex cases” continue to lack a decision, while the number of current asylum claims that are unresolved sits at nearly 100,000. 

Conservative London Mayoral Candidate Susan Hall Backs Fringe Right Wing ‘Restore Trust’ that Challenges Criticism of Empire

The endorsement thrusts her campaign into the centre of a debate about empire in what is a proudly multicultural city

Josiah Mortimer

 Embarrassingly, Sunak's X post was publicly corrected with a note stating the backlog remains, accompanied by a BBC report link disproving his claim. 

Refugee law specialist Daniel Sohege wrote: “Government's claims about "clearing the backlog" aren't just "misleading", they're an outright lie. They're so busy chasing headlines they are putting vulnerable people at even more risk, and gearing up for countless legal battles.”

Even Spectator editor Fraser Nelson branded it a “false claim”. 

In December, Tory MP and former Anti-Corruption Champion John Penrose told PoliticsHome it will be a “huge challenge” to tackle election misinformation this year, adding: “If the price of freedom is eternal vigilance, then this is an arms race".  

Tottenham Conservatives and CCHQ have been contacted for comment.

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Josiah Mortimer also writes the On the Ground column, exclusive to the print edition of Byline Times.

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Exclusive: smeared ex-Lab member Siddiqi ‘planning to stand vs Streeting’

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 01/01/2024 - 2:20am in

Victim of repeated smears and even a discredited prosecution is planning a bid at the next Ilford North parliamentary election, say locals

Syed Siddiqi, the former Labour member repeatedly abused, harassed and smeared by right-wing Labour figures in Ilford in north London, is planning to stand against right-winger Wes Streeting in the next Ilford North parliamentary election, according to local sources.

Siddiqi has faced constant harassment by the party right, including a failed attempt to prosecute him that ended in all charges being dropped – reminiscent of the disgraced hatchet job against neighbouring left-wing Muslim MP Apsana Begum.

The party’s hounding of Siddiqi even went as low as suspending him for more than three years after he was the victim of a foul, late-night Islamophobic tirade by a local right-winger, despite the whole incident being recorded. His abuser was quickly reinstated so that he could stand for Labour in local elections.

Siddiqi was revealed to have been targeted by Streeting’s office and others, by the leaked party report into abuse by the party right:

Labour has a long and appalling record of Islamophobia and of protecting abusive right-wingers. Local council leader Jas Athwal was selected as the party’s candidate in Ilford South, after complaints of ‘serious sexual assault’ were dismissed by a committee of Labour national executive members – against the advice of the party’s barrister. He won the selection vote when six hundred postal votes ‘turned up’ late in proceedings, while supporters of his opponent, incumbent MP Sam Tarry, were denied entry to the selection meeting. Labour general secretary David Evans dismissed the evidence as ‘irrelevant to the result.

The party has reason to fear the challenge. Last year, Lutfur Rahman ousted Labour to win the executive mayor’s position in nearby Tower Hamlets last year and voters there kicked out Labour at the last local elections in a landslide for Rahman’s new Aspire party. In neighbouring East End borough Newham, Newham Independents leader Mehmood Mirza hammered an imposed Labour candidate in May – and his colleague Sophia Naqvi then trounced Labour in November’s by-election in Newham Plaistow North.

With discontent spreading in the area and Black councillor Shanell Johnson quitting Labour in Redbridge, which covers both Ilford seats, in disgust at the local and national party’s conduct, few would be surprised to see similar developments threatening Labour’s complacency there too; particularly with an incumbent MP as dislikeable as Streeting, Starmer’s pro-privatisation health spokesman who has accepted donations from private health interests and who triggered protests outside his office – and a boycott by students – for his part in Starmer’s support for Israeli war crimes.

In 2018, Streeting also launched a ‘disgraceful’ and ‘disgusting’ tirade in the face of Diane Abbott, Britain’s first Black woman MP, leaving Abbott ‘shell-shocked’. If he stands, Syed Siddiqi can expect considerable support from outraged former Labour supporters around the country who would be delighted to see Streeting ejected.

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Redbridge councillor quits Labour with blast at local and national leaders

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 31/12/2023 - 6:31am in

Shannell Johnson leaves party in disgust at local conduct and threats – and national complicity in Gaza slaughter

Redbridge councillor Shannell Johnson

Labour has lost yet another councillor over the party’s Stalinism to its members and representatives of principle, its lack of meaningful action for good and its complicity in Israel’s genocide in Gaza – and its threats to try to force her to toe the Starmeroid line.

Cllr Shannell Johnson has resigned from the party with a withering blast at local and national ‘leadership’ and will continue to serve as an independent. She wrote to right-wing Labour council leader Jas Athwal with concerns that included accusing the leadership of fostering a ‘toxic’, ‘ego-centric’ culture of ‘gaslighting’:

Dear Cllr Athwal,

I trust this message finds you in good health following the festive season.

