Monday, 29 August 2016

'Traingate' Rumbles On



As I suspected, the Labour party's attack on Richard Branson has come under fire from within Labour's own ranks, as Stephen Kinnock MP points out that this looks like exactly what it is - retaliation for the 'Traingate' affair.

Speaking to Radio 4 Mr Kinnock said:

"I think that actually John McDonnell really has a point about our honours system, which doesn’t work and needs a serious look, but I regret the timing of John coming out with that because the problem with what he’s doing is it just looks like it’s retaliation based specifically on what’s happened with Jeremy and Traingate.
"Unfortunately, we’ve taken what is a very serious issue about the way the system works and it’s been somehow devalued by the timing of what John has done so I would regret that."
Quite so, I would say.

Because not only has John McDonnell said nothing on the subject up until now, the issue of the honours system is not even within his financial brief as Labour shadow chancellor.

As regular readers know, Labour's position on the awarding of political honours has also been undermined somewhat by the recent decision to appoint Shami Chakrabarti to the House of Lords ,after stating publicly less than a year ago that there was 'no case for appointing new peers.

 



Labour Leader's Tin Ear (06/08/16)

Image result for tin ear + images

Labour's Tom Watson has his own impressive mandate being elected as deputy party leader at the same time as Jeremy Corbyn.

But in a further illustration of the terrible state of the Labour party, Tom Watson makes plain in this Guardian article his disagreement with Corbyn's bizarre decision to elevate Shami Chakrabarti to the House of Lords.

No doubt Corbyn supporters will support their man and ignore the obvious issues raised by the appointment, but the underlying problem is that the Labour leader has a 'tin ear' when it comes to building a team and striking a chord with the views of the wider electorate.

If you ask me there is something wrong with these people - they say one thing and then do another, and in Shami Chakrabarti's case it's quite remarkable she can even consider accepting a political honour. 


http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/aug/05/tom-watson-criticises-shami-chakrabarti-peerage-nomination

Tom Watson criticises Shami Chakrabarti peerage nomination
Labour’s deputy leader praises former Liberty chief but says timing of Corbyn’s nomination is a mistake
 

Tom Watson says he was not consulted on Chakrabarti’s nomination by the Labour leader. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

By Peter Walker and Rowena Mason - The Guardian

Labour’s deputy leader, Tom Watson, has criticised his party’s decision to nominate the human rights and civil liberties campaigner Shami Chakrabarti for a peerage, saying it was “a mistake” and that he had not been consulted.

“The timing is not great for the Labour party,” Watson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme following Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to put Chakrabarti forward, a move that has attracted condemnation from other Labour MPs.

“I wasn’t aware, I wasn’t consulted whether Shami was going in. I didn’t know that we’d provided citations for this particular round, and I do think it’s a mistake,” Watson said.

The decision has also been criticised by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which said it compromised the independence of an inquiry into antisemitism in the party, recently headed by Chakrabarti for Labour.

Marie van der Zyl, the group’s vice-president, said: “It is beyond disappointing that Shami Chakrabartihas been offered, and accepted, a peerage from Labour following her so-called ‘independent’ inquiry.

“The report, which was weak in several areas, now seems to have been rewarded with an honour. This ‘whitewash for peerages’ is a scandal that surely raises serious questions about the integrity of Ms Chakrabarti, her inquiry and the Labour leadership.”

Strange Behaviour (05/08/16)


Less than a year ago Jeremy Corbyn had told Channel 4 News that he saw “no case” for appointing new peers, while only this week Labour's deputy leader, Tom Watson, urged the party to boycott new appointments to the House of Lords.

But now we learn that Jezza has eaten his own words and ignored the advice of his own (elected) deputy by nominating Shami Chakrabarti as a Labour peer, as part of David Cameron's controversial honours list following his resignation as Prime Minister.

Shami Chakabarti headed up the recent inquiry into anti-Semitism within the Labour party, but the curious thing is that she became a Labour party member only after being offered this job which I wrote about at the time - see post below dated 17 May 2016.

So on hearing of Ms Chakrabarti's appointment to the House of Lords, I have to ask myself if the two events are connected.

Because before a person can be nominated to sit in the House of Lords as a Labour peer they have to be, first of all, an individual Labour party member.  




Party On, Dude (17/05/16)



Now here's a bizarre news story about the person leading the inquiry into claims of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party, Shami Chakrabarti.

Apparently Shami decided to join the party on the same day she was asked to conduct the independent review by the leader's (Jeremy Corbyn's) office.     

The BBC reports that Ms Chakrabarti made her decision in an effort to gain the "trust and confidence" of other Labour members although quite how this helps to reinforce her claim to be independent is beyond me. 

Can you imagine the row that would ensue if the Conservatives or another political party behaved in this way?



Anti-Semitism inquiry leader Shami Chakrabarti joins Labour

BBC UK Politics


The leader of Labour's inquiry into anti-Semitism, Shami Chakrabarti, says she has joined the party in order to gain members' "trust and confidence".

But she said she would investigate "without fear or favour" and her recommendations would be "mine alone".

The independent inquiry was set up after MP Naz Shah and ex-London mayor Ken Livingstone were suspended amid anti-Semitism claims.

Islamophobia and other forms of racism will also be looked at.

The announcement of the review last month, alongside a new code of conduct on anti-Semitism, came as critics claimed the party leadership was not doing enough to combat the problem.


'Party's interests'

Ms Shah, the MP for Bradford West, was suspended after social media posts emerged in which she suggested Israel should be moved to the United States.

Mr Livingstone was then suspended after claiming Hitler supported Zionism, as he tried to defend her.

Ms Chakrabarti was political neutral in her previous job as head of campaign group Liberty.

Explaining why she joined Labour on the day she was asked to lead the review, she said: "This is a party looking at itself in the mirror and I wanted to have the trust and confidence not just of the Labour leadership but of party members."


Image copyright - REUTERS Image caption - Ken Livingstone accused "embittered Blairites" of whipping up the anti-Semitism row

She said she wanted members to know the inquiry, which will report by the end of June, was "in the party's interests".

She added: "I consider myself to be independent. I do not think I am less independent for making absolutely clear that I share the values of the Labour Party constitution and will seek to promote those values in any recommendations and findings.

"It is a judgment call but I thought that was the most honest thing to do - to be clear that I was undertaking this because I do believe in the values of the Labour Party and want to see them promoted not just in the Labour Party but in the world."

Labour - along with other progressive parties - had to "openly look at itself in the mirror" and combat not only prejudice but also complacency, she added.

The inquiry will consult Labour members and supporters, as well as members of the Jewish community and other minority groups, she said, and could suggest changes to Labour's rules and procedures.

Ms Chakrabarti said she would seek submissions from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn although she could not compel anyone to give evidence.

Labour peer Baroness Royall - who is already leading a review into anti-Semitism allegations including in the Oxford University Labour Club - and Professor David Feldman, director of the Pears Institute for the study of anti-Semitism, will be vice chairs.