Monday, 24 July 2017

Setting The Standard

This is to make possible the launch, in October 2017 or as soon as possible thereafter, of a new print magazine, The Weekly Standard. There will be 25 pages of popular television, pop music, and football.

And there will be 25 pages of alternatives to neoliberal economic policy and to neoconservative foreign policy, including weekly columns by Jeremy Corbyn, Richard Burgon, George Galloway, various supporters of one or more of those, paleoconservatives from both sides of the Atlantic, and the only guaranteed Liberal Democrat columnist in the national media, as well as a page of reflections from the traditions of Christianity in Britain and in the Middle East that are politically radical precisely because they are doctrinally orthodox.

In addition to the regular columns, each edition will feature five guest articles. The subjects of those are already intended to include Modern Monetary Theory, the valiant struggle of the Durham and Derby Teaching Assistants, the scandal of blacklisting in the construction industry, the fraud against the Mineworkers' Pension Scheme, the right-wing case against Trident, the case against NATO by a former Special Assistant to President Reagan, the crisis on St Helena, the Chagossians, the Dalits, the Rohingya, fathers' rights, the persecution of Dorje Shugden practitioners, the secular humanist case against assisted suicide, and the Britons fighting against the so-called Islamic State in Syria. All this, and a great deal more besides.

Alongside popular television, pop music, and football. With a serious commitment to all of them, and to the right of their fans to read intelligent comment that treats them as adults and as the citizens who most need to be equipped for the struggle against neoliberal economic policy and against neoconservative foreign policy.

Friday, 30 June 2017

"A Good Man Fallen Among Fabians"?

Very soon, the Fabian Executive will be up for election. Members will vote for up to 10 candidates, and the top 10 will be elected for a two-year term, provided that at least two must be under 31 years of age at the time of election. There are also a few regional and other reps, but the 10 are the big ones.
 
My 70-word statement will read: “Jeremy Corbyn is the most culturally significant British politician in living memory, the most agenda-setting Leader of the Opposition ever, and the global leader of the opposition to neoliberal economic policy and to neoconservative foreign policy. Fabians must co-ordinate that critique at home and abroad, in preparation for the Corbyn Government that will lead Britain and the world out of politically chosen austerity, and away from wars of political choice.
 
In 2015, even the highest scoring of the 10 successful candidates won only 464 votes, while the lowest scoring was elected with a mere 305. You do not necessarily have to be a member of the Labour Party, or anything like that. The Fabian Society can be joined here. But hurry. And if possible, then do please let me know: davidaslindsay@hotmail.com.
 
The Executive meets quarterly, and if we could stretch to 10 candidates, of whom at least two were under 31, then so much the better in order to take control of the Society’s prestigious name and not inconsiderable resources for publication and conference purposes. But come what may, I for one will certainly be doing this. Third time lucky? Luck does not enter into it.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Proudly Parochial

The supporters, and perhaps even the persons, of Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson ought to keep in mind that they owe their respective positions to the votes of large numbers of the same people. In similar vein, I am getting it in both my left and my right ears about Lanchester Parish Council. As a former long-serving member, who stood down voluntarily in 2013 and who then failed to win back his seat this year, I comment with some trepidation. But people have asked for my view. Therefore, here it is.

I voted for 15 candidates to fill the 15 seats on Lanchester Parish Council, and 12 of those candidates were elected. Among those 12 were, and are, Labour, Independent, Conservative and Liberal Democrat representatives. No one on that Council would have been elected on the votes of people who had voted only Labour, or only Independent, or only Conservative, or only Liberal Democrat. Such ballot papers were submitted, but I was at the count, and I can assure you that there were not enough of them to have elected anybody. Everyone who was elected ought to keep that in mind.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Unallowable

Most people have no idea that the councillor's allowance exists, and most of those have no idea how much it is. To the general public, being on the council is voluntary work in the evenings, by people with full-time day jobs. How little they realise. Although the allowance is paid for attendance at as few as four meetings per year. Anything over and above that is, in that narrow sense, voluntary.

At the very least, it ought to be illegal for any council pay any of its staff less than it paid its members. And at the very, very least, the Leader of the Labour Party ought not to appear on a platform with any member of the majority Group on any council that failed to adhere to that rule. Such a member ought to be booed heartily by the crowd at, for example, the Durham Miners' Gala.

The basic allowance for a member of Durham County Council is £13,300. The pay of at least a large minority of that authority's Teaching Assistants will soon be less than that.

Friday, 23 June 2017

Teaching Assistance, Indeed

I do not mean this question rhetorically. What says my Member of Parliament, and apparently now my near neighbour, Laura Pidcock, on the latest development in the saga of Durham County Council and the Teaching Assistants? On her answer depends whether or not she will be worth a vote at the next General Election, no matter how desperately one might yearn for a Corbyn Government, a yearning that is not shared by the Leadership of Durham County Council. The same is true of every other Labour MP is this county, which is of course every other MP at all in this county.
 
Laura walked out of the Teaching Assistants' Solidarity Rally when their principal spokeswoman on last night's Look North, a Lanchester resident who is therefore also now a constituent of Laura's, called for a vote against every Labour candidate at what were then the forthcoming local elections. Under the influence of people very close to Laura, and of one in particular, the TAs seemed to back away from that simple and brilliant strategy.

As a result, Labour kept control of Durham County Council and the injustice continues unrectified. If Labour had lost that control, then it would have been possible to call for a Labour vote at the recent General Election, and it would be possible to call for a Labour vote at the forthcoming one. But as things stood, that was possible only at Easington last time. Will it be possible anywhere else next time?
 
The Teaching Assistants will march again at the Durham Miners' Gala this year. One speaker, Steve Gillan of the Prison Officers' Association, has already assured me that he will march with them. Will Jeremy Corbyn, Angela Rayner, Ken Loach and Len McCluskey, all of whom have offered strong support in the past, do likewise? For that matter, will Laura Pidcock, who already seems to be getting a lot of coverage as a poster girl for the Left?

Saturday, 10 June 2017

General Election Roundup

I told you that there would be a hung Parliament.

Nicola Sturgeon has some nerve, calling for Theresa May to resign because she had taken her party from a hung Parliament to a minority government. Sturgeon took her own party from a hung Parliament to a minority government. I said then that she ought to resign. And I say now that May ought to resign. So much for "the ruthless Tories". If that were true, then May would have been removed yesterday morning. If they have any sense, then they will put in David Davis, who is mildly anti-war, and who is a good civil libertarian who fought and won a court case on those issues alongside Tom Watson. He is also a friend of George Galloway's.

If there is another General Election this year, then vote Labour in every constituency in Great Britain. No exceptions. None. We could sort out any difficulties once we had won. Labour has just won Kensington, the wealthiest constituency in the country. Anything is now possible. Anything. Those who say that Labour's policies were more popular than Jeremy Corbyn was, they were Labour's policies only because Corbyn was Labour's Leader. Both the policies and the Leader have clearly gone down well in Kensington.

The attack line about murky connections to Northern Ireland 30 years ago has been blown out of the water by the fact that Theresa May now intends, not in the 1980s but today, to be sustained in office by a party from over there which has its own history of paramilitarism, and which has a large financial scandal still hanging over it. Now, the DUP has its moments. Its votes helped to stop David Cameron from intervening in Syria. It is economically populist, favouring investment in infrastructure, as well as the retention of the Triple Lock on pensions. But even so. The facts are the facts.

Craig Mackinlay has been re-elected. Although I would not have voted for him, I am quite pleased about that. As for Nigel Farage, he can no longer use the line that he has changed politics forever. If the seven times failed parliamentary candidate came back, then it would have to be on the grounds that Brexit was in mortal danger. Well, which is it, then?

Every good wish to Laura Pidcock now that she is the Member of Parliament for North West Durham. At 29, she clearly intends to stay for 35 or 40 years, The never-consulted Constituency Labour Party is already on manoeuvres. How do I know that? How do you think? She really does need to move here, having made such a fuss of the unnecessary claim that she already did. And she needs to become known at Westminster for the right reasons, not the wrong ones. No one wants a Geordie Jess Phillips. (Yes, of course I know that neither she nor her constituents are Geordies. But Private Eye or the Fleet Street sketch writers will not know that.)

