Scottish anti-Semitic Blairite Murphy’s hypocrisy

This video from Britain says about itself:

The Henry Jackson Society and the Degeneration of British Neoconservatism

21 June 2015

The Henry Jackson Society and the Degeneration of British Neoconservatism: Liberal Interventionism, Islamophobia and the ‘War On Terror‘.

The reports examines the history, activities and politics of the Henry Jackson Society, a leading exponent of neoconservatism in the UK that is grounded in a transatlantic tradition deeply influenced by Islamophobia and an open embrace of the ‘War on Terror‘.

By Conrad Landin in Scotland:

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Jim Murphy pops up from the dead

SOME years ago at a Labour Party conference, I stumbled into a trade union leader brandishing a coconut on the terrace of Brighton’s Grand Hotel. “This one’s for Jim Murphy”, the general secretary growled.

Just what is it about the former Scottish Labour leader that provokes such passions?

Mr Murphy is a member of the right-wing Henry Jackson Society. Like the United States senator, nicknamed ‘the gentleman from Boeing‘ after which it was named, it stands for racism, warmongering, torture and corruption.

However, there is at least one difference between the late Senator Jackson and the present Society. While Henry Jackson’s racism was especially against Japanese American civilians, whose internment in camps he supported strongly, the Henry Jackson Society of today, according to the (Rupert Murdoch owned) London Times and other sources, gets paid by the militarist right-wing Japanese government to make anti-Chinese propaganda for it.

I should really be praising him, as he’s clearly been reading Landin in Scotland. Last week, I documented the efforts of several “ghosts of Scottish Labour past” to cling onto their influence.

One can only assume Murphy was rather hurt to be left out, for he made a spectacular return from the dead on Monday. He said the “way in which anti-semitism has been normalised in the darker recesses of the Labour Party” was “the one thing above all else that makes me angry about Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership.”

Anti-semitism is of course disgusting, and the uncomfortable truth is that there are indeed a small number who see no contradiction between their vile racism and Labour membership. The fight to eradicate this menace is not helped by a larger number of socialists who deny the presence of anti-semitism.

There is something quite audacious about Murphy’s outburst, however. And I’m not just talking about his involvement in plans for Tony Blair’s charities to collect “high-quality data” on mosques and schools, to supply to torturous regimes.

As even the right-wing London Times writes.

Next week is the second anniversary of one of the most disgraceful episodes Scottish politics has ever seen.

Back in 2016, Labour’s national executive committee had a rule — since overturned — that candidates must be nominated by their home constituency party. For Rhea Wolfson, this was the Eastwood party, in the Glasgow suburb from which she hails.

At the meeting where she sought nomination, she was asked to leave the room. And who should then pop up but local ex-MP Jim Murphy. According to Wolfson’s statement at the time, Murphy then said it “would not be appropriate to nominate me due to my endorsement by Momentum, which he claimed has a problem with anti-semitism.”

He was clearly not bothered by the fact he was effectively blocking the only Jewish NEC candidate.

Momentum (left wing of Labour) leader Jon Lansman, and many Momentum activists, are Jewish as well.

“Needless to say, I do not believe Murphy can speak with credibility on this issue,” Wolfson said this week. “Call out Murphy, continue to challenge anti-semitism — one without the other is hypocrisy.” Words well worth heeding.


Poetry on Grenfell disaster and Scottish women

This video from Britain says about itself:

12 May 2018

Amidst new claims of Tory social cleansing in one of Britain’s richest neighbourhoods – activist poet Potent Whisper performs from his new book “The Rhyming Guide to Grenfell Britain“!

By Andy Croft in Britain:

Monday, May 14, 2018

21st century poetry with Andy Croft

Grenfell: a potent whisper of all that’s wrong in Britain

POTENT WHISPER is a Brixton-based rapper and political grime artist. His first book The Rhyming Guide to Grenfell Britain (Dog Section Press, £7) includes his Rhyming Guide to NHS Privatisation, a spoken-word video which has received over 170,000 views since it was released by Momentum.

This poetry video is called The Rhyming Guide to NHS Privatisation by Potent Whisper.

