Sunday, 11 November 2018

It's the anti-Corbyn hypocrites who are really trivialising remembrance


It's 100 years to the day since the end of the First World War, a conflict my great-grandfather died in, leaving his two young daughters fatherless. My mother's grandfather was one of 8 million military casualties (a similar number of civilians died during the conflict too).

I've spent the day thinking about my great-grandfather's tragic death and the ramifications that have rippled down through the generations for my family, and contemplating the unimaginably vast waves of grief, suffering, and poverty that WWI wreaked upon millions of other families all across the world.


Today of all days we should be solemnly remembering the horrifying consequences of war, but like clockwork the right-wing virtue signallers are out in force to use Remembrance as a stick to attack their political foes with.

This year they're deliberately trivialising the whole subject with pathetic claims that Jeremy Corbyn's grey raincoat wasn't solemn enough (?!?) and outright lies that he wasn't wearing a poppy (he wore two poppies on his raincoat and suit jacket while he laid a large wreath of poppies at the Cenotaph).

In 2015 the right-wing shreikers made ludicrous efforts to claim that Corbyn disrespected veterans and the war dead by not bowing deeply enough at the Cenotaph (when he was actually the only political leader to stay behind after the ceremony to chat to veterans as the rest of the dignitaries cleared off to a slap-up meal in the warmth).

The next year it was the absurd claims that Corbyn supposedly danced on his way to the Cenotaph, which turned out to be pictures of him having an animated conversation with a WWII veteran who had been crudely photoshopped out by The S*n (isn't photoshopping them out of pictures in order to create cheap political smears a wonderful way for Rupert Murdoch's hacks to 'respect' veterans on Remembrance Sunday?).

Every November 11th this howling right-wing mob set about screeching about Corbyn's coat, the angle of his bow, the size of his poppy, or pictures they've deliberately photoshopped to make him look disrespectful. In doing so they're proving that they don't really give a shit about Remembrance, nor solemnly considering the death and suffering of war, nor the welfare of veterans, nor efforts to ensure that such mass slaughters are avoided in the future.

All they care about is bitterly twisting the whole issue of Remembrance to score ridiculously cheap political points.

This deliberate trivialisation of Remembrance would be absolutely shocking if we didn't know any better.

After all these are people are the mob who have backed the Tory austerity con to the hilt despite the massive death toll; who supported Theresa May's racist and depraved "deport now, hear appeals later" Hostile Environment policy; who caused immense amounts of suffering and death by supporting the Tory defunding the NHS and social care; who believe in selling £billions worth of weapons to the despicable Saudi tyrants who murder their critics with impunity and deliberately use famine and disease as weapons of war to kill unimaginable numbers of civilians in Yemen; who have supported the merciless eight year Tory campaign of impoverishment and abuse against British disabled people; and who sat by and said nothing as the Tories created a huge rise in homelessness on our streets (which is an issue that disproportionately affects veterans who have been left out in the cold by society after having outlived their usefulness in the armed services).

These howling right-wingers are people who have time and again proven themselves willing to sacrifice thousands of people's lives on their horrific austerity bonfire, through their systematic abuse of disabled people, through their deadly NHS and social care cuts, through the massive increases in extreme poverty, homelessness and suicide that they've engineered, and huge numbers more deaths overseas through to their unwavering support for the murderous Saudi war criminals.

Of course these people would gladly trivialise and debase Remembrance to score cheap political points, because they simply don't have the basic human decency to even understand what Remembrance is all about.

Compassion, empathy, and solemn reflection are so alien to these despicable people that howling about trivial nonsense like someone's coat being supposedly disrespectful, or their poppy being too small actually seems like a great idea to them, despite the fact that such crude and unnecessary distractions from the meaning of remembrance are the equivalent of them turning up at the cenotaph wearing pairs of underpants on their heads and shouting gibberish in order to wreck the ceremony.

To them it's a festival of virtue signalling, faux patriotism, furious witch hunts against anyone who dares not conform (by not wearing a poppy, or by choosing to wear a white one instead), and opportunistic point scoring against their political rivals.


They don't even have the wit to realise that their pathetic efforts to paint Jeremy Corbyn as supposedly disrespectful every single year on November 11th are actually infinitely more disrespectful than anyone's choice of coat, depth of bow, or size of poppy will ever be.


