Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Jo Swinson is positioning herself as the Nigel Farage of Remain


Ever since Jo Swinson became Lib-Dem leader she's been shifting the Lib-Dem position ever further towards the extreme fringe of Remain, to the point tearing up the longstanding Lib-Dem policy of demanding another referendum and replacing it with a threat to stop Brexit without even holding a referendum.


Swinson's increasingly militant behaviour and language makes it pretty obvious that she's attempting to position herself as the Nigel Farage of Remain.

Here are ten similarities between Swinson's approach to politics and Farage's.


EU fanaticismThis first similarity is the most obvious. Swinson and Farage both promote fanatically one-sided views of the EU.

Farage's rhetoric tells us that the EU is irredeemably corrupt and corrosive to the British way of life, while Swinson's rhetoric holds the EU up as the essential and irreproachable source of all that is good and decent.


Both of these positions are extreme and over-simplistic. There's an element of truth in both, because there are dreadful problems with the EU like the undemocratic and austerity-pushing European Central Bank, and the passage of endless pieces of unashamedly pro-corporate legislation through the European Parliament, but the EU is also the source of many of our rights, liberties, and living standards (workers' rights, environmental laws, food standards, consumer protections, freedom from discrimination, and of course the right to move freely around most of the continent of Europe).

We don't live in a Star Wars universe of heroic goodies and irredeemable evil empires. We live in reality, where virtually all large organisations, including the EU, have a mixture of good and bad characteristics.


To focus exclusively on one side without acknowledging the other is profoundly dishonest, and in this regard Farage and Swinson are two cheeks of the same arse.

Lies

Besides adopting one-sided and profoundly dishonest EU militancy, both of these figures are also perfectly willing to resort to outright lies to push their agendas.


Farage has lies so many times it's impossible to compile them all here. Just think of his endless claims that the majority of British laws are made in Europe when the real figure is 13.2%, or his EU referendum lies about Turkey being on the verge of joining the EU, when in reality they've still only managed to complete a single one of the 33 chapters required for membership in 13 years!

Swinson proved her willingness to lie through her teeth on her very first day in the job as Lib-Dem leader, publicly accusing Jeremy Corbyn of taking a two week holiday during the EU referendum period.

In reality the longest break Corbyn took from an extensive campaign schedule was in the mourning period after the brutal murder of Jo Cox.

Meanwhile Swinson barely campaigned at all for Remain in 2016, making virtually no public appearances, in preference for sitting at home tweeting cat pictures!

Swinson has also been caught out telling other lies like supposedly opposing unlawful Tory employment tribunal fees when she actually voted in favour of them!


Both of these politicians have proven themselves such ideological fanatics that they'll resort to deliberate lies in order to con members of the public into supporting them.

DefectorsFarage and Swinson have both benefited from the significant publicity boost of attracting defectors from other political parties, however in this regard Swinson is clearly even worse than Farage.

When Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless defected from the Tories to UKIP in 2014, at least they put their decision to their constituents by resigning and calling parliamentary by-elections.

There's no such respect for democracy in the Lib-Dems, with Swinson welcoming six defector MPs into the Lib-Dem ranks (now making up a full third of their parliamentary party) without a single by-election being held.

It's extraordinary to think that a party with "democrats" actually in their name are demonstrably more averse to democratic accountability that the Ukipper extremists at the far-right fringe of the political spectrum!


Goalpost shifting
Another thing Farage and Swinson have in common is their disingenuous goalpost-shifting tactics.


During the EU referendum Farage repeatedly insisted that the UK could easily get a deal with the EU so that we could be like Norway, or Switzerland, but he's now shifted to No Deal militancy, and treats the basic idea of leaving with any kind of withdrawal deal or future trading arrangement as if it's treason.

Swinson on the other hand has spent the last few years loudly and repeatedly calling for an "another roll of the dice" referendum. But then suddenly at her first Lib-Dem conference as their divine leader, she's flip-flopped to the new, much more militant position of just cancelling Brexit without even seeking a public mandate to do so!

Both of these politicians have demonstrably shifted the goalposts on Brexit to more militant positions, so anyone with a grain of sense must be extremely wary that these slippery snakes will simply switch position on any of their other stated principles if they think it serves their interest to do so.

Political chameleons
In order to make excuses for lying and flip-flopping from one position to another, it's necessary to engage in reality-reversing Orwellian history revisionism, and both of these politicians are adept at changing their political colours at will.


Farage's chameleon-like behaviour is more obvious, having effortlessly switched from the purple and yellow of UKIP to the light blue of Brexit Party, but Swinson's is actually more pernicious because she adopts different colours at the same depending on who she's talking to.

