Wednesday 30 January 2019

If this is what "triumph" looks like, what would be a "failure"?

If you were the kind of person to believe what you read on the front page of the Daily Mail (stop laughing - some people do!) then today you'd be imagining that last night Theresa May engineered some kind of extraordinary political triumph which involved both "uniting her party" and "crushing Corbyn".

The reality of the situation is that Theresa May has pathetically caved in to the most fanatical fringes of the Tory-DUP axis that she cobbled together in order to stay in power after the failure of her 2017 hubris election.

Theresa May's capitulation was so humiliating that she was forced into whipping her MPs to vote against her EU Withdrawal Agreement (by supporting the Brady Amendment) so she can use this self-inflicted defeat to go back to the EU and pathetically beg for changes to the Irish border backstop that they've already categorically ruled out.

This is the deal that Theresa May and the Tory government just spent the last two months repeatedly describing as "the best possible deal", and yet they've voted against it themselves, and this humiliating U-turn is somehow a wonderful "triumph" according to the Daily Mail! 

The reason Theresa May and the Tories are behaving in this extraordinary manner is that they know that they can only get their pathetic shambles of a Brexit deal through parliament with the support of the Northern Irish DUP sectarians and the radically right-wing ERG Brextremist faction of their own party.

They've got to keep their rabble of a coalition together otherwise they'll surely be out of power for at least a generation, so that means brazenly defying the national interest by continually ceding ground to the most fanatical elements in their midst.

The farcical spectacle of Theresa May and the Tories putting their own party political interests above the interests of the nation as a whole to vote against their own damned Brexit legislation isn't even the worst part of this "triumph" either.

The worst part of it is that the Tory government is behaving in this extraordinary manner with the rest of the world watching on.

The world has seen our government agree to a deal with the EU27 only to turn around and vote to tear up what they've just agreed to.

Add in the continual Tory threat of launching a ruinous "no deal" Brexit and refusing to pay Britain's share of the EU's debts and liabilities, and it's making Britain look like an incredibly unreliable actor on the world stage.

After Brexit goes ahead the UK is already going to be in the desperate position of having to beg for trade deals with other economies that all know that we need the deals far more than they do ... but they'll also be well aware that the UK government is a bad faith actor with a track record of threatening to rip off their trading partners and deliberately tearing up diplomatic agreements they've only just signed up to.

Who on earth would sign a trade agreement with a rogue state like that?

One of the main Tory arguments in favour of Theresa May's hard line interpretation of Brexit has been the importance of being able to sign our own trade deals, but their farcical handling of the Brexit process is wrecking that very objective by portraying Britain as a hopelessly unreliable rogue state that refuses to abide by the deals it's only just signed up to.

Theresa May and the Tories are not just humiliating themselves by voting against their own damned legislation, they're also wrecking their own post-Brexit dream of 'trade deals galore' by trashing what's left of Britain's already shattered reputation on the world stage.

So how on earth is it possible for the Daily Mail to present this shambolic and humiliating Tory farce as a "triumph" for Theresa May?

The answer is that they simply can't bear to tell the truth.

They can't bear to admit to their readers that the Tory administered Brexit they've spent the last three years promoting has turned out to be a farcical and humiliating shambles.

They can't bear to admit that Theresa May is a leader without talent or authority who is being forced to dance to the tune of the most extreme elements of the Tory-DUP coalition that she cobbled together to save her own political skin in 2017.

They can't bear to admit that the British government tearing up the deals it's only just signed up to is absolutely destroying any prospects of a boom in post-Brexit trade deals.

And when the most dishonest newspaper in Britain is faced with uncomfortable truths about the failure of the political agenda they've been promoting, why would anyone expect them not to resort to outright deception?

Yes the deception is so brazen and ridiculous that nobody with any sense is going to fall for it, but Daily Mail hacks know that people with any sense are not their target audience, and they know that their readers are such a gullible bunch of idiots that they regularly take the piss out of their idiocy with cognitive dissonance inducing juxtapositions.

