Hogwash: Cameron, Ashcroft, and the steaming pile of Oakeshott

Unlike the fauxporters in the Tim Hunt scandal I need to start by declaring my interests.

I am a Conservative party member and activist, and a former MP. I am a columnist, and sometimes I am a journalist (as with Tim Hunt). I am a follower of David Cameron and loyal to him, although George Osborne and Sajid Javid are slightly closer to my personal conservatism.

Additionally, I am a friend of Lord Ashcroft whom I have always admired, and I received money from Lord Ashcroft (before I knew him) as one of the marginal seat candidates the party supported in 2009. I raised a lot of money on my own, incidentally, and I took the seat in the 2010 election.

Lord Ashcroft donated money to the Conservative party and he targeted it at marginal seats. He made us prove how we would use it. My Labour opponent had far more money and reach than I did, with union funding and party-branded red and yellow government funded leaflets. Ashcroft wanted the Conservatives to win and took a businessman’s approach.

This was extremely public spirited of him. It can’t be emphasized enough that at this point, Ashcroft already had his peerage, his title. There was nothing further of any significance to be done for him. Ashcroft also commissions polls and lets the public see them. He supports our military massively. He saves Victoria Crosses for the nation. He is a man of huge public service and public achievement. In addition to all the above, Ashcroft commissioned research and showed it to the Tory party. Without him, Gordon Brown might be Prime Minister today.

The UK public doesn’t like rich men and women, it often seems, whereas America admires them. Ashcroft’s career is heroic. He started in poverty with an actual outside loo. I think he is something of a genius. And for all the sneering, to give away millions and millions to the nation and to politics is a highly selfless act. I have said the same about J.K. Rowling’s one million pound donation to Labour, calling on Twitter for it to be rewarded with a peerage. Without these donors, there will be laws and public funding. Donating to your party is selfless. Ashcroft already had the title. He wanted to work, to contribute.

I think it was wrong of the Prime Minister not to keep a clear promise to Lord Ashcroft and then blame it on Nick Clegg. Ashcroft deserved to be a minister. His ability is quite evident, his passion for our military unmatched and he had worked for our party  at the highest level for many years. Without Lord Ashcroft Cameron would probably not have become PM. I say that with regret. I don’t like criticizing the PM whom I admire. But I need to start there. There was no good reason, no moral reason, not to keep the promise to Lord Ashcroft. It was wrong not to do so.

Ashcroft is the more to be admired because he scorns to lie. He will not say that he is not angry. Is the book ‘revenge’? It’s portrayed that way. I do not think so, however. To my knowledge, Ashcroft is interested in the Prime Minister and wanted to cover him in depth – good, bad, warts and all. I know for a fact too that a version of the book could have come out before the election, and he held it back out of party loyalty. I know further that Lord Ashcroft could have published during party conference. Want revenge? Pig-gate during conference. Release it the day of Cam’s speech.

And here’s the but – the bacon buttie, if you will.

The book (I shall buy it) has smeared the PM in ways no journalist ever should. Ashcroft ought not to have released it in its present form. He made the mistake of relying on Isabel Oakeshott, a former journalist, presently the contempt of the entire UK press corps. She had a good reputation. She was senior. She was meant to do the legwork and the research. Ashcroft clearly believed her and as a non-journo, would not be aware that you need to actually double-source stories or see some proof.

Here’s what Oakeshott did – she ruined her own reputation and grossly harmed that of Michael Ashcroft. Whatever else the book has to say it will now not be believed even if true. I am angry at her for insulting the PM but more so for the damage she has inflicted on Lord Ashcroft, who paid her to help him research an in-depth biography. He had to trust her judgement.

Oakeshott knew how her quote would be spun – Ashcroft did not. She was the national editor, he is a businessman and pollster. I would bet Lord Ashcroft is shocked and dismayed at how this one unsourced piece of hogwash (eye thank yew) would ruin all the other parts of his work. It was Oakeshott’s job as a journalist to say to her co-author who hired her, ‘Look, we can’t use it because we can’t stand it up.’

As I read it, her alleged “source” doesn’t even claim to have witnessed the pig incident. But he says he knows somebody who did and has a pic. So it’s not single-sourced – it’s zero sourced. She hasn’t got a witness. She’s got a guy who says he knows a guy who knows.

And what about the fiction over friction? Cameron is not accused even of “having sex with a pig” as mad Corbynites claimed on twitter. He’s accused of something I won’t repeat here involving cooked food and placement of bits thereon, not a sexual act. It was an “initiation ceremony” for a society he wasn’t in. There’s nothing to it, other than that one shouldn’t get drunk and take clothes off. But she, Oakeshott, made something out of it. She knew that the pure fiction of this ninicident (Not an incident) – even if true – would be turned into a fictional sexual act. Not even her doubtless imaginary source claims that the guy he says he knows saw a sexual act. What if there were a photo? We’d have no idea what it showed without a reliable eyewitness account, either. Oakeshott’s alleged, citation-needed “source” does not say he was even there.

I am reminded of Private Eye sending up Mohammed Al Fayed’s account of the “nurse” who saw Princess Diana in the tunnel



Nurse N’Existe-Pas

47, Rue Imaginaire


Since Oakeshott is prepared to try to ruin a man by printing a nonecdote from a non-witness who says he knows a witness who won’t talk, why should we think the non-witness even exists?

Nothing else in this book matters. Nobody will now believe a word of it. Cameron is above it. His wife and children have a right to be angry. Lord Ashcroft hired the wrong woman. He ought not to have published this book, that is true. David Cameron ought to have kept his promise, that is also true. Isabel Oakeshott is not a politician who should be keeping promises or minding her manners, but of the three, she is  – or she was – the sole journalist, whose job is to have integrity and present the truth, warts and all. That’s what Ashcroft wanted and the fact he held publication shows that mere ‘damage’ was not his aim.

But Oakeshott did not give us “warts and all”. She gave us hogwarts. And in so doing she damaged the reputation of both David Cameron and Lord Ashcroft.

