Diane Abbott: Selection ‘farce’ as Starmer says decision not made on blocking her – LabourList

Diane Abbott has said she is “delighted” to have had the Labour whip restored but is “very dismayed” about reports suggesting she has been barred from standing as a Labour candidate at the next general election.

But Sky News reports that Keir Starmer said this afternoon that “no decision has been taken to bar [Abbott] going forward”, and shadow minister Darren Jones even suggested at a press conference she could speak to the party about re-standing.

Labour faces heavy pressure to allow the first Black woman elected to parliament to re-stand however in her Hackney North and Stoke Newington constituency, with a rally due to be held at Hackney Town Hall on Wednesday night.

The veteran MP said in a statement on X this morning: “Naturally I am delighted to have the Labour whip restored and to be a member of the [Parliamentary Labour Party]. Thank you to all those who supported me along the way.

“I will be campaigning for a Labour victory. But I am very dismayed that numerous reports suggest I have been barred as a candidate.”

The news comes after a long suspension and on the eve of the general election.

The party declined to respond when asked if she would be allowed to stand for Labour. The Times reported party sources suggesting Labour will bar her from standing, prompting a wave of fresh criticism over the party’s handling of the case.

It follows another claim yesterday morning that the investigation that prompted her suspension had been wrapped up months ago, though Labour has also not responded to that allegation.

Train drivers’ union ASLEF today published a joint letter to Starmer from its general secretary Mick Whelan and the general secretaries of five other unions affiliated to Labour calling for Abbott to be confirmed as the candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington.

The letter is dated May 25th, prior to confirmation that the Labour whip had been restored to Abbott. Alongside Whelan, it has been signed by the TSSA’s Maryam Eslamdoust, Unite’s Sharon Graham, NUM’s Chris Kitchen, CWU’s Dave Ward and the FBU’s Matt Wrack.

VOTE HERE: Should Diane Abbott be allowed to stand again for Labour?

John McTernan, a former adviser to Tony Blair often supportive of Keir Starmer, said the briefing suggesting the first black female MP would not be able to restand was “disgraceful”.

Jess Barnard, a national executive committee member on the left of the party, called the situation a “farce”. Mirror associate editor Kevin Maguire said he hoped she could stand again.

Neal Lawson, director of cross-party campaign group Compass, said of reports she could be barred: “Even for those who don’t share her politics, it’s sad to see that the Labour’s so-called broad church is now so narrow it no longer has space for a figure like Diane Abbott.

“Meanwhile, it appears to have no qualms about welcoming in former Tories like Natalie Elphicke who clearly don’t share its values.”

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting faced questions about whether the party had “stitched her up” on the BBC’s Today programme.

He said it was a decision for Labour’s national executive committee, and declined to say if he wanted her to remain as an MP.

But he added: “Keir Starmer when he talked about improving standards in the Labour party, he really meant it. I don’t know the specific factors that apply in Diane Abbott’s case. I was pleased actually that her suspension was lifted and the whip was restored.”

Pressed on the suggestion the investigation wrapped up months ago and why Labour figures had not disclosed this in recent broadcast interviews, he said he would not rely on “hearsay”.

What did Diane Abbott do to be suspended?

Abbott had the party whip suspended in April last year for suggesting in a letter to The Observer that Irish people, Jewish people and Travellers “are not all their lives subject to racism” as Black people are.

Abbott apologised and said she wished to “wholly and unreservedly withdraw” her remarks, which caused a significant backlash. A party spokesperson called the remarks “deeply offensive”.

But Abbott previously told LabourList that she suspected the party of using the disciplinary process to “bar me from standing at the next election”, despite her being selected by local members.

“I wrote in September that my suspension was a factional manoeuvre aimed at silencing a Black woman on the left, a critic of the line of the current leadership. Nothing has substantially changed since.”

Read more of our 2024 general election coverage here.

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Chris Rufo’s Strategy for Defeating the Radical Left

Chris Rufo wrote “America’s Cultural Revolution” last year as a warning to conservatives about the radical Left‘s takeover of institutions—from business and government to education and entertainment. In addition to being an exposé, it also served as a call to action.

Now, a year later, Rufo is optimistic that Americans, including some to left of center politically, are “waking up.” He attributes the change to the gruesome and deadly Oct. 7, 2023, attack by Hamas and the Left’s unflinching (and often antisemitic) criticism of Israel that followed.

“After 10/7, when those same people who were marching for [Black Lives Matter], who were pushing trans in schools, who were ramping up DEI, when they’re out there celebrating the terrorists who butchered, raped, and murdered innocent people, I think it caused this moment of horror, but also this moment of clarity,” Rufo told The Daily Signal.

The popular writer, filmmaker, and activist—whose work is available at ChristopherRufo.com—was in Washington, D.C., last week to accept The Heritage Foundation’s prestigious Salvatori Prize.

Listen to the interview on “The Daily Signal Podcast” or read an edited and abridged transcript below.

Rob Bluey: It’s almost a year since you published “America’s Cultural Revolution.” It was a call to action for Americans to wake up to what’s going on in the Marxist ideology that’s infused so many of the institutions in this country. Do you feel that people are heeding that call today?

Chris Rufo: I think so. You always want a greater number of people to heed the call.

The story that I told in the book was certainly revealed to be true at the time, but it took on a new dimension following the Hamas terror attack on Oct. 7 of last year. That has just accelerated this waking up that is happening in the United States, and in particular on the center-left. A lot of people who would say, “Oh, woke is so overblown, it’s not so bad. DEI [diversity, equity, and inclusion] is good. Maybe it’s not perfect, but maybe we can improve it.” But those were rationalizations.

And after 10/7, when those same people who were marching for BLM, who were pushing trans in schools, who were ramping up DEI, when they’re out there celebrating the terrorists who butchered, raped, and murdered innocent people, I think it caused this moment of horror, but also this moment of clarity, “Oh, all of that leads to this.”

I’ve never seen anything like it. You’re seeing a lot of shift right now, not just in public opinion, but in political alliances. You’re seeing a shift in financing people pulling back from giving money to universities, including the Ivy League universities.

Bluey: Kevin Roberts, president of The Heritage Foundation, says that he’s very optimistic that the American people will take back their country from the elites that have set us down this path.

Rufo: That’s the right attitude. That’s what I love about Kevin. Maybe it’s a Texas thing, a little Alamo spirit, but I share the same conviction.

And look, a lot of people on our side are down in the dumps. They’re demoralized, they’re feeling pessimistic. We all feel that at times, of course, but we have to also have some greater historical perspective and read the history of the founding, read the history of the Civil War, read the history of the Second World War, read the history of the ’60s and ’70s. We’ve been through much more difficult challenges in the past.

The question is, can we meet the standard of the past? That’s the real question. It’s a question of our own culture, our own spirit, our own character.

I certainly feel doubts about that sometimes. Even in the pre-revolutionary period, the Patriots of the American Revolution doubted themselves the whole time. Even in January of 1776, all of the smart opinion in the Colonies was that most Americans did not want revolution. Most Americans did not want to separate from Britain. Most Americans would refuse to participate.

History is full of surprises, and I hope that we’re fortunate again, as we’ve been so many times in our past.

Bluey: You recently hosted a conversation with some individuals who go by pseudonyms who have been doxxed by what you call the left-wing smear machine that is quite coordinated in some of its activities. But you also sounded somewhat hopeful that maybe things were changing in that regard.

Rufo: Absolutely, yes. There’s a whole range of reputational destruction mechanisms and some of them are formalized, like the SPLC [Southern Poverty Law Center], for example, which is kind of a sham organization that would try to put you on a list and refer you to law enforcement for protesting a school career. They’ve run out of actual true hate groups. So, they have now labeled everything a hate group. It’s absurd.

But then down to the doxxing. A lot of people online want to maintain pseudonyms. Again, America has a long tradition of pseudonyms. The Founders wrote under pseudonyms for many of their works. Thomas Paine wrote anonymously “Common Sense,” which is the kind of literary work that helps spark the revolution. And then, as now, unmasking people as a way to put them toward reputational destruction. There are even more personal tactics to intimidate you, harass you, whatever.

Counterrevolution #3: The Left-Wing Smear Machine by Christopher F. Rufo

Pseudonymity, doxing, and the dissident Right.

Read on Substack

Two things are happening, though. Those tactics have lost their steam. Those tactics have lost their effectiveness. Conservatives are getting much tougher and much smarter and much more courageous and much more sophisticated and adept at responding to those reputational attacks. Our audience, our supporters, our people automatically discount them: “Oh, OK, another person on the so-and-so list.” “Oh, OK, another person gets a smear piece and the X, Y, and Z, The Guardian, whatever publication.”

It was so overused for a period that it lost its rhetorical force, and conservatives have successfully adapted.

It can still be damaging to people who are in a vulnerable position—if you’re an employee at a big corporation, yeah, maintaining your anonymity is probably smart. But if you’re in politics or in the political world, we now have the tools, and we have now the support where some of these reputational attacks can be successfully countered.

Bluey: What keeps you going? You are sometimes outgunned 100 to 1, 500 to 1, maybe more, and yet it doesn’t seem to deter you.

Rufo: I love it. I enjoy it. I love the challenge. I enjoy the fight. I savor victories when they come and then I try to learn from defeats, which are inevitable. But I love the process and I enjoy the drama. I enjoy the conflict. All the things that you’re supposed to not like about politics.

The longer that I’ve been studying it and then participating in it, I realized that, actually, that is kind of the core of political life. And for whatever reason, I’m suited to it. And I find it to be an intellectual challenge, emotionally challenging, professionally challenging. It’s challenging from a business perspective. Of course, I run my own little shop as well as partnerships with these great institutions. And so, every day is an immense challenge, and the odds are often stacked against you. And that, for me, is an ideal environment.

It’s an environment that I love and I hope that it also inspires others. And I know that it has inspired many others to kind of follow suit and to try to really get in the fray.

The other thing that has been helpful is understanding that politics hasn’t really changed in a long time. And so, I’m realizing over the last few years, it’s like, all right, I have many flaws and many limitations, but I maybe have one gift. And it’s in the art of rhetoric, broadly speaking.

And so, I’ve been reading a lot of the old works from Greece and Rome about rhetoric, and it could have been written yesterday. It’s amazing. You’re reading Aristotle’s Treatise on Rhetoric and you say, “This is incredible.” It’s like nothing has changed. These guys were going down and they were duking it out intellectually in the Agora or in Rome, in the senate.

