Saturday, 7 December 2019

The Tory challenge


The rule of this game is very simple. If you've been sent a link to this article, all you have to do is pick five of these fifty things from the Tory track record in government and explicitly defend them to the person who sent you the link. 

Tearing up the British constitution
Page 48 of the Tory manifesto promises all kinds of radical hard-right constitutional changes, most notably their pledges to tear up our human rights, and to radically restrict the power of the courts to hold the government to account. They dress it up in right-wing propaganda speak, but it's obvious that their proposals are intended to prevent the courts from ever intervening again to stop unlawful legislation like Johnson's prorogation of parliament, and to stop judicial reviews from checking that government projects are actually lawful,


A vote for the Tories is a vote for weak courts and an all powerful government


Longest fall in value of wages since records began

Under Tory rule British workers have suffered the longest sustained decline in the real value of their wages since records began. The fall is so bad that it's the joint worst wage collapse in the developed world with Greece. The difference of course is that Greece did that to their workers because they were forced to by the Troika, the Tories did that to British workers because they wanted to.

A vote for Tories is a vote for lower wages


Spectacularly missed economic targets
In 2010 the Tories promised to eliminate the deficit by 2015. In 2019 they're still nowhere near eliminating it. Over 9 years to do what they promised to do in under 5, and more new public debt created in the process than every single Labour government in history combined? If that's "strong economic management", I'd hate to see what Tories would classify as chaotic, debt-soaring ineptitude.

A vote for Tories is a vote for more economic incompetence

The austerity con

 The architecy of austerity extremism George Osborne's is gone, his mate David Cameron is gone, Theresa May is gone, but austerity isn't. Boris Johnson is still pushing austerity, whilst pretending that he isn't, because the evidence is now absolutely clear that austerity is a con job that only ever succeeded in transferring wealth from the majority to the super rich minority at the expense of the real economy.

A vote for Tories is a vote for the continuation of the Tory austerity con


Broken Robot politics
In 2017 Theresa May kept repeating the phrase "strong and stable leadership" like a broken robot until it became a standing joke, now Boris Johnson is doing the same thing with "Get Brexit Done", which is even more absurd, because Brexit will drag on for years and years if his lazy and incompetent rehash of Theresa May's shambles of a deal gets passed.

A vote for Tories is a vote for condescending wankers who won't stop repeating themselves


The productivity crisis
The UK has been suffering an extreme crisis in relative productivity. The UK lags 35% behind Germany and 30% behind the US. This means that the average UK worker has to work an hour to achieve the same economic output as a German can manage in 39 minutes. The problem is getting worse and worse, and it's easy to understand why. Unhappy and exploited workers don't work as hard as those who feel valued and well paid. Well educated workers are more effective workers than those who have suffered a poor education system. If the UK wants to resolve the productivity crisis it needs to improve wages and working conditions and invest in the education system. The Tories have been doing the polar opposite of that for nine devastating years.

A vote for Tories is a vote against resolving the productivity crisis


Systematic abuse of disabled people
The amount of appalling schemes and degrading assessment regimes disabled people have to go through under this Tory government is absolutely shocking. There's so much of it I've written a full article detailing over a dozen of the worst things.

A vote for Tories is a vote for the continued abuse of disabled people


Legal Aid cuts
Legal Aid was introduced in 1949 by Clement Attlee's Labour government. It serves to prevent the justice system just serving as a plaything of the rich. The point of it is to ensure equal justice and the right to a fair trial. Since 2010 the Tories have mercilessly slashed the Legal Aid budget creating a two-tier justice system where justice is available to those who can afford it, but out of the reach of the poorest and most vulnerable in society (especially in Legal Advice blackspots like the South West, the Midlands and the North). Legal experts are up in arms about these divisive and unfair cuts, but Johnson simply doesn't seem to care.

A vote for Tories is a vote for a two-tier justice system

Huge rise in child poverty

Since 2010 the number of children growing up in poverty has risen by 400,000. The latest research shows that if the Tories win then child poverty would soar to 34% by 2023-24, the highest rate in 60 years.

A vote for Tories is a vote for child poverty


Cowardice
Boris Johnson is a coward. He's evaded public scrutiny as much as possible during the election. He dodged the Climate Change debate, he dodged the Sky leaders interview, he dodged the Andrew Neil interview, he's dodged facing Piers Morgan on GMB, he's hidden himself away in Tory "safe spaces" where the public can't get near him, and he's even dodged husting in his local constituency. How anyone imagines a coward like that will be able to stand up to the US, the EU, Russia, and China on the world stage is anybody's guess.

A vote for Tories is a vote for a coward of a Prime Minister


Railway chaos
As a result of the shambolic Tory privatisation of the railways the UK has the most expensivemost over-crowded and least reliable rail service of any comparable developed European nation. What's more is that the profiteering private companies who operate the services take more in government subsidies than it cost to run the entire system under British Rail!

A vote for Tories is a vote for crap, over-priced and over-crowded rail services


Corporations paying less tax than their employees
Since 2010 the Tories have reduced the rate of corporation tax paid by the biggest multinationals from 28% to just 19%, where Johnson claims he's going to leave it. This is the lowest in the G7, and means that major corporations end up paying lower effective tax rates than many of their employees.

A vote for Tories is a vote for very low rates of corporation tax


Most unaffordable homes ever
After coming to power in 2010 the Conservatives oversaw the lowest levels of housebuilding since the 1920s. When Theresa May was Home Secretary she increased demand on the nation's housing stock by overseeing the biggest surges of net migration in UK history. This combination of weak supply, very high demand and collapsing wages has pushed house prices to their most unaffordable level ever.

