Monday 24 December 2018

Why are "centrists" so immune to the concept of counter-productive behaviour?

One of the trickiest things to understand about self-declared "centrists" is how they're so insulated from reality that they're incapable of even understanding the damage they keep doing to their own cause.

The primary fixation of the "centrists" at present is demanding another EU referendum that they've patronisingly called a "people's vote" as if the 33.5 million who voted in the 2016 referendum were somehow un-people.

Giving your campaign an absurdly patronising name is bad enough, but anyone with a grain of sense should be able to spot the massive glaring risk with this "another referendum now" strategy, which is that if Remainers conspire to lose it (like they did the last one), then they'll have created a cast-iron irreversible double-mandate for Brexit.

With this risk of creating an irreversible double Brexit mandate in mind, you'd think that "centrists" and other Remainers would be focusing all their efforts on trying to create as much public appeal as possible for the idea of stopping Brexit ... But no! A lot of the bone-headed, shockingly out-of-touch, unbelievably divisive, and downright dishonest behaviour of "centrists" looks like it's actually designed to make the general public hate Remainers.

"Taking the piste"

Andrew Adonis' Tweet about a 2nd referendum on his mates winter skiing options may have some kind of niche appeal amongst the most militant of Remainers, who knows? But if the replies are anything to go by, he's spectacularly misjudged the mood of the nation.

Brexit happened in the first place because Tory austerity dogma and wage repression policies caused an unprecedented collapse in living standards.

compounded the problem through their failure to pin the blame for this collapse in living standards on Tory government policy for fear of implicating themselves too (the Lib-Dems actively enabled Tory austerity dogma, and Labour "centrists" somehow decided that imitating Tory austerity dogma rather than opposing it would win them the 2015 General Election!).

This "centrist" failure left the door wide open for ukippers, hard-right Tories, and assorted extreme-right hate groups to falsely pin the blame for the consequences of Tory austerity and wage repression on immigrants and the EU.

Since the Brexit vote things have got even worse. More people in dire poverty, more people in exploitative low-paid jobs, 
more people feeling the effects of Tory wage repression, more people struggling to get by, more people relying on food bank handouts just to survive ...

Yet here's one of the most high profile Remainers (an unelected lord) actively fulfilling the caricature of an out-of-touch Remainer elitist living the high life while the ignored millions continue to struggle to survive!

How could anyone ever think that these appalling optics could help the Remainer cause?

Manufacturing the news

Brexiteers won the 2016 referendum with an absolute mass of deceptions, distortions, and outright lies. Even the Vote Leave campaign chief openly admitted that they wouldn't have won without the '£350 million for the NHS' lie.

It seems that rather than oppose this kind of outrageous propaganda, "centrists" have decided to imitate the same tactics to manufacture outrage and distort public opinion to their will, with the Guardian leading the charge.

An outrageously deceptive headline misrepresenting Jeremy Corbyn's Brexit policy in order to trigger a tsunami of rage shares on the Friday, an then following it up with an article on the Sunday openly gloating about the bitter internal Labour conflicts triggered by the mass rage sharing of Friday's deceptive headline and even outright lying about Jeremy Corbyn's Brexit stance!

Anyone who has paid attention over the last three years can't have failed to notice the bitter "anti- Corbyn" agenda of "centrist" hacks at the Guardian. But the terrifying thing is that this anti-Corbyn groupthink mentality is so deeply embedded at Guardian towers that they're wilfully spreading deceptions and outright lies in order to manufacture divisions amongst opponents of Tory Brexit.

Any Guardian hack with a shred of journalistic integrity should be outraged that the organisation they work for is conducting such an obvious propaganda war to use deceptions and lies to attack Corbyn and drive a wedge between the Labour left and the Remain campaign, when any sensible strategy to minimise the Brexit damage should be aimed at unifying all opponents of Tory Brexit, rather than deliberately infuriating the Labour-left with anti-Corbyn propaganda and lies.

Preaching to the converted

 I vehemently opposed Brexit in 2016, and I've continually opposed the Tories' shambolic and incompetent handling of Brexit ever since, but JK Rowling's astoundingly patronising, hate-fuelled, faux biblical Twitter rant is so obviously appalling and that ordinary people must be wondering how she ended up so consumed by such bitterness and hatred, despite living a life of wealth, luxury, and almost constant acclaim.

Another puzzle is how thousands of "centrist" types apparently enjoyed this utterly cringeworthy display of preaching to the converted so much that they actively liked it and shared it!

