Netstorms is an evolving set of ideas, conversations and projects that are personal, political or professional.

Good work from Lee Camp. What he says about the NY Times is pretty much true of our mainstream media also. Please everyone look at EVERYTHING with a critical mind.

I’ve not posted here for a while but I have posted a lot to Facebook. June has been an eventful month.

June 5th

In the early hours of the morning we heard a short series of loud bangs but thought little of it. Going downstairs a little while ago I noticed that the window pane above the front door was broken. I went outside. Most of the broken glass had fallen there rather than inside. A short stretch of the road including my house is cordonned off by a tape on one side and a police van on the other.

I spoke to a police officer who said that people were trying to get into a house a little way down from us and the method they used caused reverberations that had damaged glass on a few properties. He said he could get a company to board up the window but that we would have to pay for it. Although the officer did not say this directly I suspect that it was the police who used this method to break into the house he mentioned. The fact that he apologised for the damage reinforces my suspicion.

I tried to find out more about what had happened but the officer did not seem willing to give further details. He said that there was nothing to be worried about and it was not what I was thinking. Since I was not thinking about anything much at the time beyond what to do about the window there must have been a fault in his mind reading techniques.
This is a minor inconvienience and I hope a minor expense but I want to know if anything similiar has been happening elsewhere in Newham – especially given the police incident in Barking Road yesterday.

I posted the above to Facebook. Only later getting more of the story from the Newham Recorder website.

June 9th

Congratulations to the people of the UK. We have passed the collective intelligence test.

Congratulations to all the Labour Party members and supporters who have worked so hard for this result.

Congratulations to the awesome Jeremy Corbyn who contrary to all of the negatives that have been said about him has been a dream of a leader.

We may have lost on points, but when everyone expects you to be bleeding on the ground and you’re still standing and the ‘winner’ looks in a worst state than you are, that’s a victory in my book.

Let’s take a moment to clean up, have a modest celebration, and then start preparing for the rematch.

Never lose the momentum!

June 11th

A reflection –

It was the first time I had done this. Standing outside the polling station on Thursday handing out leaflets for the Labour party or any party. I had joined Labour in 2015 as a registered supporter specifically to vote for Jeremy and joined as a full member within 24 hours of him being elected. I joined the pro-Corbyn group, Momentum and attended ward meetings. Earlier this year I became secretary for my ward.

What attracted me to JC can be summarised in three words. Honesty, Humility and Humanity. I think that is what attracted most of us and what is still attracting new members.
I’ve heard some people say, since this whole thing began, that Jeremy is a nice guy, but he’s not a leader. I’ve heard them say that he has no charisma. Which is really weird because I can’t see how it can be said of someone who pulls the crowds and inspires the near adoration that Jeremy does, that they are not a leader and are not charismatic. I can only suppose that a lot of people just see leaders as having characteristics that are quite opposite to Jeremy’s. They believe that leaders must be, of necessity, mendacious, arrogant and cruel. This is surely why Theresa May’s boast that she would not hesitate to launch a nuclear strike that kills hundreds of thousands is treated as normal while Corbyn’s refusal to say that he would do this is presented as extraordinary by the press and even disqualifying for a leader.

But Jeremy Corbyn’s personal characteristics and socialist beliefs and his persistence in them, are just one part of the Corbyn phenomena. Something deeper is at play. The crowds that are drawn to Corbyn, his supporters on many Facebook groups, the people giving the thumbs up and smiling and crossing fingers as they leave the polling station. It is as though they are part of a conspiracy of hope, indeed a conspiracy of hope, faith and love. Corbyn has become a catalyst for a change, not just political change, but a change in consciousness.
Many people have commented that Jeremy has maintained a campaigning schedule that would overtax even a much younger man. While he is undoubtedly robust and fit for his age there is something else at play here that is actually quite obvious. He is feeding off the energy of his supporters even as he feeds them inspiration. Preaching to the converted? Of course he is. It is exactly what Corbyn needs to be doing right now and it’s what we need in order to cohere as the political community that we need to be. He may be preaching to the converted but the converted are coming together in larger numbers all the time and we are all converting others. We all have stories of family and friend we have brought onboard.

One day the movement will grow beyond Jeremy and I think beyond its current host, the Labour Party. That day is not today and I pray it is not in a near tomorrow. Whenever that day is we will not go back to a leadership that is mendacious, arrogant and cruel. Corbyn’s legacy and ours will be that we have redefined leadership as being essentially about honesty, humility and humanity, about being a servant rather than a master of the many.

That we did not win a majority of seats on Thursday is not, for me, a disappointment. We have won a significant moral victory. The path forward is full of obstacles but we have a sense of our own strength now, we know who we are, we know who our adversaries are and they know who we are. Things are clearer now.