A vote for Tories is a vote for unaffordable housing


NHS recruitment crisis
One of Theresa May's first acts as Prime Minister was to scrap NHS bursaries, which caused an astonishing 10,000 decline in applications for nursing courses. Add into the mix the fact that NHS staff from EU countries are quitting the NHS in record numbers and there's a massive NHS recruitment crisis on the cards. Boris Johnson's made up numbers and uncosted pledges are nowhere near enough to even make up the damage of the last 3 years, let alone the last 9.

A vote for Tories is a vote for a massive NHS staff shortage


Contempt for private sector tenants
In 2016 Tory MPs (1/3 of whom are landlords) voted down an opposition amendment to their housing bill that would have required landlords to ensure that rented accommodation is "fit for human habitation".

A vote for Tories is a vote for slumlords renting shit houses to people with nowhere else to turn

Biggest education funding cuts in decades
The Tories are planning the biggest education funding cuts in decades. Follow this link to find out how much they're planning to slash from the budget of your local school.

A vote for Tories is a vote for underfunded schools


The school privatisation agenda
An awful lot of people don't seem to have even noticed that the Tories have been privatising thousands of state owned schools, property and all, for free, into the hands of private sector pseudo-charities, many of which are owned by major Tory party donors (like Philip "Carpetright" Harris, Alan Lewis and John Nash). Read this article about the scandalous Perry Beeches academy chain to get an idea of the seriousness of this Tory vandalism of our education system.

A vote for Tories is a vote for unaccountable profiteers running the English education system

Rip-off tuition fees

With the assistance of their lying Lib-Dem sidekicks the Tories introduced £9,000 per year tuition fees for university students, meaning English students now face the highest fees in the world for study at public universities. The fees are so high that 2/3 of graduates will never be able to pay off their student debts, despite paying a 9% aspiration tax on their disposable incomes for their entire working lives.

A vote for Tories is a vote for lifetimes of unpayable student debt for millions of graduates

Huge rise in Food bank dependency

The Tories have seen a huge rise in food bank dependency since 2010. Over a million food parcels were handed out by the Trussell Trust last year, and they're just one of the food bank organisations. New research has shown that areas that have suffered the rollout of the Tories' hopelessly botched Universal Credit scheme have significantly higher rates of food bank dependency than areas where it hasn't been rolled out yet.

A vote for Tories is a vote for food poverty


Dictators and despots
Boris Johnson and the Tories love sucking up to dictators and despots like the vile misogynistic, homophobic, head-chopping, democracy-repressing, journalist dismembering, terrorism-spreading Islamist tyrants in Saudi Arabia, whilst implying Corbyn is the terrorism sympathiser!

A vote for Tories is a vote for closer relations with dictators and despots


The Hinkley Point C scandal
The Hinkley Point C deal is one of the most scandalous affairs in UK political history. The Tories have agreed to bribe the French and Chinese into building us a nuclear power station by promising to use taxpayers' cash to pay them double the market rate for electricity for 35 years, then cover the cleanup cost at the taxpayers' expense too. The reason we have to bribe foreign governments into building our nuclear infrastructure for us is that the Tories privatised the UK's nuclear expertise in the 1990s, and the private company was then allowed to be purchased by the French government.

A vote for Tories is a vote for the most expensive rip-off deal the UK has ever signed up to


Unqualified teachers
In 2010 the Tories changed the rules and scrapped the requirement that teachers actually be qualified to do the job. Since then the education system has been flooded with ever more unqualified teachers, rising to 22,500 by 2015. It's worth remembering that the education secretary who brought in the policy of flooding our schools with unqualified teachers was Michael Gove, you know, the guy who claimed that the UK has "had enough of experts" during the EU referendum campaign.

A vote for Tories is a vote for even more unqualified teachers in our schools


Unprecedented lying
Boris Johnson is such an egregious liar he makes David Cameron look trustworthy, and that guy couldn't even remember what football team he was pretending to support! Johnson's lies are so numerous it's impossible to keep track of all of them.A vote for Tories is a vote for the most dishonest Prime Minister this nation has ever had

PFI
One of the worst things about New Labour was their reliance upon rip-off PFI economic alchemy scams designed to bribe private companies into building public infrastructure. The Treasury Select Committee found that PFI is "an extremely inefficient method of funding [public infrastructure] projects" yet the Tories have carried on using them, and are currently looking for hedge funds to sign up to another £10 billion worth of PFI deals. Jeremy Corbyn has pledged to scrap PFI.

A vote for Tories is a vote for even more rip-off PFI economic alchemy schemes


Secret courts
In 2013 the Tories (in coalition with the so-called Liberal Democrats) introduced a new law to create secret courts in which a person can have their fate decided in a courtroom they are not allowed to enter, on charges they are not allowed to know, based on evidence they are not allowed to see. In secret courts even the person's lawyer is barred from entering the courtroom or seeing the evidence. These shocking secrecy rules don't just apply to criminal courts or terrorism related offences, they can be used in civil cases too! 