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OR

Monday, 15 October 2018

How did the Tories end up picking such a manifestly unfit candidate for Mayor of London?


Before he was selected by the Tories as their candidate to challenge Sadiq Khan in the 2020 London Mayoral Election, few had heard of Shaun Bailey, in the weeks after his selection most of the people who have heard about him and his obnoxious views surely wish they hadn't.

Here are just a few of Bailey's views that have come to light since he was selected as the Tory candidate for one of the biggest political jobs in Britain:

  • He said that young inner city girls get passed around gangs of boys "like prostitutes" then deliberately become pregnant to get "a flat" and benefits.
  • He claimed that people celebrating Muslim and Hindu festivals like Diwali and Eid in Britain are robbing Britain of its community and turning it into "a crime-riddled cesspool".
  • He shared a bigoted Tweet attacking the current London Mayor Sadiq Khan as "Mad Mullah Kahn of Londonistan" as recently as 2017.
  • In 2010 he attempted to appeal to the reactionary Tory base by saying that black people should "stop complaining" about racism and discrimination.
  • He said that the provision of free condoms "normalises sex" and "leads to criminality".
  • He made the extraordinary claim that smoking cannabis does much "more damage to society" than people taking highly addictive and dangerous drugs like crack and heroin!
  • He claimed that good looking girls "tend to have been around" sexually, and men are so thick they imagine that women won't have sexually transmitted infections as long as they look pretty and clean.
  • He's openly admitted his pro-Brexit views, which puts him at odds with the majority of Londoners who voted in the 2016 EU referendum.
  • He claims to represent ordinary working class people having come for an ordinary background, but he consistently promotes the ruinous ideologically driven Tory austerity dogma that has trashed ordinary peoples' wages, and gutted their local services over the last 8 years, solely in order to further enrich the already spectacularly wealthy.
  • He said working class people need rules or they "get into crime".
  • He said that society needs to stop thinking that it's "acceptable for mothers to have babies on their own".
  • At his Manifesto for London event Bailey and his supporters proposed slashing free bus travel for London pensioners and extending the tube to "shithole" parts of London like Thamesmead.
Aside from his track record of saying and sharing misogynistic, bigoted, and anti-working class views, his bizarre views on drugs, his ideological opposition to contraception and sex advice services, spreading extreme-right tropes like "Londonistan" and his support for Tory austerity dogma that's done so much damage to the communities he pretends to represent, there's also the fact that he's a raving hypocrite.

Bailey has adopted the extreme-right propaganda tactic of pinning the blame for rising violent crime in London on Sadiq Khan, but back in 2012 he was part of David Cameron's team as a "crime aide" as they set about gutting the police budget, and slashing the number of police on London's streets.

He was also part of David Cameron's team as the Tories made savage austerity-driven cuts to funding for youth services.

He's now got the absolute chutzpah to blame Khan for the horrendous consequences of his own party's policies, and even make promises of more "bobbies on the beat" and better youth services central elements of his election campaign!

So how did the Tories end up picking a virtual nobody and blatant chancer with a string of distasteful comments about London, women, Muslims, Hindus, and working-class people as their candidate for such a high profile job?

The answer is simple, they're suffering a desperate recruitment crisis, with very few competent and talented individuals wanting to stand as Tory politicians.

The editor of Conservative Home Mark Wallace has admitted that the number of applicants to stand as Tory MPs is down "across the board", with many local Tory associations receiving only a handful of applications when in the past they would have had scores of potential candidates to choose from. He went on to blame this collapse in applications on pessimism, demoralisation, and dissatisfaction with Theresa May's leadership.

This dearth in applications from talented (or even remotely competent) people is hardly surprising given that last year the Tory party raised more in bequests from dead people than they did in membership fees from the living, and that any rises in membership over the last few months have been down to ex-ukippers and other extreme-right fringe entryists seeking to infiltrate the party to usurp it from within.

The problem for the rest of us of course is that there are millions of habitual Tory voters out there who have proven time and again that they'll vote Tory no matter how despicable and incompetent the Tory representatives they're voting for (how else is it possible to explain the political success of the economic illiterate George Osborne, the wannabe tyrant Theresa May, the callous butcher Iain Duncan Smith, the serial incompetent Chris Grayling, and the reckless gambler David Cameron?).