She may well work again, sensationalism sells. But her reputation as a journalist is finished, and rightly so. She’s made a pigs’ ear of the work Ashcroft hired her to do. I, meanwhile, shall not forget that despite this silly story, Lord Ashcroft helped David Cameron save the entire UK from a disastrous Labour government. That really matters, to Ashcroft’s credit and Cameron’s. That will last. That has affected the economy of the UK, has affected 65 million people. That is why I am, though a fan of David Cameron’s, still extremely proud to know Lord Ashcroft and am still extremely grateful to him.

We all make errors of judgement – some at college and some afterwards. I’m for moving on and getting on with the job – in this case, protecting the nation from Corbyn and Labour.

CEC J jpg

Corbyn: Hard For Syrians to Choose Between ISIS and USA

‘No-one should share a platform with an avowed racist’ – Jeremy Corbyn MP

Earlier this year, Jeremy Corbyn MP gave an interview, inside Parliament, to a group of antisemitic conspiracy theorists. He said it was hard for Syrians to have to choose  sides between the “rather shadowy leadership of ISIS” and the “more open and obvious leadership of the USA and the West who are propping up the government [of Iraq].” (18:40) Corbyn said this was ‘not a happy position to be’ in. Syrians were:

stuck between a war between the rather shadowy leadership of ISIS and the more open and obvious leadership of the USA and the West in propping up the government [of Iraq]……  it’s not a happy position to be if you’re a poor person stuck anywhere in Syria or Iraq



1. La Rouche And CEC Interview in Parliament

Jeremy Corbyn MP gave this interview just this year to the CEC,part of an antisemitic La Rouche cult. The video opens with the CEC banner. CEC’s current website says it supports La Rouche. La Rouche is a famous Jew-hater and Holocaust denier. This interview was this bloody year. Why did Jeremy Corbyn talk to them?

At 21:30, the interviewer says the organization had links with Corbyn from 2013 over Glass-Steagall

That’s why we came to the UK, it was such an extraordinary debate on the floor of the House of Commons.

To me this implies a CEC member sat in the Gallery as Corbyn’s guest and listened.

What is the excuse for this? How can Corbyn have brought La Rouche supporters into our Parliament? What due diligence was done? How long as he been involved with them? La Rouche is a barking mad holocaust denier.

And here’s Corbyn’s insane, full quote to these cult fantasists:

but also some sort of process where [Iraqis and Syrians] can feel a sense of security in their lives rather than being stuck between a war between the rather shadowy leadership of ISIS and the more open and obvious leadership of the USA and the West in propping up the government that’s selling off their oil resources very cheaply – it’s not a happy position to be if you’re a poor person stuck anywhere in Syria or Iraq.

It is utterly sickening that Corbyn could compare ISIS to America and the West in any way at all – much less draw an equivalence between them or say Syrians and Iraqis aren’t in a happy position when they have to choose.

2. Paul Eisen and Gilad Atzmon of Deir Yassin Remembered

When confronted with Corbyn’s platform sharing with anti-Semites the campaign has issued a non-denial denial on antisemitic views:

There is no question [they] have expressed them in Jeremy Corbyn’s hearing.

That is very carefully put. The real question is ‘Did Jeremy Corbyn know of the antisemitism of those he shared a platform with?’ Not ‘did they say the words next to Corbyn?’ His campaign must stop calling this question a smear, or trying to get away with saying, as they are now, that Corbyn must meet ‘those whose views he finds reprehensible.’

Before this leadership campaign, I challenge readers to give me one instance where Corbyn has ever called these people’s views “reprehensible” or called any of them out. Corbyn is acting like an ordinary politician with the non-denial-denials and the hypocrisy. For Corbyn himself said of Nick Griffin of the BNP

No-one should share a platform with an avowed racist and a fascist

Jeremy Corbyn told Cathy Newman of Channel Four that when he supported Deir Yassin Remembered it was not anti-semitic. Is that true? Here’s some evidence not so far covered in the press:

In 2005, Jeremy Corbyn went to a DYR celebration with Paul Eisen – where the famous anti-semite Gilad Atzmon was performing. Here are the photos:

GILAD AND YARON_compressed

corbyn yassir

Here is a link to the PDF invitation to this event which speaks of “Jewish” disdain for Christians: speaks of the Deir Yassin massacre as a “Jewish” slaughter, and says “Jews” (not Israelis, Jews) currently “persecute Christians and Muslims”. It also draws an equivalence between Deir Yassin and the Holocaust where six million Jews were slaughtered.

Jews persecute Muslims and Christians in Palestine

What of Jewish disdain for Christians

Deir Yassin, the site of the great atrocity against Palestinians and close to the site [Yad Vashem commemorating the great atrocity against Jews [the Holocaust] – from the invitation to the Paul Eisen DYR event Jeremy Corbyn attended in 2005

Now what had Paul Eisen published in 2005? Was he a known anti-Semite then? He was indeed. Here are all the blog posts by Eisen in 2005. (and for completeness 2004, 2003 as well). Directly below his piece reproducing the above anti-semitic language and pulling out photos of Jeremy Corbyn and Gilad Atzmon, Eisen gives us Holocaust denial and antisemitism:

Palestinians ..are not just facing the might of the Israeli state but also the power of organized world Jewry and its primary arm, the Holocaust – Paul Eisen, Dec 2004

And from the post immediately prior to the DYR one with Gilad Atzmon and Jeremy Corbyn, Paul Eisen writes:

After all, people once believed the earth was flat and sat on the back of four elephants riding on a turtle….People today …believe in astrology and fortune telling, iSo what is so hard to believe about theslaughter of six million Jews?

Eisen denies the gas chambers too and says Zyklon B was used for delousing. Awesome. On the board of DYR at this time, when Corbyn attended, was the anti-semite Israel Shamir.

Nor were these facts obscure. They made the national press. David Aaronvitch wrote this in the Times:

a Swedish fascist, Shamir sits on the 16-person board of advisers of .. Deir Yassin Remembered (DYR)… Shamir argued the Jews..were guilty of kidnapping Christian children and drinking their blood.

