Rebecca Long Bailey’s wrongful dismissal.

There was no antisemitism: the troubling case of Peake, Starmer and Long Bailey

By Richard House, Abdul-Karim Al-Malahi, Paul Kelly, Tosh McDonald, Alec McFadden, Andrew Samuels and Chris Searle**

Last week the actor Maxine Peake conducted a 1,650-word interview that appeared in The Independent newspaper in which the following words appeared: The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services… The then Shadow Education Secretary Rebecca Long Bailey tweeted the link to this interview, expressing her great admiration of Peake. The rest is now well-documented history. Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer summarily dismissed Ms Long Bailey from her post – despite her issuing a statement clarifying that her re-tweeting of the interview did not amount to an endorsement of everything said in the interview. The political storm that followed was generated by around 20 words from the interview’s 1,650 words.

Did Keir Starmer wrongfully dismiss Rebecca Long Bailey in a full frontal attack on the Labour Left?

Before we unpick Peake’s statement and subject it to rigorous and dispassionate fact-checking, we need first to say something about the conspiracy theory trope that was used by Keir Starmer in his response to Peake’s statement. 

The deploying of the descriptor ‘conspiracy theory’ is now routinely used as an effective silencing manoeuvre by an establishment determined that the status quo should remain unchallenged. Playing the conspiracy theory card in this way is therefore often about closing down thinking about anything that might challenge mainstream narratives and interests. As history shows, sometimes there are conspiracies – we now know retrospectively that history is replete with them. So it is always an empirical, evidential question as to whether a conspiracy exists or not; and it’s just not good enough to summarily dismiss something as ‘a conspiracy’ by using this silencing rhetorical device.

Jeremy Corbyn and Maxine Peake

Now to the statement that Maxine Peake made that has caused the furore:

The tactics used by the police in America, kneeling on George Floyd’s neck, that was learnt from seminars with Israeli secret services…

There are several levels of unpicking that are necessary here. First, what precisely is, and isn’t, being said in this statement? Secondly, was the statement factually accurate or not? And thirdly, was it an anti-Semitic statement? We take it that if the statement can be shown to have substance and truth-value, then in no meaningful sense can it be said to be ‘anti-Semitic’. 

we will never be cowed into complying with a line of falsehood merely because those with media power will traduce us if we speak out.

First, what was – and wasn’t – being said. Peake refers to US police learning from, not ‘being taught by…’ – the two are crucially different. One can learn something from people without being formally ‘taught’ it. Next, we read that the kneeling tactic was learnt from ‘seminars with Israeli secret services’ – so we need to ascertain evidentially whether such seminars have taken place or not. Notice also that the political state of Israel is referred to by Peake, and not Jewishness in any way. 

Now to the factual basis or otherwise of Peake’s statement. A 2016 Amnesty International report titled With Whom Are Many U.S. Police Departments Training? With a Chronic Human Rights Violator – Israel  contains the following statements: ‘…But what hasn’t received as much attention is where Baltimore police received training on crowd control, use of force and surveillance: Israel’s national police, military and intelligent services. 

Baltimore law enforcement officials, along with hundreds of others from Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, California, Arizona, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Georgia, Washington State as well as the DC Capitol police have all traveled to Israel for training. Thousands of others have received training from Israeli officials here in the USA.

It should be noted that the online version of this report contains multiple reputable links to corroborate all of the claims made in the above statement.

Thus, there is ample evidence to support the veracity of the statement made by Peake about US police officers learning the kneeling technique from Israeli state sources. 

Next, a 2012 newspaper report in the MPR News says the following, under the title ‘Minn. police learn from Israeli counter-terrorism conference’:

About 100 Minnesota law enforcement officers attended an Israeli counter-terrorism training conference in Minneapolis Monday.

The conference was put on by the Israeli consulate in Chicago, the FBI and the Minnetonka police. Deputy Consul Shahar Arieli said Israeli law enforcement officers shared techniques to prevent terrorist acts…

The half-day conference briefly touches on concerns that law enforcement operations could violate civil rights, but mostly focuses on terrorism prevention techniques, Arieli said.’

Moreover, the Israeli neck technique has made its way into the Minneapolis police manual which, not surprisingly, has been removed from online. An archived copy of the relevant section on how to control someone resisting arrest does still exist, however, and can be viewed here

Neck Restraint: Non-deadly force option. Defined as compressing one or both sides of a person’s neck with an arm or leg, without applying direct pressure to the trachea or airway (front of the neck). Only sworn employees who have received training from the MPD Training Unit are authorized to use neck restraints. The MPD authorizes two types of neck restraints: Conscious Neck Restraint and Unconscious Neck Restraint. (04/16/12) [The full document is available here: ]

So again, the claim the Peake’s statement was ‘anti-Semitic’ does not stand up to the slightest scrutiny.

Finally, on 31 May journalist David Lange – someone who is a strong defender of Israel – wrote an article titled The Nature of Israeli Training of US Police Officers, in which he writes that Maria Haberfeld, a former sergeant with the Israel Defense Forces, ‘…has extensively studied police training modules in the US and teaches officers on the ethics of using force, [and] said there are some legitimate take-down techniques by police that involve applying pressure around somebody’s neck.’  And in a 2 June report by journalist Alison Weir titled Minn cops trained by Israeli police, who often use knee-on-neck restraint’, we read that the training of US police officials by Israeli forces is widespread, with Neta Golan, the co-founder of International Solidarity Movement (ISM), quoted as saying: 

When I saw the picture of killer cop Derek Chauvin murdering George Floyd by leaning in on his neck with his knee as he cried for help and other cops watched, I remembered noticing when many Israeli soldiers began using this technique of leaning in on our chest and necks when we were protesting in the West Bank sometime in 2006…. It was clear they had undergone training for this. They continue to use these tactics — two of my friends have had their necks broken but luckily survived – and it is clear that they [Israel] share these methods when they train police forces abroad in ‘crowd control’ in the US and other countries….      

Israeli police officers detain a Palestinian protestor during scuffles outside the compound housing al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem's Old City March 12, 2019.
Israeli police kneeling on a Palestinian youth’s head.

Thus, there is ample evidence to support the veracity of the statement made by Peake about US police officers learning the kneeling technique from Israeli state sources. 