If you wanted to actually reinforce the views of Brexiters, showing them this horrific display of patronising and elitist "centrist" bile would surely work infinitely better than composing some new lie to plaster on the side of a bus.

Counter-productive behaviour

If "centrists" were even remotely capable of learning from their own mistakes they would have clocked that their barrages of smears and abuse aimed at discrediting Jeremy Corbyn during the 2015 Labour leadership election only ended up boosting his popularity.

If they had any sense whatever they'd have got to grips with the concept of counter-productive behaviour, and evolved their campaigning strategies accordingly.

Another lesson "centrists" should obviously have learned is that their lamentable campaign tactics during the 2016 referendum somehow managed to hand a bunch of hard-right pro-austerity Brextremist charlatans an astounding victory, despite the fact they demonstrably didn't even have a plan for what to do next if they did somehow end up winning!

That "centrists" so clearly haven't learned either of these lessons should leave anyone who opposes Tory Brexit sick with worry, because presuming these people get the second referendum they want so much, how is Tory Brextremism ever meant to be defeated with a bunch of out-of-touch, unbelievably divisive, bone-headed, elitist, downright dishonest, and unbelievably counter-productive people like this fronting the campaign against it?

 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.


Sunday 23 December 2018

What is ... Rage Sharing?

It's been known for a long time that headlines are the most important part of a news story.

Even in the time before social media it was obvious that far more people would see the newspaper headlines (on newsagent shelves, or on newspaper reviews on the TV, or on the canteen table, or on the next week's chip wrappers) than would ever actually read the contents of the article.

But since the advent of social media, headlines have become even more important because there are loads of people out there who will share articles without even bothering to read them first (especially via Twitter retweets), and other people who are so fact-averse that they'll form extreme political judgements based on the headline of the article that they've clearly not even bothered to read.

Some of the most mega-viral articles of 2018 have been astoundingly misleading anti-Corbyn headlines that are completely contradicted within the body of the article, but literally tens of thousands of people became so outraged by the deceptive headlines that they shared without even bothering to read the article and check that the headline is justified.

This behaviour is "rage sharing", and mainstream media publications are cashing in on it big time with absolute torrents of shares and clicks (the currency of online journalism).

Apéritif: Aren't biffers gullible?

I'll come to the two desperately misleading anti-Corbyn headlines later, but just to illustrate that rage sharing articles without reading them is not a new phenomenon, just consider the fact that in 2014 the extreme-right hate group Britain First shared a spoof story about the Essex villages of High Easter and Good Easter being forced to change their names by pesky Muslims and lefties.

Hundreds of Biffers rage shared the article and spewed bigoted badly-spelled diatribes in the comments without even bothering to read the article and clocking that it was a ridiculously obvious spoof which included quotes from people like "Dr Touchi" from the prestigious "University of South Thurrock"!

Independent: Corbyn the immigrant-hater

June 2018 saw a truly egregious examples of rage sharing with over 31,000 people sharing a grotesquely misleading headline in the (supposedly left-liberal) Independent that brazenly cherry picked highly selective quotations from a Jeremy Corbyn speech about trade policy to portray him as some kind of bonkers hard-right anti-immigrant Brextremist.

This outrageously deceptive headline struck a chord with the self-declared "centrists" (orthodox neoliberals to give them a more accurate description) and the ever-reactionary #FBPE Twitter echo chamber.

It was absolutely clear that very few of the people rage sharing the article were actually reading it, otherwise they couldn't have failed to spot the brazenly dishonest selective quotation tactics, or the fact that Corbyn's trade policy speech was actually pretty good.

Guardian: Corbyn the militant Brextremist

In December 2018 The Guardian jumped onto the rage share bandwagon with a brazenly deceptive anti-Corbyn headline of their own that was so widely shared by "centrists" and the #FBPE echo chamber it almost broke Twitter with a mind-boggling 88,000+ shares (at the time of writing).

