On Political Violence

Many people have pointed out that the debacle in the House of Commons (the ‘Mother of All Parliaments’) did nothing to aid the people of Gaza who face a daily grind of violence and occupation that is a disgrace to civilization. Others have pointed out the emptiness of the jostling and positioning and grandstanding and manipulation in the face of such misery. All of which is true. But something else is going on here.

Rather than accept on face-value that the Labour leader lent on the Speaker (a fact denied by Labour) and that Lyndsay Hoyle buckled under threat, we are being asked to believe a different narrative altogether, the consequences of which are really dire.

We are being asked to believe that because of the Nasty Nats Labour politicians are being under threat from protestors. This is the kind of framing that has being emerging from the right-wing for months now. Protests must be banned because of the ‘threat of violence’ – even when huge protests have been overwhelmingly peaceful – even when the reality is – the hard facts are – that all of the political violence in the UK comes from the right and the far-right.

This is true whether it comes from the state violence of the police (‘More than 1,500 UK police officers accused of violence against women in six months’) – or the British nationalist who killed Jo Cox – or the mobs of fascists that descended on Whitehall (‘Flutes in Whitehall, Fascists on the Streets – Bella Caledonia).

But now a new narrative – that may be familiar to those of us who remember 2014 when British loyalists mobbed took over George Square and ‘burly men’ were seen – that MPs are under threat. Lyndsay Hoyle said: “The details of the things that have been brought to me are absolutely frightening” Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle speaks of his concern about the security of MPs, saying “if my mistake is looking after members, I am guilty”.

This is a complete misdirection. It’s pure propaganda.

More than that, and this seems to have been missed, the logic is that the SNP are the cause of violence, that somehow by demanding for a ceasefire you are inciting violence.

It is not just a complete insult to the SNP – and the many other politicians of other parties and people across the world calling for peace – it is an affront to democracy. It is lies and bullshit. It is slipping into Orwellian Doublespeak where peaceful protest is portrayed as violence and used to protect the continuation of violence against civilians on a scale rarely seen before.

People have short memories. Remember when the British Army – the British Army! – were caught using Corbyn as a target practice. I don’t have the time to list all of the examples of far-right violence in the past twenty years, but what we are witnessing is political gaslighting on a huge scale, the establishment (Tory and Labour) hiding behind the spurious excuse to suppress peaceful protest against the unconscionable war on Palestine. The Commons is in full crisis and the SNP are being treated with utter contempt.

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  1. Cathie Lloyd says:

    Another way of looking at this is that we have exposed just how mendacious and self serving is the Westminster parliament. We seem to have a second chance to raise the catastrophe of Gaza and to ask who is calling the shots in international affairs. There’s always an opportunity when something like this happens and I see Stephen Flynn well up to the task of confronting this. While continuing to focus on what is happening in Gaza. Another resolution to end arms exports to Israel?

    1. 240222 says:

      a) The UK parliament did yesterday pass, albeit with amendments, the SNP’s motion calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

      b) The UK government will consider suspending arms export licences to Israel if it goes ahead with a potentially devastating ground offensive on Rafah. The UK foreign minister Andrew Mitchell underscored yesterday in the Commons, that an offensive in Rafah represented a red line for the UK government (since, if it goes ahead, it would be in breach of international humanitarian law), and that ending arms exports to Israel is one of the immediate sanctions it would consider. It’s up to parliament to hold the government’s feet to the fire on this.

      1. RICHARD ANDERSON says:

        If, as Hoyle suggested (which contrasts with what he said at the start of the debate in the house), he was concerned about the safety of MPs, it was incumbent on him to come together with all leaders. Instead he met with one and introduced a significant rule change. He cannot reasonably be regarded as impartial and should resign.
        On the wider points about arms, Russia is showing us how easily they can use third countries to bypass woolly sanctions. Without real commitment the issues of supplying Israel are bypassed easily

        1. Yes Richard its not remotely credible as an explanation.

        2. SleepingDog says:

          @RICHARD ANDERSON, well, it’s a systemic fault if individuals in key positions can be nobbled to corrupt politics, as they clearly can in the UK, parties, quasi-Constitution and all. Resigning won’t resolve that. It’s not ‘one bad apple’…

          1. RICHARD ANDERSON says:

            It’s further corruption of Westminster following on the Tory ‘Presidential style’ PM. It’s very clear that Westminster needs radically reformed but there’s nobody there with a vision that would set the ball rolling. Labour waiting on ‘Buggins Turn’ are not going to rock the boat and they’ll do everything in their power, including nobbling the Speaker,to try to maintain the status quo

          2. Completely agree Richard

    2. SteveH says:

      Flynn is only playing politics to trying and stem the tide of Labour MSP’s and MP’s that will gobble up Humza current lead in the next elections. Gaza is a great distraction from having to face the other nonsense the SNP are responsible for.

