Wednesday, June 28, 2017

John Redwood's Twitter meltdown


John Redwood is a hard-right Tory who hates the EU with a burning ideological passion, and who has been suggesting that the UK should turn itself into a low-wage, low-regulation, low-skill corporate tax haven for years.

On the morning of June 28th 2017 he posted a series of Tweets that demonstrated just how ideologically deranged the hard-right Eurosceptic faction of the Tory party has become.
Redwood started off by posting a link to his own blog in which he tried to argue the reality-reversing nonsense that it's the EU that is not ready to negotiate, rather than the absolutely shambolic situation Theresa May and the three Brexiteers have cobbled together.

The blog post was full of errors, misrepresentations, omissions and bizarre conflations of different issues, and the comments beneath were a foaming pool of frothing hard-right anti-EU diatribes (which is exactly what you'd expect from the kind of people who follow John Redwood's blog).

His next Tweet is actually true, but not for the reason he's claiming. The EU are not unready to discuss the future UK-EU relationship, they're unwilling to until three primary issues are settled (citizens' rights, the Irish border, and the separation agreement).

Theresa May's decision to completely ignore the EU's opening offer on citizens' rights, and instead launch an absolute insult of a lowball offer is a demonstration that the Tories are determined to stall the the first round of negotiations for as long as possible by playing silly beggars.


The EU will not negotiate the future trade agreement until the three primary issues are sorted. The longer the Tories spend stalling over stuff like citizens' rights, the less time there will be for the trade talks.
This is just diplomatic baby talk. In any negotiation both sides have demands. The important issue is not the number of demands that are being made by either side, it's what legitimacy these demands actually have.

The EU negotiating position has been agreed by all 27 of the remaining EU states and democratically approved through a vote at the European Parliament. The UK negotiating position has been crudely cobbled together by the hard-right Eurosceptic faction of the Tory party and has been democratically approved by nobody.

The hard-right Eurosceptic faction of the Tory party have no democratic mandate to define the UK negotiating position on Brexit, but they see it as their God-given right, and they insist on describing anyone who dares question their mandate to negotiate on behalf of the entire United Kingdom in the language of treason (consider Andrea Leadsom's Stalinist claim that the mainstream media are unpatriotic for simply asking questions about the Tory negotiating position).
There is an obvious legal basis for the EU to request a financial settlement to cover the cost of ongoing commitments. Take the issue of EU parliamentary pensions paid to British former members of the EU Parliament, and pensions paid to formed British diplomats and technocrats in Brussels. Do the EU have an obligation to cover the entire cost of these pensions, or should the UK make a contribution?

Another cost is the removal of the prestigious EU agencies that are based in London (the European Medicines Agency and the European Banking Agency). What Redwood is trying to argue is that the UK took the decision to leave the EU, but it's the EU's responsibility to pay all of the costs of that decision!

Additionally talk of "no legal basis" is utterly bizarre coming from someone who sees the result of an advisory referendum as an excuse to tear up Britain's international obligations.

What Redwood is arguing for is a totally lawless attitude to international contracts and obligations. A total free-for-all where people and organisations can simply walk away from any contract or agreement, which is completely at odds with Conservative economic theory that relies heavily on contract law and the sanctity of contracts.

Redwood's hatred of the EU is so rabid that he's willing to abandon one of the fundamental pillars of the conservative ideology in order to achieve Brexit.
Talk of resorting to WTO rules and imposing import tariffs to damage the EU trade in cars and agricultural produce is the kind of nuclear Brexit nonsense that the UK public rejected in Theresa May's vanity election.

There is no public appetite for an economy-wrecking, job-destroying, global recession-triggering nuclear Brexit, but John Redwood and the hard-right faction of the Tory party are absolutely fixated on achieving this outcome regardless of what the public want.

What Redwood is describing is the threat of an extreme hard Brexit with no trade deal in place followed up by a protectionist trade war in which either side imposes import taxes on the other in order to damage the other economy as much as possible.