Literally thousands of people reacted in absolute "never voting Labour again" fury to the headline "Corbyn: Brexit would go ahead even if Labour won snap election" without a single one of them picking up on the crucial facts that:
1. The words "Brexit would go ahead" were plucked out of thin air by Guardian hacks and placed next to Corbyn's name in the headline (amazingly he's not actually quoted saying this anywhere in the article).
2. What Corbyn actually said was common sense. If he won a snap election he'd go to the EU and establish basic stuff like whether they'd consider renegotiation, and whether they'd extend the Article 50 deadline. Anyone who thinks that upon becoming Prime Minister he shouldn't attempt to establish the EU's position on the drastically changed political circumstances as a matter of urgency is quite frankly out of their god-damned tree.
3. If you've got the patience to read all the way down to paragraph 18 of the article you even find Corbyn expressing his view that if there's another EU referendum then Labour's policy would be decided democratically by its members (meaning Labour would back Remain whatever Corbyn's personal beliefs!). Surely an article saying "Corbyn keeps second referendum option on the table" would make a less misleading headline than a phrase Corbyn didn't even use designed to make it seem like he's arbitrarily ruling out a second referendum entirely?
Profit and propaganda

It's absolutely clear that the corporate media are learning that there's a significant market in anti-Corbyn rage share articles with headlines that bear little to no relation to what Corbyn actually said.

In fact the liberal mainstream media and the anti-Corbyn mob seem to be developing a kind of symbiosis.

Outlets like the Guardian and the Independent benefit from absolute torrents of shares and clicks when they use deceptive anti-Corbyn headlines, and the #FBPE echo chamber, Labour right-wingers, and other Corbyn detractors get the instantly shareable anti-Corbyn headlines they constantly crave.

Stuck in the middle

The big loser in the scenario (aside from Corbyn and the Labour Party of course) is the standard of political discourse that is now not only polluted by the lying Brextremists and the absurd unicornist fantasies they've fostered amongst their herd of followers, but also by equally extreme people on the Remain side who have no qualms whatever about sharing desperately misleading headlines, or even just outright lying, if they feel that doing so serves their political purposes.

They're either such gullible dupes that they mindlessly rage share articles without even reading them to check that the headline is justifiable, or they know perfectly well that the headline is deceptive but they share it anyway because they consider their political agenda to be far more important than stuff like truth, honesty, and integrity.

Either way their attitudes are just as bad as the Brextremists who got us in this mess in the first place.

How is rage sharing a deceptively titled article without even bothering to read it first any better than believing a lie on the side of a bus? And if they do know that the headline is deceptive but they're sharing it anyway, how is that any better than actually writing a lie on the side of a bus?

Who needs bots?

We're all aware of social media bots by now. Whether it's dodgy Russian bot farms spreading divisive propaganda, pro-Israeli astroturfing operations, or the bot nets that the Brexiteers ran during the 2016 EU referendum.

But who actually needs bots to spread their propaganda when it seems incredibly simple to just trick a vast army of unthinking, uncritical real life human drones into rage sharing your political propaganda for you?

There's a massive propaganda war going on, and the footsoldiers are an enormous army of absolute dupes who are so intellectually lazy they don't even bother to read the articles they share or think about things for themselves.

Rage sharing is here to stay

Had the Guardian chosen a reasonably fair interpretation of Jeremy Corbyn's position as their headline rather than deliberately seeking to portray his stance as negatively as possible (as some kind of rigidly inflexible Brextremist absolutist) they know for a fact they wouldn't have triggered such a tsunami of rage shares.

As far as they're concerned, if blatantly deceptive headlines create enormous torrents of shares and clicks, then sod journalistic standards and sod what remains of the Guardian's dwindling reputation, let's cash in on the rage shares and grab as much advertising cash as possible as the torrent of hits floods in.

If tens of thousands of people are going to send your article mega-viral by rage sharing it simply because the misleading headline confirms their political biases, and nobody is ever going to hold you or them to account for spreading such a vast barrage of deceitful and deceptive propaganda, then why wouldn't other unscrupulous mainstream media hacks make use of exactly the same tactics?

What is ...? is an occasional Another Angry Voice series. See the other articles here.

 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.


Saturday 22 December 2018

The new Guardian business model: Deceptive headlines to generate rage shares

Corbyn: Brexit would go ahead even if Labour won snap election blares the Guardian headline.

Why is Corbyn saying this unhelpful absolutist nonsense? Surely Labour needs a more nuanced stance on resolving Theresa May's Brexit mess? These were my first responses when I saw the headline, but then I noticed the distinct lack of quotation marks so I did what most of the thousands of people who rage shared the article didn't, and actually read the full article.

Within the first few paragraphs it becomes clear that what Corbyn actually said is very different from Brexit would go ahead even if Labour won snap election. (in fact he isn't quoted saying this anywhere in the article at all).