      1. James Mills says:

        Yes , let’s get rid of all those Educated Graduate elites in the SNP !

        1. SleepingDog says:

          @James Mills, indeed, that would be the Einsatzgruppen way, their mission to murder “the intelligentsia, members of the clergy, teachers” etc.
          However (and this may shock you, or at least Captain Manwhoring), Wikipedia also says:
          “Many Einsatzgruppe leaders were highly educated; for example, nine of seventeen leaders of Einsatzgruppe A held doctorate degrees. Three Einsatzgruppen were commanded by holders of doctorates, one of whom SS-Gruppenführer Otto Rasch) held a double doctorate.”
          I mean, talk about an educated elite.

      2. The SNP have been entirely consistent on this matter, to accuse them of playing politics doesnt make any sense

      3. 240223 says:

        Just as migration is a great distraction from having to face the other nonsense the Conservatives are responsible for.

  2. SleepingDog says:

    I think the deeper motivation for this British Establishment propaganda blitz is that the British public nearly learned how near-impossible it is (by design) that their representatives in Parliament could meaningfully change the direction of British Imperial foreign/military policy, which is largely under the Royal Prerogative and exercised through opaque and secretive decision-making by the Executive, and overlorded by the USAmerican Empire. That routes to democratic influence over such policy areas are intentionally closed off, must be obscured (or distracted from) to maintain a pretence that a) the British Empire had somehow has gone away b) the UK is a ‘normal democratic country’, and c) the USAmerican Empire which also doesn’t exists isn’t in fact calling most of the shots (which is why Foreign Secretary David Cameron had to shoot over there to get his instructions before taking up his post).

  3. 240222 says:

    ‘…the logic is that the SNP are the cause of violence, that somehow by demanding for a ceasefire you are inciting violence.’

    Of course, the SNP’s call for a ceasefire isn’t an incitement to violence, any more than the government’s or the Labour Party’s call for a ceasefire are. Your logic’s flawed.

    Several Labour members who abstained on a similar SNP motion in November have since faced abuse and personal threats. Hoyle claims that he was persuaded to take the unusual step of allowing both proposed amendments to the SNP motion to be tabled and discussed to give them ‘a route out’.

    But it is disappointing that the House of Commons should have allowed itself to be so influenced by such abuse and threats of violence. Perhaps Jo Cox and David Amiss are still too fresh in Hoyle’s memory.

    1. John says:

      Threats of personal violence to MP’s is a serious issue.
      If Hoyle thought this was a major possibility he should have discussed with all party leaders and not discussed with Labour leader only. He should not have acted unilaterally in face of precedent and advice from his chief adviser.
      Why did he not return to House and explain what problem was?Why did he bugger off and leave his Deputy Speaker to deal with fallout when everyone knew his decision was going to cause discontent?
      The SNP motion was never actually discussed and the Labour amendment, which was put before motion (?)? was passed on a verbal nod by a minority of members as many MPs were in the voting lobby.
      I am sorry to say that it all smells very suspicious and reeks of a stitch up.
      Hoyle was either biased or incompetent.

      1. 240223 says:

        No; he shouldn’t have let the threats and abuse to which MPs are subjected influence his decision one way or the other. He should have stood up to such bullying.

    2. SleepingDog says:

      @Lord Parakeet the Cacophonist, another classic:
      “it is disappointing that the House of Commons should have allowed itself to be so influenced by such abuse and threats of violence”
      I mean, if that had really happened, it would be a pretext for martial law, a capitulation to terror, a systemic failure of government, a dire indication of British inability to defend its own institutions, an open door and wolf whistle to the kind of incursion experienced over the Atlantic, a treasonous enabling of seditious forces. What exactly are our security services doing? Apart from helping our political police infiltrate vegan community centres, that is? National security, what a joke. But of course this is a sick joke.

      Basically, a repeat of the atrocity-inviting position the British Government and the more deranged Press took early on in the Good Friday negotiations, that any single act of terror would override all democratic progress; until they had to admit that this was giving such vastly disproportionate power to violent groups and even individuals, that they had to backtrack and reverse.

      But of course, giving in to terrorists is pretty much what the British government does best, as long as they are state or corporate terrorists. Although to be fair, it finally seems to have capitulated to civil pressure over this energy charter treaty:
      so a blow for corporate terrorism in the form of ‘Litigation terrorism’.

      Or, y’know, stuff made up to smear, distract and deflect, as the article reasonably suggests is “political gaslighting on a huge scale”. I mean, sure there may be fear of some sort, like the BBC management is said to live in fear of Buckingham Palace and the Israel Lobby, but whether those terror-loving organisations throw bricks through windows, I couldn’t say.