One minute Swinson is justifying her new "screw democracy, just scrap Brexit" policy by saying we need to get on with reversing austerity, but then within hours she's appealing to hard-right fiscal conservatives in Tory/Lib-Dem marginals by attempting to outflank the Tories to the right with grotesque pro-austerity tropes like "magic money tree" and "tough economic choices".

Media fawningAnother similarity between Farage and Swinson is the way the mainstream media seem to fawn over the pair of them, endlessly affording them airtime to flip-flop around, and spout their deceptions, and smears, and distortions, and outright lies, almost always unchallenged.

Farage usually gets more pushback from random members of the public who call into his radio show than from the mainstream media hack pack, and Lib-Dem tribalists responding to fact-based criticism of Swinson and her disgusting voting record with torrents of abuse, whataboutery, excuses, smears, and mental health abuse just goes to show how unfamiliar they are with the idea of their divine leader actually being held to account on anything.

Austerity

One of the most interesting similarities between Farage and Swinson is the way that both of them are entirely unwilling to admit that years of ruinous austerity fanaticism laid the groundwork for Brexit to happen.

Their reasons for refusing to acknowledge reality are very different, but the wilful austerity ignorance is the same.


Farage is loathe to admit that the domestic austerity policies of the Tory/Lib-Dem coalition were responsible for collapsing living standards prior to the 2016 EU referendum, because the main Brexiteer shtick during the EU referendum was to blame the consequences of austerity fanaticism (collapsed wages, huge NHS queues, unaffordable housing, failing public services, failing local services, failing social safety net) on immigrants and the EU.

Swinson is even more loathe to admit the link between austerity fanaticism and the Brexit backlash, because to admit that austerity laid the groundwork for Brexit would be to admit her own role in causing this Brexit chaos.

Not only does she consider it to be politically unwise to admit fault, she's also far too much of an egomaniac to apologise for her outrageous living standard-annihilating actions in the past.


Overseas allegiances
One of the weirdest things about the pair of them is their unmistakable loyalty to overseas political figures.

Farage is quite obviously enamoured with Donald Trump to the point where you wonder whether his obsession with forcing a calamitous No Deal Brexit meltdown actually has more to do with forcing Britain into subservience to Trump, than it has to do with Brexit purism.


Swinson on the other hand is full of adoration for Guy Verhofstadt, who was the leader of the ALDE group in the European parliament for 10 years, and is a man who personifies pretty much everything that's wrong with the EU.

Just consider the appalling speech Swinson invited him to give at her first Lib-Dem conference as party leader. Verhofstadt claimed that the reason the UK should stay in the EU is that the world is dividing up into empires, and that Britain would be safer within the European mega-empire.

Reject Brexit not because it's an ill considered and chaotically administered mess, but because it would cause Britain to miss out on the game of Liberal neo-imperialism Verhofstadt envisages for the future of mankind!

It's such a disturbing view of the world on so many levels, but Swinson adores the guy, and he even got a rousing round of applause from the Lib-Dem audience for his Liberal neo-imperialist fearmongering!


Betrayal
One of the starkest similarities of all between the pair is the way they resort so willingly to the divisive rhetoric of "betrayal".

Farage constantly bangs on about betrayal of the leave vote, but Swinson uses the exact same divisive rhetoric to attack Jeremy Corbyn for supposedly betraying Remainers.

Who cares that Labour is offering the referendum that the Lib-Dems spent years demanding, as far as Swinson and her ilk are concerned, attacking Corbyn is even more important than opposing Brexit, to the point that they're using the Brexiteer-style rhetoric of betrayal to attack him.

One suspects that even if Corbyn got the EU flag tattooed on his face and leapt into a volcano humming Ode to Joy, Swinson and her mob would still be screeching "betrayal" at him.

Fringe politics

Another of Swinson's attacks on Corbyn is that he supposedly exists at the fringe, or the sideline of political debate, but anyone with the slightest acquaintance with political reality can see that Farage and Swinson are the ones positioning themselves at the fringes of the Brexit debate, both screeching "fuck off" at half the voting electorate who didn't vote the way they wanted, while Corbyn is trying to position himself near the centre in order to try and clear up the mess, rather than spewing hyper-partisan rhetoric to deliberately exacerbate tensions for party political advantage.

But according to Swinson's absurd reality-reversed logic, the militant fringe intent on ignoring one half of the electorate or other, is the "centre ground" and Corbyn's attempts at compromise and deescalation are the militant fringe!



Conclusion

Jo Swinson continually pretends that she's positioned on the sensible centre-ground of politics, but her grotesque track record of enabling ruinous austerity fanaticism, her outright refusal to acknowledge that austerity dogma laid the groundwork for the Brexit backlash, or to apologise for it, her willingness to lie through her teeth, her increasingly militant Remain tactics, and the remarkably easy ride she's afforded by the mainstream media demonstrate that she's just as much a political extremist as Nigel Farage.

