Saturday, 23 February 2019

The Brexity lies that have gone mega-viral on Facebook


Numerous people have written to me asking me to look into a list of 26 reasons to be afraid of the Lisbon Treaty that has gone mega-viral on Facebook numerous times via copy n' paste reposting, often with changes to the introduction to make it look like the list was personally compiled by the poster, not just copied from elsewhere.

I've included a image of one of the most widely shared versions of this pack of lies so you check it out as I go through it point by point.
 

Introduction:

Before we even get to the 26 points there are already a load of red flags in the introduction.

We're expected to believe that the poster read the entire Lisbon Treaty, which is a crude and highly suspect appeal to authority.

They're positioning themselves as the "expert" who has read and analysed the whole Lisbon Treaty, meaning we should uncritically take them at their word about what they say about it.

This posturing as an expert is then completely undermined by a paragraph of ALL CAPS SHOUTING which includes the first glaringly obvious lie. The Lisbon Treaty does not come into force in 2020, it already came into force in 2009!

The Lisbon Treaty is not a future threat to be afraid of, it's the current circumstances that have existed within the EU for the last decade!

Then we get to the assertion that no Remainer ever asks what will happen if we stay in the EU, which is another outright lie.

I'm a massive critic of Tory hard-right Brexit yet I also have all kinds of legitimate concerns about the future of the EU, such as the draconian copyright extremist legislation they're trying to pass, the blind eye the EU institutions have turned to the extraordinary political repression in member states like Spain, Hungary, and Poland, their enforcement of ruinous austerity dogma on member states like Greece, and their use of extrajudicial ISDS measures in trade deals.

It is possible to have reservations about the EU, yet not believe that the best solution to these problems is to conduct a chaotic job-destroying Tory-administered flounce out of the EU.

Having legitimate questions about the future of the EU obviously is a completely different thing to wilfully spreading a pack of fear-mongering lies, which is what everyone who has shared iterations of this Facebook post has been doing.

Point 1: Loss of abstention veto (lie)

There is no abstention veto to lose. No country has ever been able to torpedo EU legislation just by abstaining. Unsurprisingly it's always necessary to actually vote against legislation in order to stop it. So the only people who could be upset about point 1 are those who don't understand the structures of the EU, or even just how voting works in general, meaning they fear the UK losing a right they never actually had.

Here's an article detailing how voting in the European Council actually works if you're interested.


Point 2. Federalisation (lie)

The Lisbon Treaty does not introduce EU federalisation. In order for that to happen the EU member states would have to agree a new treaty to extend the powers of the EU.

Voting on treaties is very different to the European Council voting system. Treaties must be agreed by all member states unanimously, so if a treaty enforcing federalisation of all member states 
is proposed, all member states must vote in favour of it.

This has not happened, and will not happen.


3. Accept the Euro by 2022 (lie)

If you mindlessly believe this copy n' paste thread all member states will be forced to join the Euro by 2022. If you believed the Daily Telegraph in 2014 all member states would be forced to join the Euro by 2020. If you believed the Daily Express in 2017 all member states would be forced to join the Euro by 2025.

Why do they all use different dates? Because they're making it up, but this Facebook propaganda thread is particularly bad because it outright lies that the Lisbon Treaty forces member states to join the Euro when it does no such thing.


4. Moving the London stock exchange to Frankfurt (lie)

How utterly gullible would you have to be to actually believe that the EU could force the London stock exchange to move to Germany through the Lisbon Treaty?

The origin for this lie is the proposed merger between the London and Frankfurt stock exchanges that was eventually blocked by the EU competition regulator!

If you are worried about British-based financial services moving overseas, then you should be absolutely horrified by Brexit, which has already caused a mass exodus of capital ($1 trillion in assets) and thousands of financial services jobs to other countries that remain in the EU.

Even Tory Brextremist Jacob Rees-Mogg has joined the exodus by shifting his investment fund to Ireland in order to keep a foot in the Single Market!