With Laura installed, there is literally no remaining reason for the County Durham Labour machine's continuing persecution of me. It ought to withdraw its action forthwith. Indeed, it ought already to have done so by now. Its failure to do so has no motivation beyond malice and spite.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Fit To Print

Ladies, if I may be so bold, today is the 104th anniversary of the death of Emily Wilding Davison. She had thrown herself in front of the King's horse at the Derby four days before, in a protest demanding that women be given the vote.

I doubt that I shall ever quite forgive the Labour Party for having made it impossible for me to vote for it today. In most cases, everywhere outside County Durham (other than Easington) and outside Manchester Gorton, you should vote Labour. But I can't. And it hurts.

This time tomorrow, either Laura Pidcock will be the MP for North West Durham, or Laura Pidcock will not be the MP for North West Durham. Either way, there will be no remaining reason to persecute me, and I trust that the astonishingly ongoing attempt to do so will finally be dropped. Anything else would be too malicious and vindictive for words.

Two months ago, I had never voted for a Lib Dem candidate for anything. Lib Dems are surprisingly thin on the ground in Lanchester. But I have now voted Lib Dem twice. For Lanchester Parish Council, where no party ever runs a full slate and I trust that none ever will, I cast my 15 votes variously for Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Independent candidates, and for those of No Description. 12 of my 15 preferred candidates were elected, from the first four of those categories.

That was not a one off, although the Lib Dems had not put up here in the past. I have no need to be too tribal about politics, since my own position is so obvious. My parliamentary staff in 2020 would have comprised, and my parliamentary staff in 2022 will comprise, a broadly ecumenical spread. Of course, overarching and undergirding my many causes is that of bringing together the many critiques of neoliberal economic policy and of neoconservative foreign policy.

If anyone elected today fancied having me on the staff in order to pursue some or all of the many research options in that link, then do please get in touch. Bottom of the pay scale, of course. That would do me so long as I could carry on living here. Don't worry about anything that might still be hanging over me. Has a parliamentary pass ever been refused to anyone, anyone at all, who had been nominated for one by a Member of Parliament from Northern Ireland?

Those projects, and many others besides. My work to secure the translation into English, and the publication in this country, of Operation Israel, which is my friend HernĂ¡n Dobry's definitive account of Israel's arming of Argentina during the Falklands War. My work for the Dorje Shugden practitioners, who are persecuted by the Dalai Lama. My work on Modern Monetary Theory, my discovery of which ranks in my life as a light bulb moment second, although strictly second, to my discovery of Thomism. And so on.

In the meantime, if the print media are dead, then someone needs to tell George Osborne, and someone needs to tell the authors of this morning's front pages. The Sun's was an important reminder that that newspaper's almost entirely public school staff are in fact engaged in a joke on their readers. But the reason why alternatives have never come to anything has been because of a failure to appreciate that the sport and the showbiz are what hook those readers. Having bought the paper for those stories, they then read the politics as well.

It's obvious, but this point is lost on an awful lot of people. It is not, however, lost on me. Watch this space. In fact, don't just watch this space. Especially if you are looking for an investment opportunity, then do please get in touch.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

But YOU Probably Should Vote Labour

Why am not being loyal to Labour? Oh, I don't know, perhaps because nationally it has placed me under a lifetime ban from membership for almost as long as Laura Pidcock has been old enough to vote, while locally it is trying to frame me in a criminal trial.

And why am I not rallying to the Red Flag of Laura Pidcock? A tougher one, I admit. But perhaps because it is hardly as if she kept that Flag flying during the Blair years. I have no doubt that she sincerely opposed the Iraq War. But she was a 15-year-old schoolgirl at the time. I, on the other hand, was arguing the case on the General and Executive Committees of the Constituency Labour Party of the then Government Chief Whip. Laura's last leaflet disgraces her by carrying this photograph, accurately captioned though it is.


Laura also claims to live in Lanchester when she does not. She lives in Cramlington, where she recently lost her seat on Northumberland County Council. Laura's greatest disgrace, however, was when she walked out of the Teaching Assistants' Solidarity Rally because a speaker, from this constituency, had called for a vote against all Labour candidates at what were then the forthcoming elections to Durham County Council. Due to the advice of middle-aged adolescents close to Laura Pidcock, people who have never been involved in grown-up politics in their lives, that strategy was not adopted.

As a result, Labour retained Overall Control, justice for the Teaching Assistants is far from guaranteed, and those who have wronged them remain unpunished. It is therefore imperative, both that Grahame Morris be re-elected at Easington, and that all other Labour parliamentary candidates in County Durham be defeated. Moreover, here in North West Durham, we have the privilege of being able to vote for Owen Temple, who has been and who remains, with Alex Watson, one of the two greatest champions of the Teaching Assistants' cause among Durham County Councillors.

However, you are probably not reading this in North West Durham, or even in County Durham at all. If you are in Manchester Gorton, then I implore you that the present global situation is such that the whole world is crying out for the return of George Galloway to the Mother of Parliaments. Do your duty to the human race. Everywhere else in Great Britain, much the same can be said about the need to make Jeremy Corbyn the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in place of the current Saudi puppet regime in Downing Street and Whitehall.

So, yes, everywhere outside County Durham (other than Easington) and outside Manchester Gorton, Vote Labour.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

“The Most Dangerous Man In The Most Dangerous Country In The World”

This morning, I received the following anonymous letter from the United States, which I reproduce here as the single paragraph that it is:
 
Your England betrayed and partitioned Bharat. Your England betrayed and partitioned Eretz Israel. Who speaks for that England today? Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Diane Abbott, Len McCluskey and George Galloway are all over 60. Ken Livingstone and Ronnie Campbell are over 70. Dennis Skinner is over 80. Tony Benn and Tam Dalyell are dead. Angela Rayner, Richard Burgon, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Laura Pidcock could never appeal to your “Middle England”. But you, David Lindsay, are not yet 40 and you appeal to the middle class, you have friends on the right from London to Washington, D.C. You are the most dangerous man in the most dangerous country in the world. That is why we, the defenders of Bharat, the defenders of Eretz Israel, are sending you to jail and sending you to your death. If somehow you avoid the prison cell that we have prepared for you, you will be killed. We will attend your trial at Durham Crown Court on June 13 and any days following to make sure of it. Once you have been in that cell, you will be killed anyway. This letter has been sent to all the parts of your little network: “Councillor Alex Watson OBE”, Owen Temple, Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Diane Abbott, Len McCluskey, George Galloway, Ken Livingstone, Ronnie Campbell, Dennis Skinner, Angela Rayner, Richard Burgon, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Laura Pidcock, the Durham Teaching Assistants’ Committee, the Durham Miners’ Association, Durham Unite Community, the Durham Stop the War Coalition, the Durham People’s Bookshop, the Nottingham Centre for Theology and Philosophy, The Word, the Morning Star, the Northern Echo, The Universe, the Durham Police and Crime Commissioner, and all the rest of them. All those enemies of Bharat and Eretz Israel know that we, the defenders of Bharat and Eretz Israel, are either going to send you to jail and then kill you when you come out, or kill you if you are not sent to jail. You are not going to Parliament, you are going to prison, and then you are going to be killed. We are the heirs of Nuthurum Godse, we are the heirs of Moshe Sneh. You are going to be killed. You, David Lindsay, are going to die at our hands for Bharat and Eretz Israel. So is any lawyer who acted in your defense in any case, anywhere in the world, for the rest of your life. So is any witness who testified in your defense in any case, anywhere in the world, for the rest of your life. So is every member of any jury or bench that acquitted you in any case, anywhere in the world, for the rest of your life. All those will be killed for the defense of Bharat and Eretz Israel.
 
I am about to hand in the following to Durham City Police Station:
 
This morning, I received the letter that is attached to this statement. The envelope is also attached, from which you will see that it was posted on Friday 26th May in the United States, a country that I regret to say that I have never visited. I have of course kept copies of the letter and of the envelope; attached to this statement are the originals. Moreover, I have of course made all living persons named in the letter, as well as my solicitor, aware of its existence and of its contents.
 
