Monday, 9 December 2019

Last Chance Election


We are now two days away from the election. I know I have said this before but I will say it again. In my seven decades this is the most important general election since my first. That was in 1945 with the election of the Atlee Labour government which saw the setting up of the NHS. 

In that election my only voice was as a wailing baby. My only actions at the other end of my body. For the first time in my life I am actively involved in what has become a vital struggle to return this country to a semblance of civilisation. We are not talking about a social revolution, but the attempt by a Corbyn-led Labour Party to place the UK alongside the social and economic policies of the Scandinavian countries. 

 

This election is not about Brexit. It is not about the idiocy of Boris Johnson. It is quite literally about life and death. I am alive today because the NHS has been there to save me. Please watch this short video and read ’Nail Your Flag to the Mast’. Then join me on Thursday and Vote for a Labour government. It is the ‘last chance’ election. 

 

 



Thursday, 5 December 2019

Nail Your Flag to the Mast

 

ENEMY OF THE STATE Boris Johnson warns voters Jeremy Corbyn is a national security risk who will bow down to Britain’s enemies. THE SUN 

BRITONS FURIOUS at Corbyn’s OAP tax attack. “Stick Your Hikes where the Sun Don’t Shine.” DAILY EXPRESS 

JEREMY CORBYN FORCED to deny he wants to get rid of MI5 after Boris Johnson called him a security risk. THE DAILY MAIL 

JEREMY CORBYN IS ASHAMED OF BRITAIN. He’d leave our defences in the hands of a chaotic committee. THE DAILY TELEGRAPH 

 

All four headlines from one day, 2 December 2019. If the billionaire Press have persuaded you to believe and act on these words all our futures will be very bleak. Fortunately we are now able to communicate with each other on social media and scrape away the frost from the corporate media window.  

 

I have met many politicians over my seven decades, but have never empathised with any of them, never joined their parties or knocked on doors for them. Until now. In next week’s election we have a manifesto worth fighting for. 

 

I have personal reasons for this. First of all the experiences of my son when faced with cuts to his disability benefits. See here, here and here and my own health crises and direct experience of the need for our free NHS. See herehere  and here 

 

If Brexit is the most important issue for you, above and beyond child poverty, foodbanks, the rise in homelessness, zero-hours contracts, low pay and low pensions, social benefit cuts, climate extinction, the NHS, peace not war, anti-racism….add your own list here, then read this 

 

Finally the massive lie that is being used to persuade us that we should not elect a Corbyn-led Labour government. - that he is a racist and anti-semite. If he is then so was Albert Einstein. Read here,  here,  here and  here 

 

Six months ago I wrote that we are on a winning run. Today it seems the bookies agree with me.No more Tweedle Dees and Tweedle Dums. On 12 December the choice is stark and will decide all our futures 

 

None of us struggle alone or without support. Although I blog on my own website,  I have been published by The London Economic, The Peoples News, Stop the War, International Times and regularly by The Peoples Campaign for Corbyn; run defiantly and with a commitment few of us could manage, by banner maker Alice Kilroy.

 




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Wednesday, 4 December 2019

In Defence of Simplicity

 

 1967: Enoch Powell, Tory MP and Minister of Health in the 1960s Macmillan government. At the height of controversy over his ‘rivers of blood’ speech – he was the Farage of his day - he made the mistake of trying to give a speech at Essex University. I was part of the posse who escorted him to his car. Both he and us conducted this exercise in mutually contemptuous silence.

 

1970: George Brown, Labour MP and Foreign Secretary in the Wilson government. At a general election rally in Colchester Town Hall I joined others to heckle Brown about the Vietnam war. Not a man able to contain his anger, he stepped down from the stage and took a swipe at me. The following day the Sun had a photo of his assault on their front page with the headline, “Up and At ‘Em George” Meanwhile I ducked down to avoid his blows and those of National Front thugs who had arrived at the scene.

