Antisemitism, Anti-Zionism and the Labour Party

A version of this post first appeared on the Facebook page.

Racial politics are complex, and it’s nearly impossible to discuss racially charged issues without causing offence, even when both the speaker and listener are both open-minded and acting in good faith. When we get into using terminology that means different things to different people, and which have evolved over time, there’s an increased possibility for misunderstanding and deliberate misuse of terms.

Continue reading “Antisemitism, Anti-Zionism and the Labour Party”

Fact-Free Coverage of the EU Referendum

This first appeared on the Facebook page

There’s still two months until we vote, but the EU Referendum has been an absolute mess. Rather than a broad, fact-based debate about the role we play in the European Union, we’ve had personality politics and childish insults.

This weekend Boris Johnson has claimed that the American president’s Kenyan ancestry motivates a hatred for Britain, and followed it up by calling Obama ‘weird’. This isn’t so much the pot calling the kettle black as the pot calling the dinner-plate black.
Johnson is not alone in his indifference for facts.
Dominic Cummings, apparently notorious for his previous role at the Department for Education is now the campaign director of Vote Leave. When testifying before a House of Commons select committee he said that “I don’t think it’s Vote Leave’s job to provide figures”.
When told that “Vote Leave quotes numerous figures on its website … most of them misleading or inaccurate”, Cummings responded that: “Accuracy is for snake-oil pussies.”

Continue reading “Fact-Free Coverage of the EU Referendum”

Why it Matters that Cameron is the Heir to Blairmore

David Cameron is likely to remain as Prime Minister, in the short-term at least. However he is engulfed in controversy over his father’s tax avoidance past and his own unwillingness to explain his own role in the business. The company set up Ian Cameron, is named Blairmore Holdings – slightly amusing given that David Cameron once described himself as ‘the heir to Blair’.

Most people will agree, as a moral principle, that a child shouldn’t be held responsible for the sins of their parents. It’s just about the one decent argument that has been brought up in David Cameron’s defence during the Panama tax dodging scandal. We try to be reasonable people and, as much as we don’t like David Cameron, there is an argument there. Partially.
To start with, it’s likely that when Ian Cameron made the decision to move from working as a stockbroker in 1982, the 16-year-old David had no chance to prevent it.
We would have liked to think that, as he grew older and became interested in politics and came to understand the way that tax avoidance deprives the state of resources, David would confront his father over the issue. (As a teenager David Cameron worked as a researcher for the MP Tim Rathbone; seemed to have played no part in university politics; then went from university straight to working in the Conservative Research Department.) However, it’s understandable that risking a family rift may have been something that young David Cameron was unwilling to do.

Continue reading “Why it Matters that Cameron is the Heir to Blairmore”