Thursday, 28 May 2020

Emily Maitlis removed from Newsnight

Emily Maitlis delivered a blistering monologue just a couple of nights ago, dropping devastating truth bombs about the Dominic Cummings scandal and tearing his defence to shreds. This was particularly surprising to see, not just because it was on the super Tory BBC, but because it was coming from Emily Maitlis, someone who so clearly struggles to hide her pro-government bias and openly balked at the idea of making Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister last year.

Now even the right wing are getting pissed off at Boris Johnson's utter shitshower of a government because they are not just embarrassing themselves and the country, they are costing lives. Tens of thousands of lives. It's times like these when good people must put political leanings to one side and make a a stand.

Yet Maitlis' monologue came not long after BBC's Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg reported a ridiculous rebuttal on behalf of Dominic Cummings and the Tory Party without any journalistic scrutiny - a move you would expect from a PR person, not a journalist. That kind of bias from the BBC is totally fine of course, just like it was fine to mock Corbyn up against a red Kremlin background, just like it's fine for the BBC to completely misrepresent the left and continuously and unquestioningly tow the government line. 

But one time, just one time, a BBC presenter who is certainly right-leaning in her views, finds her spine, uses her moral compass and reflects the current public mood with facts, yes facts, and what happens? The BBC take Emily Maitliss off the air for bias. Here is the BBC's statement:


But of course the truth always has a left wing bias. We knew that. Cue a very predictable social media response. As Bonnie Greer pointed out:


Rachael Swindon posted her views on the absurd situation:


And Wolfie asked a question which many were also asking:


Last night, you would've been had pressed to finding a single person defending the BBC on this. The public mood is changing and those who've spent so long defending the indefensible actions of the Tory government are finding this increasingly difficult. The BBC however will continue defending the Tories, even if it means this wretched government takes them down with it. They are state propagandists who will fight to the death for their cause and perversely do so under the guise of "impartiality". They are utterly complicit in the absolute catastrophe this government's incompetence has created.

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Wednesday, 27 May 2020

A Refund Request to Labour

After the first test of Sir Keir Starmer's leadership - the Labour leaks scandal - did not receive the urgent action I felt it required, I sent an email to the Labour Party and today I received a reply, both of which I have shared further down this article.


The reason I emailed Labour was to request a refund of all subs I had paid to the party because I, like so many others, felt Labour staff had acted against the party membership, undermined our election chances and possibly even acted in a racist and bullying manner. My fears were based on evidence which we have all seen and which if genuine is extremely damning.


My biggest concern however was not even the apparent horrific behaviour of the staff but the party's failure to convince me they were taking the matter seriously. I was hearing rumours of alleged saboteurs being promoted, I was being told some of those implicated (or supportive of those implicated) would be conducting the investigation, and I did not see any immediate suspensions.


We know Labour can and do issue immediate suspensions when the need to protect the reputation of the party arises. I therefore felt the leadership did not think such a need existed and that to me was damning in itself. I felt like I had been duped into paying for a cause which was not what it claimed to be, funding a party bureaucracy which did not share my socialist ideals and which did not even care to win elections, unless it could win on terms that were out of step with the party membership.


I therefore felt I was within my rights to request a refund of the subs I'd paid, subs which were often paid when I was struggling financially, but were paid gladly for a cause which appears to have amounted to a lie.
Here is a copy of my email and Labour's subsequent reply:

"Dear sir or madam,

I am utterly horrified by what I have read regarding the Labour leaks scandal and even more horrified by the party's response. There have been no immediate suspensions, despite evidence of racist bullying and throwing elections. I find this unacceptable.

I now feel like every subs payment I made to the Labour Party was obtained dishonestly by yourselves. I thought I was donating to a party which was sincerely trying to win the last 2 elections and I thought I was donating to an anti-racist party, but it appears I was wrong.

I would like a refund of every direct debit payment I have made since becoming a Labour member in 2017."




Labour's reply:

"As a non-profit, campaigning organisation the Labour Party immediately allocates funds received via membership subscriptions and donations, and therefore in the ordinary course of our activities we do not offer refunds. Furthermore, none of your membership fees or donations were procured as a result of any fraudulent activity or representations as you suggest. We are therefore not agreeing to your request.