In the light of this communication, I find that I am the victim of an act of intercontinental terrorism, from one nuclear-armed state (the United States) to another (the United Kingdom) in the name of the current governing ideologies of at least two more (India and Israel). I demand that the outstanding criminal charge against me be dropped, that any other investigation against me be terminated, that all relevant files be closed, and that all record of my arrest and charge be purged. I demand that the items of property seized from me and, quite improperly, from a member of my family be returned immediately. I demand a public apology, and that I be compensated in what is, under the circumstances, the extremely modest sum of, after tax and other deductions, four times the Durham County Councillor’s annual allowance of which this action has deprived me. In other words, a net figure of £53,200.
 
I demand that the American Ambassador, the Indian High Commissioner and the Israeli Ambassador be summoned to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to account for this turn of events. I demand that all known supporters of Narendra Modi and the BJP, or of Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud, or of any of their respective coalition partners, be brought in for questioning, both in the United Kingdom, and in the American state identifiable from the postmark on the attached envelope, as well as in at least all of the neighbouring American states. I demand that the staff of the Crown Prosecution Service who made the decision to charge me be interviewed under caution as to their ties to either or both of India and Israel. I demand that the Leader of Durham County Council, Councillor Dr Simon Henig CBE, be arrested and interrogated as to his personal, family and other links to either or both of Israel and the Crown Prosecution Service. And I demand the arrest, and the comprehensive interrogation, of Oliver Kamm of The Times, of Damian Thompson of The Spectator, and of  [name redacted, because he goes crying to Google whenever I fight back].
 
As of yesterday, it is the publicly stated position of the Prime Minister that the CPS is bringing at least one case that is “unfounded”. Not merely likely to lead to an acquittal, but baseless and groundless as a prosecution; not merely inadequate as to its basis in evidence or as to its grounds in the public interest, but having no such basis or grounds whatever. That is the publicly stated position of the Prime Minister. And now, this. How many more, one wonders? There is a strong case for a Royal Commission into the CPS.
 
In the meantime, my work goes on, with my efforts positively redoubled by this atrocity. My work to secure election to Durham County Council and to Lanchester Parish Council in 2021, and as the Member of Parliament for the constituency containing Lanchester in 2022; I neither rule out, nor rule in, the possibility of standing for Police and Crime Commissioner in 2020. My work to defend, restore and expand the public transport on which, as a disabled person, I am dependent. My work to secure justice for Durham County Council’s Teaching Assistants, including, since unfortunately we were unable to deprive Labour of overall control of that authority this year, my work to secure the re-election of Grahame Morris at Easington, the defeat of all other Labour candidates in County Durham at the forthcoming General Election, and the election of Owen Temple here at North West Durham. My work to secure the election of a Labour Government overall, with Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister, implementing almost all of the current Labour manifesto, and supported by George Galloway as the Member of Parliament for Manchester Gorton.
 
My work to unite the trade unions and all the non-Labour sections of Durham County Council, in order to bring the Volkswagen Group’s production for the British market to County Durham after Brexit, in very stark contrast to the mere management of other people’s poverty for 32 years and counting. My work to ensure that apprentices and trainees enjoyed all the privileges that were extended to their peers in Further and Higher Education, and vice versa. My work to secure the representation of the working class, and especially of the rural working class, on all public bodies, as well as in the media.
 
My work to give voice to the fact that the workers, and not the liberal bourgeoisie, are the key swing voters. My work to give voice to the fact that identity issues must be located within the struggle for economic equality and for international peace. My work to give voice to the fact that the leading role in the defence of universal public services belongs to those who would otherwise lack basic amenities (the working class), while the leading role in the promotion of peace belongs to those who would be the first to be called upon to die in wars (the working class again, but perhaps even more so the youth, who were right about the First World War, right about the Vietnam War, and right about the Iraq War). My work to give voice to the fact that the decision of the EU referendum by people and places that voted Labour, Liberal Democrat or Plaid Cymru means that the concerns of those people and places ought now to be the focus of political attention, and not least of the negotiation of the terms of Brexit.
 
My work of opposition from the start to the failed programme of economic austerity. Against all Governments since 1997, my work of 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, to the pernicious military alliance with Turkey, and to the demonisation of Russia.
 
My work to remove the obscenity of weapons of mass destruction, with Trident cancelled in favour of properly staffed, properly paid, properly accommodated and properly equipped Armed Forces, as well as civilised care for veterans, as well as flood defences, as well as cybersecurity, as well as intelligence and counterintelligence, and as well as civil nuclear power. My work in favour of civil nuclear power, and in favour of the exploitation of this country’s vast reserves of coal, in the clean extraction and incineration of which Britain was once the world leader, as the twin pillars of an “all of the above” energy policy that would guarantee high-wage, high-skilled, high-status jobs abroad while delivering independence from the tyrannical and unstable sources of much of the world’s oil and gas.
 
My work with and for the ancient indigenous Christians of the Middle East and North Africa (and not least of the Holy Land), my work with and for the Jews of Iran, my work with and for the Dalits, my work with and for the Chagossians, and my work with and for the Rohingya, among others. My work of demanding that Altaf Hussain be deported to stand trial in Pakistan. My work in 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. My work to rescue issues such as male suicide, men’s health, and fathers’ rights from those whose economic and other policies have caused the problems in the first place. My work, as a mixed-race person, of refusal to recognise racists, Fascists or opportunists as the authentic voices of the accepted need to control immigration. And my work to safeguard the overseas aid target of 0.7 per cent of GDP, by specifying in the Statute Law 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, but with the money thus saved having to remain within the budget of the Department for International Development.
 
This list is very far from exhaustive.
 
In this county, as a matter of policy, no one would ever be arrested, still less charged, with anything relating to the law against cannabis. In this country, no one would run much risk of arrest, never mind charge, never mind conviction, never mind anything more than the most derisory of sentences, for what has long been the illegal activity of foxhunting, to which the Police act as escorts, arresting only anyone who might seek to obstruct this criminality or to object to it. No one other than a Premier League footballer, and even then probably only one from the “wrong” club, would run any risk of arrest or prosecution for “digital penetration” of a 15-year-old girl who had, furthermore, been out drinking with the complete impunity of everyone from her parents to the relevant licensees. No one other than a minister of religion, or possibly a teacher, would run any risk of arrest or prosecution for any kind of sexual activity with a 15-year-old boy. Yet look at how I have been treated, and for reasons that have now been communicated to me directly by the perpetrators.
 
In the light of that communication, I find that I am the victim of an act of intercontinental terrorism, from one nuclear-armed state (the United States) to another (the United Kingdom) in the name of the current governing ideologies of at least two more (India and Israel). I demand that the staff of the Crown Prosecution Service who made the decision to charge me be interviewed under caution as to their ties to either or both of India and Israel. I demand that the outstanding criminal charge against me be dropped, that any other investigation against me be terminated, that all relevant files be closed, and that all record of my arrest and charge be purged. I demand that the items of property seized from me and, quite improperly, from a member of my family be returned immediately. I demand a public apology, and that I be compensated in what is, under the circumstances, the extremely modest sum of, after tax and other deductions, four times the Durham County Councillor’s annual allowance of which this action has deprived me. In other words, a net figure of £53,200.
 
I demand that the American Ambassador, the Indian High Commissioner and the Israeli Ambassador be summoned to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to account for this turn of events. I demand that all known supporters of Narendra Modi and the BJP, or of Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud, or of any of their respective coalition partners, be brought in for questioning, both in the United Kingdom, and in the American state identifiable from the postmark on the attached envelope, as well as in at least all of the neighbouring American states. I demand that the Leader of Durham County Council, Councillor Dr Simon Henig CBE, be arrested and interrogated as to his personal, family and other links to either or both of Israel and the Crown Prosecution Service. And I demand the arrest, and the comprehensive interrogation, of Oliver Kamm of The Times, of Damian Thompson of The Spectator, and of [name redacted, because he goes crying to Google whenever I fight back].

Liar Pidcock

Last night, Laura Pidcock told Made in Tyne & Wear that, "I live in Lanchester." That was just a lie. A plain and simple lie. For electoral purposes, she has the use of an address here that is really just a couple of rooms above a shop. But she lives in Cramlington, where she recently lost her County Council seat.