And, of course, they have grandeur that we don’t have. We live in a different era, but you get a sense in participating in something greater, you’re participating in a tradition that we’ve had in the West. For me, that is also a source of joy, a source of sustenance.

Bluey: With that being said, is there a particular goal that you have for 2024 or something that you’re working on, an objective that our audience may be able to support what you’re doing?

Rufo: I’m still finishing up this campaign to abolish DEI, which we launched last year. That’ll take me through the summer. The 18-month campaign cycle is probably the max, where after that, you start to lose effectiveness.

My goal is always to launch campaigns, entrepreneurial, from scratch, and then hand them off to others once they’re well developed. Launching critical race theory, launching trans ideology in schools, launching abolish DEI, launching this campaign against Harvard. Now others have taken up the mantle on many of those campaigns.

I feel like almost like a venture capital investor, startup operator. The startup phase is exciting. I like it. And then I hand it over when these campaigns are mature.

I’ll tell you, though, I don’t know what’s next. I know that we’re going to wind down abolish DEI. I do know that I’ll be hiring some additional staff in the coming months, but coming up with a campaign is not a work of mathematics. It’s a work of art. And so, part of the artistic process is the mystery of inspiration. I know that is maybe contrary to some other organizations that are a bit more logical, a bit more rational.

I tell my funders and supporters, like, “Alright, supporters want to support the work.” And I say, “Well, what’s the next thing?” It’s like, I don’t know, we’ll figure it out. But something will happen. And part of the success in political activism is sensing opportunity. Some of the best campaigns kind of emerged spontaneously or emerged by accident. Like a novelist or writer, sometimes you’re just waiting for that moment of inspiration.

There’s no end point to politics. I know that as long as I’m alive, there will be something to think about, something to fight about, something to work on. It’s just a matter of time before the next thing comes up.

Bluey: What are some of the ways that you would encourage people to follow your work or financially support you?

Rufo: Follow @realChrisRufo on X. Follow christopherrufo.com. On Substack, small supporters can become paid subscribers, $8 a month or $80 a year. We have a huge and growing audience there. And philanthropic donors can reach out to me. There’s a contact form on my site.

On the support side, it’s been really unreal. We have incredible people in our country that want to see success. And I actually don’t do any outbound fundraising. I don’t do any solicitation. I don’t do any calls. But people have just come out of the woodwork saying, “Hey, I love what you’re doing. I want to support it.” That’s a very encouraging sign because what it shows is that there are people around the country that have the sophistication, the means, the inspiration, the capacity. They want to see something better.

The voting public, if you measure public opinion, has the right idea on many, many issues, if not most issues. The limitation is not the public. The limitation is not the funders or the philanthropists.

I’m sure anyone in this world can grumble about specifics, but actually, limitation is us as political leaders, as intellectual leaders, as movement leaders. I’m more and more convinced that the raw materials are there. It’s really up to us to shape them, to direct them, to point them in the right place, and to mobilize people in the most effective way possible. And so that, to me, is the big limitation right now. And a limitation is just another word for a challenge.

There’s a rich vein of opportunity there. It really is truly a rich vein. How do we get these? I mean, Hillsdale College is incredible, the Manhattan Institute, The Heritage Foundation, a whole range of other groups. We have brilliant people, we have great supporters, and now it’s time for action. And that’s really what I’m hoping that we’re driving toward.

Bluey: What’s holding us back then? Do you think that there’s an impediment, or is there a challenge that you want to leave us with and our audience?

Rufo: Yes, there are many challenges. Conservative institutions have to radically modernize the way they approach politics. They have to have an understanding of how media works in the 21st century. They have to have an understanding of how politics works.

We have to reconnect with the essence of political life, and we have to understand politics for what it is. We have to really refine our rhetorical sensibilities. … And then, of course, translate into administrative success. We’re actually fairly well there. But the rhetorical part is really the missing element on the Right.

If you actually look at the great political leaders in history—from the Greeks and Romans to the American Founders, to [Abraham] Lincoln, to, I mean, even in a less classical way, but of course, [Ronald] Reagan—they were very serious about rhetoric.

I actually think that that is the missing link. And rhetoric in a postmodern environment means media activism, mass persuasion, elite influence, digital communications, all of those five areas are how modern rhetoric plays out. If we can really radically modernize on those five practices, everything that we do could be much more successful.

Credit: Ron Walters

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Prof. Turley Gives Ringside Coverage to the Tire Fire of Bragg’s Closing Arguments in the Trump Trial

Update: Just as a quick point of clarification: Although Fat Alvin Bragg didn’t give the closing arguments, we still consider it his case, and, therefore, his closing arguments. But based on some feedback, we see that point isn’t clear.

Today we had closing arguments in Donald Trump’s New York City ‘hush money’ trial and as you probably know, it was not televised. Honestly, we wish the court did at least record video from it, even if it wasn’t going to release it, because it would almost certainly be an important historical artifact, but we have no say in the matter.

Thus, the best we can get are reports from third party sources, and we tend to think the best such source is Professor Turley—even if his information is limited to the state’s closing argument. It’s not just that Turley is fair-minded, it is that he is a subject matter expert. Legal reporting by non-lawyers, even with the best intentions, tends to be garbage. So, we thought we would share what he said about the arguments today, and, as necessary, translate from Legalese into English.

Before he got started with the closing argument, Turley sent out this thread:

We discussed exactly these kinds of problems the other day, but as you will see, it will be important to remember what the judge said. Sort of. You will see what we mean in a minute.

And we might as well share what he wrote as a preview of closing arguments:

Is that where the term came from? We always assumed it was about human legs, which we admit is pretty grim.

In any case, then Turley was off to the races:

That appears to relate to a disagreement over whether or not an attorney’s retainer agreement had to be in writing, the prosecution saying it must be in writing, and the defense saying it doesn’t. Turley previously stated that he agrees that, at least in the relevant jurisdiction, a retainer agreement doesn’t have to be in writing.


And because Turley is bad at threads (hopefully the day job as lawyer and professor works out for him, because he has no future in professionally posting on social media), he seems to have jumped to this solo post:

So, he is saying the judge is not giving a proposed instruction that written retainers are necessary.

Steinglass is almost certainly Prosecutor Joshua Steinglass.

Of course, regular readers know that we have brought up this issue of extortion for years (and some of our commenters have said you have brought it up for longer than we have). That prior post brought up the possibility that Daniels extorted Trump and now Turley is saying she did so. Indeed, if he is right to say that she ‘demand[ed] … as much money as possible out of Trump’ then we can’t see how that isn’t extortion. But we don’t know what evidence he based that claim on.

The cut off text reads:

It is clear that despite the regrets of the judge, the prosecutors were perfectly happy with the salacious details.

Frankly, the most salacious bits are unlikely to have been relevant to the case and probably should have been excluded. The issue isn’t whether or not they slept together or any alleged details of that alleged affair. The issue is whether or not Trump’s hush money payment was a crime. Whether or not her claim that they had an affair would be true has nothing to do with that. Whether she was planning to lie and he paid her not to, or if she was planning to tell the truth and Trump paid her not to, has no effect on whether or not Trump committed a crime.

And then things start to get truly unfair:

As you might know, Cohen has pled guilty to a number of charges including conspiracy to do what Trump is accused of doing in this case. So, Cohen has been, in the eyes of the law, convicted of that crime. But you can’t reason from that, that Trump must be guilty, too. Trump’s guilt or innocence stands apart from that, and according to Turley, the judge ruled that the prosecution couldn’t make that argument … and then refused to enforce his own ruling.

The cut off text reads:

He is portraying Cohen like he is selling goods on the street to support his struggling family in their multimillion dollar Trump condo. His ‘struggles’ amounts to earning millions in attacking Trump.

Seriously, why can’t Cohen just work in a grocery store?

What Turley is referencing is the rule that the lawyer cannot introduce evidence in these arguments. The time to introduce evidence is the trial itself, and it all has to be done through witnesses, with very few exceptions. In the closing argument, they are limited to the evidence introduced in the trial.

And why aren’tTrump’s lawyers objecting? We aren’t there, so we can’t say, but it might be that they feel that objecting too much is hurting them in the eyes of the jury, or perhaps even risks an nasty encounter with the judge that would hurt them more. It’s one of those things where if Trump can manage to at least hang the jury they will look like geniuses, but if Trump is convicted, we will wonder if they made the right call in not objecting as much as they could. Still, let’s also remember that hindsight is 20/20.

The cut off text reads:

There is no evidence to support that claim. Again, the Clinton campaign regularly killed stories with the assistance of media allies in that same campaign.

The cut off text reads:

Again, the court is allowing the prosecutors to tell the jury that an uncharged exchange was a violation of election law.

As we noted the other day, Trump had a right under the Sixth Amendment to know the nature of the charges against him before the trial started (which was being violated), and this would appear to be a further violation of this right. The left loves to say no one is above the law (*cough cough* Hunter Biden), but apparently, they think Trump is below the law, including the Constitution, entitled to less protections than your average jewelry store thief.

And as we noted in that piece, the idea that speech, or a decision not to speak is a campaign contribution is directly contradicted by Supreme Court precedent.

The cut off text reads:

He again said that this is ‘the antithesis of a normal press function.’ What again is the source in the record on the common practices of the media, particularly in light of prior killed or planted stories for Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton.

Turley appears to be referring to the National Inquirer being used to bury stories that harmed Trump (and other celebrities). And what he is saying is that the jury has no evidence of what journalists are supposed to do, so this is another factual assertion unsupported by the evidence introduced at trial.

Also, the reference to McDougal is almost certainly Karen McDougal, another woman who claims to have had an affair with Trump, who was paid for her silence.

The cut off text reads:

It is part of the fluid and dangerously ambiguous theory of prosecution allowed by the court in this case in my view.

He is saying that this is part of the failure to inform Trump of the nature of the charges against him.

And while we won’t quote too many reactions, this is a good one:

That would be the president whose name rhymes with ‘Shill Blinton.’

Back to Turley:

The cut off text reads:

However, it still ignores that it is not a campaign violation to kill such stories even if true.

The cut off text reads:

That makes as little practical and legal sense.

Hey, if you are into all that begetting, we won’t judge … 

The cut off text reads:

Once again it only highlights the failure to call Weisselberg. Instead he is presented Cohen’s account of what Weisselberg said.

