Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘British Labour Party’ Category

Outrage as UK Tories attack Trans Rights and Scottish Devolution

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Unpopular British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak – whose Brexit Tory party is around 20 per cent behind the opposition Labour Party in most credible opinion polls – has picked a fight with the Scottish Parliament over a minor administrative reform which improves the human rights of transgender people.

Across the British state, writes Mike Picken, there is a growing opposition to the Conservative UK government’s unprecedented blocking of a Scottish Parliament legislative Bill on transgender rights passed last month – the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Bill.

After weeks of misleading propaganda about what the Bill says and its implications for UK wide legislation, on 17 January the Tory government at Westminster announced they were going for the so-called ‘nuclear’ option of blocking the Bill using a ‘section 35 order’.

The ‘section 35’ mechanism is part of the 1998 legislation that created the Scottish Parliament and was only ever intended to be used as a last resort, if there was a grave threat of the Scottish Parliament trampling over other rights across the UK. During the passage of the 1998 legislation it was dubbed the ‘Governor-General’ clause, a reference to the British Empire’s colonial controllers, as it gives total discretion to a government minister to overrule democratic decisions. It has never been used before now and the legal basis presented by the UK government has been widely described as completely flimsy.

‘Section 35’ is being used to overturn the Scottish Bill as a political move by a reactionary government against progressive legislation, not because of an infringement of rights.

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Rishi Sunak’s Westminster Parliament Blocks Scottish Parliament Transgender Law Reform – British Labour Leader Keir Starmer Surrenders to the Union-Jack Far-Right

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Rishi Sunak’s governing Tories at Westminster have blocked a minor administrative human rights reform adopted by the Scottish Parliament which protects the rights of a very small minority, transgender people. It is an easy-peasy issue for all people on the liberal/social-democratic spectrum in Ireland – ranging from the entire left into significant sectors of the big right wing parties Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael.

In Scotland a similar liberal/social-democratic spectrum includes the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP), the SNP’s government coalition partner the Greens, and the Scottish Labour Party.
The Scottish Parliament voted for this minor reform – which is less favourable to transgender people than the existing law in the 26 county bit of Ireland – by 86 votes to 39. This huge majority followed a very long drawn-out debate.

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Rishi Sunak’s Westminster Government Blocks the Scottish Parliament’s Gender Recognition Reform legislation – A “constitutional nuclear ☢️ option”

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Rishi Sunak’s Westminster government is using a “constitutional nuclear ☢️ option” (see Financial Times report below) to block a Scottish parliament gender recognition reform.

Financial Times, January 16 2023

This Changes Everything

Mike Small reports on the Scottish Bella Caledonia blog : https://bellacaledonia.org.uk/2023/01/16/this-changes-everything-2/

Alister Jack, the Scottish secretary, has confirmed that the British government is using article 35 to block the Scottish government gender recognition reform bill. This is unprecedented and represents a full-on attack on the devolution settlement. It’s a desperate escalation and dramatically ups the stakes for not just the British government but also the Labour and Scottish Labour party. Will Anas Arwar simply over-turn his parties own position? It is billed as an attack on the SNP but it is actually an attack on the Scottish Parliament where the legislation received cross-party support after years of delays, amendments and debate.

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“Macron’s Régime in Disarray” – French Parliamentary Elections Destabilise the government run by President Emmanuel Macron

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The June 19 2022 French parliamentary election has destabilised the government of president Emmanuel Macron. Dave Kellaway offers an initial assessment. We also recommend other assesments available at the Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières website http://www.europe-solidaire.org/

http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article62985

http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article62984

Coalitions and parties2017 seats2022 seats
Macron coalition*345246
NUPES**60142
Rassemblement Nationale (National Rally) Le Pen889
Les Republicans (LR)-UDI10064
Left (non-Nupes.13
Others.23

2022 Abstentions: 53.77 of registered voters

* The presidential coalition includes LREM-Renaissance (160 MPs), François Bayrou’s Modem (48 MPs) and Edouard Philippe’s Horizon (28 MPs).

** New Popular, Social and Ecological Union (NUPES) : La France Insoumise (LFI, France Unbowed ) 72, Socialist Party (PS) 24, EELV (Greens) 23 Communist Party (PC) 12 plus independent lefts (mostly overseas).

Figures updated by ESSF taking into account the labeling done by Le Monde.

There are 13 independent deputies from the left and 9 from the right who may join a parliamentary group in the next few days.