It is with a heavy heart and a profound sense of duty that I write to inform you of my decision to resign from the Labour Party. This decision comes after much reflection, on the time spent with the Redbridge Labour Group, on the National issues I feel strongly about, and on the disconnect between the party’s declared values and its actions. Particularly within the Redbridge Labour Group, I have witnessed and been subjected to things that make it hard for me to sleep at night.

Over the past 18 months, I have observed troubling trends within Redbridge Council Labour Group. The atmosphere has grown increasingly toxic, marked by a lack of openness and a discouraging environment for critical discussion. This shift towards unquestioning compliance has hindered effective governance and oversight, leaving us ill-prepared to address key challenges. Cabinet members put in place via email directions with everyone too fearful to question the lack of a democratic process.

However, my concerns extend beyond local issues. The party’s refusal to call for a ceasefire in Gaza is deeply troubling, in the last 82 days the death toll is now more than 30,000. This stance contradicts our professed commitment to peace and justice on an international scale, raising questions about our consistency and our moral compass.

Equally concerning is the Labour leadership’s failure to fully implement the recommendations of the Forde Report. This lack of action speaks volumes about our commitment to accountability, transparency, and internal reform. It undermines the trust and credibility we seek to build, both within our ranks and with the public.

Despite Labour’s strong position in the polls, the arrogance I have encountered, particularly in the Redbridge leadership, is disconcerting. The upcoming election represents a chance for a fresh start and a renewed commitment to listening. However, the current trend of negative campaigning directly contradicts my values.

The closure of Wanstead Youth Centre and displacement of services for under-represented groups exemplifies the leadership’s short-sighted decision-making. This centre played a crucial role in our community, and its closure, coupled with the leadership’s failure to engage with concerned stakeholders, is a misstep that cannot be overlooked.

I am also haunted by a specific incident where I felt my position was threatened for simply questioning the status quo. This event is emblematic of a deeper issue, as the example set is followed closely within our officer group. Characterised by manipulation, an ego-centric leadership style, and a reluctance to engage in genuine dialogue. Another example was two direct threats in the chamber regarding a planning application, unchallenged in the moment and even encouraged, representing a concerning overstep of advisory roles.

As if these examples were not enough, being chastised for daring to raise concerns about knife crime and request its inclusion in our policy development was a defining moment for me. It is here that I choose to stand my ground, guided by my values and integrity.

My attempts to address pressing issues, such as racism and public safety, were met with delays and inadequate responses. The leadership’s dismissive approach to these critical problems left me deeply disillusioned.

The culture of silos, cliques, and gaslighting within the group contradicts our stated values of teamwork and open dialogue. I have personally felt excluded and unsafe in committee settings, undermining the very purpose of my involvement.

The financial practices within the group have further compounded my disillusionment. My reluctance to continue financially supporting an organisation that lacks transparency and dismisses legitimate inquiries has solidified my decision.

After discussing with colleagues across London, it’s clear that the problems in Redbridge are symptomatic of a broader issue within the party. However, here in Redbridge Council it’s in overdrive as this top-down leadership approach prioritises personal political ambitions over collective progress and democratic principles that should underpin our actions.

In stepping down as a Labour member, I can act independently and I aim to uphold my commitment to questioning and exercising my rights without the constraints of the current team dynamic. This decision is not easy, as there are some very nice people I have grown to like and admire. I fully understand that my decision may provoke a range of reactions, so if you have read this far, I hold no ill feelings towards anyone. Quite the opposite, I wish everyone well on their individual journeys and genuinely wish you all the best for 2024 and beyond.

The world needs love, compassion for all humanity, and care for fellow citizens. My conscience dictates that I must stand firm in my principles of peace and love. So thank you for the experiences and the lessons learned.

Athwal, who is close to the appalling right-wing local MP Wes Streeting, is Labour’s candidate in the neighbouring Ilford South seat. He was selected after complaints of ‘serious sexual assault’ were dismissed by a committee of Labour national executive members – against the advice of the party’s barrister – and won the selection vote when six hundred postal votes ‘turned up’ late in proceedings, while supporters of his opponent, incumbent MP Sam Tarry, were denied entry to the selection meeting. Labour general secretary David Evans dismissed the evidence as ‘irrelevant to the result.

Labour under Keir Starmer has a record of promoting and protecting candidates despite grave allegations – and has been repeatedly accused of anti-Black racism, including blocking Black candidates from standing, anti-Gypsy racism and Islamophobia.

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Unite activists sign letter to Graham after ban on union banners at Palestine demos

Alleged management ban on exec members marching under Unite banners leads to angry letter denouncing lack of action and solidarity with slaughtered Gazans

Unite banners at a Manchester Gaza demo – but executive members say they have been banned from formal representation

Unite members and activists have issued an outraged letter to union general secretary Sharon Graham, after members of the elected executive were told not to attend, under a Unite banner, demonstrations against Israel’s genocide in Gaza.