A vote for Tories is a vote in favour of contempt for the concept of open justice

Privatisation
Since coming to power in 2010 the Tories have been privatising public assets at a faster rate than any government in UK history (even Thatcher). Many of their privatisation scams have been completely senseless and resulted in vast rip-offs for the British public; they sold Royal Mail off at over £1 billion below its real market value; they sold off the publicly owned banks at massive losses to the taxpayer; they've carved up and given away £billions worth of NHS services
they gave away thousands of publicly owned school properties, for free, to unaccountable private pseudo-charitiesthey've sold off the student loan books at a loss; and they sold off the UK government's stake in Eurostar for a tiny fraction of what it cost us to set it up.

A vote for Tories is a vote for more rip-off Tory privatisation scams


Foreign ownership of British rail franchises
One of the most ridiculous things about the Tory privatisation ideology is that the only country that is barred from bidding for UK rail franchises is ... err ... the UK! Vast swathes of our rail system are now operated by foreign governments like Germany, France, the Netherlands, Singapore and Hong Kong. These foreign governments then extract their taxpayer-subsidised profits back to their own countries to be used to improve their own rail systems. The Netherlands state rail operator Abellio now operates so many train services here that their UK network is two and a half times the size of the entire Netherlands state railway!

A vote for Tories is a vote for UK taxpayers and rail passengers subsidising foreign rail networks


Deceptive campaigning
This has been the most deceptive and manipulative election campaign ever, with all kinds of outrageous Tory scams. A fake Labour party manifesto, turning their Twitter account into a fake "fact-checking" service, endless fake Tory propaganda like fake "new hospitals" and fake "new nurses" to put in them, and of course the tides of fake 'independent' Facebook pages using sponsored ads to inject Tory propaganda into people's news feeds. The idea that any of this could be stopped by electing the party that's doing it is laughable.

A vote for Tories is a vote for ever more election fakery


Social care crisis

The Tories have slashed £4.6 billion from the social care budget at a time of rising demand due to the UK's ageing population demographics. This social care funding crisis has coincided with the biggest increase in the death rate since the 1960s, and is putting an immense amount of pressure on already overstretched NHS services and unpaid carers. Boris Johnson promised a solution to the social care crisis, then didn't even bother to include the issue in his manifesto.

A vote for Tories is a vote a social care system in crisis


Scrapped NHS waiting time targets
Over the winter of 2016-17 it became clear that the underfunded overstretched NHS was incapable of meeting the 4 hour waiting time target at A&E departments. Instead of reversing their cuts and stopping their programme of hospital closures, the Tories simply scrapped the waiting time target! If the target can't be delivered then don't change your policy, scrap the target - that's the Tory approach to problem-solving!


A vote for Tories is a vote for longer hospital waits

Defunding of local government
The Tories have slashed local government budgets so harshly that the leader of David Cameron's own Tory council famously wrote to him to plead for him to stop. What's most disgusting about this assault on local government budgets is that the most savage local government cuts have been focused on the poorest areas, while some leafy Tory councils actually got increases in their budgets.

A vote for Tories is a vote for even more ruination of local government services

Tax-dodgers winning government contracts
The Tories have brought giant outsourcing corporations in to do all kinds of government functions. Huge numbers of these corporate leeches are now having their contracts renewed automatically with no cost-benefit analysis and no competitive tendering process. The Labour Party have proposed a new law to ban outsourcing companies from receiving government contracts if they're based in tax havens. The Tories are quite happy to continue using taxpayers' cash to pay tax-dodging corporate outsourcing companies to do the work the government should be doing itself.

A vote for Tories is a vote for tax-dodging corporate outsourcing parasitism

Filibustering
Filibustering is an incredibly cynical strategy politicians use to block proposed legislation by talking and talking until the debate runs out of time. Some of the proposed laws that have been derailed by Tory MPs deliberately blabbering on for hours to run the clock down include first aid lessons for school children, free hospital parking for carers, cheaper off-patent drugs for the NHS, and a bill to prevent revenge evictions by landlords who have been asked to maintain their properties. Several of these bills had cross-party support, but were deliberately wrecked by a handful of hard-right Tories like Philip Davies, Andrew Rosindell, Sam Gyimah, Alistair Burt and Cristopher Chope.

A vote for Tories is a vote for Tory debate wrecking tactics

Fire service cuts
Between 2010 and 2015 the Tories slashed 30% off the fire service budget resulting in the loss of 10,000 firefighter jobs and the closure of 39 fire stations. Between 2015 and 2020 they intend to slash another 20%. 2017-18 saw the highest number of fire-related deaths since 2010-11.

A vote for Tories is a vote for more people dying in house fires

 
Prisons chaos
Violence, riots, widespread drug use, escapes, chronic understaffing and soaring suicide rates. The UK prison system is in chaos. One of the worst prisons of all is HMP Northumberland that was privatised by the Tories in 2014. It's supposed to be a training prison to give prisoners jobs skills so they're less likely to return to crime. At HMP Northumberland a private contractor Novus was giving prisoners pictures of Peppa Pig to colour in as their employability training, all at the taxpayers' expense of course.

A vote for Tories is a vote for absolute chaos in our prisons


Attacks on workers' rights
In 2013 the Tory led government introduced £1,200 fees in order for employees to seek unfair dismissal compensation from their employers. So now if your boss sacks you unfairly (for your age, sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, political orientation, trade union activities, or refusal to suck his cock) you have to find over a grand in order to go to an employment tribunal. The Tory presumption of course being that your boss is a great guy and all of his employees are worthless scum, and the fewer people who take him to tribunal the better. This outrageous scam was ruled unlawful in 2017, however any political party that introduces such outrageous and unjust legislation obviously can't be trusted with workers' rights.