Now let us recall that Jeremy Corbyn has said ‘Nobody should share a platform with an avowed racist.’ Paul Eisen is one, DYR was anti-semitic at the time, and it was well known.

Further, Gilad Atzmon performed at this event. Was Atzmon a known anti-Semite in 2005? You bet. In 2003, Atzmon started his anti-semitic rants against Jews:

there is no anti-Semitism

we should …regard any act against Jews as a political reaction rather than an irrational racist attack…we must begin to take the accusation that the Jewish people are trying to control the world very seriously. ..American Jewry makes any debate on whether the ‘Protocols of the elder of Zion’ are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant. American Jews do try to control the world

That was two years before Corbyn shared a platform with him and Eisen. In 2004, Gilad Atzmon  told students:

“I’m not going to say whether it is right or not to burn down a synagogue, I can see that it is a rational act”.

And 2005, Atzmon circulated Eisen’s Holocaust denying post above. Labour, even the far left, ran a mile.

But Jeremy Corbyn went along, to an event by the antisemitic DYR, with an antisemitic invitation, and shared a platform with two very well known racists, in 2005. How can he say he did not know? It was his duty to know. And is it true? What correspondence exists? Can he say it was never flagged up to him?

Six years later (!), in 2011 Eisen praised Corbyn again. This is the original piece from which his notorious 2015 “Jeremy Corbyn:the finest man in British politics” is taken.

I’d hardly begun my pitch before his cheque book was out and he was a paid-up member. From that day on, Jeremy, without fuss or bother, attended every single Deir Yassin commemoration. 

A little later the Jewish peace group Just Peace UK wanted to hold a vigil at the Edith Cavell statue near St Martin’s in the Fields but the authorities were being unhelpful. I wanted to impress them, so impetuously I said that I knew Jeremy Corbyn and I’d get him to sort it out. “Oh great” they said leaving me wondering what on earth I was going to do now. Well I did contact Jeremy and he did sort it out and the vigil did take place

The statue of Edith Cavell is in St. Martin’s Place, WC2. It is miles from Corbyn’s constituency of Islington North. Hansard records Corbyn as saying that he attended the demo in 2001.

So now we have Jeremy Corbyn with Paul Eisen in 2000, 2001, 2005, and 2013 (at least). In 2007 the PCS movement finally disassociated themselves with Eisen as an anti-Semite and holocaust denier (two years after he denied the holocaust). This led to Eisen stopping his DYR “celebrations” as nobody would come. But, he says, Jeremy Corbyn stuck by him:

During the time when I felt so marginalised and isolated 

The implication here is that when Eisen’s antisemitism made him a pariah even in the PCS, Corbyn, whom he says is a patron of PCS, was kind to him.

In 2007 DYR day was deserted. Eisen didn’t blog again til 2011  (with the Corbyn blog). Eisen was not “obscure”, as some of todays Corbyn defenders have said. He was a massively well-known anti-semite to the Palestinian movement.

On what possible grounds then did Jeremy Corbyn attend another DYR event in 2013?

By now he must have been well aware of his constituent Eisen’s wild antisemitism. Was the eye-watering anti-Semite Gilad Atzmon present again? Atzmon advertises the event here and here. I think not because it seems he was at DYR Glasgow where, damningly for Corbyn, Jewish groups had succeeded in canceling the antisemitic groups’s event. By this time even BDS had disassociated from Eisen.

So ‘There is no suggestion he has said [antisemitic] thing in Jeremy’s hearing’ won’t do.

The question is did Corbyn know of Eisen’s antisemitism in advance? Of Gilad Atzmon’s antisemitism in advance? He must either have known or have been criminally negligent.

2. Dyab Abou Jahjah’s antisemitism

My last blog demonstrated that Jeremy Corbyn was fully aware that Jahjah had published an anti-Semitic cartoon and celebrated 9/11 when he organised Jahjah’s appearance at a Stop the War Coalition meeting. The blog ‘Harry’s Pace’ had published both two days earlier and bombarded the Quaker House with ’emails and calls all day’ over ‘accusations of antisemitism’ said John Rees in Corbyn’s hearing.

So Jeremy Corbyn absolutely knew that Dyab Aboujahjah had published this cartoon



and celebrated 9/11 as “sweet revenge” when he hosted him at Stop the War and in Parliament. Corbyn also knew, as he sat on the stage as it was discussed, of MASSIVE protests from the Jewish community including over the specific charge Abou Jahjah’s antisemitism.

Corbyn knew. Whether Jahjah said these words “in his hearing” surely does not matter.

3. Paul Sizer’s Antisemitism

Jeremy Corbyn defended  the Church of England’s Paul Sizer, banned from social media for antisemitic posts, in 2012, writing a letter to his bishop.

Sizer had posted a link from Holocaust-denying website The Ugly Truth. Corbyn said this was merely a mistake.

MP Jeremy Corbyn, a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, claimed the use of the link had been “a technical oversight”.

He added: “The internet is a complicated piece of technology and with the best will in the world, imperfect links are made.”

Mr Corbyn wrote that Rev Sizer “seems to have come under attack by certain individuals intent on discrediting the excellent work that Stephen does in highlighting the injustices of the Palestinian Israeli situation”.

He claimed the criticism was “part of a wider pattern of demonising those who dare to stand up and speak out against Zionism”.

OK. But actually Sizer was told about the link long in advance and didn’t remove it for four months. Was it known about then? Yes, it was hugely covered in the media. The Board of Deputies brought a complaint using an ancient act of Parliament. They pointed out that far from Corbyn’s “accidental” antisemitic link Sizer had made no fewer than FIVE of them:

The matters complained of disclose a clear and consistent pattern of activity on the part of Rev Sizer. The evidence indicates that he spends time trawling dark and extreme corners of the internet for material to add to his website. Rev Sizer re-publishes such items… introducing his readers to the racist and antisemitic websites..As the evidence demonstrates, there are five instances of this over the 11 month period from July 2011 to June 2012.