This is not about having to be local. It is about not pretending to be local, or anything else, when you are not. It is about not telling lies. I longed with all my heart to vote Labour this time. But I will not, I cannot, vote for this candidate. Vote for Owen Temple, the Teaching Assistants' champion, and a man who does not tell lies.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

To Draw From This Lesson

Excellent stuff in today’s free Morning Star, from Ken Loach, from Solomon Hughes on the proposed abolition of the Serious Fraud Office, from Richard Rudkin on Jeremy Corbyn and the Northern Ireland where Rudkin served as a soldier, and from Corbyn himself, correctly analysing the banking crisis and predicting the housing crisis in the course of a single column on Tuesday 21st October 2008:

The galloping economic crisis around the world has turned all the market arguments of the 1970s and ’80s firmly on their head. The 1976 Labour government’s capitulation to International Monetary Fund conditions politically cleared the way for the Tories to win the 1979 election. Thatcher then declared war on industrial Britain, with the successive destructions of the shipbuilding, engineering and mining industries.

The Labour Party moved to the left after 1979. But now those who chimed in with the right wing, saying that the 1983 manifesto was the longest suicide note in history, should think again. A very interesting part of that manifesto proposed the establishment of a national investment bank and suggested that the Bank of England exercise much closer control over bank lending policies, with its development plans being agreed with the government.

The manifesto also proposed the creation of a public bank through the post offices and a securities commission to regulate the City’s institutions. It called for a new pensions scheme that would give rights to trustees and contributors to control the investment strategies of pension funds. The last paragraph of this section of the manifesto also made it clear that any banks that failed to co-operate in the national interest fully would be taken into public ownership.

Following the election, the Tories continued with their free-market strategy and, when Labour finally defeated them in the 1997 election, there was a very big change of mood. The New Labour government did dramatically increase investment in health and education and made some valuable reforms, such as the Human Rights Act and the Minimum Wage Act.

However, with Gordon Brown as Chancellor and Blair as Prime Minister, Labour resolutely refused to end the Tory strategy of deregulation. New Labour used its influence in Europe and on the board of the World Bank and the IMF to continue the development of free markets and globalisation through free trade.

Peter Mandelson, while European trade commissioner, presided over a strategy to enforce an open-market policy on developing countries which enabled globalised business to dominate vulnerable markets and destroy local industries and agriculture. The crisis that has developed over the past three months has been a long time coming and has been essentially brought about by excessive levels of consumer debt and the massive US federal debt.

In order to avoid a complete meltdown of the banking system, governments all over the world are now either taking outright ownership of failing banks or taking a substantial equity share in them. All governments are currently pumping billions into bank loans so that the internal lending system can be revived between financial institutions.

The problem now becomes political. Brown and Alistair Darling claim to have saved the banking industry from total collapse and the only interference in the workings of the banks that they have made is to try to control executive pay and bonuses. We have also seen a rather limp statement from the housing minister, asking them to slow down on repossessions of the properties of people with mortgage arrears.

The stark reality is that the free-market system has brought about this crisis and the competition rules of the European Union have already been torn up with respect to banking. It is time to draw from this lesson and make changes.

And:

New Labour’s reliance on the market to solve all problems has come a cropper. The government is currently building fewer houses for social rent than at any time since the 1920s. Since all developments in the pipeline are effectively “add-on” to private-sector developments, it’s likely that there will be a housing shortage for those in need in the near future.

We urgently need to invest in new building, providing local authorities with the powers and funds to purchase properties facing repossession and to buy unsold private-sector homes and turn them into council tenancies. It is also clear that many industries and companies are facing short-term financial problems and, therefore, unemployment is beginning to rise. Without rapid intervention by central government, we will see a repeat of the devastating rates of unemployment of the 1980s, at the height of Thatcherism.

This is not an isolated issue that only faces western European economies — the global effects are enormous. A very disturbing report from the UN food and agricultural association showed that one billion people are now desperately hungry because they can’t afford food. In other words, one in six of the world’s population is now starving.

Over the past month, there have been very welcome developments and discussions about what a socialist economy would look like in this country and on a wider scale. Free-market capitalism and deregulation have created the hunger, poverty, misery and insecurity that many people are facing. Surely it is now time to explain that the role of the political system and of central government is to ensure that everyone has food, work, housing, health and welfare available for them.

The solutions are at hand — fully nationalising the banks, taking failing rail companies into public ownership, protecting public services from cuts, increasing pensions and benefits to help reinflate the economy, putting huge resources into conquering the misery of homelessness and overcrowding that so many families face.

Globally, the peace and anti-war movement has shown that people can and do work across frontiers to achieve a common aim. We have to use the same spirit to conquer the global hunger and poverty brought about by the madness of free market global capitalism.

Sadly, there is also Laura Pidcock, telling us that we plebs in North West Durham have no culture. I cannot tell you how much I ached to vote Labour this time, and how much I still do. All my heart yearns for the national victory that is now in sight. But I cannot possibly vote for her. And nor should you.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Appauling, Indeed

I reproduce this without comment from Laura Pidcock's official Facebook page, Laura Pidcock for North West Durham:
 
Sunday was a very busy, but productive day.
 
Sunday started with a visit to BBC Sunday Politics, to discuss the appauling atrocity in Manchester in which twenty two, and seven from our region tragically lost their lives. We also discussed the plight of transport in our region, we receive nowhere near the investment that London and the South do. This must change.
 
We then went out on the doorsteps to talk with members of the public. I was very pleased to be joined by Shadow Education Secretary, Angela Raynor. She is a great fighter for our people.
 
I then attended a hustings at Christ Church in Consett. Members of the public put their questions to the candidates. I put forward Labour's positive vision for North West Durham and our nation.
 
My day ended at 2am this morning. I gained a fascinating insight into Consett's night time economy. I joined the Street Friends as an observer, who's primary aim is to make sure people have a great night that ends safely.
 
Today, I will be speaking at Pride in Durham and then will be back on the doors to speak to residents.

Friday, 26 May 2017

An Address of Convenience

The following letter appears in the latest edition of the Lanchester Village Voice:

Many people want to know if an election candidate is local. However political parties have their own agenda. The Conservative party candidate in the forthcoming General Election comes from Hastings on the south coast. I do not take issue with this as it is clear to the electorate.

However the Labour candidate was a councillor in Cramlington until she was defeated on May 4th. Her home was given as Oxford Avenue, Cramlington. I understand that she has now declared on her election submission she lives in Lanchester in a property that appears to be a flat over a shop.

I recall the UKIP leader being hauled over the coals for using an address of convenience in a recent by-election. It appears to me the Labour candidate is playing the same game in order to get a local address on the ballot paper.

Name and address withheld on request

Thursday, 25 May 2017

The Grown-Up Candidate

I am delighted that their campaign has transformed the Durham Teaching Assistants from political novices into dedicated activists. But I do not resile from my criticism that they have allowed themselves to become overly dependent on gurus and mentors who were, in reality, barely more experienced at proper politics than they themselves were.

As a result, due to the failure to declare explicitly for the re-election of all non-Labour members of Durham County Council, and for the defeat of all Labour candidates without exception, that party has managed to retain overall control of that authority. Therefore, it is necessary to punish Labour in County Durham by other means, namely by re-electing Grahame Morris while defeating all other Labour candidates in this county at the forthcoming General Election.

One of those candidates walked out of the Teaching Assistants' Solidarity Rally, a Rally that had given a standing ovation to the two non-Labour Councillors for Consett North, both of whom have since been re-elected, and one of whom is now that walker out's Liberal Democrat opponent for Parliament. But she, Laura Pidcock, is exceptionally close to the gurus and mentors who think that a quarter-century of demonstrating and newspaper-vending on the streets, noble and important in themselves but hardly the be all and end all of grown-up politics, is in itself enough to qualify them as seasoned politicians.

Therefore, there are those among the TAs who even appear to be supporting Pidcock against Owen Temple, who is, with Alex Watson (one of my own Campaign Patrons), one of the two County Councillors to have done the most for them, as they rapturously acknowledged at their own Solidarity Rally. Seated right next to Owen and Alex, I participated fully in that rapture. While disagreeing with almost everything in the Liberal Democrat manifesto, while agreeing with almost everything in the Labour manifesto, and while aching for Jeremy Corbyn to become Prime Minister, I am proud to be a mere fortnight away from voting for Owen to serve as my MP.