A vote for Tories is a vote for economic barriers to the justice system

Police cuts
Since 2010 the Tories have axed 21,000+ police jobs, and the impact of these police cuts can't be hidden off the violent crime statistics, which have been soaring for years. Johnson now promises to replace almost as many as they slashed, but loads of questions remain. With 600 fewer police stations closed down since 2010, where would they work. Why slash experienced officers and replace them with green recruits, and why has no attention been paid to the large UK population rise since 2010?

A vote for Tories is a vote for fewer police on our streets and more violent crime


Flood defence spending
Of all of the Tory cuts their decision to slash the flood defence spending budget is one of the most stupid. For each £1 spent on flood defence spending the nation saves £8 in avoided damage and disruption. Several of the areas that had their flood defence schemes cancelled in 2010-11 ended up suffering severe flooding. As a departing gift after resigning in disgrace David Cameron handed a DBE to Caroline Spelman who was the Tory politician who oversaw this ideologically driven lunacy!

A vote for Tories is a vote for more damaging floods


Adult education
Adult education colleges had their budgets slashed by 24% between 2010 and 2015. The vocational training budget was slashed even more, by 40%. Over a million adult learning places have disappeared since 2010. It's beyond obvious that re-educating adult workers is absolutely vital in the modern era where the concept of jobs for life has been all but eradicated. Any government intent on developing a modern high-tech economy would invest in adult education in order to provide workers with the skills retraining they need to move between jobs. The Tories have been doing the exact opposite.

A vote for Tories is a vote for an inflexible low-skill economy 


Forced closure of NHS services
During the 2010 General Election the Tories promised to stop the forced closure of NHS services. In 2012 the Tory government attempted to force the closure of Lewisham Hospital in South London. In 2014 the Tories introduced new legislation to make it much easier for them to force the closure of NHS services and facilities. Since 2015 the Tories have been working on a secret plan to shut down dozens of A&E departments, maternity wards, walk in centres and mental health facilities up and down the country.

A vote for Tories is a vote for the forced closure of even more NHS services

Sweetheart tax deals
One of the sickest things about the Tory government is the way they allowed HMRC to draw up sweetheart tax deals with massive corporations like Google, Starbucks and Vodafone. Why should Google get to negotiate a 3% tax deal when ordinary working people have to pay what they actually owe?

A vote for Tories is a vote for more sweetheart tax deals with multinational corporations


Armed services cuts
Between 2010 and 2015 the Tories slashed over 33,000 jobs in the armed services. The army has been pared back to its smallest size since the Napoleonic War! Meanwhile the Tories have been blasting money like it's going out of fashion on aircraft carriers with no aircraft, paying 40 Admirals and 260 Captains when we've only got 19 warships, and the 205 billion renewal of Britain's privatised supply of weapons of mass destruction.

A vote for Tories is a vote for weaker and less capable defence

The Snoopers' Charter
Theresa May's Snoopers' Charter is the most extreme state surveillance law ever introduced in a developed nation. It allows over 20,000 government employees to trawl through the private communication data of innocent people (including loads of non-terrorism related organisations like the Food Standards Agency, the Health and Safety Executive and the Gambling Commission). It also allows the state to tell lies in court in order to secure convictions.

A vote for Tories is a vote for extreme surveillance and an end to the concept of privacy


In-Work benefit cuts
The majority of people receiving non-pension benefits in Tory Britain are the working poor, not the unemployed. When the Tories slash things like housing benefit and tax credits, what they're actually doing is further impoverishing the working poor. Incredibly they have repeatedly introduced new welfare cuts to make working families poorer whilst simultaneously spouting the Orwellian propaganda that they're "making work pay" as they do it!

A vote for Tories is a vote to further impoverish the working poor

The trade deficit
The UK is suffering a massive problem with trade deficits. This means the UK imports far more than it exports. The problem has been going on for a long time, but since 2010 the problem has been getting a lot worse, with the record being smashed over and again. In the month of the Brexit referendum the trade deficit in goods swelled to an astonishing £12.5 billion, the highest ever recorded. The UK's terrible balance of payments deficit is offset a bit by financial services export and vehicle exports, but a Tory hard Brexit would throw a massive spanner in the works, especially if they go for the "no deal" cliff edge that Johnson's Brexit bodge keeps alive.

A vote for the Tories is a vote for massive trade deficits


Contempt for human rights
Boris Johnson and his cabinet of ghouls have a burning contempt for your human rights.Their manifesto pledges to scrap our human rights and replace them with a set of Tory allowances, which would mean we join Belarus as the only European nation that doesn't adhere to the human rights legislation that was bestowed on Europe by the British Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee.

A vote for Tories is a vote to scrap your own human rights

Mental health funding cuts
The Tories love talking up how much they care about mental health conditions, but their actual track record is disgraceful. Between 2010 and 2015 they slashed £600 million from mental health services. They're still slashing away now. In fact they even advised the corporate outsourcing companies carrying out their disability assessments to actively discriminate against disabled people.

A vote for Tories is a vote for mental health neglect

Taxpayer subsidised malice
One of the worst things about the Tory government is the fact that several of their malicious anti-welfare schemes actually cost more to administer in corporate outsourcing fees than they will ever save in reduced benefits payments. The Work Capacity Assessment regime for sick and disabled people and their draconian sanctions system are both examples of socially ruinous schemes that actually cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions of pounds to operate.

