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Jeremy Corbyn speaking at Labour Party Conference today - The Labour Party

Friday, September 28 2018

Jeremy Corbyn speaking at Labour Party Conference today - The Labour Party

Wednesday 26 September 2018 / 12:31 PM Jeremy Corbyn Jeremy Corbyn speaking at Labour Party Conference today ***CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY*** Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party, speaking at Labour Party Conference today, said: Thank you for that welcome. I want to start by thanking the workers, the fantastic staff at the Conference Centre and hotels, the Labour Party staff who make this possible, and the people of Liverpool who have made us feel so welcome this week. And I want to thank my family, but in particular my wife Laura. Tu eres mi fuerza y mi apoyo. Gracias Laurita. And congratulations conference, to all of you on what’s been a great conference. A conference of a Labour Party that’s ready to take charge and start the work of rebuilding our divided country. This year we mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, which saw eight million women getting the vote for the first time, along with five and a half million working class men. We now have more women members of the Labour Party than the entire membership, male and female, of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties put together. And we mark that centenary with Jennie Formby as our new General Secretary. I have known Jennie for many years. Her integrity and her determination are real assets for our Party. Since Jennie took over, we have registered significant electoral successes. In May, we saw the only bit of blue in Greater Manchester turn red as Labour won back control of Trafford Council. And just for balance – as I know the Liverpool-Manchester rivalry can be a bit of a thing – there is not a single Conservative council on Merseyside either, and not a single Tory councillor in the city of Liverpool. Across the country we built on the gains Labour made in the general election. In the South West we won back Plymouth, in the north, Kirklees, and we had our best council results in London since 1971. In Scotland too, Labour is once again offering a message of hope and real change. The choice is now clear: investment and a fairer society under Labour, or austerity under the Tories, timidly accepted by the SNP. We have also been raising more money for our party. But not a penny of our funds came from a dodgy donor or a shady businessmen’s club. Our money comes from hundreds of thousands of people across our country who believe in what we stand for. So I don’t have to play tennis with an oligarch to keep our party organisation running. Labour trades in hope for the many, not favours for the few. Our mass membership is not just a source of funds of course. That membership and our millions of affiliated trade union members are the voice of their workplaces and communities, and with our new community organisers we will anchor everything we do in people’s day to day experiences. That is our strength. And together, we are going to change Britain. You may have noticed that not everyone is entirely happy about all this. It turns out that the billionaires who own the bulk of the British press don’t like us one little bit. Now it could be because we’re going to clamp down on tax dodging. Or it may be because we don’t fawn over them at white tie dinners and cocktail parties. Or it could even be because Tom Watson has been campaigning for the second part of the Leveson media inquiry to be set up – something the last Prime Minister promised, but failed to deliver. We must, and we will, protect the freedom of the press to challenge unaccountable power. Journalists from Turkey to Myanmar and Colombia are being imprisoned, harassed or sometimes killed by authoritarian governments and powerful corporate interests just for doing their job. But here, a free press has far too often meant the freedom to spread lies and half-truths, and to smear the powerless, not take on the powerful. You challenge their propaganda of privilege by using the mass media of the 21st century: social media. And we’ll do it in traditional ways too. On the doorsteps and in the town centres so that people know there is a Labour Party that will stand up for them and is ready to rebuild and transform Britain. Next year marks the 200th anniversary of the Peterloo massacre when 15 peaceful demonstrators were killed and hundreds injured on the streets of Manchester by troops sent in by the Tories to suppress the struggle for democratic rights. The great English poet Percy Shelley wrote a poem about the massacre. That was the origin of our slogan: “for the many not the few”. Among those killed at Peterloo was a man named John Ashworth and a woman named Sarah Jones. In the next Labour government, our very own Jon Ashworth, as Health Secretary, and Sarah Jones, as Housing Minister, will be carrying forward the struggle to protect and extend democratic rights. Hopefully without becoming martyrs in the process. And we will honour the heroes of Peterloo by being true to their cause, with a Labour Party fighting for democracy and social justice against poverty, inequality and discrimination. If we are to get the chance to put those values into practice in government we are going to need unity to do it. Our movement has achieved nothing when divided. The only winners have been the rich and the party of the rich: the Conservatives. Real unity is based on the freedom to disagree and debate and then come together around democratic decisions, as we have done this week. So we need to foster a much greater culture of tolerance. An end to abuse, online and in person. We must learn to listen a bit more, and shout a lot less. To focus on what unites us. To accept losing a vote, while maintaining the right to pick up the debate again. We are on a journey together and can only complete it together. Our Party must speak for the overwhelming majority in our country. Labour is a broad church and can be broader still. I lead in that spirit. After all, I appointed John McDonnell despite him being Liverpool fan, and even Andrew Gwynne, who supports Man City. Conference, we are winning the public debate. We have defined the new common sense, and that’s where our Party can stand united. Conference, this summer was tough. Ours is the Party of equality for all. The Party that has pioneered every progressive initiative to root out racism from our society. But conference, being anti-racist means we must listen to those communities suffering discrimination and abuse. I believe we are all stronger from listening and learning from each other. The Jewish people have suffered a long and