Tuesday, 1 December 2020

ENGLAND IN TIERS

The government has won the vote on its proposals to lock down England in tiers until at least April.  The vote went through 291-78, with less Tory MPs rebelling than expected.  55 Tories rebelled, with the remaining no votes made up of Labour, DUP and independents.  If all opposition MPs had opposed the measures, alongside the 55 Tories, then the government would have lost tonight.

At one point there were barely any MPs on the opposition benches

16 other Conservatives abstained, including Theresa May and Andrea Leadsom.

15 Labour MPs voted against the government, as did eight DUP members (despite the lockdown covering England only).  Two independents currently suspended from their respective parties also opposed the measure - Julian Lewis and Jeremy Corbyn.  The two tellers for the noes are not included in the final tally, but they were Conservatives Steve Baker (Wycombe) and Robert Syms (Poole).

Apart from the 15 noes, every other Labour MP abstained in line with the party whips.  The 15 Labour rebels included eight members of the Socialist Campaign Group, but interestingly most SCG members abstained rather than vote with Corbyn.

During the mammoth debate preceding the vote, Layla Moran indicated that the Lib Dems would oppose the measures, but instead their 11 MPs abstained - including Moran.  Caroline Lucas of the Greens also abstained as did Claudia Webbe, currently suspended from the Parliamentary Labour Party.

After the vote more than half a dozen Tory MPs gathered around Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson, patting each other on the back and ignoring all the restrictions they had just spent six hours explaining were so vital to everyone's safety.

The full list of 78 noes is as follows.

Adam Afriyie (Con, Windsor)
Imran Ahmad Khan (Con, Wakefield)
Graham Brady (Con, Altrincham & Sale West)
Andrew Bridgen (Con, NW Leics)
Paul Bristow (Con, Peterborough)
Christopher Chope (Con, Christchurch)
Greg Clark (Con, Tunbridge Wells)
James Daly (Con, Bury North)
Philip Davies (Con, Shipley)
David Davis (Con, Haltemprice & Howden)
Jonathan Djanogly (Con, Huntingdon)
Jackie Doyle-Price (Con, Thurrock)
Richard Drax (Con, South Dorset)
Iain Duncan-Smith (Con, Chingford & Woodford Green)
Mark Francois (Con, Rayleigh & Wickford)
Marcus Fysh (Con, Yeovil)
Cheryl Gillan (Con, Chesham & Amersham)
Chris Green (Con, Bolton West)
Damian Green (Con, Ashford)
Kate Griffiths (Con, Burton)
Mark Harper (Con, Forest of Dean)
Philip Hollobone (Con, Kettering)
David Jones (Con, Clwyd West)
Julian Knight (Con, Solihull)
Robert Largan (Con, High Peak)
Pauline Latham (Con, Mid-Derbyshire)
Chris Loder (Con, West Dorset)
Tim Loughton (Con, East Worthing & Shoreham)
Craig MacKinlay (Con, South Thanet)
Anthony Mangnall (Con, Totnes)
Karl McCartney (Con, Lincoln)
Stephen McPartland (Con, Stevenage)
Esther McVey (Con, Tatton)
Huw Merriman (Con, Bexhill & Battle)
Robbie Moore (Con, Keighley)
Anne Marie Morris (Con, Newton Abbot)
Robert Neill (Con, Bromley & Chislehurst)
Mark Pawsey (Con, Rugby)
John Redwood (Con, Wokingham)
Mary Robinson (Con, Cheadle)
Andrew Rosindell (Con, Romford)
Henry Smith (Con, Crawley)
Ben Spencer (Con, Runnymede & Weybridge)
Desmond Swayne (Con, New Forest West)
Craig Tracey (Con, North Warks)
Tom Tugendhat (Con, Tonbridge & Malling)
Matt Vickers (Con, Stockton South)
Christian Wakeford (Con, Bury South)
Charles Walker (Con, Broxbourne)
Jamie Wallace (Con, Bridgend)
David Warburton (Con, Somerton & Frome)
William Wragg (Con, Hazel Grove)
Jeremy Wright (Con, Kenilworth & Southam)

Gregory Campbell (DUP, East Londonderry)
Jeffrey Donaldsonn (DUP, Lagan Valley)
Paul Girvan (DUP, South Antrim)
Carla Lockhart (DUP, Upper Bann)
Ian Paisley (DUP, North Antrim)
Gavin Robinson (DUP, Belfast East)
Jim Shannon (DUP, Strangford)
Sammy Wilson (DUP, East Antrim)

Jeremy Corbyn (Ind, Islington North - Labour whip currently withdrawn)
Julian Lewis (Ind, New Forest East - Conservative whip currently withdrawn)

