Thursday, 17 January 2019

Why are the British political class such reckless gamblers?


2016

When David Cameron promised an EU referendum in order to stop the flow of Tory party MPs and voters defecting to UKIP he knew that he was gambling the entire future of the UK in return for a bit of short-term party political advantage, but he did it anyway because he was blindly confident that he was going to win.

We all know what happened next, and it's pretty obvious why. It's because David Cameron was a crap gambler.


In 2014 he agreed to a Scottish independence referendum and then watched on in horror as the SNP turned the thing into a massive 9 month long grassroots campaign that brought the Yes vote a hell of a lot closer than anyone was expecting.

So Cameron's strategy for his EU referendum gamble was to squeeze the whole thing into as short a time span as possible in order to keep the debate as quick and ill-informed as possible.

What Cameron failed to factor in when he compressed the debate like this was that unlike the Scottish independence referendum where the mainstream media and Westminster establishment class were firmly on his side, in his EU referendum the right-wing propaganda rags and half of his own MPs were agitating for Brexit.

Cameron lost because he was too stupid to understand that he was playing a completely different game to the last one, and that the rushed campaign he organised ended up massively favouring the loudest and most dishonest players, and gave little time and space for actual experts to be heard.

And what made it even worse is that Cameron didn't bother to compel the Brexiteers to compose a Brexit manifesto to which they could be held should he lose, or even draw up the skeleton of a contingency plan in case people didn't vote the way he told them to.

Cameron was such a reckless gambler that he didn't even realise that he rigged his own game against himself, and outright refused to even consider the possibility that he might lose.

2019

So we're all clear about how how David Cameron gambled away Britain's future in 2016, so let's move forward to 2019 where we have Remainer politicians like Vince Cable agitating for another referendum.

It's absolutely clear that another referendum is simply another roll of the dice. The Tory party is still full of Brexiteer ideologues, the right-wing propaganda rags will still promote Brexit to their audience of millions, and public opinion has barely shifted against Brexit despite 30 months of untrustworthy and brazenly incompetent Brexit floundering from Theresa May and the Tory government.

Additionally we have to consider the Electoral Commission that allowed the 2016 referendum to turn into an orgy of fear-mongering (from both sides), outright lying, and financial cheating. They've not been reformed at all, they have no extra powers than they had before to properly punish the liars and cheaters.

And then we have to consider the most risky element of all from a Remain perspective, the fact that if Theresa May remains in power then she'll have the power to decide the options on the ballot paper, the wording of the options, and the timing of the ballot.

Anyone who imagines she wouldn't use these crucial decisions to maximise Tory party political advantage clearly knows nothing about what the Tory party is, or how it operates.

So the Remainers who are calling for another referendum can see how badly loaded the dice are likely to be if Theresa May gets to run the game, but somehow they still want to play, and they still refuse to consider the dire consequences if they lose.

If they lose their gamble with the nation's future then they will have created an inescapable double-mandate for Brexit, and what's worse is that they'll have left the Tories in charge to administer it.

We all saw how the Tories dealt with the 2008 economic crisis that was triggered by the reckless gambling of their banker mates. They loaded all of the economic burdens on poor and ordinary people through austerity dogma, wage repression, severe social security cuts, public service cuts, and privatisation mania. Meanwhile they protected the wealth of the the mega-rich and even showered the bankers who caused the crisis in the first place with tax cuts and handouts!

Does anyone honestly believe that the Tories wouldn't take exactly the same approach with a Brexit economic crisis?

Does anyone honestly believe that a double-mandate for Brexit wouldn't be used as an excuse for more austerity dogma and wage repression for the masses, and more tax cuts and handouts for the mega rich?

So if the lives and livelihoods of millions are at stake like this, why are the Remainers so desperate to roll the dice again with the Tories still in charge?

The only possible answer is that they're too arrogant to believe in the possibility that they could lose.

"This time we'll make the stupid plebs see sense", "this time they'll vote the way we tell them to", "this time we'll save them from their own stupidity""this time we'll defeat the combined force of the right-wing propaganda rags with our earnest facts and statistics and unbelievably cringeworthy trampoline jumping escapades".

Another referendum is likely to happen sooner or later, but it's an extraordinarily risky gamble without first removing the Tories who created this entire Brexit mess in the first place, and without scrapping Theresa May's malicious threat of deliberately triggering a "no deal" economic meltdown into the dustbin of history where it belongs.

If these people absolutely insist on playing with loaded dice and then lose, then they'll be even more responsible than David Cameron was for having delivered the ensuing Tory carnage.


Conclusion

In answer to the question I asked at the top of this article, there are many reasons that the British political class are such reckless gamblers that they'd even play with loaded dice without accepting the possibility that they might actually lose.

One of the main reasons is arrogance. They believe in their own righteousness so much that they can't comprehend that there isn't much room for righteousness in a game of dice.

