On March 22, 2018, the Foreign Office led by Boris Johnson U.K. Foreign Secretary was adamant that Russia was to blame for an attack in Salisbury involving a former double agent and his daughter. A police officer also sustained injuries.
In a rollercoaster few weeks the British Tory government acted fast and many would say too fast.
Labour Party leader, and therefore leader of the British government’s official opposition at this time, Jeremy Corbyn, was criticised when the story broke for offering a more cautious approach.
Act in haste repent at leisure, so the saying goes.
Wednesday after experts at Porton Down said they had found no link between Russia and the nerve agent used in the attack the Foreign Office or Boris Johnson or both made sure the tweet below was quickly deleted.
As pressure mounts for P.M. Theresa May to sack Boris Johnson the Guardian reports:
“Putin says he hopes common sense will prevail in Salisbury row
The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, said today that he hoped “common sense” would prevail in the dispute with the UK over the Salisbury attack. Speaking at a press conference in Ankara, in Turkey, he said:
We wait for the moment when, finally, common sense comes out victorious, and international relations stop receiving the damage that we are witnessing right now.
Yesterday’s Porton Down statement represents a vindication of sorts for Craig Murray, the former ambassador to Uzbekistan (his book about his time there, Murder in Samarkand, is very good) who left the Foreign Office after becoming increasingly outspoken on the subject of human rights and who now blogs and campaigns, largely from an ultra alternative and anti-establishment viewpoint.
His suggestion that Israel is just as likely to have been to blame for the Salisbury attack as Russia would probably be seen by many people as borderline delusional.
But his Porton Down blog from three weeks ago has stood the test of time. “
Jeremy Corbyn was criticised by some of his own M.Ps for his thoughtful approach.
Will they now post a public apology?
Hello all, shall I start this with something like a confession at alcoholics’ anonymous?
I cannot stand up to say it as I am sat typing at a P.C. and these days my old legs are not so good but here it is:-
My name is Eileen and I created a Jeremy Corbyn supporting group on Facebook a couple of years ago.
Phew that's better, confession being good for the soul and all that.
I have started in light-hearted mode not because I view all allegations of abuse as trivial or non-existent but rather because this is a heavy subject.
So firstly why create a group?
Why not there are tons on Facebook? Everything from dogs to politics to sex to D.I.Y and more.
Political groups can be a good place for sharing information, keeping each-others spirits up through any election defeats and so much more.
Political supporting groups have been on Facebook for as long as I have been a member but probably longer and from its humble early beginnings.
Some are lovely and friendly others feel like a jump into a lion's den but that is why some members love them.
Some people you know like to chat about politics anywhere and everywhere
But one reason is a positive group like ours helps counteract nasty ones such as Jeremy Corbyn is a Twat, Jeremy Corbyn is a Total Twat and Jeremy Corbyn is a dirty old man, which originally had a more abusive title linking Mr Corbyn to paedophilia re his young supporters. There is of course no evidence of that but those are just three right-wing groups on Facebook all pedalling hate, all reported to Facebook over and over again and which continued to cause offence, house trolls and be abusive, who knows perhaps all just for a laugh?
Funnily enough those groups seem to have been taken down today or recently. Interesting?
However you know Facebook.
Always able to find bits and bobs that lork after a deletion.
Perils of running a group
For a group to work you need a good admin team that all sing from the same song sheet and are there for one purpose only, in our case supporting Jeremy Corbyn on his path to being our next Prime Minister of the U.K.
Some Facebook users prefer to just have a laugh but being an admin is at times no laughing matter.
In our case we are now a small group of Corbyn supporters all working together as a great admin team, but along the way there have been bumps and hurdles.
We manage a group of over 4,100 members and some members are active online 24/7.
We obviously are not.
Our admin team includes the retired and the young working. With the best will in the world we cannot police our group day and night 24 hours a day.
We opted early on to add some restrictions to our group which means shares into the group have to be approved and so do new member requests. We added a couple of questions as to why a person might want to join us but people often tell lies on social media, don’t you know.
So we check profiles and do our best to make sure the person is a good fit for our group before we open the door and say come on in.
We do not always get it right but once a mistake is clear we remove that person a.s.a.p.
Then it is mind the door does not hit you on your way out!
In the two-years we have been an active group the admin team has changed more than once. This may mean we have stuff lurking in our basement which we really should bin.
Again we work to try to keep on top of that as and when we can.
But we do have open commenting and that can be a problem.
It means as long as you are a member of the group you can comment on a thread any time of day or night.
Whilst we check and delete offending comments some occasionally get through.
It has been a learning curve for us all including our members.
