Thursday, 18 April 2019

Political guide 2019 European parliament elections


This article exists as an accompaniment to the political guide infographic. It's all pretty self-explanatory but it's important to back up some of the assertions with evidence and analysis.

Political position

The Green Party and Labour under Corbyn are Democratic Socialist parties occupying the traditional centre-left position before neoliberalism came along and dragged the entire political spectrum off to the right.


The Tory leadership are hard-right neoliberal being the party that originally injected this toxic strain of economic fanaticism into the UK government when they won the 1979 general election. A significant proportion of Tory backbenchers are far-right rabble rousers, but since the party leadership has not been completely usurped yet, they're still best classified as hard-right neoliberals.

The Lib-Dems and the new CUK squatter party are both "centrist" neoliberal, in that they're not as militant about their neoliberal ideology as the Tories, and often choose to focus on other issues (like Brexit, or social policies) but they also strongly resist any challenge to the established neoliberal orthodoxy, and actively support it if it suits their selfish political purposes.

The SNP and Plaid are both quite mixed political parties held together more by civic nationalism than economic stance. Overall they're more-or-less centre-left and I don't think many of their members would complain too vehemently as being described as social democrats.

Under Gerrard Batten UKIP have turned into a militant hard-right political force, expending far more effort on whipping up anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim hate, rather than detailing real political policies.

Farage's Brexit Party have only just been launched, but going on the fact they've already had two party leaders exposed as outrageous bigots, and Farage's willingness to participate in far-right rabble rousing throughout his political career, it'd take a hefty dose of gullibility to believe they're going to suddenly become centrists or social democrats.

Austerity

The Green Party deserve a lot of credit for being the only explicitly anti-austerity UK-wide political party in 2015, however Labour have learned their lesson from their abject failure to oppose Tory austerity fanaticism that lost them that election, and under Jeremy Corbyn's leadership they've moved to opposing Tory austerity dogma, rather than pathetically imitating it.

SNP and Plaid are both opposed to ruinous Tory austerity fanaticism too.

The Lib-Dems repeatedly try to distance themselves from the devastating Tory austerity fanaticism they enabled between 2010 and 2015, and will tie themselves in cognitive knots trying to pretend that the collapse in living standards these austerity policies caused had nothing to do with the massive upswell in public anger that carried Leave marginally over the winning line in the 2016 EU referendum.

The CUK squatter party are definitely pro-austerity. They've appointed Chris Leslie as their economics spokesperson, and he was one of the key architects of Labour's disastrous "austerity lite" agenda at the 2015 general election. Anna Soubry described the policies of the 2010-2015 austerity years (wage repression, public service cuts, infrastructure under-investment, defunding of local governments, vandalism of the social safety net ...) as "marvellous", and every single one of them either voted in favour of, or cynically abstained on George Osborne's devastating austerity cuts in 2015.

UKIP were explicitly pro-austerity before Batten became leader, but neither they, nor Farage's Brexit Party like to talk about austerity at all, because it's a lot easier to pin the blame for the devastating consequences on immigrants and the EU if you simply ignore the fact that austerity even exists.

Brexit

Theresa May and the Tory leadership are still trying to force their botched thrice-rejected hard-right Withdrawal deal through parliament.

Labour want to create a soft Brexit with Single market and Customs Union access, protected workers' rights, food standards, and environmental laws, and cooperation on science and security. They're also willing to hold a confirmatory referendum, and to consider retention of Free Movement (as demonstrated when they voted in favour of Nick Boles' compromise Brexit in the indicative votes).

The Lib-Dems, CUK, Greens, SNP, and Plaid Cymru are all Brexit-sceptic and they all seem to be prioritising another referendum, which is fine, but there's clearly no guarantee that Remain would win it given that nothing at all has been done since 2016 to clamp down on electoral liars and cheats (with serious punishments like bans from public office and jail time) or to regulate online social media dark ads.

It's fair enough opposing Brexit, I'm highly sceptical about it too, but if your strategy is simply another roll of the dice in a rigged game, you've got to acknowledge the risk of creating an inescapable double-mandate for a ruinous hard-right Brexit.

UKIP and Farage's Brexit Party are both pushing for a militant "no deal" Brexit that would bring economic chaos to the whole of the UK, and massively re-ignite tensions over the Northern Ireland border.

Social issues

When it comes to stuff like gay rights the Tories have moved dramatically from their homophobic Section 28 discrimination in the 1990s, but on disability rights their systematic abuse of disabled people has been condemned as a human rights violation by the United Nations. In any decent and compassionate society this despicable abuse would be considered an national scandal, but the mainstream media and most Brits don't even seem to care that tens of thousands of disabled people have died within weeks of being declared "fit for work" in Tory disability denial assessments.

The Tories also introduced Theresa May's vile Hostile Environment which led to unlawful abuse of black British citizens, including being forced into exile from their own countries.