Who is Weisselberg? Well, we found this NY Times article on him:

And this is what the article has to say about him:

Days before his inauguration in Washington in 2017, Donald J. Trump had a debt to settle in New York: a payout to his fixer, Michael D. Cohen. They met on the 26th floor of Trump Tower, Mr. Cohen says, and struck a $420,000 deal.

Seven years later, Mr. Trump’s criminal trial in Manhattan hinges on that fleeting encounter, which is both critically important and completely in dispute. Mr. Cohen says he paid off a porn star at his boss’s behest, and in that meeting, he and Mr. Trump settled on a plan to repay him and conceal the reimbursement as legal expenses. Mr. Trump says his former fixer is a liar.

We have to break in here. The anti-Trump media always says it like that (paraphrase): ‘Trump says he is a liar.’ As if it is just Trump saying it, knowing their audience will discount that. No, Trump doesn’t just say Cohen is a liar: Cohen has been convicted of lying, which in our experience is very unusual. We have seen people get away with a lot of massive lying in court only for the prosecutions to decide they were not interested in prosecution.

Back to the article: 

But prosecutors say there was a third man in the room that day: Allen H. Weisselberg, Mr. Trump’s moneyman, the keeper of the balance sheet. And he is not saying anything at all.

Prosecutors never called Mr. Weisselberg to testify, because, although he knows the truth, he has not always told it. He is serving time in the Rikers Island jail complex after pleading guilty to perjury in an unrelated civil case involving Mr. Trump, the man he served for nearly half a century.

Except, um … if the reason why they didn’t call him was his history of false statements, then why did they call Cohen? In trying to explain away Weisselberg’s absence, they just explained why there is reasonable doubt about anything Cohen testified to that wasn’t supported by anyone else’s testimony.

He is referring to the defense being first in argument. And it is unusual. We think a fairer approach is to have the prosecution go first, then defense, and then allow the prosecution to have a rebuttal, which would be limited to countering points raised by the defense.

The cut off text reads:

… and the Judge is letting that false claim stand uncontradicted.

So the cut off word was ‘uncontradicted.’

Bear in mind, while a defense attorney should object, the judge can and should also notice when a party’s lawyers are going out of bounds on his own and put a stop to it.

Really, we get that it is important for the state to cover most topics, but you don’t want to bore the jury to death. What about their rights under the Eighth Amendment?

And that sounds nuts.

Seriously, who can’t shoot someone on Fifth Avenue these days? They’d be out of jail within five minutes.

And we will leave it here, except to say this. From before the trial started, we were cautiously optimistic that a hung jury was possible. But with so much misconduct in this case, we feel like that is much less likely, except … 

… for the extreme wild card that there are two lawyers on the jury. Whatever their politics are, they just might be dispassionate enough and knowledgeable enough about the law (or willing to do their own research, even if that breaks the rules) to know that they are being sold a bill of goods. We’re not saying that will definitely happen. In fact, we will only say this with confidence: No one can be sure what those two lawyers will do behind closed doors.

In any case, it appears that the judge will give his jury instructions—which are flawed, including reversable errors—tomorrow and then the jury will deliberate. Many are predicting that they might come to a verdict on Thursday or Friday, although a hung jury can take longer than a guilty verdict or an acquittal, because the judge might tell the jury to keep trying even when they think they will never come to an unanimous decision. Still, you can be sure someone at Twitchy will be ready to report on it as fast as it happens.

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The Alito Flag Flap, Snyder v. Phelps, and Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire

Jodi Kantor of the New York Times has a new report that dives deeper into the Alito flag flap. This work probably should have been done before her initial story ran. Now, we have a lot more context. From my vantage point, I’m not sure much changes. There was a spat between Mrs. Alito and her neighbors, in which she flew the flag upside down as a symbol of distress. I still see nothing to connect Mrs. Alito’s decision with some sort of stop-the-steal imagery. But I’m sure “objective observers” will continue to see the “appearance of impropriety” they want to see.

What did interest me is how facets of this neighborly spat intersected with two landmark free speech cases. Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction.

After January 6, the neighbors put up a sign across the street from the Alitos saying “You Are Complicit.”

Then came Jan. 6. Rocked by the violence and threat to democracy, the couple soon put up new signs in their yard, saying “Trump Is a Fascist” and “You Are Complicit.” Emily Baden said in interviews that the second sign was not directed at the Alitos, but at Republicans generally, especially those who weren’t condemning the Capitol attack. . . . .

It’s not clear whether Mrs. Alito saw those signs, but the day after the Capitol riot, as the couple parked in front of their home, she pulled up in her car, they said. She lingered there, glaring, for a long moment, recalled the couple, who texted their friends about the encounter.

Who is You? Justice Alito? Or Republicans in general?

This exact argument was at issue in Snyder v. Phelps. Recall that the Westboro Baptists held up a signs saying “God hates you” and “You’re going to Hell.” Who was the sign referring to? Matthew Snyder? Or society at large? Chief Justice Roberts, per the majority, did not think the sign referred exclusively to the slain Marine, but could have referred to society more broadly. Justice Alito, in his solo dissent, thought the sign clearly referred to Matthew Snyder. Here is the summary of the dispute from 100 Cases:

Justice Alito wrote a solo dissent. He countered that some of the signs were directed at Matthew Snyder. For example, “You’re going to Hell” referred to Matthew. In addition to carrying signs at the funeral, Westboro also published a blog post — known as an “epic” — that addressed the Snyder family directly. During oral argument, Justice Alito stated, “The epic specifically referenced Matthew Snyder by name, [and] specifically referenced Matthew’s parents by name.” He then asked, “Do you think that the epic is relevant as an explanation of some of these arguably ambiguous signs that were displayed at the funeral? For example, ‘You are going to hell,’ ‘God hates you.’ Who is ‘you’? If you read the epic, perhaps that sheds light on who ‘you’ is.” . . . .

Chief Justice Roberts only considered the signs at the demonstration. He observed that “even if a few of the signs — such as ‘You’re Going to Hell’ and ‘God Hates You’ — were viewed as containing messages related to Matthew Snyder or the Snyders specifically, that would not change the fact that the overall thrust and dominant theme of Westboro’s demonstration spoke to broader public issues.” By limiting the facts in this way, Chief Justice Roberts made the case easier to decide than perhaps it was.

I suspect the Alitos thought the “complicit” sign was directed them–in particular at Justice Alito. Trump is a fascist and Justice Alito is complicit. It is rare that we have a Justice’s opinion on how to interpret pronouns on protest signs, but we have Snyder v. Phelps.

There is more. It turns out that the neighbor-at-issue never actually saw the upside-down flag!

On Jan. 17, the upside-down flag hung at the Alito household, according to a photograph obtained by The Times. Neighbors say it was up for a few days. If the flag was intended as a message for the Badens, whose home does not have a direct view of the Alito residence, they missed it, they said.

One of the greatest ironies of Snyder v. Phelps is that the family of Matthew Snyder never actually saw the protest signs, which were outside the cemetery. The claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress was premised solely on media reporters of the protest. Here too, Mrs. Alito flew the flag as a symbol of distress, but it never reached its intended recipient.

As is often the case with free expression and symbolism, messages are often missed and misinterpreted–another reason why we should all be cautious and not view the flags in the worst possible light.

There is one more SCOTUS intersection, this time to Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire. In this case, Chaplinsky called a police officer a “damned fascist.” The Supreme Court held that these words were “fighting words,” and were not protected by the First Amendment. As all know, the fighting words doctrine is basically a dead letter. It plays almost no role in modern First Amendment law. I sometimes joke with my students that in today’s coarsened society, no words would justify punching someone in the face. Then again, Justice Alito favorably cited Chaplinksy in Snyder:

This Court has recognized that words may “by their very utterance inflict injury” and that the First Amendment does not shield utterances that form “no essential part of any exposition of ideas, and are of such slight social value as a step to truth that any benefit that may be derived from them is clearly outweighed by the social interest in order and morality.” Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire, 315 U. S. 568, 572 (1942); see also Cantwell v. Connecticut, 310 U. S. 296, 310 (1940) (“[P]ersonal abuse is not in any proper sense communication of information or opinion safeguarded by the Constitution”). When grave injury is intentionally inflicted by means of an attack like the one at issue here, the First Amendment should not interfere with recovery.

Back to the cul-de-sac. According to the neighbors, Mrs. Alito used similar words as Mr. Chaplinsky:

The conflict then seemed to quiet down. But on Feb. 15, the couple were pulling in trash bins when the Alitos, who seemed to be on a stroll, appeared. Mrs. Alito addressed the pair by name, used an expletive and called them “fascists,” the couple told The Times and said in texts at the time. Justice Alito remained silent, they added. The Alitos began to walk away.

In response, the neighbor called Mrs. Alito a word that begins with c- and rhymes with punt.

That was when Emily Baden snapped, she said. She does not remember her precise words, but recalls something like this: How dare you behave this way. You’ve been harassing us, over signs. You represent the highest court in the land. Shame on you.

Ms. Baden said that she — not her partner, as Justice Alito recalled — used the lewd expression. “I will fully cop to that,” she said. A neighbor standing in the street, who asked not to be identified because of the friction on the block, said he heard her say the word too.

Is calling someone an expletive-fascist a fighting word? Does it justify a c-bomb in response? Is calling someone a c-word a fighting word? I can’t fathom what was going through Justice Alito’s mind when he witnessed all of this unfolding. Pick at random any other graduate from Steinert High School in Trenton, Class of 1968, and call their wife the c-word. See what would happen. Judicial restraint would not be the order of the day. (By chance, the District Court judge I clerked for graduated from Steinert a few years before Justice Alito.)

Anyway, I think this story will have a life so long as it allows people to call for Justice Alito’s recusal. I think what we have here is what we had from the outset: an ugly neighborly spat that did not signal the Justice’s sympathy with “stop the steal.”

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Israel’s Rafah assault continues with new airstrikes on tent camps for displaced Palestinians

Palestinians inspect their destroyed tents after an Israeli air strike. The strike, which resulted in numerous deaths and injuries, exploded near Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.Abed Rahim Khatib/dpa/ZUMA

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Amid global outrage over Israel’s devastating attack on a tent camp in Rafah that killed at least 45 displaced Palestinians, Israeli airstrikes on Tuesday reportedly hit another displacement camp killing at least 21 people.