Moreover, the Israeli neck technique has made its way into the Minneapolis police manual which, not surprisingly, has been removed from online

But even if the statement had been demonstrably false, could it have been construed as ‘anti-Semitic’? As alluded to earlier, the statement was about the State of Israel, and did not make any reference to Jewishness. The only way such a statement could conceivably be construed as being ‘anti-Semitic’ would be by a reader of the interview proactively assuming that anti-Semitism was secretly in the mind of the person saying it – an argument that is absurd, and which would have no legal grounds in any court, anywhere. So again, the claim the Peake’s statement was ‘anti-Semitic’ does not stand up to the slightest scrutiny.

It is also noteworthy that on the ‘Chiles on Friday’ show on Radio 5 last Friday morning, Adrian Chiles asked his guest, Jewish lawyer Bobby Friedman:

Was it overkill?… was it right that she [Rebecca Long Bailey] got the boot from the boss?… Let’s say you were a lawyer representing her [RLB] in this – sorry to put you in that position… Could you [as a lawyer] make a case for this being overkill be Keir Starmer?’

To which Friedman – again, no friend of Labour on the anti-Semitism question – replied that he would be able to make such a case.

Our clear view is that Maxine Peake’s statement regarding US police training by Israeli forces, for which there is ample factual evidence as detailed in this article, is not ‘anti-Semitic’ under any definition of that term – not even, it should be noted, the all-embracing international one adopted that has been by the Labour Party. 

In his immediate public statement on the issue, Sir Keir Starmer said:

The sharing of that article was wrong because the article contained anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. I have therefore stood Rebecca Long Bailey down from the shadow cabinet…’ (our emphasis).

It therefore follows from this that the adduced reason given by Starmer for Long Bailey’s consequent sacking from her shadow cabinet post is legally and ethically indefensible – and certainly when carried out by someone with the fine rational mind of someone of Sir Keir Starmer’s legal calibre.

the adduced reason given by Starmer for Long Bailey’s consequent sacking from her shadow cabinet post is legally and ethically indefensible

We have countless Jewish friends and loved ones, and we abhor and condemn anti-Semitism in all its manifestations. But for the sake of democracy, social justice and free speech, the use and deployment of faux anti-Semitism accusations must and will be called out by all fair-minded people – and that includes calling out those who – lazily or calculatingly – deploy the ‘conspiracy theory’ trope in order to close down or silence any critical thinking about the behaviour of the political State of Israel. It also includes relentlessly calling out those who, for whatever motivation, falsely conflate anti-Semitism with criticism of the behaviour of the political State of Israel.

In conclusion, we will never be cowed into complying with a line of falsehood merely because those with media power will traduce us if we speak out. Speaking the truth must, and will, never be silenced by intimidation and the abuse of positional political power and vested interests, and the attempt by those interests to control and manipulate mainstream media platforms and voices and, thereby, public opinion more generally.


Richard House, Ph.D., retired university lecturer and writer

Abdul-Karim Al-Malahi, Employment Law Officer, Salford Unemployed & Community Resource Centre

Paul Kelly, President, Salford TUC

Tosh McDonald, former President of ASLEF 

Alec McFadden, Press Officer, Salford TUC; Secretary, Salford Pensioners & Trades Unionists

Andrew Samuels, Emeritus Professor, University of Essex

Chris Searle, jazz journalist and writer

All the authors are either Labour Party members or supporters.

NOTE: An open letter to Keir Starmer based on this article, posing key questions that we believe he has an ethical duty to answer, has been sent to Keir Starmer. The letter can be viewed at



We submitted this article to both the Guardian and The Independent, but these media organs that claim to champion liberal values both declined to publish it. You will no doubt reach your own conclusions.

As we write, in this age of chronic petition-fatigue nearly 20,000 citizens have now signed a petition calling for the re-instatement of Rebecca Long Bailey as shadow education secretary.

Yet it is of great concern to us that both Long Bailey and Maxine Peake seem to have drawn back from their position – capitulating to the ideological onslaught when, in our view, they are conceding vital ground that, in any conceivable fair and rational world, they should have no need to concede.

What does this signify? Surely if there is any learning from the manufactured assault on Jeremy Corbyn and Labour on alleged anti-Semitism between 2015 and 2019, it is that it is not only impossible to appease bullies ruthlessly wielding positional power, but to attempt to do so means that the attacks become all the more vicious and silencing in intent.

Bullies who are determined to impose an Israel right or wrong regime of truth on public and media discourse are not merely unappeasable: if you refuse to call them out and stand up to this behaviour, the bullying will continue all the more. This is what history shows us all too clearly.

We are indeed in a new Age of Endarkenment, where it is raw, naked power and its ruthless, unchallenged deployment that determine and control the narrative, not the fast-disappearing enlightenment values of truth and justice. This is indeed the new post-truth age of ‘Rumsfeldism’, whose worldview says, We have the power: we’re going to do whatever we want, and there’s eff-all you can do about it.

Are we going to bystand this, or are we going to stand up to it?
























Where’s your vision Sir Keir?

By Paul Halas

The blame game continues. Meanwhile…

While the general public and the media obsess about Coronavirus – both those who are terrified of it and the others who think the whole issue’s blown out of proportion – and while the planet is steadily passing various tipping points of climate change, the Labour Party has busied itself gazing at its navel.

As was said throughout the Corbyn era, the Conservatives should be there for the taking. If Theresa May’s government was accident-prone, Boris Johnson’s is the Frank Spencer of administrations. The one thing they do well is getting people to vote for them. At the last election they played their hand exceedingly well, tapping into popular discontent and appealing for the first time to a demographic of have-nots with a diet of gung-ho nationalistic Brexitism, dog-whistle xenophobia and faux anti-establishmentism. They were also able to take their traditional voter base for granted, because the only genuine alternative on offer was was viewed as highly tainted for a variety of reasons

See the source image
God save us all.

The Tories still have some of their potent weapons. Thanks to Dominic Cummings and his shady little pals they still have a distinct advantage when it comes to cyber-campaigning, data mining and targeted canvassing. They still have the weight of dark money and wealthy corporate backing to bolster them. But thanks to the pandemic their rabble-pleasing, blagging front man has lost his lustre far quicker than anyone would’ve expected. The normally supine press has started to turn on him. And Dominic Cummings, previously portrayed as a back-room mastermind, is now seen as a shifty, Rasputin-like figure, reviled rather than respected.