In accordance with the Direct Debit Guarantee, the Party will refund any payment of membership fees made within the past 28 days. However, you should be aware that maintaining a subscription payment at the appropriate rate is a condition of membership of the Party. If you wish to request a refund under the Direct Debit Guarantee, please let us know in reply to this email.

The Party will vigorously defend any action you may bring against it, of the sort referred to in your email or otherwise. You should also be aware that we will vigorously contest any allegations of fraudulent activity or representations, or breaches of electoral law in any legal action. All of the Party’s rights remain reserved. 

If you require any further information, support, or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us by return email."



As you can see, an extremely hostile reply. No acknowledgement of very genuine concerns, no attempt at an apology, no explanation of what steps are being taken regarding an investigation, just a "we will fight you, if you come after us". Also, note how they suggested I threatened legal action when I did no such thing.

I used to deal with complaints for a bank and part of my role was to coach our staff on how to write responses to the public - you're supposed to address concerns, acknowledge possible wrongdoing, explain processes and try to regain trust, not fight fire with fire. If I had adopted such an aggressive tone in a letter to a customer, I would have been out of a job.

The response I received tells me I'm seen by the Labour Party as an enemy. It confirms my fears, and this, along with the horrific recent appointment of David Evans as general secretary, means the Labour Party is now dead to me. 

Will I pursue them for my subs? Probably not. But the likelihood of me voting Labour with Starmer in charge is somewhere between nought and zero – and as a person who gave thousands of hours to the Labour cause, who campaigned with every ounce of strength I have, it pains me to say that. It really does.

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Wednesday, 8 April 2020

My Covid 19 Experience

Lots of people are asking me questions about my experience with Covid 19 and most are concerned they may be infected but are struggling to get medical advice, let alone be tested. While I may not be a doctor, I thought it would be useful to share my experience so you can gauge what may or may not be normal. I must point out however that everyone's symptoms are a little different and if you're genuinely concerned you should call 111. Also, I never got tested myself, but having spoken to other sufferers, I'm as confident as I can be that I did have Covid 19.

Firstly me: I'm 37 years old and in average health and fitness. In my younger days I used to run a lot and would expect to have a good lung capacity so even though I don't exercise much now, this should've helped me deal with the illness better than many. Also I don't smoke or have any underlying conditions that would place me at a higher risk.

About a month ago, I started experiencing mild Covid 19 symptoms - a slight ache in my throat and a cough, dizziness, faintness, numbness and tingliness in my upper-body. It felt nothing like a cold or flu. If I did nothing and lazed around, my symptoms were no big deal and I was mostly coping fine. I didn't have a fever, only minor hot flushes, and I did not feel hugely ill. The symptoms would sometimes completely vanish, making me think I'd recovered and then come back a little harder. If I tried to do anything physical like washing the dishes, I'd get unusually breathless but never to the point where I was in danger. A bad bout of flu certainly feels worse, but this can lead to complacency because Covid 19 really takes its toll on your body.

On day 5, I felt strange throughout the night, but it was as though my body was clearing the infection and I woke up feeling much better. For a day and a half I thought I'd beaten Covid 19 so I foolishly became more active, mowing the lawn and doing other chores, and then it hit me hard on day 7 or 8. I felt a massive tightness in my chest like I was in a vice grip. I experienced lower back pain, indigestion and heartburn. Lots of others have reported this, even though they're not listed as typical symptoms.

For the coming weeks I would get breathless and feel tightness in my chest almost daily, even though I did not feel ill in a typical sense. It appears this is because the infection causes damage to your lungs which need time to recover. Sometimes I'd go a day or so with no breathlessness and then the breathlessness would return when I thought I was finally past it.

Breathlessness is an extremely common symptom of Covid 19 and for me, the worst of it lasted over a month. I still get breathless now, but it's barely noticeable unless I really exert myself. When it was bad though, it was very unnerving, not to the point I thought my life was at risk, but certainly enough for me to fear long term damage.

I want to assure people that if they experience Covid symptoms for weeks, they are not alone and would be expected to fully recover. Having said that, if your breathing gets to the point where you're gasping or wheezing or you feel muscle aches, sickness or confusion, please call 111, or if the symptoms are extreme call 999. Also, if you believe you may be high risk due to age or a health condition, you should seek medical advice from your doctor.

