Thursday, 14 December 2017

To Build Public Trust In The Grenfell Tower Inquiry

Please sign here.

Richard Burgon explains why.

Points of Interest

Just like that, we are told that there will, or will not, be any change in interest rates. It was not ever thus. This is the Original Sin of New Labour.

In redemption, we need the reassertion of democratic political control over the Bank of England, including that the approval of the House of Commons be required for changes to interest rates. And we need the assertion of democratic political control over the City of London, with a Glass-Steagall style of division between investment banking and retail banking, with the extension of that principle to crack down on loan sharks throughout society, and with a criminal investigation into the privatisation of the Royal Mail.

Together with the closure of all tax havens under British jurisdiction unless they opted for independence instead, leading to the incorporation of all four parts of the United Kingdom, of all nine English regions, of all of the Crown Dependencies, and of all of the British Overseas Territories, into the Belt and Road Initiative.

In order to bring about these changes, we need to secure the election to the City of London Corporation, the election to the States of Jersey, the election to the States of Guernsey, the election to Tynwald, the election to the legislatures of the British Overseas Territories, and the appointment to the House of Lords while it exists, of supporters of economic equality and international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends.

And we need to effect the transfer of the exercise of the Royal Prerogative, including Royal Assent, to six or seven out of nine Co-Presidents elected nationally by each of us voting for one candidate so that the top nine would be elected.

Alongside a new second chamber elected by the 99 lieutenancy areas, with each of us voting for one candidate so that the top six would be elected. And alongside the 50 Commons seats that would otherwise be abolished by the boundary changes, filled by a national election, with each of us voting for one candidate so that the top 50 would be elected.

Make it happen.

Reach For The Sky

Rupert Murdoch is a proper old newsman, second generation, from a world that has very nearly passed away. Even in 2017, he has chosen print over broadcasting and streaming. What now for Sky News? Well, be on the bus, or be under it. If you are not at the table, then you are on the menu.

There are positions that the BBC simply ignores. The workers, and not the liberal bourgeoisie, as the key swing voters. Identity issues located within the struggle for economic equality and for international peace. The leading role in the defence of universal public services of those who would otherwise lack basic amenities, and in the promotion of peace of those who would be the first to be called upon to die in wars.

The decision of the EU referendum by areas that voted Labour, Liberal Democrat or Plaid Cymru. Opposition from the start to the failed programme of economic austerity. Against all Governments since 1997, opposition to the privatisation of the NHS and other public services, to the persecution of the disabled, to the assault on civil liberties, to every British military intervention during that period, to Britain’s immoral and one-sided relationship with Saudi Arabia, and to the demonisation of Russia.

Rejection of any approach to climate change which would threaten jobs, workers’ rights, the right to have children, travel opportunities, or universal access to a full diet. Rescue of issues such as male suicide, men’s health, and fathers’ rights from those whose economic and other policies have caused the problems. And refusal to recognise racists, Fascists or opportunists as the authentic voices of the accepted need to control immigration. 

The new owners of Sky News ought to identify and include representatives of the traditions that those and other marginalised views express in practice. We stand ready to serve.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Officially More Dangerous Than George Galloway

Next season's programme for the Gala Theatre, Durham arrives with a message from Ossie Johnson. Ossie needs to consider that the County Council's savage cuts to bus services, not least affecting his own ward (where a bus stop is named after his house), have largely excluded from cultural life many of us disabled people who used to participate in it.

Those responsible for that exclusion would have lost control of the Council if those with the power to deliver that result had listened to me, instead of listening to the political advice of a man who is now the Political Advisor to the Member of Parliament whose constituency contains Ossie's ward, where she now resides.

As a result of the fact that certain people took that advice instead of mine, 472 Teaching Assistants are still on course to lose 23 per cent of their pay. But then, can anyone name a specific austerity measure against which that MP, Laura Pidcock, ever voted during her time on Northumberland County Council?

That question might usefully be asked at a meeting of her Constituency Labour Party, which I am aghast to discover still exists, despite the ruling of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party that no one in North West Durham was capable of being a parliamentary candidate. Anyone not sharing that assessment might consider that there is a world elsewhere.

I do hope that George Galloway, who with Alex Watson remains one of my Campaign Patrons, is successful in his quest for readmission to the Labour Party. Unless I am very much mistaken, then that would leave me as the only person alive who remained subject to a lifetime ban. Being officially more dangerous than George Galloway would be too delicious for words.

