Monday, 13 August 2018

Neoliberalism is to blame for the state of modern Britain

How did Britain come to be in such a mess?

It should be clear to anyone that the looming threat of a catastrophic "no deal" Tory strop out of the European Union didn't just happen in isolation, and that there are numerous factors at play.

Probably the biggest factor of all is the Westminster political establishment's ideological obsession with hard-right neoliberal dogma.

Ever since 1979 neoliberalism has ruled the roost in Westminster. The only period in the last four decades where it's not been Tories pushing hard-right, pro-privatisation, anti-worker, social housing wrecking, bank deregulating neoliberal dogma was 1997-2010 when Tony Blair and Gordon Brown pushed the same ideological madness, but with doses of welfare economics and public service investment to soften the consequences of their adherence to Thatcherite economic dogma.

While policies like tax credits, the minimum wage, and investment in the NHS were admittedly far better than anything you'd expect from a Tory government, New Labour's refusal to reverse the worst aspects of neoliberal dogma meant they were absolutely complicit in the ensuing disaster, which came about when the private banks collapsed under the weight of their gambling debts in the 2007-08 financial sector insolvency crisis (you know, the crisis we still haven't recovered from).

Instead of allowing the reckless and insolvent banks to go under and be replaced in the marketplace by less reckless institutions (as neoliberal economic theory suggests), the British state decided to institute the biggest state bailout in history.

In an unprecedented display of crony capitalism the government pumped £hundreds of billions into the financial sector directly while the Bank of England began magicking money out of nowhere via quantitative easing in order to artificially prop up the value of assets held mainly by the mega-rich.

These massive state interventions to save the neoliberalised financial sector from the consequences of their own reckless gambling should obviously have sounded the death knell for hard-right anti-state neoliberalism.

If you've spent the previous three decades pushing the lie that state intervention is bad, then you couldn't get a more obvious invalidation of your agenda than an unprecedented state intervention to save the economy from the consequences of your ideological experiment.

However, when the Lib-Dems enabled the Tories back into power in 2010 the Coalition government immediately set about implementing an audacious strategy of prescribing the cause of the financial sector crisis as their so-called solution to the crisis.

So instead of a much needed rebalancing of the economy away from hard-right neoliberal dogma, the Tories actually doubled down on neoliberalism with their ideologically driven austerity agenda.

The results of this double-down on neoliberalism strategy were appalling: The slowest post-crisis recovery in Centuries. The longest sustained collapse in the real value of workers wages since records began. Savage local government cuts. The lowest levels of new house building since the 1920s. Home ownership rendered an impossible dream for millions as the private rental slumlords cashed in through the exploitation of people with nowhere else to turn. The NHS is crisis. Social care in crisis. Police and emergency services cut to the bone. Public assets being flogged off at fractions of their true values. Soaring child poverty. Soaring in-work poverty. An exponential growth in food bank dependency. Millions trapped in low-pay insecure Zero Hours Contract and gig economy jobs.

Once again the Labour right-wingers were complicit in the ensuing disaster. Instead of standing up and opposing ruinous Tory austerity dogma with all their might, Labour right-wingers like Ed Balls and Chris Leslie actually decided to pathetically imitate it with "austerity lite" (a decision that cost them the 2015 General Election and led to the Brexit vote).

If Labour had opposed Tory austerity dogma, it's likely they would have cruised into power in 2015 on a massive wave of public anger. But they refused to oppose it, and left the door open for hard-right opportunists to once again use the consequences of their own hard-right ideological fanaticism as a Trojan Horse to push even more of it.

The fact two of the Westminster establishment parties were pushing ruinous austerity dogma in government, while the third pathetically imitated it instead of opposing it left the door wide open for the right-wing fringe of the Tory party (and their Ukipper mates) to pin the blame the consequences of this devastating ideological attack on poor and ordinary people onto immigrants and the EU in order to whip up support for Brexit.

Had there been any opposition to Tory austerity dogma whatever, then it's unlikely Brexit would ever have happened. Just look at Scotland where the SNP ran a strong anti-Tory, anti-austerity campaign in 2015, and how the Scottish public overwhelmingly rejected Brexit the following year.

