Monday, 20 May 2019

Why are so many Remainers voting for the Lib-Dem austerity-enablers?


So apparently the UK political scene is so banjaxed that we're actually trusting Lib-Dems again, and it's not even four years since their disastrous coalition with the Tories came to an end!

Maybe Remainers flocking to support the pro-austerity, pro-privatisation, social safety net-trashing Lib-Dems would make some kind of sense if the Lib-Dems had shown any kind of remorse for what they wilfully helped the Tories to do to the United Kingdom. But no. There's no remorse at all. 

  • There's no remorse over the brutal Tory sanctions regime, nor the despicable disability denial system that has resulted in literally thousands of people dying within weeks of being declared "fit for work" and thrown off their disability benefits.
  • There's no remorse over Lib-Dem votes in favour of deeply illiberal policies like secret courts, the gagging law, bedroom tax, dripa, Theresa May's Hostile Environment, and the catastrophic strategy of turning Libya into a lawless terrorism breeding ground like Blair and Bush did to Iraq.
  • And worst of all there's no remorse about the way the far-right blamed the collapsing living standards these disgusting policies causes on immigrants and the EU in order to promote Brexit, and the Lib-Dems just bit their tongues, because any effort to explain that the real causes of the living standards collapse (austerity, wage repression, infrastructure under-investment, public service cuts, vandalism of the social safety net) would have illustrated their own complicity. So they just stayed silent and let the far-right win.
And now just look at the delight on the faces of Danny Alexander, Nick Clegg, and George Osborne in the photo above.

These three men impoverished literally millions of their fellow countrymen, and deliberately trashed the future economic potential of the UK in order to fund a disgusting sequence of tax cuts and handouts to corporations and the mega-rich.

They raked in lavish six figure salaries while they were doing it, and now all three have quit politics to rake in even more extravagant salaries from private sector employers.

They don't give a shit about all the people they trampled into destitution, nor the fact that their ruinous economic policies created the dramatic collapse in living standards that led directly to Brexit.

But somehow, even when there are plenty of explicitly anti-austerity options for Remainers to choose from (Green Party, SNP, Plaid Cymru) Remainers are flocking to support the austerity-enabling Lib-Dems.

Assuming that people aren't completely gullible idiots with goldfish-memories, the only possible conclusion is that an awful lot of Remainers are the comfortably well off who never suffered the truly dire consequences of austerity dogma, wage repression, welfare cuts, and public service destruction.

They want to reward the party that enabled all of this malice in the first half of this decade because they were comfortably well-to-do during that period, and quite content at the time because the impoverishment was happening to other people below them on the social ladder.

They want to go back to the way things were before because they were perfectly comfortable when the destitution was being forced on "the lower orders" in order to fund tax cuts and handouts for corporations and the mega rich.

And they certainly don't want to consider that the vile poverty-spreading policies the Lib-Dems enabled were one of the main causal factors in the Brexit chaos in the first place.

They're like lung cancer sufferers dramatically increasing the amount of cigarettes they smoke in the hope that it'll somehow cure the disease they've given themselves.

By supporting a party that enabled so much ideological malice against the poor, working classes, disabled people, local communities, they're actually intent on making themselves look exactly like the aloof metropolitan elitists that the Leave camp always love to portray Remainers as.

Every time they turn up in comments sections to proudly brag that they're voting Lib-Dem because they "don't care about anything else except stopping Brexit", they're displaying their outright contempt for the people who actually suffered under the Tory/Lib-Dem coalition.

If these people can afford to not care about austerity dogma, wage repression, public service cuts, vandalism of the social safety net, etc, then they can hardly complain when left behind communities say that Remainers don't give a shit about them and their problems can they?

And what makes it so much worse is that they're so mindlessly optimistic that the Lib-Dems won't just completely shaft them again.

How exactly does electing a load of pro-austerity pro-privatisation neoliberals into the European Parliament do anything to stop Brexit when the only place it can actually be stopped is Westminster?


Voting for the austerity-enablers who helped create the Brexit backlash in the first place is nonsense, especially since boosting the number of austerity-enforcing neoliberals in the European Parliament does nothing practical to actually stop Brexit whatever.

But then the Brexit Party Faragists are ridiculous nonsense on the other side of the Brexit spectrum, so I guess maybe the thinking of these Lib-Dem supporters is as simple as "if Brexit supporters are going to vote for a polarised right-wing nonsense party, then so will we"!


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Friday, 10 May 2019

The BBC's outright hypocrisy over racism



When Danny Baker Tweeted a picture of a chimp dressed up like an aristocrat in reaction to the royal baby coverage, he was quite rightly criticised.

He later apologised and claimed that he was trying to lampoon inherited privilege, and hadn't even considered the racial connotations, but by then it was too late for him, he'd already been sacked by the BBC.