Some of the habitual Tory voters are just the dull-witted dupes who mindlessly believe the nonsense and lies they read in the right-wing propaganda rags, but others put even less thought into it. To them it's like football. They support the blue team, and it doesn't matter how dire their performances are, or how despicable their cheating, they'll always support them over the reds, yellows, and greens (even if they stop actually paying for their season ticket/Tory membership fees).

So despite the absolute dearth of talent in the Tory ranks leading to the selection of a manifestly unfit figure like Shaun Bailey as a candidate for one of the most high profile political jobs in Britain, the Tories will remain confident that they'll always have enough tribalistic support to avoid the collapse into political obscurity this outrageous political anachronism of a party truly deserves.

They know that putting up a candidate like Shaun Bailey in London is an admission of defeat before the campaign even starts, because his bigotry, misogyny, hard-right austerity fanaticism, puritanical views, and anti-working class condescension, and pandering to the extreme-right are never going to sell in a progressive, modern, multicultural city like London, but presumably they're not actually meant to.

Blaming Muslims and Hindus for crime, disparaging young women, attacking the working class, pushing hard-right pseudo-economic nonsense, spewing archaic puritainical nonsense about contraception and sex advice services, and blaming the Labour mayor for the consequences of his own party's policies isn't intended to win the London mayoral election, it's intended to shore up the hard-right reactionary vote in the home counties and rural England.

The people of London will no doubt reject him, but the bigoted Colonel Blimps and "I'm alright Jack" bastards in the shires will see his defeat as further evidence that "Londonistan" is lost, and as cause for further retrenchment into even more right-wing and reactionary views as the carcass of the Tory party is cannibalised by the Brextremists and blue-kip infiltrators.

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Sunday, 14 October 2018

How bad is the Tory Universal Credit disaster?


There are so many problems with the Tory government's botched Universal Credit policy it's impossible to list them all, but here are just a few:
  • Despite the 42 day wait a shocking one in six of the unfortunate people who have been subjected to the Tory Universal Credit experiment were still not even paid in time. Imagine if the business you were involved in had a 1/6 failure rate. There'd be hell to pay.
  • Another flaw in Universal Credit means that some people would actually be financially penalised for working extra hours. Research by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that some people would actually end up with less disposable income if they changed from working 3 days a week to 5. What kind of incompetent government economically punishes people for working longer hours?
  • The way Universal Credit is paid out per household creates a very strong risk of domestic violence perpetrators taking control of the entire family budget. One victim told a committee of MPs that her husband would "wake up one morning with £1,500 in his account and piss off with it, leaving us with nothing for weeks". Shockingly the Tories have continued pushing ahead with the scheme despite these warnings, doing nothing but issuing an Orwellian statement that they take tackling domestic violence "incredibly seriously" as they simultaneously turn a deliberate blind eye to the devastating consequences of their own policy.
  • A leaked 2013 report described the absolute chaos in the Universal Credit team. One respondent said that there was "a near complete absence of anything that looks like strategic leadership in the programme", and another said "I have never worked somewhere where decision making was so apparently poor at senior levels. This programme should be a case study for how not to engage with your people to get the most out of them".
  • David Cameron had such a lax attitude to incompetence amongst his ministers that he simply ignored the hundreds of millions in scrapped IT projects and the reported administrative chaos at the DWP, allowing Iain Duncan Smith to continue as the minister responsible for the chaos until he resigned over Brexit in 2016.
  • In 2017 Labour Party and other opposition MPs voted for a "pause" in the roll-out of Universal Credit to deal with some of the most glaring flaws. The vote was won by 299 votes to 0 after the government deliberately abstained on the vote, but the Tories have carried on with the roll-out regardless.
Despite all of these problems the Tory government continue pushing on regardless. They don't care that the scheme is pushing people into poverty and Food Bank dependency; they don't care that it's an absolute gift to controlling domestic violence perpetrators; they don't care that it penalises self-employed people and entrepreneurs; they don't care that they've wasted over £500 million of public cash on this botched scheme; they don't care that it actually creates various disincentives to work; they don't care that it's years behind target; they don't care that parliament voted for them to stop and iron out some of the worst faults; and they don't care that Theresa May outright lied to the nation when she said people wouldn't be worse off just one day before the minister in charge of it admitted that they would be.

