Friday, 28 April 2017

Strong and Stable, Indeed

As we bid farewell to his preposterous Garden Bridge, so we need also to bid farewell to the preposterous Boris Johnson himself, and to the Prime Minister who had the bad judgement to appoint him.

Not only is this an Election between a Leader who would guarantee the Triple Lock and a Leader who would not.

But this is also an Election between a Leader who would tag along on any and every adventure on which Donald Trump might embark in Syria or anywhere else, and a Leader who would not.

This is also an Election between a Leader who allows her Defence Secretary to threaten a nuclear first strike, and a Leader of whom that is inconceivable.

There is only one strong and stable option here.

From Spiked, to Peter Oborne, to Peter Hitchens, the credibility of all anti-war voices now depends on their endorsement of Jeremy Corbyn against Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Michael Fallon.

Makes You Think, Doesn't It?

A comment on a previous post states:

Yep, in its history the Communist Party of Great Britain got twice as many seats as Ukip has ever got. Makes you think, doesn't it? 

As you have often adumbrated, the Left has delivered the election of Ken Livingstone as Mayor of London in 2000, the election of George Galloway as MP for Bethnal Green and Bow in 2005, Galloway's election as MP for Bradford West in 2012, the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party in 2015, and Corbyn's re-election as Leader of the Labour Party in 2016, mass popular movements in every case.

Through the All-Britain Anti-Poll Tax Federation, Militant brought down Thatcher, as set out in a whole chapter of her memoirs with no pretence that it was somehow about Europe.

The Stop the War Coalition organised by far the biggest demonstration in British history over Iraq and then successfully used social media to force Labour to vote against war in Syria, resulting in the defeat of David Cameron on that issue.

But the Tory Right? It couldn't even get a candidate onto the ballot for Leader, so there was no contest.

And what has Ukip ever delivered? It wasn't even allowed in the official Leave campaign last year. Its swansong today is hardly worth reporting.

The Left, on the other hand, is going strong, with Galloway on course for yet another parliamentary seat come 8th June. You're going to win, too, I reckon.

I sincerely hope so. Please give generously, and please spread the word.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Job Done?

Paul Nuttall is going to stand, but he will not say where.

I am amazed that UKIP is contesting this General Election at all.

Accepting its definition of itself as the legitimate continuation of the Communist Party of Great Britain, this will be the first General Election in its 97-year history that the Communist Party of Britain (which is the Morning Star one, although there is no formal relationship) will not have contested any seat.

Like the CPGB before it, it has always held that its aims could be attained entirely within the British parliamentary system, with no need of a violent revolution. That was also Lenin's view of Britain.

Moreover, the CPGB always held, and the CPB has held since its inception, that the principal means to that end was a Left-led Labour Party.

Well, there now is a Left-led Labour Party. Not a Marxist-led Labour Party, but then there would not have been that under Tony Benn, either. But one whose Leader is a columnist on the Morning Star.

So that newspaper does not have to call for a Labour vote "where there is no CPB candidate", which was always the case in most seats, so that, unlike The Guardian, it has always called for a Labour overall majority at every General Election.

Rather, it is calling for a Labour vote absolutely everywhere, as is the CPB, in spite of pronounced differences with many, and indeed most, Labour MPs.

That is perhaps disappointing in relation to Manchester Gorton or North West Durham, although see below.

But the Labour Party is now being led from the Left. Therefore, in the view of the Communist Party, job done.

Bringing us to UKIP, which in its history has secured the election of precisely half as many MPs as the CPGB ever did.

Both of the men who have ever been elected as UKIP MPs regard UKIP's job as done, as do most people who have ever voted UKIP.

Not that the United Kingdom has left the European Union. But that was never the point.

In stark contrast to the very specific blueprint for Brexit set out in the eternally anti-EU Morning Star as its reason for wanting Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister, UKIP supporters hardly even cared whether they won the referendum, although of course they did want to win it.

They cared that the referendum be held at all. And now, it has been. Job done.