A vote for Tories is a vote for more money to be wasted on malicious Tory anti-welfare schemes

Rising inequality

While UK workers suffered the worst collapse in the value of their wages on record the tiny super rich minority literally doubled their wealth. There is an abundance of evidence showing that the more unequal a society is the less economically prosperous it is, and the unhappier the people are. Take from the poor to give to the rich, that's always been the Tory agenda. The worst thing is that these malicious reverse Robin Hoods even had the gall to tell us "we're all in this together" as they were deliberately rigging society even more in favour of the tiny super-rich minority than it already was!

A vote for Tories is a vote for an even more unequal Britain


Threat of no deal Brexit
Johnson keeps on banging on about "Get Brexit Done", but agreeing the Withdrawal Agreement is only step one. The next step is the wrangling over the future trade arrangement. Johnson reckons he can get this done within a year, which is laughable (most trade deals take around 7 years to negotiate). If Britain doesn't have a deal sorted by the end of 2020, Johnson is threatening to crash out with no deal, which would be an economic disaster for Britain.

A vote for Tories is a vote for the threat of an even bigger economic meltdown than the last one



A reminder of the rule

The rule of this game is very simple. If you've been sent a link to this article, all you have to do is pick five of these fifty things from the Tory track record in government and explicitly defend them to the person who sent you the link.


Explicit

Now I'm going to define what I mean when I use the word "explicitly" so that there is no confusion:

  • If you mention Jeremy Corbyn, Labour, or any other political party or figure you're engaging in whataboutery deflection. 
  • If you fail to address the actual issue you claim to be defending, you're being misleading and evasive. 
  • If you attack certain sectors of society (the unemployed, the working poor, young people, migrants, left-wingers, trade unionists, Muslims ...) you're playing the classic Tory divide and conquer games that they use to keep the majority of people fighting amongst themselves rather than fighting back against their appalling misrule.
If you use any of these fallacious arguments you obviously fail the challenge


Running away

If you refuse to engage with the challenge you obviously fail too, and demonstrate beyond doubt that you have the same cowardly run-away attitude to scrutiny as both Theresa May and Boris Johnson. 


If you run away from the challenge then you'd just be showing the person who challenged you that you imagine that you can just make difficult subjects go away by evading them and refusing to engage in open and honest political discourse. 

If you run away from the challenge then you'd actually be demonstrating exactly why politics in the UK is such a bloody mess. 

You'd be showing that you're one of the people who wilfully ignore so much malice, incompetence and right-wing authoritarian scheming simply because you think it's all outweighed by whatever (probably imaginary) personal benefit you'll be getting from a Tory government, and that you're simply too much of a coward to even explain yourself.

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OR

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

3 extraordinary fakery scandals in a single day from 3 of Britain's biggest broadcasters


Yesterday provided yet more damning proof that we've entered the era of full on fake news in British politics, which goes so much further than randoms making up fake websites and spreading copy n' paste lies.

We've now reached the level where mainstream journalists are spreading ludicrous made up nonsense, because they know they can get away with it, because nobody will hold them to account.

The Hindu Council

The first piece of fakery was spread by the ITV journalist Paul Brand, who tweeted an anti-Labour letter from the "Hindu Council" accompanied by the dramatic claim that "Major interventions in this election today from pretty much every major faith in Britain. Astonishing".

But if you actually read the letter, it's a poorly written anti-Muslim diatribe, full of bizarre clunky language, spelling mistakes, weirdly tangential points, utterly brazen bias in favour of the Indian BJP government, and seething undisguised hatred of Muslims and the Labour Party.

Then if you look up who the "Hindu Council" are it turns out to be a tiny ultra-obscure pro-BJP pressure group with just 206 Facebook followers!

206 Facebook followers: "major intervention" ... "extraordinary"!


It looks an awful lot like Brand didn't research where the letter came from, didn't even bother to read the lamentable diatribe, and just tweeted it out as a "major ... major ... astonishing" scandal because the letter chimed with the anti-Corbyn agenda!

The anti-Corbyn mob obviously pounced on Brand's Tweet and retweeted it over 3,000 times amplifying it beyond the scale of anything this bunch of hyper-partisan weirdos could ever have dreamed of.

Then the Daily Mail picked up on it and included it in one of their grotesque anti-Labour diatribes, but they couldn't even find a picture of the leader of this ridiculously obscure 'Hindu Council' outfit (Anil Bhanot), so they had to include a picture of Corbyn himself in the article header image instead!


Instead of reporting the news, Brand blatantly created it by lavishing free publicity on a nasty hyper-partisan bunch of Muslim-bashing BJP extremists, and by fabricating the absolute fiction that this tiny ultra-obscure operation is somehow representative of the entire Hindu faith in Britain, purely because their vile, incompetently scrawled letter chimed with the mainstream media "Get Corbyn" agenda.

Leaked chat screenshot

The next piece of fakery was even more absurd, and even more widely retweeted, with multiple iterations of the image in question going viral on Twitter.

The original source for the screenshot was the Sky News Technology correspondent Rowland Manthorpe, who published an outraged Tweet about a supposed Labour WhatsApp plot to media-manage the reaction to the Andrew Neil - Jeremy Corbyn interview (more on that later).

The glaringly obvious thing about the leaked media management instructions from a supposed Labour campaigner is that they're all right-aligned, which means, as anyone who has ever used a messaging app will know, whoever leaked this set of instructions to the press is actually the person who wrote them.