Now that the UK is facing the ever-increasing likelihood of a ruinous "no deal" Tory flounce out of the EU (which would trigger an economic crisis even worse than the bankers' insolvency crisis we still haven't even recovered from), surely it's time to accept that the four decade long Westminster fixation hard-right neoliberal dogma is the root cause of Britain's problems, and that the only sensible solution is to actually fight back against it?

Of course the majority of the Westminster establishment, mainstream media, and corporate executive class will fight tooth and nail to defend the ideological orthodoxy that they've done very nicely out of indeed. They'll fight back against a change of direction because they fear that undoing some of the damage to ensure that everyone in Britain gets a fair chance might mean that the privileged few lose out a bit.

And they're right. The mega-rich should have to pay their fair share of tax rather than stashing their wealth in Panama or the Cayman Islands. Exploitative private sector slumlords should have their profiteering curtailed by decent living standards and rent controls. Greedy property speculators should lose out as the government launches a massive house building drive to ensure that everyone who works for a living can afford a decent home to live in. Private profiteers who have made untold fortunes siphoning wealth out of our public utilities should see their money tap turned off as vital public infrastructure and services are bought back under public ownership. And perhaps most importantly of all, those who have monopolised the top jobs in society thanks to their privileged backgrounds should face some real competition from people from ordinary backgrounds armed with an education that is provided free of charge under a new National Education System.

Of course it would be impossible to undo the damage caused by four decades of neoliberal economic dogma overnight (especially against a tidal wave of establishment hostility), but surely it's time to reverse course rather than simply accepting the endless Westminster prescriptions of more of the exact same toxic dogma that caused the problem as the cure to the problem?

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


Sunday, 12 August 2018

The extreme-right bookshop ambush couldn't have backfired more spectacularly

On Saturday August 4th 2018 a bunch of extreme-right thugs ambushed the left-wing bookshop Bookmarks, damaging property, intimidating staff, throwing books around, baselessly slandering shop workers as "paedophiles", and calling for the shop to be burned down.

In the week following this sinister extreme-right raid several of the perpetrators have been identified, largely thanks to the fact that they were idiotic enough to film themselves plotting and carrying out the ambush, and then actually upload it to the Internet!

Three of the attackers have been identified and suspended by UKIP for their involvement in the attack. 

Aside from getting themselves suspended from their right-wing political party, in attempting to silence and intimidate people for selling books they don't like (it's debatable whether people like this like reading any books at all) the attackers ended up massively increasing the profile of the bookshop.

All kinds of people expressed solidarity with the bookshop in the face of these extreme-right intimidation tactics, from lefties like Owen Jones, Michael Rosen and me, through to orthodox neoliberal 'centrists' like JK Rowling and Andrew Adonis.

It seems the imagery of Nazi book burning ceremonies are seared so strongly into the public consciousness that pretty much everyone has reacted with disgust at this bookshop raid, and the extremists who carried it out.

One week after the ambush the sheer scale of their idiocy has become clear, with the bookshop selling four times as many books as normal through the till, and their online shop taking an entire year's worth of orders in just seven days!

So this extreme-right attack on free speech has backfired so dramatically that literally thousands of people are reading left-wing books that they wouldn't have otherwise thought of buying had these extreme-right crackpots just left the shop in peace!

A bunch of right-wing thugs triggering a massive upsurge in left-wing book sales with their raid on a lefty bookshop really has to be one of the most fantastic examples of the Streisand effect ever.

Keep it going

Here's a link to the Bookmarks website in case you want to order a book for yourself, or to bookmark it for later to buy Christmas presents for your lefty friends.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


The BBC are covering up UK complicity in Saudi war crimes

This week Saudi Arabian forces blasted a bus full of children to pieces in Yemen leaving at least 29 dead and many more severely injured, which is just one of countless war crimes the Saudis have committed since they began bombarding the country in 2015.

Other Saudi war crimes include attacks on busy market places, wedding celebrations and fleeing refugees, the targeting of civilian infrastructure like electricity and water treatment plants, and the deliberate use of famine and disease as weapons through their ongoing blockade of food and basic medical supplies and attacks on distribution infrastructure.