Having listened to Danny Baker's shows many times in the past I've never heard him say anything remotely racist (it's mainly irreverent nonsense) and given his long broadcasting history of never saying anything even remotely racist or bigoted, my opinion is that his apology should be taken in good faith.

The problem of course is that the BBC's decision to sack Baker betrays barefaced hypocrisy.

You only have to look back to Alan Sugar's brazenly racist Tweet about the Senegal football team last year to find a completely different approach from the BBC. Sugar was completely unapologetic about his racist Tweet, and the BBC somehow decided not to sack the star of their hit show The Apprentice.

Either the BBC's attitude to racism has developed extremely quickly from allowing unapologetic racists to get away with it last year, to sacking people for racist-looking Tweets now, or there's something else at play.

Maybe the BBC considers social media racism to be perfectly fine when it's aimed downwards, at nations like Senegal, and at African beach vendors, but when it's aimed at the royals, even inadvertently, it's an instant sacking offence.


This kind of Nazi-style racism is considered
fine and dandy by the BBC.
Then to exacerbate the hypocrisy on the very evening that Danny Baker was sacked they invited Nigel Farage onto their flagship Question Time show for a record 33rd time. 

Despite Farage's long history of making racist comments about Romanians, using Nazi style propaganda to attack refugees, aligning with outright fascists in the European Parliament, whipping up anti-Muslim sentiments, and wilfully spreading the extreme-right white supremacist "great replacement" conspiracy theory, he's always welcome in BBC studios.

And then there was the time that they invited the extreme-right hate preacher Tommy Robinson (real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) onto Newsnight for a softball interview on the very day one of his acolytes was jailed for a murderous terrorist rampage in Finsbury Park.

And then there was the time that the BBC invited leader of the Generation Identity hate group onto Newsnight on the very day one of their followers had carried out the mass killings in Christchurch, New Zealand.

And then on the day after Danny Baker's sacking, the BBC invited the right-wing polemicist Ben Shapiro onto their Daily Politics show, despite his history of anti-Muslim hatemongering, his racist comments about Arabs, his constant spreading of far-right conspiracy nonsense like Obama birtherism and the Nazi-derived cultural Marxism conspiracy theory, and the fact he inspired the extreme-right terrorist who carried out the Quebec City Mosque shooting (who obsessively viewed Shapiro's Twitter output).


 
If Danny Baker's Tweet was so offensive he had to
be barred from the BBC, why isn't this?
The BBC's warped explanation for platforming Shapiro was to boast about how many Facebook and Twitter followers he has, as if his popularity is somehow a shield against his repulsive political views, and his dangerous extreme-right conspiracy-mongering.

Of course the BBC's 'he's got loads of supporters' argument could have been used in favour of inviting Hitler onto the BBC in 1939, or the murderous Chilean dictator Pinochet in the 1980s, or Osama Bin Laden in the 2000s.

This facile 'he's popular so we have to give him a platform' argument also creates the impression that if Danny Baker had had a few hundred thousand more followers on social media, perhaps he wouldn't just have not been sacked, but he would have actually been invited onto flagship BBC politics shows to talk about his distasteful Tweet!

It seems that if you're an out-and-our racist or an extreme-right polemicist with a long history of spreading racist ideas and far-right conspiracies, the BBC are clamouring to invite you on their shows to help you to widen your profile, and if you're a star of one of their hit shows and you aim your despicable social media racism downwards and then outright refuse to apologise for it, that's perfectly fine too.

But woe betide you if the royal family are the subject of your ridiculously ill-considered Tweet.

I'm not trying to argue that Danny Baker is blameless, or that he didn't deserve criticism for what he Tweeted.

What I'm saying is that the BBC's hypocrisy is absolutely undeniable if they sack him over what he did despite his long broadcasting history on non-racism, and his apology, while they continue to wilfully platform unrepentant racists, and extreme-right polemicists like Alan Sugar, Nigel Farage, 'Tommy Robinson', Generation Identity, and Ben Shapiro.



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Thursday, 9 May 2019

The cynical Remainer plot to use tactical Brexit voting to wipe out the Green Party


Before Labour finally quit pushing the pro-austerity, pro-privatisation neoliberal orthodoxy with the election of Jeremy Corbyn as party leader in 2015 I was a big fan of the Green Party because they were the only major party in England that refused to buy into Tory austerity fanaticism (Scotland had the SNP and Wales had Plaid Cymru), but in recent years they've really lost their way.

Nothing demonstrates this Green directionlessness more than their dalliance with pro-austerity neoliberals as part of the campaign for an "another roll of the dice" referendum.

