Friday 26 June 2020

Hopkins and the dessicated Labour Party apparatchiks

Have you heard of Mathew Hopkins? He was the Witchfinder General at the time of the English Civil War; tasked with proving that the accused (most of them women) had engaged in a ‘covenant with the devil’. Methods of investigation included sleep deprivation, cutting the arm with a blunt knife, and lowering the accused into water. Yes you guessed it. If you drowned you were innocent! 


Witches were said to have the “Devil’s Mark”, a mole or birthmark. If lacking these, ‘witch prickers’ were employed to prick the accused with special needles to find them.

Thank God we live in better times.

Soon after Jeremy Corbyn was elected leader of the UK Labour Party a right-wing witchunt started under the guise of ‘anti-semitism’. Jews were not going to escape this and anti-Zionist Jews, Jackie Walker, David Rosenberg, Tony Greenstein and Moshe Machover (since reinstated) headed the list. If Einstein were still alive he would have joined them. 


Notably Jews have taken a central and brave role in exposing the connections between Israel and US police forces. Sir Keir Starmer should be advised to put down his witch pricker and read this report from Jewish Voice for Peace


Former MP Chris Williamson and former London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, were soon to be added.

What is the ‘Devil’s Mark’ they all share? They have dared to criticise the state of Israel and speak up for the Palestinians. Not coincidentally, all of them were and are actively anti-racist.

Prof Norman Finkelstein, who lost his job at Chicago’s DePaul university for his ‘anti-semitism’ puts it powerfully about Ken Livingstone’s expulsion, saying:

"Frankly, I find that obscene. It’s doubtful these Holocaust-mongers have a clue what the deportations were, or of the horrors that attended them. I remember my late mother describing her deportation. She was in the Warsaw Ghetto. The survivors of the Ghetto Uprising, about 30,000 Jews, were deported to Maijdanek concentration camp. They were herded into railroad cars. My mother was sitting in the railroad car next to a woman who had her child. And the woman – I know it will shock you – the woman suffocated her infant child to death in front of my mother. She suffocated her child, rather than take her to where they were going. What are they doing? Don’t they have any respect for the dead? All these desiccated Labour apparatchiks, dragging the Nazi holocaust through the mud for the sake of their petty jostling for power and position. Have they no shame? 






You can now read my memoir 'Left Field' online for free!



Wednesday 17 June 2020

A betrayal to remember


The Guardian all but ignored the leaked review showing that Labour's Blairite officials sabotaged Corbyn's chances at the 2017 general election. But it gives front page billing to a new Labour report suggesting that the party needs to swing dramatically rightwards to win in 2024.

Jonathan Cook


His rivals know that Corbyn's egalitarian policy proposals could easily resonate with Britons of all races, religions and ethnicities. This is why instead of attacking his ideas and policies, they are attacking him personally

Tony Greenstein

With the destruction of Jeremy Corbyn Northern European social democracy failed to re-establish itself in the UK. I find it rather troubling that Keir Starmer seems more interested in suppressing this report than acting on its alarming findings.

Craig Murray



I would like to refer you to Craig Murray’s analysis on the Labour Party report on anti-semitism complaints. Yes the report that is being buried by Sir Keir Starmer. This is an abbreviated version.


“With the destruction of Jeremy Corbyn Northern European social democracy failed to re-establish itself in the UK. I find it rather troubling that Keir Starmer seems more interested in suppressing this report than acting on its alarming findings. The report conclusively refutes the accusation that delays were occasioned by Jeremy Corbyn or his office, or that his office displayed any sympathy for anti-semitism. In fact, the opposite is the case. Corbyn’s office showed a proper hatred of anti-semitism, but also an alarming willingness to throw good people under the bus on very flimsy allegations of anti-semitism.

"Labour HQ was staffed by right wingers so vehemently anti-Corbyn that they actively wanted the Conservatives to win elections. Senior members of staff were messaging each other opposing any increase in corporation tax and opposing re-nationalisation of the railways as “Trot” policies. 