Apsana Begum (Lab, Poplar & Limehouse)
Richard Burgon (Lab, Leeds East)
Mary Kelly Foy (Lab, Durham City)
Andrew Gwynne (Lab, Denton & Reddish)
Mike Hill (Lab, Hartlepool)
Kevan Jones (Lab, North Durham)
Emma Lewell-Buck (Lab, South Shields)
Ian Mearns (Lab, Gateshead)
Grahame Morris (Lab, Easington)
Kate Osborne (Lab, Jarrow)
Bell Ribeiro-Addy (Lab, Streatham)
John Spellar (Lab, Warley)
Graham Stringer (Lab, Blackley & Broughton)
Zarah Sultana (Lab, Coventry South)
Derek Twigg (Lab, Halton)

This result will come as a devastating blow to retail, hospitality and industry - not to mention the general health and well-being of the nation.  There is very little, if anything positive at all to take from this.  Boris Johnson has just lost England.

LABOUR TO ABSTAIN ON TIERS

In one of his most cowardly acts yet Keir Starmer has told his MPs to abstain on today's vote on the government's new four month lockdown (aka the 'tiers system').  Starmer may be modelling himself on 'new leadership', but this spineless fence sitting harks back to the Corbyn days of incoherent Brexit policy.  If Sir Squeaky wants to win back the red wall he needs to display guts and leadership, beginning with opposing the Orwellian nightmare proposed by the government.  After all, it will be the working class communities of the north who will bear the brunt of this ever-deepening recession.  Instead, we see another metropolitan elitist who is totally gutless and devoid of leadership, refusing to speak up for the silent and rapidly growing majority who know that this is all wrong.

A handful of Labour MPs have indicated they will defy the party whip to vote against the government this time.  Richard Burgon (Leeds East), Andrew Gwynne (Denton & Reddish), Emma Lewell-Buck (South Shields) and John Spellar (Warley) have all indicated they will oppose the measures, while Kate Osborne (Jarrow) said she was 'leaning' in that direction.  Frontbencher Cat Smith (Lancaster & Fleetwood) had already announced she would refuse to vote in favour of the new lockdown, something which may have swayed her leader into retreating onto the fence rather than face potential resignation(s) by backing the measures.

Not one Labour MP voted against the November lockdown, so if these MPs oppose the new lockdown measures this is a clear further indication of the growing tide of public discontent.  Pressure is growing to end the nightmare, in particular given the continuing downward trend of infections and hospital admissions.

LAMMY'S LOVE FOR LINEKER

Dave Lammy was among those wishing Gary Lineker a happy 60th birthday yesterday.  Tottenham fan Lammy tweeted a picture of his hero in Spurs action, but unfortunately his fellow remoaner couldn't find time to thank the MP.  Lineker did thank Piers Morgan, Raheem Sterling, BT Sport, Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City, Everton FC, FC Barcelona and the national football team for their best wishes.  However, nothing for Lammy.

Brutal, Gary.

Monday, 30 November 2020

MOST SHARED: WEEK 293

One aspect of the Chancellor's spending review was always guaranteed to spark criticism from Sir Squeaky and his MPs.  Rishi Sunak's decision to temporarily reduce the foreign aid budget was slammed by globalists from across the party divide including Tony Blair, David Cameron and Jeremy Hunt.  It's no wonder these same people were astonished by the Leave mandate because they keep making the same arrogant mistakes over and over again.  Starmer says that the proposed cut in foreign aid would 'not only undermine public trust, but hugely weaken us on the world stage'.

Firstly, the public understand that this country is going to be on its knees for years to come and are overwhelmingly supportive of the cut.  Seeing as poorer communities will bear the brunt of this recession, Labour are once again ignoring their old heartlands.  Secondly, the cut is effectively peanuts in comparison to the mountain of debt the UK is currently facing.  At 0.2 per cent the cut would still leave Britain as one of the biggest foreign aid donors in the world, with only Japan leapfrogging.  Labour has got its priorities wrong again.


Shared 1,177 times via the Facebook back-up page.

DRAKEFORD BANS ALCOHOL


Mark Drakeford has confirmed that pubs in Wales will not be allowed to serve alcohol from this Friday.  Yes, you read that correctly - PUBS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO SERVE ALCOHOL.

Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to serve soft drinks with meals and must close at 18:00, meaning that it's basically not worth opening at all.  This approach mirrors tier 3 restrictions in Scotland, where pub chains including Wetherspoons decided to close altogether.  Drakeford gave no indication how long the measures would last or whether there would be a Christmas reprieve for an industry already on its knees.