But I intend to vote Labour at the next General Election. And I wish Laura no ill. I assert that the following is an accurate summary of her view: "It is blatantly obvious that David Lindsay is innocent, that there is absolutely no evidence against him, that the charge against him should be dropped, that the complaint against him should be withdrawn, and that any and all Police files on him should be closed." She is free to deny that that is an accurate summary of her view. Until that time, however, it stands as such. And why, therefore, would I stand against her?

Saturday, 9 December 2017

A 2018 General Election?

A few days ago, I thought that a General Election next year was unlikely. But never bet against anything these days. My trial has been delayed until 11th April, a year after the so-called conclusive evidence supposedly turned up, while they purport to be looking for that or any other evidence against me. They have yet to find any. Really, though, this is so that my trial will either be after a General Election that I would therefore find it difficult to contest, or else so close to one as effectively to preclude my candidacy.

I wish that I had stood this year. I would not have won. But I would have taken enough votes to ensure that Laura Pidcock was elected with fewer than 50 per cent of the total. That might have restrained her a little, which would have been good for all concerned. The Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats might also have felt emboldened to challenge the fact that she had clearly given an false address on the paperwork. Whatever the outcome of that, then it, too, might have cooled her head a little, and stayed her tongue. Most people now expect this to be a Conservative seat within three electoral cycles. Ho, hum, I shall be well over 50 by then.

This seat could do with an MP from the Left who was capable of political co-operation and personal friendship with people of all political allegiances and none, who was unsullied by any connection to the present Leadership of Durham County Council, and whom it was impossible to imagine describing the third or more of this constituency that voted Conservative in 2017 as "the enemy". That phrase recalls Margaret Thatcher's attitude to the miners.

But I wish Laura no ill. I intend to vote Labour at the next General Election. I assert that the following is an accurate summary of her view: "It is blatantly obvious that David Lindsay is innocent, that there is absolutely no evidence against him, that the charge against him should be dropped, that the complaint against him should be withdrawn, and that any and all Police files on him should be closed." She is free to deny that that is an accurate summary of her view. Until that time, however, it stands as such. And why, therefore, would I stand against her?

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Go The Extra Mile

I am told that there is now little chance that a figure of the extreme right-wing Labour machine on Durham County Council could expect the Labour nomination at North Durham when Kevan Jones retired, and in fact more chance that Kevan might be leaving sooner than he had anticipated.

But Carl Marshall needs to know this: if he does not want me to contest every election that he did for the rest of his life or mine, whichever ended sooner, then he knows what he has to do.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

April Shower

I knew that I would not be spending Christmas in prison. I now know that I shall not be spending Easter in prison, either. My trial has been put back to 11th April next year. I was charged on 13th April this year, having been arrested on 14th March. The judge was no happier than I was, but the Crown Prosecution Service is still insisting on two or three days to try no evidence whatever, including further no evidence whatever that they profess to need another four months, over and above the eight months that they have already had and the ninth month that the Police had before that, in order to uncover.

Certain public figures received one of those unhinged communications which they receive very regularly, and a highly ambitious councillor, whose identity is common knowledge in these parts, took the opportunity to curry favour with those in a position to arrange the Labour nomination for a certain safe seat when the sitting MP retires, by using that communication to seek to remove an outspoken and, though I say so myself, an energetic opponent of the local municipal Labour machine. 

But this has now gone on for an outrageous length of time, entirely at public expense, and there are now, unlike in the first instance, credible threats to the safety of numerous people, including me, but more to the point including teenagers. Those threats have not been not been posted once, from Durham or thereabouts, and referring to a local dispute. They have been posted at least twice, from thousands of miles away, from a country that I have never visited, and referring to major international conflicts. This needs to end. That councillor needs to withdraw the complaint. Or, frankly, expect to face me at the polls when that opportunity next presents itself.

More broadly, we need reversal of the erosion of trial by jury and of the right to silence, reversal of the existing reversals of the burden of proof, abolition of conviction by majority verdict (which, by definition, provides for conviction even where there is reasonable doubt), extension throughout the United Kingdom of the Scots Law requirement for corroborating evidence, requirement that the prosecution present its case within three months of charge or else that case be dismissed, abolition of the admission of anonymous evidence other than from undercover Police Officers, exclusion of the possibility of conviction on anonymous evidence alone, restoration of the provision that no acquitted person should ever have to stand trial again for the same offence (the previous change to this having now done its job in the Stephen Lawrence case), a return to preventative policing based on foot patrols, Police Forces at least no larger than at present, restoration of the pre-1968 committal powers of the magistracy, restoration of the pre-1985 prosecution powers of the Police, restoration of the network of police stations and police houses placing the Police at the very heart of their communities, and disbandment of MI5 in favour Police Officers who, while highly specialised, were nevertheless part of accountable community policing. Among very much else besides. Make it happen.