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.

My Own Man, And Yours


On Thursday 4th May

Vote David Lindsay

 

His own man, and yours

Knows his own mind, and not afraid to speak it. Working only for the people of this community.

Lived in Lanchester since 1990, went to school here from 1985

Parish Councillor from 1999 to 2013, EP School Governor from 1999 to 2007, St Bede’s Governor from 2000 to 2008, former Willow Burn volunteer, now Governor of County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.

 

The Lib Dem candidates live in Blackhill and Dipton

The Conservative candidate lives all the way over in Barnard Castle

 

#VoteDavidLindsay

Published and promoted by, and on behalf of, David Lindsay, 13 Foxhills Crescent, Lanchester, Durham, DH7 0PW.

Vote David Lindsay, Vote For The Teaching Assistants


Vote David Lindsay

Vote For The Teaching Assistants

I have supported them 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 the Patron of my Campaign

Thursday 4th May

Vote For The Teaching Assistants

#VoteDavidLindsay

Published and promoted by, and on behalf of, David Lindsay, 13 Foxhills Crescent, Lanchester, Durham, DH7 0PW.

“Like My Father, I Will NEVER Forget About Burnhope”


You have eight candidates for County Councillor

 

Only David Lindsay has ever lived in Burnhope

 

Son of the late Canon Richard Lindsay

 

“Everyone else has forgotten about Burnhope. But, like my father, I will NEVER forget about Burnhope.”

 

Thursday 4th May

#VoteDavidLindsay

 

Published and promoted by, and on behalf of, David Lindsay, 13 Foxhills Crescent, Lanchester, Durham, DH7 0PW.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

A Healthy Development

I am now a Governor of County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust.

Representing Derwentside, so feel free to get in touch about anything relevant.

Save The Date

Twenty-eight days have now passed since, in the words of George Galloway et al., a "shameful and shameless political 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."

I refer to my arrest, without having been given the opportunity to accompany the Police voluntarily, on the "grounds" that a single word on this site corresponded to one in a threatening letter that had allegedly been sent to Labour members of Durham County Council. The whole thing was dutifully leaked to The Times, where a senior position is held by a man who has been conducting a vendetta against me for almost the whole of the present century.

The only purpose of any of this, including the incomprehensible fact that I remain on (albeit unconditional) bail, was and is to intimidate me out of contesting the local elections on 4th May. But I am contesting the local elections on 4th May. In its own terms, then, this "racist, sectarian and partisan hit job" has failed.

My bail ought to be cancelled, and the items seized on 14th March, not all of which were mine, ought to be returned forthwith. One of the Officers who took those items complained that they were not new enough. Clearly, he had expensive tastes in other people's property.

If I were indeed to be made to answer bail on 31st May, then George Galloway and others have called on the Teaching Assistants, the Durham Miners' Association, Durham Unite Community, and all their supporters from around the country and beyond, to join them in marching behind me from the Miners' Hall to Durham City Police Station, and then in marching back again for a rally. Save the date.

As to whether the David Lindsay March and Rally ought to become an annual event, well, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Friday, 7 April 2017

Urge Restraint

Jeremy Corbyn, who has been ever so slightly proved right about these things in the past, has released the following statement via social media:
 
The US missile attack on a Syrian government air base risks escalating the war in Syria still further.
 
Tuesday’s horrific chemical attack was a war crime which requires urgent independent UN investigation and those responsible must be held to account.
 
But unilateral military action without legal authorisation or independent verification risks intensifying a multi-sided conflict that has already killed hundreds of thousands of people.
 
What is needed instead is to urgently reconvene the Geneva peace talks and unrelenting international pressure for a negotiated settlement of the conflict.
 
The terrible suffering of the Syrian people must be brought to an end as soon as possible and every intervention must be judged on what contribution it makes to that outcome.
 
