Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Posts Tagged ‘UK

On Brexit and the Left.

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Image result for trump and may Brexit cartoon

People’s Brexit…

The Guardian reports,

The government does not have “a blank cheque” to push through its vision of Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn has said, despite the overwhelming Commons vote to pass the article 50 bill without a single amendment.

The Labour leader insisted there was little his party could have done about the bill, given its limited scope, but said he would continue to push for concessions and changes as the Brexit process continued.

“There was a referendum,” he told BBC1’s Breakfast programme. “There was a decision by the people of this country and we support the result of the referendum, and have to carry it out.

“It doesn’t mean we agree with the government on the economy for the future. It does mean we have to build good relations with everybody across Europe.

Then there is this,

Clive Lewis, the leftwing shadow business secretary, has resigned from the shadow cabinet to vote against article 50 at third reading. He was the fourth shadow cabinet minister to resign on this issue. His move will intensify speculation that he sees himself as a candidate in a future Labour leadership election, particularly because Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to order his MPs to back the bill has angered many of the party’s activists.

Brexit is a huge blow to progressive causes in the UK. Having been touted as a referendum on leaving the EU, the politics of UKIP and sections of the media turned it into a referendum on migration. The result was a resounding vote against migration and against further integration with Europe on a political, social and economic level.

Brexit has not just lead to “carnival of reaction” but is a defeat for the collectivist project of creating a social Europe, a transformed European Union.

Given that there was “little” that could have been “done about the Bill” many will sympathise with Clive Lewis: there is no reason to stand with the forces of the right and vote the Tories’ bill in.

Others will point to Donald Trump’s praise for Brexit, a “smart” move that could lead to the -welcome – “unravelling of the EU”..

Morning Star supporter Nick Wright asserts (Trump and Brexit) that,

Like Brexit, Trump’s victory represents the breakdown of the established order. Like Brexit it was a defeat for the main centres of capitalist power.

This is far from the truth.

Capitalist power is being configured, and the last thing these ‘victories’ indicate is a “defeat” for finance and business.

Trade Deals with the USA will be based on terms set down by Washington, opening up the UK to their products, their lower environmental standards, and public markets to their companies, already interested in the NHS.

The Tories, high from their success at the Parliamentary vote, will be free to weaken all EU social and environmental legislation.

If there was “little” that can be done in Parliament to stop the Brexit Bill, as Corbyn says,  there will be little effectively done to halt these measures.

This is just bravura and wishful thinking:

“Good relations” and other warm words will not stop the building of barriers with Continental Europe.

The “kick up the backside” welcomed by Tariq Ali, has turned into a kick start to the anti-EU populist far-right, from Marine Le Pen’s Front National, the Alternative für Deutschland,  to Geert Wilders’ Partij voor de Vrijheid.

In these conditions the last thing many will want to hear is the advice of  the Brexit left, the supporters of a “People’s Brexit” who have fueled the rightward turn.

Many will find that attempts to avoid the issues this raises, and channel popular hostility against Trump into a new ‘movement’ Stand up to Trump that everybody on the left can support, ring hollow.

We have our own reactionaries to deal with: the Brexit supporters.

There is no People’s Brexit, outside of their rhetoric.

There is one Brexit: the Carnival of Reaction.

The real issue is to build a truly internationalist left that breaks with the Brexiters of all stripes.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

February 9, 2017 at 11:37 am

On The Jihadis Next Door.

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The Jihadis Next Door was not pleasant, but nevertheless, was essential viewing last night.

It featured interviews with Abu Rumaysah, who’s believed to appear in an Isis execution video.

 The former bouncy castle salesman – whose real name is Siddhartha Dhar but is now more commonly known as Jihadi Sid since he fled the UK for Syria and issued a chilling threat against the UK – features in The Jihadis Next Door for Channel 4 .

“My name’s Abu Rumaysah,” he says in the first trailer for the documentary. “One day when Sharia comes, you’ll see this black flag flying everywhere,” he added as he poses next to a black flag.

Mirror.

The Independent reports,

The extraordinary footage of Abu Rumaysah, who fled the UK to join Isis in 2014 having previously been arrested six times, was shot by the film-maker Jamie Roberts for a Channel 4 documentary, The Jihadis Next Door, screened on Tuesday night.