So they simply repackage Theresa May's latest shambolic and humiliating capitulation as a wonderful and glorious triumph and expect their idiotic readers to lap it up and believe every word of 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.


Tuesday 29 January 2019

Why do so many people get offended at facts they don't like?

Who is Ross Greer? 

Well according to Twitter he's a "laughing ginger turd", a "horrible little bastard", an "arrogant fool", a "pompous little toad", a "smirking offensive little twat", an "absolute fucking weapon", a "sneering sniggering little twat", a "horrible and hateful little shit", "a silly ginger cunt",  a "little idiot", a "snide spoilt little boy", an "ugly ginger little snowflake cunt", a "little liberal ginger jihadist", a "pompous weasel", a " stupid little dumb shit ginger", a "massive bell end", a "disrespectful ginger mutant", "the reason ginger people get picked on", a "slimy nonce ginger cunt""just a prick", and "everything that's wrong with this country these days"!

Blimey you might think. He must have done something pretty bloody bad to trigger such a massive outpouring of hate.

But you'd be wrong. All Ross Greer tried to do was to provide a bit of historical perspective on the legacies of Winston Churchill by talking about issues like Churchill's contempt for the working classes and his role in the Bengal famine.

However the problem with attempting to use facts and evidence to critique prevailing narratives like the lionisation of Churchill is that in modern Britain an awful lot of people get extremely angry and offended when confronted with facts that they don't like.

Of course Churchill deserves credit for getting some things right. When the Tory party and almost the entire British establishment class became utterly fixated by the lure of fascism in the 1930s Churchill was one of the few amongst them who defied this shocking trend because he rightly saw fascism as the danger it was.

And once he became Prime Minister Churchill recognised the crucial strategic importance of bringing both Russia and the United States into the war on Britain's side.

A more ideologically driven anti-communist (of which there were very many in the British establishment at the time) could have simply watched Russia fall under Nazi control rather than actively supporting the Soviet Union with the Arctic Convoys in order to keep Hitler's forces divided and fighting on multiple fronts as Churchill did.

Churchill was a sadistic Tory. He set the British army on striking workers in Scotland and south Wales, he had racist views on imperialist conquesthe was utterly indifferent to the starvation of millions of people in Bengal to the point of joking about why Gandhi hadn't died in it, he sent the black and tans to Ireland, before the war he'd been a supporter of poison gas and concentration camps, and after the war his government brutally repressed the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya through collective punishment, torture and castration.

But on the other hand when fascism was so trendy that his Tory colleagues were signing up in droves to anti-Semitic groups like the Right Club, and the royal family were indoctrinating the young Elizabeth to give Nazi salutes in their palace gardens, Churchill was one of the few amongst his peers to buck that horrifying trend.

The man was an enigma who is understandably glorified by many as a great war leader, but equally understandably detested by others because of his brutality and sadism. 

And as Churchill himself once said "The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is".

But by telling the truth about some of Churchill's darker legacies on national television, the relatively obscure MSP Ross Greer has triggered an absolute tsunami of hatred and abuse from people who are offended by his facts.

Just look at Piers Morgan's conduct during the interview.

Instead of following a reasonably impartial line of questioning Morgan worked himself up into such a fit of rage that he couldn't even listen to the words that Greer was saying.

And this extraordinary adult tantrum was performed by a man who routinely denounces people on the left as being over-sensitive "snowflakes" who get offended by reality!

Suzanna Reid's behaviour was perhaps even more extraordinary than Morgan's when she brazenly straw-manned Greer's argument by plucking a comparison with Hitler out of thin air, and then described Greer's facts as "offensive".

It's not our TV presenters' role to invite people on their shows just to shout them down, lie about their argument, and dismiss their facts as "offensive". That's more of a circus than anything resembling informed debate.

And if our television presenters behave in this extraordinary manner, is it any wonder that members of the public also get so offended by facts that they don't like that they take to Twitter to hurl torrents of personal abuse at the deliverer of said facts?

Amongst the torrents of witless abuse one criticism of Ross Greer was particularly telling. After telling Ross to "fuck off" one of the triggered snowflakes claimed that Greer is "everything that's wrong with this country nowadays".

