Friday, 3 July 2020

Free Tibet & Tibet Society merge organisations


The following Press release was issued by Free Tibet and the Tibet Society today. The merger of the two organisations will strengthen the fight for Tibetan freedom and comes at at a time when the people of Hong Kong continue their resistance against the Communist regime and China's continued oppression of the Uighurs continues to be both exposed. 


Free Tibet and the world’s oldest pro-Tibet group, the Tibet Society have completed a merger in a move which will see both organisations combine their strengths in support of the Tibetan cause.

The merger has been welcomed by the Tibetan community, activists and supporters from across the Tibet movement.

Free Tibet is globally known for its public campaigns, advocacy and research, becoming one of the biggest and most influential Tibet organisations in the world. As the secretariat to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Tibet, a group of MPs committed to supporting Tibet, Tibet Society has strong links with decision makers and politicians to keep Tibet on the agenda of the British Government.

The merged organisations will pool their resources to ensure they are an effective advocate for Tibet – in parliament, at the UN and in the streets.

Free Tibet Chair, Daniel Russell said, “We all stand with the Tibetan people in their desire for freedom and the exercise of their right to determine their own future. By combining the Tibet Society with Free Tibet, and our partner organisation Tibet Watch, we create a strong platform to keep Tibet on the public's agenda.”

Fredrick Hyde-Chambers, Honorary President of the Tibet Society said, “I believe this partnership will strengthen both organisations in their advocacy for Tibet, providing new approaches to counter the power of Chinese influence, and support for the younger generation of Tibetan advocates.”



Free Tibet and the Tibet Society have been working increasingly closely in recent years. The pair collaborated to win several major campaigning victories including persuading Liverpool Football Club to scrap its sponsorship deal with Tibet Water, a Chinese company exploiting Tibet’s water resources, in 2018.

A year later, the two groups worked together again on a successful campaign against plans by Google to launch a censored search engine in China.

Sam Walton, Free Tibet’s Chief Executive added, “Uniting our supporters and resources means powerful new campaigning opportunities can happen. I’m genuinely excited about what we can achieve together.”

More information:  freetibet.org


Wednesday, 1 July 2020

Labour to Win NEC Slate Challenges Momentum











Via Luke Akehurst

Labour to Win
, the new umbrella group for progressive, mainstream Labour members, has announced the candidates it is recommending for the election of nine CLP (Constituency Labour Party) representatives on Labour’s National Executive Committee.

The election is scheduled to be held between 19 October and 13 November, with every party member being able to vote by the single transferable vote system (STV). Nominations by CLPs open on 11 July and close on 27 September. The nine members elected will hold office for two years, starting at this year’s Annual Conference. The nine incumbents are seven people supported by Momentum, elected in 2018, and the two mainstream winners of this year’s byelections, Johanna Baxter and Gurinder Singh Josan.

Labour to Win’s nine recommendations are politically, geographically and demographically diverse, and go far beyond supporters of Labour to Win’s founding partners, Progress and Labour First, to include people with a background firmly on the left of the party.

All the candidates are well-known grassroots activists and dedicated campaigners for the Labour Party.



There are six official Labour to Win candidates that we recommend you use your first six preferences for:
  • Luke Akehurst - NEC member 2010-2012, former Chief Whip of Hackney Council and parliamentary candidate in Essex and Hampshire
  • Johanna Baxter- NEC member, Cunninghame North CLP Chair, Scottish Executive Committee member
  • Gurinder Singh Josan - NEC member, antiracism campaigner, Vice Chair of Sikhs for Labour, Sandwell Unite branch secretary
  • Terry Paul - Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services on Newham Council and former PLP Campaigns Officer
  • Michael Payne - Deputy Leader of Gedling Borough Council & Notts County Councillor; Deputy Leader of the LGA Labour Group
  • Shama Tatler - Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Property & Planning, Brent Council
  • Note - this is not necessarily the order you should preference the candidates, we'll send more detailed voting instructions closer to when the ballot drops.
In the interests of ensuring a politically pluralistic NEC, and to ensure gender and regional balance, Labour to Win is only standing six candidates itself, and also urging its supporters to vote for three other candidates, from the left of the party:
  • Ann Black – Independent Left - NEC member 2000-2018 as part of the Centre-Left Grassroots Alliance, South East Regional Board Member, Secretary of Oxford & District Labour Party
  • Theresa Griffin – Tribune Group - MEP for the North West Region, 2014-2020
  • Paula Sheriff – Tribune Group – MP for Dewsbury, 2015-2019

Doctor Who: Cry of the Vultriss (Big Finish Audio)




Now that the lock-down is easing up a bit Big Finish have finally started issuing physical copies of their CD's and well worth the wait the latest Doctor Who adventure was! Number 263 in the main series (not counting spin-offs, specials and more) features Colin Baker reprising the role of the Sixth Doctor.