The case for another referendum looks questionable in its own right, given the possibility that Remain could easily conspire to lose again and end up creating an inescapable double-mandate for Brexit, but the loyalty pledges to Theresa May from the Lib-Dems and the CUK squatters to keep the Tories in power while they roll the dice again makes it even more risky, because a Remainer loss under these circumstances would end up creating a double-mandate for the worst kind of hard-right, economy-tanking, job-destroying, Tory administered nuclear Brexit.

Whether you agree with the campaign for another roll of the dice or not, the anti-austerity Greens make very odd bedfellows with the Lib-Dem austerity enablers who caused Brexit in the first place by helping the Tories to trash our living standards, ruin our public services, under-invest in infrastructure, health, housing and education, vandalise the social safety net, and impose the longest sustained collapse in the value of our wages in centuries.

And then the CUK squatters are even stranger bedfellows for the Greens, given that they're promising to "change" politics by ... err ... promoting more of the same pro-austerity, pro-privatisation, millionaire-bankrolled neoliberalism that got us in this mess in the first place, even after the disastrous consequences of these policies are now all too clear.

Somehow the Greens have decided that collusion with these toxic austerity ideologues is in their best interests. But when you decide that it's a good idea to swim with piranhas, it's a little over-optimistic to expect not to get bitten.

So now the Remain campaigner and vocal advocate of Lib-Dem style "centrist" neoliberal orthodoxy Gina Miller has helped to launch a "helpful" new Remain United tool to tell Remainers how to vote in the upcoming regional elections, and somehow, they've calculated that Remain supporters in the South West should abandon support for the sitting Green MEP Molly Scott Cato, and vote Lib-Dem instead.

In London where the Greens have another MEP, guess what, the "Remain United" campaign is advising Green voters to ditch their party and vote Lib-Dem instead in the hope that the Lib-Dems nick their seat!


And in Yorkshire and the Humber where the Green's leading candidate for one of the six available seats is the fantastic Magid Magid, once again the Remain United advice is to abandon the Greens and vote Lib-Dem.

And in the 10 seat region of South East England where the Greens already have a sitting MEP, and have the best mathematical chance of retaining a seat, guess what the "Remain United" advice is?

Well it's obvious, just like every single region of England, it's to abandon the Green Party and vote Lib-Dem so that the austerity-enabling Lib-Dems can wipe the Greens off the map and bag themselves two seats in the region!
 

This cynical attempt to use the Tory Brexit farce as an excuse to pinch Green votes on behalf of the austerity-enabling Lib-Dems (who helped create Brexit in the first place) is precisely what you's expect from a bunch of self-serving neoliberals, but then somehow the Greens have been too naive to see this threat coming, and by willingly colluding with these cynical opportunists, they've been wilfully handing out the nails that are being used to seal them in their own political coffins.

In fact they're still actively colluding with the Lib-Dems and CUK squatters over a plan to field a joint Remainer candidate in the Peterborough by-election!

The Greens are still colluding with these nasty neoliberal charlatans even as they're being stabbed in the back by them.

If this cynical effort to use Brexit to turn anti-austerity Green voters into pro-austerity Lib-Dems succeeds, and the Greens end up getting completely wiped out at the Euro elections, they'll unfortunately only have themselves to blame.


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Theresa May's extraordinary incompetence is fracturing the political right



The Tory Blue-Kip strategy was 20 years in the making, but when Theresa May activated it in April 2017 by triggering the snap election, it backfired spectacularly and actually ended up costing the Tory party their parliamentary majority, and now, just a couple of years later the Tory party is teetering on the brink of electoral ruin thanks to multiple splits in the political right.

The Blue-Kip strategy

Before Theresa May called the 2017 General Election, the numbers seemed to make perfect sense for the Tories. If they could combine the Tory vote with the UKIP vote, Labour would be annihilated and the other opposition parties wouldn't stand a chance either.

After years of upping the far-right, anti-immigrant, ultranationalist rhetoric in order to appeal to the Ukip crowd, Theresa May and the Tories decided to put their plan into action, and to an extent it worked. The far-right ultranationalist boost increased the Tory vote by 2.2 million from 2015, but what they didn't count on at all was the Corbyn surge which added an astounding 3.6 million votes for Labour.

Not only did the Tories fail to achieve the 150-200 seat mega-majority they'd dreamed of, they actually lost their parliamentary majority and put themselves at the beck and call of the Northern Irish DUP sectarians.

Demographics


One of the most obvious consequences of this massive shift in British politics was that the Tories have rendered themselves utterly reliant upon the extremely fickle Blue-Kip demographic, because if the 2.2 million flowed out as quickly as they'd flowed in, the Tory party would obviously end up getting hammered at the next General Election.

So the Tories were forced to continue pandering to the Blue-Kip demographic with far-right politics, anti-immigrant posturing, rabble-rousing, and overt displays of ultranationalism, despite the fact that the less rabid type of Tory voter and the younger generations are absolutely repulsed by this stuff.