      1. 240223 says:

        No, it wouldn’t; it only means that MPs would have signalled those who subject them to threats and abuse they receive that they will not be intimidated by such threats and abuse. The Speaker’s decision to break with tradition and allow Labour’s proposed amendment to the SNP’s motion to be discussed and voted on for the reasons he cited was simply giving in rather than standing up to that bullying.

  4. Hugh McShane says:

    Hoyle’s an unctuous toadying establishment lickspittle, beholden & susceptible to pressure from his tribal origins. Didn’t know till the stooshie broke that his paw started LFOI! Not a mention either in media of how beholden to Israeli donors the party is…

  5. SteveH says:

    This obsession with the far-right is laughable. As you may have heard from from the Ex prevent-scheme guy: more that 75% of the threat in Britain comes from Islamist activists, sympathisers and organisations. Tell me how many far-aright terrorist acts has there been in the UK, compared with Islamist terror incidents? Say just in the past 20 years? How many deaths? Given the proportion of Islamic believers and supporters in Britain compared with the non-Islamist population, doesn’t the relative size of the threat bother you?

    The Para’s using Corbyn’s face as a target is nothing but gallows humour. These are people who go out to face death to keep you safe and to allow you to read the Guardian over breakfast and tut-tut over the latest critical social justice issue. Most of these army lads won’t have a political bone in their bodies. I know because, I’ve served with people just like them. I was with people just like them when we were told that if the attack comes our chance of survival are slim. But, if you get up to surrender or run, you will definitely die. Fortunately, the attack didn’t come that day.

    Corbyn doesn’t put the British people’s interests first. When you consider just how vulnerable the so-called right-wing Tories have left us, can you imagine how feeble we would be under him, or people like him.

    Do you think Putin would have invaded Ukraine if Ukraine had retained the nuclear weapons and keys they had on their soil?

    We live in a dangerous world. One that can turn as nasty for us as any one else. Only the risk of us being able to do extreme harm to our enemies is what keeps the peace for us.

    1. Paddy Farrington says:

      In the unlikely event that you are interested in them, here are some of the facts (for England and Wales) for the year to March 2023:


      They do not support any of what you assert.

    2. John Wood says:

      I’ve no words to express my reaction to this utter nonsense except for goodness sake Steve H give us all a break

    3. Wul says:

      Maybe it’s just me, but I tend to view any fundamentalist-religious-militant-terrorist headbanger as far right.

      You don’t hear many jihadists proclaiming the rights of women, gay people, the poor and vulnerable or demanding better pay and conditions for public-service workers.

      They are hyper-authoritarian far-right actors. And they hold a world-view very similar to SteveH’s.

  6. George Archibald says:

    If it’s true that the SNP are being treated with utter contempt, (true) then it follows that the people of Scotland (Whom the SNP represent) are also being treated with utter contempt. Non?
    Would that instead of throwing the dummy out the pram, and displaying such anger, Mr Flynn had quietly but firmly made that very point.
    That might have resulted in a few more votes for Indy come the GE.
    I doubt that showing such anger will have a similar effect.

  7. John Wood says:

    It’s past time to bring our MPs home and simply declare independence. There is no point at all in them sitting in Westminster anymore. And then, we need a general election here in Scotland. The current Scottish Government has been far too ready to appease Westminster, letting it ‘take back control’ over every aspect of our lives with hardly a murmur.

    We need politicians at all levels who will stand up for us. And are we really going to stomach government by either the Tories or the Labour Party from London? How could anyone possibly claim we are still ‘Better Together’ with any of them?

    The whole thing is an utter disgrace. And worse, innocent people are being slaughtered and starved while they play their pathetic parliamentary games.

    1. Paddy Farrington says:

      “Simply declare independence”? Really?

      1. John Wood says:

        Yes, really.

        1. RICHARD ANDERSON says:

          While I get the sentiment John anybody that remembers UDI in Rhodesia or Biafra would suggest that bringing the MPs home and declaring independence isn’t a great shout. Scotland would be isolated, unable to join the eu since veto by Spain would be likely and cut off from trade as effectively as the Navigation Acts of the 17th century intended. Independence can be won when enough voters support it or if England decides it can happen. I can’t see any other way that wont alienate around 50% of the population.

          1. John Wood says:

            I disagree. You assume that 50% of the population would be alienated. But ten years ago, the referendum result was already 45% Yes, and all polls seem to agree that the Yes share has increased since then, especially among younger voters. 60% of our population was alienated by Brexit. And now we have the utterly outrageous behaviour of all three Unionist parties at Westminster to contend with. Let’s debate the situation we are now in, and if need be have a referendum.