Another reason that gamblers gamble is that it's exciting. The political class love being in campaign mode, appearing on the telly, speaking in front of crowds, the breathless excitement of uncertainty, the adoration of their supporters.

But probably the main reason is that e ery ast one of them is financially insulated from true hardship. They've got hefty parliamentary salaries and gold-plated pensions to fall back on if it all goes wrong.

All the Westminster establishment class have got to lose if their gamble goes wrong is personal pride. They can just say "oops" if it all goes wrong then retire to put their trotters up like David Cameron. Meanwhile it's millions of ordinary people up and down the country who will be the ones who pay the actual costs of suffering, and job losses, and food inflation, and hardship, and death.

The main reason they're so addicted to gambling is that it'll always be ordinary people like you and me who have to pay down their gambling debts when it all goes wrong. And who would say no to free bets 
at the casino with other people's money?

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OR

Vince Cable has pledged Lib-Dem loyalty to Theresa May and the Tories


Last night Vince Cable had a no-preconditions meeting with Theresa May over the extraordinary Brexit farce she's created, then lo and behold today he's announced that the Lib-Dems have de facto joined the Tory-DUP coalition by refusing to vote no confidence in Theresa May again, no matter the scale of her future incompetence or malice.

This solemn pledge of Lib-Dem fealty to Theresa May is intended as an attack on Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party, but even the most blinkered of "centrists" surely must be wondering how a Lib-Dem pledge to keep Theresa May in power indefinitely would harm Labour more than it harms the Lib-Dems themselves (especially if Theresa May continues her reckless game of "no deal" brinkmanship).

The loyalty pledge is intended to force Labour into backing another EU referendum, but leaving Theresa May in power during such a referendum would dangerously stack the odds in favour of Leave by giving the Tory party control over the options on the ballot, the wording of the options, and the timing of the vote. All decisions that would be made to maximise Tory party advantage.

Cable is clearly a gambler who just wants another roll of the dice so badly he doesn't even care whether they're loaded dice or not. What's even more worrying is that Cable is an unbelievably inept political strategist with a history losing referendum votes. The delusion that Remain would be guaranteed to win a second referendum with the Tories still running the show and an incompetent like Cable fronting the Remain campaign is inexplicably commonplace.


What's even more extraordinary than the assumption that this loyalty pledge will hurt Labour more than it hurts the Lib-Dems is that Vince Cable is doing Theresa May this enormous favour in her hour of need in return for absolutely nothing!

In 2017 the Northern Irish DUP sectarians showed up the Lib-Dems' feeble 2010 coalition negotiations by bagging a vast £1.5 billion bribe, a veto on the Brexit deal, and the ability to just wash their hands and walk away from it at any moment should they chose, all in return for just 10 parliamentary votes.

In 2010 the strategically inept Lib-Dems tied themselves into supporting every single illiberal piece of Tory malice for five years, supported policies they knew their core demographics would hate (like tripling tuition fees, abandoning House of Lords reform, and turning Libya into a lawless terrorism breeding ground), and generally acted as human shields for the Tories for the full five years.

They sold themselves out completely in a spectacularly one-sided coalition deal that ended up costing them 2/3 of their voters and 85% of their parliamentary seats when they had a comparatively huge 57 parliamentary votes to bargain with!

But instead of learning their lesson about the strategic ineptitude of adopting a weak bargaining position with the Tories, Vince Cable and the Lib-Dems have just gone and promised to keep Theresa May in power indefinitely  (no matter what she does) in return for absolutely nothing at all!

Jeremy Corbyn is refusing to meet with Theresa May until she drops her malicious threat to punish Britain with a "no deal" economic meltdown if she doesn't get her own way, and Vince Cable meets her with no pre-conditions at all then comes away bragging about the loyalty pledge he's just given her in return for absolutely nothing at all!


And perhaps most amazingly of all, after making this hypocritical, absurdly one-sided, and strategically inept Lib-Dem loyalty pledge to the Tories, Vince Cable is accusing Jeremy Corbyn of being the one "playing party political games"!

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OR

Theresa May simply can't be trusted


Theresa May's sudden repositioning of herself as a kindly consensus-builder is an extraordinary illustration of her seemingly endless willingness to completely reverse her political stance in order to preserve her own personal self-interest.

By saying that her door is suddenly open to the opposition parties to help her find a solution to the Brexit shambles she's created, she's brazenly demonstrating her incompetence too, by hastily attempting to do the consensus-building that she actually needed to do at the very beginning of the Brexit process.

It's beyond obvious that a national Brexit Commission drawing expertise from across the political spectrum, and across the nation would have been the sensible way to go, but when May rose to power she decided to wall the whole Brexit process off as a closed Tory shop to be run exclusively for Tory party political advantage.


She's only scrambling around pretending to be a consensus-builder at the last minute because her back's against the wall after the absolute farce she's delivered, and yet another screeching U-turn is the only way she imagines that she can continue defying the national interest by selfishly clinging onto political power for as long as possible.

