Tuesday 30 April 2019

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

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

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

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

PP's worst result ever

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

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

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

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

PSOE win

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

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

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

PSOE majority in the senate

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

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


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

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

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

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

Unidas Podemos

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Results in Catalonia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Coalition or minority government?

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

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

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

The Spanish right is split

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

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

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


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

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


Monday 22 April 2019

Who actually approves of this grotesque Tory barbarism?

Steven Smith spent the last months of his life fighting an utterly perverse decision to declare him 'fit for work' and strip him of his disability benefits despite evidence from his doctors that he could barely walk 20 metres without collapsing.

In February 2019 he was hospitalised weighing just 6 stone, but he had to get a pass out of hospital to attend an appeal against the perverse DWP decision to deny his disability benefits, despite the mountains of medical evidence that he was severely ill like his diagnoses of incurable Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, and osteoarthritis.

Thankfully the judge saw what should have been glaringly obvious to the Tory-administered DWP and the corporate outsourcing minions who operate their disability denial programmes, that 64 year old Steven could barely walk down the street, let alone hold down a full-time job.

Just a couple of months after winning his appeal against this utterly barbaric Tory system Steven died.

This is a shocking individual tragedy that should make even the most hard-hearted of Tories question what their beloved party did to this poor man, but this isn't just an example of an unfortunate individual falling through the cracks, it's an example of the Tory disability denial system working exactly as designed.

Literally thousands of sick and disabled people have died within weeks of having been declared fit-for-work in the Tory disability denial system.

Just imagine the suffering of being so ill you're on death's door, and being told by the Tory DWP that you're not really ill, but actually an idle scrounger who needs to go and get a job. Imagine how you would feel seeing a member of your family being psychologically tortured like this in the final weeks of their lives.

Then there's all the money the Tory government have spent fighting against appeals from people like Steven Smith. In 2017-18 they blasted an extraordinary £120 million opposing appeals against their barbaric disability denial system, with over 40,000 people proving that they were entitled to the benefits they'd been denied.

That's £120 million in public funds that could have been spent on all manner of useful things, like rehiring some of the 20,000+ police jobs the Tories have scrapped since 2010, more nurses, more firefighters, Sure Start centres, or affordable housing.

And then there's the fact that these Tory disability denial programmes actually cost far more to administer than they will ever save in reduced benefits payments.

The Tories have known for years that it actually costs more to treat disabled people in this horrific manner than it will ever save, but when it comes to systematically abusing sick and disabled people, suddenly the Tories' absurd "there isn't enough money" austerity narrative goes in the bin, and there's plenty of public cash to subsidise their malicious abuse of sick and disabled people.

This despicable Tory mistreatment of sick and disabled people at the public expense is so barbaric that it's been repeatedly condemned by the United Nations as a "grave and systematic violation of the rights of persons with disabilities".

Labour have pledged to put a stop to this absolute barbarism, and several of the other opposition parties (Greens, Plaid Cymru, and the SNP) have been absolutely vehement in their opposition to this systematic Tory abuse of disabled people too.

However the big problem is that there are literally millions of selfish "I'm alright Jack" wankers out there who consider the plight of Steven Smith (and tens of thousands more like him) to be "a price worth paying" in return for whatever (probably imaginary) benefit they think they're getting from voting to keep the Tory party in power.

If you're one of the 13.6 million people to have voted Tory in 2017 then you should have a long hard think about the appalling suffering that you've helped to inflict on literally thousands of people like Steven Smith.

And if you're still planning on voting Tory, even after reading this, and even after learning that a Labour government would put a stop to it, I honestly don't think I'm being too harsh to point out that you're an absolute fucking monster of a person.

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


Sunday 21 April 2019

We need to talk about groupthink

Groupthink is a condition that tends to manifest in all organisations and all political movements, but some cases are obviously worse than others, especially when the groupthink ideas that are spreading like wildfire are strategically inept and counter-productive nonsense.

The groupthink propensity 

The Remain campaign is particularly prone to groupthink for two big reasons.