For the writer, the Grenfell Tower fire was not an accident. “The deaths at Grenfell were forewarned, preventable and, he argues, deliberate, which makes each death “an emblematic embodiment” of all that is wrong with Britain:

“What happened at Grenfell, that was an act of war/The murder of innocent people who died because they’re poor/Hundreds of deaths and you can bet that there’s be more/So if you think that you survived it, I wouldn’t be so sure…”

Written in loose rhyming couplets, sometimes conversational, sometimes hectoring, the book takes issue with the brazen dishonesty of so much contemporary political “common sense”, including austerity (“How can people work so hard and still not be surviving?”), nuclear deterrence (“Try and invest money into lives instead of Trident/Try jobs, try housing, try education/Try welfare, not warfare… Put Trident on trial and try choosing a future.”)

He declares: ”The more I see the more it seems we need a revolution” In The Rhyming Guide to Voting:

“I always said that, I wouldn’t vote if they paid me/That’s what I said before Corbyn said he’d pay me/£10 per hour, when I’m at work. Minimum…/Many on the left would say that he’s the best we’ve had/That he’s the best we’ve got now, that he’s the best we’ll have/He murked the game and worked his way further than ever expected/And now he’s an inch from getting elected…’

Although Gerda Stevenson is a hugely distinguished actor, director, musician and playwright, her poetry is less well-known. Her second collection Quines: Poems in Tribute to Women of Scotland (Luath, £9.99) will surely change that.

It’s a book of huge ambition and radical purpose, a kind of history of Scotland told through the lives of almost 70 women, from the Gaelic warrior princess Sgathach to Tessa Ransford, the founder of the Scottish Poetry Library in the 21st century.

It’s a collection of snapshots and historical vignettes, scenes from great lives — some famous, some forgotten — and all are extraordinary. Artists, doctors, missionaries, politicians, writers and scientists, as well as the team that beat England in 1881 in the first recorded women’s international football match (“The wind was against us — but wasn’t it ever?”), all speak to us in their own voices.

Among them are Jennie Lee, Moira Shearer, the Duchess of Atholl, novelist Nan Shepherd, the first woman to appear on a Scottish banknote, film-maker Margaret Tait, Williamina Fleming, who discovered the Horsehead Nebula, and Jane Haining, the only Scot to be honoured for giving her life for Jews during the Holocaust.

And there is a long sequence about Helen Crawfurd, suffragette, pacifist and foundation member of the Communist Party.

“The toil of oil and soot-black shipbuilders,/traipsing home at dusk to bow-legged bairns … the whole world is theirs by right … Here in the Second City of the Empire,/where a fanfared judge steps from his carriage/at the High Court, our ranks are ready for his bailiffs …’

And this is Helen Macfarlane, who first translated The Communist Manifesto into English.

“I’ve always seen Red … Red raw my sisters’ eyes — how they cried/when the mills went down … Red the robin’s breast on a winter branch … And red, red my thoughts that flow with His tidings,/onto page after page: how can we leave a single soul to die/by inches in squalid lanes and gutters, making slop shirts/at tuppence apiece, while another is swathed in silk?”

Catalan Clara Ponsati, deportation from Scotland to Spanish jail?

Former Catalan education minister Clara Ponsati (centre), who is facing extradition to Spain, greets supporters alongside her lawyer Aamer Anwar outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court after she was released on bail

This photo shows former Catalan education minister Clara Ponsati (centre), who is facing extradition to Spain, greeting supporters alongside her lawyer Aamer Anwar outside Edinburgh Sheriff Court after she was released on bail. A sign says, in Spanish: ‘There is no democracy in Spain‘.

By Conrad Landin in Britain:

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Scottish court grants bail to Catalan politician facing jail in Spain

A CATALAN politician facing jail over the recent independence referendum was bailed by a Scottish court today.

Clara Ponsati was the Spanish region’s education minister but she fled to Belgium, along with Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, when the administration was sacked by the Spanish government last autumn. Catalonia had declared independence from Spain following a referendum which Madrid declared to be illegal.

Ms Ponsati later returned to a teaching post at St Andrews University, which she had previously held before entering front-line politics.

A European arrest warrant for a number of Catalan ex-ministers was reissued on Friday and Ms Ponsati handed herself in to police in Edinburgh this morning.

The hearing before Sheriff Nigel Ross lasted less than 10 minutes this afternoon in a courtroom crowded with press and supporters.

