Monday, 25 March 2019

What's going on here?


Every single time I mention the indisputable fact that the older demographics are more likely to vote Tory, to support Brexit, and to approve of right-wing authoritarian propaganda tropes, the inevitable response is a barrage of  self-defensive "how dare you!" comments from people stating their age and then saying that they never voted Tory in their lives.

Nowadays I always preface comments about age demographics with "obviously not all old people are like this and it's wrong to generalise" type disclaimers in order to deter the inevitable barrage of "how dare you!" comments, but it doesn't seem to matter.
 

They still turn up, state their age, and chastise me for generalising about all old people despite my explicit disclaimers explaining that discussion of demographic trends is not the same as generalising about all old people.

Whether I shroud my comments about demographic trends in disclaimers or not, these comments always appear without fail.


So what's going on here?

Why are so many older people so determined to self-defensively shout down commentary on the observable demographic reality about the voting habits of older people?

Surely we're all familiar with the fragile male who interrupts the conversation about issues like rape and domestic violence to proclaim "not all men", as if he's interpreted criticism of rapists and wife-beaters as being an attack on his personal masculinity.

And we're familiar with the ultra-defensive white fragility of some white people when it's pointed out that whites are still the beneficiaries of systemic racism, as if the fact that systemic racism still exists is somehow a personal attack on them for being white.

The same thing is going on with over-60s when they lash out at the demographic evidence that tells us that the majority of their peers vote Tory, support Brexit, and tend to fall for right-wing authoritarian and ultranationalist rhetoric.

They're lashing out because just like the "not all men" interrupter misinterpreting criticism of rapists as criticism of his masculinity, and the white fragility sufferer misinterpreting criticism of systemic racism as an attack on their white identity, these older people are misinterpreting the demographic discussion as an attack on their self-identity as an older person.

It turns out that it doesn't really matter how many facts and evidence and disclaimers we use because this self-defence response isn't a rational one, it's an emotive one.

As soon as people feel their identity as an older person, a male, a white, or whatever is under attack, logic and reason go straight in the bin, they tend to become impervious to facts and evidence, and a vehement emotive defence is mounted.

This kind of emotive reaction to perceived criticism of the self-identity is clearly a deeply embedded human trait, and one that it's easily possible to weaponise.

Older people who ignore all of the disclaimers to post their "I'm [insert age] and I'm not a [Tory/Brexiter], how very dare you generalise about me!" beneath any reference to age-related demographic trends are frustratingly predictable, but in the grand scheme of things they're pretty much harmless. After all their emotive response is to defend their self-identity as a good person who cares about society.

What's a lot more concerning is the way these emotive self-identity reactions are weaponised by the extreme-right, because the extreme-right know that once you've got people thinking with their emotions, they're incredibly easy to manipulate.

The reason victimhood narratives are so prevalent in extreme-right politics is that telling people their identity as a white/wealthy/male/heterosexual/Christian/Brit/whatever is under threat from the immigrants/Marxists/Feminazis/queers/atheists/PC thought police/Jews is designed to trigger this emotive self-defence reaction.

And the further towards the extreme-right the Conservative party drifts, the more we see Tory politicians and Tory supporters actively spreading these extreme-right victimhood narratives, conspiracy theories about "cultural Marxists", "the great replacement", "white genocide" and "postmodern neo-Merxism", and fear-mongering about the terrifying plot to erase Western culture and western people's identities.

This extreme-right political tactic is incredibly sinister and dangerous because these ideas are driving terrorist attacks like the Jo Cox assassination and the Christchurch massacres.

However the emotive self-identity defence these extreme-right victimhood narratives are designed to trigger have exactly the same emotional root as the old lefty typing out a furious "how dare you!" comment in response to the demographic data that proves that older people are generally more susceptible to this kind of identity-driven right-wing propaganda than the younger generations are.


Like I said before in my multiple disclaimers, these self-defensive "how dare you!" older people are not sinister, and they're not the enemy. At worst they're a mild annoyance for the way they just climb over the massive walls of disclaimers I've erected to post the exact same comments as if the walls weren't there at all.

But there is actually a lot to be learned by thinking about the instinctive and emotive self-identity defence reaction that drives these self-defensive comments, and how these often-harmless instincts and emotions can be manipulated for nefarious political purposes.


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OR

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Are you guilty of unwittingly spreading hard-right Tory austerity propaganda?