In a way Theresa May and the Tories did reasonably well to keep this almost impossible shambles rolling for as long as they did, alternating top spot in the polls with Labour for the next year and a half.

OK they've had the majority of the mainstream media firmly on their side, and "centrists" continued helping the Tories by refusing to critique the ruinous austerity policies that trashed our living standards and caused the Brexit vote in the first place (the Lib-Dems who colluded with austerity fanaticism for five years, and the Labour right-wingers who lost the 2015 General Election by pathetically imitating austerity instead of vehemently opposing it) but the demographic trapdoor they've painted themselves over was always going to give way at some point.


And now that the Tories have failed to deliver the far-right ultranationalist fantasy of Brexit they're clearly in very deep trouble.

Brexit

Delivering Brexit was always absolutely crucial for the Tories to retain the support of the fickle Blue-Kip demographic.

I guess May imagined it would be easy enough to do with a 150-200 seat mega-majority in parliament, but once that fantasy was destroyed by the Corbyn surge in 2017, delivering any kind of Brexit became impossible, hence the national humiliation of the UK government having to go to Brussels to beg the EU to give us more time to sort out the extraordinary constitutional deadlock that Theresa May has created for us.


She knows that her endlessly repeated threat of punishing the British people with a devastating "no deal" meltdown if she didn't get her own way would have utterly destroyed the myth of Tory economic competence and driven millions of people away from the Tories for ever, so she knew that she could never actually follow through on her threats, despite wasting literally £billions on "no deal" planning to make it look like she was serious.

And she also knows that she can't get her shitty almost universally unpopular deal through parliament without significant compromise, and that any compromise towards Customs Union membership, Single Market access, protected workers' rights and the like would sound the death knell for Toryism by driving the far-right Blue-Kip demographic away from the Tories for good.

So she can't deliver Brexit, she can't follow through on her threats, and she can't compromise.

After steering the nation into this absurd deadlock situation and then simply clinging to power instead of letting someone else have a go, it's extraordinary that the Tories have any political support left at all.


Brexit Party

Theresa May's failure to deliver Brexit has led to her worst nightmare, the resurrection of UKIP under a new shinier brand, and in a matter of weeks pretty much the entire Blue-Kip demographic has surged away from the Tory party to pledge allegiance to Nigel Farage's new opaquely-funded Brexit Party.

The worst Tory local election results since 1995 (despite the Brexit Party not even standing candidates) have been followed up by extraordinary polls showing Labour establishing significant leads after huge numbers of people have abandoned the Tories to switch support to the Brexit Party.

So the people Theresa May has spent her entire time as PM pandering to have disappeared even more quickly than they flocked into the Tory ranks in the first place!

CUK and the Lib-Dems

The Brexit Party is clearly Theresa May's biggest problem, but then she also has another major headache too because there are two so-called "centrist" parties jostling to hoover up the Tory vote at the other edge by imitating their pro-austerity, pro-privatisation, orthodox neoliberal policies under the Remain banner.

At the 2016 EU referendum 57% of Tories voted for Brexit, but 43% voted Remain, which is hardly an insignificant proportion.

If these people start to believe that they can have the exact same "impoverish the poor to further enrich the wealthy" neoliberal policies elsewhere, without the inconvenience of being ideologically tied to this Tory Brexit shambles, significant numbers of them are going to buy into yellow or grey versions of orthodox neoliberalism, and the more effort Theresa May puts into preventing the Blue-Kip exodus, the more she's going to drive people out at the other end of the party.


The egotistical CUK squatters have made an absolute mess of almost everything they've touched in their first three months, but picking an ex-Tory leader who positions them to the right of the Tory party on economic policy, appointing the austerity fanatic Chris Leslie as their economics lead man, and the pro-privatisation Angela Smith as their business, environment, and transport bod are clearly moves designed to bring orthodox neoliberals into the CUK fold, and to attract the big money donors who are getting close to losing their patience with bankrolling the decaying Tories and their interminable Brexit farce.

Division of the right

Even those of us who were only children, or not even born in the mid-80s know all about the SDP and how divisions on the political left ended up handing Margaret Thatcher a majority so large that it wasn't finally eroded until 1997, but now, as a result of Theresa May's extraordinary incompetence, the political right is fracturing into various factions.

The far-right ultranationalists are deserting the Tory party in droves to back the Brexit Party Faragists and the remnants of UKIP, while the orthodox neoliberal right-wingers are ever more tempted by the pro-austerity, pro-privatisation, pro-EU posturing of the CUK squatters and the Lib-Dems.

It's looking increasingly likely that all that will be left of the Tory party will be the rump of political tribalists who treat political parties with the same undying loyalty as football fans treat their teams (no matter how shit they are they'll never abandon them to support another team, the worst they'll ever do is stop turning out to support them).