Corbyn's actual position is that if Labour won a snap election he would go back to Brussels to try to secure a better deal. Corbyn's statement that "you'd have to go back and negotiate, and see what the timetable would be" is clearly completely different to I'm going to force Brexit through regardless.

In fact Corbyn's position here is actually common sense. If he's lobbing Theresa May's shambles of a deal into the dustbin of history (where it belongs) the obvious next step is to speak to the EU negotiators to establish the basics of their position under the new circumstances. Are they prepared to renegotiate now that the government has changed? Are they prepared to renegotiate if Theresa May's Customs Union red line is dropped? Are they prepared to extend the Article 50 deadline to allow time for further negotiations?

Yes, the EU have told Theresa May "no renegotiation" but you'd have to be crackers to think they'd absolutely refuse to renegotiate if the British people voted to reject Tory Brexit and the new Prime Minister came with a new Customs Union proposal (that would certainly help to deal with the tricky Irish border issue).

If they said "no" they'd essentially be telling Britain that we're stuck with the unpopular shambles of a deal that both the British public and the British parliament have rejected, which would be an astoundingly anti-democratic stance.

If you're incredibly generous to the Guardian you could try to argue that Corbyn saying that he'd take the logical step of going to Brussels to talk about the practicalities and timescales of renegotiation is not entirely contradicted by the absolutist position blared out in the article headline, it's more of a distortion than an outright lie.

But then after trawling through 18 paragraphs of the article (including several on the absurd "stupid people" / "stupid woman" distraction) we get to the part that absolutely contradicts the bold absolutist assertion in the article headline.

When asked what Labour's position would be in the case of a second referendum Corbyn answers that "it would be a matter for the party to decide what the policy would be".

Admittedly Corbyn goes on to reiterate his position that his first step would be to see whether the EU would open the door to renegotiation, but how the hell is talking about what Labour's position would be in a second referendum compatible with the absolutist stance from the article headline that "Brexit would go ahead"?

If Corbyn is leaving the door open for a second referendum, and saying that the party's stance would be decided by the (largely pro-Remain) membership, why the hell is the Guardian unambiguously claiming that Corbyn's position is the absolutist stance that Brexit will go ahead regardless?

Why is the content of the article so clearly at odds with the headline?

And why are the crucial details that expose the headline as a lie buried in paragraph 18?

Surely a fairer and more accurate headline might read "Corbyn leaves option of second referendum on the table" or "Corbyn: If EU won't renegotiate, Labour members will decide referendum policy".

But nope, the Guardian chose to run a deceptive headline in the hope of creating a storm of outrage shares like the (admittedly far more despicable and deceptive) mega-viral Independent article earlier in 2018 that grotesquely cherry-picked highly selective quotations out of a Corbyn speech about trade policy to misrepresent what was said as an attack in immigrants.

The Guardian know that the vast majority of people who read the headline won't end up clicking through and reading all the details of what Corbyn actually said. And they also know that an accurate headline wouldn't generate a fraction of the 48,000 (at the time of writing) rage shares on social media, so it's perversely in their commercial interests to publish a deceptive headline in order to maximise the amount of exposure.

If they can ensure far more exposure, and a higher level of clicks through the use of a deceptive headline, why wouldn't they?

The Guardian clearly don't give a damn about further trashing their own reputation through the dissemination of dishonest rage-share click bait headlines.

They're clearly more interested in fuelling the anti-Corbyn bonfire with deceptive headlines than helping the public to understand the reality of what Corbyn actually said.

When a news organisation is prepared to publish deceptive headlines like this it becomes ever clearer that they're not actually trying to report the news, but to create it.

They're not providing reasonably impartial coverage of what was said, they're pushing political propaganda.

 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.


Friday 21 December 2018

If you know anyone who signed or shared this petition feel free to laugh at their idiocy

If you ever wanted more evidence that Brexit is fuelled by delusional thinking, take a look at the ludicrous wording of the "Leave the EU without a deal in March 2019" petition and consider the fact that over quarter of a million people have actively approved this ludicrous display of Brextremist idiocy by signing it.

Just in case you can't see for yourself how idiotic every single sentence of this absurd petition is, I'll break it down, and just like the petition I'm leaving the most extraordinarily idiotic bits until last.

"We are wasting Billions of pounds of taxpayers money trying to negotiate in a short space of time" - Nope, we're actually wasting £billions in public funds trying to make preparations to mitigate the worst aspects of the "no deal" economic meltdown should we crash out without a deal in place. The government just announced they're wasting £4.2 billion more on this "no deal" nonsense.