Aside from this threat being another abandonment of a central pillar of conservative ideology (free trade) it should be obvious that as the smaller and less diversified party the UK would be in a much weaker position in a protectionist trade war than the EU.

If the Tory government decided to make a "no deal" situation even worse by using import tariffs to deliberately attack the EU economy, then the obvious EU response would be to impose tit-for-tat import taxes on UK produce.

44% of all UK exported goods and services go to the EU. 

9% of EU exported goods and services go to the UK.

How could anyone in their right mind believe that Britain could win a protectionist trade war with the EU?
This bit is just bizarre. Redwood knows that we've all seen the Tory party spend an entire year stalling Brexit as they tried to cobble together some kind of plan. 

He knows we all saw Theresa May stall the Brexit negotiations for another two months with her vanity election

He knows we all saw Theresa May throw a spanner into the citizens' rights negotiations in order to stall the onset of the trade talks for as long as possible.

He knows that we can all see that the Tories are catastrophically unprepared for the magnitude of the diplomatic task they are facing and stalling for as long as possible, but he thinks we're gullible enough to believe the Orwellian reality-reverasal that it's the EU who are the chaotic unprepared charlatans who are posturing and delaying everything for as long as they can get away with!

Conclusion


In a delusional outburst of Tweets John Redwood has demonstrated that he's so riddled with hatred of the EU that he's willing to sling two pillars of right-wing ideology on the Brexit bonfire (the sanctity of contracts & free trade), and that he's determined to distort reality to such an extent that in his mind the EU are the chaotic, endlessly stalling chancers with no proper mandate, and the Tory party are the well prepared negotiators with a proper mandate!

Under any other circumstance Redwood's delusions would be laughable, but the terrifying reality is that Theresa May has put the hard-right Eurosceptic faction of the Tory party in charge of the Brexit negotiations in the full knowledge that most of them, like Redwood, actually want the negotiations to fail, and that some of them even want the UK to enter an economically ruinous protectionist trade war with the EU.

I've been warning since before the EU referendum that the hard-right fringe of the Tory party are the last people you'd ever want negotiating on your behalf, but now you don't have to believe me, you just have to look at John Redwood's Tweets and have a think about the absolute lunacy of what he's saying.


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Sunday, June 25, 2017

Ruth Davidson's army cosplay badly undermines the perceived political impartiality of the armed forces


The shockingly opportunistic Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson has been cosplaying as a member of the army in a desperately cynical effort to drum up Tory support from current and former military personnel and their families.

You may wonder why you've never seen a UK politician adopt this cynical services cosplay tactic before (even Thatcher was wearing civilian clothes when she went on that tank) and the answer, as anyone who has ever served in the forces (or other uniformed public services like the police) will know, is that it's strictly against the rules to use your uniform to promote party political causes.

Here's the specific regulation:

Queen's regulations for the army: Occasions on which the Wearing of Uniform is Forbidden J5.368.b - "Uniform is not to be worn by prospective or adopted parliamentary candidates at political meetings, or while canvassing, appearing in public or engaged in any other activities connected with their candidature." [source]
If playing dress up in army uniforms wasn't banned in the UK as the kind of stuff that only happens in autocratic dictatorships, then we can all think of plenty of political opportunists from all sides of the political spectrum who would have absolutely loved to dress up like a Colonel Blimp and strut around for the TV cameras.

Politicians engaging in military uniform cosplay is so beyond the pale that even the likes of Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson wouldn't go there, but Ruth Davidson is a different and far more dangerous kind of politician who just doesn't give a damn about the rules, or the fundamental importance of the army being perceived as a politically impartial force.

As far as she's concerned she's completely untouchable, and she can do whatever the hell she likes, even if that involves trying to appeal to services personnel by egregiously ignoring the rules that they have always had to comply with.

Aside from the fact Ruth Davidson should have known better, it's incredibly difficult to see what the 32 Signal Regiment thought they were doing by inviting Davidson to come and play dress up for the cameras too.

Inviting the leader of the Scottish Tory party to cosplay as a soldier badly damages the perceived political neutrality of the army, especially coming after a serving army general actually threatened that the armed forces would launch a military coup if Jeremy Corbyn is ever elected Prime Minister.

