Monday, 23 April 2018

Theresa May and the Tories are plotting to deny Windrush Brits the right to vote


The vile UKIP-pandering anti-immigrant legislation that Theresa May introduced in 2014 has been used to deny employment, housing, social security, pensions, NHS care and even UK residency to Windrush Brits without the documentation to prove their citizenship.

After her initial attempts to just ignore the Windrush scandal became totally untenable Theresa May was cornered into apologising. She reluctantly told a gathering of Commonwealth leaders how "genuinely sorry" she was for the Windrush scandal in the hope that apologising through gritted teeth would make coverage of her despicable treatment of Windrush Brits go away.

But despite her apology Theresa May and the Tories are still working away behind the scenes to deny Windrush Brits even more rights, through through new voter ID laws that are being trialled in five local authority areas at the local elections, meaning those without photo ID will be denied the right to vote.

The excuse behind the voter ID laws is that it's intended to prevent voter fraud, but there is no evidence base at all to suggest that voter fraud is a serious enough issue to justify denying citizens without ID the right to vote.

In fact there has only been one solitary conviction for the crime of personation at the polling booth relating to the 2017 General Election, meanwhile an astounding 49% of all complaints of electoral fraud were made against the political campaigners themselves [source for both stats: Electoral Fraud Analysis by the Electoral Commission].

If the Tories were actually serious about cracking down on electoral fraud, they'd deal with the enormous mountain of fraud committed by political campaigners, rather than the tiny molehill of people impersonating others at the polling station.

Of course it's wrong that a tiny tiny minority of people try to commit voter fraud by impersonating others at the polling booth, but if your solution to that problem involves denying the right to vote to a significantly larger number of innocent people (or even one innocent person) then your claims to be acting in the interests of democracy are clearly a total farce.

The true motivation for these new voter ID laws is obvious. Poor people and elderly commonwealth citizens are far more likely to have no photographic ID, and they're also much more likely to vote against the Tory party than in favour of them (especially in light of the disgraceful Windrush scandal).

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Ultra-cynical Tories are blaming Labour for the consequences of their own party's actions


Ultra-cynical Tories in Southampton are so desperate for power that they're blaming Labour for the consequences of their own party's actions in government.

The reason council tax bills are going up while services are worse than ever is that the austerity fixated Tories in government have cut the local government budget by a whopping 67% since 2010
In Southampton the result of this hard-right ideologically driven Tory madness is a £485 per household cut to the council's budget.


It's not just Southampton either, these brutal hard-right Tory cuts have left councils up and down the country with no choice but to ruthlessly slash back local services (bin collections, libraries, leisure centres, social care, highways maintenance, children's services, planning departments, street cleaning ...) to save money, whilst raising Council Tax as much as they can get away with in order to plug the gaps in the most critical services (domestic abuse shelters, children's services, care services for the elderly and infirm) in order to prevent the most damaging outcomes (domestic abuse, child abuse, deaths).

And make no mistake, these Tory cuts weren't driven by necessity, they were driven by the Tory desperation to ensure the upwards redistribution of wealth via massive tax breaks and handouts to corporations and the mega-rich.


Just imagine the cynicism of knowing that your own party's ideological fixation with hard-right austerity dogma has caused this dreadful situation, but deciding to print up a load of propaganda to blame your political opponents for it.

That's the cynicism of the Tories in a nutshell. Deliberately and systematically wrecking local government services up and down the country for eight ruinous years, then trying to actually take over local councils that have been gutted by this strategic wrecking by blaming the local councils themselves for the appalling financial position that Westminster Tories have left them in.

The really sad thing is that because of the mainstream media refusal to critique Tory austerity dogma as the disastrous hard-right fanaticism it so obviously is, a lot of people will be unaware of the massive cuts the austerity obsessed Tories have imposed on their own local council, and will actually believe this kind of outrageous Tory propaganda when it gets shoved through their door.

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Sunday, 22 April 2018

12 questions to ask local Tories who turn up on your doorstep pretending to be your friend


As the May 3rd local elections approach many of us will have the uncomfortable experience of Tory canvassers knocking on our doors to pretend to be our friends. In this article I'm going to provide 12 questions you can use to blast them off their feet.