There was a time not so long ago when Tory austerity myths were all pervasive, with virtually nobody besides a few obscure academics and leftist bloggers calling it out for the brazen wealth transfer con it always was.

The darkest days were when poor hapless Ed Miliband allowed pro-austerity neoliberal ideologues like Ed Balls and Chris Leslie free rein at the shadow treasury, meaning all three Westminster parties were simultaneously pumping out economically illiterate pro-austerity gibberish about the fictional need to 'cut our way to growth'.

The space for dissenters to talk about rational pro-investment economic policies was extremely limited, and ruinous austerity dogma went almost entirely unchallenged in the mainstream media and wider UK public discourse for a significant period of time.

The problem of course is that when a crackpot ideology is presented as essentially unquestionable "common sense" for a singificant period of time, the fundamental assumptions that make up the foundations of that ideology tend to seep into the public consciousness.

Even now when right-leaning organisations like the OECD and the IMF have admitted that austerity is an extremely damaging economic ideology, these pervasive pro-austerity myths continue to circulate within public discourse.


One of the most most pervasive myths of all when it comes to austerity dogma is the "There Is No Alternative" (TINA) argument, which is just a simple Tory reworking of 1980s Thatcherite pro-privatisation propaganda for contemporary purposes.

The TINA austerity argument goes like this: National borrowing is too high. The only way to reduce borrowing is to reduce spending: Therefore there is no alternative to our programme of austerity, wage repression, public service cuts, vandalism of the social safety net, and deliberate under-investment in drivers of future economic prosperity like infrastructure, education, and affordable housing.

This narrative outright defies the lessons of economic history that have proven time and again that investment is the true key to success.

Just look at the New Deal in the US. Look at the unprecedented four decade growth boom in China and the role that massive investment projects have played in facilitating that growth. And look closer to home at the post-war Attlee government that managed to significantly reduce Britain's all-time record high debt mountain by founding the NHS, expanding the welfare state, introducing Legal Aid, rebuilding our shattered nation, and building millions of decent affordable houses.


The problem is that the toxic Tory TINA austerity narrative has been so well drilled into people that you often hear anti-Brexit people resorting to the argument that Brexit will be a disaster for ordinary people because it would inevitably mean more austerity.

Of course this argument makes sense as long as we assume that the Tories would be in control of government in perpetuity (something a lot of mainstream media figures seem to want), because the Tories would obviously see the Brexit meltdown of their own making as an ideal opportunity to ramp up their favourite upwards wealth transfer con all over again.

But the assumption that austerity would be completely inevitable under a Brexit recession is actually just Tory propaganda, because like I said before, economic history has proven time and again that the true way out of economic difficulties is targeted investment in productive sectors of the economy, not wanton slash-merchantry.
Of course inefficient forms of spending can be cut in conjunction with targeted investment (no sane economist is in favour of waste), but the assumption that departmental budgets across the board need to be slashed in order to reduce borrowing is total economic madness, when the truth is that increased investment is the key to recovery.

Successful nations invest their way out of trouble, and those led by ideologically driven slash-merchants end up in chaos.

Brexit is actually an example of this reality in action. Austerity trashed our living standards, hard-right ideologues blamed these falling living standards on immigrants and the EU, millions of people protest-voted in favour of Brexit because none of the mainstream political parties gave them the option of rejecting austerity, and now the Tories are trying to use Brexit as an excuse to drag workers' rights, living standards, environmental laws, consumer protections even further downwards in order to benefit their mega-rich backers.


If the economy tanks under Brexit, which definitely would be a bad thing, the solution is still investment, not austerity.

Anyone pushing austerity as an inevitable solution to Brexit chaos is guilty of spreading Tory propaganda.

It pains me to see people who seem to get that austerity is a bad thing using this atrocious TINA argument to fear-monger about Brexit causing even more austerity, because use of this argument demonstrates that they've completely failed to understand what is actually wrong about austerity.

Austerity is wrong because it's an ideological choice, not a necessity.

Austerity is wrong because wantonly cutting productive areas of the economy at a time of economic crisis, as if all spending is essentially just waste, is not a logical common sense solution, it's economic vandalism.

Austerity is wrong, and anyone making out that it's an inevitable reaction to economic crises, no matter what their motivation, is guilty of spreading the exact same hard-right Tory propaganda these slash-merchants used to justify it in the first place.

They're so confused that they're trying to oppose Brexit, but they're actually guilty of pushing the very same propaganda that justified the devastating austerity years which caused the Brexit vote in the first place!