The Council for Christians and Jews protested:

We have paid particular attention to a link posted by Mr Sizer on his Facebook page to ‘The Ugly Truth’, an antisemitic website. We consider this to be wholly unacceptable. We cannot accept it was an accident, because Mr Sizer was alerted to the antisemitic nature of the website in November and again in December, but only removed the link in January when contacted by the Jewish Chronicle

So that was the situation in 2012 when Jeremy Corbyn wrote that letter. It is quite obvious he knew then of Rev. Sizer’s views.

Sizer continued to write antisemitic blogs

  • The section dealing with the writing of Mark Braverman has been heavily edited so as to remove his most penetrating comments on the Holocaust and Jewish ‘specialness’.

until he was banned by the C of E from using any kind of social media.

Therefore it is time for the Corbyn campaign to be absolutely open about what Jeremy Corbyn knew of the anti-semitism of:

CEC and La Rouche

Dyab Abou Jahjah

Paul Eisen, Gilad Atzmon, and DYR

and Paul Sizer

at the times he shared a platform with Eisen and Atzmon, defended Sizer, and provided platforms by his own invitation  to Dyab Abou Jahjah and CEC/La Rouche. He should also be asked by mainstream journalists what Jewish groups said to him at the time. Pleading no knowledge of the antisemitism just won’t cut it.

Credit to Anna Gizowska

I want to credit the freelance journalist Anna Gizowska, @AnnaGiz, on Twitter. Anna alerted me to Dyab Abou Jahjah’s antisemitic cartoons published and his quote that ‘Every dead American, British and Dutch soldier I consider as a victory.’ I then spent a fair bit of time tracking down the originals and finding Abou Jahjah’s racist and homophobic blog before writing my piece. Anna originally did not want to be credited for her discovery as she was still researching Corbyn, but I asked her permission to credit her for finding the tweet where Abou Jahjah said Corbyn was his “friend”, which sent us both down the research rabbit hole, with good journalistic results.

corbyn yassir

The Perils of Primaries – Corbyn and Trump

It’s always a problem. In a primary system, only the most engaged of any party’s supporters – the ‘base’ – picks a candidate. As a result, extremists are often, but not always, elected to lead. They then spend the rest of their time as leader frantically rowing back from whatever they said to win over the base, in order to win the general election.

While I had huge respect for Conservative party members and activists as a candidate – I was one before and am still one now – I bore in mind it wasn’t 500 local members who would elect me or not, but roughly 70-80 000 voters in our large constituency. As Conservatives we had to appeal to the middle, the disengaged, the swing voter.

This problem is writ large in 2015, in opposite directions on two sides of the pond. Jeremy Corbyn, a far-left MP, is leading in Labour’s race in the UK while Donald Trump is leading in the GOP primary field, for now. Trump made cracks about Mexican immigrants raping and Fox News anchor and debate moderator Megyn Kelly’s period. Now I am not politically correct, but if racism and sexism is the answer, my support goes to Hillary.

Jeremy Corbyn was revealed yesterday to have donated to the anti-semitic hate group Deir Yassin Remembered and gone to ‘every one’ of their celebrations since the year 2000 (that’s over a span of 15 years  for those counting). Yesterday his office issued a non-denial denial, saying the ‘office’ had no connection with the brutal anti-semite and racist Paul Eisen, its leader; but they would not answer if Corbyn had donated, was a member, or had personal connections with Eisen. (photo is of Corbyn at a DYR rally in 2005)

On both ends of the political spectrum, it’s simply not good enough, and it’s a problem for the Republicans and for Labour that their supporters like these people. The GOP should stop giving Trump airtime. Erick Erickson of Red State led the way on that yesterday.

But there is one big difference between the Republican primary and the Labour leadership. The Republican voters can make Trump the nominee, and voters can make him the President; he is directly elected to executive office.

Nobody wants to tell Labour party members the unhappy truth which is that they cannot make Jeremy Corbyn Prime Minister. A Prime Minister is simply a man or woman who can command a majority in the House of Commons. Right now, Labour MPs are saying as loudly as they dare that they will not sign up to Corbyn’s Cabinet; but it also means they won’t follow his whip or his leadership. Corbyn himself rebelled so often he cannot expect his colleagues to follow his lunatic policies now.

Whatever the votes cast, it’s really simple; if Jeremy Corbyn cannot get Labour MPs to support his policies, he can’t lead the party, and certainly can never become Prime Minister. He could never sit in front of the Queen and tell her he can command a majority in the House of Commons if Labour MPs won’t support him.

One end game is second preferences making Yvette Cooper or Andy Burnham leader. Another is that Corbyn wins, Labour MPs immediately rebel (two months perhaps – but they would be better declaring the leadership election infiltrated and ripping off the plaster right away than waiting) and a second election is scheduled. Tom Watson will be elected Deputy Leader in the forthcoming election, and would therefore be Acting Leader at the time. I can see Tom running, and he would win any second contest easily. I know and like Tom and he is a pragmatist. Compared to Corbyn he will look like Margaret Thatcher. Compared to Andy Burnham or Yvette Cooper he will look like Jeremy Corbyn, however. Tom’s support in the Union movement is total. He would be an effective leader of the Opposition if (and my advice here is as his friend) he worked hard on understanding the shift he’d just made, and above all other things, controlled his temper and moderated his speech.

At any rate, Corbyn refusing to speak on membership of and financial donation to Deir Yassin Remembered is unacceptable. It’s unacceptable in terms of the group and it’s also unacceptable in terms of cowardice.

If he wins, Labour MPs should take the damage on the chin and make their move immediately to oust him. The problem will not get better the longer they procrastinate.


Advice to Ex-MPs

My sympathies to every MP who lost their seat, except George Galloway, over whose loss I rejoice with all my heart.

When I resigned my seat, for reasons I will never be able to be wholly forthcoming about, the Labour supporter and rugby legend Brian Moore reached out to me on Twitter and advised me to get counseling for the traumatic loss. He compared it to the effect on athletes after their careers finish, after they win, or lose, an Olympic medal say, and then life reverts to normal.

