Sunday, 19 November 2017

Acquiescing To The Forces

This letter does not appear in The Observer, despite having been signed by a prominent former MP and by a Lobby journalist: 

Dear Sir,

Next year will mark the tenth anniversary of the Great Crash, and the fifteenth anniversary of the catastrophic invasion of Iraq. In the scandalously arranged absence of Bernie Sanders, President Trump has been elected by the American individuals, families, communities and areas that have suffered most as a result of politically chosen austerity, and which have given most to wars of political choice. The British individuals, families, communities and areas that have suffered most as a result of politically chosen austerity, and which have given most to wars of political choice, have elected Jeremy Corbyn as Leader of the Labour Party, have delivered the referendum vote to leave the European Union, have re-elected Corbyn even more overwhelmingly, and have deprived the Conservative Party of its overall majority in the House of Commons.

Yet Trump is, predictably, acquiescing to the forces against which his supporters voted, while Brexit is being negotiated, insofar as it is being negotiated at all, in precisely the interests of which the referendum result was a comprehensive rejection. In the midst of this, the senior newspaper of the Anglophone liberal tradition is disgracing itself by peddling a bad James Bond parody in which Hillary Clinton and the Remain campaign, limitlessly funded and with almost entirely sympathetic media coverage, were defeated by tweets and Facebook posts from the Kremlin.

Instead of this nonsense, The Observer needs to be participating in the formulation, articulation and implementation of the alternative to neoliberal economic policy and to neoconservative foreign policy, based on the pursuit of economic equality and of international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, including a Leader of the Labour Party who is, and who deserves to be, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Yours faithfully, 

David Lindsay, Lanchester, County Durham; @davidaslindsay 
George Galloway, broadcaster and former MP; @georgegalloway 
Nadeem Ahmed, Birmingham Yardley; @Muqadaam 
Sean Caden, Leeds; @HUNSLETWHITE 
Neil Clark, journalist and broadcaster; @NeilClark66 
James Draper, Lanchester, County Durham 
Krystyna Koseda; Essex; @kossy65 
John Sweeney, Islington North Constituency Labour Party (personal capacity); @johnsweeney18 
Matt Turner, Evolve Politics (personal capacity), @MattTurner4L

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Northern Light

The BBC will not report 120,000 deaths due to the Government's austerity measures, as reported in the British Medical Journal. Nor will it report the Prime Minister's husbands links to a tax haven. But remember, RT is the problem. Of course it is.

The real problem with RT is that it allows the real Left, and indeed the anti-neoliberal and anti-war Right, on the air. The BBC has not given the Left a regular gig since Diane Abbott departed This Week seven years ago. In the meantime, the Labour Left has become one of the principal political forces in the country. But you would never guess it.

The Daily Politics and The Sunday Politics routinely feature only Conservative supporters "balancing" each other. There, on Question Time, and on Any Questions?, a rare Corbyn supporter has to be "balanced" by a figure from the infinitesimal Labour faction of irreconcilable Corbyn-haters, even though such people barely exist outside the Palace of Westminster or the official media.

Notice that Conservatives on Newsnight, or the Today programme, or anything else, are asked about personality politics, about potential Leadership plots and what have you. But their figures are never challenged. It is assumed that everyone trusts them implicitly on the numbers. Not so, Labour representatives, or at least Corbyn-supporting Labour representatives.

The BBC that will not report the British Medical Journal gives absolutely credibility to Guido Fawkes, most recently in its campaign against Emma Dent Coad in order to silence her questions about Grenfell Tower. Someone needs to look into the crossover of staff between Guido Fawkes and the BBC.

But the SNP's Twitter army is rattled today. Even in Scotland now, the Left no longer has "nowhere else to go" meaning that it has to vote for a party with its heartlands in areas that always voted Conservative until it came along, pursuing right-wing policies yet somehow "not the Tories", who are themselves on the way back up.

The SNP is, in fact, losing in all three directions. It will now be made to answer for its baleful record on economic inequality and on public services. It will no longer get to set the terms of the debate, independence and nothing else, while pursuing the Conservative economics of its fundamentally and previously Conservative voters.

As of today, that is all over. There always was a Tartan Tory market for the SNP, and there always will be. Nicola Sturgeon and Ruth Davidson can fight over the same voters, like the old days. But Richard Leonard will have the rest. The majority. Everyone knows it.

The Red Lion Rampant

Splendid news that Richard Leonard has been elected Scottish Labour Leader. Owen Smith won Scotland, so this is a highly significant shift. In the meantime, the SNP has lost Westminster seats in all three directions, indicating the electorate's desire to move on from the constitutional question to issues of more immediately pressing concern.

Richard Leonard offers the chance, at long last, to make the Scottish debate, not about the question of independence, but about the abject failures of both the Conservatives and the SNP in relation to the causes and effects of economic inequality. Thereby, as much as anything else, exposing the bizarre claim of the SNP, as a party, to be any part of the Left.

Even while standing firm for international peace. The SNP did oppose the wars in Kosovo and Iraq. But they have a Lib Dem-like inconsistency in these matters. Richard Leonard and Jeremy Corbyn do not. They are the real deal.

Friday, 17 November 2017

Shining A Light

It ought to be in almanacs: Lumiere means the first woolly socks of the year. I know that I shall love it this evening. I always love Lumiere. But we are talking about a million pounds from the County Council. The language of priorities, I'm afraid.
 
Some rural communities have had their common or garden street lighting taken away from them. The buses have been cut to the bone, making it difficult or impossible for many disabled and other people to attend Lumiere.
 
And, thanks to the political advice of a man who is now a high profile new MP's Political Advisor, 472 Teaching Assistants are still being left behind, continuing to lose 23 per cent of their pay. I reject that betrayal out of hand, and I will fight it to my last breath. This campaign has greatly awakened my interest in new patterns of trade unionism.
 
Durham County Council is the last outpost of bad old New Labour, snarling that, "You have nowhere else to go." Well, we shall see about that. And before anyone tries, I do not mean that my own somewhere else to go is prison.
 
One month to the day after I had been arrested, they took six hours to charge me on the strength of a pair of fingerprints that turned out, six months later again to the day, to have been a single fingerprint that may or may not have been mine (it is not), on one side but not the other of a folded piece of paper that any of hundreds of people might have touched, but not on the envelope in which it was posted, an envelope that bears no trace of my DNA where it was sealed.
 
Such contortions would be beyond me even if I were not as arthritic as I am. The prosecution has added physical impossibility to the moral impossibility of my having committed this offence, which latter is the publicly recorded view of every member of Durham County Council who has ever met me. It is also a matter of public record that the Police would not have charged me.

Come my trial date on Wednesday 6th December, consider that if anything else has purportedly turned up, then there had been absolutely no sign of it during the preceding eight months of this campaign of persecution at scandalous public expense.
 
It may harm your prosecution if you do not mention now something that you later rely on in court. Or, at any rate, it should.

No Deal Is Not The Ideal

A No Deal Brexit does need to be planned for. It must not, however, be treated as the ideal outcome. Alas, there is an awful lot of that kind of chest-beating going on.

Sachs of Insolence

In a clear act of foreign interference, Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, has called for a second British referendum on EU membership. That would be the Goldman Sachs that, having admitted to defrauding investors, had to pay out $5 billion dollars after the Great Crash of 2008.