One is that they've developed an extraordinary echo-chamber on Twitter based on the FBPE hashtag, meaning all kinds of nonsense, misinformation, lies, abuse, and strategically inept gibberish gets spread through the cult-like uncritical amplification by other #FBPE activists.

Not everything written by FBPE hashtaggers is bad, obviously, but it's become so infested with abusive people and partisan liars it's extraordinary that anyone with any basic human decency would still want to be associated with it.

Another reason for the propensity to groupthink is that an awful lot of Remain activists seem to hang on the every word of the clueless centrist hacks who have been wrong on virtually every major political issue over the last decade.
  • They told us to vote Lib-Dem in 2010 which enabled the malicious and incompetent Tories back into power, and led to the disastrous austerity policies that trashed our living standards and eventually led to the Brexit backlash.
  • Then they chickened out of properly opposing economically illiterate Tory austerity fanaticism and all kinds of other Tory malice (Wage Repression, Bedroom Tax, Secret Courts, Hostile Environment, Workfare exploitation, systematic disability denial, infrastructure under-investment, annihilation of local government budgets, Academification, disastrous prisons and probation service privatisation scams ...).
  • Then they actually convinced themselves that Labour should push "austerity-lite" at the 2015 General Election and leave the public the impression that the entire political establishment was colluding to rip-off the poor and ordinary in order to further enrich the gilded class to which they belong.
An awful lot of people in the liberal media are so economically insulated from real world issues (wage repression in-work benefit cuts, sanctions, workfare, disability denial, child poverty, public service cuts, the housing crisis, exploitative employment practices, food banks ...) that they simply can't grasp what's actually going on in the UK, why people are so angry, and why "more of the same" just won't cut it any more.

And what's more is that they suffer no actual consequences for their perpetual wrongness. They just rapidly settle on another absurd groupthink narrative to push until that one collapses too, then it's onto the next reality-averse narrative, and on, and on, and on, with nobody ever asking why they deserve their bloated six figure salaries considering the fact they're so repeatedly wrong.

So when a lot of people uncritically rote learn and repeat the political opinions of these economically insulated mainstream media bubble dwellers with vested interests in not rocking the neoliberal boat too much, it's hardly surprising that strategically inept groupthink nonsense ends up infesting mass movements like the Remain campaign.

Euro election groupthink

The latest display of absurdist Remainer groupthink centres on the European Parliament elections that Theresa May and the Tories swore blind that the UK was not even going to participate in just a few weeks previously.

This new groupthink narrative is that the five very different hard-Remain political parties should scrap off all of their existing policies and hastily cobble together a "Remain coalition" in order to turn the Euro elections into a de facto referendum on Brexit.

This Remainer coalition of convenience is a spectacularly stupid idea for so many reasons. Especially the fact that Euro elections have historically suffered very low turnouts; the recklessness of turning elections into single-issue ballots and referendum reruns; the failure to acknowledge that pro-Brexit activists have a huge advantage having finished first in the previous Euro election; the nonsensical expectation that pro-austerity and anti-austerity parties to join forces is (and ignores the fact that austerity fanaticism is one of the root causes of Breixit in the first place); the absolute fantasy that the rabidly unionist Lib-Dems would happily join forces with the SNP; and the intense ignorance of the fact that parties like the Greens, SNP, and Plaid Cymru have democratic structures that simply wouldn't allow the leadership to unilaterally join forces with rival political parties, even if their leaders were daft enough to think this absolute nonsense was a good idea.

The idea seems to be that if all five of the minor hard-Remain parties (SNP, Plaid Cymru, Lib-Dems, Greens, and CUK) were to join forces they might have a slight chance of coming first in a fight against the various shades of Brexit which range through the "no deal" militancy of UKIP and Farage's Brexit Party, hard-right Tory Brexit, and Labour's soft-Brexit and confirmatory referendum compromise position. 

But despite all of the flaws, this blatantly absurd "let's turn the Euro elections into a de facto Brexit referendum" has become the widely accepted groupthink for Remainers to mindlessly parrot at each other.

Self-defeating nonsense

The consequences of this groupthink nonsense are quite extraordinary: When the Green Party tried to point out that turning the Euro elections into a de facto Brexit referendum is poor idea the FBPE mob turned on them in an instant, spitting torrents of bile and abuse at them for their lack of ideological purity to their brand-new Remainer groupthink idea.