Therein lies another difference. The Communist Party exists to do certain things, and those cannot be done inside the EU, so it has always wanted to leave the EU.

It may not be standing for Parliament against Corbyn's Labour Party, but it has no intention of departing the electoral field, and it would not dream of dissolving itself.

UKIP, on the other hand, has only ever existed in order to secure withdrawal from the EU, or at least victory in a referendum, or at the very least the mere holding of that referendum.

There has never been any vision beyond that. And as far as most people, including most UKIP supporters, are concerned, we are now beyond that.

The main name in the frame for the Labour nomination here at North West Durham is still that of my friend, Laura Pidcock.

Laura is a candidate whom the CPB could support without equivocation. Her speech to the Momentum Northern Conference was very much in line with its current philosophy and programme.

If asked the straight question, "Are you a Marxist?", then I have no doubt that she would give the straight answer, "Yes."

And, of course, there have always been Labour MPs like that.

Whereas if asked the straight question, "Are you a Marxist?", my straight answer would be, "No."

Like Cornel West, I have never been able to reconcile dialectical materialism with Christianity, and it is the Christianity that is non-negotiable.

Like Michael Foot, Tony Benn or Jeremy Corbyn, I find that Marxism asks many of the right questions, but that it also gives many of the wrong answers.

Like Benn, Corbyn and George Galloway, I can work with its adherents within and beyond the Labour Party in the common pursuit of economic equality and international peace, but I will never be one of their number, and they know it.

This all makes me rather like Laura's own MP, Ronnie Campbell, whom she had been expected to succeed, but who is not retiring after all, necessitating this consolation prize even though she is only about 30 and could easily wait a few more years.

Here in North West Durham, the old Labour stalwarts, the Old Labour stalwarts, need to ask themselves whether they would be better represented by an undeniably articulate and energetic representative of the kind of Marxism that obtained in universities about 10 years ago, a representative brought in from outside.

Or whether they would be better represented by, for all his faults, dear old David Lindsay, backed by Alex Watson and all that crowd.

In their heart of hearts, they know the answer to that one.

Not At All Difficult To Say No

This General Election is now about whether or not we intervene (and that on the Islamist side) in the Syrian Civil War.

If Theresa May won, then we would, and Jeremy Corbyn would be replaced with a Labour supporter of that course.

The only way to stop this complete and utter catastrophe is to make Corbyn Prime Minister.

At the present time, what, exactly, could be more important than that? And why?

Notice that Boris Johnson, the White House lackey, was an American citizen until last year, and only gave it up for tax avoidance purposes.

Can you imagine the confirmation of a nominee for Secretary of State who held British nationality, or who had done so into the very recent past? Quite.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Lock Them Out

Despite having introduced it, the Conservatives are not now committed to the Triple Lock.

Forget nuclear wars with Russia, and other such Hollywood ballast.

This is about the money in the pockets of huge numbers of the people who are most likely to vote.

Le Pen Is Not Mightier

A Macron Presidency fills me with horror, but it is a foregone conclusion. Le Pen is not going to win.

She really speaks for a different country, and that of long standing, as if there were still a large and self-contained minority of irreconcilable Jacobites or Roundheads in Britain.

Her election would be as if someone who identified totally with the Confederacy were to become President of the United States.

Beyond that, even. It would be as if someone who identified totally with the Loyalists in the War of Independence were to become President of the United States.

It is just not going to happen.

To try and make this about any contemporary political issue is to miss the point. It is not about that at all.

Such an outcome would be neither a minor skirmish nor a big upset. It would be the reversal of more than 200 years of French, European and world history.

That is simply not going to happen.

Remain and Reconstitute

Theresa May and the retiring Eric Pickles ordered that David Ward be removed as a Lib Dem candidate, so Tim Farron did as he was told.

From an admittedly low base, the Lib Dems are on course to do well in the Remain heartlands of the South.

The Coalition is reconstituting before our very eyes.

For be in no doubt, there is certainly not going to be a Conservative landslide.