            And then leave this shameful disgrace of a so-called ‘Union’.

          2. Richard Anderson says:

            I think that we can’t assume that support for the union won’t harden if people are pushed to make a decision which might leave a very hostile government south of the border.
            I think we made progress because we stayed positive in 2014. Not sure stability would be assured without consensus and the involvement of cross party working

        2. John says:

          I support independence but you cannot declare UDI is not the way forward to a successful independent country.
          Whether we like it or not half the country do not support independence. We have only had one democratic vote to go by and No won it.
          The job is to change hearts and minds to the point that there is a settled will for independence. If Westminster continues to refuse another referendum we cannot say it is the settled will until polls show 60% pro independence or at least over 50% excluding undecided.

          1. John Wood says:

            John, I disagree. Unionists can’t have it both ways. If a Brexit vote of 52 : 48 % cross the UK was sufficient to remove Scotland from the EU, ignoring our substantial vote to remain, a straight majority is enough in a referendum for us to leave the UK.

            In fact, because of first past the post, every UK government is elected by a minority because more people usually vote for unsuccessful candidates than successful ones. And no Westminster government has had a democratic mandate in Scotland for decades. As Mrs Thatcher (reputedly) accepted a simply SNP majority on Scotland should be enough to give us our independence.

            Also, the referendum was a long time ago. The world has changed since then; but the SNP majority has not. And the UK Parliament is now so blatantly corrupt and indeed fascist, with its outrageous jingoism and treatment of refugees and Palestinians, and its attacks on democracy and human rights, that I cannot believe anyone in their right mind could regard it as representing Scots in general.

            It’s time the Scottish Parliament and government stood up for us and declared itself the democratic representation of the sovereign Scots rather than some pathetic, neutered, talking shop. Let it declare independence, or at least hold a consultative referendum (which it is entitled to do). Our Westminster MPs are a waste of time and money, They are treated with utter contempt and can do nothing for us there.

          2. John says:

            John – I agree we should have a referendum. To have one (agreed by Westminster or not) that doesn’t have backing or recognition of international community (especially EU) will make the first few years post independence very difficult. I want independence primarily because it will be beneficial for the citizens of Scotland and Scottish society. Declaring independence without some form of international recognition is tantamount to UDI and UDI will not benefit citizens of Scotland and Scottish society.

        3. 240223 says:

          Really? Who will simply declare independence? What about all those Scots who don’t want or are ambivalent towards independence? Don’t they get a say?

          No; we need a national conversation on how we should manage our public affairs, whether as independent communities or in some kind of union, and that conversation needs to aim at consensus, a constitutional settlement that none will deem ‘ideal’ but that all of us can live with. The alternative is a continuation of the civil ‘cold war’ between unionists and separatists that’s paralysing our politics in Scotland.

          1. John Wood says:

            Yes to a national conversation, of course. But let UDI be part of that conversation.

          2. Richard Anderson says:

            There isn’t a chance in hell that UDU is feasible. Not unless you plan on years of isolation and sanctions

          3. 240223 says:

            In such a conversation, everyone would ideally be allowed to introduce any assertion whatever into the discourse.

  8. John Learmonth says:

    “All political violence in the UK comes from the far right?
    1. Manchester arena bombing
    2. Murder of Lee Rigby
    3. 7/7 bombings in London
    4. The murder of David Amess
    5. Glasgow Airport attack.
    I could go on and on, are you sure the far right we’re behind these attacks…….REALLY!

    1. No but they were terrorist attacks, not sure how to weigh them on a left-right axis?

      1. John Learmonth says:

        Terrorism is political violence in action.
        You could argue, justifiably, that Islamist violence is ‘right wing’ after all they are anti-semitic, misogynistic, homophobic and anti democratic but if you did that you’d be supportive of the Israelis in their struggle against the Islamic fascists of Hamas. That’s not going to happen though…….

        1. Neil MacGillivray says:

          How can anybody take the House of Commons seriously when the speaker is dressed up in victorian clothes? With his acolytes sporting lace jabots and the rules are antediluvian. It is a farce.

          1. 240223 says:

            But Hoyle stands accused of breaking those ‘antediluvian’ rules. You can’t have it both ways.

            But I can understand why the SNP and Conservatives are spitting mad; Labour played a blinder and out-manoeuvred them both. And, as a result, Parliament passed a motion calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire (working towards a permanent ceasefire), the release of hostages, a surge in aid, and recognition of a Palestinian state, which wouldn’t have happened if the SNP motion had been put to a vote unamended (the motion would have been defeated). The process by which we got there might have been dubious, but the outcome we reached is surely a satisfactory one.