5. Supremacy of European Parliament and ECJ (lie)

This point relies on a crass misunderstanding of what the ECJ (European Court of Justice) is, and how powers can be shared between different legislative bodies (consider the federal and state governments in the United States, and how state law can over-rule federal law on all manner of issues such as cannabis legalisation).

A good example of how they've got this so wrong is to consider the December 2018 ECJ ruling that found that the UK Parliament has the sovereign democratic right to revoke Article 50, and that the European Parliament or any of the other EU institutions can do absolutely nothing to tinker with the UK's terms of membership as a punishment for the three year farce we've put them through.

The ECJ actually ruled that the UK parliament is sovereign and that there's nothing any of the EU institutions can do about it, yet somehow, according to this copy n' paste fear-list they're the enemy to be feared and despised!

6. Abolish parliament! (lie)

The nasty EU and ECJ are going to force the UK to accept everything they say so we might as well abolish the House of Commons and the House of Lords!

In reality EU legislation only makes up 13% of UK law (even after decades of integration), so even if we completely accept the ludicrous proposition that the UK would be forced to accept 100% of EU law, then there's still the other 87% of UK law for parliament to concentrate on.

Even if this fear-mongering nonsense were true, why on earth would it mean that parliament would cease to exist as we know it? It's a complete non sequitur.


7. No trade deals (absurdity)

The threat that the Lisbon Treaty somehow rules out Britain's future ability to make trade deals is absolutely absurd because this isn't some future threat, it's the actual current state of affairs.

The EU Single Market is the single largest trading block on the planet which gives it enormous power to craft trade deals to its own advantage. All of the individual states that decided to join made the decision to give up their ability to make their own trade deals in return for access to the Single Market and the advantage of pooled negotiating power.

Repurposing the actual current state of affairs as a terrifying future threat is an extraordinary tactic, and it just goes to show how gullible people can be that the tens of thousands to have shared this nonsense didn't even notice that they were being directed to fear the introduction of what is actually the norm, and has been for decades.

8. No trade tariffs (absurdity)


This is basically just a reiteration of the previous point to present the current state of affairs as a terrifying future threat. Trade tariffs are decided communally by the EU. If it didn't work like this the Single Market and Customs Union couldn't exist in their current form.

9. No trade quotas (absurdity)


Another reiteration of the same idiotic effort to present the current state of affairs as a terrifying future threat.

10. Loss of fishing rights (lie)

EU member states will lose control of their fishing rights in 2020. It's hard to tell where this lie even stems from. It's got nothing to do with the Lisbon treaty, that's for sure.

There are EU plans to improve sustainable fishing practices in 2020 in order to prevent the depletion of fishing stocks (the next step after the abandonment of discards in 2015), but these plans actually introduce more regionalisation, and more stakeholder consultation. Anyone who tries to present these sustainability plans as a loss of all fishing rights is simply lying through their teeth. 


11. Loss of oil and gas rights (lie)

There is absolutely nothing in the Lisbon Treaty forcing member states to give up their oil and gas rights. In fact this complaint is so loosely worded that it's not even clear what it means. Are they trying to say that the exploration rights are to be given up? The territorial rights? The rights to collect tax revenues on oil industry profits? The right to assign oil industry revenues to national GDP?

It's just naked fear-mongering about the nasty EU taking what is "ours". The contentiousness of this point should be obvious to all Scottish people given that the UK government has essentially forced Scotland to give up its oil and gas rights so that tax revenues on oil industry profits are seized by London.

Essentially this "loss of oil and gas rights" argument makes a much better case in favour of Scottish independence, than it does against the EU!

12. Forced entry into Schengen (lie)

Only six member states are outside the Schengen zone: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the UK.

There are no plans to force member states to join the Schengen free travel area by 2022, and definitely not in the Lisbon Treaty. In fact the only reference to forced Schengen acceptance anywhere is a 2017 article in the Daily Express based on a load of fear-mongering nonsense about how the EU might punish Britain if it cancels Brexit (punishment the December 2018 ECJ ruling declared unlawful should the UK parliament decide to revoke Article 50).

