Starmer continues to play fast and loose with the truth over his relationship with Jeremy Corbyn

Keir Starmer has tied himself in knots in his efforts to distance himself from his support for Jeremy Corbyn during his time in the shadow cabinet between 2015 and 2020. He initially said he continued to support him because he knew he would never be prime minister. He then said he thought he would be a better PM than Boris Johnson. However, he decided to tackle the issue head on in front of an interview with a Sun audience on Monday night. He highlighted the issue of Ukraine where he felt Boris Johnson had handled the issue more efficiently than Jeremy Corbyn would have done. He also said he had remained loyal in order to influence the party’s policy for the better.  When asked for examples, he said he spoke out to ensure support for NATO and to influence antisemitism concerns, along with the way the issue over the Salisbury poisoning was handled. But Labour advisers under Mr Corbyn said they did not recall Sir Keir “mentioning NATO or the Salisbury poisonings in any meetings he had in the shadow cabinet”. One said there was not a question of shifting Labour’s policy on NATO because, despite Mr Corbyn’s own hesitancy about the military alliance, he accepted the party as a whole supported it. “It was never really up for debate,” They added that antisemitism was discussed in the shadow cabinet by most members, given it had been a considerable issue at the time for the party, but Sir Keir did not speak out any more than others “or in a particularly confrontational way”.

Yet another example of a Starmer’s lack of integrity. Not a good look for any leader. (MT)

Ashamed to be British!

What makes you ashamed to be British? Perhaps it’s the fact that British arms manufacturers continue to sell their weapons of death to countries using them to commit war crimes? Perhaps it’s knowing that people spouting racist views are being openly courted by the British media and may well end up as MPs? Perhaps it’s the way English (though not Scottish or Welsh) football fans strut around at tournaments, as if draping yourself in a Union Jack is sufficient excuse for getting drunk and having a fight? What it probably is not is the sight of thousands of people of all faiths and backgrounds marching in the streets demanding an end to an illegal war. Yet it is precisely this that former Home Secretary Suella Braverman tells the Jewish Chronicle makes her “ashamed to be British”. Describing peace rallies as “hate marches”, whilst saying nothing about drunken right-wing thugs rampaging through London in their union jack underwear, she says she didn’t regret it because “someone had to speak up”. As if virtually every editorial in the country has not parroted her line for her. She cites the example of right-wing Jewish provocateur, Gideon Falter, of the so-called Campaign Against Antisemitism being stopped from crossing the road. “If they weren’t hateful, why was a Jewish person unable to cross the road in front of them?” she asks her adoring interviewer. Well, Suella and Lorin, it was because he did not want to cross the road at all; he wanted, as the police pointed out to him, to walk against the legal demonstration to antagonise them. He was, in short, engaged in being hateful because, like the Jewish Chronicle, he hates Arabs and Muslims. Braverman is, of course, now touring to promote her latest production: Suella the new Conservative leader. Though, given her views, perhaps it is Nigel Farage’s job she wants. It is actually not hard to find hate in the UK. Just follow Braverman and Farage and it will be difficult to miss. (DM)

Protestors triumph in Kenya – but at a lethal cost

Last week we published a news item about the repression of protests in Kenya, but did not anticipate that there would be major developments this week. On Tuesday crowds gathered and broke into the parliament buildings shortly after the bill to increase taxes. – in order to raise an extra $2.7 billion – had been voted through. Yet yesterday President William Ruto, with a major crisis on his hands, declined to sign the Finance Bill.

Police fired on protesters, killed 23 and wounded many others in Nairobi and elsewhere. The Nation newspaper has reported that there were protests in at least 35 of the 47 counties, in cities and in rural areas. Not all local politicians supported the president. Mutahi Kahiga, Governor of Nyeri County, urged demonstrators not to relent in the struggle to rid the country of “dictators“, arguing that the politicians were forcing the Finance Bill down Kenyans’ throats. 

President Ruto called the protestors “criminals pretending to be peaceful protesters”. There were demands for Ruto to resign and for the bill to be scrapped. The protesters were determined to continue: “It’s our right to demonstrate …We are just expressing ourselves,” 

And the demonstrators held sway. Later on yesterday, President Ruto stated in a televised address: “I concede and therefore I will not sign the 2024 Finance Bill and it shall subsequently be withdrawn.The people have spoken.” This is a remarkable change of direction from someone who had previously called in the military to assist the police in controlling the crowds and who had earlier warned that his government would take a tough line against “violence and anarchy”, comparing some demonstrators to “criminals”. It is a fine example of the power of popular protest, but at what a cost, 23 dead and many wounded. (JB)

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