In reality the real problem with this country is glaringly obvious.

The problem is that there are huge numbers of people out there who get unbelievably angry at facts they don't like, who spew torrents of hate at anyone who dares talk about the facts they don't like, and who vote for dumb shit like giving the Tory party the green light to conduct "make it up as we go along" Brexit farce because they absolutely refuse to listen to the facts that they don't like.

The problem with modern Britain isn't that Churchill was a racist and sadistic imperialist, because that's now history.

Neither is the problem that some people want to introduce a tiny bit of historical balance by highlighting the fact that as well as being the war leader who led Britain in the fight against Nazism, Churchill was also a racist and sadistic imperialist, because that's simply the truth.

The problem is that we're becoming a nation full of emotionally unstable and over-opinionated adult toddlers who feel entitled to publicly abuse anyone who offends them with facts they don't like.

And the torrents of abuse aimed at Ross Greer suggests that this over-sensitive snowflakery isn't actually a left-wing thing either, coming mainly from right-wingers and ultranationalists.

Maybe this lot actually want to live in a country where it's considered normal behaviour for people to online bully a person to the extent of furiously smearing him as a paedophile, simply because they find his facts offensive?

But the damage these tantrum-throwing adult-toddlers are doing to the standard of political discourse, and to the nation as a whole, is pretty damned obvious to the rest of us.

 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.


Charlie is an actor

There's so much wrong with Amber Rudd's tweet on a basic level that it's difficult to know where to start.

Consider the absurdity of an actual government minster using emojis as bullet points to pretend that they're down with the kids.

Consider the unbelievably patronising tone of "I am going to share these good stories with you".

Consider the fact that anyone with the slightest grip on reality can see that this is a desperate effort to whitewash the fact that Universal Credit is a massively delayed, incompetently administered, poverty-spreading, and deeply unfair reform to the social security system.

And just listen to the awful saccharine feelgood background music on the propaganda video she's shared.

But aside from all of the obvious flaws there's something else. Charlie isn't just a personal trainer as is implied in the Tweet and the video, he's actually a professional actor, which is rather a large omission given the Tory DWP's history of inventing fake claimants to provide fake quotes about how great Universal Credit is.

The Universal Credit blogger Alex Tiffin spotted the fact that Charlie is a professional actor and shared several pictures of him doing professional acting work for companies like Sky Atlantic and Vodafone.

The choice not to mention Charlie's apparently extensive acting work is an example of deception by omission, and the presentation of this professional actor as if he's just some Ordinary Joe member of the public is downright dishonest.

The choice to pick a professional actor to play the role of someone who supposedly had their life improved by Universal Credit (rather than ruined by it like most people who experience it) leads to the suspicion that they couldn't actually find any real ordinary people to speak positively about it at all.

One of the worst aspects of this Tory propaganda is that deceptions and lies from the Tory government have become so commonplace these days that nobody is even surprised by them any more.

There are the dupes who still actually believe the lies and deceptions, but even when the dishonesty is revealed, a significant proportion of people have become so normalised to it that they respond with a shrug of the shoulders and a "what do you expect?" attitude, rather than fury that the government is demonstrably being run by a pack of lying propagandists.

Amber Rudd resigned in disgrace over the lies she told about the Windrush scandal, but then she was brought straight back into government within a matter of months to take over the DWP and the Universal Credit fiasco. And this Tweet is evidence that she's clearly learned nothing about honesty or integrity from her extremely brief non-punishment on the back benches.

It's a very dangerous road we're heading down when our government deceives us and lies to us on such a regular basis that most of us end up reacting to it with apathy, not anger.

 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.


Monday 28 January 2019

Spot the Tory hypocrisy

You don't have to have an opinion either way on the Tory government positions on Brexit and Venezuela in order to recognise what an outrageous pack of hypocrites they're being.

The mainstay of the Tory government argument against another EU referendum once the terms of Brexit have become clear is that people can't just vote again and again until they get the result that they want.