Channel 4 has declined a Metropolitan Police request for a pre-broadcast viewing of the film, in which two other activists already known to the authorities, Mohammed Shamsuddin and Abu Haleema, laugh while watching an Isis murder video and speak of recruiting fellow British Muslims through “brain-washing”.

Abu Rumaysah, real-name Siddhartha Dhar, has not been officially confirmed as the masked figure in the video, released a couple of weeks ago, which shows the murder of five men accused by Isis of spying for the UK.

In the Guardian Sam Wollonstan was struck by the giggling and smirking of the pair,

Haleema and Shamsuddin were and what they believed. But no, they’re watching a brutal Isis video. People are being drowned in a cage. Others have explosive belts wrapped around their necks which are then detonated. “The guy’s foaming at the mouth, wow!” laughs Shamsuddin. “And I’m eating, hahahaha.”

There were some memorable scenes when Pakistani worshipers at a Mosque confronted, with great anger, this bunch protesting at celebrations of their country’s Independence day and when a Muslim man denounced them as ISIS recruiters in Oxford Street.

Amongst the reactions to the programme most have made the point, amply proved, that these are a very small fringe group.

But there are  over 700 people from the UK who have travelled to the Middle East to join the Daesh Einsatzgruppen.

The scale of the mass killings, the slavery, the oppression of people by the Disciplinary Machine of the Islamic State, the cleansing of religious minorities, means that people across the world are justifiably concerned at the activities of their supporters, wherever they may be, and however marginalised they are.

All of these bigoted supporters of mass murder spoke perfect English – so much for plans to make ‘language tests’ part of the  ‘anti-extremist’  Prevent strategy. Indeed the idea of subjecting people to this, apart from the obvious fact that the government has cut funding for English language teaching for adults, is more than patonising: it is setting up a criterion that’s designed to label and exclude a group of people.

For once we agree with the SWP.

Though we have to add this.

There was one word the Islamists in the documentary  used, ‘kufer‘ which though formally meaning ‘unbeliever’ has come to signify something in the same category as ‘nig-nog’ ‘yid’ or ‘wog’. That is, a racist term.

It is surprising that the word is not treated in the same way as plain racialist abuse.

The scenes of merry laughter at videos of torture and slaughter, a lot more than this case of hate-speech, means that The Jihadis Next Door raises some weighty issues.

The principal one is: how can the Daesh supporters be fought?

They are part of a wider, fractured Islamist movement, some of which is as violent as they are, others are ‘conservative’, and pursue their aims without overt coercion. All gravitate around the idea that the ‘law’ of ‘god’ has priority over human law – and therefore human rights and democracy.

It would be better if the left, while rightly criticising the government’s Prevent strategy, had something of its own to offer that defended human rights.

We would suggest that this should start with alliances not with “Muslim” groups with a ‘moderate’ agenda, but with those people who openly stand for freedom and secularism, such as British Muslims for Secular Democracy.

Internationally we could not do better than backing the Kurdish people in their life and death struggle against Daesh and the repression of the Turkish state.

Just as we should ally with the left and liberals in countries where Islamists pose a real threat to all, we should be working with their generous, courageous and open-minded counterparts here.

As indeed some of us already are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

January 20, 2016 at 12:13 pm

Internationalist Left on Voting Yes in EU Referendum.

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Stand with our European Sisters and Brother: Vote Yes to Europe!

As some groups, such as the SWP, the Socialist Party,  and the CPB (Morning Star) announce that they will campaign for a ‘No’ vote in the European Referendum, the internationalist left has been debating the launching of a ‘Yes’ campaign.

Alliance for Workers’ Liberty.

In an in-out referendum Workers’ Liberty will vote to keep the UK in the EU. We will do so for reasons similar to those that motivated our call to Scottish workers to vote against independence. In general, we are in favour of fewer and weaker borders and barriers between peoples.

If the issue in the referendum had been, for example, a vote on an EU economic treaty, we would probably have advocated abstention. It is not our job to choose between different methods of exploiting workers.