Market Values

In the Libya that the sainted Hillary Clinton liberated, you can now buy a human being as a slave for $400. On the floor of the House of Commons, scarcely a soul voted against that war. But two of those who did were Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell.

Serious Questions To Answer

Tom Peck writes:
 
Labour has said Theresa May’s husband Philip has “serious questions to answer” about his firm’s links to possible tax avoidance highlighted in the Paradise Papers. Private Eye magazine has seen emails that suggest Mr May’s company, Capital Group, used an offshore law firm called Appleby to arrange investments for clients in tax havens. The documents suggest Capital Group has funds registered in the Cayman Islands, which were used to investment in a South American agriculture company called El Tejar.
 
Labour's Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, Jon Trickett, said: “There are some serious questions for Philip May to answer about his firm's use of tax havens, whether he had any knowledge of it and if he thinks this is an acceptable way to do business. “Labour has previously asked Theresa May what her government plans to do to clamp down on the tax havens where money is squirrelled away to avoid paying taxes for public services in this country. “When it comes to paying tax, there is one rule for the super-rich and another for the rest of us and, in refusing to act, the Prime Minister appears to condone this.”
 
A Number 10 spokesperson said that Mr May works in “retirement solutions” not offshore investments. Neither he nor Theresa May have any personal interests in offshore investments. “Neither the prime minister nor Mr May have any direct offshore investments,” her spokesperson said last week. “Their investments have been declared to the Cabinet Office and are held in a blind trust.” Capital Group has not yet responded to a request for comment.

Highly Questionable

The word is being put around that Emily Thornberry could not name a single country where Jeremy Corbyn's policies had worked, when asked to do so by a plant in the Question Time audience. But in fact, underneath the organised howling that would have greeted any answer on her part, she correctly pointed out that Labour's programme was mainstream social democracy of the kind that was taken as a given even in Angela Merkel's Germany.
 
Like This Week, The Daily Politics, The Sunday Politics, and Laura Kuenssberg, Question Time has become the standing contradiction of the claim by bellowing lower-middle-class failures, who are used to being able to drown out everyone else or simply cause them all to leave the pub by their own entering it, that the BBC is somehow left-wing.

Although the BBC does trade on that complaint when addressing a different audience. Hence its tetchiness about RT, which has the temerity to allow the real Left some airtime. In turn, the people who depend on feeding the Auntie-haters are also put out at the rise of the station that they have spent at least 35 years accusing the BBC of being when it never has been.

Slàinte, Indeed

The Alex Salmond Show made a strong start last night. It is shaping up to become as unmissable as Afshin Rattansi's Going Underground and George Galloway's Sputnik.

Burning Injustice

Notice that, as of Wednesday, we have a Prime Minister who tells the House of Commons that water is useless against fire. Except, apparently, against any fire in the Palace of Westminster, where sprinklers are to be installed at a cost of £1.3 million. No money for council towerblocks, though, as we are expected to believe that they would not work there. Burning must be a class thing. Blooodlines, and that.

No Glory

The Resolution on Combating Glorification of Nazism was adopted by the UN General Assembly Third Committee, with 125 votes in favour, two against, and 51 abstentions. Provocative amendments by the United States were rejected. The United States then voted against this, as did Ukraine, which has now an overtly neo-Nazi government with deep roots in the tradition of Wartime collaboration. The United Kingdom abstained, as did the rest of the NATO and wannabe NATO mafia. Shocking. Absolutely shocking. Yet wholly unsurprising.

 


Thursday, 16 November 2017

Towering Questions

I only ask, but do we believe the official Grenfell Tower death toll? Do we believe that there would be a campaign against Emma Dent Coad if she had been less vocal on this issue? And, just as there was no Hillsborough Report or even Inquiry until Margaret Thatcher was safely dead, do we expect a Grenfell Tower Report while Gavin Barwell is still alive? Gavin Barwell is 45.

#RealChange

Owen Smith won Scotland, so it really will be significant if Richard Leonard does so. In the meantime, the SNP has lost Westminster seats in all three directions, indicating the electorate's desire to move on from the constitutional question to issues of more immediately pressing concern.

Richard Leonard offers the chance, at long last, to make the Scottish debate, not about the question of independence, but about the abject failures of both the Conservatives and the SNP in relation to the causes and effects of economic inequality. Thereby, as much as anything else, exposing the bizarre claim of the SNP, as a party, to be any part of the Left, even while standing firm for international peace. 

For example, had I the money, then I would bring an action before the High Court of Justiciary of Scotland, asking it to exercise its declaratory power against Tony Blair and his accomplices in relation to their crime of aggression against Iraq in 2003. At worst, the Court could say no. Perhaps Richard Leonard might accompany me?

Eck Off

Claims are already starting that The Alex Salmond Show (catch it on RT at 6:30 or 11:30 this evening) is somehow indulging in sharp practice. But compared to what? Television pretends things. It records two game shows or whatever back to back, and then broadcasts them a day or a week apart, with the presenter, having changed his shirt, saying "Yesterday" or "Last week" during the second one. That kind of thing. That's just what television does.

"But this is supposed to be journalism," you say? Well, the BBC recently made up an imaginary bodyguard that no one could see or hear. Longer ago, it baldly reported as a suicide a death that had been discovered less than an hour before, and into which there has still never been a Coroner's Inquest, although the body has recently been exhumed and cremated in anticipation of a Corbyn Government. It and everyone else that officially existed said that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and screamed abuse for years at everyone who pointed out the truth. Its coverage of Orgreave ranked with The Sun's of Hillsborough. And so on.

Cremation or no cremation, I shall continue to demand the Coroner's Inquest that has never been held into the death of Dr David Kelly. Also, had I the money, then I would bring an action before the High Court of Justiciary of Scotland, asking it to exercise its declaratory power against Tony Blair and his accomplices in relation to their crime of aggression against Iraq in 2003. At worst, the Court could say no. Perhaps Alex Salmond might accompany me?

Losing Her Maidenhead

Theresa May's has not always been a safe seat. And with schools there begging parents for £190 a day for "pens, pencils, exercise books and paper," there is no reason why it needs to remain one. At least, not for her.

Starvation Nation

Why is there any other news than this?

Except, of course, this?

Hardly A King's Ransom

£450 million is only very slightly more than the profit that the Royal Mail made in its last year as a public company. We should have paid that princely sum to the Iranians, to whom we undoubtedly owe it, 38 years ago, or at the very latest 16 years ago, when the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled definitely that we ought to do so.

Now, however, it will look like a ransom payment for the return of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe. Someone sufficiently prominent ought simply to have turned up in Tehran and refused to leave without her. Indeed, that ought still to happen. Jeremy Corbyn would be ideal. But anyone with a high enough profile would do.

The Bare Minimum

I remember 90p a pint (i.e., 45p per “unit”) in certain workingmen’s clubs 20 years ago. But I should be fascinated to hear of anywhere where it was still the case. Is this going to be the law, or have I misunderstood? 

As someone who now drinks very moderately despite a capacity for alcohol long remarked upon by other people, I am not sure what to make of proposals for minimum pricing. They seem to be hitting the wrong target, which is alcoholic drinks stronger than beer, specifically designed for immature palettes, and, yes, priced for the pocket money market, or at least the Saturday job market.