Queen's regulations for the army: Occasions on which the Wearing of Uniform is Forbidden J5.368.e - "On occasions when the Army’s reputation or political impartiality might be brought into question e.g. Political protests, rallies, marches or demonstrations of any kind where a political, social or interest group agenda may be perceived as being pursued, or where disorder or affray might result, or appearing in the media to seek personal publicity".  [source]


If your average soldier turned up at a party political event in their uniform or tried to give their political aspirations a boost by strutting around in uniform in front of the cameras, they'd be read the riot act for ignoring Queen's regulations, but Ruth Davidson firmly believes that she's far too important to follow Queen's regulations, so she can posture as a revolting Tory Saddam of Scotland without facing any consequences whatever.

Not only has she ignored the political impartiality rules that ordinary services personnel have to abide by, she's also part of a government that has put their beloved hard-right austerity dogma above the national interest by savagely cutting the army, and has an extraordinarily lax attitude towards caring for the thousands of former soldiers living in desperately unstable circumstances, or even in the streets.

One of the most sickening displays of Tory contempt for ex-services personnel came when the the former soldier David Clapson was sanctioned to absolute destitution and left to die by the DWP.

Still. Davidson imagines that the rank and file services personnel are gullible enough to forget about all of that as they go weak at the knees at the sight of her cosplaying as a soldier.

It's difficult to see how anyone who has ever served would not be furious about Ruth Davidson's disregard for Queen's regulations, and her glib self-serving opportunism.


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The right-wing Progress mob boo, hiss and shout at Paul Mason


Progress is the right-wing pro-austerity, pro-privatisation, pro-imperialism, pro-globalisation, pro-PFI faction of the Labour Party that ruled the roost for two decades between 1994 and 2015, and they absolutely hate what's going on now so much that they've deliberately sidelined themselves from influence with their petulant refusals to serve in Jeremy Corbyn's cabinet, their coup-plotting and wrecking tactics, and their regular displays of naked contempt for the party membership.
   The Progress ideology is that the only way to win an election in the UK is to imitate the Tory party. 

It doesn't matter how far off into bonkers hard-right austerity dogma and privatisation mania the Tories go there are Labour right-wingers who are certain that the only course of action is to continually track rightwards to stay next to them, hence the shockingly inept 2015 General Election strategy of promoting austerity-lite instead of properly opposing Tory austerity dogma as the socially and economically ruinous ahistorical nonsense that it is, and always was.

Despite being vilified in the mainstream press like no other political leader before him, Jeremy Corbyn managed to win 3.6 million voters back to Labour in the first general election in decades that the party hasn't been dominated by the right-wing Progress faction.

Who would have thought that a Labour leader could appeal to millions by offering people what they want (decent wages; properly funded public services; repatriated national infrastructure; education as a right rather than a commodity; job security; more cops, nurses and firefighters; real action to combat the energy market profiteers; no more privatisation scams; no more warmongering in the Middle East) rather than lecturing them they they're too stupid to understand politics for themselves and that Tory-lite is the only alternative to pure Toryism?

It's almost as if Progress and their ilk are actually completely wrong about everything, and it's their determination that the role of the opposition is to imitate the government rather than oppose it that's the toxifying force that gradually rendered Labour "unelectable".

As Jeremy Corbyn was being cheered by tens of thousands at Glastonbury Paul Mason faced a much harder audience at the Progress conference.
Paul Mason was lied about, booed and hissed by the Progress mob as he tried to explain to them that they need to get with the project or form their own centre-right pro-EU, pro-war, pro-privatisation party. 
Listen to how the leader of this mob Richard Angell desperately tries to spin and misrepresent what Mason is saying in order to make himself and his ilk out as the poor victims of censorship, even as the Progress mob simultaneously boo and hiss and shout at Paul Mason for expressing "thought crime"!.

This outrageous stuff is the behaviour of an out-of-touch and increasingly sidelined faction of the Labour Party that is absolutely intent on telling people what to think, rather than listening to what they're actually saying.