For all MPs, Westminster is a high-stress, high-octane environment. It is full of hard work and excitement. Life there is lived on the edge. You devote your life to public service, the public detest you, and then you lose your seat and for many, a great chunk of your life’s significance in the public eye. In that way, this post could be for anybody who loses a big job, a sports career, or other professional role. [Edited to add – the same applies to MPs staff who lose their jobs, to councillors and several police officers and servicemen/women have tweeted to say it applies to them too – even losing candidates who are no longer PPCs].

For the first year after resigning I thought I was cracking up*. No wonder how much I talked to myself, was sensible and got on with life, my subconscious had other ideas; I had a Parliament-related dream almost every night for a year. It was pretty awful.

In the end, the way I put it behind me was twofold. Firstly, and most importantly, I was able to replace Parliament with another job that is hugely significant to me and which has a component of mission. That’s the single biggest lesson. Secondly, I rededicated myself to political and Conservative activism, on Twitter, with opinion columns, and with this blog which, in the case of Mr. Galloway, I believe has had some impact. I truly flung myself at the campaign and targeted effort on Bradford West (as a feminist and principled case) and South Thanet. If you are Labour or a Tory or a LibDem you are likely a true believer. Remain a true believer and get to work.

However there are also short-term things you can do, and here’s what I think ex-colleagues ought to do for themselves now, in order.

1. Acknowledge that the full impact of this loss will not hit you for several months.

2. Firstly, get the tasks out of the way that need doing – write to your team and thank them all.

3. If possible, take a short break away with friends or a loved one.

4. Do not ruminate. You get more of what you focus on. Ask yourself constantly ‘What’s next for me?’ and have several answers. It will be a long five years til the next election. Do not think in terms now of another seat, but a different job and role. [Adding – psychologically, fixating on a new seat, or other identical role to the one you just lost, is really an attempt to wind back the clock and “fix” what just happened – that cannot be done, so a new role at least for a year or so is wise].

5. Acknowledge you will be prone to depression. The way to combat this is to spend a lot of time outside, especially as the summer comes up. Take up meditation, I recommend the app “Simply Being” here. The effects of meditation, which is 20 minutes clearing the mind of thoughts, are medically proven. Go for walks in green spaces; the countryside, and parks. There are benefits to losing your seat. You have time for yourself, your family, your friends.

6. Take up an exercise programme however moderate. Exercise diminishes stress and produces endorphins not just in the moment, but long-term. It is clinically effective for mild to moderate depression and is a preventative of depression. As you may develop depression it is VERY important to start this at once. Go for a brisk walk or a jog tomorrow and repeat every day, if physically able to do so. You will lose weight, look better and your self-esteem will improve and this will have a knock-on effect of further moderating any sadness.

7. Alcohol is a depressant. Stay away from cheap joy. Try very hard to go for a dry May-June while you regroup. [Adding – as you will be sad you will be more vulnerable to alcohol abuse – that will stop you exercising and being in the sunlight – stay well clear for a month or so] See a therapist if you need to, too.

8. See a lot of comedies. Go to museums, enjoy yourself.

9. Reinvention of the physical self must however be matched with the sensible realization that you will never get over it until you have something as good or better in your life. Look for a job, a charity, a role, that  can replace the adrenaline and octane of Parliament. We are all Type A. Don’t kid yourselves on that one.

10. Tell yourself the truth – you did something important in your life and the only ones who never suffer a defeat are those who never join the field of battle. You should be proud of your public service, and whether you stand again or not in the future, these summer days will not come your way again, nor these fallow years. Do not waste them – go and build a new world and climb a new mountain. We are more than what we do. Be more than your job; be a person and tie your self-esteem to your efforts, not the results of your efforts. You can control the former, not the latter.

PS – I was deadly serious about the magic bullet of exercise, fresh air and green spaces. One of the easiest wins, most in your own control, and implementable instantly, is to get on the scales and then go build a better, stronger, healthier body. New achievements are the antidote to ruminating and looking back. I might add that while you pursue a big new job, which takes time, you can also usefully add other achievements such as learning a language which is an immediate challenge and gives you something to pursue. I loved learning German and Italian with Pimsleur, which are half hour a day audio lessons on iTunes that test you as you listen. Walk in the park while learning French – it gives you a sense of power and achievement right away; after one big role you need new challenges and goals while you try to land the next one.


* “cracking up” here relates to my persistent dreams rather than my mental health in general. I was able to stave off depression by flinging myself into exercise and fitness in New York as I advise in this blog. Once you have become depressed it is hard to get out and exercise, so the key thing is to get going before it hits.

Naz Shah Bradfordrising j

The Election In Bradford West Has Been Hopelessly Tainted

Gallowayism smears again j

I believe that the orchestrated campaign of smears on the character of Nas Shah, Labour candidate for Bradford West, mean that the election has been hopelessly tainted by George Galloway and the Respect Party. Should Mr. Galloway “win” on May 7th where the electorate has been so thoroughly compromised, I cannot see how an election court could allow that result to stand. In this blog I will lay out evidence of this orchestrated and long-running smear campaign.

The smears that have been taped at the Bradford West hustings – where no cameras were supposed to be allowed – have already caused the Labour party to tell Respect that they are making a complaint under the Act. However, their complaint thus far is limited to the smears on Ms. Shah at the hustings. However, Respect have so maligned the character of this rape victim, and for so long, that I believe that according to section 106 there is no way this election can be held in a free and impartial manner if Mr. Galloway is the candidate.

Before I found the video of the Bradford West hustings on the Twitter feed of the rabid anti-semite Amar Rafiq, a friend of Mr. Galloway’s – in which Galloway waved Naz Shah’s nikkah and called her a liar over the age at which she was raped, it had received precisely 11 views on YouTube. I am grateful to BBC Trending for crediting me for breaking the story – other papers did not do so. I am proud of my work as an investigative journalist on this matter in the public interest, and would appreciate it if fellow journalists using evidence provided here would credit it.