That party's majority, if it has one, will have moved. But it will not have increased very much, if at all.

Indeed, the Lib Dems' gains from the Conservatives are going to be more numerous than the Conservatives' gains from the SNP.

The wonder is that the Lib Dems are already proving so biddable. They have no need to be.

Local Say

This letter of mine appears in today’s Northern Echo:

There is to be no local say at all in the choice of Labour’s parliamentary candidate here in North West Durham, where Pat Glass is retiring and will be missed. 

That choice is to be made entirely by a committee in London, from an all-women shortlist. 

Therefore, funds permitting, I intend to contest, not only the forthcoming elections to the Lanchester Ward of Durham County Council and to Lanchester Parish Council as I was already doing, but also the North West Durham seat at the forthcoming General Election.

I have no party affiliation. I do not even use the word “Independent”.

I am delighted that my Campaign Patrons are Councillor Alex Watson OBE of Consett North, who served for 18 years as the Executive Leader of the former Derwentside District Council, and former MP George Galloway.

You do not have to agree with George about everything. Or with Alex, come to that, although I cannot remember when I last disagreed with him.

You just need to recognise whatever it is that they honour me by recognising in me. And you just need to be less than happy about the choice of the Labour candidate from an all-women shortlist by a committee in London.

Meanwhile, the gossip today is that the Labour nomination will go to Laura Pidcock.

Laura is a friend of mine, and she is a highly impressive politician whom I very much hope to see in Parliament one day.

But this nomination would be a consolation prize because her own MP, the great man Ronnie Campbell, was not retiring after all. Laura had been expected to succeed him.

Moreover, at the recent rally in support of the Teaching Assistants, a rally addressed very powerfully by her partner, my friend Daniel Kebede (another potential future MP), Laura ended up walking out when a leading TA activist whom I have known for decades, and who lives in this constituency, called for all Labour members of Durham County Council to lose their seats at the forthcoming local elections.

I, of course, have expressed that view many times. Including, again, on the letters page of the Northern Echo.

Please give generously, and please spread the word.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Au Nom du Peuple?

Quel peuple, exactement?

The Front National is the political expression of a kind of ethnic minority in itself.

That is the closed world of the people whose ancestors took what everyone else in France regards as the wrong side time after time from 1789 onwards, and not least in 1940.

It can never win a head-to-head national election against any other candidate.

There is a reason why the FN still gets only about as many votes as it did 20 years ago, and it only ever will.

The very slight rise is explicable purely in terms of the higher birthrate within its very clearly defined subculture, a subculture that is more than 200 years old.

It is the party of a country within a country. When it says "France", then that, and that alone, is what it means.

But that is exactly what everyone else does not mean, and has not meant for a good 200 years.

The Default Option

For all its sense of itself as the natural party of government, globalist technocracy only ever wins by default.
It will be no achievement to beat a candidate of the Front National in a head-to-head second round. Any candidate not of the Front National would have done that.
Indeed, any such candidate other than Macron would have done so with far more votes, since Fillon's supporters and the Left are planning to abstain in huge numbers.
Secure in the knowledge that Le Pen will get no more votes in the second round than she did in the first, since her party is a ghetto for people who reject the entire basis of the State, with simply no appeal to anyone else.
Nothing would persuade me to vote for either Macron or Le Pen, just as nothing would have persuaded me to vote for either Clinton or Trump.
But Macron is going to win, because he is wrong in the way that his friend, George Osborne, is wrong. Le Pen, however, is wrong in the way that Anders Breivik is wrong.
Speaking of Clinton and Trump, it is worth pondering that he did only as well as a generic Republican would have done.
In winning the Electoral College while losing the popular vote, he did only as well as the last Republican President did on first being elected. This was no revolution.
And speaking of Osborne, the resignations of several of his allies on the Conservative benches from Open Britain over its hit list of MPs ought not to obscure the continued role in it of his patron, Peter Mandelson.
By retaining his membership of Open Britain, which is campaigning openly for Kate Hoey to lose her seat, Mandelson has autoexcluded himself from the Labour Party, thereby incurring a five year ban from being readmitted to it.
That is, if the rules apply to him at all. Do they? If not, why not?