The bus bombing was so appalling that a small amount of coverage actually leaked into the UK mainstream media, however everyone knows that if Bashar Assad's regime had blasted a bus full of Syrian children to pieces, then there would have been wall to wall outrage, with plenty of condemnation of Russia for supplying Syria with weapons and playing an active military role in supporting Assad's campaigns.

Interestingly none of the UK mainstream media coverage bothers to explain that not only is Saudi Arabia Britain's biggest customer for weapons, the UK is also supplying the Saudi forces with military assistance!

The omission of these crucial details from mainstream media coverage of Saudi war crimes is an example of the propaganda tactic of deception by omission.

Take the BBC's coverage of the Saudi bus-bombing that left at least 29 children dead. Towards the end of the article it does actually mention that starvation and cholera as now rife in Yemen, but without bothering to explain that the Saudi forces are actually using famine and disease as weapons against the Yemeni people.

The BBC article also makes no mention whatever of Britain's role in arming the Saudi war criminals, nor the British service personnel that are embedded with the Saudi forces.

Another thing the BBC fail to mention in their coverage is that the United Kingdom government have more than quadrupled the amount of arms being sold to Saudi Arabia since they began their attacks on Yemen.

Neither do the BBC bother to mention that the official Tory government excuse for Britain arming the Saudis is that if Britain doesn't profit from Saudi war crimes, then someone else might!

There's absolutely no way that balanced or impartial coverage of what the Saudis are doing in Yemen would seek to downplay their deliberate use of famine and disease as weapons, or omit the fact that the United Kingdom government is actively supporting the Saudi regime, despite knowing that the Saudis are using British weapons to commit war crimes.

But then after the staggering levels of BBC bias demonstrated through their ridiculously one-sided pro-austerity/anti-investment economics coverage, their extraordinary bias during the Scottish independence referendum, their recent assault on the free speech of Scottish independence advocates, and their shockingly pro-Tory/anti-Corbyn coverage from their politics team, it's hardly surprising that they're desperate to minimise and downplay Saudi war crimes, and omit the fact that the Tory government are complicit in them.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


Saturday, 11 August 2018

The hard-right are now actually arguing there's "not enough Islamophobia within the Tory ranks"!

This week's Spectator magazine hosts an article by the right-wing agitator Rod Liddle calling for more Islamophobia within the Tory party.

This extraordinary call for even more anti-Muslim bigotry in the Tory ranks comes against a backdrop of Theresa May deliberately stonewalling Muslim people's demands for an inquiry into the shocking scale and frequency of Islamophobic abuse within the Tory ranks.

There's no denying that the Tory party is riddled with anti-Muslim bigots, from the rank and file all the way up to the top of the party. 

One of the most bizarre things about Rod Liddle's Spectator article is that it starts off with one of his trademark transphobic rants, which is still going on as the article hits the paywall fadeout!

But if you do get beyond the paywall you find that Liddle is re-using the simplistic extreme-right trick of conflating criticism of the Islamic religion with bigotry and hatred towards Muslim people.

He tries to imply that the loony liberal left are somehow censoring people from criticising Islam by accusing those who criticise the religion of being Islamophobes.

It's an utterly misleading argument, but unfortunately right-wing idiots buy into it.

It only takes the briefest glimpse at reality to see that the majority of people criticising the vile homophobic, misogynistic, democracy-crushing, head-chopping, terrorism-promoting, tyrannical Saudi war criminals are lefties.

Meanwhile Theresa May and the Tories continually suck up to the vile Islamist Saudi tyrants in order to hawk them even more British weapons, and right-wingers like Liddle and his chums at the Spectator turn a blind eye to this absolute depravity.

In fact, the very same Boris Johnson who the extreme-right hate mob are lauding for sticking the boot into Muslim women this week is the very person who outlined the Tory government's position that Britain will continue selling weapons to the Saudi tyrants to commit their war crimes with because if we don't cash in on their war crimes, someone else might!