So don't be a Tory propagandist, and never imply that austerity is inevitable because that's exactly what the Tories want people to believe.


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OR

What if they treat white people like blacks?



Before I get started I'm going to have to put my cards on the table in order to avoid the all-too-predictable accusations that I'm some kind of rabid Brexiter, or that I'm somehow bullying David Schneider by considering the subtext of what he said.

I was one of the most viral anti-Brexit campaigners on Facebook during David Cameron's botched referendum gamble (examples 1, 2, 3, 4, 5) and I've remained a staunch critic of Tory Brexit ever since. 

I'm actually a fan of David Schneider, and I've quoted him on my Facebook page too. It's just that in this instance he's said something really telling that reveals the blindness of so many liberal white progressives.

I'm sure that he wrote "I’ll be marching with EU citizens worried they’ll be treated like the Windrush generation" with honest intentions, but the subtext here is actually really quite sickening if you try to see it from a black perspective.

It's not difficult to see the undertones.
'I'm protesting against Brexit because I'm worried they'll start abusing mainly-white European citizens in the way they have been treating black British citizens for years!'
'I didn't take to the streets to protest against the Windrush scandal, but I'll invoke it now to publicise my own issue'
'I'm going to objectify the unspeakable suffering of others, not to protest against it directly, but to use it as a proxy for what I actually care about'
'I'm protesting about Brexit because thy might start treating white people like blacks!'
Where were the million+ marching when it was revealed that Theresa May's vile Hostile Environment policy had forced black Brits out of their jobs, denied them housing, and social security, and pensions, and banking services, and even urgent medical care?

Where were the enormous protests when it was revealed that scores of black Brits had been deported from their own country, with many of them actually dying in exile overseas?

There weren't any comparable protests because so many white liberal progressive types just went "oh dear" and got on with their lives because Theresa May's disgusting Windrush scandal didn't affect them personally.

The same goes for the sickening Tory mistreatment of sick and disabled people that's been condemned by the United Nations as a grave and systematic human rights violation.

After 9 years of this barbarity nobody has an excuse for not knowing about the disability denial factories, the slashed disability benefits and confiscated motability cars, the terminal cancer sufferers told to "get a job", the mentally ill people asked why they haven't committed suicide yet, the thousands who have dies within weeks of being declared "fit for work".


But just like the Windrush scandal, a million+ mainly-comfortable mainly-white, progressive "centrists" never flocked to London in to decry the despicable Tory abuse of disabled people either, because they only protest when they fear the policy is going to affect them personally.

And then we can look back to the crux of it all. The ruinous Tory austerity agenda that trashed our living standards and created the wave of public anger that drove Brexit marginally over the winning line in 2016.

Where were the million+ when the Tories were using austerity dogma, wage repression, public service cuts, local government cuts, destruction of the social security net, deliberate under-investment in housing and infrastructure to impoverish millions of people and decimate left-behind communities up and down the country?

Perhaps if more of them had lifted a finger to protest against Tory austerity dogma and its ruinous consequences between 2010 and 2016 then we wouldn't have ever ended up in this Brexit farce in the first place?

And then we look at the politicians at the march and on the podiums giving self-righteous speeches against Brexit at the march in London, and we see who they are.

There are the politicians who enabled the Windrush scandal by helping Theresa May's Hostile Environment policies through parliament (the Tories and Lib-Dems who voted in favour of it, and the Labour right-wingers like Yvette Cooper, Tom Watson, and David Lammy who all abstained on it to let it glide through parliament virtually unopposed).

They're the people who invented the disability denial factories (Labour right-wingers like Yvette Cooper) and those who actively made the disability denial factories even more vile and dehumanising (the Tories and Lib-Dems).

And they're the people who supported the ruinous austerity dogma that created Brexit in the first place (Tories), those who enabled it (Lib-Dems), those who imitated it instead of opposing it in 2015 (Labour right-wingers), and even those who continue pushing this same ruinous potential-destroying, life-wrecking, living standards-eroding ideology even now (the "Independent Group" parliamentary squatters).

Like I said at the beginning there's no way Schneider intended this Tweet to upset victims of the Windrush scandal, or to imply that the abuse these people have suffered was fine as long as it was only happening to blacks and other incomers from the colonies, but it's impossible not to see the subtext.

It's impossible not to see the way he's invoked this outrageous scandal not to criticise the scandal in itself, but to create publicity for the political issue he actually cares about.