Remember how she called her hubris election in 2017 in order to "crush the saboteurs"? Remember how she repeatedly tried to hide the Brexit impact assessments? Remember how she had to be dragged through the courts time and again to make her follow parliamentary procedure? Remember how she became the first Prime Minister in British history to have her government declared in contempt of parliament? Remember how the opposition parties had to force her into holding the vote she lost yesterday by a record-breaking margin?

If she'd had it her own way there wouldn't have even been a "meaningful vote" for her to lose by 230 votes yesterday, and we'd all be ploughing ahead with her absolute shambles of a plan with absolutely no means of stopping her.

She's wasted away 30 months with her constant autocratic scheming, her outrageous displays of hubris, and her outright incompetence, and now she's trying to reverse her position completely to present herself as a kindly consensus-builder!

It's just like when she instantly reversed her position from Remain to Leave in 2016 for the benefit of her political career.

It's just like when she totally reversed her position on "no snap election" when she thought it suited her self-interest to call one in 2017.


Now she's reversing her position from tyrannical Brexit queen who stubbornly refuses to listen to anyone else except her Tory mates and the DUP sectarians she bribed into saving her political skin in 2017, to instantly metamorphosise into the kindly consensus-builder who is going to save Brexit and heal Britain of all of the terrible divisions that she's just spent the last 30 months deliberately widening for her own personal political advantage!

Theresa May has proven time and again that she simply can't be trusted. How anyone could continue to put their faith in her after all of these blatantly self-serving reversals is absolutely baffling.

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OR

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

What is ... "centrism"?


One of the huge mistakes people make with the term "centrism" is imagining that it's actually a moderate central position between capitalism and socialism like the name implies, when it's nothing of the sort.

In reality modern "centrism" is an orthodox neoliberal strategy of shifting ever further rightwards in order to position yourself ever so slightly to the left of whatever ideological insanity the political right are up to.

Historical context

For proof that there's been a decades long rightwards shift of the "centrists" just consider what was the central political ground from the 1940s through to the 1970s.

Conservative governments all through the era ran vital public infrastructure, services, and industries as state enterprises, built and maintained social housing, and regulated the financial sector in order to prevent devastating crises like those of the 1920s and 1930s.

The position of the Tory party in the 1950s and '60s is clearly significantly to the left of the "centrist" Labour government between 1997 and 2010,which introduced privatisation in our schools and hospitals, refused to build more social housing (or even reverse the disastrous Tory policy of selling off social housing without replacing it), and catastrophically deregulated the financial sector to enable the reckless sub-prime gambling that triggered the run on Northern Rock and eventually the 2008 bankers' insolvency crisis ("centrist" Democrats did the same kinds of regulation in the US leading to the same insolvency crisis and bailouts situation over there). 


Anyone back in the '50s or '60s talking about privatising schools, hospitals, the Royal Mail, and even police services would have been considered a raving ideological extremist, but these days it's the political norm, and actual government policy.

And just imagine what would have happened to someone in the '50s or '60s if they'd proposed selling off our entire nuclear industry and letting it fall into the hands of the French government, then bribing the French and Chinese governments with public cash into building our new nuclear plants for us!

They'd have strayed so far from the political centre ground that the vast majority of people would condemn this kind of ideological lunacy as "treason".

But since the advent of the neoliberal era in 1979 this kind of absurd ideological extremist is absolutely commonplace, and the nuclear sell-off and bribery of the French and Chinese has actually happened under Tory rule.


In fact someone like Jeremy Corbyn who proposes a mix between socialist policies and regulated, properly taxed capitalism would obviously have been a political centrist in this pre-neoliberal era, but in modern Britain, as we know, he's routinely portrayed as a terrifying political extremist with radical and unpopular economic policies.

He's portrayed this way by the self-declared "centrists" because he's refused to jump on board the radical hard-right neoliberal bandwagon like they all have.

He's stayed on the traditional centre ground as the "centrists" rapidly steam towards the radical hard-right and yell "extremism" at him out of the window as they fade into the distance!


Modern context

Now think about the political position of the self-declared Labour "centrists".

Remember Labour losing the 2015 general election by pathetically imitating Tory austerity dogma rather than opposing it. That's "centrism".

Remember the Labour right-wingers and mainstream media hacks parroting the ludicrous myth that Labour lost because they were too left-wing under Miliband in order to justify their absurd theory that Labour should imitate Tory economic radicalism even more closely? That's "centrism".

Remember all 3 of the Labour "centrist" candidates cementing Corbyn's win by actually abstaining on the vote on £12 billion worth of Tory social security cuts for the poorest people in society during the Labour leadership election? That's "centrism".

The Labour "centrists" lost the party the 2015 General Election with their policy of pathetically imitating Tory policy, and then their immediate response was to claim that the solution to this self-inflicted defeat was yet another huge rightwards lurch towards the policies of the the most radically right-wing Tory government since universal suffrage!