Once again we see an administration scapegoating the hospitality industry, which has spent millions on making itself Covid-secure.  You're more likely to catch the virus in a shop than a pub, but for some reason Johnson, Sturgeon and Drakeford have declared war on pubs.  This crazed policy will inevitably lead to more indoor socialising in private homes, where there are no control measures in place and people can drink as much and for as long as they like.  Don't be surprised if there is a blanket alcohol ban in the new year - including off licences and supermarkets - effectively plunging the country into prohibition.

COVID WANING

Lisa Nandy has refused to commit Labour support for the government's four month tiered lockdown for England.  Speaking to Andrew Marr on Sunday, astonishingly she suggested that the draconian proposals may not be 'sufficient'.  She didn't make any alternative suggestions.  However, she added that "we're certainly not going to set our face against health restrictions that are recommended by SAGE".  Of course it's inevitable that Labour will whip MPs to back the proposals, riding to the rescue of a government that is set on completely destroying the British economy.

Also appearing on Marr was Nandy's opposite number the Foreign Secretary who was prompted by his interviewer to warn of a 'third wave'.  Lurid headlines swiftly appeared attributing the new scaremongering term to Dominic Raab, except he doesn't actually use it - Marr does.  This was a shameful attempt by the mainstream media to perpetuate the fear they have helped inflict on people all year.  Thankfully a growing number of people are now waking up to it.

The term 'third wave' may well be deployed in the next couple of days by government ministers as they seek to win Tuesday's vote, but hang on a minute - what happened to the second wave?  The prophets of doom in SAGE told us that the second wave would last months, result in up to 85,000 deaths and a four month lockdown would be required.  However, as with their '50,000 cases a day by mid-October' claim, this was clearly more scaremongering.  We now know that the virus was already in decline at the beginning of November and is now in free fall, although we do have the strange anomaly that deaths remain stubbornly high (see below screenshot from the government's coronavirus website).


With the virus shrinking and hospital admissions dropping, the slight upward curve in deaths could be the result of a lag or perhaps something more sinister.  Going into the flu season we can certainly expect deaths that would normally be attributed to flu will now have Covid 19 on the death certificate.  This tactic could boost Covid death rates by up to 20,000 depending on the severity of the season and therefore sustain the fear required to keep imposing restrictions.

The problem with that is two-fold.  Firstly, if infections and hospital admissions keep falling a plateau or rise in deaths will stand out (as it does now).  Secondly, questions will be raised if figures later show that the flu season accounted for mysteriously few deaths.

What is imperative for the government right now is to turn around the biggest downward graph - new positive tests.  Mass testing will certainly help and the proposed roll out to all tier 3 areas will provide a boost in those figures.  More testing equals more cases, it's that simple.  Mass testing in Liverpool coincided with a spike in 33,470 positive cases, although this was a short-lived increase and the following day cases fell back below 30k.

There is clearly no justification for a four month lockdown.  It's not a 'cure' - it's a death sentence for the economy, small businesses, the hospitality industry and people's health.


Left:  New cases week ending Nov 7
Right:  New cases week ending Nov 24
Source:  UK government

Sunday, 29 November 2020

THE WEEK IN CARTOONS 22-28 NOV 2020

22.11.20 - Nick Newman, Sunday Times
22.11.20 - Morten Morland, Sunday Times
22.11.20 - Andy Davey, Sunday Telegraph
23.11.20 - Morten Morland, The Times
23.11.20 - Brian Adcock, Independent
23.11.20 - Bob Moran via Twitter
23.11.20 - Steve Bright, The Sun
23.11.20 - Patrick Blower, Daily Telegraph
24.11.20 - Christian Adams, Evening Standard
24.11.20 - Matt Pritchett, Daily Telegraph
24.11.20 - Daily Telegraph
24.11.20 - Patrick Blower via Twitter
24.11.20 - Brian Adcock, Independent
24.11.20 - Kathryn Lamb, Oldie Magazine
24.11.20 - AF Branco, Daily Torch
24.11.20 - Paul Thomas, Daily Mail
25.11.20 - Patrick Blower, Daily Telegraph
26.11.20 - Bob Moran, Daily Telegraph
26.11.20 - Paul Thomas, Daily Mail
26.11.20 - Christian Adams, Evening Standard
26.11.20 - Peter Brookes, Times
27.11.20 - Matt Pritchett, Daily Telegraph
27.11.20 - Guy Venables, Metro
27.11.20 - Bob Moran, Daily Telegraph
27.11.20 - Paul Thomas, Daily Mail
28.11.20 - Matt Pritchett, Daily Telegraph
29.11.20 - Morten Morland, Spectator

WHY THE LEFT HATE THE WORKERS

Paul Embery and his new book

Paul Embery is currently promoting his book Despised: Why the Modern Left Loathes the Working Class.  Speaking to TalkRadio's Julia Hartley-Brewer he explains why it is so many of his Labour colleagues regard the proletariat as scum.  Watch below.