While people are rightly concerned about the death rate of Covid 19, it's worth emphasising the overwhelming majority of people will beat the illness and official survival figures are skewed because most sufferers don't get formally diagnosed. I say this not to play down the seriousness of the pandemic but simply to alleviate the concerns of sufferers. Even most of those in vulnerable groups will beat Covid 19, but obviously we must ensure we minimise the risk to them by observing lockdown guidelines. A small percentage of infections resulting in death could still mean a huge death toll.

There's a very good chance you will get Covid 19 at some point so if and when you do, please remember you're not alone and you should get through it. This pandemic really is one of those situations where we're all in this together.

UPDATE 27/5/20: I am currently approaching 11 weeks since I became symptomatic and I'm still suffering slight breathlessness. It looks like this could be the norm for many people, however, I am now at a point where I feel functional, if not quite 100%.


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Thursday, 26 March 2020

Thank You Jeremy Corbyn

I remember back in 2015 when Bernie Sanders was gaining attention in the US and the wider world, how excited I was by the message of this funny-talking and unpolished old American, how finally a politician seemed to get it, rejecting the establishment machinery in favour of ordinary people, understanding the damage caused by neoliberalism to younger generations and the very obvious need to create a kinder, more caring society.

Then Jeremy Corbyn entered the Labour leadership contest. At the time, I admittedly knew nothing about the man. I was a Labour supporter, but had felt unenthused by Ed Miliband, even more so by those who came before him. I was a homeless and jobless teen during the Blair years. I understood marginalisation firsthand. I understood poverty traps. And I understood Britain needed a Scandinavian-style direction to pull us away from unfairness and inequality. This was self-evident.

The problem in 2015 was few, even on the so-called left in the UK, seemed to understand this - or perhaps didn't care to. It was so disheartening. And then Corbyn made his proud and confident calls for re-nationalisation and higher wages and meaningful climate action and an end to war, and my God, I'd found the leader I'd been waiting for! Britain had its Bernie Sanders figure, but to be fair to Jeremy Corbyn, he is very much his own man!

Every time I saw Corbyn speak on TV with his compassion and wisdom and infectious enthusiasm, I was enthralled. When I looked at his track-record of fighting for civil rights, which mirrored my hero Bernie Sanders, I could not be more impressed. Here was a man arrested protesting apartheid while Thatcher called Mandela a terrorist. A man who campaigned for gay rights when it was unfashionable to do so. A man who backed the miners during the strikes. A man who was on the right side of history, again and again. A true leader.

Jeremy Corbyn was clearly one of the very best among us, and the perfect choice to lead the Labour Party. Back in 2015, I had no idea the lengths today's establishment would go to, to bring down such a man - how shamelessly they would lie, and how easily, even decent people could be sucked in by such lies. Sure, I knew propaganda was a thing, but what came was next-level character assassination. It was McCarthyism.

Every allegation against Corbyn from the IRA sympathies to the working as a communist spy to the antisemitism to the laying a wreath at the grave of terrorists was an easily disprovable smear, but those smears certainly had an impact. If you repeat lies loudly enough and often enough, many will believe them, especially if you appeal to people's fear and prejudice. The smear campaign was cold, calculated, and expertly done, and most gallingly, some of Labour's own MPs joined in, taking the side of the billionaire press barons whose only goal was to maintain the status quo.

How dare those centrist MPs, parachuted into safe seats by Blair, despite holding views utterly at odds with our membership, do every everything they could to bring our twice-elected leader down. How dare they show such contempt for democracy.

To Corbyn's credit, he never stooped to their level. He never resorted to lies or smears or bullying. He maintained his class and dignity and was prepared to reach out, every step of the way. If he was guilty of one thing, it was being too soft with his opponents, too nice, trying to see them as friends, not pushing back hard enough against the lies and manipulation. History shows us appeasement never works.

I distinctly remember the "infighting" starting the day it was announced Labour had a poll lead over the Tories. It seems absurd one of the centrists' key lines of attack was Corbyn's "unelectability" when 1) we had a poll lead, and 2) Corbyn later came so close to power in 2017.

Here's the problem with the centrist position: the unelectability came from their constant sabotage and their disastrous People's Vote policy. They showed contempt for two Labour leadership election results, contempt for a manifesto decided democratically at party conference, and contempt for the EU referendum result. They showed themselves to be absolutely anti-democratic, and today, they're terrified of open selection because more democracy would end their careers.

