Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Hypocritical Tory Brexiteers just voted to scrap parliamentary sovereignty!


So much has been happening in relation to Brexit over the last few weeks it's been difficult to keep on top of it all, especially given the incredibly sketchy mainstream media coverage.

Party Political chaos

Understandably a lot of coverage has been given to the fact that the Lib-Dem leader and his predecessor Tim Farron didn't even bother to turn up for a crucial knife-edge Brexit vote, despite having misleadingly championed themselves as anti-Brexit saviours for the last two years. Tim Farron's reason for missing the crucial vote was that he was too busy giving a gay-bashing speech about how he's such a victim because his outdated views on gay sex are pretty damned unpopular these days!

Also a lot of attention has fallen on a number of Tory grandstanders like Anna Soubry and Justine Greening who made passionate interventions to criticise the hard-right ERG Tory Brextremists who dictate Theresa May's every move, and to call for a second referendum. But for some reason very much less media attention has been given to the fact that they caved in to Theresa May's threats of another Tory meltdown of a General Election, and actually voted to support the ERG Brextremists that they pretend to oppose just to save their own skins from the threat of another General Election.

Then there's the four Labour cranks who repeatedly cast decisive votes alongside the hard-right ERG Brextremists too. Right-wing Blairite MPs have been implacably opposed the concept of reselection for MPs (a democratic safeguard against political squatters that is used by the SNP and is absolutely commonplace in other countries), but the treacherous scheming of Kate Hoey, John Mann, Graham Stringer, and Frank Field to prop up Theresa May's shambolic government and facilitate the ruinous "no deal" catastrophe the ERG Brextremists are plotting is surely grounds for the introduction of reselection so local people can get rid of these Tory collaborators.

The NC3 trade deal amendment

Beneath all of the party political chaos at least one MP was actually getting on with their job. Caroline Lucas of the Green Party tabled an amendment to the Tory governments' Trade Bill, which sought to ensure that "all post-Brexit free trade deals are subject to parliamentary scrutiny and approval, with a guaranteed vote for MPs".

One would have thought that Brexiteers who spent the entire EU Referendum campaign banging on about the importance of "democracy" and "parliamentary sovereignty" might have actually appreciated an amendment to ensure that parliament is sovereign, and that the government of the day can't just draw up trade deals with foreign powers behind closed doors, and then enact them without any parliamentary oversight or approval.

But if you expected any kind of consistency or integrity from the Brexiteers, you'd be wrong.

What they actually did was vote down the amendment by 314-284 in order to essentially kill parliamentary sovereignty when it comes to future post-Brexit trade deals.


Amendment 58

In light of this Tory vote to scrap parliamentary sovereignty when it comes to post-Brexit trade deals it's important to think back to the way they also scrapped the cross-party Amendment 58 to the EU Withdrawal Bill in November 2017.

This amendment sought to prevent the Tory government from using Brexit as a Trojan Horse to attack our workers' rights, weaken our environmental laws, water down our consumer protections, undermine our food standards, or scrap our equal rights rules.

By stripping out this amendment the Tories clearly indicated their intention to use Brexit as an excuse to attack these aspects of British life. Just think about it. If they had no intention of attacking these things, why on earth would they vote to scrap an amendment to prevent them from scrapping these things?

A Trump-Tory trade deal

Donald Trump's administration have already made it absolutely clear that if Britain seeks a trade deal with the United States, the UK government will be expected to trash workers' rights, open up the NHS for even more privatisation, and trash our food standards to allow the import of cheap, low quality, heavily-subsidised US produce like chlorinated chicken, hormone-riddled beef, and unlabled GM produce.

What the Tories have done is to wreck cross-party efforts to prevent them from using Brexit as an excuse to lower British standards first, and now they've voted to ensure that parliament has no ability to stop them from drawing up horrific trade deals behind closed doors and enacting them without any parliamentary oversight or approval whatever!

Hard-right Brexit

It should be blindingly obvious by now to anyone who has actually followed the details of the Brexit votes that we're heading for a hard-right, anti-democratic, economically ruinous Tory Brexit.

It should be obvious that the left-wing Lexit voters were absolute dupes. Useful idiots who voted for Brexit for left-wing reasons only to enable an unprecedented hard-right power grab by the Tory establishment.

It should be obvious that the Brexiteers were absolutely lying through their teeth when they talked about grand themes like "democracy" and "parliamentary sovereignty" during the referendum debate. Everything they've done since betrays their absolute contempt for democracy, and their intention to over-ride parliamentary sovereignty in order to centralise as much power as possible in the hands of the executive.

It should be obvious that the hard-right ERG Brextremists who control Theresa May's puppet strings are intent on inflicting the most economically damaging Breixt possible in order to make fortunes by picking £billions worth of distressed british assets out of the ashes of their Brexit bonfire.

It should be obvious. But unfortunately, to millions of people who don't pay attention to the details, and just base their decisions on sentiments and feelings, none of this is obvious, none of the details matter, and "we should just get on with it".

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




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Tuesday, 17 July 2018

We know where Jeremy Corbyn was last night (opposing the Tory Brextremists), but where was Tim Farron?


Last night Theresa May survived two incredibly close votes on Brexit legislation after whipping her MPs to support hard-right Brextremist amendments to the customs bill that have clearly been designed to make her Brexit White Paper unworkable.

There were 14 and 11 Tory rebels who voted against Theresa May and her Brextremist puppet masters in the two votes, but the vast majority of Tories (and their bigoted sectarian DUP backers) actually voted in favour of the Brextremist amendments.

Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party voted against Theresa May and the Brextremists, but they were let down by four of the usual suspects who actually voted alongside Jacob Rees-Mogg and his ilk, despite knowing that a defeat at this stage could have triggered the final collapse of this shockingly weak and incompetent Tory government.
 

The four Brextremist collaborators were Kelvin Hopkins, Graham Stringer, Frank Field, and Kate Hoey.

Nobody should be surprised that these four stepped in to save Theresa May's bacon. They've consistently sided with Theresa May and the hard-right Brextremists when the Labour leadership and the other opposition parties have voted to oppose them.

A much more shocking revelation is that the current Lib-Dem leader Vince Cable, and the former Lib-Dem leader Tim Farron didn't even bother to turn up to vote in the debate.

This is utterly extraordinary stuff from the most high profile politicians in a party that has relentlessly positioned itself as the "Stop Brexit" party since 2016.

Less than a month ago these two charlatans were smugly chanting "where's Jeremy Corbyn" at the pro-EU People's Vote protest event in London. But when it came to the crunch, and enough Tory rebels finally decided to stand up against the hard-right Brextremists who have usurped their party, Jeremy Corbyn showed up to vote against them, while these two posturing frauds were nowhere to be seen.
 

In fact, the extraordinary reason Tim Farron decided to not bother showing up to such a crucial parliamentary Brexit battle was that he was too busy banging on about how much he hates gay sex again at a £5 per head event at the Sherborne Institute!

This astounding no show from Farron and Cable is proof that (just like with tuition fees, proportional representation, and countless other Lib-Dem so-called policies) their opposition to Brexit doesn't come from any serious political principle at all, it's simply pure opportunism designed to soak up the votes of Remainers who are too gullible to realise that they're being played like idiots by the biggest bunch of morally-flexible political charlatans out there.

So in conclusion Theresa May gets to cling onto power for a little while longer, mainly thanks to her own MPs, many of whom voted against what they knew to be the national interest in order to stave off the collapse of the Tory party.

But more crucially (because Tories putting the interests of the Tory party above the interests of the nation is hardly 'news'), the Lib-Dems have now been totally exposed as a bunch of absolute charlatans whose leader couldn't even be bothered to show up to vote against the Tory Brextremists, and whose former leader was too busy banging on about his aversion to gay sex to participate in such a crucial knife-edge vote.

This ludicrous Lib-Dem performance is all the evidence any sensible person should need to understand that the Liberal Democrats are absolutely incapable of playing the role of "Brexit saviours" to defend us from the ideological lunacy of the hard-right Tory Brextremists who dictate Theresa May's Brexit strategy to her.

Anyone who still actually believes any of the Lib-Dem schtick about being the "anti-Brexit" party after this lamentable display is certifiably gullible.


 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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Friday, 13 July 2018

The Brexit White Paper: Hard Brexit with cherry-picking


After wasting an incredible 15 months of the Article 50 negotiating period on their internal squabbles and distractions like Theresa May's failed vanity election, the Tory government have finally released their long-awaited Brexit White Paper.

In this article I'm going to address some crucial issues with the White Paper, but I strongly advise you to have a look through the document yourself (I'll provide a link at the end of the article) and to check out other people's analyses too, because the way Brexit is implemented is of such importance to our future as a nation that it would be grossly negligent not to investigate what the government is proposing for yourself. 


An anti-democratic shambles

If the way the Tory government released their Brexit White Paper is indicative of their approach to Brexit, we're in for an anti-democratic farce of epic proportions.

The Tories decided to completely ignore parliamentary protocol by sharing copies of the White Paper with selected members of the press at 9am, while only providing opposition MPs with copies during the new Brexit minister's speech (necessitating the extraordinary spectacle of the Speaker suspending parliament for five minutes in the middle of the speech as copies were literally thrown around the chamber).

The reason the government is supposed to provide copies to opposition MPs in advance is obviously to provide time for them to read the proposals and formulate questions in order to hold the government to account.

The decision to cut out the opposition parties in favour of providing preferential access to their mates in the media just goes to show the absolute contempt the Tories have towards stuff like democratic scrutiny and due process.

Filler, fluff, and sound bites

Before we get to the actual details of the White Paper it's crucial to note that it's absolutely stuffed full of slick pro-government fluff, much of it utterly devoid of real meaning.

Take the repetition of the phrase "principled and practical Brexit". It's just more evasive and essentially meaningless floss from the "Brexit means Brexit" and "red, white, and blue Brexit" school of empty sound bite trickery designed for no other purpose than appealing to the hard-of-thinking.

Superfluous waffle

Take this concluding quote from just the 2nd point in the whole paper:
"The UK hopes that this will be the basis of a serious and detailed negotiation in the coming weeks and months that will lead to a historic agreement in the interests of both sides".
Why on earth is it necessary for the UK government to waste space by stating that it hopes that negotiations will take place and an agreement be reached, given that this is the entire purpose of the White Paper we've waited 15 wasted months for?

Toddler tantrum diplomacy

In the preceding days the new Brexit Minister Dominic Raab has reiterated the threat that if the EU don't cave into Tory demands, they're going to inflict an extraordinarily damaging hard-right "no deal" Brexit in retribution, and to underline the point the Tories have been briefing their allies in the press that they're planning to stockpile canned food and emergency generators to show that they're serious about their threat to plunge the UK economy into "no deal" chaos.

"Give us what we want or we'll destroy our own economy" is a totally crackpot negotiating strategy for two key reasons.

One is that the underlying threat completely undermines any goodwill that is earned from all the kind words, hopeful aspirations, and begging for cooperation in the White Paper.

the second is that the majority of the economic, social, and reputational damage from a "no deal" flounce would obviously fall on Britain, meaning the EU actually has an incentive to call our bluff, and then welcome the massive flood of businesses, skilled workers, and capital fleeing the self-inflicted "no deal" chaos in the UK.


Cakism

The economic partnership section calls for a new free trade zone for goods to avoid disruption to the modern cross-border supply chains that have built up over the last four decades, but this call for free movement of goods is totally undermined by the demands for the destruction of the right to free movement of people.

What the Tories are demanding is an agreement that provides greater freedom of movement to a British-made packet of crisps, than to a British citizen.

Not only is this proposal something that's already been rejected by the EU as cherry-picking, it's also a pure distillation of the warped Tory mentality that property has more inherent value than people.

Agencies

The White Paper proposes that the UK should be allowed to retain membership of multiple EU agencies such as European Chemicals Agency, the European Aviation Safety Agency, the European Medicines Agency, the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF), Rapid Alert System for Serious Risk (Rapex), the Information and Communication System for Market Surveillance (ICSMS), Interpol, the European Criminal Records Investigation Sytem (ECRIS) and Interjust.

It's beyond obvious that the UK would be absolutely crackers to quit these agencies, especially given the necessity of spending £billions to replicate the regulatory roles they perform, and the total impossibility of replicating the functions of agencies like Interpol and ECRIS.

The decision to request continued membership of these agencies is one of the rare outbreaks of common sense in the White Paper, but continued alignment is likely to send the hard-right deregulation-obsessed Brextremists into fits of irrepressible rage.

European Court of Justice
"Where the UK participates in an EU agency, the UK will respect the remit of the Court of Justice of the European Union."
Brextremists will be incandescent with rage at this bit too because they hate the European Court of Justice with an undying ideological passion.

Customs

One of the most contentions issues for the fanatical Tory Brextremists is the customs issue. The White Paper proposes the establishment of a Facilitated Customs Agreement (FCA) with a common rule book on goods, including agri-foods.

This is obviously going to be completely unacceptable to the hard-right Brextremists who see a free trade deal with the Trump administration as their number one priority. 

A Trump-Tory trade deal would be completely incompatible with continued regulatory alignment with EU food standards because one of the main US negotiating objectives is to crack the UK open to cheap substandard American produce like chlorinated chicken, hormone riddled beef, and unlabeled GM produce.

If the UK government begins allowing cheap substandard US produce into the UK as part of a Tory-Trump trade deal, then the EU will obviously need to enforce customs checks to stop this American crap leeching across the UK border into their territory.

Standards

Food standards are not the only area that is under threat from a Tory administered Brexit. In November 2017 Labour put forward an amendment to the Tory EU Withdrawal Bill to prevent the Tories from using Brexit as a Trojan Horse to attack our workers' rights, environmental laws, consumer protections, equal rights protections, and food standards.

The Tories and their bigoted DUP backers stripped out this amendment, saying that we should just trust their word that they have no intentions to trash our rights, standards and protections (but why would they remove the amendment to stop them from doing it if they had no intention of doing it?).

Now they're making similar claims to the EU, claiming they have no intention of attacking and undermining workers' rights and environmental laws because they've made "strong domestic commitments" not to.

it's important to remember that the Tory party also made "strong domestic commitments" to not raise VAT during the 2010 General Election, then raised VAT within weeks of being enabled into power by the Lib-Dems.

One suspects that the EU negotiators won't be quite as naive as the British public when it comes to believing Tory promises.

Rule-takers

The White paper proposes that the UK would maintain regulatory alignment with the EU by continually updating its own laws (in Westminster and the devolved parliaments) in order to avoid the necessity of customs checks.

This raises a couple of really crucial issues.

What happens if one of the British parliaments decides to defy new EU standards (which is likely to happen sooner or later)? Do we then get customs checks by default?

And what's the sense in quitting the EU where we had the power to shape and influence new EU rules and standards as one of the largest and most influential member states, if we're simply going to accept the rules and standards they decide, without our input, in perpetuity?

Disputes

In the section on how the UK and EU deal with disputes the White Paper proposes an extrajudicial system of dispute resolution with no appeals process that is very similar to the hated ISDS components of the thankfully abandoned TTIP corporate power grab.

Here's the section:
"An independent arbitration panel, which would include members from both parties. In some instances, the arbitration panel might include specialist expertise such as where a dispute required detailed sectoral knowledge ... with the decision of the panel binding on the parties."
So if the Tories get their way, instead of disputes being decided in open courts, they'll be decided in closed rooms full of corporate lawyers with no scrutiny, and no right of appeal.

Mutual recognition

Throughout the White Paper the British government begs for mutual recognition of qualifications, mutual recognition of geographical origin designations, as well as for continued access to stuff like the Erasmus scheme and the EHIC travel insurance scheme.

All this begging raises the question of why we're leaving at all if we're so damned keen to cherry-pick so many of the benefits of membership as we leave.

Lexiter hell

All the left-wing people who voted for Brexit because they thought it would free the UK from the neoliberal influence of the EU should be spitting blood at this White Paper because the Tories are promising to tie Britain into all the hard-right, anti-state, pro-privatisation dogma the Lexiters voted Leave to escape from.

Here's an extract:
"To support the depth and breadth of the future UK-EU economic partnership, the UK would propose to incorporate its domestic choice to maintain a robust state aid regime into its future economic relationship with the EU. In light of this, the UK would make an upfront commitment to maintain a common rulebook with the EU on state aid, enforced by the Competition and Markets Authority."
Anyone who voted Leave in 2016 because they thought it would mean an escape from the hard-right anti-state dogma in the EU rules should be absolutely kicking themselves for imagining that such an escape could ever have happened under the Tories (who were instrumental in pushing these hard-right rules on the EU in the first place).

Outright dishonesty
"The Government has already demonstrated during the passage of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill that it will actively engage with suggestions from both Houses"
Anyone who actually followed the progress of the EU Withdrawal Bill knows that this is total bullshit. The Tories colluded with DUP to strip out all but one of the opposition amendments from the House of Commons, then they quickly stripped out all 15 of the amendments from the House of Lords with virtually no time allocated for debate over the amendments they were removing.

A more truthful statement would read: "The Government has already demonstrated during the passage of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill that it will actively ignore suggestions from both Houses".

Public reaction

One of the most alarming things about the Brexit White Paper is the bizarre public reaction to it, with an astounding 40% of the public claiming that Theresa May's approach is "too soft" as opposed to just 13% who think it's "about right", and 12% who think it's "too hard".

One wonders what percentage of the respondents to the YouGov poll have actually read the White Paper and found for themselves that it's clearly "hard Brexit with cherry-picking". I'd guess well below 1% of them. Which raises the question of how they have come to believe that it's "too soft".

My view is that it's come about through strategic Tory media manipulation. An absolute mass of coverage has been given to hard-right Brextremists like Boris Johnson, David Davis, and Jacob Rees-Mogg to slam May's proposals as "too soft", with virtually no coverage given to those who would accurately describe it as "hard Brexit with cherry picking".

The orchestrated Brextremist resignations have played a vital role in framing the public debate so that millions of people who have no intention of actually reading what's being proposed are left believing that the main problem with the White Paper is that it's "too soft" when the real problems are that it's too hard, too right-wing, and too much of an unrealistic shambles.

The Tory intent is obviously to move the public towards the economically ruinous "no deal" catastrophe the Brextremists have been craving from the beginning, and if over three times as many people see this White Paper as "too soft" as those who see it as "too hard", then their perception management strategy is clearly succeeding.

Conclusion

It's taken the Tory government an incredible 15 months to come up with this strategic document, when it's beyond obvious that they should have figured out what they wanted from the negotiations before they even considered triggering the time-limited Article 50 process.
Having left it so late to set out their objectives huge numbers of people remain spectacularly under-informed about what the White Paper actually proposes.

What they've actually come up with is a right-wing hard Brexit shambles that is massively over-reliant on unrealistic cherry-picking of the benefits of EU membership, while all of the good will necessary for any such cherry-picking to be allowed is being continually eroded by their toddler tantrum threats of a ruinous "no deal" flounce away from the negotiations if they don't get their own way.


Here's a link to the White Paper so you can have a look through it for yourself.


 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, 12 July 2018

Just imagine the mainstream media outrage if a Labour MP posted something as bigoted as this


Now that the local elections have passed, the raging orchestrated Labour anti-Semitism bonfire has died down to embers, with few people ever having realised that anti-Semitism is actually way more prevalent in the ranks of the Tory party.

The reason people don't realise is that proof of rampant bigotry within the Tory party is rarely reported because it simply doesn't align with the mainstream media "groupthink" objective of undermining Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour opposition at every opportunity.

Of course there are pockets of anti-Semitism within the Labour Party (any organisation with 500,000+ members is always going to have difficulty rooting out every single person with bigoted views), and of course the Labour Party is correct to have set up robust procedures for dealing with bigots, but when the the ruling party is evidently over-run with bigots, it seems like an odd thing for the media to fixate upon.

Take the repeated calls for an investigation into rampant anti-Muslim hatred within the Tory party from Muslim groups like the Muslim Council of Britain and Muslim Tory MPs like Sayeeda Warsi.

These calls haven't just been ignored by the Tory party, they've been openly publicly ridiculed by Tory MPs!

And now consider the vile pro-Trump Tweet in the article header from the Tory MP Michael Fabricant that depicts the Muslim Mayor of London being fucked by a pig.

The fact that Fabricant thought this image was so hilarious that he actually shared it on Twitter is indicative of the extreme-right anti-Muslim bigotry that is absolutely commonplace within the Tory ranks.

Shockingly the mainstream media have remained absolutely silent on this overt display of anti-Muslim bigotry from a Tory MP.

There are two main reasons for this silence:

One reason is that anti-Muslim hatred has become so normalised in Britain after years of anti-Muslim hate-mongering in the tabloid press and online hate chambers like the Guido Fawkes hate mob and the (now banned) Britain First Facebook page. Thus in modern Britain anti-Semitism is (rightly) considered grotesque, while anti-Muslim hate barely registers as bigotry at all for millions of people, especially people who have been normalised to anti-Muslim hate by hard-right media sources.

Then there's the fact that highlighting proven examples of vile bigotry within the Tory party would be absolutely counter-productive to the mainstream media "groupthink" agenda of continually attacking and undermining Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour leadership.

Just to illustrate the point, consider how furiously mainstream media hacks would have reacted had it been a Labour MP sharing a picture of a Jewish person being fucked by a pig. Just consider the days of coverage they would have wrung out of the scandal in order to inflict as much damage on Labour as possible. And just consider the absolute silence over Fabricant's vile display of bigotry.

 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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