FARAGE NAILS IT

The Brexit Party went to ground following last year's general election and, asides from a Brexit Day appearance by Nigel Farage, little was heard for months.  Then last month it was announced that the party would rebrand as 'Reform UK', hardly an inspiring name change.  In fact it conjures up memories of that disastrous 2019 Remainer enterprise conjured up by Chuka Umunna, Heidi Allen and Anna Soubry - Change UK and its various alternative names.  The key difference is that they were starting from scratch, whereas Farage has a long track record and most recently a very successful party with a household name.

Yes, you may scoff at his failure to get any MPs elected, but a few months prior to that general election he led his new party to a thumping victory at the European elections.  That achievement was remarkable, but his party's contribution to the general election was equally significant and yet largely unheard of.  Without the Brexit Party, the Tories would never have demolished Labour's red wall.  Contrary to popular belief, the Tory vote is not split by UKIP or the Brexit Party - it's actually the Labour vote that suffers, particularly in those working class areas north of Watford.  One of the prime examples of this is the 2017 general election when Labour surged as a direct beneficiary of the collapse in the huge UKIP vote from 2015.

Farage's decision to change the party name is probably not his greatest idea and he may rue that decision in 2024, but he is still tapping into that working class mindset again via his booming social media presence.  One could argue that his summer-long exposé of the migrant crossings inspired broadcast media into similarly taking to the seas, albeit with a starkly contrasting narrative.  In the last couple of months he has begun to focus more and more on the devastating economic crisis our country is facing as a result of the Covid restrictions.

While the middle classes seem to enjoy the lockdowns - working from home, getting everything delivered and soaking up the mainstream media propaganda that nothing but death awaits them outside - the working class experience is altogether different.  At the end of the day it's the workers who will bear the brunt of this crisis, as they always do during economic downturns - except this is more than just a downturn.  This is catastrophic on a scale that none of us alive today have ever seen and one that these largely middle class 'I'm alright Jack' lockdown enthusiasts appear oblivious to because they can't see past the fear of God that's been put into them by the likes of the BBC.

BTLP does not endorse the Brexit Party or whatever it chooses to call itself.  We have never endorsed any political party in our five and a half year existence nor do we intend to do so in the future.  However, the actions of the current UK government (and those of the various devolved administrations) have become so damaging, unwarranted and ill-judged that we simply cannot merely shrug our shoulders because we are devoutly non-partisan.  On that basis we do support the actions of the Covid Recovery Group of MPs who are seeking to stop this madness and we also endorse the following message by Nigel Farage...


If you disagree with our stance that's fine, we (used to) live in a democracy.

You can follow Nigel Farage on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

Saturday, 28 November 2020

WILL BACKBENCH REBELLION SUCCEED?


The answer is highly unlikely.  The anti-lockdown Covid Recovery Group may have doubled in membership in recent weeks, but 70 votes is still not going to be enough to defeat the government as long as Labour support these dystopian restrictions.  The Daily Mail claims that up to 100 Tories could rebel when the lockdown tiers are put to a vote on Tuesday, but again this wouldn't be enough to overturn the ayes.  A number of factors would have to come into play for the rebels to inflict defeat and key to this is Captain Hindsight's MPs.

The Tory rebels cannot win on their own, but if enough of their party colleagues abstain and there is a split in the Labour ranks then there is still hope.  Again this is unlikely as only two Labour MPs have spoken out against the current English lockdown and neither defied their whip to actually vote against it.  However, that may change now, given that many Labour MPs represent constituencies dumped in tier 3 and anger is growing up and down the country.  Disgracefully, Keir Starmer himself has said little about the new tiers except to demand more money is spent to support businesses.  He is only too happy to see the country plunge further into the red and our economy obliterated.

Whatever happens on Tuesday, anything less than the biggest rebellion against Boris Johnson to date will be acceptable as the general public begin to wake up to the four month disaster that is being foisted upon them.  Every vote will be vital, including the DUP MPs who backed the Tory rebels last time (despite the fact their party leader is pro-lockdown).  We live in hope, or, as the lockdown enthusiasts would prefer - we merely exist.

Conservative MP Desmond Swayne reiterates lockdown opposition

Thursday, 26 November 2020

BRUTAL POLL EXPOSES LABOUR DIVIDE

A Survation poll of more than 5,000 Labour members has exposed just how sharply divided the party remains.  The pollsters asked if they thought Starmer was right or wrong not to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn and remarkably a slight majority of those asked said they thought he was wrong.  The result will worry Starmer, particularly given that his thumping leadership victory back in April was followed by an exodus of members who were clearly sympathetic to Corbyn.  The party has lost almost 60,000 members since Starmer took over and yet here's a poll backing his predecessor.