'The case of the very right wing Gen Secretary, John McTernan, is instructive. McTernan had taken to writing articles in the Daily Telegraph praising the Tories and attacking Labour, but the Governance and Legal Unit of Party HQ refused to take action against him. His abusive language on Twitter and elsewhere, included describing Labour MPs who nominated Corbyn as “morons”; tweeting that Corbyn was a “traitor”; describing “Corbynistas” as racist; calling Corbyn a “Putin-hugging, terrorist-loving, Trident-hater”; and writing in the Daily Telegraph that all of Corbyn’s supporters were “online trolls”.


'Meanwhile left wingers were being thrown out of the party for having advocated a Green vote years before they joined, or for calling MPs who supported the Iraq war “warmongers”. The report makes an overwhelming case that the Governance and Legal Unit of the Labour Party failed to take action on accusations of anti-semitism because it was devoting all of its energies to a factional effort to remove Corbyn supporters from the party.

'These right wing staff were hoping for Labour electoral defeats in order to get rid of Corbyn. HQ staff set up another organisation based in another building, to divert party funds and secretly channel them to the campaigns of their favoured right wing MPs.
Support for British military attacks abroad appeared to be the touchstone issue for who was “in” and who was “out” with Labour Party HQ staff.

'Corbyn correctly, stated something that had been unsayable in mainstream UK political discourse – that British invasions abroad provoke terrorism at home. Labour Party HQ staff hoped and believed this would sink Corbyn and were actively wishing Labour to fall in the polls.

"The Labour HQ staff had been inherited from the Blair years, and factional loyalty and a history of right wing political activity were much more important in employment decisions than qualifications or competence.

"The Governance and Legal Unit, which handled the complaints of anti-semitism, was staffed by vehemently anti-Corbyn right wingers and was also useless. The report hints throughout that the failure to deal with anti-semitic Labour Party members was a deliberate act by party HQ staff in order to make Corbyn look bad. The report proves conclusively that allegations of unwarranted interference from Corbyn’s office to block anti-semitism action are malicious lies.

"John Ware, a freelance journalist, was hired by the BBC to make the panorama programme “Is Labour Anti-Semitic” despite his history of anti-Muslim, and specifically anti-Palestinian, propaganda.

"Corbyn failed to be sufficiently ruthless in clearing out the quite extraordinarily right wing Blairites that he had inherited as Labour Party HQ staff. Corbyn lacked the ruthlessness required in a leader to spot enemies and be rid of them. But then, his not being a ruthless bastard is why so many people flocked to support Corbyn in the first place.

"Corbyn’s tactic of attempting to appease the media on anti-semitism was never going to work. The right wing press and TV had no genuine interest in anti-racism, other than as a tool to prevent the possible election of a European style social democratic government. Neither the media nor the Blairites were ever going to reconcile to Corbyn.

"We will never know what would have happened if he had come out and denounced the witch-hunt as an attempt to stifle supporters of the Palestinians, and spoken openly of Israel’s move to apartheid. He had the nerve to take on the establishment narrative when he stated that British military invasions cause terrorist blowback at home, and won public support. Whether a firm line on Palestine and calling out the witch-hunt would have had a better result than giving way before unfair attacks, we can never know.”


Craig Murray's full report is here:


NOTE:  If only we had more Craig Murrays and Marcus Rashfords. I have known Craig ever since I read "Murder in Samarkand". As a fellow whistleblower, but one who sacrificed much less than he did as a UK Ambassador, I have followed the great work he has done to advance honest politics. I recommend following his work at ...

Saturday 13 June 2020

Racism is a health emergency


I recently wrote a blog with quotes from Richard Horton. You can read it here. As Editor of The Lancet, one of the world’s most prestigious medical journals, he has now written an Editorial.(The Lancet, 13 June 2020)


“Racism is a public health emergency of global concern …Those working in science, medicine, and public health must be representative of the societies they seek to help. But more than that, we have a duty to seek equality as a matter of justice and rights. Anti-racism is a struggle that everybody must join.”  read it Here 


I also wrote recently about the corrupting influence of the honours system in the charity I co-founded. Here. 