This blog is necessarily long as it involves production of a large amount of evidence. But I believe the misogynistic abuse of a woman standing for office, based on slurs around her private life and to influence an election, is wholly illegal, and that as a feminist, a journalist, and a citizen, it is my duty to investigate and expose it. I do not support Ms. Shah’s candidacy as a private person – I am a supporter of the Conservatives and I hope George Grant wins Bradford West. However, that is completely irrelevant. I believe election law has been broken to such an extent that no free and fair election can now take place on May 7th in the Bradford West Constituency.

The abuse of Ms. Shah’s character is exactly what section 106 of the Representation of the People Act is supposed to prevent.

In 2010, Phil Woolas won the seat of Saddleworth and Oldham. His victory was overturned because an election court found him to have smeared the character of his opponent.

In this instance, the smearing of Ms. Shah is done in the textbook way that a Judicial Review of the Saddleworth Case determined was necessary, under Section 106, to invalidate an election result. In particular:

  1. In our view, the starting point for the construction of s.106 must be the distinction which it is plain from the statutory language that Parliament intended to draw between statements as to the political conduct or character or position of a candidate and statements as to his personal character or conduct. It was as self evident in 1895 as it is today, given the practical experience of politics in a democracy, that unfounded allegations will be made about the political position of candidates in an election. The statutory language makes it clear that Parliament plainly did not intend the 1895 Act to apply to such statements; it trusted the good sense of the electorate to discount them. However statements as to the personal character of a candidate were seen to be quite different. The good sense of the electorate would be unable to discern whether such statements which might be highly damaging were untrue; a remedy under the ordinary law in the middle of an election would be difficult to obtain. Thus the distinction was drawn in the 1895 Act which is re-enacted in s.106 and which is reflected in the decisions to which we have referred a paragraph 87.ii).
  2. In our judgment, as Parliament clearly intended that such a distinction be made, a court has to make that distinction and decide whether the statement is one as to the personal character or conduct or a statement as to the political position or character of the candidate. It cannot be both.
  3. Statements about a candidate which relate, for example, to his family, religion, sexual conduct, business or finances are generally likely to relate to the personal character of a candidate.

You will note that the Judicial Review states that “a remedy…. in the middle of an election would be difficult to obtain.”

The Electoral Commission guidance on personal character smears, made in order to influence an election, is also clear:

1.49 It is an offence to make or publish a false statement of fact about the personal character or conduct of a candidate in order to affect the return of a candidate at an election.

At the Bradford West hustings, Mr. Galloway produced a document that he claimed was the Nikkah of Nas Shah. Ms. Shah was forced into marriage, and therefore raped, when she was a teenager. He later admitted sending a supporter to Pakistan to obtain this document. He also said she had ‘only a passing acquaintance with the truth’ because ‘you were not fifteen. You were sixteen and a half.’

His claim was that Ms. Shah was a liar and unfit to be an MP because she entered into her marriage at 16 and a half instead of at 15.

He later claimed that Ms. Shah’s marriage was not forced, as she says, because it was arranged by her parents. Forced marriages are, in almost every case, arranged by her parents.

News reports have, in my view regrettably, concentrated on the fact that Ms. Shah does have an earlier nikkah from the age of 15. This is not material to a slur on her character under section 106. Whether or not Ms. Shah was raped at 15 or 16 does not matter; the essence of her story is that she was forced into marriage. Her family removed her from school at the age of 12 years old.

Mr. Galloway stated the following things about Ms. Shah, at the election hustings and afterwards: that she is a liar; that she lied about her rape in order to win votes; and that she did so for a racist purpose, in order to ‘slander of her own community‘. He made the latter accusation, that Ms. Shah was being a racist, (the tweet linked to there shows men watching at the Bradford West hustings) and that she invented the story of her rape in order to smear Muslim men, several times on Twitter.

it wasn’t she wasn’t it is slander of her own family community and city. We won’t have it. Might have impressed you but none locally


Respect: we’ll allow no-one to slander people of Bradford West or peddle their racist stereotypes

Her squalid sorry life was put front and centre of her campaign by her not me. And people of Bradford West are sick of it.

Asked whether Galloway disputed Shah’s claim to have been forced into a violent marriage as a teenager – be that at 15 or 16 and a half – and was repeatedly raped in that marriage, McKay said: “In what sense was it a forced marriage? Her mother attended the marriage in 1990 as well as other family members and many witnesses did also, signing and giving fingerprints, so if it was forced presumably her mother and the others were part of that coercion?”

The government’s Forced Marriage Unit makes clear that parents are often the instigators of forced marriage, coercing their offspring to marry against their will.

McKay said that if Shah’s first husband had been violent to her, “then as a British citizen in Pakistan she could have jumped on a plane and left him behind, although I do appreciate that is often extremely difficult. If he was violent to her here – I’m not aware when they came back to Britain – then she could have gone to the police, social services, an imam or whatever. I am not aware, are you, of any such report by her to anyone, here or there?”

Ron McKay, the Respect Party spokesperson told Urban Echo, “Naz Shah has claimed in all the media she has trailed her story across – Times, Telegraph, Mirror, Mail and Guardian, and of course Urban Echo – that she was fifteen when she married. This narrative plays into the racist line of Pakistani men grooming/sexually abusing under-age girls.

“Recently when I pointed out to a Guardian reporter the true date of the marriage, based on Supreme Court evidence that her mother had gone to Pakistan in May 1990 for the wedding, Naz Shah’s response was to add a further lie, that her mother’s visit was for the wedding celebration – some 18 months at least after the alleged wedding! Naseem Shah has deliberately and cynically bent the truth in order to manipulate people’s emotions in an attempt to win personal support for her candidature. She is unfit to represent Labour or, heaven forfend, the people of Bradford West,” he concludes.