The letter reads:

Dear Sharon Graham,

As a result of our letters of 30 October and 1 November and other representations, including from London and Eastern Region, you finally agreed, after nearly 4 weeks of an ongoing genocide by Israel, to issue a statement on November 3 calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

The statement was however pitiably weak. There was no mention of genocide or ethnic cleansing. There was no mention of the war crimes perpetrated by Israel – the bombing of hospitals, the targeting and murder of journalists, academics and doctors to say nothing of the bombing of residential areas or the murder of children, which now stands at over 8,000.

There was no mention of the fact that Israel has imposed a food, water and fuel blockade on the Gaza strip resulting in starvation according to the United Nations. Collective punishment of a civilian population is a egregious breach of international law yet the statement treats the Palestinians and the Israeli state as equally responsible.

It is not Hamas which possesses an air force but Israel. It is the Israeli state which is carrying out the carpet bombing of Gaza with the intent of forcing Palestinians out altogether.

The statement treats the genocidal attack on the people of Gaza as equivalent to the break-out from the world’s largest open air prison on October 7. Israel has occupied the Gaza Strip for 56 years imposing a suffocating siege on it since 2007.

This report from Vatican News of 16 December gives just one example of Israel’s war crimes:

‘Israelis have opened fire on Gaza’s Christians. Following heavy bombardment overnight of the area around Holy Family Latin parish in Gaza City, dozens are reported dead… and reports continue to arrive that shooting by Israeli snipers continues during these hours. A statement released by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem confirmed that an Israeli sniper murdered two Christian women inside the Holy Family Parish where the majority of Christian families have taken refuge since the start of the war.’

An even more horrifying massacre took place on 17 December. Al Jazeera reported that Israeli bulldozers have crushed Palestinians who were taking shelter in tents outside Kamal Adwan Hospital.

Dozens of Palestinians are reported to have been buried alive. These are Nazi-style massacres and yet you have said nothing and done nothing since issuing your statement. You were happy to wave the Ukrainian flag but you haven’t waved the Palestinian flag or expressed any sympathy with the thousands of murdered Palestinian civilians, not least children.

UN Secretary General António Guterres accepted that there was a context to October 7. Many Israeli civilians died at the hands of the Israeli military. See Israeli forces shot their own civilians, kibbutz survivor says.

Unite at its 2023 Policy Conference passed motions supporting Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions and affirmed that Israel is practising the crime of apartheid. That should have informed Unite’s statement.

The statement treats one of the world’s most powerful militaries and the resistance of the Palestinians as equal. Your claim that Israel’s goal is to eliminate Hamas is untrue. Why bomb homes, schools and ambulances if this was the case? Were the dead children also Hamas ‘terrorists’?

The statement says nothing about what Unite intends to do. You have done nothing to publicise all the previous national demonstrations. Are you going to ignore the one on January 13 too? There has been no national Unite presence on the marches to date.

We demand that you publicise all future demonstration, that you provide the resources necessary for Unite members to attend, that Unite nationally is present on the march together with its banner and that Unite has a speaker at the rally.

A leaked Israeli intelligence document makes it clear that Israel’s intention is to repeat the Nakba in 1948 when ¾ million Palestinians were expelled.

If Israel succeeds this will be a prelude to ethnic cleansing on the West Bank where there has been a reign of terror in the past 6 months. Over 250 people have died since October 7. Vast areas of Area C have been ‘cleansed’ as Israeli settlers and the army attack farmers.None of this is recognised in your statement. Netanyahu has compared the Palestinians to ‘Amalek’ whom God instructed the Israelites to exterminate yet Unite’s statement ignores this. Open calls in Israel for the extermination of the Palestinians are being made and Israel’s army is doing just that.

By blocking fuel, babies on incubators and people on dialysis machines have already died.

It is time for Unite to show that the situation in Gaza is an urgent one and to mobilise its members. We give the Labour Party over £1m a year. We should be demanding that Keir Starmer makes way for someone who is not a ‘Zionist without qualification’. At the moment he is nothing more than Sunak’s echo chamber.

Yours sincerely

Sharon Graham had already infuriated supporters of Palestinian rights by remaining silent for many weeks at the start of Israel’s latest genocidal assault on Gaza – then making a grossly asymmetrical statement appearing to treat Israeli deaths more seriously than Palestinian and allegedly having the exec railroaded into accepting only her preferred wording when the statement was eventually issued.