The Conservatives will be thanking their lucky stars they still have four years in which they can steady the ship. Remove the figurehead and appoint a leader with a little more credibility – although last year’s sacking of anyone with any gumption from the cabinet will hinder the cause. But the party is not in good shape. They will be under intense scrutiny as the world eases its way out of the Coronavirus crisis, and lumping the cost of bailing out the economy on the poor for the second time in a decade will not go down well.

Meanwhile the silence from across the House is palpable. You get the impression that the Labour Party has its mind on other things – and indeed it has. The party may have a new leader, but all the soul-searching and recriminations following the general election defeat continues to occupy minds. Much as the new leadership would like to draw a line under the wrangling, it shows no sign of abating just yet.

The left and the right of the party have very different takes on what transpired, and, with the unsubtle support of many media commentators, it’s the right – aka the Centrists – whose voices are being heard the loudest.

The Centrist perspective is that Corbyn’s Labour Party was unelectable. Under him the party’s ideas were way too far to the left, its policies were pie in the sky, questions had to be asked about Corbyn’s connections with numerous controversial figures, and then there was his supposed tolerance of antisemitism. Add to the mix that Corbyn was weak on the EU and should’ve declared outright for Remain, and that the public had developed a high degree of personal antipathy towards him, and you have a narrative that demands that every trace of Corbynism be expunged from the party henceforth. To quote Polly Toynbee in the Guardian – itself no friend of Corbyn of the Labour Left – “The memory of Jeremy Corbyn will take years to erase. Starmer has sought unity, but he will have to challenge the Corbyn legacy before long.”

The Labour left, however, sees these issues differently. Labour’s policies under Corbyn were mainstream centre-left, pretty much in line with many of the UK’s near neighbours, and the loony-left scenario was a fabrication by an antagonistic media commentariat and hostile right wingers in the party. In fact, the argument goes, many of Labour’s policies were shown to be very popular with the public, which explains why Corbyn’s opponents usually chose to play the man rather than the ideas. Brexit was seen as a fiasco, with formerly safe seats falling to the Tories because the party failed to back Brexit wholeheartedly… according to many. The media had it in for Corbyn, and used every low down trick in the book to smear him – especially over the antisemitism issue. The last straw was the exposure of the party’s internal report into antisemitism, which showed that many Labour Party workers had pursued a hate campaign against the left, especially targeting some BAME members, and conspired to help lose two general elections. While one or two of the rogue apparatchiks have been suspended, this long history of subversion couldn’t have taken place without the support of the Labour right’s backers and more than a few anti-Corbynites in the PLP.

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The ever loyal Tom Watson

And will the twain ever be brought back together? The new management’s ‘new broom’ approach appears to be to sweep the left away. Starmer and his backers’ thinking appears to be that Labour will only ever regain power by swinging sharply towards the perceived centre ground. He certainly has support for this from the media – which is perhaps acknowledging that the Good Ship Tory is sailing in reef-strewn waters – and also from the City. And this, by implication, suggests that the establishment doesn’t see Starmer’s New Improved Labour as any sort of threat to its vested interests.

The left is under pressure. Numerous left wingers have left the party, saddened that many of the ideas they held dear are apparently no longer shared by party leaders, and many who are still hanging in there feel their days may be numbered.

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There was always a degree of control freakery within the party mechanism, but now many members feel increasingly worried that speaking their minds could land them in hot water. The opinion is growing that the ‘members upwards’ approach to forming party policy is under attack, but the extent of it will only really become apparent whenever the next party conference takes place. There is a feeling that Keir Starmer will pander to establishment interests as much Tony Blair did, and neither his words nor his actions appear to contradict this.

What does Keir Starmer actually stand for? What is his vision for the future? Like others before him in the prelude to their taking power – Tony Blair and David Cameron spring to mind – Starmer is very sparing with specifics, light on policy. He is trading on his image of being prime-ministerial and electable, of appealing to the broad centre, the possessor of a safe pair of hands.

We need rather more than that, especially now. When the Coronavirus issue recedes we’ll still have a far larger and infinitely harder problem to combat: climate change. To cope with the vast societal changes that’ll have to take place in the swiftly deteriorating world situation that we’ll face over the next five, ten, forty years, we’ll need a politics with the will and ability to implement enormous and far reaching changes over a short period of time. The Labour Party currying favour with the establishment and the numerous vested interests that always seek to maintain the status quo, that desperately cling to an obsolete neoliberal system that has imploded twice is the last dozen years, does nothing to inspire confidence that it’s willing or able to do so. The current Labour leadership is harking back to an outdated, busted paradigm, when a completely fresh approach will be necessary if we’re to stand any chance of an equitable, sustainable future.

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Over the past three years the Labour Party took the climate change issue very seriously, producing plans for a Green New Deal to help combat the twin evils of inequality and climate change. Alan Simpson (Corbyn and McDonnell’s advisor on sustainable economics) has since produced an updated vision for a GND, but it’s almost as if the issue has become a niche interest under the present leadership – just something to placate the muesli-eaters. Climate change is alluded to in some communications – but it should be front and centre in everything the Labour Party is speaking about. It’s deeply worrying that it isn’t.

The party is no longer a comfortable place for left wingers, but they have to stay and make their voices heard. Labour needs its Jiminy Cricket voices – and will do so more and more as our worrying and uncertain future unfolds. It will be up to a future Labour government – perhaps in collaboration with other smaller, progressive parties – to effect the seismic changes that’ll have to take place.

So come on Sir Keir, show us what your vision is. Playing safe just shouldn’t be an option.

Paul Halas’s escape from 1970s hippidom was the discovery that he could invent stories. He spent forty years contributing to various Disney magazines and books, as well as a variety of non-Disney comics, books and animated films. His retirement from commercial writing coincided with Jeremy Corbyn becoming the Labour Party leader, which led to five years’ political activism. He left the party two years ago with a heavy heart.


A short appraisal by MERVYN HYDE

As a baby boomer, born one month after the war in Japan ended and growing up in a working class family, I grew up along with the welfare state and the NHS. From the mid 1940s until the 1970s  I saw my world opening up like a flower before me, and I just accepted that life was generally like this – as I didn’t then know anything different, unlike the children of today who have seen their futures closed down in front of their eyes for very different reasons.

My expectations were that, as I did, to serve an engineering apprenticeship.  On completion I was able to find well paid work anywhere in the town and my qualifications were recognised everywhere.