Why shouldn’t I be able to buy four bottles of real ale for six quid? It would take me over a week to get through them. But making anything last over a week because it is worth savouring is not how the adolescent mind works. And being able to appreciate anything worth savouring in that way is not how the adolescent palette works. So why discriminate in favour of the adolescent pocket? 

Minimum pricing is not the panacea for this country’s endemic drunkenness, but it certainly has its place. However, we now discover that, even if they wanted to, the alcohol manufacturers could not arrange such a scheme among themselves, since that would be a breach of competition law. Was there ever anything - anything at all - less conservative than capitalism? Oh, well, over to the force that makes family values possible in practice: the State.

Rhodesian Front

Never forget, because I won't let you, that you had to be Tony Benn, Jeremy Corbyn, George Galloway or the Morning Star to object to Robert Mugabe when he was only killing black people. The same is true of having objected to the post-Mandela rulers of South Africa, who will only really attract negative coverage when they start to threaten white economic interests at home and abroad. Until then, you will have to come to the Durham Miners' Gala if you want to hear about what they are up to.

On Zimbabwe and on South Africa alike, we have to nothing to hear from those who still cannot come to terms with the passing of white supremacy. Except, that is, for the timely reminder of quite how many of them there still are, and of quite how close they are to the very heart of the present British Government, as well as comprising the entire cheerleading squads of most or all potential alternative Prime Ministers this side of a General Election.

Salvator Mundi, Indeed

I don't normally do this one, because of course I know all the problems with it. But just what would Jesus have made of paying $450 million for a picture of Him?

Lost In The Post

In its final year as a public company, the Royal Mail made £440 million. It has just paid record half-yearly dividends of £68 million to those who bought it for one billion pounds less than its true value. It is time for renationalisation. And it is time for a criminal investigation into this larceny.

To whom does the "Royal" in "Royal Mail" now refer? Presumably to one its major shareholders, the Emir of Kuwait. Why are the Queen's image and the Royal Cypher still on the stamps and the postboxes? Why not the face and symbol of Sheikh Sabah IV Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah? Or else what, I feel increasingly bound to ask, is the point of the British monarchy? If it can have presided over this, then what has ever been the point of it?

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Intelligence and Security?

Mary Creagh's bizarre Question to the Prime Minister this afternoon effectively called into question the outcome of this year's General Election, and endorsed Theresa May's hysterical hallucination that she had lost her overall majority only because of Russian interference. The worst thing about this Election was that it was held too soon to have been preceded by a good clear-out of Labour's Hard Right loonies left over from the Blair years.

En Marche?

With the resignation of 100 members from Emmanuel Macron's new party, it is time to examine the origins and rise of that most improbable of things, a supposedly mass and populist movement to turn France, of all places, into an outpost of Anglophone liberal elitism, of all things.

Someone thought of that. Someone paid for it. Someone organised the relentless media campaign in support of it. Someone ensured that the candidate who, by being in a runoff against Marine Le Pen, was bound to beat her, was not Jean-Luc Mélenchon, as would otherwise have been the case.

But never mind. You just keep frothing at the mouth about Russia. Ignore this. And ignore the fact that a former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, was recently on the mighty BBC's flagship radio news programme, shilling for the regime in Saudi Arabia. Hostile foreign state interference, indeed.

Salisbury Plain Truths

Could the Zimbabwean Army take over Britain, too, please? Anyway, "It's not the King, it's his advisers" was not original even when the Peasants' Revolt came out with it in 1381. And we all know what "This is not a coup" means.

As for "If you weren't there during the War of Liberation, then you shouldn't be running anything," in my time I have heard that one said about the War (just), about the Swinging Sixties, about both sides in the Eighties, and about the Blair Years. It will be said in due season about the Corbyn Years, quite possibly by me.

In the days when it was "Loony Left" to oppose the British arming of Saddam Hussein, it was also "Loony Left" to oppose Robert Mugabe, Margaret Thatcher's most abiding legacy, who was only killing black people at the time, so no one in a position to do anything about him cared tuppence.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Steppes Must Be Taken

Theresa May believes that Hillary Clinton and the Remain campaign, limitlessly funded and with almost entirely sympathetic media coverage, were defeated by tweets and Facebook posts from the Kremlin. No doubt, she also believes that those cost her her own overall majority. Such is her view of the voters, who need to know their place.

The Biggest Story of The Year

Monday, 13 November 2017

10 Reasons To Want To Send Me To Prison


First, and most obviously, because I have dared to fight back. They held my First Hearing somewhere that they assumed that I could not reach on time by the public transport on which I was dependent. But I was there. They sent me for an unrequested psychiatric assessment with a view to having me committed. But I was pronounced to have no mental health issues whatever, something that presumably a psychiatrist rarely sees, as an oncologist would rarely see anyone with no symptom that could possibly indicate cancer.

They took six hours to charge me on the strength of a pair of fingerprints that turned out, six months later to the day, to have been a single fingerprint that may or may not have been mine (it is not), on one side but not the other of a folded piece of paper that any of hundreds of people might have touched, but not on the envelope in which it was posted, an envelope that bears no trace of my DNA where it was sealed. Such contortions would be beyond me even if I were not as arthritic as I am. The prosecution has added physical impossibility to the moral impossibility of my having committed this offence, which latter is the publicly recorded view of every member of Durham County Council who has ever met me. It is also a matter of public record that the Police would not have charged me.

My persecutors have ruled out all of my 32 character witnesses, including past and present members of both Houses of Parliament, members of Durham County Council (among whom were three of the famous 57), distinguished members of the Catholic and Anglican clergy, a Presiding Justice, and several other Justices of the Peace. But at least one of those has simply sent it in anyway, and this whole move has given me the opportunity to say that the testimony of any one of those people, never mind those of 32 of them, would have been enough to preclude any realistic possibility that 10 out of 12 randomly chosen jurors might have found me guilty of anything.

While all of this has been going on, I have been elected as a Governor of County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, a position from which I have undertaken to resign if convicted, regardless of my sentence, so confident am I that that will not come to pass. It is universally acknowledged that I would have been elected to Durham County Council and to Lanchester Parish Council if this had not being hanging over me, a full and frank acknowledgement by the County Durham Labour Party that it could not have beaten me in a fair fight. I am now a declared candidate for election as County Durham and Darlington's Police, Crime and Victims' Commissioner in 2020, an electoral process in which the continuation of this action is now an unwarranted interference. I am regularly asked whether I am on the Bench "yet". Never say never.

Secondly, the cause of my wholly unexpected return to local politics was the County Council's despicable mistreatment of its Teaching Assistants. Among other things, I secured the support of several national trade union leaders for the TAs, I secured their landmark meeting with Jeremy Corbyn the night before the 2016 Durham Miners' Gala, I thus secured Corbyn's endorsement of them from the platform of the Gala, I secured the signature of Angela Rayner on their petition, I marched with her alongside them, I secured the support for them that George Galloway has regularly expressed on his radio programme and to his quarter of a million followers on Twitter, and I wrote and sent the letter to the Northern Echo in which he and others called for a vote against all Labour candidates for the County Council while comparing its Leadership to Mike Ashley and to the National Coal Board.