Reuters reported that the Tuesday attack occurred in an evacuation area in Al-Mawasi, west of Rafah, where Israeli officials had advised Palestinians to move for their safety. As of Tuesday afternoon, a spokesperson for the Israeli military told Reuters that officials were “not aware of this incident.” But witnesses told Reuters they spotted Israeli tanks and armored vehicles with machine guns in central Rafah. State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters Tuesday afternoon that American officials had not yet been able to verify those reports.

The latest reported incident comes after the Sunday bombing of a tent camp in western Rafah that killed at least 45 people. Harrowing videos from the scene that circulated on social media showed fire engulfing the tents and charred bodies being pulled from the flames. In one video, an adult is seen holding up what appeared to be a toddler missing multiple body parts. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the Sunday incident the result of “a tragic mishap” but offered no signs of slowing down Israel’s assault on Rafah. The Israeli military said the strike killed two senior Hamas militants.

Those explanations were insufficient for several world leaders and humanitarian groups. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the attacks, which he said “killed scores of innocent civilians who were only seeking shelter from this deadly conflict.”

“There is no safe place in Gaza,” Guterres added. “This horror must stop.”

French President Emmanuel Macron said he was “outraged” by the Sunday attacks and that “these operations must stop.”

The International Rescue Committee also condemned the attacks and alleged they violated international humanitarian law.

American officials have been comparatively more muted, with some wondering how Sunday’s attack would square with President Biden’s pronouncement earlier this month that he would stop sending weapons to Israel if it proceeded with a major ground invasion in Rafah. (That threat quickly proved meaningless, given that the Biden administration announced last week it was beginning a process to attempt to send another $1 billion in weapons to Israel.)

As of Tuesday afternoon, Biden does not appear to have publicly addressed the deadly attacks on civilians in and near Rafah’s tent camps. A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. At Tuesday’s press conference, reporters pressed Miller, the State Department spokesperson, for more clarity on what actions by Israel, exactly, would constitute Biden’s so-called red line that would lead him to stop sending weapons.

“Is there actually a red line?” one reporter asked. “Do you have a yardstick by which you measure a red line that Israel may cross?”

Miller responded by referring to comments that National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan had made last week in which Sullivan said “there’s no mathematical formula.”

“What we’re going to be looking at,” Sullivan said last week, “is whether there is a lot of death and destruction from this operation or if it is more precise and proportional.”

Today, reporters at the State Department briefing sought a clearer answer.

“So in theory,” the reporter who asked about the red line continued, “Israel can strike anywhere, basically, and say, ‘there are Hamas operatives?’”

“I’m not going to deal with your theories,” Miller replied. “I’m going to deal with reality.”

Miller added that US officials would continue to monitor the situation in Gaza and that “we will continue to impress to [Israel] the importance of conducting legitimate operations that go after Hamas in a way that minimizes civilian harm.” He added that so far, Israel’s attacks in and near Rafah are not “on the scale” of previous incursions they conducted earlier in the war, including in Khan Younis, which Israeli forces invaded in December and destroyed more than half of buildings, according to the Associated Press. Miller also said U.S. officials will push Israeli officials to investigate what led to the deadly Sunday strikes and make their findings public.

The US’s continued support for Israel, despite the deepening humanitarian crisis, comes amid a series of international court developments seeking to hold Israel accountable for the devastation. Last week, the top U.N. court ordered Israel to halt its offensive in Rafah, and International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim A.A. Khan announced he was seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and three Hamas leaders for alleged war crimes. Earlier this year, the International Court of Justice also ruled that a case brought by South Africa alleging Israel is committing genocide in Gaza will go forward and that, in the meantime, Israel must take steps to prevent genocide and get more humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Despite all this, Biden continues to have Bibi’s back. The State Department has also come under fire from humanitarian aid groups after concluding in a delayed report released earlier this month that Israel was not restricting the flow of U.S. aid into Gaza, which more than 20 aid groups said was contrary to what their representatives had witnessed on the ground.

But as my colleague Noah Lanard has written, if Biden was serious about ending the war in Gaza, several concrete steps, including the restriction of arms transfers and military aid, are available to the president. In the meantime, as the past couple of days have shown, it’s overwhelmingly Palestinian children and innocent civilians who are paying the price of Israel’s war in Gaza.

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Paola Diana: Improving the work-life balance for women should be an electoral priority | Conservative Home

Paola is a British-Italian entrepreneur, author, public speaker, and political commentator. She is the Executive Chair of the Women’s Policy Centre

The Princess of Wales, always scrupulously a-political, has unwittingly stumbled upon the secret to electoral victory on 4th July: improving the work-life balance of 25 to 49-year-old women. Her Royal Foundation Business Taskforce for Early Childhood has called on businesses to invest in supporting parents during their children’s first five years by providing more choice and flexibility in their work to boost productivity and contribute to a more dynamic and successful society.​ Crucially, the Taskforce consists of eight of the UK’s biggest companies, including Aviva, NatWest, and Unilever.

Prioritising early childhood for a happier, healthier society” also calls for significant investments in early childhood education, emotional skills for children and parents, and financial skills for childcare providers. It is the flexible work recommendation, however, that will prove most popular with women. Whichever political party aligns itself with this initiative will win their votes.

At the Women’s Policy Centre think tank, we know this because our recent landmark YouGov poll found that three in five women (62 per cent) feel politically homeless and their votes are up for grabs. This cohort, of child-bearing age, is struggling with the challenges inherent in holding down a job while raising a family: a significant majority (86 per cent) of our respondents reported that the pressure for women to balance work and having children is a problem.

It would be irreverent to claim that a Royal is following in the footsteps of a commoner’s thinktank. But I should like to draw your attention to The Baby Deal we published last month and presented to 10 Downing Street’s Policy Unit.

The Baby Deal proposes a new statutory right for mothers in the first 1001 days of their child’s life to request child-friendly work. This includes part-time, flexible, and hybrid, or fully remote when possible, in companies with more than 10 employees. Our strategy will allow women to choose both family and paid employment. Their employers will benefit, as retention, recruitment, and productivity will improve. The wider economy will benefit too, as our declining birthrate is reversed.

Like the Taskforce signatories, our think tank dares to challenge Treasury priorities. Top of these has been to press more mothers into work. Over the next three years spending on formal childcare will double (from £4 billion to more than £8 billion) to fund free hours for two, three, and four-year-olds whose parents are both in paid employment and neither earns more than £100,000; and to give children as young as nine months old 15 hours free childcare as of September.

Current childcare policy is not working for women. Costly and inflexible, it gives working mothers little choice in how to raise their children.

As a result one in 10 working mothers have quit their jobs, with one in five considering leaving work due to the challenges that come with balancing work and childcare. This accounts for one in four working-age women being economically inactive (compared to 18 per cent of men);  ONS figures show that “looking after family or home” was one of the key drivers of record levels of economic inactivity,  with more than one in four working-age women reporting that their caring responsibilities were keeping them from looking for paid employment.

Despite subsidies, which will see the Government doubling its spending on formal childcare to more than £8 billion over the next three years, Britain’s childcare system remains the most expensive among OECD countries: a part-time nursery place for a child under two now costs an average of £158 per week, up 7 per cent on 2023. For many mothers, these astronomical fees act as a disincentive to hold down, or return to, paid employment: only 30 per cent of recent mothers went back to fulltime work following maternity leave.

Present benefits do not apply to informal care, so a woman who wants to reward her sister for looking after her child must do so out of her pocket. Employers can turn down requests for flexible working from a new mother – even though the Government has agreed that flexible working is a statutory right and, as of next month, employees may ask for flexible working from day one of their employment. This process, however, is lengthy and complicated and therefore likely to deter or delay mothers’ requests.

Currently, the employee must apply to the employer with a written statement explaining that theirs is a statutory request; details of how the employee wants to work flexibly and when they want to start; plus a statement reporting if and when they’ve made a previous application. As the Working Families Benchmark Report 2023 finds, this unwieldy system presents an unnecessary obstacle course to working mothers.

The impact is measurable not only in the number of mothers who have dropped out of paid employment but in the number of women who don’t have children: half of women born in 1990 remained childless by their 30th birthday, even though, as our poll shows, raising a family remains a priority for most women (58 per cent), who regard having children as a key factor to a successful life.

Plunging rates of childbirth reflect a generation of disappointed women as well as a dangerous trend for the wider society: a shrinking workforce, a smaller tax base, and slower growth.

“The Baby Deal” instead would automatically entitle new mothers, over their child’s first 1001 days, to child-friendly work: part time, working from home, in a hybrid fashion, or flexibly.

Our polling shows that this policy is hugely popular among women, with 78 per cent of our respondents agreeing that working from home during the first years of their child’s life would be very helpful (50 per cent) or fairly helpful (28 per cent).

Working women want to balance the competing demands on their time: asked about what success in life means to them as a woman, an overwhelming majority (91 per cent) of our respondents voiced the need for a good work-life balance. Views were consistent across different groups, including age and political leanings.

The Royal Foundation Business Task Force asks employers to offer flexible work to parents for the first five years of their child’s life. The return on this investment, their report argues, would be significant, contributing to £45.5 billion in value added to the economy through the package of child-friendly recommendations they also make.

This is a bold claim but there is evidence that family-friendly workplaces enjoy better retention and higher productivity. Flexible workers are also more likely to be engaged, potentially generating 43 per cent more revenue and improving performance by 20 per cent, compared to disengaged employees. Moreover, flexibility can improve retention and reduce costly staff turnover.

“Prioritising early childhood for a happier, healthier society” puts the onus on businesses to make flexible work available to working mothers. The report calls on employers to adopt this policy in an act of enlightened self-interest.

The Women’s Policy Centre goes further, calling on the Government to make this a statutory right. We too believe this should is about enlightened self-interest: with more women in paid employment, the Government will gain from increased income tax and National Insurance revenue as well as savings on childcare offers. Above all, though, at this crucial time, a policy that promotes a good work-life balance while encouraging more women to have children will win over those crucial political orphans – 25-49 year  old women.

The Royals can, and should, soar above such electoral calculations, but no political party can afford to.

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Wonkette Presents THE SPLIT: Chapter Thirty

Archie finished his work by ten-thirty. He took a step back and regarded Lorinda, then Stimpy. He nodded in mock respect. “Grandma. Pops.” 

Wilma handed him the same kind of device Lorinda had seen before. Archie quickly took her picture, followed by Stimpy’s. In a half-minute it dispensed two new Citizen Cards. Archie handed one to each of them.