"Leaving the EU in March 2019 will allow the UK good time to negotiate more efficiently" - Leaving the EU in March 2019 with "no deal" will destroy the single biggest piece of leverage the UK has in this farcical mess. As it stands now the UK can revoke Article 50 at any time before March 29th and the ECJ ruling also states that the EU are not allowed to punish Britain in any way by tinkering with our terms of membership if we do so.

If Article 50 lapses not only will it trigger an economic meltdown, but it'll permanently destroy the option of remaining under the current terms until someone comes up with something better than Theresa May's absolute farce of a deal.

Revoking Article 50 is clearly the sensible action that would stop the clock ticking and allow the UK "good time" to actually come up with a coherent exit plan (without deliberately exploding a bomb under the UK economy and wilfully destroying the single biggest piece of leverage we've got in the process like a "no deal" flounce would).

"The EU will be more eager to accept a deal on our terms having lost a major partner" - The EU will offer us better terms if we implode our own economy in the hope of inflicting a bit of collateral damage on them? How is anyone stupid enough to imagine that the EU would be the ones left begging the economy that just voluntarily self-immolated for help?

"We will save billions of pounds from our EU divorce payment" - Walking away from our debts and liabilities would be a disaster for Britain. What other country would ever consider signing trade deals with the UK if we'd just demonstrated to the world that we're prepared to leave our closest economic allies in the lurch like that?

If you just watched someone very publicly defraud a neighbour would you be stupid enough to sign up to a deal with them?

"as well as a similar amount from Civil Service and Govt costs" - This is just a flat out lie. The UK government is currently diverting thousands of civil servants from important jobs into emergency "no deal" planning at a cost of £billions. Aside from the costs in Whitehall, just think of the cost of all of the extra customs facilities, bureaucracy, and staff when the free trade in goods is brought to a crashing halt.

This is such a brazen effort to misrepresent one of the biggest costs of a "no deal" scenario as a benefit it's extraordinary that anyone could fall for it.

"This money will be used to support our own country whilst we await the EU to talk to us to make deals more in our favour." - We're going to use the money we're not going to save as we wait for the unicorns that are not going to be delivered!

Even the pro-Brexit Tory government admits that a chaotic "no deal" Brexit would trigger a bigger economic meltdown than the bankers' insolvency crisis in 2008. There will be no Brexit dividend, and the EU will not come riding to our rescue if we deliberately vandalise our own economy in the hope of causing them a bit of collateral damage.

"The EU border in Ireland to be managed simply by having a dual Euro / pound currency as legal tender in both the North and South" - Such a "simple solution"! Let's all sign a petition to make the UK government force the Republic of Ireland to accept Sterling as legal tender!

What kind of delusional imperialist dream world are these people living in? Ireland is an independent state. The days of English toffs in London telling the Irish what to do are long gone.

Aside from the sheer stupidity of thinking the Tories in Westminster could do anything whatever to force the Republic of Ireland to adopt Sterling as an official currency, consider the Northern Irish unionist perspective. They're bitterly opposed to Theresa May's agreement because the "backstop" creates divergence between the Northern Irish economy and the economy of Great Britain. Yet this "simple solution" is to create a much bigger economic divergence by saying Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland should adopt a dual currency scenario, while mainland Britain sticks with Stirling only!

How do these idiots think that their ridiculous proposition to economically reunify Ireland would go down with the unionists in Northern Ireland?

"Exports to the South would be dealt with in Euro and vice versa when importing to the North. Rates fixed at time of the deal." - What they've proposed here is a de facto currency union between the UK and the Eurozone!

If rates are "fixed at the time of the deal", then the value of Stirling would have to permanently track the value of the Euro wouldn't it?

This lot voted for Brexit because of "sovereignty" but they've all just signed a petition calling for the UK to abandon its own monetary sovereignty and join the Euro by default!


The wording of the petition is unmitigated gibberish from beginning to end. There's not a single redeeming sentence in the entirety of it, yet over quarter of a million Brexit dupes have signed it anyway.

The fact that this unrelenting display of idiocy is the single most popular petition on the UK government's petition website is nothing short of a national embarrassment. Just think what the Irish must make of this mass demonstration of sheer unthinking idiocy and consider the fact that Brits routinely make jokes about the Irish being thick!

 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.


Wednesday 19 December 2018

Even if you're into high-risk strategies, why on earth would you entrust such a dangerous gamble to Theresa May?