Mandelson also says that Jeremy Corbyn ought to resign if Labour loses the General Election. What, like Neil Kinnock did in 1987?

When Kinnock finally did go, then he was replaced with a man who literally would not have Mandelson in the room. The death of John Smith was the making of Peter Mandelson.

It was also seizing of control of the Labour Party by a faction on its outermost fringes that had bitterly opposed the previous Leadership. If that has happened in the last two years, then it has not been for the first time.

The people whom the media installed 20 years before the rise of Jeremy Corbyn had, for example, fought against Smith's signature policy that employment rights should begin with employment, and apply regardless of the number of hours worked.

The pointedly never implemented that, and they still would not do so, whereas Ed Miliband would have done, Jeremy Corbyn would, and it is perfectly possible to imagine even Theresa May's suggesting it in a speech these days.

Everyone who knows anything about the politics of the North East has always known that Tony Blair had been preparing to leave Parliament at the 1996 or 1997 Election if Smith had still been Leader. In other words, if Smith had still been alive.

The same was probably also true of Mandelson.

There remains, however, no news as to a Labour candidate here in North West Durham.

Since that candidate is to be chosen by the National Executive Committee from an all-women shortlist, then she will almost certainly know nothing about the politics of the North East, even in the extremely unlikely event that she had ever lived here.

Monday, 24 April 2017

We Are All Sinners

And yes, that most certainly is the answer.
The Church, as such, has to concern Herself with everyone's sins.
But our focus, as individuals, must be on our own, not on other people's.
In any case, when are these questions going to be addressed to, for example, Sadiq Khan?

A Coalition of Chaos, Indeed

Farewell, then, to Hayden Allan, Special Advsier to the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
He joins Number 10 Downing Street’s Director of Communications, Katie Perrior, and Theresa May’s Press Secretary, Lizzie Loudon, in having resigned since the General Election was called.
What a complete and utter shambles.

Tactical Error

At this moment, Tony Blair is not a member of the Labour Party.

Nor, without special dispensation from the National Executive Committee, can he become one again until 2022.

The rules are perfectly clear.

Unless, that is, they do not apply to him?

Bring Back Student Grants?

Why? And paid for by whom? By their contemporaries who got up at five or six o'clock in the morning, so that students did not have to go to bed, or at least to sleep, until scarcely, if at all, earlier than that?

Ah, happy days, happy nights, and I am not apologising for a single second of them.

But we either fund Higher Education all the way up to doctoral level, and there are countries that do, thereby recognising what it is and, more importantly, what it is not, which is anything to do with "what business wants" and such like.

Or we make students pay all the way through, even if by deferral in some or all cases.

More important than any of this, however, is the need to establish the principle that whatever privileges were enjoyed by students in Further and Higher Education ought also to be enjoyed by their peers who were apprentices or trainees, and vice versa.

With publicly owned enterprises, national and municipal, setting the vocational training standards for the private sector to match.

Droning On

How much good has all this drone striking, and all the rest of it, done us so far?

And since when was this what General Elections were about, anyway? This kind of chest-beating in relation to what are essentially science-fictional scenarios such as nuclear wars?

Yet that is where we are. It is apparently barking mad to advocate free school meals for all primary pupils, but perfectly sane to refuse to rule out a nuclear strike.

For so we are informed by the man who presided over the misfiring of a Trident missile at Florida, the man who wants to abolish the Royal Marines, the comedy star of this Election, the Pompous Tory Voice's Pompous Tory Voice, Sir Michael "An Energy Freeze Is Not An Energy Cap" Fallon.

Facing The Issue

I really do not think that women in the West ought to wear the niqab.

But I would not ban them from doing so.

Headscarves, on the other hand, come in and out of fashion among Western women on a fairly regular basis.