Labour

The division of the political right and the vast Labour membership surge since Jeremy Corbyn binned orthodox neoliberalism and returned Labour to their democratic socialist roots mean that the party will probably never have a better shot at regaining the government than the next General Election, and finally reversing the neoliberal economic fanaticism that has done so much damage to the UK since Thatcher infected the Westminster political establishment class with this toxic hard-right militancy in 1979.

Of course the CUK squatters and Lib-Dems will try to erode the Labour vote too, by appealing to the orthodox neoliberals in the Labour ranks, but grotesque living standard-eroding stuff like austerity dogma, privatisation mania, brutal social security cuts, and deliberate infrastructure under-investment have far more appeal to right-wing Labour MPs than they do to ordinary Labour Party members and voters.

Labour will continue to be attacked from both sides for their policy of trying to de-escalate Brexit, rather than whipping it up even more for their own political purposes with cries of "betrayal" and "treason" from the Brextremists, and the desperate pining for a final 'do or die' 'now or never' clash of civilisations 'another roll of the dice' referendum from the Remain Ultras.

This is unfortunate, but the Tories created this massive social division, and political opportunists from both sides are fully intent on whipping up the hate, and actually widening the divide for their own selfish political purposes, rather than seeking some kind of compromise that neither side will particularly like, but most ordinary people can live with.

This isn't to say Labour shouldn't back another referendum (they've voted in favour of one twice already), it's just that they should make sure they offer a more moderate Brexit (Customs Union, Single Market, protected workers' rights, co-operation on science, security & environment) and do everything in their power to make sure ruinous undefined options like "no deal" are kept off the ballot (surely the #1 lesson from the 2016 referendum is that undefined options in national referendums are a dreadful idea?).

The worst mistake Labour could make is to follow Theresa May's lead and pick one side of this hyper-partisan Brexit division, because you only have to look at the chaos she's created through this wilful partisanship, and the ongoing breakup of the Tory vote to understand the risks.


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OR

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

How are people this incompetent ever going to save us from "Hard Brexit"?


The CUK squatter incompetence just continues getting worse. First they called themselves "The Independent Group", then they switched to "Change UK" (to reflect their commitment to keep everything exactly the same), which produces the dreadful acronym CUK, now they've decided to rebrand themselves again as "For Change Now" and moved their Twitter account over to the new name.

The consequences of this absurd 3rd rebrand in 3 months are numerous.
First, they've lost their Twitter blue tick as a result of the move to their new name.  
Second, all the social media links on their website, and all the old Tweets they were tagged in now point to their old Twitter handle, not their current one. 
Third, they didn't even protect their old "TheIndGroup" handle when they made the move, which means that it's now been snapped up by someone who is using the name to slag them off as the anti-democratic charlatans they are and promote "no deal" Brexit!
It's absolutely astounding that so many people are backing this ridiculous bunch of shockingly incompetent, democracy-fearing, bigotry-infested, pro-austerity charlatans whose only contributions to the political landscape so far have been parading their own egos, pledging loyalty to the Tories and their ruinous austerity agenda, and dividing the Brexit-sceptic vote.

Another referendum with these incompetent, democracy-fearing, austerity-loving charlatans shoving themselves to the forefront of the Remain campaign would be an absolute disaster, especially if they get their way and turn it into a 'do or die' 'clash of civilisations' culture war between Remain and the hardest of hard Brexits promoted by the Tory government that the CUK squatters insist on keeping in power.

The risk of an inescapable double-mandate for a ruinous hard Tory Brexit under these circumstances would be enormous, but apparently vast numbers of people actually want to go into a fight like this led by people so incompetent that they allow their Twitter handle to fall into the hands of their Brexit-promoting opponents!

It's difficult not to laugh at the sheer incompetence of it, but the potential consequences of allowing people like this to force themselves to the forefront of the Brexit-sceptic movement will almost certainly be absolutely dire.

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Monday, 6 May 2019

Bible-bashing Tim thinks it's acceptable to accuse others of what you're guilty of yourself


The May Bank Holiday Weekend hasn't just witnessed the finale of World Snooker Championships, it's also seen a concerted effort by the neoliberal establishment class to gaslight the nation with barrages of absolute nonsense.

First we had the mainstream media campaign to paint Labour's net loss of 84 council seats in the local elections (almost margin of error stuff when they were defending over 2,200) as if it were equally as bad as the Tories losing 1,330 council seats in by far their worst local election performance since 1995.

You're selling your car for £1,330 are you? Well I'll give you £84 pounds for it and you'll be happy because the guy from the BBC told us that the two numbers are identical!

Then we had Esther McVey's absurd Daily Express article claiming that the Tory party is the natural home of the working classes!