Theresa May's tactic for pushing her shambolic and unpopular Brexit deal through parliament is now stark-staringly obvious.

She humiliated Britain on the world stage by delaying the Brexit vote simply because she knew she was going to lose it, and now we're going to get a steady drip drip drip of "no deal" Brexit fear-mongering for a month in the hope that it frightens MPs into backing her lamentable shambles of a deal.
  • Drip, we're announcing that we're going to waste another £4.2 billion on "no deal" planning.
  • Drip, we're planning to turn Kent into a giant lorry park because of the customs chaos we're going to deliberately inflict at the border.
  • Drip, were buying £millions worth of fridges to stockpile medical supplies.
  • Drip, we're spending another wodge of public cash on sending out fear-mongering letters telling British businesses to prepare for the worst.
  • Drip, we're planning to put soldiers on the streets to quell the inevitable "no deal" looting and riots.
Drip, drip, drip all the way through Christmas, until some as yet unspecified date in the middle of January when she may or may not allow the meaningful Brexit vote to go ahead (depending on whether she thinks she can win it).

Holding the entire nation to ransom like this for a month is despicable, and over Christmas too.

So even if we're lucky enough to be financially insulated enough to not even worry about the risk to the economy or the risk to our own jobs, or the risk of laying employees off because "no deal" Brexit has trashed our small business, Christmas dinner is going to end up getting ruined anyway by Brexit-bickering between people who actually enjoy this kind of insane Tory brinkmanship in order to fear-monger support for a terrible deal, and the rest of us who despise it.

This game of brinkmanship is a blatant  'project fear'  strategy, but it's not even a competent one.

Who on earth could imagine that a coherent 'project fear' propaganda strategy would involve throwing away your parliamentary majority in an unprecedented display of political hubris, having not one but two Brexit secretaries resign in protest at your plans, becoming the first government in UK history to be held in contempt of parliament, humiliating Britain by chickening out of a scheduled parliamentary vote because you knew you were going to lose it, rushing around Europe to be told "no", "no", "no" and "no again" by national leaders and EU diplomats who are utterly sick of your time-wasting and contradictory nonsense, and then topping it off by welcoming an alleged rapist back into the Tory fold with open arms so you can survive an internal party vote of no confidence?

She threw her own parliamentary majority away in a totally needless gamble, and now people are actually trusting her with this extraordinarily high-risk gamble with the entire future of our nation?

Even if you do agree with the bloody dangerous game of cliff edge walking brinkmanship Theresa May is playing, surely the last person you'd entrust such a ridiculous gamble to someone as stubborn, egotistical, selfish, cowardly, strategically inept, and downright incompetent as her?

 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.


12 reasons you shouldn't get distracted by the Tory "stupid woman" smears

The Tories and their chums in the mainstream media are brazenly lying that when Jeremy Corbyn said "stupid people" to the howling and braying mob behind Theresa May, he was saying "stupid woman" to her.

I can't believe I'm wasting my time writing about this staggeringly dishonest piece of faux outrage Tory propaganda that's clearly based on a flat-out lie, but here we go.

Here are 12 reasons you shouldn't allow yourself to get distracted by this ridiculous scandal.

1. When Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond clearly and undeniably called Andrea Jenkyns a "stupid woman" in parliament how quickly was it completely forgotten about by Tory MPs? (Tories don't give a shit about sexism)

2. Did anyone see Tory MPs howling about sexism just last week when Theresa May welcomed an alleged rapist back into the Tory fold without the conclusion of a proper investigation into the allegations just because she was afraid of losing the internal Tory vote of no confidence in her leadership? (Tories don't give a shit about sexism)

3. Did anyone see Tory MPs banging on about sexism last week when Theresa May also readmitted a vile Tory sex pest who bombarded female constituents with disgusting sex texts and stands accused of bullying a junior female member of staff? (Tories don't give a shit about sexism)

4. Why do Tory MPs never complain when Theresa May grovels before misogynistic head-chopping tyrants from Saudi Arabia in order to flog them weapons to commit their war crimes in Yemen despite the fact they execute women's rights protesters, even when she welcomes them to Britain on International Women's Day? (Tories don't give a shit about sexism)

5. Tory MPs all actively vote in favour of sexist austerity dogma that deliberately loads 86% of the economic pain onto women and even after it's pointed out to them they continue their "war on women" with another brazenly sexist budget designed to punish low-income women and single parents (Tories don't give a shit about sexism)