Perhaps the original author of this copy n' paste propaganda mistook their copy of the Daily Express for the Lisbon Treaty?

13. Loss of control of planning legislation (lie)


Town and city planning is not an EU competence. This means they don't set planning rules for member states. Sometimes EU laws impact national planning legislation (stuff like air pollution laws) but the idea that the nasty EU superstate is going to take over your local council planning office is so absurd it's extraordinary that people actually believe this nonsense.

14. Loss of armed forces and nuclear weapons (lie)

The EU does not have an army and any decision to create an EU army would have to be made unanimously. Many member states remain steadfastly opposed to the idea. Additionally there is absolutely nothing in the Lisbon Treaty forcing the creation of an EU army, forcing member states to give up their own armies, or compelling member states to hand over their nuclear weapons (in the case of the two member states that actually have them).


The Lisbon Treaty doesn't even mention the creation of an EU army. All it mentions is a the framing of common defence and security policies, which means cooperation between EU states on issues like combating terrorism (do we want to share intelligence on terrorist threats with our European allies or not?) mutual defence (if you don't like that idea you should hate NATO).

One of the most absurd things about this threat that "the EU are going to steal our nukes" is that they've already been stolen. In 1997 the Tory government privatised Trident into the hands of a consortium which is now run by three private companies, two US-based (Jacobs Engineering & Lockheed Martin) and one UK-based (Serco).

Imagine the detachment from reality it would take to be horrified and outraged about an entirely fictional threat that "the EU are going to steal our nukes", but 100% relaxed about the observable reality that our nukes are actually being run by a bunch of private corporations!


15. Loss of taxation policy (lie)

According to this point the EU is supposedly planning to revoke member states' ability to form their own taxation policies at some point in the near future.

Why member states would ever allow that to happen is not explained. Neither is the section of the Lisbon Treaty that supposedly proposes this radical policy (exactly like all of the other 26 points).

What kind of cognitively illiterate idiot believes the assertion the the EU is going to unilaterally take over all member states' taxation policies based on absolutely no evidence whatever?

16. Loss of national law (lie)

Again, what kind of idiot just believes that the EU is going to be able to prevent member states from creating their own laws with no evidence whatever?

Which member states would vote in favour of a treaty to abolish the legislative role of their own parliaments?

Somehow we're expected to believe that all of the nations of the EU are so stupid that they'd vote to abolish themselves! 


17 The UK loses its standing in the Commonwealth (lie)

Again, there's no reference to any specific legislation here. People are just expected to unquestioningly accept the vague assertion that the UK must lose standing in the Commonwealth, and this loss of standing has something to do with the Lisbon Treaty (which doesn't even mention the Commonwealth in the entire text).

Talk about assuming your audience to be a bunch of idiots!

18. Loss of British overseas territories (lie)

Not only does this point fail to explain how this supposed loss of British Overseas Territories like the Falklands, Gibraltar, and Cayman Islands has anything to do with the EU or the Lisbon Treaty, it doesn't even explain where the sovereignty of these territories is transferred to. Do they become independent states, vassal states of the EU, or do they just get erased from existence by some kind of space laser?

It's just another reiteration of the nasty EU bully boy stealing our toys, but the author is lagging now so they can't even be arsed to explain it any more, we're just expected to believe it because they set themselves up as an authority figure at the beginning with their claim to have read the Lisbon Treaty (a document that doesn't even mention the British Overseas Territories).


19. Loss of control of judicial system (lie)

What does the claim that "the UK loses control of its judicial system" even mean?

The British judicial system isn't just one entity, it's divided into three different systems (Scottish Law, Northern Ireland Law, English and Welsh Law). All of these three systems are necessarily independent from government control. The idea of government appointed judges is the terrifying stuff of totalitarianism.

So who "controls" the justice system in Britain now and by what means are the EU supposedly threatening to seize control of it for themselves?