“Whoa,” said Lorinda, “I’m fifty-seven years old!” She thrust her hand toward Stimpy. “I’m Randi Howland from Barronville. Pleased to meet you.”

“Edward Chapman,” Stimpy said. “Sixty-one years young. Odessa’s my hometown. Texas. Not Russia.” They ceremoniously shook hands as Archie printed out two strips of paper and handed them to the newly minted senior citizens.

“Better look those over before you leave,” Wilma said, “if you want to know who you are. Okay, so let’s work on your walks for a few minutes, and then we’re out of here.” 

After a bit of “walk old” coaching, Wilma cautioned them to wait fifteen minutes after she and Archie left, to avoid any possibility of being spotted together. Then she hugged them, said she’d be back in the morning, and left with Archie in tow.

It was a gorgeous day. By the time Lorinda and Stimpy exited the dark hotel lobby, the sun was blasting, momentarily immobilizing them as their eyes adjusted. They looked like a dull, squinty, aging couple, wearing faded jeans, faded plaid shirts, and faded baseball caps. No one gave them a second glance. They were effectively invisible. The only mildly distinctive thing about them was that they were each wearing a big automatic weapon, while most of the others pedestrians toted lighter, more convenient jumbo handguns. Not that the sight of a middle-aged couple packing military-spec people-shredders caused even a ripple of interest. That was one of the great things about living in the CCSA: You could walk down the street brandishing a handheld rocket launcher and no one would say boo. Lorinda and Stimpy were just another older couple — slightly over-armed, perhaps, but understandably so, given the caution or paranoia or dementia that came with their advanced years. 

They put on the boring sunglasses Archie had provided. Arm-in-arm, they walked — Stimpy with a cane — toward the place Archie had told them served a pretty good breakfast. It also happened to be on the way to the Rapture Ride, which was Lorinda’s project for the day. By the time they reached the diner, their old-fogey gaits were synchronized, and convincing.

They were the sole occupants of the place. The teenaged waiter treated them with the condescending respect due to oldsters. The breakfast was better than expected, for which they were grateful.

They left and resumed their slow trudge down the street. As they approached it, an electronic mini-billboard that had been pointing the way to the Rapture Ride abruptly flashed NEWS BULLETIN, followed by USA CAVES TO POWERFUL CCSA. They stopped to watch.

The flashing title cut abruptly to CEO McWeeny at a lectern, apparently in the middle of a speech, saying: “…the USA is begging to be allowed to crawl back to the CCSA. Look what she said just a few minutes ago.” At which point the picture switched to a shot of an attractive, stylishly dressed, fortyish woman with dark, lustrous hair sitting at a big desk, speaking confidently to the camera; it was captioned ANITA FLORES GULDEN PRESIDENT OF THE USA, WHITE HOUSE, WASHINGTON DC.

“We already have some mutually beneficial commercial relations,” President Gulden said, “but I look forward to more. I hope that one day the CCSA will change its attitude and do what it takes to join us in the United Nations and NATO. I hope our sports teams will one day compete. I hope our citizens will be free to visit their relatives and friends across the border. I can even imagine that one day we’ll get rid of that border. To paraphrase a former occupant of this office: Mr. McWeeny, tear down that wall.”

The picture switched back to McWeeny, now red-faced, jowls glistening, ready to explode. “See? What did I tell you? They’re desperate! Their economy is failing, their citizens are dropping dead as they try to scale the wall — the wall that they built — to take advantage of our freedoms! And she’s saying that we’re the ones that need to change! That bitch has a lot of nerve! God bless y’all, and God bless the Confederation of Conservative States of America.” The screen flashed THANK YOU CEO McWEENY, then switched back to pointing the way to the Rapture Ride.

“That was weird,” Lorinda whispered as they started walking again.

“Every word he said was a lie,” Stimpy spat. “And people eat it up. They actually think the US built the walls. Fucking morons.”

“I mean, you can’t really blame them. It’s what they get taught in school —”

“Please. Okay, if you’re seven years old you can’t be expected to know how to think for yourself. But for fuck’s sake, just watching that bag of shit talk, you can see he’s lying. It just oozes out of his pores —”

“All right.” She didn’t like cutting him off. But sometimes his little rants made her feel … diminished, somehow. Like a naïve child. It wasn’t her fault she had been almost entirely raised with — or maybe indoctrinated in — the CCSA version of things. And she was doing her best, now, to catch up with what kept revealing itself as the truth. Still … She stopped walking and squeezed his arm. “Sorry.”

“Forget it,” he said. “I get carried away. Y—”

“OH MY GOD.” She was suddenly aware of what they were standing in front of. “We’re here!”

Lorinda gazed in wonder at the ride she’d been hearing about since she was a kid. It was enormous, not so much high as endlessly wide. It was like an entire amusement park in a single ride. The grand entrance consisted of a line of glass double-doors, above which stretched a gigantic arched sign of a thousand light bulbs reading THE RAPTURE EXPERIENCE.

“It’s six or seven big rollercoasters the billionaires behind this place bought up from all over the CCSA,” Stimpy said. “They disassembled them, carted them here, and put them back together — with Rapture-ready modifications.”

“Have you ever been on it?”

“Nah,” said Stimpy, pretending he wasn’t at all interested. “But I’m glad we’re doing it,” he said. “It’ll be good research.”

“Research my ass,” Lorinda said. They both laughed, then approached the ticket machine. Stimpy paid $2,500 for two tickets and they passed through the turnstile and — remembering to walk old — lined up behind a few dozen eager, mostly middle-aged, people. A big electronic sign on the wall flashed:
















And there was more. “Holy shit,” said Lorinda. “I never heard of any of this. Except the Rapture.”

“You’re not stupid. Just ignorant.”

“Don’t forget uneducated”

“Yeah,” laughed Stimpy, “that too. And a bad Christian.”

“Thanks. I appreciate it.”

The little roller-coaster train trundled up and squealed to a halt at the start-finish line. The passengers getting off — again, mostly middle-aged, with a sprinkling of kids and fogies — were clearly shaken-up and exhilarated by the ride. They climbed and shimmied and clambered away, loudly laughing off the terror they’d felt at the top of the big drops, praising the ride, and speculating about when they would be Raptured up to heaven for real. The gate opened once the train was empty and the new load scrambled in — Stimpy and Lorinda remembering to walk old and struggle a bit to fit themselves into their seats. They gently set their weapons, along with Stimpy’s cane, on the floor.

As Lorinda and Stimpy clicked the security bar in place across their laps, a voice said, “I bet you two have been here before.” It took Lorinda a moment to realize that the young woman sitting in the car in front of them had turned around and was addressing them.

“No,” Lorinda said. “Actually, this is our first time.”

“We live way out west,” Stimpy said. “We never get this far east.”

“We’re on vacation,” Lorinda added unnecessarily. “Driving around Texas.”

“Texas is real big,” said the woman, whose hair was like a huge, bright yellow, fuzzy bubble. “Usually the old people — older people — on the ride have been coming here, like, every year since the place opened. Not that you’re old.”

“How long is the ride?” Lorinda asked.

“Oh,” said the woman, “maybe forty-five minutes. Or an hour.”

“Or eternity,” said the woman’s husband, who had turned to face them. He was rather short, and all they could see of him was his heavily bearded face and his tall black cowboy hat. Lorinda briefly entertained the hope that the hat wouldn’t obscure her view of what was to come. The little train started moving. “We’re lucky,” he said. “We live right here in Revelation. Well,” he said as he turned to face forward, “God bless.”

“This is our thirty-seventh time on this ride, and we see new things every time,” the woman said. “Have fun. You’ll love it.” As she turned around to face the front, Lorinda heard her say, “Now hold onto that stupid hat. You don’t want it blowing off like last time.”

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Tip your bartenders we mean authors!


Chapter One. In which we meet our heroine and her dainty little gun.

Chapter Two. In which Lorinda demonstrates her bartending virtuosity.

Chapter Three. In which our heroine receives a promotion and prepares to celebrate.

Chapter Four. In which our heroine proves herself an immoral citizen of the CCSA.

Chapter Five. In which our heroine goes to church.

Chapter Six. In which Lorinda contemplates her future, ignores Pastor Doug, and gets something unexpected from Emmie.

Chapter Seven. In which Lorinda learns something that threatens her big dream.

Chapter Eight. In which our heroine freaks out.

Chapter Nine. In which our heroine says the forbidden word as an unwelcome visitor arrives.

Chapter Ten. In which two unpleasant men perturb our heroine.

Chapter Eleven. In which our heroine seems to have found a solution to her problem.

Chapter Twelve. In which that black truck follows our heroine all the way to Austin.

Chapter Thirteen. In which Lorinda lashes out.

Chapter Fourteen. In which our heroine gets a taste of life in the big city.

Chapter Fifteen. In which our heroine meets a fellow bartender and has a drink.

Chapter Sixteen. In which Lorinda once again takes a swing with her little pink gun.

Chapter Seventeen. In which our heroine prepares to escape.

Chapter Eighteen. In which our heroine gets in a truck with a couple of slightly scary strangers.

Chapter Nineteen. In which our heroine learns that she’s got a long way to go.

Chapter Twenty. In which our heroine spends a night in a gas station.

Chapter Twenty-One. In which our heroine learns about the enclaves of the CCSA.

Chapter Twenty-Two. In which our heroine learns way too much about the enclaves of the CCSA.

Chapter Twenty-Three. In which our heroine experiences liberty run amok.

Chapter Twenty-Four. In which our heroine’s escape is disastrously derailed.

Chapter Twenty-Five. In which our heroine finds herself back at the gas station.

Chapter Twenty-Six. In which Stimpy, on the road to Revelation, reveals Ren’s real name.

Chapter Twenty-Seven. In which our heroine manages not to crash the car as she learns more about CCSA enclaves.

Chapter Twenty-Eight. In which Lorinda and Stimpy enter Revelation.

Chapter Twenty-Nine. In which our heroine has pizza for the first time and readies herself to be an old fogie.

Send Steve Radlauer and Ellis Weiner’s serial novel THE SPLIT to everyone you know.


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4 lessons from the London Mayoral and Assembly elections for Labour’s general election prospects

These are the issues that need to be reckoned with

Unmesh Desai is London Assembly Member for City and East, covering Barking and Dagenham, the City of London, Newham, and Tower Hamlets. He is London Assembly Labour’s spokesperson on policing and crime

Keir Starmer’s first steps for Government show that he and his team are making Labour ready to govern, and prepared to bring about the transformation changes the country needs. 