Then if you look at the countries that are banning arms sales to Saudi Arabia and openly criticising them for their grotesque human rights record, it's the kind of socially liberal governments that Liddle and the Spectaror mob regularly spit their hate at (Canada, Norway &Germany).

If you look at the UK politicians who do the most to oppose arms sales to Saudi Arabia while they're committing war crimes in Yemen, it's lefties like Emily Thornbury, Caroline Lucas, and Jeremy Corbyn (all hate figures for Rod and his mates in the Spectator mob).

If you look at people who are actually leading the fight against grotesque practises like female genital mutilation, forced under-age marriage, and rampant misogyny, again it's usually leftie liberals and western Muslim women doing the heavy lifting, while hard-right idiots like Liddle carp from the sidelines and use these issues as ammunition to call for even more bigotry and hatred towards Muslim people in general.
Let's get it absolutely straight. It's absolutely possible to utterly condemn vile Islamist regimes like Saudi Arabia, and to oppose barbaric practises that are still commonplace in the Muslim world (like FGM and forced marriage) without spitting bigoted Islamophobic vitriol at all Muslims in general.

In fact there's nothing Islamophobic about criticising the Islamic religion at all (especially if you're doing it from an atheist/agnostic stance that includes criticism of other religions too).

But if you're using cheap and nasty appeals to "our Judeo-Christian history" to deliberately conflate criticism of Islam with spewing bigotry and hatred at Muslim people (as Liddle does in his article), you're blatantly being an utterly disingenuous shit.

We all know that had a left-leaning magazine or blog posted an article that openly called for "more anti-Jewish bigotry in the Labour ranks" and created a ridiculously deceptive argument that the freedom to criticise Israel somehow justifies this call for more anti-Semitic abuse, there would have been an absolute tidal wave of condemnation, but somehow Liddle continually gets away with this kind of extreme-right trolling.

What's even more telling is that the BBC's heavyweight political presenter Andrew Neil is the chair of Spectator magazine which published this disgracefully deceptive article calling for more anti-Muslim bigotry in politics.

So next time you see Andrew Neil, or any other BBC journalist, spewing faux outrage about the Labour anti-Semitism row, just remember that Neil is perfectly happy to turn a blind eye to outright calls for more anti-Muslim bigotry in the Tory ranks, and that the BBC are quite happy to have Neil continue to be the heavyweight front man for their supposedly impartial political coverage.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


Friday, 10 August 2018

Why are the mainstream media not talking about how this extreme-right fanatic was radicalised?

A fanatical extreme-right hate preacher has been jailed for two years after numerous disgusting anti-Muslim rants and a threat to kill Jeremy Corbyn.

Jonathan Jennings was jailed by Swansea crown court for his social media postings, and for lobbing a brick at a local police station after he was warned to stop posting vile abuse and threats.

Here are some of the things that Jennings wrote:
  • Called for Muslims to be sterilised
  • Claimed Adolf Hitler was "born 100 years too soon"
  • Promoted the idea of a "bomb a mosque day"
  • Threatened to "Jo Cox" Jeremy Corbyn if he ever becomes Prime Minister
  • Said that Muslims should be gassed
  • Praised a racist thug who kicked a pregnant woman in the stomach as a "national hero"
  • Changed his Twitter handle to "Muslim Slayer"
  • Called for Gina Miller to be executed as a traitor
  • Called for JK Rowling to be hanged
  • Called for Muslims to be burned on bonfires
One of the most interesting and important aspects of this case is one that has received no mainstream media coverage whatever is the question of how this extreme-right fanatic was radicalised.

This is an important question because we already know that the Britain First hate chamber helped to radicalise at least two murderous extreme-right terrorists, and we also know that the Finsbury Park killer had Tommy Robinson quotes in the hire van he used as his murder weapon.
So who was Jennings radicalised by?

It's actually spectacularly easy to see who Jennings was radicalised by given his (bold/reckless/stupid) decision to not wipe down his social media accounts once it was clear he was facing prosecution for his online ranting.

So it's no surprise whatever to find that Jennings is a Tommy Robinson acolyte, as well as being a Facebook follower of several other extreme-right agitators like Paul Joseph Watson, Milo Yianopolous, Sargon of Akkad, Mike Cernovich, and Count Dankula.