In the minds of modern self-appointed "centrists" moderation and pragmatism clearly involves continually imitating the Tories, even when they're busy outright defying the public will by privatising schools, hospitals, and police services, trashing the economy with hard-right austerity dogma, destroying local government with unprecedented funding cuts, overseeing the longest period of collapsing wages and living standards in living memory, and using public cash to bribe foreign governments into building national infrastructure for us!

A basic grounding in political reality reveals that modern day "centrists" are not people who actually take a central position between capitalism and socialism, they're right-wing people with an interest in misleading the public into believing that the radical hard-right economic dogma of neoliberalism is somehow a moderate and pragmatic approach that exists in on the political centre ground!

Labels

It should be pretty obvious that "centrism" is a misleading political label that bears absolutely no relation to the hard-right neoliberal policies that modern "centrists" tend to support and imitate.

Another example of this kind of increasingly misleading political label is "Conservatism".

These days there are very few actual (small c) conservatives left in the Conservative Party. There's absolutely nothing "conservative" about the radical hard-right, pro-privatisation, anti-worker, cult of the individual bollocks they've been pushing for the last 4 decades.

And this is before we even bother to mention the Liberal Democrats and their numerous votes in support of grotesquely illiberal Tory party policies between 2010 & 2015 (secret courts, dripa, the gagging law, bedroom tax, sanctions and disability assessment regimes ...)

All three are examples of desperately misleading political labels.

At least Jeremy Corbyn is more or less exactly what he says he is on his label: a democratic socialist.

And at least the Scottish National Party, Plaid Cymru (Welsh Party), and the Green Party tend to offer more or less what their labels imply too.

But conservatives, "centrists", and liberals have shifted position so dramatically over recent decades that the policies they promote bear almost no resemblance to the political labels they self-apply.

Criticising centrism

One of the most difficult things about criticising the kind of self-appointed "centrists" who push radically right-wing neoliberalism is that an awful lot of people are so politically naive that they take the "centrists" at face value.

Politically naive people think that just because "centrists" self-declare as "centrists" that their political position is actually in the moderate centre, rather than lying ever so slightly to the left of the most radically right-wing Tory government in living memory.

So if you criticise "centrism" this complacent James O'Brien-listening, BBC-watching, Guardian-reading demographic is liable to think that you're only criticising the moderate political centre ground because you've been brainwashed into supporting the radically left-wing "cult of Corbyn"!

What they're completely and utterly unprepared to accept is the idea that hard-right neoliberal dogma is actually the ideological cult which has completely infested the Westminster political establishment and the mainstream media, and that the few who haven't got on board with this hard-right, pro-privatisation, pro-austerity, anti-worker, deregulation frenzy are the last remaining "centrists" from the pre-neoliberal era!

So be careful when you end up criticising "centrism". If your audience doesn't understand that you're criticising neoliberals trying to give themselves a veneer of legitimacy by self-applying the label "centrist" then they're liable to imagine that you're actually attacking the old conception of a "centrism" that offers a compromise between socialism and capitalism.

They're liable to take your criticisms as confirmation of their absurdly warped view that people like you are the radical ideological extremist and continue believing that neoliberal self-labelling "centrists" and Tory ideological extremism represent the moderate centre ground!


  If you found this article interesting or informative,      
  here's another article about the "centrist" delusion that 
  their ideology is flawless and everything bad is always    somebody else's fault.
  


 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.




OR

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

A reality check for anyone who says they feel sorry for Theresa May



Anyone saying they feel sorry for Theresa May over the humiliating 432-202 defeat of her shambolic Brexit proposals really needs to have a good hard think about reality for a while.

This is a woman who occupied one of the highest offices of state while the Tory party punished millions of people with despicable austerity dogma, wage repression, public service cuts, social security cuts, and privatisation mania (the collapse in living standards caused by these policies created the wave of public anger that delivered Brexit in the first place).

This is a woman who cynically fuelled racism with her anti-immigrant rhetoric and her despicable "go home vans" that even Nigel Farage and the ukippers condemned as "unbritish"!

This is a woman who introduced the Hostile Environment rules that destroyed the lives of uncounted numbers of British citizens by denying them access to housing, employment, bank accounts, social security, pensions, health care, and even the right to return to their own country after trips overseas.

This is a woman who weaseled her way into the top job with a self-serving low-key non-campaign in favour of Remain (purely so that she could keep her job as Home Secretary), followed by the total reversal of presenting herself as Mrs Brexit means Brexit (after getting her media and political allies to bully her rival out of the Tory leadership contest).

This is a woman who has been threatening 66 million British people with the absolute devastation of a "no deal" economic meltdown if she doesn't get her own way, which is just a reworking of her despicable threat against the EU that if they didn't give her the unicorns she was demanding that she'd blow up an economic bomb under the UK in the hope of causing a bit of collateral damage to mainland Europe.