This was of course during the Keynesian era where the goals were full employment and social care, but then in the 1970s all that changed and Milton Friedman’s Neo-liberal doctrine prevailed culminating in the dismantling of the state by Margaret Thatcher.

I personally recognised the threat to our public services in 1974 where I joined the Labour party, noting the distinct change in language being expressed by Tory politicians, the attacks on trade Unions, British workers and the goods they produced, and no matter how good our public services and nationalised industries were, in their eyes it was never good enough.

That change in emphasis also permeated into the Labour Party which also promoted the false dichotomy of private enterprise being better than publicly provided services. This has led to the erosion of public provision and in its stead the introduction of Neo-Liberal fantasy economics, allied to which politicians have been seen to no longer serve the interests of people but global monopolies that dictate our living standards without any form of redress.

That has been supported by a complicit media and politicians of all colours and political persuasions, who have distorted peoples perceptions of public good in favour of private profit.

This video shows how factional interests within the Labour Party have used their exclusive privilege to thwart the democratic aspirations of the membership; undermined and smeared a democratically elected leader; and subverted an election campaign hoping the party would lose – that was finally achieved by losing the 2019 election with the resignation of a popular party leader.

Mervyn Hyde

Although now working class, my heritage stems from the farming community in Hereford and Worcester, Farmer Grandfathers going back at least three hundred years. I moved from Herefordshire to Gloucestershire at the age of seven and remained here ever since, except for a short time (approx. 12 months) I lived and worked in Germany. I have had a varied career from serving an Engineering Apprenticeship to working as a parts manager and chief storekeeper, to reverting back working on machine maintenance in a multinational company.  I joined the Labour Party in 1974 and campaigned in that election supporting Alf Pegler, who in fact did not win the Gloucester seat, became a Labour City councillor from 1976-1979  campaigned in three wards due to boundary changes and moving house, served as ward secretary and chairperson, on two occasions helped convert Tory wards into safe Labour seats.

No Country is an Island

Photo by on

Song by Richard Tuley: Taking Back Control


By Richard Tuley

Perhaps it’s distasteful to mention Brexit. People are dying in droves, horribly. The Tories got a resounding mandate. Case closed. The British public bought the lie and now we will reap the whirlwind. We are about to hurtle out of Europe with no deal and we are about to discover quite how important our relationship with the EU was, after all. Too late to go back.

Over the last 40 years Britain has had a nasty habit of voting in right-wing governments. There have only ever been four Labour Prime Ministers (if you don’t count Blair and New Labour, and I don’t). Labour achieved a decent majority in 1945 and 1966 and that’s it.

The truth is Labour lost the referendum decades ago. They should have presented a more positive vision of what cooperation between European countries meant. They should have blown the ridiculous chattering about butter mountains, straight bananas and imperial units of measurement out of the water. They should have confronted myths about the effects of EU migration and a growing resententment of immigrant labour within its own ranks and the outright xenophobia of grassroots Tories, the same Tories who imagine that Farage is a great bloke to have a pint with.

Instead of looking for a brighter side, for so much of our time in the EU British governments looked for opt-outs and dragged their feet when it came to extending the rights of citizens. But for many of us, during the years that we were members of the EU, it often felt like the EU was a bulwark against the excesses of the wilder right wing appetites of the Tories in government: for deregulation, privatisation and speculation.

We are about to hurtle out of Europe with no deal and we are about to discover quite how important our relationship with the EU was, after all.

Brexiteers would like us to move closer to America. Brexit was, fundamentally, a right wing coup. Right-wing press barons now have a degree of control over British governments and have power they never could hold over the EU. The Daniel Hannans of this world saw salvation in a deregulated, free trade Anglo-sphere (those countries that watch Friends without subtitles).

The Right were the ones who pushed Brexit from a fringe issue to one which has left Britain more divided than it has been at any other time in recent history. Brexit may even lead to the break up of the UK (no small irony for supposed patriots).

So what is left to be said? Brexit has begun and will continue. It will bring nothing good. While they imagine the United Kingdom is still influential, right wing fantasists in British governments bend over backwards so as not to upset the Chinese. How many of us hide behind the sofa with embarrassment when British politicians start to talk about the “special relationship” we have with the US?

How many of us hide behind the sofa with embarrassment when British politicians start to talk about the “special relationship” we have with the US?

The sad thing is that, in leaving the EU we have lost real influence. Britain has abandoned its place at the decision making table, its opportunity to deliberate over the processes that really matter. This is a league in which there are only three teams that have any real chance of taking the title: China, the USA and the EU.

Size brings power and that power gets to call the shots. We are often told that the UK has the 5th largest GDP, but, let’s face it, that is a bit like saying St Johnstone are 5th in the Scottish Premiership. When St Johnston play Celtic or Rangers they won’t win – and neither will we. Other countries are at best ambivalent about the history of Empire, not as impressed as we are about England winning the World Cup in 1966 and strangely to ignorant of the Brotherhood of Man’s triumph in the Eurovision Song Contest a decade later. Just because we are obsessed by ourselves, it doesn’t mean everybody else is.

Just because we are obsessed by ourselves, it doesn’t mean everybody else is.

As members of the EU we made an impact. We had a chance to work with others to change laws and regulations if there were things we didn’t like about them. Leaving the EU will not address any of the real issues of inequality of wealth and under-investment in public services and infrastructure. At a personal level, I am extremely depressed about the whole thing.

But it wasn’t just the right-wing that brought us Brexit. They were aided and abetted by the Lexiters – who were in favour of a Left wing exit from the EU. Lexiters told us that membership of the EU prevented us from achieving a socialist Britain; though not quite as much as the British people constantly voting for Tory governments prevented us from achieving it, you might say.

But it wasn’t just the right-wing that brought us Brexit. They were aided and abetted by the Lexiters – who were in favour of a Left wing exit from the EU.

Against the available evidence, Lexiters claimed remaining in the EU would prevent state ownership. Being in the EU didn’t stop the French State, through EDF, from being one of the major players in the British energy sector, or the SNCF and Deutsche Bahn from running national rail services franchises. In any case it is a bit rich the British to criticise the EU for not allowing state ownership when our governments virtually invented privatisation in its modern form. It’s like Sky TV complaining that there is too much football on TV.