The only real hope that the Tories will stop pushing this malicious and incompetent farce is if they start getting stick from the wealthy Tory-voting landlord class who find that Universal Credit is impoverishing their tenants so much that they can't afford to pay the rent.

If the Tories won't listen to the interests of the rich, then who will they listen to?


The other option of course is a Labour government. Whether they'd "pause" the Universal Credit roll-out in order to try and fix all of the Tory flaws, or scrap it altogether is a question that will be answered by the next Labour manifesto.

Whatever the case, anyone who votes Tory in light of this absolute farce is complicit in the waste, the inefficiency, the dishonesty, the poverty, and the suffering.

 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.




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Thursday, 11 October 2018

Theresa May isn't a victim of sexism, she's a perpetrator of it




Sometimes you see a celebrity express a political opinion and you're glad they've used their political platform to raise awareness of important issues (Gary Lineker's support for refugees comes to mind) but often you end up wondering what kind of ridiculous bubble of privilege they're inhabiting that they could have got things so hopelessly backwards (Morrisey's embrace of the extreme-right for example).

Paloma Faith's extraordinary effort to cast Theresa May as a victim of sexism (rather than a perpetrator of it) is one of these Morriseyesque interventions.

A crap comparison

Faith's argument is that the primary motive for people ridiculing Theresa May's dance moves was that she's a woman (rather than the fact that she's an incredibly powerful person demeaning herself as a publicity stunt).

Faith's ridiculous counterpoint to the criticism of Theresa May's dance moves was the absurd argument that "when Tony Blair came out as loving music and being in a rock band everyone said it was cool and great".

Let's just skim over the fact that not everyone thought Tony Blair's dalliance with pop culture was "cool and great" (I certainly didn't) to consider the fact that the real difference between the two things has nothing to do with gender and everything to do with image management competence.

Tony Blair's "Cool Brittania" schtick in the 1990s was every bit as much of a PR stunt as Theresa May's widely ridiculed "dancing queen" entrance to the Tory party conference, just Blair's schtick was executed relatively competently, while Theresa May's attempt to look cool and self-aware was utterly cringeworthy to behold (like a Youtuber who goes viral for doing something absolutely naff, so they keep doing it again and again in a pathetic quest for more attention).

A far more relevant comparison would be with Jeremy Corbyn who was bitterly attacked by The S*n for supposedly dancing at the Cenotaph based on crudely manipulated images of him having an animated conversation with a war veteran who had been photoshopped out of the pictures.

So at least Theresa May actually danced-craply before getting ridiculed for crap dancing, Jeremy Corbyn didn't even dance at all before he was vitriolically lambasted for his supposedly unacceptable dancing.

If there's a bias going on, it's actually the fact that Theresa May gets such an easy ride over her despicable policies and outright lies, simply because she's a Tory. 

Just try to imagine the mainstream media fury had Jeremy Corbyn used public cash to bribe the DUP bigots into propping up his government, deported British citizens to their deaths overseas, quoted a vile Twitter troll in parliament to score cheap political points, deliberately continued selling weapons to war criminals, or sided with all the neo-Nazi parties in the European Parliament in order to support the vile anti-Semitic Orbán government in Hungary.

And if other party leaders like Jeremy Corbyn or Vince Cable decided to crap dad-dance their way onto stage as some kind of ludicrous PR stunt to pretend they're charming entertainers rather than boring politicians, the public would certainly ridicule them for it too.

Theresa May is a misogynist

And then there's Theresa May's despicable track record in government to consider, especially the deliberately sexist policies she's imposed.

Since 2010 Theresa May has been a leading member of the Tory government that has ensured that 86% of the economic burden of Tory austerity dogma has been loaded onto the shoulders of poor and ordinary women.

Mainly-male financial sector gamblers caused the bankers' insolvency crisis, and Theresa May and the Tories have ensured that millions of ordinary women up and down the country were the ones to pay the cost of it.

Then there's Theresa May's own legislation to consider. When she was Home Secretary she introduced a harsh new income threshold for British people bringing non-EU spouses to the UK, but by imposing a single arbitrary figure Theresa May ensured that British men are twice as likely as British women to bring a foreign spouse to the UK.

The arbitrary income threshold also created a massive regional disparity with people in London and the South East far more likely to have sufficiently well-paid jobs to meet the threshold than people in poorer regions like the North East, South Wales, Northern Ireland, or the Highlands of Scotland (where high-pay jobs are harder to come by, but the costs of living are significantly lower).