But then, my formative and ongoing political experiences have been and are as a Parish Councillor, as a governor of two schools, around even if never quite on the old Derwentside District Council, as a member of the Durham Police and Crime Commissioner's Community Panel, and as a governor of the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust. I have no background in, nor have I the slightest affinity with, that which Lenin called "an infantile disorder".

Hence, one of my Campaign Patrons served for many years as the Leader of the Derwentside District Council of which he always said that I ought to have been a member (but my Branch preferred pure blood Aryan pretty boys who knew about football and pop music, no matter how unelectable they were), chairing the North East Regional Assembly and earning himself the OBE. While my other Campaign Patron was first elected to Parliament 30 years ago, has been the MP for four constituencies in three cities, is on course to add a fifth seat in a fourth city, and is one of the most immediately recognisable politicians in the English-speaking and several other worlds.

As a grown-up, backed by grown-ups, I am telling you that Owen Temple is the grown-up candidate in North West Durham, and the only true friend of the Teaching Assistants on the ballot paper here.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Never Mind The Pidcocks

I promised Blessed Ronan Dodds that I would light a candle at his altar by using that headline. I have now done so.

I have never said that Laura Pidcock ought not to become the Member of Parliament for anywhere, ever, by any means. But she ought not to become the Member of Parliament for North West Durham, in 2017, by decree of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party and by use of an all-women shortlist.

There is no serious doubt that, even were she to be elected, then the Constituency Labour Party, left-wing though it now is, would deselect her for the Marxist, radical feminist, and zealously anti-Catholic views that would have been moderated and modified by 10 years in one or more middle-ranking positions.

Furthermore, she walked out of the Teaching Assistants' Solidarity Rally when a speaker from this constituency rightly called for a vote against all Labour candidates at what were then the forthcoming elections to Durham County Council. Had that strategy been properly adopted and applied, then Labour would have lost control of that council, and the need to punish that party would therefore no longer obtain.

As it is, however, it remains absolutely imperative, both to re-elect Grahame Morris at Easington, and to defeat all other Labour parliamentary candidates in County Durham. Here in North West Durham, we have the privilege of being able to vote for Owen Temple, who is, with Alex Watson, one of the two members of Durham County Council to have done the most for the Teaching Assistants, and the only parliamentary candidate to have had an address in this constituency on the day that this General Election was called.

I write this as one who longs for Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister, who agrees with almost everything in the Labour manifesto, and who agrees with almost nothing in that of Owen's party, the Liberal Democrats. But here we are. And people quite close to Corbyn, people who stopped the TAs from fully pursuing the correct approach to the local elections, people who are also very close to Pidcock, are very largely to blame for the fact that here we are.

Friday, 19 May 2017

In Order To Administer The Punishment

Oh, how I had longed to vote Labour this time, to vote for almost all of this manifesto, to vote for Jeremy Corbyn. How I still do long to vote Labour this time, to vote for almost all of this manifesto, to vote for Jeremy Corbyn. But there is no way that I can do it.

There is the manner of the Labour candidate's selection; even if she won, then she would almost certainly be deselected during the next Parliament, due to the unrepresentative nature of what are not yet her fully formed opinions. There is the fact that she walked out of the Teaching Assistants' Solidarity Rally when it called for a vote against all Labour candidates at what were then the forthcoming local elections. And there is the fact that, due to the failure to take that excellent strategy and run with it, Labour did not, after all, lose overall control of Durham County Council this month.

Thus, it remains unpunished, both for the abuse of the Teaching Assistants as such, and for the long list of offences of which that abuse stands as a symbol, a list that now includes my own impending show trial, which is a "racist, sectarian and partisan hit job" that "recalls the darkest days of Northern Ireland or the American Deep South, with no dividing line between the Police, a massively dominant local political party, and a secret society bound by oaths", and which calls seriously into question any pretence of the Crown Prosecution Service to political independence or impartiality.

Therefore, in order to administer the punishment that ought to have been administered on 4th May, it will be necessary on 8th June to defeat all of Labour's parliamentary candidates in County Durham apart from Grahame Morris. Here in North West Durham, we have the benefit of being able to vote for Owen Temple, who with Alex Watson is one of the two County Councillors to have done the most in support of the Teaching Assistants, and who is the only candidate to have been living in this constituency on the day that the General Election was called.

Am I a Lib Dem? Not remotely. But Owen is head and shoulders above the other candidates here. Demographically, this should never have been a safe Labour seat. The shock of losing it would be good for the local Labour Party, and making this a seat that had to be fought, as it always should have been, would be good for the constituency.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

I Shall Be Voting For Owen Temple

The Labour manifesto is almost entirely the one for which I have been waiting since I was a teenager. The Liberal Democrat manifesto would serve as a pretty good compendium of everything that I was against politically. Everything from re-running the referendum (although I think that that might happen whoever won) to legalising cannabis (against which I have been arguing for 20 years, against the people who have controlled the Conservative Party for most of that period).

Here in North West Durham, however, the Conservative candidate, Sally-Ann Hart, resides in Sussex, while the Labour candidate, Laura Pidcock, somehow acquired an address in Lanchester during the week between her loss of her seat on Northumberland County Council and the close of nominations for this election. Ms Pidcock was imposed, using an all-women shortlist, by the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party, with no local involvement whatever.

On the same day as she was losing her seat in Northumberland, the Liberal Democrat, Councillor Owen Temple, was once again topping the poll at Consett North. The Green candidate lives in Durham City, while the UKIP candidate lives in Bishop Auckland.

One may or may not agree with the Liberal Democrats about Brexit or any other issue. But voting is for individual candidates. Councillor Temple is a champion of the Teaching Assistants, of whom Ms Pidcock is at best a lukewarm supporter or a fair-weather friend, and of a wide range of other local community concerns, most of which would be unknown to the other candidates.

He offers Labour voters a chance to return the contempt that the Labour Party has shown them by treating this seat as a consolation prize for Laura Pidcock, whose own MP has not retired as expected. He offers everyone else the chance to take this seat out of the hands of the Labour Party, including the chance for Conservative voters to return the contempt that their party has shown them by yet again failing to field a local candidate.

And the failure to remove Labour from overall control of Durham County Council means that it still needs to be punished for its mismanagement of that authority, which means that all of its parliamentary candidates here apart from Grahame Morris need to be defeated this time.

Therefore, I shall be voting for Owen Temple.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Fight Hard To Win

Yes, I have waited my entire adult life for this Labour manifesto. Yes, I do want Jeremy Corbyn to be Prime Minister instead of Theresa May, and I question the credibility of anyone who will not say that while professing to oppose British intervention on the Islamist side in Syria. And no, I am not at all impressed at, by or with the manifesto that has today been published by the Liberal Democrats. But we elect individual Members of Parliament in this country.

What I am about to say would never have been necessary if anyone had listened to me, instead of to people who had spent their political lives on the fringes, or in other parts of the country, or both, rather than as the Secretary of Derwentside District Labour Party, as a long-serving Lanchester Parish Councillor, as a governor for a cumulative 16 years of two schools in Lanchester (one of them serving almost the entire Derwentside area), as a subagent who had secured Labour an overall majority of the total vote on a four-way split in what was then still a traditionally Conservative ward, and now as a governor of County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.

I told them that it was not only reasonable, but morally and politically obligatory, to call for the election of no Labour candidate whatever to Durham County Council on 4th May. And then, what? A Cabinet position for every non-Labour Group and for those of no Group, with the numbers made up based on their relative size. The same for Scrutiny Chairs, obviously never mirroring the portfolios of their respective partisans. And representation on each committee and subcommittee in proportion to their numbers on the authority as a whole.

If they had paid any attention and run with "Anyone But Labour", then Labour would have lost control of Durham County Council, as very nearly happened, and we would now be dealing with whatever had come after that, made up as it would have been of our stalwart friends and allies. In which case, it would have been possible to advocate a Labour vote without complication at the forthcoming General Election.