The Tardis gets caught in a space-time vortex and crashes on the planet Cygia-Rema. This is a world ruled by sentient birds called the Vultriss who no longer fly but yearn for the opportunity to return to the skies. It is also a time of rebellion and first contact as aliens have made contact and are on their way.

It comes as no surprise that the Doctor and his human companions Flip and Constance are mistaken for the Ambassadors. Welcome to a world of mountains and giant carnivorous birds, not that Voltriss are not amiss in eating birds lower down the food chain. No different to us humans eating other mammals as the Doctor points out to a confused Flip musing about cannibalism.

Of course this being Doctor Who things get confused as the Ice Warriors arrive and open fire.....

It seems the Queen of the Voltriss is not what she seems and as plots thicken and terrorist attacks take place the Doctor finds himself in a cell once again. There is a secret on this planet one which may destroy half a universe.

A rather enjoyable four part adventure that shows once again that potential of the Sixth Doctor was both underestimated and underused by the BBC at the the time Colin Baker was at the helm. Big Finish have once again given us a cracking old school story for the nights in.

And there's plenty more to come!

Available from: www.bigfinish.com

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Say no to sanctions on Israel





Luke Akehurst writes:

This weekend, Labour’s Shadow Foreign Secretary, Lisa Nandy MP, called for economic sanctions to be implemented against Israel if it applies sovereignty to/annexes parts of the West Bank. We know that our network includes supporters of Israel with strong views on both sides of the debate about the Israeli proposals but whatever your views on whether Israel is right to consider doing this, we hope you will agree that sanctions are the wrong response, and sign our petition against them: 

https://www.webelieveinisrael.org.uk/no_sanctions

The Board of Deputies of British Jews has condemned the sanctions call as divisive: 

https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/board-president-urges-starmer-to-reject-divisive-nandy-proposal-for-west-bank-goods-ban-1.501077

Our petition reads as follows:

“We the undersigned reject any calls for sanctions on Israel. We have a range of different views on whether it is right for Israel to apply sovereignty to/annex parts of the West Bank but we are united in rejecting calls by UK politicians for sanctions as a response. This would be disproportionate and inappropriate. It would damage the strong diplomatic, security and trade relationship between the UK and Israel. It would not deter Israel from taking the steps it wants to. Sanctions would be acceding to one of the demands of the anti-Israel BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign, which is dedicated to destroying Israel through economic pressure. Sanctions are a last resort before military force for tackling armed aggression, not a tool for exerting pressure on an allied, democratic government, however much you disagree with its actions.”

Please sign the petition here: https://www.webelieveinisrael.org.uk/no_sanctions and share it by email, Facebook and Twitter with your friends and family.

Thursday, 25 June 2020

Support Labour Against Antisemitism & Labour To Win




The news broke this afternoon that the leader of the Labour Party Sir Keir Starmer sacked Rebecca Long-Bailey from the shadow Cabinet for tweeting another antisemitic "blood libel" being promoted by the racist left to drive a wedge between the Black & Jewish communities.

The following statement was issued by Labour Against AntiSemitism:

Rebecca Long-Bailey's Actions Demand a Strong, Swift and Decisive Response

Euan Philipps, spokesperson for Labour Against Antisemitism, said:

“Rebecca Long-Bailey’s decision to promote an interview in which the actor Maxine Peake made an apparently antisemitic statement, and her later response following widespread condemnation, is unacceptable. She should resign from her front bench role as Shadow Education Secretary, and if she refuses to do so Sir Keir Starmer should sack her.

This is not the first time that Ms Long Bailey has faced personal criticism regarding the issue of antisemitism in the Labour Party. In February she reportedly failed to challenge an antisemitic comment in a question posed to her at a leadership campaign event and was accused of being silent during shadow cabinet meeting discussions on antisemitism. There have also been allegations that she failed to support the adoption of the IHRA working definition of antisemitism.