The poll will undoubtedly boost morale in the Corbyn camp as his supporters seek to get him reinstated as a Labour MP.  That campaign looks set to get really messy as news emerged on Thursday night that Corbyn is taking legal action over the party whip.  According to The Guardian Corbyn's team intend to make public details of backroom deals that predetermined his punishment.  This will of course be of huge embarrassment to Starmer and will do no end of harm as he tries to present his divided party as a genuine opposition.  The Conservatives have already recovered a small lead in the last five opinion polls, bucking a trend towards Labour that had seen the huge Tory pre-pandemic lead demolished.

In a further blow to Starmer the Survation poll found that his net favourability rating among members was less than Lisa Nandy's, someone who finished a distant third in the leadership election.  He is also less popular than hapless colleagues such as Jonathan Ashworth, Ed Miliband and Angela Rayner.


The Survation poll wasn't a complete disaster for Starmer as he fared a little better when members were asked if they thought the party was moving in the right direction.  The gulf was still clear to see, but more than half thought he was taking them in the right direction.  Still, for someone who scored such a comprehensive win in the leadership election to have 40 per cent now disavowing his leadership is woeful.


If this poll is anything to go by the future's not looking too bright for Sir Squeaky.

ANDERSON RETURNS

Boris Johnson's decision to continue self-isolating despite having already had the virus and testing negative last week is mind-boggling.  He again took part in PMQs on Wednesday by video link, but the Covid-positive MP who led him to self-isolate in the first place is already back in the Commons!

Ashfield MP Lee Anderson tested positive on November 15 after displaying symptoms two days earlier.  He quite rightly resumed work on November 23 after a ten day quarantine period.  Boris appears intent on doing a full 14 day quarantine and is due to emerge tomorrow.  Again, he's got no symptoms and has tested negative.  Nuts.

While Lee was self-isolating he gave an interview to Times Radio's Tom Newton-Dunn and none other than his predecessor in Ashfield - Labour's Gloria De Piero.  The added twist to this is that Lee Anderson used to work for De Piero when he was himself a Labour member and councillor.  He defected to the Tories in March 2018 and discusses the defection during this interview, pointing out his disappointment that Labour activists appeared to be more interested in waving a Palestinian flag than a Union flag.  De Piero barely speaks during the entire interview.

Click below for the full interview.


Since returning to Westminster, Lee has released a few videos via his Facebook page and expressed hope for small businesses in his constituency post-lockdown.  Unfortunately for Lee and his constituents the whole of Nottinghamshire will be dumped in the harshest tier after December 2.  In a Facebook post Lee said he was 'thoroughly disappointed' and reaffirmed his opposition to perpetual lockdowns: "I have been clear, I will not support or vote for another lockdown and will be pushing to get our area along with other Notts MPs back to normal as soon as possible".

Sadly his boss appears to have earmarked most of England for economic annihilation by way of tiered and national lockdowns that will last until at least the end of March.  The only democratic hope is that the Tory rebellion grows enough to stop this shameful act of self-harm.  It's time that Conservative MPs realised what party they are in.

ENGLAND'S COVID TIERS REVEALED

It's good news for Liverpool, but not for Manchester.  It's great news for Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and Isles of Scilly (the only areas in Tier 1), but very bad news for the north-east.

The full list of which local authority is in which tier post-lockdown...

Tier 1 - Medium

South East - Isle of Wight

South West - Cornwall, Isles of Scilly

Tier 2 - High

North West - Cumbria, Liverpool City Region, Warrington and Cheshire

Yorkshire - North Yorkshire, York

West Midlands - Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin, Worcestershire

East Midlands - Northamptonshire, Rutland

East of England - Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire (including Peterborough), Essex, Hertfordshire, Milton Keynes, Norfolk, Southend-on-Sea, Suffolk, Thurrock

London - all 32 boroughs plus the City of London

South East - Berkshire (not Slough), West Berkshire, Bracknell Forest, Brighton and Hove, Buckinghamshire, Hampshire (except the Isle of Wight), Oxfordshire, Portsmouth, Reading, Southampton, East Sussex, West Sussex, Surrey, Windsor and Maidenhead, Wokingham

South West - Bath and North East Somerset, Bournemouth, Christchurch, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Mendip and Sedgemoor, Poole, South Somerset, Somerset West and Taunton, Wiltshire and Swindon

Tier 3 - Very High

North East - Tees Valley Combined Authority (Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton-on-Tees), North East Combined Authority (County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, Sunderland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside)

North West - Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Greater Manchester, Lancashire

Yorkshire - The Humber, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire

West Midlands - Birmingham and Black Country, Coventry, Solihull, Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Warwickshire

East Midlands - Derby and Derbyshire, Leicester and Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire

South East - Slough, Kent and Medway

South West - Bristol, South Gloucestershire, North Somerset

The latest heat map of the United Kingdom from the government's coronavirus website will leave many people in Tier 3 restrictions raising their eyebrows and shaking their heads.

