30/04/2018 · by SKWAWKBOX · in Uncategorized. ·

S*n political editor Tom Newton Dunn made an interesting and possibly Freudian slip today on the BBC’s Daily Politics programme when, while describing Theresa May’s ‘insulation’ from the Windrush scandal, he described public outrage over the forced deportation, denial of medical treatment and barring from employment of UK citizens as a ‘witch-hunt‘.

Newton Dunn quickly corrected himself – or over-corrected, since swapping ‘witch-hunt’ for ‘pursuit of the really important story’ might appear to many to be ‘laying it on a bit thick’:

Newton Dunn Windrush-‘witchhunt’

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Certainly the excellent EL4C, who initially ‘grabbed’ the video, thought that Mr Newton Dunn’s real opinion came out first:

A number of Establishment politicians have also come out today with social media contributions that suggest they consider Amber Rudd a victim – an outrageous idea that dismisses the importance of the real victims of the Windrush scandal.

As Vox Political pointed out, social media commentators have not missed the significance of these lamentable offerings by such tuned-in Tory figures as Jeremy Hunt and Michael Gove:


That poor Amber Rudd and her friends. The Windrush scandal has been so harrowing for them – and all so the real culprit can be ‘insulated’.

And now, to cap it all off the poor dears have to put up with this witch-hunt – sorry, this pursuit of a really important story.

Clearly, we ‘little people’ just don’t know how good we’ve got it.


30/04/2018 · by SKWAWKBOX · in Uncategorized. ·

Amber Rudd’s resignation this morning was inevitable when she was revealed to have misled MPs and the nation by claiming there were no Home Office deportation targets. Her replacement by Sajid Javid – a minister with a dire voting record on immigration and of callous incompetence in office – bodes ill for the Windrush generation and others like them.

But a Theresa May slip this morning in a televised interview means that her own position is now even more untenable, because she not only participated in but also endorsed the lie – knowing that it was a lie:

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As author Alex Nunns has pointed out, this means that when May made a statement of full confidence in Rudd over the issue, she did so knowing Rudd had lied:

The BBC has mentioned the admission but without drawing attention to its significance – and is still talking about Javid’s ‘space’ to show his intent.

But there is no space. May endorsed a lying Home Secretary – and has now admitted that she knew it was a lie when she stated her full confidence in Amber Rudd.


The UK’s Prime Minister has just rendered her own resignation obligatory. Nothing she, Javid or anyone else can do will undo that.

As Labour front-bencher Dawn Butler said last week – an apology is not enough.


29/04/2018 · by SKWAWKBOX · in Uncategorized. ·

The Daily Mirror alleged yesterday that Cumbrian MP John Woodcock was facing a ‘sex pest probe’ over alleged sexual harassment of a female Labour staffer:

The howls of outrage and calls for the Labour whip to be withdrawn have so far been absent among the Labour MPs and ‘activists’ who were vocal about the case of Kelvin Hopkins in particular.

The Labour whip was immediately and correctly withdrawn from Hopkins pending the outcome of the party’s investigations.

Surely the Labour right is not so cynical that their outrage was driven more by a desire to attack a Corbyn ally than a genuine concern for the protection of women in politics.

The Skwawkbox was attacked by many of them merely for publishing, without comment on its validity or otherwise, Kelvin Hopkins’ statement about his case.

John Woodcock is entitled to the presumption of innocence until his guilt, if he is guilty, is established, but the withdrawal of the whip without prejudice is a correct part of the process.

But it’s interesting to note the tumbleweed-silence of the Labour right so far. Without question, Woodcock’s alleged victim deserves the same level of concern and support – regardless which wing of the party her alleged abuser inhabits.


27/04/2018 · by SKWAWKBOX · in Uncategorized. ·


The Tories are in disarray – in spite of the best efforts of the Labour right and the mainstream media to help them – over their scandalous behaviour toward the Windrush generation, among a host of other embarrassments and demonstrations of incompetence.

But it’s still worth noting that the myth of their supposed economic competence – which has been shored up assiduously over years by the ‘MSM’ but rocked by the emergence of a Labour Party offering a genuine alternative under Jeremy Corbyn – is in even smaller shreds this morning after the latest economic growth figures showed that their supposed ‘healthy economy’ is growing at less than one thirtieth of the predicted rate.