Instead, though, with the Labour Party in County Durham still unpunished, and with my impending show trial (a "racist, sectarian and partisan hit job" that "recalls the darkest days of Northern Ireland or the American Deep South, with no dividing line between the Police, a massively dominant local political party, and a secret society bound by oaths") to add to its long list of offences, Grahame Morris is the only Labour parliamentary candidate who deserves a vote. Indeed, he more than richly deserves it.

There is no reason to begrudge the Conservatives their victories at Bishop Auckland and at Sedgefield. What would they make any worse? They are as welcome to those seats as they are to the ones that they are also going to take from the SNP, which deserves to lose to "the TOR-ies!" as surely as does the Labour Party in County Durham.

In City of Durham, and in North Durham, make a judgement based on your local knowledge. Here in North West Durham, consider that only Owen Temple had an address in this constituency two weeks ago, and that he is tied with Alex Watson as the County Councillor who has done the most for the Teaching Assistants.

Is there still a Constituency Labour Party here in North West Durham? If so, then what is it for? What is the point of a CLP that had no say whatever on the selection of the parliamentary candidate? The one whom the Labour Party has imposed here clearly intends to stay for 35 years. The CLP nominated Ed Miliband in 2010, Andy Burnham is 2015, and Jeremy Corbyn in 2016. But there is Left and there is Left. Even were she to be elected, then Laura Pidcock's Marxism, her radical feminism, and her anti-Catholic zealotry would be the road to deselection before 2022. After all, the CLP was never asked whether it wanted her in the first place.

North West Durham is a well-known psephological anomaly that has baffled the boffins for most of its history. Nothing about it suggests a safe Labour seat apart from the fact that it is one, or that it has been one, more or less, up to know. It really ought not to be one, and it is regularly pointed out as an oddity. People who grew up Amish mostly think that the Amish are normal. But they are not.

This ought to be a seat that all three parties felt the need to fight hard to win, not one that a single party could give as a coming out present to a debutante. A debutante, moreover, who walked out of the Teaching Assistants' Solidarity Rally because a speaker, from this constituency, had dared to propose exactly the right electoral approach.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Rye, Indeed

In a reversion to the historical norm, the Conservatives came second here in North West Durham in 2015. But their candidate this time, one Sally-Ann Hart, is listed as having her "address in the Hastings and Rye constituency". They are always from the South. None of them has even pretended to live here since Theresa May in 1992, and she did in fact spend a lot of time here. She is well-remembered. Meanwhile, Princess Pidcock has apparently managed to acquire a residence in Lanchester at less than a month's notice. Not bad for a 29-year-old charity worker.

I want the railways and the Royal Mail back in public ownership. I want an extra six billion pounds per year for the NHS, and an extra £1.6 billion for social care. I want 100,000 new council houses each year, with the offer of homes to thousands of rough sleepers, and with a cap on private rents. I want an end to arms sales to Saudi Arabia. And I want to be sure that Britain will not intervene on the Islamist side in the Syrian Civil War.

In this country, however, we vote for individual candidates.

For whom am I going to vote? If my Campaign Patron, Councillor Alex Watson OBE, endorses anyone, and if I do not say otherwise, then I agree with him. Beyond that, know only that I will vote. To the best of my knowledge, I am the first declared candidate in the country for the 2022 General Election. Already organising, already campaigning, and already fundraising.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Fighting On

It is three years since a former Deputy Leader of Durham County Council introduced me at a funeral as "the man who should have been our MP". It seems to be the broad consensus among people like that, approaching unanimity in the generation above mine, that that was what ought to have happened, but of course never did, as such things almost never quite do. If anyone dissents from that, then it is Neil Fleming, and even he, older and more right-wing than I am, would have to concede that it would at least have been preferable to what has now come to pass.

Look, I have never said that Laura Pidcock ought not to be the MP for anywhere, ever. My view is that she ought not to be the MP for here, now. She is not representative, and she is not ready. A 29-year-old Marxist and radical feminist with an inherited grudge against the Catholic Church, all things that could have been smoothed a bit during her thirties in a middle-ranking position, is not someone whom even what is now the fairly left-wing Constituency Labour Party in North West Durham would have selected. Least of all from outside, and as a consolation prize because her own MP had decided not to go through with his expected retirement.

Not representative, and not ready. Readers from the local political world, you know this. You know it. You had already arrived at it. Several of you taught this kind of thing to me.

Nor, unlike a committee in London, would the CLP have fallen for the faux-prole act of an impeccably middle-class, and really quite privileged, person who happened to have a regional accent. Tony Benn, Michael Foot and Tam Dalyell were privileged. Jeremy Corbyn is impeccably middle-class, as am I. The problem is the pretence otherwise; the endless banging on about being working-class when obviously no such thing, at least to anyone from the North East.

Without her advantages, I am not in a position to raise the deposit of £500, never mind the £10,000 that it would take to mount a serious campaign, between 18th April, with no notice whatever, and 11th May, when nominations will close. We normal people simply cannot do that in less than a month. We can, however, do it in five years.

So I am not giving up. My campaign has not ended, nor will it. My campaign has not been suspended, nor will it be. Donations remain welcome. I have every intention of contesting the County seat here in Lanchester in 2021, and I might, or might not, do so earlier, in the highly likely event that one of the sitting Councillors moved on or just got bored, or that the other became too seriously ill to continue, or both. I have every intention of putting up for the Parish Council in 2021. And I have every intention of contesting the parliamentary seat that contained Lanchester in 2022.

The local Labour machine has already proven that it cannot beat me in a fair contest, but only by cheating, although, having done so, it has now made that point, which it has no reason to press any further. The expected boundaries of the seat in 2022 would be even less appropriate for a Far Leftist who had no inclination whatever to co-operate with Independents, Liberal Democrats, Conservatives, and entirely nonpartisan community stalwarts, and who, having been given a parliamentary seat while still at that stage, had never been required to grow out of it. By then, a considerable area of the new constituency will very probably have had a Conservative MP for five years.

My work continues. My work to secure justice for the Teaching Assistants, something that now requires the election of no Labour MPs in County Durham except at Easington, which is a realistic aim in all but one of the other seats, and which is an aim worth pursuing in all of them; the TAs need to stop listening to those who have already stabbed them in the back. My work to unite the unions, the Independents, the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives in order to bring the Volkswagen Group's production for the British market to County Durham after Brexit, in very stark contrast to those who have merely managed other people's poverty for 32 years and counting. My work to secure working-class representation, and especially rural working-class representation, on all public bodies, as well as in the media.

My work to give voice to the fact that the workers, and not the liberal bourgeoisie, are the key swing voters. My work to give voice to the fact that identity issues must be located within the struggle for economic equality and for international peace. My work to give voice to the fact that the leading role in the defence of universal public services belongs to those who would otherwise lack basic amenities, while the leading role in the promotion of peace belongs to those who would be the first to be called upon to die in wars. My work to give voice to the fact that the decision of the EU referendum by people and places that voted Labour, Liberal Democrat or Plaid Cymru means that the concerns of those people and places ought now to be the focus of political attention.

My work of opposition from the start to the failed programme of economic austerity. Against all Governments since 1997, my work of opposition to the privatisation of the NHS and other public services, to the persecution of the disabled (of whom I am now one), 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.

My work in 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. My work to 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 my work of refusal, as a mixed-race person, to recognise racists, Fascists or opportunists as the authentic voices of the accepted need to control immigration.

As to North West Durham in 2017, if my Campaign Patron, Councillor Alex Watson OBE, made a public endorsement, then I would disagree with it publicly if I disagreed with it at all. If he did not say anything, then nor would I. If he did say something, but I did not, then you could draw your own conclusions, but no further comment would be made by me. My eyes are already set firmly on next time.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Lost Deposit, But No Lost Hope

Well, if I don't have £500 going spare, then that's that. Nominations close on Thursday. Weren't we supposed to have fixed-term Parliaments these days? I have always said that it was the money and nothing else. If I could afford to stand for Parliament, then I would.

If I didn't, then it certainly would not be for want of support on the ground. Whereas all that Laura Pidcock has is so much money that she can buy a second house in a fortnight, and buy a parliamentary seat in month. That's the upper middle classes for you. Second generation County Councillors (until they lose their seats), and second generation charity workers, of the kind funded entirely by the State or the unions, as what passes for the day job.