terrible history of persecution and genocide. I was humbled to see a memorial to that suffering two years ago, when I visited the former Nazi concentration camp at Terezin. The row over antisemitism has caused immense hurt and anxiety in the Jewish community and great dismay in the Labour Party. But I hope we can work together to draw a line under it. I say this to all in the Jewish community: This party, this movement, will always be implacable campaigners against antisemitism and racism in all its forms. We are your ally. And the next Labour government will guarantee whatever support necessary to ensure the security of Jewish community centres and places of worship, as we will for any other community experiencing hateful behaviour and physical attacks. We will work with Jewish communities to eradicate antisemitism, both from our party and wider society. And with your help I will fight for that with every breath I possess. Anti-racism is integral to our very being. It’s part of who you all are, and it’s part of who I am. So conference, we won’t accept it when we’re attacked by Tory hypocrites who accuse us of antisemitism one day, then endorse Viktor Orban’s hard right government the next. Or when they say we are racist, while they work to create a hostile environment for all migrant communities. We can never become complacent about the scourge of racism. Race hate is a growing threat that has to be confronted. Not just here in Britain, but across Europe and the United States. The far right is on the rise, blaming minorities, Jews, Muslims and migrants, for the failures of a broken economic system. Its victims include the Windrush generation who helped rebuild Britain after the war and were thrown under the bus by a Government that reckoned there were votes to be had by pandering to prejudice. The ‘hostile environment’ policies – shameful brainchild of the present Prime Minister – led to the scandal of British citizens being deported, detained and left destitute. That is nasty, cynical politics that demeans our country. And the Tories still haven’t learned. This week they received a letter from the antisemitic and Islamophobic Hungarian government, thanking them for their solidarity, just as the rest of Europe united against it. Our Party will never stay silent in the face of growing Islamophobia, whether from the far right on the streets, or the former Foreign Secretary’s disgraceful dog-whistle jibes at Muslim women. Labour will work to bring communities together. It is only through the unity of all our people that we can deliver social justice for anyone. Conference, change in our country is long overdue. Every month this Government remains in power, the worse things get. Evidence of the failure of privatisation and outsourcing is piling up day after day. What has long been a scam is now a crisis. Just look at the last few months: The Birmingham prison run by G4S had to be brought back into public ownership after the Chief Inspector of Prisons described it as the worst he had ever visited. The privatised probation service is on the brink of meltdown. Richard Burgon, the next Secretary of State for Justice, will end this scandal. On the railways, the East Coast franchise has collapsed for the third time in a decade, bailed out by taxpayers yet again. You get on a train at Kings Cross and you never know who will be running it by the time you get to Edinburgh. Andy McDonald, our Transport Secretary, will end this shambles. And the giant privateer Carillion has gone bankrupt, sunk in a sea of reckless greed, leaving hospitals half-built, workers dumped on the dole and pensions in peril, while Carillion directors continued to stuff their pockets with bonuses and dividends, and small businesses in the supply chain took heavy losses or went bust. And speaking of bankruptcy, the Tories are now extending it into their own backyard. A Conservative Government and Conservative local councillors have combined to push Northamptonshire over the edge, putting vital services and those who rely on them at risk. Eight years of destructive austerity and obsessive outsourcing have left other councils teetering on the precipice too, and this Government must be held to account for their social vandalism. It is Labour councils and only Labour councils that are taking every step to protect people and services and we must thank them for it. Privatisation and outsourcing are now a national disaster zone. And Labour is ready to call time on this racket. We will rebuild the public realm and create a genuinely mixed economy for the 21st century. And after a decade of austerity, the next Labour government will confront the challenge of rebuilding our public services. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the NHS Labour’s proudest creation and it stands as a beacon for those still fighting for universal healthcare free at the point of need. Its founder, Nye Bevan, inspired by the collective health provision in his home town of Tredegar, described a free health service as “pure socialism”. And so it is. We all contribute through our taxes so that it’s there for all whenever we need it. But this Conservative Government has pushed our NHS into crisis, with more people waiting longer in A&E and to see a GP and over four million people on hospital waiting lists. And there is a mental health crisis too, causing real pain and anguish. A woman named Angela wrote to me recently, and she said: “My mentally ill daughter was told she would have to wait 12 months to get an appointment with an appropriate therapist. As a mother, I am at my wits end to know how to help her any more. I would hate her to become another suicide statistic.” This has to stop and under Labour it will. We will deliver real parity of esteem for mental health services to protect people like Angela’s daughter. And then there’s the scandal of the Tories’ £6 billion cuts to social care, leaving 400,000 fewer older people receiving care. Too many of our older people condemned to live alone and isolated, often ending up at A&E through neglect, then unable to leave hospital because it’s not safe for them. Austerity is putting other strains on the NHS too, one in five homes in England are now unfit for human habitation and 120,000 children are living in temporary accommodation. So as John Healey has pledged, we will put a levy on those with second homes. Think of it as a solidarity fund for those with two homes to help those without any home at all. And Labour will embark on the biggest home building programme in half a century. Meanwhile, for too many people, social security has become a system of institutionalised bullying and degradation. The Tories have created a ‘hostile environment’ for disabled people. Hundreds of people