And is in fact in decline by the most important measure, as the BBC’s economics correspondent had to admit this morning:

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Economic activity per person has fallen – and the government can’t blame the abysmal performance on the ‘beast from the east’ cold weather periods, because the trend was down throughout the period, not just when the weather was bad.

The Tories crowed last month about their predicted reductions of the UK’s deficit – based on what they said would happen in the future. But the first set of concrete economic figures since Philip Hammond’s ‘Spring Statement’ show that those expectations were inflated by a factor of 33 to 1.

Of course, a healthy economy is based on much more than headline growth figures – but in a Tory Britain of record foodbank use, rampant child poverty, a collapsing NHS and local services and mushrooming job insecurity and poverty pay, the headline figure was about all the Tories had to spin.

And that’s proven disastrous.


At the local elections next week, some people will vote for what they think is right and some will vote with their pocket. It’s clear that in both cases, they should be voting Labour.


The West Midlands stronghold of laughably-called ‘moderate’ Labour continues to crumble. As changes at the top of the regional bureaucracy get underway, a senior right-wing, anti-Corbyn MP is under investigation following credible complaints of aggressive racism against the MP by a local member – and of anti-democratic practice in terms of candidate selections.

The MP in question cannot – yet – be named but if the complaints are upheld it will send shockwaves through the Labour right – and not only in the West Midlands.

Watch this space for more…


26/04/2018 · by SKWAWKBOX · in Uncategorized. ·

A briefing document has gone out from the Labour leadership to all of the party’s MPs, outlining the discussion points, agreed actions and follow-ups of Jeremy Corbyn’s meeting with the Board of Deputies (BoD), Jewish Leadership Council (JLC) and Community Security Trust (CST).

The SKWAWKBOX has obtained a copy of this briefing – and it sheds a somewhat different light on the meeting and the media spin put on it. Below are some of the key points, including reasons the BoD/JLC/CST were not granted some of what they proclaimed themselves disappointed about:


The leadership discussed the organisations’ demand for fixed timetables for dealing with accusations of antisemitism but, as the briefing notes, guarantees were general and rightly so:

The General Secretary outlined her proposals to streamline the disputes panel process. She gave a guarantee to expedite the high-profile cases. As with all legal proceedings, a cast iron guarantee cannot be given on a date of conclusion due to the possibility of litigation by any party, but the expectation is that existing cases would be heard by the July NEC Disputes Committee meeting.

Expedite the longstanding cases involving Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker

It was agreed to expedite these cases as a priority. Steps have already been taken to begin this process. Barristers have been put in place to facilitate this process, and an advert has gone out for a General Counsel to ensure cases can be processed more effectively.

It’s hard to avoid the sense, listening to the statements by the groups and their parliamentary supporters, that only one outcome in cases of antisemitism allegations will be acceptable.

This is particularly so in the cases of Livingstone and Walker – and, given the pronouncements and behaviour of some back-bench MPs yesterday, that of Marc Wadsworth – but they remain allegations at the moment. The Labour Party is the party of justice and due process and, of course, cases must be allowed to come to their legal and just conclusions.


No MP should share a platform with someone expelled or suspended for antisemitism

It is an expectation that MPs do not share platforms with those suspended or expelled from the party after being found guilty of antisemitism.

This is a significant concession in the case of those suspended, because – as the party rightly avows, suspension is not proof of guilt of anything, but rather an administrative step as part of an investigation. This concession will displease many Labour members, but is an indicator of the genuine readiness of the leadership to meet genuine concerns.

IHRA definition

The above Jewish groups have demanded that the ‘IHRA working definition’ of antisemitism be adopted ‘in full together with all its examples’. The IHRA definition itself is considered by many to be less than perfect in its clarity, but many commentators – including Jewish observers – recognise that aspects of the examples attached to the definition are more problematic still and risk conflating antisemitism with political opposition to the behaviour of an Israeli government.

Labour’s reasons for declining the demand are more pragmatic. Based on the party’s rules and constitution, it is not in the gift of the party leadership to agree it:

Adopt in full the IHRA definition of antisemitism

We agree with the IHRA ‘working definition’ of anti-Semitism as “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as a hated towards Jews. Rhetorical and physical manifestations of anti-Semitism are directed toward Jewish or non-Jewish individuals and/or their property, toward Jewish community institutions and religious facilities.” The Labour Party adopted the IHRA working definition of antisemitism in 2016.