If the polls are to be believed – though the only one that matters is the vote itself – this now looks like a likely outcome in July. 

London’s elections earlier this month show that London will probably deliver a lot of any Labour victory nationally – but there are some issues to be reckoned with.

1. Labour has won a third term for our mayor – showing that our reputation in London is as strong as our record of delivery.

We retained 11 Assembly Members, a significant achievement for a third term.

After 8 years under a Labour Mayor, we would expect to see support drop as voters are no longer seeing the damage the previous Conservative Mayor caused – and they begin to “bake in” the benefits of a Labour administration.

Retaining the same level of support across the Assembly is a sign of our strong campaigning record – and of our vision to make London a safer, greener and better-off place.

2. There are some suburban issues

For Labour to win Government, we will need to pick up seats in suburban areas across the country.

There are encouraging parts of this election – Labour delivered Assembly Members in outer London constituencies like Ealing & Hillingdon and Brent & Harrow, showing that the Tories couldn’t completely drown out Labour’s positive message.

But we must reckon with the fact that we lost the Mayoral vote in lots of areas of outer London, with Susan Hall, the Conservative candidate, out polling Sadiq Khan in both the above constituencies, despite the historic unpopularity of the Tories.

We didn’t make big inroads elsewhere, even with good local campaigns. In Bexley and Bromley, for example, there was less than a 0.5% swing to Labour in the Mayoral vote – showing that we need to do more to win over voters in the outer areas of our cities.

The Conservatives tried to push the idea that Labour was anti-car and that Sadiq Khan is responsible for crime across the city. In spite of their negative and dirty tactics – such as their faceless online groups – Labour saw a mixed result.

While there is much to be proud of, Labour must find ways to get our messages across in the outer suburbs if we are to pick up enough seats for a majority – and I hope to see a renewed focus on those areas in the coming weeks.

3. Labour cannot take our core voters for granted.

We must do more to get out the vote in areas that have traditionally voted for us. My constituency of City and East London, an area that has traditionally voted Labour, saw the lowest turnout across London.

Until now, I was proud to say that I had one of the largest majorities of any Labour politician in the country. In 2021 my constituency in East London awarded me 125,000 votes – an honour that I did not take lightly. In this election, that has fallen just below 100,000 for the first time since 2008.

I must be honest with myself about the loss of enthusiasm many of my constituents have had in Labour to represent them – and must consider why many chose not to vote at all.

On the doorstep there were some big issues that caused many to drift away from Labour.

For many people this was about the conflict in the Middle East. Sadiq Khan has consistently called for a ceasefire since October but Labour nationally was perceived as slow to call for one – only demanding this in February.

This could have had an impact in Havering and Redbridge, where an independent campaigning on the Gaza issue won a fairly solid share of the vote. This, along with a stronger than expected Green vote, was enough to see Labour defeated again.

While London’s elections were regional, and the results are unlikely to impact the war in the Middle East, we know that many voters identify strongly with those suffering there.

Seats with more diverse populations, including communities like those who live in East London, have solidly supported Labour in the past, but we must not take their support for granted. There are dozens of other seats like it across the country and we must make sure that we give these communities a reason to vote for us on polling day.

We can expect that the Conservatives will use divisive tactics, trying to weaponise race or migration to tear apart communities for their electoral gain. Labour must push our positive message of hope, not hate, to defeat them.

4. Labour cannot rely on the tactical support of Green and Lib Dem voters to get us across the line.

This election saw Sadiq Khan explicitly ask for Greens and Lib Dems to lend him their support. Previously, Londoners had a first and second preference vote, but the Government took away this option – meaning that third party supporters had to vote tactically to keep the Tories out.

Largely, those voters did that. We did not, however, see that support translate to the other elections taking place that day. Labour, for the first time, only won one seat on the London-wide list.

That’s because those lending their vote to the Mayor did not feel the need to vote Labour on the list. The Greens, for example, won just under 6% of the voters for mayor, but 11.5% of votes on the list. The same pattern is true for the Lib Dems, who also won 6% of Mayoral voters but increased that to almost 9% on the list.

Labour’s support from those who tend towards third parties is not unconditional, and we saw many of those voters express their honest views where they felt they could. We saw this in South-West London, where Sadiq won the Mayoral vote but the constituency was picked up by the Lib Dems – the first Assembly Constituency they’ve held.

This may not be a worry. General elections are on a First Past The Post system – squeezing voters into supporting one of the two main parties. But if Labour is not winning over the hearts and minds of third-party voters, they will drift away from us as soon as their preferred party looks competitive in whatever seat those voters live in.

Labour is strong in London. For the past 8 years, our Mayor has delivered free school meals for kids, a fares freeze on TfL, the new superloop and more council housing than any point since the 1970s. Our Assembly Members have echoed this – winning campaigns to keep ticket offices open, to improve laws on zombie knives, anti-drink spiking measures and an increase to Local Housing Allowance, to name a few.

However, if we want to translate this record of delivery into victories in the general election then there are areas that must be addressed. Labour must learn from London – and we must do so by July.

Image credit: Keir Starmer Flickr – Creative Commons

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Watch Rachel Reeves speech live as business chiefs back Labour

Rachel Reeves is vowing to “bring growth back to Britain” in her first speech of the general election campaign.

Addressing an audience of business leaders, the Shadow Chancellor will pledge to “lead the most pro-growth Treasury in our country’s history” and say that, under Keir Starmer’s leadership, Labour has changed to “offer a government that is pro-worker and pro-business, in the knowledge that each depends of the other”.

You can watch the stream of her speech live or later on here, with Reeves due to speak from around 10am:

In comments trailed in advance,  Reeves said: “Our plans for growth are built on partnership with business. A mission-led government, prepared to take on the big challenges we face and ready to seize the opportunities of the future.

“The choice at the next election is simple: five more years of chaos with the Conservatives or stability with a changed Labour Party.”

It comes as more than 120 senior business leaders announced they were backing Labour at the general election on July 4, including founder of Iceland Sir Malcom Walker, who has previously donated to the Conservative Party.

In an open letter, placed in The Times, the business leaders said: “Labour has shown it has changed and wants to work with business to achieve the UK’s full economic potential. We should now give it the chance to change the country and lead Britain into the future.”

Full list of business leaders backing Labour

  • Tunde Adeniran, Co-founder, Lerno
  • Tom Adeyoola, Co-founder, Extend Ventures
  • Max Alexander, Former CEO, Secret Cinema
  • Joanne Anderson, Director, Innervision
  • William Anderson, Director, Barton Legal Limited
  • Iain Anderson, Chairman, H/Advisors Cicero
  • Amul Batra, Co-Founder & Chief Partnerships Officer, Northcoders Group plc
  • George Bevis, CEO, CanDo
  • James Bielby, CEO, Federation of Wholesale Distributors
  • Karen Blackett, UK President, WPP
  • Pete Bowyer, Director Association of International Retail
  • David Brindley, President, Bidpath
  • Richard Burge, Former CEO, London Chamber and Commonwealth Enterprise Council
  • George Burn, Partner, BCLP
  • Hugh Campbell, Managing Partner GP Bullhound
  • Tony Carney, Managing Director, Huyton Asphalt Civils
  • Rachel Carrell, CEO, Koru Kids
  • Phil Chambers, CEO Orbex
  • Mark Claydon, Director, Trustech Smart Healthcare Ventures Limited
  • David Cleevely, Former Chair, Abcam and Rasberry Pi
  • Rachel Coldicutt, Executive Director, Careful Trouble
  • Paul Corcoran, CEO, Agent
  • Lou Cordwell, Founder, Magnetic
  • Nick Corston, Co-founder/CEO, STEAM Co. CIC
  • Andrew Croft. Director, Social Enterprise UK
  • Alasdair Croft, Managing Director, AmpEV Ltd
  • Jack Curtis, Founder, Carbon Jacked
  • Eleanor Deeley, Joint Managing Director, Deeley Group Ltd
  • Alexandra Depledge, CEO, Resi
  • Professor Kishan Devani BEM, Director, Dev Yogi Ltd
  • Philip Dewing, CEO, Unity Healthcare Recruitment
  • Mark Dickinson, CEO, Intrinsic Semiconductor Technologies Ltd
  • Anand Doobay, Partner, Boutique Law
  • Warren Downey, CEO, Specialist Risk Group
  • Sarah Drinkwater, General Partner, Common Magic
  • Noel Dunne, Founder & Managing Director, Creative Alliance
  • William Eccleshare, Chair, Inspired Thinking Group
  • Ben Evans, CEO, IDEA [incorporating London Design Festival, London Design Biennale, Global Design Forum]
  • Jane Featherstone, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Sister
  • Richard Flint, Investor
  • Matthew Freud, Chairman, The Freuds Group
  • David George, CEO, Bikmo
  • Mark Glover, Executive Chairman, SEC Newgate UK
  • Jonathan Goodwin OBE, Co-founder, The Founders Forum Group and J Goodwin&Co
  • Neil Goulden, Chairman, Neil Goulden Consulting Ltd
  • Ben Govier, Owner, Dylan’s Ice Cream
  • Richard Greer, Chair, Asia Strategic Holdings
  • Helene Guillaume, Founder and CEO, wild.ai
  • Vikash Gupta, CEO, VAR Capital
  • Charles Harman, Former Vice Chairman, J.P.Morgan Cazenove
  • Matt Hastings, Founder and CEO, Ideaonomy
  • Brian Hay, CEO, The Cardinal Partnership
  • Benny   Higgins, Former CEO, Tesco Bank
  • Andrew Higginson, Chair, JD Sports Fashion plc
  • Tim Hincks, Co-CEO, Expectation
  • John Holland-Kaye, Former CEO, Heathrow
  • Damian Horton, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Eloy
  • Ryan Hudson, Founder & Creative Director, Ministry Creative
  • Alan Hughes, Chairman, Unity Trust Bank plc
  • Rupert Keeley, Director: NewDay Group; Dubai Financial Services Authority; Unzer GmbH; Team8 Fintech. Adviser: NatWest Group
  • Tom Kerridge, Chef, The Hand and Flowers Pub
  • Dan Kieran, Co-founder, Unbound
  • Ben Kilbey, Founder and CEO, Bold Voodoo
  • Stephen Kinsella, Founder, Law For Change
  • Jack Kirkland, Chairman, Bowmer + Kirkland
  • Stefan Kulik, Managing Director, Royal Mail Health
  • Darius Kumana, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer, Wrisk
  • Tony Langham, Founder and Non Executive Chair, Opinium
  • Nic Laurens, Managing Director, SEVERN Diamond Ltd
  • Paul Lindley, Founder, Ella’s Kitchen
  • Piers Linney, Co-founder, Implement AI Ltd
  • Sanjay Lobo, CEO, OnHand
  • Chris Locke, Chair, Caribou Digital
  • John Mahon CBE, Former Director General for Exports; former CEO of UK Infrastructure Bank Department for International Trade
  • Kevin McGrath, Chairman, Regional REIT plc
  • Kevin McKeever, Founder & Managing Director, Lowick Group
  • Frank McKenna, Group chair & Chief Executive, Downtown in Business Lrd
  • Zandra Moore, CEO, Panintelligence
  • Gill Morris, Executive Chair, Inflect
  • Mark Mullen, Chief Executive, Atom Bank plc
  • Jamie Murray, Director, PD Investments Ltd
  • Paul Naha-Biswas, CEO, Sixley
  • Rajay Naik, Chief Executive Officer, Skilled Education
  • Sue O’Brien OBE, Chair and Non Executive Director, Right Strategy
  • Lukas Oberhuber, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Hiphops.io
  • Amanda Owen-Meehan, Director and Founder, Amanda Owen Meehan Consulting Ltd
  • Andy Palmer CMG, Former CEO, Aston Martin
  • Jonathan Patrick, CEO, Consultant Connect
  • Janet Pope, Chair, Charities Aid Foundation Bank
  • Charles Randell, Former Chair, Financial Conduct Authority
  • Rena Rani, Director, Propel – Education Management 
  • Ruben Rasalingham, Chief Operating Officer, Behold.aiTechnologies Limited
  • Will Read, CEO, Sideways 6
  • Xavier Rees, Group CEO, AMV BBDO
  • William Reeve, CEO, Goodlord
  • Ben Rometsch, Co-Founder and CEO, Flagsmith
  • William Sargent, Executive Chair, Framestore
  • Asi Sharabi, CEO, Wonderbly
  • Chris Simmons, Founder and Managing Director, Simtec Materials Testing Ltd
  • Chris Slater, Founder & CEO, Oka, The Carbon Insurance Company
  • Giles Slinger, Director, Fledger
  • Nick Smallman, CEO, Working Voices
  • Stella Smith, Founder & CEO, pirkx
  • Mike Soutar, Chairman, Electric Gallery
  • Tommy Stadlen, Co-Founder, Giant Ventures
  • Alex Stephany, Founder & CEO, BEAM
  • Mark Stephenson, Managing Director, Stephenson-Mohl Group
  • Colin Stevens, CEO/Chairman/NonExecutive/Trustee, Click Consultancy Ltd
  • Jason Stockwood, Founder, 53 Degrees Capital
  • Sir Bill Thomas, Chairman, Spirent Communications Plc
  • Alexis Toft, CEO and Founder, Toft Ventures Ltd
  • Jimmy Wales, Founder, Wikipedia
  • Sir Malcolm Walker CBE, Founder, Iceland Foods
  • Richard Walker OBE, Executive Chairman, Iceland Foods
  • Emily Wallace, Managing Director, Inflect Partners
  • Louis Warner, General Partner, G-Force
  • Mark Welsby, Managing Director, Hawkstone Interiors
  • Becky Willan, CEO, Given Agency
  • Sean Williams, CEO, AutogenAI
  • Emma Woods, Chair, Ancient+Brave and Tortilla Mexican Grill plc
  • Phil Zeidler, Non Executive Director, Admiral Pioneer; Perci Health; Aplyid; Cranfield University; Ride High