Mason's views went down like a lead balloon because the Progress mob still think that the Labour Party belongs to them and that this period of genuine democratic socialism is just a frustrating but brief interregnum before they can retake the party and top-down impose centre-right neoliberalism-lite again.


They've already shown that they will stop at nothing to try to undermine Jeremy Corbyn's leadership, and Angell has clearly expressed his anti-democratic determination to prevent local Labour Party members from choosing their own candidates in favour of parachuting in yet more Progress-approved centre-right political drones.

Angell also accused Paul Mason (first joined the party at the age of 19) of being an "entryist" on stage, a lie which elicited a round of applause from the Progress mob.
Not only do Progress want to ape hard-right Tory economic policy, they also ape the Tory tactic of accusing their opponents of that which they are guilty of themselves.

Progress are the "unelectable" ones who couldn't even beat David Cameron in 2015 despite five years of toxic austerity dogma, shockingly chaotic governance, near-constant lies and evasions, constant demeaning economic baby-talk, and extraordinary complacency about abject incompetence in his top team (Iain Duncan Smith, George Osborne, Theresa May, Chris Grayling ...).


Progress are the "entryists" who took over a democratic socialist party and set about turning it into a centre-right neoliberal party and driving away millions of voters in the process.

And Progress MPs are the "extremists" who actually queued up to vote in favour of Tory austerity dogma in 2015 when the public were crying out for an opposition party to actually oppose it.

Make no mistake about it, the Progress mob will do everything in their power to hobble the Labour Party because they'd much rather exist in the political wilderness of the unpopular, unelectable and almost totally abandoned centre-right territory than actually win power from the centre-left.

Don't take my word for it, take Tony Blair's.

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Saturday, June 24, 2017

"Taking back control" by handing control of HS2 to one of three foreign governments


Of all of the Brexit rhetoric the "taking back control" propaganda trope was surely the most powerfully persuasive, but a look at what the Tory government have in store for the HS2 rail project just goes to show how shockingly misleading "taking back control" actually was.

The Tories are planning to spend £56 billion on building the HS2 high speed rail link between London, Birmingham, and the north, but instead of run it ourselves they're immediately going to hand the whole lot over to a rail franchise to run the trains and reap the profits!

The three bidders to run HS2 have been announced and all three are fully, or partially owned by the state rail companies of other countries.

Bidder 1: The Italian state railway + First Group
Bidder 2: The French state railway + Stagecoach & Virgin
Bidder 3: The state owned Hong Kong subway operator and the Chinese Guangshen Railway
Tory privatisation mania

"Why can't Britain run its own high speed railways since it was British cash that built it?" you may well ask, and the answer is that Tory privatisation mania in the 1990s has destroyed the British railway industry, and their ideological hatred of Britain means they will never willingly allow Britain to run its own rail services.

In the 1970s and '80s British Rail led the world in developing high speed rail technology like the tilting train, but Tory under-investment in the 1980s and privatisation mania in the 1990s completely ruined the British train building industry. 


A whopping 1,064 days without a single new train order after privatisation wiped out the train builders and left the nation that invented rail travel dependent upon the Italians to supply us the same kind of tilting trains that we were pioneering in the '70s and '80s.

As a result of Tory privatisation mania 74% of UK rail franchises have now fallen into the hands of foreign state rail companies, that use British commuters and lucrative subsidies from the British government as cash cows to fund improvements to their own rail networks back home.

The Tories have enforced an insane system where the only country that is banned from bidding to run UK rail franchises is the UK!

The Tory party are such economic traitors that they're bitterly opposed to Britain running its own rail services, but happy as Larry for the governments of other countries to step in and milk huge profits out of British rail infrastructure!

Not just rail

The same sorry state of affairs exists with our nuclear industry which the Tories flogged off in 1995. By 2009 the private owners of Britain's nuclear expertise realised there was more cash to be made by flogging the whole lot off to the French government than continuing to run it themselves, so that's what they did.

