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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

How Labour trashed Tatchell, not Assad


As the people of Aleppo were being burned alive in the street, hospital staff massacred and men and boys led to deaths which evoke Srebrenica the Labour Party's High Command's trashed Peter Tatchell.

For days after a speech by leader Jeremy Corbyn protested by activists demanding action to support those Aleppines his supporters raged against Tatchell on the basis of - women's rights.

Yet Corbyn's Human Rights Day speech had been promoted to the media as about Saudi Arabia and Bahrain - not women's rights.

Four days later and a prime vehicle for the spin by the Labour Party proclaimed the 'victory' of fascist Assad's forces in Aleppo.

It wasn't about women

Thanks to one of those who protested last Saturday I tracked down that BBC and Sky News reporters at the Labour leader's speech had been briefed by Labour to focus on Saudi Arabia. Reporting by the Huffington Post and the placement of a piece by Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry confirms this.

Labour's aim for the speech was to attack UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, who had made Trumpesque comments about Saudi Arabia, a bete noir country for the sections of the left who now run the Labour Party Command.

Saudi Arabia and its role in Yemen is a constant 'whatabout' reference for left wing Twitter. Labour's media manager is Seumas Milne, whose entire history is to blame everything on the US.

Of course their aim was to use an event on the day of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to slag off America. Doh.

Aleppo, whatever

The grassroot activist intervention in the Corbyn speech was allied to the desperate Aleppines because they are personally connected to them because it was organised by Syria Solidarity UK who are led by Syrian civil society. Their focus in the protest was aid drops of food and medicine. a method of civilian protection which was pushed in the House of Commons a few days later - by Labour MPs.

The presence of Tatchell was a lighting rod, which I wrote about after the protest and which has since played out. I said that the problem is journalists should ask Corbyn's office if he supports air drops - this has still not happened.

The protest resulted in a forced statement by Corbyn, live at the event, in which he did not say he supported air drops.

This did not result in headlines that Corbyn does not support airdrops despite journalists knowing full well that Corbyn's 'anti-intervention' in any sense stance means zero action for Syrian civilians.

Despite the hostility against them, once again journalists let him off the hook. Nothing appeared saying Corbyn refused support to aid Syrian civilians.

Labour's position on Syria is coming from everyone else but the leader. The supporters default to that, which tells you a lot. They imagine a Syria position by the leader which does not exist.

To the barricades! Attack Tatchell!

Despite the Party selling the speech as about Saudi Arabia and Bahrain almost immediately the leader's fanclub decided what their leader had talked about was, in fact, women's rights.

This line was promoted by the Party's Campaign Director. The leader's personal army, Momentum, proclaimed it within a few hours.

As always in these things it was based on some truth. 'Women' were mentioned in the speech a lot. Great victory. Yet hours earlier the Party machine was selling another story.

It was even claimed that the event was not about human rights in general but was about domestic violence (DV) in particular , despite the absence of Jess Phillips MP, the party's main champion on this issue and another bete noir of the leader's fanclub. And also despite the leader's failure to whip MPs (make their vote near-mandatory) on a international domestic violence measure pushed in Parliament by the Scottish Nationals. That same measure in post-speech accounts was cited to attack Tatchell, as if he had single-handily destroyed it.

Corbyn fans even suggested HM Opposition could have no impact, despite the earlier Dubs amendment victory over child refugees practically cited by George Osborne in his valediction of Jo Cox.

Focusing on Tatchell - despite the obvious protest women and the Syrian women they were representing - a Blitzkrieg was launched. It resulted in hundreds of personal online attacks on Tatchell and a front page in the Stalinist newspaper The Morning Star, which was happily shared widely.

The Morning Star has been praised by the leader as the only newspaper he will allow in his presence.

On and on it went with the wide circulation amongst fans of Corbyn of denunciations of the Nobel nominated Syrian rescue organisation the White Helmets included. Shameful conspiracism, whose source is Russian propaganda and comparable to the online experience of Trumpism.

All while Aleppines were being massacred.

While Aleppines were being massacred

Today we have a Stalinist Newspaper Corbyn professes to like, on its front page, saying that Aleppo has been 'liberated'. The same newspaper carries - highlights - a denunciation of Tatchell.

Are the people who did this proud of what they did? Will this be something they will want to tell their grandchildren?

Not the CPGB, we know who they are. They cheer Stalin. Nope. Am thinking of those 'social democrat' others who got us to this point.