write to me about it every week, people like Richard who says: “My wife was diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis 20 years ago. A few months ago we were told that she needed to reapply for Personal Independence Payments. She had an assessment by someone who wasn’t medically trained, we have now been told that all her benefit will be stopped.” Richard adds: “I have tried to be her rock but the stress and suffering I can see my wife going through is so very cruel and I have had to be put on anti-depressants.” These are the human consequences of a Tory Government that puts tax cuts for the wealthy ahead of care for disabled people. But Labour is ready to put fairness and humanity back at the heart of our public services. And as Diane Abbott told us yesterday, you can’t keep people safe on the cheap. That’s reflected in the fears of people like Ruth, who told me: “We’ve had an increase in our council tax to pay for more police but we have no police station. The only increase we have had is in the crime rate I worry about my elderly parents’ safety in their own home.” Ruth’s fears are not unfounded. Violent crime is rising while police numbers have fallen to their lowest level for 30 years. The Chief Constable of Bedfordshire says: “We do not have the resources to keep residents safe and no-one seems to be listening.” Well Labour is listening. We’ll put another 10,000 police officers back on our streets, playing a vital role in tackling crime and making people safer. But if we want to reduce crime, more police are only part of the solution. Every study tells us that investing in young people and communities is key and crime thrives amid economic failure. So under Labour there will be no more left-behind areas and no more forgotten communities. We know the earliest years are a crucial time to open up children’s life chances. Yesterday I visited the Greenhouse nursery in Liverpool and heard their experiences. But across the country, nurseries can’t make ends meet and youth clubs and nurseries are closing. Decent early years education is now at risk of becoming a privilege. Families most in need are not even entitled to it and many who are struggle to claim it, because the system’s fragmented and underfunded. This Government’s limited childcare pledge has turned out to be free in name only. So today I can announce that Labour will make 30 hours a week of free childcare available to all two, three and four year olds. And we will provide additional subsidised hours of childcare on top of the free 30-hour allowance, free for those on the lowest incomes and capped at £4 an hour for the rest. Labour will invest in the people who care for and educate our children. We will raise the standards of childcare across the board with a 10-year plan to shift to a graduate-led workforce and improve the pay and skills of childcare staff with a new national pay scale for all early years workers starting at £10 an hour. This is an investment and a pay rise for a workforce, 98% of whom are women and 85% of whom earn around the minimum wage. Patchy support for childcare is holding back too many parents and families. Universal free high quality childcare will benefit parents, families and children across our country. Driving up standards of childcare will make that vital difference for millions of our children. Labour is offering a long overdue change that will transform people’s lives and meet the needs of a 21st century Britain for all. We are talking about rebuilding Britain this week But I also want to make an appeal to the older generation who built modern Britain. It was you who rebuilt our country after the war, kick-started our economy, built our NHS and created our social security system. It was your generation that built the council housing, won our rights at work and made our country a better place for all. It was your work and taxes that paid for a better retirement for those who went before you. So we owe it you, the older generation, to rebuild Britain so you too have peace of mind and dignity. And we will fulfil that obligation with the triple lock on pensions protected along with the winter fuel allowance, a free bus pass and a national health and care service that can look after you and your families with respect. That is solidarity between the generations. Conference, to rebuild our public services and our communities we are going to have to rebuild and transform our economy for the 21st century. We can no longer tolerate a set-up where the real economy, in which millions work, is just a sort of sideshow for the City of London and for banks fixated on piling up profits around the world. The change we need requires new ideas and new thinking, as well as learning from those that have worked in the past and in other countries. We need to explore new forms of ownership and public enterprise, and learn from creative local initiatives such as those taken by Labour councils like Preston. And let’s take up the call from TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady to use new technologies and automation as an opportunity rather than a threat, a chance to raise living standards and give people more control of their own lives. Inequality is not just a matter of incomes. It’s about having a real say too. That’s why we are not only determined to rebuild our economy, communities and public services, but also to democratise them, and change the way our economic system is run in the interests of the majority. John McDonnell’s proposals for Inclusive Ownership Funds will mean workers sharing more fairly in the rewards of successful businesses. And I listened carefully to the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and read the excellent Commission on Economic Justice report he was involved in, which rightly argued: “economic justice needs to be hard-wired into the way the economy works”. The 19th century Chartist leader and poet Ernest Jones wrote: And what we get, and what we give, We know, and we know our share; We’re not too low the cloth to weave, But too low the cloth to wear. He was making the point that workers know the reality and injustice of their position. Labour believes a worker’s position is on the board. That’s why we’re proposing to give the workforce of all large UK businesses the right to elect a third of the seats on the board, giving employees a genuine voice and a stake, shifting the balance at work in favour of the wealth creators, improving both decision-making and productivity in the process. Decisions taken in boardrooms affect people’s pay, their jobs and their pensions. Workers deserve a real say in those decisions. That’s nothing for businesses to be afraid of. They should welcome the expertise and understanding that workers