1. How much have your party cut the local government budget since 2010?

They will try to bluster and blunder their way around this question because they know the answer is not good for them at all. The Institute for government say that they've cut support for communities and local government by 67% since 2010

These ideologically driven Tory cuts are the reason your Council Tax bill is going up, while your local services are worse than they've ever been before.

2. Do you think that there is a link between rising violent crime and you lot the police force by 20,000+?

There is obviously a link between the Tories slashing 20,000+ police jobs and the soaring rates of violent crime, but the Tories will try to deny it because to admit it would be extremely damaging.

So instead of admitting the truth they assume that the general public are so thick that we'd actually reject our own common sense understanding of cause and effect, and mindlessly accept the Tory fairy story that slashing the police force back to 1970s levels of per capita policing has had absolutely no effect whatever on rates of serious crime!

3. In 2010 you lot said you'd eliminate the deficit by 2015 but you failed, what is your projection now?

When the Lib-Dems enabled the Tories back into power in 2010 they endlessly promised that their hard-right austerity project would eliminate the budget deficit by 2015. They obviously missed that target by miles because it's mid-2018 and the deficit is still there.

Again the Tory canvasser at your doorstep is likely to try to bluff and bluster their way out of answering the question, because they either don't know, or they know that the answer is awful. Maybe allow them bluster away for a while before you burst their bubble by informing them that the latest projection is 2031, and asking them if they think it's acceptable to take 21 years to achieve what they promised to do in less than 5.

4. Does the Tory party have a problem with bigotry?

The Tory canvasser on your doorstep will almost certainly try to deflect onto Labour and the charges of anti-Semitism, but you can nip this kind of evasion in the bud by pointing out that YouGov surveys have found that rates of anti-Semitism are way higher in the Tory party than in the Labour Party, and asking why they're so keen to deflect away from the problem of anti-Semitism in their own ranks by criticising a party that has lower levels of anti-Semitism than their own.

Then you can ask them subsidiary questions about things like Theresa May's vile UKIP-pandering anti-immigrant legislation that has been used to dehumanise and discriminate against the Windrush Generationthe fact the Tories put up an extreme-right white-supremacist as a local election candidate in Watford, or the fact that they simply wait for the public fuss to die down and then let their racists and bigots slide back into the party later on.

5. Why did your party defeat Amendment 58?

The Tory probably won't even know what you're talking about because the mainstream media barely touched this incredibly important parliamentary vote, so you'll have to explain it to them.

When the Tories put their EU Withdrawal Bill before parliament the opposition parties all supported a Labour Party amendment to stop the government from using Brexit as a Trojan horse to scrap our workers' rights, environmental laws, food standards, consumer protections, and equality legislation.

The Tories and their sectarian DUP mates voted the amendment down.

What possible reason is there for the Tory party to have voted down this amendment to prevent them from using Brexit to attack our rights and protections unless they intend to use Brexit to attack our rights and protections?

6. Which was the first local council to go insolvent?

The answer is that Tory run Northamptonshire was the first council to declare de facto insolvency in February 2018. This is incredible because the Tories have loaded their worst local government funding cuts onto non-Tory councils for the last eight years. So despite having a massive artificial advantage over Labour run councils that have suffered much deeper austerity cuts, the Tories in Northamptonshire did such a woeful job that they were the first to break under the pressure.

7. How much are you Tories going to slash from the budget of my local school?

Use this school cuts calculator to find out how much they're planning to slash from the budget of your local school (or the school your kids/grandchildren attend), make a note of it, then ask the question.

They won't know the answer so expect more bluff, bluster and misdirection tactics from them. Let them bluster away as much as they like, then tell them the figure and ask them whether they think it's acceptable that they're making children pay the cost of the 2007-08 bankers' crisis.

8. Are you proud of what you've done to our wages?

Ask the Tory canvasser if they're aware that since 2010 British workers have suffered the longest sustained collapse in the value of their wages since records began, and ask them if they're proud of having imposed this record breaking level of wage repression.

9. Why has housing become so unaffordable since 2010?

Ask the Tory canvasser whether they are aware that UK housing is more unaffordable than it's ever been before.