The fact is that an awful lot of people who consider themselves to have liberal and progressive values just didn't stand up until they saw that the Tory political chaos might affect them directly through Brexit. But it's actually worse than that because they're so blind to their own indifference that they'll use the actual suffering of others as a warning that the same might eventually end up ... shock horror ... happening to "people like us".


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OR

Remain liars are every bit as politically toxic as Leave liars


People who vehemently oppose this ongoing Tory Brexit farce are perfectly understandable. After all it's been obvious from the beginning that the Brexiteers had no real plan for how to extricate the UK from the political union we've been integrating with for four decades, and that their Leave campaign was run by a bunch of opportunistic liars.

The problem of course is that there are liars on the Remain side too. People who have seen the effectiveness of the Leave lies, and instead of thinking 'we need to find more efficient and effective ways of countering these lies' they've gone for the 'if they won by lying, we need to lie through our teeth too' strategy.

One of the worst things about Brexit is the way it created such a tribalist division that ordinary Brexiters have felt compelled to defend the most extreme and egregious Brexiteer lies out of some weird tribal loyalty to people on the same side of the Brexit division.

Anyone with a social media account must have seen some desperate Brexiter performing absurd mental gymnastics to try and defend Boris Johnson's "£350 million for the NHS" lie, even after the Vote Leave director Dominic Cummings admitted that it was a lie, and that Leave probably wouldn't have won without it.


And the same goes for Remainers and the outright liars in the extremist fringes of the Remain camp.

When Eddie Marsan publishes an 18 month old picture of Jeremy Corbyn doing an Eric Morcambe pose on Twitter in order to spit vitriol at Jeremy Corbyn for campaigning in one of Britain's poorest and most austerity-damaged communities, he's lying through his teeth.

And when the lawyer Jo Maugham amplifies Eddie Marsan's lie by Retweeting it with a sneering anti-Corbyn screed of his own, it's simply another outright lie.
Spreading political lies and dismissing the people of Morecambe (and their 26.4% child poverty rate) because Jeremy Corbyn decided to campaign there instead of attend an anti-Brexit march in London with the likes of Alistair Campbell (anti-Semite and the professional liar who helped create the Iraq disaster), Tom Watson (who announced that he actually wants to vote in favour of Theresa May's shambolic Brexit deal to a chorus of boos from the crowd), and Chuka Umunna and his band of parliamentary squatters (who are literally begging Theresa May to let them prop up her pro-Brexit pro-austerity government) is exactly the kind of elitist London-centrism that people often unfairly smear the entire anti-Brexit movement as being.

All these lies do is reinforce the idea that Remain is some kind of elitist project with absolutely no regard for the truth, or for left-behind communities like Morecambe that have been ravaged by issues like deindustrialisation, austerity dogma, collapsing wages, child poverty, exploitative employment practices, trashed public services, barren high streets, failing schools, food bank dependency, local government cuts ...


But instead of calling out these lies, loads of Remainers (especially the #FBPE cultists) have actively retweeted them, and used them to publish bitter and shockingly dishonest anti-Corbyn screeds of their own.

If people like Marsan and Maugham are willing to use outright lies in order to further their political agenda, then they're clearly just as politically toxic as the Brextremists who created this Tory Brexit farce in the first place.

And if you're willing to help amplify, or even just make excuses for these Remainer lies just because you feel like you have some tribal debt of allegiance to them because they're on the same side, then you're every bit as bad as the Brexiters who think that the Leave campaign were justified in lying their way to victory in 2016 because they ended up getting what they wanted as a result.
But in a way the people spreading these sneering Remainer lies are even worse, because at least the Leave lies had a clear sense of purpose (tricking and terrifying people into voting Leave) while sneering-at-Morecambe type lies just make Remainers look like a bunch of smug, lying, sneering, metropolitan elitists who don't give a shit about ordinary people or left-behind communities, which is clearly a staggeringly counter-productive way of portraying yourself and your movement. 

In conclusion, political lies erode the standard of political discourse, and political liars should be called out, no matter whether these liars are on your side of any particular political divide or not.


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OR

Friday, 22 March 2019

The Tories are bragging about their economic failures again!


Back in 2010 when the Liberal Democrats enabled the Tories back into power the Tories repeatedly promised that their hard-right austerity policies would eliminate the government budget deficit by 2015.