The billionaire bankrolled party that brought us a decade of austerity and wage repression, in-work social security cuts for the working poor, an explosion of exploitative, insecure, low-pay Zero Hours type jobs, unlawful Tribunal Fees designed to protect bad bosses from being taken to work by their abused workers, and a massive rise in the number of children growing up in dire poverty despite living in working households ... all while they lavished handouts and tax-giveaways on bankers, corporations, and the mega-rich!

Well they certainly sound like the natural party of the working class don't they?

And now we've got the former Lib-Dem leader and celebrity homophobe Tim Farron accusing Jeremy Corbyn of being an austerity enabler!

Farron wilfully participated in the ruinous 2010-2015 austerity government that trashed our wages and living standards, gutted community cohesion, vandalised the social safety net, deliberately under-funded our public services, and implemented devastating hard-right austerity fanaticism in almost every aspect of British life.

The Tory austerity fanaticism that Tim and his Lib-Dem mates enabled caused a significant collapse in living standards which resulted in the massive tide of public anger that drove Brexit marginally over the winning line in the 2016 EU referendum.
 

But instead of own his mistake and admit his culpability in this disaster, like any decent Christian should, he's actually trying to apportion blame for his own crimes onto one of the tiny minority of MPs who refused to ever jump aboard the Tory austerity bandwagon that he spent five years upon.

The reason that Corbyn won the Labour leadership in 2015, and again in 2016, was that he was the only candidate who had clean hands and a demonstrable voting record of opposing hard-right Tory fanaticism.

To see Tim Farron publicly accusing Corbyn of being an austerity-enabler just goes to prove that there's no depths to which these right-wing neoliberal austerity fanatics won't plumb in order to sow confusion and disorder.

Furthermore he accused Corbyn of enabling Tory Brexit, when he's the guy who missed a crucial knife-edge Brexit vote in order to swan off to Sherborne in Dorset to give a speech about how much he hates the idea of gay equality!

Farron, McVey, and the majority of the orthodox neoliberal Wesminster bubble aren't talking this absolute rubbish because they believe it, they know it's nonsense, they know most of us know that it's nonsense.

They just want to drive us to despair, to make us so sick and tired of the idiocy that we stop paying attention and thinking about politics because it's so relentlessly infuriating, because they know that if the debate is ever allowed to settle on policies, ideas, and good faith analysis, then most voters would end up turning away from the Tories and Lib-Dems to support anti-austerity anti-privatisation parties like Labour, the Greens, Plaid Cymru, and (to a lesser extent) the SNP.

So that's why they pollute the political discourse with such inanity and dishonesty, that's why they deliberately reverse reality, that's why they continually erode the actual meanings of words, that's why they accuse others of their own crimes against the economy, and that's why they constantly talk such infuriating fact-averse, reality-reversing nonsense.

They just want to make us so sick and tired of the whole political charade that we don't bother to think about who we vote for, or don't bother voting at all.


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Sunday, 5 May 2019

Who is gullible enough to believe the party of millionaires is the natural party of the working classes?



The Tory MP Esther McVey has put her name to a ludicrous article in the Daily Express claiming that the Tories are "the natural party of the working classes".

The crux of the argument is that the Tories are the natural home of northern working class Brexit voters, and that the disastrous Tory local election results somehow prove that they should just get on with delivering Brexit!

It's total nonsense from start to finish. The Tories aren't the party of the working classes; Brexit wasn't delivered by northern working class voters (the most likely demographics to vote for it were actually wealthy retired Tories in the Home Counties and the Shires); and the idea that local election results that delivered the worst Tory results since 1995 and huge gains for the Brexit-sceptic Lib-Dems and Greens are proof that the public are baying for Brexit to be delivered is absurdly nonsensical, even by the extraordinary propaganda standards that have been set by Brextremists and Remain ultras over the last few years.


Of course there are a few idiots out there who would be convinced by this incoherent propaganda, but anyone with the vaguest grip on reality knows that the claim that the Tories are the natural party of the working classes is complete nonsense.

The Tories are bankrolled by a tiny clique of mega-rich donors, corporate fat cats, bankers, property speculators, landed gentry, private health companies, and Russian oligarchs.

Labour are funded by hundreds of thousands of small donations for ordinary people and workers through their trade unions, and have numerous policies aimed at supporting and improving the lives and communities of the working classes.

Even if you're too obtuse to follow the money to see whose interests are being represented by whom, there's the grotesque anti-worker Tory track record in government.

• Thatcher declaring ideological war on UK manufacturing and mining in the 1980s in order to wreck the trade unions by deliberately crippling the industries they represented.

• The privatisation of masses of public services, from the water supply and public transport, to the outsourcing of local services like grass cutting, meaning the replacement of vast numbers of stable long-term decently paid public sector jobs with insecure, low-pay private sector exploitation.