Look out for them again soon enough.

En Marche?

I am not being older than the President of France. I simply refuse.

In all seriousness, whoever else got through to the second round was always going to beat Le Pen.

That was why it should not have been Macron. But it is.

This obscure member of an atrocious government, this apparently satirical representation of a globalist technocrat, is going to win, because the alternative would be completely and utterly horrific.

That is just a fact.

"Corbyn Would Dismantle Defence"?

The Conservatives say that they like competition.

Clearly, though, they want to keep their monopoly on dismantling defence.

Furthermore, there would be no point in any defence review that did not extend to far and away the biggest item of military spending.

Such absurd exercises have been held in the past, and the results have been catastrophic.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Crowdfunding My Parliamentary Candidacy

Happy Saint George's Day

Since I shall be cheerfully offline tomorrow, which ought to be a public holiday throughout the United Kingdom. As should Saint Andrew's Day, Saint David's Day and Saint Patrick's Day. Away with pointless celebrations of the mere fact that the banks are on holiday.

It is amazing how many people assume that because there is a legend about Saint George, then he himself must be a purely legendary figure. He is not. Although the Tomb of Saint George at his birthplace, which is now known as Lod and which is the location of Israel's principal airport, has become a shadow of its former self.

It was once a major focus of unity between Christians and Muslims in devotion to the Patron Saint of Palestine, Lebanon and Egypt before, and as much as, the Patron Saint of England. But three quarters of those who practised that devotion were violently expelled in 1948. On what remains, see here.

The Sound of Flushes Busting

No one of my generation recants our Labour vote in 1997. We grew up under the Major Government, and we took the chance to kick it out. We would have done so no matter who had been Leader of the Labour Party, and we would have been right.

But that was 20 years ago, and what a very eventful 20 years they have been.

Which of the four people whom Jeremy Corbyn has at various times beaten for the Leadership of the Labour Party would now be sweeping the country? Yet at least one, Yvette Cooper, is openly campaigning for his job, ably assisted by the BBC.

Cooper has supported every catastrophic British military intervention since she entered Parliament in 1997. Her views on civil liberties are horrific. She was the Cabinet Minister who abolished Income Support and who gave a grateful nation the Work Capability Assessment. Her disqualification is absolute.

Meanwhile, someone called David Miliband, never having heard of whom would not be a bad qualification for being a Member of Parliament these days, has been telephoning elderly people who have proved themselves able to cope with the House of Commons for a lot longer than he ever did, seeking to persuade them to relinquish their seats in his favour.

Should a nomination be secured by that torturer, who was big before social media were but who would be a joke figure these days, then a local candidate ought to be put up against him, and ought to be elected. The same applies in Cooper's seat. Keep him out, and get her out.

"They Have Nowhere Else To Go"

Conservative manifestos at General Elections used to promise to cut taxes. Yes, really. Now, though, that party will not even promise not to increase income tax, National Insurance or VAT. It is well to the left of where Tony Blair was on all three occasions.

Meanwhile, the 0.7 per cent overseas aid target remains. The immigration target is the same one as last time and the time before, and which they have already spectacularly failed to meet, mostly while Theresa May was Home Secretary. The only nod to the Right is the electorally toxic failure to guarantee the Triple Lock that they themselves brought in.

UKIP is over. Nigel Farage has withdrawn from active politics. Paul Nuttall has yet to announce in which, if any, seat he will be standing. If May were to win, then she could sack whoever she liked, restoring the old Foreign Secretaryship and giving it to one of her own supporters.

With George Osborne out of Parliament, even the other, newer Left of her own party has at least gone into exile. Along with the odd Blairite mate, it now does the commentary, but not the playing of the game itself.

But, whereas the Labour Left and the allies to its left are leading, the Conservative Right and the forces to its right are no longer even following. Politically, they have ceased to exist. And that definition of the Right is not a particularly exacting one. It means anyone who wants a General Election manifesto commitment not to increase income tax, National Insurance or VAT.