And how does any of this fit in with the fact that the EU has been suing the Polish government in an effort to protect the independence of the Polish judiciary?

20 & 21 Loss of control of national and international policy (lies)


This is such a vague complaint it's difficult to figure out which section of the Lisbon Treaty supposedly enables this terrible power-grab by the EU bully-boys.

Like most of the crap in this list, concerns over national and international policy are already covered by points 6 and 16 that wildly claimed that the EU would result in the abolition of parliament and the eradication of UK law.

How a country is supposed to develop "national policy" or "international policy" without a national parliament or national law is an interesting question. Or it would be if all of the claims weren't just fear-mongering bullshit with no basis in reality whatever.

22. Loss of nationhood (lie)

I'd really like to see the section of the Lisbon treaty that says that all member states lose their right to call themselves a nation in their own right.

It's easy to see that whoever compiled this list was badly running out of steam by this point, but the idea that the identities of member states would be completely erased is such lazy hyperbolic nonsense that anyone with the faintest grip on reality should have been laughing out loud at the idiocy of it by this point.

But somehow no! Somehow tens of thousands of people actually read this shit, believed it, wrote furious comments about it, and helped spread the transparently obvious lies even further by sharing it.


23. Loss of space exploration programme (lie)

The British Space Agency was established in 2010. It has a budget of £372 million, much of which is accounted for by Britain's investments in multinational collaborative projects like the Galileo Satellite Navigation system, the European Space Agency Subscriptions, and the EU Satellite Centre.

The European Space Agency has a budget of £5 billion, and by walking away from the EU the UK is going to lose access to this project, and the British Space Agency is going to be left as a deflated husk with no space programme at all.

There never was an EU plan to take over the British Space Agency, however by quitting the EU the Brexiteers are absolutely trashing Britain's space exploration potential.

There's so much wrong in this list of lies that it beggars belief, but like the financial services fear-mongering in point 4, this one is especially egregious in the way it completely reverses reality by addressing a subject which provides one of the strongest reasons against quitting the EU as a reason to quit the EU.

Just ask any astrophysicist (or scientist in general) if they think that Britain quitting the EU is going to be great news for British science and space exploration.


24. Loss of aviation and sea lane jurisdiction (lie)

Guess what. The Lisbon Treaty doesn't even mention aviation or shipping.

25. Loss of rebate (lie)

This lie is particularly easy to disprove. The Lisbon Treaty doesn't even mention the rebate, let alone set out a hard and fast expectations of increased contributions from member states.

As a result of the definitely-not-cancelled rebate the UK (population 66 million) still pays significantly less than Italy (population 60 million) for its EU membership!

The aforementioned ECJ ruling on Article 50 found that the EU couldn't punish the UK by cancelling the rebate, so even if we decide to stay in after pissing them about for three years, the rebate stays.

26. Dodgy financial calculations (lies)

The list finishes of with a list of dodgy unsourced calculations referring to the claim in point 25, and claiming vastly increased UK contributions to the EU budget.

It's unclear when the first iteration of this absurd list of lies was compiled, but the Lisbon Treaty came into effect in 2009, which was followed by a period in which the UK's contribution to the EU budget declined significantly between 2013 and 2017!

If the Lisbon Treaty did set out specific financial expectations of member states (it didn't) then they must have got their maths spectacularly wrong to demand an extra £billion+ year on year, only for the UK contribution to fall by well over £1 billion between 2013 and 2017.


Conclusion

The conclusion to the post tends to vary like the introduction, with people replacing the original with screeds of their own.

This particular version does a bit of sneering contempt for young people positing that their pack of lies about the future is what the younger generations are complaining about, when their actual legitimate complaints are that they don't want another economic crisis because we still haven't recovered from the last one thanks to 9 years of ruinous Tory austerity dogma, they don't want to lose their right to live, work, study, and travel across Europe, they don't want a wave of job losses, or chaos at our ports and airports, and they don't want their European-born friends/family members/work colleagues/neighbours treated with derision and contempt by Theresa May's xenophobic government.