Countless Guardian articles have been written pushing this absurd strategy, none of which highlight the importance of opposing the ruinous austerity fanaticism that caused Brexit in the first place, or acknowledge the absurdity of expecting anti-austerity parties and their activists to throw their support behind undisguised pro-austerity neoliberals like the Lib-Dems and the CUK squatters.

In one article the Guardian columnist Marina Hyde complained bitterly about the split Remainer vote being "a masterclass in political incompetence" without a single mention of the "centrist" political incompetence of failing to oppose austerity when they should have, nor providing any sensible perspective either on the fact that the Leave vote is also extremely divided with Farage's Brexit Party and UKIP promoting a ruinous "no deal" meltdown, the Tories pushing hard-right Brexit, and Labour going for soft-Brexit and a final say referendum.

These groupthink Guardian articles, including the Marina Hyde piece, are also infested with massively-upvoted below the line comments from toxic Remain extremists bitterly smearing all Brexit voters as bigots, Racists, and Faragists (as if shrieking "bigot" and "racist" at people for three years because they made a mistake in a hastily conducted referendum that nobody understood the full consequences of at the time isn't infinitely more likely to cement their existing position, rather than win them over to your cause).
What's the strategy here?

So the groupthink is that the five minor hard-Remain parties should scrap all of their pre-existing policies in order to form a coalition of convenience in the vain hope of topping the Euro election polls. 

But what if they combine forces and still lose? How would that failed gamble look to the rest of us?

And even if this hard-Remain coalition of convenience were somehow able to finish first, everyone would easily see that they'd just benefited from the fact that hard-Leave was divided between three parties (UKIP, Brexit, and Tory).

Why is a hard-Remain coalition of convenience so damned important? What's the actual strategic objective of forming one? What happens if they turn the Euro election into a de facto referendum and still lose? And how is having groupthink tantrums because this fantasy isn't happening doing anything to enhance the Brexit-sceptic cause?

Why not just give up?
  • The unfathomably popular Remainer strategy of turning the Euro elections into a de facto referendum on Brexit (which they'd still probably lose in a low turnout election) is a catastrophically shit idea.
  • Screeching hate at the Green Party (your hard-Remain allies for God's sake) for pointing out the practical unworkability of an undemocratic five year coalition of pro- and anti- austerity, pro- and anti-privatisation, pro- and anti- Scottish independence parties is an unbelievably terrible idea.
  • Elevating toxic political figures like Anna Soubry and Chris Leslie as your political heroes despite the fact they promote "more of the same" pro-austerity, pro-privatisation, anti-worker neoliberalism that caused Brexit in the first place is an appalling idea.
  • Spitting hate at anyone who tries to disarm Tory Brexit by ruling our a "no deal" meltdown and developing a compromise fail safe Single Market +Customs Union Brexit (just in case Remain manage to lose the next roll of the dice they've invested so much effort in campaigning for) because any sign of compromise fails your Remainer ideological purity test is an absurdly counter-productive idea.
  • Endlessly abusing and repeatedly lying about the very people you desperately need to convince to support your cause in another referendum (especially 2016 Brexit voters, and the Labour left) is an unbelievably inept strategy.
  • And how can anyone believe that it's constructive or strategically coherent to arrogantly sneer at people in left-behind communities rather than reach out to them to talk about how collapsing living standards have been caused by the malicious domestic policies of the Tory government (austerity, wage repression, public service cuts, infrastructure under-investment, appalling inaction on the housing crisis, vandalism of the social safety net,  ...) rather immigrants and the EU as the far-right Brextremist liars keep pretending?
Given that people who are prone to this despicable behaviour, condescending arrogance, absurd over-optimism, strategic ineptitude, and ridiculously counter-productive idiocy are jockeying for position at the forefront of the Remain campaign, how are they ever going to win?

Their ideological purity shrieking is so repulsive, and their groupthink desperation to gamble again is so strategically inept that they're actually turning Brexit-sceptics away from their cause, let alone actually convincing 2016 Leave voters and abstainers to join their cause (like they absolutely need them to).