Obviously, that combination does not pay too shabbily. And it provides a network of the similar to sign one's Nomination Papers. No one else will sign hers. I might go through the list on here when it appears. Despite never having had a proper job in their lives, they cannot begin to contain their glee at the very concept of people who cannot simply stump up £500, and indeed buy a house, whenever a General Election is called.

Welcome to the Labour Party in the North East. Literally laughing at everyone who is not stinking rich on the back of nothing very much at all. I once tried to work out the combined wealth of the Cabinet on Durham County Council, but I stopped when it started to make my head spin. And for what? What have they ever done? In their lives?

If you elect Laura Pidcock, then you will get what you deserve.

A 29-year-old princess who has no ties to the area, unlike the very local Armstrongs and Pat Glass, but who managed to persuade a committee in London that Cramlington was the same place as Consett or Crook, and that having any kind of Northern accent was proof of being working-class. A Marxist and a radical feminist with, among other things, an inherited hatred of the Catholic Church, and a total inability to be so much as civil towards the Independents, Liberal Democrats and "TORIES!!!" who are hardly thin on the ground in an area such as North West Durham.

A person with every intention of remaining in office for 35 years, having benefited from a centrally imposed all-women shortlist of, it would appear, one name. A Northumberland County Councillor until last week, when she lost to the Conservative Party the seat that she had been given at the almost impossible age of 25 because, as if it needed to be said, she came from the right family.

A person who walked out of the Teaching Assistants' Solidarity Rally when a speaker from this constituency called for all Labour Councillors to lose their seats, and set out how that could be achieved. Had that strategy not been stifled by Labour snakes in the grass, then it would by now have resolved the entire dispute entirely in the terms required by the TAs, who, in my absence, would presumably vote and campaign for their stalwart supporter, Owen Temple.

I hope that Owen will forgive me for saying that he would be unlikely to wish to serve more than one term. In May 2022, I would still be only 44. Again I say that Ms Pidcock would have been welcome to have done 10 years on what would have been politically my very ecumenical staff, since she is the usual age for MPs' staffers rather than for MPs. What does she think makes her so special? As to the ecumenism of her staffing arrangements, only if you count different factions of the Far Left within and beyond the Labour Party, and possibly not even then. The non-Labour majority of Councillors in the constituency might as well keep their emails and phone calls to themselves. The Labour minority need not expect awfully much, either.

The local Labour machine has now proven that it cannot beat me in a fair fight, although it must be said that it has now made that point and that it therefore has no reason to pursue it any further. Especially since Theresa May has almost certainly made it impossible for me to contest this General Election, either. But I am not going away. In the meantime, one of my Campaign Patrons is a parliamentary candidate at Manchester Gorton, and I shall probably vote for whoever the other Campaign Patron recommends here on his and my patch of North West Durham.

Saturday, 6 May 2017

The Fight Can and Must Continue

No Parish seat either, but I'll live. It was a very strong field. The real disappointment is the loss of a Parish seat by an immensely hardworking member. Those who have gone to such extreme lengths to beat me both for the County and for the Parish, I hope that you are exactly as proud as you ought to be of the fact that you have beaten me by cheating.

I am certainly very proud indeed of the fact that, while I lost, I lost with honour. The concern of the Police to protect me from you (yes, you did read that correctly) was very much appreciated on my part. Although it is worth mentioning that you have now made your point.

In any case, politics is not the only thing in my life, and elections are not the only thing in my politics. Unlike the hollering boys in the identical suits and ties that I can only assume that, like a football club, the Labour Party now issues to them for these occasions. Are the ties clip-on? Are the suits? And then there are the WAGs. On which note, where is the house that Laura Pidcock now claims to have in this constituency? How did a 29-year-old charity worker pay for it at a fortnight's notice?

Not that her charity is limitless. She walked out of the Teaching Assistants' Rally when a speaker, from this constituency, called for all Labour County Councillors to lose their seats. Alas, certain Labour stooges were able to blunt that message, with the effect that their precious party did not quite lose Overall Control yesterday. But there are at least three ways in which the fight can and must continue.

First, since Jeremy Corbyn and Angela Rayner are both to address the Durham Miners' Gala this year, then the Durham Miners' Association needs to write, over their names as well as over its own, to all Labour members of Durham County Council, making it clear that they would not be welcome if the TAs' dispute had not been resolved to the TAs' satisfaction.

That letter needs to be made public, and it needs to be accompanied by one of endorsement from a range of trade union leaders. The extent of the estrangement of the Labour Group on Durham County Council from the Labour Movement at large needs to be emphasised in the strongest possible terms.

Secondly, the unions, and the six Momentum members out of six in Division III, need to organise immediately for the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party to resolve that any Councillor who voted against the immediate cancellation of the attack on the TAs, a cancellation to be moved by non-Labour members forthwith, would thereby be expelled from the Labour Party, subject to the usual five year ban from re-joining. The credibility of the Real Living Wage of £10 per hour depends on this.

And thirdly, there is the forthcoming General Election. It is absolutely imperative that Grahame Morris be returned at Easington. It is no less so that no other Labour candidate be returned in County Durham. Make a judgement in your locality. But whatever else you do, do not vote Labour, no matter how much you might want Jeremy Corbyn to become Prime Minister instead of Theresa May. Here in North West Durham, funds permitting, you will have the option of voting for a man who has supported the Teaching Assistants from the very start.

I secured them the support of several national trade union leaders in August 2016. I secured their landmark meeting with Jeremy Corbyn. I secured the signature of Angela Rayner on their petition. I secured the support for them that George Galloway regularly expresses on his radio programme and to his quarter of a million followers on Twitter. Their champion, Councillor Alex Watson OBE of Consett North, is one of my Campaign Patrons, while George, another of their champions, is the other Campaign Patron. Like Alex, I did not sell out the TAs to the local Labour machine that has been the only beneficiary of that sellout.

Please give generously, and please spread the word.

Friday, 5 May 2017

Laura Pidcock Needs To Stand Aside

I may not have won a County Council seat that I have never held, but Laura Pidcock has just lost a County Council seat to the Conservatives. Since she was at the Durham count throughout the afternoon, an extremely productive afternoon from the point of view of my General Election campaign (everyone was there, all right), she presumably thought that her own seat was so safe that the Northumberland count was not worth attending. Ho, hum. She lost that seat. To a Tory.
 
Her Nomination Papers are unlikely to be signed by anyone other than allowance-laden Labour Councillors (such as there still are in Durham, where three Cabinet members were among those who lost their seats today) and persons who, like her, are and have only ever been employed by the Labour Party and its associated bodies. That must pay well, since she apparently has residences both in Northumberland and, bought since the General Election was called, in County Durham.
 
Unless she wants the Liberal Democrats to win North West Durham, then she will stand down in my favour. I am calling on her to do so. She has no ties to this area. Her selection as a candidate here had no local involvement whatever; indeed, she spent much of today being introduced to local Labour stalwarts who had never met her. I have been an anti-austerity and anti-war activist since well before she could vote. Her anti-racism extends only to trying to prevent a mixed-race candidate from being elected, in the grand old tradition of Hilary Armstrong and Neil Fleming.
 
It amuses me no end that she has probably never heard of Neil Fleming, and that she has almost certainly never had the displeasure of a conversation with him. Last night, I briefly caught sight of the forlorn figure of Brynnen Ririe, fated never quite to become Mrs Fleming. Another all-women shortlist here, but still no one seems to have thought to add her name to it. So far as one can tell, the only name on it was that of the far younger and locally unknown Far Leftist, and now the defeated former Northumberland County Councillor, Laura Pidcock.
 
Whether to the council seat that she could not retain, or to the parliamentary seat that she expects to inherit, Ms Pidcock's sense of her own entitlement recalls Hilary Armstrong and Hillary Clinton. Her candidacy would be an insult to the voters here, and a gift to the Lib Dems, or even to the Conservatives, who have of course beaten her once already. She needs to put aside the arrogance of her extreme youth, and confront reality. She would be welcome on my staff, which would be more appropriate for a person of her age, and which I intend to fill from across the political spectrum. But she has just lost her council seat to a Tory. She is the unelectable Left. She needs to stand aside.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Obviously Representative, And Not

Never forget where you came from. I may speak like Nigel Havers when the need arises. But I still need a mirror to tie a bow tie. And I still vote for myself. Moreover, I cannot afford to have two houses. Nor can I afford to buy one at the drop of Theresa May's hat in order to give the impression of being local. Mercifully, I do not need to give any such impression. I have lived here for 35 years, and at my current address for 27 of them.