But the issue now is about strengthening borders and hostile attitudes towards other peoples; pulling the UK out of the EU will do both. It runs in the opposite direction to the creation of a federal Europe, which we favour.

The European bourgeoisies have pulled Europe together, substantially integrating Europe economically and politically. By doing so — in their own way, in their own interests — they have also expanded the possibilities for Europe-wide workers’ unity. We could add many qualifications — the expansion of bureaucracy, the capitalist nature of the process of integration — nevertheless European integration is historically progressive.

To try to break up the process of integration is as regressive as trying to turn the internet off because it is run by capitalist companies, or attempting to abolish parliament without bothering to see that bourgeois democracy is replaced with something better.

They state,

We advocate the left forms a united campaign with the following aims:

• To defend migrants’ rights and oppose racism

• To vote against British withdrawal from the EU

• To fight for a workers’ Europe, based on working class solidarity

Socialist Resistance.

SR has not yet taken a view on this. In my opinion, however, the right way to vote in this referendum will be Yes.

This could change over the next two years—we don’t know what is going to happen to Greece for example—but given the xenophobic politics that will dominate the main No campaign it is difficult in my view to do otherwise as things stand today. Any No vote is going to be seen as lining up with the racist elements that will be demanding this. It will be very difficult to avoid this.

A left -wing Yes campaign, under these conditions, should be based on a strong statement that recognises the real nature of the EU and explains why it is necessary to vote Yes under these conditions.

The conditions for a progressive and credible No campaign (i.e. on the basis of socialist and working class politics and significant forces) do not exist in Britain today.

Alan Thornett.

Things are moving.

The Weekly Worker noted last year this resolution by the Labour Representation Committee in 2011.

That the Europe-wide capitalist crisis requires a Europe-wide working-class response.

2. That we should no more oppose European capitalist integration than we would oppose the merger of two companies, even though the bosses use mergers as an excuse to attempt job cuts and other attacks. When Britain PLC merges into Europe PLC, the answer is to link up with other European workers in solidarity and struggle.

3. That demanding withdrawal from the EU, or opposing British entry into the European single currency, is a British nationalist position which misidentifies the enemy as ‘Europe’ rather than the ruling class. This is not altered by tacking on a slogan like ‘Socialist United States of Europe’.

4. The road to a socialist united Europe is the road of responding to European capitalist unification by organising for cross-European workers’ and socialist struggle. We advocate the following programme for this struggle:

  •   Oppose all cuts; level up wages, services, pensions and workers’ rights to the best across Europe;
  •   Tax the rich and expropriate the banks, Europe-wide;
  •   Scrap the EU’s bureaucratic structures; for a European constituent assembly;
  •   Against a European defence force; for a Europe without standing armies or nuclear weapons;
  •   For a European workers’ government.

5. In a referendum on British entry to the euro, our position will be to advocate an active abstention and our slogans will be along the lines of ‘In or out, the fight goes on’; ‘Single currency – not at our expense’; and ‘For a workers’ Europe’.

Active abstention is not an option today.

The nature of Tory Europhobes, UKIP and the right-wing press, have made this clear.

As Alain Thornett notes,

The conditions for a progressive and credible No campaign (i.e. on the basis of socialist and working class politics and significant forces) do not exist in Britain today.

With previous struggles around the EU—the introduction of the Maastricht Treaty and the single currency in the 1990s for example—it was possible to be part of broad left wing No campaign that was based, at least to some extent, on socialist and working class principles and represented something significant. It did not imply any alliance or common “national” interest” between British workers and “British” capital: while resisting global ambitions of capital it also resisted spurious notions of a common interest in British “sovereignty”.

Thornett also observes,

The Tory right, in the form of the ‘free market’ Institute for Economic Affairs, have already published scenarios that they would expect a Tory government to follow after British exit. These scenarios involve realignment of the UK state with the other major reactionary elements of the international bosses clubs – the World Trade Organisation, NATO, the European Free Trade Area (EFTA), the EU Customs Union and the European Economic Area (EEA).

The Tories would repeal the Working Time Directive that limits (however inadequately) workers’ hours and remove the EU restrictions on introducing genetically modified crops, as first steps in a long series of reactionary policies. Reactionary Free Trade Agreements would be negotiated and the possibility of signing the UK’s own version of TTIP or even joining the USA in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is proposed.