Under the circumstances it's hard to not just give up and accept that Remainer strategic ineptitude, and the toxic antics of the #FBPE mob is actually likely to make Brexit far worse than it could have been because if the hard-Remainers burn all efforts at compromise and de-escalation in order to create a final clash of civilisations showdown between them and the hard-Brexit militants, they're highly likely to lose it. 
They're likely to lose because despite how dreadful the
Brextremists are, their far-right propaganda, and misinformation, and conspiracy theories, and hate-mongering, and outright lies they keep pushing actually have a clear strategic purpose.

If you're stuck in the middle between ideological fanatics on one side who know exactly what they're doing, and exactly who they're trying to convince to join their movement, and exactly which lies are beneficial to their cause, and exactly how to stoke hatred and division to their own advantage ... and a bunch of ideological puritans on the other side who insist on spitting hatred and derision at the very people they need to convince, and fantasising about ridiculous absurdities, and having pathetic groupthink tantrums because their absurdities aren't happening, and endlessly bickering between themselves over failed ideological purity tests ... then only the foolish would end up backing the latter to win, no matter how much you might actually tend to agree with their cause.

Apologies for the pessimistic conclusion, but it's increasingly difficult to have any faith that Brexit ruination can be avoided given the blinkered, counter-productive, and strategically inept groupthink nonsense that continues to infest the Remain movement.

 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 20 April 2019

Snake oil and arsenic pills: Beware the political quack doctors on both sides of the Brexit debate

Whatever your position on the Brexit spectrum, it's impossible for anyone with rudimentary critical thinking skills to deny that there are loads of obnoxious and downright dishonest people on both sides of this increasingly polarised debate, and that the further towards the polar extremes, the higher the liar and fanatic intensity becomes.

Brexit snake oil

The biggest lie of all during the 2016 EU referendum debate came from the Brexit snake oil sellers who opportunistically used the dire consequences of ruinous hard-right Tory austerity dogma as a weapon to attack immigrants and the EU with.

It's absolutely obvious that it was six years of callous and divisive domestic government policy that was causing the collapse in living standards that these opportunists weaponised to push their agenda.

Far-right Brextremists (many of them Tory MPs who actively voted in favour of all of these devastating policies) cynically weaponised this collapse in living standards to falsely point the finger of blame at immigrants and the EU.

The snake oil solution they were selling was that quitting the EU and abolishing our own rights to Freedom of Movement would magically resolve all problems like stagnating wages, failing public services, unaffordable housing, violent crime, huge NHS waiting lists, and all of the other austerity-related ills caused by the Tory government's austerity fanaticism.

Sadly millions of people fell for it and bought this Brexit snake oil.

The failure of centrism

The reason that the far-right Brextremists managed to get away with flogging this ludicrous blame-switching snake oil is the abject failure of centrism to oppose this destructive Tory austerity ideology.

For five years between 2010 and 2015 the Liberal Democrats actively supported all of the disastrous Tory austerity policies that caused the living standards collapse. They couldn't very well turn around in 2016 and point out that the real blame lay with the destructive austerity policies they helped the Tories enforce rather than immigrants and the EU without demonstrating their own culpability. So they sat on their hands and just let the far-right Brextremists sell their immigrant-blaming snake oil.

The right-wing orthodox neoliberal centrist faction of the Labour Party had a very similar problem because during the 2015 General Election they adopted a ludicrous "austerity lite"  policy of pathetically imitating Tory austerity dogma rather than actively opposing it.

They couldn't reverse position completely the very next year and point out that Tory austerity dogma was to blame for collapsing living standards, not immigrants and the EU, without making themselves look like a bunch of U-turning idiots.

Furthermore any centrist conversion to anti-austerity positioning in order to undermine the blame-shifting lies of the Brextremists would have completely validated Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour-left who had opposed Tory austerity fanaticism from the very beginning.

The Labour right-wingers knew that if they admitted that austerity was a con in order to denounce the snake oil of the far-right Brextremist political quack doctors, they'd end up actively validating the man they were itching to get rid of, as demonstrated by the Anyone But Corbyn coup they launched immediately after the Brexit vote came in.