Number of new cases per local authority (week ending Nov 20)

The following is a brief outline of the main rules affecting each tier.  For more detailed information please click here.

Tier 1 - Medium

Rule of six and social distancing apply to gatherings indoors and outdoors.
Pubs and restaurants are allowed to open with table service only and an 11pm closing time.

Tier 2 - High

People from separate households cannot meet indoors and the rule of six applies outside.
Pubs must close unless operating as restaurants, with alcoholic drinks served alongside meals.

Tier 3 - Very High

Indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas, theatres and bowling alleys must close.
Pubs, restaurants and cafes must close except for takeaway.
Shops and hairdressers and salons will be allowed to remain open.
Groups of six will be allowed to meet outdoors only.
Crowds at live events will be banned.
People should avoid travelling out of, or into, Tier Three areas unless it is unavoidable.

DESPISED


Paul Embery is a member of the Labour Party, but he has just released a book in defence of the working class - in particular the attitude of the left towards the proletariat.  In fact Despised is subtitled "Why the Modern Left Loathes the Working Class".  Predictably the response of the intolerant left has been to label him a 'fascist', much to the amusement of Embery and his supporters.  Have any of them actually read his book?  Highly doubtful.

Embery is a curious, but laudable case.  He was a lifelong trade unionist until he was thrown out after appearing at a pro-Brexit rally.  As an exponent of Blue Labour he rejects globalism and uncontrolled mass immigration in favour of a civic socialism that shares many conservative values.  Unlike the hard left - that seeks to undermine and ultimately dismantle the family unit - Blue Labour endorses family values as central to its politics.  The ideology was founded by Labour peer Lord Glasman and more information about it can be found here.

Former Labour MP Kate Hoey and Conservaive journalist Tony Parsons are among those who have endorsed Embery's book.  Last week Hoey tweeted that his book is what "every Labour Party member needs for Christmas".  It's probably a must for many conservatives too (large and small c).

You can buy Despised here.

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

POOL COUNCILLOR QUITS PARTY

Cllr Jo Rust

The Labour councillor who went viral in March following her swimming pool antics in Spain has resigned from the party in protest at the treatment of Jeremy Corbyn.  Cllr Jo Rust was captured in an astonishing video being physically hauled out of a hotel pool and arrested by Spanish police during the country's strict coronavirus lockdown.  She was filmed by other guests who applauded as the councillor was frogmarched away shouting and screaming.

Now Jo is in the news again following her decision to join the exodus of Corbyn loyalists from the party.  She confirmed her decision in a Twitter post (see below) and will now sit as an independent councillor on Kings Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council, where she still has two and a half years left on her current term.


Outspoken Rust is a union official and was also Labour's candidate for North West Norfolk in the 2015, 2017 and 2019 general elections, during which time the Tories extended their majority by more than 6,000.

As good a time as any to revisit Cllr Rust's unfortunate swimming pool incident...

CHANCELLOR'S SPENDING REVIEW

PRIME MINISTER'S QUESTIONS 25.11.20

CHRISTMAS IS NOT A 'DISPENSATION'

When the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire said she was planning to defy coronavirus diktats to celebrate Christmas with her family, the backlash in the media was loud and she swiftly apologised.  No doubt her employers had made it clear that her job was on the line, after all her message didn't comply with the BBC's narrative of fear and panic.  However, in the community at large she merely addressed something that most people were going to do anyway.  Panic and fear may still be rife among some households, but the overpowering and completely natural desire to mix with family and friends will be difficult to resist even for the most ardent lockdown enthusiast.

The last eight months have been lonely and depressing for many in our society, a fact lost on Covid zealots who have in most cases experienced neither sensation.  Christmas, even if it provides just a fleeting visit, will be of incalculable valuable to the most vulnerable.  Yes, the virus doesn't know it's Christmas and it will undoubtedly spread across some households.  This is inevitable given that most infected people are not sick and don't know they have it, but for those who live in constant fear what is stopping them from getting tested ahead of their family gatherings?

The government knows that Christmas is a red line for many Brits.  It's no coincidence that for the first time since March there will be unanimity across the UK - not even Drakeford or Sturgeon were prepared to be the odd ones out on this issue.

The rights of government to interfere in family life and what goes on behind closed doors has sadly been normalised this year to the extent that Boris Johnson announced the relaxation of restrictions as a 'special dispensation'.  The reality is that many will have already made plans regardless of what 'allowances' are made by politicians.