will bring to the company board. We will rebalance power in the workplace, but I say to businesses large and small: Labour will also deliver what you need to succeed and to expand and modernise our economy. More investment in our transport, housing and digital infrastructure. More investment in education and skills, so workers are more productive. Action to save the High Street, as Rebecca Long Bailey set out yesterday. And action to deal with rip-off bills that hit us all. But most of all, commitment to a Brexit that protects job, the economy and trade, and determined opposition to one that does not. Ten years ago this month, the whole edifice of greed-is-good deregulated financial capitalism, lauded for a generation as the only way to run a modern economy, came crashing to earth with devastating consequences. But instead of making essential changes to a broken economic system, the political and corporate establishment strained every sinew to bail out and prop up the system that led to the crash in the first place. The price of that has not just been stagnation, wages falling for the longest period in recorded history, and almost a decade of deeply damaging cuts to public services. It’s also fuelled the growth of racism and xenophobia and has led to a crisis of democracy at home and abroad. People in this country know that the old way of running things isn’t working any more. And unless we offer radical solutions, others will fill the gap with the politics of blame and division. That’s why Labour speaks for the new majority, why last year we won the biggest increase in the Labour vote since 1945, and why Labour’s ideas have caught “the mood of our time”. And conference, it isn’t me saying that – it’s a former Conservative Treasury minister, Lord O’Neill. I’ve never sought to capture the mood of a Tory minister before, but let me say to his Lordship: you’re welcome, come and join us in the new political mainstream. That failed economic free-for-all, which led to the crash of a decade ago, has also fuelled the global environmental crisis and hamstrung international efforts to tackle it. There is no bigger threat facing humanity than climate change, and 21 years ago, Labour’s then Deputy Leader John Prescott played a prominent role in helping to secure the Kyoto Protocol. That united the world’s major economies behind an agreement to cut carbon emissions and obliged them to give poorer countries access to low-carbon technology. It was about solidarity, recognising that the air we breathe does not respect national boundaries and we all have an interest in every nation reducing emissions. The contrast with the America First posturing of Donald Trump and his decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accords could not be sharper. We only have one planet, so we must re-engage with countries seeking to walk away from Paris. But we must also lead by example. Yesterday Rebecca Long Bailey set out our plans for energy, developed with our Environment Secretary Sue Hayman, plans that are ambitious, will create hundreds of thousands of jobs and will make Britain the only developed country outside Scandinavia to be on track to meet our climate change obligations. That will mean working with unions to ensure jobs and skills are protected as we move towards a low-carbon economy. And working with industry to change the way we build to train the workforce that will retrofit homes and work in the new energy industries too. And I can announce today that our programme of investment and transformation to achieve a 60% reduction in emissions by 2030 will create over 400,000 skilled jobs. Good jobs based here and on union rates bringing skills and security to communities held back for too long. And we will go further, with plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by the middle of the century. I know that sounds ambitious. It is ambitious and will be delivered with the most far-reaching programme of investment and transformation in decades. Labour will kick-start a Green Jobs Revolution that will help tackle climate change, provide sustainable energy for the future and create skilled jobs in every nation and region of the UK. But it’s not just the economic system that is unsustainable. Britain’s relationship with the rest of the world, our foreign policy is no longer sustainable either. We are entering a new fast-changing and more dangerous world including the reckless attacks in Salisbury which the evidence painstakingly assembled by the police now points clearly to the Russian state. When President Trump takes the US out of the Paris accords, tries to scrap the Iran nuclear deal, moves the US embassy to Jerusalem and pursues aggressive nationalism and trade wars – he is turning his back on international cooperation and even international law. We need a British government that can not only keep the country safe, but can also speak out for democratic values and human rights. Today’s Conservative government continues to collude with the disastrous Saudi-led war in Yemen, turning a blind eye to evidence of war crimes and the devastating suffering of millions of civilians. That’s why I was honoured to attend the vigil this week held by Liverpool’s Yemeni community, in protest against what is taking place. Labour’s foreign policy will be driven by progressive values and international solidarity, led by Emily Thornberry, Kate Osamor and Nia Griffith. That means no more reckless wars of intervention, like Iraq or Libya. It means putting negotiations before confrontation, diplomacy before tub-thumping threats. It means championing human rights and democracy everywhere and not just where it is commercially convenient. And working to resolve the world’s injustices, not standing idly by, or worse, fuelling them in the first place. Conference, sometimes our hopes can be betrayed. Many of us campaigned for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, imprisoned by the Myanmar military for fighting for democracy. Today, the Myanmar military government which Aung San Suu Kyi nominally leads stands accused of grave atrocities against the Rohingya people. Nearly one million people have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh and women and girls in particular face appalling violence. We demand that the Myanmar government end its horrific ethnic cleansing and allows the Rohingya to rebuild their communities and their lives. And let me next say a few words about the ongoing denial of justice and rights to the Palestinian people. Our Party is united in condemning the shooting of hundreds of unarmed demonstrators in Gaza by Israeli forces and the passing of Israel’s discriminatory Nation-State Law. The continuing occupation, the expansion of illegal settlements and