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When Labour leader Starmer stood up for Palestinian rights

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Issue 2716
Starmer spoke at a PCS event in 2015 (Pic: UK Parliament/Flickr)

In 2019 the vile slur was spread that the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PCS) is antisemitic.

After some alleged PSC members were accused of antisemitic social media posts, the then Labour leader was told he must have no dealings with the group.

Amanda Bowman, vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said, “Jeremy Corbyn must now publicly disassociate himself from this malevolent group.”

But he’s not the only Labour leader who, quite rightly, has supported PSC and its events.

In 2015 the Camden branch of PSC in north London held an election hustings. 

Sabby Sagall, chair of Camden PSC, filed a report for Socialist Worker. He said, “Some 70 people attended a public meeting on Palestine on Wednesday of last week, organised by Camden PSC.”

Speakers included retiring local Labour MP Frank Dobson, Green Party leader and local candidate Natalie Bennett and local Labour candidate Keir Stamer. Also on the platform was John Rose, author of The Myths of Zionism, who reported Sabby Sagall, “Stressed the importance of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions strategy.”

Local newspaper the Ham & High headlined its report, “General election candidates urged to support sanctions against Israel”. 

It said, “The talk launched the Palestine Solidarity Campaign group’s ‘Vote Palestine’ initiative, with the group saying, ‘It is urgent that our politicians support actions—not just words—to secure Palestinian rights’.”

When he stood for leader this year Starmer’s  campaign launch video implied support for the Palestinian cause.  

He urged, “We can promote peace and justice around the world” against the backdrop of Stop the War campaigners holding Palestinian flags.

But he has now changed his tune as he tries to show a break from Corbyn and Palestine activists. 

Remember Camden in 2015, Starmer?

A new study reveals that the amount of money you have could impact on how much sleep you get each night. Researchers found that 55 percent of those living below the poverty line reported resting for a full seven to eight hours a night compared to 67 percent of adults that make 400 percent more than the poverty threshold.

Can the super-rich sleep at night? They surely can. 

The government has agreed to pay just 21 families the £60,000 lump sum promised to all those who lost a relative to coronavirus while working in the NHS and social care.

Health secretary Matt Hancock made the pledge in April. But despite more than 300 health and care workers having died after contracting the virus, just 21 claims have been successful. Payouts have been made in just two cases.

Handout for Maximus, the benefits assessor

Maximus, the firm that assesses benefit claimants, is getting a government bailout to see it through hard times due to coronavirus.

News of this taxpayer generosity is revealed in part of its latest accounts. 

These same accounts show the firm has been paying tens of millions of pounds to its US parent company in dividends over the past four years.

Maximus UK took on the contract to run the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) work capability assessments in 2015. 

Since then the tidy sum of £56.8 million has been paid out in dividends.The contract would have run out this February but former DWP secretary Amber Rudd extended it until July 2021.

Now Maximus is to receive a revised payment model to “support” the company while most of its DWP-funded testing is suspended.

Unfortunately claimants don’t receive such treatment.

Property boss opens wallet for the Tories  

Mayfair property tycoon Jamie Reuben has become one of the Tories’ most significant donors, with £586,250 given to the party since Boris Johnson became leader. 

Private Eye magazine reports that Jamie, who works with his billionaire father David and uncle Simon Reuben, was once a regular donor. 

But he hadn’t given anything for the past seven years. That changed on 9 October last year when he donated £200,000. It was followed by £248,000 in November, £I23,750 in January this year and £12,000 in March. What sparked this sudden bout of generosity is not clear. 

But two days before the cash started flowing, on 7 October 2019, the then planning minister Esther McVey attended a meeting with Reuben Brothers. The purpose, as recorded by McVey, was “to discuss modern methods of construction”

Johnson’s lies about poverty 

Boris Johnson has repeatedly made “incorrect” claims about the level of child poverty under the Tories, the country’s statistics watchdog has found.

The body has concluded that the prime minister’s main suggestion—that the number of children in poverty had fallen by 400,000 since 2010—was inaccurate. It says it was one of several inaccurate statements on the issue since December.

It also found that his line in Prime Minister’s Question Time last month that “absolute poverty and relative poverty have both declined under this government” was similarly untrue. The following week, when Johnson was challenged, he made a further incorrect statement.

The new claim—that “there are 100,000 fewer children in absolute poverty and 500,000 children falling below thresholds of low income and material deprivation” was also wrong.

The watchdog found that the number in absolute poverty had fallen by 100,000, not 400,000, since 2010. 

And the number below the poverty line is not 500,000—it is 1.5 million.

And since 2010-11 the number of children in relative poverty has actually gone up by 500,000.

Tory abuser’s voting record 

The Conservative ex-MP Charlie Elphicke was last week found guilty of three counts of sexual assault against two women.

When the accusations first emerged in 2017 he was suspended from the parliamentary Tory party.

But at the end of 2018 Theresa May faced a vote of no confidence.

The decision was made to reinstate the Tory whip to Elphicke which enabled him to vote.

“I remain as confident as I always have been of clearing my name,” he told constituents.

‘Cycling is very Remain and Lib Dem’ 

Tory minister moans about the government’s allegedly pro-bike policy

‘How about we just not spend this money? We are a Conservative government after all’

Another Tory minister makes clear they don’t like bikes

‘Tougher enforcement against Gypsy travellers’

How Douglas Ross, tipped to be the next Scottish Tory leader, answered the question “What would you do if you were Prime Minister for a day?”

‘I am not seeking nomination to the House of Lords’

Former union leader Tony Woodley in 2018. He became a Lord last week

‘We all have to die sooner or later. If I get Covid and cop it, so be it. I certainly don’t expect the entire nation to bankrupt itself to save my sorry ass.’

Daily Mail columnist Sarah Vine on coronavirus

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