If there were to be further changes to what we have adopted, they would have to be agreed by the NEC.

In fact, they would have to be agreed by the NEC and ratified by Labour’s annual conference, but the pragmatic reason remains.


The issue of oversight of disciplinary procedures is one of the most thorny aspects of the BoD/JLC/CST demands. Those organisations want what has been described as an ‘independent ombudsman’ to oversee disciplinary processes – and report to them.

This would, in effect, hand control of Labour membership to outside – and generally right-leaning – organisations.

But it would also constitute a likely breach of current data protection regulations – and even more so of the even stricter ‘GDPR’ (General Data Protection Regulations) laws coming into force next month, as it would involve giving private information to third parties when members have not given explicit permission:

Transparent oversight of the disciplinary process

There are currently 90 outstanding cases of complaints of antisemitism. So far, 18 of these have been referred to the National Constitutional Committee, the body that has the power to expel members.

The General Counsel that will shortly be appointed would have responsibility for ensuring that all cases of complaints of antisemitism will be dealt with swiftly, fairly and transparently. The suggestion of an Ombudsman, independent of the Party, raised issues around data protection and confidentiality under the new regulations.

Due process must be allowed to be followed without prejudice regarding all complaints.

The last line is a statement of intent that will be welcome to members concerned about what some perceive as attempts to ‘railroad’ accused members out of the party and the tendency of some in, or appearing in, the media to treat accusations as proof of guilt.

The fact that only ninety cases are pending in a party of well over half a million members is needed context for the attempts to portray a ‘Labour antisemitism problem’. Labour is the anti-racist party and a single case of antisemitism is a problem – but ninety as yet unproven accusations represents a minute fraction of the party’s huge membership and it would do the media credit to represent the scale of the problem more objectively.


One demand has been that Corbyn must ‘show leadership’ – although it must be said that what exactly that entails that he is not already doing is usually unspecified. The briefing includes the demand and provides a response:

Jeremy Corbyn should lead on the issue and speak out against those that express allegations of antisemitism as smears the leadership.

Jeremy Corbyn was clear in the meeting that antisemitism will not be tolerated in the Labour Party, and that he does not support the view that allegations of antisemitism are smears against the leadership. People who hold anti-Semitic views have no place in the Labour Party. He made it very clear that attacks on MPs are unacceptable and not done in his name.

Those demanding more than this need to be specific about what they expect – and prepared to face questions if what they want turns out to be some form of ‘summary justice’, which would not be justice at all.

The party has rules in place to provide due process and legal outcomes. While these were, according to the complaints of members, often abused in the previous bureaucracy – and indeed the failure to follow them led to some of the delays about which Jewish groups have complained – there can be no compromise whatever on the need to deal with accusations properly and fairly to the accused as well as the accuser.


The following steps were agreed:

For the same meeting to reconvene following the July NEC.

That the Board of Deputies, JLC and CST would be engaged with by the Labour Party and their views sought on the education materials we will be producing for the membership.

That there would be regular dialogue between the Party, through the General Secretary, Leader’s Office and Andrew Gwynne and the Board of Deputies, JLC and CST, on any issues that may come up between meetings.

We recognise that the Board of Deputies and the Jewish Leadership Council are the main bodies of Jewish representation, which is why we organised this meeting as a priority, and will continue to meet with them.

This seems a balanced way to move things forward. The BoD/JLC receive the recognition they want as ‘main’ bodies of Jewish representation – but there is no concession on the part of the leadership not to include Jewish Voice for Labour (JVL), the left-leaning group that the ‘main’ organisations wanted to bar from discussions.

Neither is there a demand on the ‘main’ groups to participate in the wider ’round table’ discussions with JVL and other groups, from which the BoD/JLC pulled out at the eleventh hour.

There is also no agreement to allow BoD/JLC – or the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM), as has previously been mooted – to provide training or education to members. However, the seeking of their views recognises their legitimate interest in and concerns about the content of such training, without handing undue control of party programmes to groups that may not be politically aligned with Labour’s aims and membership.

The full briefing, redacted only of staff names and contact information, can be downloaded here.

Corbyn meets Jewish right-wingers and agrees to none of their demands

25 Wednesday Apr 2018

Posted by Mike Sivier in anti-Semitism, Labour Party, People, Politics

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board, British, community, council, Deputies, Jeremy Corbyn, Jewish, Jews, leadership, meet, meeting, Mike Sivier, mikesivier, security, trust, Vox Political

Jeremy Corbyn: Not an anti-Semite, no matter how hard certain organisations try to claim it.