We can also blame pro-Leave voices in the Labour Party. They were too slow to realise that, far from splitting the Tory party in two as the conventional wisdom had it, it was the Labour Party that would destroy itself over Europe. Although we are now told that Labour lost it by becoming too close to the Remain side, they were never going to win an election opposing the vast majority of its own supporters on the central issue. Even in the ‘Leave’ seats, the majority of Labour voters were Remainers. People forget, but it was Labour committing to a referendum on the deal that pushed the Liberals over the edge. At that point they were a credible alternative for Remain voters, but Labour moving onto their patch forced them into saying they would revoke Article 50 without a referendum and this was when their campaign started to unravel. Had Labour gone full Brexit, there is every chance that it would have been the end of the Labour Party as we know it. Metropolitan voters, who live and work contentedly with people from all over the world and who consider themselves to be European to the core, could never bring themselves to side with the Farageists.

Some took Jeremy Corbyn’s near success in 2017 as evidence of electoral support for a Labour pro-Brexit position, but his undoubted popularity, especially with the young, was despite and not because of this. And let’s not forget that Corbyn was probably up against the worst PM in British History, Teresa May, who was a better dancer than she was candidate for Prime Minister. There is no other Tory leader in living memory who could have performed so badly and blown the 20 point lead that she did, yet she still won the election in 2017.

Corbyn was probably up against the worst PM in British History, Teresa May, who was a better dancer than she was candidate for Prime Minister.

The EU is far from perfect, but for all of its faults, Europe is certainly more progressive than most of the rest of the World and certainly a right wing Britain under the Tories. The arguments of the Lexiters were unsound. If you had to be poor, you would surely rather be in the EU than almost anywhere else and if you have to be poor and British, then you would surely rather Britain be in the EU than outside it. The EU has enlightened human rights and labour law legislation and consumer standards that protect Britons, too. These are the real reasons the Tories are champing at the teeth to leave the EU, all the better to exploit ordinary people without restraint.

Soon the myth of the sweetheart deal Boris Johnson claims he can get with the EU will be exposed for the lie that it is and we will suffer the severe consequences of a sudden departure. The Corona crisis has demonstrated that nations’ fortunes are interwoven to a degree that they never have been before and in ways that are hard to imagine being undone. The unraveling of European trade and co-operation will demonstrate clearly to every observer that no country is an island, not even Britain.

We’re going to take back control


We’re going to take back control
Like in the days of old
Like in the days of gold
We are going to take back control

We’re going to rule the waves again
Back to the glory days of when
The Sun would never set
Those days we can’t forget

Back to the days when the shops all closed
Before the colour TV sold all our souls

We’ll show them what we’re all about
We’re going to kick the bad ones out
No one will tell us what to do
We’ll rule the world from our front room

We’re going to stop them coming in
We’re going to judge them by their skin
We’re going to turn back the tide
We’re going to get back our pride

Back to the days when the lights went out
We sat with candles through the darkest hours

We’re going to bring back the steel
We’re going to make the greatest deals
We’re going to have the freest trade
We’ll have it all and still get paid

Back to the days when the pubs all closed
Before the satellite TV sold all our souls

We’re going to take back control
Like in the days of old
Like in the days of gold
We’re going to take back control

Back to the days when the lights went out
We sat with candles through the darkest hours

Back to the days with our hankies on our heads
We sat on beaches with our faces turning red

Released May 31, 2020
It’s me on everything…
license all rights reserved, Richard Tuley

Richard Tuley

Richard Tuley is a teacher and musician who has lived and worked in many different places, most notably France, Japan, the Middle East and England.

Tread Softly Starmer, You Tread on Our Dreams


Jeremy Corbyn at the beginning of our socialist dream, Photograph by Andy Hall

Masks off! Keir Starmer got elected as Labour leader under false pretenses. At the next Labour leadership election he will be sent into oblivion. Keir Starmer, like Tom Watson, got into his position by pretending to be on the left. It is now clear that he is not on the left. He has allied himself with some of the most reactionary forces in the Labour party.

In doing so he has insulted the membership. This is a fatal strategic mistake. This is the beginning of the end for Starmer. It’s happening now. There is a ground swell of anger from Constituency Labour Parties and the membership.

During the leadership campaign Starmer’s centre-left pitch appealed to many members who were emotionally battered and demoralised following the election defeat. The feeling was that while he was not a Corbyn continuity politician, Keir Starmer would at least adhere to most of the principles that the party had espoused over the previous five years. That faith has quickly been eroded.

What has tarnished this golden idol so quickly? Quite a few people felt that something was not quite right when, during his campaign, Starmer refused to disclose a full list of his backers. It was obvious he was being very well-funded.

…overshadowing all of these factors, the ultimate and seismic betrayal of the left, is the decision to ignore the report into antisemitism in the Labour Party drawn up by Jennie Formby to be presented as evidence to the IHRC investigation into the Labour Party.

Following his success in the ballot the reason for his coyness become apparent. With generous donations from figures behind the Labour right – and in some cases far further in that direction – people’s suspicions were fully vindicated. With backers such as Waheed Ali, Bob Latham, Martin Taylor, Clive Hollick and Trevor Chinn, the march to the right was well underway.

There was also concern at Starmer’s uncritical acceptance of the ten conditions, aka the Ten Commandments, laid out by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, which can claim to speak for only around 30% of the UK’s Jews. Under these strictures, legitimate criticism of Israel, over Palestinian rights for instance, can be viewed as antisemitism. Other Jewish groups, such a the Jewish Voice for Labour, will not be deemed legitimate. Many left wing Jews feel betrayed and fear victimisation.

… presenting over 800 pages of evidence of sabotage by Labour Party workers (and their backers) of the Labour election campaigns of 2017 and 2019.

Additionally, the make-up of the shadow cabinet gives evidence of a shift to the right as does the shortlist for the new party General Secretary, but overshadowing all of these factors the ultimate and seismic betrayal of the left is the decision to ignore the report into antisemitism in the Labour Party drawn up by Jennie Formby: the report to be presented as evidence to the IHRC investigation into the Labour Party.

This is probably the most important political scandal in postwar Britain, presenting over 800 pages of evidence of sabotage by Labour Party workers (and their backers) of the Labour election campaigns of 2017 and 2019.

Starmer’s first first reaction was to ignore the report into antisemitism and his second, following its widespread leaking, was to whitewash it. The commission to look into its formulation, content and dissemination was hand-picked to do just that.

With every passing day the evidence that Labour’s direction of travel is towards status quo-friendly “safe” centrism. Little wonder increasing numbers of Labour voters feel sick to their stomachs and utterly betrayed.