Tuesday, 24 November 2020

FACEBOOK POLLING

A couple of people have asked about Facebook polls recently.  Unfortunately we can no longer run them on our page because the poll option was removed.  Facebook has not given a reason as to why the option has been removed or whether it will be restored in future.

The last poll we ran was in July and a lot has happened since then that we would have dearly loved to have polled our supporters on.  Having discussed 'emoji polls' as an alternative, Karl decided to run a pilot meme on Monday, albeit this comes at a time that the page is being partially censored by Facebook.  Predictably participation was poor in comparison to earlier polls and attracted just a tenth of the number of votes we would normally expect.  However, it still provided us with a valuable insight into the opinion of our supporters and in this instance the result was clear (although the debate in the comments was as fierce as ever).


If the Facebook page survives we intend to run more of these.

PRO-CORBYN NEC WALKOUT

Thirteen members of Labour's ruling National Executive Committtee staged a pre-planned 'walkout' on Tuesday morning in protest at Keir Starmer's leadership and his decision not to restore the whip to Jeremy Corbyn.  The protest was reportedly led by former MP Laura Pidcock and Howard Beckett of the Unite union.  As the meeting was virtual we can only assume they merely hung up their Zoom connections.

Both Pidcock and Beckett raised points of order prior to leaving, criticising Starmer.  Embarrassingly, the walkout allowed a new chair to be appointed - a decision that riled up the left even more.  Veteran MP Margaret Beckett was voted into the position unopposed, but the left had assumed that the role would have automatically gone to the vice chair.  Ian Murray (not to be confused with the MP of the same name) was vice chair and as a representative of the Fire Brigades Union is also a strong supporter of Corbyn.  However, he was reportedly also one of those who walked out, so could not voice his opposition at the decision.

Laura Pidcock and Margaret Beckett

The Corbyn loyalists later pointed out that the chair was usually appointed on a rotating basis whereby the vice chair would automatically assume the position.  They have now complained to Labour's general secretary David Evans.  Perhaps if they hadn't staged their petulant walkout they could have prevented it!

Their letter is reprinted below.

"Dear David

As proud members of the NEC we find ourselves unable to stay in today’s meeting.

As you will be aware we recently wrote to you to request that you admonish the leader of Labour, Sir Keir Starmer, for his decision to undermine the role of the NEC by withdrawing the whip from Jeremy Corbyn MP.

The withdrawal of the whip directly undermined the legitimacy of the NEC decision to reinstate Jeremy Corbyn’s membership. It was made worse by Keir Starmer subsequently permitting his shadow cabinet members to make commentary on media that was clearly intended to undermine the legitimacy of the NEC process.

At today’s NEC the agenda item of election of the chair and vice-chair of the NEC appears. It is a matter of disagreement as to whether these agenda items can be heard absent the officers agreeing the agenda.

But regardless it has become apparent that the longstanding protocol of the vice-chair being elected as chair is not to be followed. Instead the leadership has lobbied for Dame Margaret Beckett to be chair. The public reason for such lobbying is to be given as Dame Margaret being the longest-serving member of the NEC. This is not protocol and is another example of the leader promoting factional division within Labour.

We believe the true reason for the leader lobbying for Dame Margaret, and indeed the reason that had been given by senior party MPs in private, is because the vice-chair, Ian Murray, was a signature to the previous correspondence sent to you seeking admonishment of the leader.

The leader’s decision to again promote factionalism comes at a time when the historic relationship with trade unions is under tremendous strain. Already we know that the Bakers’ Union are balloting their membership as to affiliation and the decision of the Leader to lobby and brief against the president of the FBU taking the chair, as would be protocol, must be seen in this context.

As the general secretary of the Labour Party you should be stepping in to uphold the rulebook, maintain protocol, remind the leader that he is an officer of the NEC and prevent factionalism.

We have decided not to remain in the NEC meeting today in order to show very clearly how factional the decisions of the current Labour leader have become. We will be returning to future NEC meetings to be the legitimate voice of the membership and to continue to demand that the party unite and reject the current factional approach of the leader".

How ironic that the same wing of the party that previously engaged in hate-filled purges of moderates is so quickly up in arms when they are on the receiving end.

SWP APPEAL TO CORBYNITES


The hard left Socialist Workers Party has appealed to disaffected Labour members to join their tiny outfit.  Labour has already lost almost 60,000 members since Starmer took over from Corbyn and while it's not clear how the current infighting has affected membership, we know that a number of prominent figures have thrown in the towel - including one former MP and a number of councillors.  One of the recent walkouts cost the party its majority on Kirklees Council.