Scroll forward to 2015 and despite all of the austerity, and wage repression, and public service cuts, and slashed local government funding, and unprecedented reductions in infrastructure spending, and destruction of the social security safety net, the Tories were still running a massive budget deficit, entirely unlike their 2010 promise they wouldn't be.

How did they deal with the fact that they had failed so badly to deliver what they'd promised? Well they deleted their 2010 promises off the Internet, and set about reframing their failure as a success with an incredibly brass-necked "we've cut the deficit by a third" narrative (we've failed our own measure of sucess by 2/3 so vote for us!)

Had Labour not allowed idiots like Chris Leslie and Ed Balls to dictate their economic stance they could have countered this nonsense, but instead they were too busy chasing away millions of natural Labour voters with their vapid and strategically inept austerity-lite agenda.

Labour completely dropped the ball thanks to the vapid "centrists", but obviously nobody in the mainstream media even bothered to call the Tories out on this extraordinary "Failure is Success" Orwellian bullshit either.


Scroll forward another four years to the present and the Tories still haven't eliminated the deficit like they said they were going to by 2015, and they're still dressing their abject economic failure up as some kind of brilliant validation of their crazed approach to economics, and they're even bragging about it on Twitter!

The lesson from all of this is obvious. That hard-right policies like austerity, wage repression, public service cuts, and deliberate under-investment in infrastructure spending are an absolutely rubbish approach to reducing government borrowing, in fact they're so bad that they've resulted in the slowest post-crisis recovery in Centuries, and left UK workers earning less in real terms than they were an entire decade ago!

But then we're left with the question of why reducing government borrowing was turned into such a desperate priority that it over-ruled all other measures of success, from collapsing workers' wages to deteriorating public services, from record low infrastructure investment to slashed education spending, from soaring violent crime rates to rising inequality levels, from exponential increases in food bank dependency to unsustainable rises in private debt.

The answer of course is that government borrowing should never have been presented as such an overarching priority that debt-fixation resulted in the trashing of workers' wages, vandalism of public services, destruction of the social safety net, and the ripping off of future generations through deliberate under-investment in things that generate future-prosperity like education, affordable housing, and infrastructure projects.

The reason austerity "failed" is that it never really had anything to do with reducing the deficit. Debt fear-mongering was always just a smokescreen to hide their true agenda behind.

Collapsing workers' wages, under-funding of local government and public services, increased privatisation mania, and vandalism of the social security safety net weren't unfortunate by-products of this Tory agenda, they were the actual objective.


The whole thing was a giant wealth transfer fraud of monumental proportions designed to load the debts of the bankers' insolvency crisis onto the general public while transferring as much wealth as possible from the poor and ordinary to the mega-rich establishment elitists.

Amazingly some people still haven't clocked that the whole thing was a con, even when the Tories are so blatantly dressing their glaring failure to do as they promised, even after 9 years, as some kind of wonderful economic success story!

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OR

Sunday, 10 March 2019

How to impoverish disabled people, a lesson from Tory Britain.


Just imagine what it must be like to be a disabled person opening a letter that threatens to cut off your disability benefits if you fail to attend an interview five days ago.

Luckily the individual who received this letter has a good support network who are helping them to fight against this deliberate trap, but there are huge numbers of disabled people out there without strong support networks to help them fight against this kind of injustice.

People with mental health conditions and learning disabilities are particularly vulnerable to this kind of benefits denial trickery.

Whether people have mental health conditions or not, this kind of thing exacerbates their illnesses by loading masses of stress, anxiety, and depression on top of whatever they were already suffering with.

The last thing you need when you have a heart condition or terminal cancer is a prolonged bureaucratic fight to obtain the social security payments you're entitled to.


And just look at who the letter had been sent by. It's not from the DWP, it's from the private profit-seeking outsourcing company Capita who have been contracted to carry out the Tories' dirty work.

Chaos, inefficiency, and vast cost-overruns have been commonplace wherever the Tories have brought in profiteering outsourcing firms to do their dirty work in the welfare system. The WCA assessment regime has ended up costing more to administer than it ever saved in reduced benefits payments, unlawful Tory workfare schemes ended up subsidising private profit-making companies at the Taxpayers' expense, and the corporate-administered Work Programme ended up producing results that were worse than literally doing nothing at all!

The PIP assessment regime is no different. Costs have overrun so dramatically that instead of the £2 billion saving the Tories predicted in 2013, but figures from the OBR (page 113) reveal that by May 2018 it was already costing £4.2 billion more than they projected!