Had that advice been followed, then the dispute would by now have been resolved entirely in the TAs' favour. That it not been has been because of the political advice of someone who is now a Political Advisor to a Member of Parliament. Thanks to that political advice, 472 Teaching Assistants are to be left behind, continuing to lose 23 per cent of their pay. I reject that betrayal out of hand, and I will fight it to my last breath. This campaign has greatly awakened my interest in new patterns of trade unionism.

Thirdly, while I am firmly a man of the Left, believing in economic equality and in international peace through the democratic political control of the means to those ends, I am a lifelong proponent and practitioner of co-operation across all parties and none. Jeremy Corbyn is the most culturally significant and ubiquitous British politician in living memory, the most agenda-setting Leader of the Opposition ever, and the global leader of the opposition to neoliberal economic policy and to neoconservative foreign policy. That critique needs to be co-ordinated at home and abroad, in preparation for the Corbyn Government that will lead Britain and the world out of politically chosen austerity, and away from wars of political choice.

It needs, however, to draw on a very wide range of traditions and insights. My new magazine, The Weekly Standard, will do that from as early as possible next year, for all the efforts to obstruct it, and thus to deny the voices of Jeremy Corbyn, George Galloway and others across the spectrum, to readers with an interest in football, or pop music, or popular television, all of which we shall be covering just as seriously. I agree on many things with Peter Hitchens, and on quite a few with Peter Oborne. I have been published, even for payment, in The American Conservative, and I have close links to the paleoconservatives, including to one of their rising stars over here, who is one of my two strongest local supporters, both of whom will be writing for the Standard.  As will my other brace of protégés, who are even more youthful again, . One of them has lately gone from Momentum to AltRight to whatever comes after that, but I shall bring him round in due season. We were all young once.

This year was the first time since the introduction of unitary local government that, being unable to vote Labour because of the Teaching Assistants, I did not vote both for a Labour and for an Independent candidate for the County Council. Heartbreakingly, it was also the first time that I ever declined an opportunity to vote for Ossie Johnson for anything, having given him my first ever vote, at a District Council by-election while I was still in the Upper Sixth and uniformed accordingly, and having voted for him whenever the occasion presented itself during the intervening 21 years, which is more than half my lifetime. I experienced a physical pain at being unable to vote for Ossie this time.

Even when I chaired the Labour Party in Lanchester, it thankfully never put up a full slate of Parish Council candidates, so I have never voted exclusively for those of one persuasion. This year, I voted, as I have always done, for 15 candidates to fill the 15 seats on the Lanchester Parish Council on which I myself served for many years. 12 of those candidates were elected. Among those 12 were, and are, Labour, Independent, Conservative and Liberal Democrat representatives. No one on that Council would have been elected on the votes of people who had voted only Labour, or only Independent, or only Conservative, or only Liberal Democrat. Such ballot papers were submitted, but I was at the count, and I can assure you that there were not enough of them to have elected anyone. Everyone who was elected ought to keep that in mind.

At the four European Elections of my adult lifetime, I have voted Socialist Labour, Respect, No2EU, and Labour. At General Elections, I voted Labour in 1997, for which no one of my generation will ever apologise; if you did not grow up under the Major "Government", then you cannot possibly understand. I voted Labour through gritted teeth in 2001, for a local Independent who did strikingly well in 2005, for him again in 2010 in protest at the imposition of all-women shortlist on the Constituency Labour Party here, and proudly for Pat Glass and Ed Miliband in 2015. I would have voted for Pat again. As it is, I shall never forgive the Labour Party in County Durham for having deprived me, by its treatment of the Teaching Assistants, of the opportunity to participate in the Great Corbyn Surge of 2017. But Grahame Morris was the only County Durham MP to be seeking re-election and to have earned the votes of the TAs' supporters. The Labour candidate here had walked out of their Solidarity Rally a few weeks before.

Instead, therefore, I voted for Owen Temple, the Liberal Democrat who, as a County Councillor, was and is one of the two most stalwart supporters of the TAs. The other was and is his Independent wardmate, Alex Watson, who is, with George Galloway, one of my Campaign Patrons. I was closely associated with Alex's former Labour Leadership of the former Derwentside District Council, which was conducted, highly successfully, in partnership with the Independents against the Labour faction that now controls the unitary County Council. Had Alex or one of his senior allies been willing to break with Labour in 2010, then he would have been the First Past the Post for this parliamentary seat, including with my vote.

I intend to vote Labour at the next General Election, come what may. In relation to my MP, Laura Pidcock, I am the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. I wish her well, but Labour holds fewer than half the County Council seats here, Laura's own office is in Owen's and Alex's non-Labour ward where Jeremy Corbyn was last week shown visiting Greggs, and the Conservatives took 34 per cent of the vote in this constituency even with a candidate whose address on the ballot paper was in Sussex. It really will not do to describe more than one third of one's constituents in terms reminiscent of Margaret Thatcher's description of the miners. Laura is very young, she is from outside the area, and it shows. But there is time yet, and she is here now, living in Lanchester. The circumstances of her imposition will always rankle with those of my own or a similar age who retained their Labour Party membership cards, but that is not my concern. I have always been fairly crossparty and nonparty, and I have now been nothing else for longer than I was ever in the Labour Party.

In that spirit, fourthly, while I am the first to say that Corbyn ought to be Prime Minister instead of Theresa May, I firmly contend that she was the only Conservative Leader who could have prevented him from winning an overall majority this year, I hugely admire her world-leading work against human trafficking and modern slavery, and I wish that she would get on with implementing her original agenda of workers' and consumers' representation in corporate governance, of shareholders' control over executive pay, of restrictions on pay differentials within companies, of an investment-based Industrial Strategy and infrastructure programme, of greatly increased housebuilding, of action against tax avoidance, of a ban on public contracts for tax-avoiding companies (including, Your Majesty, "The Firm", with its public contract to provide a Head of State), of a cap on energy prices, of banning or greatly restricting foreign takeovers, of a ban on unpaid internships, and of an inquiry into Orgreave. The parliamentary majorities for all of these are in existence. The Prime Minister just needs to look beyond her own party.

As, in view of the fact that there is a hung Parliament, she ought to be doing, anyway. In the words of a letter that I wrote in August, and which was sent over several signatures to several newspapers, "We warmly welcome the billion pound investment in jobs and services in Northern Ireland. We call for Scotland, Wales, and each of the nine English regions to receive the same per capita. Anything less would make a mockery of the very names of the Conservative and Unionist Party, and of the Democratic Unionist Party. The DUP has never disputed the existence of the so-called Magic Money Tree. At least in practice, that existence is now fully acknowledged by the Conservative Party as well. Let the abundant fruits of that Tree be harvested throughout the United Kingdom." It might have done better if it had been sent over the scores of signatures from academic economists, trade union leaders, commentators and activists that it would have borne if not for the ongoing campaign against me by the nominally Labour Leadership of Durham County Council. That Leadership, of course, has done nothing but preside over other people's poverty, but very visibly not its own, for 32 years and counting, and it is determined to keep things that way. Hence its campaign against me, resulting in no sign of the 50 to 100 signatures, including household names, that would otherwise have appeared on this letter.