Additionally the unquestioning cult-like loyalty of the Lib-Dem tribalists to her ever-changing position, and the torrents of abuse they spew at anyone who dares question their divine and irreproachable leader suggests that she's every bit as dangerous too.

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Friday, 13 September 2019

Welcome to the idiocracy!



Last week I wrote an article detailing the extraordinary bad faith tactic of Performative Stupidity, which is the increasingly prevalent journalistic method of attacking something, not by detailing it and then highlighting criticisms, but by simply pretending to be too stupid to understand it!

This week I've come across the most glaring example yet of this Performative Stupidity dumbing-down of political discourse, which takes the form of a Tweet that implies that any policy that takes more than three words to explain is somehow inferior to policies which can be expressed in three words or fewer, or "less" as the supposedly award-winning journalist puts it.

The intended take away being that super-simple policies for dealing with massively complex and divisive issues are credit-worthy, while anything that takes more than three words to explain is open to derision!



Labour's Brexit policy

Labour's Brexit strategy really isn't that difficult to understand. Here it is again:
1. Prevent Tory No Deal chaos and economic ruination. 
2. Remove the Tories (who created all this Brexit chaos in the first place) from power. 
3. Renegotiate the Withdrawal Agreement (Customs Union, Single Market access, no border in Ireland, protection of workers' rights, cooperation on environment, science, and security). 
4. Put the renegotiated deal to a confirmatory referendum with remain as an option, meaning that there are sensible (non-meltdown) options on either side.
Of course this is more than three words, because it's rather difficult to cram a 4-point action plan into "three words or less [sic]" isn't it?

But if you did insist, for some unfathomable reason, on dumbing it down to just three words, you could say "Final Say Referendum" - but why on earth would you even want to do that?

Labour's policy is to offer representation to both sides of the Brexit divide in a way that avoids completely trashing the economy if people once again reject the option to Remain (sorry 27 words is far too many for my tiny little journalist brain to comprehend, how about you cut it down to 3 and I'll have another go!).


But then you look at the Lib-Dem and Tory Brexit policies that are supposedly so wonderful and virtuous for being reducible to just three words, and they really should be setting off all kinds of alarm bells, at least for the kind of journalist who uses the traditional method of actually scrutinising things, rather than the new method of pretending not to understand them.


Lib-Dems: Revoke Article 50

Two questions about this spring immediately to mind.

The first is what the hell happened to the Lib-Dem policy of demanding another referendum?

Demanding a People's Vote referendum has been the Lib-Dem shtick for the last couple of years, but now they've transitioned to a completely different policy, of revoking article 50 with no democratic mandate from the people via a referendum, and there's no criticism from the mainstream media hack pack whatever!


Every time Labour has even slightly modified or reworded their Brexit stance it's been met with a barrage of mainstream criticism and derision, but the Lib-Dems publicly tear up their entire policy and flip-flop to something entirely different, and they actually get praised on the basis that the new policy can be summed up in just three words!

The second glaringly obvious question is how?.

How do the Lib-Dems intend to revoke Article 50 when a parliamentary majority to revoke Article 50 with no democratic mandate from the people is literally impossible in the current parliament, and vanishingly unlikely in the next parliament?

These are the kind of questions that award-winning journalists should be asking, rather than evaluating policies purely on how few words they can be reduced to.



Tories: Leave October 31st

There are plenty of questions any reasonable journalist could ask about this, but I'll just stick to the two most glaringly obvious ones.

How do the Tories ensure the UK leaves the EU on October 31st when they've thrown away their parliamentary majority by hoofing 20+ Tory MPs out of the party for daring to defy Dominic Cummings, when they've completely lost control of the parliamentary order paper, and when they've lost every single parliamentary vote since Johnson became Prime Minister?

Just like the Lib-Dems, it's easy having simple ambitions. But without a realistic plan of action for how you actually achieve them, what are they actually worth?

The other glaring question is why?

Why the rush to leave on a specific date, even if the consequences of leaving in such a rush are likely to be extremely catastrophic (by your own government's internal Yellowhammer impact assessment).

Little children know to wait for a safe opportunity to cross the road rather than rushing out across busy traffic because an arbitrary amount of time has passed, but somehow the Tory government don't, and furthermore their "run in front of traffic" Brexit strategy is apparently praiseworthy for the fact it can be condensed to just three words!

Welcome to the idiocracy!

Any journalist with any kind of integrity would seek to present all of the main parties' Brexit strategies, and then subject them to criticism. But the current trend is to either pretend to be too stupid to understand Labour's position, or to praise other parties' policies, not because they make any kind of pragmatic sense, but because they can be simplified into the simplest of simple sound bites!