It's hardly surprising that Jennings follows the Muslim-fearmongering Leave.EU campaign, other Brexity Facebook pages like "Leave Means Leave", and "Get Britain OUT of the EU" and two vitriolic anti-Labour pages too.

The only currently elected politicians that Jennings follows on Facebook are Donald Trump and the Tory Brextremist-in-chief Jacob Rees-Mogg.

Just think about it. If a Jeremy Corbyn following leftist had been jailed for issuing an online threat to kill Jacob Rees-Mogg, do you think the mainstream media would have completely ignored that angle?

Even forgetting the threat to kill Jeremy Corbyn, if this vile anti-Muslim anti-Semitic ranter had been following Jeremy Corbyn's Facebook page rather than Jacob Rees-Mogg's, do you really honestly think the mainstream media would have failed to mention it at all in their report on his sentencing?

Given that his Facebook likes are clear for everyone to see, it's not even remotely difficult to find out who this guy was radicalised by. Yet the mainstream media have absolutely failed to cover it for some reason.

Of course reactive defenders of the extreme-right will try to argue that not all Tommy Robinson followers end up spewing vitriolic bigotry, issuing social media death threats, and/or carrying out acts of extreme-right terrorism, but the evidence is absolutely clear now that a percentage of them do.

If the online agitators who inspire disgusting tirades of bigoted abuse and online threats to kill (Jonathan Jennings), and actual terrorist atrocities (like Darren Osborne) had been Salafi Islamist hate preachers rather than extreme-right fanatics, then there's absolutely no way they would be given platforms to spew their hate and conspiracy theories on the BBC in the way Tommy Robinson was on the very day that one of his followers was jailed for carrying out a deadly terrorist atrocity.

In the end part of the blame for this rise in violent and abusive extreme-right fanaticism must be apportioned to the social media platforms that host these extreme-right hate preachers, and another part of the blame falls squarely on the mainstream media outlets like the BBC that actively help to boost their profiles, and inject their extremist politics into mainstream political discourse.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


Thursday, 9 August 2018

Boris Johnson's burqa comments have worked out exactly the way he planned

Boris Johnson's comments ridiculing women who wear the veil were a blatant ploy to rile up the extreme-right by throwing them the red meat of Muslims to hate, and the free speech issue to gnash their teeth over.

It's no coincidence whatever that Johnson has decided to whip up the extreme-right like this, having just had a secretive meeting with the alt right "kingmaker" Steve Bannon who was the one who unified the Swastika-waving "Jews will not replace us" crowd and the Donald Trump Presidential campaign.

Picking minority groups to bash rather than talking about policy issues has been a classic extreme-right tactic ever since Hitler and the Nazis, and just look how it's already worked a treat for the hard-right Brextremists:

Look how they successfully pinned the blame for the devastating consequences of their own hard-right austerity agenda onto immigrants and the EU in order to con people into voting for their 'make it up as we go along' Brexit shambles.

Public pressure has eventually convinced the Tory leadership to drop their usual "ignore it until it goes away" stance in favour of a supposedly independent inquiry into Johnson's conduct.

But this inquiry is disastrous for multiple reasons. The main one is that it feeds into the victimhood narratives that the extreme-right rely so heavily upon to spread their divisive bile

Boris was clearly hoping his comments would generate pushback so that he can pose as the poor innocent victim who is being silenced, so it's played right into his hands.

Another reason such a limited inquiry is a disastrous idea is that it's a lose-lose outcome for Muslims. If Boris is cleared then it sends out a signal to every single bigot in Britain that ridiculing Muslim women and demanding they be denied access to public services is now approved and acceptable behaviour. Boris gets off scot free, Muslims take the hit

If Boris is sanctioned for his comments, then he's sure to be anointed with martyrdom sainthood by the extreme right, with Muslim people bearing the brunt of the criticism for the fact he's been sanctioned. Boris gets a huge popularity boost with the extreme-right mob, Muslims take the hit

What the Tory party really needed to do is call the wide-ranging inquiry into anti-Muslim bigotry in the Tory ranks that the Muslim Council of Britain and several senior Tories have been demanding for months.