the imprisonment of Palestinian children are an outrage. We support a two-state solution to the conflict with a secure Israel and a viable and secure Palestinian state. But a quarter of a century on from the Oslo Accords we are no closer to justice or peace and the Palestinian tragedy continues, while the outside world stands by. As my great Israeli friend Uri Avnery who died this year put it: “What is the alternative to peace? A catastrophe for both peoples”. And in order to help make that two-state settlement a reality we will recognise a Palestinian state as soon as we take office. We will also make a far more determined effort to help bring the terrible war in Syria to an end, a war that has led to millions of refugees, some of whom I met in Jordan this summer and whose plight Alf Dubs described so powerfully yesterday. The Syrian conflict has been fuelled by the military intervention of multiple powers. And it will need those same powers to deliver a negotiated peace settlement to end the killing and allow the return of the refugees. But Labour’s plans to rebuild and transform our country and its relationship with the rest of the world are having to be made against the backdrop of huge uncertainty about Brexit. Labour respects the decision of the British people in the referendum. But no one can respect the conduct of the government since that vote took place. We all hoped that the people’s decision would be followed by effective and responsible negotiations that would protect living standards and jobs. Instead, the main negotiations have taken place between different factions of the Tory party and the only job this government is fighting for is the Prime Minister’s. Theresa May used to say that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’. Yet now, after two years of botched negotiations she is threatening the country with just that choice: a bad deal or no deal. That is a threat to our whole economy, especially our manufacturing industry and to tens of thousands of skilled jobs here in Britain. Now time is running out. Companies are losing patience. In the absence of any clarity from government they are planning to relocate abroad, taking jobs and investment with them. Some have already started and I fear more will follow. The Tories are well aware of this but some see Brexit as their opportunity to impose a free market shock doctrine in Britain. The Prime Minister is in New York today promising that a post-Brexit Britain will offer the lowest corporation tax of all the G20 nations. Handouts to the few, paid for by the many and an already tried-and-failed strategy for boosting investment. Sajid Javid has set out his plan for more tax giveaways and to rip up people’s pension rights. Liam Fox is itching to scrap workers’ rights and privatise the NHS with a side order of chlorinated chicken. And then there’s Jacob Rees-Mogg who has expressed his personal faith in a Brexit Britain by deciding to base his new investment fund in the Eurozone. The Tory Brexiteers unite the politics of the 1950s with the economics of the 19th century, daydreaming about a Britannia that both rules the waves and waives the rules. Labour’s job is now to win support for a deal that meets the needs of the country, combined with our plan to rebuild and transform Britain with investment in our people and economy. Our priority is clear – we aim to get the best Brexit deal for jobs and living standards to underpin our plans to upgrade the economy and invest in every community and region. That can bring people together and meet the concerns of both those who voted leave and those who voted remain. Conference, the way ahead is clear. We will vote against any reduction in rights, standards or protections and oppose a deregulatory race-to-the-bottom. So let me say to the country. As it stands, Labour will vote against the Chequers plan or whatever is left of it and oppose leaving the EU with no deal. And it is inconceivable that we should crash out of Europe with no deal – that would be a national disaster. That is why if Parliament votes down a Tory deal or the government fails to reach any deal at all we would press for a General Election. Failing that, all options are on the table. So let me thank Keir Starmer, the man who would lead our Brexit negotiations in government. Keir, having got agreement yesterday in this conference hall, getting one in Brussels should be a piece of cake. But let me also reach out to the Prime Minister, who is currently doing the negotiating. Brexit is about the future of our country and our vital interests. It is not about leadership squabbles or parliamentary posturing. If you deliver a deal that includes a customs union and no hard border in Ireland, if you protect jobs, people’s rights at work and environmental and consumer standards – then we will support that sensible deal. A deal that would be backed by most of the business world and trade unions too. But if you can’t negotiate that deal then you need to make way for a party that can. Conference. Labour if offering a real alternative to the people of Britain. A radical plan to rebuild and transform our country. An alternative to the politics of austerity, of social division and of international conflict. Where the Tories have divided and ruled, we will unite and govern. We represent the new common sense of our time. And we are ready to deliver on it. We must speak for the people to whom Theresa May promised so much but has delivered so little. And we must take our message to every town, city and village. United and ready to win, ready to govern as we were in 1945, 1964 and 1997. So that when we meet this time next year let it be as a Labour government. Investing in Britain after years of austerity and neglect and bringing our country together after a decade of division. Conference. Let every constituency, every community know Labour is ready. Confident in our ideas, clear in our plans, committed to rebuild Britain. We don’t want to live in a society where our fellow citizens sleep rough. A strong society is one that gives all our young people the chance to realise their potential and in which all of us know if our parents need care they will get it. Our task is to build that Britain and together we can. Thank you. Tory austerity is holding young people back – Cat Smith September 27, 2018 Dawn Butler speaking at Labour Party Conference today September 26, 2018 For the many, not the few Get the latest from Labour Keep me updated We’ll email you about campaigns, events and opportunities to get involved. Find out more about how we use your information. Are you ready? Thousands of Labour supporters up and down the country took the plunge and campaigned with us for the first time recently—will you join them?