To put it simply, saying that a ‘No’ campaign could be independent of the right wing is ridiculous.

It will be ‘independent’ in name only: the crucial point is that they will vote with the xenophobes, nationalists  and ultra-free marketeers.

By contrast, a Yes vote, if the issue is ‘In’ or ‘Out’ of the EU is to stay in and transform the Union, from top-to-bottom.

Where we part company with members of Socialist Resistance is on the basis for change in the EU.

Following the Party of the European Left we would support a radical programme of reform of the EU, through co-operation with our sisters in brothers in other European countries.

The central plank of their platform is opposition to austerity.

We would campaign for a united social Europe – towards a united socialist Europe.

Our immediate concern is solidarity with the Greek people and their government Syriza.

Channeling energy into a campaign to stand aside from Greece by lining up against the EU with the right-wing Tories and UKIP, is not just unhelpful for their fight, it is seriously damaging.

Any victory for those wishing to leave Europe will be a victory of capital and reaction: austerity and the enemies of the left Greek government.

We back the AWL’s call.

Written by Andrew Coates

June 10, 2015 at 11:58 am

His Lordship Mandelson Stabs Labour Party in the Back -Again.

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Mandelson: Long History of Backstabbing. *

Labour is “headed downward” as the main leadership contenders are “unwilling to make hard policy choices” and break the link with the past, Lord Mandelson has said.  The former Labour business secretary said that the challenge facing the party is worse than it was in the 1980s as he accused Ed Miliband of embarking on an “unconvincing ideological crusade” and trying to wage “class war”.
He said that voters had been “justly cautious” about backing the party as he accused the former Labour leader of “pitting one half of the nation against the other”.

In a direct criticism of the candidates for the leadership, he accused them of trying to focus on party unity and continuity, “a luxury that is not open to them if they want to win”.

Telegraph.

 

* 1999 January  Mandelson branded back-stabber

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

May 19, 2015 at 2:56 pm

Nick Cohen Goes Woodrow Wyatt in Hatred of Trade Union UNITE.

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New Mentor of Nick Cohen.:The Voice of Reason.

Younger readers may not recall Woodrow Wyatt.

He was a one time left-winger who went to the far-right – several-snouts in the trough along the way.

His favourite mode of attack was the vicious assault on Trade Unionists, and above all their leaders.

Nick Cohen has just taken several leaves from his book.

Labour must understand that Unite is its enemy.

I merely cite these phases:

Imagine you are a Labour MP or a trade union official surveying Britain this week. The following points will strike you:

  • Labour has just lost an election it could have won, in part because Unite helped foist it with a useless leader in Ed Miliband and an equally incoherent programme, which failed to convince millions of voters to rid themselves of a mediocre Tory government.

Yet despite all of the above, there is no self-criticism from Len McCluskey on how he got the Miliband years so badly wrong. Worse – far worse because it matters more for the future of Britain – there is no honest examination of the failure of unions to recruit among the new working poor either. McCluskey keeps saying he wants to stand up for ‘ordinary working people’ when he can’t persuade ‘ordinary working people’ to join his trade union. He keeps saying he wants to fight the hated Tories, while striking sectarian poses that will stop Labour building broad alliances with everyone from the church leaders to Liberal Democrats, who might take Cameron on.

Oddly this “sectarian attitude” about alliances with ‘church leaders’ does not strike our young Woodrow Wyatt, did not prevent the union from working with the Living Wage campaign in London, set up in alliance with religious figures.

In Tower Hamlets, apparently the voice of one individual in UNITE has come to represent the whole union (and I am not referring to Len):

In Tower Hamlets in the East End of London Lutfur Rahman funnelled public money to his client Bangladeshi voters. (Imagine for a moment the cries of ‘apartheid,’ if a Conservative or Ukip council followed a ‘whites first’ public spending policy.) He persuaded 101 Muslim clerics to instruct their credulous flocks to vote for him, and engaged in widespread electoral fraud. But even after an electoral court revealed Rahman’s corruption, McCluskey  still backed a crooked demagogue, who exploited racial and religious prejudice, in his fight against the official Labour candidate.