Read Rachel Reeves’ speech in full

Good morning.

In five weeks’ time, the British people will go to the polls. 

To make a profound choice about the future of our country.

And where better to think about the future than here at Rolls Royce, in Derby.

Away from the short-termism of politics, the pessimism of our present moment, here you have the very model of a great British business…

… a global brand synonymous with excellence…

… that continues to this day to pioneer in new technologies critical to the challenges of a changing world…

… from submarine technologies crucial to defence, to the development of carbon neutral aviation at the frontier of the climate transition.

And a business partnering with homegrown small and medium enterprises throughout its supply chain…

… which has nurtured deep roots in this city going back more than a century.

A business built on the foundations of a past in which we can take pride, with a vision of a future that we can invest our hope in.


As Shadow Chancellor, one of the great privileges of this role has been to travel the country and meet entrepreneurs, innovators and business leaders all across the UK.

In the most challenging of economic times, they give me immense optimism. 

Today I want to put forward a simple proposition:

That this changed Labour Party is today the natural party of British business.

And I want to set out the central economic fault line in this election, the choice before the British people on the fourth of July: 

Five more years of chaos with the Conservative Party, leaving working people worse off;

Or stability with a changed Labour Party.


I can tell you exactly what Rishi Sunak wants you to think on polling day.

He’s already saying it. 

That the plan is working – don’t change course now.

That the chaos and instability wrought by Liz Truss was just a blip.

That the deep problems we face are down to global events – they’re not his fault at all. 

‘Don’t judge 14 years on 49 days’, he will say.


I want to take that head on.

Because while it is true that the crises we have faced are global in origin, our unique exposure to those crises… 

… the reasons we have been hit harder than many comparable countries…

… by the economic impact of covid and then by inflation and rising energy prices…

… can only be explained by choices made by Conservative governments here at home.

And because while the Prime Minister want this election to be about whether inflation is coming down this month…

… he omits to mention when it started to rise: 

On his watch as Chancellor;

Even before the Conservatives, in their clamour to cut taxes for those at the very top, sent interest rates and mortgage costs spiralling.

He omits to mention when it peaked too… 

… on his watch as Prime Minister.

And he omits to mention the families and businesses dealing with the consequences of Conservative economic mismanagement today.


Like the family I met in Redcar:

The dad doing an apprenticeship, the mum working in a supermarket…

… who spend every evening talking about money, because there’s just not enough to pay the bills.

The small business owner in Milton Keynes…

… desperate to expand, but faced with a system of business rates that are stacked against her.

Or just down the road from here, the workers at Alstom, some of whom I met just a few months ago…

… who are facing the uncertainty that results…

… when a government is unwilling to take a long-term, strategic approach, in partnership with business and trade unions… 

… the only responsible approach to economic policy.

The Conservatives are insulting the intelligence of millions of people like these, forced to deal with the consequences of their failure. 


But we won’t let them get away with it. 

Because the Conservatives do deserve to be judged on the record of those fourteen years.

The general election, in five weeks’ time, is a chance for the British people to pass judgement on fourteen years of economic chaos and decline under the Conservatives.

Fourteen years that have seen taxes reach a seventy year high.

National debt more than double.

And the typical homeowner re-mortgaging this year paying £240 more every single month, after the disastrous mini-budget.

Wages flat. 

Public services on their knees – taxpayers asked to put more and more in, but getting less and less in return.

And economic growth on the floor.

Five Prime Ministers.

Seven Chancellors.

Twelve plans for growth, each yielding less than the last.

To put this into perspective:

If the UK economy had grown at the average rate of OECD economies under the Tories, it would now be £150 billion larger;

An additional £5,000 for every household;

Providing an additional £55 billion more investment in our public services.


That is their record – and they deserve to bejudged on it. 

The Conservatives have failed on the economy.

The plan isn’t working.

And Rishi Sunak’s decision to call an early election is the clearest sign of that. 

If he doesn’t believe his plan is working, why should you?


And no matter how much they tell us that Liz Truss was nothing to do with them, their every action tells us otherwise. 

They haven’t learnt their lesson.

They’re singing from the same songbook.

With the Prime Minister’s priorities dissolving into thin air, what is his last, desperate throw of the dice?

Not to deliver on the promises he has made over the last two years.

But instead, to offer up £64 billion worth of unfunded tax cuts. 

They offered up another one just last night. 

The Conservative cannot say how they’re going to pay for them.

What cuts will they make to public services?

What other taxes will they raise?

Or will they be paid for by yet more borrowing?

And why should anyone believe them, after – I’ll say it again – the tax burden has reached it’s highest in seventy years?

Be in no doubt, the single biggest risk to Britain’s economy is five more years of the Conservative Party.


My ambitions for Britain are so much greater than that.

I don’t think we need fantasy economics to look and hope for a better future – just look around us.

But we do need change.

Under Keir’s leadership, we have changed the Labour Party so that we may have the chance to change our country for the better.

To offer a government that is pro-worker and pro-business, in the knowledge that each depends upon the success of the other.

A party that understands business. 

That works with business.

I’m not one of those politicians who thinks the private sector is a dirty word, or a necessary evil.

I’ve worked in the private sector.

Before politics, I worked in financial services in West Yorkshire.

I know what a successful business can do for places like those.

And I know that economic growth comes from the success of businesses, large, medium and small – there is no other way.

I’m not talking about the old trickle down, free market dogmas of the past…

… but instead, a new spirit of partnership between government and business.

An approach fit for a more uncertain world.  

I know there is no policy that I can announce…

… no plan that can be drawn up in Whitehall…

… that will not be improved from engagement with business.

And our manifesto will bear the imprint of that engagement. 

I want to lead the most pro-growth, pro-business Treasury in our country has ever seen…

… with a laser focus on making working people better off.  

Today, more than 120 senior business leaders have signed a letter, expressing their support for a Labour government.

Across the world of business, Labour is being recognised as the natural partner of business; 

The party of growth and of enterprise. 


A few years ago, you might not have expected to hear those things from the Labour Party. 

Think how far we have come under Keir’s leadership, in four short years.

If we can change this party, to bring it back to the service of working people;

If we can return it to the centre ground of politics;

If we can bring business back to Labour;

Then I know we can bring business back to Britain.

To bring investment back to Britain.

To bring growth back to Britain.

To bring hope back to Britain. 

Because by bringing business back to Britain, we can deliver a better future for working people.

Whatever ideologues on left and right say, it’s not either-or: 

This Labour Party understands that business success is crucial to good jobs, and good work is crucial to successful businesses.

It is by bringing business back to Britain that we can create good jobs that pay a decent wage;

Bring in investment to build strong communities with thriving high streets;

Put more money in people’s pockets;

And take pride in goods and services made here in Britain, but exported around the world. 