Even though proponents of another EU referendum can point to the compelling evidence that Leave campaigners lied, cheated, and violated the referendum spending laws, the Tory government remains steadfastly opposed to another referendum.

However when it comes to Venezuela and the right-wing coup plotter Juan Guaidó simply appointing himself as President (despite not even having contested the 2018 Presidential election that delivered a landslide victory for the elected President Nicolás Maduro) the Tories have adopted the exact opposite position.

This time they point to accusations that the vote was manipulated by corruption and cheating in order to demand a redo of the election.

They're demanding that the vote be held
 again and again until they get the result that they want!

When it comes to their own favoured policy of creating a Brexit economic meltdown they argue that redoing ballots simply because people don't like the result is absolutely unthinkable, but when it comes to elections in foreign states that they shouldn't even be interfering in, they suddenly come out arguing strongly in favour of redoing the ballot until they get the result that they want.

The remarkable thing here is that you don't have to be in favour of a second referendum, or any kind of Maduro supporter to spot this glaring hypocrisy.

All you have to be capable of is spotting that the Tories use one argument to support their own position when it suits them, but then use precisely the opposite argument to support their policies in different circumstances.

The use of mutually contradictory arguments to support their policies is indicative of the fact that both of the policies were actually decided by other factors, and that the arguments they're utilising to defend their policies have simply been added as post hoc justifications.

When it comes to Tory government strategy their policies are decided first and then the arguments they plan to deply in defence of the policies are added in later regardless of whether they're consistent with the arguments they've used to defend their other policies.

Any rational government would consider the arguments first using a logically consistent assessment framework, and then decide their policies accordingly.

But this is clearly not what the Tories are doing.

The fact that the Tories decide their policies first before cobbling their arguments together later tells us two things very clearly.

The first is that their real reasons for pursuing the policies remain hidden (we can hazard guesses that disaster capitalist motivations lie behind their strategy of deliberately triggering a Brexit economic meltdown, and that corporate seizure of the vast Venezuelan oil fields lies behind their Venezuela policy).

The second is that the Tories are treating the British public like a pack of absolute idiots who can't even spot how weak and illogical Tory party arguments are even when they're mutually contradictory.

So even if you somehow agree with the Tory strategies on Brexit and Venezuela, it's difficult to deny that they're hiding their real motivations for these policies, and impossible to deny their absolute contempt towards the general public when they expect us not to even notice that their arguments are mutually contradictory.

 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 26 January 2019

The imperialist attitudes of the British establishment class

You only need to take a brief look at the news to see how the imperialist mindset is still absolutely rife in Britain.

On the one hand we've got Brexiteers telling Ireland that they should quit the European Union and the Euro in order to ally with Brexit Britain, and on the other we've got Tory government ministers confidently asserting that they've got more right to choose who serves as President of Venezuela than the Venezuelan people!

Almost a century after the declaration of the Irish Free State you might have imagined that the British establishment might have figured out that the days of Tory toffs in London telling the Irish what to do are well and truly over, yet somehow this imperialist mindset is still rife.

The BBC Today presenter John Humphrys demonstrated this entitled imperialist mindset when he publicly suggested to an Irish government minister that her country could quit the EU and join the UK!

However this absurd imperialist attitude towards Ireland is far from exclusive to establishment elites in the media and political classes. Just a few months ago literally hundreds of thousands of pro-Brexit Brits signed a petition calling for the pound to be imposed as legal tender in Ireland whether the Irish want it or not.

It's hard to figure out what's more dim-witted, the idea of creating a de facto currency union between the Pound and the Euro, or the idea that the Pound can be forced on the Republic of Ireland by means of petitioning the UK government.

Screw the fact that 92% of Irish people oppose quitting the EU, and that an even higher percentage would oppose a return to London-rule, the establishment mentality seems to be that Brexit would go a lot more smoothly if the Irish would just shut up and do as they're told, and a lot of ordinary Brits share this mindset.

These imperialist attitudes when it comes to our closest neighbours are shocking enough, but when it comes to Venezuela it's not just insulting Brextremist fantasies of renewed British dominion, deliberate interference is actual government policy.