The court heard that Ms Ponsati does not consent to extradition. The application for bail was not opposed by the Crown. Granted bail, Ms Ponsati was asked to surrender her passport.

Her lawyer said she views the charges, which could attract a jail term of up to 30 years, as political persecution and believes that her human rights cannot be guaranteed in Spain.

Students at St Andrews protested against her arrest outside the university’s students union today evening. A bigger demonstration will be held on Monday from 7pm.

Aamer Anwar, a celebrated rights lawyer and Glasgow University rector, who is representing Ms Ponsati, said: “Clara remains defiant, resolute and is determined to fight back.”

Mr Anwar said his client was “truly humbled by the unconditional support from students, colleagues and the principal at St Andrews University,” and expressed thanks to the Scottish public and politicians for their support. “Scotland has been a true friend to Catalonia in her darkest hours,” he added.

The ex-minister’s counsel is likely to argue that rebellion is not a crime in Scotland, though the offence of treason could be deemed sufficiently similar. The case could also be struck out on grounds that it is politically motivated.

Mr Puigdemont, heading back to Belgium from a trip to Finland, was arrested by police in Germany on Monday. After a preliminary hearing, he will need to appear in court again to before a judge will determine whether he should be extradited.

St Andrews hits out at Spanish bid to extradite Catalan academic. University ‘deeply concerned’ after former Catalan minister Clara Ponsatí named in warrant: here.

University Statement on Professor Clara Ponsati: Clara is a valued colleague and we are committed to protect and support her.

SCOTTISH First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected tonight to meet a former Catalan minister facing extradition to Spain. Clara Ponsati, an economist, is being chased by the authorities in Madrid for alleged “violent rebellion” for her involvement in the region’s bid for independence: here.

Spanish judiciary accuses former Catalan President Puigdemont of “mobilising the masses”: here.

Spanish police attack protests demanding release of Catalonian leaders: here.

Barcelona: Hundreds of thousands protest against jailing of Catalan independence leaders: here.

‘Grenfell’ fire risk in Scottish schools

This video from Scotland says about itself:

Cairneyhill Primary School Fire Aftermath – Aerial footage 4K

9 December 2017

The scene the day after fire ripped through buildings in Cairneyhill Primary School, Fife, showing the devastation caused.

From daily News Line in Britain:

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Scottish school fire – No smoke alarms!

EVERY school in the country must be immediately assessed for fire risk, the EIS teachers union urged, after an investigation found that Cairneyhill Primary School in Scotland, a large section of which burned to the ground last month, did not even have smoke alarms!

After the horror of the fire at Grenfell Tower you would imagine that in the succeeding months – it has now been well over seven months – basic fire safety in schools would have been checked.

At the end of last year, on December 8 hundreds of school pupils were evacuated from Cairneyhill Primary as a fire tore through the school. The alarm was raised around 1pm with more than 200 children escorted out of the playground as the blaze broke out at the school which is on Northbank Road, Dunfermline.

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) teacher’s union Fife branch has called on Fife Council to immediately review its school fire safety. The EIS has written to education chiefs after an investigation confirmed the building did not have a single smoke alarm fitted.

Following a new revelation that only 72% of Fife’s schools are fitted with smoke detectors, the issue of fire safety in schools has become extremely urgent. EIS Fife spokesman David Farmer said: ‘There is a real need to be looking at this urgently.

‘When it comes to new schools, contractors seem to be putting smoke detectors in as standard. These schools have got the detection equipment, but the older schools haven’t.’

Protecting Scottish coral reefs

This video says about itself:

Protecting Scotland’s Coral Reefs #OurBluePlanet – BBC Earth

13 December 2017

Did you know there’s coral in Scottish waters? Discover how a barren seabed transformed into a vibrant seascape.

How Scottish workers sabotaged Chilean dictator Pinochet

This video says about itself:

NAE PASARAN (2013) – Official Trailer

In a small Scottish town in 1974, factory workers refuse to carry out repairs on warplane engines in an act of solidarity against the violent military coup in Chile. Four years pass then the engines mysteriously disappear in the middle of the night. Forty years later they re-unite to look back on what was gained and what was lost.