Britain's nuclear expertise now belongs to France, and that's why the Tories ended up bribing France and China into building us a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point C rather than building our own. We simply can't build our own because the Tories sold off our ability to do that back in 1995, just like they wrecked our rail expertise in 1994.

"Taking back control" - my arse

The "taking back control" narrative is absurd drivel when the reality is that the Tories flogged off our ability to control our own infrastructure and services during the privatisation mania of the 1990s, so now we're dependent on foreign governments to do the things the economically treasonous Tory party are ideologically opposed to Britain doing for herself.


So next time you hear some delusional Tory Brexiter banging on about sovereignty and "taking back control" just ask them whether they want the oh-so patriotic Tories to hand "control" of HS2 to the government of France, Italy or China and see what their response is ...

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The EU made a much more "fair and serious" offer on citizens' rights 11 days before the Tories!


Anyone who is gullible enough to actually believe that Theresa May's offer on migrants rights is "fair and serious" just because she keeps saying that it's "fair and serious" needs to have a look at the EU position paper called "Essential Principles on Citizens' Rights" that was delivered to the UK government on June 12th, 11 days before Theresa May announced her derisory offer on citizens' rights.

The language of the EU position paper is a bit technical because it refers back to several EU regulations and directives, but the following quote makes it clear what the EU are prepared to offer.
"The rights of the right holders ... and the derived rights of their family members, should be protected for life, provided that conditions of Union law are met."
This is a clear and undeniable lifetime guarantee of the existing rights of all Brits living in EU countries (and their families) in return for reciprocation from the UK. This is an offer that goes way beyond the derisory offer the Tories cobbled together and presented to the UK press as if they were the ones making the bold first move, rather than the ones who ignored the EU offer then set about using millions of peoples' actual lives as disposable bargaining chips in the reckless game of brinkmanship they're playing with the nation's future.

Theresa May and her Brexiteers ignored the EU offer that was already on the table in order to chuck a derisory lowball offer at the EU as if they're haggling over a second hand car, not negotiating a deal to protect the rights of millions EU27 citizens in the UK and Brits living on the continent!

This ignorant and belligerent approach to the negotiations is so incompetent that it's almost as if they're deliberately trying to crash the negotiations so that they can strop off with "no deal" and then blame the resulting economic collapse entirely on the EU.

After Theresa May's insult of an offer the oafish Boris Johnson even took to Twitter to whine that the EU had better reciprocate Theresa May's derisory offer, as if they EU27 are the ones playing stupid games over citizens' rights, not the Tory party!

Either Boris is shockingly ignorant of the fact that the EU already made the opening offer which the Tories ignored (which seems likely given his shocking incompetence in that radio interview about the Queen's speech) or he is well aware that the Tory party is the one that rudely failed to reciprocate, or even acknowledge the EU's offer, but he's cynically trying to accuse the EU of being guilty of the sickening behaviour that he knows that his own party are guilty of in reality.

Whichever way around it is it's absolutely damning stuff. He's either too incompetent to know what's going on in the Brexit negotiations which is beyond unforgivable for one of the three ministers tasked with overseeing Brexit ... or he's well aware that his party failed to reciprocate (or even acknowledge) the preceding EU offer on citizens rights, and he's deliberately doing the cynical reality-reversing propaganda trick of accusing his opponents of the unacceptable behaviour he knows that he's guilty of himself.

Either way around it's outrageous, but because Boris is treated like some kind of untouchable golden boy by most of the mainstream media, it's highly unlikely that any mainstream hack will pressure him about whether he even knew about the unreciprocated, and unacknowledged EU offer on citizens rights before he started preemptively whining on Twitter about reciprocation.

It's an absolute bomb of a question because whichever way he answers it, he makes an arse of himself. But don't expect anyone in the mainstream media to ask it because the majority of them are more concerned with glossing the Tory reputation than actually holding them to account (just ask yourself how many of the mainstream media reports that repeated Theresa May's "fair and serious" rhetoric word for word even bothered to mention the preceding EU offer that had already been sitting on the table for 11 days).


