WikiLeaks nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

The whistleblowing website is one of 241 nominees for the annual award.

The whistleblowing website WikiLeaks has today been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The nomination comes after a stellar year for the anti-secrecy site, which became a household name after releasing the Afghanistan and Iraq war logs and, more recently, more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables.

In recent months, however, an increasing number of allegations against the website's founder, Julian Assange, have overshadowed the site's achievements.

Today's announcement comes just days after Assange lost his fight against extradition to Sweden, to face allegations of rape and sexual molestation. New allegations also appeared today in Private Eye, which claims that Assange blames his plight on three journalists – Alan Rusbridger, David Leigh and the former editor of the New Statesman John Kampfner – all of whom, Assange claimed falsely, "were Jewish".

The other nominees for the prize include the Afghan rights advocate Sima Samar, the European Union, the former German chancellor Helmut Kohl, the Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya Sardinas, and the Russian rights group Memorial as well as its founder, Svetlana Gannushkina.

Getty Images.
Show Hide image

Tom Watson rouses Labour's conference as he comes out fighting

The party's deputy leader exhilarated delegates with his paean to the Blair and Brown years. 

Tom Watson is down but not out. After Jeremy Corbyn's second landslide victory, and weeks of threats against his position, Labour's deputy leader could have played it safe. Instead, he came out fighting. 

With Corbyn seated directly behind him, he declared: "I don't know why we've been focusing on what was wrong with the Blair and Brown governments for the last six years. But trashing our record is not the way to enhance our brand. We won't win elections like that! And we need to win elections!" As Watson won a standing ovation from the hall and the platform, the Labour leader remained motionless. When a heckler interjected, Watson riposted: "Jeremy, I don't think she got the unity memo." Labour delegates, many of whom hail from the pre-Corbyn era, lapped it up.

Though he warned against another challenge to the leader ("we can't afford to keep doing this"), he offered a starkly different account of the party's past and its future. He reaffirmed Labour's commitment to Nato ("a socialist construct"), with Corbyn left isolated as the platform applauded. The only reference to the leader came when Watson recalled his recent PMQs victory over grammar schools. There were dissenting voices (Watson was heckled as he praised Sadiq Khan for winning an election: "Just like Jeremy Corbyn!"). But one would never have guessed that this was the party which had just re-elected Corbyn. 

There was much more to Watson's speech than this: a fine comic riff on "Saturday's result" (Ed Balls on Strictly), a spirited attack on Theresa May's "ducking and diving; humming and hahing" and a cerebral account of the automation revolution. But it was his paean to Labour history that roused the conference as no other speaker has. 

The party's deputy channelled the spirit of both Hugh Gaitskell ("fight, and fight, and fight again to save the party we love") and his mentor Gordon Brown (emulating his trademark rollcall of New Labour achivements). With his voice cracking, Watson recalled when "from the sunny uplands of increasing prosperity social democratic government started to feel normal to the people of Britain". For Labour, a party that has never been further from power in recent decades, that truly was another age. But for a brief moment, Watson's tubthumper allowed Corbyn's vanquished opponents to relive it. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.