When the British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt feels empowered to recognise coup-plotters who appoint themselves President (despite not having even stood in the 2018 Presidential election at the time) this is a whole other level of arrogance.

What gives the UK more right to determine the President of a foreign nation than the people of that nation themselves?

There is obviously no legitimate answer to this question, but the imperialist mindset always churns out justifications based on how bad the foreign head of state is, and how removal by outsiders is what's best for the people of that country.

We've got two glaring examples of how this imperialist "regime change" mentality has led to unspeakable humanitarian disasters just in recent history.

Yes Saddam Hussain and Muammar Gaddafi were authoritarian rulers, but only a madman could attempt to argue that turning Iraq and Libya into vast lawless terrorism breeding grounds full of ISIS training camps and modern day slave markets was either good for the peoples of those countries, or good for the regions as a whole.

We've been sold this imperialist turd before, yet here we are again with liberals and self-proclaimed centrists clamouring to align themselves with the hard-right to promote the imperialist "regime change" agenda in Venezuela, and desperately smearing anyone who dares raise questions about the dangers of this imperialist mindset as being nothing more than biased stooges for the latest target regime.

If you dared question it in 2003 you were smeared as a Saddam Hussain supporter, and if you question it today you're accused of being a stooge for the corrupt and incompetent Maduro government in Venezuela.

The fact that the very same arguments are being wheeled out to support imperialist "regime change" in Venezuela as were used in Iraq in 2003 and Libya in 2011 proves that this imperialist mindset has never really faded away.

But imperialism is resurgent again now thanks to factors like Brexit, the mainstreaming of extreme-right jingoism, and the destabilisation of Venezuela in a brazen grab for corporate control of the largest proven oil reserves in the world, but it never fully diminishes in the interim periods between the waves of ultranationalist jingoism.

More evidence that this imperialist mindset has never really died down amongst the British can be found in the poll findings that huge swathes of the British public consider the British empire to have been a positive thing!

Yes of course there are some periphery positive legacies like the rail networks that British imperialists left behind, but even then the main purpose of those rail networks was to enable the looting of the invaded countries' natural resources in order to enrich the British establishment class.

The warm glow of nostalgia over rail networks, colonial buildings, and the political remnants of Commonwealth should surely be outweighed by the centuries of political repression, resource theft, racism, slavery, starvation, and outright genocide.

But somehow no! When asked to evaluate the British empire, more Brits will award it an overall positive legacy than admit that the ethical problems might have somewhat outweighed the benefits.

So given the massive proportion of Brits who exalt and glorify the age of empire is it any wonder that our establishment class keep embarrassing Britain on the global stage by pushing the same old imperialist nonsense that Britain has somehow got some special right to inflict our political agendas on our closest neighbours and distant peoples alike?

When they impotently try to boss the Irish around, promote their post-Brexit trade plans as being "Empire 2.0", and push deadly imperialist "regime change" agendas in places like Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Venezuela, they're actually giving a significant swathe of the British public exactly what they want.

If more of us stood up and protested against grotesque displays of ultranationalism and imperialism then perhaps the establishment class would learn to stop doing it, or at least tone it down a few levels.

But as it is now the next unbelievably arrogant insult aimed at our closest European neighbours is always just moments away, and the next Iraq-style humanitarian disaster is always looming just over the horizon.

 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 25 January 2019

Liz Truss's pitch to the young 'uns is extraordinary Tory gibberish

You may remember the Tory minister Liz Truss as the woman who told parliament that barking dogs could be used to deter drones, or as the woman who got inexplicably angry about cheese, but in a bid to outdo herself she's now decided that she can convince young people to vote Tory by treating them like a pack of infinitely gullible idiots.

It's not even clear where Truss made these comments, or even if she said them at all. They appear in multiple identikit articles in the mainstream media that have presumably been churnalised from the exact same Tory press release.