The British government should urge restraint on the Trump administration and throw its weight behind peace negotiations and a comprehensive political settlement.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

This Shameful and Shameless Political Hit Job

Organised by the great man, Adam Young, this has failed to make it into the Northern Echo. Nevertheless, here it is:

Dear Sir,

On Tuesday 14th March, despite having been given no opportunity to accompany the Police voluntarily, the Lanchester-based writer and activist, David Lindsay, was arrested on the “grounds” of supposed similarities between his letter published in the Northern Echo on Friday 10th March, and a threatening letter allegedly sent to Labour members of Durham County Council. When questioned by the Police, he comprehensively refuted the suggestion of any such similarity. He was released without charge and on unconditional bail [which would not have been imposed at all in a less corrupt part of the country, which is to say, in any other part of the country]. 

This shameful and shameless political hit job 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. It is impossible to rule out an anti-Catholic aspect to this case, and impossible to ignore the fact that David Lindsay is mixed-race. 

We are delighted that David Lindsay is indeed a candidate for Durham County Council on 4th May. He secured the support for the Teaching Assistants of several national trade union leaders, of Jeremy Corbyn, and of George Galloway. He is also a powerful critic of the closure of the DLI Museum, of the amassing of vast reserves while services have been and are being cut, of the bailing out of Durham County Cricket Club despite those cuts, of the mismanagement of relations with the Regional Assembly, of the selling off of care homes at discounted value, of the scandal of Windlestone Hall, of the circumstances that necessitated the award of enormous compensation to a teacher, of the substantial additional cost of the failure to pay that compensation promptly, and of the lavish expense of entertainment by senior Councillors and Officers.

And he is the originator of the proposal that unites the trade unions with Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Independents, to bring the whole of the Volkswagen Group’s production for the British market to County Durham after Brexit. Racist, sectarian and partisan hit jobs must not be permitted to prevent his election as a County Councillor. If David Lindsay were indeed to be made to answer bail on 31st May, then we call on the Teaching Assistants, the Durham Miners’ Association, Durham Unite Community, and all their supporters from around the country and beyond, to march behind him from the Miners’ Hall to Durham Police Station, and then to march back again for a rally. We ourselves would certainly do so.

Yours faithfully,
 
James Draper
John Mooney

By My Own Hand

Sent: 18 March 2017 16:02

To: john.simpson@thetimes.co.uk

Cc: [Solicitor]; general.enquiries@durham.pcc.pnn.gov.uk; PCVC.Media@durham.pcc.pnn.gov.uk; pat.glass.mp@parliament.uk; echo.news@northeast-press.co.uk; mail.news@northeast-press.co.uk; news@eveninggazette.co.uk; ec.news@ncjmedia.co.uk; jnl.newsdesk@ncjmedia.co.uk; richard.moss@bbc.co.uk; mark.denten@bbc.co.uk; tellmystory@bbc.co.uk; look.north.comment@bbc.co.uk; pamandian@itv.com; george@galloway.global; letters@peoples-press.com; articlesubmission@thewordmedia.org.uk; daviesjamesalan@hotmail.co.uk; bringdownsun@gmail.com; peter.stefanovic86@icloud.com; giles.fraser@guardian.co.uk; rliddlemonkey@hotmail.com info@counterfire.org; brendan.oneill@spiked-online.com; editor@weeklyworker.co.uk; peter.hitchens@mailonsunday.co.uk; peter.oborne@dailymail.co.uk; admin@durhamminers.co.uk; durhamcsc@gmail.com; lanchestervillagevoice@yahoo.co.uk; strobes@private-eye-co..uk; afshin@afshinrattansi.com; enquiries@ipcc.gsi.gov.uk; contact@hmic.gsi.gov.uk; inquiries@ipso.co.uk; canonspence@btconnect.com; team@order-order.com; martindaubney@hotmail.com

Subject: Further to your piece about me on page 19 of yesterday’s Times

Dear Mr Simpson,

Further to your piece about me on page 19 of yesterday’s Times:

First, I was not “planning to stand as an Independent” for the council and for Parliament. I was planning to stand with No Description, since, although I am a member of no party, I am part of several partially overlapping political networks. That remains my firm intention.