Note the reference to the Supreme Court and her mother’s case.
The Urban Echo piece, with its accusation that Naz Shah not only lied, but used the story of her rape for racist purposes  – two personal character slurs that Ron McKay stated should influence electors, during an election period – was also directly RTed by Mr. Galloway, and by his official “Team George Galloway”, when tweeted out by the personal account behind @TeamGeorgeG – it has thus been directly promoted by the candidate.
Urban echo RTed by George
All of that is on the record smears about the personal character of Nas Shah, promoted during an election period, by a candidate, and by his agent, in order to influence the election. It is more than enough to make any election result in Bradford West in which she is defeated, unsafe.
Having followed Mr. Galloway and Respect’s accounts on this matter for some time, incidentally, I have yet to discover even one tweet or attack on Naseem Shah from them that is policy based.
More than enough direct evidence appears of an attack on personal character to violate section 106 of the Representation of the People Act in the precise way the Judicial Review found should invalidate an election:
  1. Statements about a candidate which relate, for example, to his family, religion, sexual conduct, business or finances are generally likely to relate to the personal character of a candidate.
However, there is, unfortunately, more.
Part Two: Smear Accounts, blogs, and sock puppets
For weeks, a vicious, anonymous blog, tweeted and shared by several anonymous, pretending to be Naz Shah twitter accounts and fake Facebook accounts, has been circulated around Bradford West. It is incredibly vicious and it is libelous to the personal character of Naz Shah. It smears Ms. Shah’s mother, even her brother and sister. It calls her every name under the sun.
NS ss 1After the Labour party made a complaint under section 106, some sock puppets took their site links down, but others left them up. [EDIT – as I am composing this, all the links to the smear site with all the urls have been removed. As of last night, they were still live. Somebody removed the last of them just yesterday night. ] I should say that I have copies of the site in full, in screenshots, and copies of all known URLs for the website. Taking it down will be pointless. The site links back to this Urban Echo blog and quotes Mr. McKay:
NS ss 2 Ron McKay j
The link in the above screenshot led back to the Urban echo post.
Under the Urban echo blog story you find more Respect-supporting sock puppets directing you to the smear site:

P Simmons

11 days ago

I have been shocked at the untruths Labour’s Naz Shah, the Respect Party’s rival for the Bradford West seat, has been spreading in order to be selected for the constituency, gain publicity, attract sympathy from gullible people, and ultimately to try to win votes.
We all have a duty to spread the truth and not let crookedry infiltrate British politics. Please refer folk to this website on Naz Shah so they can find out what she really is all about! It exposes how she ended up getting selected when she polled by far the lowest number of votes in her local constituency’s Labour Party membership ballot.


P Simmons

11 days ago

The link to the website is here: – a must read and highly shocking!


P Simmons

11 days ago

Lies indeed as Urban Echo reports.
With the UK election campaigning period officially launching today, an exclusive exposé of the ‪Labour‬ Party’s candidate for Bradford West, ‪NazShah is being published‬. Researchers have spent weeks trawling through two decades of legal documents and interviewing Naz Shah’s family as well as grassroots Labour Party members in Bradford to reveal Naz Shah is a highly duplicitous character who has spun a fraudulent account of her life and her mother’s controversial past to a trusting media and Labour Party hierarchy.
Read the new, exclusive exposé – the first report ever to counter nearly 20 years of lies by ‪NazShahBfd‬ – here:
Spread the truth. Please refer people to the website!


Update: In my haste to take screenshots of the links, and similarities, to and from the smear site and official Respect party sources, I missed the significance of the content of the above sock puppet’s comment. I draw Labour party lawyers to this now:
Researchers have spent weeks trawling through two decades of legal documents and interviewing Naz Shah’s family
Two decades of legal documents. The “legal documents” “court” line is taken up in the smear site BUT IT IS ALSO TAKEN UP BY MR. GALLOWAY AND RESPECT THEMSELVES.
Surely it beggars belief that these two things are a co-incidence. Again and again, “court documents” referred to in the smear site are referred to by officials of Respect. Mr. McKay says, on the record, in his interview with urban echo, that Respect attempted to “prove” a sixteen year old had given her consent to being trafficked abroad and forced into rape by looking at the testimony in the trial of her mother. That said testimony is referred to over and over in the smear blog. More importantly the sock puppet “P Simmons” says his smear site researchers have “spent weeks…. interviewing Naz Shah’s family”. On the record, Respect tell the Guardian and Helen Pidd that:
Asked where and how Galloway had obtained the nikah he waved around at the hustings, McKay said: “We were first given a copy of the nikah by a close family member in this country. We wanted to verify that it was authentic so we arranged for a person in Mirpur to obtain a copy directly from the registry office.
he said Respect was in contact with Shah’s first husband
Well then – Mr. McKay’s on the record comments have identical research claims to the P Simmons sock puppet underneath the Urban Echo blog (in which McKay first adduces the nikkah – you can see it on that blog) – and the P Simmons sock directs us to the smear site – which quotes Mr. McKay and directs the reader back to McKay’s interview in, er, the Urban Echo blog.
As Private Eye might say – could they possibly be related?
Update Ends – more Updated material below
These identical lines are taken up across the board by smearing sock puppets who RT the official respect accounts too. Language used in the smear blog is used to attack Ms Shah on Facebook and Twitter. For example Ms. Shah is said to have had a “chavvish obsession” with “washing her family’s dirty laundry from twenty years ago” and a big picture of the Jeremy Kyle show is used, with a gif:
Jeremy Kyle NS ss
This line about Jeremy Kyle is used by Respect supporters smearing her on Facebook, like one “Aky Ali”. The Facebook address on his profile uses the name Riaz Mahmood.
Aky Ali Jeremy Kyle NS
The Aky Ali account also makes the smear site references to her “murderer mother” as do the fake twitter accounts.
Aky Aki mother FB Naz Shah
Sometimes Respect party thug supporters like Amar Rafiq openly smear Ms. Shah under their own names: more often they use sock puppets. Here is the fake Facebook page created in her name. The contact details were a link to the smear site, now deleted; of course, I have screenshots. The fake “Jane White” also links to the smear site – the avatar is one of Ms. Shah’s face.
I hope the police will investigate very thoroughly, with a raid on computers, the explicit link to the court case described with lawyer-like referencing at the bottom of the smear site. Respect and George Galloway called – as a shoddy and obvious smokescreen – for Ms. Shah to prosecuted for perjury. The case of her poor mother is dissected all over the Naz Shah smear site in legal terms again and again. Look at the link “Jane White” makes in her post of four hours ago:

‪#‎NazShah‬ is extremely unwise to continually drag out her past, as she has been doing for well over a decade now. I confess it does help win over sensitive and gullible folk, as her story seems to be tragic. But politics should be contested on policies. This is not the Jeremy Kyle show.