People are hurting under this cruel Tory government and when a person is affected themselves they lash out.
Is there any wonder ordinary non-funded, non-affiliated Corbyn supporting groups on Facebook get it wrong at times?
Our group has a great mix of people though all with the common aim of supporting Jeremy Corbyn. We are old, young and in the middle, varying ethnicity, well, not so well, vulnerable and people with disabilities, highly educated, not so educated and under educated; we are in fact a great cross section of the general public if you exclude the fat-cats.
And 99.9% of the time we all gel as one.
It is not only hurtful but sad to see such poor journalism in The Times today. It used to be such a great read quite a few decades ago now.
But these days it is under the leadership of Richard Murdoch former boss of the now defunct scandal rag the ‘News of the World’, still boss of the most hated publication in all of Liverpool ‘The Sun’ and long-time friends of high-ranking Tories and Mr Tony Blair.
Now that is not a conspiracy theory. A cursory search through Google images online will confirm it for you doubters.
In February the Daily Telegraph reported that the Tory Party was going to hire paid trolls to work for them on social media.
They were getting desperate to beat Mr Corbyn's unpaid band of faithful supporters.
We have all got used to being called a crazy cult, rabid trots and more sometimes by people within the Labour Party.
It is not called abuse though when it is directed at Jeremy Corbyn supporters for some reason. Odd that.
But I think we must all be getting like Jeremy. He has shown strength and resilience; When the going gets tough the tough get going.
In our hearts we know Mr Corbyn offers so many people in the U.K. a much better tomorrow, much better than more of the same old tired politics of other political parties including now old new Labour. We also know our man is not for sale and so do the likes of Rupert Murdoch.
Easter Sunday as many decent people who support Jeremy Corbyn are trashed by the mainstream media and have their names splashed in some cases across Rupert Murdoch rags it is hurtful to see supposed comrades joining in the abuse.
It's a fact some people are silly, some hateful, some fifth columnists and some genuine. Sorting out who is who online can be tricky.
If you see or experience abuse in any Facebook group or elsewhere online report to the admin, the site and if necessary the police so it can be investigated.
And do so no matter where the abuse appears to hail from.
A few images from our group have been used in this report. Some may be funny others more serious but hopefully non will cause offense.
Humour and satire can be a useful tool but also misjudged and misused at times.
Think back to Charlie Hebdo and have a long hard think.
If you are a Jeremy Corbyn supporter and use Facebook why not drop by and give us a knock?
We may just open the door and give you a huge welcome or we may slam the door in your face.
In our group there is never any offence intended; we just want to keep our safe and secure place where we gather just that; safe and secure.
For Background to this story:
In the Murdoch press:
Exposed: Jeremy Corbyn’s hate factory
Vitriol and threats of violence: the ugly face of Jeremy Corbyn’s cabal
Racist comments ‘should be investigated by police’
Luciana Berger: Four types of vicious abuse; just one way to deal with itJeremy Corbyn’s online army: the Facebook groups peddling hate
Targets of the trolls
On this website:
Lord Sugar you should be fired from Twitter
Jeremy Corbyn supporter looks back at this week
Where did you get that hat?
Lies, Damn Lies and Corbyn’s Anti-Semitism
Jeremy Corbyn Wins Apology And Payout From Tory MP Ben Bradley Over 'Communist Spy' Tweet
Minister's relative gives Tories £816,000: Labour
Tories hire army of tweeters to take social media fight to Labour
This is a personal view of events concerning the Labour Party this week, with a little personal background to kick this off
(Apologies this will be rather long)
Coming from a working class background, our family occupying what was deemed a slum property during my childhood in the 1950s and 1960s, I guess I was always going to be a socialist.
My parents were Labour voters though never party members and I followed that trend.
There were always some working class Tory voters, even where we lived as kids, most for a variety of reasons including working class snobbery and an “I'm Alright Jack Attitude”.
But we kids all played on the same bomb-sites, went to the same old Victorian built schools, tore around the streets playing games, washed in tin baths, if we were lucky, slept in icy cold bedrooms during the winter months and enjoyed the privilege of an outside lavatory.
But we were lucky as not far from our streets the tenants in blocks of houses all shared one outside lavatory in a communal yard with one outside tap thrown in to spoil them.
So for me once a socialist always a socialist
I have voted Labour all my adult life though at times having to pinch my nose and encourage others to vote for "the lesser of the evils", the Labour Party.
Retiring a few years ago it seemed sensible to join the Labour Party which I have always supported and put my money where my mouth has always been. It was ahead of the General Election 2015 and Ed Miliband was party leader.