Secondly, when Fidel Castro died, then I wrote as a qualified critic of the Cuban Revolution, accepting its achievements in healthcare and education both at home and abroad, and pointing out that it had persecuted homosexuality only while that was also the case in the United Kingdom [I ought also to have mentioned its role in the war in Angola, which dealt a body blow to the apartheid regime in South Africa], but otherwise saying merely that it had replaced a ghastly regime, that its enemies in Miami remained morally and politically bankrupt, and that Cuba had at least fared better than neighbouring and comparable Haiti.

Thirdly, I have not worked for The Times’s rival, the Daily Telegraph, in around 10 years.

Fourthly, I had been given to understand that the offensive letter, which of course I did not write or send, had not left Police hands. How, then, did The Times obtain it, in order to quote from it very extensively? In covering this case, The Times alone has named me, and The Times alone has carried my photograph. [No other media outlet has been in touch, to this day. But the local ones, in particular, know me, and they certainly know where I live.]

Fifthly, the enormous sums of money cited are beyond my imagination.

Sixthly, as many readers of The Times will have noticed, “Blood will have blood” is a quotation from Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Seventhly, I have never written about Rojava, I have rarely mentioned Kashmir (and never in any depth), I have only ever reproduced other writers’ work (with acknowledgement) about Rousseff and Brazil, and I have never written about Duterte and the Philippines.

Eighthly, as will be set out in a further email to my solicitor and in a note appended to the Police copy of this email, the irrelevant fact that I live with my mother, which you mention without reference to my disability, is certainly known to a senior member of staff on The Times, Oliver Kamm, a column by whom pointedly also appeared yesterday. Kamm has pursued a vendetta against me, among others, for many years. He has tweeted gloatingly about your piece.

Ninthly, Kamm and his circle have a history of snide remarks about the fact that my books so far have been self-published. Those books, Essays Radical and Orthodox and Confessions of an Old Labour High Tory, are both available on Amazon. The eminent persons who commend the latter, which you name, include two members of the House of Lords and three Professors, one of whom is a former MP, Shadow Cabinet member, and Labour Leadership candidate. By contrast, the vicious reviews on Amazon bear a strong resemblance to the views of Oliver Kamm or of those who might be seeking to curry favour with him.

When questioned by the Police, I was asked if I knew of anyone who hated me enough to do this to me. In shock, and thinking purely locally, I could name no one. I am no longer in shock, and I am no longer thinking purely locally. I do not accuse Kamm of anything. I say that he hates me, and that his name would be my answer to that question if it were to be asked of me again. He has certainly had some kind of contact with Durham in the past, such that he has been able to do me damage. You name only the Daily Telegraph and the Huffington Post as publications for which I have previously worked. There are others, and I have a current column on a print newspaper, The Word. But it was Kamm who conspired with forces at Durham (my then tutee, Vincent McAviney, who was the Editor of the student newspaper, Palatinate, and who is now at LBC) to have me removed from the Telegraph. I also strongly suspect that his influence is the reason why the Huffington Post no longer publishes my submissions. The man who sacked me from the Telegraph, Damian Thompson, has retweeted Kamm’s tweet about your piece.

Tenthly, I did work at Durham for Teikyo University in Tokyo, but I have never been to Japan. Eleventhly, the quotation from my friend, Councillor Carl Marshall, is a week or more old, and it therefore predates my arrest. And twelfthly, although I was given no opportunity to accompany the Police and to answer their questions without needing to be arrested (as I would gladly have done), nevertheless I am uncharged, I am on unconditional bail [I would not be on bail at all anywhere other than here in the 1960s theme park that is Poulson County, Mississippi], and I am continuing to campaign and to raise funds, including by means of crowdfunding, for May’s local elections.

By my own hand, a printed out, paper copy of this email will be at Durham City Police Station on New Elvet within one hour of its having been sent electronically. [It was.]

Yours sincerely,
David Lindsay (Mr)