Dr Horton is living and working bravely in the spirit of the Lancet’s radical tradition and I am delighted that his name with the prefix ‘Dr’ is unlikely to ever be replaced with ‘Sir’.




Thursday 11 June 2020

Statues are not just made of stone

“This is a decision that I have had to make and there will be others who may feel different and would enjoy the attraction of being a Member of the British Empire and those three letters after their name. But I feel it would be a betrayal to all of the Africans who have lost their lives and who have suffered as a result of Empire. Ancestors would be turning in their graves after how Empire and colonialism had enslaved them.”

Howard Gayle, Liverpool FC’s first back player turning down an MBE in 2016.

This is the moment for toppling statues, both real and metaphoric.

As co-founder of War Child, a charity with strong music connections, I appeal to all those connected to the charity and other similar NGO's who have received 'Empire’ awards, to respect Howard Gayle’s example and follow John Lennon, who nearly 50 years earlier, returned his MBE “in protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam, and against Cold Turkey slipping down the charts.”

Politics with sport, music and humour – doesn’t come stronger!




Wednesday 10 June 2020

The Lancet - cutting edge medical journal

The Lancet is one of the best-known medical journals in the world. It was started in the 1820s by Thomas Wakley. He was involved in the campaign for parliamentary reform, for an extension of the vote and the abolition of slavery. Elected an MP in 1835, his maiden speech was in defence of the Tolpuddle Martyrs. When their freedom was celebrated Wakley was made the guest of honour. One of his last campaigns as Editor was against adulteration of foodstuffs. 

We could do with him today, but wait a minute today’s Lancet Editor is Richard Horton. Here are his three most recent tweets.

I don’t understand the passivity of my fellow countrymen and countrywomen. Why are you not more angry? Why are you allowing this government to orchestrate the deaths of your citizens, your families, your neighbours? This is a mass delusion. Resist. Resist. Rebel.

We don’t need satire. We don’t need humour. We don’t need mockery. We need organisation. We need alternatives. We need rebellion. Against a government that has fostered corruption, collusion, and criminality. A government that has presided over the avoidable deaths of thousands.

Over 40,000 mostly preventable deaths in the UK caused by the most appalling failure of government. Why aren’t people protesting more? We are living through a humanitarian catastrophe. And yet no accountability. Britain feels truly broken.



Monday 8 June 2020

From Havana to Bristol


“If I asked you what is the most corrupt place on Earth you might tell me well it’s Afghanistan, maybe Greece, Nigeria, the South of Italy and I will tell you it’s the UK.” Roberto Saviano, expert on the criminal dealings of the Italian Mafia.

With only 83 deaths to date, Cubans are 24 times less likely to contract Coronavirus than neighbouring Dominicans.

US Professor of government William Leogrande, has said “The whole organization of the Cuban healthcare system is to be in close touch with the population, identify health problems as they emerge, and deal with them immediately ."

Compare that to the UK where it would seem that the whole organisation of the healthcare system is to be in close touch with companies using the epidemic to grab hold of new business opportunities.

A good example is Serco, a firm in-line to be awarded a contract for Covid-19 contact tracing and that has already been awarded contracts for testing centres.

My personal experience of Serco’s catering skills during an extended stay in hospital motivated earlier research into the privatisation of the NHS.


In 2019, Serco—the same company whose logo you see on the side of prison vans—was fined and had to pay £3.7 m in costs to cover an electronic tagging scandal. The company, along with G4S, was accused of charging the government for electronically-monitoring people who were either dead, in jail, or had left the country.


Amongst many other privateers like Richard Branson and Virgin Healthcare, there is technology consulting company Deloitte who were awarded PPE-sourcing contracts by the Johnson government. They shipped in supplies from Turkey which breached safety standards and had to be sent back at your and my expense.

Does anyone else get the feeling that just as "Black Lives Matters" posters had to be hurriedly prepared for the movement now taking to the streets, the Johnson government had better prepare themselves to join Edward Colston.





Saturday 6 June 2020

Poppies are for Everyone

In the small park near our flat there is a wildflower meadow, about 8m square, which is now full of Shasta daisies and poppies.

