Left wing prejudice against Jews

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The Observer 13 September 2016

Consider the following: Labour has had to suspend 18 members, including one MP and a former mayor of London, because of their allegedly racist displays. Everywhere, “Zionist” and “Zio” are used to define Jews, and non-Jews who question left orthodoxy, as “the other”: barely human monsters, who must be cast from the bounds of leftish society. The leader of the Labour party has defended supporters of every variety of ancient prejudice: the Palestinian activist who revived the medieval libel that Jews used the blood of Christian children to make bread; the Anglican vicar who promoted the views of modern neo-Nazis that the Jewish conspiracy was now so malign and supernaturally powerful it was responsible for 9/11. After reviving old prejudices, Labour members adopt new ones just for fun. Jews were the chief financiers of the slave trade, they say as they repeat a fantasy promoted by the US race-huckster Louis Farrakhan. Jews collaborated with Hitler, they continue as they repeat the fantasies of 20th-century Marxist‑Leninists.

To get a bearing, imagine that Theresa May and leading members of the cabinet had endorsed the supporters and ideology of the Ku Klux Klan or Britain First, and then rewarded the chairwoman of a supposedly independent inquiry into rightwing racism with a peerage.

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Only true liberalism can thwart the demagogues

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The Observer 24 September 2016

When underdogs become overdogs, everything changes. They are the masters now, however much they try to pretend otherwise. Their power to change and ruin lives demands relentless and unforgiving scrutiny.

The hangover from the long age of globalisation has hidden the existence of a new elite, let alone the need to hold it to account. The neoliberal order began from the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, perhaps earlier with the elections of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan in 1979/1980. You have to be in your 50s to remember another time. It ended with the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. Its death was disguised because no new system stepped forward to replace it.

Now its successor is shambling into view, like a figure from a bad dream you hoped you had forgotten. Continue reading

Goodbye Labour. For the life of me, I cannot see how you can recover

The Spectator 24 September 2016

English Conservatives and Scottish Nationalists do not wake at 3 a.m., drenched in sweat, worrying about how they can defeat him. Like a drunk who punches his own face, Corbyn beats himself, leaving Labour’s rivals free to do what they will. For English leftists, however, trying to salvage what they can from the wreckage of their party, the apparently simple question of how to take on the far left appears impossible to answer.

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Will Putin target Latvia next?

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The Spectator 18 August 2016

The Baltic states do not feel like a front line. I did not see a police officer in more than a week in Latvia, let alone a soldier. Somewhere out there were three NATO battalions, deployed to deter Putin from crossing the border. But if it wasn’t for the seediness that lingers like a bad smell – the occasional Brezhnev brutalist building and the memorials to the murdered Jews – I could think myself in a European country that had never experienced the twin curses of Nazism and communism.
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Press censorship has begun in Scotland

89The Spectator 18 Ocotber 2017

The silencing of Stephen Daisley has nagged away at journalism in Scotland for months. His employer, STV, holds the ITV licences for central and northern Scotland, and is staying very quiet. The Scottish National Party rolls around like a drunk who has won a bar fight. Its politicians and its claque of Twitter trolls celebrate their power to bully and tell direct lies about the journalist they have humiliated. The BBC endorses them. The National Union of Journalists supports them. Everyone behaves as if they are living in a one-party state.

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How “Dr” Liam Fox got into bed with Azerbaijan’s kleptocrats

2418The Observer 7 August 2016

In 2013, Dr Liam Fox – he insists on the “Doctor” – published a book on the challenges of globalisation, which read as if he had dictated into his phone between meetings. Rising Tides was a meandering work. It took a long time to say little and did as abysmally as you would expect. Nielsen International, which monitors book sales, told me the English edition had sold a mere 1,723 copies in the UK and 1,876 copies in the English-speaking foreign markets it watches. (Most were probably in the US, where Dr Fox has a small following in America’s raging right wing.)

In 2014, Dr Fox received news that he was the beneficiary of a stroke of good fortune. Our new secretary for international trade may be hopelessly unqualified to deal with the dangerous pass he helped bring Britain to by agitating for Brexit, but he can trade on his own account.

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