I’m sure everybody is glad that Jeremy Corbyn has finally met the right (-wing) kind of Jew to discuss the issue of anti-Semitism which they say is growing in the Labour Party – although everybody else has seen the statistics showing the exact opposite.

Mr Corbyn met representatives of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust on the afternoon of April 25. These organisations had refused to attend a roundtable meeting with other groups who (as I understand it) they claimed were the “wrong kind of Jews”.

They had six demands:

▪ That there should be a fixed timetable to deal with anti-Semitism cases

▪ That Mr Corbyn should take personal responsibility for Labour’s handling of anti-Semitism

▪ That Labour should expedite the long-standing cases involving Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker

▪ That no MP should share a platform with somebody expelled or suspended for anti-Semitism

▪ That Labour should adopt the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of anti-Semitism with all its examples and clauses

▪ That there should be transparent oversight of Labour’s disciplinary process

It is easy to see why Mr Corbyn did not accept these.

A fixed timetable means justice would be abandoned in favour of getting through all the allegations as quickly as possible. In the current atmosphere of false, malicious and opportunistic claims against party members, it would be easy to overload the system with frivolous accusations, making it harder for the innocent to have the exoneration they deserve.

What would these representatives demand if Mr Corbyn agreed to take person responsibility and then they (perhaps arbitrarily) decided he wasn’t doing a good enough job? His resignation? That would not be acceptable to the majority of Labour members but This Writer is sure it would suit the Tory Party very well.

It is true that the cases involving Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker have been taking a long time. But the Labour leadership was harshly criticised for its treatment of Mr Livingstone when he was suspended for quoting historical fact (don’t believe the nonsense that he said Hitler was a Zionist – he said no such thing) and we all know Jackie Walker was set up by the Jewish Labour Movement, and what they called anti-Semitism on her part was in fact her contribution to a discussion at which people were asked to voice their concerns, in a ‘safe space’ meeting where no recording equipment was supposed to be present. Strange that the JLM brought some along specifically to record and entrap her, isn’t it?

Personally I don’t see anything wrong with the demand that no Labour MP should share a platform with someone who has been expelled for anti-Semitism. But Labour’s process for dealing with these cases is extremely dubious at the moment – that’s one of the reasons new General Secretary Jennie Formby has been asked to review and revamp it. Members who have been suspended on suspicion are not guilty of anything – we have a convention in the UK that people accused of anything are innocent until their guilt has been proved – so I would not agree that that no MP should share a platform with a person who has only been suspended. It’s possible that the process of suspending someone while an investigation is carried out will end, though, so the issue might go away.

The IHRA definition of anti-Semitism, with all of its examples and clauses, is not acceptable to many people for several reasons – see this analysis by Hugh Tomlinson QC.

And by “transparent oversight”, what did these representatives mean? That they should have some influence over the workings of the Labour Party disciplinary process? Influence from external organisations would be unacceptable to the Labour Party under any circumstances.

Mr Corbyn was graceful about the meeting:

Jeremy Corbyn


I am grateful to the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust for a positive and constructive meeting about tackling antisemitism.

My full statement here:



8:09 PM – Apr 24, 2018


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His full statement, on Facebook, followed the lines he had set out in his Evening Standard article prior to the meeting:

“I am grateful to the Board of Deputies, the Jewish Leadership Council and the Community Security Trust for a positive and constructive meeting about tackling antisemitism.

“I am absolutely committed to rooting out antisemitism from our party and our society.

“When members of Jewish communities express genuine anxieties, we must recognise them as we would those of any other community. Their concerns are not ‘smears’. Jews belong in the Labour Party and we are utterly committed to making it a safe and welcoming place for them.

“I have charged our new General Secretary Jennie Formby with improving our disciplinary procedures as her top priority to ensure all complaints are dealt with swiftly and fairly. We are grateful for the input from Jewish community groups, who we will continue to listen to carefully.

“We will lay out the further steps we are taking in the coming weeks. We will continue to engage and work with Jewish community organisations to deal with this issue. Our party will not fail our Jewish brothers and sisters.”