It then goes on to claim that young people should "be on their knees" thanking Brexit voters for saving them from becoming Orwellian automatons, which is decidedly ironic given the clearly identifiable use of Orwellian reality-reversing propaganda within the 26 point barrage of lies.

Then it finishes off with a conspiracy theory that Brexit is not dragging out because the process of quitting a political union you've been integrating with for four decades is a lot more complex than just putting a cross on a piece of paper and hoping for the best, but actually because there's some special deadline in 2020 (or is it 2022? as several of the 26 points claim) that will result in the seizure of our army, resources, and assets, the subjugation of our parliament and judiciary, the theft of our financial industry and space agency, the destruction of our borders, and the de facto abolition of the UK!

And do you know what the worst thing is?

If you ever point out that all the evidence points to the fact that Brexit is going to be an economic disaster, jobs will be lost, industries will flee, and Britain will be humbled on the international stage, the type of people who shared this despicable pack of fear-mongering lies will shriek "project fear" at you in order to discredit all the facts and evidence you try to bring to the table.



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OR

Friday, 22 February 2019

Is "tinge" offensive?


When the Labour-defecting MP Angela Smith made her weird and racist comments about British Asians being "funny tinge" on the big day these splitters had been plotting for months, this racist gaffe was obviously going to attract a lot of ridicule.

The mess was made even worse when Smith and her fellow splitter MPs decided that there should be no disciplinary process, and agreed the line that she only spouted racist remarks because she was "very tired" (is it just me or is 'I was only racist because I was tired' an extraordinary excuse that implies racism is an inherent attribute that is always there, but only leaks out under conditions like tiredness, stress, or drunkenness?).

For context this is a bunch of MPs who spent months bitterly attacking Labour's internal processes for dealing with bigotry, who then immediately give one of their own MPs a total free pass on a bizarre outburst of 1970s-style racism, revealing the fact that they have absolutely no disciplinary procedures at all for dealing with racism in the ranks!

This shockingly lax attitude to dealing with racism is hardly surprising from a group who all either abstained on, or actually voted in favour of Theresa may's racist "Hostile Environment" legislation that created the Windrush Scandal, and resulted in black Britons being deported to their deaths overseas.

This bizarre and hypocritical "funny tinge" episode was always going to provoke derision, and the word "tinge" has subsequently been used to ridicule the Independent Group.

Nicknames, satire, and political shorthand have always been a fundamental part of UK political discourse, but ever since "tinge" became a thing there have been an awful lot of people turning up in comments threads to cry that calling Independent Group "tinge" is unfair, improper, offensive, and even Trumpian!

Amazingly these are people who will willingly and uncritically accept the explanation that Angela Smith slurred British Asians as "funny tinges" because she was "very tired" but then get hyper-offended at other people using the term "tinge" to refer to the group of MPs who continue to side with Smith, and who fully accept her outrageous 'I was only racist because I was tired' excuse!

In this warped worldview it's apparently perfectly fine to refer to the "tinge" of British Asians' skin as being "funny", but then unspeakably offensive to use the word "tinge" as satirical shorthand for the group the woman who did this belongs to!

The same thing happens when you use the political shorthand "parliamentary squatters" to describe the fact these MPs have refused to call by-elections in their constituencies because they're a bunch of democracy-fearing cowards who know they'd lose their seats if they actually put their divisive and egotistical actions to the vote.

The reason pro-austerity centrists are getting so upset about the use of satirical shorthand like "tinge" and "squatter" to describe the Independent Group actually has nothing to do with these words being offensive in their own right, it's that these people know that satire and shorthand are very effective ways of influencing public opinion.


If nicknames and descriptions like "tinge" and "squatter" are allowed to stick, people will be continually reminded about this group's shockingly lax attitude to racism in their ranks and the fact that they're so terrified of democracy that they're treating the constituencies that elected them with contempt.

