Race Review is back!
REFLECT: A year of empty promises from the government
2020 has been full of hollow statements repeated on an infinite loop. I’ve lost count of how many times this season’s Drag Race bore Brita has said she is from New York, how many times Jessica on Love is Blind mentioned she is 34 while Mark is 24 and who could forget the UK government’s hot air balloon of promises over coronavirus: “100,000 tests a day”, “flatten the curve”, “we’ll get through this together”.
Our daily death tolls have now exceeded Italy’s at its worst point and our care home figures are not even being taken into account. Yet our newspapers spent all week tracking Boris’ recovery. I wish him well but when around 1,000 people a day are dying, you have to ask why the press isn’t constantly taking the government to task.
The Tories have focussed on unreliable antibody tests that would show where the virus went rather than finding who is currently positive. Priti Patel had been missing in action as we slid into a police state and emerged at a daily briefing to tell us we’d done “300,034 974,000” tests since the start of the crisis. Whatever that number is supposed to be, it is nowhere near our neighbours like Germany who test 350,000 people a week. Matt Hancock has the nerve to flap his gums about NHS staff “overusing” PPE while not apologising for the shortages in gear that could save their lives. We are also yet to see any real reflection on their decision to delay closing schools and mass events later than expected and the resulting 10,000 death toll just weeks later. PoC are disproportionally hit hardest by these missteps.
This terminology as if we are at war, already eulogising frontline workers that the government have put in harm’s way through gross negligence, lack of PPE and an absence of strategy. Coronavirus conspiracies about 5G help cloak the real toxicity of our times: this government has abandoned us. Just as we orchestrate our weekly claps, we need a revival of collective action to bring attention each week to what we deserve.
REPORT: Labour dossier reveals a party punching itself in the face
Imagine a party that would prefer to eat itself rather than win an election then cast your eyes on the damning dossier that proves Labour’s senior management team did just that for the last couple of years.
A report into Labour’s antisemitism revealed how the senior management team worked harder to sabotage Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership than to kick the Conservatives out of Number 10. The findings are staggering. Rebellious staff provided rocket fuel for the antisemitism scandal in the handling of cases by not acting on Jeremy’s wishes despite repeated correspondence asking for quicker and more effective action from the leader and his team. In 2018, he wrote: “it is a cause for real concern that Jewish voices from across the political spectrum of the Labour Party still feel that we do not take antisemitism seriously enough”. This was one of the biggest issues of the last election.
The Labour report also revealed anti-blackness within the party. As well as scoffing at Dawn Butler’s experiences of racism, in early February 2017, Tory Alan Pearmain depicted Diane Abbott as a lipstick-wearing monkey. Staff, including Patrick Heneghan, Executive Director of Elections, Campaigns and Organisation laughed about Diane Abbott crying in a toilet around this date.
08/02/2017, 13:04 – Patrick Heneghan: Abbott found crying in the loos
08/02/2017, 13:27 – Julie Lawrence: 😢
08/02/2017, 13:27 – Tracey Allen: Abbott memorial cupboard works well
08/02/2017, 15:52 – Patrick Heneghan: Diane in Leon on vic street
08/02/2017, 15:52 – Fiona Stanton: Shall we tell michael crick [at Channel 4]
08/02/2017, 15:53 – Patrick Heneghan: Already have
Other messages recovered from WhatsApp conversations reveal how staff repeatedly used abusive and inappropriate language about Jeremy, MPs, and anyone on the left of the party who they dubbed “trots”. Sarah Mulholland said she hoped leftwing activist Max Shanly “dies in a fire” while others discussed “hanging and burning” Jeremy Corbyn, saying any Labour MP “who nominates Corbyn ‘to widen the debate’ deserves to be taken out and shot”, they also called for a member of staff who whooped during the leader’s speech to be shot.
It’s no real surprise then, that the Labour report also shows that senior staff secretly redirected funds from the 2017 general election campaign to help MPs who disliked Jeremy rather than spending that money on key marginals.
A joint statement from Keir Starmer and Angela Rayner said “an urgent independent investigation into this matter” was due to follow.
The painful question remains: how could Labour ever fight the Tories while senior ranks fought themselves? The contempt for the party’s own support base can be perfectly summed up by one text from senior staffer Tracey Allen after the best vote share the party had seen since 1997: “The people have spoken. Bastards”.
• Commiserations to your family WhatsApp chats the app is trying to curb the rapid spread of misinformation about the pandemic with new features.
• RIP to The Outline which has now folded. Independent publishers are still struggling through this crisis. Remember to support where you can.
• Cardi B is donating $1,000 per hour to support fans amid coronavirus, but she said you can’t use it to “lend your fucking boyfriend some money”.
• Crack Magazine released a list of resources to help musicians through the coronavirus crisis.
• The Chinese government has been accused of anti-blackness after evicting Africans and blaming them for the spread of coronavirus.
• In India, coronavirus conspiracies have become a trojan horse for Islamophobia.
Issa Rae’s Insecure is back to give us something to laugh about during lockdown. Perfect timing to dive back into the comedy as Issa’s on-screen character finds her feet after a stint of unemployment. Here’s what to expect.