The JLC and the BoD were … less graceful:

View image on Twitter

Board of Deputies of British Jews


JLC & BoardofDeputies statement following our meeting with Jeremy Corbyn:

7:59 PM – Apr 24, 2018


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It says:

“Our meeting with Jeremy Corbyn today was a disappointing missed opportunity regarding the problem of antisemitism in the Labour Party. We welcomed Mr. Corbyn’s personal involvement in the discussion and his new comments recognising and apologising for antisemitism in the Labour Party but he failed to agree to any of the concrete actions we asked for in our letter to him of 28th March.

“Last month the Jewish community held an unprecedented demonstration outside Parliament to express our hurt and anger about the level of antisemitism in the Labour Party, and Jeremy Corbyn’s failure to take strong action against it. Following that demonstration we wrote to Mr. Corbyn to set out six areas of concrete action he and the party could take to address the antisemitism that has grown under his leadership. These represented the minimum level of action the community expected after more than two years of inactivity. Today we met Mr. Corbyn to convey in no uncertain terms the Jewish community’s feelings to him in person and to discuss his response to our proposals. It was a difficult yet important meeting.

“We are disappointed that Mr Corbyn’s proposals fell short of the minimum level of action which our letter suggested. In particular, they did not agree in the meeting with our proposals that there should be a fixed timetable to deal with antisemitism cases; that they should expedite the long-standing cases involving Ken Livingstone and Jackie Walker; that no MP should share a platform with somebody expelled or suspended for antisemitism; that they adopt the full International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism with all its examples and clauses; that there should be transparent oversight of their disciplinary process.

“Words in letters and newspaper articles will never be enough. We welcome the fact that Mr Corbyn’s words have changed but it is action by which the Jewish community will judge him and the Labour Party. Our sole objective from this meeting was to build trust with Mr Corbyn, but this will not be possible until and unless he and the party turn their many strong words against antisemitism into equally strong actions in order to bring about a deep cultural change in his supporters’ attitude to Jews.

“Thousands of British Jews did not demonstrate outside Parliament just for a few lawyers and another newspaper article; they demanded action and so do we. We will hold the Labour Party to account for any future failures and continue to represent the interests of British Jews with clarity and resolve. We also commit to do our utmost to work with all those within Labour who want to help make it a safe and equal space for all of its members.”

The statement has been greeted with disdain by some – including that organisation of the “wrong kind of Jew”, Jewdas, with whom Jeremy Corbyn controversially celebrated Seder a few weeks ago:

jewds // יידהודה


Gosh they got that out quickly. Almost as if they’d written it beforehand.



8:28 PM – Apr 24, 2018


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Asa Winstanley


The BoD and JLC are Tory-led, anti-Palestinian organizations. It doesn’t matter how many concessions Corbyn makes to them, it will never be enough. Time to stop pandering to this false narrative.





8:33 PM – Apr 24, 2018

Jeremy Corbyn must stop pandering to Labour’s Israel lobby

“Labour anti-Semitism” story is a pretext to stage coup against left-wing leader who supports Palestinian rights.


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Daniel Blake’s Vest


As a fellow advocate for Palestinian human rights, I’m glad @jeremycorbyn hasn’t bent over backwards to please a RW organisation that refuses to condemn Israeli snipers killing unarmed Palestinians and considers certain LW Jewish groups to contain the wrong type of Jews.



8:44 PM – Apr 24, 2018


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Carole Hawkins, below, makes an important point:

Carole Hawkins


OneJewish group, could be the Board of Deputies, are telling JC which Jews he can talk to & which he can’t. So anitsemitism rife within the Jewish community + they’ve got the audacity to try to quell freedom of speech.



9:12 PM – Apr 24, 2018


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This is absolutely true. Suggesting that any Jews are not “true” Jews, or “the wrong kind of Jews” is an anti-Semitic stereotype. It isn’t acceptable for anyone to be behaving in this manner. Judge the three organisations Mr Corbyn met by that standard!

And the following should put all of the above into perspective:

Kanjin Tor ™


As Corbyn meets with Jewish Groups it is important to remember where the majority of racists abide in British Politics, in the @Conservatives



5:49 PM – Apr 24, 2018


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I wonder – of the people Mr Corbyn met – people who made very specific demands, including that he take personal responsibility for investigations into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, so presumably he should take the fall if THEY decide he hasn’t done enough …

How many of them even support the Labour Party or vote Labour?