This disgraceful PIP letter is just one isolated example of the kind situations disabled people are suffering in Britain on a daily basis, but there's no denying that this kind of abuse is widespread and systematic.

When the United Nations investigated the treatment of sick and disabled people, they concluded that the Tories are inflicting "grave and systematic" human rights violations against disabled people.

Even if people were somehow unaware of the damning United Nations report, there are news stories virtually every day highlighting the disgusting consequences of these botched and malicious Tory welfare reforms. Stuff like tens of thousands of people dying within weeks of being declared fit for work, people with terminal illnesses being treated like scroungers, denied benefits, and told to 'get a job', people winning their benefits appeals after they died, people committing suicide because of all the stress and anxiety of having their disability benefits cut ...

There's absolutely no pretending that the Tory government aren't administering the systematic abuse of sick and disabled people, and there's no pretending that the millions of people who vote Tory simply consider this systematic abuse a "price worth paying" in return for whatever (probably imaginary) personal benefit they think they're getting from keeping this malicious and incompetent party in power.

Unfortunately we live in a nation of selfish "I'm alright Jack" bastards who actively endorse the Tory party and the system they've built which results in private profit-seeking companies running the show and sending con-trick letters like this.

Tory voters endorse this abusive system because they naively imagine that things like sickness, disability, or simple misfortune could never happen to them or their families, and they're absolutely chilled as long as this systematic abuse is targeted at other people.

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OR

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Bloody Sunday wasn't "dignified" or "appropriate" and undemining the rule of law is despicable.


On January 30th 1972 the occupying British army in Northern Ireland opened fire and shot 28 unarmed civilians who were attending a civil rights march in Derry, Northern Ireland, 14 of them died and many others have lived with the physical injuries and trauma of that day for the rest of their lives.

For decades the UK government pretended that the shootings on Bloody Sunday were somehow justified, but in 2010 the extensive Saville Inquiry found that all of the victims were unarmed, that several had been shot in the back while running away, that others had been shot while attending to the wounded, and that numerous military figures had given false testimonies in order to cover up the truth.

When the Saville Report was released the Prime Minister David Cameron gave a long-overdue apology to the families of the victims and publicly admitted that the killings were "unjustified and unjustifiable".

Of course anyone with any economic sense or basic human decency must detest Cameron for the ruinous austerity dogma, economy-choking infrastructure underinvestment, and wage repression policies that have trashed living standards for the last 9 years, and for the grotesque systematic abuse of sick and disabled people his government enacted.

However credit where credit is due, he did actually apologise for probably the most grotesquely indecent display of violence and political repression perpetrated by the British state during the "troubles" in Northern Ireland.


But attitudes within the Tory party have shifted dramatically since then with the hard-right Tory Brextremists coming to prominence and the party continually seeking approval from the extreme-right ultranationalist blue-kip demograhpic they're now electorally reliant upon.

The unapologetic Tory contempt for Northern Ireland is quite clear from their continued collusion with the corrupt DUP sectarians, their arrogant stance on the Irish border issue, and from today's extraordinary announcement by the Tory Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Karen Bradley that killings by the UK security services in Northern Ireland were "not crimes" and that those responsible for the killing spree on Bloody Sunday acted in a "dignified and appropriate way".

Of course any government minister with the vaguest grip on reality would know that it's actually up to the judicial system to determine what is and isn't a crime, and that government ministers deliberately interfering in judicial matters is the kind of authoritarian undermining of the rule of law you'd expect to see under crackpot extreme-right governments like the ones in Poland, Hungary and Brazil.

And any minister for Northern Ireland should also know that the UK government has already accepted that Bloody Sunday was outrageous and unacceptable and apologised for it, and that calling the killers "dignified" and their actions "appropriate" is not just grotesque, it's blatantly whacking a political hornets' nest with a stick.

It's as if these hard-right Tories are still upset that the Irish peace process ever happened at all, and they're desperate to actively inflame tensions with their outbursts of offensive and irresponsible rhetoric, their open and ongoing collusion with one side of the sectarian divide, and their outright arrogance over the Irish border issue so that they can settle old scores.

Looking at Karen Bradley's lawless and despicable rhetoric today (and the fact that Theresa May hasn't immediately sacked her for publicly undermining the rule of law) it hard not to notice how an austerity-obsessed inveterate liar with a gambling problem like David Cameron was actually a quite a moderate in comparison to the current Tory rabble!