Fifthly, speaking of the Magic Money Tree, I am a firm proponent of its real name, Modern Monetary Theory, and increasingly, within and under that, of a Universal Basic Income of one thousand pounds per month. All income above that would be taxable, perhaps even at a flat rate with no further allowances or exemptions. The issuing of our own free-floating fiat currency, the understanding of the fact and implications of which is the solution to numerous economic problems and the alleged difficulties with which are fully addressed by MMT, is fundamental to the sovereignty that we must reassert over the Bank of England (New Labour's original sin having been the surrender of democratic political control over monetary policy), and which we must assert for the first time ever over the Corporation of the City of London, including by the restoration and enforcement of a Glass-Steagall type of strict statutory division between commercial banking and investment banking, and including by the simple closure of all tax havens under British jurisdiction, with the option of independence for anywhere that did not like it. I also support the Land Value Tax, which, like the Universal Basic Income, is very much an idea redolent of Theresa May, if she were only prepared to show the courage of her convictions, and to work across parties.

There have been seven recessions in the United Kingdom since the Second World War. Five of them have been under Conservative Governments. That party has also presided over all four separate periods of Quarter on Quarter fall in growth during the 2010s. By contrast, there was no recession on the day of the 2010 General Election. The Conservatives have more than doubled the National Debt. The Major Government also doubled the National Debt. Yet the Conservatives' undeserved reputation for economic competence endures. They are subjected to absolutely no scrutiny by the fake news detractors of their opponents, even when those opponents are endorsed by Nobel Laureates in Economics and by the IMF, something that Labour certainly never was when it was run by Corbyn's erstwhile Leadership rivals, nor would it have been under any of them.

Sixthly, then, as a determined opponent of the principle and consequences of the surrender of democratic political control over economic policy, as well as for many other reasons, I am a lifelong opponent of the European Union, and that on the grounds which did in fact deliver the vote to Leave. I want Brexit to be delivered in that interest, and not, as is currently being "negotiated", in the interests that did best out of the Treaty of Rome, the Single European Act and the Maastricht Treaty. That includes an extra £350 million per week for the NHS, which needs to be enshrined in primary legislation. Like the election of Donald Trump in the scandalously arranged absence of Bernie Sanders, the referendum result established the workers, and not the liberal bourgeoisie, as the key swing voters to whom tribute must be paid, so that identity issues must be located within the overarching and undergirding struggle for economic equality and for international peace.

In the struggle for the universal good that is economic equality, the leading role belongs to those who suffer most as a result of its absence, namely the working class. In the struggle for the universal good that is international peace, the leading role belongs to those who suffer most as a result of its absence, namely the working class and the youth. Apprentices and trainees deserve the same benefits as are enjoyed by their peers in further and higher education, and vice versa. The nature of education in general, and of higher education in particular, needs to be properly understood, so that we either fund higher education all the way up to doctoral level, or we charge fees at every stage. The training and other standards for the private sector to match must be set by national and municipal public ownership, itself reformed away from the Morrisonian model in the light of Trotskyist-influenced and Blue Labour critiques that are far more alike than the advocates of either would like to admit.

Seventhly, as something of a model of a different economy and of the opportunities for post-Brexit Britain, I have for some months, and despite the best efforts of the supposedly Labour County Council in trying to send me to prison instead, been working with everyone worth approaching on a proposal. Following the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union, or in anticipation of that withdrawal, the Volkswagen Group would move to this historically industrial County of Durham all of its production for the British market that was not already located here in the United Kingdom, as I appreciate that a very small amount is.

The suggestion is for a company wholly owned by Volkswagen. One Director would be nominated by each of the Groups on Durham County Council other than the Labour Group, which is clearly unsympathetic to this project, and one Director would be nominated by those Councillors who had no formal political affiliation. A number of Directors equal to the number of non-Labour Groups would be nominated by Unite the Union, including one by Durham Unite Community. One Director would be nominated by the Durham Miners' Association. A Chairman appointed by Volkswagen would exercise the parent company's veto over all decisions. This new company would undertake to match (by such means as to avoid any conflict of interest) the Members' Initiative Fund of £2000 per annum at the disposal of each of the Councillors who were represented on its Board of Directors. It would underwrite the cost of the activities of Durham Unite Community. It would underwrite the Durham Miners’ Gala. And it would underwrite the cost of maintaining the Durham Miners' Hall.

Were it not for Simon Henig and his ghastly little mob, then this would now be very well-advanced indeed. But they are determined to stop many thousands of well-paid, highly skilled jobs from coming to County Durham. They are determined to deny any kind of voice, both to all political positions other than their own, and to the trade union movement. They are determined to punish financially wards that have had the temerity to vote for anyone else. And they are determined to prevent a secure financial future for Durham Unite Community, for the Durham Miners' Gala, or for the Durham Miners' Hall. So determined are they, in fact, that they are engaged in a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, and in malfeasance in public office, in an attempt to kill this scheme, among others, by sending me to prison. If I am wrong, then let Simon Henig sue me.

Eighthly, I have always argued that such highly paid, highly skilled, high status employment, which only the State can ever guarantee and which only the State can very often deliver, is the economic basis of the paternal authority, and thus of the paternal responsibility, that needs to be reasserted in relation to the key points of childhood and adolescence. All aspects of public policy must take account of this urgent social and cultural need. Not least, that includes energy policy: the energy sources to be preferred by the State are those providing the highly paid, highly skilled, high status jobs that secure the economic basis of paternal authority in the family and in the wider community. So, nuclear power. And coal, not dole.

Of course a new baby needs her mother. But a 15-year-old might very well need her father, and that bit of paternity leave that he had been owed for the preceding 15 years. Barely a generation ago, a single manual wage provided the wage-earner, his wife and their several children with a quality of life unimaginable even on two professional salaries today. This impoverishment has been so rapid and so extreme that most people, including almost all politicians and commentators, simply refuse to acknowledge that it has happened. But it has happened. And it is still going on.

If fathers matter, then they must face up to their responsibilities. With every assistance, including censure where necessary, from the wider society, including when society acts politically as the State. That entails a legal presumption of equal parenting. Restoration of the tax allowance for fathers for so long as Child Benefit was being paid to mothers. Restoration of the requirement that providers of fertility treatment take account of the child's need for a father. Repeal of the ludicrous provision for two women to be listed as a child's parents on a birth certificate, although even that is excelled by the provision for two men to be so listed. And paternity leave to be made available, up to a maximum over all the years in question, at any time until the child was 18 or left school.

Moreover, paternal authority cannot be affirmed while fathers are torn away from their children and harvested in wars. Especially, though not exclusively, since those sent to war tend to come from working-class backgrounds, where starting to have children often still happens earlier than has lately become the norm. Think of those very young men whom we see going off or coming home, hugging and kissing their tiny children. You can believe in fatherhood, or you can support wars under certainly most and possibly all circumstances, the latter especially in practice today even if not necessarily in the past or in principle. You cannot do both.