None of these careerists are fit to lace Corbyn's boots. They lack his dignity, intelligence, proven track record and compassion for ordinary people. Their only goal was to destroy socialism, and in doing so, destroy hope for people like me - the 600,000 who joined Labour, mostly because of Corbyn, making us the largest political party in Europe.

Neoliberal centrism doesn't have answers for the bottom of society and has no intention of providing them. Labour is a socialist party and has been since its inception. Mass privatisation and liberal social policy is the Liberal Democrat way, not the Labour way. We are not supposed to fiddle with the knobs and dials. We are supposed to fundamentally restructure our broken society.

Jeremy Corbyn had the solutions, the policy ideas, the vision for a better world. He had a plan to quite literally save the planet. Is it any wonder he inspired such enthusiastic support from a younger generation who had seen their job market destroyed, their housing market destroyed, their rights destroyed, and their planet destroyed? Here was a generation expected to be burdened with debt to get an education, pay extortionate rents to corrupt landlords, and work zero-hours contracts, knowing they faced ecological disaster when the culprits were gone. The young were rebelling against the Thatcherites who climbed the socialist ladder and kicked it down, and Corbyn was our leader.

Let us make no mistake about it, Jeremy Corbyn would have made an outstanding Prime Minister. He was destroyed not by his shortcomings, but by fifth columnists and a corrupt media who have a strangle-hold over a majority of the older generation. But the younger generations, the children abused by Thatcherism, who are internet savvy and are not limited to one or two news-sources, we have broken free of the media hypnosis. And Corbyn had a huge role to play in that.

Jeremy Corbyn, along with Bernie Sanders across the pond, has created a new wave of socialists, and there is no going back from this - our ideals are embedded in our DNA and will be until the day we die. Our country and the wider world will inevitably embrace socialism in the coming years because neoliberalism cannot provide answers to the problems we face, not least the Covid 19 pandemic, and as more young people come of voting age, and demographics shift, we will be looking at a very socialist electorate. The under 50s want a Labour government. Overwhelmingly.

Jeremy Corbyn may not have become the socialist Prime Minister he deserved to be, the Prime Minister Britain very much needed, but he has absolutely paved the way for socialism. He has changed the conversation, made nationalisation mainstream, inspired the youth to challenge injustice, and demand action to save the world, all while inflicting more government defeats than any opposition leader in history and coming to within 2000 votes of electoral victory.

Let no-one rewrite history: Labour's 2019 failure was not Corbyn's failure, it was neoliberalism's failure, it was People's Vote's failure. Centrism is well and truly dead and the flame of socialism is burning brighter than ever.

A better Britain is possible, thanks to Jeremy Corbyn.


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Tuesday, 17 March 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE

As many of you already know, I am suffering from suspected Covid-19. I wanted to share a quick update which should alleviate some concerns but will no doubt exacerbate others.
Symptoms began late Friday night with a very mild cough. Immediately I suspected Covid-19 because it just felt different. But alas there is no testing available for those with mild symptoms. Those symptoms are a little worse today - my arm is aching as I type - but in all honesty I'm okay.

My symptoms are as follows:
  • Coughing
  • Slight fluid in lungs
  • Breathlessness
  • Hot flushes
  • Dizziness
  • Tingling & tension in upper-body
NOTE: Symptoms should last 5 days. If you are unwell on day 6, call 111 for advice.

My symptoms are not close to the point where my life is in danger, but it's surreal to think I could have such a dangerous virus inside me. I'm taking self-isolation very seriously. I have the kids off school, but I deliberately didn't separate myself away in a room for the following reasons:

1. It seems pointless as our house is small & this thing's so contagious
2. Symptoms are much less severe in kids
3. Best get this out the way before the hospitals are inundated
4. If we develop immunity, we help society