Starmer has made a strategic mistake in sidelining the left and duping the Labour Party membership. It is unlikely Starmer will get to the next election. He will probably lose any future leadership battle because of his recent tactics, no matter how well he plays in the mainstream media.

Keir Starmer seems to feel no pressure from the left or obligation to the membership. The only pressure he demonstrably reacts to is pressure from the right: from the right wing papers, the BBC and Guardian, the captains of industry and the Blairites and Brownites in the PLP.

But listen now, Starmer. We won’t roll over. This is the beginning of the fight back.

If you want us to support you, this is our price. Otherwise, prepare to lose the next Labour Leadership election:

1. We want Rebecca Long-Bailey as our opposition Home Secretary.

2. We want John McDonnell reinstated as shadow Chancellor.

3. We want Jeremy Corbyn to be our opposition Foreign Secretary.

No token concession will do.

Despite the expulsions we will soon outnumber the Labour right again. Remember the school children chanting Jeremy Corbyn’s name? Remember that all those 15, 16, 17 and 18 year olds know that it is only with a Left Labour government that they will have a chance in hell of living a secure, good life, with dignity.

Tom Watson is off with the fairies, now giving health advice. As a result of Starmer’s anti-Corbyn appointments and actions, if he isn’t careful, Starmer may soon be following in Watson’s footsteps.

By Paul Halas and Philip Hall

Humanity’s Rosy Fingered Dawn: 2020

By Phil Hall

Covid-19 arrives, We sit at home for a long while. The cities empty, the air clears and bird song seems louder. Translucent jellyfish float up the canal and goats clop through a Welsh hill town. We all see these things presented artistically on slim screens. We, the whole world. There is a big intake of breath and all human beings are asked to think about what kind of future they want for life on Earth, especially those human beings with power and influence. This is a lull before the next phase of human civilisation begins. May it be an improvement on the last. The scientists, doctors, nurses, carers, cleaners, farmers, shopkeepers and delivery workers are our heroes now, not the soldiers, not the vultures.

In the past every single crisis has been nothing more than a call to arms for humanity. Civilisation built on slavery and regimentation gave us protection, education, entertainment, a shared belief system and surplus time to create art and study the sciences – to enhance civilisation. Civilisation is a virtuous circle that overcomes obstacles not through the dreams of a prophet like Daniel, but through the recorded and archived memory of the seasons, of the past flood cycles of the Nile. A Roman villa in Pompei was to die for! Even the wealthiest alive today envy the prosperous Romans.

Colonialism, which oppressed whole nations for years and entrenched racialist belief systems of superiority and entitlement, homogenised the world. The colonialists took the cultivars of the Americas, the products of millennia of selection and cultivation, released them and spread them round the globe. Colonialism turned the Apache, the Mexica and the Inca into Europeans. Colonialism created great spheres of mutual understanding and awareness and strange pairings; so that now Holland really is twinned with Indonesia, so that Morocco has two European brothers called Spain and France, so that a little archipelago to the north of Europe is India’s jewel in the crown. I am talking about identities and shared spaces. How awfully eclectic they are as the result of colonialism.

Colonialism created great spheres of mutual understanding and awareness and strange pairings;

But how shocking to think that just as it was for feudalism, slavery was at the bedrock of capitalism. The foundation stones of modernity are the blood, sweat and tears of men, women and children transplanted to the Caribbean and the southern United States. Under that stratum, even worse, is the genocide of the Caribs and native Americans. Slavery was overthrown, but not before the work of transplanted African people in the Caribbean had provided enough wealth to kick start the industrial revolution and money to build a fair number of the grand country houses of England.

Capitalism is the organised extraction and exploitation of other people’s creativity and labour with the help of the state. After extremely painful beginnings, capitalism, built up through the well-chronicled suffering of the European and US working classes, took off, revolutionising every aspect of our lives. It turned us into wage earners. The capitalist class collects our labour surplus assiduously to the last drop. Capitalism does amazing things with our surplus labour, it builds nuclear submarines and battleships, skyscrapers, rockets, malls and TV stations. The list of what the few do with the labour surplus of the many dumbfounds.

The capitalist class collects our labour surplus assiduously to the last drop.

And now, the system which revolutionised production processes has brought us to such a point in history where technology really has become magic; we have virtual reality, 3D printing, robot combine harvesters, solar power stations and our spacecraft have explored the solar system. Think of the cornucopia of services, experiences and products on offer to almost anyone paid a living wage in modern capitalist society.

Despite the hegemony of this system and the fact that it thrives on a certain level of chaos and misery which is tolerable to the few and intolerable to the many, with every catastrophe humanity, collectively rises to the challenge and overcomes it.

To the disgust of the misanthropes, antibiotics prevents the death of hundreds of millions and nitrate fertiliser easily allows the planet to sustain over 7 billion people – or it would if the food were distributed better. The vast majority of those who live now have better lives than the ordinary people of previous centuries.

Call the New Age humane socialism, if you like.

The instincts of lower order capitalists are deeply piratical, unlike those (ehem) of the more mature billionaire, visionaries and philanthropists – sweethearts like Rockefeller and Gates. There is of course an even darker side of capitalism that thrives on war: the armaments companies, the oil giants, the great spiders who would have you squashed like a bug as soon as look at you.

But now, with the help of Covid-19, we move into the beginnings of a new age. Either it will be yet another phase of capitalism, or it will be the start of a bloodless transformation into something else. Call the New Age humane socialism, if you like.

I am happy to know that I live at the onset of this mythical New Age. Just as people in the present sometimes long to walk in the past, to see Babylon, Rome or London in their full glory, well, in the future they will long to have experienced our very own rosy-fingered, lock-down dawn. They will long to have witnessed what is happening right now, the full awakening of humanity, as we begin to understand we need to work as a planet to meet the challenges that face us, global challenges like Covid-10.