So they react with outrage, and attempt to impose a form of political correctness to police political satire (meta political correctness if you like) because they desperately want to stamp out the kind of political satire that satirises the opaquely funded, self-serving, Tory-facilitating, pro-austerity centrism they approve of.


These people are not upset because the words "tinge" and "squatter" are offensive, they're upset because they're effective.


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OR

Thursday, 21 February 2019

"Politics is Broken" and guess what? Only they can save us!


The 11 (and counting) squatter MPs are all pushing this populist "politics is broken" trope as hard as they can, and positioning themselves as the heroic saviours.

In this article I'm going to look at the absolute chaos this "politics is broken" trope has already unleashed in three other major economies, before looking at the squatter MPs and their Independent Group (AKA 'Tinge') in more detail.

What I'm not going to do is argue that politics isn't broken. Britain wouldn't be in this farcical Brexit shit-show if the political establishment class hadn't put us here, and anti-vaxxers, grifters, and smarmy charlatans would never have got their hands on the levers of power in Italy, the United States, and France had their political systems not been flawed enough to allow them to either.

The point is that just because someone is repeatedly saying "politics is broken" doesn't mean you have to unquestioningly accept the way they position themselves as the only possible saviours.

Italy

The Five Star Movement is a populist anti-politics political party founded in 2009 by the stand-up comedian and polemicist Beppe Grillo.

This party has used the big tent political strategy to build a disparate coalition of all kinds of people with eurosceptics, anti-globalists, direct democracy advocates, and anti-vaxxers making up several of their core demographics.

Initially attractive to people on the left for their anti-establishment, environmentalist, and direct democracy advocacy, it soon became clear that this party was shifting rapidly towards the extreme-right.

This rightwards shift became absolutely indisputable when the 5 Star MEPs in the European Parliament joined Nigel Farage's rag-tag band of far-right eurosceptics in 2014, but unfortunately, as in Britain, Italians pay very little attention to the internal machinations of the European Parliament, so this collusion with far-right fanatics and outright fascists went virtually unnoticed.

The March 2018 Italian General Election was the huge M5S breakthrough moment, they won the most votes and landed enough seats to make them kingmakers in the Italian parliament. In May 2018 they created a coalition with the fascist party Lega Nord bringing fascism back to the Italian government for the first time in decades.

Since then the popularity of Five Star has waned (although they're still extremely popular with the anti-vaxxer movement for the radical anti-science policies they've enacted) while the fascists they enabled into power have soared in popularity from the 3rd most popular party to by far the most popular.

So the lesson from Italy is clear: Vote for the "politics is broken" populists and get anti-vaxxers and fascism.


United States

I'm pretty sure I don't need to explain all that much about the last few years in US politics.

Donald Trump used "politics is Broken" style populism to position himself as the ideological saviour who was going to "drain the swamp" and "bring the jobs back" to places like the rust belt.

People believed him, he got elected, he immediately filled the top administration jobs with more Wall Street bankers, corporate stooges, and inherited wealth billionaires than any government in US history, then he set about attacking the health care and social security systems, and then he implemented the biggest tax handout for the mega-rich ever.

Nothing for the little people who voted him into power, and a massive windfall for his mega-rich mates. Who would have thought such a thing could happen when you elect billionaire from the international speculator class as your President?

So the lesson from the United States is clear: Vote for the "politics is broken" populists and get Trumpism.

France

The situation in France is by far the most analogous to what's currently happening in Britain.

Emmanuel Macron was a right-wing neoliberal who embedded himself within the centre-left socialist party. 


As minister of economy and finance in the socialist government he set about implementing spectacularly unpopular labour reforms that triggered mass protests and trashed the government's popularity.

After destroying the socialist government from within he walked away to set up a shiny new "centrist" party called En Marche which used the whole "politics is broken" and "we are the saviours" schtick to great effect.

What better way to sell neoliberalism to the public than point out all of the failings of neoliberalism (several of which you were personally involved with), then present yourself as the shiny new alternative?