Please join Anti*Capitalist Resistance on Thursday, June 23 2022 at 19:30 BST for a discussion with Penny Duggan of the New AntiCapitalist Party on France After the Elections. Please register here.

All elections reflect political and social reality. Normally this is distorted and does not immediately reveal the relationship of class forces in society due to the power and ideological systems of the ruling class. Undemocratic electoral systems can under-represent or over-represent different political forces. Sometimes elections reveal a lot more of a political crisis or of the conflicts in society. Often the election does not have a very direct impact on the class struggles of society. Yesterday in France the parliamentary elections both exposed the political crisis of the Macron regime and made a difference in the ability of working people to defend their interests.

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“The priority is to win against Macron’s candidate, but also against the PS candidate, who broke the agreement here“ – Interview about Danielle Simonnet, NUPES Candidate, 20th arrondissement of Paris

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This is a fascinating story from the current French parliament election campaign. Danielle Simonnet is a NUPES candidate in a constituency where Jean Luc Melenchon won 45 percent of the vote in the recent Presidential Election. NUPES brings together many forces based on the left – including the Parti Socialiste (PS), a party like Keir Starmer’s British Labour Party and the Irish Labour Party.

Despite the NUPES agreement, the PS is running against Danielle Simonnet.

Jeremy Corbyn, the former left-wing leader of the British Labour Party, is actively backing the campaign of Danielle Simonnet.

A correspondent observes : “Comrade Jeremy Corbyn, with Danièle Obono, came to support @TAG’s candidacy in the 15th district of Paris. International support from a true socialist, shamefully attacked in England for his positions for Palestine!!!! #DanielleSimonnet #JeremyCorbyn #DanieleObono”

The Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste (NPA), once the agreement with NUPES failed [1] decided to support candidates of different types depending on the local situation. [2] International Viewpoint has already published an article on a broad non-aligned candidacy “Raphaël Arnault, the antifa who wants to be an MP”. This interview with Penelope Duggan, member of the NPA leadership and activist in the 20th arrondissement of Paris, gives a view of NPA involvement in a NUPES campaign.

Can you give us a quick introduction to the candidacy?

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British Anti-War Movement : “Attack on Gilbert Achcar only divides anti‑war Left”

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The British organization Anti-Capitalist Resistance (ACR) responds to Lindsey German’s recent Counterfire Weekly Briefing that unfairly characterised Gilbert Achcar.

Source : https://anticapitalistresistance.org/attack-on-gilbert-achcar-only-divides-anti-war-left/?fbclid=IwAR18xt1jaIbaHSYvPMGu_XJEOTe0O57r11fIVMlDdDP2A9AaPGq6m3Vfkpg

Who is Gilbert Achcar? “Gilbert Achcar grew up in Lebanon. He is currently Professor of Development Studies and International Relations at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London. His most recent books are Morbid Symptoms: Relapse in the Arab Uprising (2016) and The People Want: A Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising(2013). Other books include The Clash of Barbarisms (2nd expanded edition 2006); dialogues with Noam Chomsky on the Middle East in Perilous Power: The Middle East and U.S. Foreign Policy (2nd edition 2008); and The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives (2010)” Achcar left the British Labour Party after Sir Keir Starmer started his Blairite turn. He is now a member of the ACR. Readers can judge his politics from this recent article published on the International Viewpoint site. https://internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article7530

At a time of impending conflict between Russia and NATO over Ukraine, with each side driven by internal needs to intensify austerity and repression in their own spheres of influence, revolutionary socialists will need to be standing shoulder to shoulder in activity to stop the war machine. This will be at home, where we face our most immediate enemy, and internationally, in solidarity with our comrades and with those facing occupation and brutal calculated military action.

This will be a time of joint struggle against imperialist war and intense debate on the left, with different assessments of the situation and our tasks. In this context the recent comment by Lindsey German in a Counterfire weekly briefing (reproduced in the Morning Star) about our comrade Gilbert Achcar, accusing him of siding with imperialism, was a dishonest and unfair representation that sows division among the anti-war Left. It should be retracted and there should be an apology.

Gilbert is described by Lindsey German as someone who has gone over from the Left to supporting imperialism, along with Christopher Hitchens, Nick Cohen and Norman Geras. Anyone familiar with the names invoked and with Gilbert Achcar’s writings would know that putting him in the same category with the former is both slanderous and preposterous.