Our plans for growth are built on partnership with business;

A mission-led government, prepared to take on the big challenges that we face and ready to seize the opportunities of the future.

And a government that will build all its plans for the future on the bedrock of economic stability.

It is clearer than ever that at this election, there is a choice between Tory chaos or Labour stability. And stability is change.

Stability, so that we never again see a repeat of the mini budget and the damage it did to family finances.

Stability, so that families and business can plan for the future.

Stability of direction… 

… so we can bring together government, business and working people in common purpose… 

… to meet the great challenges of our time. 


That will be underpinned by robust fiscal rules, that get debt falling by the end of the parliament. 

I will never play fast and loose with the public finances – because when you do so, you put family finances at risk.

We have started as we mean to go on: 

I have been very clear that every policy we announce, and every line in our manifesto, will be fully costed and fully funded. 

No ifs, no ands, no buts. 

That is the attitude I will take into the Treasury.

Because taxpayers’ money should be spent with the same care with which we spend our own money.


I remember how, when I was growing up, my mum used to sit at the kitchen table, combing over, line by line, her bank statements and her receipts.

We weren’t badly off, but we didn’t have money to spare.

To my mum, every penny mattered.

Believe me, I understand – the basic test for whoever is Chancellor is to bring that attitude to the public finances. 


And stability will rest – as it always has done when Britain has enjoyed economic success – on strong institutions.

I started my career as an economist at the Bank of England.

I know why the stability it brings and its independence from short term politics matter to economic success and the battle against inflation.

So Labour will not play – I will not play – the Tory game of undermining the Treasury or the Bank of England;

And I will introduce a new fiscal lock;

So that any government making significant and permanent changes to tax and spending… 

… will be subject to a forecast from the independent Office for Budget Responsibility. 

So that there is never a repeat of the mini budget. 

Stability must mean something else too – and I have heard time and time again from business how important this is:

Certainty in our tax system;

Which is why we have committed to the publication of a business tax roadmap… 

… covering the duration of the parliament, within the first six months of a Labour government;

And it is why corporation tax will be capped at its current rate for the duration of the next Parliament.

That is the lowest rate among G7 economies.

And  should our competitiveness be under threat, we will act.


Stability will be the bedrock of everything we do. 

But stability alone is not enough. 

It is one, central part of what I call securonomics;

A new approach, which recognises that our age of insecurity requires new answers to new economic challenges.

So stability must stand alongside a plan to fix our weak levels of investment. 

Britain today is the only G7 country with investment below 20 percent of GDP. 

I am not under the illusion that government can fix this alone – the lifeblood of economic growth is business investment. 

So investment will be delivered through a new partnership between government and business;

Embodied in a modern industrial strategy;

And in a new National Wealth Fund…

… with government investing to crowd in tens of billions of pounds of private investment… 

… to create the jobs of the future, drive down bills, and achieve energy independence.


And we will need reform too.

No more ducking the difficult decisions. 

No more shrinking from vested interests. 

No more accepting that this is as good as it gets.

So we will reform our politics…

… pushing power out of Westminster so our local and regional leaders can deliver for their areas.

We will reform our skills system… 

… to give working people the chance to succeed in a changing world of work…

… replacing the Apprenticeship Levy with a new Growth and Skills Levy.

We will reform our planning system…

… taking head on the single biggest obstacle to growth and investment we face, to get Britain building again.

We will deliver reform for security in work, with a New Deal for Working People.

And we will forge a closer relationship with our nearest neighbours in the European Union, to ease the burden of bureaucracy and red tape on British businesses;

Including a new veterinary agreement, an agreement on touring visas, and the mutual recognition of professional qualifications.


Stability, investment, reform. 

You’re going to hear those three words a lot from me. 

Because they are the ingredients of a genuine plan for the future.

An alternative to managed decline.

The reason that I can say today, with confidence, that this Labour Party is the natural party of British business.


The choice at the next election is simple:

Five more years of the vicious cycle of chaos and decline which the Conservatives have set in motion;

Or a changed Labour Party;

Putting stability first, in the service of working people.


We will fight this election on the economy. 

Every day we will expose the damage the Conservatives have done…

… the further damage they threaten to do.

And we will set out Labour’s alternative. 

Five missions for a decade of national renewal.

And six first steps to point the way to a better Britain.

Cutting NHS waiting times, with 40,000 new appointments every single week;

Launching a new Border Security Command to smash criminal gangs and strengthen our borders;

Setting up Great British Energy, a new, publicly owned clean power company;

Cracking down on antisocial behaviour;

Recruiting 6,500 new teachers;

All fully costed, all fully funded;

All those ambitions built on the bedrock of economic stability.

The foundation stones for a decade of national renewal.


To serve as Chancellor of the Exchequer would be the privilege of my life. 

Not to luxuriate in status;

Not as a staging post in a career;

But to serve.

I know the responsibility that will come with that. 

I embrace it. 

I know that it will not be easy.

It will take hard work.

And it will require harder choices.

I am ready for it. 


As I travel around the country, I see great potential everywhere I go.

In dynamic, great British businesses like this one.

In labs and classrooms in our world-leading universities.

And in the talent and effort of working people. 

It is time to unlock that potential.

Turn the page on chaos and decline.

And start a new chapter for Britain.

Labour is ready.

Thank you.

Read more of our 2024 general election coverage here.

If you have anything to share that we should be looking into or publishing about this or any other topic involving Labour or about the election, on record or strictly anonymously, contact us at [email protected]

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Award-winning author Lucashenko claims ABC’s David Marr called her ‘f**king rude’ backstage

‘That was really fucking rude’

The ABC’s Laura Tingle is copping a lot of heat for her comments at Sydney Writers’ Festival over the weekend, but another interesting exchange set tongues wagging over the potato gems at the Old Clare Hotel, where authors stay.

On Friday afternoon, the festival hosted award-winning authors Melissa Lucashenko and David Marr, both promoting their respective new releases, Edenglassie and Killing for Country: A Family Story. The session — titled “Colonial Truths” and hosted by The Australian’s Matthew Condon, reportedly went a little too close to home at a point.

After a robust conversation about reparations for First Nations peoples, Crikey’s spies told us Marr was visibly irritated, and allegedly later berated Lucashenko backstage with some choice words.

Lucashenko, a Bundjalung woman, confirmed the pair had an argument, and claims the newly announced RN Late Night Live host swore at her, telling her that she had been “really fucking rude”. She also claims he told her “ad nauseam how generous he is with his money, apparently failing to distinguish between middle-class charity and negotiated compensation for attempted genocide.”

“He was also at pains to point out that he ‘spent five years unpaid’ writing his book — no doubt living in his car and eating from food banks — and indicated that this was a great financial impost for which Aboriginal people might be more grateful,” she told Crikey.

Crikey asked Lucashenko whether, as rumoured, the source of Marr’s irritation was being asked if any proceeds from his book would be put to reparations for Indigenous communities. 

“It’s not true that I asked anything at all about the proceeds from his book. That’s how he took me asking him about his personal relationship to the Aboriginal dead, after I spoke in general terms about the need for reparations,” she said. 

“I was looking for some indication that he saw the Butchalla his ancestor slaughtered as anything more than writerly material … I doubt enough people are going to buy his boring book to make any hypothetical proceeds worth considering.” 

Marr was contacted for comment but did not reply in time for publication. 

News Corp? A beat-up? No way! 

Overnight, The Australian reported that board members at the national broadcaster were in “emergency talks” over 7:30’s Laura Tingle’s remarks at another Sydney Writers’ Festival session, declaring Australia a “racist country” in reference to Opposition Leader Peter Dutton’s most recent culture war on migration. 

The grandiose headline from media writer Sophie Elsworth read: “ABC board holds emergency talks over Laura Tingle outburst”. 

While the ABC board is not due to meet till June, according to the article, The Australian reported it understood Tingle’s colleagues on the board (she sits on the board as a staff-elected member) have been discussing the controversy. 

Crikey asked Elsworth if she had contacted the ABC for comment before publication, as is standard practice. We also asked whether the ABC board had held any formal meetings that could reasonably be described as “emergency talks”, or whether she had simply described board members having a coffee as such.

She did not respond before publication, but an ABC spokesperson told Crikey on Tuesday morning that “reports of an emergency ABC board meeting are incorrect and baseless”, and the article in question only states that the ABC was contacted for comment in reference to an Instagram post from earlier this month. 

Tingle did not appear on her usual Monday night slot on Late Night Live this week, replaced by Crikey’s political editor Bernard Keane. 

The grown-ups are back in charge

Liberals have told Crikey the Senate preselection held by the party’s NSW division at the weekend was an “upset” that shows the centre-right faction is losing steam while the party’s conservative wing is reasserting itself.

“The two most surprised people in that room were Hollie Hughes and Jess Collins,” said one party member, who requested anonymity to comply with Liberal secrecy rules.

Another Liberal said Collins told her colleagues in the room she hadn’t prepared a speech, saying: “I didn’t think I was actually going to win.”

Hughes, a sitting senator from the party’s centre-right faction, was voted out in favour of Collins, a newcomer aligned with the conservative wing.

Moderate Andrew Bragg — who some Liberals expected would have a tough time staying in his seat — took the number one spot (it seems attempts at anti-Bragg mudslinging before the vote had a limited effect).

There were 538 votes cast, and Bragg ended up with 180 after the final count. Collins finished with the same number, while Hughes received 178 in the end.

According to one Liberal source, the result shows the party is being “realigned, getting back to its normal axis”.

“I think we saw evidence on the weekend that the centre-right faction is ebbing away. There’s more coherence on the conservative side now, and some of the more disruptive elements are no longer in the party,” the person said.

Those who wish to understand what Liberals mean when they talk about disruptions should go back and read Crikey’s coverage of the High Court shitfight over Scott Morrison’s attempts at making captain’s picks during preselections ahead of the 2022 election. Morrison, the centre-right faction’s most prominent member, is now gone from Parliament. And Matthew Camenzuli, the conservative who took him to court over the 2022 preselections, has been expelled from the party.

Camenzuli, who enjoys a degree of freedom of speech as a non-member, said “the factions are losing control of the party”.

“[It’s happening] at all levels, across the board — the Liberal members want to have a greater say in their own destiny. You’ll see more of this, more unpredictable results will follow. The party needs to further democratise for the good of Australia,” he said.

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