Then ask them whether they think that home ownership souring out of the reach of millions of ordinary people has anything to do with their wage repression policies, and the fact that between 2010 and 2017 the Tories oversaw the lowest levels of house building since the early 1920s.

10. How many more children are growing up in poverty since you lot came to power in 2010?

The answer is 400,000.

11. Why do you expect me to pay compensation for the consequences of your horrible policies?

Theresa May has announced that she's considering compensation for the Windrush Brits who have been denied housing, employment, social security, pensions, and NHS treatment, and been made to live in fear of imprisonment and deportation.

What she hasn't been clear about is that the Windrush scandal came about because of her own vile UKIP-pandering anti-immigrant legislation in 2014.

So what she's actually saying by promising compensation is that she's going to completely evade responsibility for her own actions by not resigning, then compound matters by using taxpayers' money to pay off the victims of her own malicious legislation.

See if you can get the Tory canvasser to admit that it's wrong for Theresa May to make the general public to pay the cost of her own horrible mistake, while she suffers no negative consequences at all.

12. Which political party has imposed the biggest armed forces cuts since the end of the Cold War?

The answer is the Tory party who have dramatically slashed the size of the armed forces since 2010.

They've reduced the army by over 20,000, the RAF by 8,500, and the navy by 5,500


General advice

Don't be afraid to print this article off and leave it by your front door so you can use it as a guide (I absolutely don't give a damn about copyright issues). These Tory canvassers will be speaking from a script, so it's totally fair for you to refer to notes too.

Feel free to compile other questions you can stump them with too. If there's some local issue or controversy you can hit them with use that, or take a scroll through this list of 50 disgraceful Tory controversies to find other issues that you're particularly concerned with and make note of them.

Remember that the information in this article doesn't specifically have to be presented in the form of questions, it can also be used to rebut several of the set talking points the Tory canvasser will try to raise.

Also remember that the longer you can keep the Tory canvasser engaged in discussion, the less time they'll have to try to convince other less well-informed people into voting Tory through their bombardment of lies and deceptions. It's actually much better for you to keep them occupied by asking them questions like these and watching their absurd displays of mental gymnastics, than just angrily telling them to get off your doorstep.

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Jacob Rees-Mogg is cynically blaming the EU for the horrible consequences of his own actions



In January 2014 Jacob Rees-Mogg was one of many Tory and Lib-Dem politicians to actively vote in favour of Theresa May's vile UKIP-pandering anti-immigrant legislation that was subsequently used to discriminate against Windrush British citizens.

You can see Rees-Mogg's support for this legislation on the Hansard Parliamentary record.


Let's not pretend that Rees-Mogg and his Tory colleagues were not warned that these rules could be used to discriminate against British citizens without the documentation to prove their nationality, because they were warned by Diane Abbott during the parliamentary debate, and that warning was brushed off with a dose of Theresa May's ridiculously evasive question-dodging waffle.

Rees-Mogg knows perfectly well that it was the legislation that he voted in favour of that created this atmosphere of intimidation and discrimination against Windrush Brits, yet he's popped up on the front page of the Daily Telegraph to spin the extraordinary tale that the EU and pro-Europeans are to blame for the consequences of the UKIP-pandering legislation that he (and most of the other Tory Brextremists) actively voted in favour of.


Here's what he said: "We are not the sort of country that demands to see your papers, but I'm afraid pro-Europeans think we should be They buy into the EU-style relationship between individual and state. It's a shift to state being powerful and individual being weak"

Yet Rees-Mogg knows perfectly well that he voted in favour of Theresa May's anti-immigrant legislation in order to deny deny housing, employment, social security, pensions, and NHS care to people without the documentation to prove that they are British citizens. 

He knows perfectly well that he voted in favour of Theresa May's legislation to weaken the rights of the individual and to give the state far more powers to discriminate against those without documentation to prove that they're British citizens.

Aside from the fact that Rees-Mogg has completely evaded taking responsibility for his own actions or apologising for supporting such rotten legislation, he's clearly taking the opportunistic cowards' approach of blaming others for what he did himself.