If Theresa May had any sense she would never have appointed such a gaffe-prone and catastrophically ignorant woman as Northern Ireland Secretary in the first place, and if Theresa May has any respect for the rule of law whatever then Bradley should be sacked for deliberately and publicly undermining it.



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OR

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Meet the "more of the same" party


The Independent Group of 11 MPs who are squatting in parliament, refusing to call by-elections, and pinning their political hopes on begging Theresa May for an opportunity to prop up her pro-austerity government have announced the positions they've given themselves, and you couldn't have picked more inappropriate roles for several of them if you'd actively tried.

Heidi Allen - Welfare, social care, pensions, and business

Source: Heidi Allen on They Work For You

Heidi Allen is one of the three ex-Tories to join the parliamentary squatter group, and by putting her in charge of welfare and social care this lot are sending a very clear message to their financial backers that they're intent on continuing the savage welfare policies that Allen repeatedly voted in favour of during her time on the Tory benches.

Any "centrists" hoping this new group might adopt a more humane approach than the Tories to issues like disability, social security, and social care will surely be sorely disappointed to see this position handed to a Tory with a proven track record of voting in favour of savage welfare cuts and crippling reduced local government funding in order to fund lavish tax cuts on corporations and the super-rich.

Greedy businessmen hoping for more unearned handouts on the other hand, they'll be punching the air with delight that this new group is intent on continuing the same old "something for nothing" Tory agenda, and actively begging Theresa May to let them prop up her shambles of a government.

Mike Gapes - Foreign affairs and defence


It's difficult to think of a less suitable individual to take responsibility for foreign affairs than the unapologetic warmonger Mike Gapes.

This is a man who voted in favour of the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, and then repeatedly voted against investigations into the ensuing catastrophe.

The Iraq war caused hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, triggered a refugee crisis of millions, and created a lawless power vacuum that eventually gave birth to ISIS.

Mike Gapes refuses to accept any moral responsibility whatever for any of this, and remains 100% unapologetic.

Gapes is also a big fan of the tyrannical, homophobic, misogynists, head-chopping, journalist-dismembering, terrorism-spreading Saudi war criminals, and was one of 13 MPs to receive a share of over £100,000 of gifts and freebies lavished on British politicians by the Saudi regime in 2018.

Gapes knows that the Saudis use British weapons to commit war crimes in Yemen because he was a member of the foreign affairs select committee that admitted that this was the case, but he simply doesn't care.

By appointing Gapes to their foreign affairs and defence brief the group are sending a very clear signal to arms manufacturers and the military-industrial complex that they're setting up as a pro-war, pro-imperialist party that is willing to turn a blind eye to the sickening war crimes of disgustingly tyrannical regimes like Saudi Arabia in order to flog them £billions more in weapons.


Chris Leslie - Treasury and trade

One of Ed Miliband's biggest mistakes as Labour leader was to allow a bunch of hard-right austerity fetishists rule the shadow treasury which resulted in Labour's ridiculously unappealing "austerity-lite" agenda that ruined their chances at the 2015 general election.

The 'thinking' behind this ludicrous policy was that Labour could pinch a few thousand soft-Tory votes in marginal constituencies by imitating ruinous Tory austerity rather than actively opposing it. What they clearly failed to factor into this mind-bogglingly stupid plan was the fact that an explicitly pro-austerity agenda would end up driving away vast numbers of natural Labour voters for every "soft-Tory" they managed to entice.

Hence Labour's share of the vote collapsing from 35% in 2010 to just 29% in 2015, despite the Tories overseeing unprecedented collapses in workers' wages and living standards, trashing Britain's AAA credit rating, and spectacularly missing all of their economic targets!

Had Labour actually opposed devastating Tory austerity dogma in 2015, Labour would probably have beaten the Tories, Ed Miliband would have become Prime Minister, austerity would be over, Jeremy Corbyn would still be an obscure Labour backbencher, and there's be no such thing as Brexit!

Chris Leslie was one of the ludicrous hard-right wonks in the shadow treasury who helped to lay the groundwork for Brexit by outright refusing to oppose the Tory austerity madness that was trashing wages, living standards, and public services, and he's still a pro-austerity fanatic now, even years after right-leaning international bodies like the IMF and OECD have rejected austerity dogma as an economically damaging ideology.