This is a woman who made her own damned job so much harder by throwing away her own parliamentary majority in an unprecedented display of political hubris. What made it even worse was that she'd promised the nation that there would be "no snap election" repeatedly before she called her hubris election.

This is a woman who is prepared to grovel at the feet of misogynistic, homophobic, head-chopping, journalist-dismembering Saudi tyrants in order to flog them even more British weapons that she knows are being used to commit outrageous war crimes in Yemen.

This is a woman who saw that utterly despicable Nazi-style "enemies of the people" Daily Mail front page that was intended to whip up a storm of abuse and death threats against three innocent British judges who were simply doing their jobs, then decided to actually hire the author of it (James Slack) to work as her personal political propagandist in 10 Downing Street!


This is a woman who cynically decided to use the lives of millions of people as disposable political pawns in her cynical power games instead of simply offering residence and reassurance to the 3 million EU citizens in the UK as an early Brexit priority.

This is a woman who repeatedly refused to negotiate or compromise with opposition parties or devolved parliaments in order to build consensus about what to do over the Brexit debacle the Tories had lumbered us with. She ignored them, propagandised against them, and whipped her MPs into removing their attempted amendments to her Brexit legislation.

This is a woman who humiliated Britain on the world stage by cynically delaying the "meaningful vote" in December, simply because she knew she was going to lose it. A cowardly evasion that means we just wasted away another month in which we could have been trying to clear up the appalling mess she's presided over. But instead she spent that month just hiding away as the Article 50 clock ticks down to the chaos scenario she's been threatening since the start.

This is a woman who deliberately ran the entire Brexit process as a closed Tory shop, and exclusively for the benefit of the Tory party. A woman who sidelined everyone else for her own party's political advantage, and now seeks to cast the blame onto everyone else when it all goes wrong.

If she had any decency or integrity she'd resign on the spot after losing by 230 votes, but she won't. She won't resign because she's determined to keep defying the national interest by clinging selfishly to power for as long as possible, because the service of the self is the central tenet of the ideological cult that she leads, the Conservative Party.
And she didn't just bring it all on herself. She brought it on herself in an unbelievably callous, autocratic, hubristic, incompetent, and downright vindictive manner.

Anyone who claims they're feeling sorry for her after all of that has possibly the worst case of misplaced sympathies it's possible to imagine.

 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.




OR

"Meaningful vote" updates

Coverage of the "Meaningful Vote" and fallout from outside the confines of the groupthink bubble of orthodox neoliberalsim that most Westminster politicians and journalists so clearly inhabit.

Hit refresh or reload the page every so often for more updates.

22:30

Theresa May's speech to parliament after she lost the vote was absolutely absurd. The same kind of delusional lecturing she did after she threw her own majority away in her 2017 hubris election.

It's like she lives in an alternative universe in which the person receiving the humiliating rebuke (from the public or from parliament) is the one who gets to deliver the condescending lecture afterwards to explain how everyone else got it wrong.

She has absolutely no capability of showing humility or remorse.

22:24

Here's my latest article on why people saying they feel sorry for Theresa May are catastrophically misplacing their sympathies.

21:32

Theresa May's crocodile tears over EU citizens in the UK and UK citizens in the EU to deflect attention away from the seriousness of her defeat is absolutely despicable. Yes these people obviously deserve clarity on their futures, but she's the one who cynically decided to use the lives of millions of people as disposable political pawns in her power games in the first place, instead of unilaterally offering residence and reassurance to EU citizens in the UK as an early priority.

21:26

The anti-Corbyn neoliberalism-lite editorial line of the Guardian news section is absolutely despicable, but this opinion piece from Joseph Harker is absolutely spot on.

21:20

Dominic Grieve who was one of the leading Tory rebels (out of the 118 who defied the Tory party whip) but he's now saying that he will be supporting Theresa May in the "no confidence" vote.

There's absolutely no way to see that as anything other than a decision to put the narrow party political interests of the Tory party (staying in power a bit longer) above the interests of the nation (getting Theresa May out of the way so someone more competent can take a more cooperative approach to the process).

21:16

All indications point to the fact that the Tory "Plan B" after this defeat is simply presenting Plan A again and again until they get the result they want!

An astoundingly bold strategy from a party that is ruling out another Brexit referendum.

Hard to imagine how anyone could fail to see the hypocrisy in supporting "do it again until you give us the result we want" and opposing "the facts have changed since 2016 so maybe we should have another vote".

[Note: I don't personally support either of these positions]

21:07

I've just seen an appalling effort to deflect blame away from Theresa May and the Tories by blaming all politicians for not coming together for the good of the country.

Blaming "all politicians" is a grotesque deflection tactic.

The opposition parties tried to talk to May she ignored them.

They tried to amend her legislation, she whipped her MPs into removing the amendments.