June 15th

The BBC Website gives the facts about the Grenfell Tower tragedy

June 16th

Rapper Lowkey witnessed the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Akala says “The people who died and lost their homes, this happened to them because they are poor.”

It is impossible to deny that they died because they were poor, because our leaders did not care enough to care about their job of protecting all of us, serving all of us.

June 18th

Jonathan Pie talks about ‘cladding over poverty’.

“It is a bold decision and one that affords Mrs May the opportunity to become as dominant a figure on the political stage as Margaret Thatcher was 30 years ago… she is right to call an election.” – Daily Telegraph editorial, 18 April

“It was always a gamble to call a snap election and Theresa May’s decision to do so was particularly surprising in view of her innate caution… Rarely has a prime minister made such a calamitous misjudgement.” – Daily Telegraph editorial, 10 June

This is a delicious article. So is this.

https://medium.com/@josholdham/the-media-were-wrong-dce593caeaff

They underestimated Corbyn and they also underestimated the British people. I did not. A confession. I bet £20 that Labour would win. I lost. I also bet £20 on no overall majority. I won £300. Not advocating gambling though.

June 21st

Negotiations on the country’s exit from the European Union have now started in Brussels, but Theresa May’s government does not seem to have the first clue about its objectives and how to reach them, according to several European columnists.

Source

This article basically says that we’re in a mess with Brexit and have no idea what we’re doing. Britain was doing okay under the amiable lightweight Cameron until he threw it away with the referendum; now we have a speaking robot and Boris Johnson. We have no plan and should be grateful that the EU negotiators are looking out for us more than we are looking out for ourselves.
My own feeling is that when faced with a seemingly binary either-or choice, a neither-and choice often appears, as in ‘I choose to stand paralysed between these unacceptable choices’ or ‘I will take both please’. Although we may seem paralysed at the moment, this is not an option. It is however an option, as in any relationship, to say something along the lines of ‘while we cannot stay together with things as they are, it is possible to change things in ways that are mutually beneficial but that we never explored because we didn’t seriously think it would come to this’. Negotiations are then framed as being about redefining the relationship rather than about leaving or staying. Effectively negotiations have to be about this anyway but framing it in a way that is cooperative rather than competitive means that we are more likely to get a result that we want rather than one that nobody wants. Oh, and something else, before going into any negotiation, cooperative or competitive, it’s a really good idea to know what we want. We don’t. We should tell the EU we need time to ‘get our head together’ and then have a second snap election in autumn where parties keep their current manifestos but prepare a ‘Renegotiating Europe’ manifesto. Then, and only then, will any party have a clear mandate for a clear vision.

June 23rd

NATO to be sued by Serbia for the use of depleted uranium during the illegal bombing of that country in 1999.

I don’t know anything about Horstel or his other policies but it is rare to hear a western politician speak the truth about Syria as this man does.

June 24th

Paul Mason speaks to Progress. Seems about time someone was clear that some things are simply incompatible with the values a decent Labour Party should have, supporting illegal wars is definitely one of those things.

“If it’s important to you to have a pro-Remain party that is in favour of illegal war, in favour of privatisation, form your own party and get on with it!”

Kate Tempest at Glastonbury telling concert goers the social truth in her own uniquely passionate way.

“Stop stability. Meanwhile suicide is increasing, more rough sleepers, ugly words in public places, fear and doubt and all the racists have come out to show their faces. Under May there is a gulf that separates us and it seems to get a little wider every day.

“Now watch her pray on every tragedy. Divide, divide and frenzy up the nastiness….

“If this is strength then we are all f***d.”

Jeremy Corbyn’s reception at Glastonbury is simply amazing. Corbyn is unique as a politician. He can be seen as the manifestation of a collective will to create a better world.

Theresa May tries to present a ‘prime ministerial’ front after the Manchester bombing. She accuses Jeremy Corbyn of saying that terror attacks in Britain are ‘our own fault’. He didn’t say this of course, in fact Corbyn gave a speech that was rather wonderful and all about bringing the nation together. It was the speech of a national leader and is well worth listening to here,

and listening to and reading on the Mirror website.

In his speech Corbyn promises:

There will be more police on the streets under a Labour Government. And if the security services need more resources to keep track of those who wish to murder and maim, then they should get them.

We will also change what we do abroad. Many experts, including professionals in our intelligence and security services have pointed to the connections between wars our government has supported or fought in other countries, such as Libya, and terrorism here at home.

He continues:

That assessment in no way reduces the guilt of those who attack our children. Those terrorists will forever be reviled and implacably held to account for their actions.

But an informed understanding of the causes of terrorism is an essential part of an effective response that will protect the security of our people, that fights rather than fuels terrorism.

Protecting this country requires us to be both strong against terrorism and strong against the causes of terrorism. The blame is with the terrorists, but if we are to protect our people we must be honest about what threatens our security.