Lindsey German herself, in the name of the Stop the War Coalition, recently rebutted Keir Starmer’s slanderous attack in The Guardian. This makes it even more important for her to respect the conditions of honest and comradely debate when arguing with other comrades of the radical left. If Lindsey German is willing to have such a debate in public with our comrade, he would be very happy to oblige.

We urge all comrades on the antiwar and anticapitalist left to refrain from unfounded accusations and conduct debate constructively.

A good friend and comrade Paul Stewart adds this context :

For those, so many good, solid comrades, many indeed who have fought imperialism, its not too later to stand not just against NATO but also Putin, to stand with the people of Ukraine. No more parsimonious mealy mouthed, “yes Putin is bad too”, while spending your time showing pictures of Ukrainian fascists while ignoring Russian fascists’ support for invasion. It will be salutory to know that throughout Europe from the north to the south, it’s the far right who support Putin……Le Pen and Eric Zemmour in France, Farage in Britain….and so on …

Paul Stewart

John Meehan February 24 2020

British State Trying to Shoot a Birmingham Six Messenger Chris Mullin – Journalist in the Old Bailey Dock – Charged under 2000 ‘Terrorism Act” because he is protecting his sources

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This Duncan Campbell story comes from the British Guardian Newspaper. The journalist and former Labour MP (Sunderland South) Chris Mullin is protecting his sources. He bravely confronted a monstrous British State frame-up of Six Irish political hostages, jailed for 16 years for a crime they did not commit. These men were known all over the world as The Birmingham Six.

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“Some cause happiness wherever they go. Some cause happiness whenever they go” Is British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the way out?

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I asked an interested comrade living in England – how long will Boris Johnson last? The first reply :

He’s clearly in serious trouble, and the Tories are scouting around their stable of horrors for a replacement.

Oscar Wilde’s Verdict “Some cause happiness wherever they go. Some cause happiness whenever they go”

The drama is receiving continuing attention in the Irish mass media. The RTÉ Morning Show hosted by Claire Byrne covered the Downing Street Pantomime. First boxer on the stage was Mr Andrew Bridgen (MP for Hard Brexit) [Bridgen is a competent anti-Johnson backbencher who may ascend to ministerial ranks if Johnson resigns]. Sir Tony Blair’s ex handler, Alistair Campbell (Iraq Dodgy Dossier) was in the opposite corner. Campbell started OK, concentrating on Boris Johnson’s CV – saying partygate is predictable once you knew the CV. Campbell went all Roy Keane after that – take out the player, never mind the ball – once Bridgen mentioned Campbell’s Iraq War Deadly Dossier. Lies about Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” helped cause a hideous imperialist war – millions of innocent civilians dead and injured. Campbell’s behaviour contributed to the hounding of a courageous whistleblower, Doctor David Kelly, who died via suicide. Prime Minister Johnson lies about partying while the mother of a likely child abuse criminal (Queen Elizabeth and Prince Andrew) was grieving over the death of a dangerous driver husband (Prince Philip). Is this an episode in an ongoing drama – the strange death of Brexit Hard Right Britain?

Sources and Images :

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s Stormont-Westminster Double-Job Stroke Shot Down

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Jeremy Corbyn in Derry – Marking the 50th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday – January 28 and 29 2022

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BREAKING News

We are honoured to announce that we will co-host, in partnership with Creggan Enterprises, former British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in conversation with journalist and long time campaigner for Justice for Bloody Sunday, Eamonn McCann. Broad topics for the conversation will be civil rights, legacy and social justice.The event will take place at the Hive Studios at the Ráth Mór Centre in Creggan, on Friday, January 28th January 2022. Start Time 14.00 Eamonn McCann is a longstanding member of the Bloody Sunday March Committee.

Source : https://bloodysundaymarch.org/for_justice/events/event/jeremy-corbyn-in-conversation-with-eamonn-mccann/.

Context 2022

There is No British Justice

The “Troubles” have taken more than 3,500 lives over the past 50 years. Every death has diminished us all.

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‘There’s a pandemic!’ Covid mandates, restrictions and the left

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Guest post by Des Derwin

We can all agree that a raft of things are required that the system is reluctant to give and that we must campaign for: vaccine justice towards the global south, wage support for closed jobs, real ventilation in workplaces, an end to deforestation and desertification and intensive farming leading to zoonotic crossovers, provision of personal protective equipment, decent health services, etc., etc.

I’m bending the stick and splitting from what seems a widely held miscalculation on the international left about immediately responding to this massively lethal pandemic.

I support mandatory and legally enforceable public health measures and restrictions when necessary, just like I support workplace safety legislation.

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