They chose not to counter the Brextremists' blame-shifting lies because their primary over-riding priority wasn't preventing Brexit at all, it was plotting their coup to get rid of Jeremy Corbyn and re-establish neoliberal control of the Labour Party leadership.

Centrist arsenic tablets

The abject centrist failure to criticise the Brexit snake oil sellers was bad enough, but now that we're stuck in the middle of this interminable Brexit farce these appalling people have actually turned to the same kind of political quack doctor tactics as the Brextremists who created brexit in the first place.

Centrists like the Liberal Democrats and the CUK squatters have now set themselves up as quack doctors too, promising that their disgusting political concoctions of neoliberalism, austerity, and privatisation are a magical cure to this Brexit ailment.

They're attempting to sell the exact policies that created the Brexit disease in the first place as their magical quack doctor cures to the Brexit problem!

There's absolutely no denying the fact that the Lib-Dems are a disgraceful bunch of pro-austerity pro-privatisation neoliberals (just look at their disgraceful track record in government voting through every nasty Tory austerity policy, every deeply illiberal Tory assault on freedom, and every rip-off Tory privatisation scam).

The CUK squatters are just as bad, if not worse. Their economics spokesperson is Chris Leslie (one of the main architects of Labour's election-losing "austerity-lite" strategy at the 2015 General Election), Anna Soubry described the ruinous living standards-wrecking policies of the coalition years as "marvellous", their Transport, Environment, and Energy spokesperson is the private water industry lobbyist Angela Smith, and they've just hitched their boat to the pro-privatisation neoliberal EPP group in the European Parliament.

What makes CUK perhaps even worse than the Lib-Dems  is that they know perfectly well that they're pushing "more of the same" - more austerity - more privatisation - more neoliberal orthodoxy - more imperialist warmongering - but they've given themselves the Orwellian reality-reversal of a name Change UK.

The centrist Lib-Dems and CUK squatters are selling the austerity arsenic tablets that actually cause Brexit in the first place as their wonderful miracle cure to the Brexit problem!

Anyone who falls for this quackery because they love their soothing mouth words about opposing Brexit is wilfully drinking this toxic centrist arsenic pills even though their hair is already falling out and they've started pissing blood as a consequence.

Avoid the quackery

Fortunately there are other political parties opposing hard-right Tory Brexit besides the neoliberal arsenic pills quacks.

The Greens, SNP (Scotland), and Plaid Cymru (Wales) have all vehemently opposed austerity fanaticism, privatisation mania, public service cuts, and the rest of the hard-right economic vandalism that caused the Brexit vote in the first place since long before the 2016 EU referendum.

Their policies on Brexit is pretty much identical to the Lib-Dems and the CUK squatters, in that they want another roll of the dice in a do-or-die final say referendum showdown between Remain and a hard-right Tory administered Brexit. But they come with the added bonus of opposing ruinous austerity fanaticism.

Perhaps putting Remain up against a hard-right Tory version of Brexit will increase the chances of a Remain win, perhaps it won't, but the possibility of creating a devastating and inescapable double-mandate for Brexit can't be discounted, especially given the complacency, condescension, and downright incompetence of the remain campaign back in 2016.

Labour's position is different. They want to create a fail safe Brexit with access to the Customs Union and Single Market, no border in Northern Ireland, and cooperation on science, the environment, and security. Once they've disarmed Brexit to make it as economically harmless as possible. Then they're willing to put it to a final say referendum against Remain (which is a policy agreed on at Labour Conference and supported by the majority of Labour Party members).

Labour have changed direction dramatically since the unbelievably inept austerity-lite betrayal of the Labour centrists in 2015. The two chief architects of this nonsense are gone (Ed Balls lost his seat and Chris Leslie is dictating the economic stance of the CUK squatters), and Corbyn has moved Labour to an economically literate anti-austerity, pro-investment economic position.

So if you're going to vote against the far-right Brexit snake oil salesmen in the upcoming European Parliament elections (like you should), make sure you choose sensibly, and try to avoid actively endorsing the equally repulsive arsenic tablet vendors on the Remain side of the debate.