You would have thought that the Sky News technology correspondent should have an understanding of the absolute basics of how messaging apps work, but apparently not.

Manthorpe shared the screenshot with absolutely no indication that the leak had been composed by the person who leaked it.


When pushed on the actual source of this screenshot, Manthorpe said it was posted in a Labour activist group, then said that the post has now (conveniently) been deleted.

He won't say which activist group it came from, nor who leaked it to him, so it's entirely unattributed, as well as being obviously fake.


All we know about it really is that whoever came up with this scam was so utterly thick that they didn't even bother setting up two accounts so that they could send it to themselves, then leak what they'd written themselves as received messages, rather than sent ones.

But despite the ridiculous cack-handed fakery of it, this absurd screenshot has been spread all over social media, and seen hundreds of thousands of times, all triggered by a technology correspondent who apparently doesn't know how messaging apps work!

Andrew Neil's lie

Corbyn's interview with Andrew Neil went about as well as anyone would have expected given Neil's ridiculous interview technique of spewing furious monologues, and then continually hectoring and interrupting when his interviewee victim attempts to reply.

Neil caught Corbyn in an all time classic trap, called the wifebeater fallacy, listing a load of Labour's failings on antisemitism, then demanding Corbyn apologise for it all, even though he had absolutely no influence over almost all of it (Labour disciplinary procedures are independent from the party leader for obvious reasons).

Corbyn refused to fall into the wifebeater trap, because he knew the mainstream media would play it as an admission that he was personally apologising for being an anti-Semite, which he obviously isn't ... but it's a double edged sword, so literally all of the front pages of the right-wing propaganda rags bar the Daily Star are blaring about Corbyn refusing to apologise to Jews!

The only problem is that in his barrage of 'evidence' about Labour anti-semitism, Neil included an outright lie.

He said "let me give you the case of Lesley Perrin...She posted a video denying the Holocaust and questioned whether the six million figure was accurate. And what did the Labour Party do? It gave her a written warning. No expulsion, no zero tolerance, just a written warning".

This seems unequivocally bad, but then look into the actual facts of the case and it turns out that Perrin actually quit the Labour Party as soon as the investigation into her comments was opened.

Labour didn't let her off with "just a warning" as Neil claimed, because they actually had no power whatever to investigate or discipline her, once she'd quit the party.

Of course it's fair game and a legitimate line of questioning to ask Corbyn about antisemitism, and what Labour are doing to combat it, but if the problem is as awful as so many people are making out, why on earth is there a need to exaggerate and make things up?

Neil's lie isn't actually as bad as the previous two examples, because he could simply have got his 'facts' muddled up in his extended Labour antisemitism monologue, but it's far worse in scale because him hectoring Corbyn to apologise for something that didn't even happen formed the basis of anti-Corbyn hatchet jobs on the front pages all of the billionaire-owned right-wing propaganda rags the following day.


Consequences

The BBC's Andrew Neil won't be held to account for lying about Labour disciplinary procedures. Just like Sky's Roland Manthorpe won't be disciplined for sharing the kind of obvious fakery a technology correspondent should be able to spot instantly. Just like ITV's Paul Brand won't be disciplined for boosting a ridiculously obscure bunch of politically partisan, far-right Islamophobes purely because their rabid screed aligned with the "get Corbyn" mainstream media agenda.

These people, from three of the UK's biggest and most influential news broadcasters, will suffer no consequences whatever for amplifying extremist groups, spreading ridiculous fakery, and telling lies about antisemitism, so they'll obviously do it again, and again, and again, because they know they can get away with it, and because they know they get rewarded with masses of attention when their fakery goes viral.

No consequences for them means terrible consequences for the rest of us: which will manifest as the continued deterioration of journalistic standards to the point where journalists can just spread whatever made-up bollocks and lies they like in order to generate retweets, and front page headlines, to the point it becomes almost impossible to differentiate between what's real, and what's just partisan fakery.

How are we supposed to believe anything we see from mainstream media broadcasters when their journalists are willing to just make stuff up, and amplify palpable nonsense, purely to fit the partisan political agenda they're pushing?

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




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Thursday, 21 November 2019

13 of the best bits from Labour's 2019 manifesto


Before I get started, it's vital to say that you should definitely read the Labour Party manifesto for yourself rather than solely relying on other people's interpretations of it.

Don't let the right-wing billionaire propaganda barons and their mercenary hacks tell you what to think about it, don't fall for the Tories' fake Labour Manifesto website, and also remember that this article of mine isn't a comprehensive analysis either, it just covers some of the main themes.

If you don't have time to read it for yourself now, bookmark it and read it later: Labour Manifesto 2019

Investment not austerity


The Tory austerity ideology has failed.

The list of austerity failures is spectacular: the worst post-crisis economic recovery in centuries, the worst sustained collapse in UK workers' wages since records began, the lowest level of infrastructure development in the developed world, the UK's AAA credit ratings gone, the national debt doubled, collapsing public services, soaring violent crime, the lowest level of house building since the 1920s, and a plague of poverty spreading across the United Kingdom.

"Let's cut our way to prosperity" was always economically illiterate madness, when the tried and tested economic method has always been investment in infrastructure, education, transport, research and development, high-skill jobs, and affordable housing.

Labour will throw Tory austerity into the dustbin of history where it belongs, and actually invest in our economy to increase our future economic potential, rather than strangle it like the Tories have been doing for the last nine years.