I’d suggest me learned friends have a look at this claim, which I would dispute.

And with this,

Despite having used its influence to rig selections and having Unite sponsored Labour MPs in Westminster, I suspect what Unite – or rather the McCluskey faction within it – dreams of establishing a new pure party to the left of Labour. He certainly has the men to do it.

“to allow Unite to flaunt its contempt for the party? Is it going to say, like a woman frightened of independence, that it cannot imagine surviving without McCluskey’s money, however badly he treats it? Will it bite its tongue, and hope that he will change? Or is it going to stand up for itself and show him the door?

I voted for the leader of UNITE, in a democratic and fair election.

Is Cohen going to treat me and my comrades with contempt?

I voted for Ed MIliband  as an individual union affiliate.

The work that we all did to try to get Labour elected.

I once saw Wyatt, head of a senicure that Thacther secured him.at a Tote Silver Ring meeting (me mate Stuart had won tickets to the Cheltenham Gold cup).

He had his snout buried in the roast beef.

Such is the future that predict for Nick.

Written by Andrew Coates

May 18, 2015 at 4:13 pm

UKIP: Racist Party Hates Foreigners and Unemployed.

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UKIP: Hatred of Foreigners and…Unemployed. 

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage has defended his party’s controversial election campaign ahead of the May European elections, after its posters were called “racist”.

The party’s economic spokesman, Steven Woolfe, announced the campaign on Twitter on Sunday, and said the giant posters would be “coming to you soon”.

One billboard depicts a man dressed as a builder begging for spare change next to the words: “EU policy at work. British workers are hit hard by unlimited cheap labour.”

Another poster reads: “26 million people in Europe are looking for work. And whose jobs are they after?” alongside a giant hand pointing at the viewer.

Others complain that 75 per cent of British laws are made in Brussels, and that UK taxpayers fund the “celebrity lifestyle” of EU bureaucrats.

Figures across the political spectrum soon posted tweets opposing the campaign, and accused the party of scare-mongering.

There were also comparisons to posters released by the far-right British National Party which carried the slogan: “British Jobs for British Workers” next to men dressed in high-vis jackets.

Labour MP Mike Gapes said they were “racist” and appealed to “all decent British Commonwealth and EU citizens” to register to vote in May’s polls.

Independent.

For a party so concerned about jobs and unemployment in the UK this is the attitude of their party towards  the out-of-work – April  2014. (link).

After Scrapbook exposed sick comments from a UKIP councillor on banning unemployed people from voting, the party’s most high-profile new recruit has rushed to his defence, claiming Cllr Tom Bursnall “has a point”, going on to say it is “dangerous” to let unemployed people vote.

Having defected from the Tories, 23 year-old Alexandra Swann was the star turn at UKIP’s recent conference in Skegness — with party leader Nigel Farage proudly declaring that “the Swann has migrated”.

But appearing to agree with Cllr Bursnall, who as the former chair of Conservative Future is also a defector from the Tories to UKIP, she continued:

“allowing people to vote on how other people’s money is spent — if they dont contribute — is dangerous”

With these views, Scrapbook was unsurprised to learn that Swann idolises anarcho-Libertarian philosophers and is completing a PhD in social Darwinism.

And this Guardian (March 2013)

Some long-term benefit claimants would be banned from using their benefit cash to buy cigarettes, alcohol or satellite TV subscriptions under proposals due to be presented at the UK Independence party’s spring conference on Saturday.

In the same year UKIP described the unemployed as a ” “a parasitic underclass of scroungers”.

UKIP’s welfare policies include forced unpaid work for all Housing and Council Tax Benefit claimants, Incapacity Benefit (now ESA) slashed to Job Seeker’s Allowance rates and childcare support for working parents demolished.

To add to this UKIP Welfare Policy is also 

• Non means-tested “basic cash benefit” for low earners and unemployed. Jobseekers allowance and incapacity benefit is scrapped.

• Child benefit for the first three children only.

• No benefits for anyone who has not lived in the UK for five years.

For the  2014 elections (UKIP site) these policies stand unchanged :

• Enrol unemployed welfare claimants onto community schemes or retraining workfare programmes.

That is, unpaid workfare.