It's bad enough that Rees-Mogg has sunk to the level of blaming his political opponents for the dire consequences of his own actions. But worse than that is the way the Daily Telegraph allowed him to spew this reality-reversing gibberish on their front page, and that other pro-Brexit rags like the Express and Daily Mail rapidly churnalised this rubbish into anti-EU stories of their own.

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Friday, 20 April 2018

You won't hear about this latest Tory scandal on the mainstream news


The Tory party are in the midst of a massive scandal about their callous discrimination against Windrush citizens of the United Kingdom that was caused by Theresa May's UKIP-pandering anti-immigrant legislation in 2014. So the last thing they needed was another scandal involving festering extreme-right bigotry in their party to erupt, but erupt it has.

A Vice investigation has revealed that a Generation Identity extreme-right white-supremacist by the name of Darren Harrison has infiltrated the Tory party, and that they liked him so much that they actually selected him to stand as a Tory local election candidate in Watford.
When the scandal broke the Tories suspended him from the party and high profile Tory figures like Brandon Lewis and James Cleverly who associated with him have rapidly distanced themselves. But it's highly likely that they'll just wait for the furore to die down let him sneak back, just like the disgraceful bigots Ruth Davidson welcomed back in the Scottish Tory party with open arms a few months after the scandal died down.

The Tories can hardly claim innocence because, up until it was hastily deleted when this scandal broke, Harrison's Twitter feed was absolutely full of right-wing extremism, including open support for Generation Identity right-wing extremists when they were banned from entering the UK by the Tory government, retweets of the former-EDL leader and terrorist-inspiring hate preacher Tommy Robinson, and pictures of him cavorting with his extremist mates.
He even wrote a letter to the Home Office complaining that his extremist mates had been prevented from entering the UK and bragged about it on Twitter.

Harrison's infatuation with the extreme-right wasn't just Twitter-based either, he also attended a number of Generation Identity events in person.

The only way it's possible that the Tories didn't know about his extremist activities is if they carried out literally no background checks whatever (such as scrolling though his Twitter feed or just asking him if he's involved with any extremist organisations). The other option is that they knew about it, but felt that imitating Trump by appealing to the extreme-right neo-Nazi demographic in Watford would be a good move for the party.

If they didn't do it on purpose, then their only possible excuse for allowing such an individual to progress so far within their party is absolute and total incompetence.

It's absolutely incredible that the Tories are busy banning Generation Identity extremists from entering the UK on the one hand, but putting them up as Tory local election candidates on the other.

But don't expect to hear about this scandal in the mainstream media or on the BBC news, because the number one priority for most of them right now is running damage limitation and distraction tactics for Theresa May and the Tories over the outrageous Windrush scandal.

Credit to vice for breaking the story: read their article here.

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What is a Corbyn's hat distraction tactic?


In recent weeks a new kind of propaganda strategy has been deployed in order to muddy the waters and get people quibbling over trivial details to distract attention away from the main issue.

It's a specific kind of distraction tactic based on getting people arguing over the trivial minutiae of a subject rather than the big picture, and I'll explain why I've decided to coin the term "Corbyn's hat" distraction tactic to describe it.


Corbyn's hat

The reason I've decided to call this kind of propaganda ploy a "Corbyn's hat" distraction tactic is that the most glaring example I've ever seen to date involved sidetracking an important debate about broadcaster bias into a heated argument over Jeremy Corbyn's hat.

The bigger issue was that the BBC (which is supposed to be a politically impartial state broadcaster) made the extraordinary decision to mock up a giant poster of a red-tinted Jeremy Corbyn in front of the Kremlin to use for the background of one of their shows in which Corbyn's evidence-seeking stance on the Sailsbury poisoning was ridiculed and no mention of the £800,000+ Theresa May's Tories have taken in donations from Russian oligarchs and Putin cronies.
 

This wasn't the first time the British state broadcaster has used photoshop to attack Jeremy Corbyn, they even photoshopped him with Osama Bin Laden during a debate on terrorism during the 2017 General Election.