Here are some of those challenges. I have listed them for you, but you are welcome to add to them:

  • The challenge of insufficient intellectual capacity
  • The challenge of a possible catastrophic asteroid or comet strike
  • The challenge of travelling in space long distances
  • The challenge of dealing equably with other species on Earth
  • The challenge of sharing out resources fairly
  • The challenge of engineering evolution
  • The challenge of protecting the vulnerable
  • The challenge of incorporating capitalism into socialist democracy
  • The challenge of reforming toxic recidivist states
  • The challenge of ensuring gender equality
  • The challenge of coexistence, generating mutual respect and solidarity
  • The challenge of life extension
  • The challenge of climate change and global warming
  • The challenge of communication with extraterrestrial species
  • The challenge of dealing with volcanic and seismic activity
  • The challenge of defeating ablism
  • The challenge of taking control away of body image from the fashion industry and commerce
  • The challenge of sharing prosperity and development
  • The challenge of providing ongoing educational opportunities for everyone
  • The challenge of looking after everyone’s health
  • The challenge of providing people with plenty of leisure
  • The challenge of stopping discrimination of all kinds
  • The challenge of ensuring freedom of expression and creativity
  • The challenge of freeing the Earth from pollution of the air, water and earth
  • The challenge of recognising the sentience of species like dolphins, elephants and Bonobos.
  • The challenge of stopping over-fishing of the seas
  • The challenge of ensuring justice for everyone
  • The challenge of creating high quality bionics
  • The challenge of unemployment and underemployment
  • The challenge of discovering as yet unknown dangers and challenges
  • The challenge of providing psychological support
  • The challenge of the husbanding existing raw materials
  • The challenge of the discovery of new sources of raw materials
  • The challenge of development of alternative energies
  • The challenge of dealing with the darkness in human nature


These are a few of the challenges that we will face in this new millennia and, when we do face them we will overcome them. The Earth and our solar system will be a garden. The Earth will be full of conservation parks, it will be full of an impossible beauty.

We are the ones living at this hinge moment, though ultimately it is our children who will have to rise to the challenges ahead; not with the physics of megadeath and aggression, but with their creativity and talent, with passion and self control, with clear thinking.


Phil Hall is a college lecturer. He is a committed socialist and humanitarian. Phil was born in South Africa where his parents were in the ANC. There, his mother was imprisoned and his father was the first journalist from a national paper to be banned. Phil grew up in East Africa and settled in Kingston-upon-Thames. He has also lived and worked in the Ukraine, Spain, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi. Phil has blogged for the Guardian, the Morning Star and several other publications and he has written stories for The London Magazine. He started Ars Notoria in May 2020.

Why Did the Working Class Vote Tory?

Photo by ELEVATE on

by James Tweedie, Plymouth, May 6th 2020

The one-word answer is: “Brexit.”

The Labour Party backed the losing side in the 2016 UK referendum on leaving the EU, despite then-leader Jeremy Corbyn’s 40 years of opposition to British membership of the trade bloc-turned superstate.

Labour came within a hair’s breadth of winning the snap general election in 2017, when it campaigned on a promise to respect the will of the people on Brexit.

But at its 2018 and 2019 conferences, branch and trade union delegates voted explicitly to disrespect the result by forcing the people to vote again – and presumably over and over until they ‘got it right’. There is no greater sin in party politics than being at odds with the majority.

Corbyn cited party democracy and unity as his reasons for going along with this betrayal of the very people Labour was founded to represent, the working class. But those excuses rang hollow.  Labour MPs, including the party leader, are not bound by conference resolutions. ‘Unity’ with those, such as shadow Brexit secretary (and now leader) Sir Keir Starmer, who’d stabbed him in the back over and over was a joke.

There is no greater sin in party politics than being at odds with the majority.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, the Conservative Party dumped Remainer PM Theresa May as soon as they saw the newly-formed Brexit Party was going to win the EU Parliament elections last spring. There was never any doubt that Brexiteer Boris Johnson would succeed May as Tory leader.

Labour immediately switched tactics from demanding an election once a week to colluding with the other opposition parties, Tory Europhile rebels, partisan Parliamentary speaker John Bercow and the megalomaniac law lords of the abomination of a supreme court in an attempt to create political anarchy and engineer a return to the disastrous National Government of 1931.

But Johnson outmaneuvered them all, first peeling off Labour MPs in Leave-voting seats to support his Brexit deal with Brussels, thus forcing the Scottish Nationalists and Liberal Democrats to vote for another snap election in a last-ditch bid to stay in the EU.

Johnson’s election strategy was to turn every speech and journalist’s question back to Brexit. It worked. On election night last December 12th, shadow chancellor John McDonnell, an ultra-leftist who’d also sold out his Euro-sceptic principals when leadership beckoned, admitted to the BBC that maybe the electorate wanted to ‘get Brexit done’ after all.

Class Betrayal

If Labour’s stance on EU membership was its only problem, it would have a fighting chance of winning the first post-Brexit election.  But the rot runs much deeper than that. Quite simply, the Labour Party is no longer a party of labour. Even under Jeremy Corbyn, the great white hope of the Left, it drifted further away from its core constituency.

Labour has a long history of abject class betrayal. The party was founded in 1906, and eight years later supported the bloodbath of the First World War, sending the flower of Britain’s working class to be killed and maimed in the trenches to defend the spoils of colonialism.

What did Labour’s election manifesto last year offer the workers? After losing their jobs in a environmentalist fire-sale…

Ramsay McDonald made his bed with the Tories and Liberals in his National Government. Clement Attlee’s 1945 government turned its back on our wartime ally the Soviet Union to join NATO and send troops to fight in the Korean War, when such things still mattered to a more class-conscious electorate. Neil Kinnock betrayed the striking miners in 1984, while Tony Blair realigned Labour with ‘Middle England’ and the City of London.

Labour’s membership has become overwhelmingly metropolitan, university-educated, middle-class, ‘woke’, Guardian-reading liberals. Most leaders of the Labour-affiliated trade unions are the same, and have never had a job outside the labour movement or been on the front line of a strike.

What did Labour’s election manifesto last year offer the workers? After losing their jobs in a environmentalist fire-sale, they’d get a bit more in benefit payments, paid for out of the remaining workers’ taxes. Oh, and free home internet in ten years’ time.

As someone who was excited by Corbyn winning the leadership in 2015, four years on I was disgusted to see him become another soft-left Judas goat like Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren. I’d rather have an honest enemy than a false friend.

The same Labour members who elected Corbyn as leader twice have now chosen his nemesis Starmer, a knight of the realm and the arch-Remainiac, as his replacement. It’s like they want to stay in opposition forever.

Identity Crisis

Labour long ago abandoned class politics for identity politics, taking the workers’ support for granted while they focus on winning the female, black and LGBT vote. And it’s the self-styled ‘socialists’ and ‘Marxists’ on the Left of the party are most guilty of this.