Is the best measure of a policy whether it is achievable from a pragmatic perspective, or how few words it can be expressed in?

Apparently the new answer to this question is the word count!


And the guy responsible for this deliberate stupidification of British political discourse isn't just some Twitter idiot mouthing off, he's an apparently award-winning Financial Times journalist.

If award-winning journalists at one of Britain's most prestigious newspapers is engaging in this kind of ludicrous performative stupidity, then it just goes to show how broken our mainstream media is.

We want super-simple solutions to massively complicated and multi-faceted problems or we're going to pretend to be too stupid to understand is a corrosive and irresponsible bad faith stance in its own right.

But in light of the fact that Brexit was caused by exactly this kind of simple solution (quit the EU) to complex problems (austerity, failing public services, unaffordable housing, negative wage growth, soaring utility bills, NHS queues, over-crowded schools, vandalised social safety net ...), it's illustrative of the fact that award-winning journalists at the top of their god-damned profession haven't even learned one of the most basic and salient lessons from this whole Brexit debacle: "sometimes things are a lot more complex than a slogan you can fit on the side of a bus, let alone into "three words or less [sic]".


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Thursday, 5 September 2019

Boris Johnson goes full Mussolini


It's an extraordinary and iconic scene.

As MPs battle to undo Johnson's hard-right, parliament-shutting, disaster capitalist coup plot, Tory HQ actually decided that it would be a good idea for him to go and stand there in front of a load of police, as a visual demonstration that he may not have the backing of the people or parliament, but he still has the full power of the state behind him.

Obviously this kind of belligerent hard-man posturing is going to play brilliantly with the far-right ultranationalist Blue-Kip demographic that Johnson is so obviously intent on pandering to, but by ruthlessly expelling the Tory moderates for doing the right thing the other night, and now going full Mussolini for the cameras, he's brazenly sticking two fingers up at the kind of "keep calm and carry on" middle Englanders who traditionally voted Tory.

This is the imagery of hardcore British nationalism, and it's tailored to appeal to those of the far-right authoritarian disposition: The kind of people who want parliamentary democracy shut down if it means getting their own way, and revel in ruthless state repression of non-violent political dissent.

The Tory party was once a broad church, where comfortably wealthy middle Englanders, economically right-wing privatisation maniacs, and those of more extreme-right dispositions rubbed shoulders, wary of each other, but united in the joint purpose of transferring as much wealth and opportunity as possible from the ordinary majority, to the already-wealthy minority.

But Brexit fanaticism and the rise of Johnson has coincided with a savage ideological purge of the middle Englanders from the Tory ranks, and this piece of Mussolini-style authoritarian posturing is a clear message that the Tory party is now heading down a much more sinister path.

Photo shoots like this don't happen by chance.

The optics of an embattled wannabe hard-man leader surrounded by uniforms will have been carefully considered by Tory strategists and PR wonks.


They know perfectly well that the message they're sending is as much a direct provocation to those who object to the Tory lurch to the far-right as it is delicious manna to heaven to the far-right ultranationalist Blue-Kip demographic they're so desperately pandering to.

But they've done it anyway, because fetishisation of the power of the state and divisive "with us or against us" posturing is staple fare for ideological fanatics.

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What is ... performative stupidity?



When Jeremy Corbyn and Labour abstained on the motion to dissolve parliament and hold a general election, Boris Johnson responded by claiming that he can only speculate about the reason.

But in reality he's been told repeatedly that Labour are keen to fight an election, they're just waiting for the legislation to prevent No Deal By Default to be passed into law before they agree to hold a general election.

He knows that they're delaying the election until after they've disarmed the trap that he tried to set them, but he's pretending not to understand for effect.


When Johnson pretends to be incapable of understanding the simple strategy he's had explained to him multiple times already, he's engaging in performative stupidity.

Performative stupidity is an increasingly popular trend in political discourse, and it's utterly infuriating.

Instead of taking the traditional approach of saying something along the lines of "this policy is stupid because [reasons]", it takes the form of "I'm too stupid to understand this policy, so it must be stupid".

Johnson isn't the first to try it by any stretch, in fact until recently performative stupidity has been far more common on the Remain Ultra side of the Brexit divide.

Pretty much everyone had seen some dolt pretending to be too stupid to understand Labour's Brexit position, especially BBC Politics pundits who seem to take some kind of perverse pleasure in pretending to be too stupid to understand, and having it explained to them again, and again, and again. The same pretence of faux stupidity week after week.

The interview goes something like this:
BBC Presenter: But Labour's Brexit policy is sooo confusing, how can anyone possibly understand it?
Labour Spokesperson: It's actually quite simple. We want to stop the Tory No Deal Brexit disaster from wrecking the UK economy. Then we want to seek renegotiation with the EU to develop a means of leaving the EU that doesn't involve devastating the entire UK economy. Then we'll put the renegotiated fail safe deal to a final say referendum with Remain on the ballot.