Theresa May deliberately imposed a system that heavily discriminates against women (especially women in poorer regions of the UK) and in favour of wealthy men.

It's actually offensive to attempt to cast Theresa May as the poor innocent victim of sexism when she's actually a deliberate perpetrator of it.

Extreme identity politics

This effort to rebrand Theresa May as a poor innocent victim of sexism is indicative of the kind of extreme identity politics that has invaded British political discourse in recent decades.

Attempting to dress the perpetrator of numerous grotesquely sexist policies up as a victim of sexism simply because of her gender is a glaring example of not judging a woman by her actions, but just because she's a woman.

When people began ridiculing Theresa May's dance moves I wrote an article detailing loads of the horrific Tory policies that are far more worthy of criticism than her cringeworthy dancing, but when a public figure does something utterly absurd people are obviously going to criticise and ridicule them no matter what their gender.

Ignoring Theresa May's track record of imposing incredibly harmful sexist legislation in parliament to cast her as a poor innocent victim of sexism because of this public derision is actually sexist in itself because it's a demand that Theresa May be exempted from both ridicule of her ludicrous behaviour and criticism of her own sexist political track record, simply because she's a woman.

Why should Theresa May get a free pass on the sexist policies she's imposed on millions of British women?

And why on earth should a demonstrable misogynist get sympathy and displays of solidarity when members of the public ridicule her absurd, demeaning and cringeworthy behaviour, simply because she's a woman?

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Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Theresa May's pyramid scheme of deception



Theresa May's announcement that she's going to scrap Tory austerity dogma is so utterly deceitful that it's a Tory con on top of a Tory con.

Austerity is a con

To anyone with a basic understanding of macroeconomics it was obvious that Tory austerity dogma was a con from the beginning, because when the private sector rapidly reduces lending because of an economic crisis, it's massively counter-productive for the government to deliberately exacerbate the problem by reducing economic demand through massive ideologically driven cutbacks to expenditure on infrastructure and services, and a deliberate campaign of wage repression against the general public.

After eight years of this ideologically driven hard-right madness the dire consequences are obvious: The target to eliminate the budget deficit by early 2015 has been spectacularly missed and rolled back to 2031 (21 years to do what they said they'd achieve in 5); British workers have suffered the longest sustained collapse in the value of their wages on record; public services are in chaos; the UK is being left behind in productivity growth; local councils are going bankrupt under the strain of the cuts; and the post-crisis recovery is by far the weakest in over a Century.

On the other hand the mega-rich minority have more than doubled their wealth; the biggest corporations have been lavished with extraordinary tax cuts; the bankers who trashed the economy in the first place are taking home bigger salaries and bonuses than ever; MPs wages have risen way above inflation; and the wealthy speculator class have benefited from one rip-off Tory privatisation give-away and outsourcing scam after another.

Tory austerity is not ending

Despite the fact that Tory austerity dogma has demonstrably failed to do what the Tories promised it would when they introduced it, they have no real intention of scrapping it, because it's been so damned good for their wealthy backers.

Just two days before Theresa May announced austerity was over, her Chancellor Philip Hammond gave a speech at the same Tory conference venue promising to continue the austerity cuts.

When Jeremy Corbyn called Theresa May out on her dishonest claim that austerity was ending, she spat fury and bile at him in order to avoid admitting that Tory austerity dogma is continuing when it comes to the NHS, policing, local government funding, public sector wages, and the continuation of catastrophically low levels of infrastructure investment under Tory misrule.

All the bile and bluster was intended to obscure the fact that Tory austerity dogma isn't ending at all, they're just seeking to rebrand this toxic economic fanaticism with new words.

All that will change is that Tories will use the friendlier-sounding term "fiscal responsibility" to hide the fact that they're continuing with their ruinous austerity cuts.

Dishonest to the core

You could kind of respect them a bit if the Tories somehow had the decency and integrity to admit that thay made a terrible and damaging economic mistake when they imposed ideologically-driven austerity fanaticism after the bankers' crisis, and if they promised to follow Jeremy Corbyn's lead with a genuine investment-based economic policy designed to to undo some of the worst of the damage they did, but that isn't what Theresa May has done at all.