Any marrying couple should be entitled to register their marriage as bound by the law prior to 1969 with regard to grounds and procedures for divorce, and any religious organisation should be enabled to specify that any marriage that it conducted would be so bound, requiring it to counsel couples accordingly. Statute should specify that the Church of England and the Church in Wales each be such a body unless, respectively, the General Synod and the Governing Body specifically resolved the contrary by a two-thirds majority in all three Houses. There should be similar provision relating to the Methodist and United Reformed Churches, which also exist pursuant to Acts of Parliament, as well as by amendment to the legislation relating to the restoration of the Catholic hierarchy. Entitlement upon divorce should be fixed by Statute at one per cent of the other party's estate for each year of marriage, up to 50 per cent, with no entitlement for the petitioning party unless the other party's fault were proved.

There is a perfectly reasonable case for civil partnerships to be available to opposite-sex couples. It is not as if those couples would otherwise be getting married. Civil partnerships for opposite-sex couples would mean that no one would get married unless they very explicitly wanted to be married, in preference to a specific alternative. That could only strengthen marriage. For one thing, divorce could be made far more difficult, at least for people who had chosen marriage after this new arrangement had come into force. After all, if they had not wanted that, then they could always have had a civil partnership instead.

Unmarried opposite-sex partnerships are not some recent innovation. They are this country's historical norm. Most legal marriages used to last to the grave, if only because they could not be dissolved. But everyone who knows the first thing about the subject knows that between the Reformation and the late nineteenth century at the absolute earliest, relatively few people in Britain ever were legally married. They lived together, they had children, women often took men's names. But there was no marriage certificate, and it was quite normal to have several such arrangements over the course of a lifetime. When people sought the validation of the State (as much local as national) and of its Established Church, then they really did want that validation. And, of course, they could afford to obtain it.

The near-universality of marriage probably did not last 100 years, and it tellingly collapsed under Margaret Thatcher, when the economic order to which it was integral was dismantled. The introduction of opposite-sex civil partnerships would once again create the space in which the only people who got married were the people who really meant it. There might not be very many of those on these shores. But there almost, if almost, never have been. And never having needed to be consummated, civil partnerships ought not to be confined to unrelated couples. Am I trying to go back to the 1950s? To which features of the 1950s, exactly? Full employment? Public ownership? The Welfare State? Council housing? Municipal services? Apprenticeships? Free undergraduate tuition, once other, rather more pressing needs had been met? All of those things were bound up with things like this. That they have all been eroded or destroyed together has not been a coincidence. It is not called neoliberalism for nothing.

The first principle of neoliberalism is, of course, the "free" market. Like any economic arrangement, that is not a law of nature, but a political choice, and every political choice is a moral choice. There cannot be a "free" market in general but not in alcohol, tobacco, arms, drugs, prostitution or pornography. Therefore, there must not be a "free" market in general. We need a single category of illegal drug, with a crackdown on the possession of drugs, including a mandatory sentence of three months for a second offence, six months for a third offence, one year for a fourth offence, and so on. That most certainly does include cannabis, which is linked to violent psychosis, and any medicinal properties of which are no more applied by smoking a spliff than those of opium would be by injecting heroin, or than those of aspirin would be by ingesting bark.

It ought to be made a criminal offence for anyone aged 21 or over to buy or sell sex, with equal sentencing on both sides. No persecution of girls and very young women whose lives had already been so bad that they had become prostitutes. No witch-hunting of boys and very young men who were desperate to lose their virginities. But the treatment of women and men as moral, intellectual and legal equals.

The age of consent should effectively be raised to 18, by making it a criminal offence for anyone to commit any sexual act with or upon any person under that age who was more than two years younger than herself, or to incite any such person to commit any such act with or upon her or any third party anywhere in the world. The maximum sentence would be twice the difference in age, to the month where that was less than three years, or a life sentence where that difference was at least five years. No different rules for "positions of trust", which are being used against male, but not female, 18-year-olds looking after female, but not male, Sixth Formers visiting universities. And no provision, as at present, for boys to be prosecuted at any age, even if they are younger than the girls involved, whereas girls have to be 16.

The law on indecent images is also enforced in totally different ways in relation to boys and girls of the same age, and even to boys who are younger than the girls. That must end. Children under the age of consent can have abortion or contraception without parental permission. That is an argument for banning children under the age of consent from having abortion or contraception without parental permission. Unless they decided as adults to seek to make contact with their children, then the financial liability of male victims for pregnancies resulting from their sexual abuse ought also to be ruled out. Talk about victim-blaming.

The offences of rape, serious sexual assault, and sexual assault, ought to be replaced with aggravating circumstances to the general categories of offences against the person, enabling the sentences to be doubled. The sex of either party would be immaterial. There must be no anonymity either for adult defendants or for adult complainants. Either we have an open system of justice, or we do not. In this or any other area, there must be no suggestion of any reversal of the burden of proof. That reversal has largely been brought to you already, by the people who in the same year brought you the Iraq War. The Parliament that was supine before Tony Blair was also supine before Harriet Harman. Adults who made false allegations ought to be prosecuted automatically.

Moreover, how can anyone be convicted of non-consensual sex, who could not lawfully have engaged in consensual sex? If there is an age of consent, then anyone below it can be an assailant. But a sexual assailant? How? Similarly, if driving while intoxicated is a criminal offence, then how can intoxication, in itself, be a bar to sexual consent? The law needs to specify that it was, only to such an extent as would constitute a bar to driving. American-style legislation for internally administered "balance of probabilities" or "preponderance of evidence" tests to sexual assault allegations at universities or elsewhere must be banned by Statute. It is incompatible with the Rule of Law to punish someone for a criminal offence of which she has not been convicted. It must be made impossible for anyone to be extradited to face charges that fell short of these standards, or for such convictions to have any legal standing in this country.

Obscenity ought to be defined as material depicting acts that were themselves illegal, or which was reasonably likely to incite or encourage such acts. Sentencing would be the same as for the illegal act in question in each case. If the technology exists to require age verification for access to pornographic websites, then the technology exists to block those websites altogether.

My opposition to assisted suicide, not least as a disabled person, has been the clear majority view of the House of Commons for as long as this issue has presented itself in earnest. The composition of that House has changed drastically more than once during that period. Like John Smith, Charles Kennedy, George Galloway and Ronnie Campbell, I am totally opposed to abortion, as were previous parliamentary allies of Jeremy Corbyn's such as Mike Wood, Bob Wareing, Dennis Canavan and Bob Parry. Extremely few people in this country are of this view, but most of them are Labour voters and always will be. If such a stance is a bar to becoming Prime Minister, then Jesus told us to expect far worse than that, and, as ever, He has been as good as His word.

I support diverting funds from ethically problematic research on embryonic stem cells, which has never delivered anything, to ethically unproblematic research on adult and cord blood stem cells, which is delivering the goods in spite of criminal neglect. Science is what works. I have no objection to the treatment of gender dysphoria on the NHS, because it is an illness. There would be no case for treating anything on the NHS if it were not a diagnosed, and thus a diagnosable, medical condition.

For most of the present century, mine was a lone voice about the links between Harriet Harman and Patricia Hewitt on one side, and the Paedophile Information Exchange and Paedophile Action for Liberation on the other. I remain banned from several major websites for having pointed out these things long before the media pretended to have discovered them. That is my reply when people tell me to stop going on about the links between the 1980s Far Right, including Thomas Mair, and the people who are now running the country. They told me to stop going on about the links between Harriet Harman and Patricia Hewitt on the one hand, and the Paedophile Information Exchange and Paedophile Action for Liberation on the other.