And anyone supporting the use of British weapons in war crimes committed in Yemen by the homophobic, misogynistic, head-chopping, democracy-crushing, terrorism-spreading, journalist-dismembering Saudi tyrants has no right whatever to pose as any kind of "social liberal".


The Lib-Dems pose as social liberals, but they spent five years in coalition with the Tories vandalising the social safety net, systematically abusing disabled people, and supporting Theresa May's unlawful abuse of the Windrush generation. In fact the Lib-Dems agreed harsher social security sanctions (which mainly affect the mentally ill and the severely under-educated) in return for 5p charges on plastic bags!

Labour and the Greens have been vehemently opposing the systematic Tory abuse of sick and disabled people. The SNP and Plaid also have strong track records when it comes to opposing abusive Tory legislation like Theresa May's Hostile Environment, and the systematic Tory abuse of disabled people.

Not a single one of the CUK squatter MPs voted against Theresa May's hostile Environment. The ex-Tory members of the group actually voted in favour of it! They've also put Mike Gapes (a huge fan of imperialist war-mongering and the Saudi tyrants) in charge of their foreign policy agenda. If you believe in turning places like Iraq and Libya into lawless terrorist breeding zones, and support Saudi war crimes in Yemen, you're no social liberal, even if you pose as social progressives on domestic issues.

UKIP and the Brexit Party are rabble rousers intent on actually whipping up hatred against immigrants and minorities in order to push their far-right agenda. You'd have to be absolutely delusional to think they'd actually stand up for the vulnerable when it comes to social policy issues.

Privatisation

Labour and the Green Party campaign explicitly on policies like bringing the railways, water supply, schools, and hospitals back under public not-for-profit ownership. The vast majority of British people agree with this public ownership stance.


The Tories are privatisation fanatics. Since 2010 they've been busy outright defying public opinion by privatising NHS services, the Royal Mail, literally thousands of schools, and even massive chunks of the police and judicial system (including front line police services, probation, court translation,  forensic science, and prisons).

Between 2010 and 2015 the Lib-Dems actively helped the Tories defy public opinion by privatising hospitals, schools, police services, probation, and prisons. Their leader Vince Cable was even the man the Tories put in charge of flogging off the Royal Mail at significantly below it's real market value!

The SNP have a more mixed approach. They've been in power in the Scottish government since 2007 so they could have done more to reverse privatisation in Scotland, however in areas where they have had the power to block it they have prevented a lot of the Tory privatisation mania that's infested England since 2010. In England 3/4 of secondary schools have been privatised, in Scotland the education system remains in the public sector.

The CUK squatter MPs clearly signalled their pro-privatisation credentials by appointing water privatisation propagandist Angela Smith as their energy, environment, and transport minister, numerous other CUK MPs have bitterly criticised Labour's public ownership plans, and they've just hitched their boat to the right-wing EPP European group, which includes the hard-right Spanish PP and Silvio Berlusconi's Forza Italia party. Anyone expecting this neoliberal rabble to begin opposing and reversing Tory privatisation mania is clearly not paying any attention to what they're actually saying and doing.

UKIP used to be extremely vocal pro-privatisation fanatics to the point of promoting the full privatisation of the NHS, but they've quit talking about their economic policies these days in favour of immigrant-bashing and Muslim hate-mongering. Anyone imagining that UKIP and Farage's far-right Brexit mob would set about reversing Tory privatisation fanaticism is even more delusional than the CUK squatter fans!

Conclusion

Whatever your views on Brexit, be very careful that you don't end up endorsing a political party with terrible views and policies on other issues.

This is especially important when it comes to austerity fanaticism given that ruinous Tory austerity dogma was the root cause of the wave of public anger that caused the Brexit vote in the first place.

Voting for a pro-austerity political party because they make a big fuss about opposing Brexit is like worrying about your hair falling out and the blood in your piss as you continue wilfully drinking the political arsenic.

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17 comments:

Intruder313 said...

Great article :)

Mr. Magoo said...


Very informative article, Tom. But are you sure the Greens and Labour-Left are democratic socialists? Democratic socialists believe that capitalist society can be slowly and steadily reformed into a socialist one. Whereas, Social democrats believe in a mixed economy of reformed capitalism and communism (AKA state capitalism/stalinism). I've never heard the Greens or Labour-Left speak about destroying capitalism - so they're probably just progressive social democrats.

2 certainly democratic socialist parties are the Socialist party (of England & Wales) and their sister party: Socialist Party Scotland. However, socialism cannot be granted from above, the proletariat can only liberate themselves. A rank & file party can enable the proletariat to do this (a good historical example being the Bolshevik party in Russia). As Leon Trotsky once said (and I'm paraphrasing): The workers are the steam and the party is the steam-engine. The former needs to pass through the latter to move the train forward (i.e. create a socialist world).