A construction company building new apartments nearby wanted to use this land for their portacabins. There was a public outcry. For many local people, this park is their “garden”.

In these pandemic days I like to stop by the meadow and watch it abuzz with bees. It is unlikely there are beehives in streets just off the Holloway Road so I suspect these are mason bees. They are as happy as I am to be here because poppy pollen contains few fungi and the bees like to line their brick nests with poppy petals.

When I arrived there yesterday, a young couple were taking photos of their two-year-old daughter who was sitting among the wild flowers. While the delighted mum clapped her hands, their daughter scythed her arms through the poppies. Dad took photos.

Recently, I signed a petition to keep the portacabins out, and I am ashamed to say that I did nothing but stare at the destruction these parents were commemorating. I should have drawn their attention to what they were doing.

One day I hope this little girl will come across these photos and explain to her now-elderly parents that these poppies were for everyone. 


Thursday 4 June 2020

Blood Money


On Sunday April 12th Dominic Cummings took a drive to Barnard Castle to 'test his eyes'. Drug company, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has one of its UK production centres there, and two days later on 14th April they signed a letter of intent to collaborate with the French company, Sanofi, in the development of a vaccine against the novel coronavirus.

This brings together two of the world’s largest vaccine companies. Emma Walmsley, chief executive of GSK, said, “By combining our science and our technologies, we believe we can help accelerate the global effort to develop a Covid-19 vaccine.”

Of course there is no connection between the two events. Read my lips, but I do know a little about vaccines.

In 1973 when my son, Ben, was six months old he was given a triple vaccine for the prevention of whooping cough, diphtheria and tetanus. A few hours after arriving home he started fitting. My wife and I watched as our baby writhed in pain, his body jack-knifing. 


He was taken to London's University College Hospital where he was diagnosed with Salaam epilepsy which is characterised by seizures. The doctors told us that the severity of these fits can kill or leave an infant severely brain-damaged. Steroids would have to be used to stop them.

After 24 hours, the fits stopped, but Ben was so weakened by the drugs he contracted pneumococcal meningitis. He looked dazed, his eyes little windows into his confusion. He then developed hydrocephalus and was moved to Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital. There he had an operation to fit a Spitz-Holter shunt inside his skull to drain fluid from his brain to his heart.

Ben’s consultant told us that if he survived, he would need special care.


Some years later, my wife met the consultant and when she told him that Ben was still alive, he told her that he was surprised we hadn’t sued.

What had he meant?

In June 2002 Anthony Barnett wrote in the Observer that GSK had admitted that between 1972 and 1974 infants were given faulty vaccines to prevent whooping cough, diphtheria and tetanus. Thousands of doses had been injected. At the time, doctors reported that inoculated babies from some of these Glaxo batches had suffered convulsions.

In his article Barnett concluded, “Some experts believe that these Trivax vaccines - which had not passed critical company safety tests - may have caused permanent brain damage and even fatalities in young children."

The Health Minister at the time, Hazel Blears, said, “Unfortunately GSK no longer have details of the quantities of vaccine or the places where the vaccine was supplied."

Ten years later in 2012, GSK pleaded guilty in a US lawsuit to the promotion of drugs for unapproved use, failure to report safety data, and kickbacks.

They agreed a $3 billion settlement because they had illicitly promoted the anti-depressants Paxil and Wellbutrin. They had failed to report safety data about the diabetic drug Avandia; the bronchitis drug Advair; the asthma drug Flovent; cancer drug Zofran; irritable bowel’s Lotronex, the pain killer Valtrex and migraine treament drug Imitrex.

The settlement also covered kick-backs to physicians, false pricing, underpayment of rebates, payments for ghost-written articles placed in medical journals and even all-expenses-paid hunting trips,

Four years later in 2016, UK GSK was fined £37 millIon for keepinggeneric varieties of the anti-depressant Paroxetine out of the country.

Cummings’ Barnard Castle drive may have been a test drive for his eyes. My son’s disabled life may not be connected to the actions of GlaxoSmithKline. But GSK has proved itself to be guilty of profiting on blood money.

Do they have an approved drug for anger management?