Instead they've cobbled together this rigged Boris wins - Muslims lose farce.

If you're under any doubt whatever about whether Boris Johnson's comment were a ploy to garner support from the extreme-right ultranationalist blue-kip demographic, just take a look at what's been going on in the Tommy Robinson hate chamber since Johnson made his remarks.

These are just a tiny sample illustrating the wave of extreme-right Boris adoration and anti-Muslim commentary he's managed to whip up.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


Tuesday, 7 August 2018

The Labour right-wingers have been plotting another grubby little coup

In June 2016 the right-wing pro-privatisation, pro-austerity neoliberal faction of the Labour Party were so confident of success that they openly briefed the Daily Telegraph on their ludicrous plot to use the Brexit referendum result (whichever way it went) as an excuse to launch an internal labour Party coup against Jeremy Corbyn.

We all know how that turned out now. Their cowardly orchestrated bullying tactics to try and force Corbyn to resign; their disgraceful scheming to game the party rules in an effort to keep Corbyn off the ballot; their pathetic inability to find or field a unity candidate for weeks until they finally shoved the hapless Owen Smith into the jaws of almost certain defeat; and their ruthless systematic purge of left-leaning Labour members for the slightest of indiscretions (retweeting a non-Labour MP on one occasion, voting for another party long before they'd even joined Labour, and even liking the Foo Fighters too much) in a desperate last-ditch effort to rig the leadership vote in their favour.

You couldn't really imagine a more damaging and strategically inept failure than that, but they're actually at it again.

In August 2018 a different right-wing rag has broken the story, but the cynical underhand scheming is the same. The hallmarks of arrogance and absolute strategic ineptitude are the same. The names of those involved are the same (Chris Leslie, Liz Kendall, Chuka Umunna, Stephen Kinnock, Gavin Shuker, and disgraceful John Woodcock - until he resigned from the party to escape the investigation into his alleged sexual misconduct)

This time it's the Express, which is admittedly enough to get any right-thinking person's alarm bells ringing, but the article is full of corroborating details. The luxury country estate they hired to scheme away in, the cost of the booking (£144 per head), the number of MPs involved, and even the time of the train they caught to get there.

The scheming

One of the strategies these disgraceful plotters scratched together is to launch their putsch after a successful General Election, suddenly resigning as a bloc of rebel right-wing MPs to keep Corbyn out of power!

How they imagine the electorate would react with anything but unbridled fury at such a cynical and anti-democratic wrecking tactic to deny the nation the Prime Minister they'd just voted for is anyone's guess.

Coalition with the Tories?

How they would actually keep Corbyn out of power is another mystery. The only conceivable way would be for them to actually form some kind of political pact to form a coalition with what's left of the Tory Party.

How hard-Remainers like Chris Leslie, Chuka Umunna, Liz Kendall and their ilk could actually share power with whichever of the fanatical Tory Brextremists manage to keep their seats (Jacob Rees-Mogg, Liam Fox, David Davis, Priti Patel, Boris Johnson, Chris Grayling, John Redwood, Peter Bone ...) is anyone's guess.

But then where there's utterly ruthless self-interest driving your every political move, there's likely a way isn't there?

Another leadership election?

Another of the coup-plotters' schemes is to keep flaming the anti-Semitism row as hard as they possibly can for as long as they possibly can in order to try to break Corbyn, then put forward one of their truly laughable selection of leadership candidates in a new leadership election:

The suggested candidates are the disgraceful Chris Leslie (one of the main architects of Labour's woeful election-losing austerity lite strategy at the 2015 General Election), Yvette Cooper (who finished 3rd in the 2015 leadership election with a paltry 17% of the vote and is married to one of the other main architects of austerity-lite!), Chuka Umunna (the absolute embodiment of the grossly unappealing career politician who will switch his 'principles' in a second if he thinks there's an advantage in it), and Stephen Kinnock (a man with no discernible political qualities at all other than the blessing of a great big dollop of nepotism).