The Scottish and Welsh parliaments tried to negotiate with May over Brexit, she outright ignored them.

 Theresa May screwed it all up by trying to run the whole process as an autocrat, and it's unfair to try to cast an equal part of the blame on devolved parliaments and opposition parties.

 Had she tried listening and consensus building it might have worked (or at least not failed as badly).

But we all knew exactly what her approach was going to be. From her expensive court battles to avoid parliamentary accountability, to the "crush the saboteurs" headlines in the Tory propaganda rags during her Hubris Election in 2017.

 If anyone is to blame it's the 13.6 million people who saw this hubristic, mindlessly belligerent, and doomed-to-fail approach from Theresa May and the Tories but flocked to the polls to endorse them anyway.

20:56

Only three Labour MPs defied the party whip to vote in favour of Theresa May's shambles of a plan. The fact that the rabid anti-Corbyn right-wingers Ian Austin and John Mann were among them is no surprise at all.

20:45

In 1886, William Gladstone lost the vote on his Home Rule Bill by 30 votes, and felt obliged to call an election as a result. Theresa May and the Tories intend to keep clinging desperately to power despite a defeat by 230 votes.

20:36

Sorry my blog will not allow me to embed videos properly, I've wasted enough time trying to fix this issue already.

20:18

I've written before about why a vote of no confidence is likely to fail. The Tories will unify to protect the interests of their own party. They'd rather have hopelessly crippled Tory leader flailing around incompetently in defiance of the national interest than ever consider letting someone else have a go at running the show.

The DUP are still likely to back Theresa May because they've got her exactly where they want her. She's entirely dependent on them for support for her political survival so she has to dance to their tune whenever they demand it.

What possible benefit would they get from releasing their political hostage with no payoff by voting to collapse her government. It simply makes no sense from a realpolitik perspective. [Article]

20:12

One thing that's absolutely vital to remember is that without Jeremy Corbyn's Labour and the other opposition parties unifying to insist on a "meaningful vote" in the first place there would have been no defeat. Had Theresa May been allowed to approach Brexit in the autocratic way she desired there would have been no meaningful vote, and she'd be dragging us towards her own rubbish interpretation of Brexit with no means of stopping her.

Brexit sceptics should be thankful that the opposition parties managed to put the brakes on Theresa May's autocratic Brexit scheming, but also the Brextremists should be thankful too. It's only thanks to Brexit sceptics that they even had the opportunity to vote down May's disgraceful shambles of a deal today.

20:06

A defeat of 230 votes is unprecedented. 118 of her own MPs voted against her! And this isn't just any old piece of legislation, it's her flagship policy that's pushed all manner of other vitally important issues into the political background for the last two and a half years. Anyone with any sense of perspective would resign immediately after such a failure.

20:00

They assured us that this would be "the easiest deal in human history" to achieve. It's fallen at the very first hurdle. A truly spectacular display of Tory incompetence.

19:55

Theresa May loses the vote by the astounding margin of 432-202. Jeremy Corbyn immediately submits a motion of no confidence in the government.

19:44

Well voting has started on Theresa May's absolutely shambolic Brexit proposals so we'll know the scale of her defeat pretty soon.

 I expect things might begin to move rather quickly after the vote, so I'll do my best to cover what's going on from outside the confines of the groupthink bubble of orthodox neoliberalsim that most Westminster politicians and journalists so clearly inhabit.

 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.




OR

Thursday, 10 January 2019

You should probably read Corbyn's Wakefield speech for yourself


Given the way mainstream media outlets have routinely twisted Jeremy Corbyn's words over the last three years, it's clearly a sensible idea to read his Wakefield Brexit speech for yourself rather than relying on people who utterly despise Corbyn and the democratic socialist policies he champions to traduce and interpret what he said for you.

We know that the right-wing propaganda rags have an outrageous track record of misreporting Corbyn's policies, publishing smears and outright lies, and even crudely photoshopping pictures to attack him with.

And we also know that supposedly left-leaning media outlets like the Independent and Guardian have proven themselves
 desperately unreliable too through their deliberate misrepresentation of Corbyn's policies with blatantly deceptive headlines, the use of brazenly cherry-picked out-of-context quotations to misrepresent his views, and the publishing of outright lies about his Brexit policies.

So here's what Corbyn actually said:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

It’s a pleasure to be here in Wakefield and thank you to OE Electrics for kindly hosting us.

We are now two and a half years on from the EU referendum and we are finally reaching the moment when the House of Commons will have its say on Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

In those two and a half years many of the most pressing problems facing people in their daily lives, here in Yorkshire and across the country, have been ignored or relegated to the back of the queue by a Conservative Party consumed by its own internal battles over Brexit.

Years of Tory failure have left our society more divided than ever:

Poverty is growing, homelessness is up, personal debt is rising and crime is up too.