Wednesday, September 26 2018

Merkel admits mistakes in case of domestic intelligence chief – POLITICO

9/24/18, 3:50 PM CET German Chancellor Angela Merkel | Michele Tantussi/Getty Images BERLIN — German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday admitted she made mistakes in handling the firing of intelligence chief Hans-Georg Maaßen, saying she regrets the public outcry over what was widely seen as a promotion. “The result of last Tuesday was not convincing,” Merkel said at a press conference. “I thought too much about the functionality and the procedures in the interior ministry, but too little about how it affects people when they hear of a promotion. I very much regret that this could happen.” The government removed Maaßen from his post as head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency after he came under fire for his remarks about a far-right rally in Chemnitz and allegedly providing members of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) with confidential material. The decision to move him to a higher-grade and better-paid job as state secretary in the interior ministry under Horst Seehofer was met with heavy cross-party criticism, prompting the coalition to review the move . On Sunday the coalition decided to make Maaßen a special adviser on European and international affairs — including migration — in the interior ministry instead. Merkel described the new compromise as “appropriate” and “communicable, because it is not a promotion.”

How Gandhi Became ‘Mahatma’ | Economic and Political Weekly

Thursday, September 27 2018

How Gandhi Became ‘Mahatma’ | Economic and Political Weekly

Book Reviews How Gandhi Became ‘Mahatma’ M K Gandhi’s inspired struggle for Indian independence against British Colonisation turned him into a global icon for peaceful resistance. On his 149th birth anniversary, we attempt to understand the universal reverence for Gandhi. With the help of articles from the EPW archives, we look at the origins of Gandhian ideas, the roots of his philosophy, and his contemporary representation. 1. What is Truly Gandhian, and What Has Been Stolen? Image Courtesy: Flickr /Public domain The title “Mahatma” was often attributed to many benefactors of society. However, it is now exclusively the domain of M K Gandhi. As Sumanyu Satpathy explains in this 2014 article , practices we today associate as “Gandhian” were in fact in existence for years prior to Gandhi’s appearance in the national consciousness. Khadi cloth and the charkha, for example, were advocated by Swadeshi activists long before Gandhi adopted them. While Gandhi turned the charkha into a national symbol, it never returned to being the household staple it was meant to be. Looking at Swadeshi advocates prior to Gandhi, Satpathy presents a contrast between Odia author Fakir Mohan Senapati and Gandhi, stating that Fakir Mohan’s approach to self-sustenance was pragmatic while the latter’s existed only in theory, and came about by his need to re-identify himself as Indian after his return from South Africa. Fakir Mohan goes beyond the swadeshi call for the boycott of British goods, and pleads for the discarding of all foreign clothes. Not until much later, was Gandhi to distinguish between the position of the earlier swadeshi movement and his own… the second point that Fakir Mohan makes in his essay (about “paying the foreign weaver”, etc) anticipates by a year Gandhi’s formulation on the subject in Hind Swaraj: “By using Manchester cloth, we would only waste our money.” [Fakir Mohan’s], rather, is an argument in favour of a need-based economy that would ensure a proper gender-balancing division of labour leading to self-sufficiency. His advocacy of the cotton that men cultivated alongside foodgrains had nothing to do with the modern-day view of growing it as a cash crop; rather, it was meant to sustain a parallel economy, that of clothing, to keep the charkha moving as a self-sustaining economic activity. In his Autobiography Gandhi makes the same point without, of course, dishing out the paraphernalia and minutiae of cost analysis that Fakir Mohan is able to supply from his intimacy with the ground reality. Image Courtesy: (Left) http://utkarshspeak.blogspot.com/2013/01/was-gandhiji-avatar.html; (Right) Saffron Art As Seema Bawa writes , an image of M K Gandhi is often enough to convey his ideological and philosophical pinnings. Indeed, our interpretation of Gandhi and his ideals is often derived from visual representations, rather than from his writings. But why do we always associate Gandhi as bald, bespectacled, and either meditating or with a stick in hand? Bawa guides the reader through various artistic interpretations of Gandhi, and explains that this imagery is used to portray his “power” and “divine status.” She argues that the creation of idols and statues in post-colonial India has proved important in the masses’ worship of Gandhi as a mahatma. When a person is transformed into an icon, he or she has truly arrived. Not only does the icon “in itself” denote the powerful status of the persona involved, important enough to be iconised, but more importantly it implies an inherent transference of power to those who iconise him or her… Like a deity in traditional iconographic prescriptions, Gandhi is also shown in various postures, of which the sthanaka (standing with a staff) is the most popular. In his asana or seated figure, his feet are folded to the left, one hand on the ground, while the other is placed on the lap or in the vitarka gesture of lecturing, the face introspective. Tracing the history of illustrations, Bawa notes that the hagiographic representation of Gandhi began only after his assassination. This deification, she says, has resulted in his image being appropriated for political gains. For Gandhi, the body itself becomes the site of his personal and nationalistic politics, as he sets his political/self disciplining agenda through the cleaning, disciplining and partial disrobing of the body… Pinney says that Gandhi fought his own battle with the body, but it was one that was explicitly articulated within a neo-traditionalist paradigm branded “made in India” (Pinney: 127). Gandhi and Gandhism are variously invoked to set out a nationalist agenda, a constructivist programme, or an idealised state, in contrast to the entropy or degeneration perceived in the contemporary sociopolitical space. 3. The Theory of Ahimsa Image Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons / Public domain There is no point in learning about Gandhi without understanding why the non-violence movement was a purely anti-colonialist movement, writes Akeel Bilgrami. He explains that since demanding constitutional rights from the British had, so far, proved ineffective, Gandhi saw the need for a form of protest that would be an alternative to violent resistance. Gandhi chose his version of non-violent civil disobedience instead of the constitutional demands of the Congress leadership because he thought that the Indian people should not merely ask the British to leave their soil. It was important that they should do so by means that were not dependent and derivative of ideas and institutions that the British had imposed on them. Otherwise, even if the British left, the Indian populations would remain a subject people. Bilgrami argues against conventional thinking that Gandhi regarded the pursuit of truth as the goal of life. Rather, Gandhi saw a satyagrahi’s ability to disassociate themselves from criticism as paramount. An incorrect view of moral judgement, Gandhi claimed, breeds violence in a society. Thus, there can be no true non-violence until criticism is removed from moral judgement. Criticism reflects an impurity of heart, and is easily corrupted to breed hostility and, eventually, violence. With an impure heart you could still indulge in non-violent political activism, but that activism would be strategic, merely a means to a political end… The right moral sense, the morally pure-hearted satyagrahi, sees no such connection between moral judgment and moral criticism. Of course, we cannot and must not cease to be moral subjects; we cannot stop judging morally about what is and is not worthy, cannot fail to have moral values. But none of that requires us to be critical of others who disagree with our values or who fail to act in accord with them.