Unfortunately Naz Shah has spent weeks relaying an inaccurate sob story to the press and barely touched up mentioning policies until recently.

The comprehensive report at provides empirical evidence of her deceitfulness – including lying infront of the courts, a very serious offence as per today’s Respect Party announcement – and the best thing for Naz Shah to now do would be to give up on the campaign and, at the age of 42 try to be begin a respectful life.

Information about Naz Shah, Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Bradford West
The Respect Party announcement tweeted by Galloway is here.
Compare to the lawyerly nature of the smear site’s postings about Ms. Shah’s mother: there is more, these are just two excerpts.
NS ss mother court 1 NS ss mother court 2
Various smearing twitter accounts have tried to change their names. The @Bfdwest2015 smear site changed its name to “Strawmankiller.”
Beeks = Bfdwest2015
_MG_3144 (10 of 82)

Zero Hours? Zero Credibility

Labour are being so contemptuous with the voters in this campaign that it really is time to call them out.

‘Zero Hours’ is the new ‘Bankers’ Bonuses’. Say it loudly enough and often enough and maybe you will fool people into thinking this is real economic policy for a nation.

Labour chose to dedicate April Fools’ Day to this policy. Let’s look at what they take us for.

As {scroll to 7:59}, Andrew Neill reminded Lucy Powell on her car crash interview, zero hours contracts form a tiny part of the UK economy – a tiny part of the working population.

ON TV, Lucy was trying to get out of admitting that Labour would borrow much more to fund their huge spending programme.

So she said ‘We will increase the tax base by getting people into higher wage jobs.’

‘How,’ asked Neill, reasonably enough.

‘Zero hours zero hours zero hours’ Lucy bleated on. ‘Huge rise in zero hours and…’

‘There are only 700,000 people on zero hours contracts in Britain,’ said Andrew Neill. ‘Of those, a third are students and another third don’t want to work any more hours. So that leaves 233,000 people in a country of sixty-five million. How are you going to enlarge the tax base on that?’

This is the key point on zero hours contracts; they are essentially the bogeyman name for ‘casual labour.’ And 2/3 of the small amount of folk using them don’t want, or can’t, work regular hours – because they’re in college, or have another reason.

Leave aside that 68 Labour MPs, including Ed Miliband’s PPS, employ staff on zero hours or casual contracts. ( I paid my interns the London living wage and paid them a full day every day they worked. And I advertised the place openly).

Leave aside that Ed Miliband is the local MP for Doncaster, and his Labour-run local council, that reports to him as the party leader, is the BIGGEST user of zero hours contracts in the country – Doncaster has {edit – 2,750} people employed on zero hours contracts. What has Ed done to stop that?

Leave aside that forcing employers to offer a structured contract will simply mean fewer of these jobs, which 2/3 work perfectly happily in.

Here’s the key point. The numbers on zero hours contracts who might prefer like a regular contract – even if you put EVERY ONE of them into Miliband’s camp without asking them – are LESS THAN 250K people in a nation of 65,000,000 people.

Stop taking us for fools, Labour. Just stop it.

‘What else will you do to balance the books?’ Andrew Neil asked Lucy Powell.

‘Well, we’re going to cut ministerial pay,’ she said.

Pathetic. Utterly pathetic. Give us costed policies that matter.


John Bercow Can’t Avoid A Ballot

It should never have come to this – and the outcome is inevitable.

Momentary humiliation for the Government as they lose the Speaker vote – and indeed, it was a foolish piece of politics, because it was so unnecessary.

All that was required was for the PM to write to Bercow saying he had lost his confidence, and that, whether as PM or LOTO he would ask Conservative MP’s to shout “NO!” on Parliament’s return.

The sneaky vote was distasteful to many MPs.

That said, Labour cheers and Mr. Bercow’s silly “I’m not going anywhere” will, I fear, have finished him off.

The House rules are that a Speaker is normally acclaimed on any new Parliament, but it is open to the House to shout “NO!” and divide. If fifty or one hundred or two hundred Tories shout “NO!’ that is it – a ballot will happen, an election will take place, and it will be secret.

John Bercow’s best play was to have accepted the motion calmly and with grace. That would have shamed the government and neutrals would have voted for him. It is not very likely that neutrals will now vote for the man who is, sadly and self-evidently, the darling of the Labour party in the House.

Who will the SNP want? What if one of their own or a Plaid Cymru MP wants the chair? They would get broad support.

Speakers have been politicized of late. There is no doubt Bercow now faces a secret ballot on his return to Westminster, and neither he nor Labour can stop that. If a Speaker does not have the acceptance of BOTH SIDES of the House, he or she CANNOT survive.

I fear that John Bercow’s lasting legacy may be to abolish the position of Speaker. I can see a new Coalition govt legislating to make the Deputy Speakers of equal rank with a Speakers’ Office determining rules. One man, or one woman, has too much power over the business of Parliament. An overtly party political Speaker who one side is “For” and one side is “Against” has lost that battle.

The treatment of the Clerk of the House, Richard Rogers, will also not be forgotten.

John Bercow had many excellent qualities including Urgent Questions, backbench reforms, and others. His greatest strength was holding the government to account. With all his flaws I would still have voted for him if I had a vote. None of that matters now. His only hope of survival are written proposals to the Conservatives of how he will reform in the chair, as he literally cannot survive without the consent of both sides of the House. I hope for Parliament’s sake he does that, but I fear anger is just too high.

Today was “good political theatre” for the Labour party and John Bercow. Neither will enjoy the massed shout of “NO!” from one set of benches or the other, as soon as Parliament returns.

Secret ballot for Bercow? Yes there will be.