The centrepiece of Labour's investment strategy is the development of a national investment bank, with the explicit aim of lending to businesses, infrastructure projects, and other productive sectors of the economy across all of the UK's regions, rather than just leaving investment to the private banks, who continually target the majority of their investments at property price speculation and gambling on the global derivatives casino.

If you want investment targeted at the engines of economic productivity, rather than used to re-inflate the house price bubble, or gambled on the kinds of junk bond derivatives that caused the 2008 economic crisis, Labour's economic strategy is the correct choice to make.

National Education Service

Education should be treated as a right which benefits everyone in society, not just the individual who receives it, not a commodity to be rationed out in order to maximise profits for the rich.

Labour's plan to create a National Education Service to provide free education to anyone who needs it, no matter their age, education level, or background is a truly transformative policy on a level with Labour's creation of the NHS back in 1948.

Things change so fast in the modern world that most people change careers multiple times in their working lives these days, meaning successful economies need flexible a flexible workforce.

Labour's education policy isn't just that young people get a good education without paying through the nose for it for their entire working lives, it's that anyone who loses their job, or chooses to change careers, can acquire the retraining and skills they need, at any age.

The National Education Service wouldn't just be for kids and young people at university, it would be for all of us.


Public ownership

Do you think that vital public infrastructure and services like the railways, water supply, Royal Mail, broadband infrastructure, national grid, and prisons should be operated by private profiteers as money-making enterprises, or as not-for-profit public services?

The overwhelming majority of British people believe in the not-for-profit public service option, however the unrepresentative Westminster establishment class have spent the last four decades defying the public will and transferring ownership of £billions in public assets to their wealthy mates.

Labour's 2019 manifesto represents a golden opportunity to set about reversing this process, and de-privatising things that should never have been given away to private profiteers in the first place.

Labour's manifesto includes commitments to de-privatise the water supply, the national grid, Royal Mail, the railways, broadband infrastructure, and prisons.

The privatisation fanatics will try to argue de-privatisation costs too much, but the way they come up with their ludicrous figures is to treat de-privatisation as an expense (money down the drain), rather than an investment (providing returns on investment).

A report from Grenwich University found that de-privatisation of key public services would pay for itself within the space of just 7 years.


Reverse Tory wage repression

The UK is the only economy in the developed world
where the economy has been growing but wages have
been falling in real terms.
Tory wage repression policies like allowing the spread of exploitative Zero Hours Contracts and years of below-inflation public sector pay freezes have resulted in a lost decade of wage growth for UK workers, and the longest sustained decline in the real value of workers' wages since records began.

Labour understands that workers with money in their pockets spend more, which creates economic demand, which creates more jobs, which creates more prosperity in a virtuous circle.

Henry Ford understood this in the 1930s, which is why he gave his factory workers good enough salaries that they could afford to buy his cars.

The Tories failed to understand this, and adopted the view that the best way to increase profits for the very rich, is to decrease the wealth of the very poor, as if the economy is a static balance sheet with a rigidly set supply of money to be carved up in the way that best benefits their mega-rich donors.

Labour understands that the economy is dynamic, and that there's actually more possibility for the wealthy to make money if workers have money to spend.

Thus Labour is pledging to raise the Minimum Wage to £10 straight away to give UK workers the pay rise they deserve, and to reverse the Tory public sector pay cuts in order to bring wages back up to the level they were before nine years of Tory austerity extremism.

Restore the NHS
 

If you haven't needed to use the NHS in recent times, perhaps you're unaware of how bad things have become after nine years of being deliberately under-funded, run-down, and ideologically vandalised by the Tories. If you really don't know, please take the time to speak to someone who works in the NHS about how much worse things have got since 2010.

Labour will give the NHS the funding it needs to pick itself up off its knees, they'll restore NHS Bursaries in order to combat the NHS staffing crisis, and they'll reverse the radically right-wing Tory NHS privatisation agenda that saw a record £9.2 billion in NHS services fall into private hands last year.

Labour will also ensure that all parts of the NHS, the treatment of patients, the employment of staff and medicine pricing are all fully excluded and protected from any international trade deals.

Housing

Four decades of right-wing "leave it to the market" ideology has created a housing disaster, with nowhere near enough homes being built to meet demand, and literally millions of people priced out of home ownership altogether.

Labour housing policies include: 

  • Building more houses, with at least 150,000 new council houses per year by the end of the parliament.
  • Rent controls and binding minimum standards for private landlords in order to prevent unscrupulous profiteers renting uninhabitable hovels at rip-off prices.
  • Scrap the Tories' bogus definition of 'affordable', which is set as high as 80% of market rents, and replace it with a definition that is actually linked to local incomes
  • A concerted effort to combat the homelessness epidemic that has absolutely soared since 2010
  • New powers to allow local government to bring empty properties back into use.
  • A £1 billion fire safety fund to ensure nothing like Grenfell ever happens again.
Rebuild local government

Some of the most devastating impacts of Tory austerity extremism have been felt at local government level, as a result of the extraordinary 67% cuts to local government funding.

If you've been wondering why your council tax bills keep going up, but your local services keep getting worse and worse, the Tory local government cuts are entirely to blame.

Labour's manifesto pledges to reverse these devastating cuts, and ensure local government funding is restored to pre-2010 levels.

Dignity for disabled people

Literally thousands of disabled people have died within weeks of being declared "fit for work" and thrown off their disability benefits by the Tory disability denial system, which isn't just an inhumane way of treating some of the most vulnerable people in society, it actually costs more to administer than it will ever save in reduced disability benefits.