This has become a feedback loop: the more Labour’s northern and Scottish heartlands slip through its fingers, the more the party falls back on the inner-city seats where its most reliable voters are Afro-Caribbeans and poor Asians.

This explains the rage provoked among Labour MPs when Johnson named the most racially-diverse cabinet Britain has ever had. Shadow defence secretary Clive Lewis told fellow Afro-Caribbean and Tory party chairman James Cleverly that ‘black members of the cabinet had to sell your souls & self-respect to get there’.

It’s worth noting that three of the top government jobs are held by MPs of African-Indian descent – Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Home Secretary Priti Patel and Attorney-General Suella Braverman. Whether or not you like their politics, they are members of a diaspora of a diaspora, which was central to the anti-Apartheid struggle in South Africa, who were oppressed under colonialism then too often despised for their supposed ‘privileges’ by some misguided African nationalists since independence.

After accusing every black Tory of being an Uncle Tom, Lewis abandoned all sense of irony by calling Johnson, a foreign-born citizen with Turkish and Russian Jewish ancestors, ‘racist’.

Working-class white Tory voters and the ‘Blue Labour’ faction trying to win them back are derided as right-wing, racist or even closet fascists by this politically-correct clique, echoing Hillary Clinton’s 2016 election-losing ‘basket of deplorables’ speech. Labour MPs and councillors helped the police cover up Asian paedophile grooming gangs, and called the whistle-blowers racist too.

The danger of populists is not that they might be demagogues, but funnily enough that they’re popular with the masses.

In the end though, ‘intersectional’ ID politics devours itself. In Birmingham, Muslim parents were told their children had to learn about same-sex relationships in reception year to stop them growing up to be religious extremists. Every woman running for Labour leader or deputy leader this year signed a pledge to expel thousands of feminists and gay rights campaigners from the party for being ‘transphobic’.

Those leaders who used to be called ‘dictators’ and ‘autocrats’ are nowadays dubbed ‘populists’ instead, a subtle but ultimately meaningless change of language. The danger of populists is not that they might be demagogues, but funnily enough that they’re popular with the masses.

Johnson  is neither blind nor stupid. After snaffling Labour’s lunch and smashing its ‘red wall’, he acknowledged that the workers had ‘lent him their votes’ and promised to do right by them. If the Tories can do social democracy better than Labour – like paying everyone’s wages during the lockdown – and speak the language of the people better to boot, they could stay in government for decades to come.


James Tweedie

James Tweedie was born in Hammersmith, West London, in 1975. He grew up in the shadow of the mushroom cloud in the time of colonial liberation, being taken to Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament  and Anti-Apartheid Movement events by his mother and father respectfully.

James has lived and worked in South Africa and Spain. He has worked as a reporter and the international editor of the Morning Star newspaper, a foreign reporter for the Mail Online, an online journalist for He has appeared as a commentator on BBC Radio 4, RT’s Crosstalk, Turkey’s TRT World and Iran’s Press TV. He currently works for Sputnik.

James maintains an occasional blog (, describing himself as “one of the most deplorable purveyors of fake news about populist strongmen (and women) around the post-truth world.”

How to defeat Covid-19

By Phil Hall

In China the barefoot doctors believed in prevention rather than cure. So how can we make societies like ours more resilient to pandemic infections like Covid-19?

Well, we could advocate for a more humane society. That would make us much more resilient. We could guarantee a fully functioning, well-funded health service free of charge for everyone. To fund this better health service we could increase income tax. How about going back to the 60’s and having a generous tax rate of up to 90% on the highest of high earners? Generous to ordinary people, I mean.

Covid-19 attacks the unhealthy, the impoverished; improve nutrition and make people healthier that way. Ban low quality processed foods from sale. Make sure that only cruelty free animals and animal products are sold: meat, eggs milk and so on. Set higher standards for food production and sale.

How about going back to the 60’s and having a generous tax rate of up to 90% on the highest of high earners? Generous to ordinary people, I mean.

How about exercise to go with it? Encourage people to garden in the cities. Give everyone a country plot of land where they can grow an orchard or vegetables. They used to do this in the Soviet Union. Many people had dachas, little plots of land outside town. In the UK we could increase the supply of allotments.

How about investing heavily in universities and encouraging them to find scientific solutions to diseases. We could focus investment on the most advanced areas of medical research. Make medicine more affordable. Control the big pharmaceutical companies and force them to hand over the recipes for useful drugs over shorter time periods. Give the NHS access cheaper generic drugs.

Why not provide quality, free health education on all aspects of human health and health protection and the prevention of diseases? Why not provide sports facilities for everyone of every age to help them improve their overall health; from bowling greens to football grounds. Give the playgrounds stolen from schools back to the children.

Covid -19 loves crowded spaces. Make public transport spacious, frequent, clean and affordable.

Make us more healthy and disease resistant by encouraging more people to cycle. Build proper, isolated cycle lanes in every British city. Be like Amsterdam. Provide free bicycles for public use. Make the very centres of all cities and towns car free.

Covid -19 loves crowded spaces. Make public transport spacious, frequent, clean and affordable. Encourage trust in politics by ensuring a rigorous democratic selection process before every election so that MPs and local council officials are kept honest and answerable. Make it very difficult for people to have full professional careers as politicians. Increase citizen participation in all political processes.

Bring in the four day week. That would reduce people’s stress and reduce crowding on public transport and in offices and schools. You know it makes sense.

Pensioners are the victims of Covid-19. Provide pensioners and affordable housing. Give pensioners good money so that they can afford to live healthily. Reward all carers generously, especially family members. Ensure a living wage and good working conditions for all employees in the public and private sectors so that people have the leisure time and money they need to eat healthily and exercise. Encourage worker participation on company boards.

Make contingency plans for epidemics and learn from the lessons of previous epidemics in order to mitigate the problems. Buy in sufficient equipment to handles such a crisis and make preparations through the WHO to combat pandemics in a coordinated and effective way in future.

Prevention really is better than cure.


Phil Hall

Phil Hall is a university lecturer working in the Middle East. He is a committed socialist and humanitarian. Phil was born in South Africa where his parents were in the ANC. There, his mother was imprisoned and his father was the first journalist from a national paper to be banned. Phil grew up in East Africa and settled in Kingston-upon-Thames. He has also lived and worked in the Ukraine, Spain and Mexico. Phil has blogged for the Guardian, the Morning Star and several other publications and he has written stories for The London Magazine.

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