Fleet Street-as-was had always, always known about that story. But I dared to mention it. So, among other things, I remain banned from several major websites. The official media finally said what they had always known when it became necessary to distract the public from the story of Patrick Rock, a story about which I also have no intention of shutting up. Just as I have no intention of shutting up about the links between the 1980s Far Right, including Thomas Mair, and the people who are now running the country. And just as I never did shut up about the links between Harriet Harman and Patricia Hewitt on the one hand, and the Paedophile Information Exchange and Paedophile Action for Liberation on the other. Each of those stories is a gateway into a vast, and partially overlapping, history of this country over the last 40 years and more. Both of those stories, both of those partially overlapping histories, are at play in the current abuse of the criminal justice system in order to persecute me. But I have been proved right once. I shall be proved right again.

Ninthly, on the subject of my having been proved right, I have opposed every actual or attempted erosion of civil liberties over the last 25 years, and, in the most intimate connection with that, I have opposed every British military intervention from Kosovo onwards. I am totally opposed to this country's poisonous relationship with Saudi Arabia, which equals only North Korea as one of the two most evil regimes on the planet, and even North Korea is not armed by Britain, nor does it drag Britain into wars, and nor has it had much success in spreading its ideology to Britain. Our membership of NATO commits us to the defence of the Islamist regime in Turkey, and of Baltic and other Eastern European types who downplay the numbers killed by Hitler while, at NATO's expense, glorifying those of their own compatriots who fought for him. There are other possible uses for two per cent of our GDP. We should just get out of NATO.

It entirely defeats me that torchlit neo-Nazi processions are objectionable in Virginia, as of course they are, but are positively laudable in Ukraine. Another attempted Far Right putsch assisted by the CIA, no more a popular uprising than anything else that is capable of staging a helicopter grenade attack on the Supreme Court, is being attempted in Venezuela. If there is one thing worth knowing about Venezuela, then it is that the people who are now beating the drum against it have been wrong about every foreign policy of the last 20 years, and that they had barely heard of the place, which they still could not find on a map, until they needed a stick with which to beat Jeremy Corbyn.

Had I the money, then I would bring an action before the High Court of Justiciary of Scotland, asking it to exercise its declaratory power against Tony Blair and his accomplices in relation to their crime of aggression against Iraq in 2003. At worst, the Court could say no. I continue to demand the Coroner's Inquest that has never been held into the death of Dr David Kelly, whose remains were recently exhumed and cremated in anticipation of a Corbyn Government. Why is there any other news than that? The supply of British arms to Saudi Arabia needs to be brought back to the floor of the House of Commons as a matter of the utmost urgency. The rather good Labour Chief Whip ought to publish in advance the list of MPs with leave of absence. For anyone else, abstention this time ought to mean deselection in due season, and universal moral revulsion with immediate effect. No such person ought to be re-elected. Therefore, no such person ought to be reselected.

It is not bleeding heart stuff to oppose the arms trade. It is good strategic sense. We never know where the arms might end up. Or, in the case of Saudi Arabia and its satrapies, we do know that the arms run a very high risk of ending up in the hands of the so-called Islamic State or of forces that are in no meaningful way distinguishable from it. BAE Systems ought to be renationalised as the monopoly supplier to our own Armed Forces, while all other sale of arms abroad ought to be banned. The State has a responsibility, not least to its own defence, to enable the diversification of the skilled work that is currently being done in the arms trade.

The same is true of Trident, the ever more eye-watering cost of which ought to be diverted to rebuilding the conventional Armed Forces (and not least the Royal Navy, which has gone to rack and ruin, having been the world's mightiest before nuclear weapons were ever thought of), to caring for veterans, to flood defences, and to the real nuclear deterrent, which is civil nuclear power. That, and the exploitation of Britain's vast reserves of coal, need to be the backbone of an "all-of-the-above" energy policy with its commanding heights in reformed public ownership, even while appreciating that if the shale gas is there at all, which unlike the coal we do not know, then it is in places that do not want or need fracking, unlike the coal that is very definitely in areas in dire need of mining, both as an industry and as a culture.

We need an approach to climate change which protects and extends secure employment with civilised wages and working conditions, which encourages economic development around the world, which upholds the right of the working classes and of non-white people to have children, which holds down and as far as practicable reduces the fuel prices that always hit the poor hardest, and which refuses to restrict travel opportunities or a full diet to the rich. Climate change is supposed to be anthropogenic. The human race makes the weather. The burning of carbon is the foundation of the working class, the foundation of the Left, the foundation of human progress (problematic though that term is), the foundation of civilisation.

We need a celebration of the full compatibility between the highest view of human demographic, economic, intellectual and cultural expansion and development, and the most active concern for the conservation of the natural world and of the treasures bequeathed by such expansion and development in the past. The problem with the world is not that it has people in it. Which people, exactly? We all know the answer to that. Rather, people produce wealth, material and otherwise. People are wealth, material and otherwise.

The cheap call for flood defences to receive what is currently Overseas Aid money misses the point. The Statute Law should specify that the United Kingdom's aid to any given country be reduced by the exact cost of any space programme, or of any nuclear weapons programme, or of any nuclear submarine programme, or of any foreign aid budget of that country's own. The money thus saved would, however, have to remain within the budget of the Department for International Development, with the 0.7 per cent target still resolutely intact. For her having sought to arrange funding for an IS field hospital, Priti Patel ought to be prosecuted under anti-terrorism legislation.

Trident is not the only behemoth of profligacy in urgent need of reassessment. It is high time to expand London's airport capacity, but not in the form of a third runway at Heathrow when Gatwick offers a better alternative. That was one of George Galloway's key pledges when, in the face of a near-total media blackout, he stood for Mayor of London. Another was running Uber out of town, and it has been accepted that he was right all along about that. It is high time to revisit some more of them. It is high time to enforce the requirement, throughout the country, that 50 per cent of housing on all new projects must be dedicated to affordable housing, redefined as 50 per cent of average rents, not the 80 per cent that is currently the case. It is high time for an all-night Tube service, but with workers properly consulted on the process, properly recompensed, and not forced into working long, unsociable, and potentially dangerous hours.

It is high time to ban HGV vehicles from Central London during daytime hours, in a bid to reduce fuel emissions during those hours. It is high time to invest in more cycle lanes, and in initiatives to make it safer to cycle around London. It is high time for the use of the Oyster Card to be massively expanded, making it an interest free debit card used in shops and restaurants, for other services, and for the transfer of money abroad, so that City Hall would become a publicly owned People's Bank; again, this has national possibilities that demand to be explored. It is high time to put the £18 billion annual City Hall budget, and all other municipal budgets, online in real time, absolutely transparently, using the BlockChain technology developed by London's red hot FinTech industry that is currently based in the Shoreditch Corridor. And it is high time to end immediately all fire station closures, and all cuts to London's and everywhere else's fire services, reversing the cuts that have already been made. That would be a start, anyway. In fact, the start has been made, with the acceptance that George had been right all along about Uber.