6. Did anyone see any Tory MP express distaste at the outrageous sexist views of their Tory candidate for mayor of London Shaun Bailey or complaining when Theresa May backed their parliamentary candidate in Darlington last year despite a slew of sexist and homophobic posts on his personal blog? (Tories don't give a shit about sexism or other forms of bigotry)

7. Did anyone see Tories howling with outrage when the Tory MP Christopher Chope deliberately sabotaged the Upskirting Bill by talking for so long there was no time left to vote on it? (Tories don't give a shit about sexism)

8. How many Tory MPs complained so loud when Theresa May made a vile extreme-right misogynistic Twitter troll famous by quoting him in parliament to score cheap political points against Jeremy Corbyn? (Tories don't give a shit about sexism)

9. Where was the outpouring of Tory outrage when the misogynistic Tory MP Philip Davies tried to deliberately derail Domestic Violence legislation with an absurd 91 minute speech aimed at talking out the debate so the vote couldn't happen? (Tories don't give a shit about sexism)

10. Where was the outpouring of Tory outrage when the then-Home Secretary Theresa May introduced brazenly sexist arbitrary income requirements for British citizens applying to bring their non-EU spouses to Britain? (Tories don't give a shit about sexism) 
11. Misrepresenting "stupid people" as "stupid woman" and howling faux outrage about it is such a blatant distraction tactic. It's clearly a piece of fake outrage nonsense to deliberately deflect public attention away from the extraordinary game of reckless "no deal" Brexit brinkmanship Theresa May is playing with the nation's future (the subject Corbyn was holding her to account over during the parliamentary session where he made the widely misrepresented "stupid people" comment).

12. The evidence is absolutely clear that Corbyn didn't even say what the Tories and their propaganda agents in the mainstream media accused him of saying (watch the slow-mo video). It's just yet another example of Tory/mainstream media smear tactics aimed at destroying anyone who doesn't go along with the neoliberal economic fanaticism that has wreaked so much damage on the UK over the last four decades.
It's absolutely shocking to see so many people allowing themselves to be so easily distracted by such a ridiculous display of faux outrage over a comment that wasn't even made, while Theresa May recklessly gambles with the entire nation's future right in front of our eyes.

 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.


Tuesday 18 December 2018

Don't let anyone trick you into feeling sorry for Theresa May

As Theresa May's catastrophically inept handling of her own party's Brexit mess has degenerated further and further into chaos, there's an ongoing campaign to elicit sympathy for her.

There's obviously not much sympathy to be found on left-wing sites like mine, but scroll through the comments on mainstream media outlets or the Tory blogosphere and you'll see a concerted effort to paint Theresa May as some kind of poor, innocent, defenceless victim of circumstances that are beyond her control.

Here are just a few of the most glaring reasons why this outrageous "poor Theresa" narrative is disgustingly warped, and why any feelings of sympathy towards her are catastrophically misplaced.


If you're having these feelings just try to have a think about just some of the many victims of Theresa May's politics to restore your sense of political perspective to normality.

If you think Theresa May's having a hard time just consider:
  • NHS staff who are under enormous pressure thanks to 8 devastating years of Tory cuts and their deliberate ideologically-driven vandalism of the NHS. Winter is always the hardest and most stressful time for health workers, and this year's winter NHS crisis is likely to be the worst ever thanks to Theresa May and her Tory mates. Why not talk to someone who works in the NHS about how bad things have got if you've started to get feelings of misplaced sympathy towards Theresa May?
  • Since the Tories came to power in 2010 they've overseen the worst collapse in the value of UK workers' wages in history. The percentage of workers suffering in-work poverty has absolutely skyrocketed. Just try to imagine what it's like actually having a job, but earning so little you can't even cover the basic costs of living (rent, utility bills, transport, food). This is a fate that Theresa May and her Tory mates are wilfully inflicting on millions of people so don't feel sorry for her.
  • Remember when Theresa May turned up to prowl around the site of the Grenfell Tower fire, aloofly ignoring and avoiding the survivors and the devastated families of the victims? And remember how her government 'rewarded' the emergency service workers who dealt with the tragedy just a few days later by whooping and cheering as they won their parliamentary vote to continue with their malicious real terms cuts in public sector workers' pay?
  • Not only have teachers suffered huge real-terms pay cuts over the last 8 years, many are stuck working in incredibly dodgy private sector academy chains where the bosses pay themselves inflated six figure salaries by 'topslicing' the public funds that are supposed to pay for our children's education. Then there's the appalling scandal of teachers using their own money to provide food and clothes for the ever growing numbers of kids who are turning up to school dressed in rags and malnourished as a consequence of Tory austerity dogma.
  • If you think Theresa May is having a tough time, just think about the victims of the crime wave she deliberately unleashed. Ask anyone who works in front line policing or youth services how Theresa May's ideologically-driven agenda of cutting the police force by 21,000+ and the Tory policy of gutting investment in youth outreach programmes have impacted areas like gang violence and violent crime. Or just look at the crime statistics. Violent crime is soaring out of control meaning thousands more muggings, thousands more stabbings, thousands more sexual assaults and rapes. Does your pity for Theresa May really outweigh the thousands of victims of violent crimes that simply wouldn't have happened without her extraordinary police-cutting agenda?