 

1996: Tony Blair was guest speaker at the Piccadilly Hotel in London for a music awards lunch. I was there as co-founder of the charity War Child. He was introduced to me by his PA, Anji Hunter (who went on to become Director of Communications at BP and then Director of External Affairs for Anglo American Oil). I tried to tell him about the return of fascism to SE Europe. Anji pushed her clipboard into my chest and led the wretched man out of the room.


1997: As director of the about-to-be-opened Pavarotti Music Centre in Mostar, Bosnia Herzegovina,  I was tasked with inviting the town’s two mayors to its opening. (One small town, two mayors, a mini-Berlin!). When I arrived at the office of the Croatian mayor, Ivan Prskalo, his sound system was tuned to the Spice Girls. Things got off to a bad start when he said he felt offended to be invited to an event in his own town by an Englishman. I wanted to say that people didn’t normally bomb their own towns, but kept quiet. In polite chit-chat I mentioned that my former wife was Croatian. The Bosniak mayor, Safet Oručević, then arrived for the meeting and Prskalo turned to him and said cheefully, “David Wilson looks young for his years because he married a Croat", to which I replied, “No it’s because I divorced one.”


1999: Michael Howard, leader of the Tory Party, 2003 – 2005 and Minister in Margaret Thatcher’s government, turned up at the Pavarotti Music Centre. He was introduced to me and I asked him what he was doing. He replied, “Meeting local politicians”. I replied,”Why?”, to which he answered, “Fact-finding dear chap.” I laughed and said, “You know as well as I do that you won’t get any facts from politicians.” He turned to his minder and asked “Can we move on to my next meeting?”

 

2006: Peter Mandelson, Labour MP, close advisor to Tony Blair and the Dominic Cummings of his day, was exiting Westminster Cathedral after Blair had given one of his ‘faith’ lectures. I had been helping organise the Stop the War demonstration outside and we persuaded people to turn up with musical instruments, pots and pans etc to ‘rough musik’ Blair. The historian E. P. Thompson described this as using raucous “music” and street theatre, to mock those “who offended against community norms.” I had cow bells which I rang in his ear as he crossed Victoria Street, while repeating the two words, “You murderer.” He should have left from the back of the building with his boss.


2018: Jeremy Corbyn: As my MP he visited me at Barts Hospital when I was trying to overcome heart / stroke problems following an operation ( I am now OK and stll here thanks to the NHS.). No entourage, no photographers. A simple act of kindness. When he was speaking recently outside the Whittington Hospital he saw me standing in the crowd and raised his right hand over his heart. I nodded a ‘yes’ to his signalled question about my health.

A simple man in the best meaning of that word. Not something that can be said of any of the others. JC4PM

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Fighting Health Cats


In 2010 Defend the Whittington Coalition (DWC) was set up to stop the closure of the Accident and Emergency, Intensive Care, Maternity and Paediatric departments at the Whittington Hospital, North London. The closures were stopped. Success

In 2013 the DWC campaigned to stop the sell-off of half the hospital, including maternity services. The sell-off was stopped. Success.

More recently Whittington Hospital was told by the government to sell off land and buildings. The Whittington Board offered Ryhurst, a subsidiary of Grenfell ‘refurbishment’ contractors, Rydon, the contract to manage this project. Following another DWC campaign the hospital withdrew the offer. Success.

BUT … Rydon is now suing the hospital for breach of contract. If succesful this will result in the hospital having to pay a fine, from our health monies, to this company. The fight continues - support the Defend Whittington Campaign at Royal Courts of Justice on 9 December.

Throughout these campaigns local MP, Jeremy Corbyn, has played an active and vital role.

On Friday 29 Nov 2019, and in the middle of his busy election campaign, he arrived outside the hospital as part of his continued support.

 

 Jeremy Corbyn with Ben Gelblum of The London Economic

If you live in North London join with the DWC and defend this hospital. Wherever you live join local campaigns in defence of your hospital and oppose cuts and privatisation of our National Health Service. And for your future health vote Labour on 12 December.