 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 19 April 2019

There is literally no reason to vote Tory

There is literally no reason to vote Tory in the upcoming European Parliament elections (you know the elections that Theresa May previously swore that the UK wouldn't be participating in).

No matter what kind of political perspective you have, there's now clearly a better choice for you:

Orthodox neoliberal + Brexit sceptic

If you're a traditional pro-privatisation, pro-austerity, orthodox neoliberal who used to consider the Tory party home, but you're sceptical about quitting the EU then you can vote for CUK or the Liberal Democrats.

CUK have clearly indicated their pro-austerity stance by handing  their economics spokesperson role to Chris Leslie (one of the core architects of Labour's disastrously uninspiring pro-austerity agenda at the 2015 General Election).

They've also indicated their pro-privatisation credentials by appointing Angela Smith as their transport, energy, and environment spokesperson (she's a lobbyist for the privatised water industry).

The Lib-Dems spent five years in coalition with the Tories enforcing the ruinous austerity policies that trashed our living standards and caused the wave of public anger that carried the Leave vote narrowly over the winning line in 2016.

They also helped the Tories introduce all kinds of bonkers hard-right privatisation scams including flogging off the Royal Mail property portfolio at a fraction of its real valuethe shambolic privatisation of the probation servicethe Eurostar sell-off, the privatised forensic science service shambles
privatisation of thousands of taxpayer-funded schools, privatised prisons chaosflogging off the aviation fuel supply network and then renting it back for 10 years at three times the sale price, the sale of every fire engine in London for two pounds ...

If you love austerity and privatisation but have your doubts about Brexit, there are much better choices than voting Tory.

Orthodox neoliberal + Brexit supporter

If you adore the pro-privatisation, pro-austerity, anti-worker, neoliberal ideology and want a hard-right Brexit at any cost, then the Brexit Party definitely seem to fit the bill.

Nigel Farage is a Thatcher-worshipping, pro-privatisation, right-winger who has a track record of openly fantasising about the full privatisation of the NHS.

If you want to see Brexit used as a Trojan Horse to trash workers' rights, abolish our environmental laws and food standards, and to privatise what's left of our public land and public services, why would you vote Tory when you can support Farage and the Brexit Party?

Fan of far-right extremism

A significant proportion of Tory MPs have been deliberately trying to attract the extreme-right ultranationalist demographic. From Zac Goldsmith's vile BNP-style London Mayoral campaign in 2016, through Theresa May's unlawful racist "Hostile Environment" abuse of black British citizens, to the likes of Jacob Rees-Mogg and Steve Baker publicly promoting the German extreme-right and cheering on the sinister activities of an imported far-right youth radicalisation programme from the US, Tories have been working hard to attract extreme-right bigots into the Tory fold.

But if you're an extreme-right bigot why vote Tory when you can vote for a much more brazen far-right operation that continually peddles anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim bigotry, and even supports their candidates when they make "jokes" about raping their female political opponents!

If you want far-right filth, despite the concerted Tory efforts to ramp up the hate, UKIP are now in a totally different league.

Anti-austerity + Brexit-sceptic

Maybe you're a former Tory voter who has recently woken up to the fact that austerity was always a con job designed to transfer as much wealth as possible from the majority of people to the mega-rich elitist class (you know, the economic class who completely bankroll the Tory party).

And maybe you're also dismayed at the Tories for abandoning the European Union and the Single Market that they helped to create in the first place?

Well if you're after an anti-austerity Brexit-sceptic party, then look no further than the Greens (or the SNP in Scotland/Plaid Cymru in Wales).

Anti-austerity + soft Brexit

If you're a Tory voter who has eventually come to realise that David Cameron and George Osborne's austerity agenda was always just a scam to make the poor and ordinary pay the cost of the bankers' insolvency crisis while the Tories showered the mega-rich with tax cuts and handouts, and you think that Brexit should go ahead but in the least damaging form possible, then Labour are offering what you're looking for.