Labour will end this systematic abuse of disabled people, adopt the social model of disability, and promote the acceptance of neurodiversity.

After a decade of unprecedented UK government hostility to disabled people (so bad it's been condemned by the United Nations), Labour are pledging to actually listen to disabled peoples desires, and care for their needs.

Public procurement

From Serco and G4S stealing hundreds of millions from the public through electronic tagging scams to the collapse of Carillion, there are countless examples of public procurement disasters.

Labour won't outlaw outsourcing, but they will dramatically reform the way government sources from the private sector.

Firstly Labour will end the current presumption in favour of outsourcing public services and introduce a presumption in favour of insourcing.

They will also stop the public getting ripped off by taking back all PFI contracts over time.

One key change will be the introduction of best practice public service criteria, meaning no more government contracts for companies based in tax havens, with poor environmental records, or who pay poverty wages to their employees.

Environment

Labour's commitment to the environment is written throughout their manifesto, from large infrastructure projects like the construction of 9,000 wind turbines and massive investment in solar technology, to legislative action like banning fracking and incorporating climate and environmental impacts into government budget forecasts so that the cost of not acting will be factored into every fiscal decision.

Green protesters will be disappointed that Labour haven't committed to making Britain a zero carbon economy by 2030, instead aiming for a net-zero-carbon energy system within the 2030s, looking for credible pathways to speed up the process.

This means Labour's zero emissions target is 2039 at the very latest, the Lib-Dems' target is 2045, and the Tories are intent on delaying until 2050.

Foreign Policy


One of the big reasons the political establishment class hate Jeremy Corbyn so much is that he's been proven right on foreign policy so many times, while they've been proven horribly and disastrously wrong.

Back in the 1980s Corbyn was protesting against Apartheid in South Africa, opposing UK weapons sales to Saddam Hussain, and encouraging peace negotiations in Northern Ireland. He was on the right side of history, and mainstream politics caught up with him in the 1990s in rejecting Apartheid racism, and finding a peaceful solution to the Northern Ireland conflict.

In 2003 Corbyn famously opposed the invasion and occupation of Iraq, and was proven absolutely right about his warning that this invasion would set off a spiral of conflict that will fuel the wars, the terrorism, the depression, and the misery of future generations.

The ISIS terrorists grew out of the lawless terrorism breeding ground the US and UK created in Iraq, and then in 2011 Corbyn was one of the minority of MPs who opposed doing the same thing to Libya, which turned out to be a policy with deadly blowback in Britain as the Manchester Arena bomber came back to Britain from the terrorism breeding ground that our political elites decided to create there.

Labour's manifesto commits to avoid imperialist war mongering, and to put human rights at the heart of Britain's foreign policy objectives, which obviously means ending the Tory policy of flogging weapons to tyrannies, terrorism-spreaders, and war criminals.

Final Say referendum


The Tory decision to gamble the entire future of the UK with a completely undefined option on the ballot paper has created an absolute shambles. 

There's obviously no easy way of clearing up such a calamitous and divisive Tory mess, and anyone who says there is is either an idiot, or lying through their teeth.

Labour's proposal is to get rid of Boris Johnson's bodge job Brexit (which is even worse than the proposal Theresa May cobbled together), renegotiate a Brexit that doesn't annihilate the economy, and then put the decision back to the public in a final say referendum.

It's far from ideal holding a referendum between a defined Brexit and remain, because this is how it should have been done back in 2016, but at least it offers a credible choice to both sides of the Brexit debate, and avoids totally screwing over the 48% (like Boris Johnson and the Tories are taking such delight in doing) or screwing over the 52% (like the Lib-Dems are threatening).

Workers' rights



Last but definitely not least is Labour's position on workers' rights, which you'd expect to be good from a party calling itself "Labour".
  • Give British workers a well deserved pay rise with a £10 minimum wage, and the reversal of the callous Tory squeeze on public sector pay.
  • Provide free education for all means British workers will be have a right to improve their skills on the job, or acquire new skills when moving between jobs.
  • Strengthen protections for whistleblowers and rights against unfair dismissal for all workers.
  • Scrap punitive Tory anti-trade union laws.
  • Ensure no income tax rises at all for anyone earning below £80,000 per year.
  • Ensure workers have a say within government by creating a Minister for Employment Rights
  • Ban long-term Zero Hours Contracts and bogus fake self-employment contracts in the gig economy.
Conclusion

Labour's manifesto provides a blueprint for a better, fairer, healthier society in which all sectors of society enjoy the benefits of increased national prosperity, rather than just the mega-rich elitists.

Policies like investment in infrastructure and services, restoration of the NHS, de-privatisation of monopolies, action to combat the housing crisis, free education for all, and improved workers' rights aren't just abstract things that don't really matter. They're policies that have the potential to shape all of our lives for the better.

If this election is going to be fought on policies and which party has the better blueprint for what the UK could become in the future, this manifesto is a winner.

If however it's fought out in the political sewer, with deceptions, smears, lies, vacuous personality politics, fake websites ... then there's every chance these transformative policies will never see the light of day as the militant hard-right, ultranationalist, pro-privatisation, billionaire-bankrolled Tories spend the next five years trampling on ordinary people in order to rig society ever more in the favour of the billionaires who fund their entire operation.

We're at a crossroads as a nation, between what Labour have laid out here, and a very dark path indeed.




 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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