The Labour Party is apparently trying to show the Jewish community and the wider electorate that it has moved on from the institutional anti-Jewish racism of the last five years. To prove that there is substance to those efforts, Ms Long-Bailey’s actions demand a strong, swift and decisive response.”

More info: labouragainstas.org.uk
________________________________________________

This swift action helps both restore confidence in both the new Labour leader and illustrate the continuing problem that exists inside the party itself.


A new alliance sponsored by Labour First & Progress has been formed to return Labour to the mainstream.

The success of Labour to Win is going to be crucial to campaigns for moderate candidates at all levels of the party.

Further info/sign up: www.labourtowin.org

Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Is Labour back on track?






















By Rwendland - Own work, CC 

Like many others I stopped supporting or voting for the Labour Party when Jeremy Corbyn and his opportunistic followers took over the Labour Party. The extent of the hate poured towards those who dared to differ was just too much add to that the virulent antisemitism that Corbyn enabled the party crossed the Rubicon into the reams of the unacceptable.

Over the years as an active trade unionist in the (non-affiliated) Civil Service unions I had been an advocate of backing Labour as the only pragmatic and sensible choice against the Conservatives. Once or twice in specific seats I argued for a Lib-Dem vote.  

In the PCS a far-left controlled union the leadership and various factions argued for Respect, the trade Union & Socialist Coalition and denounced Labour at every opportunity. Some of those folk where in or around competing political parties such as the SWP or Socialist Party. 

Most of these individuals sans what was left of the SWP and SP flocked to support Corbyn along with large numbers of people who attended demonstrations , shouted a lot, trolled on-line and became members of the party. The General Secretary of PCS Mark Serwotka joined to help "deselect" (purge) MPs whom he labelled as "right-wing" whatever that means in the context of a world revolving around Marxism, Trotskyism and variations thereof.

They made the Labour Party a scary place. Locally i saw a rabid anti-Zionist selected as candidate and the open involvement of the far-left in the form of the Labour Party Marxists. 

I had always planned on becoming active in Labour when I retired but medically enforced retirement aside chose not to because the party under Corbyn was not fit for anything frankly. 

With Starmers ascendancy the left has been engaging in what can only be described as political cannibalism as they all blame each other in addition to the Blairites and Zionists (by which they actually mean Jews) rather than find fault with their own inward looking selves.

They told us to go and join the Tories then got a shock when the "Red Wall" fell to the Conservative Party.  Not just working people but a whole community turned away from Labour. I was part of that. Keeping Labour out of power became a priority for so many former supporters.

Now Kier Starmer has begun to act. And the future looks like it might be bright. I live in hope but the far-left and their hate machine is still there. A hardcore remain and ar active in the constituencies. The there's McCluskey and his Unite union waiting in the wings to pounce.

I'm only one person with a blog but there are others like me. Three Jewish peers have rejoined but the bulk of my community and many others remain to be convinced. For some, if not the majority the break with Labour may be permanent. I hope not because if the Party changes for the better under Starmer than there may be a chance to return to common sense and social democracy.

This country needs a responsible opposition and one that can be trusted if chosen to govern. Labour has begun to take some steps in that direction but there is a long way to go.

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Doctor Who: The New Counter-Measures - The Dalek Gambit


In addition to doing regular adventures of Doctor Who featuring various incarnations of the Doctor and/or his companions Big Finish also indulge in a number of other spin-offs. I have treated myself to the first Missy boxed set which was a joy and there is a second on the way but util now had not tried this particular series The Counter-Measures.

Being fascinated by the Daleks I just couldn't resist grabbing a copy The Dalek Gambit which also featured the Movellans with whom the Daleks have been at war for age yet rarely feature in the main canon. Off the top of my head I could only remember them from a Tom Baker adventure Destiny of the Daleks.

The New Counter-Measures: The Movellan Manoeuvre

Before playing I did momentarily consider waiting and ordering the previous CD as this was a continuation of a story. The Movellans had tried to invade the Earth and had been getting help from various human scientists but had been beaten by the intervention of our team from Counter-Measures and the British Army.

This time as they search the base wrecked in the fighting a new enemy appears killing the human allies of the Movellans. No prizes for guessing who. The battle for the survival of mankind begins..again.

Unlike other spin-off adventures I did find the characters difficult to relate to as I had no previous investment in them.  The story and production values where certainly good enough but as for whether I would collect any more of this series the jury is still out especially as Big Finish already produce so much more.

Available from: www.bigfinish.com