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Friday, June 23, 2017

The centre-right faction of the Labour Party are going to run out of money


The fact that David Sainsbury was even allowed to continue as a member of the Labour Party after breaking party rules by making a huge £2 million+ donation to the Liberal Democrats was an affront to justice after tens of thousands of grassroots members were systematically purged from the party for supposed "crimes" such as admitting they'd once voted Green years before joining the labour Party, retweeting Tweets non-Labour politicians, or even being too enthusiastic about how much they like the band Foo Fighters!

The 
desperate anti-democratic effort by embedded Labour Party right-wingers to topple Jeremy Corbyn by purging as many suspected Corbyn supporters as possible failed, but somehow Sainsbury was allowed to get away with funding a rival political party.

In the wake of Labour defying the political pundit class by winning seats and eradicating the Tory majority in Westminster, David Sainsbury has announced his decision to quit injecting cash into political parties.


This decision has come as a particularly heavy blow to the Progress faction of the Labour Party, which is no surprise given how they're a top-down millionaire-backed right-wing pressure group within the Labour Party.

They have very little enthusiastic support at the grassroots level and only really exist in order to promote the lie that the only route to political power is to weakly imitate Tory policy, no matter how far off into the bonkers hard-right realm of privatisation mania and ruinous austerity dogma they wander.

Their right-wing capture of the Labour Party succeeded for a while under Tony Blair, and to be fair Blair's prescription of neoliberalism-lite was a lot less damaging than the bonkers privatisation chaos served up by John Major's dead duck government between 1992 and 1997, or the ruinous hard-right austerity dogma the Tories have been forcing on the nation since 2010. 

The big problem for the centre-right of the Labour Party is that despite a savagely biased media campaign against him, Jeremy Corbyn has demonstrated that there's very much more public appetite for a genuine democratic socialist alternative to Tory neoliberalism than for the kind of centre-right Tory-lite policies favoured by Progress.

The Guardian coverage of Sainsbury abandoning Progress is an absolute delight to read as their correspondent cries bitter tears of frustration for the demoralised centre-right Labour Party faction.

The Progress sympathisers at the Guardian even quoted the Progress director Richard Angell spouting desperate misrepresentations and outright anti-democratic contempt by claiming that there is lots of work to be done in "renewing the ideas of the centre-left" and "stopping a hard-left takeover in constituencies".

When he refers to "centre-left" he's actually talking about the pro-privatisation, pro-austerity, pro-PFI, pro-globalisation centre-right faction of the Labour Party.

And when he talks about "stopping a hard-left takeover in constituencies" he's talking about the deeply embedded right-wing of the Labour Party doing absolutely everything in their power to prevent local constituency Labour Party members choosing the election candidates that they actually want, in favour of parachuting in even more useless and unappealing centre-right Progress-approved candidates who think that the purpose of politics is to imitate, rather than to oppose the Tory party.

An awful lot of Progress types are blatant anti-democrats who regard Ed Miliband's decision to democratise the Labour Party as a terrible unforgivable mistake (rather than easily the best thing he ever did). They detest the majority of Labour Party members and the millions of people who flocked back to the Labour Party when Jeremy Corbyn presented a proper manifesto to undo some of the Tory damage, rather than weakly imitating the Tories like Labour did in 2015.

A lot of Progress people would rather that Labour existed in the political wilderness of a largely abandoned centre-right territory (the Tories have veered off to the hard-right well beyond Ukipper levels of fanaticism, the SNP occupies the centre ground, Labour under Corbyn occupy the traditional centre-left and the Lib-Dems won a pitiful 7.9% of the vote on their centre-right rabidly pro-EU platform).

I'm not a Labour Party member, but if you are a Labour Party supporter who wants to counter the toxic anti-democratic scheming of this centre-right pressure group, my advice is to join or make a donation to the centre-left group Momentum.



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Theresa May has stalled Brexit for an entire year, so why aren't Brexiters livid with her?


It's one full year since EU referendum day, and Theresa May has stalled Brexit so successfully that there has just been one single negotiation with the EU in the entire year!