The problem of course is that when you promise people change, but then deliver more of the same but even worse in the form of massive tax cuts for corporations and the mega-rich, fuel price increases loaded on the poor, even more ideological attacks on labour rights, deeply unpopular education reforms, and significantly collapsing living standards - people tend to get angry.

And when the French get angry they don't just unthinkingly vote in favour of a massive act of national self-harm and then grovellingly re-elect the bastards who trashed their living standards in the first place like us Brits do. They revolt, they protest, they riot.

France has been wracked by 14 consecutive weeks of mass protests and Macron has gone from winning the Presidency and an absolute landslide in the French parliament, to being the most unpopular President in French history with an approval rating only slightly better than cancer.

The most incredible thing about it is that he's managed to nose-dive his Presidency and reduce his nation to mass protests, riots, division, police brutality, and chaos in significantly less than two years!

So the lesson from France is clear: Vote for the "politics is broken" populists and get absolute bloody chaos.

Britain

So the Independent Group ('Tinge') parliamentary squatters are pushing the exact same rhetoric as these other populist movements. "Politics is broken", and guess what? Only they can save us!

The problem of course is that every single one of them is an establishment insider to the core, with several of them being particularly to blame for the current shit-show.

Before the EU referendum Chuka Umunna added fuel to the anti-EU bonfire by fulminating against Freedom of Movement and scapegoating European immigrants. Now he actually expects us to believe him when he positions himself as the glorious saviour to the Brexit mess that he actually helped to create by actively turning Labour Party members against free movement!

Mike Gapes, Joan Ryan, and Ann Coffey are all responsible for the thing that created the biggest ever rift in trust between British people and the Westminster political establishment class. Despite the biggest public protests in British history in 2003, these people voted in favour of the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq on the grounds of terrifying Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Hundreds of thousands died, millions were displaced, these terrifying WMDs were never found because they didn't exist, and Iraq was turned into a lawless terrorism breeding ground that eventually gave birth to the monstrosity of ISIS.

To make matters even worse these warmongers all repeatedly voted against holding an inquiry into their disastrous invasion and occupation of Iraq, and all hate Jeremy Corbyn on the basis that he was absolutely right that Iraq was going to be a disaster, and because they simply can't bear to admit that they have the blood of hundreds of thousands of people on their hands.

Anna Soubry is one of the three Tories to have joined the squatters citing her opposition to Brexit as a factor in her decision, but incredibly she actually voted in favour of Theresa May's hard-right EU Withdrawal Act in January 2018 while Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour front bench opposed it! Some brave and principled Brexit saviour eh?
 

Perhaps the most telling thing of all is that all 11 of the squatter MPs are either austerity-enforcers who actually voted in favour of the ruinous Tory austerity dogma that trashed British living standards and created the massive wave of public anger that drove Brexit narrowly over the winning line, or they're austerity abstainers from the right-wing fringe of the Labour Party who actually turned a blind eye to the suffering of millions of their fellow citizens to sit on their hands as the Tories voted though the biggest package of social security cuts in British history in 2015.

Anyone who imagines that this opportunistic group of pro-austerity fanatics, ideological contortionists, self-serving opportunists, and unrepentant warmongers from deep within the ranks of the political establishment class is going to fix our "broken politics" and lead a glorious British revival is clearly working at the same extraordinary level of delusion as those who voted in favour of Brexit thinking a Tory administered abandonment of the EU would immediately turn the UK into the land of milk and honey for all.

But the worrying thing is that there is already a lot of support for this fake political party (established as a private company in order to evade scrutiny of their financial affairs) with no policies, no members, no internal democracy, no leader, no respect for the people in their constituencies, and no disciplinary procedures for bigoted MPs who spout racist nonsense on the TV!

It's looking a lot like the shiny but empty promise of Macronism all over again, built by another bunch of hopeless charlatans desperately trying to keep orthodox neoliberalism alive by rebranding it as a wonderful new form of 'centrism' that will somehow miraculously "fix our broken politics".