Presenter: Gosh, that's a lot of mouth words you just used! How is it even possible for ordinary plebs to hold so many different thoughts in their heads at one time? Why can't you just keep it easy to understand by picking one side and telling the other half of the country to piss off?

Spokesperson: That would be the simple thing to do, but it would be the wrong thing to do. Someone needs to try to heal this terrible Brexit divide David Cameron and the Tories created, and it's impossible to do that by completely alienating one side and ignoring their concerns to pander exclusively to the other side.

Presenter: Well now that's even more mouth words isn't it? So now I'm going to pretend to not understand what you're saying some more in the hope that a load of mindless idiots watching this show will imitate my behaviour and go around pretending that they're also too stupid to understand the basic concept of compromise too. Thank you and good night.
This kind of performative stupidity debating tactic is an infuriating debasement of political discourse, because it takes such bad faith to pretend to be incapable of understanding something that's already been explained to you over and again.

Just think about it.

Other bad faith debating tactics like lying, smearing, straw-manning and whataboutery result in the debasement of political discourse because they lower the bar, and pollute the discourse with dishonesty and personal abuse.

Performative stupidity is more insidious because it involves deliberately pretending to be stupid in a pathetic ruse aimed at convincing the gullible that a reasonably simple and oft explained issue is just too complicated for them to even bother to think about.

This kind of tactic doesn't just debase the discourse because it lowers the bar, it's actively intended to make "I'm too stupid to understand this" an acceptable alternative to reason-based critique.

And the more popular performative stupidity tactics become, the more political pressure will be exerted on our political leaders to develop glib, facile, over-simplistic solutions to complex problems, because anything detailed, or nuanced, or strategically sophisticated will be shouted down by the "I'm too stupid to understand this" performative stupidity brigade.

So the next time you see a politician or political commentator claiming to not understand something (that it's their actual bloody job to understand and critique), ask yourself if they've really honestly failed to grasp the idea, or whether they're seeking to actively erode the standard of political debate by just pretending not to understand.


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Sunday, 18 August 2019

The Tory "work until you die" dystopia


When I was younger I spent several years working in construction and roofing. I'm not even 40 and I'm glad I'm out of the industry now. As a young man it was fine, but the toll that this kind of hard physical labour takes on your body gets bigger and bigger with age.

Today I'm imagining what it would be like to be still working as a roofer at the age of 74, because that's what Iain Duncan Smith and the Tories are plotting for the working classes.

Iain Duncan Smith and his vile hard-right CSJ think tank are planning to hike the retirement age to 75 to create a work until you die dystopia for millions of British workers, especially manual workers with physically demanding jobs.

The UK government does remarkably little research into the life expectancies of specific professions, but from what little evidence is available, they know that hiking the pension age to 75 will mean that manual and low-income workers will end up contributing entire lifetimes of National Insurance payments, in return for little or no pension at all at the end of it.

The average age of death for males in routine and semi-routine trades are 76.6 and 77.9 years, meaning just a few paltry years of pension before death, if you're lucky enough to live to average age.

And that's before you factor in that forcing people to continue working in demanding physical labour jobs until their mid-70s is obviously going to significantly increase the death rate from factors like heart attacks and accidents.

The Westminster establishment class has already proven its willingness to steal people's state pension pots already with their attack on 1950s women, in some instances confiscating six years of pension payments whilst forcing them to continue paying six years extra National Insurance as an insult on top of the initial theft.

The theft from WASPI women adds up to £40-50,000 per woman, but hardly anyone even blinked an eye when this happened, because they weren't directly affected by this pension theft.

But now that the Tories realise they can get way with brazenly stealing people's pensions, they're coming for the entire pensions of following generations, hoping to work us to death before we even get to state pension age.

And the economic reasoning behind this Tory pension theft is just as economically-illiterate as the rest of their nonsense like "let's cut our way to growth" austerity 
blibber-blabber

They treat pension payments as if they're essentially "waste", but in reality they're economically beneficial.

When pensioners receive their state pensions they don't just burn the cash in their back yards, they spend it into the economy, which creates economic demand. It doesn't just disappear, it goes straight back into circulation.

And most pensioners in their mid-sixties to mid-seventies don't just sit there idly doing nothing, they look after the grandchildren, they act as carers for spouses and other elderly relatives, they contribute to their communities, spend money on the hobbies and activities they were too busy to do when they were working ...

If the Tories insist on working this generation to death intead, then the social good that they currently provide will have to be provided in different ways.

This means young families paying rip-off child care fees because granny is too busy cleaning hotel rooms or whatever at the age of 74, and too shattered from this living nightmare to ever help out in her spare time.