This staggeringly biased editorial decision displayed the kind of extreme pro-government anti-opposition bias you'd actually expect to see in Putin's Russia, so it's no surprise that it generated a lot of complaints, but somehow the BBC and their mates in the establishment club managed to focus the debate down onto the trivial issue of whether Jeremy Corbyn's hat had been photoshopped.

The literal big picture (that the supposedly impartial BBC blatantly photoshopped a red-tinted picture of Jeremy Corbyn onto the Kremlin) was lost in a ridiculous quibble over whether the BBC had also altered Jeremy Corbyn's hat to make it look more Russian, with hard-right Tories and so-called 'centrists' alike pouring scorn on the "Corbyn's hat" debate as if that was the core issue, rather than an utterly trivial side issue distraction away from the Putineqsue behaviour of the BBC.

You couldn't really get a clearer example of people quibbling over a trivial issue to distract from the big picture when the big picture was literally a big picture.


Effectiveness

Getting people quibbling over a trivial side issue rather than thinking about the big picture is distinct from other propaganda distraction tactics like "whataboutery" (trying to deflect attention onto a different subject altogether) and the "dead cat" tactic (doing, saying, or revealing something so grotesque that public attention is diverted away from the serious issue at hand) because it doesn't actually change the subject of the debate, it just narrows it down to such an extent that people end up quibbling over one very specific aspect of the subject, rather than viewing the subject in its broader context.

This "Corbyn's hat" type distraction strategy is highly effective because it's not an obvious "look! a squirrel" kind of distraction, it's a distraction that involves directing attention at a trivial aspect of the subject, which means that people could actually conclude that they've debated the subject and come to a conclusion on it, even though they've completely sidetracked away from the main issue.

Clearly a distraction tactic that allows the victim to erroneously believe that they've actually debated and understood the wider subject is a much more effective form of propaganda than a simplistic ploy to switch their attention to another matter altogether.

Windrush landing cards

Theresa May created the Windrush scandal by introducing vile UKIP-pandering anti-migrant legislation in 2014. Legislation that has resulted in British citizens without documentation being denied employment, denied housing, denied social security, denied pensions, and denied NHS care. These dehumanising and discriminatory rules have left thousands living in fear of imprisonment and deportation from their own country.

In a desperate attempt to deflect blame away from herself Theresa May stood at the dispatch box and misled parliament by claiming that the decision to destroy Windrush landing cards was taken by Labour in 2009.

It didn't matter that the Home Office had already admitted that the landing cards were destroyed in October 2010, under Theresa May's watch, her misleading claim was the ideal "Corbyn's hat" distraction for the Tory propaganda machine, and the debate waged for the rest of the day over who destroyed the landing cards.


The fact is that even if Labour had destroyed them, which they didn't, it was only because of Theresa May's vile Faragist anti-immigrant legislation that the Windrush scandal developed.

But by sidetracking the debate onto who destroyed the Windrush landing cards the Tory propaganda machine created the misleading impression that there's some kind of debate over whether Labour or the Tories were to blame, when the indisputable reality is that Theresa May's grotesque UKIP-pandering attack on immigrants is to blame.

Be vigilant


Using a "Corbyn's hat" distraction to deliberately sidetrack the debate into ridiculous quibbling over a minor aspect of the issue is clearly and undeniably an effective propaganda strategy, so be vigilant, and don't be afraid to call out "Corbyn's hat" distraction tactics the next time you see this kind of propaganda in action.

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This article was part of the "What is ... ?" series. To see more articles in the series, click here.

Thursday, 19 April 2018

Senior government ministers likened Theresa May's anti-immigrant legislation to Nazism, but voted in favour of it anyway!


In 2014 Theresa May introduced the draconian new anti-immigrant powers that the Home Office have subsequently used to dehumanise and persecute the Windrush generation.

These grotesque Faragist rules have been used to deny employment, deny housing, deny health care, and deny social security/pensions to British Windrush citizens, and to make thousands live in constant fear of imprisonment and deportation by their own country.

The parliamentary record makes it clear that a few brave MPs dared to stand up against the tide of extreme anti-immigrant rhetoric to criticise Theresa May's plans, and vote against them. 


Diane Abbott was amongst them, and she had the intelligence and foresight to predict that May's rules could be used to attack British citizens without documentation. The breaking of the Windrush scandal has proven her concerns to have been incredibly prescient and well-founded.