Unfortunately this blatant con trick has been shown to work effectively in other major economies with predictably disastrous results, so only the complacent would imagine that it couldn't possibly work here too.


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OR

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

A spectacular inconsistency of principle


All 11 of the MPs to have joined the Independent Group have outright declared their intentions to squat in their parliamentary seats without calling by-elections to put their defections to the electoral test.

This behaviour is technically within the rules, although 2 MPs who defected from David Cameron's Tories to UKIP back in 2014 (Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless) tried to set the electoral precedent that political defectors should respect democracy and call by-elections.

The problem of course is that this refusal to call by-elections to give their constituents another say under the dramatically changed circumstances is that it betrays a searing hypocrisy because they all also advocate another Brexit referendum.

These people believe in putting things to the vote again when it suits their interests, but vehemently oppose the idea of voting again when they'd be in danger of losing their privileged positions in parliament.

This hypocrisy is so obvious, and so clearly motivated by self-interest and entitlement that it's obviously going to be a massive problem for everyone in the another referendum campaign.

Not only are People's Vote advocates going to have to deal with the (unfair and manipulative) characterisation that they're a "sore loser" campaign, they're now also going to have to deal with (entirely legitimate and justified) criticism of this extraordinary anti-democratic hypocrisy from 11 of their most high profile advocates.

If I was involved in the People's Vote campaign I'd be absolutely furious with these self-serving narcissistic cowards for giving opponents an absolutely devastating attack point, but somehow no.


Not only are the anti-Brexit pockets of the Internet so busy having raptures about the formation of this new opaquely funded pro-austerity "centrist" party that they can't even see that it's actually a massive distraction from the fact that a Tory Brexit meltdown is less than 1,000 hours away, they also refuse to see that this self-serving refusal to call by-elections is such glaring hypocrisy that it's created a devastating attack point against the People's Vote campaign.

What's even more concerning from a Brexit-sceptic perspective is that several of these people are the same strategically inept idiots who tied the nation up in a pointless and self-serving Anyone But Corbyn coup plot in the immediate aftermath of Brexit.

When the nation desperately needed to focus on coherent objectives (like fixing blame for the Brexit chaos squarely on the Tories who delivered it, demanding a wide ranging Brexit commission instead of allowing Theresa May to run it as a closed Tory shop exclusively for Tory party advantage, and unifying the Brexit resistance rather than creating even more divisions) Chuka Umunna, Chris Leslie, Mike Gapes and their ilk instead delivered a massive political distraction by seeking to undermine the will of the Labour Party membership with a naval-gazing coup plot they'd been planning to launch for weeks beforehand, no matter what the outcome of the Brexit referendum.


Instead of any coherent form of action to deal with the Tory Brexit mess these idiots completely wasted the vital first few months on a brazenly self-serving, ridiculously divisive, and spectacularly failed anti-Corbyn coup that actually ended up actually increasing Corbyn's legitimacy as Labour leader with a resounding double-mandate from party members!

The anti-democratic and profoundly hypocritical way this political squatter group has been formed is proof that they've learned absolutely nothing about the elitist self-serving attitudes that resulted in their previous humiliating failure.

By refusing to call by-elections they're demonstrating exactly the same elitist entitlement as before, and by handing Brexiteers a devastating attack point to undermine calls for another referendum, they're in danger of delivering another spectacular political whopping by their political opponents too.

Just when the nation needs strong leadership in the face of an impending Tory Brexit meltdown, the same useless bunch of strategically inept, ridiculously self-serving, democracy-defying political narcissists have pushed themselves to centre stage in such a tone-deaf and hypocritical manner that they're actually freely handing out ammunition to their political opponents.

If this ludicrously unprincipled vanity project is really the best our political system can come up with in the face of an unprecedented self-inflicted socio-economic disaster looming on the horizon, we're absolutely fucked aren't we?

 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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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?

 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, 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.




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