          2. Paddy Farrington says:

            Of course we should have it both ways 240223. Get rid of the antideluvian nonsense, but keep (and extend) elements of democracy such as the right of smaller parties to have their say. Hoyle’s action was to curtail the latter.

          3. 240223 says:

            The Speaker didn’t curtail the right of smaller parties to have their say. He broadened the debate (which was, in many respects, a good one – rather better than some of the unedifying rammies our representatives too often engage in) to include a consideration of two proposed amendments to the SNP’s motion. He didn’t curtail the right of the SNP to present and argue for its motion or the opportunity of the party to oppose and argue against either of the two proposed amendments.

            If we aspire to a more deliberative democracy, our Speakers need to use their discretion to transgress the constraints that our antediluvian rules place on that deliberation.

          4. Richard Anderson says:

            Given he did not include the libdem motion he clearly favoured Labour in his decision. I understand Labour MPs sponsored by Israel would have been forced to vote against the motion from the SNP. The Speaker did not consult any party leader apart from one. Why exclude the libdem proposal? Since Labour have had ample opportunity to put forward a motion of their own and failed to do so in the ‘interests of broadening debate’ and a few days ago Anas Sarwar was telling everyone that Labour were in talks with the snp about a motion (talks that never existed despite several invitations from the snp). Sarwar was lying or being treated like a mushroom by his own party (fed shit and kept in the dark) either way not a recipe for trusting anything the man says. So Labour decided the best way to fix this was to strong arm Hoyle and screw the snp.

          5. Richard Anderson says:

            Given he did not include the libdem motion he clearly favoured Labour in his decision. I understand Labour MPs sponsored by Israel would have been forced to vote against the motion from the SNP. The Speaker did not consult any party leader apart from one. Why exclude the libdem proposal? Since Labour have had ample opportunity to put forward a motion of their own and failed to do so in the ‘interests of broadening debate’ and a few days ago Anas Sarwar was telling everyone that Labour were in talks with the snp about a motion (talks that never existed despite secer

          6. 240223 says:

            @ Richard

            Yes; the Speaker could have done better by also allowing the amendment that the LibDems tabled to be debated in order to reflect as broad a consensus as possible.

          7. John says:

            The Speaker could have done better by following the rules he is meant to implement. He was advised he should do this by his own clerk.
            Evidence- he has twice (at latest count) admitted he made a mistake and apologised. I personally think he should apologise to the Deputy Speaker and MP’s for not attending parliament for the whole of what was obviously going to be a contentious season due to his own actions.
            I am very sceptical of his explanation for his actions and it all seems just too convenient for Keir Starmer.

          8. 240223 says:

            ‘The Speaker could have done better by following the rules he is meant to implement. He was advised he should do this by his own clerk.’

            No; the advice from the clerk of the House was that the decision to select both amendments ‘represents a departure from the long-established convention for dealing with such amendments on opposition days’, BUT that the Speaker has discretion over what amendments to select.

            Hoyle used the discretion he is allowed under the rules in order (he claims) that the widest possible debate could be had in the Commons and all MPs’ voices could be heard and amid growing concerns around the abuse and intimidation to which MPs were being subjected following the escalation of tensions in the Middle East. You can choose to believe him or not.

          9. I choose not to as his reasons publicly changed and he has deeply partial views on the subject witnessed by his father having been a founder of Labour Friends of Israel and him having recently toured the area at the invitation of Netanyahu’s government.

          10. 240224 says:

            The justification he offered for his decision no more incredible than either:

            a) the claim that he’s part of a Zionist conspiracy, on the grounds that his father helped to found Labour Friends of Israel. (Hoyle himself is a member of Labour Friends of Palestine and the MIddle East; his is not and never had been a member of the LFI),


            b) the claim that the President of Israel lobbied Keir Starmer to deliver an amendment to the SNP’s opposition day motion that removed a libel from its text and ensured that, rather than just an ‘immediate ceasefire’, the motion called instead for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, working towards a permanent peace settlement, for all remaining hostages to be released, for more aid to be allowed into the war-zone, and for the establishment of a Palestinian state. Even if the Israeli President gave a sh*t what the final motion said, it’s incredible that he would have lobbied for this.

        2. Paddy Farrington says:

          No you would not. The Government of Israel includes the far-right. There are left-wing voices in Israel who are opposed to the Israeli Government and to how it’s conducting this war.

        3. John Wood says:

          Of course I don’t support any form of terrorism, but we need to look at what drives people to commit terrorist acts. What or who has driven them to do it? It is always, in my view, fear.