Appointing a hard-right economic illiterate like Chris Leslie to their economics brief is a very clear signal to the mega-rich beneficiaries of Tory austerity dogma that this group intends to continue the Tory agenda of using austerity as a means of transferring ever more wealth from to poor and ordinary to corporations and the mega-rich.


Angela Smith - Transport, Local government, housing, energy, environment, rural affairs


Angela Smith is such a talentless incompetent that she managed to completely screw up the biggest day of her entire political career by referring to British Asians as "funny tinge" on live TV on the Independent Group launch day.

Afterwards she excused this racist gaffe by repeatedly claiming that she was "very tired" which is actually significantly more offensive than the original gaffe because it implies that racist attitudes are somehow so natural and inherent that they accidentally slip out when people are tired, drunk, or stressed.

The idea that we're all inherently racists and it only depends how tired, drunk, or stressed we get before we start spouting bigoted racist slurs is absolutely extraordinary, but not quite as extraordinary as this group putting a pro-privatisation ideologue and lobbyist for private water companies in charge of their transport, energy, water, and housing policies.

With a hard-right pro-privatisation ideologue running this huge brief, it's absolutely clear that this group are committed to defying the public will by cementing private profiteering ownership of the railways, national grid, water companies, and other public services.


Putting Smith in charge of this brief is a clear signal to the private profiteers who are gouging vast profits out of our housing, public services, and utilities that this group is absolutely committed to delivering "more of the same"

Anna Soubry - Brexit and justice

Of all of the squatter MPs Anna Soubry is perhaps the most distasteful because of her outright and glaring displays of hypocrisy.

When she's not praising the devastating 2010-15 austerity policies that laid the groundwork for Brexit by collapsing UK living standards as "marvellous" Soubry often talks a good talk, but when it comes to the actions her parliamentary voting record stands as absolute proof that she repeatedly does precisely the opposite.

Take her continual grandstanding on Brexit to pose as some kind of noble Brexit-critic which is completely contradicted by her actions. She poses as a Brexit-sceptic, but in parliament she's repeatedly voted in favour of Theresa May's hard-right interpretation of Brexit.

Soubry's Brexit collusion including votes in favour of May's shambolic Withdrawal Bill in January 2018, votes against opposition amendments to protect workers' rights, environmental laws, equality rules, consumer protections and food standards, and even a vote of confidence in Theresa May after she humiliated Britain by postponing the scheduled "meaningful vote" for no reason other than the fact she knew she was going to lose it.

It's not just talking about opposing Brexit while repeatedly voting in favour of it either. When it comes to police cuts and violent crime she's also proven herself a despicable hypocrite too.

In response to Theresa May's ludicrous assertion that her policy of getting rid of 21,000 police and slashing police budgets has no relation with soaring rates of violent crime, Soubry stated that "of course there's a link between policing numbers and crime".

This Tweet is an admission that she knew that slashing police budgets would end up increasing rates of serious and violent crime all along, but she repeatedly voted in favour of Theresa May's ideologically driven assault on the police service regardless of the dire and deadly consequences she knew would happen. 


She blatantly put loyalty to the Tory party above the lives of violent crime victims, but now she's abandoned that party loyalty as worthless to join the parliamentary squatters, demonstrating that the victims of the violent crime wave she helped Theresa May to create are actually less than worthless in her estimations!

And she's got the absolute brass neck to start carping from the sidelines about the appalling consequences of the austerity fanaticism that she repeatedly and knowingly voted in favour of as if she's now some kind of heroic saviour!

Putting one of the most brazen hypocrites in the whole of parliament in charge of their Brexit brief is a signal to their financial backers that the group are actually extremely flexible on their Brexit position. If the secretive millionaires who are bankrolling this group want them to go all out for a referendum then that's what they'll do, but if the bankrollers decide that a hard-right Tory Brexit is actually in their interests, that's obviously what Soubry and the squatters will eventually vote in favour of.


Change Politics!

The parliamentary squatters' "change politics" slogan is every bit as Orwellian anything the Tory government have come up with over the years ("all in this together" - while transferring as much wealth as possible from the majority to the mega-rich minority, "making work pay" while overseeing the longest sustained collapse in workers wages in recorded history and slashing in-work benefits, "strong and stable" as their campaign slogan during the most shambolic and needless election in modern British history ...).

They repeatedly claim that they want to "change politics" but their actions demonstrate that on all manner of crucial issues from ruinous austerity dogma to war-mongering imperialism, and from privatisation mania to welfare policy, these are people who desperately want to keep things exactly the same.



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