The truth is, the real divide in our country is not between those who voted to Remain in the EU and those who voted to Leave. It is between the many – who do the work, who create the wealth and pay their taxes, and the few – who set the rules, who reap the rewards and so often dodge taxes.

The Conservative Party’s main concern, as ever is to protect the interests of the few and is prepared to set everybody else against each other divide and rule style to stay in power.

That’s why at every turn during the Brexit negotiations the Prime Minister has acted in ways that have exacerbated division.

In fact her only success in bringing people together has been to unite both people who voted leave and those who voted remain against her botched and damaging deal.

Now she is facing the inevitable consequence of that failure, defeat in the House of Commons.

Let there be no doubt. Theresa May’s deal is a bad deal for our country and Labour will vote against it next week in Parliament.

And remember, the only reason Parliament is having what has become known as the meaningful vote is because Labour secured that concession from the government.

I would like to pay tribute to Keir Starmer and his team for all their hard work throughout this process.

If the government cannot pass its most important legislation then there must be a general election at the earliest opportunity.

A government that cannot get its business through the House of Commons is no government at all.

It has lost its mandate so must go to the country to seek another.

And the government defeat on Tuesday, after the amendment put down by Yvette Cooper was passed, is the first time a government has been defeated on a Finance Bill since 1978.

So I say to Theresa May: if you are so confident in your deal then call that election and let the people decide.

If not, Labour will table a motion of no confidence in the government at the moment we judge it to have the best chance of success.

Clearly, Labour does not have enough MPs in parliament to win a confidence vote on its own.

So members across the House should vote with us to break the deadlock.

This paralysis cannot continue. Uncertainty is putting people’s jobs and livelihoods at risk.

And if a general election cannot be secured then we will keep all options on the table, including the option of campaigning for a public vote.

But an election must be the priority. It is not only the most practical option, it is also the most democratic option.

It could give the winning party a renewed mandate to negotiate a better deal for Britain and secure support for it in Parliament and across the country.

Defeat for the government’s central policy on Tuesday would be historic.

It would not only signal the failure of Theresa May’s premiership but the failure of the Conservative Party as a party of government.

This is after all a party that for decades claimed to be the natural party of government. A safe bet for the country.

Now we see the reality.

They don’t know what they’re doing. They have led us from chaos to crisis. And they have no answers or legislation to fix the many crises of their own making whether it’s the cost of living, housing, personal debt, escalating inequality, rising crime or collapsing public services.

But there are solutions to these crises and Theresa May’s botched Brexit deal is not “the only deal possible.”

It is a deal that reflects the kind of country that the Tories want to create.

It should be no surprise that this Tory deal allows workers’ rights and environmental protections to fall behind minimum European basic standards.

The government boasts that this will give the UK “flexibility.”

But flexibility for whom?

Flexibility for employers to exploit workers. Flexibility for big corporations to pollute our environment.

Flexibility for multinational giants to undercut our neighbours and drive down standards everywhere.

Meanwhile Theresa May’s refusal to countenance negotiating a new customs union is based on the Tory dream of a sweetheart trade deal with Donald Trump which could deliver chlorinated chicken to our dinner tables and open up our NHS to giant profit-seeking American healthcare corporations.

Labour has very different priorities because we represent the interests of the many, not the few.

We have given voice to policies that command majority public support but which the political class has long refused to endorse such as fair taxation and new forms of public ownership.

When Labour goes into government we will support new high tech industries that will provide high wage secure jobs. And we will bring real investment and prosperity to areas such as Yorkshire and the Midlands, to Scotland and Wales which for too long have been held back by successive governments.

And so the alternative plan that Labour has set out for a sensible Brexit deal that could win broad support is designed to enable us to fulfil those ambitions while respecting the democratic result of the referendum.

Any political leader who wants to bring the country together cannot wish away the votes of 17 million people who wanted to leave, any more than they can ignore the concerns of the 16 million who voted to remain.

I know people are genuinely scared by the prospect of no deal. I meet people who are frightened and going through real stress.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the EU nationals who have enriched our society and made such a fantastic contribution to our industries and services. With Labour your future here is secure.

And I know many people were appalled at the bigotry and racism that some politicians stoked during the referendum campaign and are still trying to exploit out of the small number of desperate refugees risking their lives to cross the English Channel.

Let’s never forget that whatever circumstances people are living in whether in tents camps or trying to survive on dangerous dinghies, everyone is a human being and we must reach out the hand of humanity in all circumstances.

And that is exactly what Labour’s Home team does, led so well by Diane Abbott.

People want to live in a country that’s tolerant, that’s diverse, that’s open. We won’t let that openness, that generosity be crushed. Let’s not lower our horizons, let’s raise them up.

I also know that in many places like Wakefield, people feel they’ve been ignored. They lost industries and no one seemed to care. They’ve been robbed of their future by a lack of investment.