Merely to hold that view is now to be as confined to the Loony Corner as it was when the young Theresa Brasier first joined the Conservative Party, which was before Margaret Thatcher became its Leader. Now, as then, "They have nowhere else to go." And this time, it is perfectly possible that they never will have.

Friday, 21 April 2017

Burning Rage

The National Grid is exultant that today is "this country's first coal-free day since the Industrial Revolution". But not half as exultant as they are in every oil-producing nightmare state on the planet.

Places in which we do not need to take the slightest interest, because we continue to stand on vast reserves of coal. We were once the world leaders in its responsible extraction and incineration.

That all had to go, however, because Margaret Thatcher could not forgive the miners for their role in creating her wholly improbable rise to the Leadership of the Conservative Party, a position that would otherwise have passed seamlessly, so to speak, from Ted Heath to Michael Heseltine.

She ought to have been grateful. Yet she was not. At least, in vengefully closing the pits that she had kept open because they had worked through the Strike, Heseltine's finishing of the job had a certain spiteful logic to it. Her approach had none whatever.


John Redwood is being mocked for advocating the purchase of supposedly nonexistent British cars.

But some of us are already working with trade unions, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Independents, to bring the whole of the Volkswagen Group’s production for the British market to County Durham after Brexit.

That would include Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT and Škoda. What a contrast with a Labour Leadership that, for 32 years and counting, has merely managed other people’s poverty.

One of the most important steps towards bringing Volkswagen here, and towards very many other things besides, has been taken this afternoon, with the re-election of Len McCluskey as General Secretary of Unite the Union.

The 2017 Revolution is beginning. The British Spring has begun. Next up, the removal of the Labour Party from Durham County Council on 4th May. And then, on 8th June, the election of a Labour Government under Jeremy Corbyn.

Buttressed by George Galloway at Manchester Gorton, by me at North West Durham if we can raise the cash, and by several other new MPs who know who they are.

Asking For It

What an oaf Adam Johnson is. But it is very high time for Parliament to tidy up the shambolic laws on sexual offences.

First, the age of consent should effectively be raised to 18, by making it a criminal offence for anyone to commit any sexual act with or upon any person under that age who was more than two years younger than herself, or to incite any such person to commit any such act with or upon her or any third party anywhere in the world. 

The maximum sentence would be twice the difference in age, to the month where that was less than three years, or a life sentence where that difference was at least five years. No different rules for “positions of trust”, which are being used against male, but not female, 18-year-olds looking after female, but not male, Sixth Formers visiting universities. 

And no provision, as at present, for boys to be prosecuted at any age, even if they are younger than the girls involved, whereas girls have to be 16. The law on indecent images is also enforced in totally different ways in relation to boys and girls of the same age, and even to boys who are younger than the girls. That must end. 

Children under the age of consent can have abortion or contraception without parental permission (thank you, Margaret Thatcher). That is an argument for banning children under the age of consent from having abortion or contraception without parental permission. Unless they decided as adults to seek to make contact with their children, then the financial liability of male victims for pregnancies resulting from their sexual abuse ought also to be ruled out. Talk about victim-blaming.

Secondly, it ought to be made a criminal offence for anyone aged 21 or over to buy or sell sex, with equal sentencing on both sides. No persecution of girls and very young women whose lives had already been so bad that they had become prostitutes. No witch-hunting of boys and very young men who were desperate to lose their virginities. But the treatment of women and men as moral, intellectual and legal equals.

Thirdly, the offences of rape, serious sexual assault, and sexual assault, ought to be replaced with aggravating circumstances to the general categories of offences against the person, enabling the sentences to be doubled. The sex of either party would be immaterial. There must be no anonymity either for adult accusers or for adult complainants. Either we have an open system of justice, or we do not. 

In this or any other area, there must be no suggestion of any reversal of the burden of proof. That reversal has largely been brought to you already, by the people who in the same year brought you the Iraq War. The Parliament that was supine before Tony Blair was also supine before Harriet Harman.