This means that if one partner becomes seriously ill or disabled, the state will have to pick up the tab for a full-time carer for one pensioner so that the other can go out to work!

This means elderly people will never get the final decade or so 
before stuff like extreme frailty and dementia set in to contribute to their communities, explore their hobbies and interests, and enjoy their retirement, unless of course they're wealthy, with a bumper private pension to live off ...

And that's the real Tory agenda.

The idea of ordinary people enjoying a few years of retirement before they die fills Tories with absolute fury.

In their minds a happy retirement is a valuable commodity to be bought by the rich, not a right to be enjoyed by the majority of people.


So they're determined to work the rest of us to death, even if it doesn't even make any kind of economic sense, because to them, the money we've all paid in National Insurance doesn't belong to us, it belongs to them, to lavish on corporate fat cats, and bankers, and the mega-rich in tax cuts and handouts, so they can make even more cash to stuff into their gold-plated pensions, so they can retire early to idle lives of luxury, while the rest of us break our backs until we die to pay for them.

The Tories believe that our pensions belong to them and their kind, and they're going to work us to death to make damned well sure of it.


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Monday, 12 August 2019

Who is in Caroline Lucas' all-female all-white Brexit-foiling "fantasy cabinet"?


The Green Party's only MP Caroline Lucas has completely and utterly lost the plot over Brexit.

For years she was one of my absolute favourite politicians. She led the Greens when they were the only UK-wide party opposing ruinous austerity fanaticism (Labour pushed pathetic austerity-lite rubbish until this pathetic non-opposition cost them the 2015 general election and triggered the Corbyn fightback against the "centrist" policy of imitating Tory austerity fanaticism, rather than opposing it). Lucas has also consistently been on the right side of important parliamentary votes (alongside Jeremy Corbyn, Diane Abbott, John McDonnell, and Dennis Skinner she was the only other MP with sufficient principles to vote against Theresa May's racist hostile environmentDavid Cameron's disastrous war-mongering in Libya, and Theresa May's enhanced state snooping powers, and George Osborne's welfare vandalism bill).

Over the last few months it's been bad enough watching the Greens voluntarily turning themselves into recruitment agents for the austerity enabling, privatisation scamming, welfare vandalising, workers' rights attacking, fracking tax cutting, disability persecuting, student impoverishing, electoral reform abandoning Lib-Dem warmongers, but Lucas' "fantasy cabinet" of herself and ten all-white, all-female MPs is an extraordinary blowout.

Here are details on the ten other women Lucas wants to orchestrate a "foil Brexit at any cost" coup with:

Anna Soubry: Ex-Tory Soubry talks a good game pretending to oppose Brexit, but when it came to the crunch she actually voted in favour of Theresa May's hard Brexit shambles of a Withdrawal Agreement! Soubry has also made it absolutely clear that she'd prefer a ruinous Tory-administered Brexit than stopping Brexit under a Corbyn-led Labour government. She also referred to the ruinous living standards destroying policies of the austerity coalition that laid the groundwork for Brexit as "marvellous".

Heidi Allen: Another ex-Tory. As a Tory she once cried in parliament about the devastating impact of Tory welfare vandalism to gather "compassionate Conservative" headlines, before wilfully marching through the lobby to vote in favour of even more of the welfare vandalism and devastating cuts she was crying over. She's also responsible for the stupidest and most dangerous Remainer idea yet, which is to just let No Deal go ahead, then try to magically undo it using retroactive legislation!

Jo Swinson: She isn't a Tory, but she might as well be, having been more loyal to the Tory whip during the ruinous austerity coalition than numerous Tory MPs (including recent Tory leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt!). Whatever horrible abuse and economically illiterate nonsense the Tories were pushing, Swinson wilfully voted it all through, refusing to protest by resigning as Employment Minister, even when they launched their vile and unlawful policy of protecting bad bosses by pricing low-income workers out of the justice system with £1,200 upfront Tribunal Fees. She's also bankrolled by the owner of a fracking operation and voted in favour of Cameron and Osborne's massive tax cut for onshore fracking (which makes her a very odd bedfellow for a Green MP).

Justine Greening: If you're going to stuff your "fantasy cabinet" full of ex-Tory austerity enforcers and Lib-Dem austerity enablers, you might as well include a sitting Tory MP just to hammer home the point that opposing the austerity fanaticism that caused Brexit in the first place will be an absolute non-priority. Aside from being a horrifying austerity-enforcer, Greening was also personally in charge of the mass privatisation of state schools in England. The vast majority of Brits believe that schools should be run as not-for-profit public services, but somehow Lucas wants to include a hard-right school-privatising extremist in her "fantasy cabinet".