The kids have possible symptoms now, not that you would think so, at first glance. They are enjoying their time off school, jumping on the furniture and fighting over the Nintendo Switch! But we don't know if this is merely a chest infection. It could be. And this is problematic.
What if we develop another cough in a few weeks? Do we self-isolate again? This confusion will jeopardise lives. While many may self-isolate once, I doubt many will more than once. Not least because employers are pressuring people to work.
I've heard the public could be fined and jailed for refusing self-isolation. Will fines and jail apply to employers who don't allow self-isolation and threaten to sack them? If not, we have a problem.
Also, as many are pointing out, sick pay is not enough to live on, and not everyone's entitled to it. While we are certainly struggling, we do have supplies of basic and bland food - mostly tins and cereal. I'm not complaining. Others have it much worse. I couldn't imagine being homeless or hungry through this. We need to end homelessness and hunger now, no matter the cost.
Some have suggested a basic income paid by the government for all in self-isolation, or an increase of statutory sick pay. I would go a step further and trial a universal basic income. We'll surely have to do this one day. What better opportunity than during a crisis where people would otherwise starve, lose their homes, and die in huge numbers?
Of course, there are a range of alternatives, including suspending rent, mortgage, and utility bills. Our government's inaction, combined with their now withdrawn "herd immunity" strategy has been alarming. It seems their motivation is to protect capital, when other countries are protecting their citizens. And don't even get me started on our Houdini Prime Minister. His lack of leadership has been nothing short of breathtaking, so let me tell him how to do his job:
We need 100% testing on suspected Covid-19 cases now, and we need to trace those who've contacted the infected, as the World Health Organisation keeps telling us. We're not even testing the hugely at-risk and heroic NHS staff. Every Covid-19 case must self-isolate for two weeks minimum and we need to be ready for national lockdown for a sustained period.
Our know-nothing, do-nothing government is ignoring international consensus. I think we can be forgiven for not feeling reassured.
My aunty is a nurse. Her grandkids fall into the high-risk category. She can't even visit them for their own safety. What a nightmare.
And let's not forget, high-risk groups are why we are doing this. Self-isolation is not for you. It's for the elderly, frail, and disabled who are vulnerable in the extreme. We can't sacrifice them because we're feeling bored and fed up now.
NHS staff expect 300 severe cases for every hospital bed. They're going to be forced into unthinkable choices about who gets a ventilator - essentially who lives and dies. And viral pneumonia is not a pleasant way to go.
Without extreme action, we are looking at 250,000 to 500,000 deaths in the UK, and up to 100,000,000 deaths worldwide.
The world is at war with a virus. And we must pull together for each other.
This pandemic will bring out the best and worst in us.


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Tuesday, 17 December 2019

We may well have Doomed Ourselves and our Children

Four days on from the general election result, the wounds are still tender, and with the depression and anxiety and shock, people are feeling disbelief at what we've lost. The stakes could not have been higher - we are facing an extinction threat.

One party - The Tories - chose to ignore the threat, to jeopardise future generations in favour of profit for the energy industry. The other party - Labour - was going to treat the threat with the urgency it deserved, invest in the green sector, install solar panels across the country, build wind farms, switch to electric buses, make homes carbon neutral, and create millions of jobs in the process. Not only could Britain have been world leaders in the green revolution, we could have given a huge boost to our economy. Instead, we sided with corporate greed. It defies belief, but here we are.

Let's look at things on a more personal level. Many people, both Labour activists and supporters, are telling me of struggles with mental health, and more concerningly of feeling suicidal. We're not talking about snowflakes feeling self-pity for not getting their own way here. We're talking about vulnerable people with disabilities, mental health issues, or serious illnesses who genuinely fear being left destitute, who tell me the Tory government is making life impossible, who felt Labour was their last hope of living a dignified life.

But it's not just the most vulnerable who are suffering, it's ordinary workers who are finding life impossible. My own family, like many this year, can only afford the most basic Christmas. My wife and I are struggling to keep up with needed repairs or replace broken appliances, let alone live what the privileged would call a normal life. We're skilled and experienced workers. My wife has a master's degree, yet we're both earning not much above minimum wage. In our local economy, any job above minimum wage is hard to find. Opportunities are few and far between, and God knows things never used to be so bad. High streets are closing up and down the country. Skilled jobs are vanishing in place of zero hours contracts. People have a choice between exploitation and subsistence living - or destitution and starvation. The situation is dire.

What's scary is my wife and I are likely among the higher earners in our area. We're both working full time - that in itself elevates us above many. The fact we haven't had to visit a foodbank (we've been close) means we're among the lucky ones. It's depressing to say that. It really is.