Thursday, October 11 2018

Tamilnadu: ALLOWANCES – Rate of Dearness Allowance applicable with effect from 1-7-2018 in respect of employees continuing to draw their pay in the Pre-2006 pay scales and Pre-2016 pay scale/Grade Pay – Orders – Issued

284% of Pay plus Dearness Pay 1-7-2018 148% of Pay plus Grade Pay 4. The additional installment of Dearness Allowance payable under these orders shall be paid in cash with effect from 1-7-2018. 5. The arrears of Dearness Allowance for the months of July and August, 2018 shall be drawn and disbursed immediately by existing cashless mode of Electronic Clearance System (ECS). While working out the revised Dearness Allowance, fraction of a rupee shall be rounded off to next higher rupee if such fraction is 50 paise and above and shall be ignored if it is less than 50 paise. 6. The Government also direct that the revised Dearness Allowance sanctioned above, shall be admissible to full time employees who are at present getting Dearness Allowance and paid from contingencies at fixed monthly rates. The revised rates of Dearness Allowance sanctioned in this order shall not be admissible to part time employees. 7. The revised Dearness Allowance sanctioned in this order will also apply to the teaching and non-teaching staff working in aided educational institutions, employees under local bodies, employees governed by the University Grants Commission/All India Council for Technical Education scales of pay, the Teachers/Physical Education Directors/Librarians in Government and Aided Polytechnics and Special Diploma Institutions, Village Assistants in Revenue Department, Noon Meal Organisers, Child Welfare Organisers, Anganwadi Workers, Cooks, Helpers, Panchayat Secretaries/Clerks in Village Panchayat under Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Department. 8. The revised Dearness Allowance sanctioned in this order shall also be applicable to the Pensioners / Family Pensioners who are drawing pre-revised pension / family pension. 9. The expenditure shall be debited to the detailed head of account ’03 Dearness Allowance’ under the relevant minor, sub-major and major heads of account. 10. The Treasury Officers / Pay and Accounts Officers are requested to make payment of the revised Dearness Allowance when bills are presented without waiting for the authorisation from the Principal Accountant General (A&E) Tamil Nadu, Chennai-18. (BY ORDER OF THE GOVERNOR) K.SHANMUGAM

Did Russian Trolls Have Company?: New Evidence on Israel-based PSY-Group’s Possible Social Media Efforts in 2016 US Election | Just Security

Wednesday, October 10 2018

Did Russian Trolls Have Company?: New Evidence on Israel-based PSY-Group’s Possible Social Media Efforts in 2016 US Election | Just Security