How the hell the coup-plotters think that any of this unappealing bunch could win over the Labour Party membership is anyone's guess. Perhaps they'd look at some way of cheating the election again, maybe with ludicrous nonsense like back-dating the membership eligibility to vote date to 2005, or trying to cut the membership out of the decision altogether.

Rigging or evading the ballot seem like incredibly unlikely options given they'd need control of Labour's executive committee to make such changes, which was vanishingly unlikely even before an infuriated membership found out about this latest disgustingly cynical coup-plot to defy the will of the membership again.

This coup-plot just adds even more incentive for all genuinely left-wing Labour members to vote for the Momentum-backed NEC candidates, and against the right-wing Progress-backed slate who are aligned with the right-wing coup-plotter politicians.

Mandatory reselection

The consequence of this outright defiance against the Labour Party membership really must be the introduction of mandatory reselection of all Labour MPs by their local constituency parties.

Democratic reselection is hardly a radical idea because reselection is commonplace in democracies across the developed world. Just think of the primaries in US elections where other candidates from within the party can challenge the incumbent to go forward as the party's official candidate.

You don't even have to travel that far to see it. Just north of the border in Scotland the SNP have a mandatory reselection policy. Before the 2017 General Election all 54 of the SNP's Westminster MPs were reselected by their local party members without problems.

The only thing MPs have got to fear when it comes to reselection is whether they have done a good job of representing their party, and their local constituency.

No local Labour group is going to take the massive risk of ousting a loyal and hard-working MP, because replacing the familiar local MP with a new face would clearly increase them losing the seat to another party.

The only MPs who have anything to fear from democratic reselection would be lazy, arrogant, self-entitled MPs with reputations for working against the interests of the Labour Party, and against the interests of all of the local Labour activists who worked so hard to help them win their seats in the first place.

Given the absolute belligerence of the right-wing coup-plotter MPs, and their continual efforts to actively damage and run down the long-term reputation of the Labour Party solely in order to undermine Jeremy Corbyn, it's very likely that mandatory reselection will be very near the top of the agenda at the next Labour Party conference.

Theresa May to the rescue?

The looming prospect of reselection means only one thing: The only person who can save these disgraceful coup-plotters from deselection is Theresa May!

She can do it by calling another snap election in the autumn of 2018 so that Labour simply doesn't have the time to make the rule changes and carry out the reselection process before they have to throw themselves into the chaos of a general election campaign.

This kind of scenario would actually make their post-election putsch strategy seem a lot less incoherent, but only in a desperate, pathetic, disloyal, and disgustingly cynical way.

Theresa May saves the Labour right-wingers from the deselections they so richly deserve, then the Labour right-wingers break away from the Labour Party and prop up whoever the Tories select as Theresa May's replacement.

The big problem from the coup-plotter perspective of course is that if Labour manage to win more comfortably than the coup-plotters are gambling on. Then they simply wouldn't have the numbers to do the damage.

A comfortable Corbyn win isn't actually as far-fetched as it seems. In 2017 the Corbyn surge lifted Labour from the mid-20s when the election campaign kicked off to a final vote share of 40%. Since then Labour have hovered at around 40%, so another Corbyn surge from a much higher starting position, even a much smaller surge than last time, could lift Labour well clear of the Tories.

Then there's the utterly fickle blue-kip demographic to consider. Soaking up the majority of the voters fleeing the wreckage of UKIP with her hard-right ethno-nationalist Brexit sponge turned out to be absolutely crucial for the Theresa May in 2017, because without so many blue-kippers on board, the Tories would have fallen way short of even being in a position to bribe the DUP bigots into backing their shambles of a government.

So if Corbyn managed to deliver another mini-surge, while the Tories fell back as a lot of the fickle blue-kip demographic return to the UKIP fold, it could well end up being mathematically impossible for the right-wing coup-plotters to actually return the Tory favour by ruthlessly stabbing Jeremy Corbyn on the finishing line.

So would the Tories play their part in such a gamble by triggering another snap election, knowing that they'd be saving a load of their orthodox neoliberal comrades who are embedded within the Labour ranks, but at the risk of never actually receiving their payback?

I guess it just depends how desperate they are doesn't it?