          Terrorism isn’t ‘right wing’ or ‘left wing’, or ‘fundamentalist’ or ‘extremist’ or whatever. It’s just violence and fearmongering done by ‘others’. There’s nothing new about all this. In the late 19th and early 20th c ‘terrorism’ was the preserve of ‘anarchists’ and ‘bolshevists’. After the Soviet Union collapsed, Muslims were the new ”terrorists’ (all of them!); but anyone who protests against the wanton destruction of our planet for private, short term profit is called a ‘terrorist’. Hezbollah and the Yemenis are ‘terrorists’ because they are enemies of Israel. Hamas are called ‘terrorists’ for trying to defend their land and their people but we must never use such a word about the Israelis. Just as the ANC were roundly denounced as terrorists until apartheid collapsed. And the way the Zionists claim to speak for all Jews actually terrorises Jews themselves.

          Surely you can’t ignore the state terrorism which lies behind at least some of all this – like the deliberate whipping up of racism, and anti-Jewish /anti-Muslim hostility, the culture wars, the false flag events, the deliberate creation of ‘terrorist groups’, the treatment of Julian Assange, the extrajudicial killing of Osama Bin Laden, Guantanamo, the drone attacks on innocent Afghans, the genocide in Gaza, and so on? The development and deployment of nuclear, biological, chemical and psychological weapons is a form of terrorism too – although ‘battlefield testing’ of new weapons systems isn’t so much terrorism as a complete, psychopathic disregard for people and planet.

          In Gaza and the West Bank it has gone well beyond terrorism now. It’s just a ‘Final Solution’, a genocide that actually delights in cruelty and sheer evil. ‘Shock and Awe’ to demonstrate that those responsible are above any form of law or constraint and can get away with anything they please. Do the Israeli, UK and US governments seriously think that genocide is going to be any ‘solution’ to anything? It only helped destroy the British Empire. The sheer hatred generated can only create generations of ‘terrorists’ intent on revenge, and Israel’s sponsors the US and UK will bear the consequences.

          As a postscript, those whom the gods would destroy they first make mad. At last years’s Labour Party Conference Israel’s ambassador to the U.K. Tzipi Hotovely told Sky’s Trevor Phillips that Israel was now at war. “It’s a long and complicated war,” she said. “This is why we need your support to ensure every single civilian that has been taken is brought back to Israel where they belong. Israel doesn’t want war, but we have been forced into a war to protect our children.” But the folk of Gaza clearly don’t ‘belong’ in Israel although they were forcibly removed from their homes and property and confined in a huge ghetto. If Palestinian children were ‘their’ children, or their responsibility at all, they would have given the Gazans free passage back to their former homes in what is now Israel. Instead they set about terrorising and destroying them all, by every means possible. And now most of Gaza lies in ruins, and over 30,000 Palestinians are dead. Not one of them was a ‘terrorist’. And the West Bank is following.

    2. 240223 says:

      Add to this the IRA campaign of violence prior to the Good Friday Agreement, a campaign which many dissident Republicans would like to resume.

      I think what Mike meant was that all political violence in the UK comes from the ‘other’, from ‘them’ rather than ‘us’.

      1. 240223 says:

        Terms like ‘far right’ and ‘far left’ have no descriptive meaning; they just function as exclamations of approval or disapproval. Basically, to characterise something as ‘far right’ is just to say that one doesn’t like it. It’s nothing but a ‘yah-boo’ expression.

      2. Niemand says:

        And the IRA are (were) avowedly left wing.

        The guff on this website today is really unhinged. It seem pointless saying anything. But it all looks incredibly desperate.

        1. 240225 says:

          Although, the IRA sold its soul to Nazism in the 1930s and 40s in return for arms and ordinance.

          Over the decades, Irish and Scottish nationalists have tended to assume whatever politics they perceive will further their own separatist agenda at any given time.

      3. William Davison says:

        Dissident Republicans, far from wanting to resume, haven’t stopped their campaign since the Good Friday Agreement was signed. They carried out the Omagh bombing in August 1998, the largest single atrocity of “The Troubles,” and in the intervening years have killed two Catholic police officers, blown another’s legs off and killed the journalist, Lyra McKee. In February last year the “Real IRA” shot an off-duty police Chief Inspector as he was collecting his kids from football practice, he survived and a number of people have just been charged with his attempted murder. Which is why our police service still has to carry arms.

  9. I see its now been confirmed that Starmer personally spoke to Israeli President Isaac Herzog before lobbying the Speaker to let Labour’s amendment go ahead.

    Starmer drafted Labour’s pro-Israel amendment after talking to Herzog at the Munich Security Conference.

    1. 240223 says:

      And you think the two conversations were connected?

      If so, it’s heartening that the Israeli president lobbied for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire (working towards a permanent ceasefire), the release of hostages, a surge in the aid being allowed into the war-zone, and recognition of a Palestinian state.

      1. James Scott says:


        ‘If so, it’s heartening that the Israeli President lobbied for… recognition of a Palestinian state.’