• Make welfare a safety net for the needy, not a bed for the lazy. Benefits only available to those who have lived here for over 5 years. 

That is, yet more scapegoating of the out-of-work – and ‘foreigners’.

It’s not surprising that the  lunatic fringe of the Tory Party – in East Anglia and elsewhere – is attracted to this far-right anti-welfare, anti- foreigner party.

working parents demolished.

Written by Andrew Coates

April 22, 2014 at 10:51 am

Back George Galloway’s Bid to be First PM of Scotland!

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Galloway for PM: Somewhere.

George Galloway wants to be the first prime minister of an independent Scotland, should the Outspoken Respect MP fail in his campaign to have Scots vote against the referendum on September 18. The 59-year-old, who represents Bradford West in the Commons, said he would prefer “a real Labour prime minister of the whole of Britain” but would settle for the role of Scottish PM should the vote go against his position.

Reports the Huffington Post.

He also said the saner following,

“I would fancy being prime minister of Scotland but I would rather we had a real Labour prime minister of the whole of Britain.

“I want to avoid the break-up of the country which I think will beggar people on both sides of the border, will lead to permanent Tory rule in Westminster and thus the Bank of England which will control the Scottish economy.

“Unleashed will be a race to the bottom with England cutting taxes, regulation, public spending, and Scotland having to follow it. So everyone on both sides of the border will be worse off.”

Mr Galloway took to the stage to the strains of Stealers Wheel’s Stuck In The Middle With You, saying he chose the song for its chorus “clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right”. “Flag wavers don’t like me very much, whether they’re Saltire flag wavers or Union Jack flag wavers,” he said.

“That’s fine. There are a small number of Union Jack wavers who are opposed to my stand on war and occupation abroad, and my identification with religious minorities that they hate. “If they weren’t protesting against me then I think I would be doing something wrong.”

Mr Galloway said he believes in “united countries” including a united Ireland, saying he would support Northern Ireland’s exit from the UK, in contrast to his bid to prevent Scotland from leaving.

“I don’t believe in breaking countries up as I think we have too many countries in the world, not too few,” he said.

“The Irish people were denied their right to unity and independence. The Scottish people never have been, and could have voted for independence at any time that they liked in the whole era of universal suffrage of nearly 100 years.

“People say that they want Scotland to have self-determination but they have self-determination, and always have, and will exercise that self-determination again in September.

“If it chooses to become independent then it will become independent, but I think it would rue the day.”

He said he would contemplate becoming an MP of an independent Scottish Parliament in the “hypothetical” event of Yes vote.

He added: “I am confident that the vote will be No, and I just want to make sure that it’s a decisive result because otherwise the kind of hatred and division that this campaign is at risk of sowing will be a permanent feature of Scottish politics and public life.”

Pat Smith, secretary of the Edinburgh Radical Independence Campaign, said: “Tonight’s protest is about showing that another Scotland is possible, one where racist, Islamophobic views like those perpetuated by the SDL have no place and where George Galloway’s cavalier attitude to politics is a thing of the past.

“Galloway’s celebrity status may bring attention to his bizarre and often sectarian brand of unionism, but we know that people in Scotland will see straight through this attempt to feign interest in the referendum as simply another bout of self promotion.

“The Radical Independence Campaign offers a real alternative to the corruption and self-interest of Westminster politics which Galloway seems so comfortable with. We want to see a Scotland run for and by the people – a people’s democracy, a society of equality, a great welfare state, a good neighbour, and pioneer of a just economy.”

We prefer the Galloway for Prime Minister of Scotland and the United Kingdom talk.

Indeed why not – unlike the nationalists who call themselves ‘radical’ – we don’t want mild social democracy and pro-business government in one state, but socialism in Europe.

So why not Galloway for European President? 

Make a start: Stand for Respect in Hampstead and Kilburn.

Respect will take the Hampstead and Kilburn fight right to rancid Maajid Nawaz and the New Labour apologist for Awami League…

” Applications are invited to be Respect candidate at the General Election in the Hampstead and Kilburn constituency.”If you are interested, please email contact@respectparty.org

 

We have already applied…

Written by Andrew Coates

February 5, 2014 at 12:41 pm