I am undeniably a man of the Left, but of the non-Marxist kind that is capable of co-operation across the political spectrum. I might have voted and campaigned for a mainstream left-wing Labour candidate, such as the outgoing MP. Of either sex, provided that there had been a fair and open selection process. I genuinely respect Laura Pidcock's anti-austerity, anti-war and anti-racist activism. I fully accept that the most left-wing member of the House of Commons must by definition be the MP for somewhere. But not here.

Ms Pidcock, chosen from an all-women shortlist by Labour's National Executive Committee in London, is an avowed Marxist and radical feminist whose views are not obviously representative of Derwentside or the Wear Valley. It is impossible to imagine her working with Independents, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives, as I am already doing, both in support of the Teaching Assistants, and in order to bring the Volkswagen Group's production for the British market to this county after Brexit.

At the recent rally for the Teaching Assistants, Ms Pidcock walked out when a TA and activist from this constituency called for all Labour Councillors to lose their seats. That has long been my stated view.

I reject 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; Ms Pidcock is unlikely to echo that rejection. I seek to rescue issues such as male suicide, men's health, and fathers' rights from those whose economic and other policies have caused the problems; Ms Pidcock is unlikely to see those problems. Being both mixed-race and disabled, I refuse to recognise racists, Fascists or opportunists as the authentic voices of the accepted need to control immigration; Ms Pidcock is unlikely to accept that need.

Much as I respect Owen Temple, who most certainly did not walk out of the TAs' rally, I also remember the last time that the Liberal Democrats were in government. I am not talking about tuition fees. I am talking about every wretched thing that the Coalition did, opposed by Jeremy Corbyn even when not by the Labour front bench. Everything from the Bedroom Tax to the war in Libya. Furthermore, I could not possibly vote for a second referendum on EU membership. If neither could you, then you cannot vote Liberal Democrat this time.

I am not aware that Ms Pidcock has ever resisted the implementation of austerity by Northumberland County Council. As for wars, I have been campaigning against them since she was still in primary school. On the EU, Ms Pidcock's views and mine are probably very similar. But even if they are not, then on that, as on many social issues, she has no case against me that would not also apply to her own MP, Ronnie Campbell, for whom she is presumably intending to vote and campaign. There are persistent rumours that she wants to close our Catholic and Church of England schools.

Please give generously, and please spread the word.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

A Load of Pidcocks

I am sorry, but Laura Pidcock's claim on her Facebook page that she lives in this constituency cannot be true. Only this week, she is defending her Cramlington Eastfield seat on Northumberland County Council. In any case, she has certainly not lived here, as I have, since 1982. She was not born in 1982.

Please give generously, and please spread the word.

Saturday, 29 April 2017

Blyth Spirit

Not to say, Blyth Spartan.

Laura Pidcock probably voted Leave, and for very much the same reasons as I did. Daniel Kebede certainly did so, and he made no bones about it on social media. But whether over the EU, or over various social issues, her supporters have no case against me that could not be made against her own MP, Ronnie Campbell.

Will she be voting to re-elect him on 8th June, and will she be encouraging other people to do so? If the answer to either of those questions is Yes, then she and her supporters have no case against me, whether on the EU or on social issues. At least, not beyond an insistence on always voting for the official Labour candidate, which is all very well for Labour Party members, but which is irrelevant to anyone else.

Assuming that the Lib Dem candidate is who everyone expects it to be, then this seat should be treated as a three-way marginal. Labour, of course, is not going to treat it as any such thing.

Please give generously, and please spread the word.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Now For YOUR Selection

The Labour nominee here at North West Durham is to be my friend, Laura Pidcock. If asked the straight question, "Are you a Marxist?", then I have no doubt that Laura 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.

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.

Please give generously, and please spread the word.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

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.

Friday, 21 April 2017

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: davidaslindsay@hotmail.com.

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.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Why I Am Standing For Parliament

Did you want a General Election this year? No, neither did I. The official line is that Jeremy Corbyn would have been hammered at any time. In which case, why now?

Perhaps it is about that fraud case, but mostly it is because Theresa May does not understand how Parliament works, or is supposed to work. She thinks that it is supposed to be "united", which is a fluffy way of saying that she thinks that there ought to be no Opposition.

Labour, the Liberal Democrats and the SNP have been giving her grief, so she has called a General Election in order to crush them into silence, which in any case even the most abject defeat would not do. I am starting to wish that they had voted against her yesterday. That would have denied her the necessary two thirds majority.
 
But hey ho, here we are. Pat Glass is certainly retiring, and she will be missed. Therefore, I shall certainly be contesting North West Durham, funds permitting. That is a big caveat. But it is the only one.
 
Whether Mrs May is Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition, then she will need to be held, not least against much or most of her own party, to her stated commitments to workers' and consumers' representation in corporate governance, to shareholders' control over executive pay, to restrictions on pay differentials within companies, to an investment-based Industrial Strategy and infrastructure programme, to greatly increased housebuilding, to action against tax avoidance, to a ban on public contracts for tax-avoiding companies, to a cap on energy prices, to banning or greatly restricting foreign takeovers, and to a ban on unpaid internships.

And whether Mr Corbyn is Prime Minister or Leader of the Opposition, then he will need to held, not least against powerfully well-connected sections of his own party, to all of the above, which he originated, and to protecting the Triple Lock up to 2025, to compensating the WASPI women, to protecting the pensions of British citizens living abroad, and to keeping the Winter Fuel Allowance and the free bus passes for pensioners.

He will need to be held, not least against powerfully well-connected sections of his own party, to cancelling the inheritance tax cut in order to spend the money on paying carers properly, to scrapping the VAT exemption on private school fees in order to spend the money on free school meals for all state primary pupils, and to introducing a minimum wage of £10 per hour for all, which is more than Durham County Council proposes to pay its Teaching Assistants.

And he will need to be held, not least against powerfully well-connected sections of his own party, to ending the public sector pay freeze, to renationalising the railways for free as each franchise came up for renewal, to banning late payments to small and medium-sized enterprises, to reversing the hike in Business Rates, to banning zero hours contracts for workers with regular hours, and to saving five billion pounds by renationalising the NHS in England, which is the only part of the United Kingdom where any such renationalisation is necessary.

This is the work of probably a small, but certainly a dedicated, band of MPs, such as George Galloway at Manchester Gorton, and, if you will have me, such as David Lindsay at North West Durham. I can think of others whom I very much hope will give it a go.

For what it is worth, I feel that they ought to do as I shall be doing, and eschew even the word "Independent", since we are members of numerous overlapping networks of political interdependence and accountability, once such network being each other. That network is defined by very clear principles.

We hold that the workers, and not the liberal bourgeoisie, are the key swing voters. That identity issues must be located within the struggle for economic equality and for international peace. And that the leading role in the defence of universal public services belongs to those (the working class, and not least the almost universally ignored rural working class) who would otherwise lack basic amenities, while the leading role in the promotion of peace belongs those who would be the first to be called upon to die in wars (the workers again, and also the youth, who were right about the First World War, right about the Vietnam War, and right about the Iraq War).

We understand that the decision of the EU referendum by people and places that ordinarily vote Labour, Liberal Democrat or Plaid Cymru means that the concerns of those poeple and places ought now to be the focus of attention. We have been opposed from the start to the failed programme of economic austerity. Against all Governments since 1997, we have always been opposed 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 the United Kingdom's immoral and one-sided relationship with Saudi Arabia, to military alliance with Turkey, and to the demonisation of Russia.

We reject 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. We seek to rescue issues such as male suicide, men's health, and fathers' rights from those whose economic and other policies have caused the problems. And we refuse to recognise racists, Fascists or opportunists as the authentic voices of the accepted need to control immigration.

I want to be among the MPs who were constant in bearing witness to these principles, regardless of who was or was not the Leader of any given party at any given time. Therefore, I shall certainly be contesting North West Durham, funds permitting. That is a big caveat. But it is the only one.