        Not just ‘heartening.’

        Rather ‘unbelievable’

        Quite unbelievable!

        Or perhaps I mean far, far, far, far ,far, far beyond … ‘unbelievable’?

        1. James Scott says:

          @240233 [supplementary]

          For fear that what I have posted might be interpreted as in any way endorsing Sir Keir’s ‘independence of spirit’ or similar after meeting with the Israeli President, rather do I subscribe to the following analysis by Tory Leader of the House Penny Mordaunt as reported in the Guardian yesterday. An analysis which cuts to the chase in terms of the whole sad spectacle on Wednesday evening:

          “She claims that at least Jeremy Corbyn, the previous Labour leader, genuinely believed in his position on Gaza. She claims Keir Starmer was not sincere in his position, and that this shows he is not fit to lead.”

    2. John Wood says:

      People who act in the interests of foreign governments or interests are traitors. He should be arrested.

      1. Sandy Watson says:

        Even if those foreign governments are recognised as allies (and high value defence contract customers!)?

      2. 240225 says:

        Does that include those people who act in the interests of those countries that are existentially threatened by (e.g.) man-made climate change or [Russian/Israeli/US-led Coalition] invasion? Are they traitors?

  10. John S Warren says:

    n order to frame the context of the debate in Parliament, to understand what really happened on that infamous day in the House of Commons let us do something the politicians, the media and the client journalists never ever do; scroll back a mere three days to the eve of the disgraceful exhibition by Labour and the Speaker.

    Sam Coates gave this succinct analysis of what Labour was doing, just before the debate; and everybody changed their tune, because the scam didn’t work with silky aplomb, as it was supposed to do; because reality can come apart, and in the event, the panicking politicians executing the plan are simply hopeless:

    “I was first told Labour was considering a change to its position in the second week of December, but it never arrived.
    Instead, it only turned up today, 24 hours before the SNP was due to force a vote on the issue in which Labour MPs were threatening to rebel and go through the nationalist voting lobbies.
    So the revised position had two goals – to try and sooth some anger in parts of the Labour movement over Sir Keir’s decision to stand with Israel as it invaded Gaza, and to deal with the tactical challenge posed by Wednesday’s votes and stop Labour MPs siding with the Scottish opposition.” (Sam Coates, Sky News, 20th February, 2024).

    Now we know; but we knew that two days ago – didn’t we?

    In historical terms, the ‘ink’ is still wet on the Coates piece; but the shifty politicians and client journalists have already covered it up in four layers of wallpaper, and are now trying to cordon it off from close scrutiny.

    I will not rest my case, because I can see the ricketty van arriving with the rogue traders, and three more layers of wallpaper ready, with the latest fashionable, recherché “Guff” motiv.

  11. Sandy Watson says:

    I have been on many demonstration/protest marches and actions, and attended many rallies in support of causes I believe in, over many years.
    Rarely, if ever, have these events resulted in violence or serious offence to anyone and all have been causes of interest/benefit to the public in general.

    Apart from the political, legal and administrative avenues to call-out against this, I suggest that a key factor might be the numbers/volume of attendance and participation at marches, rallies, protests and demonstrations.

    So many of those who want change, and talk about issues (nuclear weapons, independence, human rights, economics, equality, poverty…and more, are absent from public, even online, raising of these views.

    I suggest that the solidarity demonstrated by very large numbers turning out for events is a key factor in their effectiveness.

    The more, the better.

    1. 240223 says:

      The issue is more the abuse, personal threats, and other violence to which MPs are regularly subjected online and in their constituencies by disaffected citizens. Especially after the murders of Jo Cox and David Amiss, the parliamentary authorities have become hypersensitive to this intimidation.

      There’s an interesting article about it in today’s Politico https://www.politico.eu/article/as-gaza-tensions-flare-british-mps-fear-their-safety/#:~:text=Conservative%20MP%20David%20Amess%20was,Labour's%20Jo%20Cox%20in%202016.

      1. James Scott says:

        And there was I thinking that the debate had been about the blatant use of a deadly collective punishment on Gaza-based Palestinians [which the people perpetrating it both deny and simultaneously excuse by referring to the barbarous terrorist butchery and murders of 7th October] by the Zionist regime; democratically voted into power in Israel.

        It is instructive to contrast the capacity for Gazans to influence the actions of the terrorist forces linked to the party which they voted for with that of Israelis.

        1. 240223 says:

          No; what was being debated was a motion, which was tabled in the House of Commons by the SNP, and the amendments that the government and the opposition respectively proposed should be made to that motion. The grievance revolves around whether or not the Speaker of the House of Commons should have allowed the opposition’s proposed amendments to be considered and voted on by the House.