What she's done is realised that the term "austerity" is a tainted brand, but she's got no intention of stopping it because the mega-rich beneficiaries of it who bankroll her party wouldn't let her stop enriching them at the expense of everyone else, even if she wanted to.

So her reaction to the fact that ever more people are waking up to the fact that Tory austerity dogma is a con is to attempt to con them all over again by simply pretending she's stopping it with a crude and shockingly dishonest rebranding exercise to continue imposing the exact same policies under a shiny new name.

It's simply a con on top of a con, and it just goes to show how gullible most Tory supporters must be that they gladly go along with this economically ruinous Tory pyramid scheme of deception.

 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.




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Angela Smith is spouting pro-privatisation sewage in the Guardian


The right-wing Labour MP Angela Smith has written an excruciatingly poor article in the Guardian fear-mongering against Labour's popular manifesto commitment to bring the privatised water companies in England and Wales back under national control.

The article is so poorly structured that it's difficult to actually discern the crux of the argument, but it seems to be some kind of argument that running national water supplies as public not-for-profit enterprises (rather than profit-seeking corporate entities) risks a collapse in standards that would make Britain "the dirty man of Europe".

The article is so riddled with basic errors, logical inconsistencies, and downright deceptions that it's quite extraordinary that it was written by an actual MP and published in a (supposedly reputable) national newspaper, especially considering Angela Smith claims to be some kind of expert on the water industry and chairs the all-party parliamentary group on water!

Britain?

The most glaring error of all in the was the way Smith referenced privatised water supplies in "Britain", suggesting that she didn't even know that water supplies in Scotland and Northern Ireland are nationalised. A mistake which blows a massive great hole in the main thrust of her argument: If nationalising water supplies would supposedly cause a dreadful collapse in standards, why is Scottish water doing so well, and why hasn't Northern Ireland descended into a hellish sewer since Northern Ireland Water was renationalised in 2007?

Public ownership

Smith's case that public ownership could lead to a collapse in standards further disintegrates when we take a look at Germany, where the vast majority of the water supply is provided by a network of some 6,000 publicly owned municipal water companies, only 3.5% of which are fully privatised.

Is Germany the kind of hellscape of contaminated water, overflowing sewers, and filthy rivers and beaches that Smith fear-mongers about in her article?

Of course it's not. In fact standards in Germany are actually significantly higher than England and Wales, especially when it comes to issues like repairing leaks (7% distribution losses in Germany vs 19% in England and Wales) and municipal waste water treatment (94% treated to the highest standard as compared to just 39% in England and Wales).


Smith's conflation of public water provision with poor standards simply doesn't stack up, in fact the actual evidence points to the opposite: standards of largely public water supplies in Germany are way higher than the privatised water companies in England.

China

Another gaping flaw in Angela Smith's argument against public ownership of the UK water supply is that chunks of it are publicly owned under the current system that she's so desperate to defend, but just not by Britain! 

When the Chinese sovereign wealth fund purchased a huge stake in Thames Water in 2012 the company was essentially part nationalised under the control of the Chinese state.

Angela Smith tries to paint people who support water renationalisation as having their judgement clouded by ideology, but surely someone like Smith who bitterly opposes UK government involvement in the UK water supply, whilst defending Chinese government involvement in the UK water supply is the one who needs to have their ideological judgement questioned?

Admitting the truth

In the 4th paragraph of her article Smith admits the truth; that "EU regulations have played a crucial role in raising standards", which blasts another gaping hole in her pro-privatisation argument.

Then twisting it

In order to make this inconvenient fact fit her pro-privatisation narrative Smith then tries to argue that it's only down to privatisation that the cost of meeting EU standards were met, but again, this is contradicted by the reality. Standards in Germany have actually improved far more quickly where only a tiny fraction of local water companies have been privatised there.

Investment

The reality is that water company bosses have extracted £billions upon £billions to pay out in shareholder dividends and bloated executive salaries, all of which could have been spent on repairing leaks and treating more than a paltry 39% of waste water to the cleanest standard.

Smith's whole argument that privatisation led to a boom in investment utterly misrepresents the couldn't have been afforded under public ownership completely misrepresents the way the water industry is funded.

Water supplies don't have to compete for "scarce government resources" against "schools and hospitals" as Smith claims. They raise their revenues through water rates in the same way as private providers do, but then save huge amounts of money by not paying out £billions in shareholder dividends and bloated executive salaries.