• The toxic "leave it to the markets" neoliberal mentality that resulted in millions of people across the UK ending up trapped in left behind high-unemployment communities, with desperately neglected public services and infrastructure.

• The lost decade of wage growth since the bankers' insolvency crisis as a result of deliberate Tory wage repression policies and the explosion of insecure, exploitative, low-pay Zero Hours type jobs since 2010.

• The imposition of unlawful Tory tribunal fees designed to protect bad bosses from being taken to court by their employees by deliberalely and unlawfully pricing poor workers out of the justice system.

• The ideological vandalism of public services and the social safety net, resulting in a violent crime epidemic, huge health service waiting lists for those who are not rich enough to afford private medical insurance, and an unprecedented rise in in-work poverty (70% of kids growing up in poverty are living in working households).

So maybe the extremely hard-of-thinking might be convinced by the nonsensical Tory propaganda that the billionaire-bankrolled party of corporate greed and inherited privilege is actually the party of ordinary workers, but convincing the gullible isn't the main point of reality-reversing propaganda like this.

The main point is a propaganda technique called "gaslighting".

Gaslighting involves psychological manipulation in order to make people question their own sanity.

Esther McVey and the Tories aren't pushing this absurd reality-reversal because they actually believe it, or because they expect many of us to believe it.

They're pushing it because they want to pollute political discourse with such a torrent of ludicrously incoherent nonsense that ordinary people end up dazed and confused, struggling to pick out the occasional nuggets of political truth from a disorientating torrent of deceptions, distortions, logical fallacies, propaganda tropes, and lies.


They're not actually trying to convince anyone besides the hopelessly gullible that "black is white", they're simply hoping that they can convince enough of us to give up on politics altogether in order to ride a wave of political apathy to success.

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




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Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Don't believe the mainstream media over-hype about Vox


In the buildup to the Spanish General Election elements of the UK press, especially the BBC, were absolutely determined to talk up the prospects of the far-right party Vox.

But as the results came in a lot of mainstream media hacks failed to adjust to the actual reality. Vox only bagged 10% of the vote and finished 5th, and there were a lot of other extremely important stories, several of them much bigger than the extreme-right gaining a foothold in the Spanish parliament for the first time, but somehow the media continued their fixation on Vox.

In this article I'm going to run through a few of the stories and issues that got lost behind the Vox hype.

PP's worst result ever


Partido Popular are the Spanish version of the Tories. They're the shockingly corrupt, pro-austerity, pro-privatisation, anti-worker, right-wing establishment party who have switched power with PSOE ever since the end of Franco's fascist dictatorship in 1975. They ruled Spain in the aftermath of the 2008 global financial crisis, imposing ruinous austerity, overseeing huge unemployment rates, attacking workers rights and individual liberties, and creating an unprecedented exodus of the younger generations who spread across Europe looking for work and opportunities.

On Sunday 28 April 2019 they suffered by far their worst electoral result in their history, collapsing from 32.6% of the vote at the last election in 2016 to just 16.7% and 66 of the 350 seats.

To put the scale of this defeat into perspective their previous worst result was in 1989 when they got 25.8% of the vote and 107 of the seats.

In the UK we can only dream of the Tory vote collapsing in half, and them returning to parliament with less than 20% of the seats in parliament.

PSOE win

PSOE are like the Spanish version of Labour, they're significantly to the left of the PP, but in recent decades they've failed to really live up to the "socialist" name, often opting for Blair-style neoliberalism-lite. They'll generally protect workers and champion socially progressive causes, but when it comes to rolling back privatisation and reversing tax handouts for the mega-rich they're nowhere near living up to their socialist name.

28.7% of the vote and 123 seats in Congress is a long way from the best performance in their history, but since 2014 Spanish politics has fractured from two main parties to five, and finishing 12 points above their nearest rival under these circumstances is not bad at all.

123 seats is still well short of a majority, but it's such a comprehensive lead over their rival parties that it's inconceivable that they won't form the next government.

PSOE majority in the senate

PSOE fell short of winning a majority in congress, but they secured a clear majority in the Spanish senate with 139 of the 265 seats, their first senate majority since 1989, and their best senate performance since they won a senate landslide in 1986.

A first left-wing senate majority in three decades is clearly a huge story, but one that's flown under the radar in a lot of mainstream media coverage, thanks mainly to all the Vox hype.


Ciudadanos

One of the major reasons for the collapse of PP was the rise of the right-wing Ciudadanos party which formed in Catalonia in 2006, but only really became a party at the national level in 2014.

After absorbing most of the anti-independence vote in the 2017 Catalan regional elections to become the single biggest party in the Catalan parliament, they were projected to do very well in the next General Election, but they've fallen back significantly since their peak in mid-2018 when they were actually leading in multiple polls on almost 30%, to finish in 3rd on 15.9%.