In light of this year-long delaying game she's been playing, it's absolutely astounding that Brexit supporters aren't totally livid with her.

Last year I argued against Brexit not because I was against the idea in principle, but from the pragmatic perspective that signing a blank contract with the hard-right fringe of the Tory party to make Brexit up as they go along would lead to absolute chaos, which is exactly what is happening in front of our eyes.

If I had been a Brexit supporter, I'd be absolutely furious with the way Theresa May has spent the last year obfuscating and stalling in order to slow the Brexit process down as much as possible, but somehow millions of Brexit voters are so gullible that they uncritically believe the words that come out of her mouth, rather than subjecting any of her actual actions to critical scrutiny.
  • Between her undemocratic coronation as Prime Minister in July 2016 (achieved when Theresa May's supporters bullied Andrea Leadsom out of the leadership contest) and January 2017 Theresa May did nothing much apart from spout utterly meaningless platitudes like "Brexit means Brexit" (a six month delay).
  • Immediately after triggering Article 50 and setting the clock ticking on the most complex diplomatic negotiations the UK has ever faced Theresa May called her vanity election (another two month delay).
  • On the anniversary of the EU referendum Theresa May decided to throw an absolute insult of an offer to the EU on protecting citizens' rights. She basically lowered her knickers and did a great big shit on the negotiating table, and the hard-right bully boys in the UK right-wing press are going to attack the EU as evil monsters if they don't gratefully eat it up. Insulting the EU (and all of the 4 million+ UK and EU citizens who live on the other side of the proposed Brexit border) with such a lowball starting offer on citizens' rights is clearly another delaying tactic. Instead of quickly agreeing to a sensible compromise with the EU, Theresa May wants to drag out the preliminary negotiations over citizens' rights for as long as possible in order to delay the beginning of the trade talks (a grotesque use of people's lives as bargaining chips to be haggled over, and another glaringly obvious delaying tactic).
It's absolutely beyond me why so many Brexit supporters still back Theresa May and the Tories to deliver Brexit given the absolute ineptitude of the last year, and Theresa May's endless stalling, but I guess they just like the way she says "Brexit means Brexit" so very much they're willing to completely overlook all of observable reality!

It's quite something that Theresa May's endless repetition of meaningless Brexit platitudes are easily sufficient to mollify millions of pro-Leave people who should be absolutely bloody livid with her for blatantly stalling their beloved Brexit at every single turn.


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"Magic money trees" and the spreaders of economic illiteracy


Anyone who has ever used the term "magic money tree" in earnest has marked themselves out as a spreader of economic illiteracy. Some people are too thick to realise what they're doing, but others like Peter Oborne are definitely intelligent enough to know that talk of "magic money trees" and other economic idiot fodder is economically illiterate rubbish, but they do it anyway because deliberately spreading economic illiteracy is a way of providing cover for socially and economically ruinous Tory austerity dogma.

Keeping people stupid

There's no two ways about it. "magic money tree", "living within our means", "bankrupt Britain", "there's no money left": They're all economically illiterate platitudes designed to keep people stupid and uninformed about the way the economy actually works.

Programming people to believe in a set of simplistic and desperately misleading economic platitudes is a fantastic way of keeping the public stupefied because platitudes like "where's your magic money tree?" are so much easier to memorise and repeat than basic macroeconomics.

The deliberate proliferation of economic idiot fodder programmes intellectually lazy people into using these mindlessly rote learned phrases to defend socially and economically ruinous Tory austerity dogma, and attack sensible investment-based economic strategies.

Pompous right-wing blowhards 

We probably all know a member of the Dunning-Kruger club (a work colleague, a neighbour, an elderly male relative) who thinks that because they've rote learned a load of these trite right-wing phrases about the economy, they're somehow an economics genius who has a duty to angrily shout down anyone who tries to actually talk any economic sense.