If a Labour government nationalised the water supply and then set about trying to raid the money raised through water rates to pay for other government services there'd rightly be uproar about it, but that's not what they're proposing to do at all. It's just dishonest propaganda from someone with an ideological axe to grind.


Cost to consumers

handing the water supply over to private profiteers comes at a cost of £2.3 billion per year to water rate payers.

If the water supply was returned to not-for-profit public ownership this £2.3 billion could be returned to water rate payers through reduced water bills, or it could be used to fund much-needed infrastructure improvements to bring our standards up closer to the standards in Germany.

The profit motive

When profit is the primary motive, stuff like improving water quality and dealing with leaks inhibit the profit rate.

Privately owned water companies have a primary duty to create profits for their shareholders. If the fines from failing water quality standards or widespread leaks are higher than the cost of improving standards then the changes will be made, however if the fines are lower, then they'll be written off as a cost of doing business.

This means that any improvements that have happened since privatisation have happened despite the private water companies, not because of them.

Public opinion

Public opinion is massively in favour of water renationalisation, so Anglea Smith isn't just arguing against the Labour Party leadership and the Labour Party members who support the Labour commitment to renationalise the water companies, she's criticising the vast majority of the public too.

Ideology over fact

At one point in the article Smith even says that "when it comes to ensuring we have clean water and a safe marine environment we cannot allow ideology to be the master of fact", which takes an awful lot of brass neck from someone who is so blatantly prepared to ignore and/or misrepresent inconvenient facts (as detailed above) in order to grind her pro-privatisation axe.
We've all seen countless examples of this kind of Orwellian reality-reversing propaganda from the Tories, but it's still quite shocking to see it from a Labour Party MP.

Conflicts of interest

One of the most extraordinary things about Angela Smith's article is the fact that she omits to mention that her husband works in the private water industry, and that the all-party parliamentary group on water that she chairs is funded by the private water lobby.

Even if Smith refused to admit the fact that she's essentially just a lobbyist for the private water companies embedded within the Labour Party and parliament, the Guardian should at least make Smith's conflicts of interest known to their readers.

Problems for Corbyn

This article isn't just proof that one of the most high profile Labour right-wingers is such a lame duck that she can't even write an article about her own supposed area of expertise without a mass of errors, logical inconsistencies, and outright deceptions. It's also a demonstration of the fact that Jeremy Corbyn would face serious problems were he to become Prime Minister.

When the Labour Party was controlled by the right-wing faction of the party between 1994 and 2010 numerous pro-austerity, pro-privatisation neoliberals like Angela Smith were parachuted into Labour seats. This means that even if Corbyn won a majority at the next election, he'd struggle to implement his manifesto commitments like nationalising the water supply, creating a National Education Service, and scrapping Tory austerity dogma as a result of ideological opposition from the rump of self-serving, right-wing orthodox neoliberals embedded within his own party.

Nobody ever said it would be easy

Nobody ever claimed that returning the Labour Party to its democratic socialist principles would be easy, but just because a job is difficult doesn't make it not worth doing.

The UK has suffered four decades of unbroken neoliberal rule since 1979, resulting in an absolute mess of inequality, stagnating wages, failing public services, collapsing productivity, ruinous austerity dogma, and now the Brexit shambles.

Something has to change because "more of the same" simply won't cut it any more. 

Jeremy Corbyn has outlined a path towards Scandinavian-style democratic socialism, which is obviously unappealing to right-wing orthodox neoliberals like Angela Smith, but the other alternative is the kind of hard-right frenzy of deregulation, ultranationalism and deliberate disaster capitalism envisaged by the Brextremists.

We're facing a political choice between maintaining existing standards on workers' rights, environmental laws, food standards, equal rights legislation, and consumer protections alongside a move back towards public ownership of vital state services and infrastructure, or a fanatically right-wing deregulation frenzy.

And by publicly fear-mongering about Labour's democratic socialist policies, Angela Smith is acting as a useful idiot for the hard-right Brextremists. 

But then the suspicion remains that when it comes to issues like austerity dogma, wage repression, imposing barriers to social mobility, and privatisation mania, numerous right-wing Labour MPs actually have far more in common with the fanatical Tory Brextremists than they do with the Labour leadership, with Labour Party members, and even with the general public.


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