Sunday 11 June 2017

11 General Election 2017 issues that mustn't be allowed to drop

A lot of the post-election focus has (understandably) been on Theresa May's efforts to cling onto power by throwing members of her inner circle under the public opinion bus and sucking up to the most extreme political party in parliament, but we mustn't forget some major issues from the campaign.

All of these issues need to be addressed

1. Security
During the election extreme security lapses led to two avoidable terrorist atrocities.

One was committed by an Islamist fanatic known to be plotting a terror attack against the UK who was allowed to come back through the UK border and was left unwatched as he planned and executed his attack.

The ringleader of the next was such a well known extremist he'd even featured in a Channel 4 documentary called "The Jihadists next door".

During the election Theresa May refused to release the report into the funding of terrorist networks in the UK, presumably because it allegedly implicates Saudi Arabia.

The extreme security lapses can't just be allowed to pass because they happened during an election and everyone was focused on campaigning, and serious pressure needs to be applied to get the government to admit what they know about foreign funding of terrorist networks in the UK.

2. The Naylor Report
If it wasn't for a citizen journalist called Chris Holden few of us would ever have considered the contents of the Naylor Report that Theresa May was championing. 

It's basically a plot to use public money to bribe hospitals into selling their land off on the cheap to property speculators, and if they don't take the bribe they get their funding slashed.

It's nothing less than Tory asset stripping of the NHS.

There needs to be a concerted effort to oppose the implementation of the Naylor Report.

3. Dark ads
The Tories ran an unprecedented campaign of dark ads, spending millions on spewing their propaganda all over social media, front loading Youtube songs with political attack adverts, and hijacking political Google searches with paid ads.

There are several things to consider.

In my view the specific targeting of particular voters in particular constituencies with dark ads should surely be declared under local, rather than national campaign budgets.

There should be an absolute requirement that copies of every political advert are lodged with the electoral authorities.Many of these Tory adverts (including the one they used to hijack Google searches for the Labour manifesto) contained outright lies about opposition parties and politicians. The electoral authorities really need to explain to the public what they intend to do to stop the dissemination of outright political lies.

Additionally steps should be taken to ensure that no political party is allowed to hijack legitimate Google searches by paying for sponsored ads at the top of the search.

4. Lying politicians
Aside from the campaign of Tory dark ads, numerous Tory politicians were guilty of outright lying to the British public. Theresa May herself told a couple of absolute whoppers.

Theresa May outright lied about Diane Abbott's stance on the DNA database (she doesn't want it scrapped, she wants the DNA of innocent people, including victims of crime, removed from it).

May also lied that Labour proposes "uncontrolled immigration", when in reality their manifesto pledged clampdowns on all kinds of harmful migration and increased funding of services for areas that have had large immigration influxes (see here) and is actually far more sensible than the Tory approach of recycling their twice-broken promise to reduce immigration to an arbitrary number.

After Brexit and now this, something really needs to be done to prevent our politicians from deliberately lying to us.

5. Yes First Strike
One of the most bizarre aspects of the General Election debate was the way Jeremy Corbyn was repeatedly rounded on by the public and the mainstream media for his sensible No First Strike nuclear weapons policy, but Theresa May wasn't hauled over the coals at all about the announcement of a crackpot Tory Yes First Strike nuclear policy.

I oppose nuclear weapons, but I at least understand the nuclear deterrent argument people put forward in favour of them. Yes First Strike makes no such sense. It's total and utter madness that would, in times of global conflict, actually significantly increase the chances of a nuclear strike against London in order to eradicate the insane strike first leader before they themselves launch a nuclear attack.

The Tory government needs to be pressed a lot more on Theresa May's Yes First Strike nuclear policy because I'm pretty sure that public opinion would be strongly against Britain being the country to trigger Armageddon by using nukes as attack weapons.

6. Austerity
Tory austerity dogma resulted in the slowest recovery from a recession since the South Sea Bubble burst in the 18th Century, the lowest level of house building since the early 1920s, the worst wage collapse since records began, and the least affordable house prices in history.

Not only that, but we've been getting left behind on the world stage because the Tories have been investing far less in infrastructure development (the foundations of future economic prosperity) than any other developed nation because of the Tories' ideological fixation with their economically inept and self-defeating cost-cutting exercises.

