World watch – Wednesday

Tuesday GMT


For posting on events, news, opinions and anything of interest from around the world.


  1. Missy

     /  April 4, 2018

    UK Labour’s anti-semitism problem isn’t going away. This story has been ongoing for a couple of weeks now, and has worsened over the last week or so.

    Last week several Jewish groups joined by a number of Labour and Conservative MPs protested outside the Labour Caucus Meeting in response to reports that Jeremy Corbyn was a member of several anti-semitic Facebook groups, and in at least one was found to support the artist of a piece of graffiti that had anti-semitic tropes.

    Corbyn’s response was that he had not looked closely at the image on Facebook and he agreed it was anti-semitic. He apologised and said (again) that there is no place in Labour for any form of racism. The problem with Corbyn saying these things is that his actions don’t always match the words and many in the Jewish community believe that he is saying what is expected but doesn’t really care about it enough to take action.

    Later in the week the head of Labour’s disputes committee on the National Executive Committee (NEC) was pressured by Corbyn’s office into stepping down when it came to light that she had defended a local council candidate that is an anti-semite and holocaust denier and saying that the anti-semitism stories were nothing but a smear to attack Jeremy Corbyn. She claims she did not see the holocaust denial the candidate posted on his open Facebook page (despite allegedly being friends with him on Facebook). Where this was a problem for many in Labour is that the disputes committee is currently investigating a number of complaints of anti-semitism within the party. It should also be pointed out that the head of the disputes committee is a director of Momentum as well, this is important as many have put the increase in anti-semitism, misogyny, and racism down to the influence of Momentum. She went on to resign from the NEC saying her remaining was a distraction. Her place has been filled by Eddie Izzard.

    Over the weekend Jeremy Corbyn deleted his personal Facebook page, ostensibly because of abuse received, (why not just tighten privacy settings?), however, another theory is that he deleted it to try and remove evidence of other questionable groups he belonged to on Facebook. Take your pick on that of what to believe.

    Corbyn further compounded criticism from mainstream Jewish groups when he attended a Passover event held by a far left anti-zionist Jewish group at the weekend. First Corbyn said he attended and discussed issues of anti-semitism with young Jewish people at the event, and that he had learned a lot, implying he had attended in his capacity as Leader of the Opposition. This afternoon his spokesman claimed he had attended in a personal capacity, not as the Leader of the Opposition (shades of John Key and texting in a personal capacity). Either way it is seen as at best inadvisable, at worst (by some Jewish groups) further evidence of his blasé attitude to anti-semitism in the party.

    Last week Corbyn admitted that anti-semitism was an increasing problem in Labour, as did John McDonnell, and over the weekend the leader of Momentum has also admitted that anti-semitism is a bigger problem than he first thought. Notably Diane Abbott and Chris Williamson, both strong Corbyn allies, are still saying that there is no anti-semitism and it is all smears against Corbyn.

    Personally I think this issue has shown Corbyn for what he is, (no, not an anti-semite), a weak leader with very little awareness and a lot of arrogance.

  2. Missy

     /  April 4, 2018

    Macron is facing what some consider his biggest test yet. Almost a year after his election Macron is facing a summer of discontent – or rather a summer of strikes – as he tries to embark on his reform plans.

    First off the blocks for reform is the state owned Railways, SNCF, however, the unions have begun three months worth of strikes (2 days in every 5 of strike action) impacting not only French travellers, but also many travelling on the Eurostar to France, Belgium and the Netherlands, and those traveling on the intercity TGV service.

    The reforms are based on a report from February which will include scrapping generous pay, benefit, and retirement packages for new employees, as well as opening up France’s rail markets, in return for the Government bailing SNCF out of an almost 50 Billion Euro debt.

    Macron has already conceded on some points, including reopening unprofitable rural lines, but for the workers this has not gone far enough.

    Of course it could be said that it is (almost) Summer so what else can be expected from the French but strikes.

    • MaureenW

       /  April 4, 2018

      30 days in a County jail and again nothing to do with Trump. “The indictment against him did not refer to the 2016 election campaign. Mr Trump has not been accused of any wrongdoing”.

  3. MaureenW

     /  April 4, 2018

    Some news on the upcoming investigation into former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the FBI and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court …

  4. Kitty Catkin

     /  April 4, 2018

    Mass shooting no. 58 in the US, inane message no. 58 from Trump who seems to think that trotting out the thoughts and prayers cliche will make it all right.

    • MaureenW

       /  April 4, 2018

      As did Obama – what is your point?

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  April 5, 2018

        My point is that there have been 58 mass shootings so far this year and Trump has put out the same meaningless message 58 times. I can’t see how that can be misunderstood.