I had already been joining in pro-Labour tweet-storms and other social media activity as well as posting supportive blogs so what could possibly go wrong?
What went wrong for me was the Labour Party in all its self-proclaimed broad-church splendour
People say ignorance is bliss and that is certainly true.
GE2015 was lost and Ed was the sacrificial lamb.
Ed’s own MPs, many who shy away from leadership or even cabinet positions, like to virtually throw the party leader under any passing bus in defeat and so they chucked Ed as far as they could throw him.
Which means it was strange to me that Jeremy was blamed when a majority of people in the U.K. voted to leave the E.U, as my M.P. Alan Johnson ran the Labour campaign.
Warning bells went ting-a-ling
But I digress
I initially supported Andy Burnham for party leader when Ed stepped down. My thoughts were his age compared to Jeremy Corbyn rather than anything else, and I say that as a person aged mid-sixties now.
But a new lesson was learned, never judge others by yourself.
Jeremy Corbyn has amazing stamina and resilience.
I never supported Yvette Cooper or Liz Kendall as both were just too wishy-washy and middle-of-the-road for me. I looked at those standing for Deputy Party Leader and opted for Tom Watson as best of the bunch. Like so many I truly regret that vote.
Having followed the leadership race tirelessly I actually missed the new leader announcement as the health of our old rescue dog took a terrible turn for the worse. As the new leader of the Labour Party was announced we sat on our kitchen floor, with our beloved Jessie, while the vet put her to sleep.
So it was a tearful day for us but nothing to do with politics.
I had vowed to support whichever candidate won and I have been true to my word unlike some.
However it has been an easy task to support Jeremy as Jeremy Corbyn is the best thing that has happened to British politics for many decades.
He and his political supporters offer real hope for the many not the few and a chance to create a better Britain.
Having watched Britain's decline over the decades he remains an inspiration to me and one of the few politicians that could reverse the decay and stop the rot.
But it has not been an easy ride for Mr Corbyn or his supporters.
From day one there have been accusations, smears, challenges to his leadership and enemies within the party trying their damnedest to remove him and return to the politics of Tony Blair; a man who came to the Labour Party late.
For some it is as if there was no Labour Party in existence before Blair took office.
So this week another crisis is reached in the Labour Party.
This time a huge crisis which kicked off with claims of Antisemitism levelled against Mr Corbyn relating to a comment he made on Facebook in 2012.
It is worth noting when he did not rapidly respond to the allegation made by a Labour MP she took to Twitter to ensure maximum coverage and damage.
But yes 2012, so why the huge personal urgency now?
Why not work with colleagues and address this once and for all?
For me timing is always important when we look at allegations and try to decide if they are an opportunistic smear or made with real concerns.
At the end of this blog I will share some links to this week’s events but I refuse to dredge it all up again.
This is my closure on the affair, cathartic, as we look forward to upcoming elections and begin campaigning. Those safely nestled in Westminster apparently do not give a flying fig about local people standing for election this year.
Timing as always matters
More sacrificial lambs?
There has been a plethora of nasty screenshots from closed member only Labour supporting groups flooding some twitter troll accounts for some time.
If there are real and new problems real action would have been taken by now. The ruling bodies of the NEC would have acted and new procedures would already be in place.
And the party machinery under outgoing General Secretary Iain McNicol have obviously left a backlog of work for newly appointed Jennie Formby.
Are all the issues new and only occurring now under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership?
No except possibly for the extent of in-house smears.
It is notable that today, Good Friday in the U.K. the boss of Progress Richard Angell has made sure Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters are headline news for all the wrong reasons.
As Angell and his side-kick Luke Akehurst have tried to undermine Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters from day one their involvement actually disrespects genuine victims of Antisemitism in my honest opinion.
Until I joined the Labour Party I had no idea what Progress or Momentum was but you soon wise up.
So here I stand, or rather sit at my P.C typing this blog on Good Friday, the day that Jesus Christ was crucified wondering what next?
What next for the smears?
What nest for the accusers?
What next for Jeremy Corbyn supporters like myself branded a rabble or trots and neo fascists from people within the party and from one Tory M.P. this week Sajid Javid who took the cowards way out and did his accusing in the House of Commons under parliamentary privilege rules.
And, what next for me?
I commented on social media a short while ago sensing what was coming having observed trolls in action "should I renew my Labour Party membership and why?"
I had lots of positive reactions and reasons to stick with it.
However as I watch our own MPs, some who were helped back into office by Momentum and Jeremy Corbyn supporting activists in 2017, virtually spit on each and every one of us I wonder why bother?
There are many reasons to stay but many more to quit.
One main one will be to continue to support Jeremy Corbyn from within as well as outside of the party.