Nicola Sturgeon: Sturgeon does occasionally let herself down with cheap partisan political point scoring (which is regrettable, but understandable given the tides of absolute filth that are spewed in her direction), but in general she's a really strong and popular leader. The main problem with the inclusion of SNP figures like Sturgeon and Kirsty Blackman is that Swinson and the Lib-Dems have outright refused to work with the SNP to stop Brexit because they actually see preventing another Scottish independence referendum as a much higher priority than stopping Brexit.

Liz Saville Roberts: Including Plaid Cymru's only female MP is an obvious choice if you're doing a stupid identity politics driven all-female "fantasy cabinet". She has been a hard-working MP since arriving in parliament in 2015, and she's on the decent side of parliamentary divisions the majority of the time. It's hard to see how an alliance between a Welsh independence MP and the ultra-unionist Lib-Dems could ever really hold up for very long though.

Sylvia Hermon: Again, there's nothing particularly wrong with the former UUP, now independent Northern Irish MP Sylvia Hermon. It's just an odd selection to pick a solitary independent MP from Northern Ireland, unless the reason is the tokenism of picking the only Brexit-sceptic MP in Northern Ireland (the DUP are hard Brexit militants and Sinn Féin refuse their Westminster seats on principle).

Emily Thornberry: Reaching out to a serving Labour Party cabinet minister to engage in a plot to sideline Labour from the anti-No Deal fightback is a bold move, but Thornberry is surely far too sensible a political operator to ditch her career by joining this ludicrous identity politics publicity stunt.

Yvette Cooper: Cooper is one of the oddest picks of all. Yes she's involved herself in opposing Brexit, but she's stopped short of calling for another referendum (unlike Labour front bench MPs like Diane Abbott, who has repeatedly made the case for a final say referendum on Brexit).
  • The inclusion of a load of pro-austerity, pro-privatisation, pro-fracking, Heathrow expansion-supporting, solar subsidy slashing MPs in Lucas' "fantasy cabinet" just goes to show how wildly she's lost her way. She won so much admiration for her principled stances on austerity, welfare, privatisation, and the environment, and now she's bulldozing the lot into a fire pit in order to cavort with hard-right austerity enablers and fracking advocates!
  • The idea of gender exclusion is absolutely terrible too. Anyone who is genuinely opposed to Brexit must understand that a ludicrous identity politics dick-counting exercise is a pointless distraction. Anyone who thinks an unprincipled loudmouth like Anna Soubry is more of an asset to the Brexit fightback than Dominic Grieve or Keir Starmer, simply because she's female, is absolutely out of their god-damned tree.
  • An all-white cabinet which includes several Brexit enablers, whilst excluding significantly more anti-Brexit BAME women like Diane Abbott, Dawn Butler, Marsha de Cordova, and Rupa Huq is extraordinary. And their exclusion makes no sense either. Lucas reached out to Thornberry who is in Corbyn's shadow cabinet, so she could have reached out to Abbott and Butler too, and she reached out to Cooper who is a Labour back bencher, meaning there must be some other reason she decided not to involve BAME Labour backbenchers like Huq and de Cordova.
  • One of the most worrying things is that nobody in the Green Party seems able or willing to take her to one side and ask her to stop this increasingly erratic and damaging behaviour. There's absolutely no way that this all-female all-white "fantasy cabinet" idea including a load of austerity-enablers, privatisation fanatics, and environmental vandals was approved at Green Party conference, so she's not only making a fool of herself, she's also making a mockery of the Green Party's claim to be the most democratic and accountable party in UK politics.
  • The whole thing seems to be a desperate last-ditch effort to exclude Corbyn and the Labour-left from the process, even though it's absolutely obvious that the support of the Labour-left would be absolutely vital if Lucas ever gets the "another roll of the dice" referendum she's expended so much energy on demanding (whilst ignoring the role austerity fanaticism played in causing Brexit in the first place).
  • And last but not least the whole idea of a "foil Brexit at any cost" cross-bench coup is absolutely terrible anyway. If you wanted to think of the ideal way of empowering Boris Johnson to seize the moral high ground and romp to a general election victory, an unelected Westminster establishment clique overturning Brexit without even a General Election or Referendum result to give them a mandate would be pretty much exactly what the Brextremists would be wishing for!
Caroline Lucas is far from the only person to have been driven to absolute insanity by Brexit, but seeing a strong and principled woman I really admired degenerate to the point of proposing ludicrous unworkable nonsense that burns all of her preexisting principles to ashes is definitely the saddest case of Brexit Brain Worms yet.

 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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Sunday, 11 August 2019

Remainers have come up with their stupidest idea yet


Just a few days ago I warned that it was only a matter of time before Remainers came up with an even stupider idea than cobbling together some kind of unelected "foil Brexit at any cost" coalition led by some Remain-fixated backbencher that virtually nobody has heard of, and allowing Boris sodding Johnson to colonise the moral high ground.