What we didn't know at the time was the secret behind the scenes debates within the coalition government, but in the wake of the Windrush Scandal the senior Civil Servant Bob Kerslake has claimed that some ministers in the coalition government were so concerned that they described Theresa May's new law as being "reminiscent of Nazi Germany".




Even more shocking than the revelation that senior government ministers were likening their own government policy to that of the Nazis, was the fact that they just bit their tongues, raised no concerns in public, and then went ahead and actually voted this Nazi-style legislation into law when it went before parliament.

They knew they would have to resign their ministerial positions if they stood their ground and voted against it, so these disgusting self-serving bastards actually voted in favour of a bill they'd privately likened to Nazism for pure political expediency!

The New Labour mob covered themselves in shame too by whipping their MPs into abstaining on Theresa May's Nazi-style immigration witch hunt, while only six principled Labour MPs did the decent thing and opposed it (Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Diane Abbott, Dennis Skinner, Mark Lazarowicz, Fiona Mactaggart).


This shameful abstention from Labour just goes to show how hopelessly lost they had become in the late New Labour years, but the truly horrific thing is that there were cabinet members in the Tory/Lib-Dem coalition who recognised the fascist intent of Theresa May's bill, but voted in favour of it anyway because they wanted to keep their six figure ministerial salaries.

Perhaps the most worrying thing of all is how far Britain has managed to progress along the road towards totalitarianism with the majority of people not even noticing.

Not only was Theresa May allowed to get away with introducing this vile Nazi-like legislation back in 2014 because members of her own government were too self-serving to speak out, and because of the pathetic abstentionism of the timid and directionless Labour leadership at the time, but this legislation has been allowed to fester away, destroying peoples lives for over four years, and the vile wannabe-tyrant who created it has actually been promoted to Prime Minister!


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The depraved coalition deals the Lib-Dems cooked up with the Tories behind closed doors


Polly Mackenzie was never a Lib-Dem MP, but as one of Nick Clegg's core advisers she played a crucial role during the Tory/Lib-Dem coalition period. She's just admitted the kinds of depraved horse trading that went on between the Lib-Dems and the Tories at the time in a Twitter mini-thread.
 

She starts off with an unobjectionable and actually rather astute observation about how the Tories seem to announce a new green measure or plastics ban every time they want to move the news away from their latest scandal, but she followed the Tweet up with some more observations that shine a light on the grotesque horse trading the Lib-Dems did with the Tories.

She claims that the clampdown on plastics was actually a Lib-Dem idea, and that they finally secured the limited introduction of 5p charges on plastic bags in return for their support for a toughening of the draconian Tory benefit sanctions regime.

Here are a few facts about the benefits sanctions regime:

  • Benefits sanctions condemn individuals and their families to periods of absolute destitution for up to two years by stopping their social security payments.
  • Benefits sanctions have been applied for the most grotesquely inappropriate of "offences" such as having a heart attack during a work capacity assessment, a veteran selling poppies a few hours a week, being five minutes late to an interview, missing an appointment because their child was stillborn, missing an appointment because they had a stroke (see a list of grotesque examples with sources in this article)...
  • Benefits sanctions have been shown not to work. It's obvious that removing a person's ability to eat properly, clean their clothes, print documents, travel to interviews reduces rather than increases their ability to find work, but the Tories insisted the opposite. That condemning people to absolute destitution is a way of helping people.
So in return for the limited introduction of 5p plastic bag charges the Lib-Dems green lighted even more savage Tory abuse of some of the most vulnerable people in society.

There's nothing wrong with caring about the environment, in fact it's highly commendable, but if you're willing to kick thousands of extremely vulnerable people under a bus in order to make a minor step forward in combating excess plastic waste, then you've got your priorities disgustingly wrong.

So the next time you hear someone trotting out the tired old Lib-Dem platitude about how they were a "moderating influence" on the Tories, remind them of the way they decided to give Iain Duncan Smith even more power to brutalise the most vulnerable people in society in return for nothing more than 5p plastic bag charges (that would have eventually been introduced anyway due to EU legislation).




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