If Labour won the general election, their £10 minimum wage policy would have increased our earnings by £480 a month. That would have taken us from struggling to fairly comfortable - and that's all any of us would ask for. It's hardly unreasonable.

We have an economic system that favours billionaires who extract huge sums from our public services, and even more in tax payer subsidies, yet add nothing of value. National assets like our beloved NHS are being sold off, piece by piece. US pharmaceutical companies are set to increase drug prices in a post-Brexit trade deal. There is nothing in the Tory economy that is not for sale. Nothing that is free from exploitation. Everything has a price, including human beings.

We could have changed this. Britain could have built a society where we measure value in human terms, rather than monetary terms, yet we chose exploitation and inequality. And for what purpose? Was the nation's decision based on careful analysis of policy proposals? Of course not. People voted based on the lies of Tory Brexit and the largest and most grotesque smear campaign we've seen in this country.

Repeatedly we were told "Get Brexit done", the deal is "oven-ready", and the Tories will protect our rights and safety standards. Four days into the new government and the oven-ready Brexit deal which was the key reason for many to vote Tory has been shown to be a lie. They're already looking at No Deal Brexit and talking of sacrificing our rights and safety standards. It's galling that anyone believed a Prime Minister who is known to be a pathological liar.

So why did people abandon their critical faculties on the Brexit issue? Well, it might be something to do with the other obvious problem at the general election - the media hate campaign against Jeremy Corbyn. Billionaire press barons didn't fancy Corbyn's tax plans so they became propagandists for the Tory government and told outrageous lies about the most decent person ever to run for Prime Minister. This is not democracy.

Most unforgivable is how every week, the BBC made editorial "mistakes" which favoured the Tories and made Labour look bad. Whenever they were called out, they refused to take concerns seriously and poured scorn on their critics. That's appalling contempt for the public who pay their wages.

When organisations like the United Nations and British Medical Journal are accusing your government of human rights abuses and your media fail to adequately report this, you have a problem. We have children with pneumonia lying on hospital floors and destitute disabled people starving to death, for fuck's sake.

If the mainstream media highlighted the true situation in the UK, public opinion would have been different. But instead they claimed the leader of the opposition likes terrorists because he favours diplomacy over war. They mocked him up against the Kremlin and Photoshopped his hat to make it look Russian. They suggested a man who has fought racism his entire life is racist. The truth didn't matter as long as they got the intended result. We mock other countries for this level of "journalism", but BBC propaganda has gone to a level beyond anything you'll see on Al Jazeera or Russia Today.

The British public made a self-defeating voting decision, but it certainly wasn't an informed one. Indeed, the media and the Conservative Party did everything they could to eliminate the possibility of informed consent. The public were duped so the Tories could continue a theft which has seen £1 trillion vanish from the public purse in 9 years. And while I'm certain a time will come when people won't tolerate such outrage, we may well have no NHS left and no climate to save.

We may well have doomed ourselves and our children.


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Saturday, 14 December 2019

What went Wrong for Labour?

In all honesty, no one expected the 2019 general election result. Even the most optimistic of Tories believed they had a fight on their hands, however much they may now claim otherwise. We saw a huge voter turnout, record numbers of young people voting. The official figures don't seem to add up, but while we can cry foul, some things certainly did go wrong for Labour. Things for which we only have ourselves to blame.

Our biggest obstacle was Brexit - and it was our biggest error. We didn't know if we were a leave or remain party because in truth, we were both. This means that while we initially campaigned for remain, we didn't get the pro-immigration argument out. We let the Tories drive a narrative that immigrants and the EU were responsible for the terrible problems they caused.

Many people were so willing to believe this lie because in their minds, they should get preferential treatment over anyone they perceive as an outsider. They don't like to see a person of a different colour or religion or ethnicity using the NHS or being housed by the council, regardless of circumstances. Yes, I'm calling them out on their racism.

Labour, whatever the press write about us, whatever our views on Brexit, are a passionately anti-racist party. We can never win by being Tory-lite on immigration because we'll repulse our own side. There can be no middle-ground on bigotry. The rules should be fair, yes, but discriminatory? Never.

Our only option is to passionately make the case for fair and sensible immigration rules, and fight the white supremacist mindset that would happily let my immigrant wife go without NHS treatment, or even be deported, given half the chance. (Let me tell you, the Spouse Visa process caused us absolute hell.)