The press reports all start off by repeating an extraordinary Tory insult at the 18-24 demographic. Apparently a lot of people within the Tory bubble are going around claiming that young people voted so heavily in favour of Labour at the 2017 General Election not because the Tories trashed their wages, tripled their tuition fees, gutted investment in their public services, and maliciously threatened their grandparents with "dementia tax", but because they're a gullible bunch of "sandal wearing Corbynistas"!

Truss wants to tell young people that she thinks that's wrong, but in bringing up this patronising Tory trope in the first place she's admitting that it's one that has a lot of currency within the Tory party she's desperately trying to trick young people into voting for!

The press release that Truss puts her name to carefully avoids admitting any of the Tory policies that have devastated the lives of the younger generations.

She refuses to admit Tory responsibility for tripling tuition fees and ramping up the interest rates on repayments so much that 3/4 of graduates will never fully pay back their student debts despite an entire working lifetime of paying a 9% education tax on their disposable income.

She refuses to admit Tory responsibility for the longest sustained collapse in the value of UK workers' wages since records began, meaning that the average wage is lower in real terms now than it was a decade ago.

She refuses to admit that exploitative Zero Hours Contract and fake self-employment jobs have spread like wildfire since the Tories came to power, meaning that millions of mainly younger workers are trapped in stressful and hopelessly dispiriting in-work poverty.

But worst of all is her rhetoric when it comes to housing. Truss refuses to admit that the Tory governments' between 2010 and 2017 oversaw the lowest level of new house building since the mid-1920s. She refuses to admit that the Tory government classifying £450,000 homes as "affordable" is an absolute affront to millions of younger people who could hardly imagine the possibility of getting a mortgage for half that amount. She refuses to admit that the Tories actually voted down moves to prevent unscrupulous landlords profiteering from the housing shortage by renting out properties that are unfit for human habitation.

And now she expects young people to be naive enough to believe her "jam tomorrow" promises that the Tories will "turn up the heat of competition" to build more houses in the future (as if four decades of rigid adherence to Thatcherite competition dogma isn't the biggest cause of the housing crisis in the first place).

With technology it's the same. Vote Tory for better broadband is her message, but this is completely at odds with the Tories' atrocious track record of inflicting unprecedented ideologically driven cuts in infrastructure investment.

We've spent 9 years slashing investment in infrastructure but if you vote for us next time we'll usher in a golden dawn of investment in infrastructure! - This is the absurd message she's trying to flog to the young 'uns!

And then there's this extraordinarily garbled nonsense: "The state is not always the answer to our modern problems – and it’s precisely the opposite of what the new generation want".

She's switched from vote Tory and we'll completely reverse our track record of low house building and catastrophic under-investment in infrastructure to deliver a state-led recovery to young people are anarcho-capitalists who hate the state, so they should vote Tory!

The problem of course is that the Tories know they have nothing to offer the younger generations except more austerity, more wage repression, more under-investment in infrastructure and services, more privatisation and commodification of the education system, more cuts to the social safety net, more unsustainable house price inflation, and more of the kind of regressive hard-right ultranationalism that attracted the vile blue-kip demographic to the Tory party in 2017.

They know that they have to deliver all of this because if they rowed back on any of it then their corporate backers who bankroll their party would walk away and the selfish "I'm alright Jack" bastards who apparently make up the majority of the boomer generation would revolt in fury.
The younger generations absolutely hate regressive
hard-right ultranationalism, but that's exactly what
the Tories need to promote in order to keep the
blue-kip demographic on board.

The Tories know that they have to tell comforting lies to the younger generations, but they simply don't even understand what young people want (aside from the desires of grotesque extreme-right freaks the Tory party have been attracting from the younger generations in recent times), so with one hand they offer them pale imitations of the workers' rights and investment economics of the 2017 Labour Manifesto, but with the other they offer them the entirely contradictory promises of even more ideologically driven marketisation of the economy and the ridiculous Tory fantasy of a hard-right anarcho-capitalist utopia.

The essential takeaway from Truss's press release is that she admits that most of her colleagues believe in the insulting caricature of the younger generations as 'sandal wearing Corbynista hippies', but she believes something different.