As with the third runway at Heathrow, so with HS2. A fraction of the cost of that could reconnect many towns to a rail network that, in reformed public ownership, would provide the backbone of a rebuilt network of public transport, free at the point of use. This is a key issue for those of us who are disabled, and also for the rural working class, both of whom have suffered dreadfully at the hands of Durham County Council and its maniacal determination to cut our bus services. Like most local authorities, it is also hand in glove with those who would not want to see something else that I have long advocated, namely a statutory requirement of planning permission for change of use if it is proposed to turn a primary dwelling into a secondary dwelling, a working family home into a weekend or holiday home. Again, a voice for the rural working class.

And tenthly, there are all the other causes to which I am committed and which are guaranteed to annoy all the right people. Not only am I involved with the Dalits, the Rohingya (since long before they became famous, although I have had the privilege of knowing the great Jonah Fisher for 20 years) and the Chagossians, but I have even played a small part in bringing into being what is now the very considerable co-ordination of their efforts. I advocate the deportation of Altaf Hussain to Pakistan, and an inquiry into the role of the Thatcher Government in the 1984 storming of the Golden Temple and the events surrounding it. I have been almost a lone voice for the Dorje Shugden practitioners persecuted by the Dalai Lama, and for the Russian and other ethnic minorities oppressed in the Baltic States. I want to integrate these Islands and all of the British Overseas Territories into the Belt and Road Initiative.

I supported the Hillsborough campaign, of course, as I continue to support the campaigns for justice in relation to Orgreave, Wapping, Shrewsbury, Clay Cross, blacklisting, and so on. I supported Craig Murray in his recent trial for libel, and I support Neil Clark in his attempt to bring an action for stalking against Oliver Kamm, whose pawprints are all over my own persecution. I advocate the criminal investigation of the larcenous privatisation of the Royal Mail. With highly specialised Police in the field, I cannot see the point of MI5, and I tend to think that it ought to be disbanded. I have campaigned for years for national memorials, with annual wreath-laying ceremonies and so on, to the conscientious objectors during the First World War, to the ILP Contingent, and to the fallen of British Palestine. I would welcome the commemoration of the USS Liberty on that last, since those men's own country continues to treat their memory in a manner that is beneath contempt. I am actively seeking to secure the translation and publication of my friend Hernán Dobry's Operation Israel, which is the definitive account of the Israeli arming of Argentina during the Falklands War. That kind of thing makes one enemies of whom one can be justly proud.

And then there are all my little heresies even within the Left. I have never been any kind of Marxist. Until the infamous abstention on the Welfare Bill, I advocated only a second preference vote for Jeremy Corbyn, with a first preference vote for Andy Burnham. I always supported Tom Watson for Deputy Leader, and I still do; when Angela Rayner becomes Leader, then the balance that Jeremy and Tom provide each other would most obviously be provided by Angela and by my old university drinking companion, Jonathan Ashworth. I am not a member of Momentum, although I do advocate joining it, along with the Labour Party and the Co-operative Party. I am a member of the Fabian Society, and I was recently a candidate, albeit an unsuccessful one, for its Executive Committee. Progress still sends me its magazine, so I must still be on its books somehow. I have had links to Blue Labour for as long as it has existed, to such an extent that John Milbank wrote the preface to my first book, while he and Maurice Glasman wrote commendations of my second. I regret that its Nottingham conferences are no longer held.

I accept that the monarchy keeps sweet a lot of people who need to be kept sweet, even if I am increasingly at a loss as to why it does. I accept all of the arguments against commercial schools, but I do not see the schools of the right-wing Labour municipal machines giving the leading figures of the Left the platforms that the major public schools, at least, extend to them on a very regular basis. I still have a broadly Unionist heart in relation to Northern Ireland, in that nothing like post-War British social democracy, and not least the NHS, has ever existed in the Irish Republic, or, I strongly suspect, ever will. But that one is rapidly approaching its own conclusion, quite inexorably.

Although I am not in any ideological sense a Zionist, and although I am extremely critical of the present Israeli Government, I am wholly resigned to the simple existence of the State of Israel, dating as it does from the same year as the Empire Windrush, and I am only a qualified supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, in that academic and cultural boycotts strike me as contrary to the nature of scholarship, art and science, while sporting boycotts seem cruel to very young people whose chance to compete at a certain level may come only once or twice in a lifetime.

And I contend that as the proprietor of the whole of Sky, Rupert Murdoch might do some good. There are positions that the BBC simply ignores. The workers, and not the liberal bourgeoisie, as the key swing voters. Identity issues located within the struggle for economic equality and for international peace. The leading role in the defence of universal public services of those who would otherwise lack basic amenities, and in the promotion of peace of those who would be the first to be called upon to die in wars. The decision of the EU referendum by areas that voted Labour, Liberal Democrat or Plaid Cymru. Opposition from the start to the failed programme of economic austerity.

Against all Governments since 1997, opposition to the privatisation of the NHS and other public services, to the persecution of the disabled, to the assault on civil liberties, to every British military intervention during that period, to Britain's immoral and one-sided relationship with Saudi Arabia, and to the demonisation of Russia. Rejection of any approach to climate change which would threaten jobs, workers' rights, the right to have children, travel opportunities, or universal access to a full diet. Rescue of issues such as male suicide, men's health, and fathers' rights from those whose economic and other policies have caused the problems. And refusal to recognise racists, Fascists or opportunists as the authentic voices of the accepted need to control immigration. Murdoch ought to identify and include representatives of the traditions that those and other marginalised views express in practice.

All in all, more than enough reason to want me out of circulation.

Kaleidoscope Eyes

Tonight at nine, on ITV,  Gone to Pot: American Road Trip. "John Fashanu, Pam St Clement, Christopher Biggins, Bobby George and Linda Robson explore the pros and cons of legalising marijuana, beginning in San Francisco and heading down to Santa Cruz. Continues on Wednesday." How did anyone ever come up with the idea for this? That question answers itself.

Nor The Years Condemn?

Overheard yesterday morning, "I'll have to go straight home [after the ceremony at the war memorial], because I'm waiting for the gasman." Not only a Sunday, but on Remembrance Sunday. Economic liberalisation in general, and privatisation in particular, have been so good for conservative and patriotic values and culture. Haven't they?

Prime Suspects?

If there were a Prime Minister, then Boris Johnson and Michael Gove would both have been sacked by now. But in all fairness to Theresa May, she was the only Conservative Leader who could have prevented a Labour overall majority under Jeremy Corbyn. Against David Davis, Corbyn would have won, and would win, an overall majority of 50. Against Johnson or Gove, Corbyn would have won, and would win, an overall majority of 100. Against Jacob Rees-Mogg, Corbyn would have won, and would win, an overall majority of at least 150, and quite possibly of more than 200.

No one is ever going to believe that Davis came from a council estate, "because he's a Tory." People will believe that council estates contained Conservative voters, but not that they produced national Conservative politicians. As for a woman Leader, the Conservative Party membership in the country has no more ever elected one than the Labour Party membership in the country has. Indeed, the Conservative Party membership has never even been offered the opportunity to do so. In any case, the next Leader of the Labour Party is going to be Angela Rayner. Good luck against her to anyone acceptable either to Conservative MPs or to Conservative Party members.