          As it turned out, the amended motion, which called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire (working towards a permanent ceasefire), the release of hostages, a surge in aid, and recognition of a Palestinian state, and which refrained from accusing Israel of a war crime that’s not yet been proven, was accepted by the House.

          1. SleepingDog says:

            @Lord Parakeet the Cacophonist, just to be clear, you think the British Empire declaring war on Nazi Germany was approximately seven years premature because they should have waited on Judgment at Nuremberg? I don’t think you’ve grasped the preventative aspect of international diplomacy, foreign policy and indeed military justification. But hey, why not give the Nazis the benefit of the doubt? They probably had a good explanation.

          2. 240223 says:

            No; I don’t think that. If, on investigation, the International Criminal Court determines that Israel is guilty of prosecuting its war in order to collectively punish the population of Gaza for the atrocities carried out by Hamas back in October, then the SNP could without prejudice speak of Israel being guilty of a war crime. Until such a determination is made, however, the claim that Israel is prosecuting the war in order to collectively punish the population of Gaza is a libel. The principle that one is innocent until proven guilty is just as important in international law as it is in domestic law.

            BTW: Britain went to war in 1939 to defend the balance of power in Europe and safeguard Britain’s position in the world, not because Germany had committed any war crimes.

          3. James Scott says:


            ‘…was accepted by the House’

            That is the sort of language which is characterised, north of the border, as ‘mealy-mouthed.’

          4. 240223 says:

            Characterised by whom, James?

          5. James Scott says:

            The inhabitants there. Obviously.

          6. 240224 says:

            Which inhabitants, James?

          7. James Scott says:

            The majority


          8. 240225 says:

            When did we have a popular vote on the SNPs’ motion, James? I must have missed that. But I’ll take your word that it delivered a majority in favour of it.

          9. James Scott says:


            Great to see you have jumped on the populist-revolutionary democracy matters bandwagon

            At last

            Just a pity you showed such cynical contempt for it recently

            When you made the mealy-mouthed assertion to the effect that in the midst of Parliamentary chaos on Wednesday evening, some resolution had been passed

            Yes, I do know that Hansard confirmed this

            The most supine Scottish Labour supporter knows that the Assistant Speaker doing her ‘superGran without her hearing aid in’ shtik in praise of democracy is pure farce

            Why even Anastasia’s big brother knows that

  12. John says:

    Sceptical as I am about the method and timing of raising the issue of threats and violence against MP’s & MSP’s, they are our democratic elected representatives and threats of violence and intimidation against them is a threat of violence against democracy itself and cannot be condoned.
    However the MP’s also need to reflect as to why some of this type of behaviour is arising. This includes the MP’s asking themselves whether they are reflecting the views of the electorate on topics and this is relevant to Gaza where a significant (possibly majority of electorate in Uk) are very concerned at the actions of IFF in mass killing and treatment of innocent civilians in Palestine. They just want an immediate halt to currently IDF activities and this view is not being reflected by either main political parties leadership or in House of Commons. They are also dismayed that UK is using its international influence to block efforts to pressurise Israel (&US) at UN or The Hague and is out of step with the vast majority of countries on this subject.
    I last witnessed this effect at beginning of Iraq war where government and opposition again did not properly reflect the citizens of country on a critical international issue.
    Please note that the same people who oppose IDF actions and invasion of Iraq were shocked and opposed to Hamas actions on 7th October and Sadam Hussain’ treatment of Iraqi people and to tar people with this slur is unacceptable.
    I would suggest that though the threats and intimidation are not acceptable in a democratic nation that in the case of war in Gaza they are also indicative of a dysfunctional democratic system.

    1. 240224 says:

      Yes, but this is a consequence of our having a system of indirect representative democracy rather than of more direct deliberative democracy. Under a system of direct democracy, WE would collectively deliberate and decide in our parliamentary constituencies whether or not there should be an ‘immediate ceasefire’ or an ‘immediate humanitarian ceasefire’ in Gaza, and then delegate someone to then represent that decision in the deliberations of our ‘higher’ assemblies. As it is, we alienate our decision-making power or ‘sovereignty’ to the MPs we elect, giving them (in their parties) more or less free licence to vote on parliamentary motions according to their own discretion.

      If you’re unhappy about the way your current MP decides to vote in these parliamentary debates, then don’t vote for them in the next general election. That’s all you can ultimately do under the current regime.

      1. John says:

        The problem is surely the MP’s do not vote according to their own discretion but according to the Party line. Indeed they are more often threatened by party whips to vote according to party line than they are by the general public!

        1. 240225 says:

          Indeed, MPs, MSPs, and local councillors do generally vote on matters according to their party line rather than according to either their own discretion or the general will of the locality they represent.

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