Labour should have proudly fought the case for immigration from the beginning, rather than falling silent. By doing so, we simply became a punchbag. We were the party that was weak on immigration, and the Tories were going to keep us safe from those terrible immigrants. Indeed, if we'd argued our case, we might never have had the Brexit problem in the first place.

That's not to say I'm a cheer leader for the EU. I recognise the problems with the EU and its draconian competition rules. But once Brexit happened, we should have chosen a position and stuck with it. If we wanted to fight for PV, fine, but we needed to come out swinging from the beginning, strongly and passionately.

If we weren't going to have a PV, and instead honour the referendum result, we could and should have stuck to our guns. We should have said loud and clear that Brexit is absolutely happening and the remainers (such as myself) needed to accept that.

For most of the general election campaign, our Brexit message was weak, apologetic, nervous. But I reject the notion our PV message was unclear - it was perfectly clear, it just wasn't delivered with enough conviction.

In the final week, I noticed a sudden confidence in our PV message, but it was too little, too late. We'd allowed the Lib Dems to convince many we were pro-Brexit & we'd allowed the Tories/Brexit Party to convince the other side we were going to steal their Brexit.

Our timidness on the Brexit issue meant we were hurt from both sides. If we'd stood strongly by one position, we would have lost votes the other way, but we wouldn't have lost votes from both sides.

In Labour heartlands, there was an almost perfect correlation between Brexit Party gains and Labour losses. In some metropolitan remain seats, we lost votes to the Lib Dems. In pro-EU Scotland, our perceived weakness on Brexit was the final nail in our coffin.

It's also worth mentioning that in 2017 when we stuck by our message to honour the referendum result, we performed much better in the general election that year.

Make no mistake, Brexit was the key reason for Labour's defeat, but not the only reason. There was a huge generational divide, driven by two factors - the first was news sources. The older generation, who mostly read newspapers and watch TV news are overwhelmingly opposed to Labour. The younger generation who mostly rely on social media and the internet are overwhelmingly behind Labour. If only under-50s voted, Labour would've won by a landslide. But the over-50s do vote, of course, and they vote in much higher numbers than the young.

A left-wing Labour is never going to have the backing of the mainstream media, but as people keep pointing out, the mainstream media is slowly dying. Newspaper sales are falling through the floor. TV news is an irrelevance to young people. And there's no reason why their news habits should change as they grow older.

This suggests the future might actually be bright for Labour. As the older generations pass on, and the mainstream media's influence shrinks, and Brexit is no longer an issue, you would expect Labour to bounce back. Not least because the Tory Brexit and coming trade deal with Trump are going to devastate the working class.

I firmly believe the bulk of our message was on point. It was powerful, it was passionate, and it offered the right solutions for our country and our planet. I also believe we had the best possible leader in Jeremy Corbyn to make those arguments, but circumstances meant our message was drowned out. And those circumstances were driven by a centrist remain element of Labour who played tug of war on the Brexit issue. These people will use our failures as justification to return to their brand of politics, but they own our failures - and their brand of politics pulled in far fewer votes in three general elections prior to Corbynism.

We have a tough few years ahead, and we face genuine threats to our democracy. In the general election, we saw flagrant violations of electoral law - from Laura Kuenssberg declaring postal ballots looked grim for Labour, to Tory buses parking outside polling stations - we've seen that the Tories and the establishment have contempt for democracy.

Already, there is talk of gerrymandering, of seeking revenge against the Supreme Court for the prorogation ruling, of John Mann declaring war on left-wing media like The Canary, but despite these threats to our democracy, we are not powerless. We can mobilise, we can take to the streets, we can lead the fight back.

Expect a resurgence from the Labour Party as the public get lied to, as our NHS and public services are sold piece by piece, as our workers' rights, consumer protections and health and safety laws are slashed. Soon, enough people will be directly affected to become angry and demand change. And once we reach that tipping point, there will be no going back.

Labour will rise again, but only if it remembers its roots. Only if it fights for the working class. Only if it refuses to return to the days of Blairite middle-class politics, because that kind of politics is never going to appeal to the vulnerable in our society. It's had its day.

The choice of the future is socialism or conservatism. And conservatism won't be allowed to hurt people forever.


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