by Justin Hendrix May 31, 2018 Much ink has been spilled on the role of the Russia-backed Internet Research Agency’s engaging in disinformation tactics to help the Trump campaign. The intelligence firm and thirteen individuals connected to it are the targets of an indictment brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in February. The indictment finds fault with the IRA for “posing as U.S. persons and creating false U.S. personas, operated social media pages and groups designed to attract U.S. audiences” and then using those assets to spread disinformation designed to interfere in the election. But a little known private Israeli intelligence firm may well have done precisely the same thing, according to new information by an independent organization that tracks such efforts. The New York Times was the first to report on a meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Erik Prince and George Nader in August 2016 that included Joel Zamel, the founder of PSY-Group, an Israel-based private intelligence firm that sold social-media manipulation services. The meeting was in part to pitch PSY-Group’s proposal to use “thousands of fake social media accounts to promote Mr. Trump’s candidacy on platforms like Facebook.” Without much more than raising the question whether the plan pitched to the Trump campaign was ever adopted, the New York Times’ story does hint that PSY-Group may have undertaken these efforts. Don Jr. reportedly “responded approvingly” to the proposal, Nader paid Zamel $2 million after the election, and in Dec. 2016 Nader turned to another Zamel-linked company “to purchase a presentation demonstrating the impact of social media campaigns on Mr. Trump’s electoral victory,” the Times reported. Following the New York Times story, Bloomberg reported that the special counsel is investigating flows of money into PSY-Group’s Cyprus bank account. The Wall Street Journal then reported that PSY-Group “formed a strategic partnership” with the data firm that worked with the Trump campaign”–Cambridge Analytica–“in a joint bid to win business from the U.S. government and other clients after the 2016 election.” The agreement was apparently also inked in Dec. 2016–suggesting the companies may have already established a line of communication before the election. Then, the Wall Street Journal published a nine-slide presentation from PSY-Group outlining how fake accounts helped Donald Trump win the 2016 election. These various news reports lead to bigger questions: what role, if any, did PSY-Group play in the 2016 US election, and what was its relationship if any to other key players and firms participating in misinformation campaigns to elect Donald Trump? A startup in Texas may have unearthed new evidence in the matter. The research comes from New Knowledge AI , an Austin-based company with a team of highly respected technologists that sells products and services to fight disinformation and to identify fake social media accounts and propaganda campaigns. The organization posted a Twitter thread that poses some serious questions about who is behind PSY-Group, and whether the company coordinated an election interference campaign similar to the Russian Internet Research Agency. First, New Knowledge points to job descriptions posted by PSY-Group employees in 2016 seeking to hire American English speakers with political science backgrounds. This suggests “they intended to target Americans for political objectives,” the company asserts. Such job posts continued into 2017, when one PSY-Group employee, Eitan Charnoff, posted an ad similar to those placed in 2016. According to LinkedIn and other sites, Charnoff was previously the IDF Commander of the Social Media Productions Desk, and is also the National Director of iVoteIsrael , a Republican-aligned Israeli-American voter registration group criticized for its “flimsy façade of non-partisanship.” Charnoff represents one link to the Israeli defense and intelligence community. The firm’s possible ties specifically to the Israeli intelligence community are even more compelling. In a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Senator Chris Coons of Delaware said Zamel is “linked to Israeli intelligence and the Emirati royal court.” Archived versions of the PSY-Group website also vaunt ties to “elite intelligence services,” while Vanity Fair’s Maya Kosoff points to Alexander Nix’s claims in the Channel 4 expose on Cambridge Analytica. “We use some British companies, we use some Israeli companies,” Nix said in the video. “From Israel. Very effective in intelligence gathering.” Then, New Knowledge looked at accounts mentioned in the PSY-Group slide deck published by the Wall Street Journal, focusing in on “Joey Brooklyn,” a bot account mentioned on a slide about using Twitter for “Controlling the Conversation Strategy.” Why did PSY-Group showcase these fake accounts and describe their effectiveness in influencing voters? It was to demonstrate the very services that the firm provides. “The PSY-Group said it had the capability of leveraging fake social-media accounts, which they call avatars, on behalf of political campaigns,” the Wall Street Journal explained. While it’s possible PSY-Group stumbled across these accounts, Jonathon Morgan, Founder and CEO of New Knowledge thinks that is difficult to believe. “Maybe PSY Group was only using these accounts as an example of how social media conversation can be manipulated, but it’s hard to imagine why they would promote someone else’s work in a sales presentation for their company’s services,” he noted in a phone conversation. As New Knowledge points out, “@Joe_America1776 is still active, and has posted over 563,000 times since the account was created in July of 2015. That’s an average of around 514 tweets *per day*, every day, for three years.” New Knowledge then searched for accounts regularly amplifying @Joe_America1776’s posts on other social media platforms, which led to a likely fake Facebook account created by an impostor. “Looks like fake Mari friended the real Mari, stole Mari’s photos, and used those photos to make the fake account seem more legitimate,” New Knowledge concludes. New Knowledge also looks closely at “Kris Crawford,” another Facebook account PSY-Group used in the pitch material obtained by the Wall Street Journal. While he appears to be an American man, Crawford’s URL suggests his Facebook page used to belong to a “Martina Jakimovska.” “Looking through the ‘Kris Crawford’s’ account history it’s still possible to see when Martina updated her profile photo and used Facebook to check in at a location in Macedonia,” New Knowledge notes. It must be noted that the Kris Crawford account was previously identified by BuzzFeed journalists reporting on Macedonian spammers in November 2016. In a tweet , BuzzFeed media editor Craig Silverman points out that some details about the Trump campaign’s social media tactics in the PSY-Group proposal obtained by the Wall Street Journal appear to be lifted from his reporting. It is possible the slides do not reflect work that PSY-Group performed. Ultimately, very little is known about PSY-Group, its relationship to Cambridge Analytica and other figures in the Trump orbit. Evidence such as that presented by New Knowledge is neither proof nor anything close to conclusive, but it raises the question–should there be an investigation into Joel Zamel, PSY-Group and efforts by the company on behalf of Donald Trump, before and after the 2016 election? Mark Zuckerberg and the other technology company chiefs should publicly provide evidence about any use of their platforms by PSY Group to spread disinformation. “All the content promoted by accounts we found related to the PSY Group sales presentation is aggressively pro-Trump. It’s very similar to the content published by accounts that Facebook and Twitter have publicly acknowledged were operated by the Internet Research Agency,” said Morgan. Certainly, more information will come to light as journalists and researchers such as New Knowledge follow the digital paper trail of the company, even though Zamel immediately closed the company down after the initial New York Times report. Only one thing is clear- as another election looms, Americans still don’t even know the real extent of foreign interference in the last one. This article has been updated to include a reference to Craig Silverman’s previous reporting and his comment on the New Knowledge research. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images Sign Up for the Early Edition Get Early Edition Featured Articles