For seven ruinous years the mainstream media has pitifully failed to hold the Tories to account over their ideological fixation with austerity dogma. But after more voters supported anti-austerity parties than pro-austerity parties in this election, surely now is the time for austerity dogma to be subjected to proper public scrutiny, especially at the supposedly impartial BBC?

7. Dementia Tax
The Tories' depraved policy of asset stripping people who need social care has not gone away. They've simply announced that there will be a limit on how much wealth they can extract from frail old people and other disabled people. They've not said how much that limit would be, nor whether it would be an overall cap (a weak incentive to suicide) or an annual limit that rolls over indefinitely (a strong incentive to suicide).

Questions need to be asked about the details that Theresa May failed to disclose, and also over the morality of the policy.  How is it remotely justifiable to asset strip frail old people whilst simultaneously giving tens of £billions in handouts to corporations and your mega-rich chums?

8. Tory self-interest
Theresa May could have maintained political power until 2020, but she clearly and undeniably put her own self-interest above the good of the nation by calling a snap election when her poll lead was at an all-time high.

Instead of conducting Brexit amicably (taking the views of opposition parties and devolved governments into consideration and forming some kind of UK-wide consensus) she wanted to 
crush all political opposition to be crowned the undisputed Brexit queen to dictate the whole process herself.

After the failure of David Cameron's EU referendum gamble (wagered in order to poach a few hundred thousand UKIP voters in 2015), Theresa May's vanity election is the second time in a single year that the Tories have thrown the nation into chaos by putting their own opportunistic self-interest first.

It's now abundantly clear that the Tory party simply can't be trusted to consider the good of the nation as a whole above the self-serving opportunism of their leaders.

9. Press corruption
One of Theresa May's most despicable manifesto pledges was to sling the Leveson investigation into press corruption into the bin as if Rupert Murdoch's minions had never hacked into the phone of a murdered teenage girl.

During the election the billionaire-owned propaganda rags went into absolute overdrive with an unprecedented smear-mongering campaign against Labour.

Thankfully the smear-mongering tactics didn't pay off and deliver Theresa May the super-majority she was expecting when she called her vanity election, but the malign influence of the billionaire press barons was still enough to help her avoid a resounding defeat, which means there's still the possibility that the Tories will try to bin the Leveson investigation as a favour to their faithful mainstream media attack dogs.

The astoundingly biased smear-mongering conducted by certain publications during the election is another important reason that the investigation into press corruption absolutely mustn't be dropped.

10. Internet freedom
Theresa May is obsessed with controlling the Internet. Even after the woeful security lapses that led to murderous acts of barbarism during the election campaign, her initial response was to piggyback her pre-existing authoritarian fixation onto the atrocities by harking on about censoring the Internet.

Theresa May doesn't like the freedom of the Internet because it allows people to think outside the constraints of the neoliberal consensus that she is the figurehead of.

All the talk about preventing terrorism is just a front for her extreme-surveillance agenda. If she actually gave a crap about terrorism then she wouldn't have ignored all the expert advice
(community engagement is the very first defence against Islamist and extreme-right radicalisation) and ploughed on with her plan to devastate community policing by scrapping 20,000 police jobs.

11. Human rights
Theresa May didn't just opportunistically piggyback her hatred of Internet freedom onto the terrorist atrocities that happened under her watch, she also tried to infect the debate with her visceral hatred of our human rights.

She's so incapable of thinking things through that she doesn't even understand that the destruction of our western justice-based human rights would be seen as a massive ideological victory for the Islamist extremists.

These depraved fanatics absolutely hate our liberal values and our non-Sharia justice systems. If we scrapped our human rights after one suicide bombing and a couple of sick rampages through the streets of London, they'd obviously see it as a huge victory and wonder what more could be achieved with a more concerted and coordinated sequence of attacks.

What we can do

Write to your MP:

If you have an opposition MP you can ask them what their party intends to do to hold the Tories to account over these 11 issues (feel free to include a link if you want to raise all 11 issues, or copy and paste from this blog if you intend to raise one or just a few specific issues).

If you have a Tory MP you can write to them and ask them to provide explanations. I'd be interested to see what they come up with to defend all of this hideous stuff.

Write to your MP here (remember to include your name and postal address and then they have an obligation to reply to your message)

Contact mainstream media:

Get in touch with mainstream media publications to request more coverage on these issues. Submit contributions to their letters pages. Contact individual mainstream media journalists that you respect and ask them if they would consider working to shed more public light on any of these subjects.

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