She believes the younger generations are a bunch of infinitely gullible political illiterates who can be tricked into voting Tory with absurdly contradictory fantasies of a Tory government delivering more state-driven investment in the things they want (decent housing and infrastructure investment) as they simultaneously brag about their plans to turn Britain into an uncaring and unresponsive anarcho-capitalist hellscape where the state does even less to protect people from the extremes of unregulated capitalism than it does in the present!

Of course Truss didn't write this speech for herself, it was cobbled together by some ridiculously over-privileged Tory wonk(s) with absolutely no idea what it's like living in the real world after almost a full decade of ruinous Tory austerity dogma, wage repression, deliberate under-investment in infrastructure and services, social security cuts, and shocking Tory inaction on issues like the housing crisis and in-work poverty.

But she's the one who put her name to this condescending and mutually contradictory rubbish as if it wasn't just another slap in the face to the 60% of young people who absolutely detest her party for the immeasurable damage the Tories have done to our country, and their futures.

 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.


Thursday 24 January 2019

Why do liberals and 'centrists' so often end up supporting the extreme-right?

First things first, this article is not intended as a defence of the Maduro government in Venezuela. Anyone who attempts to present it in such a way is simply lying in a desperate attempt to discredit what they don't like reading, and don't want other people to read.

Whether you like Nicolás Maduro or not, whether you understand the multitude of internal and external factors that have created the current situation in Venezuela or not, whether you even know anything much at all about the Venezuelan political system or not, there's one thing that's undeniable: Anyone who sides with a guy who appoints himself President of a country without standing in a Presidential election is displaying utter contempt for the concept of democracy.

This is exactly what's happened in Venezuela with Juan Guaidó appointing himself President of the country despite the fact he didn't even stand in the 2018 Presidential election, let alone win it.

Thus Venezuela now has two Presidents. One who won the 2018 Presidential election and the other who didn't even participate in it and simply appointed himself because he didn't like the outcome of the ballot he didn't even contest.

The United States immediately backed this anti-democratic coup and recognised the self-appointed coup-President, just like they rushed in to back the spectacularly failed 2002 coup in the country too.

Back in 2002 the US were the only country to recognise the coup leader Pedro Carmona as President of Venezuela before the coup rapidly collapsed and Hugo Chávez returned to power within two days.

The international reaction to this 2019 coup is very different, with numerous other countries rushing to throw their support behind this unelected self-appointed fake President.

The UK foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has announced that the human rights defying Tory government support the unelected coup-President.

Another leader to have immediately thrown their support behind the coup-President is the recently elected Brazilian fascist Jair Bolsonaro.

Several other hard-right governments in Latin America have backed the unelected coup-President, including Argentina, Chile, Peru, and Paraguay.

None of this is remotely surprising given Britain's increasingly pathetic subservience to US foreign policy, and the massive historic divide in Latin America between US-backed right wing governments and US-opposed left-wing governments that has existed since the United States began their outrageous campaign of toppling left-leaning Latin American governments in the region decades ago.

What's ostensibly a lot more surprising is the way European liberals and self-declared centrists have been rushing to support the US-backed "regime change" that's happening in Venezuela. 

Take the leader of the Liberal grouping in the European Parliament Guy Verhofstadt. His reaction to the coup attempt has been to personally recognise the self-appointed coup-President, lie that he's elected when he didn't even stand in the 2018 Presidential election, and then call for the EU to join Trump and Bolsonaro in recognising this coup leader as the legitimate President!

The very same guy who was furiously attacking Donald Trump as an "autocrat" and "a threat to Europe" back in 2017 is now wilfully sitting on Trump's knee like a yapping imperialist poodle!

Another Liberal to jump on the extraordinary 'this is a good coup' bandwagon is the centrists' darling Emmanuel Macron, who even had the gall to praise the bravery of the anti-government protesters in Venezuela as the French state brutally attacks and systematically represses the gilets jaunes protests against his own government!

Everyone knows that this US-backed coup is all about access to Venezuela's oil reserves (the biggest in the world) because Donald Trump's already publicly declared that US interventionism should be used to steal the natural resources of other nations.