    Outside of Britain just try to imagine the suffering of innocent civilians in Yemen. Theresa May knows that the Saudi Arabian tyrants are committing war crimes there, and using the despicable tactic of spreading famine and disease as weapons of war too (resulting in the biggest humanitarian disaster on earth). But she keeps sucking up to them and selling them £billions more in British weapons to commit their war crimes with.

Consideration of the tsunami of stress, poverty, and suffering Theresa May and her Tory mates have unleashed over the last 8 years provides a bit of valuable perspective for those who feel inclined to feel sorry for Theresa May, but there's another vital factor too.

Theresa May is an incredibly wealthy woman who is married to a multi-millionaire investor (who works for a fund with huge investments in arms manufacturers who profit from supplying weapons to the Saudi war criminals).

She's so rich that she could just walk away tomorrow and live the rest of her life stress-free in idle and extravagant luxury without having to lift a finger (completely unlike the circumstances of most ordinary workers, victims of her vile Hostile Environment policy, disabled people, emergency service workers, or the starving refugees fleeing the consequences of British foreign policy in places like Yemen).


Then there's the fact that Theresa May has brought most of her problems on herself:

  • She had a parliamentary majority to push her Brexit plans through, but threw it away last year in an unprecedented display of political hubris.
  • She had the opportunity to run Brexit in the national interest from the beginning, but she chose to run it as a closed Tory shop exclusively for the benefit of her own political party, and now she's upset that all the people she excluded from the process are dissatisfied at the shambles she's cobbled together!
  • She had the opportunity to develop a sensible Brexit negotiating strategy, but she resorted to toddler tantrum threats to trash the UK economy with a "no deal" flounce right from the beginning.
  • She had the option of devising a coherent set of negotiating objectives before she set the Article 50 clock ticking, but she chose not to because she couldn't resist the allue of the glowing 'hooray for triggering Article 50' headlines in the right-wing propaganda rags.
  • She had the opportunity to run Brexit in an open and accountable manner, but she hid the impact assessments, she hid the legal advice, she's hiding her post-Brexit immigration plan, and she's hiding the true cost of the "no deal" catastrophe she's threatening the nation with if she doesn't get her own way.
  • Theresa May could accept that nobody wants her shambolic last-minute farce of a deal, she could take the threat of "no deal" ruination off the table, she could walk away right now, or she could call a general election. But all she's interested in is desperately clinging to political power for as long as possible, no matter how much her selfishness and vanity damages the British national interest.


If you ever feel yourself beginning to slide towards having a bit of sympathy for Theresa May, just don't.

Theresa May isn't a character in some silly soap opera. She's an incredibly powerful woman with a horrifying track record of trashing the lives of people she perceives to be below her in the social pecking order.

When she imposes austerity dogma, inflicts social security cuts on the most vulnerable people in society, licences arms sales to war criminals, deports black British citizens to their deaths overseas,  vandalises our public services, triggers a devastating crime wave, and imposes wage repression policies - she knows that her status amongst the gilded establishment class protects her from all of the suffering she's inflicting.

And when it comes to Brexit, that's undeniably a mess of her own making. Yes David Cameron ran away when his gamble with the nation's future backfired and left the mess to his successor, but the primary reason the process has been even more chaotic than most Brexit critics could even have imagined back in the summer of 2016 is Theresa May's appalling combination of selfishness, hubris, control-freakery, strategic ineptitude, incompetence, and utter contempt for the concept of democratic accountability.

She's the one who made this farcical mess for herself, and she's certainly not going to have to pay any real price for it either when it all comes crashing down.

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