Labour would reverse austerity and begin actually investing in our country and building our future economic potential, rather than doing precisely the opposite. And Labour's policy is to develop a close negotiated relationship with the EU that doesn't involve driving the UK economy off a "no deal" cliff edge or trashing our manufacturing industry with customs checks and causing absolute chaos over the border in Northern Ireland.


Whatever your stance on several of the most important issues of our era (Brexit, Austerity, the rise of the far-right) there's always a better option than voting Tory in the European Parliament elections.

And when it comes to the local elections, why on earth would anyone ever consider voting Tory when they're the ones who have absolutely trashed local government funding since 2010, meaning councils up and down the country are charging much higher Council Tax rates in return for reduced, scrapped, over-stretched, and downright failing local services?

 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.


The Royal Mail property privatisation scam is really paying off (at the public expense)

After I pointed out Vince Cable's pivotal role in flogging off the Royal Mail at miles below its true value a couple of hard-right pro-privatisation astroturfers turned up with a novel argument aimed at defending the sell-off.

Their argument says that Vince Cable and George Osborne flogged off Royal Mail for 330p per share, and after initially soaring to 445p on the first day (because investors realised how under-valued it was) six years later this share price has receded to 260p.

Their argument goes along the lines that 2013 was actually a good time to sell off Royal Mail because six years later in 2019 the share price has fallen by roughly 20%.

What this argument completely ignores is what has been happening at Royal Mail since it was flogged off in 2013.

One of the main revenue streams the new capitalist owners have found is flogging off chunks of Royal Mail land to property developers for £hundreds of millions.

It's estimated that they've already raked in over £400 million in land sales. That's over half of the £787 valuation of the entire Royal Mail property portfolio at the point of sale, raked back in by selling off just a few chunks of inner city prime building land!

For example a 2.7 acres Royal Mail site in Battersea was sold to developers for £101.2 million, but the Tory/Lib-Dem coalition priced it at just £12.9 million.

The neoliberals in government flogged this piece of prime building land off at less than 13% of its real value, meaning the other 87% of the value of this public land went straight to the new private owners.

Another example is the 6.25 acre Mount Pleasant sorting office that was valued at £29 million by the Tory/Lib-Dem government at the point of sale, then flogged off for £193 million just a few years later. A cool £164 million profit for the new corporate owners from Vince and George's deliberately under-valued sale of public land.

That's almost £300 million of Vince Cable and George Osborne's £787 million valuation of the entire freehold Royal Mail property portfolio recovered through the sale of under 10 acres of Royal Mail land!

So did the new corporate owners reinvest these massive property windfalls in the Royal Mail business? Maybe to diversify in the face of collapsing demand for hand delivered letters?

Of course they bloody didn't. They paid it out in bloated executive salaries and shareholder dividends that have exceeded £1 billion since the privatisation!

The last Royal Mail boss just quit with a huge £2.7 million golden goodbye, and his replacement was welcomed with a staggering £5.8 million tax-free golden hello! All paid for not through successful operation of the business, but through selling off public land that was acquired at miles below its true value.

The owners of Royal Mail know that the postal delivery business is not a brilliant money spinner in itself, but that the Royal Mail property portfolio is an absolute goldmine of prime building plots in towns and cities across the nation.

Royal Mail is being asset stripped before our very eyes, with what was publicly-owned land until 2013 being flogged off for massive unearned corporate profits.

They're not doing anything smart, or innovative, or productive to "earn" this cash, they're simply gorging themselves on the vast difference between what the Tory/Lib-Dem coalition said the Royal Mail property portfolio was worth when they flogged it off, and what it's actually worth.

And the incredible thing is that defenders of this maniacal neoliberal zeal for privatisation that sees our public land flogged off at a tiny fraction of its true value will concoct ludicrous little fairy stories about how it was all good, and fine, and proper because the share price happens to have fallen slightly after six years of absolutely brazen asset stripping!

And the sad thing is that some people will be so gullible, and so averse to considering the facts for themselves, that they'll actually mindlessly believe this abject neoliberal nonsense that everything is fine and dandy, and that Osborne and Cable actually did us all a wonderful favour by flogging off our land at a ridiculous fraction of its real value.

 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.