It's still technically the best result in their short history, but in light of the spectacular PP collapse, and where they were in the polls just a year ago, a modest 2.8% increase in their vote is clearly an under-performance.

With 57 seats a PSOE-Ciudadanos coalition is mathematically possible, but highly unlikely given the unpopularity of their leader Albert Rivera with PSOE supporters.

Unidas Podemos

Despite forming a political alliance with another left-wing party (Izquierda Unida) Podemos has fallen back significantly from their high point in 2016 to finish in fourth place with 14.3% of the vote and 42 seats.

Unidas Podemos would have been the most likely coalition partners for PSOE, but they dropped so many seats that even together they're still well short of a majority.

There are many reasons for the Unidas Podemos fallback, including former-PSOE voters going back to their previous allegiance, a lot of bitter public infighting between different internal factions, and some ridiculous behaviour from their leader Pablo Iglesias.

All is not lost though, because although 14.3% of the vote is a poor result compared to their achievments in 2015 and 2016, it's only a fraction behind PP in second, which is hardly terrible for a political party that was only formed in 2014.


Vox
 

Vox are a far-right ultranationalist party that were founded in 2014 by defectors from the ruling PP. Until this election Vox had won nothing at the national level, just a few seats in regional elections.

Bagging 10% of the vote and 24 seats in congress represents a significant stride forward for the extreme-right in Spanish politics, but in reality they're only slightly to the right of PP, they're just more open and overt about their bigotry, misogyny, extreme-right politics, and desire for the centralisation of political power in Madrid than the establishment right-wing party they split away from.

10% is clearly better than the 0.2% they achieved at the previous election, but anyone trying to make out that the story is all about them when 90% of Spanish voters rejected them, and they finished in fifth, with fewer seats than the Catalan Independence parties, is clearly pushing an agenda, rather than reporting the news.

Results in Catalonia

There are two ways of looking at the results in Catalonia. From an independence perspective, and from a left-right perspective.

The left-wing pro-independence Republican Left group won the most votes and most seats for the region.

It's difficult to argue that their popularity hasn't been driven by the fact their leader Oriol Junqueras has been held as a political prisoner by the Spanish state since 2017.

And it's also difficult to argue that a party led by a political prisoner taking a massive historic win isn't a huge story that should at least have got a look in instead of the Vox over-hype.

Anti-independence PSOE came second in Catalonia and the more neutral Podemos group in the Catalan region slipped to 3rd, meaning all three of the most popular parties in Catalonia are on the left or centre-left.

The right-wing Ciudadanos party had an absolute disaster coming in 5th, less than a year and a half after coming first in the Catalan regional elections.


PP collapsed to 6th place bagging just 4.9% of the Catalan vote, meaning that they're essentially a dead political force there, which is hardly surprising given their former leader Mariano Rajoy's ridiculously arrogant and incompetent mishandling of the independence issue back in 2017.


Coalition or minority government?

Since PSOE and Unidas Podemos have fallen just short of enough seats to build a majority, they'll need support from smaller regional parties. The Catalan Republican Left party have 15 seats, but it's unlikely they'd collaborate without significant concessions, including the possibility of an officially sanctioned Catalan independence referendum.

The other option is for PSOE to go it alone as a minority government, then call another general election if the opposition parties vote down their budget again. Obstructionism would be a bold move from the likes of PP and Ciudadanos given that the political momentum is with PSOE.

It's hard to see how PP and Ciudadanos wouldn't be punished by the electorate if they forced the Spanish people into a 4th General Election in the space of four years through obstructionist tactics.


The Spanish right is split

It's often the case in politics that splits in the opposition end up handing power to the political right, but in Spain in 2019 the right has splintered into three (PP, Ciudadanos, Vox), while the left vote is divided between two (PSOE, Unidas Podemos).

The reason PP have collapsed so badly is that their vote is being eroded from both sides. Vox have pinched 2 million+ votes from PP by pushing far-right ultranationalist bigotry, while Ciudadanos have pinched a significant proportion of "centre-right" PP voters.

Between the three right-wing parties they bagged 42.9% of the vote, which is only a slight decline on the 45.8% the three parties' combined vote at the last General Election in 2016, but because the right-wing vote is more evenly divided between three right-wing parties, rather than being concentrated mainly with PP, they've fallen even further short of building a right-wing coalition.

Conclusion

Elements of the British press really wanted Vox to do well because "fascism is rising again in Spain" is a story they can really hype. The far-right did indeed bag a foothold in the Spanish parliament, but 10% is significantly below people's worst fears, but the UK media seemed unable to adjust their footing, drop the far-right overhype they wanted to present, and cover other significant and historic aspects of the election.



 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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