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


Monday, 6 August 2018

Don't fall for extreme-right "freedom of speech" victimhood narratives

The extreme-right are once again programming their followers to wallow in victimhood narratives over the wild conspiracy-monger Alex Jones getting his InfoWars channel thrown off multiple free-to-use online media platforms for breaching their conditions of use.

Before InfoWars they were wailing persecution about the extreme-right gay-paedophilia advocate Milo getting thrown off Twitter for his abusive behaviour.

Before that they cried victimhood over the vile terrorism-promoting money-scamming Britain First hate chamber eventually getting chucked off Facebook for hosting an absolute festival of hate that made a total mockery of their community standards.

The extreme-right wail and cry as if being pushed off free-to-use online platforms is the modern equivalent of Nazi book burning, which it obviously isn't.

Back in the days before the Internet you couldn't just go around demanding that people print your book for free, and that they continue printing your books indefinitely, no matter how horrific the things you write in them.

Back in the days before the Internet you couldn't go around demanding that your local newspaper print every single crackpot hate-mongering letter you sent them about your ridiculous conspiracy theories either.

Of course nobody could stop you from writing your own book and submitting it to publishers, or sending batshit letters to your local paper, but when they rejected your manuscript or refused to print your letters, they weren't denying you free speech, they were protecting their own right to publish what they saw fit to.

That misattributed Voltaire quote says "I wholly disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it"

It doesn't say "I wholly disapprove of what you say and will defend to the death your right to demand other people continue publishing your views forever, free of charge".

Nobody is saying that Alex Jones, and Milo, and the Britain First hate mob can't continue spewing their venom elsewhere, they're just saying they can't take advantage of their free-to-use services to do it.

It's simply laughable to imagine that online media companies have some "free speech" obligation to provide a free platform to anyone, to say whatever they like, no matter how extreme, how defamatory, how dishonest, how dangerous, or how threatening to the very financial viability of the online media company itself.

Nobody reads the terms and conditions when they sign up as users of online media sites. Nobody carefully reads their "important updates" either. But if you actually do, you'll find that you've entered into a contract with them, and that they reserve the right to deny you access to their free services if they feel they are being misused.

Interestingly the traditional right-wing narratives have been completely reversed in regard to contracts to acommodate these "free speech" victimhood narratives.

It used to be that the political right would defend the sanctity of contractual agreements above absolutely anything else, including fundamental human welfare. But now we've got right-wingers bitterly railing against the contracts they voluntarily signed up to because they don't like the conditions!

Some might argue that Facebook, Spotify, YouTube, and Apple hoofing Alex Jones' conspiracy rambling off their free platforms is the thin edge of the wedge, and while I'm naturally sympathetic to this argument (as someone who relies heavily on social media to spread awareness of my work) it's simply incorrect.

I have absolutely no intention of ever posting malicious and defamatory diatribes, incitements to violence, grotesque conspiracy theories about the parents of murdered school children being 'fake crisis actors', calls for ethnic genocide, or hateful abuse - so I'm fairly confident they won't be coming after me with an outright ban.

What I'm afraid of is much more subtle: Tweaks to the algorithms (possibly as a result of government pressure) to dramatically curtail the reach of independent media sites.

One hopes that they wouldn't bend to such pressure, but knowledge of social media companies' history of collusion with spy agencies (as revealed by the Snowden leaks), and the staggering sums of money pumped into targeted ad campaigns by political parties that have never been keen on having their malice, corruption and incompetence uncovered by renegade independent journalists, it would be foolish to rule out the possibility entirely.

The real threat to freedom of speech isn't the upfront high-profile de-platforming of depraved extreme-right conspiracy-mongers for their outright contempt towards the terms of service contracts they all willingly signed up to.

The real threat is that independent sources of information are simply tuned out by the algorithms, with few people ever even noticing that independent non-conformist anti-establishment pages are disappearing from their social media feeds.

If they wanted to crack down on the true rebels (those who use facts, evidence and logic to build their cases rather than rhetoric, conspiracies, and abuse) then why would they use a sledgehammer, when they've got much simpler and subtler means at their disposal to crack nuts?

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