These are proud, generous communities that pull together and support each other. Communities that have real pride in their towns, in their cities, in their regions, but they know they could be so much more. I understand that many of them wanted to send the politicians a message in the referendum and I hear them. Labour is the party of the working class and we’ll stand up for you.

That’s why our alternative plan prioritises jobs growth and rights.

That is why we have called for a new customs union with a British say in future trade deals; a strong single market relationship; and a guarantee to keep pace with EU rights and standards.

Combined with the election of a radical Labour government our alternative plan will allow us to make the fundamental changes that are so badly needed in our country, while respecting those who voted both leave and remain.

Why is a customs union necessary?

It’s because a new customs union and a radical Labour government with an active industrial strategy will allow a renaissance in our manufacturing sector, which will create good, secure jobs and help restore pride and prosperity to parts of our country that have been ignored for too long.

Why do we need a strong relationship with the single market?

It’s because frictionless trade and a radical Labour government with a plan to invest in every region and nation of our country, will give us the chance to kick-start real growth in our economy, allowing the wealth created by this country’s workforce to be shared more fairly.

Finally, why are we absolutely insistent on at least keeping pace with EU rights at work environmental standards and consumer protections?

It’s because with those guarantees and a radical Labour government that stands up for people against powerful vested interests, we can give workers and consumers more control over their lives.

The alternative deal Labour has proposed is practical and achievable, and clearly has the potential to command majority support in parliament.

But it is not an end in itself. The task of the Labour party and the Labour movement is the long-overdue transformation of our country.

We will bring people together by addressing the deep-seated and common problems across our country and fulfilling the aspirations that led people to vote both leave or remain.

I would put it like this: if you’re living in Tottenham you may well have voted to Remain.

You’ve got high bills rising debts. You’re in insecure work. You struggle to make your wages stretch and you may be on universal credit, and forced to access food banks.

You’re up against it.

If you’re living in Mansfield, you are more likely to have voted to Leave.

You’ve got high bills, rising debts, you’re in insecure work, you struggle to make your wages stretch and you may be on universal credit and forced to access food banks.

You’re up against it.

But you’re not against each other.

People across the country, whether they voted Leave or Remain know that the system isn’t working for them.

Some see the EU as a defence against insecurity and hostility. Others see the EU as part of an establishment that plunged them into insecurity and hostility in the first place.

But it’s the failed system rigged against the many to protect the interests of the few that is the real cause of inequality and insecurity whether it’s in Tottenham or Mansfield.

And, the real solution is to transform Britain to work in the interests of the vast majority by challenging the entrenched power of a privileged elite.

That is how we can help to overcome our country’s divisions.

Because for both sides the EU referendum was about much more than our relationship with our biggest trading partner and its rules.

It was about what has happened to our people over decades and how to build a better future.

The Conservatives are never going to tackle the burning injustices in our country or act to overcome the deep and growing inequalities.

They are incapable of leading us out of a crisis they created.

Britain deserves a government that can govern.

The need for a government with a clear purpose and direction for the country could not be more urgent.

A general election is the right answer and the best way to break the deadlock.

Labour is ready to bring Leave and Remain voters together to rebuild Britain for the many not the few.

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Of course this speech is going to be unsatisfactory to the Brextremists who crave the social and economic meltdown of a "no deal" Brexit because it will deny them the thrill of seeing the British economy burned to the ground just so that Jacob Rees-Mogg and his mega-rich Brexity mates can make fortunes betting against Britain.

And of course it's also going to infuriate Remain extremists who seem to hate Corbyn as much as they hate Brexi, because for some absolutely unfathomable reason they want "another referendum now" which means Theresa May and the Tories would get to choose the options and the wording on the ballot!

But anyone between the two polar extremes of the Brexit debate should easily be able to see what Corbyn is trying to achieve.

He's trying to undo the damage the Tories have done to our country by offering a less damaging version of Brexit than the horrific false dichotomy Theresa May is threatening the nation with (back my Tory party before country Brexit or I'll punish you all by trashing the economy with "no deal"), he's pledging to address the root causes of the collapse in living standards that caused the Brexit vote in the first place (Tory austerity dogma, Tory wage repression, Tory public service cuts, Tory social security cuts ...), he's offering a much less damaging version of Brexit if it does go ahead, and he's still keeping the option of a repeat referendum on the table.

The Tories have created such devastating economic chaos and such damaging divisions in British society in their 9 years in office that anyone attempting to lead a recovery obviously has a monumental task on their hands.

But you'd have to be delusional to argue that Corbyn is wrong to oppose Theresa May's Tory party before country Brexit and her outrageous threat of punishing us all with a "no deal" meltdown if she doesn't get her own way.

You'd have to be delusional to argue that it's wrong to try to heal the enormous rift the Tories created between Leavers and Remainers rather than jumping with both feet into one or other of the extreme positions.


And you'd have to be just as delusional to argue that Corbyn shouldn't be seeking to address the root causes of the collapse in living standards that caused the Brexit vote in the first place.



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