Adults who made false allegations ought to be prosecuted automatically. Moreover, how can anyone be convicted of non-consensual sex, who could not lawfully have engaged in consensual sex? If there is an age of consent, then anyone below it can be an assailant. But a sexual assailant? How? 

Similarly, if driving while intoxicated is a criminal offence, then how can intoxication, in itself, be a bar to sexual consent? The law needs to specify that it was, only to such an extent as would constitute a bar to driving.

And fourthly, obscenity ought to be defined as material depicting acts that were themselves illegal, or which was reasonably likely to incite or encourage such acts. Sentencing would be the same as for the illegal act in question in each case. 

American-style legislation for internally administered “balance of probabilities” or “preponderance of evidence” tests to sexual assault allegations at universities or elsewhere must be banned by Statute. 

It is incompatible with the Rule of Law to punish someone for a criminal offence of which she has not been convicted. It must be made impossible for anyone to be extradited to face charges that fell short of these standards, or for such convictions to have any legal standing in this country. 

As for teaching things in schools, how is that curriculum time currently being filled? Apply the Eton Test. Would this be taught in a school that assumed its pupils to be future Prime Ministers or Nobel Laureates? If not, then instead fill the hours with something that was. Teach Latin. Someone will. 

Convictions under laws predating these changes ought to be annulled along with those of men whose homosexual acts would not be criminal offences today. Labour should vote against that unless it also annulled, not only all convictions in the above categories, but also all convictions and other adverse court decisions arising out of Clay Cross, Shrewsbury, Wapping, and the three Miners’ Strikes since 1970. 

This would set the pattern for all future feminist and LGBT legislation. Without a working-class quid pro quo, then Labour would vote against any such legislation. Alongside the DUP, the Conservative Right, David Lindsay MP, or whoever. It is not Blair’s Labour Party now. And it will certainly never be Blair’s David Lindsay MP.

Development Target, Indeed

The way to save the absolutely vital 0.7 per cent overseas aid target is to police where the money goes. 

We give aid to China, which has landed a rocket on the Moon. We also fund India’s foreign aid budget precisely. As a result, India has the money for a mission to Mars. That’s right, Mars. We are paying towards Nigeria’s active aspiration to launch a rocket into space by 2028. 

The Statute Law should specify that the United Kingdom’s aid to any given country be reduced by the exact cost of any space programme, or of any nuclear weapons programme, or of any nuclear submarine programme, or of any foreign aid budget of that country’s own.

The money thus saved would, however, have to remain within the budget of the Department for International Development. With her Nigerian background, the highly capable Kate Osamor is ideally placed to make the case for this change.

A New Campaign Patron

No local say at all in the choice of Labour candidate here. That choice will be made entirely by a committee in London. Nor can I see how all-women shortlists are still possible, now that anyone may declare himself a woman for the purpose, reserving a lady's right to change her mind later on. But can I defeat some girl out of the typing pool, and the London typing pool at that? Yes, of course I can. All that I need are the readies. Do get in touch:

Furthermore, I am delighted to announce that Councillor Alex Watson OBE, who served for 18 years as the Executive Leader of the former Derwentside District Council, has been joined among my Campaign Patrons by the former Member of Parliament for Glasgow Hillhead (1987-1997), for Glasgow Kelvin (1997-2005), for Bethnal Green and Bow (2005-2010), and for Bradford West (2012-2015), and now the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Manchester Gorton, George Galloway.

You do not have to agree with George about everything. Or with Alex, come to that, although I cannot remember when I last disagreed with him. You just need to recognise whatever it is that they each and both honour me by recognising in me. And you just need to be less than happy about the choice of the Labour candidate from an all-women shortlist by a committee in London, with no local participation whatever.