Graham was also exposed using proxies to order the cancellation of showings of the film ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn/The Big Lie’, which exposes the political abuse of antisemitism accusations against left-wingers in the Labour party, and discussion of Asa Winstanley’s forensic book Weaponising Antisemitism: How the Israel Lobby Brought Down Jeremy Corbyn. Proxies were similarly despatched to try, unsuccessfully, to cancel a Unite ‘fringe’ event at Labour’s conference earlier this month in support of Palestinians.

At the time of writing, the letter is still open for Unite members to add their signature via Google Docs. It will be submitted shortly after new year.

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Urgent call goes out for support at picket of Royal Society of Arts Israel fundraiser

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 14/12/2023 - 11:23pm in

Staff walk out in protest but need support

An urgent call has gone out from staff and activists for supporters to join them outside the Royal Society Of Arts (RSA) building at 8 John Adam Street, next to Charing Cross station.

According to sources at the demo, the RSA organised a fundraiser for Israel, without notifying staff, with Israeli president Isaac Herzog and far-right Israeli ambassador Tzipi Hotovely, who this week dismissed the idea of Palestinian statehood. Staff walked out in protest to mount a picket but need support to bolster their numbers.

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As Gaza burns, Labour organises ‘Keir-aoke’ to raise party funds

Starmer’s party isn’t satisfied with making us cringe through billionaire donations, support for war crimes and contempt for Palestinian suffering

With more than 20,000 slaughtered in Gaza by Israel – around half of them children – and many more maimed, Keir Starmer is rightly facing jeers and heckling everywhere he goes, because of his support for Israel’s ‘right’ to ‘defend itself’ by the mass murder of civilians and the razing of schools, hospitals and homes.

Labour’s response? A fundraiser titled ‘Keir-aoke’ – not to raise funds for oppressed Palestinians facing an illegal occupation and an apartheid system that treats them as lower than animals, but for whatever purposes the party thinks fit:

Despite donations from billionaires and corporations, Labour is still telling its members that it depends on their donations to survive – but clearly the regime’s numerous begging letters aren’t getting a good response and the party machine is somehow deluded enough to think mutilating language to name an event after Starmer is going to be more, not less appealing.

The lowest price for a ticket to this cringe-fest is £16.96 (but only for ‘concessions’), though people can save money by not going and instead buying – seriously – a ‘solidarity’ ticket for a mere £15:

Labour has already had to cancel one event because of protests by human rights supporters outraged by Starmer’s and local MP Steve Reed’s enthusiastic support for genocide, but the party is clearly not inclined to think, let alone learn, and its delusion runs deep.

Meanwhile, people with actual human feeling will be marching in their hundreds of thousands, in London and around the country, for justice, a ceasefire and an end to the illegal occupation of Palestine:

Check here for the actions near you – but be aware that at the time of writing, the PSC event page appears to be under an attack that is suspiciously affecting only that page on the PSC’s website.

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Galloway re-elected as Workers GB party leader, will stand for London mayor

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 03/12/2023 - 7:34am in

Former MP has more than the required nominations to enter contest

Former Labour and Respect MP George Galloway has been re-elected as leader by members of the Workers GB party – and has confirmed he will be standing for election as mayor of London.

Galloway told the party’s national conference today that he has double the required nominations to be able to stand.

Andy Hudd

Chris Williamson

Peter Ford

Former Labour MP Chris Williamson, former UK ambassador Peter Ford and the Aslef union’s Andy Hudd were elected as deputy leaders.

A Workers’ Party GB member present at the conference told Skwawkbox:

The party has had fully democratic elections for the twenty positions of the “national members Council”, open to all members. The positions of leader and deputy leader were unopposed. Contrary to the smears of its critics, WPGB is not the Galloway show and there is a full and democratic structure.

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Paddington

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 03/05/2023 - 8:53pm in

Tags 

Travel, reading, London

Paddington Station
Waiting for my train

I’m sat here at Costa Coffee in Paddington waiting for the 10:30 to Totnes.

I walked a good few miles yesterday exploring the back-alleys, greenways, footpaths and canal paths from Muswell Hill through Hornsey and down along the Regent Canal. I just love walking in London or any city of culture and contrasts. Once I started to wain in the arvo I took a break in Manchester Square and had a look at the Wallace collection. I remembered stumbling across it about 30 odd years ago back when I was a lazy art student.

Mayfair, like much of London was festooned with union jacks and coronation shite. I really dislike Mayfair. Wall to wall with moronic object shops for the ultra-rich. A ridiculous Ferrari, matt-black with huge rhinestone tyres blatted their engine up to the back bumper of another car. I suspect any damage or injuries they caused would be blamed on the victim. That soured my mood a little. King Charles the turd and his rich prick hangers-on can go hang.

Daunt bookshop on Marylebone High St restored my faith in humanity and I picked out a Susan Coopers Greenwitch. It is never too late to finish reading the Dark is Rising Sequence. That’ll keep me distracted on the train to Totnes which I really should go catch …

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