On Monday the SWP printed an open letter to Labour members in its rag the Socialist Worker.  The letter was predictably critical of Keir Starmer and what communists refer to as 'the right wing' of the party.  Signed by the 'Central Committee', the letter accuses Starmer of going back on his pledge to 'preserve Corbyn's legacy' by being 'intent on driving [Corbyn] out'.  It goes on to suggest that the treatment of Corbyn has nothing to do with anti-Semitism, but everything to do with a powerful clique of MPs who support the state of Israel and want to exact revenge on behalf of Blair and New Labour.  The word 'Zionist' is not used, but it's clear what is meant.

The stakes are high if Corbyn is not fully reinstated and this results in a significant split in the Labour Party.  The SWP surmises that this would leave 'hundreds of thousands' politically homeless and is keen to invite those Corbynites into its depleted ranks - bringing some desperately needed credibility and, crucially, generating a lot of income.  However, the SWP is up against a seriously viable alternative in the event of a Labour split.  It's more likely that a new entity would arise from the split, something that former Labour MP Chris Williamson has been pushing for (see video below).

Either way, whichever party the horde of Corbynites choose to end up is doomed to failure.  The likelihood that Burgon, Lavery and McDonnell would share a platform with the sort of loony lefties deemed too extreme even for Labour will give their new venture as much credibility and electability as the current joke outfit that is the Socialist Workers Party.

Monday, 23 November 2020

THE MASK SLIPS

Matt Hancock's department attempted to smear the Daily Mail on Sunday after it printed an article critical of the government's Covid strategy.  In a sinister move the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) responded to the Daily Mail on Twitter by labelling its article 'misleading'.  The tweet didn't explain why the article was wrong and, tellingly, it was later deleted.


The Daily Mail article used a number of publicly available sources such as the Office for National Statistics and Public Health England.  It was heavily fact-based and exposed how there is simply no case for the current lockdown in England and ongoing restrictions elsewhere.  Put simply, the public have been hoodwinked by overblown estimates, misinformation and outright scaremongering.

The intervention by the DHSC on Twitter provoked a furious response prior to its deletion, with ten times more engagement than the Daily Mail article itself.  Many questioned why the DHSC response didn't specify exactly why the article was 'misleading', including prominent lockdown sceptics such as TalkRadio's Mike Graham.

The decision by the DHSC to delete their tweet was lauded as further proof of the government's deception.  The Daily Mail article did, after all, use their own figures against them.  They simply could not defend their position.

The UK government's decision to initiate further lockdowns without legitimate cause is a catastrophic error that will lead to ugly scenes in the months to come.  'Freedom passes' and 'mandatory vaccines' are not ideas that should ever be associated with a 'conservative' government, but this is the dystopian reality we are potentially about to enter.

The only hope for salvation is with the Conservatives themselves.  While the growing backbench rebellion is still far from overwhelming, it can yet overturn the numbers in Parliament.  There are now thought to be more than 70 MPs willing to vote against further restrictions, more than double the 32 who defied Tory whips on the second England lockdown.  Pressure is also growing on Labour MPs, most of whom represent big urban conurbations where dissent is strongest, albeit they are less likely to rebel given it is in their party's interest to continue to wreck the economy and destroy lives.

Time to wake up, Boris, and return to your libertarian roots.  The alternative is grim.

Sunday, 22 November 2020

RENEWED FACEBOOK THREAT

Facebook has left BTLP alone for quite some time.  Content removal and proscriptions have been sparse to non-existent this year, despite our growth beyond the 100,000 user mark.  However, on Friday morning we both received an official notification informing us that the page is 'at risk of being unpublished' (see screencap below).


The reason given was 'continued community standards violations'.  However, as you can see from the notice, our last 'violation' was almost twelve months ago!  In fact, on further investigation we were informed that there are no violations affecting the page and are actually thanked for helping to keep the platform 'safe'.



So why then are we suddenly being threatened in this way?  Is this a prelude to a Twitter-style sweeping ban of anti-left pages or are we being singled out by some errant moderator in Dublin (Facebook's European HQ)?  Either way, this notification was deeply disheartening.  Five and a half years of effort have gone into making the page a success and to suddenly have it swept away on blatantly partisan grounds is grossly unfair.  Such a move would mean that BTLP would be banned from both Twitter and Facebook simultaneously, as if any more proof was needed of the rampant political bias of social media giants.  It is now three months since we were barred from Twitter - while our account can be seen by anyone, it cannot be accessed or updated.

If Facebook deletes our page, we will almost certainly move to the back-up page.  However, there is no way in which either of us is prepared to put several more years building up another page only to have it snatched away from us by left-wing moderators.  In this scenario we envisage that our focus will shift to YouTube, as well as this blog.

The loss of Facebook would seriously impact our revenue - at a time in which we are already struggling - and the deletion of our shop just prior to Christmas doesn't bear thinking about.

So if you're still in work and can spare a few quid, please do consider a small donation to our cause and rest assured - whatever happens we will not cave in!