It's extraordinary that so many trendy liberals and self-declared centrists are openly supporting this US imperialist "regime change" agenda while Trump's people openly talk about the prospect of making the already desperate situation even worse by launching military action in Venezuela.

They can't pretend to not understand what the motivation actually is after Trump's spelled it out for them so clearly. And it's especially alarming given the way that these people really should have learned all about the appalling consequences of imperialist "regime change" agendas after the Iraq invasion in 2003, and the destruction of Libya in 2011.

Both of these countries have been reduced to lawless terrorism breeding grounds with humanitarian conditions far worse than they ever were under the authoritarian governments of Hussain and Gadaffi.

Of course it's understandable that European liberals are no great fans of Maduro (neither am I, and I'm a leftie), but what does it tell you about their political principles when they're clamouring to align themselves with Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro to support a brazenly anti-democratic coup?
Even if you believe the 2018 Presidential election in Venezuela was rigged, supporting a self-appointed coup-President who didn't even stand in the election is utterly nonsensical from a democratic point of view. 

And what does it tell you about their bone-headed refusal to learn the lessons of history when they wilfully ignore the unspeakable levels of death, destruction, and suffering that imperialist "regime change" policies have caused in Iraq and Syria to support the exact same imperialist agenda in Venezuela, only this time orchestrated by an even more unstable, profit-driven, and fanatically right-wing US President than George W. Bush was?

It's beyond question that anyone supporting the self-appointed and unelected fake-President Guaidó is siding with extreme-right ideologues like Trump and Bolsonaro, refusing to learn the lessons of history about the horrific consequences of imperialist "regime change" policies, and displaying their absolute contempt for the concept of democracy.

One of the most extraordinary things is that many of these liberals and centrists pledging support for the Venezuelan coup were the ones crying the loudest when Donald Trump won the US Presidential election, and bitterly decrying the rise of far-right populism when Bolsonaro won the Brazilian Presidential election in October 2018.

But scroll forward just a few months and these same trendy liberals and self-declared centrists are now wilfully stepping in line with the extreme-right demagogues they decried when they won power to actively support the transparently anti-democratic coup they've orchestrated in Venezuela.

This farce in Venezuela is far from the first time that liberals have ended up supporting and enabling extreme-right demagogues. We can delve into history to look at the way the liberal German establishment wilfully handed power the Nazis in 1933 by making Adolf Hitler Chancellor, or we can look to current day Italy to see how the trendy liberal MS5 party have enabled the fascist Lega Nord into power by joining them in a coalition government.

The fact is that given the choice between moving leftwards towards socialism, and rightwards towards fascism, an awful lot of self-declared centrists and trendy liberals will chose the fascist option because they understand that fascism goes hand-in-hand with corporatism meaning that their financial interests will be protected.

As long as corporations and their personal financial interests are protected, a lot of liberals and self-declared centrists are willing to overlook the obvious dangers of enabling the extreme-right into power, or siding with the extreme-right axis when it comes to global politics.

This centrist willingness to overlook the dangers of fascism most often comes from the position of extreme privilege.

Most wealthy, white, westerners know they have the least to fear from fascism (u
nless they have leftist political sympathies) because it's always the political left, minorities, the vulnerable, and people in the developing world who bear the brunt of the persecution and suffering under extreme-right rule.

Of course people should be able to recognise the thin end of a wedge, and they should be aware of Martin Niemöller's warning about the danger of escalating fascism (see picture), but in reality these coddled liberals and centrists keep making the same mistakes over and again.

Liberals and centrists will have tantrums for a while when fanatical right-wing ideologues like Trump or Bolsonaro are elected because they hate not having things their own way, and because deep in their hearts they know the extreme-right is wrong, but when push comes to shove they repeatedly fall into line and quickly start supporting them.

The gleeful reaction of so many self-declared centrists and trendy liberals to the anti-democratic US-backed imperialist coup in Venezuela is yet another perfect illustration of their outrageous tendency to wilfully align with and support the extreme-right thanks to the shared belief in corporatism.

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