But who knows which member will be deemed not fit to grace the party traditionally of the working class at any future date?
It could well be me next if someone wants to trawl social media with the software the trolls and the party use to find a reason to remove people; or even if they do not like this blog.
Of course the likes of Tony Blair and John Woodcock are allowed to stay party members while actively telling people they cannot vote for Jeremy or even telling them to vote for another party. They can also feed the media negative story after negative story and not be held to account.
Seems the software used and the people reporting are very selective.
So in case you are wondering:-
I am not a racist
I am not homophobic
I am not Antisemitic
I am not sexist
I am not abusive
I am not a careerist
I am not a journo posting click bait to make money
I do not yearn for any public office
But I am a Jeremy Corbyn supporter?
And I am angry
All I do is yearn for a Jeremy Corbyn led Labour government with a great team working with him.
I ask do other Labour people such as John Mann, Stella Creasy, Tony Blair, John Woodcock, Luke Akehurst, Richard Angell et al want that?
I think we all know the answer to that one
Will I renew my party membership?
The jury is still out on that one and here is why.
I have as little in common with Progress, its members, its supporting MPs, its bosses Luke Akehurst and Richard Angell and those on the right of the party as I do with the Tories or even god forbid Ukip.
Until I see that change why would I want to throw my hat in the Labour Party ring.
But there is a subtle difference this time.
If I leave the party my vote goes with me.
I will become non-political and enjoy a full-retirement at last.
Please feel free to comment but note due to spammers and those darn trolls comments need to be approved before they show.
MPs urge Corbyn to suspend Shawcroft amid anti-Semitism row
Watch: Labour supporters clash at rally against anti-Semitism
Thousands of Jeremy Corbyn supporters endorse letter saying Jewish-organised antisemitism protest was the work of 'very powerful special interest group'
Activists Demand Jeremy Corbyn 'Clean Up' Pro-Labour Facebook Pages Amid Anti-Semitism Row
Lies, Damn Lies and Corbyn’s Anti-Semitism
Where did you get that hat?
The tabloids and the BBC are at it again.
Not content with the egging they received over fake claims that Jeremy Corbyn was passing secrets to a Czechoslovakian spy, they are now trying their hardest to discredit him using the poisoning of former double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yuliya, who were hospitalised after encountering the nerve agent Novichok in Salisbury two-weeks ago.
The theme in the main stream media this time, is that Corbyn, by wanting to err on the side of caution until we have proof that the Russian government administered Novichok to Mr Skripal and his daughter, must mean that he is trying to protect the Russians for some nefarious reason of his own.
Most right-thinking people would undoubtedly agree that before our Government went ahead and escalated a cold war with Russia, it might not be a bad idea to check a few facts first, especially as the scientist working on the samples of the poison that were sent to Porton Down, have refused to state categorically that the Novichok was made in Russia.
‘Labour MPs round on Corbyn after he says he does not TRUST security services' evidence that Russia is to blame for spy nerve agent attack’ Screamed the Daily Mail.
Of course it mattered not to the Mail that it was totally untrue.
What Mr Corbyn said was he fully condemned the attack, and those who had committed such an atrocity on British soil must be found and punished. He simply wanted to wait for the report from the experts at Porton Down to identify the source of the poison before blame was apportioned anywhere.
Trial by media did not stop with the gutter press however.
On BBC Newsnight March 15, a photo of Jeremy Corbyn was selected to make him look as much like Lenin as possible.
His picture was set against a backdrop of Russia’s Red Square. It was obvious to Labour supporters and others that Mr Corbyn was set up to look like a Russian stooge.
Accusations of photoshopping Mr Corbyn’s hat were denied by the BBC, but it cannot be doubted that the colouring and the shadows in the photo of the Labour leader and his hat were altered to sit more comfortably with the backdrop.
The subliminal message from the BBC was look at Corbyn at home with his Russian mates.
There has been indecent haste to brand the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition in the U.K. a Russian sympathiser and a traitor to the country in which he was born and has served loyally for 35 years as a Labour MP and it’s not difficult to see why the right-wing hacks are behaving like this.
After Ben Bradley was forced to apologise for calling Jeremy Corbyn a traitor on social media, the oligarchs who control democracy in the U.K. must have felt a little flutter of alarm.
Jeremy Corbyn is a strong and principled man who has promised to sort out the jackals in the press when Labour take office.
They only have themselves to blame, however, but, any chance they get to go a little bit James Bond between now and the next election will not be missed.
By Monday March 19 a standard email was being sent out to those who had complained to the BBC. A copy follows:
All things Corbyn
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