A great "steam-engine party" in the UK is the Socialist Workers' Party.

ian said...

Most of this is puerile garbage.
One example. Austerity is an element of Keynesian economic theory and labour are still a Keynesian party. The only labour gov to not run austerity budgets were new labour. Corbyns labour actually entrenched most of the tories cuts in their last manifesto.

You should be less angry and actually learn your subjects better

Anonymous said...

As far as I remember the snp are the only no brexit party, wishing to revoke, the others are referendum parties like the toriTo in 2015.

There is a very important box missing "has enough MPs in parliament to actually do something". A milkmil greens won't make a difference to their single vote in the commons

Graham Wroe said...

Great article but how about adding one more chapter on the parties positions on climate catastrophe and ecocide?

Scott said...

This seems to hold the Lib Dems accountable for policies they compromised on as the smaller party in a coalition but ignores all the policies Labour pursued while they had a majority up until 2010 so could do what they wanted without needing to compromise. Hardly seems fair!

Scott said...

I mean when you look at their record how can you seriously describe Labour as Social Liberals (extended detention without trial for example). And how can you seriously not describe the Lib Dems as Social Liberals (despite having to compromise with an illiberal party to get it done they managed to pass gay marriage, women's rights and shared parental leave and so on).

Phil Coleman said...

Until the Greens repositioned themselves in the media as left of centre they had avoided the left-right dichotomy by showing that it arose from a political model that was developed before ecological awareness. Greens are certainly radical, but not simply centre-left. They say that the ecological limits of the planet must be the basis of all politics - and in that were decades ahead of their time. Great social policies too.

Mr. Magoo said...

@Phil Coleman.

I have a lot of respect for the Green party, but they need to realise that ecological progress and social progress are linked. Ecological collapse; poverty; world hunger; war; racism; and sexism...These are not separate issues, they stem from capitalism.

Only when ordinary people take the means of production & distribution out of the hands of share holders and politicians (therefore producing for need instead of profit) can we live in harmony with each other* and nature.

*reasonably speaking.

Anonymous said...

Most people do hate the Conservatives, but they hate Labour more. They started the cuts back in 2008,and don't deserve anybody's vote. We should vote for anti-brexit and anti-austerity and anti-racist parties. Labour is none of these...

Pilurini said...

Labour is anti austerity and anti racism and not too happy about brexit! Desperately trying to find a compromise on it they have most definitely put the brakes on it without labour voting as a whole unity we would now be out

Anonymous said...

I understood this to be for the European parliamentary election.

Anonymous said...

The Green Party isn't 'democratic socialist' despite some people in the leadership wanting it to be. It's an ecologist party closer to anarchism - libertarian-socialist party.

Simon said...

Are we supposed to assume that 'No Brexit' is good because it has a green background? Do you really think your readers are that gullible?

The fact is, once you learn about Modern Monetary Theory, you will quickly realise why there is nothing to fear from a no-deal Brexit. The British government is a currency issuer. If there is a loss of investment, it can just perform a fiscal stimulus (like in 2008) to keep demand at the same level which will cause businesses operating at the next lowest tier to move into the vacuum created. Theresa May already knows this - she has shaken the 'Magic Money Tree' plenty of times before. You haven't used it here, but your new catchphrase of "an economically ruinous no-deal Brexit" is just parroting neoliberal fearmongering.

"a no-deal Brexit is no catastrophe if the British government realises its own capacity and abandons the neoliberal bias and inferiority complex with respect to Europe."
http://bilbo.economicoutlook.net/blog/?p=41287


Secondly, austerity is far more damaging than Brexit will ever be. The Cabinet Office's worst-case scenario is a 9% loss of GDP after 15 years - assuming the government takes no action whatsoever, which is a ludicrous assumption. That works out to a loss of £180 per year per person (https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/781768/Implications_for_Business_and_Trade_of_a_No_Deal_Exit_on_29_March_2019.pdf).

Meanwhile, the New Economics Foundation has worked out that the 2017-18 year of austerity ALONE cost £1500 per person (https://neweconomics.org/2019/02/austerity-is-subduing-uk-economy-by-more-than-3-600-per-household-this-year).

It would take 8.33 years before the worst-case Brexit scenario cost you the same as 1 year of austerity already has done! Now add another 8 years of austerity on to that, and you should hopefully now be realising that it will take DECADES before Brexit costs you anything near as much as austerity already has done!

Anonymous said...

Their deputu head, Amelia Womack, went on Good Morning and stated that the Greens support raising tax on meat to lower carbon emissions. This was into the sixth week of the Paris riots which were caused by a raising of taxes on petrol, an amenity used by everyone. Additionally, 25% of the UK population is living in poverty and the greens want to raise the cost of everyone's food.

Idiocy.

Anonymous said...

Farrage, Yaxley lennon and corbyn are all on one side, lib dem and green opose.

Simple.

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