Within days my prediction has come true. They've done it again!

Painting yourselves as the avowed anti-democrats intent on foiling Brexit by any means and allowing Johnson to stroll onto the moral high ground would be extraordinary strategic ineptitude, but ex-Tory constituency squatter MP Heidi Allen has come up with an even stupider strategy: Let Boris Johnson and the Brextremists crash the UK out of the EU in a ruinous No Deal Brexit meltdown, then simply undo the damage later using retroactive legislation!

As an ex-Tory you can see why she thinks this is a solution, after all, she repeatedly voted in favour of using retroactive legislation to cover up their own criminality, from retroactive legislation to magically make Iain Duncan Smith's unlawful forced unpaid labour schemes lawful, to the emergency retroactive legalisation they used to retrospectively legalise the UK state's unlawful snooping on its own citizens.


The problem of course is that the idea of retroactively reversing No Deal is dangerously legally-illiterate gibberish.

If Remainers simply allow Boris Johnson and the Brextremists to conduct a 'No Deal by default' meltdown, the UK will have legally left the EU, and put itself in an extraordinarily weak negotiating position.

Even if the UK parliament does cobble together some absurd retroactive legislation aimed at retracting our departure as if it never happened, it quite obviously wouldn't bind the EU into letting us back into their club under the previously favourable conditions.

Even if retroactively pretending that we didn't actually leave wasn't wishing for unicorns from a legal perspective, why on earth would the EU just let us back in when we'd have put ourselves in the unprecedentedly weak position of having no trade deal with them, and no trade deals with anyone else either?

If we wanted to get back in, we'd be in the position of pathetically begging them, and they'd be under no obligation whatever to give us back the extremely favourable deal we'd just thrown away.

And ludicrous retroactive efforts to force them to give us back what we just threw away would serve as a further national humiliation as the rest of Europe laughed away our impotent legally-illiterate efforts to bully them from our self-imposed position of weakness.

Even if it wasn’t legally-illiterate gibberish, the idea that No Deal could simply be undone is as delusional as the idea that the damage from austerity fanaticism could just be undone by stopping the cuts. 

The shattered businesses, and lost jobs, wasted £billions, and millions of hours mitigating the chaos under a No Deal meltdown wouldn’t just magically grow back, just like the 130,000 dead from austerity cuts to the NHS and social care won’t magically rise from the grave.

This idea of retroactively cancelling No Deal is utterly absurd from a legal and practical perspective, but it's also incredibly dangerous.

It's dangerous because it creates the impression among Remainers that a No Deal Brexit meltdown can just be undone using a bit of legislative trickery.
'Just legislate that our decision to leave didn't actually happen and the whole thing just goes away!'

'No Deal Brexit isn't really a threat because we can magic it away in the future!'
'Let's just let Boris Johnson and the Brextremists push the UK economy over a No Deal cliff edge, then we can retroactively fix all the damage later!'

These are staggeringly dangerous, complacency-breeding, lines of thought.

If you're gullible enough to take centrists like Lib-Dems and CUK squatters at their word that stopping No Deal is their main priority, then letting No Deal happen based on the absolute fantasy that it can supposedly be reversed later via legislative trickery seems like utter nonsense.

But it's actually fairly easy to see what this utterly lamentable gibberish is motivated by.

Pro-austerity, privatisation scamming, welfare-vandalising, disability-persecuting, Corporate Tax cutting, public service trashing, workers' rights attacking, orthodox neoliberal centrists fear the idea of Jeremy Corbyn derailing their gravy train even more than they fear a No Deal Brexit (which will mainly hammer the poor and ordinary, not the Westminster establishment club and the other gilded classes).

In order to justify their outright refusal to work with Corbyn and the Labour left to stop a ruinous Tory-administered No Deal meltdown, they're selling themselves the ridiculous idea that No Deal is actually 'not that big a problem at all', with the impossible and legally-illiterate fantasy that it can be easily reversed with retroactive legislation after it's been done.

So next time you see any Remainer deceitfully accusing Corbyn and the Labour left of "enabling Tory Brexit" or "secretly wanting a No Deal meltdown" (despite all of their votes against it in parliament, and all their condemnations of the Tory No Deal threats), just remind them of Heidi Allen's ludicrous plan to simply allow Tory No Deal Brexit to happen based on the nonsense fantasy that it can be magically reversed at some point in the future with retroactive 'let's pretend it didn't happen' legislation.

Ask them to explain the sense in this absolute nonsense, and why she’s an irreproachable hero to Centrist Remainers despite wanting to allow Tory No Deal, while Corbyn and the Labour left-are hate figures to Centrist Remainers despite repeatedly attempting to actually block Tory No Deal chaos.

 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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