Labour is no longer a force for good in the world

Jeremy Corbyn encapsulated everything that was deceitful about his campaign to be leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition when he claimed he wanted to prioritise “the needs of the poor and the human rights of us all”. From the point of view of the poor and the oppressed, his words were a grim joke.

Like many from the Left’s dark corners, Corbyn does not believe in the human rights of “us all”. He is concerned only with the rights of those whose oppression is politically useful. If the oppressed’s suffering can be blamed on the West, he will defend them. If not, he is on their enemies’ side.

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Vienna’s Nazi legacy

From Standpoint September 2105

I don’t think I have hated a city so quickly and so thoroughly as I hated Vienna when I arrived in the mid-1990s. To me it was a chocolate-covered corpse. I had never had any trouble about visiting Germany. I admired the Germans for coming to terms with the legacies of Communism and Nazism and building a democratic republic. But Austria was something else.
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Take a tip from waiters: workers’ rights are being destroyed



From theCommuter misery in London as striking tube workers shut down network

From the Observer 9 August 2015

This island race was once admired for its stiff upper lip, blitz spirit and sheer pluck. Unfortunately none of these admirable qualities can survive a strike. If London Underground stops for 24 hours, the press does not keep calm and carry on. It goes into a funk, as the Telegraph proved last week when it lost what self-control it possessed and screamed: “Let’s sack the lot of them”


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Britain builds a fortress to keep out refugees

From the Observer 2 August 2015

I looked at Salah Mohammed Ali and wondered how he would be remembered if he died trying to reach the shores of England tonight. It was not a fanciful speculation.

Since 1 June, 10 refugees have died on the roads around Calais, at the port or inside the Channel tunnel. Their number included an Eritrean woman hit by a car last week on Calais’s urban motorway. A few days before, a Sudanese man had tried to jump on to the Eurostar. He misjudged the distance and the train smashed his head open. Worst of all was Samir, an Eritrean baby, who lived and died within the space of an hour. Her young mother fell from a truck heading to Dover. The fall triggered a premature birth and that was Samir’s life over before it had begun.

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A Jeremy Corbyn triumph would shame his opponents

Jeremy Corbyn


Observer 18 July 2015

You must walk in other men’s shoes even if they rub and pinch. The Labour politicians and political commentators who gaze with horror on the upsurge of the left should try it, then perhaps they will understand why their arguments are failing.

They are, of course, right to say that you cannot win an election unless you show you can manage the economy. It is also true that the Labour party, like failing centre-left parties across Europe, will never be in power again unless it can attract English voters, who have headed off to the right. Turning Labour into a leftwing version of the Tea Party is fatal, which is why Conservatives cannot believe their luck, and are telling their supporters to pay £3 for Labour membership and back Jeremy Corbyn.

But sensible tactics don’t move the heart and you cannot explain why Corbyn is doing so well unless you understand the two distinct groups make up the new Labour party left.

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Islamism prevails even as we suppress free speech

Observer, 4 July 2015

No one could have predicted that the Bangladeshi writer Rafida Bonya Ahmed would make it to London last week. That she is alive at all is a miracle – to use a word of which she would thoroughly disapprove. As I watched her deliver the British Humanist Association’s annual Voltaire lecture , I saw a dignified and principled intellectual it was our duty to emulate and defend. I could not understand why anyone would want to harm, let alone kill, her

But many do. In February, Islamist fanatics hacked her husband, Avijit Roy, to death with meat cleavers as the couple left a book fair in Dhaka. They nearly killed Ahmed too: slicing off her thumb and covering her body with wounds. To hear her talk about her murdered husband made me long to have met him. He was a typical intellectual – hopeless with anything practical but in love with literature, science and free debate. Continue reading

The right wing welfare state: capitalism for the young, socialism for the old

(Photo: Getty)
From the Spectator 22 June 2015

On the radio this morning, a campaigner from the Child Poverty Action Group had an ‘emperor’s new clothes’ moment. Why not, she said, treat the young like the old. If the Tories insisted on having a ‘triple lock’ on pension benefits for the elderly, which guaranteed that the state pension must increase every year by whatever target was the highest – inflation, average earnings or a minimum of 2.5 per cent – why not put a triple lock on the benefits of poor families. The state would then treat the young like the old, and subsidise the future as it subsidises the past.

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