Those who half listened to Allepines and half listened, for (guilty) shame to something more enticing.

Peter is someone I know and someone who is flawed. F'yeah and yourself? This is not the point. Your focus on Peter is offensive on several levels, not the least because actual people in Syria (Aleppo! May I weep)  heard what happened and reacted far differently than you and you ignored what they said.

He was not the protest - and you know that.

A huge part of the left's problem with Syria is a failure to listen to Syrians. Just STFU and listen.

Otherwise? Endless 'we/I know better'. This is why the Stop The War Coalition has trolled you in systematically excluding Syrians who disagree with them. And told you this brown face is an agent, with a neocon agenda.

In another world this would be immediately understood as orientalism and this would be obvious.

These are Jeremy and Seumas's people. Of course they did what they did. They have history, or for the brand makers - legend.

Own it

The 'man of peace' and his coterie wanted to use the Declaration of Human Rights anniversary to attack the Yanks. Agin.

Some people representing Syrians showed up but, thank dafunk, force multiplier, Tatchell did too. So they deflected. We saw what Corbynistas said and we picked up on that and used every muscle to pile onto that. And all we cared about was defending the leader.

We saw what you did but...

The issue is Syria and if you are fine with fascists massacring people, for whatever reason you have invented in your head, have the guts to say it.

Own it. Galloway does. Some call Assad the mass murderer a socialist/secular revelation. That you? Assad opposes the Yanks! You're taking a side and it's with Assad!

Own it.

UK Labour has no such guts, it goes after Tatchell. UK Labour circled the wagons to defend the leader and did not have the guts to fight fascism when it counted. Some members, some MPs did. Hooray. Gold Star. No. really. But this exercise tells me that the Party failed at this moment.

That is the trucking truth. That is what happened.

If you will not yell this now when will you?



    From Saturday 10.53 am. Looks like there was briefing of the domestic violence angle too.

    Maybe the speech was on both? In which case, why act like it was on domestic violence only?

    I agree the "Get Tatchell" stinks- see here, where this Morning Star writer produces a bit of paper with 6 lines about Syria on it and calls it "proof" Corbyn was going to talk about Syria in any adequate way.

    But have you not gone over the top here?

  2. Peter Tatchell has joined the long list of old left-wing star turns who resent having been made into supporting acts by a man whom they had spent decades assuming was the cloakroom attendant, but who turns out to have an appeal beyond their wildest dreams.

    There is much castigation of the Morning Star for its coverage of Aleppo. But it is unique among national newspapers in having opposed every British military intervention of the last 20 years. The best that can be said of the war in Sierra Leone is that it failed to deliver any improvement. All of the others have been catastrophic. I say again that the Morning Star is the only national newspaper to have opposed each and every one of them.

    A small number of MPs is also in that venerable category. Of those, by far the most prominent today is Jeremy Corbyn. He even voted against the war in Libya, and how about that for civilian casualties? Only a handful of Labour MPs did that. But precisely one Conservative did so. One.

    Possibly more than anything else, the British Right now defines itself by reference to its having supported the wars of Clinton and Bush, Blair and Cameron. Russia and Iran can do no good in its eyes. Israel and the Gulf tyrannies, supremely Saudi Arabia, can do no evil. America was in the latter category, and it looks as if the next President might keep it there after all.

    The British Right is first and foremost the War Party, and it is very proud to be so, despite having been proved horrifically wrong over, and over, and over again. Against, which is the key point, Seumas Milne and Andrew Murray, Lindsey German and John Rees, Tariq Ali and John Pilger. Against Diane Abbott and John McDonnell, George Galloway and Ken Livingstone. Against Ken Loach and two million people, including the young Richard Burgon, on the streets of London in 2003. Against Dennis Skinner and Ronnie Campbell, the ghost of Tony Benn and the ghost of Michael Foot.

    Against the vulgar and presumptuous interference of organised labour in political affairs. Against the vulgar and presumptuous existence of organised labour at all, for it is not a coincidence that the hated rail unions are all stalwarts of the anti-war movement. Against Jeremy Corbyn and the Morning Star.

    The liberation of Aleppo is not a pretty sight. But what do you think that the liberation of, say, Paris looked like? A tea dance? Putin and Assad are bad. But their enemies are worse. Far, far, far worse. Those enemies are armed by Saudi Arabia, on occasion even fighting under its flag. In that full knowledge, Britain arms Saudi Arabia. The head-choppers, crucifiers and heart-excisers are armed by Britain.