The DWC banner was made by the indomitable Alice Kilroy, who despite serious illness, was there to support her local hospital.

On my way to the hospital for the rally a woman passed by and asked if I was a Labour party member. When I said 'yes' she proceeded to rant about the 'Jews' 'sabotaging' Labour's election chances. I attempted to explain the distinction between 'Judaism' and 'Zionism' Not easily done on a cold November morning when she was heading for her hospital appointment. 

When I got home I read that the Israeli President had joined the UK Chief Rabbi in attacking Jeremy in the name of the UK Jewish 'community'. This is where Zionism takes us. In attempting to stop a socialist government which would recognise Palestine, Zionists increase anti-semitism. The Israeli state is everything to them so I doubt they worry about that. I do as do Labour-voting Jews. One of these is Shirley Franklin, Chair of DWC and, like Alice Kilroy and Jeremy Corbyn, an indomitable fighter for the NHS. I am proud to stand alongside them in this struggle.

 

 JC with Shirley Franklin, Chair of DWC and Paul Mackney, ex-Gen Sec of NATFHE, today UCU

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

The Crucible re-staged


The Chief Rabbi says Jeremy Corbyn ‘is not fit for high office’, but Boris Johnson is. A Tory says I am a Tory and it’s news?


Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, takes place in 1692 during the Salem witch trials. The play tells the story of a group of young hysterical women who falsely accuse other villagers of witchcraft. The play was written as an allegory during the McCarthy years and the House of Un-American Activities trials in the 1950s. To be accused of being a member of the Communist Party then ensured that jobs, reputations and, for some, their lives, were lost.

It mattered little whether the accusations were true or not. It mattered even less that membership of the CP at that time was evidence of radical political consciousness and not criminal inclination.

In the UK today the accusation of anti-semitism is being used against those who are not anti-semitic. Most of those accused have spent their lives fighting anti-semitism and racism. Heading the list of the “guilty” is Jeremy Corbyn, many Jews and anti-racists. It is surprising that the self-imposed media inquisition has not yet used the words, paraphrased from the McCarthy hearings, “Are you now, or have you ever been, anti-semitic?”

Our Salem trials are an attempt to prevent Jeremy Corbyn from becoming Prime Minister and to cow the rest of us into silence about Boris Johnson’s racism and the real anti-semitism that has always been at the heart of the British political Establishment.

On 26 November 2019 the Daily Mail declared that Jeremy Corbyn ‘dodged apologising over Labour’s ant-semitism crisis.’ That is their version of, ‘Are you now or have you ever been….’ This statement is rich coming from a newspaper which, under ownership of the same family that owned it eighty years ago, supported Hitler and Mussolini. Corbyn has not apologised because he has nothing to apologise for.

My anti-fascism was born when I discovered photos of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp inmates in my father’s desk. He was one of the first Allied medics to enter the camp when it was liberated. It haunted him for the rest of his life, as it also haunted me. Seeing those walking skeletons was my political awakening which later led me to be beaten up by Nazi thugs from the British Movement when selling Peace News. Corbyn has a similar history—his mother fought alongside other Socialists and Jews at the 1936 Battle of Cable Street.

It is an insult to anti-fascists to bring false accusations into this election. As Arthur Miller wrote in The Crucible, “now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law!”

We have to take away the keys from those children.
 

The following are articles I have written about anti-semitism and a short video of Miriam Margolyes speaking truth about Israel

 

Corbyn Must Stand Strong: The Peoples News


Palestinian Right to Return: The Peoples News


Israeli Terror: The Peoples News

Criticising Israel is not Anti-Semitic: The Peoples News


Corbyn is not Anti-Semitic: The Peoples News


Famous Anti-Zionist Jews: Stop the War

 

Miriam Margolyes

 

My father in RAMC uniform at the time he went to Bergen-Belsen