Director: Felipe Bustos Sierra Producer: Rebecca Day (SDI Productions) Executive Producers: Sonja Henrici & Noe Mendelle Editor: Anne Milne Animation Director: Frederic Plasman Camera: Julian Schwanitz Sound: Jack Coghill

Highlights: Edinburgh International Film Festival 2013 DOK Leipzig 2013 – Official Selection and Animadoc Dove Award Nomination Arcipelago 2013 – International Competition The Short Planet – Rome London Short Film Festival 2014 – Official Competition Glasgow Short Film Festival 2014 – Scottish Competition Tribeca Film Festival 2014 – Official Competition

By Felipe Bustos Sierra in Scotland:

The cots who downed Pinochet’s war planes

Saturday 2nd December 2017

Felipe Bustos Sierra tells the extraordinary story of working-class international solidarity that has inspired his documentary Nae Pasaran

I first met Robert Somerville at his Motherwell tower block flat five years ago this month. I had known of the story of the workers at Rolls Royce East Kilbride for decades but found out their names only recently. Robert and his fellow shop stewards led one of the longest and most efficient boycotts against the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, although it has taken five years to find out how much they accomplished.

From 1974 to 1978, they refused to repair and return Avon jet engines from the Chilean air force.

These engines had powered the Hawker Hunter jets that bombed the Moneda Palace in Santiago on September 11 1973 and put an end to the first left-wing democracy in Latin America.

The Chilean military-led coup and the death of President Salvador Allende marked the beginning of 17 years of dictatorship, systematic human rights abuse and press censorship. The National Commission on Political Imprisonment and Torture and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission have estimated that there were around 30,000 victims of human rights abuses in Chile, with 27,255 tortured and 2,279 executed.

Six months after the coup, aero-engine inspector Bob Fulton, nicknamed “Tank commander” for his years as a WWII tank mechanic, noticed the job sheets for the first Chilean engine on his desk. With the help of his colleague Stuart Barrie they alerted anyone working on Chilean engines: “These engines are blacked. We’ll not work on them.”

By the end of the day, eight engines of the Chilean air force were found throughout the factory and work on them stopped.

The works committee, of which Somerville and John Keenan were representatives, backed Bob’s decision which was supported by the Amalgamated Engineering Union (AEU) executive.

No jobs were lost and, after a year of deliberation with the management, the Chilean engines were loosely assembled, put into crates and left to rust in the yard. The longest boycott in the history of Chilean solidarity had begun.

On the August 26 1978 at 2am, two lorries and an iron crane with fake licence plates from an fictional transport company were let into the yard and took away the engines. The workers were told soon after that the engines were back in Chile and already in service. It was the last they heard about the matter, with little indication as to whether they’d had any impact.

The “blacking of Chilean engines by Scottish workers” had become one of the old myths of the Chile solidarity movement shared at solidarity events throughout the 1970s and ‘80s, well beyond the time of the engines’ disappearance.

Robert, John, Bob and Stuart have told me this story in their own words, from their own — at times, very different — memories over the last five years.

At the end of our initial meetings, they each had the same question, “Do you think we can still find the engines?”

For the last five years, I have researched and filmed in Britain and Chile a documentary called Nae Pasaran (They Shall Not Pass) — an investigation into the true impact of the boycott.

The film, for the first time, includes interviews with Chileans who crossed paths with the engines, for better or worse, and provides painstakingly documented evidence that the boycott was a triumph kept hidden by the Pinochet propaganda machine.

Based on our research, the Chilean ambassador bestowed, in 2015, on three of the workers the highest honour given to foreigners by the government of Chile. The Scottish pensioners became Commanders of the Republic of Chile.

Finally, earlier this year, we discovered the lost engines in Chile and managed to bring one back to Scotland. It’ll be returned next year to East Kilbride as a monument to the workers’ solidarity.

While we have reached our goals, including hearing the true impact of the boycott straight from the mouth of one of Pinochet’s last surviving generals, our goals have in the end taken us well beyond our financial resources.

We are currently running a fundraising campaign to allow us to complete the documentary.

It concludes on December 20 2017. We would be grateful for any contribution made.

Felipe Bustos Sierra is a Chilean filmmaker, born in exile in Belgium and now living in Scotland. To donate visit