Pompous right-wing economic blowhards with heads full of economic idiot fodder are a very serious problem, because they tend to shout down anyone who tries to talk sense and infect political and economic discussions with the stupid misleading platitudes they're mindlessly rote learned from the right-wing press. They're usually male, they're usually aggressive, and they usually react extremely badly to hearing any political or economic opinion that doesn't conform to the nonsense phrases they've mindlessly rote learned in lieu of actually trying to research and understand political and economic issues for themselves.

Deliberate economic illiteracy spreaders

The bigger problem is people who are clearly intelligent enough to understand that phrases like "magic money tree" are misleading economic idiot fodder, but who use them anyway.

Theresa May famously patronised a nurse by spouting economic idiot fodder about "magic money trees" at her, but she is such a directionless charlatan it is genuinely difficult to tell if she was being deliberately deceptive, or whether she is actually so economically illiterate that she doesn't even understand how piteously stupid the "magic money tree" argument actually is.
When it comes to people like Peter Oborne then there is no doubt at all. The guy is clearly intelligent enough to understand that spouting "magic money tree" isn't a counter-argument to investment economics, it's a deliberate act of debate-wrecking by the method of lobbing economically illiterate idiot fodder into the discussion.

There's something deeply worrying about politicians and journalists being thick enough to actually believe in the economic idiot fodder that is designed to delude the masses, but the ones who are smart enough to know that they're deliberately spreading economic illiteracy are very much worse.

These people know that their ruinous hard-right economic agenda is unjustifiable from a rational perspective so they know that the only way to con people into supporting it is by deliberately fostering economic illiteracy.
They believe in stupefying the public, in stupefying you, in order to provide cover for their otherwise unjustifiable hard-right economic agenda.

Austerity dogma

Economic illiteracy spreaders know that austerity has spectacularly failed to eliminate the deficit as they promised us it would, but they also know that debt-fearmongering was only ever an excuse to obscure the true agenda, which is snatching as much wealth and opportunity as possible from the majority of the population in order to give vast handouts to corporations and the mega-rich.

Austerity is, and always was, a massive con, and the only method right-wing propaganda merchants have of defending it is the deliberate spreading of economically illiterate tropes like "magic money tree".

A reverse kite mark

If you ever hear anyone earnestly use the phrase "magic money tree" (or other examples of economic idiot fodder) then you can see it as a reverse kite mark. 

Whoever uses these phrases has branded themselves as a dealer in the dark arts of economic illiteracy.

They've either mindlessly rote learned the idiot fodder platitude they just spouted which means they're gullible and unreliable, or they know perfectly well that it's idiot fodder, but they're saying it to you anyway because they're assuming you to be an idiot, which is worse than being gullible.

Whatever their motivation for spreading economic illiteracy, the conclusion is inevitable.


People who spread economic illiteracy need to be ridiculed and permanently discounted as serious economic commentators until they apologise for their role in helping to spread economic illiteracy.

Time to apologise

Although I respect Peter Oborne for his very sensible foreign policy views, I will be holding absolutely everything he says about the economy in absolute contempt until he apologises for spreading economic illiteracy by using idiot fodder terms like "magic money tree" and "living within our means".

Unless people who have been guilty of spreading economic illiteracy explicitly apologise for what they've done they should be treated as economic pariahs.

What we can do

Contact your MP: If you have an MP who spreads economic illiteracy you should contact them to ask that they stop. If you have a more sensible MP you could ask them to do more to counter the tactic of spreading economic illiteracy by calling it out for what it is. 
Contact mainstream media: Contact politics shows and individual mainstream media commentators and ask them to consider doing more to combat those who deliberately (or unwittingly) spread economic illiteracy. 
Call it out: Don't be afraid of right-wing blowhards. If you hear anyone using economically illiterate baby talk to defend Tory austerity dogma you have a responsibility to call them out. Tell them that you know that they're spreading economic illiteracy and then ask them if they're doing it because they're economically illiterate themselves, or whether they're doing it deliberately under the assumption that anyone listening to them is stupid enough to fall for their economically illiterate idiot fodder. 
Demand apologies: Here is a link to Peter Oborne's Twitter account. Why not send him a message asking him to apologise for deliberately spreading economic illiteracy?

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