That's What You Get For Swanning Around

It comes as no surprise that the knives are out for my friend, Richard Burgon.
He is tub-thumping orator. He holds the legal qualifications that are lacked by the Lord Chancellor whom he Shadows. He comes from the Eurosceptical Bennite Left, whereas she has come up through the Lib Dems.
And his 11-16 comprehensive school sent him to a Sixth Form college that sent him on to Cambridge. Not only that, but the comp and the college were both in the North. Why, he has an accent, and everything. It does not seem to embarrass him in the slightest.
If you are now in your thirties, then you are allowed to be an MP, a Shadow Cabinet member and a potential Leader if you were utterly failed by the comprehensive education system.
Just so long as you do not expect anyone to mention, however often you yourself do, that it was the trade union movement that set you on the path to Parliament and to power.
That was always the unions' role in the days of the grammar schools that the working classes were expected to pay for but not to attend. That is sometimes still the unions' role in relation to those who slip through the net.
But if you are now in your thirties, then you are absolutely not allowed to be an MP, a Shadow Cabinet member or a potential Leader if your 11-16 comprehensive school sent you to a Sixth Form college that sent you on to Cambridge, from which you emerged with your accent intact and with no apparent shame about that fact.
Never make the stupid look stupid.

Terms and Conditions

"But I wouldn't vote for Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister," announces someone called John Woodcock. Who died and made him Queen? Like Theresa May, who thinks that Opposition is unconstitutional, Woodcock has no idea how a parliamentary system works.

And why is he still a member of the Labour Party? How is he still a member of the Labour Party? Is he still a member of the Labour Party? If so, then just what, exactly, do you now have to do in order to be expelled from the Labour Party? That same question presents itself in the case of Tony "Vote Lib Dem Against Labour Brexiteers" Blair.

With whom, though, might Woodcock be replaced as a Labour candidate in the time available? Even May's own party is struggling to fill vacancies that it had thought, not least because she had repeatedly assured it, that it had three more years in which to fill.

The term itself ought to come down to four years, in line with everything else in this country. There is no reason why the elections to the Scottish and Welsh devolved bodies could not be held on the same day as those to the House of Commons. But unless the Government lost the confidence of the House, then there ought to be no permissible deviation from the fixed term of Parliament.

That's A Bit Rich

If "between seventy and eighty thousand pounds per year" is not rich, then, at least based on their salaries alone, MPs are not rich.
Come on. Don't let them get away with this one.

Still Citizens of Somewhere

The EU may confer its citizenship on anyone it wishes. There is every reason to assume that it will continue to define all British citizens, even those yet unborn, as EU citizens in perpetuity.
Unless they specifically renounced it by filling in, with absolute precision, a mile-long form that was not available in English, or online, or from a postal address in this country, and by paying an exorbitant fee that would be accepted only in euros.
Hardly anyone would ever bother to do that. Indeed, most people with either the time or the money to do so would have voted Remain. For example, Theresa May.

She wants a second referendum, you know. Between her final terms, as approved by both Houses of Parliament (so forget about Hard Brexit), and simply staying in as if there had never been a first referendum.

Suspend Your Disbelief

Farewell to Nigel Farage. Farewell, therefore, to UKIP. A one-man band that has lost its one man has become no band at all.
Theresa May does not approve of Opposition, and she has well and truly seen it off on the Right, both within and beyond her own party. It is inconceivable that there will be any UKIP MPs after 8th June.
Even in the event of a Conservative overall majority, however, then there would still be about as many Labour MPs as there were now.
The return of the Conservatives to second place in diehard Labour seats, often including a numerically close second place, was in fact a mere reversion to the historical norm.
It did not, and it does not, make those seats winnable from the Conservatives' point of view.
Moreover, the Liberal Democrats are on course to take dozens of Conservative seats in the Remain heartlands of the South.
Those Conservative losses will be too numerous to be offset by the Conservative gains from the SNP, of which there will certainly be some, since the SNP heartlands are places that the Conservatives have to explain how they ever stopped winning.
They did not used to be Labour. The seats like that went Nationalist only as recently as two years ago.
And in the midst of all of this, certain online bookmakers have already suspended betting on a Labour overall majority, and on Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister.