Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Silence in the face of bigotry is complicity

February 18th 2019 was a truly extraordinary day in British politics. Not only did a bunch of self-serving Labour right-wingers split away from the Labour Party in a lest desperate effort to keep Tory austerity dogma alive, the British mainstream media twice demonstrated their screaming hypocrisy when it comes to bigotry.

Just hours after citing racism as one of her reasons for quitting the Labour Party, the right-wing pro-privatisation MP Angela Smith uttered an extraordinary racial slur on live TV, accusing British Asians of having a "funny tinge".

Even more extraordinary than this display of casual racism on live TV was the reaction of the mainstream media and Westminster establishment stooges on the panel. They just sat there in silence leaving the left-wing British Asian Ash Sarkar as the only one to immediately express disbelief at what had been said.

Interestingly the pseudo-political party that Angela Smith has joined (actually registered as a private company to evade declaring who is bankrolling them) has absolutely no disciplinary procedures in place to deal with racist comments from their MPs, so she was just allowed to get away with claiming that she wasn't serious and it only happened because she was "very tired".

Imagine if a left-winger or Corbyn-supporter had uttered a racial slur then tried to defend it on the grounds that they were just "very tired", do you honestly think the mainstream media would be fastidiously trying to bury the story?

Then on a different political panel show the right-wing anti-Corbyn polemicist Tom Bower (him of the extraordinary Corbyn is a 'dangerous hero' because he likes baked beans nonsense in the Daily Mail) used a vile anti-Semitic trope to bully and abuse a left-wing Jewish journalist called Michael Segalov.

Unbelievably the rest of the panel just sat there in silence as if racially bullying people is perfectly fine as long as the target is left-wing, leaving Segalov to defend himself against the abuse. No condemnation of the abuse, no solidarity with the victim, nothing!

The fact that this silent reaction to bigoted abuse happened twice on the same day illustrates the fact that this wilful blindness to bigotry from within the establishment ranks is an endemic problem.

It's quite extraordinary that people who would have howled themselves hoarse about the scandal if some leftist had used anti-Semetic bigotry to bully a Jewish person right in front of them on live TV, will just sit there in absolute silence when it's members of their in-group spouting the most absurdly bigoted things, actually leaving the targets of this bigoted abuse to defend themselves.

Let's make no mistake about it here. Bigotry is wrong whether it manifests on the left, the centre, or the right. Anyone proven to be a bigot needs to be lobbed out of whichever political party they belong to, no exceptions for the fact that you prefer one party or another.

Anyone who only opposes bigotry when it involves their political opponents, yet sits there and says absolutely nothing when it's coming from their political allies is an outrageous hypocrite, who is clearly only using the subject of bigotry to score cheap political points.

Whether you think Jeremy Corbyn has done enough to oppose anti-Semitism in Labour is one thing, but you'd be outright lying if you said he'd done nothing. At least he's trying, unlike those who just sit there and say nothing at all while their fellow establishment insiders spew casual racism and the most hateful anti-Semitic abuse.

Sitting there in silence as if nothing of importance has happened while your ideological brethren spew outright bigotry is bad enough in its own right because silence in the face of bigotry is complicity, but from people who are so keen to weaponise accusations of bigotry against their political foes, well it's just absolutely vile isn't it?

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Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Why this extraordinary disparity when it comes to anti-Semitic abuse?

On the 18th of February 2019 an outrageous anti-Semitic slur was broadcast on British television, yet virtually nobody raised the slightest exception to it.

The slur was the propaganda trope of the "self-hating Jew", which implies that there are 'good and proper Jews' who do as they're expected by wider society, and 'bad degenerate Jews' who defy social expectation of Jewish behaviour to such an extent that their actions can only be explained by the fact that they must be 'Jewish anti-Semites' who hate their own Jewishness.

To make matters worse this anti-Semitic slur wasn't just thrown out there as an anti-Semitic slur against left-wing Jews in general in the manner of Tory Home Secretary Sajid Javid, it was specifically targeted at a Jewish individual (Michael Segalov - well worth a follow if you do Twitter) on national television, which conjured the spectacle of a non-Jewish person publicly bullying a Jewish person by smearing him as 'not a proper Jew'.

The unbelievable reaction of the rest of the Good Morning Britain panel was to just ignore the slur as if nothing happened and leave Segalov to defend himself (in much the same way Angela Smith's bizarre "funny tinge" racism has been glossed over by the mainstream media and political neoliberals as if it somehow didn't matter, or didn't even happen).

it's quite extraordinary to see Segalov left to defend himself against this anti-Semitic slur as the rest of the panel just completely let it slide. No condemnation of the abuse, no solidarity with the victim, nothing!

the absolute apathy and passivity of the rest of the panel in the face of such overt racism was actually even more shocking than the racism itself. Just watch it for yourself

The person making the "self-hating Jew" accusation was the right-wing polemicist Tom Bower who has been desperately hawking his lame hatchet job on Jeremy Corbyn to anyone who will listen (the bizarre gibberish that Jeremy Corbyn is a depraved "dangerous hero" because he likes baked beans and no frills camping holidays in the British countryside!).

In fact Bower has had his anti-Corbyn polemic serialised in the notoriously anti-Semetic Daily Mail propaganda rag that glorified Hitler, propagandised for the British Union of Fascists, and demanded Britain turn away Jewish refugee children from Nazi Germany.

So here we have a right-wing Corbyn critic publicly using an anti-Semitic trope to personally attack a Jewish person on live television, and virtually nobody in the mainstream media even batted an eyelid about it.

Just imagine if it had been a Corbyn ally publicly lambasting a Jewish person as 'the wrong kind of Jew' on national television. How do you think the mainstream media would have reacted to that?

Mass indifference, or wall-to-wall vitriolic condemnation?

So why does this extraordinary disparity exist when it comes to anti-Semitic abuse?

If literally anyone out of the 500,000+ members of the Labour Party says anything vaguely anti-Semitic and Jeremy Corbyn is held personally responsible by the Westminster establishment class and mainstream media hacks alike.

But a right-wing anti-Corbyn polemicist outright abuses a Jewish person on national television, and none of them even give the slightest shit!

The glaringly obvious conclusion is that anti-Semitism is just a disposable tool to people who are enveloped in the anti-Corbyn cult mentality.

If someone on the left says anything that can be interpreted as anti-Semitism then the defenders of the neoliberal orthodoxy will use the issue to attack Corbyn personally. But if someone who belongs to their anti-Corbyn in-group uses an anti-Semitic trope to bully and abuse a Jewish person on live TV, they immediately forget about the issue of anti-Jewish bigotry altogether.

And this disparity is vitally important because anyone who condemns anti-Semitism amongst their political foes, but ignores or condones it amongst their political allies is guilty of cheapening and debasing the fight against anti-Jewish bigotry.

This isn't just disgustingly hypocritical behaviour, it's also dangerous, because it risks creating the public perception that anti-Semitism isn't actually a real issue with appalling real life consequences, but just some kind of abstract political weapon to be used selectively in order to discredit people on the left.

Anyone who has actual legitimate concerns about anti-Jewish bigotry must surely be left wondering how on earth nobody on the panel thought to call out this display of bigoted anti-Jewish bullying in the moment, and with even bigger questions about how the mainstream media just ignored the fuck out of an extraordinary display of anti-Semitism on live TV simply because highlighting an anti-Corbyn polemicist spewing anti-Semitism would completely contradict the objectives of their underlying anti-Corbyn/protect the neoliberal status quo agenda.

 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.


Toryism is increasingly just a smokescreen for the far-right

You're probably familiar with the far-right activist James Goddard as the man who hangs around Westminster intimidating politicians, abusing journalists, screaming abuse, and leading a gang of street thugs who spit on people and brawl with the police.

Well here he is arguing that he can't be far-right because he votes Tory.

The problem here is that the Tory party has demonstrably absorbed the far-right in order to cling to power. Furthermore many within the Tory ranks are openly courting this extreme-right ultranationalist demographic, and actively promoting the dissemination of imported extreme-right radicalisation propaganda on UK university campuses.

In 2017 Theresa May only just managed to cling to power thanks to the majority of Ukippers abandoning the wreckage of their protest party in order to turn Tory.

Without this surge of support from the far right the Tories would certainly have lost so many seats they wouldn't even have been able to use public cash to bribe the far-right DUP sectarians into propping up their government.

Leading Tories know that they've painted themselves over a demographic trapdoor, with the majority of under-45s holding strong anti-Tory views, and they know that they're absolutely reliant upon the extreme-right ultranationalist blue-kip demographic to retain their grip on power.

This is why they turn a blind eye to the ongoing infiltration of the Tory party membership by Arron Banks propaganda victims and other extreme-right activists.

This is why Tory politicians outright refuse to condemn extreme-right thugs like Paul Golding when they set about publicly intimidating people who dare to oppose Toryism.

This is why Tory politicians are far more likely to spew derision and vitriol at a bunch of kids protesting against the destruction of the environment than they are to condemn a bunch of extreme-right Brexity thugs brawling with police on the very next day.

The Tory party know they need the extreme-right to retain power, and with the collapse of UKIP as an electoral force the extreme-right know that they need the Tory party to obtain power.

Thus there's a growing political symbiosis between Tories and the far-right.

Not so long ago Toryism was incompatible with the far-right. Yes it was still bad because they promoted hard-right economic policies like ruinous austerity dogma, defunding of public service, privatisation mania, severe social security cuts, and ideologically driven wage repression, but they eschewed the extreme-right, green-washed their political agenda, and even promoted a few socially liberal policies like gay marriage.

These days they're still pushing the same socially and economically ruinous concoction of hard-right economic policies, but the green-wash has gone in the bin, they're actively colluding with the homophobic misogynistic DUP orange order sectarians, and they're openly courting the extreme-right ultranationalist demographic too.

Tory MPs are far more likely to be lobbing vitriolic abuse at pro-environment school kids these days than green-washing their economic agenda, and they're far more likely to be pushing extreme-right propaganda like the "cultural Marxism" conspiracy theory, scapegoating immigrants, or promoting extreme-right indoctrination propaganda on UK university campuses, than they are to be promoting socially liberal policies like environmental protection or gay equality.

And this extraordinary extreme-right radicalisation of the Tory party has taken place right in front of our eyes with barely a jot of coverage from the mainstream media. And this transformation is now so complete that a far-right street thug like James Goddard can publicly identify as a Tory voter, no Tory politicians come out to publicly disavow his support, and the mainstream media just continue refusing to engage with the fact that the Tory party has been radicalised to far-right extremism right in front of our eyes.

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


Monday, 18 February 2019

What you need to know about the seven Labour splitters

In this article I'm going to detail some essential facts on the 7 Labour splitters who are trying to keep Tory austerity dogma, public service cuts, and wage repression policies alive by splitting the Labour vote.

The seven are a diverse bunch with differing political backgrounds, but they do have several things in common. One is that they've continually expended far more time and effort on attacking their own party than on stuff like explaining Labour Party policies, or criticising the Tory government over the countless scandals and outrages they've inflicted on the British public since 2010.

Another thing that these 7 have in common is that every single one of them refused to oppose Tory austerity dogma in 2015 when the Tories passed the biggest package of social security cuts of all, cuts that are ruining people's lives to this day, especially those who live in the unfortunate areas where the Tory Universal Credit fiasco has been rolled out.

All seven of these supposedly moderate MPs also abstained on Theresa May's outrageous Hostile Environment legislation, even after she bragged about how her new rules could be used to "deport now, hear appeals later". Since then these rules have been used to deny jobs, housing, social security, banking services, and even lefe-saving health care to black Britons without the correct paperwork. Many Black Britons were even deported to their deaths overseas as a result of this despicable Tory legislation.

What could be more moderate than helping Theresa May deport black Britons to their deaths?

One other thing to note is that they've all colluded to join a breakaway faction called the Independent Group, but in order to hide who is funding them they've registered their website in Panama, and registered the organisation as a private business rather than a political party in order to evade declaring their funding to the electoral commission. Any politician who is willing to subvert the accountability rules in order to evade scrutiny like this should definitely never be trusted or taken at their word.

Chris Leslie

Many people would put Chuka Umunna down as the most significant of the Labour-splitters, but that honour goes to Chris Leslie who was one of the leading architects of Labour's ludicrously unappealing and self-defeating austerity-lite policy at the 2015 general election.

Had Labour opposed ruinous Tory austerity dogma in 2015 rather than pathetically imitating it Ed Miliband would probably have won, austerity would be over, Corbyn would still be an obscure backbencher, and there would be no such thing as Brexit!

Yes Brexit is a Tory instigated, Tory administered shambles that couldn't have happened without the Tory party, but it didn't happen in a vacuum, and Chris Leslie's idiotic pro-austerity posturing in 2015 is one of the main reasons the Tories actually won the majority that allowed them to set about inflicting this chaos.

Chuka Umunna

Chuka is an extraordinary self-serving chameleon of a politician. Before David Cameron and the Tories even called the EU referendum Umunna was a vocal opponent of Freedom of Movement, and then after the referendum he vehemently opposed a 2nd referendum on the final deal, and even argued that Britain should quit the Single Market.

But once Umunna saw the anti-Brexit movement as a useful vehicle for attacking the Labour leadership and furthering his own career he conducted a polar political switch to pro-EU radicalism!

Then there's the nonsense about anti-Semitism. Chuka Umunna was one of the MPs who sat on the Home Affairs Select Committee that called for clarifications of the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and declared that "no reliable, empirical evidence to support the notion that there is a higher prevalence of antisemitic attitudes within the Labour Party than any other political party".

None of this stopped Umunna later attacking Labour for proposing the IHRA clarifications that his own committee admitted the need for, and describing the party as "institutionally racist".

The only thing that's reliable about Chuka Umunna's political positioning is that he'll abandon it in an instant if he thinks it's in his personal advantage to do so.

Mike Gapes

Gapes is best known for the fact that he voted in favour of the disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq, and then consistently voted against inquiries into the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Gapes has never apologised for his role in the Iraq invasion, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis, or the creation of a lawless terrorism breeding ground which Al Qaida and ISIS have used as a base to spread their murderous fanaticism throughout the middle east for 16 devastating years.

Aside from triggering carnage in Iraq, Gapes is a big fan of the anti-democratic, homophobic, misogynistic, head-chopping, terrorism-spreading, journalist-dismembering tyrants who run Saudi Arabia. He's enjoyed several jollies in the Kingdom at the tyrants' expense, and opposes calls for Britain to stop selling them weapons because they keep using them to commit war crimes in Yemen with.

Luciana Berger

Luciana has suffered an awful lot of anti-Semitic abuse, to such an extent that three extreme-right fanatics have been jailed for abusing her and sending her death threats. On this she has my sympathy because alongside Diane Abbott, Sadiq Khan, and Jeremy Corbyn she's one of the most abused and threatened politicians in Britain.

What I can't stand is the way that cynical propagandists have taken these barrages of extreme-right abuse against Luciana in order to use them to attack the left with.

Berger was parachuted into the super-safe Liverpool Wavertree constituency where she had no connection and no knowledge of the local area whatever (to the point of not knowing who Bill Shankly was!). She was living at the incumbent MPs home at the time she was selected, and the incumbent MP's wife was in charge of running the selection process!

Berger isn't personally responsible for the extraordinarily corrupt selection procedure that put her in place, but she's certainly the beneficiary of the kind of anti-democratic Blairite constituency rigging that Labour is finally putting behind it.

In the end Berger's repeated threats to quit the Labour Party to join a new "centrist" party eventually resulted in a vote of no confidence from her local constituency.

The reaction of Labour right-wingers and the mainstream media was to claim the vote of no confidence was motivated by anti-Semitism and to ridicule the idea that it was actually motivated by her repeated threats to ... errr ... join a right-wing split away from the Labour Party.

The really sad thing about Berger is that she's done some really good work on mental health awareness. If she'd have just worked with the Labour leadership rather than constantly attacking and undermining her own party she could have made a real positive difference to people's lives.

Instead she's focused her efforts on scheming and plotting with Chuka Umunna and Chris Leslie in order to damage the Labour Party, keep the Tories in power, and ensure continued austerity-driven cuts to mental health funding, youth services, community groups, adult education and countless other services that do wonders for people's mental health.

Angela Smith

Until the day she quit Labour as one of the seven splitters Smith was perhaps most famous for bitterly opposing Labour's manifesto pledge to renationalise the water companies despite the remarkable 'coincidence' that she's also accepted a load of freebies from the water industry lobby!

But on the very day she became a splitter she made an extraordinary blunder that will no doubt be her defining political legacy. On the very day she cited "racism" as one of her reasons for quitting the Labour Party she described British Asians as being "funny tinged".

She also claimed the cost of four beds at the public expense for the one-bedroom flat she'd declared as her second home!

Ann Coffey

Few people have ever heard of Ann Coffey. During the 2009 expenses scandal it was revealed that Coffey was claiming £1,000 per month at the taxpayers expense to fund the mortgage on her second home, and a further £160 per month on a cleaner.

She has done valuable work campaigning against child sex exploitation, but then she also made a remarkable call for the scrapping of the right to trial by jury for rape accusations.

She doesn't seem like all that bad a person, just someone who is politically confused and a bit of a money-grabbing expenses pisstaker.

Gavin Shuker

Gavin Shuker (AKA "Gavin who?") is most famous for being one of the tiny minority of Labour MPs who opposed gay equal rights, in fact he resisted gay rights so vehemently that he threatened to quit Ed Miliband's cabinet if Labour supported Gay Marriage.

Thankfully the bigotry of religious extremists like Gavin was overcome in a free parliamentary vote thanks to the fact that around half of the Tory party was less bigoted than he was and sided with the majority of Labour, Lib-Dem, SNP, and Plaid Cymru MPs.

Gay equality remains one of the very few positive things the Tory party have achieved since 2010, and it's absolutely telling that Gavin was one of the bigots who tried to oppose it.

Due to his constant attacks on his own party his local Labour constituency eventually upheld a vote of no confidence in him, meaning Shuker was highly likely to have been deselected as Labour's representative in the Luton South constituency at the next election. So it's pretty clear that he only decided to join this splitter rebellion in order to jump before he was pushed.


A pro-austerity right-winger who helped wreck Labour's chances at the 2015 general election, a shameless self-serving opportunist who changes his political principles more often than his underpants, an unrepentant war-monger who detests the idea of political accountability as much as he adores the tyrannical regime in Saudi Arabia, a private water industry shill who spouts racism on national television, a hangover from the Blairite era where people with no connection to the local community whatever were parachuted into super-safe Labour seats, an egregious expenses scammer who opposes the right to trial by jury, and an anti-gay bigot who jumped before he was pushed, all jumping ship to an incredibly dodgy opaquely-funded private company masquerading as a political party.

Good luck to any political illiterates who imagine that this useless lot are worthy of their political support.

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


The 7 right-wing pro-austerity Labour splitters have even less integrity than Ukippers!

Seven of the most right-wing pro-austerity Labour Party MPs have quit the party in order to establish a new opaquely-funded "centrist" party designed to keep Labour out of power, and prevent them from ending ruinous Tory policies like austerity dogma, public service cuts, and wage repression.

The seven are Chris Leslie, Chuka Umunna, Gavin Shuker, Mike Gapes, Angela Smith, Luciana Berger, and Ann Coffey. They're the same old faces, the internal wreckers who always expended far more time and effort attacking their own party, rather than explaining Labour Party policies, or criticising the countless failures of the Tory government.

One of the splitters is Chris Leslie, who was one of the Labour right-wingers who came up with the ludicrously unappealing austerity-lite policy of pathetically imitating Tory austerity dogma at the 2015 general election, rather than vehemently opposing it.

Had Labour opposed austerity in 2015 rather than pathetically imitating it Ed Miliband would probably have won, austerity would be over, Corbyn would still be an obscure backbencher, and there would be no such thing as Brexit!

It was Miliband's lack of leadership (in not telling Chris Leslie, Ed Balls, and the other pro-austerity Labour right-wingers to naff off with their rubbish Tory-lite strategy) that got us in this mess in the first place, yet the other six splitters are throwing their support behind Leslie in the hope that their faction can keep Labour out of power and keep Tory austerity dogma alive.

Another of the splitters is Chuka Umunna who is the living embodiment of directionless self-serving opportunism. These days he parades around as a "people's vote" advocate hoping to soak up support from the stop-Brexit activists, but before this miraculous conversion he opposed Freedom of Movement even before the EU referendum, was adamantly opposed to a second referendum, and publicly advocated Britain quitting the Single Market.

And it's only six months since Umunna vehemently denied that he was plotting to form a breakaway party!

This is a shockingly dishonest guy who has crept from the most Europhobic hard-Brexit fringe of the Labour Party in 2016 through to the Europhile stop-Brexit fringe, lying and deceiving all the time, and then out of the door. Yet somehow some people actually see Umunna as a hero, rather than the brazenly self-serving charlatan that he so obviously is.

The parliamentary voting record of this group of seven is absolutely clear. Every single one of these splitters refused to oppose Tory austerity dogma when they had the chance in 2015 and every single one of them abstained on Theresa May's disgusting "deport now, hear appeals later" Hostile Environment policy that led to the Windrush scandal

Perhaps the most telling thing of all is that not a single one of the seven splitter had the decency to call a by-election after quitting the Labour Party.

These cynical opportunists have cynically ridden into Westminster on the Labour brand, using the unpaid support and activism of thousands of ordinary Labour members to get there. And now they're selfishly turning their backs on these people in a desperate last-ditch effort to prevent Labour coming to power and bringing ruinous Tory austerity dogma, public service cuts, and wage repression policies to an end.

Even the Brexity Tory MPs Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless had more integrity, because when they quit Cameron's Tory party to join UKIP in 2014 they both called by-elections out of respect for their constituents.

The fact these 7 pro-austerity Labour splitters have even less integrity than Ukippers tells us everything we need to know about how untrustworthy they are, how much contempt they have towards their constituents, and how much they fear the concept of democratic accountability.

There's also the very real risk that these 7 splitters will decide to vote in favour of Theresa May's hard-right Brexit shambles purely because Corbyn and the Labour Party will be opposing it (which would be breathtakingly hypocritical given all the abuse they've lobbed at Corbyn for the last 2 years for supposedly "enabling" Tory Brexit).

Anyone who buys into the splitters' pro-austerity politics, their brazenly self-serving nonsense, and their outright contempt for democratic accountability must be as politically clueless as they are delusional.

But sadly we know there are lots of political dupes out there who will vote for any old shit given the right branding (how else is it possible to explain the popularity of the economically illiterate, billionaire-bankrolled, bloated spiv David Cameron before his Brexit gamble backfired so spectacularly?).

The Labour splitter group will almost certainly end up a total failure like the SDP in the 1980s, but there's a serious danger that they'll nick just enough Labour votes to keep the Tories in power at the next election. Thus more ruinous austerity dogma, more education cuts, more privatisation mania, more ideologically driven defunding of public services, more systematic abuse of sick and disabled people, more tax cuts for the rich, more social security cuts for the working poor, more collapsing local government services, and more wage repression for ordinary working people.

But to the splitter group and those who support them, all this damage and suffering be a price worth paying in order to maintain the political status quo.

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


Friday, 15 February 2019

Theresa May's message to the youth of Britain: Never Vote Tory

Let's be honest. We're destroying this planet. Just look at the millions of tons of plastic in the oceans. Look at the way insects are dying off in unprecedented numbers. And look at the fact that every single one of the five hottest years on record have occurred in the last five years.

Mindless consumerism and profit-fixated capitalism are not just trashing the planet, they're trashing the futures of the younger generations, many of whom are understandably angry about it.

They're too young to be allowed to vote in elections, but they've found a way to express their political opinions through the School Strike for Climate protests that manifested all over the world today.

Anyone who understands the essential political truth that proper political engagement involves more than stuffing a bit of paper into a box every few years should be delighted that so many young people are learning to raise their political voices before they even get to voting age.

But Theresa May and the Tories are far from pleased. The idea of young activists demanding political action frightens the hell out of them because they're repulsed by anything that might get in the way of their project to transfer as much wealth and power as possible to the mega-rich elitist class who entirely bankroll their party.

Theresa May's unbelievably patronising comments about the School Strike for Climate protests included accusations that the kids were being "disruptive" and "wasting time".

The Daily Mail hack, relentless Tory cheerleader and wife of the Tory environment secretary Sarah Vine went even further with an extraordinary claim that 99.9% of the kids who went on the protest had no real concerns about the planet whatever, and saw it as nothing more than "an excellent opportunity to get out of doing any work".

So the subtext to the Tory stance is absolutely clear. Your concerns are irrelevant, your attempts to engage with politics are not just disruptive, but they're also completely insincere for 999 out of every 1,000 of you too!

Way to appeal to future voters Tory geniuses!

Politicians from other parties adopted an entirely different tone to demonstrate that they were listening carefully to the concerns of the younger generations. Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn said the young protesters were "right to feel let down by the generations before them", Caroline Lucas of the Greens described the widespread protests as "most hopeful thing that's happened in years", and Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP said the protests were "a cause for optimism in an often dark world".

The Tory party are already utterly toxic amongst the younger generations as a result of their introduction of rip-off university fees (aspiration taxes that over 3/4 of students will never pay off despite entire working lifetimes of paying a 9% education tax on their disposable income), massive cuts to school funding since 2010, the deliberate and sustained under-investment in the infrastructure and services that generate future economic prosperity, and last but not least their hard-right ultranationalist interpretation of the 2016 Brexit vote.

But this unbelievably patronising attitude to young people raising their political voices is the glitter on the Tory turd.

The Tory stance seems to be that "kids can't vote, so fuck 'em", but it'll obviously only be a few years before these kids at the protest today become adults, so the Tory attitude isn't just patronising and dismissive, but also incredibly short-sighted too

This Tory political shortsightedness when it comes to listening to future voters is decidedly ironic given that political shortsightedness about environmental issues was one of the core themes of the youth protest.

So yes, kids skipped a few lessons today to protest about what they believe in, but the patronising toxicity of Theresa May and the Tories' reactions to their protest provides a much bigger life lesson than anything they could have learned in school: 'Never Vote Tory'.

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


Thursday, 14 February 2019

Freedom of speech doesn't mean we're obligated to give extreme-right fanatics a platform

As regular Another Angry Voice readers will know from all the extreme-right trolls who infest my Facebook comments, I've got very strong anti-censorship views.

In the 8 years I've been running the AAV page I've blocked fewer than two dozen accounts from commenting, which is incredibly low for a page with 335,000+ followers. It works out at about 3 a year, or 1 in every 14,600 followers. So just 0.0068% of people are depraved enough to get themselves thrown off my page. I defy you to find me a page with a lower block rate than that.

The only time I block people is when they do stuff like post calls for ethnic genocide, repeatedly spread defamatory accusations, bully and threaten other people in the comments, and/or hijack my page to post links to stuff like extreme-right hate groups and anti-Semitic conspiracy sites. Behaviour that is not only vile and outrageous, but that could also end up getting my page shut down if I didn't remove it.

Whenever I do block people or remove comments I take the very unusual step of informing the group what I've done, which stands in total contrast to extreme-right social media pages that routinely ban anyone who dares express a dissenting opinion in the closed ideology hate chambers they're curating (just try asking about all the white paedophiles in the EDL on a Tommy Robinson fan page and see how long your comment lasts).

But whenever I inform the group about the removal of extreme-right content from my page, I always get extreme-right fanatics crying "see, look at the terrible lefty censorship".

Aside from the grotesque hypocrisy of extreme-right propagandists decrying the open and transparent moderation of content by a left-leaning page when they absolutely don't give a shit about the industrial scale deletion of dissenting opinions on extreme-right pages, this kind of extreme-right victim complex snowflakery betrays a crucial misunderstanding of the concept of free speech.

Yes, everyone has the right to say whatever they like (within the constraints of the law), but nobody has the right to force other people to actively promote their hate speech.

In Britain it's not actually a criminal offence to glorify the Nazi party, praise Adolf Hitler, or deny the Holocaust, but it's also not obligatory for others to promote these views when they come across them.

Consider these examples:
  • Should a Jewish baker be forced to fulfil the order of a neo-Nazi who comes into his shop to demand a cake with Nazi Swastikas, Hitler's face, and a message saying the Holocaust didn't happen?
  • Should the World Wildlife Fund be forced to host adverts on their website from gun safari operations that arrange for mega-rich people to go out shooting endangered wild animals in Africa?
  • Should a black civil rights magazine be forced to accept article submissions from white supremacists promoting ethnic cleansing and the formation of a white ethno-state in their country?
  • Should atheists or secularists be forced to promote content from terrorist-supporting Islamist extremists or civil rights-opposing Christian fundamentalists on their social media accounts?
  • Should environmental charities like Greenpeace be forced to host climate change denier propaganda paid for by shady fossil fuel industry lobbying outfits?
Of course they shouldn't. So why should a left-leaning Facebook page be forced to allow extreme-right fanatics to hijack their page in order to promote neo-fascism, anti-Semitism, and white supremacism to their audience.

Yes these far-right extremists have a legal right to spread their hateful ideology in their own online spaces (as long as they avoid breaking the law by inciting terrorism or whatever), but they absolutely don't have a right to force other people to promote their dangerous ideology for them.

We may have to listen to their depraved extremist ranting every so often, but we have absolutely no obligation to hand them a megaphone.

In fact we actually have a duty not to. If allow our online platforms to be used to actually help these people spread their fanatical extreme-right ideas into mainstream political discourse, we're actually complicit in what they're doing.

So when the BBC give a ridiculous soft ball interview to an extreme-right hate preacher on the very day one of his acolytes was jailed for carrying out a deadly extreme-right terrorist attack, they're actively complicit in the spreading of dangerous extreme-right fanaticism into the mainstream.

Of course the state broadcaster giving vast dollops of free publicity to terrorism-inspiring extreme-right hate preachers is much more problematic than ordinary people or relatively small independent media pages inadvertently allowing their comments threads to be hijacked by neo-Nazis, but it's all part of the same problem.

The extreme-right continually invoke "free speech" and present themselves as poor innocent victims whenever anyone refuses to give them a platform to spread their hateful ideology (just like the Nazis did in the 1930s), but:

Why should left-wing, liberal, and progressive people tolerate them posting their extremist views on our pages when they routinely delete all of our views off theirs? 
Why should those who actually believe in free speech be forced to amplify the reach of those who would ruthlessly destroy the very freedom of speech they use in order to demand that we provide them a platform? 
Why should left-wingers allow neo-Nazis to hijack our platforms with their propaganda when we know that if they ever actually achieved political power the very first people to be herded into their death chambers would be us?
The answer to all of these questions of course is that we shouldn't. 

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