Those causes certainly cannot be reduced to foreign policy decisions alone. Over the past fifteen years or so, a sub-culture of often suicidal violence has developed amongst a tiny minority of, mainly young, men, falsely drawing authority from Islamic beliefs and often nurtured in a prison system in urgent need of resources and reform.

And no rationale based on the actions of any government can remotely excuse, or even adequately explain, outrages like this week’s massacre.

But we must be brave enough to admit the war on terror is simply not working. We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism.

That’s why I set out Labour’s approach to foreign policy earlier this month. It is focused on strengthening our national security in an increasingly dangerous world.

We must support our Armed Services, Foreign Office and International Development professionals, engaging with the world in a way that reduces conflict and builds peace and security.

Seeing the army on our own streets today is a stark reminder that the current approach has failed.

So, I would like to take a moment to speak to our soldiers on the streets of Britain. You are doing your duty as you have done so many times before.

I want to assure you that, under my leadership, you will only be deployed abroad when there is a clear need and only when there is a plan and you have the resources to do your job to secure an outcome that delivers lasting peace.

That is my commitment to our armed services.

This is my commitment to our country. I want the solidarity, humanity and compassion that we have seen on the streets of Manchester this week to be the values that guide our government. There can be no love of country if there is neglect or disregard for its people.

I think this was a defining speech. It defines Jeremy Corbyn as a leader and it defines a better and more honest vision for Britain. Much of the mainstream media however reacded with a kind of knee-jerk condemnation along the lines of Thresa May, pretending that they believed that Corbyn was an apologist for terrorism or at least arguing that although he might be partially right it was not the right thing to say as it was giving comfort to the enemy.

An assumption that people seemed to be making whether they were supportive of or against Corbyn’s speech is that he was saying that because we bombed Iraq and Libya and are bombing in Syria. Corbyn does not if fact say this at that is not the reality. The reality is that the strain of Islam with political and jihadist aspirations that Isis represents, (Wahabbism/Salafism), has been around for a long time and secular governments like those of Sadaam and Gaddafi were keeping them in check because they were seen to be opposed to secular states. When we bombed Iraq and acted as an airforce for Islamists in Libya we destroyed the infrastructure of those countries and set free the jihadist. We are currently supporting anti-Assad forces in Syria and so doing the same to that country as we did to Libya and Iraq. It is not the people who we bombed who are bombing us, it is the jihadists we set free to destroy their countries that are bombing us.

The West has been supporting jihadists since at least the early 1980’s when the US backed jihadists against the Soviet sponsored secular goverenment of Afghanistan.

As a result of this support Afghanistan eventually fell into the hands of the medievalist Taliban. From 2001 the US and their allies have imposed more suffering on the Afghan people in a supposed war against the terrorist group allegedly responsible for the attacks of 9/11.

In 2003 the US and its allies went to war with the Iraqi government of Sadaam Hussain after alleging that he had ‘weapons of mass destruction’ and was a threat to his neighbours. No such weapons were found but Iraq’s political and social infrastructure was destroyed and the country was occupied and exploited by western corporations. In place of a stable, if brutal, secular government keeping a lid on the political aspirations of religionists the Western occupiers turned governance over to a Shia dominated government at odds and at war with a Sunni resistance that came to be dominated by the fanatics that became known as Isis or Isil or Daesh.

In 2011 the US, the UK and France used a pretext of humanitarian concern to get UN authorisation to protect rebels in Libya from Gaddafi against whom they were waging a civil war. The mandate was to protect civilians from Gaddafi but the US, UK and France started bombing Gaddafi forces and effectively acting as an air force for the rebels. After the death of Gaddafi the Western powers handed over control to a government that was not strong enough to keep the country together as different groups vied for power. Salafist elements seem to have flourished in the chaos. The Manchester bomber Salman Abedi was a British born member of a Libyan Salafist family, he and they had connections to the Salafists and to Daesh in Libya.

2011 also marked the beginning of the Syrian conflict, a brutal war in which regional powers, notably Saudia Arabia, Qatar and Turkey have supported an armed and predominently Salafist opposition to the government od Bashar al Assad. This armed opposition also got support from the West and without the intervention of Russia would have overrun the government forces and very likely thrown Syria into the kind of chaos we see in Libya.

Why the West supports Salafist terrorism against secular states is best left to another ramble but there is clear evidence that it does. Why then, if we have been enabling them, do Salafist terrorists attack targets in the UK and Europe? It’s because that’s what they do. They carry within them the virus of hate and intolerance, intolerance not only for the secular states in the Middle East that we have armed them to destroy, but for any secular state.

This is a nice video showing why we need a well funded police service. Like Education and Health the Police have seen big cuts in the service they are able to offer since 2010. Cut these essential services and we damage the wellbeing of society.